A July 2005 trip
to Livingston Manor by Samlawali
Quote: This past July my good friends Michele & Rob and Joyce and Dave along with Michele's daughter Heather and myself decided to take a weekend trip to Mongaup Pond Campground in Livingston Manor, NY ...Part of the Catskills Mountain Region. Here is a description of my "first" camping trip.
Attraction | "Mongaup Pond"
Mongaup Pond is a state-owned, 163 tent and trailer site campground located in North Eastern Sullivan County, NY. It surrounds a 120-acre lake that is the largest body of water in the Catskill Park area, with the exception of the New York City reservoirs.
In December of 1960, as an addition to the Catskill Forest Preserve, 1,310 acres of land were acquired by the State of New York. Campground construction began in 1964 and with only 65 sites was opened to the public in 1966. Most of the 163 sites now making up the current campground were completed by 1968.
The campground is open from mid-May to mid-October. From end of June to Labor Day, the campground offers a Nature Recreation Program with activities ranging from hikes to live entertainment to crafts. Canoes, kayaks and rowboats are allowed on the lake, but motorized equipment or boats are prohibited. A daily schedule is posted by the bathrooms of each day’s activities. There is a quiet time of 10pm to 7am and is strictly enforced. We saw park rangers and caretakers drive around the sites every half-hour or so. Check-in is before
9pm on your first day and check out is before 11am on your last day.
Fishing is a huge draw in this area. Livingston Manor is considered the dry fly fishing capital of the world and the varieties of fish available are brook trout, chain pickerel, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch, amongst others.
This is a very clean, family-oriented campground with large, mostly lakeside sites. Most sites can easily accommodate two full-size vehicles and two large tents. The campground provides a recycling center and guidelines for keeping away bears and wildlife from the sites.
The only drawback we had was that there were no water or electricity hooks ups at the individual sites, but the beauty and calmness of the site were well worth the trip.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 29, 2005
Mongaup Pond Campground and Beach
231 Mongaup Pond Road
Livingston Manor, New York 12758
On our way up to the Catskills for our weekend camping trip, our stomachs starting
grumbling about 2 hours into the trip. My friend Michele, who was driving, grew up
in the Clifton area of NJ and knew of a place that she visited as a child and always
tries to visit when in the area.
Hot Grill is infamous for their deep-fried Texas Weiner. They claim it is the "World's
Tastiest." I don't know if I would agree with that, but they definitely hit the spot.
I felt like someone in that Seinfeld episode where they visit the Soup Nazi and you
have to place your order "just so." Here you start at one end of the counter and tell
the person taking your order, one or two with cheese, one or two with chili only, one or
two with onions only, or one or two "all the way," which is chili, chopped onions, and tangy mustard and the recommended way to go. They then yell your order very loudly to the back kitchen and your order is up within minutes. You can also order the fries, which come plain, with cheese, or with gravy. I have to say that the dogs were really good, but the fries I could have passed on. There was nothing spectacular about them. The dogs, though, snapped as you bit into them, and the chili, while not exactly hot, had a nice character to it and was made with NO BEANS, the way it’s supposed to be.
While the Texas Weiner was the trademark entrée, there is also the choice of hot roast beef or ham-and-cheese sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and a small variety of salads. In the short time we were there, I did not hear anyone order anything but the weiners. Also, if you enjoyed the chili enough, you could buy it by the gallon.
Hot Grill is owned by Greeks who like the atmosphere loud and busy. There are tables and booths aplenty to eat your weiners, but we decided to eat in the car and then continue on our way.
