County is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill peaks
By Sandra Scott
Located south of Albany, Greene County is named after Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, one of Washington’s most gifted and dependable officers. The county is a place for year round fun. The people of Greene County like to say it is a “World away…and closer than you think.” The county is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill peaks. The area is a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts who love the greens and snow but visitors can also enjoy the area’s unique art, music and culture.
1. Bronck Museum: Learn about the history of the area at the Bronck Museum on the homestead where eight generations have lived and farmed. The land was purchased from the Mohicans in 1662. There are 11 buildings on the property representing different eras of architecture. Besides the home, there is a New World Dutch Barn, a unique 13-sided barn, and a kitchen building behind the main house. The site is on the National Register of Historic places.
2. Hunter Mountain: Hunter Mountain is known as the “Snowmaking Capital of the World” making it a favorite of winter sportsmen. The complex is best known for skiing with winter enthusiasts enjoying the Kaaterskill Mountain Club with a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and a spa, which makes the place a favorite winter getaway. There is more than snow fun — it is also home to the New York Zipline Adventure Tour, the longest, fastest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America. When there is no snow, take the chair lift to the top for a panoramic view and wander the trail to the Rip Van Winkle statue.
3. Thomas Cole: English-born Cole was enthralled with the unspoiled landscape of the Hudson Valley and painted many works of art that personified the beauty and serenity of the area. His work gained him the status as the founder of the Hudson River School of Art, a movement that flourished in the mid-19th century creating many landscape artists. At the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill visitors can tour his house and studios.
4.Kaaterskill Falls: This is the highest two-tiered cascading waterfalls in NYS and one of the oldest tourist attractions. It was featured prominently in paintings by Thomas Cole and others. Visitors can get a great view of the area and falls from the new viewing platform or hike to the bottom where there is a swimming hole. Hikers can also take the 1.5-mile trail between Kaaterskill Falls and the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls.
5. Mountain Top Arboretum: Green County’s roads wind their way through the hills, mountains and valleys but the dedicated naturalist will want to visit the Arboretum near Tannersville. The public garden has 178 acres of plant collections, meadows, wetlands and forest making it a natural sanctuary for those interested in horticulture, birding, geology (there is Devonian bedrock), along with hiking and snowshoeing. There are trails and boardwalks and a new nature center.
6. Piano Performance Museum: The one-of-a-kind piano museum is located in the Doctorow Center for the Arts in Hunter where they offer a variety of films, live performances and other events. The Piano Performance Museum offers a unique look at 400 years of the development of pianos in Europe and America. There is also a display of piano shawls, tuning equipment and an amazing collection of miniature pianos. They offer a variety of tours, mini concerts, and lectures.
7. Mahayana Temple: The serenity of the area is amplified at the Buddhist temple, one of the first of its kind on the East Coast. Walk under the red wooden archway to enter the temple where there is a statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Wander the beautiful grounds stopping by the Bell Tower, Serenity Isle and the Dee Zhang Hall. Besides serving the Buddhist community, the general public is invited to attend the lectures held every Saturday night. The campus has grown to over 166 acres of serenity.
8. Irish Connection: Get your “green” on in East Durham with a visit to the Donegal Irish Cottage at the Michael J. Quill Center home to many cultural and sporting events. Located on the cultural center grounds, the cottage on the hill was originally built over 200 years ago in Carrickataggart, Ireland. From the cottage take note of the largest man-made map of Ireland. Nearby don’t miss the Irish gift shop, the largest Irish import store in the U. S. and down the road is Our Lady of Knock shrine church with beautiful stained glass windows.
9. Owl and Pussy Cat: There are many small, picturesque towns such as the colorful Painted Town in the Sky (Tannersville) with unique shops and eateries plus the Hudson-Chatham Winery, and home to the Tannersville Ice Festival. Go Cat’n Around in the village of Catskill and check out the cat statues or check out the Owls in Coxsackie, a Hudson River border town. The town of Athens has a lovely Riverfront Park where during certain days in the summer there are tours to the 1874 lighthouse which is visible from the park.
10. All-inclusive Resorts: The county has a variety of accommodations including unique B&Bs like Albergo Allegria and campgrounds. The area also has several all-inclusive resorts making them a great option for family vacations and especially for family reunions. There is something for all ages. One, Sunny Hill Resort, a favorite of golfers, serves three family-style meals day, unlimited activities, daily entertainment, and so much more. They offer unique activities such Military Night which can include a ride in a tank used in Desert Storm.