July 4 Weekend – Catskills, NY
With the Tour de France in the third day in, you may aching to stretch your legs in Provence, France. But you can get almost the same bucolic and work out effect in upstate New York.
The Catskills offer some of the finest bike riding in the U.S., with multiple flat and hilly routes to take of all distances.
First find a starting place, hopefully a town that has a little character or night life, such as Saugerties, NY or Woodstock, NY. This author prefers the west side of the Hudson over the East side because of the number of roads that aren’t heavily motorized.
If you don’t mind a more hilly experience, choose Catskill, Round Top, Phoenicia, or Hunter, NY as a starting point. Most major routes have parallel routes that have less car traffic.
We traveled from West Saugerties, NY to nearby the old, abandoned Catskill Game Farm, cutting off the end of the ride by a fraction to make an 18 mile loop.
Most of this ride will have few if any motorists except for the one mile you need to ride through Palenville, NY, and you will see some gorgeous countryside. The only catch will be the connecting forest road from the Catskill Game Farm to Round Top, which in spots needs to be walked if you have skinny tires.
The return ride is just as beautiful, as you see the route in reverse, and requires more climbing.
If you are contemplating a weekend away in the region, be aware that AirBnb’s may be somewhat limited after some local towns voted to allow such establishments only for full time residents. Hotel prices have doubled, tripled and more. So not only make it a fun weekend, but plan ahead to get the best prices. The picture left shows the corner of Van Vlierden and Fawn Road where the Villa offers a high end weekend experience.
You can also visit the local Holiday Inn Express where wonderful white covered beds and a gorgeous view of the fields from the back windows make for a wonderful stay. But a warning, prices have gone up by about 30 – 70 % everywhere since 2020!
In Round Top stay at the Crystal Brook Resort and Mountain Brauhaus, an old-fashioned German style hotel with a pool and a nighttime hall for German dancing.