This is a world of gentle beauty, with a growing artistic presence and a burgeoning LGBT community, as people leave behind the city and head for this little haven. Did I say “little haven?” Nothing could be further from the truth, as the Catskills area is huge, covering four counties and thousands of square miles, stretching from the Pennsylvania border across a wide swath of New York State. Every little town presents a different face to the world, and every turn of a corner presents a new delight: a rushing creek, a stunning mountain view, a park along the river that’s noiseless except for the wind whooshing through the trees. With the influx of urban types, there’s also been a proliferation of culture here.
I start on the western end, and after a three-plus-hour drive from Philadelphia, I’m in Sullivan County and only the Delaware River separates us from Pennsylvania. My first stop: the deck of Ecce Bed and Breakfast, where the river spreads out below me, surrounded by wooded hills on either side, in 180 degrees of majesty. It’s the most spectacular view of any river I’ve ever seen anywhere (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot of river views), and I can just imagine the real estate agent taking Alan Rosenblatt and Kurt Kreider straight to the deck, and them pro- claiming, “sold.” I know I would.