KINGSTON, NY — Rail Explorers, the Phenicia-based bike-on-rails attraction, has been named the 2022 Tourism Company of the Year by the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Eight companies, business leaders and organizations will be honored during the Chamber’s Business Recognition Awards Celebration Dinner at Wiltwyck Golf Club, 404 Steward Lane, Kingston, on Thursday, October 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Other honorees include J. Mullen & Son’s Inc. of Saugerties for Ulster County Business of the Year; Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room for Small Business of the Year; Charles Blaichman of CB Developers and Hotel Kinsley as Entrepreneur of the Year; and Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties for the Community Engagement Award. The Heritage Award goes to Scanlon Dry Cleaners. Ulster County Archivist Taylor Bruck has been named an Emerging Young Leader and the Len Cane Heart of Ulster County Award will go to Tom Struzzieri of HITS.
Since 2018, Rail Explorers has offered an eight-mile round trip along the tracks of the historic Ulster and Delaware Railroad on pedal-powered rail bikes that race along Esopus Creek and through the forests of the Catskill Mountains.
The company, owned by Mary Joy Lu and Alex Catchpoole, also offers rail bike adventures in Cooperstown, Las Vegas, Newport R.I and Boone Ia.
“Rail Explorers is a welcome addition to Ulster County’s tourism industry providing jobs, economic growth and international exposure,” the Chamber said, adding that MTV’s Amy Schumer and Nev Schulman have taken a ride on the attraction.
The Chamber added that the attraction has grown from serving 13,000 passengers in its first year to 31,000 in 2021, making it one of the top attractions in the county.
The operation started with 11 employees and has now grown to 23 seasonal staff members ranging from young adults at home through college to retirees and those with special needs, the Chamber said. A guide exchange program allows guides to experience a season at any other Rail Explorers location and owners pay travel and lodging costs for staff, based on information provided.
Rail Explorers has established partnerships with Emerson Resort & Spa and Woodstock Brewing while also providing sponsorships to local non-profit organizations and events such as the Catskill Animal Shelter and the Phenicia Farmers Market.
For more information or tickets, visit https://www.ulsterchamber.org/business-recognition-awards-dinner/.