If the words "The Catskills" still conjure images of Milton Berle and Henny Youngman trading one-liners—or Jennifer Grey carrying a watermelon across a sweaty dance floor—you haven't been here in a while. While most of the Dirty Dancing–era bungalow colonies and Borscht Belt resorts are gone, a new generation of young innkeepers are opening up shop, luring New York City weekenders eager for a taste of country life.
There's the Hotel Dylan, which plays up its Woodstock location with '60's rock photos and songwriting workshops; the Hillside Schoolhouse, two rooms in an adorable 1893 school building in Barryville, near the Delaware River; and the Spruceton Inn, in West Kill, which plugs a weekend of grilling, playing horseshoes, and swimming in the creek.
Our favorite: The Arnold House (pictured above and below) located about two hours northwest of Manhattan in an area called Shandelee, with all the rolling hills and forest and distant mountain vistas that mellifluous name suggests.
It's a century-old tavern/rooming house turned hip B&B with nine rooms, a tiny spa, and a barn where live bands perform on weekends. The owners, Sims and Kirsten Foster, have added a few totems of urban hipsterdom (barrel-aged cocktails; yoga classes; microbrewery tours; plenty of deer heads), but the vibe is mostly laid-back and rural. You can go for a hike, try your hand at fly-fishing (nearby Livingston Manor is an important destination for anglers), or find a local swimming hole and enjoy the natural beauty that has drawn people to the Catskills for decades.
Peter J. Frank is T+L's Director of Editorial Product Development
For more on Hudson Valley hotels, check out T+L's Guide to Catskills Hotels.