weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt")

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ellen4641
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2007/09/09 10:39:25 (permalink)

weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt")

in late August 2007, I went to the Sullivan County catskill mountains in NY for 3 nights. It's 90 miles north of NYC, containing the villages of Monticello and Liberty, etc.

Stayed at Kutshers Hotel, which is the last surviving family owned hotel left from the "borscht belt" era of the 50's- 80's ....

Kutshers is celebrating its' 100th year !

(But to give some proper credit, I believe the Italian themed Villa Roma Hotel in Callicoon is still family owned. That part of Sullivan County (by Narrowsburg and the Delaware River) is really considered out of the Borscht Belt loop, though)

Kutshers is situated on Anawana Lake , where one can sit outside , grab a rowboat, or grab a bike and ride around the lake.

too dirty to swim in, though

I was here for the "13th annual History of the Catskills Conference",
sponsored by the Catksills Institute.


I have most of those books. and the guys that wrote some of them , Irwin Richman and Phil Brown, were the leaders of our conference
It consists of slide shows, speakers, a bus tour , and above all, lots of reminiscing of the "good 'ol days".

My first time going to this conference, been meaning to go the last few years. (I have fond memories of the Catskills, and have been to Kutshers a few years back) (the best times of my life were working as a cocktail waitress at Grossingers Hotel from 78-80.)

There was a cocktail hour for us first....hor doerves that sounded good (little hot dogs, chicken wings, meatballs,) but did'nt taste that great.... hot dogs were barely cooked..

then it was time for dinner in the main dining room.
the matzoh ball soup tasted canned to me


The dinner salad came with only one dressing choice, an extra heavy russian dressing. However, the challah bread was excellent!! (real fresh) (that's purple horseradish in the middle)

I chose 2 entrees, the chicken and the brisket. The meals at Kutshers (just like at the other legendary "RIP" hotels) are "all you can eat affairs", included with the room rates.

the chicken was fresh tasting , but very bland.
I think they purposely don't put too many seasonings on it, as there are many older folks there on restricted diets.
the brisket was medicore, tasted like it been made the day before and reheated

the apple strudel and the 7 layer cake did'nt really do that much for me. They had more of an industrial taste, as opposed to a homemade taste

here's a shot of the main dining room.......for those Catksills affecianado's , it's nice that some things never change, huh?!?

my hotel room was in the "Rip Van Winkle" section.... if you notice, my room was right near the so called "executive card room"..
(only fitting for a poker dealer to be put near a card room)

however, THIS card room is no match for my Borgata Casino, huh?!?

looks like it's seen better days... but once again, it's nice to see some things never change.. you can still find the same chairs from 50 years ago there.

after dinner, there were some seminars, including a special surprise appearance by Mark Kutsher himself (the son of the late Milton Kutsher)
He was choking back tears as he talked to our little group, regarding the 100th anniversary of the hotel. Marks Mom (Miltons wife) was in the back row; she looked lovely. He also had a little dedication ceremony for Jack Landsman, who has worked at Kutshers for 58 years.
He looks great for 90!!!

later I caught the last part of the show...( a comedian named Lee Stanley , who was not too funny... ) (past his prime, I guess)
It was a bad sign to see so many people walking out strolling down the hallways; first I thought the show was over...
here is/was their summer show schedule

breakfast the next morning was decent...I had poached eggs, (no fried food allowed on Sat. morning under the Jewish dietary laws), and some french toast

then I took a dip in the pool....... I love all the greenery around the pool

the water was ice cold, and there were tons of bugs in the pool.
The pool towel the attendant gave me was SO small and flimsy, that it was embarrassing. they do have serious "towel issues" at Kutshers, as you will see below.

after swimming, I changed clothes and took a nice walk.
I was real hot when I came back, as it was 90 degrees out, and wanted to freshen up in the room before lunch. I was glad to see the maid had made up my room.
But, alas, no towels!! I called, and was told "there is only one washing machine".

So it was tough cooling off before lunch, as the air conditioning barely worked in the room, either! I figure it has'nt worked right in about 30 years anyway.

I settled for splashing cold water on my face and back.

and for the record, there were NO towels when I checked into the room the day before. Had to make that call to housekeeping.

