The Emerson Resort is dedicated to the memory of Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882). Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American Essayist, lecturer and poet who let the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. Emerson was seen as a champion of individualism and prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He decimated his thoughts by writing countless published essays and lectures across the United States. In 1836, Emerson wrote “Nature”, an essay inspired by the serene beauty of the Catskills. The publication “Nature” prompted the American Conservation Movement, which lead to the establishment of the 600 square miles Catskill Forest Preserve that surrounds the Emerson Resort today.
The site of the Emerson Resort and Spa was once the Riseley Flat, a thriving dairy farm built in 1840. The barn on the property was built in 1860 which is now the Emerson Country Stores. In 1874, trains began stopping at this site daily, brining hordes of visitors for their first taste of the Hudson Valley and the Catskill Mountains. For many, the first taste of the surrounding area was the fresh ice cream made by the Riseley Family.