12 hours in Schoharie County

 Vroman Top.jpg

Schoharie County -- there's a lot going on out there

By Justin Williams

OK, so you've been working all week, and you want to get away from it all - but a full on vacation isn't in the cards. You're even too busy for a long weekend. You need a quick change of pace -- a fun filled excursion that will get you out of your familiar surroundings but have you home again the same day.

How about 12 hours in fabulous Schoharie County.

No, really. Stop laughing.

There's quite a bit in Schoharie County that's worth seeing. Here's a rough plan to help you enjoy it.

Feel free to deviate, substitute, linger in some areas and skip over others-- whatever works for you.

Saturday, 8:00 AM

Grab your coffee, put on some good traveling music and head out of Albany. You'll be in Schoharie County by 9:00. Be sure and appreciate the scenic vistas along the way. Keep driving though, we're going to head out to the furthest point and work our way back.

9:30 a.m

Just a little past the main entrance of Mine Kill State Park lies an overlook of the Mine Kill Falls . It's an awesome view, and you can actually hike down to the bottom of the falls. There's a lot of terrain in this hike as you go downhill and uphill about ¼ mile each way, so make sure you're wearing good shoes. And if you have little ones, you may want to carry them, as the rocky trail can be slippery if it's wet.

Mine Kill Falls.jpg

If you do go to the actual state park ($6 per car during summer, additional for pools), you'll find areas to picnic, swim and fish. You can even bring a boat and go fishing on the reservoir. But you're busy, so that's for another day

Mine Kill State Park Overlook (Free!)
161 Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim
Hours: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, 7 Days a week
More Information:

11 a.m.

Lansing Manor is a must see if you're at all into the history of Albany, or history in general. Built by former Albany mayor John Lansing, Jr. in 1819 (yep Lansingburgh is named for him) This house has got a bunch of rare artifacts, including an original 13-starred flag and documents signed by future President John Quincy Adams and President James Monroe. Adorning the walls are pictures depicting Albany in the 1800's. One of them depicts what our Capitol building was originally supposed to look like.

lansing manor.jpg

The downside here is that they don't allow any photography in most of the building. You can take pictures of the basement, but that's all. Still, there's a lot to learn. Kids over 5 would probably get a lot out of it. On weekends, tours are held every half hour or so, but if you go on a weekday, just show up and knock on the door. No, really. You'll get a friendly tour guide eager to answer any questions.

The old barn out back has been turned into an educational museum. It overlooks the reservoir and the exhibits explain how it works. The staff there is very friendly and they know what they're talking about. You can get all kinds of maps and directions to get a closer look at the reservoirs.

Hours:Open daily 10-5, except Tuesdays, May-October
More Information:

12:00 PM

Hungry yet? Head out Rt. 30. toward the Breakabeen General Store. But if you're not absolutely starving, you may want to make a stop at the Blenheim Covered Bridge. Why? It's the longest single span wooden bridge in the world. And it's just kind of cool to look at. Take a walk down it and grab a few pictures.

4.) By 12:30 or so you can be at the Breakabeen General Store. One excited local described it as "the Breakabeen mall." Don't go looking for Crossgates. It's an independent store in a small, small town. Attached to the town liquor store, you'll find a selection of quirky antiques on the porch (old schoolhouse desks, cooking appliances, etc.). Stop and grab a sandwich or a snack. There are Boar's Head deli meats, gyros and homemade pie!

You'll also find groceries, local honey, galvanized chains, fishing supplies and even ammunition. This was one stop shopping in the days before the Wal-Mart.

Also prominent: a pretty good selection of German food. There's spaetzel,Jäger Soße and sauerkraut. It's not as random as it appears since many of Schoharie's early settlers were German.

More Information:
(518) 827-4731

1:30 p.m.
OK, here you have some options.
History junkies See 5.
Outdoorsie types move on to option 6.
Spelunkerers (or spelunking wannabees) try option 7.

5)The Old Stone Fort is a perfect stop for the Revolutionary War junkie. There are seven buildings filled with early US History. It offers some awesome artifacts, and a history of the violence that early settlers faced. But it's more than war history. You can catch a glimpse of Schoharie's first car, an early telephone, and some fun antiques toys.

Old Stone Fort ($5 Adults, $1.50 Kids 5-17, Kids under 5 free)
Hours: Tuesday- Saturdays 10-5, Sundays 12-5, May- October, Open Mondays 10-5 in July/August)

6) Vroman's Nose (free!)


Following the sign on the left of Rt. 30, you'll find a small parking lot to the entrance of this hiking trail. It's about half an hour uphill there (and downhill back) but it's totally worth it. The view is breathtaking. You may want to bring a walking stick because there are some sharp angles on the climb. There are plenty of places along the trail to stop and rest - which will be particularly handy if you're bringing kids. This is a great workout, and you won't be disappointed!

7.) Sure, Howe Caverns has been a school field trip staple for years-- but it's still kinda cool. There are plans underway to extend the tour to make it more like the original Howe Caverns tours of the 1800's. For now the General Tour is nearly the same as it has been for the last 20 years --a boat/foot tour that takes about 80 minutes. If you're feeling more adventurous you can opt for the Lantern Tour ($27), which takes you through the darker parts of the cavern. For the real adventure geek there's a tour through previously unseen parts of the cavern. Added plus (or minus) you get to wear a pith helmet! ($108) The alternative tours require reservations and take a little longer, so for the purposes of today's "survey adventure" you may want to opt for the general tour.


(Adults $18, Kids 12-15 $15, Kids 5-11 $10, Kids 4& under Free)
255 Discovery Drive
Howes Cave, NY 12092

5 p.m.

