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When you come up from Ellenville NY, and you’re at what seems like the very top of the Shawangunk Ridge (you’re not), you see the sign for the Historic Cragsmoor District, a hamlet of Wawarsing NY originally settled by the Lenapes and then the Europeans in the 17th century. In the late 19th century, a group of artists decided it was an amazing spot from which to work and set about creating a community library, playhouse and churches; their days were filled with chamber concerts, poetry readings, plays and art shows… and, we can surmise, taking steep walks around their settlement.
To this day you can see why they chose Cragsmoor: From various points you can see the Catskill Mountains and the Rondout, Wallkill and Hudson valleys; it’s simply spectacular! It’s all you can do to keep your mouth from hanging open at the astonishing beauty of the place.
When you turn onto Cragsmoor Road off of Route 52 you head steeply uphill to a pretty, woodsy area with mountaintops peeking through the trees. When the road flattens out, you’re in a sort of notch with a stream bounded by what might be an old stone wall, but it also might have been created by the people whose house the rock-lined stream leads down from. Still in the notch but climbing further up from that little patch of houses the road is steep again and curves around to reveal the Cragsmoor Historical Society and, right next door, the Cragsmoor Free Library, the social center of the original artists’ colony and still the community's art center.
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Do you bring your pets house-hunting? In which case, stay overnight at Audrey’s Farmhouse, pet-friendly since 1987! Choose from five levels of suites for your Honor’s Haven retreat!
Hike Shawangunk Ridge for spectacular views! Leash the pup & walk Bear Hill Preserve Trail! Play the nine-hole course at Shawangunk Country Club! Walk or roll on the Long Path Trail!
The historic Cragsmoor Free Library has an eye-opening art collection in a very beautiful setting! Shadowland Stages has been producing theater in Ellenville for nearly 40 years!
Choose from many flavors of homemade jam at Barthel’s Farm! Buy their honey, pollen & honey spread at Gunk Honey! Eggs, maple syrup & honey can be had at Plan Knit Permaculture Farm!
How about French Onion Soup plus Mac & Cheese bites followed by Coffee Crème Brulee overlooking the lake at Third & Company!? Or there’s always Croque Monsieur at Bistro du Mexique!
Work out your fitness plan at the Humble Gym! Get into the Jiu Jitsu groove at Fat Cat JJ! Recurl your perm at Lock 31! Keep a deep tissue massage appointment at Pineapple Day Spa!
Visit Canal Towne Emporium for local goods, stained glass, country furniture, artisan-made toys, old-fashioned candy & pickles in a barrel! The best raisin-pumpernickel is at Cohen’s!
Meditate on the view from Cragsmoor Stone Church! Gaze at Verkeerder Kill Falls, the Shawangunks’ tallest waterfall! Soar over the landscape: Hang-glide at Ellenville Flight Park!
There's so much to do in Cragsmoor, NY - it can be hard to decide! Contact one of our Local Experts at Village Green Realty. We'd love to give you our recommendation on the best things to do in Cragsmoor.
At the Library, Martine Kreiger told me what it’s like living in Cragsmoor: “The community is fantastic, the people here are wonderful, and summers are terrific, because if it’s 100 degrees down in Ellenville, it’s much cooler up here. Fall is beautiful; spring is beautiful. If you like to hike and like to be outdoors, and you like quiet, it’s perfect. When you need things, you go to Pine Bush, Ellenville, Middletown, Kingston, but you don’t run out for a pack of gum. You do everything at once, make it efficient.”
The Library is packed with art, including stained glass, a permanent collection of paintings that are hung on the two open stories of the library’s shelves and a small gallery for changing exhibitions: “We’re having an exhibit right now of female artists who lived in Cragsmoor at one point.” About the works hanging in the main room: “Some of these pictures are from local artists; some are from artists who are deceased. The Library was started by the artists, their spouses and local residents.”
Dominating the room is a wonderful bas-relief, a della Robbia reproduction built into the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. It’s all hand-made, created particularly to house the collection of books got together for the purpose. Some of that original collection is on the shelves to this day! (You can handle them, but you can’t check them out.) The Library is still a community gathering place, a site for flea markets, movies, exercise classes, holiday crafts shows, bake sale benefits, video screenings, talks and the like.
A modern art movement is in the works in Cragsmoor, as well. Joan Goldberg and Beat Keerl are some of the latest artists inspired by the spirit of Cragsmoor, and Keerl, the art curator at the Cragsmoor Free Library, has got a proposal together for a contemporary arts center in Cragsmoor. But first he’s making a movie on the Hudson River Valley arts, juxtaposing the past and present. “We’d like to bring the whole of the Hudson River Valley to the forefront.” If he suddenly had $5 million, he’d have a contemporary arts center in Cragsmoor now; meantime he’s going to do it virtually. Beyond that, Cragsmoor hosts a fire house and post office… period.
The outdoors, what artists came to Cragsmoor for in the first place and what continues to draw folks to the hamlet, can be accessed at the Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and the Sam’s Point area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve. To see the inspiring view from somewhere closer to the road, go a bit further uphill from the Cragsmoor Free Library and follow the signs to Cragsmoor Stone Church. Architect, painter and explorer Frederick S. Dellenbaugh designed the library and the church, which was completed in 1895, built from stone found on site. Pass through the stone arch to get the full benefit of the mind-blowing views out back and keep an eye on their schedule for special community events.
And so you feel good about the future of Cragsmoor, check out the Cragsmoor Conservancy, doing everything they can to make sure the hamlet retains its special aura.
Looking for peace and quiet and astounding mountain and valley vistas? Cragsmoor NY is the place for you. When you’ve got it in mind to build your own Cragsmoor home, climb high onto the Shawangunk Ridge on a lightly traveled road to see a two-acre parcel with two sides bordering Cragsmoor Conservancy property protected from development. When you’re ready to see a private Cragsmoor NY home for sale, give an eye to this open-concept Cragsmoor cape with a three-season screened porch and an abundance of Cragsmoor NY wildlife, great hiking and magnificent views; more features in this Cragsmoor home for sale are a rocking-chair front porch, deck, hardwood floors, a full basement and a two-car garage, all on five acres of Cragsmoor NY real estate.
For answers to all your Cragsmoor real estate questions, call an agent at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty today!
If you have any questions about Cragsmoor real estate, feel free to contact Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty. We'd love to show you all that Cragsmoor NY has to offer.
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Listing information last updated on September 26th, 2023 at 12:05pm EDT.