In case you’re curious, the town got its name when its land was sold to Queen Anne of England for use as a settlement for Palatine German refugees who came to England fleeing the French; their church is the oldest building in town, dating from before 1750, and the area became one of the original seven towns of Columbia County NY.
This settlement lead to Germantown's very particular contribution to the american story. You’ve heard of the Rockefellers? One of the original Palatine settlers was Diell Rockefeller, and his son Simeon’s house, built in 1755 and known as the Rockefeller Tavern still stands in Germantown NY, as does as the 1876 Central House Inn owned by the Rockefellers in the early 20th century.
Peggy Rockefeller led the creation of the American Farmland Trust, while buying up 3,000 acres of Columbia County NY farmland to save it from development. Rockefellers run the biodynamic Churchtown Dairy--featuring a magnificent round barn--hosting theater, readings, workshops and farm and garden tours at their exquisite farm and grounds in nearby Red Mills. They sell lovely things at their shop, too, like their own raw milk and cheese, plus teas, elixirs and oils. Best of all, visitors are welcome to watch the milking at 6:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you move to Germantown you might make coffee with the cows a weekly tradition!
Just like all of Columbia County, Germantown NY is blessed with farms: the 80-year-old Heller’s Farm is Hudson-Valley-famous as a place to cut your own Christmas tree; they also have fantastic pick-your-own Concord grapes! Cat’s View Farm makes soap and lotion from their Nubian goats’ milk. Five generations have worked the Fix Brothers Fruit Farm, a great place to pick your own fruits and pumpkins in season. Transform your medicine chest with help from Field Apothecary and Herb Farm, where they’ve created a grassroots health care system for the community. At Germantown Farms everyone's invited to roll in the hay, pick wildflowers, or plant veggies and herbs - guests can also stay the night. This is not the end of the list! Indeed, there are more farms in Germantown NY; check out the town website’s directory to find them and other Germantown businesses.