OK, so you've had a long, educational day and you've gotten your share of fresh air and exercise. It's time to unwind and grab a little dinner before your trip home. Here are a couple of options.

8) If you, like me, are greedily anticipating some Dinosaur BBQ in the near future, a trip to Rubbin Butts BBQ may tide you over for a while. What's notable here is that they serve Carolina barbecue. What's different about it? Well, it's got a yellowish appearance and it's vinegary, which might sound weird, but it's excellent. They have the typical hickory barbecue sauce as well. They serve all the barbecue staples, but do yourself a favor and try the pulled pork.

Rubbin Butts.jpg

Hours: Open Daily 11am-10pm

9) Not a BBQ fan? Push on to Sharon Springs and check out The American Hotel
in Sharon Springs. Chef Lee Wolve uses local ingredients to whip up some of the best food in the area. The hotel itself, restored to it's 1800's glory stands as an historic monument to the area's history. Rachael Ray is known to be a frequent guest here, and actually has featured the hotel in her TV shows and magazine. Dinner is served Thursday through Sunday, and the service is quite friendly.

American Hotel.jpg

8:00 p.m.

We may have met our last stop, but that doesn't mean the trip is over! Make sure you take Rt. 20 back to Albany, as it offers a fantastic view of the Albany skyline from miles away.


Sounds like a fun day-trip! Thanks for the suggestions. :-)

Schoharie County's great! I'm out there for work all the time, and there's some really beautiful country out there. If you're looking for a good afternoon road trip, take 30 south off of 88 till you get to route 23 and then hang a left. The trip on 30's a beautiful one through the Schoharie valley, and 23 will take you along the northern edge of the Catskills.

And as far as Howe Caverns goes, yeah, it might not be as spectacular as some of the cave systems in other parts of the country, but every time I'm down there I notice something different that I hadn't noticed on previous trips. Plus, it's worth the trip out there to see the bike that Orange County Choppers built for them.

Plus, the little rest area just south of 88 on route 30 is right next door to the Schoharie Chamber of Commerce, which gives you some free wifi if you're in need of a hit of AOA while on the road.

Now we're talking FUN! I loved this place so much I moved here.

Be sure to check out the Carrot Barn at Schoharie Valley Farms http://www.schoharievalleyfarms.com/

and my neighbors Wellingtons Herbs and Spices http://www.wellingtonsherbsandspices.com/

You just missed Gas Up - which ended last week - good video here on YouTube


This is fantastic! Thanks!

Mr. Justin...Alison told me to check this out an I did so...great article! I did both the hikes your suggested when i've been in the past and there both great!!! Good article! :)

That actually sounds like a great day trip. I should definitely do that sometime.

I can say the Stone Fort (my family name is actually graffiti on the outside wall) is awesome, and they do reenactments there. Howe Caverns is also great; haven't been there since girl scouts though.

Moo hoo! Yeah for Schoharie County! While you're out here enjoying the moo-tiful scenery, you could stop by SUNY Cobleskill, my home sweet home. We're right on Route 7 just past the village of Cobleskill and have an awesome campus with a farm (horses, pigs, goats, sheep and bodacious bovines-like me!). Also, if you're hungry you could check out Coby's they make tasty panini's (they let me special order my alfalfa sprout and gouda panini) and great coffee - it's right on Main Street near the moo-vie theater.

I spend a lot of my free time in the summer up there... lots of free things to do, lots of great state lands (free), and drive down through the beautiful western catskills.

I have been doing the Route 30 drive monthly to get to the DH mountain bike races at Plattekill since 2005, and I have to say that I love that drive and those towns. It's like being transported back to Mayberry circa 1955. Even got stuck in "traffic" on the way back a few Sundays ago - behind a line of vintage cars leaving a car show.

While you're driving through on your Schoharie adventure, be sure to stop at some of our many local farms, stores and orchards for a little something to take back home! WWW.schohariefarmer.com is a farm resource built and maintained by a local web builder that's complete with maps and what's available at each location. Check out our blog and Resource pages, too. There really is a lot to do in Schoharie County!

I remember the first time I drove down Route 30 through Schoharie County. I've seen a lot of the world, and I still think it is one of the most beautiful places around! And the view from Vromann's Nose can't be beat.

I might add to your itinerary, for the engineering geeks in the audience, a stop at the NY Power Authority's pump storage facility near Blenheim. They have a great little visitor's center that explains how the pumped storage concept works. I seem to remember that it is a short distance from the Mine Kill State Park waterfall you included. You can learn a lot in about 15-30 minutes. Free, too.

These are great suggestions. It would be extremely helpful if you would include directions and a map.

@Paulette - there seem to be links to most of the places he mentions. If that's not enough, may I suggest Google Maps?

Great article and suggestions. Found the overlook (drive a little past the state park entrance) easily. Also, aside from Bleinheim covered bridge, there's the Fox Creek Bridge at the end of the road to the Old Stone Fort. They were setting up for a wedding there today so I didn't get many pictures.

The covered bridge of the NE website says that the Blenheim covered bridge in Schoharie was destroyed by Hurricane Irene. I'm so sorry to hear about this. It was a very lovely bridge.

Yes, the Blenheim Bridge was sadly destroyed by Hurricane Irene, along with most of Schoharie county its self. I have lived here in Schoharie my whole life and I ask all of you to come support us in our time of need. T.Y.

Wanted to say thanks for these recommendations, even 2.5 years after it was posted. Mine Kill Falls and Vroman's Nose were great.

Stopped in Mrs. K's Kitchen in Middleburgh on the way home - it was their first weekend back in business since Irene. Definitely check it out!

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