Posted by Dylan Taft on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 12:10pm.
The iconic Overlook Mountain and the town of Woodstock, NY, over which it stands watch are forever linked. During the 1800's, the Catskill Mountain region became a popular tourist destination, due in large part to paintings done by the "Hudson Valley School" of artists. It was the 1st coherent school of American artists, most famous among them Thomas Cole. Featuring beautiful, panoramic views of the Catskills, these paintings were celebrated and touted by politicians at the time, who were aggressively pushing for local tourism. The idea was that the untapped real estate in the Hudson Valley Region was as beautiful, if not more stunning, than any European vista. A favorite painting spot among these American Masters? The top of a mountain called Overlook in the town of Woodstock, NY.
Overlook Mountain and real estate in Woodstock, NY are uniquely linked. Tourism in the Hudson Valley region was booming during the 1800's, and Woodstock wanted in on the action! The Overlook Hotel was built in 1871 with the distinction of having the highest elevation of all of the Catskill resorts at 2,920 feet. The hotel could accommodate 300 guests, most notable among them President and famous Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant. Woodstock, NY, which had once been a sleepy mountain town, was experiencing a surge of tourists, laborers, entrepreneurs and new residents, thanks in large part to the Overlook Hotel. Plagued with misfortune however, the hotel burned to the ground just a few years after its unveiling. It was rebuilt, but burned down again in the 1920's. Attempts were made to rebuild yet again, but never completed, and the ruins of the unfinished Overlook Hotel remain to this day. As if in sync with the hotel's arc, the town of Woodstock, NY quieted down again in the 1900's, favoring a simple lifestyle modeled after the popular Arts & Crafts Movement at the time.
Overlook Mountain continues to inspire the community of Woodstock and amaze visitors every day! Literally minutes away from Main Street Woodstock, Overlook is open year round to visitors offering a fun (and free!) activity with a big payoff. The views from the top are breathtaking, and hikers can wander among the mysterious ruins of the Overlook Hotel. A 60 foot high fire-watch tower, built in 1950, gives those brave enough to climb it a truly vertigo-inducing experience (you've been warned!) The now-protected lands are home to the Timber Rattlesnake, a protected species found in only one other part of the Catskill Mountain region. The hike to Overlook Mountain is approximately 5 miles round-trip (roughly 3hrs of hiking time). Though considered a non-technical hike (essentially an unpaved road), it is still challenging with the first 2.5 miles being a steep incline. It is well worth your time and effort, as both the views and the old hotel are fascinating and offer endless photo opportunities. Like the town of Woodstock itself, Overlook Mountain is rich in history and truly one-of-a-kind! For the best Ulster County real estate blog around, tune into Taft Street!