The room was $180 a night, single occupancy, including 3 meals.
(it would have been $120 a night for 2 people)

Lunch was blinzes (for me, anyway), and the table consensus was that these were definitely not homemade. the pic is not worth showing.

Then time for our bus tour of the town and mountains of Ellenville,
(named after ME, of course)

dinner for me was prime rib, all the way . I had 2 slices, the end cut and a medium rare one. The end cut was too tough, and the medium rare one was very tasty, but just a little flimsy on the size.
I could have used just a little more of it, but the waiter got way too busy for me to bother


There are lots of activities for people of all ages at Kutshers
Even the indoor ice arena was open

half the fun is looking at all the old signage in the hallways...
and tons of lobbies with more couches and chairs than you've ever seen before..


This conference was bittersweet, but we also made some new memories , as well...
and I'm grateful, that at least we still have Kutshers..
(just do something about the towels, Mark, okay?!?)(it's a towel challenged place.)

and when I looked in the gift shop for any possible Kutshers postcards, the lady said (with a straight face) "try going on E-bay"
Since the hotel still DOES exist, how about some current postcards?!?

I do plan on writing a review on Tripadvisor.com , and I will refer people to this Roadfood website for further info... an added bonus will be some more folks getting turned onto Roadfood.com



stay tuned for "catskills, part 2", (the sights and food outside of Kutshers)








#1

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    mland520
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 11:18:40 (permalink)
    Say it isn't so! Where have they all gone to? The Nevele and all the rest? My husband and I had some memorable times at the hotels in the Catskills. But we have lived in Dallas for over 20 years now, and have only made one trip back to upstate NY where we were both born and raised, and that was over 8 years ago!
    #2
    mr chips
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 11:24:53 (permalink)
    Thanks for the report Ellen.
    #3
    msdiner
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 11:38:08 (permalink)
    Thank you for submitting this report, Ellen. I've never been to the Catskills but am interested in its history.
    Did the food get any better during the conference? (I would've imagined that food served at Catskills resorts years ago would have been great.)
    #4
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 12:29:41 (permalink)
    Did they have any third generation Myron Cohen's?
    Keep the reports coming.
    #5
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 12:53:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by mland520

    Say it isn't so! Where have they all gone to? The Nevele and all the rest? My husband and I had some memorable times at the hotels in the Catskills. But we have lived in Dallas for over 20 years now, and have only made one trip back to upstate NY where we were both born and raised, and that was over 8 years ago!


    Many hotels were taken over by the Hasidic (very Orthodox) Jews..
    and are used as schools and camps/bungalow colonies...

    others have been out of business for awhile (like the Concord and the Pines) and just sit there rotting away.


    Yes, the Nevele is still there, HOWEVER it is not family owned anymore. The Nevele is corporate owned now and does not have the Kosher food anymore at the meals; it's barely Jewish style food, but word has it they are very generous with the bacon at breakfast! LOL!
    (from an actual trip report on tripadvisor.com) And the worst part is that most of the reviewers state that the food is almost "unedible", or other choice words...
    The Fallsview is owned by the same company, used to be family owned as well. Even though it IS strictly Kosher, it's hard to book there, as they save it for Glatt Kosher groups who don't want the Nevele..
    ...special groups they hand pick...

    The other hotels went by the wayside. Grossingers closed in 1986, and the Concord in 1998... in many cases, closings were due to owners passing away (as in the recent Raleigh hotel closing this last year, after Mannie Halbert died), and the children not wanting the hassle of running the place.

    due to "changing tastes".........cheaper airfares to Florida and abroad, cruise deals, and of course, the competition from Atlantic City. IMO, if they had got the gambling there right after AC did in 1978, they could have saved the area! (They've been waiting over 30 years for that gambling, though) (even when I worked there in 78, there were rumors about slot machines hidden away in the back room of the hotel)
    (SOME progress has FINALLY been made, as they do have slot machines at Monticello Raceway now, but the federal approval for the table games is being stalled.....2 years away , I hear?!) But the Catskills will never be like it used to be...

    ellen
    #6
    Jimeats
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 13:48:39 (permalink)
    Nice area. I paid a visit last year to the Irish Alps and stayed in a town known as The painted village. I had a chance to visit the old zoo in that area before it closed it's doors for good. It's a shame, it must have been a great family area a number of years ago. Chow Jim
    #7
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 15:52:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jimeats

    Nice area. I paid a visit last year to the Irish Alps and stayed in a town known as The painted village. I had a chance to visit the old zoo in that area before it closed it's doors for good. It's a shame, it must have been a great family area a number of years ago. Chow Jim

    Yup the "painted village" is the town of Tannersville, by Hunter ski area.... very pretty place, been there..

