A vacation guide to Margaretville, NY in the Catskill Mountains
About Margaretville NY
Margaretville NY is a small town of about 600 year-round population in Delaware County on the west side of the Catskill Park area about 3 hours northwest of New York City. It’s one of the bigger towns in the area and has so much to offer to the surrounding communities with its small-town country feel.
I was introduced to this quaint town some 37 years ago when I met my now-husband, Gerry. You see his parents, Herbert and Simone, decided to build a small cottage to enjoy their retirement and with the help of their 4 sons, their vision became a reality. Unfortunately, my father-in-law (whom I never knew) passed before his dream came true. Simone kept this cottage which her whole family has come to cherish.
Over the years our children spent many weekends with family in our small cottage on the top of the mountain making memories which we still laugh about as we all tell the stories. Gerry used to let our daughters drive up the road that leads to the cottage which was known as grandma’s mountain to our family. The girls used to “fight” as to whose turn was it to “drive” grandma’s mountain. We would sled ride, have water balloon fights and spent countless hours playing cards and evenings around the fire. One of our favorite pastimes was driving around looking for deer around the Papacton Reservoir and the Mill Road area. Some evening we could count more than 50! You see this town called Margaretville was home to our family.
Over the years Margaretville has been hit hard with flood damaging many areas in the village in 1996, 2006 and again in 2011. The Bun & Cone, the CVS and the Supermarket (the A&P in 1996 and Freshtown in 2006 and 2011) as well as other village stores, houses and apartments sustained heavy damage or were totally destroyed. The community and business-owners of Margaretville came together each time to rebuild and tried to make their town better.
The Papacton Reservoir is part of and the largest (in volume) of the New York City Watershed and runs from the East Branch River near Margaretville to Downsville, NY. It supplies 25% of New York City’s drinking water. This water is unfiltered making NYC water supply the largest unfiltered system in the world. Because of this, there are strict rules in the area surrounding the reservoir.
It’s known for its recreation area, with great hiking, fishing (brown trout), and non-motorized boating and is about 20 miles long and ½ mile wide. All non-motorized boats must be steam washed before entering the reservoir. Fishing is allowed but swimming is prohibited. You need a permit from the NYCDEP in order watershed property. Click here for more information or to obtain a permit.
Things to Do in Margaretville
Due to Covid, check with the individual company as to what is open and if there are any restrictions as things are consistently changing.
Delaware Ulster Scenic Train
The Delaware and Ulster Railroad operates a scenic rail train that goes from Arkville to Roxberry (2.5-hour ride)and a shorter trip from Arkville to Halcottsville (1.25-hour trip) through the Catskill Mountains mostly along the East Branch of the Delaware River.
The train operates seasonally from Memorial Day weekend through the end of October on weekends and usually runs two trains daily. The best time of year to take this scenic ride is during the fall foliage from late September to the third weekend in October depending on the weather.
My family has taken this train ride on many occasions throughout the years. It’s an enjoyable ride along the river and mountainside.
Union Grove Distillery
It’s a NY farm distillery where 75% of their products are made from local NY products, located on Route 28 in Arkville. You can go for a tour and a tasting of their products. Current products include Vly Creek vodka made from apple and wheat and Catskill Mountain Maple Spirit vodka made from maple syrup. They don’t serve any food so you are more than welcome to bring your own picnic.
Pakatakan Farmer’s Market
Located in the round barn on Route 30, on Saturday from mid-May to Mid-October from 9 am to 1 pm and extended season from mid-October to mid-November from 10 am to 1 pm, the “red barn” is open with all local produce, meats, and cheeses. You can get breakfast there from the many food vendors. There are also craft vendors.
Hannah Mountain Resort and Country Club
Hannah’s Mountain Resort operates a hotel, golf course, and restaurant right outside the center of town in Margaretville. This par 72 19-hole course in the mountains features beautiful scenery throughout your day on the greens. And it’s a challenging course as well. Golf Digest has named the 13th-hole “the Terminator”, one of the toughest in the USA.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and also has catered affairs such as weddings and conferences. Food is American fare. I’ve been to the restaurant which was good but it’s been years since I’ve been there not because of a bad experience just that we have other favorites in town that we seem to go to all the time.
The lodge has 29 rooms with two queen beds in each and a log cabin guest house featuring 3 bedrooms upstairs and 3 baths and six single beds in a camp-style bedroom, great for a family reunion. They have an outside hot tub and an indoor pool. I’ve personally have never stayed there since we have a cottage right outside of town. Click here for information.
Firemen’s Carnival and Fireworks
During the Fourth of July week, the Margaretville Fire Department has its annual Carnival fundraiser. It is open from Tuesday through Sunday with a grand firework display on July 4th as well as the Saturday night of that week. This is the best firework display I’ve seen and my favorite week to visit Margaretville. You see the fireworks are absolutely beautiful and echo off the mountains, something that you would never expect in a small town.
The carnival also has games and rides, a car show on Friday night, local bands, local brewery, a delicious chicken BBQ twice during the week and all kinds of carnival food.
Catskill Forest Festival
The end of July brings the Catskill Forest Festival which includes a lumberjack show, a logging competition, petting zoo, art and craft show a truck parade, maple products for sale and local breweries and food.
Annual Margaretville Cauliflower Festival and Tractor Parade
Every September the annual Cauliflower Festival is in town featuring the pure Catskill tent with the tasting of local products produced in the Catskills, pony rides for the kids, an art and craft show and of course lots of cauliflower for sale. It’s just a good old fashion fall festival.
