THINGS TO DO IN OUR LOCAL REGION
1) Drive or take a local bus into Woodstock or Kingston, each 30 min from Menla, to treat yourself to live music on the weekends, or find out ahead of time about the music, food, and craft festivals in the area during the summer and fall, and time your visit then.
2) Shop for antiques at Country Gallery and Acorn Antique’s Craftsman’s Gallery on Route 214 off Main Street.
3) Hiking. Phoenicia is about exploring the great outdoors. The Catskill Forest Preserve is 300,000 acres of unspoiled woods, which the New York State constitution has deemed “Forever Wild,” never to be commercially developed. And hiking is the best way to see this countryside. Follow the numerous state-maintained hiking trails, maps of which are available at Morne Imports and the Phoenicia Library, or hire a guide through Menla.
4) Tubing on the Esopus is the most popular activity in town. And sometimes people kayak down it too. The Esopus Creek follows Route 28 and winds through the bottom of town. There’s a quiet, calm section for family fun and a relaxing view, and a wilder section with rapids and whitewater for the more adventurous tubers, for a total of five miles of tubing pleasure. Each section takes about two hours to tube.
The Town Tinker tube rental in central Phoenicia (on Bridge Street off Main–look for the barn with red and white trim) is open daily during season (May 15 to September 30). Rates are $12/day for inner tubes, $3 for life jackets, and $5 per trip for the Tube Taxi which will drop you off and pick you up from the creek. Worried about cold water? Rent a wetsuit for $15/day. A $25/day package includes inner tube with seat, life jacket, and wet-suit.
5) Theater is popular in our area, with Phoenicia and Woodstock each having their own Playhouse, plus Mt. Tremper Arts, and the Brydcliffe Colony each having one as well. For independent film buffs, Woodstock has the iconoclastic Upstate Films movie theater.
6) Horseback riding Indian paths and old logging trails in the beautiful Catskill Forest Preserve is also a pleasant past time. The Saddle up Ranch, on Kinsey Street off Route 28, offers year-round riding daily. They have a shop selling tack and western wear, including boots and hats. They also sell American made jewelry, dream catchers, and leather goods. Sign up for riding lessons or day camps, or go snowmobiling in the winter. There’s also the Ashokan Riding Club in nearby Olivebridge.
7) In the wintertime, you can go skiing, snowboarding, or even snowtubing. Tubers should head to Romer Mt. Park, off Route 28, about a mile south of downtown. The closest place to ski is Belleayre Mountain, the highest skiing peak in the Catskills. Ski and snowboard rentals are available from the Belleayre Ski Shop. Adult ski passes are $39 on weekends and holidays, and $30 all other times. Two-day packages, group rates, season tickets and specials are available too. Hunter Mountain is a close 25-30 minutes away from Phoenicia, and Windham Mountain is about 45-50 minutes away.
8) The Catskill Mountain Railroad offers a 45-minute scenic rail ride along the Esopus Creek on weekends and holidays during summer. One of the train’s stops is the Empire State Railway Museum, located in the 1899 Ulster & Delaware railroad station, where you can catch a glimpse of the rich history of the railroad.
9) For being dropped out in the middle of the Catskill Park, there are some pretty amazing places to eat in our local area. If you’re on a day outing into the local area and need to eat out, we recommend the following places for each meal:
Breakfast/Lunch: The Phoenicia Diner on Rt. 28 outside town. This is not your ordinary diner. They are family-owned and feature farm-to-table, locally sourced menu items.
Dinner: Tavern 214 in Phoenicia is the best option right in Phoenicia; the Peekamoose on Rt. 28 north about 5 minutes north of Phoenicia is the best very local option; and New World Home Cooking outside Woodstock or Sushi Makio in Kingston are favorites if you’re out for a local adventure.
10) On your way home, stop at Catskill Corners, just a few minutes south of Phoenicia on Route 28, home to the world’s largest kaleidoscope made of a sixty-foot tall hall of mirrors. They also offer historical lessons on everything from art to modern light sculpting. When you finish touring the exhibits, drop into the Kaleidostore, which sells thousands of kaleidoscopes, from inexpensive models to works of art worth literally thousands of dollars, all displayed on open shelves.