Rensselaerville Farms, Natural Areas, and Outdoor Recreation

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Like all of the Helderberg Hilltowns, Rensselaerville is an area of great natural beauty: scenic farmlands, distant vistas of the Catskill Mountains, steams, water falls, and forest land.

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Cook Family Maple Syrup in Preston Hollow.
Photo by Karin Edmondson

Existing Areas

Preserves and Outdoor Recreation


  • Rensselaerville State Forest - Also known as the Cheese Hill area, this location near the hamlet of Rensselaerville is outstanding for its extensive pine forest glades that are sufficiently open so that one can ski through them with no need for a trail. These glades generally parallel the Department truck trail that traverses the area. There are about 4 miles of Nordic skiing opportunities in this area.
  • Catskill Creek is a waterway with tributaries; Scrub Creek, Ten Mile Creek, Eight Mile Creek and Willow Brook in Rensselaerville.
  • The Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station's mission is to protect the natural beauty of the Rensselaerville Falls, the watershed of Lake Myosotis and surrounding lands, to conduct long-term research on natural systems as part of a global effort to understand and preserve the Earth's biodiversity, and to increase appreciation of this effort through innovative, field-based educational programs for students, teachers and the community.

Water Recreation

  • Ten Mile Creek in Rensselaerville has Brown Trout and some Rainbow Trout; it is not stocked - the trout population is naturally maintained.
    • There is one DEC access in back of Jenkins Homestead in the Rensselaerville hamlet.
    • Another is near the Town barn at the junction of CR 357 and North Rd., Medusa.
    • There may be another one on Willsey Rd. near McCullough Cross?
  • Non-motorized water craft may be launched on Lake Myosotis in the Huyck Preserve outside the swimming area, regardless of Huyck Preserve membership status. (Although membership is certainly appreciated for this worthy organization!!!)

Farms and farm activities

Cattle at Heather Ridge Farm
  • Allyn P. Wright, Consulting Forester - timber stand improvement, timber sales, management plans, Christmas trees, maple products, custom milling; Medusa; Tel. 518-239-6768.
  • Baitsholts Farm - sheep for wool and lambs for spring, beautiful hand woven goods, yarns, handcream, herbs & spices. Products available year round. Also at farmers market Main St. Rensselaerville Sat. 10am-1pm June-October. 90 CR 353; Cheryl Baitsholts; Tel. (518)797-5201. Baitsholts Farm
  • Conkling Farm Enterprises - Garlic sheaves. July-October, variable hours. 367 Albany Hill Rd.; Tel. (518) 797-3999.
  • Cooksburg Lumber Co. - Sawmill specializing in the production of hardwood lumber, rough-cut softwood, sawdust, slabwood, bark mulch. Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-4324.
  • Cook's Maple Syrup - Walter Cook & Sons; Potter Hollow; Tel. 518-239-4741.
  • Cotter Equestrian Center - lessons, training, boarding, summer overnight camps, Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-4849.
  • Farmers Market - Main St. Rensselaerville Sat. 10am-1pm June-October.
  • Garden of One and the Garden at Thunder Hill - Garden of One is set amid 120 acres of forest, lake, ponds, streams, gardens, and natural beauty. Sweat lodge, Labyrinth. 60 Thunder Hill Rd., Rensselaerville; Tel. 518-797-3373. Garden of One
  • Heather Ridge Farm - Grass fed Angus, Hereford, Devon cattle; pigs are both spotted white Yorkshire-Landracer-Hampshire mix and the red Tamworth “Irish-Rover” heritage breed. Gourmet garlic and fresh culinary herbs! Apple wood to create a delicious smoke for your barbecues. John and Carol Clement are the owner/operators. 989 Broome Center Rd Preston Hollow. (Call First!) Tel. Office: 518-239-6234; Fax: 518-239-6234. Heather Ridge Farm
  • Hickory Hill Homestead - Goats and pottery. By appointment. 1012 County Route 403; Tel. (518) 966-4208.
  • John B. Geurtze, Jr. - logging, sand and gravel, hogs and beef, Medusa; Tel. 518-239-6776.
  • Lewis Dale Farms - Dairy and agricultural business. Medusa; Tel. 518-239-6514.
  • Pheasant Hollow Farm - Horses boarded, riding lessons, horses for lease, summer camps; 261 Gifford Hollow Road, (Next to Lone Goose Pond); Tel. 518-797-9274.
  • Rapazzo Stock Farm - Rt. 353, Rensselaerville; Tel. 518 797-3604.
  • Rolling Meadows Farm - Fruit tree sales & fruit plant nursery, certified plant dealer licensed by the Department of Agriculture and Markets; thoroughbred & trotter boarding; James A. Glorioso, 232 Knowles Rd, Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-5902. Rolling Meadows Farm
  • Sky of Light Center - We offer group and private yoga sessions, energetic healing sessions, meditation and stress management programs, and private and small group retreats in a beautiful protected setting. 414 Travis Hill Road, Preston Hollow; Tel. (518) 239-4717. Sky of Light Center
  • Wild Thymes Farms, Inc. - manufacturing gourmet food,Medusa; Tel. 518-239-4756.
  • Wintergreen Hill - Christmas trees & wreaths, wood crafts, bird houses, furniture. Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-6222.

