Berne visitor attractions and facilities
Like all of the Albany hill towns, Berne is known for its natural beauty: pastoral rural countryside, rolling hills, meandering creeks, waterfalls, forest land.
Reserves and outdoor recreation
The town of Berne is fortunate to have a large number of natural areas and outdoor recreation opportunities to give reasons for folks to come visit and enjoy.
- Berne Town Park - On the Foxenkill a half-mile west of the hamlet of Berne has playing fields, a pavilion, picnic tables, toilets, and access to the creek.
- Cole Hill State Forest, accessed from County Routes 2 and 3, has been improved with hiking trails, and parking lots and is available for birdwatching, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping.
- Fox Creek Park is a small, pocket park below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne.
- Helderberg Bird Conservation Area consists of 6,594 acres of Partridge Run WMA and State Forest, Knox (Burke) WMA, and Cole Hill State Forest. It is an upland complex that includes hardwood and conifer (plantation) forests, young regenerating forests, old fields, shrub lands, reverting farmland, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, and numerous ponds and wetlands.
- John Boyd Thacher State Park is on the eastern town line partly in Berne but mainly in the Town of New Scotland. It has campgrounds. Here is a link to old photos of Thacher Park.
- The Kenrose Preserve is located off Bradt Hollow Road just past Schoolhouse #17. The Preserve is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.
- The Long Path crosses the Town of Berne, going from Cotton Hill and Cannady State Forests in Schoharie County to the west, across the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area, through Cole Hill State Forest where it has 270-degree views of both the Catskills and Adirondacks from Roemer's High Point along the Helderberg Escarpment, and continues north to John Boyd Thacher State Park, the Indian Ladder and finally its current end at NY 146.
- Partridge Run New York State Wildlife Management Area is on West Mountain in the town of Berne. It consists of 4,594 acres of former abandoned upland farms that has been improved with hiking trails, and parking lots and is available for birdwatching, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping. Partridge Run and Cole Hill State Forest are units in the Helderbergs Management Area of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Thompsons Lake State Park at the north end of Thompsons Lake offers a beach, a playground and playing fields, picnic tables, recreation programs, a nature trail, fishing and ice fishing, a boat launch, a dump station, campground for tents and trailers, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Switzkill Natural Area located on Sickle Hill Road in Berne has a walking trail which passes through a variety of habitats. It is a work in progress but is available to enjoy right now.
- Snow Mobile Trails connect Berne and Knox with area to the the west and north.
- Tenzin Gyatso Institute - 350 acres of unspoiled hills and meadows in the town of Berne. The land boasts a stunning expanse of forests and meadows, and commanding views of the southern Catskills and the surrounding state forest and small farms.
- Other Hilltown Trails.
- Fox Creek, also called Foxenkill, originates in the highlands in the east end of the Town of Berne. It flows west through East Berne, then the Hamlet of Berne where the Berne Falls tumbles down over rock out-crops, then flows placidly onward to West Berne and finally empties into Schoharie Creek. Visitor access at Berne Town Park and at Fox Creek Park.
- Warners Lake - There is no public access for swimming, boating or fishing.
- Thompsons Lake - There is public access for swimming, boating, and fishing at Thompsons Lake State Park at the north end of the lake. It has a swimming beach, a playground and playing fields, picnic tables, recreation programs, a nature trail, fishing and ice fishing, a boat launch, a dump station, campground for tents and trailers, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Helderberg Lake - a man made lake near the eastern town line. The two streams that feed it are the head waters for the Onesquethaw Creek that flow east off the hills and into the Hudson River. No public access for swimming, boating or fishing.
Scenic Areas, Views, and Corridors
From An Inventory Of Historic and Scenic Resources In the Town of Berne, compiled by Thomas Conklin for the Berne Conservation Advisory Council, 1979.
Scenic Area – An area which is generally undeveloped, expansive and may have water features as prominent elements. It has a wide variety of plant cover with much wildlife. Scenic areas offer broad and changing views. The scenic area, unlike the vista, which is seen from a point, is enjoyed by walking or driving through (e.g. driving along Beaver Road in the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area.) All scenic areas, vistas and corridors are indicated on the accompanying map as letters.
