Blue Mountains: Native Americans referred to the Catskills as Onteora--- Land in the Sky, while the first European settlers along the Hudson River knew them as the Blue Mountains. In his epic work, The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock, the late Alf Evers wrote, "They are commonly known by the name of the Blue Mountains, on account of a blueness or haze which they present to the eye when seen from a distance." It wasn't until the nineteenth century that these mountains, and the region, became known as the Catskills, a representation Evers credits to the tales of Washington Irving and the legendary Catskill Mountain House.
Over time the mountains would inspire a group of landscape artists loosely known as the Hudson River School with Thomas Cole among them. In Picturesque Ulster R. Lionel De Lisser quoted Cole as saying, "Must I tell you that neither the Alps, nor the Apenines (sic), no nor Etna itself, have dimmed in my eyes the beauty of our own Catskills." As recent as the year 2000 the late Thomas Locker published a slender book of Catskill landscapes appropriately titled, In Blue Mountains: An Artist’s Return to American’s First Wilderness.
Yes, much has been recorded about these mountains and this region--- America’s first wilderness, known for its rich history, woody summits, chaste rivers, cherished forests, outdoor recreation, and treasured art. On occasion these mountains towering over New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir still appear “blue” as seen in the landscape below, perhaps just the way early settlers observed them from afar.
Blue mountains autumn, 11x14: