Every summer, some 75,000 people visit the tiny hamlet of Roxbury, New York. You’d never know it though; its Main Street is a short half mile long, and only a handful of restaurants and shops are consistently open. But no matter—visitors aren’t flocking to Roxbury for a bustling Main Street. Instead, Roxbury offers a quiet haven to truly unwind. Spotty cell reception forces visitors to unplug and take in its remarkable scenery made up of rolling hills, meadows, farms, barns and animals. At night, Roxbury is known for its starry skies. The lack of light pollution makes it one of the most popular stargazing destinations in New York State.
We first visited Roxbury last November, staying at Bellfire Farm’s Eastern Promises Room. The charming Airbnb rental is in the second story of the 19th century farmhouse. Upon check-in, we were enamored; the house, the room and its thoughtful details were beautiful. Once we got to talking, we realized we had a lot in common with our hosts Rich and Mina, too. The creative couple were excited to share a rental property they had been working on: a tipi.
Lucky for them, Rich and Mina had plenty of time to plan Bellfire Farm. As Mina explained: “We’re both maximalists, and we ran out of space in New York. We’d been looking for a farmhouse for about four months before we found our dream property. We moved up here during one of the roughest, coldest winters the Catskills had seen in 30 years. That gave us time to plan and dream… look out at the blinding white field of snow, and design the future of Bellfire Farm.” She laughs at herself and went on, “A tipi seemed simple enough, and in classic Mina style, I attacked the project as if it would only take five minutes to complete. Who knew a soft structure could be so challenging?! In the end, we hit a lot of walls—and sometimes had to build some—but a year later we opened the Bellfire Tipi. We wanted to create a space where you could forget all the uncomfortable things about camping and keep the special ones. To us, that means fresh air, birds singing every morning, and bonfires.”
To call the Bellfire Farm Tipi Hideaway is special is an understatement. Hosts Rich and Mina have combined their creative talents—photography, building and woodworking—to create a truly memorable experience. Every aesthetic and functional detail has been considered, from its picturesque location in the woods right down to the meticulously cut and stacked firewood. Hanging tea lights help to create a peaceful ambiance. Even the outhouse has great details; it’s Tim Burton-esque design (by Rich) is delightful. The tipi is tucked into a picturesque clearing in the woods, just steps away from a seasonally running creek. On the other side, a five acre wildflower field blooms all summer, creating landscapes that change almost daily. The entire property is ten acres, which guests are encouraged to explore, especially as more structures come to fruition. “We’ve only just started with Bellfire Farm,” Mina told us. ” Bellfire will continue to grow and transform over the next five years into an artist retreat.”
Inside, the Bellfire Farm Tipi Hideaway can technically sleep up to four people, but it’s probably most ideal for a couple or a traveling pair of friends. At night, a central fire pit keeps the inside cozy; plentiful blankets, pillows and throws keep guests warm well after the fire goes out. The tent is incredibly well-crafted too, both in terms of aesthetic appeal and functionality. Its flaps are designed to keep the weather out when you want to, but also open easily for fresh air. Outdoorsy amenities like fire wood, bug spray, water and a solar phone charger are provided; wifi is available at the house. Coffee and tea are also stocked in the tent, and easily cooked up with the gas cooktop and pour-over mugs.. because there’s nothing like a piping hot cup of coffee in the outdoors. A nearby hammock and fire pit complete the outdoor getaway.
Though it’s easy to get sucked into Bellfire Farm for an entire weekend, there’s lots to do in the area, especially if you’re up for a scenic drive. Farm to table restaurants, flea markets, shopping and hiking are plentiful in the area. Check out the rest of our guide below for more details.
What To Do Around Roxbury: Shop Main Street, Small-Town Hop Through Delaware County, Spend the Day Outdoors Hiking, Biking, or Swimming
If you’re visiting the region and looking for something to do, checking out the Roxbury Arts Group website is a great place to start. It lists performances, exhibitions, workshops, classes, and the like happening in the area. On Roxbury’s Main Street, there’s a handful of little shops and galleries worth stopping into as well. Roxbury General is a highlight, whose cute store has absolutely everything both locals and tourists could need from clothing and home goods, to outdoor supplies and even bicycle rental. There’s a large selection of Catskill-made goods as well, with toiletries, accessories, home goods, pantry and jewelry made by local artisans. For those traveling with little ones, there’s also a large kids section. Say hi to owners and shopkeepers Robin and Doug for us!
