How to stay safe outdoors during hunting season in the Catskills

Above: Photo by Kevin Chang, via Flickr

Today—Saturday, Nov. 21—marks the beginning of rifle season in the Catskills. Rifle hunting season runs through Dec. 13, which means that hunters and hikers need to be share the woods safely during this unseasonably warm fall. (Daytime temperatures forecast for this coming week hardly dip below 40 degrees.)

The November hunting season is bookended by early bear season in September, archery season in early November and a muzzleloader season in December. By far, rifle season is the most popular, with most hunters taking aim at deer and bear.

Both hunters and hikers must take care to avoid each other in the woods.  Read more

Rip's Ledge and the trails of Winter Clove

Above: Rip's Ledge. Photo by Alan Via.

Most people have never heard of Catskills trails with names like Venus' Bath, Countryman Kill Falls, Moonshine Ridge, Lover's Loop, Yankee Smith and Rip's Ledge.

All of them are seldom-hiked unofficial trails that begin on private land owned by the Winter Clove Inn, an old-style Catskills resort in the Greene County hamlet of Round Top. The resort welcomes day hikers to use its lands, provided that they ask permission at the front desk first.

Above: Winter Clove Inn. Photo by Alan Via. 

The Winter Clove Inn has been attracting visitors to this northern Catskills clove for 152 years. The resort got its start in 1863 as a farmhouse that took in urban folks looking for wilderness.

Five generations of innkeepers, all members of the Whitcomb family, turned the property into a stately hotel with a large porch lined with rocking chairs sitting on hundreds of acres of land. The resort also boasts its own waterfall.  Read more

Woodstock Writers Radio with Martha Frankel and guests

This weekend: Hudson Valley Hullabaloo plus four other Catskills craft fairs

Above: The 2014 Hudson Valley Hullabaloo. Photo via the HV Hullabaloo's Facebook page

The holiday craft season is heating up. This weekend, 65 vendors will flock to the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo in Kingston, and more will appear at markets and bazaars in three other counties. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 21 and 22.


Fresh-baked pies, locally-raised meats, Catskills-made spirits and wines and much more will be for sale at the Greater Stamford Area Chamber of Commerce (GSACC) Holiday Pop-Up Farmers’ Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Stamford. The market has become an annual tradition, and over a dozen vendors will be there to provide a shopping bonanza just before Thanksgiving.   Read more

Santa Fe Woodstock brings fresh, local Mexican food to Route 28

Above: Santa Fe Woodstock opens in the building that once housed the Black Bear Restaurant and the Maverick. Photo by Paula Ann Mitchell.

On the long stretch of Route 28, a well-traveled road that runs from Kingston to Oneonta through the heart of the Catskills, there aren’t many dining options.

And it's hard to find authentic Mexican fare, especially since the Ulster County town of Woodstock lost its beloved Gypsy Wolf Cantina a year ago.

Nearby in Kingston, the owners of Santa Fe Uptown had been hearing for years from customers who said that If the restaurant were closer to Woodstock, they might come to dine more often.

All of these things figured into the decision of the three Santa Fe Uptown partners—David Weiss and Jimmy and Annie Demosthenes—to open Santa Fe Woodstock, the third Santa Fe restaurant in the region.

  Read more

Queens man tore up Callicoon soccer field with SUV, police say

Above: Nicholas J. Carbone. Photo courtesy of the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

A 20-year-old man from Queens caused $3,000 of damage to the soccer field in Callicoon Center's town park on Thursday, Nov. 12 while "doing donuts" in his sports utility vehicle, police say.

"Doing donuts" refers to driving and skidding in tight, sharp circles with a vehicle.

Town officials saw Nicholas J. Carbone of Howard Beach ripping up the town soccer field in his black Ford Explorer on Thursday morning at 9:46 a.m., according to a press release from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.

Kris Scullion, Callicoon's highway superintendent, accosted Carbone in the act, according to the press release, while Callicoon's town supervisor, Tom Bose, called the police.

