Our first holiday season upstate a few years ago, our neighbors invited us to join them on what had become an annual holiday tradition for their local group of friends: A holiday dinner at the Deer Mountain Inn in Tannersville. We didn’t really know what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised to find the inn was a turn of the century mountain top ‘country estate’ that was locally known for it’s slightly over the top xmas decorations – thus the reason for the annual holiday dinner.
The inn is a charming, arts and crafts style building tucked several miles into the woods north of Tannersville. Nearby is the Onteora Club and Onteora Park – one of the “private enclaves that sprang up in the late 19th century as summer places for the wealthy, who wished to isolate themselves from the ‘riffraff,’” according to a 1983 article in the NYT. It’s a beautiful, historic area full of well-kept older homes that for the most part didn’t have the unfortunate decline that happened in the Catskills borscht belt further south.
The Inn itself changed hands in the past year and is going through a fairly extensive renovation. The restaurant recently re-opened, and the main dining room and bar have been simplified and brought back to a more classic, turn of the century arts and crafts feeling with less decoration and clutter. The dining room and bar both feature big, open fireplaces with couches and chairs to sit and chat and keep warm before or after dinner. The inn has six rooms that are still in the process of being renovated. We were told they were hoping to be finished and available in mid winter.
The food is local, hearty fare, with large portions, including items like venison, short ribs and steak. The service is what we like to call Catskill service – generally attentive, but not fast. One thing that we’ve learned about going out to restaurants in the Catskills is that nobody rushes service. Your food gets there when it’s ready and not a moment before. But with a pleasant atmosphere and our group of friends, it was a great evening, despite or maybe because of the big snowstorm that was happening the evening we were there.
If you go, be sure to make a reservation since it is a relatively small restaurant and it gets busy during the holiday season. We’ve made plans to go again, but this time in the summer, maybe for lunch, so we can hang out on the deck outside, then explore the area and gawk at the beautiful homes nearby.
790 County Highway Route 25
Tannersville, NY 12485