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Catskill Mountain House

Chapter 13

Sketches Continued

From "The Catskill Mountains And The Region Around" (1867) By Rev. Charles Rockwell
Willis Gaylord Clark.-His Sketch of the Mountains, the Road to them and Views from them.-Similar Sketches by Tyrone Power, N. P. Willis, Park Benjamin, Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Ellett, Dr. Murdoch, Bayard Taylor, and Rev. Dr. Cuyler.
 
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.

 

Chapter 13 SKETCHES

Willis Gaylord Clark.-His Sketch of the Mountains, the Road to them and Views from them.-Similar Sketches by Tyrone Power, N. P. Willis, Park Benjamin, Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Ellett, Dr. Murdoch, Bayard Taylor, and Rev. Dr. Cuyler.

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