Catskill Mountain Inn & Golf Resort Established in 1805
Christman’s Windham House is the oldest continuously operating Inn in the Great Northern Catskill Mountains. The Windham House, constructed in 1805, began life as a Drovers Tavern on the Catskill Turnpike. As far West as Ithaca, NY. you will see historic markers mentioning the Catskill Turnpike.
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States at the time. Before approximately 1850 and the opening of the Erie Canal, the turnpike’s like The Catskill Turnpike and The Schoharie Turnpike, were the best way to transport goods and livestock to the Hudson river ports and hence to market. These trips to market required many days of travel and drovers’ taverns supplied food, lodging and security for men, their goods and livestock.
Lodging, hearty farm fresh meals, and a tankard or two were offered to the Inn’s first guests, the drovers, who herded cattle down the toll road – today State Route 23. They came all the way from the fertile farm lands far west of Windham, in the Finger Lakes Region of Central New York, They traveled this toll road to Catskill making stops along the way at houses, just like this one. In Catskill, the livestock and fresh farm goods were loaded onto barges on the Hudson River for transport to New York City to feed the many people there.
Over time, the farm house grew and became a stop on the Catskill-Delhi stagecoach route offering subsequent travelers a place to rest and refresh from the rigors of their journey. As time marched on, the house accommodated folks from the metropolitan areas who sought respite in the country. As the old brochure tells perspective guests – “The mountain air at this height is dry and exhilarating and acts as a constant tonic, it imparts vigor to those in search of health”.
The Christman Family Ownership
In 1952 when Stanley and Roberta Christman bought The Windham House From Myron and Emma Sanford, all of the essential elements of the drover’s tavern were intact. There were a 300-acre functioning, dairy farm and all of its accessories, a large hog house, a large chicken coop, a large three-story horse barn with an interior ramp, sapping supplies for maple syrup production, a good team of working horses, ice harvesting equipment and an ice pond. Also nets for trapping carrier pigeons, (now extinct), a fine, “six holer” outhouse, with his and her sides, the Stoney Brook house where the caretaker lived and of course the large Inn to sleep up to 70 people.
The dining room, as you see it today, is three distinct sections. The “Sun Room” and bar area were originally an open porch facing open pastures across the road. The middle section was the original dining room during the heyday of the boarding house era. Here long tables were set and as many as 70 people sat dining family style. Great care was given to the selection of all food, and still is. We are happy to say what worked then still works today! We are so pleased to be able to offer our guests wonderful fresh and local ingredients in the preparation of your dinner.
The largest section of the dining room was added in 1968. Over the next 71 years, Christman’s has changed and adapted to the demands of today’s vacationer. Today, as then, along with the dedicated staff, we strive to offer you the same warm hospitality of days gone by. We invite you to breathe the fresh air, to enjoy the beautiful countryside, to eat good food and to regenerate your soul. On behalf of the Christman Family, and the whole team, thank you for joining us.