As you enter Margaretville via a small bridge over the Delaware River in the western Catskills, you’ll encounter a kind of Brigadoon, a charming town with an eclectic mixture of old and new: shops, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries, markets, and a growing art community.
There’s more than enough in Margaretville, New York, to entertain day-trippers, weekenders, or those looking for longer stays. And while some would say that, with a population below 600 and a length of about .7 of a mile, Margaretville would not exactly qualify as a hub, it is actually the largest village in the heart of the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, a 52-mile path that includes such towns as Phoenicia, Pine Hill, Shandaken, Middletown, and Andes, as well as the villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville.
Margaretville is about 140 miles from New York City, which should take a little less than three hours by car. The fastest route is I-87 north to Kingston and then Route 28 west to Margaretville. The best bus route is via Trailways and takes about 4 and a half hours, with a change in Kingston, New York.
You can successfully navigate Margaretville without a car. There are inns, restaurants, and shops within walking distance from the Trailways bus stop. However, if you do want to explore some other charming towns and areas of natural beauty, Sensible Car Rental is steps away from the Trailways bus stop.
Things To Do In Margaretville
Community Events And Festivals
The Margaretville Auxiliary Hospital Thrift Store on Main Street is one of the best places to buy any second-hand goods you may need, and all profits go to the Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center. (Amid the pandemic, the shop is closed until further notice, but donations are still accepted.)
Margaretville Fire Department Field Days, which are held in early July, feature a carnival, live entertainment, and an antique car show.
Margaretville Cauliflower Festival, held in September, celebrates the 1920s to 1950s, when Cauliflower was king in the area.
Lots of antiques and quirky stuff are for sale, often at rock bottom prices, at McIntosh Auction Service and McIntosh Country Market. Check the website to see when the next auction is scheduled.
The Pakatakan Farmers’ Market usually runs from around mid-May through mid-October. It also runs during the holiday season. About five miles from town in Halcottsville, this popular farmers’ market features local food from sustainable farms, as well as artisan-created jewelry, quilts, wood products, and much more.
A recommended walk (besides all the strolling you can do around town) begins near the Old Stone School (built in 1820 and now a nationally registered historic place), two miles west of the town. Cross Route 28 to connect with Southside Road, turn right and proceed a few miles, then take a left on Mill Brook Road. A few miles up that lovely road will bring you to the Mill Brook Covered Bridge, an evocative relic of earlier days. It no longer carries traffic, but you can park and walk across. Many bikers use the Old Stone School as a parking/starting place for bike rides around the Pepacton Reservoir.
The Ark Bowl and BBQ, right on the border of Margaretville and Arkville, is a 120-seat restored 1960s era bowling alley, BBQ joint, saloon, and music/entertainment venue.
There are established hiking trails outside of Margaretville, most notably Kelly Hollow Loop (easy hiking on short and long loops -- the long loops can be accessed from town) and Huckleberry Loop (more difficult and 12.8 miles). New trails are opening -- check with Catskill Mountain Club for more information. The Catskills Chamber of Commerce also arranges for private guides for trail hiking.
Margaretville offers the Meadows Golf Center, a nine-hole course located near the bowling alley, and the Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club golf course, an 18-hole course surrounded by hills and waterways.
Boating And Fishing
You can also boat on the Pepacton Reservoir. Only non-motorized kayaks and canoes and rowboats are allowed; all boats must be at least 9 feet in length.
Note: You can get an NYC DEP Access Permit for Pepacton Reservoir fishing online or at Catskills Seasons LTD in town. Trout fishing areas at Pepacton Reservoir are part of the New York City Reservoir system. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for information about guides for boat rentals and fishing.
Belleayre Ski Resort in Highmount, New York, is the closest place to ski; it is about 9 miles east of Margaretville. Contact the resort for the latest information about ski passes, lodging, and food.
Where To Shop In Margaretville
Margaretville is jumping these days; outsiders have snapped up homes (whether first or second ones) and renovated historic buildings and shops, although there are many businesses in town that have been handed down for generations.
