In 2014, Oliver and Melissa Pycroft traded the busy streets of London for a small cabin in the Catskill Mountains. After two decades of traveling—working and living in NY, Paris, London, Budapest and Seville—the couple were ready to escape the city for the countryside and begin a new, more rural life together. They set their sights on the Catskill Mountains of New York; Melissa’s great-grandfather had built several cabins there, and after a visit with their family to the region earlier that year, they fell in love with it.
When Melissa and Oliver decided to move, there wasn’t a “plan,” per se–though they’d always talked about opening a pub or inn together. Oliver had over a decade experience managing pubs and restaurants in London and Nottingham; Melissa was an artist and worked as a project manager in the non-profits sector. Their combined experience and shared passions were perfect for such an endeavor, however, first they’d need to find a location.
The day they moved to the Catskills, the couple found out they were pregnant.
And so the search for a suitable property was expedited. They landed on a property known as the MacArthur house in the village of Hobart, near the western edge of the Catskills, and spent the next year renovating the space. The building was erected in the 1830’s, and according to local historians, was a coaching inn before it became a private residence. As to why they fell in love with it: “The rambling 1830’s interior with its quirky rooms and cozy nooks felt like the country pubs we loved to frequent in England,” Melissa told us. “We imagined the grounds backing onto the West Branch of the Delaware River as the perfect space for a beer garden.”
In February of 2015, Melissa and Oliver welcomed their daughter Isadora into the world. In October 2016, the Bull & Garland opened its doors. The interiors were designed by Melissa, whose arts background is evidenced in each room. Each rooms attention to detail, plus the use of color, space, and texture is outstanding. The inn’s three rooms sit above the restaurant on the second floor, in different shapes and sizes, all beautiful.
The Bull & Garland is a little less than three hours from NYC–but don’t let that deter you. Much of the journey is along stretches of beautiful road over rolling hills, past barns and rivers. Though the English-style pub & inn is reason enough to visit, its also nearby to Escape Brooklyn favorites Roxbury and Bovina.
What To Do Around Hobart, NY: Explore A Book Village, Hike, Bike or Swim
Hobart is a tiny town famous for its bookstores. Six shops line its Main Street; some have specific genres, while others offer a wider scope of topics. One of those genre-specific shops is Mysteries & More, a bookshop inside a house, and say hello to its cat Big Red who’s been “known to solve a crime or two.” Our favorite shop to peruse is Adams’ Antiquarian Book Shop, who has an amazing selection of vintage and antique stacks, including local history. Liberty Rocks Books is another good one, and your more typical book shop, but with a huge selection of vinyl.
To spend some time in the outdoors, look no further than the Catskill Scenic Rail Trail. It’s just behind the main road, open year-round, and stretches for twenty six miles of trail great for hiking, biking, horseback riding or cross-country skiing. Those looking for a more challenging hike can head to Palmer Hill, just outside of Andes, for a 3.7 mile hike boasting magical views. Last but not least, ask a local about their favorite swimming hole. They’re plentiful in these parts!
Where To Eat & Drink Around Hobart, NY: An English Pub & Farm-to-Table Gems
First and foremost, the food at Bull & Garland is fantastic. The menu changes seasonally and features English staples like fish and chips, or savory pies served with mashed potatoes. Due to its popularity and small, intimate space, reservations are highly recommended.
A twenty minute drive will take you to some of other regional hotspots, where reservations are also recommended. For lunch or dinner, Table on Ten is a must-visit that sits on an otherwise unassuming fork in the road, in a middle-of-nowhere town. Food is ordered counter-service, then grab a spot in the cozy basement or their beautiful back yard. Though the entire menu is great, they’re best known for their wood-fired pizzas. Brushland Eating House is another local gem, about 15 minutes from Hobart in bucolic gem of Bovina. Their reputation has earned press from Vogue, Eater NY, Conde Nast Traveler, and more. In the same town, check out Russel’s General Store for a breakfast sandwich, afternoon snack, or to peruse the aisles of local crafts and food offerings; then head up the mountain and pay a visit to Burnett Farms’ farmstand.