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Exploring New Yorks Catskill Mountains with Emma Tuccillo of 'And North'

The Catskill Mountains, just 100 miles north of New York City, have long been a font of inspiration for creative and entrepreneurial types. Its forests, and the sprawl of the Catskill Escarpment rising from the Hudson Valley, draw such individuals seeking to create their own visions against the backdrop of this natural beauty.
The last half-decade has seen a steady increase of urbanites seeking a different life, who’ve brought inspiration and new business, and transformed the Catskills into a haven for travelers seeking unique and authentic experiences.

When visiting, keep your options open. As Emma Tuccillo, founder of the upstate New York travel site And North notes, “The Catskills are perfect for wandering, where your only objective is to find something new.”

Here, "farm-to-table" is more than a catchphrase. The Phoenicia Diner serves locally smoked trout and Wild Hive Farm polenta for brunch, while Tuccillo likes Bovina’s Brushland Eating House, which she calls “as welcoming as it is delicious.” Explore the town’s main street, and visit Russell’s General Store, the oldest establishment in Bovina.

Further indulge that wanderlust at the 260-foot-high Kaaterskill Falls, one of the tallest in the Eastern United States; Tuccillo describes it as “gorgeous during any season.” Or glimpse exceptional views from one of the region’s five fire towers. Built between 1908 and 1950, the towers—placed at elevations rising to more than 4,000 feet—provide a 360-degree view of the Catskills.

For more relaxed pursuits, try cocktails and tapas in the Federal-style space at the Stockade Tavern in Kingston, or a local cider at the Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room as you enjoy the outdoor bonfire. It’s places like these where you’ll find Tuccillo “in the warmer months, local brew in hand,” she says. “It’s true bliss.”