Carbone was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief and the unlawful possession of marijuana, police say. He was arraigned and sent to the Sullivan County Hail on $2,500 cash bail.

Telecom outage briefly takes out 911 service in Roscoe

Above: A map of the area affected by a telecom outage in Sullivan County, via NY Alert.

A telecom outage affected emergency phone calls to 911 placed from landlines in the Sullivan County town of Rockland between 12:20 a.m. and 1:18 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, according to a notice from NY-Alert.

Frontier Communications, which serves the region, fixed the problem after about an hour. The issue affected Frontier customers with 607 area codes in Livingston Manor and Roscoe, according to a map issued by NY Alert (see above).

According to, similar outages affected Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties yesterday. 

Supervisors: Delaware County bed tax is back, budget is up

Above: Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill, left, and Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente, both opponents of the proposed Delaware County bed tax, conferred during Wednesday's meeting of the board of Supervisors. Photo by Robert Cairns. 

A new version of a proposed Delaware County tax on hotel and motel occupancy was introduced at the Wednesday, Nov. 10 meeting of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors.

An earlier version of the local law to authorize the two percent tax on overnight stays at lodging establishments was withdrawn last month after supervisors agreed with critics that it unfairly placed the tax on establishments that are already subject to sales tax while allowing casual rentals of rooms and homes to go tax-free.

The new version of the law makes such casual rentals subject to the bed tax by removing language that specified that only establishments that provide maid service or other amenities are taxable.

The change is designed to make the law applicable to rooms booked through services such as AirBnB or advertised on classified ad sites like Craigslist.  Read more

Catskill Heritage Alliance sues DEC over Belleayre Resort

Above: A model of one of the the planned hotels, viewed from above, of the proposed Belleayre Resort project. Photo by Julia Reischel.

The Catskill Heritage Alliance, a nonprofit group that has long opposed the construction of the 739-acre Belleayre Resort near the state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in the Ulster County hamlet of Highmount, announced on Thursday, Nov. 12 that it is suing the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation over the project.

The DEC approved the project in July, and the CHA's lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, Nov. 10. 

The CHA signalled almost a year ago that it might pursue litigation against the DEC over the resort's review process, particularly regarding the agency's decision to cancel an adjudicatory hearing about opponents' concerns. The CHA argues that the adjudicatory hearing should have been required.   Read more

Nine-year-old finds razor blade in a bag of Skittles

Above: Sour Skittles. Photo by Flickr user Incase

Police are investigating how a rusty razor blade got inside a bag of Sour Skittles that was given to a trick-or-treater in the Delaware County town of Roxbury on Halloween night.

According to a press release issued by the New York State Police, the razor blade, an "X-ACTO-knife-type razor blade," was discovered when the full-size, 1.80-ounce bag of Sour Skittles was opened on Monday, Nov. 9.

According to the parent of the 9-year-old child who found the razor blade, who asked not to be named in this story, the child opened and ate most of the package of candy on Monday night.  Read more

This weekend: Where to buy Catskills-made gifts

Above: "Stuyvesant Square Park," a photograph by Tom Sardo, one of many artists featured in Salon 2015 and Handmade Holidays, an arts and crafts sale run by the Greene County Council on the Arts, opening this weekend.

Makers, crafters and artisans across the region are gathering at holiday bazaars throughout the Catskills, showcasing locally-made crafts, fine arts and food products that all make great gifts. Here's where to shop local for the holidays during the weekend of Nov. 14 and 15.


Honoring veterans

Happy Veterans Day. John of Catskills Photography took this photo at the 2014 Memorial Day parade in the Sullivan County town of Liberty and shared it in the Watershed Post Flickr pool

Thousands without power in Delaware County, hundreds without power in Shandaken

Above: A NYSEG power outage map at 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 10. 

Update, Wednesday, Nov. 11: Power was on again in the Delaware County town of Bovina by 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. Power had been restored to all but two Delaware County NYSEG customers as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Nov. 11, according to NYSEG's updated outage map. 