The building resembles a roadside diner and is open from 8am to 12am Sunday through Saturday. The food is inexpensive, and for about $6, you can get two "all the way" and fries with gravy.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2005
699 Lexington Ave.
Livingston Manor, New York
Attraction | "Memories, The Best Darn Store EVER"
As we entered, we stepped into a small wood-paneled foyer that was decorated with antique-looking mirrors, chairs, and side tables. Now, I am no expert on antiques, but these things looked old (ha ha). The building opened up into a 30,000-square-foot treasure trove of all things antique, classic, and antique style. It is two stories tall, made up of six rooms, each with its own theme. On the first floor was the "Carriage Room," which had a huge selection of furniture and accessories from Victorian era through the Art-Deco styles. There was also the "Theater Room," home to some of the "greatest hits of all time" furniture and collectibles from local estates and around the world and considered the most eclectic collection. Also, there was the "Back Room," where you would find porch, and patio furniture, along with statuary and iron pieces, with a charming country theme. Finally, there was the "Nickelodeon Room," chockfull of antique and reproduction collectibles such as dolls, ornate boxes, and little figurines. Up on the second floor was the "Lamp Room," filled with 200+ table lamps, chandeliers, desks, and standing lamps of all styles and sizes, and the "Carousel Room," a wonderful selection of quality solid-wood antique reproduction furniture and accessories. They considered this the room with the "antiques of the future." Here was where I found my favorite piece: a wrought-iron room divider with palm tree accents for only $135. Unfortunately, we did not have room to pack it in the car, and I really did not have a place to put it at my house.
There were tin signs all over the walls intermingled with old-time wooden plaques advertising everything from motor oil to Wonder Bread. There was a collection of early dated magazines, including "TV Guide" and "Time." They had costume jewelry, as well as more expensive gold and silver pieces. There was an early century car located in the center of the first floor, but it was not for sale. I found an old-time jukebox and full-size scale that was guaranteed not to be off balance. I loved that they had customer-service phones that had a rotary dial and actually worked.
Memories buys their antiques in five countries, with items coming in daily, and claims to be the largest, most unique shop of its kind on the entire East Coast. They also provide the following services for a fee: furniture refinishing, furniture repair,
mirror re-silvering, chair-caning, and lighting restoration. They are open 10am to 5pm 7 days a week and accept MasterCard, VISA, and Discover. They also claim that they will deliver anywhere.
Tel – 845/292-4270
Email - email@example.com
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2005
7126 Route 17 West
Parksville, New York 12768
Attraction | "Spending a little time at the beach"
On Saturday, the weather was amazing: sunny, with barely any clouds in the sky, a slight breeze, and temps in the mid-80s by noon. It was perfect to go swimming in the lake, sunbathe on the beach, or sit in a beach chair and catch up on the latest happenings in PEOPLE Magazine.
Michele, Rob, Dave, and Joyce decided to go canoeing, while Heather and I decided to stay on shore. Renting a canoe is $15 per day. They decided to keep the canoes both Saturday and Sunday and house the canoe at our lakeside campsite overnight.
Heather and I watched the others attempt to launch their canoes, which were docked on the left side of the beach. We then decided to build some sand castles until the sun became warm enough to enter the water. I was surprised at how few people were at the beach at noon on a Saturday. There were approximately 15 people, including Heather and I, and only a few in the water.
There were signs posted "no swimming without a lifeguard on duty." Lucky for us they had just raked the beach and the post was manned by a guard within 15 minutes of our arrival. Entering the water was tricky, and I would strongly recommend water shoes. The sand by the shore was extremely rocky, but did improve the farther out you ventured. An area was roped off for swimmers, and the deeper end was separated by another rope from the shallow end that only went to about 4 feet. The temperature was a tepid 77°F and lovely once you were in.
Some of the activities available were, of course, the canoeing, kayaking, and "row-boating" (is that a word?). On land, there was a volleyball net; plenty of picnic tables, some with adjoining grills open for use; and plenty of sand to play in. The best part was there was no additional fee to partake in any of this. It was first come, first serve.
The view, of course, was magnificent, with the deep blue of the lake surrounded by the mountains and the plush green of the trees. There was the sound of nothing but the birds and the bees: no traffic, no telephones, and no faxes or computers. It was a perfect way to spend the day.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2005
My friends and I had originally decided to go to the Poconos for our first annual camping trip, but nixed the idea when the weekend we were all available was completely booked because of the local NASCAR race.