    And yes, the Catskills game farm closed its doors....that was too bad
    #8
    Twinwillow
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 17:07:21 (permalink)
    Ellen, very good report (as are all of your reports). It brings back nostalgic memories for me. One in particular. When I was 16, I worked at a hotel in the Catskills one summer. I don't remember the name of the hotel but I do remember quite vividly, Being thrown out (bodily) of the hotel after I was caught by the owner drinking a glass of milk with a brisket sandwich late one night after the dinner service.
    You see, I am Jewish. But, I was raised in a very (very) reform family. I had milk with every meal. And, we ate whatever we wanted.
    Thanks again for another excellent and original report.
    #9
    rongmtek
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 19:17:34 (permalink)
    Hello, again, Ellen-
    My wife's family held a reunion at KUTSHER'S about five years ago. I took a pass; she came home with so many stories of the awful food, it seems like you may have actually been lucky.
    I won't even repeat the things she told me; truly disgusting.
    Those days are long gone; but you can always watch them in DIRTY DANCING.
    Ron
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    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 21:07:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by rongmtek

    Hello, again, Ellen-
    My wife's family held a reunion at KUTSHER'S about five years ago. I took a pass; she came home with so many stories of the awful food, it seems like you may have actually been lucky.
    I won't even repeat the things she told me; truly disgusting.
    Those days are long gone; but you can always watch them in DIRTY DANCING.
    Ron


    the only real good thing was the challah bread, the breakfasts, and the prime rib on Saturday night ......

    There were about 50 of us from the conference at the meals, plus the other regular hotel guests, (about 400 people were booked at the hotel that weekend, I was told) some seniors from Florida come for the whole summer, or part of it, to escape the Florida heat.
    We were in the main dining room, same food as everyone else, no better or worst...
    the one "bonus" we got was the special cocktail party.

    Now you've got me all started up, though, I WANT to hear about those disgusing things! (they might be so disgusting that you may have to e-mail me personally, huh?!?)
    #11
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 21:15:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by twinwillow

    Ellen, very good report (as are all of your reports). It brings back nostalgic memories for me. One in particular. When I was 16, I worked at a hotel in the Catskills one summer. I don't remember the name of the hotel but I do remember quite vividly, Being thrown out (bodily) of the hotel after I was caught by the owner drinking a glass of milk with a brisket sandwich late one night after the dinner service.
    You see, I am Jewish. But, I was raised in a very (very) reform family. I had milk with every meal. And, we ate whatever we wanted.
    Thanks again for another excellent and original report.


    We did'nt have milk with our meals growing up, but I enjoyed (and still do) chocolate shakes with my burgers . (hey, a shake does'nt really count now , does it?!? ) LOL

    thanks for the kind "trip report compliment", twinwillow..
    espescially praising the originality...

    this was ONE trip report that I hesitated a little with at first, as I was'nt sure just how much interest it would generate...
    (on my Miami trip report, one guy said he was yawning!)(part 1 was a little too much mall talk for him) (thank goodness that guy did'nt read THIS report, as he would just not quite "get it"...)

    But I must say that I am pleasantly surprised, as it's going over quite well...
    it was a great sign when I saw that I started getting replies right away. I think I may have struck a nerve, as so many people have either worked in the Catskills (while going to college, etc) , or met their mates there on singles weekends, or honeymooned there, etc...


    #12
    Twinwillow
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/09 22:08:01 (permalink)


    thanks for the kind "trip report compliment", twinwillow..
    espescially praising the originality...