Scenic Areas – The approximate boundaries of all the scenic areas, vistas and corridors may be found on the overlay map.
- (A) View of the village of Berne enclosed by Irish Hill and old Uhai. This view can be seen from County Route 254 near West Road in the Town of Knox. West Mountain can also be seen from this point.
- (B) Kenrose Preserve (boundaries of the preserve). The Kenrose Preserve is located off Bradt Hollow Road just past Historic Site #10 (Schoolhouse #17). The Preserve is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.
- (C) Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area (boundaries of the State-owned land). Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area contains 5,478.6 acres. Everyone should experience this wilderness area. It features rugged terrain, many small ponds and lakes and also many streams.
- (D) Irish Hill Area. This area consists mainly of the Cole Hill State Reforestation Area but also includes the land bisected by Irish Hill Road.
- (E) Filkins Hill Area. This area is bordered by Filkins Hill, Woodstock Road and Joslin School Road. It includes Grippy Mountain.
Scenic Vistas - Scenic view seen from a point.
- (J) View from Sickle Hill Road – This panoramic view of the Switzkill Valley and surround hills may be seen from the top of the hill just above the Schanz residence.
- (K)View of the Gulf – ½ mile down unnamed DEC road off Ravine Road, walk 1/8 of mile on trail to left.
- (L) View of the Catskills from Willsey Road (heading south) past the intersection of Irish Hill Road.
- (M) Panoramic view north from the top ofCole Hill.
- (N) Top of hill on Route 157A near Miller Lane; view of Filkins Hill and wetlands to your left.
- (O) View of Warner’s Lake from near the Carl Warner residence.
- (P) View of Albany and hills on eastern side of Hudson River.
Scenic Corridors - Scenic corridors are enclosed or partially enclosed channellike views. A corridor is said to be scenic if it has an unspoiled, undeveloped nature. Most scenic corridors are gently winding road which feature a closed-in leafy tunnel. The best example of a scenic corridor in its natural state is the Partridge Run Road between White Birch Lake and Gifford Hollow Road. The lack of improvement or development and the narrowness of the road are, no doubt, major factors of its scenic quality.
- (S) Cook Hill Road (from County Route 10 to Bradt Hollow Road).
- (T) Peasley Road (from County Route 10 to Bradt Hollow Road).
- (U) Partridge Run Road (from County Route 6 and White Birch Lake to Gifford
- (V) Gulf Hill Road (from Cass Hill Road to Route 443).
- (W)Cass Hill Road (from Reidsville to Town boundary)
Farms and farm activities
- Alpaca Shack - High quality, eco-friendly alpaca clothing. Visit the farm and pet the Alpacas. Products may also be purchased on line for home delivery through the Heldeberg Market. Bob and Pam Rowe and family, Berne; Email Alpaca Shack
- Beaver Dam Farms - Breeding stock, registered Polled Herefords, feeder cattle, hay. 2032 Helderberg Trail; Tel. (518) 872-0256.
- Busch Farm - Quality hay. Busch Lane. Tel. (518) 872-1664.
- Cobblestone Farm Carriage & Wagon - Horse and carriage rides for any occassion. PO Box 62, East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-9228.
- Crosby Farm - Grass-fed, beef, produced with heritage breed, dexter cattle, sides, custom butchering, all natural. Timothy Lippert; 30 Bradt Hollow Rd., Berne; - Tel. (518) 797 3610 or Email Tim Lippert.
- Crosier's Sugar Barn - Hay rides, maple tours, custom pig roasting, chicken barbecues, brush hogging and farm drainage work, firewood. Kevin Crosier, 353 Filkins Hill Rd.; Tel.(518) 872-2213 or Email Crosier's Sugar Barn.
- Joe Drezelo - PO Box 5 Berne, NY 12023, Tel. (518) 872-1924.
- Elderberry Mary - jams and jellies, 217 Lake Rd., Berne, NY 12023; Elderberry Mary
- Ever Flowing Springs Farm - Grass fed beef. 73 Francis Rd.; Tel. (518) 872-0426.
