Some of the many charms of living in the country are the abundance of wildlife, the working farms, and the lakes, streams and ponds that dot the landscape. In addition, there are picturesque towns, …
Some of the many charms of living in the country are the abundance of wildlife, the working farms, and the lakes, streams and ponds that dot the landscape. In addition, there are picturesque towns, villages and tiny hamlets scattered throughout—each with a rich history and unique flavor of its own. In light of recent events, more than a few folks have decided to forsake their urban environs in favor of greener pastures by relocating to our gorgeous neck of the woods, simultaneously reinvigorating our towns and breathing new life into the good, clean rarified air that permeates the regional atmosphere.
Welcoming newcomers serves to remind me of how fortunate I am to call this region home. The strength, resilience and spirit of community that abounds are inspirational, and that spirit is echoed throughout the picture-perfect hills and valleys that make up the Sullivan Catskills and, more widely, the Delaware River Valley as a whole. As a photojournalist, I take particular pleasure in celebrating the magic of small-town life, and Jeffersonville, NY was one of the first to capture my attention when I decided to make this region my home many moons ago.
As for history, Jeff has plenty: For those seeking to visit for a day, a week, or a lifetime, a quick glance at Wikipedia informs us that the original settlers arrived around 1830 and called the village Winkelried.
The first hotel in the village was The Jefferson House, named after President Thomas Jefferson, and the village was subsequently renamed to Jeffersonville. The hotel is now known as the Abel Building and still stands on Main Street. Interestingly, in 1897 and 1898, a total of bills from hotels and saloons in town showed that 3,000 kegs of beer were consumed in a village with a population of 500.
The village was incorporated on November 24, 1924 and the Jeffersonville School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Since 1990 Jeffersonville has been home to public radio station WJFF at 90.5 FM. Delving further, another online description of the village encapsulates what living in Jeff means to the 400 or so people who populate the village:
“Welcome to Jeffersonville, a charming older village nestled in the Western part of the Sullivan County Catskills,” the headline at www.jeffersonvilleny.com reads. “You will see that Jeffersonville’s Main Street (Route 52) is loaded with entrepreneurial spirit offering an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and businesses conveniently located near Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the Woodstock Museum and the beautiful, scenic and recreational Delaware River. On the main street of Jeffersonville, you will find shopping spots for art, antiques and gifts, and great places to stop for a meal.” If that isn’t enough to pique one’s interest, the website continues to intrigue: “Events happen in the hamlets as well,” it states. “Check out the Callicoon Center Band, a slice of long-forgotten life that comes every Wednesday summer evening for an hour, there is dancing in the street and a pie raffle. The drives in the area surrounding Jeffersonville are bucolic; cows, streams, hayfields, old barns and the fall foliage is spectacular.”
Of course, the current pandemic has slowed down operations and gatherings on Main Street, but these small businesses remain open for holiday shopping, the restaurants open for takeout and gift certificates to use at a later, closer-to-normal day. The nearly 100-year-old village waits to welcome you back.
For residents and visitors alike, Jeffersonville, NY is a special place worth celebrating.