Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter, inside and out

Catskill Scenic Trail
I popped into Lucky Dog Farm Store to pick up a sandwich for lunch the other day and met a retired couple that  I had hiked with a few years back.  Lucky for me his memory was better than mine! We had a great chat about hiking in the Catskills and about how some folks absolute LOVE for the winter season.  His body loves cold weather and is uncomfortable in the heat of the summer. I asked if he meant the heat of the summer here and laughed when he said yes.  I find summers incredibly delightful, blissfully cool in the evenings. But I did agree with him on winter. After ten years of being here full time, I have finally found the winter cold enjoyable as well.  Go figure.

What makes someone a winter person?  I'm not sure if my metabolism changed to work better in the cold or if it was more the clothes and tools!!!  Now that we have heat packs for our boots and gloves, high tech super-wicking fabric for long johns, polar fleece, balaclava's, heated handles and seats on snowmobiles and in cars, 4 wheel drive, uber-insulated boots,  there's almost nothing to worry about!!

But if you're looking for things that don't require layers of clothing, yet do provide an inside space - there are lots of fun and healthy things going on during the cold months. 

SUNY Delhi opens their aquatic center, and the mini-dome, which houses their fitness center and tennis courts, to the public during the year.  The hours can vary depending on when school is in session and student related activites - but the facilities are wonderful and a great way to work-out indoors over the winter.

The Roxbury Arts Group holds classes from Yoga to Dance throughout the winter.  Check in with them to see if anything is up and coming.  You may think the West Kortright Centre shuts down during the winter but not so..... They hold workshops too just in other locations. Check into their upcoming book binding workshop.

There are a plethora of local yoga instructors holding classes in churches or community centers - but we're at a loss for an online resource to give you. This is a word of mouth - flyer on the window of a local business - source of information, so ask around.

One of the unknown gems of the winter is the Honest Brook Music Festival's winter series.  Their once a month concerts take place in private homes so you are guaranteed an intimate environment in which to hear wonderful classical music.  

While I used to spend the winter hunkered down and safe from storms - having a great attitude about getting out and about and taking advantage of everything that local business owners and organizations do to keep us entertained and fit really does pay off in fun times and great memories.  Try some out for yourself and comment here on the results!!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lake Effect Snows Providing Great Backdrop for Winter Fun in the Western Catskills

The Western side of the Catskills is the first mountain range east of the Rockies that gets hit with weather systems as they cross the plains.  Not only that the Great Lakes provide just the right conditions to bring storm systems that pack a precipitation punch to the upstate region.  This translates into lots of fresh powder at area ski slopes, like Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury, NY. In last years whopper of a storm, Plattekill was tapped by the National Weather Service as receiving the most snowfall of the storm – almost 9 feet!!
Plattekill maintains its charm as a challenging mountain that is incredibly family friendly.  Double black diamond runs thrill expert skiers.  The ski school offers great instruction, a bunny hill and two side trails for easier runs.   Plattekill is open Friday-Sunday from 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Plattekill will be open for ten days straight for school break starting with the Presidents’ Weekend holiday.  Saturday nights are especially exciting with snow tubing available in two sessions, from 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. Holiday week will have additional tubing nights as well.  Check the conditions live with their mountain cam at  New to the mountain this year is a boatload of infrastructure improvements. 
  Keeping Plattekill’s trails in peak condition is a constant effort. The mountain has almost 100 snow guns, 7,000 feet of buried snowmaking pipe, 1,000 feet of heavy electric wire (and nine electric stations) to power 2 new fan guns, a grooming machine, and new rental equipment.  A great way to understand just what it takes to get, make, and keep snow can be found on a new winter blog that features mostly Plattekill but also other winter activities in the region.   This blog has a little of everything from links to local teenagers terrain park videos, interviews with the snow making and grooming staff, as well as ice fishing and local village round-ups.
A number of nearby lodging facilities have partnered with Plattekill Mountain to offer money-saving packages. The most popular offering is one of their two BOGO (Buy One Get One) options. When visitors stay with a participating lodging facility, children 17 and under will receive one free lift ticket for each paid adult ticket (limit two).  Adults without children can save big too. Buy a full day lift ticket for Saturday and get Sunday’s lift ticket free.  The mountain boasts a great family cafeteria, upstairs lounge bar, child care center, fireplaces throughout and sunning benches on the deck.
If your winter adventure tastes are more leisurely, Delaware County has many fine cross-country skiing and snowshoeing options. The ideal cross-country or snowshoe route is the 26-mile rail bed known as the Catskill Scenic Trail running between Roxbury and Bloomville.  Use of the trail is free. For additional information on the rail trail, visit All this activity is in Roxbury which boasts the award winning boutique motel, The Roxbury - check out their theme rooms at
The Great Western Catskills Facebook page now includes a Photo of the Day section so you can remember just for real how much is on the ground, and be inspired to plan a visit. When it comes to lodging options, the Great Western Catskills features accommodations that include everything from cool and hip inns, charming bed and breakfasts, affordable and accommodating motels to private rental homes complete with fireplace and firewood. For winter lodging packages visit the getaways section of the area’s travel website at:

Learn more about the Western Catskills
Delaware County is located conveniently to the NYC / Albany / Rochester / Philadelphia areas for weekend getaway. For more information on travel to the Great Western Catskills visit For a free activity guides, art gallery and antique shop map, fishing map or event calendar, call 866-775-4425.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter In The Catskills blog

This is a cool new blog for the area..... local writers are working together to talk about what they like best about the western Catskills.  Right now it's mostly on Plattekill but blame that on the holidays keeping everyone busy and traveling except obviously Jen who's been jammin' at Plattekill.  She's giving great insights to the mountain operations, back story, and trails so you feel like you know the mountain before you even get there.

Check it out here....

They've got some cool ideas coming up like Best Pizza reviews, ice fishing, winter hiking and more.