- Heldeberg Market - makes available fresh hilltown produce from many of the hilltown farms delivered weekly to your door. Sarah Gordon. 669-3447
- Helderberg Alpacas - Alpacas for sale, boarding, yarn and fiber for sale, farm visits, guinea fowl, peacocks, pygmy goats; Jeffery & Karen Villeneuve, 331 Saw Mill Road, East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-9053.
- Hillbilly Bob's Garden - "Mountain Grown" vegetable and bedding plants; hanging baskets. May - July, Tues. Sun. 9am - 6pm. Closed Monday. 1085 Switzkill Road, Berne, NY 12023. Tel. 872-2534.
- Light the Way - a mother-daughter operated hog farm in operation since 1996; we raise many breeds, including Yorkshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Spotted. We have about 20 sows, and sell many feeder pigs. East Berne; MaryAnn Youngs, Tel. (518) 872-0027.
- Mcauliffe's Mountainview Farm - All natural meats and organic veggies. Dedicated to preserving the rare breeds. RI Red heritage chickens. Nancy and Joe McAuliffe, 60 Mountain View Ln., East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-2041.
- Morning Fog Farm - Naturally raised beef, pork, and chicken; organic produce and herbs; unique gifts. Farm store: Beef, Pork, Chicken, Honey, Maple Syrup, Milk Soaps. A Community Supported Agriculture Farm, (CSA) Farm Stand Hours Sat. 10am -4 pm.; always open by appointment. A member of Local Harvest. Mark Hoffman, 1207 Switzkill Rd.; Tel. (518) 872-1772 or Email Morning Fog Farm
- Mountain Winds Farm - Natural farm raised chicken and eggs, maple syrup, Christmas trees. Produce may also be purchased on line for home delivery through the H. Randy Grippin; Tel. (518) 872-0513 or Email Mountain Winds Farm.
- Newcomb's Farms - Farm stand open May - November; a Community Supported Agriculture Farm, (CSA) with fresh home grown produce, fruit, local honey & syrup, flower greenhouse, hanging baskets, annual and perennial bedding plants, herbs and vegetable bedding plants. On Saturdays throughout the season home made pies & bread. A member of Local Harvest. Meredith Newcomb, 1498 Thacher Park Road., East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-2576 or Email Newcomb's Farm.
- Partridge Run Farm and Apiary - Natural honey from seasonal wildflowers; related products (e.g., candles, soaps). Richard and Maryann Ronconi, 484 Ravine Road, Berne; Email Partridge Run Farm.
- Purple Gunder Farm - vegetables. Brian and Gertrude Horl. Berne, NY.
- R6 Livestock Co. - Cattle, hay. 1119 Switzkill Rd., Berne; Tel. (518) 872-0344.
- Shale Hill Farm - Freezer beef, hay straw, fence stakes and firewood. 617 Cole Hill Rd.; Tel. (518) 872-2533.
- Windy Hill Farm - Wool blankets, sheep skins. Jay Clemmer, Windy Hill Farm Road (Stranahan Lane) off Rte 156, approximately 3/4 mile north of the hamlet of Berne.; Tel. (518) 872-1386.
Historic buildings, etc.
Historic buildings, (other than public buildings and those listed under "Visitor facilities"), may not be open to the public, and may just be viewed from the road. Please respect the privacy of the owners and occupants.
- Huntersland Christian Church is now only used for services once a year.
- First Reformed Church of Berne was founded about 1765 as the Deutsch (German) Reformed Church of Beaver Dam (as what is now the town of Berne was then called). The present building was built in the hamlet of Berne in 1832.
- Second Reformed Church of Bern was organized in 1826 and is more commonly known as the Thompsons Lake Reformed Church because of its location near Thompson's Lake. The present building was built 1925 to replace an earlier one destroyed by fire the previous year.
- St. Paul's Lutheran Church was founded in 1790 as the Deutsch (German) Reformed Church of Rensselaerville (as the town of Berne was then named). The present building was built in the hamlet of Berne in 1835.
