History of “the w”
In the summer of 1908, Circle W first opened its doors. A traditional country general store, it aimed to serve the needs of a growing population of vacationers, quarrymen, landscape painters, and mill workers. The small Catskill hamlet of Palenville had become famed for the many waterfalls in its vicinity, including Kaaterskill Falls and Fawn's Leap, its mountain views, artist retreats, and as the setting for Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle.
For close to a century, one could find anything at the W, from a gallon of paint to a gallon of milk, a pair of work pants, a kite to fly, homemade lunches, a fishing pole, hardware, ice cream, and more.
Sadly, in the mid-nineties the business fell on hard times and shuttered its doors. In the ensuing years the once-loved Circle W fell into deep disrepair. The building sat there cold and empty with weeds growing up along the porch, the paint chipped and fading, leaning ever closer towards an inevitable date with the wrecking ball with each passing season.
More than two decades later, in 2009, the store and property was purchased by Patti and Gary Harvey and painstakingly restored by the Harvey-Robert-Felice clan, who have roots in the hamlet going back to before the Civil War.
With delicious coffee, fresh eats, groceries, and a plucky staff of local girls, the Circle W was once again the beating heart of the Kaaterskill Clove, a favorite roadside respite and destination for locals, weekenders, skiers, and hikers.
In 2015, Patti’s eldest son and his wife, Simone and Jessie Felice, assumed stewardship over the store with their daughters Pearl and Genevieve. It has since grown to include a curated inventory of locally-made gift and specialty items, an event space, and a second location on Main Street in Catskill, set to open in April 2019.
People come to the Circle W for its award-winning coffee and sandwiches (Best in Greene County!) and authentic Catskills atmosphere, one where both city and country folk can feel completely at home. It’s a family place, a community, one you want to return to again and again, like the mythical mountains right outside its doors.
We hope to see you soon!