athens ny

This posted originally ran on July 25, 2014. It has been updated.

Today, we want to show you around the Hudson River village of Athens in Greene County (west of the Hudson, about 2.5 hours from Brooklyn). It’s a worthy destination for a serene Memorial Day weekend getaway or a visit any time.

We went there just to explore the waterfront park since its recent upgrade, and overall, we came away feeling quite charmed by it all, even if Athens seems to suffer from that same eerie weekday quietness that other places around here do, as if the whole town is waiting for something to happen.

There are lots of empty storefronts with “for rent” signs in the windows, almost no cars driving around, and we encountered only two other people out walking. There is, however, a brew pub that emits the most tantalizing malty fragrance for two blocks surrounding its location, not to mention the most charming outdoor dining area on the waterfront that is connected to the historic Stewart House boutique hotel.

Other stuff we discovered on our jaunt: Athens has a town pool, a huge cemetery, and tons of great houses. Take a visual tour of the town after the jump.



The circa-1850 Bussy Building in Margaretville

The Delaware County village of Margaretville has had its ups and downs. Charming though its streets may be, all that charm couldn’t protect them from flood damage of historic levels when Hurricane Irene rolled into town in 2011.

However, Margaretville did just exactly what so many other plucky, tough-as-nails Catskill Mountain towns do when disaster strikes: It got up, dried itself off, rebuilt what it could, and got on with life.

While you won’t find a happening nightlife in Margaretville (you’re in the wrong mountain range if you want that, although we hear Hunter Mountain gets pretty rowdy during the winter), what you will find is a centralized village packed with historical architecture, mom-and-pop shops, a swell bookstore, and close proximity to outdoor recreation of all sorts, including hiking, fishing, swimming, kayaking, bird watching — we could go on.

Margaretville’s population is around 600, and the village is situated in the town of Middletown near the border of both Catskill Park and Ulster County and along the banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River. It’s located approximately 3.5 hours from Brooklyn.


ashokan reservoir

You can’t tell by looking at it, but a wealth of history lurks beneath the still blue surface of the Ashokan Reservoir. Several towns’ worth of history, in fact.

Roads, blacksmith shops, churches, private residences, thousands of acres of farmland, and untold personal items all became submerged when the reservoir, located in Ulster County, was constructed in the early 20th century to provide water to New York City. While it still supplies water to New York, the 190-foot-deep basin has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Catskills, providing visitors a place to boat, fish (with the appropriate permits, of course), and behold some seriously gorgeous views. (more…)

saugerties orpheum theater at night

Orpheum Theater, Saugerties

Saugerties offers the best of upstate in one place. Look to the west, and you’ll find the Catskills. Look to the east, and you’ll find the Hudson River. Bisecting the town and village across the center is the Esopus Creek, making Saugerties a point at the intersection of some very fun, very pretty outdoorsiness.

Located in Ulster County about 2.5 hours north of Brooklyn, Saugerties has seen its fair share of hard times, not unlike its other upstate counterparts. Locals can recall a time when the village’s indie movie house, the Orpheum Theater, showed adult movies. During the 1990s and early 2000s, however, Saugerties found itself in the midst of a renaissance.

Brooklynites and others started coming up to look for antiques in between hikes in the Catskills and kayak trips down the Hudson and Esopus. Meanwhile, quirky, independent shops started to move in, locavore eateries began opening up, and a large-scale equestrian center made Saugerties its home, turning the once-languishing Hudson Valley burg into one of the area’s most popular (and coolest) small towns.

saugerties lighthouse

Saugerties Lighthouse

If you visit: Grab a pint of craft beer goodness from the Dutch Ale House. You can stick around for one of the burgers, or you can head down the block to Miss Lucy’s Kitchen on Partition Street for sophisticated, simple and seasonal fare. Browse the selection at the Hudson Valley’s largest indie bookstore, Inquiring Minds Books and Cafe.


