The tiny town of Roscoe, NY, (pop. 541) was thrown into the public spotlight in 2011 when it won the title of Ultimate Fishing Town in a competition put on by the World Fishing Network. Roscoe was awarded $25,000, and local businesses stepped up to the plate (or, uh, fishing line?) to reinvigorate Trout Town USA – now the number one fly fishing town in the country.
Roscoe has always been a popular destination for anglers and tourists seeking to enjoy easy access to rivers and mountain views. However, from 1868-1957, Roscoe didn't just attract tourists to the area, but a special type of passenger -- special trains with "trout cars" containing fish from hatcheries in Long Island to stock streams in the area.
"When they got to a river or a crossing, the trains would stop and dump the fish in the stream," explains Wilmer Sipple, director of the Roscoe O&W Railway Museum. "It was a familiar sight -- a boxcar loaded with milk cans. But there was no milk in those cans. At each bridge, the engineer would stop the train and his crew would dump young trout into the waters below."
With its world-class fishing access and cute main street, Roscoe is still a draw for weekenders, fishing enthusiasts, and outdoor types. We've selected a few gems to “reel you in”:
Grab a breakfast sandwich at the ROSCOE DINER
1908 Old Route 17, (607) 498-4405
From corned beef to cocktails, or soup to souvlaki, this roadside institution has been filling stomachs for over 40 years. This self-styled “world-famous” diner attracts locals, weekenders, and students on their way to their upstate SUNY colleges.
Pick up a growler at ROSCOE BEER CO.
145 Rockland Road, (607) 290-5002
“No tall tales, just great beer” is the motto of this recent arrival and new hometown favorite. Stop by to pick up some of their signature brew, Trout Town Amber Ale, brewed according to traditional American traditions of the early 1900s.
Stop in for gourmet cheese, organic produce, and pottery at PEPACTON NATURAL FOODS
57 Stewart Avenue (Main St), (607) 498-9909
This general store specializes in fresh, local, organic and gourmet produce, from locally grown vegetables to a wide array of cheese, fish, pasture-raised meats, organic chicken, breads, chips, sauces, jams, and gelato, all sourced from the area. The store also sells beautiful and unique pottery pieces; plus soaps, lotions and potions. "It’s everything you need, and nothing you don't," as one recent customer put it.
Take a tasting tour at PROHIBITION DISTILLERY
10 Union Street, (607) 498-4511
Located in a 1929 firehouse -- hence the fireman's ax on their logo -- Prohibition’s signature Bootlegger 21 vodka is named for the 21st Amendment that repealed the ban on alcohol in 1933. Reviewers have described it as “floral, sweet-smelling” and “super plush and mouth-filling.” Bootlegger 21 Bourbon and Bootlegger 21 Gin are also available for tasting and for purchase.
Stay at the RIVERSIDE CAFÉ & LODGE
16624 County Highway 17, (607) 498-5305
Relax in this log cabin on the river’s edge, or enjoy an almost floor-to-ceiling view onto the Beaverkill River at the adjoining restaurant. Be sure to make the most of the huge fieldstone fireplace in the bar room. The restaurant offers homemade cuisine with regular specials including local brook trout.
Take a guided tour with TROUT TOWN ADVENTURES
This family-owned and operated business offers fishing, hunting, hiking, geocaching, and canoe/kayak trips with state certified guides who know the area well and can show you the very best spots -- and maybe even a bald eagle or two.
Here's one of Prohibition Distillery’s favorite cocktails, perfect now that the colder weather is drawing near.
The Wintery Mix
2 oz Bootlegger 21 NY Vodka
¼ oz ginger liqueur
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fig honey syrup
½ tsp of apple sauce
Splash cranberry juice
15 dried cranberries
In a shaker add Bootlegger and cranberries. Muddle the cranberries, add ginger liqueur, lime juice, fig honey syrup, apple sauce and cranberry juice. Shake hard with ice. Strain into martini glass or serve over ice.