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What to do in the Catskills
I arrive at The Roxbury Motel, which spreads across two sides of a street just on the edge of “downtown” Roxbury in kitschy wonder. From the outside it looks pretty standard: a 1960s-era motel and a couple of innocent-looking white buildings across the street. Step inside a room, though, and all that changes, as the room are designed after television shows and movies from (primarily) the 60s. You might choose Amadeus’ Bride, all teal with gold medallions, chandeliers, stage curtains, and glittery gold tile (there’s more glitter in The Roxbury than I’ve ever seen in one place). Enter Tony’s Dancefloor, and you expect John Travolta to boogie out of the closet (pun intended). Go into Fred’s lair, and it’s like you’re head- ing into the Flintstone’s cave. But the crowning achievement, and possibly the gayest hotel room in history, is Genie’s Bottle,” devoted, of course, to I Dream of Jeannie. When you have a couple with former careers as actor and set designer, this is the hotel you get—campy and fun but actually beautifully designed with an amazing attention to detail, top-level amenities, a luscious spa, and a peaceful set- ting looking past the town of Roxbury to the hills.
Breaking news: owners Gregory Henderson and Joseph Massa have bought a property a couple of miles down the road, with a vintage house, extensive grounds, and even a waterfall, Stratton Falls, on the property. They plan to con- vert the property into another hotel with a series of cottages, a swimming pool, and trails around the waterfall (all open to guests of the “regular” Roxbury). It should be spectacular, with a 2017 opening likely, and rooms will carry themes from the trades of bygone days. “So,” I ask Greg, “there won’t be a lot of glitter?” “No, there won’t,” he responds. Pause. Deadpan look. “Well, not a LOT…”
While in Roxbury, take advantage of the Catskills Scenic Trail, a pathway on a former rail bed that runs right from the edge of town through 26 miles of astounding scenery, which you can explore on foot, bicycle, or even horseback. If you’d rather kick back, the Delaware and Ulster Railway has a stop right in town, so hop onto a vintage train car and spend all your time scenery-gulping. You’re within a short drive of ski areas, and, of course, Catskills Park is nearby with 600,000 acres of splendor. It’s also a short hop to the town of Big Indian and the well-regarded restaurant Peekamoose, where you’ll enjoy the cuisine of a couple of veterans of New York City’s finest. Try their house-made pasta, with perhaps some honey-roasted beets to start (we’re not sure whether those should be an appetizer or a dessert!). So many wonders around here.
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