from the editor

I’m dancing around the cabana area that surrounds the outdoor pool of the Shady Nook Country Club in Loch Sheldrake. My father, who doubled as the small resort’s daytime tummler and nighttime emcee, sets the music tempo playing the conga drum with his fellow band members while my mom, the resident queen of mahjong, stays focused on her game.

It’s the summer of ’63. Not my first summer in the Catskills but the first that I remember. I was 3.

Four years later I had my first car accident. At the Flagler Hotel in South Fallsburg.

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>>PHOTOS: Looking back at Decoration Day Weekend in the Catskills
These brochures from the 1950's and ’60's, enticed tens of thousands of city dwellers up to the hundreds of hotels in the Catskills

>>Barry Lewis: Labor Day weekend a time of goodbyes, extreme car packing
For as far back as I can remember, the Labor Day holiday weekend, of all the long and short weekends, is the one I have always detested.

>> Celebrating a most memorable Catskills milestone - ‘Dirty Dancing’ is 30
Would you believe Jackie Horner can’t watch the movie “Dirty Dancing.”

>> Jerry Lewis had deep roots in the Catskills
As synonymous as Jerry Lewis was with the Catskills, there was no single resort he was more associated with than Charles and Lillian Brown’s Hotel in Loch Sheldrake.

>>  VIDEO: Author visits adandoned hotels
Barry Lewis tours Grossinger's with photographer and author Marisa Scheinfeld, whose new book, “The Borscht Belt” documents the ruins of what was the Catskills

>> Among the herd at the gates of Grossinger's
Taking home the perfect Catskill collectible wasn't going to be easy. I was going in blind and 11th in line. 

>> Standing at the edge with THE Joan Rivers
Joan Rivers was putting the finishing touches on her makeup when an 18-year-old knocked on her door backstage at Kutsher's resort. 

>>INTERVIEW: Growing up in the Catskills
Barry Lewis shares his memories about growing up in the Catskills and recounts the history and decline of the region. 

>>INTERVIEW: Preserving the Catskills
Reporter Steve Israel talks about the local efforts and status of Classic Catskills preservation. 

>>Memories, they're what made the Catskills classic
I’m dancing around the cabana area that surrounds the outdoor pool of the Shady Nook Country Club in Loch Sheldrake.

>>Glitz, Glamor and Gefilte Fish
Once upon a time that seems so very long ago, Tarzan – or the movie star who played him – taught a young Monticello ...

>>Preservation Hall: Finding ways to preserve the heritage of the Catskills
Vegas. Atlantic City. The Catskills. In the ’50s and early ’60s, the Catskills were one of America’s top entertainment hot ...

>>INTERVIEW: Helen Kutsher - Kutsher’s Country Club
It was never the biggest of the Catskill resorts, nor did it have the international acclaim. And it wasn’t Jerry Lewis’ favorite place.

>>INTERVIEW: Fred Gasthalter - Paramount Hotel, Parksville
The Paramount Hotel in Parksville survived the demise of the Borscht Belt, but an early-morning fire in October 2000 devoured the then 96-year-old resort.

>> INTERVIEW: Elaine Grossinger Etess - Grossinger’s Resort Hotel
There are few people around who can tell the real story of those Classic Catskill days better than Elaine Grossinger Etess. She followed her mother, Jennie, as the face of the famous Sullivan County resort. In 2013 she shared her memories:

>>INTERVIEW: Harold Friehling - Stevensville Country Club
Harold Friehling was one of the driving forces in the expansion of the Stevensville Country Club into a yearround resort. Located on the banks of Swan Lake in the Town of Liberty, the resort originally was run by Harry Dinnerstein

>> Seeking the Heiden, star of the Catskills
I often drive by the old Heiden Hotel, past the gabled Tudor-style, three-story structure that is covered in worn ...

>> The great Passover strike of '77
I hear that all the time. Right after I tell someone I live in Sullivan County. It doesn’t matter - big-time politicians ...

>> Mannie's hotel was a tight ship
I was on line in the kitchen, grabbing some two-dozen soups for my lunchtime guests at the Raleigh Hotel.  

>> Summer molasses in Sullivan
It's summer in Sullivan, and I've spent the last 20 mid-morning minutes inching my car a quarter-mile up Route 42.    

>> Perfect rolls, topped off with some traffic jam
All this traffic for challah and onion rolls.   What's going to happen when we serve up slots?   At not one, but possibly three casinos.

>> Hooray for rugelach; summer's no bummer when Izzy's in town

 Izzy's back.  Mitzi's back.  And soon they'll be rolling rugelach at Fialkoff's. As faithful to the county as newlyweds ...
>> Jennie G. still means quality
She sits on the shelves, amid the litewhite, natural oat and country wheat. She attracts the eye of choosy shoppers ...

>> Servin' up summer - in servitude style
"Why don't you waiter this summer?"   My son shot me a look as if I had asked him to pay for a full tank of gas.  

>> A cherry cheese or pizza knish?
"Don't tell me you're out of pizza knishes," warned the woman towing her two children. She tightened her sweaty grip ...

>> All you can eat in the Catskills
Frankie Abreu is down to serving his last three plates of sautéed mushroom caps with onions, a couple of small orders ...

>> My laptop for a cream puff
If only I could have found a chocolate cream puff. There had to be one extra in the kitchen or at another station.

>> Eat something, you'll feel better
Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss, a summer resident of Fallsburg, said it takes 20 minutes to drive through Fallsburg...


Check out the print version of Classic Catskills in our special digital e-edition magazine. Enjoy the full color spreads and exclusive print-only content found inside the magazine. Click here to view

Sullivan County historian John Conway and Times Herald-Record executive editor Barry Lewis take a unique walking tour of the Classic Catskills.

Episode 1 -
Loomis Sanitorium

The history of tourism in the Catskills starts not with the resorts, but the Loomis Sanitorium, which opened in 1896 to treat turberculosis patients.
>> Watch the video

Episode 2 -
The Flagler Hotel

The Flagler Hotel in South Fallsburg begin in the 1870s as a 35 room boarding house to cater to business doing business with the tanneries. It eventually became the first year ...
>> Watch the video

Episode 3 -
Hotel Row

A mile stretch of Route 42 in South Fallsburg was known as hotel row for the number of resorts that lined this two-lane country road. From the year-round Flagler...
>> Watch the video

Episode 4 -
Stevensville Resort

There are more than just swans in Swan Lake. Find out how the Stevens brothers who built the tannery and dammed up the lake, created the prime location for ...
>> Watch the video

Episode 5 -
Kutsher's Country Club

This special edition of Classic Catskills features a unique look at the famed Kutsher’s Hotel, including a tour of the century-old resort with owner Helen Kutsher.
>> Watch the video

Episode 6 -
Laurels Country Club

For many years the Laurels Country Club was known as the hippest of the Catskill resorts and for a time, the largest hotel in the mountains with capacity ...
>> Watch the video

Episode 7 -

Get an exclusive inside look at the world-famous hotel and resort in Liberty and see what the current conditions are.
>> Watch the video

Overview -
The Classic Catskills

Find out what the Classic Catskills project is about, our goals for this website and how you can participate and share your Catskill memories
>> Watch the video

Author visits over 40 adandoned hotels/bungalows
We tour Grossinger's with photographer Marisa Scheinfeld, whose book, “The Borscht Belt” documents the ruins of what was the Catskills. >> Watch the video

Do you have photos, postcards of memorabilia from those classic Catskills years? If you do, click the links in the box above to submit yours and see a small collection of related photos and images from the period? Click here to submit

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