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Things to Do

A weekend guide to Phoenicia in the fall

Leaf peeping and more in the Catskills town.

The Phoenicia Diner is a local landmark.

The Phoenicia Diner is a local landmark. Photo Credit: Kevin Trageser

Surrounded by wilderness in all directions and the Esopus Creek in its backyard, Phoenicia is an ideal base for taking in foliage and outdoor adventure this fall.

The tiny Catskills hamlet grew up around the historic railway system of the late 1800s. With a population that hovers in the low hundreds, it remains the type of quiet community where the library lends out fishing gear.

For avid and casual hikers, the breathtaking location is crisscrossed by trails and filled with small-town gems. Here’s how to spend a weekend.

SATURDAY

Right on Route 28, which leads into town, the landmark Phoenicia Diner (5681 Rte. 28, 845-688-9957, phoeniciadiner.com) is the perfect spot to start your first day. The menu features ingredients sourced from upstate farms, as well as a hefty dose of classic diner nostalgia.

After breakfast, get your bearings on the Tanbark Trail, a short but steep loop that starts behind the post office (8 Ava Maria Dr.) and leads up to an overlook of the town and mountains.

When back on flat ground, stroll along Main Street for cute shops like Tender Land Home (64 Main St., 845-688-7213, tenderlandhome.com), stocking design-forward curios from cat bingo sets to handmade lamps, and the eclectic Mystery Spot Antiques (72 Main St., 845-688-7868, mysteryspotvintage.com). Recharge at Bite Me Bakery (5575 Rte. 28, facebook.com/cupcakesNY), a café open serving Death Wish Coffee and cupcakes in rotating seasonal flavors like caramel apple pie.

For dinner, head to Woodstock Brewing (5581 Rte. 28, 845-688-0054, drinkwoodstock.com) for house-brewed beers and elevated comfort food, including a DIY s’mores kit for when the firepit is going.

SUNDAY

Get your day going with brunch at The Pines (5327 Rte. 212, Mount Tremper, 845-688-7311, catskillpines.com). Then bike the rails on Rail Explorers’ 8-mile Catskills River Run tour (877-833-8588, railexplorers.net) along the Esopus Creek, starting at the Phoenicia Station.

Grab lunch at the brightly painted Mama’s Boy Burgers (6067 Main St., Tannersville, 518-589-6667, mamasboycatskills.com), or get hot, fresh cake doughnuts made on the spot at Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts (5950 Main St., Tannersville, 518-589-6262).

Take the rest of the afternoon to indulge in creature comforts at the Emerson Spa (5340 Rte. 28, Mount Tremper, 845-688-2828, emersonresort.com), offering the full range of spa treatments, from mountain aromatherapy massages to vegan nail care by SpaRitual.

For dinner, relax at Brio’s Pizzeria & Restaurant (68 Main St., 845-688-5370, brios.net) with wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pies and 22 beers on tap.  

GOOD TO KNOW

Getting there: Departing from Port Authority, Trailways (800-858-8555, trailwaysny.com) has daily routes that take around three hours. Driving from midtown takes around 2 1/2 hours.

Getting around: Having a car is recommended, however you can get around by foot or bike within Phoenicia. There are local cab services; ride sharing also exists, but is extremely limited. Woodstock Town Car’s Catskill Scoot rents e-scooters and e-bikes in Phoenicia (845-679-6656, catskillscoot.com).

Where to stay: The Graham & Co. (80 Rte. 214, 845-688-7871, thegrahamandco.com) is walking distance from Main Street and has a small fleet of cruiser bikes for guests. In neighboring Mount Tremper, the Emerson Resort & Spa (5340 Rte. 28, 845-688-2828, emersonresort.com) has an Adirondack-style lodge and inn, a restaurant and pet-friendly amenities. For a stylish, budget-friendly stay, there’s the Pines Lodge (5327 Rte. 212, 845-688-7311, catskillpines.com).

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