It doesn’t get much smaller than Brewster, New York. As a tiny village within the town of Southeast, NY, Brewster has a population of only about 2,500 people. Still, anything that’s been around since 1849 is going to have a lot of history and, therefore, a lot to offer to its tourists. And Brewster is no different. From the original house of the founder of the village, to iron mines and old factories, anybody that is interested in New York/American history or is into antiquing is going to be glad they stopped by one of New York’s best-hidden secrets. Read more to find out all the best things to do in Brewster, New York.
1. Visit Salingers Orchard Farm Market and Bakery
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
In operation for 120 years, the family-owned Salingers Orchard Farm Market and Bakery specialize in orchard fruit. They grow apples, nectarines, and other seasonal crops. Additionally, they have a bakery that offers pastries baked fresh every morning. You are sure to enjoy a trip to Salingers Orchard Farm Market and Bakery for farm-fresh fruit and freshly baked treats. Make sure to add this wonderful family-run farmers market to your list of things to do in Brewster, New York!
Salingers Orchard Farm Market and Bakery
Address: 230 Guinea Rd Brewster, NY 10509
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
2. Check out Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
It’s the first Monday of a new year. For many of us in parts of New York and the surrounding states, it’s a snowy start...Posted by Green Chimneys on Monday, January 4, 2021
A wonderful weekend activity in Brewster is taking a visit to Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center. An outdoor-focused farm and school, the campus opens its doors to visitors every weekend to come and visit the farm and see the animals. You will be able to walk the grounds and paddock to see the variety of animals that call the school home. Make sure to add Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center to your list of places to visit in Brewster, New York, if you have animal-loving children or are one yourself.
Green Chimneys Farm & Wildlife Center
Address: 400 Doansburg Road Brewster, NY 10509
Price: Free for small groups
3. See the wonderful Walter Brewster House
Built in 1850 in the Greek Revival style, this old house is the former home to the founder of the village of Brewster, Walter Brewster. Today, the two-storey home sits atop a hill overlooking downtown Brewster and is currently used as a space for some of the biggest Putnam County events–weddings, festivals, fundraisers, corporate parties, and other cultural events.
Inside the house is furniture and artwork that represent the rich history of the village and Walter himself. The home itself rests on a brick foundation and has four iconic columns on the front to support the portico, a very rare feature on a Greek revival style home. The Walter Brewster House is a must-see for anybody that is interested in rare architecture, historical homes, and old-style furnishings and artwork.
Walter Brewster House
Address: 43 Oak St, Brewster, NY 10509
Contact: +1 8452797429
Website: Walter Brewster House
4. Pay a visit to Old Tilly Foster Mine
Originally opened in 1853, the Old Tilly Foster Mine is a former iron mine that is over 600 feet (182 meters) deep and, at the time of its use, produced up to 7,000 tons of ore per month. Miners worked tirelessly day after day to uncover minerals such as magnetite and chondrodite. Sadly, the mine was closed in 1895 after a major collapse killed 13 miners and injured dozens more.
After the collapse, the mine was flooded by a nearby reservoir and has not been used for mining since. In World War II, however, soldiers would use the flooded mine to test diving equipment before they went to battle. The collapse of the Old Tilly Foster Mine is considered one of the greatest tragedies in New York history and the body of water that now rests in its place is still there today.
Old Tilly Foster Mine
Address: Two miles (3.2 kilometers) west of Brewster, along Route 6
5. Take a ride into the past at Brewster Train Station
The Brewster Train Station was a game changer for the entire area when the historic Harlem Line Railroad finally reached the area in 1848. The station boosted the population of Brewster and also helped with tourism and other travel, which, obviously, benefited businesses greatly.
Not only did it bring in more business, but it also helped transport materials that locals were not able to get before then. This allowed for the opening of the milk condensery (which I will get to next). The railroad now transports commuters from Brewster to New York City and back. So next time you’re up for a Brewster sightseeing excursion, hop on the Harlem Line Railroad.
Brewster Train Station
Address: 9 Main Street, Brewster, NY 10509
Price: Prices vary based on destination
Contact: +1 2037482034
Website: Brewster Train Station
6. See the Remains of Borden's Milk Factory
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Back in 1864, Borden’s Milk Factory brought prosperity to the village of Brewster. Made possible by the Brewster Train Station, the milk factory employed over 100 people (which was a lot for such a small place) and also benefited local dairy farmers. Before the factory, times were tough for the people of Brewster, but the factory brought hope and helped many families get back on their feet. I guess you could say that it became the backbone of the village. Sadly, when the Croton Reservoir System flooded the Tilly Mine after it collapsed, it also flooded most of the farm land in the area, causing milk production to drop. The factory carried on for a time after but would eventually close its doors in the early 1920s. Most of the factory was destroyed by a suspicious fire shortly after the closing but the remains of the dam, parts of the building and turbine can still be seen to this day.
Remains of Borden's Milk Factory
Website: Borden’s Milk Factory
7. Explore Southeast Museum
What to do in Brewster, New York? Stop by the Southeast Museum to relive the experience and learn even more about the history of the village that simply visiting the attractions couldn’t teach you. Established in 1963, the Southeast Museum gives history about some of the greatest features, both past and present, that the area has to offer. From the aforementioned Harlem Line Railroad, Tilly Foster Mine and Borden Milk Condensery to the Croton Reservoir System and the American Circus. The museum also has a number of exhibits to further enjoy, such exhibits include antique farms, old-time household implements and a lesson on American culture in the 19th Century. If you’ve seen all there is to see in Brewster but still want more, or just enjoy filling your brain with more knowledge than one will ever need, then head to the Southeast Museum and take in as much information as you desire.
Address: 67 Main St, Brewster, NY 10509
Opening Hours: April - December, Tuesday - Saturday 9am - 3pm
Contact: +1 8452797500
Website: Southeast Museum
Brewster: tiny village with immense history
Sure, when you first see Brewster you may think to yourself that a small place like this wouldn’t be anything special. But when you look a little deeper you soon realize just how special it really is. Brewster has seen its share of bad times but is resilient and has come back even stronger on many occasions. Tragedies such as the collapse of the Tilly Foster Mine and the subsequent closing of Borden’s Milk Factory only bring more character to the village, and, more for you to discover.
Frequently asked questions about things to do in Brewster, New York
1. What are the best attractions to visit in Brewster?
Brewster has a lot of attractions that you shouldn’t miss. Visit Salingers Orchard Farm Market and Bakery, check out Green Chimneys Farm and Wildlife Center, and see the wonderful Walter Brewster House.
2. What are the best activities in Brewster?
As you explore the many attractions in Brewster, don’t forget to try out some of its activities. Pay a visit to Old Tilly Foster Mine, take a ride into the past at Brewster Train Station, and explore Southeast Museum.
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