1. Take a hike up to Jensen's Ledges, located about five miles northwest of Minglewood just outside the tiny hamlet of Lordville. The Ledge's offer a spectacular view overlooking the Delaware River west into Pennsylvania. The view extends for miles, but you probably won't see one single structure. The hike itself isn't very long, about 45 minutes, but gets steep at points. Its worth at least going into Lordville, and if you do you'll understand why. Funky is one way to describe it. If you're still in the mood to explore afterwards, pop across the Lordville bridge into PA and check out the quaint fishing village of Equinunk. This town hosts a variety of beautiful Victorian architecture, and a general store from the 1800s equipped with hard maple floors and jars of five cent candy.
2. Stop by Ray Turner's Delaware Delicacies, several miles outside of Hancock along the banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River. Mr. Turner traps and smokes eels (and other fish) from the river and sells them from a store on his property. He also has available numerous other local goods like cheese, maple syrup and preserves. If you enjoy smoked fish it is definitely worth the trip! Ask a local in Hancock how to get to the 'Eel Guy's place', and follow the signs through dirt roads into the woods. It is located about five minutes from the entrance ramp onto 17 east towards NYC.
3. Take a short trip in a kayak or canoe down the Delaware from Soaring Eagle Campground, located about 15 minutes south of Camp Minglewood. The river is timeless, and that section in particular is very quaint and quiet. Relax and enjoy yourselves, but keep an eye open for jumping fish, blue herons, eagles, and beavers (many have been spotted on the river this year). If you decide to do this, a fantastic place to swim on the river near there is the Basket, which can be found south of Long Eddy on your left, where a stone bridge crosses a creek which feeds into the river.
4. Drive to Callicoon and check out all that this frontier river town has to offer! Callicoon is also south of Minglewood, and many people drive through it as a shortcut on their way to the festival. You can grab a craft beer at the Callicoon Brewing Company, a slice of pizza (in my opinion, the area's best) at Peppino's, enjoy the WiFi and a cup of coffee on the deck of Cafe Devine, grab some local organic produce from the health food store or a bottle of local wine from the wine merchant. There's even a Vietnamese restaurant here if you're looking for a unique way to wet your pallet. I always urge festival goers to stop here, not just because its my hometown, but because I truly feel that it is one of the most unique & fun places in the area. If you decide to, you won't be disappointed!
5. If you're still reading this then you've probably got the great Explorer's Attitude. In between Hancock and Callicoon, there are four different bridges which lead into Pennsylvania. Cross any one of them, and take a big step back in time. Turn off your GPS, turn on to a random dirt road, and just go! You'll probably see an iconic barn or two, surely some wild animals, but if you're lucky you'll stumble across the castle in Braman, the sculpture park in Abrahamsville, the waterfall at Rock Run or maybe even the old hydo-powered wooden sawmill in Rileyville. If you're up for doing this make sure to stop by one of the last family owned general stores in the area, Cox's Lookout General Store in Lookout and get a bite to eat. Ask for their special 'firey' hot sauce, its fantastic. You'll probably run into some of the cast of characters who give this place I call home a real personality. I hope this reaches some people from out of town who have the time and ambition to do some of these things. The Upper Delaware River Valley is a beautiful place, off the beaten track but close enough to the tri-state area for a day trip. Even if you can't next weekend, come back some time and indulge. I promise you it is totally worth it
Words: Dylan Smith
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