On Wednesday, scattered power outages were affecting other Catskills counties as well, with 585 NYSEG customers without power in the town of Shandaken and a smattering of Central Hudson customers without power in Greene County.

Original story, Tuesday, Nov. 10: 

The lights went out on Tuesday afternoon throughout Delaware County, according to outage information posted on New York State Electric and Gas's power outpage map.   Read more

Belleayre Mountain gets $1 million for new emergency center

Above: New York State Senator James Seward presents plans for a new medical facility to be built at Belleayre Mountain with a $1 million dollar grant. Photo by Rebecca Andre.

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center will receive $1 million dollars to construct a new emergency medical facility on the ski mountain, New York State Senator James Seward announced on Monday, Nov. 9.

At a press conference held at the state-owned ski resort in the Ulster County hamlet of Highmount, Seward unveiled plans for the new facility before a group of local officials and interested residents gathered at the mountain’s Overlook Lodge.

Seward was joined by Ted Blazer, the president and CEO of the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), which operates the ski mountain, and Joe Kelly, who serves as the second vice chair of ORDA’s board of directors.

Above: Senator James Seward and ORDA Second Vice-Chair Joe Kelly. Photo by Rebecca Andre. 

In his remarks, Seward said that the ski center plays an important and evolving role in the economy of the Catskills.  Read more

New book describes the "color, charm and lunacy" of the Catskills

Above: The Flager in South Fallsburg in the 1950s Catskills. Image from 1950s Unlimited via Flickr.

To the wider world, the Catskills mean just one thing: The Borscht Belt, with its famous Jewish resorts that inspired the movie “Dirty Dancing.”

But Grossinger’s, Kutsher’s and the Concord only take up about two-and-a-half chapters of “The Catskills: Its History and How it Changed America,” a new book released by Knopf on Oct. 27.

That surprised even its author, veteran entertainment journalist and writer Stephen Silverman.

Left: Stephen Silverman. Photo via the Catskill Mountain Foundation.

Telling the story of the Catskills required five years of research and 450 pages. It’s the longest book Silverman had ever written.

“This is 150,000 words,” Silverman said. “You’re talking to somebody who is used to writing 200 words for People Magazine.”

By heft alone, it’s a coffee-table book—a big, glossy hardcover brick stuffed with four centuries of Catskills lore.

It's lavishly illustrated and intended for a mainstream audience that is once again rediscovering the region. (As the book shows, the Catskills have been discovered and re-discovered roughly every 50 years since the 17th century.) 

There’s the well-known history, like the story of how Jennie Grossinger created a world-famous Jewish resort out of her family’s Sullivan County boardinghouse. There are quick biographical sketches of the lives of must-mention 19th-century celebrities Jay Gould and John Burroughs. And there’s a snappy account of how Washington Irving wrote the legend of Rip Van Winkle.

But the best parts mine a rich vein of more obscure Catskills stories.

Promenading tourists find a gangster stabbed to death and strapped to a slot machine floating in Sullivan County’s Swan Lake in 1937.

Father Divine, the charismatic leader of the integrated Universal Peace Mission Movement, brings thousands of followers Ulster County in the 1930s.

Mark Carr, an enterprising farmer, invents the idea of commercial Christmas tree sales in America.

At Casa Susanna, a 1950s retreat in Jewett, a small colony of cross-dressers learn how to apply makeup and walk properly in a pair of pumps. 

“Illegal liquor. Religious cults. Gangsters. Left-wing children being raised on communist work songs," Silverman said. "You had restricted hotels that had signs that read, “No dogs and no Jews,” and then you had Jews. Murders took place. Religious salvation took place. There was the bluestone mining and leather tanning. It was a lively place.”

  Read more

"Harvest of Songs" brings lessons about Catskills farms, food and water to NYC

Above: Story Laurie, the Andes storyteller and musician Laurie McIntosh, "sprouts like a seed" with Miss Mostert's kindergarten class in Delhi in 2013 as they write a song about germination. Photo courtesy of Harvest of Songs.