- St. John's Lutheran Church, East Berne, was organized in 1873 as a sister church to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Berne. The building was built shortly thereafter. In 2010 the two churches were reunited as the Helderberg Lutheran Church and worship again what in the old brick church that was St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
- West Mountain Methodist-Episcopal Church was organized in the early 19th Century. The present building, built in 1888, was abandoned in the 1930's and is now an attractive ruin on its way to falling down completely.
One room schools
- Bell School now a private garage; Helderberg Trail, halfway between Berne and East Berne. What would it look like if restored to its origins as a school?
- Berne School No. 1 in hamlet of Berne is now a private home, Helderberg Trail, Berne.
- Bradt Hollow School, District No. 17 was constructed about 1860 and is representative of what the other twenty might have looked like. The building, now owned by Glen Paris, was completely refurbished for the Town's Bicentennial Celebration by Glen and his wife. It has sometimes been used to show students of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District how schools were setup and run during the 1800’s.
- Huntersland School is just west of the Berne Town line in the Town of Middleburgh, Schoharie County, NY. It has been preserved.
- Carrie Filkin's Select School in the hamlet of Berne was originally built as a law office by her father Edward V. Filkins, Esq. in the mid 19th Century. In the 1920's in was the Berne Post Office. After the decade of the 1930's it was the first home of the Berne Volunteer Fire Company. It is now a private garage. What would it look like if restored to its origins as a law office?
Historic businesses and organizations
- Berne Masons Lodge
- to be added
- See Berne Historic Homes for a list of historic houses in Berne along with a brief history of each.
- to be added
Historic cemeteries and family burying grounds
The following historic cemeteries and family burying grounds are easily accessible and are maintained. There are many more that are abandoned and overgrown. See listing on Berne Historical Project web site for a complete listing, better descriptions, and images of stones.
- Baptist Church Burying Ground - an early inactive cemetery on West Mountain near Partridge Run WMA. Site of the first Baptist Church in Berne. Seven Revolutionary War soldiers and a daughter of a Lord Mayor of London are buried here.
- Berne and Beaverdam Cemetery - an old but still active cemetery just west of Berne hamlet. Site of the 18th C. Berne Reformed Church. See the stone of Jack Deitz, a slave born in 1788 who was bought and brought to Berne at the age of 4-years old.
- Dyer Family Burying Ground - This is a small, well-maintained family burying ground a mile west of East Berne. Private property. Do not enter. But there is also no need to, since it easily viewed from outside the fence.
- Eli Miller Family Burying Ground is at the foot of Cole Hill 10 feet east of Cole Hill Road, within the road right-of-way. Two reproduction stones.
- Filkins Hill Burying Ground - is an old, inactive cemetery on Cole Hill Road (County Rte. 2) .1 mile south of Woodstock Road on bank on the east side at a bend in the road. Next to creek going towards South Berne. On lands of Camp Woodstock, RD 31, East Berne, NY 12059.
- Huntersland Christian Cemetery - is an old but still active cemetery on West Mountain near Partridge Run WMA.
- Jones Family Burying Ground - is a small, well maintained family burying ground with lots of broken stones. In 1874 there were sixty-five gravestones on this plot. Now there are only nine white stones with inscriptions, the earliest dated 1808. It is .7 mile east from East Berne on Thompsons Lake Road (rte. 157), on north side of road on a knoll. Owner: Estate of Aaron Warner, East Berne.
- Pine Grove Cemetery (Lutheran Church Cemetery) - an inactive early cemetery in a beautiful grove of Pine Trees. There is a NYS Historical Marker along the road side commemorating the founding of the first Lutheran church in what is now the town of Berne.
- Reidsville Cemetery - is a large, inactive cemetery; earliest stone is dated 1823. It is on North Road (Albany County Rte. 11)1/4 mile south of Delaware Turnpike.
- South Berne Rural Cemetery -an active cemetery near South Berne.
- Turner Burial Ground - an early inactive cemetery on West Mountain near Partridge Run WMA.
- Warner Family Burying Ground - is an inactive, pretty family burying ground that is well maintained by the Warner family, several of whom still live in the area. The earliest dated 1827. At the northern end of Warners Lake, about .3 miles north on Warners Lake Road (County Rte. 157A) from the intesection of Cave Road. On the south side of the road, set back in a field. On private property.
