My first trip to the Catskills was in 1983. I was ten years old on the family vacation, tightly packed in the family car with my parents and two brothers. What I didn't know at the time is that when we left home my parents had no plan for the trip - no plans to go to the Catskills or anywhere else for that matter. They simply wanted a change of scenery after years of camping vacations on Long Island near our home. So we left Long Island with no reservations, no plans and no destination.

As luck would have it, the meandering drive through upstate New York took us to the Mount Tremper area of the Catskills and a great summer cottage on the Esopus River. The family thoroughly enjoyed the location, the cottage, the outdoors, the family-friendly activities and the quiet. It was such a hit that we wound up coming back every summer thereafter, often two or three times a year. I guess you can say it was the first time I fell in love.

As I look back nearly three decades later on that first vacation and the many subsequent trips, and with my parents having passed on, I am still in love with the Catskills. It is my home away from home. I go for the quiet. I go for the peace. I go when I need a break. I go for the hiking. I go for the experience. I go for the beauty. I go for the friendly locals. I go for countless reasons.

I once had a friend ask me with a tone of disbelief – “Why the Catskills? You’ve been all over the country and one of your favorite places is still the Catskills?” Well . . . YES. My love of travel has taken me over much of the United States and to many of its national parks and yet the Catskills continue to be one of my most treasured destinations, whether it is for a couple of days or a week-long vacation. In his 1918 classic The Catskills, T. Morris Longstreth wrote: “On the curvature of our green globe there is a spot for every one more satisfying than any other, and if you will show me the spot I can to some degree tell you the man.” For me, that place is the Catskills. I’ll leave it to my family and friends to determine what it says about me.

I hope you enjoy the photographs.