If you want to know what make’s Sullivan Catskills such a special place to visit, ask a local—and that’s just what we did. Join us as we explore this beautiful and exciting part of New York State with three LGBTQ individuals who live, work, play, and create here. The Sullivan Catskills are filled with many wonderful things just waiting to be experienced and enjoyed. From unique local business to art galleries, museums, theatre, scenic tours, farm to fork restaurants, and spectacular adventures in nature, there is truly something for everyone in this fascinating part of the USA.
Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
I am a serial entrepreneur. After a 15-year career in Publishing in NYC I started a business called Catskill Provisions in 2010 based in Long Eddy NY. The pillar at CP is honey. I am an avid beekeeper and want to do all I can to bring awareness to the environmental plight afflicting all pollinators today. They are crucial to our survival and are amazing beings. I also have been training in distilling spirits and right now as I write this I am opening my own distillery in Long Eddy. With a second branch to open late Summer 2019 in Callicoon NY, which will be open to the public! We will make our NY Honey Rye Whiskey, Pollinator Vodka, and Pollinator Gin from locally sourced non-GMO grains. This past Fall we planted our own rye wheat so this Spring we will harvest that and truly be grain to glass!
How long have you been living in Sullivan Catskills?
I came here for the first time 15 years ago. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, had a house here she had bought 5 years prior to my arrival. I fell in love with it all!
If you moved from somewhere else, what influenced your decision to move here?
I didn’t actually move here full time. I still have an apartment in NYC, but I spend more and more time here, which was my goal all along. I feel much more inspired here by the space we have and the closeness to nature. If you have something you do that you are passionate about and can do it here in Sullivan County, it is an ideal place to do it. It is affordable and gorgeous!
What are your favorite places to go for a cocktail and/or dinner?
Well there are a few amazing spots here! Cochecton Fire Station is a wonderful new spot for cocktails and inventive food, located in Cochecton NY. The Heron in Narrowsburg NY is awesome for cocktails and food along the Delaware River. Get a table outside if you can and sit high above a gorgeous spot of the river. For a bigger group, Hennings Local in Cochecton serves up some of the best trout dishes in the area. In Callicoon, NY there is a wonderful spot called Callicoon Wine Merchant. Robin the proprietor chef delights with his inventive delicious tapas and he selects affordable delicious wines to go along with them. For brunch, lunch or dinner the North Branch Inn located in North Branch NY is a must. It’s a small, quaint hotel with a restaurant that currently has one of my favorite chefs in the area, Chef Jay. Then in Livingston Manor there are a couple of spots I love. Main Street Farm for casual breakfast and lunch served in a local food market is one. The Kaatskeller is across the street for awesome pizza and cocktails. Right outside of Livingston Manor, the DeBruce has a Bar room for casual fare and great cocktails which is fab, and they also serve a multi course more formal dinner upstairs. If you find yourself in Shandelee, NY go to the Arnold House for cocktails lunch or dinner. If you’re in the mood for a little Vegas style casino action the new Resorts World Catskills is your place with several dining options, a great pool and spa and hotel as well.
What cultural attractions are a must see for visitors?
There are so many! I’m going to list a few you must see…There are many great hikes in Sullivan county of course and kayaking down the Delaware is an amazing experience. But let’s get cultural: At Bethel Woods Center for the Arts you can explore the museum focusing on the impact Woodstock music festival had on many aspects of our lives. The actual music festival in 1969 was staged at Yasgur Farm in Bethel NY. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor is great. This area boasts having invented fly fishing in the USA! The Fort Delaware Museum depicts life in colonial times in the area. Forestburgh Playhouse is a great spot to catch some Summer theater. The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance always has wonderful exhibits by really good local artists and it is located in Narrowsburg, NY. If you’re into catching a good current film the Callicoon Theater built in 1948 is the oldest continuously operated movie theater in Sullivan County and it’s awesome. Check out what the Tusten Theater in Narrowsburg has going on when you’re planning to visit. The Callicoon Art Walk held each October is pretty amazing and only getting better every year.
A friend is coming to Sullivan Catskills for the first time…Please describe the perfect weekend.
Kayaking is a must if you are into being outdoors with nature. You will see eagles, hawks, and the peaceful nature of the area is at its best. Go for lunch at one of the spots I mentioned above as they are all really, really good. Walk the town you find yourself in during the day and do some shopping, then for dinner head to another town I mention above as they are all between 20 and 45 minutes away from each other. Try to schedule a nature walk with Laura Silverman of the Outside Institute as she knows more about every indigenous plant and wildlife than anyone else I know. Head to your hotel or AirBnB and reflect on all your experience for the day. Get up the next day and do it again!
What is your favorite time of year in Sullivan Catskills and why?
I have always said that I don’t come here for the weather! All seasons are amazing, but if you make me choose then I would say I love Summer here because nothing is better than the slow hours of a beautiful Summer day. Cooking and eating outside is one of my very favorite things to do with friends and family. But in the Fall, around the first to second week in October, you are absolutely wowed by the colors exhibited here by every tree changing from its Summer green to vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows.
What’s one souvenir to bring back for friends or family?
The honey, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup here are exceptional. I can’t help but suggest our own of course, but there are many producers in the area that are wonderful.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Sullivan Catskills without…
Getting close to the Delaware River for a while and spotting a pair of bald eagles!