Our second choice ended up being Mongaup Pond in Livingston Manor, because they
accepted pets and I was planning on bringing my dog, Ali. As we got closer to the date, I decided to leave her home with my parents, as the weather was expected to be really hot and I did not want to have Ali sit in a car for 3.5-4 hours as we made our way up to the Catskill Mountain area.
The cost here was also a factor, and the pictures and local activities we found looked perfect for our low-key trip. Livingston Manor was founded on April of 1810, is 8.02 square kilometers, and is noted as having more rivers and creeks than any other town in the County of Sullivan. It is also home to at least 15 lakes and ponds, ranging in size from a few acres to a few hundred acres.
After a day and a half, we decided we needed additional supplies, such as eggs, ice,and firewood, so we decided to venture into town. We knew the general direction of the town relative to the campground, so jumped in our car and headed that way. As we ended up at the end of the main exit road from the campground, we saw a sign that said, "Firewood and ice, 1.5 miles to Market".
We decided to risk it, as it seemed relatively close. "Seemed" is the operative word here. After driving 2 miles, we started to feel like the 1.5 miles was considered "as the crow flies" and not actual road miles. Finally, after about another 1/2 mile, we came upon a second sign that said "Firewood and ice, turn here". Again, feeling adventurous, we took the road on the right. This again led us for about another mile or so to the end, where we were pleasantly surprised by a little family-owned roadside market. It looked like it was on their actual property, with the house in the background, and was worth the drive.
We passed goats, roosters, and pigs as we walked up to the market. All the animals looked as clean and healthy as farm animals go. Wheelbarrows of firewood were parked in front of the building, and as we entered the tiny store, we were greeted with a friendly hello by a woman I would guess
was in her forties and the lady of the farm. The store was stocked with all the basic items you could need: ketchup, water, ice, milk, first-aid supplies, batteries, etc. What we ended up buying here was an order of wood for $6 and a dozen fresh brown eggs that we were told, with much pride, were from the chickens on the farm. The ice seemed a little pricey, so we decided to go into town to get that and some gas for the car.
As we were leaving, we noticed a covered bridge at the edge of the property.
We took some pictures and found a lovely area with a stream. It seems that Livingston Manor is known as "the birthplace of American dry fly-fishing". Anywhere you drive around town, you will see a lake, pond, or stream with signs saying "Anglers Park Here".
We then navigated our way back towards town, which we guessed was about 12-15 miles from our current position. As we were in no hurry, and the scenery was beautiful, with roadside mountains and rivers, we took our time. We passed all sorts of homes, from log-type to family colonials and even some trailers. We located the town with ease and came upon one of the two gas stations in town, Citgo. The other was a Sunoco about two blocks further into town. I waited in
the car as the tank filled and took in the local yokels. There were many different types, from bikers to young kids with gold teeth and big chains to yuppies driving Hummers.
As you enter town from the major highway, Route 17, you will come across the only school in the town; an old-time building housing grades K-12 with intricate detailing and a huge clock tower overlooking another lovely stream.
After we left the gas station we drove around town looking for the major supermarket. Unfortunately, after driving in circles for a little while, we stopped and asked a woman sitting on her front porch enjoying an afternoon cocktail where the local supermarket was. She pointed us back the way we came and told us it was right next to the post office across from the school. We had actually driven right past it when we left Citgo. As we backtracked, we determined why we missed it the first time around. It looked like a small, metal one-story warehouse and was called Pecks. I guess there was no Shoprite or A&P in these parts. It was a regular store and actually had five aisles, fully stocked with everything from liquor to firewood and even had a tiny deli counter. We walked through the store and, of course, came out with way more than we thought we needed. So it always goes.
By this time, it was getting later in the day, and we wanted to make sure we had enough time to stop and canoe on the lake and visit the beach back at the campground, so we meandered our way back up to our site.
