It seems that the hills are alive with the sound of visitors up here in the Catskills. The Catskills, once thought to be moribund as a vacation destination, is flourishing. The influx of new …
It seems that the hills are alive with the sound of visitors up here in the Catskills. The Catskills, once thought to be moribund as a vacation destination, is flourishing. The influx of new tourists, especially during the pandemic, seems to have increased the number of homes on the vacation rental market. And the new and refurbished hotels in the area are dazzling.
When my sister Billie and her family visited us last summer, they rented a house for a month and were within walking distance of both Upper and Lower Main Street in Callicoon. Handy. My family has also rented homes around Callicoon and been very happy with our stays.
Long ago and far away, Callicoon was known as Callicoon Depot because of the train station there. Passenger trains would bring folks up from the city to Callicoon from whence they would be transported by wagon to the various boarding houses in the area. Among those were the Cold Spring House on Polster Road in the Beechwoods, whose proprietors were Mr. and Mrs. Christian Krantz, my great-great-grandparents.
Down the hill from Cold Spring House lived the Melchior Kohler family on what is now the property of the Villa Roma. An enterprising young William Kohler was his son and he made his way cross-lots to see his neighbor Mary Krantz, who would become his wife and the mother of my grandfather Percy Kohler.
Percy and his wife Katie Hill Kohler were the parents of my mother Shirley. And William started his lumber business outside of Jeffersonville in a place with so many of his relations that has been called “Kohlertown” ever since.
My grandmother Katie Hill Kohler also came from a boarding house family, as her father and mother, Philip Hill and Nellie Segar Hill kept visitors at their home in White Sulphur Springs. As a child, I remember visiting their home with its long dining room table and rooms upstairs for the boarders.
They had a porch that ran the length of the house and was filled with rocking chairs. I spent many a Sunday afternoon in their huge front yard, picking tiny wild strawberries and whiling away the hours as the grownups visited.
My family hosted visitors to this area over a century ago. It seems that our beautiful countryside has retained her charm over the years, as we are happily seeing a renaissance of the tourism that sustained our local economy. There is magic in these hills and dales, and we are so blessed to live here.
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