Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Catskill Mountains

Is a region of the state of New York between the Adirondack Mountains to the north, and the Poconos to the South in Pennsylvania.  It encompasses the counties of Greene, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster.  The Catskill Park is forested and the biggest in the area.  As to the origin of name, it has many stories but I believe it has nothing to do with the killing of a cat.  I was surprised to find that the trees were already changing color and the temperature dropped down to the forties at night in middle of September.

 I drove county roads with no particular destination. The area is mostly farm and dairy country with multitude of barns and corn fields.  They were harvesting the corn and it looked tall and full of ears; this area does not appear that is suffered from the drought that has hit the rest of the country. Near the village of Corbett and ran into the Cable Auction Barn above.  And not too far north, I crossed a covered bridge (below)  into the town of Downsville built in 1854 for $1700 and restored in 1998 for $1,000,000.  As to the restoration, there was no apparent intent in using old construction techniques as it obvious by the marks of modern machinery used to cut the timbers and by the large galvanized bolts holding it to together, so I would not call it a restoration
 While in Downsville, I had the opportunity of visiting “Covered Bridge Antiques.”  It is unique in that some of the rooms have items savaged from other businesses.  One of this is full with the equipment of a barber shop that was originally in Brooklyn, NYC.  The owner Mr. Garry Hood was kind to tell the story of the barber shop and to allow me to photograph it; notice the metal stool in top of the barber chair used to cut children’s hair.

Leaving Downsville I headed northwest towards the town of Hamden and at the road intersection between Rt. 26 and 10, there was an scarecrow selling fall produce such as pumpkins, squash and gourds.  Going north in Rt. 10, I ran into the Octagon House which is currently a Bed and Breakfast.

Farther north drove by the Hanford Mills Museum; the building to the right in the photo is the Feed Mill built in 1910; the grain elevator was added in 1961.  The building in the center is the mill originally built in 1846 and houses the gristmill and sawmill powered by a watermill and a steam engine; the gear still works and is used for demonstrations during the fall.  The smaller building to the left is the horse stables.

From the mill I headed to Oneonta in route to the Cooperstown Beverage Trail to taste some of the local’s brews.  In the way there, I saw this old garage with the front covered with old tools that I could not resist shooting.
The Ommengang Brewery was closed for a concert but the Cooperstown Brewery was open for “free” tastings (not always, I just got lucky today)…I did buy a case of Pale Ale that is gone; sorry, can’t share. 
 Next to the brewery is an old railroad depot where old locomotives and cars are parked; kind of a museum.  Of particular interest was a snow plow used in the olden days, this is a behemoth of a machine with lateral arms that extend to clear the side of the tracks.
 There were not many eateries in the country roads so I ended at the Otesaga Hotel, one of the Grand Old Resorts of the 1900’s overlooking “Glimmerglass Lake. The lake is now known as Oneonta and is the headwaters of the Susquehanna River that ends in the Chesapeake Bay. This is town is famous because it claims that the first baseball game was played here, the reason for the Baseball Hall of Fame being located here. Of more interest to me is that James Fenimore Cooper was born here. He wrote many books about the Delaware Indians that lived around Cooperstown that was founded by his father. The movie “The Last of the Mohicans” was based on one of his book but ironically was filmed in North Carolina. As for the luncheon…I had a great Ommegang Brewery beer.
The photo opportunity in this area is numerous and deserves a return trip.  There are lots of landscapes, waterfalls (that I did not photograph and left for my friend Chris to enjoy) but prefer old barns, and one in particular is unique, the red round barn.  Some will be gone soon.

And yes, someone in the Catskills has a great imagination and sense of humor...Rust in Peace.