Flash flood watch issued for western Catskills

Above: National Weather Service radar shows two bands of thunderstorms headed eastward across central New York. Screenshot taken at 3:25 p.m. on Friday, June 13.

Bands of thunderstorms and heavy rain are headed eastward across western and central New York, prompting National Weather Service forecasters in Binghamton to issue a flash flood watch for south-central New York and the western Catskills.

Forecasters are expecting over two inches of rain to fall over a period of less than three hours on Friday afternoon and evening, which could cause flooding in small streams and areas of poor drainage.

Included in the flood watch are Delaware and Sullivan counties. The watch will remain in effect until midnight. 

Below: A forecast posted on Facebook by NWS Binghamton forecasters.

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Horseback riding in the Catskills

Riders head out on the trail. Photo courtesy of Bridle Hill Farm.

Strapping on your hiking shoes isn’t the only way to see the Catskills: You can also hit the trail on horseback. Trail-riding companies operate throughout the region, and they offer an alternative way to enjoy the spectacular views and fresh mountain air that make the Catskills a paradise for hikers.

Novice and experienced riders alike should have a pre-ride safety check with the trail ride leader, says Laura Phoenix, a riding coach and equestrian specialist at Country Meadows Equine in Delaware County. Before embarking, beginning riders should be shown how make their mount turn left or right — and most importantly, how to stop.

As you ride, the group should set the pace at the comfort level of the most inexperienced rider, in order to ensure a successful ride for everyone in the group.

After horse and rider have gotten acquainted, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the views.

Spring is a great time to take a trail ride, Phoenix says.  Read more

Green Door closes

Green Door, a Liberty-based quarterly magazine about Catskills life and culture, is shutting down.

It's been a good run; in their three years and 13 issues, Green Door's founders have launched a multi-use art space on Liberty's Main Street, popularized the word "hickster," gotten a nod from the New York Times for their "Narrowsburg Not Williamsburg" T-shirts, and earned plenty of love from the local arts and business community. But, as the sage says, sometimes love just ain't enough.

Founders Ellie and Akira Ohiso announced the news on the magazine's website and Facebook page on Tuesday:  Read more

A few good Catskills paddles

Photo by Courtney Ross; submitted to the Watershed Post's 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest.

Water is everywhere in the Catskill Mountains, even their name: The “kill” in “Catskills” is a Dutch word for “creek.” There’s plenty of open water to go around for kayakers, canoers, sailors and rowers — especially now that four of New York City’s vast reservoirs have been opened to recreational boating, a development in the past few years. (See our guide to boating the reservoirs.)

Another aspect of the Catskills great outdoors that’s improving: our bald eagle population. If you spend time on our rivers and creeks, you’re likely to have a close encounter with one of these fish-eating eagles, who have been brought back from the verge of extirpation over the past few decades and are now a common sight near Catskills waterways.

Catskills creeks have a tendency to be broad and shallow, and water levels can vary a lot depending on recent rainfall and reservoir releases. When preparing to go boating on running water, check out the water level, or ask a local boat rental company, to make sure there’s enough water to keep you from running aground.  Read more

U-pick while you can: Strawberry fields not forever

Squeezed between the end of spring and the beginning of summer, strawberry season in the Catskills emerges for a brief but illustrious period.

For most farms, the season begins in June and lasts about four weeks, sometimes stretching into the first week of July. In the higher elevations, the season tends to run later. This year's cooler spring could also make for a later strawberry season, according to farmer Jim Story of Catskill's Story Farms.

Listed below are farms around the Catskills region that will be open this summer for U-pick strawberries and other seasonal fruits, including raspberries and blackberries.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Greenane Farms
196 County Route 10, Meridale
607.746.8878
Open for U-Pick between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Strawberries available late June through July; blackberries and raspberries available July through October.

GREENE COUNTY  Read more

New Catskills hotels aim for a design-savvy crowd

Above: A room at the Arnold House. Photo courtesy of the Arnold House. 

For over a century, urbanites have found refuge in the Catskills. But the heyday of the grand Victorian mountain hotels is over, and the era of Borscht Belt resort kitsch is passing away. These days, our downstate neighbors are looking for something a bit more off the beaten path in their country getaways.

A new breed of hotel is cropping up in the hills: small, laid-back escapes that cater to a design-conscious clientele. Emboldened by the success of the Graham & Co., a former Phoenicia roadhouse that re-opened as a chic motel last year, several new hotels have seized on the concept of the Catskills as a hipster's alternative to the Hamptons -- a drum New York Magazine has been beating for nearly a decade.  Read more

Yulan man arrested in connection with May 23 shooting

A man who was wounded in a Sullivan County shooting on May 23 was arrested Wednesday on gun and drug charges, after he was discharged from Westchester Medical Center.

Arrested on Wednesday, June 4 was 33-year-old William Sullivan of Yulan. Sullivan has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. Both are felonies.

Another man who was also wounded in the shooting remains in the hospital in critical condition, police say.

Shortly before midnight on Friday, May 23, state troopers and town of Highland police responded to a report of gunshots fired at a residence on Airport Road in the town of Highland in Sullivan County. They found two men suffering from gunshot wounds. Police say the two men had been in an argument before the shooting.  Read more

Year-round mountains: Ski centers shine in all four seasons

Above: The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Windham Mountain, the only event of its kind in the U.S., draws pro athletes from around the globe. Photo by Karl Anshanslin, an honorable mention in the 2014 Catskills Outdoor Guide Photo Contest.

One World Cup mountain biking competition featuring 7,000 riders from 35 countries. Three days of yoga. Car and motorcycle shows, skateboard races. Summer concerts starring Buddy Guy, Gretchen Wilson and the brothers Allman and Avett. A chance to taste more than 300 beers made by 70 New York state brewers, zoom above the trees on a zipline or take your kids geocaching.

Welcome to the Catskills ski region, where resorts whose main attractions involve the fluffy white stuff have increasingly morphed into four-season recreation centers with wildly diverse offerings — both indoors and out.

“You have this huge asset — you can’t just shut your doors and wait for it to snow again,” says Troy Ketcham, the sales and marketing director at Windham Mountain in Greene County. “Every mountain is really a year-round mountain.”

Mother Nature smiled upon the winter sports season in 2013-14, with early cold temperatures and bountiful snowfall. Fans of downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing had little to complain about as the snowpack endured into early April.  Read more

This Weekend: Celebrate National Trails Day

Above: The view from Cross Mountain on a brand-new section of the Long Path Trail, which opens to the public on Saturday, June 7. Photo courtesy of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.

For 21 years, the first Saturday in June has been reserved for appreciating the nation’s mountain trails and greenery. This Saturday, June 7, Catskill area parks will observe the 22nd annual National Trails Day by hosting outdoor celebrations — welcoming residents and visitors to participate in hikes, runs and restoration projects, as well as the opening of several brand-new trails.

Below: Volunteers install a sign on the new Palmer Hill Trail in Andes. Photo by Ann Roberti.

Palmer Hill Trail opening, Andes, Delaware County  Read more

Happy Father's Day Wishes


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