It’s time to go outside! We might still be social distancing for some time, but at least now we can enjoy our family farms, our forest hikes, and our lazy afternoons by the water.
After staring at a screen for three months, you might be feeling a little disoriented, a little disconnected from the Great Outdoors. To help you regain your bearings and jog your memory, we present five ways to reconnect with the land and enjoy the astounding natural beauty of Ulster County.
1. Explore the Ashokan Rail Trail.
The 11.5-mile Rail Trail between Boiceville and West Hurley Ashokan Reservoir was only open a few months before the coronavirus sent everyone inside. Technically it never closed, but now that we’re officially on the downslope of this virus, we recommend you take an afternoon to fully appreciate its serene beauty. Just be sure to follow the trail’s safety guidelines outlined here.
2. Dust off the fishing rod and head for the water.
The Catskills are known to have some of the best fly fishing in the United States—American icons like Mark Twain, Herbert Hoover, and Jimmy Carter spent many an afternoon angling for trout and other species in freestone streams found throughout the region. The Esopus and Rondout Creeks are great spots, as is the Hudson River. If you’re more interested in trawling or trolling than angling, you’ll find plenty of suitable lakes, ponds, and reservoirs to launch the boat, like Cooper Lake and the Ashokan Reservoir, to name just two. You can go here to get a full view of Ulster County’s fishing options.
3. Return to the farms.
The soil in Ulster County contains an abundance of natural treasures—from the sprawl of orchards and vineyards to the rolling fields of grass where free-range livestock roam and feed—and our agritourism reflects that. There are dozens of family farms, orchards, and vineyards to explore, and many allow you to pick your own produce straight from the soil. Visit our agritourism page for a list of farms, but be sure to call ahead to confirm their reopening protocol, which might include special hours or safety requirements not listed online.
4. Go for a scenic drive.
If you’re still nervous about venturing out but miss nature, consider easing back into it with a magnificent drive across one of two winding, wondrous Scenic Byways found in Ulster County: the 88-mile Shawangunk Mountain Loop and the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, which take you through picturesque stretches of protected land. Fill the gas tank, crack the windows, and enjoy the ride.
5. Hit the links.
It’s no secret that Ulster County is a “fabulous place” for golf enthusiasts—Golfing Magazine said exactly that. Our courses are exceptional, with spectacular views of nature and a variety to choose from for every skill level. Plus, in golf, social distancing comes naturally. Get back into the swing of things and enjoy the pristine beauty surrounding you. Just be sure to contact your preferred course ahead of time for details on hours and safety protocols.
These are just a few of the many ways you can reconnect with nature and safely enjoy the outdoors in Ulster County. Visit the Ulster County website to see more. As you venture back outside, be thoughtful of your neighbors and take state-recommended health and safety precautions to heart. The more we work together, the faster we’ll be able to fully reopen. Stay safe and be well.