Minutes from the City of Hudson, the Village of Catskill is just a short jaunt across the aptly named Rip Van Winkle Bridge (we are, after all, entering the stomping grounds of Washington Irving’s fabled character).
Perched on and above the Hudson River and bisected by the Catskill Creek, Catskill is often confused with the mountains of the same name, which beckon in the near distance. But the village is its own charming world, where Dutch was spoken until the mid-19th century (the riverfront park is called ‘Dutchman’s Landing’ for good reason).
Here is where you’ll find hilly streets lined with 18th and 19th century homes to rival those across the river. A stroll around this still somewhat overlooked Hudson Valley treasure reveals a trove of period houses in styles ranging from Georgian and Greek Revival to Arts & Crafts, Colonial Revival, and every variety of Victorian (and they’re not just confined to the well-manicured East Side Historic District, where larger homes prevail).
On the largely intact, 19th century Main Street, period cornices and pediments abound on well-preserved buildings; two historic banks and an old-fashioned movie theater with its original marquee are standouts. At the water’s edge, Historic Catskill Point is a superb location for special events, and the marina on Catskill Creek is as picturesque as many of the boats are impressive. Ask recent transplants, and they’ll probably tell you they could use more to do on Main Street, but word’s gotten out about the village, and new shops and restaurants have opened or are about to be. Be advised: Things are happening at a rapid pace in Catskill. Meanwhile, it’s ten minutes to Hudson’s pleasures for hardcore foodies and fashionistas. They’ll also tell you that they love the spirit, the sense of authenticity and community; the eagles soaring about the Ramshorn Preserve; free concerts in the classical parlors of Beattie-Powers Place; the easy trip from NYC or Albany (the NY Thruway and Amtrak are minutes away), and the opportunity presented by getting in before, not after.