- Wood Family Burying Ground - a amall, inactive family burial ground one mile north of Berne Hamlet on Rt. 156. An interesting monument to a man who died in the Civil War.
- Woodlawn Cemetery - an active cemetery since 1890. A half mile west of the Berne hamlet. Many interesting stones both very old and very new.
- Zeh Family Burying Ground - an inactive family burial ground that was restored a few years ago.
The following sites are places where important historic buildings once stood or events occurred.
- Jacob Weidman's Home
- Cheese Factory
- Simmons Axe Factory
- Weidman's Mills
- Berne Carding and Fulling Mills
- Beaverdam Reformed Church
- Dietz massacre
- Lobdell's Grist Mill
Visitor facilities in Berne and nearby towns.
For something to eat
- Casa Mia's - Pizza. State Rte 85; Tel. (518) 872-0378.
- Helderberg Servi Star - gas station and mini-mart. Helderberg Trail Rt. 443, East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-0081.
- The Highlands Restaurant and Tavern - in an historic home with panoramic view, 1670 Berne Altamont Rd.; Tel. 872-1938. Email Highlands Restaurant
- Maple Inn - a restaurant in an historic hotel at 64 Main Street, East Berne (off Rt. 443); (518) Tel. 872-9433.
- Fox Creek Market - Convenience store & deli; 1634 Helderberg Trail Rt. 443, Berne hamlet; Tel. (518) 872-2800.
- The Hofbrau Restaurant - serving German specialties in an historic resort on the shore of beautiful Warners Lake at 141 Warners Lake Rd., East Berne; Tel. (518) 872-1016 / 872-9912.
- See also suggestions for something to eat in the nearby hill towns:
- Knox visitor attractions and facilities
- Rensselaerville visitor attractions and facilities
- Westerlo visitor attractions and facilities
Places to stay
- Altamont Old Stone House Inn - A Bed and Breakfast Inn with five guest bedrooms in an historic building. 1160 Berne Altamont Rd, Altamont. Nancy and Bill Turner, Innkeepers. Tel. (518) 861-0200 or Email: Altamont Inn
- Thompsons Lake State Park at the north end of Thompsons Lake has a dump station, campground for tents and trailers, picnic tables.
- John Boyd Thacher State Park is on the eastern town line partly in Berne but mainly in the Town of New Scotland. It has campgrounds and picnic tables.
- For places to stay in adjoining hill towns see:
- (to be added when there are some).
For something special
(see also Farms and Farm Activities above)
- C & C Painting & Contrating Inc. - 272 Helderberg Trl., East Berne. Tel. (518) 872-0288.
- Duell Remodeling Siding & Windows - Helderberg Trl., East Berne. Tel. (518) 872-2947.
- Gifts from the Heart - 1738 Thacher Park Rd., East Berne, Tel. (518) 872-1636.
- Harry's Bicycle Shop, Antiques & Collectables - 1415 State Route 443, Berne. Tel. (518) 872-9644.
- Helderberg True Value - 856 Helderberg Trail, Rte 443, East Berne. Tel. (518) 872-0081.
- Heldeberg Bluestone & Marble Inc - Route 443, East Berne. Tel. (518) 872-0242.
- Wolf Hill Woodworking - Handcrafted puzzles, doll houses, hardwood novelties, religious items; Wholesale and retail, Mail order. 54 Gulf Hill Rd, Voorheesville; Tel. (518) 872-1390 or Email Wolf Hill Woodworking
Adjoining hill towns
Farms, natural areas, outdoor recreation opportunities, and visitor facilities in adjoining hill towns:
- Knox visitor attractions and facilities
- Rensselaerville visitor attractions and facilities
- Westerlo visitor attractions and facilities
Images showing the beauty of the Berne country side.
Please upload additional images.
Blue Sky, Cole Hill State Forest
Andy Arthur, Mar 6, 2009
Sunset woods, Partridge Run WMA
Andy Arthur, Mar. 2009
- Community Supported Agriculture, (CSA), is a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Basically a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.