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Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb

I love rhubarb. I’ve never been called upon to do that stage trick where everybody says, “Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb,” so sound like a crowd talking (I’m told it works), and that is just as well, because it would make me hungry. When I saw a Rhubarb Festival scheduled for Sunday at Nellis Tavern in St. Johnsville, I made immediate plans to attend.

The newspaper said it was the 16th Annual. How did I miss fifteen years of rhubarb? Scandalous. I suppose it is because I was not really familiar with St. Johnsville or the 1747 Nellis Tavern.

I had heard of the tavern, a not for profit historic site, but had never been there. We were not sure exactly where it was, but we drive through St. Johnsville on the way to visit Steven’s family, so we felt fairly confident of finding it.

As it turned out, we had to stop at a Stewart’s to ask directions. We were on the right road and hadn’t gone far enough. Imagine my surprise to learn that we have driven by Nellis Tavern many times. In fact, at least one time I saw it and said something to the effect of, “Ooh, there’s a tavern. Let’s stop for a drink.”

The tavern is very cool. We went through all the rooms, which are restored and furnished. We picked up a Tour Guide, but did not consult it much. Sometimes we like to just look around. The guide includes a history of the tavern with a timeline from 1725 to 2010, so I was glad we picked it up. We also picked up a flier and newsletter of the Palatine Settlement Society, which owns and is restoring the tavern.

We sat and had a cup of rhubarb punch, which was very refreshing. The man serving it showed us the recipe and mentioned it was also in the cookbook offered for sale. I naturally decided to purchase the cookbook. We got some rhubarb torte, which we sat on the porch to eat. Light and yummy. A rhubarb pie baking contest was to begin at noon, but we did not stay for that.

I would definitely like to return to the tavern for future events. St. Johnsville is a bit of a drive from Herkimer (although I suppose some might say, “Bit of a drive? Amateurs!”), but it’s a lovely drive. We went through Little Falls, always a fun spot; past Beardslee Castle, possible subject of a future post; and by some beautiful views.

For more information on the 1747 Nellis Tavern and the Palatine Settlement Society, you can visit their website at

(NOTE: I just tried for the first time to add a link. Let’s see if it works!)

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