Upcoming Events in Shandaken

Steve Earle hosts Catskills songwriting camp

Above: Steve Earle at the 2014 season of Camp Copperhead at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian. Photo by Michael Bloom via the Camp Copperhead website.

Steve Earle fans are eagerly awaiting the second edition of Camp Copperhead, a four-day songwriting intensive led by the renaissance man and songwriter’s songwriter at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian next week.

Ever since his “Guitar Town” hit the top of the country charts in 1986, Earle’s been writing protest tunes and love songs, transcending genre and medium; along the way he’s become an actor and a novelist.

Camp Copperhead, according to a video interview Earle with American Songwriter magazine, will feature morning master classes with Earle followed by small group poetry and guitar workshops with guest artists.

“We’ll have an open mic every night, and we won’t rest until everybody’s played a song,” he says.   Read more

Take a dip: Where to swim in the Catskills

Above: Belleayre Beach at Pine Hill Lake in July 2014. Photo by Jonathan Garin.

In the Catskills, there’s a secret swimming hole in almost every town. (If you ask nicely, a local may point you in the right direction.) Here are a few of the best known publicly accessible swimming spots, from lifeguarded beaches to swimming pools to blue holes in the wilderness.


BIG DEEP is a beloved woodsy swimming hole with a rope swing on the Saw Kill. East of town on Route 212 in Woodstock.

Above: Peekamoose Blue Hole. Photo by Tim Cox. 

PEEKAMOOSE BLUE HOLE, an icy cold, deep blue basin, is tucked into the woods near the border of Ulster and Sullivan counties. From Route 28A in West Shokan, go 10 miles southwest on County Road 42.  Read more

Belleayre Resort gets DEC greenlight

In one of his final acts as New York State's top environmental official, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens acted on Friday to allow the long-awaited Belleayre Resort project in the Catskills to move forward. 

In a decision enacted on Friday, July 10, Martens granted a motion from the DEC's staff to cancel the final hurdle that still lay between the project and the issuing of permits for construction: a legal proceeding called an "adjudicatory hearing."

Above: An interactive timeline of 16 years of Belleayre Resort review.

If it had been held, the hearing would have given environmental groups that successfully sought to downsize the project years ago another chance to weigh in on changes that have been made to the plans in recent years.   Read more

This weekend: Fourth of July in the Catskills

Above: Margaretville's Fire Department Field Days and Carnival comes to a grand finale this weekend, July 3 and July 4. Photo by Joe Damone Photography.

We're already written about where to find fireworks on this Fourth of July in the Catskills. But there’s lots of other things going on across the region as well. Here are a few of our favorites, county by county.


On Friday, July 3, the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith celebrates its 40th birthday with a gala dance under the stars with Hazmat Modine, a pan-ethnic roots and blues band. Chicken dinner at 7 p.m.; music begins at 8 p.m. If you were born in 1975 or are driving a 1975 car, you get in free.   Read more

Catskill Interpretive Center celebrates grand opening

Above: Maurice Hinchey, center, cuts the ribbon at the Catskill Interpretive Center, which is named in his honor. He is flanked by Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, left, and outgoing DEC commissioner Joseph Martens, right. Photos by Julia Reischel.

After 30 years of planning, it took less than a year to get the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in the Ulster County hamlet of Mount Tremper from groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch former Congressman Maurice Hinchey cut the ribbon in front of his namesake visitors' center, designed to a "gateway to the Catskills" that welcomes visitors to the region on Route 28, in a ceremony at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1.

Hinchey himself did not speak at the event, but listened as a long list of dignitaries honored him and celebrated the interpretive center project.

Calling Hinchey a "living legend," Ulster County Executive Mike Hein said that the interpretive center is "the culmination of an extraordinary number of people simply pushing."

"As the mist rises off these mountains, so too does the veil that has far too long covered this enchanted region," said Rob Stanley, the town supervisor of Shandaken, where the interpretive center is located. "We are here, we are here, we are here."

  Read more

Catskills Fourth of July: Fireworks

Above: Fireworks at the Monticello Raceway on July 4, 2014. Photo by John of Catskills Photography, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool.  

Independence Day in the Catskills means barbecue, waters warm enough to swim in, and lots of time spent outside. But we know that you're really here for the fireworks. Here's our five-county lowdown on where to see fireworks in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties over the 2015 Fourth of July weekend.


10 Catskill mountain waterfalls worth visiting

Above: Old Mill Falls in Platte Clove (number 1 on the list below). Photo by Joshua Trupin.

Steep slopes and restless streams make the Catskill Mountains rich waterfall territory. Here are 10 falls worth visiting, winnowed down from the dozens and dozens to be found in the region. Some are a cool reward at the end of a rugged hike, while others plunge just a few yards from the road.

While most waterfalls in the Catskills are located in the high escarpment in the east part of Greene County, there are cascades, plunges and cataracts in each of the counties that make up the region -- Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster. All five counties are represented on this list, so there's a waterfall here close to you.   Read more

NY Post: "Catskills are the new Montauk"

Above: Catskills v. Hamptons T-shirts on The Graham & Co.'s Instagram page in 2013

The "Year of the Catskills" continues: On Tuesday, June 23, the New York Post's Page Six gossip column quotes an "NYC nightlife guru" as saying that, yes, the Catskills are the new Hamptons:  Read more

Legislature approves the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway

It's taken seven years, but Route 28 in Ulster and Delaware counties has finally received legislative approval to become the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, according to a press release from New York State Senator James Seward.

Seward made the announcement on Tuesday, June 23, in what officials hoped was the last day of the legislative session, which has run close to a week over its normal schedule this year. 

The 65-mile byway runs along Route 28 from the Ulster County town of Olive to the Delaware County town of Andes, with short jogs along Route 212 and Route 42, through Shandaken, Middletown and Andes. It still must receive Gov. Andrew Cuomo's signature to become law.

State approval means that the byway will be designated on maps and will be eligible for federal grant money. It also means that someday soon you'll see the byway's signature logo, which features a bobcat paw print (above), along the roadway from Olive to Andes.   Read more

Where to pick your own strawberries in the Catskills

Above: The first strawberries of the season at Dressel Farms on June 6. Photo via Facebook. 

It's strawberry season, that momentarily magical time of year when you can eat fat, juicy, locally-grown berries by the bucketfull at U-Pick farms around the Catskills.

We're smack in the middle of the picking season this week. For most farms, the season begins at the start of June and lasts about four weeks, sometimes stretching into the first week of July. The higher up into the mountains you go, the later the season runs.

We've done our homework, and the strawberries are ripe and ready at all the Catskills farms listed below. Happy picking!


Story Farms
4640 Route 32, Catskill
Story Farms had its first U-Pick day on June 5, and is selling them for $2 per pound. 


Shandaken Letters