The Village of Fleischmanns
Visit the Village of Fleischmanns’ page
Where in the Catskills do Chinese martial arts, conservative Judaism and Mexican food come together?
In a tiny village where summer has become a multi-cultural experience. Welcome to Fleischmanns!
In truth, this community has historically been a place of many languages as New York City residents, many of them immigrants from Poland, Germany, Hungary and other European nations, flocked to Fleischmanns for relief from the summer heat. These days, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish are also components of the local soundtrack, making Fleischmanns one of the most diverse communities in the region. Fleischmanns is an incorporated Village (that means it has a Mayor, a Board of Trustees and its own budget).
Adherents of Buddhist Shaolin Chan practice “action meditation” at their USA Shaolin Temple, a former summer camp just outside the village. The Spinka community of Hasidic Jews moves en masse from Williamsburg, Brooklyn each summer to worship, study at the yeshiva which was once the Fleischmanns School, and enjoy the pace of village life. A large Mexican-American community operates several businesses in town, including a restaurant and an authentic Mexican café and grocery.
A 19th-century center of commerce and industry in the Town of Middletown, the Clovesville and Griffin Corners area evolved into a summer haven for wealthy families, including the Fleischmanns who made a fortune in the yeast and distilling business. They established a hillside compound of five mansions and a baseball park which they gave to the community in 1913, when the Village incorporated and adopted the family name. The Wagner Avenue park, including soccer fields, tennis courts, streamside picnic tables and an accessible play area for children of all abilities, is still a busy place.
What else makes Fleischmanns special?
- The Museum of Memories, located in a Victorian-era carriage barn on Main Street. Open on summer weekends, it celebrates the area’s illustrious history, from the tanneries that once supplied Civil War boot leather; to the Jewish farmers who started Congregation Bnai Israel in 1918; to the prominent personalities, like radio and television star “Molly Goldberg” who got her start at her family’s boarding house here.
- Historic Skene Memorial Library, also on Main Street. It was built in 1901 with substantial support from steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, childhood friend of Dr. Alexander Skene who had an opulent summer home in nearby Highmount.
- The municipal swimming pool across from the park on Wagner Avenue. It is open to the public in July and August but will be closed for repairs in 2016.
- The road to the beautiful Halcott Valley. Officially situated in Greene County, you can only get to Halcott through Delaware County. Take County Road 37 from Main Street, Fleischmanns and enjoy a drive or a bike ride through some of the prettiest scenery in the region.
Visit Arkville’s page
Hear that whistle blow? You’ve arrived in Arkville!
Once a center of commerce and industry in the Town of Middletown, Arkville treasures its heritage as a railroad hub and invites visitors to take a lazy ride along the East Branch on the Delaware & Ulster Rail Road’s Rip Van Winkle Flyer.
Driving into Arkville from the east you can’t miss the train station set against the backdrop of Dry Brook Ridge. The Ulster & Delaware Railroad operated from 1871 through the mid-20th century. Its successor, the DURR excursion line, was established in 1982. For a taste of the heady days of rail travel, come aboard for the 24-mile round trip ride to Roxbury between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. The mini-museum in the depot and the vintage rolling stock in the Arkville rail yard are real treats for train lovers of all ages. Grab a bite at the caboose luncheonette, or at a local eatery and enjoy a picnic on the scenic grounds.
Arkville is also a cultural and recreational hub, home to two regional environmental organizations and a swimming and fitness center that is open to the public. The protected lands and waters of the Catskill Park have long beckoned to outdoor lovers eager to fish the Bushkill and Dry Brook, and tramp the forested hills surrounding Arkville. Put on your hiking boots and try the German Hollow Trail just a mile up Dry Brook Road from Route 28, or cast a line in quest of the wily trout at nearby public access points.
What else makes Arkville special?
- It is home to the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, located in the grand old Victorian former tavern and boarding house on the knoll where the Byway intersects busy County Route 38. Stop in on weekdays to see what’s showing in the art gallery there.
- It is the headquarters of the Catskill Forest Association, which helps today’s forest landowners sustainably manage their woodlots, whether for income, recreation or wildlife.
- Artists, writers and photographers find four-season inspiration here, as did residents of the Pakatakan Artist Colony (1886 to 1921) whose shingle style homes and studios are now occupied as private residences.
- Year-round indoor fun can be found at the Catskill Mountain Recreation Center on County Route 38, just half a mile from the center of the hamlet. Pools, exercise equipment, fitness classes and bicycle outings are offered.
- Union Grove Distillery shows visitors how craft spirits are made from local ingredients in a cavernous room where comedian Milton Berle once performed and local youngsters roller skated.
Halcottsville and Kelly Corners
Big red barns are an iconic calling card of the rural Catskills. But big red ROUND barns? There’s only one of those, and it’s in Halcottsville.
Known simply as the Round Barn, this historic structure is only a few miles off the Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway, on NYS Route 30 north, but it is well worth the detour, especially on Saturdays between May and October when dozens of vendors at the Pakatakan Farmers Market occupy the whitewashed space where once Jersey cows awaited milking. Stop for a bite to eat, then shop for morning-fresh seasonal produce, fine crafts, and locally produced specialties. Picnic anyone? Find wine, bread and artisinal cheese and off you go!
