Sunday, November 18, 2018

A Look Back at the Catskill Game Farm

Catskill Game Farm
Catskill, NY
Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

My father grew up in a small town in the Catskills, and just about every summer he and his cousins, aunts and uncles, brother and sister would visit the Catskill Game Farm

Eventually he'd bring his own family each summer - and just like he had done years before us, my brothers and I would hand-feed the deer; today that's what just about what everyone remembers most about visiting the game farm in Catskill, N.Y. 

The deer are gone now, but the memories remain. 

And today you may find a wistful tourist walking through the lion's paddock on a nostalgic trip to the park, rather than seeing the king of the jungle sunning himself on a rock.

Originally opened in 1933 by German immigrant Roland Lindemann, the game farm offered a small range of animals for visitors to see, mainly comprising of deer and sheep. 

At its peak, over 500,000 tourists a year walked through the gatehouse flanked by wooden giraffes. 

However, as tourism rates dropped in the Catskills and tourists flocked to new destinations, low attendance rates forced the owners to shut it down. 

On October 9th, 2006, the game farm closed its doors for good - until Cathy Ballone and her husband, Ben came along in 2012. 

Since the Ballone's purchased the property they've renamed the former private zoo The Old Game Farm.

They've opened the gates to nostalgic tourists, glampers, urban explorers and photographers eager to see what has become of the place. 

Renovations are also underway of the former giraffe house to transform it into the Long Neck Inn. 

Sentimental visitors will be able to spend the night at the inn, staying in animal-themed rooms such as "The Rhino Room." 

To roam the paths and walk through areas such as the former paddock where famed giraffe April was born, visit for more information on self-guided tours; visits must be scheduled in advance. 

Donations are requested from visitors; proceeds go towards preserving the park.

To see more photos of what the Catskill Game Farm looks like now, Click Here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cider Doughnuts

Cider Doughnuts
Soons Orchards
New Hampton, NY
Thursday, September 6th, 2018

From dairy to doughnuts, a lot has changed at Soons Orchards in New Hampton.

But one staple that can be found year round are the ever popular apple cider doughnut.

For over 20 years the New Hampton farm has been doling out the delicious doughy delights with baker Teresa Garcia behind the sugar coated helm.

The not-so-secret doughnut ingredient that brings fans to the farm store, after many visitors have first stopped to pick apples in the field, is Soons' homemade apple cider. 

According to Sharon Soons, the farm's chief operating officer, before the 1960's the family used to ship off their apples to be pressed and made into cider. 

Her grandfather had turned the dairy farm into the fruit farm it is today, and when her dad took over the family business, he decided to build a cider mill.

The cider doughnuts are available year round at Soons Orchards.

Monday, October 8, 2018