For the first installment in my Upstate New York Guide series I thought it was only right to start off with Schoharie County. While I wasn’t born in Schoharie, I did grow up there and it’s the only place that comes to mind when I hear the word “hometown”. I was even a senior survivor at good ol’ SCS, which my fellow alumni will know means I attended Schoharie Central School all the way from kindergarten to 12th grade. So it’s safe to say I know what I’m talking about when it comes to things going on in Schoharie.
If you’re from Schoharie, you’ve probably heard that there’s nothing to do in Schoharie a million times. Meanwhile, there are a lot of city transplants that try and make Schoharie into some sort of picturesque, artisan, small town dream. It’s true that we don’t have a mall or a Target within 30 minutes driving time. We also don’t have quaint coffee shops or bars that serve fancy mixed drinks. To be honest, Schoharie is a redneck town full of fun redneck things to do that I’d love to tell you about. Embracing that vibe is the key to truly enjoying Schoharie like a local. Here’s your guide to making the most of your 24 hours in Schoharie County.
You’re going to need some fuel to start off your day and your best options for breakfast in Schoharie County come in the form of a diner. If you’re in the town of Schoharie you can pick from the Your Way Cafe or the Country Cafe. In Middleburgh I’d recommend M&J’s Cafe and in Cobleskill there’s nothing better than the Cobleskill Diner. Of course, if all else fails, you can never go wrong with the classic egg sandwich on a hard roll and Stewarts coffee combo. Breakfast from a gas station has never tasted so good.
After you’ve fueled up it’s time to work some of that breakfast off. Head over to Schoharie Valley Kayak Rentals (call to schedule your rental ahead of time) and enjoy a peaceful morning padding down the Schoharie Creek. If you’re really lucky you might catch a glimpse of some of the growing population of bald eagles that have been nesting along the creek. The nice part about renting kayaks is that you can arrange to have your rental picked up at the end of your trip so you don’t have to worry about having a truck to transport them.
Since you’re in Schoharie for lunch, try out El Taco Shack on Main Street in Schoharie. This restaurant recently opened and it’s become a literal bright spot on Schoharie’s otherwise bare main street. And when I say bright spot I mean it, you won’t be able to miss their bright teal and red storefront. They serve all sorts of Mexican food Moes-style and while I’ve only been once so far, I was pretty impressed. It’s really nice to see new businesses come into town and offer something different and I hope they’re able to succeed with this location.
After you’re full of delicious Mexican food, take a drive over to Vroman’s Nose just outside of the village of Middleburgh for a quick hike with amazing views of the valley. Vroman’s Nose is a classic attraction of Schoharie and every local has probably hiked it at least ten times and taken hundreds of Instagram-worthy pics perched on the edge of the overlook.
The trail is basically straight uphill but it’s pretty short and totally worth it. Vroman’s Nose was created when a giant prehistoric glacier moved across New York and carved out the Schoharie Valley, leaving behind this nose shaped formation sticking out amidst the surrounding fields. At the top of the mountain you’ll find a giant flat slab called the dance floor with tons of carvings and initials from hikers over the years. Bonus points if you can find the oldest carving from the 1800’s or Ashley’s carved marriage proposal.
After your hike it’s a requirement that you must experience the best ice cream Schoharie County has to offer: Amy’s Place. Amy’s is in Middleburgh and just a short drive from Vroman’s Nose so it’s an easy next stop. I’ve honestly been spoiled by Amy’s my whole life and have yet to find an ice cream place that compares in Central NY. But I do have a word of warning: you’re a fool if you order any size bigger than a small at Amy’s. Their smalls would probably be considered larges at other ice cream shops, but they’re not overpriced at Amy’s. If you order anything bigger, I promise you will end up with a ridiculous amount of ice cream. End of PSA.
For a refreshing afternoon beverage look no further than Main Street, Middleburgh and the Green Wolf Brewing Co. taproom. You can try out one of their own local microbrews or a variety of other ales, ciders and wines from around the Capital Region. The atmosphere is very cozy and the people working there are knowledgeable about the brews they offer. It’s not a huge well-known beer destination, but it’s a great little gem Schoharie has to offer.
As if you haven’t done enough eating during your day, it’s time for dinner and that means we’re heading over to the bustling metropolis of Schoharie county: Cobleskill. Coby has a Wal-Mart and a small SUNY college, which basically is the only thing that differentiates it from the other tiny towns that make up Schoharie county. They also have Justine’s, home of the best garlic bread I’ve ever had. Honestly, forget the pizza or pasta, I’d gladly go to Justine’s and have a plate of garlic bread all to myself. If the weather’s nice you can sit outside and enjoy your pasta or one of their truly gigantic salads and unwind for your final meal in Schoharie county.
After a full day of outdoor activities, there’s no more perfect ending than catching a movie at Park Theater in Cobleskill. Watching a movie at Park is like being transported back in time. This classic venue has only one single screen, meaning you have only one single movie choice on Friday or Saturday nights. I still remember the excitement of lining up outside the theater before your showtime (7:30pm or 9pm are your only choices) and looking around to see who else was coming out to the movies that night. It was inevitable that you’d run into several classmates and at least one relative while you wanted for the doors to open. If you were going to the 9pm showing there was the added element of recognizing someone coming out of the 7:30 showing and calling them over to tell you if the movie was any good.
When I was growing up tickets were only $3, but I just checked the site and they’re $7 now. I guess that’s just the price of inflation, but it’s still a better deal than you’ll get at most movie theaters these days. There’s really nothing that screams Schoharie county to me more than a movie at Park Theater and I can’t imagine a better ending to your day.
So Schoharie might be small and rural, but to say there’s nothing to do there is certainly not true. In just 24 hours you can experience so many of the things that made up my childhood in Schoharie and hopefully you’ll leave with just as fond of memories.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first installment of my Upstate New York Guides series! Keep checking back for the next one.