Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure
About We're Outta Here
We all work hard and hopefully we all play harder. Each month We’re Outta Here gives our readers some of the finer places that you and yours can get away to for that nice trip on the road. Whether it be a romantic inn for two or a super region for your whole riding group, this monthly column will give you thoughts and ideas to keep traveling on your motorcycle always a fresh and new experience.
760 Main St, Hobart, NY 13788 • 607-538-3006
There are some towns that you might fly right through if on the way to somewhere else and, at times, this could be your loss – especially when you realize that some of the best-hidden gems lie just to your right or left as you are passing.
As riders are making their way through or exploring parts of New York State you might be tempted, as the day ends, to make way to one of the larger cookie cutter motels along I-88. We are here to stop you.
Along Route 10, in the northern part of the Catskills, there is the hamlet of Hobart. Hobart has a book problem – but, a good one – as they have three great book stores offering true classics and books of historical nature.
They also have one of the most comfortable old-style, with a modern flair, inns in the region. The Bull & Garland - a local take on the traditional English Pub set in an 1830’s inn.
Like many inns around the nation, The Bull & Garland has an interesting backstory, with the inn and restaurant something spontaneous than deeply planned out.
In 2014 Melissa and Oliver Pycroft were looking to move to the region, as they had grown weary of city life. This would be a story you might have heard before - but this was a bit different as they had spent the last number of years in Paris, London, Budapest, Seville, and New York City before looking to the Catskills.
Oliver had years of experience in the pub and restaurant business in London and the couple had thoughts of opening something along this line.
They settled on an old stately place called the MacArthur House in the village of Hobart and began some extensive restorations.
What was once envisioned as a great pub morphed into a superb restaurant ...and very comfortable overnight lodging too.
We discovered the Bull & Garland while searching for something new, different and fun in this part of New York state. The Bull & Garland was all that and more.
We came north on a cold, clammy and yucky day (yucky is a scientific term) in late March, and parking the bikes and walking up to the porch we thought maybe we had the wrong building, although the sign hanging out front clearly told us we were in the right place.
The very rustic exterior had us unprepared for the warmth and happy feeling we found once we opened the door and walked over the threshold.
To the right, the bar was already happening on this rainy Friday night and the hostess, looking at the two dripping water rats with helmets that just walked through her door, knew who we were and brought us up the steep stairs and down the hall to our room.
Our digs for the night were spacious and relaxed and warm – as they anticipated our cold and chilly arrival on the motorcycles.
How excellent was that?!
A big comfy bed in the middle of a large Victorian-style room with a mixture of old, new and odd appointments – all Melissa’s (The Garland?) doing.
The last time I found an alligator’s head in my room I was in the bayou of Louisiana.
This building has seen many a season and we know that some persnickety folk let things like slightly tilted flooring put them off.
We, on the other hand, embrace this and loved the original wide wood planking.
We loved the bathroom, especially the tiled shower obviously a bit more modern and slick than some of the rest of the room, and perfectly welcome after the long, cold and wet journey.
For us, overnight rooms should all have the Holy Trinity – great bed, ample room, and a good hot shower. Check, check and check!
After we settled, showered and snuggled we made our way downstairs to the bar that was an even mix of guests and friendly locals – all for which made excellent tavern talk.
There was a nice selection of craft brews as well as signature cocktails. So far we had been impressed with the easy and friendly feel of the place, but their bar was raised higher when we began to order Oliver’s (The Bull?) food.
We had started with a chicken liver pate with a port wine glaze at the bar. Very nice and we then moved to a table where Shira ordered a double-cut pork chop, with an apple cider sauce and mashed potatoes and I went for Moroccan lamb shank with curried chickpeas and mint yogurt.
Since I always have buyer’s remorse I spied each and every plate that came by our table - and it all looked scrumptious.
But we were not disappointed as the pork chops went deep to center field and the Moroccan lamb shank was out of the park delicious - tender, flavorful and falling off the shank. I could eat this every week. Oliver changes the menu up seasonally, and you can whet your appetite with a quick peak online before you go.
The Bull & Garland has wi-fi downstairs, but not so much in the upstairs rooms and there are no televisions. This is also a bugaboo for some - but appreciated by us.
We also liked the old-style dial FM radio and music of the ‘80s made a great soundtrack through the rest of the evening.
The inn supplies a French-press coffee maker with all the fixins’, and very good coffee as well – something I have found that I cannot survive without.
All was silent as we packed up the bikes and quietly rode away, but the previous day’s ‘First Overnight’ of the year – soggy and frigid as it was - was well worth it.
The Bull & Garland, with its four comfortable suites, each at $99/night, and the bar and Oliver’s restaurant right there, makes an excellent stop while traveling or even a better base of operations for a few couples or friends to explore this region of the Empire State. The Inn takes guests 7 days a week, while Oliver’s is open Thurs-Sat only.