Sometime last summer, a friend of Dan's posted on Facebook about a new bed and breakfast, The Arnold House, opening up in her small Catskills town. Two weekends ago, the weather was warm, the trees were bright and autumnal and we wanted to get the hell out of New York City, so we booked a room at The Arnold House for the following Saturday night.
Of course, by this past weekend, it was bitterly cold and as we closed in on Livingston Manor, NY, two hours west of NYC, snow blanketed the ground. Also, it turns out it was the first day of hunting season. But hey, whatever—we were out of the city and we were happy.
Our first stop was the Main Street Farm. Livingston Manor is a tiny, tiny place and the other open businesses in town were a bakery and an outdoor supply shop, so it seemed strange that there was this carefully curated, expensive gourmet store and cafe plunked down in the middle of it. We ate some local smoked trout that we're going to be obsessing over for a long time. We spent the rest of our weekend trying to find some to bring home, but had to settle for some suspiciously different-looking stuff purchased at the Grand Central Market once back in the city.
When we walked out of the market, a car swerved and pulled in front of us and the only two people we know in Sullivan County popped out. Stacy, who wrote that initial Facebook post, and Nick have lived in Livingston Manor for ten years. They're back and forth to the city and do a multitude of cool things in the music, design, and literary worlds. As we stood on the corner catching up with them, Dan's landlord from his Brooklyn printshop walked by with two other women. It was confusing for all involved to run into each other there! We went back to Stacy and Nick's cozy, fire-heated home for a while, and then we headed over to The Arnold House to check in.
The Arnold House opened in its current incarnation in May of 2014. The history of the building as an inn goes back to the 1920s, though. There are 20s, 50s, 60s, and 70s influences on the building and decor. Our room was adorable, with cork floors and a comfy bed. The best part of the place, though, was the lounge. Filled with beautiful mid-century furniture, an orange ceramic fireplace, displays of glass milk bottles, a games chest, a cake platter of often-refreshed cookies... it was amazing. Before dinner, we took a quick icy walk around the grounds, which were beautiful and probably really fun over the summer. We sort of imagined taking some hikes while up there, but it was too cold, for one, and too dangerous with all the hunters around. We were not disappointed to have to be more sedentary. After dinner, we sat by the fire and played Scrabble.
The tavern, located downstairs from the inn, is cozy and wood-paneled. We happened to show up in town on the day of a chamber music concert and, as mentioned, the opening of hunting season, so the other patrons were a strange mix of classical music aficionados and drunk hunters. Steve Katz from Blood, Sweat and Tears and The Blues Project was booked to play there that night, a lucky coincidence as Dan had posted this to his blog only two months ago. Unfortunately he was set up in the corner with no amplification and his quiet, sweet acoustic music was drowned out by dudes shouting about football and "ten-pointers." We had a nice time listening to him, at least. In the morning, we had breakfast, included with the price of the room, in the dining room. Hardboiled eggs, a quiche, homefries, bacon, yogurt and granola, coffee, OJ—it was very nice.
We'd read about Sonoma Falls, a seven-tiered waterfall with a cider press. It was advertised that they press the cider every Sunday at 11am. We showed up right on time, to an almost completely empty store that seems like maybe it was fun and fully-stocked before the apocalypse. Maybe not quite that bad, but the three very friendly people inside were confused to see us and they were out of apples for the season. We bought a jug of mediocre cider to alleviate the awkwardness and headed out. (The falls were small, but pretty).
Next, we took a drive to see two local covered bridges. They were a little scary to drive over but charming and it was a nice way to see more of the area.
We considered heading further along to a trout hatchery but couldn't figure out how to get there, so we went off the Callicoon Farmers Market instead. Located about 30-40 minutes from Livingston Manor, Callicoon is a bit bigger but still super small and cute. There's a brewery, a single-screen movie theater (we almost went but it was playing the only movie either of us have already seen in months) and a few small cafes. It was the last day that the farmers' market was outside for the season before moving to an indoor location. We bought local hard cider, sunchokes, pork chops and some gigantic apples for Thanksgiving pie. Every patron seemed straight out of Park Slope--maybe they were.
On the way home, we took the scenic drive along the Delaware River (the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway). We swung through Barryville, which we'd heard of but seemed entirely deserted--it must just be a summer destination. The views along the drive were incredible. There were little stop-offs to look for bald eagles (we didn't see any) and the coolest bridge we've ever seen. It was called the Roebling Bridge and used to be a canal OVER the Delaware River, built to alleviate ship traffic.
We stopped at our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Bronx for dinner before arriving home. But while we're content to blow up The Arnold House, Main Street Farm, and the Roebling Bridge, we're keeping that restaurant a secret.