The ABCs of snowshoeing

Above: Snowshoes at Catskill Mountain Storehouse. Photo by Tim Luby. 

Now that winter has arrived in the Catskills in earnest, it’s time to break out the snowshoes. If you’ve never tried hiking with snowshoes, read on for a guide on how to choose, size and use this winter-weather hiking gear. Remember: If you can walk, you can snowshoe.

One of the first things you need to consider is the type of snowshoes to get. Snowshoes for local parks or trails or the rolling fairways of golf courses have some different characteristics from those designed for the steep terrain of mountain hiking. Forget about those attractive wooden snowshoes with the leather lacing. They belong above the fireplace in your family room or camp.

Size matters: Many retailers or online charts will ask how much you weigh and how heavy a pack you'll be carrying. That combined weight theoretically translates into the size of snowshoe you'll wear. However, unless you belong in the waif category, that formula will have you walking out of the store with a 28-inch or 30-inch pair of foot gondolas.  Read more

Play to Win....For Love of Body and Health

Close race for chairman of Schoharie County

Above: Earl Van Wormer, left, and Chris Tague, right, faced off in a close race for chair of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Monday, Jan. 4. Van Wormer won the position.

Longtime Esperance Supervisor Earl Van Wormer was elected to his ninth nonconsecutive term as the chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors on Monday, Jan. 4, staving off a challenge from fellow Republican and newcomer to the board, Schoharie Supervisor Chris Tague, for the position.

Tague, a Republican, defeated Democrat Supervisor Gene Milone for the position of supervisor of the town of Schoharie in November.

During an election for the position of chair of the county board of supervisors on Monday night, Tague was supported by six Republicans with a total of 1,169 weighted votes. Van Wormer only barely edged him out with six Republicans supporting him with a total of 1,297 weighted votes.

A third candidate for the chair position, Fulton Supervisor Phil Skowfoe, was supported by four Democrats for a total of 508 weighted votes.   Read more

Where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Catskills

 

A photo posted by BSP Kingston (@bspkingston) on

Above: Just like Times Square, only smaller, Uptown Kingston's New Year's Eve features a ball drop, fireworks, a block party, burlesque, vaudeville, a speakeasy and fireworks. Photo via the BSP Lounge's Instagram page

Back in the day, bells rang out from town to town marking midnight and the changeover to a new year. Around the Catskills, you can say goodbye to 2015 with everything from accordions and contra dancing to sizzling soul and burlesque. There are ball drops and karaoke jams and feasts, feasts, feasts. Have a look at our five-county guide to the highlights, and see if we can’t lure you from your lair. All events take place on Thursday, Dec. 31 unless otherwise specified.

DELAWARE COUNTY

There’s a dinner buffet and DJ dance party happening at the Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club in Margaretville, featuring prime rib for the adults, a kids’ menu and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Seating starts at 6 p.m.; music starts at 8 p.m. in the fireside lounge. Reservations required; call 1-800-752-6494.

O’Neill’s Shire Pub in Delhi will be rocking the old year out with specials and karaoke hosted by DJ Bangkok. The fun starts at 9 p.m. and goes on until 1 a.m. Call for reservations: 607-746-8758.

The Andes Hotel in Andes is throwing a New Year’s bash with a three-course sit-down feast and live music from Blues Maneuver. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and continue through the “champagne hour.” You can bring the under-twelve-year-olds for half price.

GREENE COUNTY

They may be having a rather unusual season, but Greene County’s ski resorts will be kicking out the jams for the New Year.

At Hunter Mountain in Hunter, fun starts with DJ music at 2 p.m. and continues with music from the Hot Rods, a torchlight parade and fireworks. Van Winkle’s Restaurant will be serving a prix fixe New Year’s dinner--for that part of it you need to reserve by calling  518-263-4223 x3026.

Windham Mountain’s bash in Windham kicks off at 6 p.m. with kids’ entertainment at the Mountain Express Cafeteria. At 8 p.m., Screaming Broccoli will take the stage; at 9 p.m. there are fireworks and DJ Brian will keep it rockin’ after the band’s done. There’s also a Grand Dinner Buffet at Seasons; make reservations here.

Celebrate at the Bavarian Manor Inn in Purling with dinner out and/or an entire night of partying, up to and including spending the night at special holiday rates that include breakfast. There’s a dinner at 5:30 p.m. for those who don’t want to stay for the whole bash, which features the music of Nickel Candy and a free bottle of champagne for your midnight toast.

