Onsite Activities & Area Attractions

rabbit icon

Before you explore the Catskills, explore
the Emerson Resort & Spa!

Some attractions and activities, including the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, may be temporarily closed. Please contact Reservations or the Front Desk for availability.

  • See the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope. The Kaleidoshow is located in The Shops At Emerson and is complimentary for our guests. Build-your-own kaleidoscope in our Kaleidoscope class! $16 per kit. View our event calendar or ask the Front Desk for dates (children must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Learn about native plant species, pollinating meadows, streamside ecology and flood mitigation on a stroll through our Brookside Wander path.  This protected environment is a natural streamside buffer planted with native vegetation in order to stabilize stream banks and provide down-stream benefits.  The Brookside Wander project is a partnership between the Emerson Resort & Spa and the Catskill Streams Buffer Initiative with funding from the Department of Environmental Protection and its partners, the Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District and Cornell Cooperative Extension, to add another layer of protection within the Ashokan Watershed.  Ask the Front Desk for a Brookside Wander guide or join us on a Guided Nature Walk to discover more.
  • Take a bike out for a spin. Bikes are complimentary for our guests and available seasonally on a first come, first serve basis at the Front Desk starting at 10am. All bikes must be returned by sunset.
  • Track a bald eagle or great blue heron gliding along the Esopus Creek (right in our backyard!) with a pair of complimentary binoculars.  Available on a first come, first serve basis at the Front Desk starting at 8am. Binoculars must be returned by 8pm.

  • For avid bird enthusiasts and beginning bird watchers alike, ask the Front Desk for a copy of our “Birding at the Ashokan Rail Trail” guide and head just a few miles down the road to the Ashokan Rail Trail to spot a variety of wildlife including over 194 bird species.

  • Track a bald eagle or great blue heron gliding along the Esopus Creek (right in our backyard!) with a pair of complimentary binoculars.  Available on a first come, first serve basis at the Front Desk starting at 8am. Binoculars must be returned by 8pm.

  • For avid bird enthusiasts and beginning bird watchers alike, ask the Front Desk for a copy of our “Birding at the Ashokan Rail Trail” guide and head just a few miles down the road to the Ashokan Rail Trail to spot a variety of wildlife including over 194 bird species.

  • The Emerson pool is typically open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend from 10am to 6pm. Please note the pool is closed during periods of inclement weather.
  • Play a game of volleyball, horseshoes, frisbee or cornhole at the Emerson Park.  Just ask the Front Desk for the sports equipment of your choice. Temporarily unavailable
  • Challenge each other to a game of ping pong in the Family Room, located in the Black Bear Lodge. Temporarily unavailable
  • Stroll the Emerson grounds on a leisurely walk around the property. Stop by the Front Desk for information on our Guided Nature Walks, Emerson Property Trails and other recommended Hiking Trails.
  • Sit, Stay and Play at our Catamount Dog Park. Featuring a 60-foot wide by 100-foot long dedicated area just for canines with a special section for small dogs.
  • Guided Walks: Walk the Emerson grounds and learn more about the history and wildlife of the Catskills! Walks depart from lobby at 9:30am and 4:30pm (3:15pm during late fall and winter) on select dates. See Front Desk for details.
  • Gather around our Woodnotes Grille streamside bonfire every Friday and Saturday night 5-10pm (weather permitting). S’mores kits are available at the Front Desk, $5.
  • Guided Walks: Walk the Emerson grounds and learn more about the history and wildlife of the Catskills! Walks depart from lobby at 9:30am and 4:30pm (3:15pm during late fall and winter) on select dates. See Front Desk for details.
  • Gather around our Woodnotes Grille streamside bonfire every Friday and Saturday night 5-10pm (weather permitting). S’mores kits are available at the Front Desk, $5.
  • Scavenger Hunt! Learn about the locale, history and wildlife of the Catskills on our Emerson Scavenger Hunt. Answer questions and follow clues to find items scattered across the Emerson grounds in a race to complete the hunt. Traveling with friends and family? Create teams to compete in this fun activity.
  • Ask Reservations or the Front Desk about Emerson Amusements – the perfect amenities to keep you amused and entertained throughout your stay!
  • Bring home a do-it-yourself memento of your stay in the Catskills. Make your own watercolor postcard with Liz, our onsite Activities Coordinator. There is no charge for the watercolor postcard class. Available select dates – click here for our event calendar or ask the Front Desk for details.
  • How about an activity that’s both soothing and creative?  Ask the Front Desk about our Pebble Painting workshops, available on select dates.  Fun for any age and a memorable addition for your outside garden décor or a home conversation piece.
  • Bring home a do-it-yourself memento of your stay in the Catskills. Make your own watercolor postcard or screenprint t-shirt with Liz, our onsite Activities Coordinator. There is no charge for the watercolor postcard class; the screenprint t-shirt class is $20 per t-shirt. Available select dates – click here for our event calendar or ask the Front Desk for details.
  • How about an activity that’s both soothing and creative?  Ask the Front Desk about our Pebble Painting workshops, available on select dates.  Fun for any age and a memorable addition for your outside garden décor or a home conversation piece.

