When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, I remember my grandmother coming up to the Sullivan County Catskills for at least part of the summer. She stayed at some pretty nice places, like the Concord, and they always had a big in-ground pool for my cousins and me to swim the day away. Then at dinnertime, we would go into Monticello and eat at Kaplan’s. There were all kinds of arcades to play in, and we loved Skee-ball. Those are my fond Catskill memories. Things have changed a lot since those days.

What I didn't realize when I was a kid is that Sullivan County isn’t the only place in the Catskills where people gathered for rest and recreation. Greene County was also a big attraction for city folks, especially the Irish. East Durham is known for a store called Guaranteed Irish and they sell everything from Irish jewelry to Irish clothes and lots of Irish food products. The store is huge and fun to wander through. I ought to know because I was just there a couple of weeks ago.

On our way to East Durham, my friend and I noticed something that seemed sad and eerie. It was a huge hotel-like structure, surrounded by other structures that must have been amazing at one time. But it was abandoned, overgrown, and locked behind gates. There was a sign that said Buckingham Palace. What was this place? I asked a friend who recently moved to Greene County if he knew the history of the place. Turns out it was a big resort and one that I’ve heard of many times.

The property was the old Friar Tuck Inn Resort and Spa. They used to advertise on the radio. My boyfriend, who lived in Palenville, used to work in the kitchen at the Friar Tuck Inn when he was a kid. Wow. I don’t remember seeing it when I was younger, but I heard stories of how posh it was. Not anymore. So now what will happen? I did some research and as of April 2022, the property was for sale. I also found a video on Youtube that I’ve included below. If anyone has the dream of reviving a former Catskill getaway, this just may be your chance. 

Sharyn Faranda
Sharyn Faranda
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