New summer life for old Catskills ski towns

The mountain towns of Windham and Tannersville might be best known for winter sports, but like much of the Catskills, they’ve experienced something of an accelerated renaissance in recent years, with a spate of new openings that are fast establishing the region as a year -round destination.

“We’re still seeing a rise in visitors during the ‘off-seasons,’” ​​said Julija Stoliarova, who co-founded the Scandinavian-inspired Eastwind Hotel & Bar along with Bjorn Boyer and Daniel Cipriani. “There is so much more to do up here than just skiing Windham Mountain. We’re seeing more visitors immerse themselves in the food, arts and culture scene up here.”

Eastwind opened in 2018, transforming a former 1920s fishermen’s retreat into a stylish motel, now with 26 accommodations after an expansion, including a handful of deeply Instagrammable lushnas (standalone A-frame cabins), as well as a wood barrel sauna and a cocktail bar that attracts just as many locals as guests.

“We’re still seeing a rise in visitors during the ‘offseasons,’” ​​says Julija Stoliarova, who co-founded the Scandinavian-inspired Eastwind Hotel & Bar along with Bjorn Boyer, Daniel Cipriani, and John Burnett. The hotel offers activities like outdoor yoga for summer visitors.

Michael Greco

The success of independent boutique ventures like this — which has drawn much publicity, too — has brought a new flock of guests and residents to the region, and with them the demand for a wider array of restaurants, bars and services.

“There’s more traffic, and people living up here year-round,” said Ryan Chadwick, a serial entrepreneur who splits his time between Tannersville and New York City. “But with that, we need services and things for people to do. Luckily, we’re in this mountain town with beautiful scenery and hiking trails, kayaking and skiing. We have it all. We just need to have it easily accessible and organized.”

Chadwick already had a portfolio of restaurants in New York City, Montauk, Nantucket and Aspen when he fell for Tannersville in 2019. “I wanted to try different things that I thought could work after spending time in resort towns and growing up in Maine, things I enjoyed as a kid,” he said.

Those things, so far, have included a glamping project and a lobster shack in the renovated Tanners Boathouse, which this summer will start offering canoes and kayaks for hire, as well as other water sports. Also opening soon: a trolley service from Tannersville to Palenville, a drive-through coffee and donut shop, and an artisan market.

But this array of projects represents just some of the growth here. In December, Gov. Kathy Hochul awarded a total of $5.7 million to projects in Greene County towns, including revitalizing the historic Thompson House Resort in Windham into the Wylder Hotel, and the renovation of the Astoria Motor Court in Leeds into Locals Cabin Co.

As part of that, Tannersville received a $10 million downtown revitalization grant — the smallest community to receive such a grant in the program’s history. Some of the funds will go toward improving the waterfront and surrounding trails, as well as developing affordable workforce housing.

To guide its ongoing development, Windham has put in place a comprehensive plan, which includes improving access to outside recreation, like hiking trails, swimming areas and kayaking facilities; and persevering local history and the town’s historic character, all of which will, no doubt, continue to attract more visitors in the years to come.

Here are some of the new offerings by winter-friendly Catskills towns to appeal to a summer traveler:

Additions to the Catskills business landscape

A spate of new restaurants, like the Tanners Boathouse, and hotels are expanding summer offerings for travelers in traditional Catskills ski towns.

A spate of new restaurants, like the Tanners Boathouse, and hotels are expanding summer offerings for travelers in traditional Catskills ski towns.

Tanners Boathouse

Union & Post
Union & Post is another very stylish boutique accommodation option in Windham. While the hotel opened in 2020, the restaurant only welcomed its first guests in January, serving new American fare and cocktails. Take a spot at one of the two fireplaces, on the wraparound deck with views of the town, or upstairs in the library lounge area.
5098 NY-23, Windham;

Catskill Camp
This ethical outdoor shop arrived in Tannersville in early 2022. In addition to selecting products that are made sustainably or use recycled materials, the shop is also mindful of packaging and has to donate conservation 1% of revenue to environmental efforts.
6006 Main St, Tannersville;

This farm-to-table Mediterranean restaurant comes from Brooklyn restaurateur David Schneider. He was offered the space by the Hunter Foundation, which has long worked to revitalize the town, and saw the opportunity to invest in the community with a restaurant that focused on hiring locally and offers an pay structure. The food, accessibly priced, doesn’t play second fiddle to its ethics.
6033 Main St, Tannersville;

Tanners Boathouse
Lobster rolls, hot dogs, and free s’mores by the fire pit are just part of the appeal at this revitalized boathouse on Rip Van Winkle Lake. During winter, ice skating and ice hockey were offered and starting Memorial Day, the boathouse will begin renting recreational gear like canoes, kayaks, mountain bikes and inner tubes. There will be live music every weekend with local artisan vendors and family-friendly activities. Corn husking contest, anyone?
27 Lake Road, Tannersville;

New Catskills businesses opening soon

Kaaterskill Loop Trolley (from Memorial Day 2022)
With parking often a barrier to visiting some of the area’s most popular attractions — such as the five-mile-long wilderness gorge of Kaaterskill Clove — the trolley service aims to provide a solution in the guise of a viable, climate-friendly, and fun alternative. The trolley, which will run seven days a week at $2 a ride, will make multiple stops on the mountain between Tannersville and Palenville Town Center, including at Kaaterskill Falls and Long Bridge Swimming Hole.

Hotel Lilien (opening summer 2022)
Washington Irving Hotel was built in the 1890s by the Lilienthal family and remains until today, a distinctive Victorian building on the Rip Van Winkle Trail. This summer, it will reopen as Hotel Lilien after a full renovation, with 18 rooms, a restaurant and a cocktail bar.
6629 NY-23, Tannersville;

Wylder, Windham (opening August 2022)
The Thompson House Resort was established in 1880 and operated for 140 years. This summer, however, it will become the third outpost of Wylder Hotels, and undergo a complete renovation in the process, led by local architect Jason Anderson. Happily, the beloved Babblers restaurant and Babblers Bakery will remain, reopening in June.
19 NY-296, Windham;

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