ESCAPE BROOKLYN'S GUIDE TO THE AREA
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
Located in the Delaware River Valley, Hankins is a hamlet in the larger town of Fremont. Don’t be deceived by the word “town” though–it’s population was just 1,400 at the last count. The region is spattered with tiny little hamlets and towns to discover, the closest of which are Callicoon and North Branch, each about a 15 minute drive. If you’re visiting the MILK BARN, we’d recommend small-town-hopping in the area, where you can easily spend the day popping into antique and thrift stores, eating, drinking, and enjoying the outdoors. Starting in Callicoon, its river views, restaurants, and tiny shops create a quintessential river town vibe. Check out the IOU Thrift Store, or Callicoon Trading; for a rainy day, see a movie at Callicoon Theater, a historic movie theater that’s reminiscent of the “good old days” of film. Don’t miss the brewery, either!
Just a bit further south, Narrowsburg is another hip little town with great shopping like Nest, a beautiful home and lifestyle boutique; Maison Bergogne, an antique shop in an old car garage; and One Grand Books, where the stacks are determined by “desert island” picks from celebrities, authors and artists. Afterward, snag a seat on the patio for drinks or a meal at The Heron. In Livingston Manor, sign up for a farm tour at Apple Pond Farm to hold some adorable baby animals and learn about renewable energy and off-grid living; then stop in for lunch at Main Street Farm or The Arnold House.
For an outdoor adventure–or if you’re just looking for a great photo-op–head to Russell Brook Falls about 35 minutes from MILK BARN. Once you’ve reached the parking lot, the hard part is already over; the massive waterfall is just .1 miles into the trail. (Once you hear the falls, before you cross the bridge, veer off to the right for the trail heading to the sound of the waterfall.) On your way there or back, be sure to drive through the town of Roscoe, the fly-fishing capital of the United States. This “drinking town with a hunting problem”–or so say the tees at Prohibition Distillery–has no less than 6 hunting and fishing shops, and is also home to a brewery, fantastic handmade pasta, and lots and lots of fishing.
Last, MILK BARN is about 25 minutes to the site of Woodstock. (No, Woodstock did not take place in Woodstock. In fact, Bethel and Woodstock are nearly 60 miles apart.) Park your car and wander the property at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts to see the field where the magic unfolded, along with the pond where festival-goers swam and bathed. The museum on-site is open from April to January.
PLACES TO EAT NEARBY
Though we mentioned a few restaurants above, there’s a couple more stand-outs that it’d be a crime not to mention. The big one not to miss is the newly opened North Branch Inn, just 15 minutes down the road from MILK BARN. This beautiful hotel, tavern and restaurant have caught the attention of The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and more since its opening in September. The food is cooked by chef Erik Hill, previously of Hudson Clearwater in NYC and also the Arnold House. If bowling after your meal is half the fun here, then watching Erik prepare the food is the other half; the kitchen is totally open, and just steps away from the two-lane, hand-set bowling alley.
Another foodie hotspot in the area is the new location of Henning’s Local. This farm-to-table joint is in the most inconspicuous place possible: above a Mobil gas station. By description alone, we thought the restaurant would be small and cozy–but it’s actually quite large and loft-like. Reservations are recommended for this meat-heavy menu, but vegetarians might want to look elsewhere to dine.
Last, if you’re one of our long-time followers, you already know about our affinity for local, small-town dive bars… and this guide is no exception. Lucky for us, there’s a gem of a dive bar right down the road from MILK BARN, called McGurrin’s Pub, complete with darts, a juke box, and a great back yard with a barn. It’s the perfect place to begin or end your evening,–that is, if you can pull yourself away from the MILK BARN.