Gavin's Irish Country Inn: A Timeless + Kid-Friendly Catskills Getaway
Gavin’s Irish Country Inn hearkens back to the era when Irish immigrants would escape New York City to congregate in the Catskills, where the green, rolling hills reminded them of home. Three generations since its establishment in 1961, Gavin’s is still family-owned and it remains an easygoing Catskills paradise. Here, you can still listen to live Irish music, tell stories around the campfire, eat communal meat-and-potatoes dinners in the wood-paneled dining room, and relax over a pint of Guinness or cup of tea while your kids splash in the pool. You can still gather your loved ones and hike along the gorgeous, untouched stretch of Thorp Creek that runs through the inn’s wooded grounds.
A statue of the Virgin Mary overlooks the heated pool, and my Brooklyn kids heard the angels sing when they discovered that we had the entire on-site playground to ourselves on a perfect summer day. This just doesn’t happen in the city.
If you’ve ever seen that documentary about Irish dancehalls in the Catskills and wished to travel back in time to catch a glimpse of those old resorts, Gavin’s can help you with that. It remains the sort of place where everyone keeps an eye on each other’s kids and eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, in a big ol’ dining room that’s often filled with laughter. (Worth noting: 3 meals per day are included with your stay, starting with dinner upon arrival and ending with breakfast upon departure.)
People from all backgrounds are welcome, but there’s a strong component of Irish-American guests, many of whom are repeat visitors who’ve been vacationing here for many years. Beyond the shamrocks cut out of the wooden window shutters and emerald green signage, the Irishness of the resort shows itself through the solid line-up of Irish music performances that come to the inn every summer.
Gavin’s has the holy trinity of lawn games—bocce, cornhole, and horseshoes, plus a s’mores-ready fire pit surrounded by green benches and Adirondack chairs.
Beneath a wide, white tent, you’ll find ping-pong, air hockey, and foosball tables. The breezy game room, protected from the sun and rain, is the kind of place I’d imagine my 10-year-old niece and 13-year-old nephew would particularly enjoy, but the resort really considers kids of all ages. Gavin’s is so baby-friendly that they even have their own branded sippy cups.
The most spectacular thing that Gavin’s has to offer are their on-site nature trails that are available to guests. Personally, I think it’s worth staying here just to spend a quiet afternoon by this waterfall.
Gavin’s rooms are simple and clean. There are plenty of design-conscious lodges in the Catskills (and I just wrote about some of them for Brooklyn Based), but Gavin’s is not a hipster motel with retro vibes—it’s an actual, old-timey country inn. And it’s worth mentioning that their daily dinner menu is on-brand for a country inn, too. (Think Baked Pineapple Ham or Chicken Française on Sundays; Roast Pork or Baked Scrod on Wednesdays, etc.) They host barbecues on summer Saturdays, and their house-made scones are always on hand for a teatime snack.
If you’re booking a trip to Gavin’s, get ready to take a step back in time (though they do have free WiFi, thank goodness). You’re going for the waterfalls, the air hockey, the storytellers at the Pool Bar who’ve been visiting since the ‘60s. You’re going to experience the ever-beating heart of the old Irish Catskills.
And Gavin’s has a whole lot of heart.