A River Runs Behind It
The Emerson Resort & Spa, Mt. Tremper
Catskills class A guest relaxes in the Emerson’s lounge area. The site features spacious rooms as well as the Woodnotes Grill restaurant.
Perched just steps from the Esopus Creek, the world-famous trout fishing stream, and nestled between two Catskill Mountains, this stunning 53-room resort is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. “You can get a fishing permit in nearby Phoenicia, and there is no end to the hiking around here,” says spokesperson Tamara Murray. “We have a complete hiking guide from beginner to heavy duty.” Add in the top-notch Asian-inspired spa, and it’s no wonder that the Emerson sees a steady stream of families, couples, girlfriend getaways, and weddings — in all four seasons.
Insider's Tip: This summer, if you book two midweek nights, you’ll get a third night free.
This summer, the Emerson unveils some major updates. The spa has been completely gutted and will feature two additional therapy rooms and a new nail salon. Also on tap is a brand-new spa menu which focuses on therapies done with stones, as well as the signature 90-minute integrative massage. “You will create a massage that is unique to you,” says Murray. Guests can choose between the contemporary inn (no children please) or the Adirondack-style lodge. The basement of the lodge has been transformed into a new family room, complete with ping pong and pool tables. Special summer packages just sweeten the deal. Guests can get a voucher to play at the private Woodstock Golf Course or sign up for a soap-making or creative cuisine weekend; special spirits tastings take place throughout the season.
No visit to the Emerson is complete without popping in to the cutesy-chic country shops, or stopping by to see the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer with the unveiling of a new show, entitled “Stardust.” And the best part? The entire resort is open to the public. “Come for a spa day,” says Murray. “You can start with breakfast and end with dinner.”
Eat: The on-site Woodnotes Grille is a hidden treasure. Serving three meals a day, the contemporary restaurant welcomes diners with rocking chairs on the front porch, but it is the top-notch food that keeps them coming back; regulars clamor for the carrot and kale risotto. Or head into the über-hip town of Phoenicia, four miles north, and sample some uncommon appetizer combinations, like the bruschetta of fire-roasted peppers and burrata, at the farm-to-table gastropub Tavern 214.
Do: Head to Phoenicia, where two different operators will rent you a tube for a day of old-fashioned fun on the Esopus rapids. State-run Belleayre Mountain, less than 15 minutes from the resort, serves up lots of summer action. Go for a swim (or rent a paddle boat) at the beach at Pine Hill Lake, catch an outdoor concert, or take the skyride to the top of the 3,400-foot mountain to marvel at the one-of-a-kind views.
The Emerson Resort & Spa
5340 Rte. 28, Mt. Tremper
Price range: Summer weekend rates start at $249, midweek rates at $219