Catskill Seasons LTD is “Your Hometown General Store”; it offers everything from hiking and camping gear to long johns to Margaretville T-shirts and locally made quilts. It is also a place to get flyfishing and hunting licenses and any community information you might need.
Honeybee Herb Farm and Apothecary features medicinal herbs, honey, botanicals, and other healthy products.
Kria Jewelry is located in the historic Galli Curci building (on the state and national registers of historic places), named for Amelita Galli-Curci, an opera star who sang at the theater’s opening in 1922. Today it is the home to a curated selection of jewelry made from reclaimed precious metals as well as art, home, and artisanal goods.
Of Barbara Alyn Artwear Luxury and Mercantile stores on Main Street, one customer said, “Everything in this store just looked like a fine piece of art!” Barbara Alyn, whose previous work was in holistic Chinese medicine, makes or refurbishes a wide variety of clothes, jewelry, antiques, and even furniture. One shop is for smaller products, like jewelry, clothes, and soaps, and the other shop next door has larger pieces, like furniture, quilts, vintage bowls, and even lamps (she taught herself to wire and rewire them). Alyn just might offer you tea, hot cider, and, best of all, reasonable prices.
Home Goods of Margaretville is a kitchen and home accessories store on Main Street; it features All-Clad, Viking, Cuisinart, and OXO as well as cookbooks, candles, stationery, antiques, home decor. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the store stocked staples that were difficult for residents to find.
Where To See And Buy Art In Margaretville
Longyear Gallery is located upstairs in the historic Commons Building on Main Street. The gallery is an artist-run cooperative venture featuring the work of a growing group of talented regional artists. Many works are for sale and are fairly priced.
Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild features a group of local artisans who make pottery, jewelry, art, soaps, candles, clothing, and more. The guild offers art workshops for adults and children, as well as lectures and demonstrations.
Bloom Fabric Boutique and Retreat is a store, retreat, and art center run by a mother and daughter, featuring classes, events, and overnight quilting retreats. The retreat offers beautiful views of the Pakatakan Mountain and the Delaware River.
Best Restaurants In Margaretville
Picnic has been even more of a go-to placesince the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chef/owner (CIA trained) cooks moderately priced, high-quality food to go not only for breakfast and lunch, but also for dinner. One fan noted: “Chef Mike is generous with his time and resources to the community … and the food is great.”
Cafe Marguerite features a chocolate specialist and a pastry chef, and therefore, long lines around the block are not surprising. One Margaretville resident said: “I think I gained 10 pounds just eating their almond croissants.”
Binnekill Tavern isa historic tavern overlooking scenic Binnekill Creek. The restaurant is known for its “mountain comfort food,” with burgers, pork schnitzel, pasta, lamb meatloaf, and bratwurst and white beans, among other German/Swiss/everything-else selections.
Trattoria Locale, which has been called “a little taste of Italy,” is a family-owned restaurant with home-made bread and mozzarella, artisanal pizzas, and more. Try the fettuccini with Grandma’s meat sauce.
The Inn between Steak and Seafood is along Highway 28, near Margaretville. This family-style steak and seafood restaurant has tables in the rear of the restaurant with great views of a stream behind.
Best Hotels In Margaretville
Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club, a few miles from the center of town, has an 18-hole golf course, an indoor pool, and a mountaintop pub and restaurant; it’s also a good venue for weddings or other celebrations.
Margaretville Mountain Inn Bed and Breakfast is an 1886 Queen Anne Victorian house featuring a full country breakfast; a nearby Guest House (that sleeps 15) is just a short walk from the Inn.
If you don’t have a car, you might want to stay at the Margaretville Suites on Main, just steps to shops and restaurants nearby. The Suites on Main offer renovated apartment-sized suites in a historic building.
Beginning in the spring (visit the Historical Society of Middletown for updates), historic walks around Margaretville will resume. The society’s Living History Cemetery Tour (with docents in historical costumes) is a special treat.
You can check to see if a venue is open or if festivals are taking place by contacting the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
For more inspiration, consider: