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Geographically, Narrowsburg sits in a unique position at the halfway point along the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, a 70-mile stretch of New York State Route 97 from Port Jervis to Hancock, NY. Unless you’re coming from Pennsylvania, that’s the only way to get here. And what a way it is.
When I was regularly going back and forth to New York City, while others preferred the speed of State Route 17B, I always opted to take the Scenic Byway. The winding roadway forces drivers to take it easy. And the chance to see a bald eagle, a waterfall and the Delaware River made it an obvious choice, even if it lengthened the commute by a few minutes.
Construction on State Route 97 began in 1920, and the final phase was completed in 1939. It was officially designated the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway in 2002. The goal of the Scenic Byway is to protect the region’s character, heritage and beauty, while encouraging economic development through tourism.
This week it is the fall foliage that is bringing tourists up and down the colorful Scenic Byway. Leaf peepers will be able to take in plenty of red, yellow and orange leafy landscapes for the next couple of weeks.
The faded Narrowsburg sign that currently welcomes motorists approaching from the south on Route 97 will soon be replaced with a fresh new “Welcome to Narrowsburg” sign, thanks to the Narrowsburg Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Tusten. The new sign will highlight two of the town’s most iconic elements: the bald eagle and the Narrowsburg bridge. Sean Harrington will construct the sign of black locust lumber similar to that used on the Main Street deck, with raised metal images and lettering designed by Brandi Merolla and currently being created at the Hurleyville Maker’s Lab.
Jane Luchsinger, who serves as Tusten’s representative on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Committee, recently informed me that funding is available to cut vistas along Route 97 to improve views of the Delaware River. (Call 845/ 252-3022 or visit www.upperdelawarescenicbyway.org for more information.)
I’m looking forward to being on Route 97 this weekend with my family at the Fort Delaware Museum (6615 State Rte. 97) for its Haunted History Lantern Tour. The family-friendly event features local lore and mysteries told by costumed storytellers on Saturday, October 13 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 per individual or $20 per family. The Tusten Youth Commission will be selling chili and hot dogs, and the Delaware Company, the non-profit group supporting the history of the Upper Delaware River Valley for which the event is a benefit, will be selling cider and doughnuts.