Located Nearby

Some attractions and activities may be closed. Please contact the individual locations for hours of operation.

  • Named by Forbes magazine as one of the six best fall hiking destinations in New York State, you can enjoy the Ashokan Rail Trail any time of year. Open daily from dawn to dusk, the “ART” is built upon the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad right-of-way along the Ashokan Reservoir.
  • Surrounded by stunning views, the Ashokan Rail Trail (ART) is home to a variety of wildlife including over 194 bird species.  Ask the Front Desk for our informative “Birding at the Ashokan Rail Trail” guide (and borrow a pair of our binoculars), head to the ART and enjoy hours of peaceful bird watching.
  • Hiking and Biking. The Catskills are rich with scenic mountain trails. Ask the Front Desk for information on recommended trails. Click here to view our Local Hiking Trails booklet.
  • Be sure to spend time in nearby Phoenicia, voted one of America’s Top Ten Coolest Towns by Budget Travel Magazine. Curbed New York calls it the #1 tourism destination outside of NYC.
  • Visit Brunel Sculpture Garden, located just down Route 28 in Boiceville. The beautiful grounds are home to larger-than-life sculptures and statues created by Emile Brunel, a French photographer who was inspired by the indigenous art and culture of Native American tribes.  Brunel bought the property in 1921 and welcomed such guests as King Edward and Mrs. Wallace Simpson and Jimmy Cagney.
  • Check out Abandoned Hard Cider in Woodstock, NY, just a 15 minute drive from the Emerson Resort & Spa. Abandoned Hard Cider travels throughout the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley collecting various types of apples, many from abandoned orchards, to create unique and delicious hard ciders! Emerson guests receive 10% off of Abandoned Hard Cider products, ask the Front Desk for your discount voucher!
  • Be sure to spend time in nearby Phoenicia, voted one of America’s Top Ten Coolest Towns by Budget Travel Magazine. Curbed New York calls it the #1 tourism destination outside of NYC.
  • Visit Brunel Sculpture Garden, located just down Route 28 in Boiceville. The beautiful grounds are home to larger-than-life sculptures and statues created by Emile Brunel, a French photographer who was inspired by the indigenous art and culture of Native American tribes.  Brunel bought the property in 1921 and welcomed such guests as King Edward and Mrs. Wallace Simpson and Jimmy Cagney.
  • Pursue the trout known to reside in the Esopus Creek, the birthplace of American Fly Fishing. Fishing permits are available at Morne Imports in Phoenicia, or speak to our Reservations department about guided fly fishing packages.
  • Looking for thrills and chills? Town Tinker Tube Rental offers whitewater tubing on the Esopus.
  • Learn about the unique natural, historical and cultural resources of the Catskills with a visit to the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, just 5 minutes from the Emerson.  While you’re there, climb to the top of the 80-foot fire tower for a bird’s-eye view of the Catskills!
  • Check out one of the Catskills’ best adventures – Rail Explorers! Ride the rails along the banks of the Esopus on pedal powered rail bikes.
Guest Discount

