Everyone needs to escape during the summer—relax, get some fresh air and recharge those NYC-grade Energizers we run on the rest of the year. And what’s the perfect place for all this? Why, the Catskill Mountains—near, yet far, the good old Borscht Belt—summer-home to countless New Yorkers for nigh a century. Of course, fresh air can be pricey, even just two and a half hours upstate. So here are some tips on renting and relaxing in the Catskills this summer—and spending as little as if you had stayed in town for the long weekend.
The best sites for scouring cheap rentals are CatskillsByOwner, HomeAway, A House Around the Bend, CyberRentals and VacationRentals. There are two details to keep in mind when calculating the cost: weekend rates and cleaning fees. Weekend stays are usually pricier than going during the week, when you can often get five days for the price of two. And some houses charge a cleaning fee of $75 or more… but that may not be bad thing, depending on how you feel about things like spiders and germs.
Another tip for choosing your rental: look at the pictures. Duh, but a lot of beautiful houses don’t show pictures of the bedrooms. This is especially tricky when it says “1 bedroom, sleeps 6.” Where? Most claim to sleep two more than the bedrooms provide, figuring in a couch or cot. Hardwood floors are good for your back, but maybe not for a whole month.
The best deals are found if you can gather a group of people. There are tons of rentals that sleep up to 10 people. Get a group of people, and you’re looking to each spend about $30 to $50 per night. For a smaller group of four or five, the minimum you’ll pay is $125 nightly ($31/person), and $550 weekly ($137/person). Most are priced at around $700 per week. For a romantic retreat, you and your honey can find one-bedroom cabins at about $100/night, $500/week and $1600/month. Or you could try a B&B, because many of the affordable two-person rentals will bring you back to that summer-camp cabin.
Here are some finds to start your search engines. And, of course, the engine is vast, so we’d love your own tips if you have them.
Great Group Rentals:
Hunter House – Hunter Mountain. 5 bedrooms, sleeps up to 14. $400/night. $1200/week. $3500/month ($29, $86 and $250 per person—Total!—if 14 go).
Captain’s House -Roxbury. 4 bedrooms, sleeps 10. $1000/2 nights. $1600/3 nights. $2200/6 nights ($100, $160, and $220 per person if 10).
Summer Serenity, Summit Lake. 3 bedrooms, sleeps 12. $350/night (2 night minimum). $1275/week ($30 and $106, if 12).
Phoenicia House Rental, Phoenicia. 6 bedrooms, sleeps 10-12. $1350/week. $4150/month ($112.50 and $345 per person, if 12).
Smaller Groups or Family Rentals:
Greenville Rental House, Greenville. 2 bedrooms, sleeps 5. $124 – $145/night. $618 – $876/week.
Catskill Barn, Catskills. 2 bedrooms, sleeps 4. $150/night. $875/week.
Our Romantic Weekend Picks:
Phoenicia House Rental, Phoenicia. 1 bedroom, sleeps 4. (But, we say really just 2). $525/week
Perfect for Ghost Stories:
Renovated Church, Worcester. 2 bedrooms, sleeps 6. $900/week. $2500/month. Cleaning fee: $75.