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New York Makers' Guide to Exploring Greene County

New York Makers' Guide to Exploring Greene County

Columbine flower blooming in the town of Jewett, Greene County

There’s no place like...Greene County. We admit it. We are smitten. Along with the recently published New York Makers’ Blooming Greene (County!) article, our team shares a collection of its favorite, must-see Greene County destinations below.

Palenville

For food and shopping, roadside attraction, and grubhub Circle W General Store (the building is quite photogenic, sparking a recent stir of social media popularity) offers a breakfast and lunch menu of coffee and tea, egg dishes, bagels, salads, wraps, and soups. They have gluten-free and vegan options, as well. The cafe, furnished and decorated in a mishmosh of mid-century enamel dining tables and vintage Catskills photographs and illustrations, doubles as a grocery and gift shop with an array of local artists’ goods for sale.

Circle W General Store

Circle W General Store: 3328 Route 23A. (518) 678 - 3250.

Tannersville

For shopping, antiques are ripe for the pickin’. Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center is a good place to start. With two locations practically side-by-side, one with an adjoining basement full of timeless treasures, you could easily lose hours looking through each seller’s booth.

For food, Maggie’s Krooked Cafe should not be missed. After leaving the Hamptons for Tannersville, local legend Maggie (Landis) established her place in this mountainside community early on. You can catch a glimpse of her, in the kitchen of her Krooked Cafe, cooking up food for every palette and preference. Don’t be shy -- give Maggie a “hello” -- she will pour loads of love into your meal. In case you are wondering, the cafe’s name comes from its, yes, crooked floors.  

Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center: 6041 & 6045 Main Street. (518) 589 - 5600.

Maggie’s Krooked Cafe: 6000 Main Street. (518) 589 - 6101.

Hunter

For exploration, take the mind-blowingly scenic Route 23A up to Kaaterskill Falls, the tallest two-tier waterfall in New York State. The two-mile, moderate hike is a nature lover’s dream. At times you may feel like you’ve gone off trail, and maybe you have, traversing the cascading creek beds and examining plant life, but stick to the jagged labyrinth and eventually you will find the smaller compliment to Kaaterskill, Bastion Falls, a beauty viewable from the road.

From left to right: Bastion Falls and Kaaterskill Falls sign off Route 23A

For lodging, or just a cocktail overlooking Hunter Mountain (we suggest being adventurous and ordering bartender’s choice), Scribner’s Catskill Lodge should be a stop on your trip. With cozy, southwestern-meets-mountain-home vibes, and a rotating bar and restaurant menu stocked with several locally-sourced beers, spirits, and food ingredients, the ambiance makes you feel right at home in the belly of the bold terrain of the Catskills.

Also for food, newly-opened Jägerberg Beer Hall and Alpine Tavern could not be a more perfect place to chow down after a long day of exploration (many thanks for this tip from Casey and Steven at West Kill’s Spruceton Inn -- see our West Kill recommendations below to learn about their lodgings!). From the moment you walk through the door, warmly greeted by owner Kim McGalliard and then seated in the thoughtfully-designed space, to the challenging, drool-inducing task of deciding which authentic German dish(s) to choose, and then tasting it, every second spent in this lively chalet makes for a memorable experience. We expect you will leave wanting more...crispy potato rosti! Kim says she’s especially excited for the summer, when the restaurant plans to open the front patio for Essen im Freien (or outdoor dining for our non-German speaking audience).

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge: 13 Scribner Hollow Road. (518) 628 - 5130.

Jägerberg Beer Hall and Alpine Tavern: 7722 Main Street. (518) 628 - 5188.

Windham

For relaxation in a charming, cottage-like setting, book an appointment at the Windham Spa. Get there early and wind down with tea in the sunny and serene main floor waiting area. At this sublime respite, one blissful moment leads to the next, as you are taken upstairs for the treatment of your choosing, from the muscle-melting Sleepy Hollow massage to the playfully-named Chicken Noodle Soup meant to boost your immune system. The Windham Spa also offers manicures, pedicures, facials, and more on the menu.

