The snowstorm looms

Above: Snowfall predictions for the Catskills, via the National Weather Service's Binghamton office

The forecasts for a whammy of a winter storm are getting more serious: Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties are all under a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service.

The NWS predicts eight to 14 inches of snow in the eastern Catskills and five to 12 inches in the western Catskills. The white stuff will pile up in earnest throughout the day beginning at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26, with accumulation rates of one to two inches per hour.    Read more

This Weekend: Phoenicia Turkey Trot

Above: Bill Rudge, the Natural Resource Supervisor for Region 3 of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, running in the Phoenicia Turkey Trot. Photo by Michele Garner Brown.

On Saturday, Nov. 29, hundreds of runners will line up in Phoenicia for the annual post-feast Phoenicia Turkey Trot to walk, run or waddle 2.4 miles through the hamlet to raise funs for building upkeep and improvements at the Shandaken Theatrical Society Playhouse.
Runners of all abilities are invited to participate, ideally in costume. There will be prizes for the best get-ups worn in the race. Kids are invited to race as well: anyone under five years old can enter the Tot Trot, held before the main race that morning. 
Phoenicia Turkey Trot. Saturday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m. Tot trot 9:30 a.m. $10 individuals; $20 per family. Registration at 8 a.m. at the  Parish Hall on Main Street Phoenicia. Pre-register at or

Record-breaking warmth, then pre-Thanksgiving snow

Above: Hudson Valley Weather's analysis of the impact of a nor'easter on Wednesday, Nov. 26. Via the Hudson Valley Weather Facebook page. 
The forecast for the next 48 hours is looking decidedly weird. 
Today's temperatures are breaking records for warmth. According to the National Weather Service, at 1 p.m., the high in Poughkeepsie was 69 degrees, the highest temperature ever recorded on Nov. 24 in that city since recordkeeping began in 1948. (The last record was 68 degrees in 1979.) 
At the same time, a nor'easter is on track to wallop the Atlantic coast on Wednesday, Nov. 26: the high-travel day before Thanksgiving. All of the Catskills are under a winter storm watch from 7 a.m.
  Read more

At Feather & Stone, comfort food is a family affair

Above: Small brunch in the back dining room at Feather & Stone in Walton. Photo byy Janel Bladow.

For Tara Jamieson, it took moving back home to Walton to follow her dream. With the help of family and friends, her restaurant, Feather & Stone, opened in early September in the Delaware County town of Walton.

The culinary school graduate was manager at one of the oldest bars in Seattle, Hattie’s Hat, when she and her husband Nathan “Nate” Jamieson decided to head back east. The couple loved the Northwest, but saw the move as a no-brainer.

“Our families were here,” Tara Jamieson said. “We always knew we would move back and one day raise our children here.”

A family affair

Above: Feather & Stone owner and chef Tara Jamieson and her husband Nate. Photo by Janel Bladow.

Everything about the Jamiesons' restaurant comes back to family.  Read more

This Weekend: Christopher Williams Open Studio

Above: "Wolf-in-Skins," a work-in-progress dance-opera by Christopher Williams and Gregory Spears. Photo by Andrew Jordan.

By the time audiences usually see a dance, it’s the final, perfected product—the polished result of months of work. But New York City-based choreographer Christopher Williams is giving viewers a chance to see what a movement piece looks like at the very beginning of its lifespan, in a free open studio on Sunday, Nov. 23 at Mount Tremper Arts. 

Left: Christopher Williams. Photo via his website. 

Williams has been commissioned to create a series of dances for "Dardanus," a Baroque opera by 18th-century French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. In those days, dance was an integral part of operatic structure; minuets and gavottes popped up in interludes between arias. This new production of the rarely-seen opera, directed by Michel Fau and in collaboration with the musical group Ensemble Pygmalion, is set to begin performances at the Opéra National de Bordeaux next April.

But Williams’s contribution has to start somewhere, and he’s making his first moves during a weeklong residency in Mount Tremper. Armed with a recording of Ensemble Pygmalion’s arrangements for "Dardanus," he and six dancers have come up from the city to work out the beginnings of what will become the final pieces.

“What the audience will see are very rough attempts at dance material that in some way relates to the music,” Williams said. “I think it will help demystify the process of dance-making. By inviting people in at this stage, people can get a taste of what it’s like to be in the studio as a dancer, having to deal with the material that’s given to you by a choreographer.”

  Read more

This weekend: Shop local, shop the Catskills

Above: The Hudson Valley Hullabaloo features indie crafters and makers selling their wares in Kingston. One of the many vendors that will be there this weekend is Wishbone Letterpress, which is run by the Hullabaloo's founder and co-organizer Danielle Bliss and her husband Joe Venditti. They make snazzy cards like the one you see above. Photo via the Hullabaloo blog. 

Giving gifts to loved ones is great fun. Getting those gifts is great fun too, when you stay clear of the mass markets and head instead to the local merchants and makers. Supporting those folks makes our communities better all year long.

Here, then, is the first installment of our Catskills holiday season shopping guide to where and when you’ll find the good fresh local stuff among smiling faces. We'll be posting each week with events to check out around the region. Want even more things to do? Check out our ever-updating Catskills events calendar  Read more

College student killed in Sharon Springs crash

A 21-year-old SUNY Cobleskill student was killed in a car crash in the village of Sharon Springs on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 19, according to a press release from the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office and the Albany Times-Union.

SUNY Cobleskill has identified the man killed in the crash as Nicholas Failla, a senior at the college. 

The crash happened on Route 10 at the north end of the village of Sharon Springs at 9:15 a.m., according to the Sheriff's press release. Failla was alone in his car. Two people in another car were injured and were taken to the hospital. No details about their injuries have been released. 

Route 10 was closed for much of the day as sheriff's deputies and the New York State Police investigated the crash. 

Update 11/20/14: The Schoharie County Sheriff's Office has released more information about the crash.  Read more

This Weekend: Rosendale Pickle Festival

Photo by Liz West, via Flickr. 

The humble cucumber has a celebration all its own this Sunday: the Rosendale Pickle Festival.

This will be the festival's 17th year. Over 6,000 people are expected to come to the Rosendale Community Center seeking a pickle fix, according to the Daily Freeman:  Read more

NY's top court: Palenville Pagans deserve religious tax exemption

Above: The Maetreum of Cybele's headquarters in Palenville in 2010. Photo by Julia Reischel.

In a curt decision issued on Tuesday, Nov. 18, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the Maetreum of Cybele, a monastic branch of Paganism with a headquarters in the Catskills, is entitled to a religious property tax exemption from the Greene County town of Catskill.

The decision ends a five-year court battle between the Maetreum and the town. Beginning in 2009, Catskill refused to grant the Maetreum a property tax exemption for the group's Palenville headquarters. The town's lawyers argued that the building did not qualify because it was used as a residence by the religion's founder and some of its followers.   Read more

West Kill man dies in ATV accident

A 55-year-old West Kill man died Monday, Nov. 17 when the all-terrain vehicle he was riding flipped over on a private trail in the Greene County town of Lexington, according to a statement released by New York State Police.

Local resident Bronislaw Czarniak was riding the ATV down a hill in the Beech Ridge area when the right front wheel went off the track, causing the vehicle to flip over, police say. Czarniak was ejected from the vehicle. He was not wearing a helmet. 

Czarniak was pronounced dead at the scene. 

State troopers investigating the incident were assisted at the scene by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officers, Greene County sheriff's deputies and the Lexington Fire Department.