The Great Northern Catskills of Greene County New York are home to the nation’s first wilderness — a beautiful landscape that inspired America’s first school of art — Thomas Cole’s Hudson River School. Since the early 1800s, the scenic river valleys and rolling Catskill Mountains have been the muse of painters, poets and writers — inspiring the works of Washington Irving, Frederick Church and Albert Bierstadt. Today, the Great Northern Catskills remain unspoiled, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy the natural surroundings that so captivated the 19th century artistic elite.
The Thomas Cole National Historic Site is the beginning of the Hudson River School Art Trail, offering a glimpse into British expatriate Cole’s daily life. Find information about 17 mapped Art School sites, maps and directions at www.HudsonRiverSchool.org and walk in the footsteps of painters and poets from two centuries ago.
Greene County is home to several historic sites, heritage attractions and cultural locations representing a variety of mediums. Visit the ongoing exhibits at the Bronck Museum in Coxsackie and the Athens Cultural Center, hike to Kaaterskill Falls, depicted in Thomas Cole’s iconic painting which captures the fierce beauty of the Catskills, or enjoy an afternoon at one of the Catskills many art galleries and exhibitions.
From historic main streets, to scenic overlooks, don’t miss these top attractions:
•Steven E. Greenstein Piano Museum in Hunter features a large collection of rare vintage pianos from the days of Mozart and Beethoven. Fascinating visual exhibits and guided tours are provided by professional concert pianists. Stop by the bookstore and arts/ craft gallery where local artists are on hand to discuss their work, and enjoy a meal prepared by a French Culinary Institute Chef. Tours by appointment only.
•Athens Walking Tour takes visitors through the oldest incorporated village in Greene County. This self-guided tour features stops at the Athens Cultural Center and offers views of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse from the Riverfront Park. Enjoy easy access to unique waterfront dining and Crossroads Brewery. A printed brochure is available at the Greene County Tourism office on Route 23B in Leeds.
•Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Cairo offers a unique look at Buddhist culture and architecture. Open to the public year-round, visitors are invited to tour the temple and grounds, which span 130 acres. This is the rural retreat of the Eastern States Buddhist Temple of America in New York City.
For more information about these and other cultural attractions in the Great Northern Catskills, visit www.GreatNorthernCatskills.com.