305 West End Assisted Living Blog

Plan a Winter Mountain Getaway: Catskills and Adirondacks

Senior woman on a winter mountain getaway in the Catskills

Winter in New York State provides breathtaking views: beautiful mountains, frozen waterfalls, and snow-covered trails — just to name a few. Whether you’d rather stay closer to the city or don’t mind traveling a bit further, we’ve selected two destinations you might enjoy experiencing this season: the Catskills and the Adirondacks.

Read on to learn about the differences between each destination — and get our suggestions for lodging, dining, and activities in both areas.

What’s the Difference Between the Catskills and Adirondacks?

Both the Catskills and Adirondacks are known as hiking destinations in New York. However, there are differences between the mountain regions, specifically related to hiking difficulty levels and terrain.

The Catskill mountains are known for their dome-shaped peaks, while the Adirondacks are more jagged and rocky. The steeper cliffs can make hiking more challenging in the Adirondacks, and many trails are designated as moderate or difficult for this reason. The Catskill trails are usually shorter and have more gradual inclines, which may be more appealing for less experienced hikers.

The terrain on the Catskills and Adirondacks also varies. You’ll see more lush ground cover, less mud, and more variations in fall foliage and spring wildflowers in the Catskills. In contrast, the Adirondacks’ terrain can include dirt, mud, rocks, and even snow. As you ascend further up the Adirondacks, you’ll also see more evergreens and pine trees.

Map of the Catskills and the Adirondacks in New York.

Traveling to the Catskills

In the early part of the 20th century, the Catskills were a summer haven for New Yorkers. Though the area fell out of favor in the last few decades, these famed mountains just 100 miles north of the city are experiencing a revitalization and offer a host of trendy, comfortable amenities.

The mountains during winter are simply magical. There’s always skiing (and the après-ski activities that follow), hiking, and sightseeing, but the Catskills also offer many opportunities to slow down and enjoy life at a calm, quiet pace.

Aerial view of winter in the Catskill Mountains
The Catskills are quickly becoming one of New York State’s most popular destinations - again. 

Where to Stay in the Catskills

Foxfire Mountain House in Mt. Tremper

Enjoy your vacation in modern, chic rooms in a historic building. You’ll slumber on locally-crafted beds and dine at the intimate Foxfire Bar Room.

Hasbrouk House in Stone Ridge

Escape to cozy quarters in an 18-century Dutch mansion. Dine at an on-site farm-to-table restaurant, relax by the historic pool, or explore the mansion’s 50 acres.

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter

Contemporary and charming, this lodge offers 38 guest rooms and is just a mile from Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. A variety of activities at the lodge will keep you busy — if you choose.

Where to Eat in the Catskills

Binnekill Tavern in Margaretville

The menu here changes often — so order what you like while you can! Enjoy views of the Delaware River and try a favorite like pork schnitzel, chicken pot pie, or harissa shrimp and grits.

The Arnold House in Livingston Manor

This restaurant is also located on the grounds of a beautiful inn and spa, so you may be tempted to extend your stay. Dine on brunch dishes like blueberry pancakes, or dinner including panzanella salad and smoked chicken.

Silvia in Woodstock

Inventive and rustic dishes abound, like steelhead trout, a local mushroom and pasta plate, and heirloom tomato salad. Try the panna cotta or chocolate lavender pots de crème after your meal.

Onions, squash, carrots, and kale in a wooden crate
Enjoy imaginative, locally-sourced cuisine throughout the Catskills. 

What to Do in the Catskills

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel

Located on the site of the 1969 Woodstock music festival, this museum still offers musical performances as well as artistic workshops and a chance to learn more about the area’s history.

Table to Farm Tours in Roxbury

This tour meets in Roxbury but will take you to some of the Catskill’s best sites — like an 80-foot waterfall, cidery, and creamery, to name a few. Transportation is provided, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the tasty treats at each stop.

Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild in Margaretville

Shop locally-made crafts and goods — think hand-spun wool, hand-dipped candles, and paper products — from artisans in the surrounding counties.

Winter in the Adirondacks

To the northwest of the city, you’ll find the Adirondacks — a sprawling wilderness that appears untouched by humans at first glance. But tucked throughout the mountains are plenty of places where you can rest, relax, and rejuvenate in beautiful surroundings.

The Adirondacks are the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 states and home to a stunning variety of landscapes and history. From the St. Lawrence Seaway to Fort Ticonderoga, and from locally-sourced dining to eclectic arts, there’s something for everyone here.

With its abundance of winter carnivals and festivals, winter is perhaps one of the best times to visit the Adirondacks. The colder months offer horse-drawn carriage rides, hot drinks, and the chance to experience the mountains in a quieter season.

Snow on ground and pine trees in foreground of Adirondack Mountains
Enjoy unspoiled wilderness in the Adirondacks. 


Where to Stay in the Adirondacks

The Sagamore in Bolton Landing

Experience splendid views of Lake George from your room at this 70-acre resort. The Sagamore is a AAA Four Diamond Rated property where you’ll find an outdoor ice bar, spa, multiple dining options, and more all on-site.

The Lake Placid Stagecoach Inn in Lake Placid

The Inn has stood in its current spot since 1833 and boasts the title of the oldest standing building in the area. Five cozy suites display Adirondacks antiques and furniture, and you’ll enjoy breakfast each morning and cocktails and charcuterie each evening.

The Point in Saranac Lake

The Point is what was known as a great camp — New England’s version of a dude ranch — and was built by a member of the Rockefeller family 100 years ago. But this camp has nothing to do with tents — think luxury, hospitality, and relaxation at this Forbes Five-Star-rated getaway.

Where to Eat in the Adirondacks

Scape Cafe at Green Goddess Natural Market in Lake Placid

Find vegetarian and gluten-free options in this market cafe. With choices like the Heavenly Hummus salad and Avolicious sandwich, you’ll find something healthy and delicious here.

Bistro LeRoux in Lake George

Enjoy cozy French-inspired fare in one of several distinct spaces, including the National Parks Room, the Chef’s room, and the Culture Room. Cabernet-braised short ribs and butter-poached lobster risotto are just a few dishes to sample.

The Owl at Twilight in Olmstedville

You’ll discover gourmet dining with a Southwest flair at this out-of-the-way restaurant. Choose from appetizers like sea scallops as well as entrees like chicken scallopini or osso buco.

What to Do in the Adirondacks

Maple Sugaring

The Adirondack region produces about a third of the state’s total maple syrup and is home to 200 producers. By late February, the stage is set for peak maple syrup season. Stop by a maple syrup farm like Sanger’s Sugar House or Adirondack Gold Maple Farm to sample the real deal.

The Hyde Collection Art Museum and Historic House in Glens Falls

View the impressive private art collection of the Hyde family, including pieces by old-world masters like Picasso and Rembrandt. You’ll also find tapestries, furniture, sculpture, and more in the Italian Renaissance-inspired home.

Adirondack Cuisine Trail

Drive along the west coast of Lake Champlain and enjoy some of the best sites along the way. Choose your preferred trail to include stops at restaurants, farms, creameries, wineries, and more. Of course, you’ll also go sightseeing and learn about the region.

Sugar maple trees in snow with buckets for tapping syrup
You’ll find 200 maple syrup producers in the Adirondacks ready for sampling.


More Lifestyle Stories From 305 West End

No matter where you travel, may you enjoy every moment of your winter getaway this year.

Travel, living a healthy lifestyle, enjoying life in the city you love - you can find stories about it all from 305 West End Assisted Living.

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