Livingston Manor, New York

Photo: The Arnold House
Photo: The Arnold House

It’s Earth Day! Some people are planting gardens today. Others are more focused on recycling. But everyone is just hoping for nice weather so they can be outside. You’re wishing for a warm day, as well. Not so you can spend time in the city parks, though. You’re heading to the Catskills.

The Catskill Mountains are only 100 miles northwest of New York City. In just over two hours, you’re surrounded by nature, the mountains, and fresh air. Hiking trails wind through Catskill Park, a 700,000-acre area protected from development. Water rushes down the mountains into waterfalls and reservoirs. Black bears, bobcats, and coyotes roam freely. While small mountain towns attract second homeowners, fly fishermen, and artists.

After driving north along the Hudson River, follow Route 17 west toward Livingston Manor. Don’t blink, as you could easily miss the little town while driving through it. Less than 2,000 people live in the quaint town. It’s considered the birthplace of fly fishing in the U.S. Fishermen flock to the 27-mile-long Willowemoc Creek. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, a German bakery, and an art center line Main Street. Plus, a recently renovated bed and breakfast sits on Shandelee Mountain.

Photo: The Arnold House
Photo: The Arnold House

The Arnold House, your home for the next few days, is the perfect country retreat. It first started welcoming guests more than 100 years ago. Last year, it was refitted with everything from leather chairs to comfortable beds. It’s surrounded by budding trees and meadows soon-to-be-filled with wildflowers. Another guest’s dog is running along the tree line. Baby goats and lambs live at a nearby farm. The BBQ Barn and the bonfire are ready for even warmer weather. While your king room has a cork floor, antique furniture, a down duvet, and a view of the pond.

Your first stop, after checking out your room, is definitely the spa. You booked a milk and honey massage to loosen your muscles after the not-too-long drive. Plan to return Saturday morning for an early yoga class. Take a therapeutic walk through the gardens that are just being planted. Hike up the mountain and climb the fire tower for an endless view over the trees. Then return to the Arnold House for dinner at the Tavern.

Unlike other parts of the house, the restaurant doesn’t look like it’s changed much. Deer heads hang on the wall. A jukebox, a pool table, and barrel-aged cocktails invite people to linger. And the food is local and seasonal. Drink a Floodwatch beer—from the nearby Catskill Brewery—on the deck. Then order a few appetizers, like roasted cauliflower and smoked trout dip, to share, as well as a shepherd’s pie for yourself. You might have to plan an Earth Day escape every year.

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