Lunch In Snowless Leeds (No, Not In That Leeds)

Yesterday, out and about, for lunch we stopped at a diner outside Catskill. We’d been in that restaurant many times before. Pulling in, however, we discovered it was shut for a few days for some renovation work.

Uh, oh, what to do? We didn’t want fast food. There had to be somewhere else nearby? We thought immediately of downtown Catskill. The county seat of Greene County is not London, Paris, or Manhattan, of course. 😉 But it has restaurants and eateries and has a pleasant – if short – Main Street.

Before we ended up down there, we turned off north to have a quick check on Route 9W; but our search that way wasn’t rewarded. We found nothing, so we assumed Main Street in Catskill it would be. At the last moment, though, we wondered about around NYS Thruway Exit 21? We happened to be nearer there than Catskill at that point, so we drove by that exit on a local road we hadn’t been on much before.

No, nothing diner-like again. As we were getting ready finally to confess failure and turn back to Catskill, we came to the hamlet of Leeds. It had some businesses, a beauty salon, an inn, and even a sidewalk….

Perhaps? Then we saw what looked like a distinct possibility: Betty’s Place – a small, all-day restaurant. As we drove by it, we saw it was pretty busy inside, too. I turned around, parked, and we strolled across the street to it.

Walking in, we noticed it had only about a dozen tables and a diner counter. It was “run” out front by a friendly, bearded guy in his 20s. (He can’t be “Betty?” I laughed to myself.) I also spotted an older man who may have been the chef.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” the bearded fellow said to my wife as he took our orders – having heard her pretty obvious accent. An irony is Leeds is named after the UK city of Leeds. (I have not the slightest idea why.)

The eatery was pretty much what we wanted. An hour later than we had expected to eat, thank goodness the lunch was better than we had expected too. In fact, it was one of the best diner meals we’d ever had. (I’ve found since that Betty’s has an “unofficial” Facebook page.)

“They don’t always do curb appeal in this country,” my wife joked as we got back to the car. We find that places that may look indifferent from the road may not be once you are inside. The Catskills seem particularly to suffer from that issue, which is made worse in “shoulder seasons” when there’s no snow, causing the overall environment to feel dusty, or muddy, and just drab.

Unfortunately, this isn’t even a “shoulder season”: it’s winter and there’s NO SNOW!

On the way back to our house, we drove by the Kaaterskill Falls – much painted by artists over the centuries. They were flowing freely. Usually, this time of the year, they’re at least partly to mostly frozen. I dug up some old photos we’d taken in an April (9 years ago):

Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo by me, April 14, 2007.]
Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo by me, April 14, 2007.]
Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo by me, April 14, 2007.]
Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo by me, April 14, 2007.]
Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo of me, April 14, 2007.]
Kaaterskill Falls. [Photo of me, April 14, 2007.]

It’s looks nothing like that this year. I heard a local radio advert yesterday note that this has been the year “without a winter” here. Strange indeed.

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