    Ellen, You are quite welcome. And, you know my name. Please call me Michael
    #13
    tacchino
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 00:41:14 (permalink)
    ellen:
    keep posting your wonderful pictures....I remember countless times travelling up Route 17 between New York and my parents' house in upstate...the next time you go, let me know how the food at the Roscoe Diner is. I used to love the tuna melts there!
    #14
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 00:56:24 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by tacchino

    ellen:
    keep posting your wonderful pictures....I remember countless times travelling up Route 17 between New York and my parents' house in upstate...the next time you go, let me know how the food at the Roscoe Diner is. I used to love the tuna melts there!

    ironically, the 3rd night I stayed up in Roscoe at the Roscoe Motel..
    (after 2 nights at Kutshers)......it was a nice "sleeper" of a place...
    and it will be in my "Catskills , part 2" report, so stay tuned...
    and thanks for the kind words, tacchino

    I have'nt eaten in that Roscoe Diner in years, but it's known as a traditional meal stop for thousands of college kids that are heading back up to school, at places like SUNY Binghamton, and SUNY Oneonta..

    wish I'd known how good their tuna melts were; maybe next time...

    #15
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 01:03:39 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by msdiner

    Thank you for submitting this report, Ellen. I've never been to the Catskills but am interested in its history.
    Did the food get any better during the conference? (I would've imagined that food served at Catskills resorts years ago would have been great.)

    definitely not as much homemade food anymore.... steady decline...

    If you google "catskills institute" their great website will come up... (it shows as being associated with Brown university)(click on the top link)

    GREAT Catskills info and pics, etc......
    (I'm already excited about going back to next years conference)


    #16
    John A
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 07:24:36 (permalink)

    Nice report Ellen, thanks. I grew up in another part of the Catskill Mountains. Next time you get up that way take a ride over to





    While in the area have lunch at Dallas Hot Weiners on North Front Street in Kingston, my first time there was 55 years ago. Same for the Catskill Game Farm. We did take the Kids & Grandchildren up there just before they closed, a shame indeed. If you get down around Daytona Beach let me know.





    #17
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 08:55:24 (permalink)
    hey, John A.... and all else..

    I've been through Woodstock once, very artsy town...

    however, I want to clear up the misconception that many people still have that the 1969 Woodstock concert was held in Woodstock, NY!!

    As you would know, John, it was actually held in the town of Bethel,
    right next to White Lake, and right in Catskills Borcsht Belt territory.

    And last year, a new "Bethel Center of the Performing Arts" opened, right on the grounds of the original Woodstock, which is really helping to revitalize the area....
    so the Catskills may come back!! (just in a different way)

    Bethel will be in my "Catskills, part 2" trip report...










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    tamandmik
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 09:03:48 (permalink)
    Wow, I spent a week at Grossingers during the summer of 1979. I was too young to drink at the time, so you didn't serve me any cocktails. But that was a memorable trip for me. What a great week it was.
    #19
    John A
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 14:24:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ellen4641

    quote:
    Originally posted by John A


    Nice report Ellen, thanks. I grew up in another part of the Catskill Mountains. Next time you get up that way take a ride over to
    WOODSTOCK !

    I've been through Woodstock once, very artsy town...

    however, I want to clear up the misconception that many people still have that the 1969 Woodstock concert was held in Woodstock, NY!!

    As you would know, John, it was actually held in the town of Bethel,
    right next to White Lake, and right in Catskills Borcsht Belt territory.

    And last year, a new "Bethel Center of the Performing Arts" opened, right on the grounds of the original Woodstock, which is really helping to revitalize the area....
    so the Catskills may come back!! (just in a different way)

    Bethel will be in my "Catskills, part 2" trip report...





    Yep, you hit the nail on the head. The original concerts at Woodstock were called Soundouts. They knew what a giant "Woodstock" was going to be and that the town of Woodstock could not handle it. I did not attend, friends told me that local folks were arrested for charging people attending the concert for a drink of water, today a bottle of water costs more then a bottle of soda, LOL.