Historic cemeteries

The following historic cemeteries are easily accessible and are maintained. There are many more that are abandoned and overgrown.

Historic buildings

Historic buildings (other than those previously listed under Visitor Facilites). Unless otherwise noted, these are not open to the public and may just be viewed from the road.

The Village of Rensselaerville, photo from People Made It Happen Here

Visitor facilities

Visitor facilities in Rensselaerville and nearby towns.

For Something to Eat

Places to Stay

  • The Rensselaerville Institute - A world-renowned meeting center situated on a country estate. Accommodating 10-180 attendees who prefer fresh air, exquisite food and a relaxed distraction-free setting.
  • The Catalpa House - is a Bed and Breakfast in an historic building; serving visitors since 1922. Contact Person/Owner: Marlene & Steve Omlor, Main Street, PO Box 248, Rensselaerville, NY 12147; Tel. 518-797-5280 or 518-797-3484. The Catalpa House
  • Guest Houses - to be added when there are some.

For something special

  • D.C. Story & Co. - clocks and antique repairs; cabinet maker - fine cabinets and kitchens; Rensselaerville hamlet; Tel. 518-797-3375.
  • Hilltown Market & Natural Food Co-op, Inc. - Coop and public market for local services, goods and produce; PO Box 238, 26 Rt. 353; Tel. 518-797-3144.
  • Old Fire House Antiques - Open Mar-Nov, Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-8420.
  • Second Hand Rose and More - collectibles; Rt. 145, Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-8015
  • Black Sheep Designs - arts and crafts; learn the ancient art of feltmaking with a contemporary twist; contact: Sharon Costello, 5000 Delaware Turnpike, Rensselaerville; Tel. 518-797-5191. Black Sheep Designs
  • Way Out Gallery - Handmade furnishings, collectible arts, gallery exhibitions.
  • Susan Story - artist, landscapes, portraits, pastels and water colors, Rensselaerville; Tel. 518-797-3375.
  • Crafty Meg's - specializing in one of a kind gift baskets and silk flower arrangements, Margaret Sedlmeir, Preston Hollow; Tel. 518-239-6282.



  • Advertise the natural beauty of the hill towns and the outdoor recreation opportunities. Attract folks interested in hiking, fishing, history, and photography.
  • Make the hill towns known for their great variety of trails.


There are many opportunities for expanding the existing system of trails.

  • The towns should encourage the planning and construction of scenic trails for use by hikers, bikers, horseback riding, fisherman, photographers, cross country runners, etc is encouraged. In the fall they might be used by hunters; in the winter by cross country skiers.
  • Promote a system of bike trails though-out the hill towns.
  • Add new trails to connect existing natural reservations.

Identify existing resources

Historic mill sites

Survey of historic mill sites to locate and document the conditions of the remains of any historic sawmills and grist mills and dam sites. Like abandoned cemeteries, these abandoned ruins will eventually be lost. It would be good to know exactly where they were before it is to late.

Family Burying Grounds

Locate and restore abandoned family burying grounds whose locations are not now known.

Historic Building Survey

to be written

Visitor Facilities

  • In any district of the town a home owner may operate a Guest House. The definition of a Guest House is a home owner who makes extra bedrooms available in their home for occasional guests. The Guest House is not a business but rather a way to earn extra money for the home owner from time to time.
  • Landowners whose land a trail crosses or who live within say 1000 feet of a trail could be encouraged to build facilities along such trails to benefit users of the trails and to charge for their use: trail shelters, tent camping sites, toilet facilities, picnic tables, fire pits.
  • With special permits, landowners in agricultural districts should be allowed to build cabins for rent by the day or week, and to build facilities for use by recreation vehicle campers.

Adjoining Hill Towns

Farms, Natural History Reserves, and outdoor recreation opportunities in adjoining hill towns: