"Gateway to the Great Outdoors"
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