Standing under the only stop light in town, you'll often hear a distant clip clop as an Amish horse and buggy makes it's way down Main Street. Comprised of a patchwork of buildings, both historic and new, hemmed in by the Tioughnioga River, Marathon is radiating quintessential small town charm, perfect for a wandering day trip.
FIRST STOP BREAKFAST
It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so slide on in to Reilly's Café and fuel up for your day's adventures! Inside the Irish muraled walls you'll find farmers and suits alike, shouting familiar greetings, discussing the value of beech wood for heating the homestead, or the quality of hay this season. Cheeky waitstaff serve up classic diner fare and the cooler by the door is always full of an incredible array of homemade pies. From pancakes to breakfast burritos, you're sure to find something to satisfy everyone.
A STROLL THROUGH THE VILLAGE
Bellies now full, it's time for a wander. Marathon packs a lot in a small village; from parks, to fishing, shopping and reading there is enough to keep your afternoon jam-packed. Take a walk around the block, soak in the fantastic historical architecture and head on over to Peck Memorial Library.
A former opera house, the Peck Memorial library was built in 1894 in the late Victorian style. The arch entrance, flanked by impressive granite columns, welcomes you to a one of a kind library experience. Walk along the oak-paneled aisles and curl up with a book under a stained glass window or by cherub adorned iron fireplace. If you're lucky, a kindly librarian will offer you a tour of the once grand second floor opera house. Though it now serves as the warehouse for their biannual book sale, you will find it still is dressed with original light fixtures, full stage, balcony, trap door and intricate plaster ceiling. Pursing the perfect read, it's easy to let your imagination run away with you to a by gone era.
On the other end of the village you'll find Lovell Field, Marathon's town park and boat launch. Donated to the village of Marathon in 1949, by Earl B. Lovell, the park is lined with dozens of towering, old maple trees. The Tioughnioga River borders it to the west and is often dotted with Amish fisher men, their horse's snoozing in the shade of the maples. Local school children are often seen paddling in canoes under a teacher's watchful eye. Full of brown trout, small mouth bass, northern pike, and walleye, the shallows under the old steel bridge are a favorite place to cast a line or splash on a warm day. On the other side of the park, you'll find a newly constructed play ground with sweeping views of the valley. The perfect place to let the kids burn off some energy. Remember, you're never too old to enjoy the swings.
A quaint little shop in the center of the village, Country Blessings is a thoughtfully curated collection of antiques, folk art and country décor. Bosting two floors of unique finds, it's easy to lose yourself in the the array of dishware, art, handmade goods, and pottery.
TIME FOR LUNCH
Now that you've walked from one end of town to another, it's time for a little lunch. Is that grumbling coming from your stomach or the iconic taxidermy bears at The Three Bear Inn?! Purchased in 1799 by the Brink family, the inn has been housing and feeding intrepid travelers for well over 200 years. The menu at the Three Bear ranges from sandwiches to sea food platters, local craft beer to signature cocktails. Regionally famous for their prime rib dinners, you'll find the parking lot full most Friday nights. Their best kept secret, homemade bread, located on the salad bar.
AN AFTERNOON DRIVE
Now that you're sated, let's hop in the car to check out the gems hidden along the edge of town.
At the end of a wooded dirt lane, you will find yourself transported to a fantastical place, full of knights in shinning armor and iridescent scaled dragons guarding their most prized possession- locally distilled Dragonfyre Whiskey. A quaint little cottage, nestled in the woods, it feels like you've just stumbled into fairy tale. As soon as you step in the doors you are surrounded by dragons and fairies and glittering bottles full of tasty potions of all sort. Enjoy a whisky tasting at the bar or take your frozen wine slushy and wander down by the reflecting pond. There, in the wild flower meadow, you can hunt for the hobbit house and soak in the views, or enjoying your cocktail in the perfect picnic spot.
Finding yourself with a hankering for something sweet? Drive across town to Exit 9 Marketplace. Good Jean's Baking Co. always has a fantastic selection of cheese cakes, chocolates and cookies to chose from. Stop by Cooper Hill's booth for some maple cotton candy or maple candied peanuts. While you're exploring the marketplace, be sure to check out the fantastic selection of antiques, jewelry, wood working, and pottery. With two stories of local vendors' booths, you'll be sure to find something for everyone's taste.
Hilltop Leather Goods
Head west on main street, over the river, to Hilltop Leather Goods. Just outside of town, at the intersection of Clark's Corner and State Rt 221, you'll find a small Amish-owned shop. They specialize in all things hand-crafted leather; you'll find leather belts, bags, bridles, saddles, and more. Can't find just what you're looking for? No problem, custom orders come standard here! If you can dream it they can make it. They also excel in any type of leather repair. Hilltop Leather does not have a phone, nor a website, so you'll have to shop the old fashioned way. A yard full of fuzzy ponies and a chance for freshly made doughnuts help make this a must stop shop. Hilltop is open Monday-Saturday, with no firm hours. If the shop is empty, just knock on the farm house door. Always closed on Sundays.
DID SOMEONE SAY DINNER?
After a long day of adventure, nothing beats a pint and a burger at your friendly neighborhood bar. Mijo's Bar N Grill never disappoints. Pizza, mexican, speedies and burgers- all made to order. If you love burgers, this is your place. Mijo's offers a dozen different options, cooked to perfection, and served with any side of your choice. Enjoy a game of table top shuffle board or play a round of pool while you wait for your order. Insider tip, don't pass on the nacho burger- a wild concoction combining their two specialties, it's prefect for when you're feeling indecisive!
AN EVENING UNDER THE STARS
As the day winds down be sure to stop by the village green. Live music occasionally invigorates the space, though the gazebo makes the perfect all-occasions shelter to take in the the former opera house, all aglow. Two and half stories up, above the Peck Memorial Library, are the famous, painstakingly restored 11 transom windows. Never meant to be enjoyed from the inside, they are illumined only at night. Come by after dark, for the perfect end to a day well spent in Marathon, New York.