    What a deal, three days for $18.00. Looking foward to your next post.
    #20
    JAKE91
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 15:46:57 (permalink)
    wow ellen, this looked like one swingin', happenin' 3 days of fun and frolick.

    the chow looks delicious too!
    #21
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 16:19:04 (permalink)
    Sounds like the "vacation from hell." This would make a perfect gift certificate for two nights to someone you don't like. The place was in it's heyday for bubbie, zadie, and your parents. Not any more! Better to retain old memories. However, should you decide to revisit the place, here's a check list to make your future stay a more pleasant one:

    1. A fulll wet suit, goggles, fins, and a swim cap for the lake and possibly, the dining room
    2. Seat cushion for the card room chairs
    3. Large beach towels
    4. Board or video games from home
    5. A portable a/c or a box fan
    6. A large cooler of food, a portable camp burner, and some cook ware
    7. Hard sucking candy

    Lacking fin or tail, the gefilte fish swims with great difficulty, as do the guests of the Kutshers Hotel in Lake Anawana. My report to Trip Advisor would be "Feh."

    CSD
    #22
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 18:37:16 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by JAKE91

    wow ellen, this looked like one swingin', happenin' 3 days of fun and frolick.

    the chow looks delicious too!


    hi Jake, and welcome to Roadfood!! Always nice to see a new addition to our Roadfood family! (hey, there are still 3 spots left on our NJ hot dog bus tour for Sept 15!)
    #23
    ellen4641
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/10 18:51:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog

    Sounds like the "vacation from hell." This would make a perfect gift certificate for two nights to someone you don't like. The place was in it's heyday for bubbie, zadie, and your parents. Not any more! Better to retain old memories. However, should you decide to revisit the place, here's a check list to make your future stay a more pleasant one:

    1. A fulll wet suit, goggles, fins, and a swim cap for the lake and possibly, the dining room
    2. Seat cushion for the card room chairs
    3. Large beach towels
    4. Board or video games from home
    5. A portable a/c or a box fan
    6. A large cooler of food, a portable camp burner, and some cook ware
    7. Hard sucking candy

    Lacking fin or tail, the gefilte fish swims with great difficulty, as do the guests of the Kutshers Hotel in Lake Anawana. My report to Trip Advisor would be "Feh."

    CSD


    too funny, chicagostyle dog!!!

    If there was a contest, the 1st prize would be 2 days at Kutshers..
    the 2nd prize would be a week at Kutshers (and no checking out early allowed!)

    Yes, the Catskills was one of the places our parents adored..
    My mom and dad (RIP) would usually just go with other couples, and leave us kids home with relatives... and there was plenty of glamour back then.... my mom looked beautiful in her black mink stole jacket in the showrooms, etc....
    you would'nt believe some of the attire people wear in the showrooms and dining rooms nowadays!, comparatively speaking.... some folks just iron their best T-shirt, and throw on a pair of jeans..

    the funny thing was that I DID see guests in nearby rooms carrying in fans!! they may have gotten them from the front desk or something... I was too lazy to go get one; I was just hoping it would cool off a little by sleeping time around midnight...

    and I would definitely pack my own beach towels next time...
    or else pick some up at the 24 hour Wal Mart 3 miles away...
    that's got to be the busiest place in Monticello, that Wal Mart...)
    a sad reality when a Wal Mart becomes the most happening spot in town!

    I was okay without the board games , (Scrabble, anyone?!?) cause at least there were plenty of TV stations in my room.... I could watch my Fox news, and my CNBC, etc, .. but I did see a few young pre-teen boys with their Nintendos on the couches in the lobbies...

    And the funny thing is that when I deal poker in the casino, I DO carry my own thick, soft cushion around with me! (my special $5.00 Wal-Mart cushion) It's not cause the chairs are uncomfortable, though........it's just that I need the "elevation" for some of the reaching to bring in the players bets...

    I was supposedly in the crummiest section, that Rip Van Winkle section... however, some of our group said they were staying in the "towers", and they had no cold water, just hot water..
    and no washcloths... so they had there own set of problems..

    So I played it right, minds' well go for the cheapest room, as there would probably be little deficiencies everywhere... and the more you pay for the room, the more frustating it is!

    But, on the bright side, my toilet flushed real good!!

