From "The Illustration Of The Catskill Mountains" (1881)
By H. Schile

THAT portion of the Catskills included in the three counties, Ulster, Greene and Delaware, partakes so largely of the beautiful, the grand and the magnificent, that not even the most picturesque scenes of Switzerland can approach them in their proud beauty! To gain a thorough view of all the splendors of these mountains, one must spend at least five summers within their large expanse, going every year somewhere else within their boundaries; every- year will then reveal something new, something apparently still more beautiful than all that had previously been admired.

The most valuable advice one can take with him is not to remain cooped up in his boarding-house all day. To thoroughly enjoy the season in the Catskills, the visitor must make up his mind to roam about, either alone, or in company with others, for parties of tourists are easily made up. He should wander in every direction, towards every quarter; up hill and down-hill, now to find the source of some rivulet, tomorrow to gaze at the gigantic trees of the forest, at another time to discover a mocking-bird's nest; it should be his constant endeavor to enjoy all the beauties that Nature has so generously spread before him! This gives strength and vigor to mind and body, and surely a trip to the Catskills is undertaken with no other purpose, than that of enlivening the body, heart and soul!

Considering how near to this great metropolis these mountains are, one would almost be led to imagine that Nature intentionally put them there for our benefit.

Thousands of children of our poorer classes, who suffer and die in the scorching heat would be saved if they could but escape from the filth and disease of the hot city, into the balmy, fresh air of the Catskills.

Why aren't there not a few more Peter Coopers in the city of New York ? Why do not the noble philanthropists of this great city (and no other city can boast of so many public-spirited men as ours) turn their attention to the practical branches of Charity and Benevolence?

Why does not some millionaire secure to the suffering children, the enjoyments of health and life? If he did so, he would immortalize himself, and acquire a name that would outlive all the obelisks!

There are many who possess the means and can well afford to spend a summer in the Catskills, but they are needlessly extravagant. It is not necessary that a man should be enormously rich to take his family up there. There are numerous hotels, boarding and farm-houses to be found in the vicinity, and thus it is an easy matter to secure a house adapted to one's pecuniary means.

All that is necessary, is to address a letter to any of the houses herein mentioned, and for the conditions under which they will board you and your family, etc., etc. For this purpose I have prepared this illustrated work in a manner calculated to make it guide on which any one can implicitly rely. A mind and eye susceptible to the beauties of Nature will readily appreciate the love and enthusiasm with which I have endeavored to describe the splendor of the Catskill Mountains, which seems to grow greater every day. Such minds and such eyes will bear witness to the truthfulness and fidelity of my descriptions.

And even those who are not so aesthetic in their tastes, but prefer the busy life of the town, and the pleasures of the city, even these I say, will gladly embrace an opportunity to repair to these Catskill Mountains, and to enjoy, amidst joyous shouts and cheerful songs, the recreation which no city can afford!

True it is, that in these mountains one's pleasures must necessarily be of a different nature than those enjoyed in the city, but they are by no means less entertaining.

The journey from New York to the Catskills, right into the midst of the mountains, costs but very little, the small sum of $1.50, including the trip on the beautiful Hudson. You can take the Albany day-boat for Rondout, or a boat that leaves Pier 34, N. R., daily, at 4 p.m., and on Saturdays at 1 o'clock, for Rondout; then take Ulster & Delaware Railroad for any of the Stations. If you take the Hudson River Railroad to Rhinebeck, you can cross to Rondout by means of the ferry.

I beg leave to call the attention of everybody, especially of those living in large cities, to the vast superiority of the balmy mountain air, over the city's foul odors, and to the beneficial effect this change has upon the constitution. This change of air is of unutterable advantage to those who have for a long time previous breathed the salt air of the sea and the dust of the cities.

Frenchmen say that champagne lies in the, air, and physicians, appreciating this, frequently send their patients into the mountainous country, thus acknowledging Nature as more potent in her influence than all the resources of their art.

How charming is the life in the mountains! Away up on the summit of some lofty peak, how securely, how sweetly we sleep! No fear that the long-legged musicians from the Jersey Coast will ring their battle-songs into your ears, and dance their warwhoop before your eyes. No: the mosquito—that pest of the city and of the sea-shore, be it however fashionable—is unknown in the mountains.

Fever and ague are exiled from the Catskills by the fresh, sweet air of the mountains. Every one who is sickly, fatigued and worn out, becomes imbued with new life, strength and vigor, with elasticity of mind and freshness of heart.

I trust that the public will give this illustrated work the attention which it deserves. The author will show his gratitude by endeavoring to discover every year new fruits of interest to which he may turn the attention of his generous patrons.


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