The picturesque Delaware and Ulster Railroad tour through the Catskill Region has been called “the most scenic rail line in the east.” Starting at the station in the hamlet of Arkville, the two-hour excursion follows the rails north to the town of Roxbury and back. Built in1872, the Roxbury station includes a museum of local history, and as part of the depot complex, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 24-mile round trip follows the same path that once moved coal and commercial goods throughout the area, and guided vacationers to the grand lodges of the Catskills until the train was replaced by the automobile. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJXtEnrecYw
Today, as in the past, passengers might enjoy a gourmet meal in an Art Deco dining car, or ride in one of the open-air or glass-covered observation cars, all the while taking in the incomparable views of the Catskill Mountains and the picturesque East Branch of the Delaware River.
In the town of Roxbury, located high on a hill in the Catskills, is a rustic cabin known as Woodchuck Lodge, summer home of John Burroughs, one of America’s leading literary naturalists. Just over the hill stands the farmhouse where Burroughs grew up. Here Burroughs explored and studied his world, and developed his deep appreciation for nature that shaped the rest of his life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woyEuXBMBo0
Burroughs published his first book in 1871, and went on to write 25 volumes of essays, quickly establishing himself as the most popular writer of nature essays of his time. Over his lifetime, Burroughs became close friends with Walt Whitman and John Muir.
Beginning in the late 1890’s, and for the next 40 years, Kirkside Park was part of the estate of one of Roxbury’s most famous residents, philanthropist Helen Gould Shepherd. The 11-acre park encompasses both banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River, includes Adirondack style bridges, gazebos, a waterfall and stone terraces. Unfortunately, following Mrs. Shepherd’s death in 1938, the park fell into disrepair. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5qg-73zPYs
In 1999, the Town of Roxbury launched a park revitalization project, and today, Kirkside Park, with its rustic bridges, riverside paths, flower gardens and ball fields has been restored to its former grandeur. Once again Kirkside Park stands as a center of activity and natural beauty on New York’s Path Through History.