Poetic splendor awaits golfers with a stay and play package at Emerson Resort and Spa. Namesake Ralph Waldo Emerson was so taken with the beauty of the Catskills that he penned the essay Nature which prompted the American Conservationist Movement. This resulted in the Catskill Forest Preserve surrounding the resort. His inspiration sparked the owners of Emerson to create a special place to honor this American hero and live his philosophy – “Adopt the pace of nature.” Set along the banks of Esopus Creek with Mount Tremper beyond, the Emerson Resort and Spa is a place to exhale, “ahh.”

Check in is at 4 pm but if you arrive early, take a seat in the Adirondack chairs by the stream with a glass of wine and chill. Stress flows liberally out of the body and washes downstream where fly fishers might entertain. The pace of nature is easily adopted. This is the same setting for patio lounging or jacuzzi soaking at the spa before or after the many therapeutic treatments offered. Sip a cup of tea with honey and immerse yourself in total tranquility.

53 rooms between the Inn and the Lodge are comfortably equipped with fireplace and bath amenities for a cozy experience. Where is Waldo? Everywhere. Emerson’s quotes appear on walls along with commissioned artwork and his books of poetry are on hand. Guests might slip into their robes and slippers then onto their balcony for quiet reading to one another with the creek’s water gurgling in the background. When or where would you ever think of doing that? Try it and you’ll never forget the moment.

Streamside is again the location of the Woodnotes Grill patio. Indoor table seating is also available or belly up to the bar for a specialty cocktail from the Woodnotes Hit List. Rocking the top of that list is Corpse Reviver made with local Walton Waters Absinthe, Cochi Americano and Greenhook Gin plus a little Cointreau and lemon added in. One is refreshing and plenty. The beautiful menus at Woodnotes don’t disappoint either. After dinner the waterfront firepit draws guests together. You never know who you will meet. For us it was a Russian pianist who played at Carnegie Hall and poured her heart out telling her life story. She was there with her friends from Woodstock.

Just a few minutes away, Woodstock is celebrating its 50th anniversary since the famous music festival was held. Today the streets of town are lined with shops and cafes appointed with hookah pipes, tie-dye materials, art deco, peace and love. The Mud Room Cafe was Maria’s Bazaar for 30 years, now owned by Marwan who says his name is like marijuana, easy to remember. The hippy vibe is alive with music, arts and euphoric yoga offered by the stream. A museum and residents are happy to share stories of the psychedelic era.
Back at Emerson Resort and Spa, a psychedelic show sans drugs plays out in what used to be the farm’s grain silo. It is now the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope designed by 1960s psychedelic artist Isaac Abrams and his son Raphael. Ten-minute shows inside the “siloscope” are transcending. The shop adjoining the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope delivers interactive colorful science to amaze all ages and connects to various country stores and back to the main Inn.

For exercise, workout, bike or hike along nature trails or hit the links. Emerson teams up with a trio of superb courses within 30 minutes. The Woodstock Golf Club, circa 1928, is a nine-hole journey among towering trees and ponds. The greens are small to challenge all. The closing hole is a carry over the Esopus Creek that dissects the clubhouse from the course. The bar and restaurant in the historic clubhouse overlook the creek for gallery viewing. The Woodstock Open is believed to be the longest running tournament in America on one course, open to both professionals and amateur golfers. Since the inaugural event in 1932, legends like Gene Sarazen and Bob Toski have participated. This year 19-year-old amateur Justin Lane won the 84th Emerson Resort & Spa Woodstock Open, capitalizing on his home course advantage.

At Lazy Swan Golf and Country Club Village in nearby Saugerties streams and ponds dot the landscape with dramatic elevation changes throughout the layout and yes, there is a resident swan. A double decker bar in the Village provides panoramic views of the course.

The Wiltwyck Golf and Country Club is semi-private, adjacent to Interstate 87 in Kingston. Since 1933, the mature course follows the hilly contours with great conditioning. Fairways are generous, but the greens have multiple false fronts and distinct landing areas that create quite the challenge.

All three courses splendidly reflect their natural Catskill settings and are most worthy of partnership with Emerson. In the cradle of nature, rock the courses or create your own poetry at Emerson Resort and Spa. Rediscover your inner flower child with a visit to Woodstock and check out the schedule of celebratory music events, bell bottoms not required. For anyone who needs to learn how to relax Emerson is a quick teacher, only two hours from the NYC area.