Nearby, in Kelly Corners, the Hubbell family continues to do what they’ve always done on their 1840s homestead farm: raise livestock, make cider on an ancient apple press, boil sap to make maple syrup, and occasionally crank up the sawmill for public demonstrations of a once common farm industry. Thirsty? Refill your water bottle at Hubbells roadside ‘trough,’ where pure, cold water from an artesian well runs continuously, available to the passing public.
The hamlet of Halcottsville itself (cleverly hidden just off Route 30) is the go-to spot for travelers looking for a quieter mode of locomotion. Rent kayaks (sit-upon, stand-upon or standard) to paddle on the East Branch of the Delaware River. The abundance of great blue herons, bald eagles, river otters and waterfowl make this outing a photographer’s dream.
What else makes Halcottsville and Kelly Corners special?
- A serene pocket park tucked between the post office and the venerable 1908 fire house. Admire magnificent dual bronze sculptures, “Ascent,” an unexpected cultural treasure. It was created by artist Mark Pilato in his former studio here in response to the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
- The river. For many years the East Branch was dammed to provide power for a grist mill and to generate electricity for the hamlet at the historic building that still stands by the water’s edge. The pond that resulted was called Lake Wawaka. The river is free flowing again, but you can still take a leisurely walk or bike ride on the road that encircles the former pond. You might even get to wave to passengers aboard the Delaware & Ulster Rail Road excursion as it chugs along on riverside tracks. (Go back to Arkville for a ticket to ride the DURR.)
The Village of Margaretville
Visit Margaretville’s page
The kids are getting antsy in the back seat. So are you, truth to tell. Time to cross the bridge, park the car and enjoy the day, like that guy down there, knee deep and loving it, in the world famous East Branch of the Delaware River, reeling in a rainbow trout.
Time for a bit of Rest, Relaxation & Recreation: Welcome to Margaretville!
The largest community in the Town of Middletown, Margaretville (Pop. 596) is an incorporated Village (that means it has a Mayor, a Board of Trustees and its own budget). It is the retail and service hub for a wide area; home of Margaretville Central School (K-12 enrollment 384) and Margaretville Hospital. There are restaurants and a supermarket, banks and pharmacies, an auction house, specialty shops and lots of parking.
Parks, too! The wide open space of the Village Park allows plenty of room to run and play and watch the clouds roll past. There are picnic tables in the one-of-a-kind pavilion, designed and built by Pratt Institute students. Grills and benches overlook the East Branch. The park is the home of the annual Cauliflower Festival in September, when the agricultural heritage of the region is celebrated. You can feed the ducks at Binnekill Park and try to imagine a time when this little stream powered mills and businesses along its banks. When school’s not in session, you can walk down Main Street to the colorful playground next to Margaretville Central School and relax while the kids play and imagine . . .
What else makes Margaretville special?
- Art! The Longyear Gallery, an artist-run cooperative, and the Catskill Artisans Guild, offer original art and photography, hand crafted toys, furnishings, clothes, cosmetics and more in the Commons Building right at the Village’s only traffic light. There’s even a public restroom!
- The iconic, multi-hued Bussy Building, dating back to the 1860s. It’s the perfect place for a selfie. Let friends and family know you’ve arrived in Margaretville!
- The Open Eye Theater at the north end of Main Street stages plays, readings, musical performances and other events all year round.
- It’s a natural starting point for a bike ride along NYC Road 1 (South Side Road). Pedal a country road above the tailwaters of the Pepacton Reservoir, the largest of six NYC reservoirs in the Catskills. Or, hike, bike or drive about a mile to the Dry Brook Ridge trailhead on South Side Rd. Spur. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, and sign in for a head-clearing, lung-filling walk in the woods along a marked trail.
Visit New Kingston’s page
It’s not that time has forgotten the hamlet of New Kingston. It just hasn’t changed it much.
Residents here are happy to live in a quiet, undeveloped corner of the Catskills, where there are no stores or eateries, where neighbors still greet one another at the post office, and where honey from bees in the back yard is sold on a bench in the front yard.
The entire hamlet of New Kingston is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. A marker next to the post office explains that the community got its name when 5,000 acres in the area were granted to the ‘Kingston sufferers” after that Hudson Valley city was burned by the British during the Revolution. Few of the ‘sufferers’ ventured into the wilds to claim their land, but in time, other pioneers drifted west to establish the classic farm village that is so captivating today.
What else makes New Kingston special?
- The two remaining dairy farms in the Town of Middletown operate at the far end of the valley. Holstein and Jersey cows graze in surrounding pastures, a once common scene that has become a rarity in the region.
- Quiet roads with little traffic are perfect for a slow ride in the country, on four wheels or two.
- The Blue Deer Center, just south of the hamlet, offers workshops and retreats for study, contemplation and healing guided by nature and the teachings of ancient peoples. They welcome pre-arranged visits.