The Blackthorne Resort in East Durham will host a New Year’s Eve bash with the music of Southbound. Here, too, you can reserve a room for the night and revel to your heart’s content.

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

There will be a grand New Year's Eve Dinner & Celebration at the Bull's Head Inn in Cobleskill. Reserve your seats (call 518-234-1802) for the special four-course dinner being served from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., then enjoy the live sounds of Jay “Diz” Dizacomo from 8:30 until “sometime in 2016.”

The American Hotel in Sharon Springs will be serving a five-course New Year’s Eve Dinner with seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Call 518-284-2105 to reserve a table.

Come out and enjoy an Old World-flavored New Year’s Eve Celebration at A Taste of Europe in Cobleskill.   Read more

Finally, some snow

Above: An inch of snowy, icy slush is cause for celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Photo via the Great Western Catskills Instagram account. 

After almost an entire December without snow, the Catskills got its first significant snowfall on Tuesday, Dec. 29. This is great news for the local ski mountains, which have been doing their best to make enough snow to cover the slopes on their own  Read more

Catskills ski mountains get creative during no-snow December

Above: The slopes at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount on Dec. 16. Photo by Rebecca Andre. 

Snow guns are blazing at all four Catskills ski resorts as unusually warm weather—and a distinct lack of snowfall—puts a damper on the start of the ski season.

This year’s December has been unseasonably warm, thanks to a strong El Nino effect.

The weather is upending normal activities during beginning of winter in the Catskills, which started on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Skiers aren’t flocking to the mountains as they normally do right after Thanksgiving.

Instead, flocks of geese are floating peacefully on the unfrozen waters of the East Branch. Daffodils are sprouting, golfers are playing on snowless greens and salt piles remain untouched in Delaware County as the Highway Department concentrates on getting ahead of 2016’s tree program.

“It’s been a bleak beginning to December,” said Jesse Tolz, the communications manager for Windham Mountain in Greene County.  Read more

A 12 Days of Christmas Catskills Gift Guide

Gifting is so much fun. But the classic ideas can always stand an update. After all, a partridge in a pear tree takes up the entire living room, shipments of milkmaids and drummers need to be housed (to say nothing of a gymnasium space for all those leaping lords), and calling birds just keep calling...and calling...and calling.

But you, you lucky soul, have the Catskills at your disposal. And these hills are packed with delicious foods, life-enhancing objects, fantastic fashion, life-changing experiences and mouthwatering edibles. So we’re hoping you’ll do your shopping locally, among the small independent merchants where your dollar makes a big difference.

Here are 12 local Catskills gift ideas for this holiday season.

On the first day of Christmas the Catskills gave to me:

A massage with aromatherapy

  Read more

Happy Holidays

During this busy season of preparing for the holidays,

the Margaretville Health Foundation

wishes to thank you for your continued support of

Mountainside Residential Care Center and Margaretville Hospital,

which are here for you year-round. Your donations will continue

to help us support both facilities in continuing our mission to

“Ensure quality health care for the people of the Central Catskills.”

Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

Board Members

Heather Brighton

Don Bramley

Carmen Lopez  Read more

Crowd gathers in Franklin as pipeline unveils plans for compressor

Above: A pair of compressors are part of a complex that is included in the proposal for the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, as seen in this artist's rendering. The complex would straddle the line between the Delaware County town of Franklin and the Otsego County town of Otego.

With approval of the proposed Constitution Pipeline possibly imminent, Franklin residents got information on Wednesday, Dec. 16 about a second natural gas pipeline that may pass through their town.

Kinder Morgan, a gas infrastructure company, held a public meeting at Franklin Central School about the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline. A large crowd, including both supporters and opponents, attended the gathering, overseen by several officers of the New York State Police and the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.  Read more

Shop local from the comfort of your home this Holiday Season!

Support your local farm and forest producer, working landscapes and your community by making your purchases count for clean water and the environment! Holiday shopping just got easier with the Fresh From the Catskills Holiday Gift Guide 2015. We've gathered honey collectors; wool and fiber makers; outlets for wreath, and holiday decorations; cut-your-own tree farms; wine, beer and spirits makers; handmade gift ideas; holiday caterers; jelly and jams varieties; botanical/soap lines; holiday bakers; value-added dairy producers; maple syrup makers; local stores...all in ONE easy-to-access resource.  Read more


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