A Short Drive Away

  • Learn more about the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway (and the Emerson’s home address!) by visiting sceniccatskills.com. Drive28.com also has an enlightening selection of downloadable audio tours for your Catskills journey.
  • Enjoy the winter wonders of Belleayre Mountain. Just minutes west of the Emerson, Belleayre Mountain offers winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing; and summer sports including hiking, mountain biking and swimming. Belleayre also offers a breathtaking Sky Ride to the summit of the mountain on select summer weekends and holidays.
  • Check out special events and activities at The Ashokan Center, the oldest outdoor environmental education organization in New York State.
  • The entire family will enjoy an evening out at the Ark Bowl & BBQ in Arkville.
  • Try Ziplining! The New York Zipline Adventure Tour at Hunter Mountain is the highest, fastest and longest zipline canopy tour in North America.
  • Check out special events and activities at The Ashokan Center, the oldest outdoor environmental education organization in New York State.
  • The entire family will enjoy an evening out at the Ark Bowl & BBQ in Arkville.
  • Try Ziplining! The New York Zipline Adventure Tour at Hunter Mountain is the highest, fastest and longest zipline canopy tour in North America.
  • Pick up locally grown, farm fresh produce at farmer’s markets in nearby Woodstock or Kingston.
  • For true adventurers there’s rock and ice climbing at Minnewaska State Park on the dramatic cliffs of the Shawangunk Mountains.
  • Visit Woodstock, one of the country’s most eclectic towns.  Visit the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts for a full list of shops, galleries and restaurants.
  • Go antiquing in Saugerties (Jimmy Fallon’s hometown) and visit the Saugerties Light House that illuminates the Hudson River.
  • Enjoy peace, quiet and meditation at the Zen Mountain Monastery.
  • Go antiquing in Saugerties (Jimmy Fallon’s hometown) and visit the Saugerties Light House that illuminates the Hudson River.
  • Enjoy peace, quiet and meditation at the Zen Mountain Monastery.
  • Take a ride on the Delaware and Ulster Railroad in Arkville.  You’ll ride in period coach cars that follow the original roadbed of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad connected Kingston with Oneonta, New York.
  • Hudson River Cruises provides passengers with a delightful first-hand view of the historic Hudson Valley shoreline from the decks of the Rip Van Winkle II.  Discounted tickets available to overnight guests of the Emerson.
Guest Discount
Guest Discount
  • Take a beautiful and educational walk through some of the Catskill Mountain’s most serene fields and wooded trails.  The Mountain Top Arboretum is comprised of 178 acres of public gardens, exotic trees and Northeastern US native plant displays.
Guest Discount
  • Take a beautiful and educational walk through some of the Catskill Mountain’s most serene fields and wooded trails.  The Mountain Top Arboretum is comprised of 178 acres of public gardens, exotic trees and Northeastern US native plant displays.

Arts, Theatre & Fairs

  • There’s a Great White Way in Phoenicia. The Phoenicia Playhouse has musical and drama performances throughout the year in its turn-of-the-century theater.  The Phoenicia Playhouse is also home to the annual Asbury Shorts Film Concert.
  • Take a class in drawing, painting, printmaking or sculpture at the Woodstock School of Art (advance registration is required). Or just stop by the school, listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, to explore one of the original National Youth Administration sites, tour a sculpture trail and explore their Exhibition Gallery.
  • Each summer for more than 90 years the Maverick Concert Hall has hosted Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon chamber music concerts in their hand-built concert hall just outside of Woodstock.
  • The Woodstock Playhouse offers a diverse summer schedule of musical events in their outdoor bandshell auditorium.
  • The annual Woodstock Film Festival held each autumn features film premieres, appearances and workshops by notable directors and actors, as well as gala events and concerts.
  • The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice returns each summer to celebrate the human voice from opera to gospel to Broadway and more.
  • The O+ Festival takes place each October in Kingston. The O+Festival empowers communities to take control of their collective well-being.
  • The Ulster County Fair returns to New Paltz every year. Don’t miss this good old-fashioned country fair.
  • The Woodstock Playhouse offers a diverse summer schedule of musical events in their outdoor bandshell auditorium.
  • The annual Woodstock Film Festival held each autumn features film premieres, appearances and workshops by notable directors and actors, as well as gala events and concerts.
  • The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice returns each summer to celebrate the human voice from opera to gospel to Broadway and more.
  • The O+ Festival takes place each October in Kingston. The O+Festival empowers communities to take control of their collective well-being.
  • The Ulster County Fair returns to New Paltz every year. Don’t miss this good old-fashioned country fair.

Wineries & Distilleries

History Happened Here

  • Visit New York’s first capital, Kingston, established in 1777. Kingston is home to the original New York Senate House and Museum.
  • Stop by the Stockade District, the refurbished business district that dates back to Peter Stuyvesant in 1658.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Hudson River Museum that displays Hudson River artifacts and provides boat rides.
  • Tour two of the Hudson Valley’s most famous National Historic sites: Springwood, the lifelong home of Franklyn D. Roosevelt; and the Vanderbilt Mansion, the country estate of Frederick Vanderbilt.
  • Kingston and the Catskills are rich in history. To learn more, visit our History Happened Here booklet.
  • Visit New York’s first capital, Kingston, established in 1777. Kingston is home to the original New York Senate House and Museum.
  • Stop by the Stockade District, the refurbished business district that dates back to Peter Stuyvesant in 1658.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Hudson River Museum that displays Hudson River artifacts and provides boat rides.
  • Tour two of the Hudson Valley’s most famous National Historic sites: Springwood, the lifelong home of Franklyn D. Roosevelt; and the Vanderbilt Mansion, the country estate of Frederick Vanderbilt.
  • Kingston and the Catskills are rich in history. To learn more, visit our History Happened Here booklet.

For more information and event listings, visit Ulster Country Chamber of Commerce, Ulster County Tourism.

Please Note: On property activities and schedules are NOT guaranteed and are subject to change without notice. The Emerson Resort & Spa is not responsible for changes in activities, hours and/or pricing for off property venues. Participation in any of the activities listed are at your own risk – please contact the individual locations with any questions.