107 fishcreek rd saugerties ny

107 Fishcreek Road, Saugerties: $675,000

We get it. The standard 3 bed/2 bath 1500 square foot split-level Ranch isn’t going to cut it for you. You want something unusual. You want to pull into the driveway and gasp with delight at the house you own. Your friends and acquaintances will invite themselves over just to catch a glimpse of the inside of your house, the coolest house on the block. You want a place that you never, ever, ever want to leave on Monday morning. In that case, cast your discerning eye this-a-way and behold a former Catholic oratory, an eclectic tower, and a geodesic dome, all located in Ulster County, west of the Hudson, approximately 3 hours from Brooklyn.


63 island drive copake ny

63 Island Drive, Copake: $3500/mo.

It’s not too late to find your perfect upstate New York summer escape. The Brownstoner Upstate rental listings include a bumper crop of  seasonal, short-term rentals as well as longer leases. Don’t want to commit to a purchase? Maybe you want to try the Hudson Valley and Catskills on for size before you take the big plunge? Considering spending some quality time up north in one of these rentals from Columbia and Ulster Counties.


379 sickler woodstock ny

379 Sickler Road, Woodstock: $399,000

Why Woodstock and Willow, you ask? If you’re asking, then you’ve probably never been. Woodstock’s charms have been widely disseminated throughout the land, but the wee hamlet of Willow, located just outside of Woodstock has charms all its own. The woodsy kind. Not a walkable, artsy, and famous village like Woodstock. Willow is for nature-lovers, looking to hide away. Woodstock and Willow do have one thing in common, though: Both are on an NYC bus route. The Trailways stops in the middle of Woodstock village, and it also picks up here in Willow hamlet. Would we suggest living in Woodstock and Willow without a car? Probably not. But the option to ride instead of drive is nothing to sneeze at for some trying to reduce their car usage. So, this week, we’ve handpicked properties in Woodstock and Willow, all convenient to public transportation.


313 cottekill rd stone ridge ny

313 Cottekill Rd, Stone Ridge: $450,000

Few things spark our fancy like the thought of a rambling farmhouse upstate. Luckily, such properties abound in the Brownstoner Upstate real estate listings, too many to post all at once, in fact. So we took the liberty of paring down the list to four of our favorites, ranging in price from $450,000 to $299,000, located in Columbia and Ulster Counties. Now, we understand that some of the handier among us prefer the fantasy of fixing up and refurbishing a farm house in the country. The reality of a project like that, however, is far more laborious and time-consuming than some want (suggested reading: Country Matters by Michael Korda). For those who like their farmhouses turn-key, this one’s for you.


75 willow glen milan ny

That Friday afternoon drive to the country is long enough. Why add an extra hour along windy back roads at night just to get to your upstate abode’s driveway? We think you shouldn’t. Get home faster by sticking close to the main thoroughfares.

This week, we’ll be doing just exactly that by looking at some fabulous housing situated 10 minutes or less from the Taconic State Parkway, which runs east of the Hudson River, passing through both Dutchess and Columbia Counties.


306 cherry st katonah ny2

306 Cherry Street, Katonah: $799,000

Think Ranch-style homes are boring and lackluster? Think again. You never know when the most nondescript exterior is concealing a classy arrangement on the inside, maybe even a Mid-Century Modern gem in a plain brown wrapper. We’ve excavated a mother load of attractive traditional one-story and split level versions in Ulster, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties, ranging in price from $189,500 to $799,000. Continue to plumb the depths of all the Brownstoner Upstate listings here. Perhaps you’ll discover your own buried treasures.


115 main st esopus ny

115 Main Street, Esopus: $159,000

Close proximity to the Hudson River doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drop a small fortune on a house. If you know which river towns to explore for more bang for your buck, you might find yourself living in a sweet deal not far from the area’s most famous water body. This week, we’ll be looking at four properties listed for less than $300,000, all located in Hudson River towns.


1579 sawkill rd woodstock ny4

1579 Sawkill Road, Woodstock: $349,000

This week, we pose the following question: Why be satisfied with just the house and some land? Why not look for a two-fer? Or a three-fer? Or a six-fer? That’s exactly what we’ve done this week on Brownstoner Upstate. We’ve scoured the listings in search of properties that come with a little something extra thrown in, like a guest house, or an extra apartment, or a barn or two. Our offerings hail from Woodstock, Kingston, Copake and Accord. Copake is located in Columbia County, east of the Hudson River. The rest are in Ulster County, west of the Hudson.