by Amanda Geronikos
When I told my family and friends that I visited the Catskills, almost every person mentioned the classic film, “Dirty Dancing.” And when someone asked if I stayed at a hotel like the one in the movie, I actually replied “yes,” because there was plenty of Irish dancing, children’s activities, food and festivals, similar to the events “Baby” and her family attended in the 1987 hit.
There’s nothing luxurious about Gavin’s Irish Country Inn. It’s old and hasn’t visibly been updated in a while. Yet, it has a unique charm that I’ve never found at another resort.
The hotel’s history began in 1961, when Ireland-natives Nellie and Jim Gavin purchased Golden Hill House. With eight children in tow, the Gavin family turned old-fashioned boarding houses into a resort for families like themselves.
While the owners of the resort have “passed the baton” several times since its inception, the business has stayed in the family, maintaining its original cozy, Irish ambiance. Today, it has eight buildings, a pool, a pub and more.
Our Editor Loves
- All-inclusive, four-season resort
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Children's activities
- All Inclusive Rates
- Water Parks
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Game Room
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Housed in several buildings and a cottage, 65 very basic rooms accommodate guests. Each unit has a private outdoor entrance (similar to a motel) with a small, shared patio and chairs.
We stayed in one of the Plan B rooms, which had a Queen bed, mini refrigerator and bathroom with a shower. Beyond that, there wasn't much, other than a small dresser and desk. It was just enough space to sleep, but certainly not a place to spread out and relax. Other Plan B rooms come with two twin beds, two double beds or one double bed. All of these units are smaller than the average hotel room.
Plan A rooms offer slightly more space, with two double beds and a pool-side view.
If you're traveling with a large group, book the cottage, which has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a common area with a microwave, refrigerator and a flat-screen TV.
If you’re part of a big Irish family (my wife is) around the NY,PA,CT. area, there’s no better place to hold it than at Gavin’s. It’s a throwback to the old Catskills days when resorts were abound. Gavin’s has gone through a renovation and it continues today. Great place to bring the family to relax and enjoy some Irish music at night. All the meals included and a variety of things to do during the day.
by Kathy B
We just spent a wonderful weekend here with our family. We were there for The Willie Lynch Band. Friendly staff, good food, and comfortable lodging.The pool was open and heated. We had Aunts,Uncles,Grandparents, children and babies! And friends,of course! The playground was very enjoyable for the kids and they went fishing nearby and saw a beautiful waterfall! Bernadette, the Innkeeper was very friendly and accommodating. A lovely little gift shop and a welcome tea with Irish soda bread and scones. Coffee and tea(Barry’s) anytime!Loved it and we will be back!
If this resort didn't offer any anything to do, I still believe families would love its simplicity. I judge this by the kids I saw running around the property, laughing and playing for hours.
Many families like to rent games, which can be found in the lobby. Gavin's also has a large, outdoor pool, which sits in the center of the property and is surrounded by a patio with lounge chairs. Other onsite activities include bonfires, barbecues and hiking.
A big thing here: Irish dancing. On a Saturday night, the pub at Mountainside Grille will be packed with families (yes, families), who literally dance the night away.
Included in the rates, hearty, no-frills meals abound at Gavin's Irish Country Inn. There's nothing exceptional about the food, but this could very well appease the kids.
Breakfast, served from 8 to 9:30 a.m., features a "Muffin of the Day," alongside a breakfast buffet of bagels, fruit, juices and more. Oatmeal, eggs, French toast and pancakes are cooked to order, and are served with bacon and toast.
In the early and late months of Gavin's operating season--May, June, September and October--a light lunch buffet is served in the Tea Room. This usually includes salads, cold cuts and a hot dish.
Dinner comes in three courses, and usually includes two menu options each night. For example, you might have a choice of Roast Beef or Baked Salmon on a Monday night. If your kids are picky, or if you have a vegetarian in the family, let a staff member know and he or she will ensure the cook caters to your needs. Dinner is served from 6 to 7 p.m.
During the summer months, families like to sit on the poolside deck at Mountain Grille. Meals at the Grille are not part of the all-inclusive plan, but start at just $5. Options include hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, sausage and peppers and a special of the day. This place and the food remind me of a snack stand at a baseball game.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
A big draw for this resort is its themed packages and festivals, which are offered just about every weekend. During Columbus Day weekend, I attended the Annual Guinness Oktoberfest -- this included live music, a moon bounce for the kids and free pints of Guinness for adults.
Packages include the Splish Splash Water Special, usually offered in June, which features a complimentary Zoom Flume Water Park voucher. The Halloween, CooneyTunes & Last Hurrah Weekend includes a free round of golf at a nearby course, trick or treating, a costume parade and live music.
The Art of Smart Timing
Gavin's Irish Country Inn is an all-inclusive, seasonal resort, open April through October. From November through April, the hotel now offers room-only rates.
There isn't a particularly good or bad time to visit, as the hotel hops with excitement from opening to closing day of the regular season. I'm personally partial to a fall visit, however, having seen the gorgeous foliage in the Catskills.
When you research Gavin's Irish Country Inn ahead of your trip, you'll probably see that it's in East Durham, N.Y. That's true, but it's specifically located in the small town of Cornwallville. If you enter East Durham in your GPS, you'll never find the hotel -- it's tucked away.