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Haines Falls, New York: Rip's Retreat (Gone)

Rip Van Winkle-themed attraction from the 1950s and 1960s.

Was near North Lake State Park.

Visitor Tips and News About Rip's Retreat

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Rip's Retreat souvenir.

Rip's Retreat

I believe this was a place that my parents visited in the 1950s or '60s. There's a photo in the family album of my mom standing in front of the kitchen stove with a potholder caddy on the wall over the stove. It features a Dutch boy and girl and on the bottom is printed "Rip's Retreat." I still have it!

[Deb Dunbar, 05/22/2023]

The Dutch "kinderen" souvenir was in keeping with this long-gone (or maybe just slumbering) Rip-Van-Winkle-themed attraction.

Rip Van Winkle's Lookout Point, 1951.

Rip's Retreat

A Rip Van Winkle themed roadside attraction in the 1950s. My grandparents stayed in a cabin near here on their honeymoon in 1951.

[JCM, 11/05/2016]
Rip's Retreat - Vague Recollections

It was a treat to go to Rip's Retreat! It existed in the time of boarding houses and summer tourism in the Catskill's. I was fortunate to be a summer and weekend resident but there was little to do living on a back road some five miles from town. When company came from the city we frequented the Catskill Game Farm, Carson City, and Rip's Retreat. My favorite was Rip's because of all the artisans and the items they would make. Of course you could see Rip and his dog wandering through occasionally. There was also a small petting zoo (of course). Those were the good ol' days!

[Patty Rice, 08/30/2011]
Rip's Lookout - Vague Recollections

I recently wrote about Rip's Retreat in Haines Falls, NY. On the left side of the mountain going up the steep hill to North Lake was a spot you could pullover into (right above the horse-shoe turn and falls). It was a souvenir stand called Rip's Lookout. You could look through a viewing glass and see where Rip Van Winkle "slept" on the side of the mountain for 20 years. It was a small building with bright flowers in window sill planters. A wishing well was in the front and there was room for maybe 10 cars. The view was spectacular. We stopped on our way to the top of the mountain, not to buy souvenirs, but to put water in my father's jalopy, which always overheated on the trip.

[Anthony Argulewicz, 12/01/2009]
Rip's Retreat - Vague Recollection

Rip's Retreat was located atop a mountain in the Catskills in the late 1950's-early 1960's. It was themed around the story of Rip Van Winkle's trip to the Catskills, where he slept for 20 years. He bowled with the elves and came back to find his village completely changed. (story by Washington Irving)

The attraction was a series of several small buildings, each dedicated to some sort of craft: glass-blowing, candle-dipping, wood-carving, etc., and an artisan was in each building demonstrating the trade. Some hands-on activities were also available. There was also an outdoor puppet show re-enacting the story of Rip Van Winkle. You could also take a wagon ride down part of the mountain on an old dirt road. The place was demolished and the area is now part of the North Lake State Park/Campsite. No one I talk to seems to remember it.

Another nearby attraction was a huge ruin of an old Catskill Mountain resort, the Mountain House. It had burned many years previous and it was boarded up and labeled "No Trespassing" but we all went in anyway. The place was visible for miles around, perched at the top of a huge cliff, with tall classical columns. The State burned it down many years ago because it was considered a hazard. (saw the flames myself from my Mom's bedroom window, some 10 miles away)

[Gretchen Maresco, 10/02/2000]

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