A set of songs written by Catskills and New York City schoolchildren about milking, picking pumpkins, farming and water are the heart of a new educational curriculum aimed at teachers throughout the city and its upstate watershed.

"Harvest of Songs," an educational project funded by local nonprofits Farm Catskills, the O'Connor Foundation and the Catskill Watershed Corporation, launched on Saturday, Oct. 24 with a potluck meal at the Hamden Inn in the Delaware County town of Hamden.

Laurie McIntosh, the artist behind the project, presented her work to the board of Farm Catskills.  Read more

Shandaken woman killed in fatal crash on Route 28 in Arkville

Above: Route 28 in Arkville near Oakley's Place, where last night's crash occurred. Image via Google Earth.

2:25 p.m. update: A 75-year-old Shandaken woman was killed in a head-on crash on Route 28 in the Delaware County hamlet of Arkville at 6:17 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4, according to a press release issued by the New York State Police.

Harriet A. Rauchut was driving east near the Oakley's Place restaurant just outside of the hamlet when her Mercury Grand Marquis sedan was hit by a pickup truck that had crossed into the eastbound lane, police say.

Forty-five-year-old Richard E. Herrel of Delhi was driving west in the pickup truck, a Chevrolet Silverado, when he "attempted to avoid an unknown object in the roadway" and drove into the oncoming lane in front of Rauchut, the press release states.

Emergency responders transported both drivers to Margaretville Memorial Hospital, where Herrel was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and where Rauchut was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. by Nanette Treadwell, a physician's assistant at the hospital.

Delaware County Coroner Richard Ucci later ruled that the cause of Rauchut's death was "blunt force trauma," police say.  Read more

Last-minute deal saves Walton's Kraft plant from closure

Above: Kraft macaroni and cheese. Photo by Mike Mozart, via Flickr.

A Kraft Heinz manufacturing plant in the Delaware County town of Walton that was slated for closure has been saved in an eleventh-hour deal struck by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, according to a press release issued on Wednesday, Nov. 4.  Read more

This weekend: The holiday bazaar season begins

Above: Image by Allison McDonald via Flickr. 

If you’re living in or passing through the Catskills and plan to give gifts to loved ones this holiday season, you have absolutely zero excuse for wrapping up a six-pack of sweat socks. (Unless, of course, that’s your loved one’s dearest wish.)

Makers, crafters and artisans across the region are gearing up for two solid months of holiday bazaars showcasing locally-made gifts. The first craft shows are this weekend, Nov. 7 and 8. Here's where to find them. 


GOP challengers win key races in Schoharie County

Above: Republican Chris Tague, shown above in a campaign image from his website, raised almost $20,000 in his successful bid to beat Schoharie County Town Supervisor Gene Milone on Nov. 3. 

The political dynamics of Schoharie County were significantly altered when voters ousted a pair of Democratic town supervisors on Tuesday, Nov. 3, leaving the county GOP firmly in control of the county board by an almost five-to-one weighted vote margin.

Buzon upset by political newcomer

In the upset of the evening, incumbent Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon was defeated by political newcomer, Gerald "Pete" Coppolo, 359 to 326 despite Coppolo leading an under-the-radar campaign that began when he nominated himself for the Republican nomination in August.

Elected as supervisor in the aftermath of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011, Buzon has served as an influential player on the county board, from his advocacy for the controversial and costly stream bank project to his support for the recently-created position of county administrator.  Read more

Gary Rosa wins Delaware County Family Court Judge race

Above: Gary Rosa celebrates his election to the position of Delaware County Family Court Judge. Photo via the Vote for Gary Rosa Facebook page. 

Gary Rosa has won a heated race for Delaware County's new family court judge position over county attorney Porter Kirkwood 5,150 to 4,662, according to unofficial election night results published by the Delaware County Board of Elections on Nov. 3, 2015.  Read more