Windham Spa: 16 Mitchell Hollow Road. (518) 734 - 9617.

West Kill

For lodging, we highly recommend Spruceton Inn. Off the grid? Check. Views? Check. Affordable, hospitable, and comfortable? Check. Check. Check. With just 9 rooms, husband-and-wife owners Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg, keep it low-key, simple, and intimate. The rooms, including the petite Room One, a.k.a. Check-In/Bar/Cafe Counter/Gift Shop/Wi-Fi Headquarters, are intentionally bare and bright, though with subtle and important details not to be missed (like one or two of Steven’s watercolors in each room).

The observed rustic minimalism, we take it, is to compliment, but more likely meant to highlight the Inn’s dramatic location, and the experience of enjoying it while sitting quietly around a sizzling fire at dusk on the edge of the Inn’s meadow, sipping some of the last Wayside Ciders of the previous season. This is a memory that sticks. Oh, and a fascinating, random part of the Inn’s history: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cousins owned and operated the hotel under the name Schwarzenegger’s Sunshine Valley House from 1960 - 2003, and, as the framed memorabilia in Room One proudly promotes, even “Arnold Slept Here”...You can too!

Spruceton Inn

For drinks (craft beer lovers, listen up!), West Kill Brewery (to remind those not familiar with all the “Kills” in New York, these are bodies of water, usually rivers or streams, with names bestowed by early Dutch settlers), just a few minutes down the mostly residential road from Spruceton Inn, is perched above, and out of sight of, unsuspecting passersby. Just follow the scent of the Catskills Beverage Trail (and the sign just off Spruceton) and hang a left at the fork uphill. There you will find the West Kill Brewery taproom, along with a passionate group of farmers and foragers who have mixed and married their love of local ingredients with traditional beer-making. Sit down and enjoy tastings of your choice, or take a growler beer jug or cans to-go.

Spruceton Inn: 2080 Spruceton Road. (518) 989 - 6404.

West Kill Brewery: 2173 Spruceton Road. (518) 989 - 6001.

Leeds

For coffee and gifts on-the-go, park your car just outside the darling storefront of Hartland on Hudson. Part espresso bar/pastry counter, and part design studio/retail shop, grab a hot drink (try the honey latte) and browse the shelves for stationery, gift wrap, and tattoos designed in-house, and loose-leaf teas, coffee beans, and beverage accessories from some of the owners’ favorite purveyors.

Hartland on Hudson

For food, Gracie’s Luncheonette is the place to go. Dining alone? Grab a seat at the old-fashioned, but modern, diner counter amongst many of the locals (lots of “hellos” and “how are yous” can be overheard there). Going with a group? Gracie’s has plenty of seating in their main dining area. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails. The menu includes fan favorites like Fried Chicken & Waffles and the Pimento Cheeseburger, and both go deliciously with one of their homemade sodas.  

Hartland on Hudson: 1130 Main Street. (518) 303 - 3639.

Gracie’s Luncheonette: 969 Main Street. (518) 943 - 9363.

South Cairo

For culture, take the out-of-the-way, but worth it, drive to the Mahayana Buddhist Temple site. The 166.5 acre, 40+ year old campus is set back deep in the woods, and upon reaching the first signs of settlement, you are quickly transported to, or perhaps bewildered by, a fascinating energy you feel when you jump out of the car. Surrounded by what seems like an entire town of traditional Chinese architecture, this place is a particularly special retreat for followers, as well as for the curious general public that visits all year round.

Mahayana Buddhist Retreat

Mahayana Buddhist Temple: 710 Ira Vail Road. (518) 622 - 3619.

