Retro Hot Spots

This Trio Of Classics Lets You Time-Travel In Style


By Patricia Canole

For nearly fifty years, the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York were the premier vacation spot for families from New York City. Lavish resorts including Grossinger’s and The Concord offered all-inclusive luxury vacations. Think Dirty Dancing and the more recent Netflix hit The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Once air travel became popular, the Catskills fell out of favor as families vacationed elsewhere. Many original, iconic resorts fell into disrepair, but there are still plenty of family-friendly resorts left in the region for a relaxing getaway.

The unspoiled natural beauty of the mountains offer a serene place to camp or hike or relax. There are plenty of lakes and streams and are prime spots for fly-fishing. Be sure to block out time for a leisurely drive past stunning waterfalls and over historic covered bridges dating back to 1800.

The Emerson Resort & Spa is perfectly suited for families. The resort offers two types of accommodations: Rooms at the Inn are designed to bring the outside in with oversized windows and private decks that showcase the peaceful views and natural beauty of Mount Tremper and the Esopus Creek. Nestled amidst tall pines and shading maples, the mountain-inspired Lodge has a cozy, rustic design that features detailed wood carvings and animal figures. Most rooms include flat-screen televisions, Keurig coffee makers, and other luxury amenities. When you’re not relaxing indoors, you will discover Mother Nature in this Catskills destination. Take guided nature walks and explore the area on a variety of hiking trails or take to the trails on a mountain biking trip. Info:

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This watery oasis on the New York-Ontario border became a hot spot in 1803 after Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother brought his bride here to behold the rushing falls. It gained popularity especially with honeymooners and by the 20th century, it had come close to drowning in its tourist attractions (not one but three wax museums). Luckily, efforts to diversify have worked.

Seeing the Falls up close is a thrill of a lifetime. Of the various boat trips, the Maid of the Mist is the most famous. For a northern view of the Falls, however, shuttle across the Niagara River and see the whole thing from Canada. Several bridges span the river, and crossovers are made as hassle-free as both countries’ customs and immigration can manage. Be sure to catch Horseshoe Falls and the upper rapids lighted in rainbow colors every night. Victoria Park is a favorite place from which to view the nighttime show.

Worth a stop on the Canadian side are the various wineries in the area. Imagine Napa Valley, but without the crowds or expense. Cooler temperatures are ideal for producing mind-blowing ice wines, which look like gold and taste like bubble-free Champagne. Sample the wares at 50 or so local wineries—we like Peller Estates and Henry of Pelham.

Niagara Crossing Hotel & Spa On the New York side of Niagara Falls, this elegant 68-room sleep is an upscale option in the historic town of Lewiston. Ten minutes from Niagara Falls State Park, the hotel is in a prime location for exploring the natural wonder from vantage points at Prospect Point, the Cave of Winds, Goat Island, and more. Splurge on a suite for a deep soaking or whirlpool tub, a fireplace, and a four-poster bed. The spa offers select treatments on the first floor. The hotel restaurant serves a changing menu throughout the week. After visiting the Falls, do not miss a stroll around Lewiston town—the hotel staff can recommend local restaurants and seasonal events. Info:


This corner of Pennsylvania has been catering to lovers of natural surroundings for decades. Things heated up in the 60s after heart-shaped tubs appeared in Life magazine. Today, the area continues to lure thousands of couples—as well as families—each year.

You are in the mountains, so prepare to inhale a little fresh air. If it is spring-summer, raft the Delaware or Lehigh rivers. In winter, hit the slopes at Camelback or Shawnee. During the year, explore the region’s charming villages (Hawley and Jim Thorpe). They are filled with antique stores, flea markets, and gift shops selling homespun Americana.

The management and staff are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment by following all of New York State’s guidelines and protocols related to the current pandemic.

The Lodge at Woodloch Resort This Pocono Mountain award-winning resort has been bringing together family and friends since the 60s. Woodloch Resort is like a cruise on land—their all-inclusive packages provide three delicious meals every day, along with endless family-oriented activities and entertainment. With a championship golf course, luxury destination spa, and a variety of rooms ranging from traditional standard to waterfront suites, you may not want to leave! Summers are especially fun when families can splash around in their outdoor pool, go boating on Lake Teedyuskung or hike, and view wildlife and nature in the surrounding areas.

Skytop Lodge and Resort For rustic retro, try this lovely circa-1928 lodge. At Skytop Lodge and Resort history and nature offer a wonderful Poconos vacation in any season. With deluxe cottages—great for weekend escapes or family vacations—and a charming 20-room inn, the estate is a serene getaway, complete with its golf course, staff naturalist, and spa. With its own private lake and mountain setting, this resort is a truly stylish destination. Info:

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