The SpaceHISTORY & LOCATION
“The Smithy” is a property in Schoharie County – one of the most verdant, untouched, and wide-ranging landscapes of upstate New York. The tiny hamlet of West Fulton lies at the crossroads of the county in the far northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Here the steep land rising up in both directions from the northbound Schoharie Creek starts to give way beyond the striking summit of Vroman’s Nose, a hiker’s paradise, to the rolling hills and valleys of the north. West Fulton was once known as Sapbush Hollow due to its abundant maple trees and serene vantage point, nestled into a glen between Rossman Hill and the incline further up to Patria State Forest. It is one of several hamlets that make up the larger town of Fulton, first settled around 1715.
The simple house was originally built as a blacksmith’s shop in the 1800’s. It is situated on a small plot along the county road, near a little bridge that crosses the rushing Panther Creek, and just beside a public park that’s home to a single-room schoolhouse. In the 1930’s a second floor “apartment” was created above the crossbeams, which eventually became living quarters for the growing family that built it.
THE SMITHY TODAY
The house has undergone a slow and steady renovation, converting the lower level workspace into livable quarters and integrating it with the upper floor to create a cozy, year-round retreat. The rooms are simple and bright, with painted wood floors and clean white walls, and the small yard on the bridge side has been transformed into a lush little terrace with ground cover and local creek stones that seem they’ve been there forever. The adjacent acre-plus park to the east extends seamlessly from the property line, which is like having a great big yard without having to mow. Due to the house’s proximity to the road there is always easy access in the winter snow.
On the first floor of the house you enter a spacious mudroom or den, where the old shop window frames a view of the center hall colonial across the street. Beyond this lies a large living and dining space, a storage room, a bathroom with a walk-in shower, and a sunny kitchen featuring open shelves, a double farm-sink, a dishwasher, custom pantry, and a vintage stove and refrigerator. The second floor holds two sunny bedrooms at the front, and a shaded bedroom “suite” at the back roomy enough for two full beds and a cozy twin bed nook within a converted closet space. There is also a laundry room, the original bathroom, and a central open area at the top of the stairs that was originally the kitchen, and now functions as a communal reading space or playroom. The house features new doors, new cast-iron radiators, and new energy-efficient double-hung wood windows throughout, as well as a brand new standing-seam roof. The Neighborhood“The Smithy” is approximately 150 miles from New York City, 60 miles from Woodstock, 55 miles from Albany, 45 miles from Hudson, 40 miles from Hunter, 35 miles from Cooperstown, 30 miles from Windham, 25 miles from Roxbury, and 20 miles from Sharon Springs.
The most direct route from New York City is I-87 North to Exit 21, which is where you would land off the Rip Van Winkle Bridge if coming over from Hudson and Columbia County. From here take Route 23 west to Route 145, and follow Route 145 northwest through the town of Middleburgh. Just over the bridge head south on Route 30 until immediately past the Max V. Shaul State Park, where you take a right onto West Fulton Road and drive up to the hamlet.
If you have a little extra time, the favored route from New York City would be straight through the heart of Catskill Park. To go this route exit I-87 at Kingston, and take Route 28 west, past Phoenicia, all the way to Margaretville. From here take Route 30 north past Roxbury, Grand Gorge, and Gilboa. At North Blenheim, home of the longest wooden single-span covered bridge in the United States, take a left onto Bear Ladder Road, heading up the mountain, until you dead-end at West Fulton Road. Take a left, and you will enter the hamlet a few miles straight ahead. Getting AroundYou will need a car.