Once Upon a Time in The Catskills

Nestled in a sleepy Catskills town is an imposing 19th century mansion that looks deceptively ordinary from the outside. Sure, there are some nice architectural flourishes including a dilapidated balcony and various bits of decorative millwork, but all in all, it’s not something you don’t see every day in these parts. Still, we were intrigued. Despite a little time spent researching on the internet, we were unable to find out anything about it. The scant information we were able to find tells us that a nearby inn was built in 1885. There’s also a river nearby that looks pretty good for fly fishing. And that’s about it. So from here, we’re guessing.

One thing that becomes obvious is that this place was the realization of someone’s dream. Each room has its own decor, mostly constructions referencing a lost or unhappy childhood, intended to shock, or at least seriously disturb. As photographers who gravitate to this kind of thing, we have seen our share of creepy doll collections, beheaded plush toys, rusted baby carriages and all that, but this place takes it to a whole new level. There is one room that appears to have been burnt intentionally. There is another room, fancifully festooned in pink, with a pretty fabulous collection of onesies attached to the ceiling. And of course there is the blue room, with its macabre, er, wall treatments. Paint dripping into a crib filled with plush one-eyed bunnies? Nice touch!

We’re not sure other explorers haven’t done a little staging, but all in all, it’s pretty great. The Catskills are a gift that just keeps giving if you have a taste for the bizarre….