One Day in the Catskills

With the long road to New Mexico ahead of me, I glanced back to Saturday’s visit to the 30th Annual Summerfest activities at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum near Livingston Manor, New York.DSCN0709

Before arriving at the Center, Leighanne and I noticed the appearance of a new distillery in Roscoe (“Trout Town USA”) so we stopped in for a visit. Neither one of us likes vodka very much, but a free sample of booze is a free sample of booze, and we had to admit that Prohibition Distillery makes a damn smooth sipper. We purchased a bottle of corn vodka (as opposed to the traditional potato-based product) to share with friends.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpeaking of friends, we met up with fellow blogger Leigh Smith, producer of FinFollower, who came over from Connecticut for his first visit to Summerfest. If you haven’t had a chance to read Leigh’s blog, check it out, especially his recent post that gives an excellent tour of the Fly Fishing Center & Museum. We observed the “Hardy Cup,” a casting contest whereby the winner is awarded a new Hardy bamboo rod. We toured the Museum and knocked around the neighborhood of tackle vendors and art displays while enjoying the afternoon.

DSCN0699When we toured the Wulff Gallery (dedicated to Lee and Joan), I didn’t need to twist Leigh’s arm, suggesting he should go and introduce himself to the gracious Queen of Fly-Fishing Instruction. In exchange for the photo op, Joan inquired what sort of blogs we wrote, so Leigh and I confessed, and were forgiven.

My wife and I made another fine connection in Brian Kleinchester, a young bamboo rod maker from Virginia. Brian has been a student of the well-established cane-rod builder Rick Robbins. Following nine years of apprenticeship, Brian is the owner of Chester Rods and builds some wonderful casting instruments. I truly enjoyed casting one of his 6-weights on the grass where fly-fishing zealots passed to and fro, some of them hauling or showing off their acquisitions.

DSCN0688Following a late lunch at a Roscoe saloon, Leighanne and I began our homeward journey. En route we stopped at the West Branch Delaware River. I couldn’t resist casting in this fabled, chilly water. Whether I’m successful there or not, the angling is always worth the effort. I surprised myself when I found Tim D., a fishing pal from home, squatting on the bank while looking for some hatch activity. The West Branch really knows how to keep an old fellow happy.

And it didn’t end there. Waiting for me on the porch of our home, I found a shipment of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbooks that I had edited and co-published, but had yet to see. On the Helderhill: Selected Poems of W.W. Christman was many years in coming, let me tell you. Christman was a rural poet of the early 20th-century who lived in the Helderberg region north of the Catskills. To find him resurrected on my porch on a Saturday night was an excellent finish to a stellar day.DSCN0687

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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9 Responses to One Day in the Catskills

  1. Leigh says:


    Great post. It really was a stellar day. I will have to make it to Roscoe next time.

    Safe travels.


  2. stevegalea6953 says:

    Very nice.

  3. Long says:

    Looks like a great weekend Walt. I had some of the that vodka as well last year at an event on the neversink. not too bad!

    • Hey Long, my wife hasn’t yet allowed me a direct hit from the bottle, but when we tasted there in Roscoe it sure seemed nice (granted I was hungry and thirsty at the time).


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