Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
A PARLOR SCENE: Bob White (left) chats with customers Flora Francisco (right) and Bob Chapman (to Franciscoâs right) Tuesday night at Reillyâs Ice Cream Parlor in Cochecton.
Ice Cream Parlor
By Rob Potter
COCHECTON ÷ September 8, 2000 ö They came in a steady stream Tuesday evening.
Families, small groups of teenagers, middle-aged adult couples. Some from just down the road, others who traveled from miles away.
They all came to say goodbye to Reillyâs Ice Cream Parlor in Cochecton. They wished proprietors Bob and Mary Ann White a wonderful retirement while savoring a last banana split or root beer float or simple dip of vanilla ice cream.
ãThis is a night to forget,ä said one lady as she sadly ate some ice cream.
Most people had bittersweet feelings ö happy for the Whites, yet sad that the old-fashioned ice cream parlor with its museum filled with everything from old postcards to classic coffee tins would close.
The Whites, who opened the ice cream parlor in 1994 after purchasing the building a few years earlier, said they have decided to tour the country in their motorhome.
ãThis was one of our dreams,ä said Mary Ann White, pausing to look around the parlor packed with loyal customers. ãBut weâve had the Reillyâs experience and want to pursue another of our dreams ö traveling with the motorhome. Weâre both officially retired, so now is the time to go.ä
Although no one has purchased the building ö which for several decades of the 20th century was owned by Frank and Katherine Reilly and served as a general store and sometimes post office for the area ö the Whites and their customers would like to see someone buy the building and reopen the ice cream parlor.
ãItâs too bad itâs closing,ä said Eleanor Glassel of Callicoon. ãIf someone buys it, I hope they keep it up.ä
As they have the last day of business each summer, the Whites thanked their customers by serving all of the ice cream Tuesday evening on the house. (Reillyâs was open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day the past seven summers.)
Surely, the customers enjoyed free ice cream. But the main reason they stopped by was to say good luck to Bob and Mary Ann White and enjoy what could be their last visit to the parlor for a while.
ãThere were people waiting to get in at 5:30,ä said Bob White, noting that was 30 minutes before the establishment opened for business.
Among those enjoying tasty ice cream specials were Richard Ross and his children, Jonathan and Hannah. Richard Ross noted that, as regulars, Reillyâs will be ãsadly missedä by his family.
ãThis place has such a wonderful ambiance and feeling to it,ä he said. ãComing here for ice cream is a special treat. Itâs nice to have an ice cream stand right here in town.ä
Hannah Ross said she loved visiting Reillyâs because ãit has good ice cream.ä
Her brother agreed.
ãReillyâs is a good ice cream parlor,ä Jonathan Ross proclaimed.
But, as Richard Ross noted, all good things must come to an end.
ãWe have had a lot of fun here,ä said Bob White, a retired rural mail carrier. ãBut weâre ready to do something else for a while.ä