outdoor patio atop the catskill mountains in new york

We started out early on our two-hour drive from New York City bound for the Catskill Mountains region and Hemlock Neversink, the new 33-room all-inclusive wellness resort that opened in fall 2023. The hotel’s daily, one-hour goat hike begins at 10 a.m. and I was determined to make it there in time, though my husband was a bit more reticent about the adventure.

At 9:50 a.m., we made our way up the long drive to the property that sits on 230 mostly wooded acres. Taking in the intimate bucolic setting, I could literally feel my mind and body start to slow down. This sense of calm continued as we walked to the barn to meet our fellow hikers and the nine resident goats. Over the next 48 hours or so, I learned that Hemlock’s ability to encourage its guests to unplug and leave their troubles at home, if only for a short time, is its main draw (even more so than the goats). It all starts with a pre-arrival email from the Hemlock team to discover each guests’ interests and goals to create a personalized itinerary.

An Upscale Camp Experience

Our stay here felt a bit like an upscale camp experience thanks to the woodsy setting. Guest rooms boast a luxury farmhouse feel with some offering private porches. You’ll find no TVs, which encourages guests to get outside and enjoy the outdoors and to meet others. I did just that spending time on the inviting deck outside the main building — which dates back to the 1800s. It offered plenty of seating, including my pick of a rocking chair with a view of the pond and barn just beyond. The main building, home to the Bittersweet restaurant, also houses the lobby and living room where you can find board games and a stone fireplace.

hemlock neversink living room and fireplace
Courtesy, Upland Creative – Lawrence Braun

Our personalized itineraries offered ways to stretch our body, mind, and soul, and we quickly got into the rhythm of going from one experience to the next. A favorite stop of mine was the Activity Building where expert-led craft classes were held. A 90-minute mosaic workshop limited to seven participants had me hand-picking my blue, green, and purple pieces of cut glass and carefully gluing them in place on a coaster that was later grouted by the in-house art staff. (It now proudly sits on my desk as a reminder of my wellness weekend.) 

Those with a focus on fitness can find plenty of choice as well. The guided morning goat and afternoon sans-goat hikes, as well as the self-guided walks along the property trails, take in the beauty of Hemlock’s surroundings. Though we visited in early spring, just as all was starting to bloom, we could clearly envision what the land must look like with trees filled with leaves in the warmer months or even as they turned colors in the fall. The outdoors follows you while participating in fitness classes in the Movement Center, with its oversized windows, wood paneling, towering cathedral ceiling, stone walls, and fireplace. Fitness instructors, including guest instructors on select weekends and midweek days, inspire with a range of classes for getting the body to relax or the adrenaline pumping. Morning Yoga or HIIT, evening Yoga Nidra meditation, and an Aqua Fit class in the indoor pool had us energized inside and out. As did the cuisine.

Farm-Fresh Cuisine

living room at the hemlock neversink
Courtesy, Sasithon Photography

We ate well at the farmhouse-chic Bittersweet restaurant, where we had our three meals and could find all-day snacks. Floor-to-ceiling windows allowed us to take in the majestic setting no matter where we sat and a “plant-focused menu” featured delicious seasonal and local ingredients. A lovely breakfast started each day with a buffet of homemade granola, fruit, Greek yogurt, lox, croissants, bagels, and fresh juices, plus the opportunity to order eggs your way or avocado toast. Lunch featured a soup and two salads at the small buffet, with vegetarian and fish offerings off the menu. Dinners began with “A Snack from the Kitchen” hand-delivered by the chef, who proudly explained his nightly surprise treat. Our favorite was similar to a mini potato pancake, but delightfully light and paired with a rich cream sauce. The menu then offers two options each for the first and second course — including vegetarian choices — and a set dessert. My main entrée of duck ragu with pappardelle for dinner the first night and salmon with perfectly grilled asparagus the second were plentiful and delicious. S’mores were available by request at the nightly campfire for those who needed their chocolate fix. After each meal, we found ourselves repeatedly asking the wait staff the names and brands of dressings, beverages, and even the Greek yogurt to see if we could purchase these local finds once home. An Open Kitchen one afternoon invited guests to talk to the resort’s friendly chefs about their creations — including the ingredients and inspiration.

Spa Time

outdoor shower at the hemlock neversink
Courtesy, Sasithon Photography

In between all of the good-for-me classes and dining, I spent time at the Spa at Hemlock, just as intimate as the rest of the property. The 60-minute Hemlock signature massage and 60-minute Hemlock custom facial soothed my newly sore muscles and enhanced my already tranquil mood. In between treatments, I lounged in the relaxation room looking out its large windows at views of Hemlock’s natural setting. The relaxation room, outdoor sauna, steam room, showers, and locker rooms invite all guests to decompress, not just those getting treatments.

While at the spa, I added on A Single Bite 15-minute scalp massage. This option, as well as another choice of a 15-minute hand and foot massage, is an initiative of hotel owner and operator Foster Supply Hospitality’s non-profit, called A Single Bite. For every A Single Bite add on to a Hemlock spa treatment, the property provides a family in need with four healthy meals delivered to their door. The Family Meal program was launched in March 2020 with the onset of COVID-19 and since then more than 157,000 servings (some 700 per week), have been prepared and delivered. The ability for guests to participate in this program is a way they can give back and add to their own emotional and mental wellbeing while at Hemlock.

Courtesy, Bernardo Mancebo

After a weekend of wellness, relaxation, and recharging, it was time to depart this beautiful spot in the Catskills. We said our goodbyes to the goats and the woods and reluctantly turned our car toward the city, leaving tranquility behind.

Featured image courtesy of Upland Creative – Lawrence Braun