UPSTATE NEW YORK
Windham is in New York's Greene County - an area so aptly named it's surprising that many people generally associate the area with the whites and grays of winter. Yes, Windham Mountain is one of the most popular ski resorts in New York, drawing many Long Islanders to its 46 groomed trails. But come spring, Greene County sprouts greener delights, which include the emerald lawns of championship golf courses, rivers and just-harvested produce.
In the new parlance of sustainable agriculture, the region is a locavore's utopia - visitors can purchase a variety of fruits, vegetables and organic meats after working up an appetite hiking to the graceful and multitiered Kaaterskill Falls or up New York's mini Mount Rushmore, Pratt Rock.
WHAT TO DO
Tee off at the Windham Country Club - the 18-hole, par-71 championship course was awarded 31/2 stars by Golf Digest. Weekend greens fees are $67, including cart - the price drops to $36-$42 for weekdays (518-734-9910, windhamcountryclub.com).
Christman's Windham House is a 27-hole resort with an 18-hole championship course that traverses hills, streams and ponds, plus a nine-hole family-favorite Valley course. You can play 18 for $40-$65, including cart - or nine for $22-$30 (518-734-6990, windhamhouse.com)
Considered the winery with the highest elevation in the Northeast, Windham Vineyard (518-734-5214, windhamvineyard.com) produces Chardonnays, red blends and dessert wines at wallet-friendly prices ($14.99-$19.99 per bottle). In May, its brand new outdoor deck will open, promising a space that's ideal for picnics. Throughout the month, pick up a bread and cheese hamper from Todaro's Salumeria (5344 Main St., 518-734-4134) and the vineyard will treat you to a flight of wines.
Take a hike
Climb to the highest two-tiered waterfall in New York State- Kaaterskill Falls - which drops 260 ft in two stages (Rt. 23, one mile round trip hike from parking area, dec.ny.gov). Or conquer New York's mini Mt. Rushmore, Pratt Rock - an homage to the (some say egoist) Zadock Pratt (Rt. 23 east of Prattsville, a 500 ft. climb to top).
WHERE TO EAT
Cave Mountain Brewing Co.
5359 Main St., 518-734-9222
Craft beer opinionists have bestowed honors on newcomer Cave Mountain Brewing Company, where you can get mouthwatering micro-brews in a comfy, coffeehouse setting. If you can't decide between Blonde Ale, Irish Red, English Nut Brown, Oatmeal stout, IPA, Hefeweizen or other pales and darks ($4 pints), try a flight of 6 for $6.
Bistro Brie & Bordeaux
5386 Main St., 518-734-4911, bistrobrieandbordeaux.com
Nosh on risotto, steak frites and bouillabaisse in popular French spot, Bistro Brie & Bordeaux, where les enfants have their very own menu ($8-$12). The inviting sunflower-yellow interior and unpretentious staff make dining on sophisticated fare such as perfectly grilled lamb chops ($26) and duck with poached pear ($22) all the more pleasing.
The Basement Bistro
776 Rte. 45, Earlton 518-634-2338, sagecrestcatering.com
About a half-hour's drive from Windham, this 30-seat foodie-favorite is where owner-chef Damon Baehrel grows/makes/cooks every ingredient that goes into his multi-course tasting menu ($78). Scoring a reservations (try at least four weeks in advance) is like winning the lottery.
WHERE TO SHOP
Catskill Mountain Country Store
5510 Rte. 23/Main St., 518-734-3387, catskillmtcountrystore.com
Pies baked by a Culinary Institute of Americs-trained chef? Yep – and they're so wonderful, customers pick up several at a time along with jams made on site, linens and other locally-sourced edible and non-edible supplies. This country store/restaurant/"looking zoo" (with rescued animals) has been a family destination for years.
5359 Main St., 518-734-9090
The perfect dishtowel, cute little soaps; Urban Country sells adorable gifts and other can't-resist items you wouldn't ordinarily purchase for yourself.
Windham Fine Arts
5380 Main St., 518-734-6850, windhamfinearts.com
This is the best place to discover local artists - more than 50 are represented in this inviting gallery.
WHERE TO STAY
Albergo Allegria Inn
43 Rte. 296, 518-734-5560, albergousa.com
Bountiful homemade breakfasts, 21 rooms and suites and comfortable rooms make this a favorite for skiers, golfers and nature lovers.
Christman's Windham House
5742 Rte. 23, 888-294-4053, windhamhouse.com
RATES $135-$160 a person, per night (plus 24 percent tax and gratuity) for weekend golf package
Though not plush or updated (think dorm room meets Holiday Inn), accommodations are just fine for those who'd rather be golfing, anyway. Package includes green fees, cart rental, driving range tokens, plus breakfast and dinner.
11080 Rte. 23, 518-734-3232, catskillmaison.com
Five inventively decorated rooms come with an exceptional three-course, locally sourced breakfast (think chilled peach soup and blueberry-ricotta pancakes), weekend evening wine and cheese, afternoon fresh-baked snacks, teas and coffees. The owners designate one day a week for farm visits and put together a picnic basket made from local goodies ($40-$70) and send guests on an "eco-friendly" tour.
WHERE Windham is 140 miles north of New York City.
BY CAR Follow Interstate 87 north to Exit 21. Follow NY 23 to Windham.