For adventure lovers, Plattekill Mountain is located five minutes from Bellfire Farm. Its sky lift, which is open year-round, is a crowd favorite and $7 admission for both ways. You can hike up and take the lift down, or vice versa, for some amazing views from the top. There’s also downhill mountain biking and free riding at the mountain, whose technical terrain is among the best on the East Coast and has helped Plattekill earn a worldwide reputation as a mountain biking paradise. For a more leisurely bike ride, guests should check out the Catskill Scenic Trail which runs twenty-six miles from Roxbury to Bloomville.
If you’re up for a scenic drive, there’s a couple other little towns in the area worth a stop. Bovina is about 25 minutes away and a crowd favorite of Escape Brooklyn. Begin your day grabbing a coffee at FosterBuilt Coffee, who sets up his traveling coffee stand in his front yard on some weekends. Russell’s General Store is across the street, making the best egg sandwiches ever, served up on paper plates stamped “Bovina China.” (Russel’s also sells Fosterbuilt Coffee by the bag if he’s not around to open the coffee stand.) If you happen to be around for dinner, Brushland Eating House is fantastic, with a cool vibe and seasonal menus complimented by daily specials. Completing the circuit, check out the local farm stands to pick up seasonal produce and meats. A favorite of ours is Burnett Farms, whose antics on Instagram are just as good as the produce.
A bit further away, there’s a bit more going on in Margaretville and Arkville, both of which are located on Route 28, the main throughway in the Catskills. In Arkville, hop on the Delaware & Ulster Railroad for a scenic ride through the mountains—fall is an especially popular time for the hour-long journey. During summer, there’s an off-the-radar swimming hole outside Margretville you can ask your hosts for directions to. It’s not super deep, but a shallow rocky stream on the other side of the “hole” make this a unique spot to sit (or lay) around in the sun for a few hours. Also in Margretville, there’s a great roadside flea market that happens on most weekends. It’s on the side of Route 28 and has no website/presence—so if you’re looking for a deal, this is your chance.
Where to Eat and Drink Around Roxbury: Farm-to-Table Restaurants, A Pizza Buffet on a Farm, or Stock Up at the Farmers Market
As Delaware County is largely farm land, farm-to-table restaurants are popular in the region and always a safe bet for a great meal. The closest dinner option is Peekamooose, about a 20 minute drive from Bellfire Farm. The restaurant’s chef, Devin Mills, is an alum of Le Bernardin and Gramercy Tavern. Reservations are recommended for its lodge-y dining room, or you try your luck as a walk-in at the taxidermy-filled bar. Skip the dessert menu and make a (free) s’more on their back patio. A bit further out, Table on Ten in Bloomville is 25 minutes away, and hosts a wildly popular pizza night on Fridays. (For the record, brunch and Saturday night dinner are also phenomenal!) During the summer, meals are served outside in their beautiful back yard, lit with globe string lights, candles and fireflies. In winter, the show moves back indoors to the dining area in the 1860s home.
Another unique experience can be had at Lazy Crazy Acres, where guests pay $20 to dig in at the pizza buffet. After dinner, take the free hay ride up the hill to watch the sunset and get a tour of the scenic farm. Don’t leave without taking home eggs you can gather yourself or a jar of their bourbon maple syrup! Read an article we wrote about Lazy Crazy Acres here.
Last, you can certainly forego the dining out altogether and cook over the campfire at Bellfire Farm! In Margretville, there’s a huge Freshtown to pick up the basics, but save most of your shopping for the local farm stands and markets. Just down the road from Bellfire Farm, Round Barn Farmer’s Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food and home goods are grown on local, organic and sustainable farms and include pasture-raised meats, trout, cheeses, breads, and plant beddings. If you miss the market, there are dozens of farm stands along Roxbury’s scenic roads, each as good as the last. Last, don’t forget to stock up on booze! You can stop in town at Roxbury Wine & Spirits, which is really cute and run by some of the friendliest guys around. Make sure to check their calendar for tastings, too!