Located on a nature preserve just 90 miles north of New York City, The Chatwal Lodge is a back-to-nature retreat specializing in expert-led outdoor activities and hyper-seasonal cuisine.
The lodge’s 11 accommodations are the picture of Catskills-chic, with vaulted ceilings, deep-soaking tubs, and private decks overlooking the Toronto Reservoir Lake.
The wildlife-rich area is a playground for adventurers and nature lovers, no matter the season. From woodland hiking and estate tours to plein air painting and ice fishing, here’s a preview of the activities on offer for the 2023 season.
At The Chatwal Lodge, there’s something for every member of the family—from arts and crafts to boat tours and competitive board game nights.
On guided two- to three-hour walks along the lake, guests will learn to identify different rocks before heading back to the crafts area to chisel and decorate them with paints and other materials. For another view of the lake, families can opt for an hour-long boat tour on the Toronto Reservoir aboard a luxury craft pontoon or speedboat.
The experience offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife as the captain highlights notable architectural buildings on the water’s edge. For arts and crafts, there’s a leaf-gathering excursion followed by a collage-making session in the dedicated arts area.
Or guests can create a spring bird house for the nesting season, which they can take home or install in the lodge’s woods, or build a kite with Captain Clifford, the property’s experiences director who has immense experience leading tours around the country.
Also on offer: a stroll through the woods to create a “winter food tree,” complete with nuts, seeds and other foods that are safe for the native animals to eat. If temperatures plunge, families can partake in a movie night with Disney classics, complemented with popcorn and sweet treats. After-dinner s’mores by the camp fire is a popular end to the day.
For Nature Lovers
The Chatwal Lodge is surrounded by 30 acres of environmentally protected land and set on the stunning 1,000-acre Toronto Reservoir Lake.
Guests have access to hiking trails dotted with chestnut trees and hidden water streams and populated by white-tailed deer and nesting balding eagles. For a guided outdoor experience, consider a woodland hiking experience led by Captain Clifford. There’s also a naturalist-led foraging hike, during which guests will learn how to identify edible food in the wilds of the Northeast.
Want to kick your outdoor survival skills into high gear? The Chatwal Lodge offers outdoor skills classes with instruction from their registered guide on how to navigate using a compass, make tools from nature, and read a map. A separate experience will teach guests basic and advanced fishing and wilderness knots for boating and camping experiences.
Hiking boots and rain jackets can be borrowed from the property’s on-site selection. During the winter months, the “Stargazing at the Fireside” experience is a perfect way to take advantage of the clear night skies: a specialist guide will scan the cosmos using a telescope, pointing out different constellations like Orion and Canis Minor, while guests huddle around the fire and sip warming beverages.
For Art Lovers
It’s impossible not to feel inspired while at The Chatwal Lodge. Guests can opt for a plein air painting or mono print session at a scenic viewpoint on the property or join Captain Clifford as he collects natural materials on the estate (think: stones, wood, vines, and leaves) and shows guests how to create a natural sculpture.
Curated by a lodge staff member or a guest artist, learn the art of lino block printmaking, a Japanese technique that dates back centuries, using linoleum blocks, rubber stamps, and ink.
To experiment with other materials, sign up for the “Create a Piece of Winter Art experience” that includes paint, charcoal, mixed media, clay, and other materials to create a one-of-a-kind piece to bring home.
For Sporting Enthusiasts
From ice fishing excursions to archery lessons and target shooting, sports enthusiasts have plenty in the way of diversions at The Chatwal Lodge. And for those who are curious to learn how to cast a line, there are complimentary fly-fishing classes offered twice a week, plus fly tying lessons.
Meanwhile, more advanced anglers might consider a guided fly-fishing excursion to famous trout streams such as the Bever Kill, Willowemoc, Neversink, and the east and west branch of the Delaware River.
The Chatwal Lodge is located in the heart of some on the best flyfishing in the country. A pre-packed gourmet lunch to enjoy on the shore is offered as part of the experience. In the winter, guests can strap on a pair of snowshoes and hike through a beautiful wintery landscape, with spicy snacks and warming drinks as extra motivation.