By Kari-Astrid Haugeto

It’s February, the month when relationships are said to heat up, but in the Catskill Mountains baby, it’s cold outside! Don’t worry. We’ve found lots of things, right here in Andes, that will warm you heart and soul.

Our goal is to help you fall in love, with our town. And the following are suggestions, of ways those in the know celebrate the heart. Why reinvent the Valentine?

But that’s not all. Whether you’re playing it safe or being adventurous we also include fail-proof spots to steal a kiss.

Love the Landscape

Andes is fortunate to host many breathtaking vistas as you come and go from town. We cobbled together a tour you can enjoy together from the warmth of your car. Our star shaped romantic driving tour begins right in town.

Starting at the Andes Public Library, take Route 28 toward Margaretville. On you way you’ll rise above the hamlet, hitting a peak at Palmer Hill, about two miles from town central. Turn left on Finkle Road, then into the trailhead parking lot for a breathtaking mountain view.

On your way back you’ll encounter one of our unique welcome signs. Tuck onto the side of the road to view majestic landscapes of the former Bobcat Ski Center and Gladstone Farm. Continue through town and don’t be tempted to speed. Beyond the blinking light take the right fork up County Route 2. Drive about five miles and cruise past acres of unspoiled historic farmland.

Turn around at the Cabin Hill Presbyterian Church to head back toward town. Then—if you’re brave— take a right to follow one of Andes most historic dirt roads, Wolf Hollow Road. It runs close to 10 miles. That will connect you with County Route 1. Just take a left at the intersection and you’ll be back in Andes in no time. This leg of the trek will take you past multiple farms and glades.

Might we suggest stealing a kiss at the top of Palmer Hill to help warm things up at the beginning of your journey.


Love the Food

If you prefer a mixture of indoor and outdoor adventure, you can take a stroll of the hamlet. The town seems stolen in time with its historic buildings resplendent in their winter whites.

Start by parking in the lot on Delaware Avenue next to Dirty Girl Farm. You’ll be across from Andes Central School and beside the Presbyterian Church, both timeless in architecture and style. Hold hands and make your way to the intersection, then turn left. You’re headed to Woody’s Country Kitchen.

All the locals know Woody’s is the place for comfort food. Think large stacks of pancakes or oversized luncheon platters. We’d like to suggest splitting the Meat Lover’s breakfast, served with sausage, bacon, ham, corned beef hash, hombres and toast. You’ll need it as we’re about to take a brisk walk through town.

Continue through town past The Andes General Store, High Street, The Ballantine Mansion and the Catholic Church. You can continue on to the bridge or turn back at Streamside Yoga. On your way back you’ll see the Gingerbread House, The Hunting Tavern Museum and the Andes Public Library.

Pop into the Tavern at the Andes Hotel and ask about their seasonal cocktails. Don’t worry they’re not all fruity concoctions. In fact, we recommend the Andes Mule—a variation of the Moscow Mule— laced with whiskey. If you’re ready for a snack, or something more substantial, ask for a menu. They’re known for their hearty fare.

.When you return to the intersection take a right toward Wayside Cider, the place to stop for small batch, fine mountain ciders made with heirloom apples picked in the Catskills. They pair well with their Wayside Board’s seasonal selection of cured and preserved meat and fish, and farmed and foraged veggies, pickles, condiments and cheese..

You’ll pass the recently reopened Andes General Store at least twice on this trek. In my younger days I enjoyed ice cream or hot chocolates with friends, rocking on a porch chair. It’s a great place to snuggle up for a sneaky smooch.

Love the Thrill

They were certainly thinking of Andes when they sang “The Best Things In Life Are Free.” Especially when it comes to things that bring us closer to family and friends: the sledding hill behind the school or warming up with a hot tea or cocoa at the library come to mind.

But if you’re up for something a bit more adrenaline-pumping – why not go snowmobiling? You can pick up a local guide at the Andes Hotel and spend a few hours floating over the crystalline powder you can only find in the Catskills. Snowmobiling isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s why we recommend you use local guides that let you take it at your own pace along our seemingly invisible paths through pristine mountain terrain.

After your tour you’ll be ready to cuddle up by a fire and steal one more kiss before the day ends. ~