Hometown Debrief

For an Extra Helping of Nostalgia, Head to This Quaint Town in Upstate New York

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge
Dairyland sign. Photo by Michelle O'Gara.

Gentleman farmers Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are the co-founders of the lifestyle brand , whose latest project is . We milked them for the lowdown on Sharon Springs, the charming old-time town in Upstate New York that they call home.

Favorite old classic: is a restored 19th-century inn with eight guest rooms, a lively weekend pub, and a restaurant that serves generous portions of American classics. Proprietors Doug Plummer and Garth Roberts are also a fabulous hospitality floor show.

Best new spot: , the latest restaurant in town, was started by Boston natives Jim Grinchis and Norm Phenix. Both the space and menu are designed to minimalist perfection.

Coolest spot: in nearby Cooperstown is a food truck restaurant set up by two sisters in the middle of their family’s nursery greenhouse. During the season they have farm-to-table dinners and live music in the gorgeous, intimate setting.

A locally-sourced cheese board. Photo courtesy of 204 Main Bistro.
Fancy food truck fare. Photo courtesy of Origins Cafe.

Best spot for people-watching: The steak dinners or pancake breakfasts at our volunteer firehouse.

Best book: Our memoir, of course: .

Movie: , starring the one and only Nancy Kulp, and a B-level schlock horror movie called I Drink Your Blood. And then there are those missed opportunities: The village was visited by a location scout for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and was considered as the setting for Northern Exposure.

Where I go to get inspired: in neighboring Canajoharie is a concise but brilliant art museum in a place you would not expect.

Where I go when I need to escape: When you live on a 60-acre goat farm, you only need to walk out onto the back porch to escape it all.

Best way to start the day: There is a fantastic gentle hike up to the top of in which you can gaze out on .

Best way to unwind at the end of the day: Sitting by the fire pit or in one of the giant rocking chairs on the porch at and gazing at the lake.

Favorite shop: As shopkeepers ourselves, we are a little partial to ; however, right beside us on Main Street in Sharon Springs is the gift shop.

The authors' Main Street gift shop. Photo courtesy of Beekman 1802 Mercantile.
The best view in town. Photo courtesy of Otesaga Resort Hotel.

Our local cafe: Everyone’s favorite — . Fresh-baked bread and apple cider donuts every day. The sandwiches with house-made corned beef and oven-roasted turkey are big enough for two meals.

Best restaurant for a splurge: If you are traveling from a metropolitan area, even our “fanciest” restaurants are going to seem economical, so feel free to splurge your big-city dollars anywhere you please.

Favorite bar: For a town with a population of 547, there are a surprising number of watering holes. The liveliest bar scene for out-of-towners will be at . The best-curated selections of wines and beers will be at . But to truly hang with the locals, head to .

Your office is located in Sharon Springs and our headquarters are in Schenectady, New York.

You wish your office were located at our dining room table. If it were possible to conquer the world (and ship thousands of packages) from that spot, we would never leave it.

Best local restaurant: We love everything with an extra helping of nostalgia. is an old roadside ice cream stand with a fabulous sign on top with a kid licking an ice cream cone. The kid’s tongue is done in neon and moves back and forth. There’s also a classic roadside gift shop called . The store is in the shape of a giant tepee, and there’s always a food truck parked there serving amazing homemade chili and garlic chips. From the picnic tables outside, you have an amazing view of the entire valley.

The place to go for classic roadside gifts. Photo courtesy of The TePee.

Your preferred mode of travel around town: Sharon Springs is nestled in the — the valley between Catskill Mountains and Adirondack Mountains. A car is generally the best way to get around and see the vistas, but for those with the glutes to do it, pedaling is nice too.

The route for your favorite city joy ride: We love to take the back roads from Sharon Springs to Cooperstown. Driving by all the old farmsteads really takes you right back in time. The Amish buggies you pass along the way help complete the image.

Where should people stay when they visit? We don’t like to play favorites, so we recommend everyone visit the . There’s a complete list of accommodations and something for every budget.

Current local buzz word: Hi, neighbor.

No trip to Sharon Springs is complete without: Visiting , just ten miles out of town. It’s one of the largest cave systems in the USA, complete with a boat ride on an underground river.


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