Catskill

For shopping, and fantastic conversation with some of the friendliest business owners you will EVER meet, nothing beats the main drag of Catskill, the county seat. It is here we escaped from the snow when we were visiting and popped into what is now one of our favorite lifestyle stores, Village Common. First admiring one of our New York Makers’ work on display, The Highlands Foundry upcycled textile totes and hand-blown glass bell jar, and then shifting focus to owners Blake Hays and Benjamin Lebel’s private label candles and fragrances, we found a trove of handcrafted items to see, touch, and smell. The airy shop mood feels just right.

Village Common

Continue the day shopping your way down Catskill’s Main Street. See Chrisie at Corduroy Shop for one-of-a-kind “fine storied cloth” furniture and home goods. Stop in Magpie Bookshop for a new and used selection of literature. Check out iivi Shop, a Scandinavian-fashion outfitter and stockist of another of our New York Makers Workday Wear, town-florist Pistil Whip Design (humorous tagline “Floral Disobedience”), and newly-opened Spike’s Record Rack for musical surprises and classics. A Tangled Thread offers imported home accessories and the children’s books of Esme Shapiro, who happens to be the shop owner’s daughter. At Sister Salvage, where we picked up an old and delightfully worn Guide to the Catskills book, meet the “Queen of Pickers” mover and shaker Deb Parker, who is also a well-known real estate agent in the area.

From left to right: Pistil Whip Design, mural off Main Street, Magpie Bookshop

According to local chatter, Etsy’s former co-founder Rob Kalin is not only a resident, but a creative asset and enthusiastic Catskill supporter, and among a number of projects, co-founded Catskill Wheelhouse, a cooperative school for children ages 3 - 6 that functions generously on a sliding scale for tuition payers.

In any event, this story would most certainly be a novel if we continued to list all of the great happenings in the town of Catskill. You should see for yourself, but allow a minimum of 2 full days!

Village Common: 388 Main Street. (518) 313 - 1310.

Corduroy Shop: 396 Main Street. (518) 598 - 9550.

Magpie Bookshop: 392 Main Street. (518) 303 - 6035.

iivi Shop: 355 Main Street. (518) 943 - 3809.

Pistil Whip Design: 374 Main Street. (518) 238 - 8123.

Spike’s Record Rack: 400 Main Street. (917) 653 - 2453.

A Tangled Thread: 347 Main Street. (518) 303 - 4638.

Sister Salvage: 390 Main Street. (917) 327 - 9999.

Athens

Athens, as mentioned in Blooming Greene (County!), is a town to keep an eye on…

For food, Bonfiglio & Bread is where the “foodies” like to go. With words like fennel, brodo, camembert, giardiniera, and honeycomb gracing their chalkboard menu of specials, it’s no wonder they’ve been visited and reviewed by elite tastemakers like Conde Nast’s Traveler and Modern Farmer. Recently relocating to Athens from Hudson, Bonfiglio’s is known for their bakery goods, but packs a punch in the breakfast, lunch, and pizza departments, too. 

For lodging, the highly anticipated opening of The Stewart House, which is projected to be the middle of May, has us stalking their social media almost daily. The Victorian building hugs the corner of 2nd and North Water Streets, standing three stories pretty and tall. Its east facade faces the river, as does one of the true highlights of the property, the outdoor garden right on the Hudson River. We’re also swooning over photographs of the interior copper-plated staircase, the weeping willow wallpaper, and 3rd-story skylight. If you’re planning a visit any time soon, we say book now -- doubtful rooms will last!

Outdoor garden of The Stewart House

Bonfiglio & Bread: 44 2nd Street. (518) 444 - 4705.

The Stewart House: 2 North Water Street. (518) 444 - 8317.

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For more Greene County resources and tourism information:

Greene County Government

Great Northern Catskills of Greene County

Travel Hudson Valley

Visit the Catskills

Please note, not all Greene County towns were covered, this article represents a collection of our personal experiences and recommendations.

Written with contributions by Audra Herman, New York Makers' Marketplace Director.

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