Summer Travel: A Philadelphian’s Guide to Vacationing in the Sullivan Catskills

The Sullivan Catskills make an ideal home base for a (trendy!) multi-generational post-pandemic reunion.

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The tasting room at Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery in the Sullivan Catskills / Photograph courtesy of Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery

Reconnect with extended family in a place that isn’t your own backyard. Three hours north of the city, Kenoza Hall (rates from $499) is a 22-room lakeside retreat — a grown-up summer camp surrounded by serene woodland. The onetime boardinghouse dating back to the 1880s has been reimagined by husband-and-wife design team Foster Supply Hospitality, who’ve added custom wallpaper and soaking tubs while keeping historic details like the original hardwood floors.

There’s also a Philly connection (there always is): The kitchen is overseen by chef Eric Leveillee, who worked at Marigold Kitchen and Vernick Food + Drink before becoming the culinary director of Foster Supply. His all-day menus combine classic dishes with local and seasonal ingredients.

The 55-acre property is packed with activities to occupy the whole group — an outdoor pool, a movement studio, private lake access for swimming and canoeing, walking and hiking trails — but also allows enough room for more tranquil time away from the herd. Hemlock Spa, for instance, offers treatments like a deep tissue massage and Prickly Pear Butter Wrap, plus an outdoor barrel sauna and daily morning walks.

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The junior suite at Kenoza Hall in the Sullivan Catskills / Photograph by Lawrence Braun, courtesy of Kenoza Hall

Venture off-property to explore the surrounding towns, starting with breakfast in downtown Livingston Manor — either at Main Street Farm, for straight-from-the-clucker eggs and local cheese on house-baked baguettes, or the Neon Croissant, for pain au chocolate and cinnamon buns. Plan to return one evening to hit family-friendly Upward Brewing Company for award-winning lagers before dinner at the Kaatskeller; consider wood-fired-oven pizzas at picnic tables on the lively outdoor patio.

After breakfast, head to Buck Brook Alpacas, a farm in Roscoe offering private tours and interactive walks where you can feed (and take selfies with) the woolly critters. On the way back, stop at Seminary Hill Orchard & Cidery for a group tasting with epic views of the Delaware River. Ask for a tour of the orchard, where dozens of apple varieties await future batches of crisp, dry cider.

In the town of Callicoon, a stone’s throw from the cidery, find a launch for Lander’s River Trips, an adventure outfitter that can help tailor a voyage on the Upper Delaware by kayak, canoe or tube, depending on your group’s comfort level. Afterward, head to Catskill Provisions Distillery, in the beautifully restored former Callicoon Fire House. Sample the 12-year-old distillery’s NY Honey rye whiskey and Pollinator vodka, and arrange to stay for a private dinner. They can host meals for groups of 15 to 100 in a bar off the main tasting room that’s equipped with a long family table and access to the outdoor patio. Save room for soft-serve at Ollie Grey’s, a no-fuss dairy bar with picnic tables overlooking the water.

>> Click here for more summer vacations from Philadelphia.

Published as “If You Missed Family…” in the June 2022 issue of Philadelphia magazine.