CATSKILL — The former Catskill Game Farm, a beloved blast from Catskill’s past that attracted visitors from all over the world, is on the market for a second time.
The 150-acre site was home to more than 2,000 animals from 1933 until the business closed permanently on Columbus Day, Oct. 9, 2006, after 73 years of operation.
Ben and Cathy Ballone purchased the former Catskill Game Farm property in 2012. They offered self-guided tours and camping. The Ballones recently transformed the former giraffe house into a luxurious inn. The property was listed last week at a value of just under $2 million.
“We decided to do this because of a life-changing event in our lives which made us decide to move forward in a different direction,” Cathy Ballone said in a statement. “We actually decided to put it on the market several weeks before COVID-19 became such an obvious presence in the United States.”
The Ballones’ long-term plans for the property included a campground and RV park, Cathy Ballone said in October, when the Long Neck Inn opened.
“We will remain fully operational until it sells,” Ballone said. “Well, that is, once COVID-19 subsides to the point where we can operate normally again.”
The Long Neck Inn is offering an “isolation retreat” at the present time.
The retreat guidelines require a minimum of a two-week stay, the completion of a health and safety questionnaire, a maximum of two people per room and no children, and that all guests comply with the health and safety recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the website.
Three pet-friendly rooms are available.
“We stopped taking reservations weeks ago and have not had even one reservation that has met that criteria for the retreat,” according to a statement on the old Game Farm’s Facebook page.
Cathy Ballone, who grew up in East Durham, and Ben Ballone, who is from New Jersey, both have fond memories of visiting the Game Farm in their youth.
“The history [of the property] is amazing,” Cathy Ballone said in October.
The couple saw a huge level of potential in the property, she said.
Cathy Ballone hopes that the next owners keep the spirit of the Game Farm alive.
“I hope that whoever buys it makes an effort to continue to share it with the many people who visited it when it was a zoo and still have love for it in their hearts,” Ballone said. “Thousands of people a year come to visit still just for nostalgia’s sake and I don’t think that should be taken from the public.”