This is what remains of the overgrown greenhouse at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel, once the most notable of the Borscht Belt resorts, which shut its doors over 30 years ago. In the summers, there were thriving flower gardens throughout the carefully landscaped grounds; in winters, a small botanic garden in here. Located right near the 18-hole golf course - the only part of the resort still functioning (under new ownership), and on the hill where artificial snow was used for the first time for skiing, the greenhouse is still performing admirably - although now it’s weeds and climbing vines rather than flowers and exotic trees growing inside.
If you make it to the Catskills, make sure to stop into the Phoenicia Diner, which is potentially the prettiest diner I’ve ever been to, and it makes sense, it’s owner, Mike Coffi has spent his career building sets for movies and TV. Always lovely and always delicious and always on my list when I ramble upstate.
The Catskills are different. Last weekend was my first time hiking any extended length there. It was also my first time backpacking (I know, took me long enough). It’s just so weird, how two mountain ranges in relatively close parts of the country can be so different. This was fun and beautiful in it’s own right, but at least on the east coast, the White Mountains will always be my favorite.
The Catskills, though. They’re greener. In that respect, I like it. The mountains are more modest. This one, at 4,040 ft is the second highest in the range. At the summit of the mountain, you’re still in heavy forest. The trees and vegetation don’t change much between the base of the mountain and the top. The trails are marked far better here. In the Whites, you can guarantee you’ll be hiking over boulders the entire way. Here there’s a lot of hiking up loose rocks that cover up a bed of pine needles that cover up a million roots. It’s almost exactly the same as anywhere you might hike in Connecticut, the stuff I used to do when I was younger. That said – this was perfect prep for hopefully some overnights in NH and I will never not like being in the woods.