Written by Connor McCausland on April 1, 2015
Postcard credit: The History of Livingston Manor, NY
Tales of “the two-headed trout” swim in my memories from boyhood.
The story of a rainbow trout trying to decide between the Beaverkill River and the Willowemoc creek, only to end up splitting into two heads, is known by mostly all residents of the town of Rockland, specifically the hamlet of Roscoe, NY. As I have come to know, this bizarre tale characterizes Roscoe quite well.
Some of the best fishing on the east coast can be found here, and with that comes travelers seeking out the lakes and rivers of the area. It is also in the median of upstate-colleges and downstate-suburbs, meaning a large populous of students and parents find themselves ordering milkshakes and cheeseburgers at the Diner before they continue their respective journeys. Roscoe Beer Company, a successful brewery endeavor has been attracting folks for the past couple years, along with Prohibition Distillery — both establishments offering tastings, and both advertising their products far beyond Roscoe.
Roscoe also has somewhat of a cult status amongst local youngsters, mostly high-school age thrill seekers with gas money and time on their hands. Nestled in the Catskill trees, alongside the Beaverkill, sits Dundas Castle— built by a Scotsman in 1921 and made an official Historic Landmark in 2001. It is undeniably spooky— it is truly enveloped by the forest, and can usually only be located by one who has been before. Its rooms are filled with antique, musky furnishings along with cigarette butts, graffiti and residual satanic rituals. It’s stony exterior is grand and beautiful, but not overly large— lending to the feeling of it being a home rather than a palace. It is also private property, so the need to be silent and sneaky only makes it seem that much spookier. I imagine teens will flock to this gem of architecture for years to come, much to the chagrin of the caretaker and the local sheriff.
Roscoe was once called Westfield Flats, and before white influence arrived the land belonged to the Delaware indians. Wild wolves and mountain lions lived symbiotically with the natives, and while all three can no longer can be found in the area, the spirit of that symbiosis lives on. It seems unassuming to the passive traveler, and doesn’t take much space up on a map, but the heart of Roscoe beats strong. It is rich with tradition but still has a nuance of strangeness and mystery that could fill pages and pages, but can only truly be understood in a visit.
While you may not see the two-headed trout, you will understand why he got himself stuck between the two rivers, unable to truly leave, living out his newly mutated time in Roscoe, NY.
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