From Food to Nature, 5 Highlights to Check Out Along Route 28
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Aerial view of the Glenford Dike section of the Ashokan Rail Trail
  • Aerial view of the Glenford Dike section of the Ashokan Rail Trail

Visitors to the Catskills will know Route 28 for its grand mountain visitas. For locals like Lisa Halter, owner of Halter Associates Realty, it's her daily commute. With an office in Kingston, one in Woodstock near her home, and a passion-project house she's renovating in Phoenicia, Halter is a regular of the scenic Ulster County byway.

It's also a route she recommends for anyone looking to buy a home in Ulster County. A tour of Route 28 will take you through much of northwestern Ulster County, including popular Catskill towns like Woodstock, Boiceville, Mount Tremper, and Phoenicia. "There are so many great sights that give you a flavor for the region's storied history, scenic beauty, and diverse culture" Halter says.

And with peak autumn foliage headed our way, it's the perfect time for a road trip through the mountains. Below, Halter shares a few of her must-visit spots on Route 28.

Gourmet Row in Kingston

Ten minutes west of the Thruway roundabout in Kingston you'll find a roadside plaza that's home to a handful of gourmet food and beverage shops. If you're looking to fill up your picnic basket for lunch, make a stop here to grab some sandwiches from Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go, a spread of European cheeses and charcuterie from Cheese Louise, and a bottle of vino from the Wine Hutch.

Ashokan Rail Trail

Gliding along the northern shore of the Ashokan Reservoir is the 11.5-mile-long Ashokan Rail Trail, which runs from West Hurley to Boiceville. The project, whose most recent leg to Boiceville was finished this spring, converted the old Ulster & Delaware railbed into a haven for hiking, bicycling, running, nature observation, and when weather permits, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Panoramic views of the reservoir can be seen from both the West Hurley and Boiceville trailheads while the Ashokan trailhead located in the middle is home to a boardwalk that meanders over peaceful marshland.

A blood orange chocolate sundae with candied pistachios and cherry compote at Fruition Chocolate
  • A blood orange chocolate sundae with candied pistachios and cherry compote at Fruition Chocolate

Fruition Chocolate Works in Shokan

Tucked in a quiet plaza in Shokan is award-winning confectioner Fruition Chocolate Works. Headed up by acclaimed chocolatier Brian Graham and his wife Dahlia Rissman Graham, Fruition's maker space in Shokan is where the bean-to-bar magic takes place. Stop by to grab a few of their single-origin chocolate bars and a box of caramels to enjoy post-picnic or for treats to dole out to lucky friends back at home.

A sculpture by Steve Heller at Fabulous Furniture.
  • A sculpture by Steve Heller at Fabulous Furniture.

Fabulous Furniture in Boiceville

Just as you crest a particularly scenic hill at the edge of Boiceville, you'll find a storefront with an eye-popping futuristic sculpture garden complete with a space-age rocket, UFO, and flying car. But you shouldn't just stop at the lawn. Inside the store, you'll find more of the creations from furniture maker and artist Steve Heller, including a wide selection of live-edge wood furniture and metal sculptures made from restored car parts.

The Esopus Creek

Hailed as the birthplace of American fly fishing, the mighty Esopus Creek's beauty and historic significance is definitely worth a stop. It conveniently weaves around Route 28 from Boiceville through Phoenicia and out to Big Indian, so it's easy to scout an access point to go fishing, wade into the bracing waters, or catch the sunset from the valley as it fades behind the mountains above.

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