Located in the Northern Catskills, Windham has long been a destination for skiers, snowboarders and outdoor enthusiasts unfazed by freezing temperatures and an overabundance of snow. Thanks to its wealth of lodging options and trails, it’s become known as “the gem of the Catskills.” It’s scenic, family-friendly and highly accessible — the American Alps, if you will.
But despite its seemingly universal appeal and its proximity to New York City, Windham’s allure — at least historically — seems to taper off when the ground begins to thaw. It’s a shame, too, considering how much the small town of 1,700 people has to offer in the summer, too.
Windham Mountain — home of the beloved Windham Mountain Resort — transforms into a premier mountain biking destination in the spring; melting ice gives away to a bounty of babbling brooks and creeks, ideal for lazy river tubing; wildflowers along the main stretch of highway through Hudson add flashes of color to already-breathtaking views; rested farm fields yield fresh produce and other ingredients that later make their way to a number of local restaurants.
Now the forthcoming Wylder Windham is hoping to capitalize on all of these things and attract the attention of a warm-weather vacationist.
We had the chance to visit Wylder Windham ahead of their July 13 opening.
Where to stay
A 45-minute drive from Hudson, Wylder Windham comprises seven different lodging experiences for a total of 110 guest rooms and 4,000 square feet of private event space, set on a sprawling 20 acres of land along the Batavia Kill River. Formerly the old Thompson House, Wylder Windham is a full restoration by local craftsmen, though — thanks to the preservation of the architecture and smaller facets, like the stained glass windows in Spruce Cottage — its predecessor is still very much preserved in the details.
For their part, the guest rooms all feature oak floors, variations of antiquey decor, pops of burnt orange and an assortment of blues, overstuffed chairs and plush bedding. “Homey yet luxurious…but not too luxurious,” CEO and Founder John Flannigan describes them. That’s largely by design, because — for as beautiful and well-appointed as the rooms are — it isn’t Flannigan’s vision that the rooms be the center of the Wylder Windham experience. Windham, and the community as a whole, is the center of the Wylder Windham experience.
And it’s truly the amenities of the outdoor variety that are shaping up to be Wylder Windham’s bread and butter. In addition to the oversized, heated pool next to the main lodge (which will eventually include a mobile bar option), two wood-fired saunas and a hot tub, there’s also a massive yard (aptly coined “The Yard”), which has two regulation-sized pickleball courts, fire pits and Adirondack chairs, a whole slew of lawn games and a dog run. There will be tubes available to take out on the Batavia and plenty of opportunity for golf, as the property borders the Windham Country Club on one side.
In effect, Windham Wylder is a summer camp for adults and, more specifically, adults with children (and dogs). But with really charming and historic accommodations, too.
Where to eat
Later this summer, Wylder Windham’s Babblers will be cheffing up “downright, simple comfort” cuisine — made from all locally sourced ingredients, all year long — while the Babbler’s all-day bakery will lean more into grab-and-go type fare (think salads and sandwiches), as well as sundaes for children to invoke nostalgia.
But, being that Wylder Windham is so close to town, we’d be remiss not to recommend that you check out some of the town’s other food and beverage offerings. To start, The Windham Local — a café and restaurant in the heart of downtown, that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — has a Truffle Grilled Cheese on their menu that’s to die for, as well as a number of local brews on tap. Further, Jimmy O’Connors is a local watering hole, purportedly the “only authentic Irish pub in wonderful Windham,” that the Wylder Windham team often frequented during construction — which, based on their commitment to the community and keeping things local, checks out.
What to do
As you’ve probably gathered, there are few reasons you’d need to leave the property, but, based on the range of things to do and see in the immediate area, you should. If you’ve never visited Windham, or you could stand to learn a little more about the locale, take a tour with Hudson Valley Tours. It’s a one-man, one-vehicle operation run by a rum historian named Seth. The vehicle in question is an almost-30-year-old Land Rover Defender 110 300tdi from the South of France named Marianne, and she’s the perfect vessel from which to discover Windham and the neighboring towns (all of which are only around eight miles apart) — particularly with Seth at the helm.
Of course, if you’d prefer to explore on foot, the resort is directly adjacent to the Windham Path — an ADA-compliant, 1.5-mile loop, accessed by a parking area on Route 23, that “meanders through meadows and woodlands and across bridges” and is directly adjacent to the resort — and a two minute drive from Windham Ski Mountain. Alternatively, for a quintessential, small Upstate town vibe, you can head into town for a stroll. There, you’ll find a three-screen movie theater, library, art gallery, old church-turned-community center, a family owned-drug store, a French bistro, a smattering of other eateries and a local hardware store where Seth has a credit account.
All of that said, if you’re really just looking for a place to relax and take in the landscape, check out The Vineyard at Windham for a tasting. Set on four acres overlooking Windham Mountain, The Vineyard at Windham produces its own wines, but sources a number of other New York-made wines (from Finger Lakes all the way down to the North and South Forks of Long Island), too. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a warm summer day spent in the Catskills.
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