    #24
    PamF
    Junior Burger
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/11 17:05:10 (permalink)
    "breakfast the next morning was decent...I had poached eggs, (no fried food allowed on Sat. morning under the Jewish dietary laws), and some french toast"

    Sorry but isn't French Toast fried? Do Jewish people know of another way to prepare it?
    #25
    Scorereader
    Sirloin
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/11 18:19:10 (permalink)
    They used to hold the New York State School Music Association conference at The Concord Hotel and Resort in Kiamesha Lake. Good times. Definately a throw back, but even so, it looked in better shape than Kutcher's.
    They no longer hold the conference there (and I'm no longer in NY) but it was a good time.


    Incidently, someone mentioned Dirty Dancing. Funny thing, is that even in 1986 when they shot the movie (Sept-Oct), the Catskill resorts had lost their luster. The grounds of the main resort for the film were shot at Mountain Lake Hotel near Blacksburg, VA and the dance sequences, staff quarters and ballroom scenes were film at a youth camp on Lake Lure, NC (which is now a private residence and the staff quarters are all torn down).

    I'm heading to a wedding at Mountain Lake in VA this coming weekend.
    #26
    renfrew
    Double Cheeseburger
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/12 13:24:52 (permalink)
    quote:
    breakfast the next morning was decent...I had poached eggs, (no fried food allowed on Sat. morning under the Jewish dietary laws), and some french toast


    Great pics of an old institution. Growing up in New Jersey and going to a jewish day school, so many of my friends went to Kutshers or the Concord. Brings back memories.

    I just had to commment though on your sentence above. Jewish dietary laws, fried food, and saturday morning have nothing to do with one another.

    Saturday morning is also Sabbath morning, and cooking in general is not done by those who observe it. Still, you had poached eggs which require cooking. I am kinda scratching my head about that one. Not sure why this was given as a reason.

    There is so much misinformation about Kosher out there, trying to clear it up one item at a time...
    #27
    roossy90
    Sirloin
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/22 21:22:10 (permalink)
    Far cry from "Dirty Dancing", eh?
    #28
    nordmann
    Junior Burger
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/24 16:59:01 (permalink)
    I love your review. Keep up the good work.

    Not to nit-pick on technicalities, but the Catskills were the Borscht-belt well before the 1950's. I think the Catskill grand hotel tradition got started in the 1890's, although that wasn't specifically a Jewish-oriented trade. Things really took off with Jewish summer crowds during the 1920's, and I think the heyday is generally agreed upon as being the late 1940's. By the 1960's the downward slide had already started, as airliner travel made it feasible to go further abroad. (And why go to a beautiful location nearby when you can go to a beautiful location thousands of miles away?) So by the late 1970's, things had already pretty much devolved to the moribund economic state you see the area in today.

    If it's any consolation, most of the rest of Upstate New York is in even worse shape economically than the Catskills. (Yes, that is possible!)

    Want to know the saddest recent occurrence? The Catskill Game Farm closed last summer. That's part of my childhood--gone forever. I was there on closing day. People were crying as they left at closing time. I was very sad saying "bye" to all those animals (some of them rare and on endangered species lists) and wondering if they were going to end up being used for a "canned hunt" somewhere down in Texas.
    #29
    nordmann
    Junior Burger
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    RE: weekend in the Catskills ("borscht belt") 2007/09/24 17:28:42 (permalink)
    Oh wow. Now I've read some more of the other responses. Chicagostyledog, thanks for a really good laugh!

    Yes, it's really sad about hotels in the whole area. I used to XC ski every weekend day I could at the Rosendale Nordic Ski Club at William's Lake Resort back in the 1970's. The U.S. Olympic Biathlon team trained there, under the direction of Art Stegen--a good friend of my father's and fellow Norwegian. There were races every weekend (and I won a few of them). The whole place just bustled.

    So I've been back a couple of times as an adult. How sad. The ski club is ancient history. In fact, not many people on staff at the hotel even seemed to know it once existed. The area where they used to give out medals for the ski races hadn't changed at all--except now the paint is peeling off the walls and it smells like mildew. They still do have a few ski trails that they groom on the rare occasion that there's any snow on the ground to speak of. But there are so few skiers these days I'm surprised they even bother with it. Not much they can do about global warming, I guess.
    #30
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