Restaurants in Margaretville NY
There are many restaurants to choose from when eating out in Margaretville. Some have been around a long time, since I’ve been going there, and some are new within the last couple of years. Here is a list for you to try when in the area:
The Inn Between
The Inn Between has been in town since I’ve been going to Margaretville offering casual riverside dining with American fare. We go here often. The food is good and consistent and the service is friendly. We never make reservations but have had to wait on many weekend nights. If you want a table by the window so you can see the river you will need a reservation during peak seasons (summer, hunting, and ski). The restaurant doesn’t have a website but does have a Facebook page with their weekly menus.
Oakley’s (Arkville, NY)
It’s always a pleasure having dinner at Oakley’s. This is a local restaurant with friendly staff and good food. They have a wood-fired oven where they cook pizza, and also wood grills for burgers and chicken. During the warmer months, you can eat outside on the patio and they usually have a band on weekends. We eat here often, it’s affordable and we never had a bad meal.
They were mentioned in an article from I Love NY as one of 11 Best Pizza in the State in 2019. This place also gets a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor.
Bun & Cone
The Bun & Cone is a landmark to the locals in Margaretville known for its burger & fries and ice cream. It’s been there all of the 37 years I’ve been going to Margaretville. Serving the best ice cream in town, I love the root beer float.
Binnekill Square was the original restaurant that was in Margaretville for over 30 years and the owners retired leaving an empty location for a while. I’m glad to say that last year the location has been revived and is now the Binnekill Traven. Its mountain comfort food with a rustic charm atmosphere and has a copper-covered fireplace. I’ve haven’t eaten here yet but will differently go after reading the great reviews.
There is another new restaurant in town that opened in December 2018 which has gotten great reviews. Trattoria Locale serves classic Italian cuisine all homemade being compared to fine eatery in New York City. I’ve personally haven’t eaten here yet but it’s on my list of restaurants to try. They also serve Sunday brunch.
Crazy River Café & Deli
Located on Route 28, serving breakfast and lunch, this is a local place with affordable good food. You can sit outside beside the river and enjoy your meal. They serve omelets, pancakes and french toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch.
The Cheese Barrel
On the corner of Main and Bridge Streets, the Cheese Barrel has been in town for many years serving breakfast and lunch and has a coffee bar with expresso. They have a small market selling specialty cheeses, candy, pasta, and other fine products. It’s also a great place to go for ice cream.
Places to visit around Margaretville
Bellaire Ski Lodge and Summer Festivals
Bellaire is a state-run ski lodge. Over the past several years New York State has been revamping and improving the ski lodge to help the economy of the area and from what I hear it’s turning into a fun family ski resort. They have a kids camp where children learn to ski and can ski to their ability while their parents enjoy more challenging slopes.
It’s not only a winter ski attraction but spring, summer, and fall festivals are making it a year-round destination. Take a ride on the scenic gondola especially during fall foliage. For more information visit their website here.
North/South Lake State Park
One of my favorite day trips is about an hour ride from Margaretville is North/South Lake State Park. You can read about it here from my article on 20 Getaways from New York City (#4 Catskill, NY)
Mine Kill State Park
Located about a half-hour from Margaretville in North Blenheim, this state park has so much to offer. The attraction of the Mine Kill Falls, an 80′ waterfall with a pool underneath where you can swim on a hot day is the highlight. The park also has other hiking trails, disc golf, an Olympic-size pool with wading area and bathhouse, playground, kayak rentals, fishing, and picnic area.
Catskill Scenic Rail Trail
The Catskill Scenic Rail Trail is approximately 25 miles beginning just north of Roxbury and ending just north of Bloomville. The path is a wide hard surface trail where you can run, hike, bike, cross country ski, and horseback ride. It is not opened to any motorized vehicles including ATV and snowmobiles. The trail runs through many towns including Grand Gorge, Stamford, and Hobart.
You can access the trail and park your vehicles at the following area:
- North of Roxbury on Route 30 at the Hardscrabble Road
- The intersection of Route 30 & Ferris Hill Road just south of Grand Gorge
- At the Railroad Depot on Railroad Ave in Stamford
- The trailhead on Route 10 just north of Bloomsville
My family has sent many good times bicycling this trail as the gentle grade makes it easy for all members of your family.
You can also read about tubing in Phoenicia in the section of the Catskills here.
Ashokan Rail Trail
The Ashokan Rail Trail is scheduled to open in October 2019 and goes 11.5 miles from Basin Road in West Hurley and Rt 28A in Boiceville. The multi-use trail constructed of crushed stone will hug the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir offering beautiful views of the area.
Hiking in the area
Palmer Hill is a 1.5-mile round-trip hike heading towards the town of Andes (right off Highway 28) that gives you spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. This is a pleasant moderate hike.
5 Catskill Fire Tower Hikes
The 5 Catskill Fire Tower hikes are within an hour driving distance of Margaretville, NY. Check our my article describing each one in details and where the trails start.
This article is dedicated to Simone Walker, my mother-in-law, who would have turned 100 years old this year. We were lucky to have shared so many memories with her over the years. She passed a few years ago at the age of 97.
Although our place is not big or elaborate by any means, my in-laws left their family a gift we all will cherish forever… our memories of all the times we had at our little piece of paradise. I long for our future grandchildren to fight over” whose turn is it to drive up grandma’s and grandpa’s mountain”.
You see, there are grandma’s mountains, and grandpa’s lake and nana’s and poppies beaches all across America. It’s what makes family memories live on forever in our hearts.
Where is your Margaretville?
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