In the mid-1800s, the Catskills were a resort area for the rich and famous with a popularity that lasted until the middle of the next century. Then they fell into a Rip Van Winkle-like coma that continued to this day. The homes began to crumble and the region slipped into the back pages of forgotten lore. But, now, the Catskills are waking up and developing as a second-home region to frazzled city dwellers that take refuge in the hills during weekend furloughs. Tasty restaurants are making their way into the region along with museums and boutiques. Theater and the arts are blossoming, as well.
Trout fishing is a passion here, and there are many places to cast a line. Other popular water sports are rafting and canoeing. In addition to these sports and wine tasting in the region, there are numerous attractions worth seeing. Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve, a palatial building on a mountaintop near New Paltz which was once host to three presidents, has 28 miles of hiking trails and an eagle's view of six states; the town of Kingston, first capital of New York state; and Zoom Flume, a water park with nature trails, scenic overlooks, and 10,000 gallon-a-minute rapids to play in. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center in Livingston Manor is an absolute must, and a charming 12-mile train ride through beautiful countryside on the Delaware & Ulster Railroad in Arkville is a great way to top it all off.
The Catskills are resurrecting from the dead. There are still regions and areas that look depressed, but slowly and surely, the towns are waking up to tourism and offering visitors more and more amenities. It is becoming, once again, a charming and romantic place to be.