If we had more time than our two-night stay allowed, I would have loved to have visited some of the other local attractions, such as the collection of covered bridges, of which I think there were five in town. There is also
the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Apple Pond Farming Center, Sullivan County Museum and Cultural Art Center, and the Roscoe O&W Railway Museum--not to mention all the tiny shops and boutiques in town. Maybe next trip!
For more information you can contact:
Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce
Grabbing my camera, I made my way over to the lakeside boat ramp, with a quick stopover at the nearby bathroom, then took a seat on the picnic table to watch one of Mother Nature's greatest movies. Surprisingly, I was the only person up at that hour. I expected to see a few fishermen out on the lake looking for trout for that night's dinner. Within 10 minutes, I was joined by three men who must have read my thoughts. "Are you fishin’?" asked one as they launched their rowboat into the water. "Only for sunrises" I replied and watched them float out silently to the middle of the lake to try their luck as the sky slowly brightened over their heads.
Sitting on the dock, listening to the frogs call each other from one side of the lake to the other, it reminded me of the sound of rubber bands being plucked. Twang, twang, twang. That, combined with the sound of the water lapping against the pilings and the birds greeting each other with their musical good mornings, created a peaceful background against the rising of the sun.
I sat for approximately 45 minutes before that giant golden globe finally crested the peaks of the Catskill Mountains that surrounded the area. Mongaup Pond is actually a lake of about 120 acres surrounded by 163 campsites situated in the middle of thousands of acres of the New York State Forest Preserve. While no hunting is allowed in the campground itself, it is permitted in the surrounding forest areas. Fishing is a huge
draw here, as there is ample opportunity to sample trout, perch pickerel, and smallmouth bass, among numerous other types of fish. This area of New York is actually considered the "dry fly-fishing capital of the world." A fish hatchery was located a couple of miles down the road from the campground. I am guessing that is where the fish stock for the lake comes from.
Looking out over the lake and watching a large cloud mass come in from the north and cover the crown of the mountains, I wondered if it held rain and if it would affect the swimming, boating, and hiking that occurs during the day in the area. Luckily for everyone, the clouds passed with not a drop of rain and the weather was actually some of the nicest I had experienced all summer. It was slightly breezy and full of sun and blue skies, with temps in the mid-80s. It was perfect camping weather, as we had very little trouble with the pesky insect population. Any instances we did have we dealt with by using Citronella candles and a light covering of bug spray.
One of the nicest things was that my good friend Michele's husband, Rob, was designated as the cook for that weekend. Michele and I were in charge of getting the food supplies the days before we left, and unfortunately, we did not have a very varied menu. As there was no electrical or water hookup at the sites, Rob and Michele had the foresight to bring a gas-powered stove, which became our main prep station. With only two burners and a couple of fry pans, Rob was tested on his ability to provide our group with edible entrées. He passed with flying colors.
As the weekend progressed, we noticed that our menus seemed very much alike: bacon, sausage, and eggs for breakfast and hot dogs and hamburgers or steak for lunch and dinner. No vegetables, no potatoes. There was nothing very nutritional, but it was full of cholesterol and fat. Michele and I understandably wondered why we had only thought of protein. I guess that we were just set on grilling and never thought of anything else.
On our trip to town (see attached journal), we did pick up watermelon, potato salad, and some other side dishes to break up the artery-clogging feast that Rob was able to put together with the limited ingredients we provided for him. He did a great job though, as everything was cooked perfectly and seasoned nicely. Michele did think to bring some cereal for little Heather, and dessert was, of course, s'mores created over the fire in the pit provided by the campsite.
I would highly recommend that your entire group review the food list, as well as the general-supplies list, before embarking on your own adventure into the woods. As we were not that close to town where the restaurants are, we learned from our lesson. After this weekend, we were all off meat for about a week. This just may have been a vegetarian’s nightmare. Leaving only two people in charge of food stuffs you would have thought would have been sufficient. Great minds think alike.
Lincolnton, North Carolina