Town of the Week: Cairo

  |  January 22, 2013

Located in eastern Greene County, Cairo is a rural community that we at Upstater consider to be one of the Catskills best-kept secrets. The town itself consists of a number of hamlets, such as South Durham, Purling, Acra, and Round Top, but we found ourselves particularly enchanted with the hamlet of Cairo. It’s one of those places that makes us think, “Hey, we could live here.”

Some things to consider when it comes to Cairo: There’s not much going on in town. Sure, it has decent town park and rec center with lots of fields and walking trails. And there are a couple of cafes, a hardware store, a CVS, pizza joints, a grocery store as you’re headed into town  and a liquor store, not to mention Cairo’s proximity to one of our favorite farm stands in the Upstater area, Story Farms in Catskill. However, there is a preponderance of empty storefronts and strip malls as you pull into town.

But the truth is, though, nobody’s moving to Cairo for the nightlife. They’re moving to Cairo because it’s surrounded by loveliness  in the form of the Catskill mountains. The views are breathtaking, and it’s peaceful and quiet. On a lazy Sunday morning, the only sound you’ll be likely to hear is the Shingle Kill burbling through the center of town. Blissfully bereft of both hustle and bustle, Cairo is no hurry. If you’re looking for streets packed with tourists and cutesy trinket stores, look elsewhere.

What you will find around Cairo are the distant echoes of its past as a Catskills resort town. Bungalow villages and motels dot Route 32 as you head toward town, many abandoned and closed down forever since the 1970s.

Cairo is one of those places we’ve been wanting to get our hands on for a while, but up until now, the pickins have been slim, property-wise. But these days, you’ll find some real deals  in Cairo, with the majority of the good stuff in the very reasonable $100-$200,000 range. There are some tonier properties, too, up near the $500,000s and close to a million, plus investment properties galore.

With places where we find some empty buildings and quiet streets, it’s tempting to ask: “Is it poised for a come-back?” But we don’t feel terribly compelled to ask that of Cairo. We’re not sure we’d find it quite as alluring if it suddenly became the new Woodstock. But then again, we don’t live there. We would sure welcome any input from our Cairo-based readers, so feel free to chime in below in the comments section.

Cairo is located about 15 minutes from Catskill, 20 minutes from Saugerties, and 2 hours from NYC.

Town of Cairo Official Website

About Kandy Harris

Kandy is a writer and musician/music teacher living in Saugerties, NY.

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