Now You’re Home: An Interview with Hancock 2nd Homeowner Stephen Fauer
Destination: Hancock sat down with long-time Hancock second homeowner Stephen Fauer to talk about what initially drew him to the Hancock, New York area and why he chose this quaint little village, of all places on earth, to call home.
Born and raised in suburban central New Jersey, Stephen Fauer is the owner of Environmental Strategies and Applications, Inc., an environmental remediation firm operating out of New Jersey’s Middlesex County. He holds degrees in botany and ecology (specifically wetlands ecology), and he enjoys an eclectic range of interests, including ballroom dancing, reading, fishing, hiking, birding, and nature in general.
Since his childhood, Stephen has always imagined a life on the river. He recalls watching American Sportsmen on television and being fascinated by the work of Lee Wulff on the program (the story of Lee Wulff and his life — and death — in Hancock is, in itself, a fascinating tale. Read more about him here). As time progressed, Stephen longed for a rural escape in a bucolic setting where he could cast his line and leave his cares behind.
Fast forward to 2005 when “everything came together” and Stephen found his dream property in Hancock.
At the time, Stephen had already been fishing the Delaware for nearly 15 years with local guide Adrian LaSorte, whom he had met at a fly fishing show in New Jersey. Finding a property near his beloved river seemed the natural choice. Hancock fit the criteria for his dream property perfectly: it’s within a reasonable radius of the NY/NJ metro area, it has easy access to Route 17/Interstate 86, the wildlife and scenery are exceptional, and there are plenty of recreational activities to suit every taste. His other option that fit most of his criteria was the Pocono Mountain region in nearby Pennsylvania. But the one critical element that tipped the scales in Hancock’s favor? The cold waters of the east and west branches of the Delaware River — tailwater fisheries fed by New York City’s Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs.
Because of this unique aspect of the river, fishermen like Stephen will find a proliferation of brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, shad, and small mouth bass — along with prolific fly hatches all throughout the season — that makes for excellent and varied fishing from April through October. One of the things Stephen loves most about his particular property here in Hancock is that he’s 20 minutes from the west branch and main stem of the Delaware, the east branch is — quite literally — in his back yard, and the Beaver Kill and Willowemoc are also just minutes away. That’s FIVE storied trout rivers that people come here from all around the world to fish. Hancock is, as Stephen puts it, “the cradle of fly fishing in North America.”
Since Stephen’s arrival in Hancock over 23 years ago, he has developed deep relationships with “the locals.” Although he still commutes back to New Jersey most weeks out of the year, his property in Hancock, New York is his home, and the people who live along this river are his family. Stephen stresses that these are not empty words. He considers his neighbors family, as they likewise consider him. They love one another. They laugh together. They mourn together. They are “neighbors the way I’ve always wanted neighbors,” says Stephen.
When home in Hancock — a home which, by the way, happens to sit on the very property where his boyhood hero Lee Wulff operated his fly fishing school so many years ago — Stephen spends his time relaxing with friends, watching the occasional football game at Honest Eddie’s at Hancock House Hotel, dining at the Beaver-Del or Cozy Corner right in town and, of course, fishing. Lots and lots of fishing!
We asked Stephen what advice he would give to the folks visiting from downstate — or those considering a second home or doing business in the area. His response was candid — and spot-on: “This is not New York City. Don’t expect to be treated as such. If you want to remove the fence that separates “the flatlanders” from “the locals,” behave like a local. Wave to people. Say ‘good morning.’ Make small talk. Be patient. In Hancock, things are very laid back and casual. Leave the ‘I want it NOW’ attitude back in the City. Once you’re off the highway, relax. Now you’re home.”