THE CATSKILL MOUNTAINS.
BY N. P. WILLIS.
At this elevation you may wear woollen and
sleep under blankets in midsummer; and that is a pleasant temperature
where much hard work is to be done in the way of pleasure-hunting. No
place so agreeable as Catskill, after one has been parboiled in the
city. The cool woods, the small silver lakes, the falls, the
mountain-tops, are all delicious haunts for the idler-away of the hot
months, and, to the credit of our taste, it may be said they are
fully improved, -- Catskill is a "resort."
From the Mountain House the busy and
all-glorious Hudson is seen winding half its silver length,-towns,
villas, and white spires, sparkling on the shores, and snowy sails
and gaily-painted steamers specking its bosom. It is a constant
diorama of the most lively beauty ; and the traveller, as he looks
down upon it, sighs to make it a home. Yet a smaller and
less-frequented stream would best fulfil desires born of a sigh.
There is either no seclusion on the Hudson, or there is so much that
the conveniences of life are difficult to obtain. Where the steamers
come to shore (twenty a day, with each from one to seven hundred
passengers) it is certainly far from secluded enough. No place can be
rural, in all the virtues of the phrase, where a steamer will take
the villager to the city between noon and night, and bring him back
between midnight and morning. There is a suburban look and character
about all the villages on the Hudson which seems out of place among
such scenery. They are suburbs, in fact; steam has destroyed the
distance between them and the city.
The Mountain House on the Catskill, it should
be remarked, is a luxurious hotel. How the proprietor can have
dragged up, and keeps dragging up, so many superfluities from the
river level to the eagle's nest, excites your wonder. It is the more
strange, because in climbing a mountain the feeling is natural that
you leave such enervating indulgences below.
The mountain-top is too near heaven. It should
be a monastery to lodge in so high ; a St. Gothard, or a Vallambrosa.
But here you may choose between Hermitages, "white" or
"red" Burgundias, Madeiras, French dishes, and French
dances, as if you had descended upon Capua.