Arts

Where to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Catskills

 

A photo posted by BSP Kingston (@bspkingston) on

Above: Just like Times Square, only smaller, Uptown Kingston's New Year's Eve features a ball drop, fireworks, a block party, burlesque, vaudeville, a speakeasy and fireworks. Photo via the BSP Lounge's Instagram page

Back in the day, bells rang out from town to town marking midnight and the changeover to a new year. Around the Catskills, you can say goodbye to 2015 with everything from accordions and contra dancing to sizzling soul and burlesque. There are ball drops and karaoke jams and feasts, feasts, feasts. Have a look at our five-county guide to the highlights, and see if we can’t lure you from your lair. All events take place on Thursday, Dec. 31 unless otherwise specified.

DELAWARE COUNTY

There’s a dinner buffet and DJ dance party happening at the Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club in Margaretville, featuring prime rib for the adults, a kids’ menu and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Seating starts at 6 p.m.; music starts at 8 p.m. in the fireside lounge. Reservations required; call 1-800-752-6494.

O’Neill’s Shire Pub in Delhi will be rocking the old year out with specials and karaoke hosted by DJ Bangkok. The fun starts at 9 p.m. and goes on until 1 a.m. Call for reservations: 607-746-8758.

The Andes Hotel in Andes is throwing a New Year’s bash with a three-course sit-down feast and live music from Blues Maneuver. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and continue through the “champagne hour.” You can bring the under-twelve-year-olds for half price.

GREENE COUNTY

They may be having a rather unusual season, but Greene County’s ski resorts will be kicking out the jams for the New Year.

At Hunter Mountain in Hunter, fun starts with DJ music at 2 p.m. and continues with music from the Hot Rods, a torchlight parade and fireworks. Van Winkle’s Restaurant will be serving a prix fixe New Year’s dinner--for that part of it you need to reserve by calling  518-263-4223 x3026.

Windham Mountain’s bash in Windham kicks off at 6 p.m. with kids’ entertainment at the Mountain Express Cafeteria. At 8 p.m., Screaming Broccoli will take the stage; at 9 p.m. there are fireworks and DJ Brian will keep it rockin’ after the band’s done. There’s also a Grand Dinner Buffet at Seasons; make reservations here.

Celebrate at the Bavarian Manor Inn in Purling with dinner out and/or an entire night of partying, up to and including spending the night at special holiday rates that include breakfast. There’s a dinner at 5:30 p.m. for those who don’t want to stay for the whole bash, which features the music of Nickel Candy and a free bottle of champagne for your midnight toast.

The Blackthorne Resort in East Durham will host a New Year’s Eve bash with the music of Southbound. Here, too, you can reserve a room for the night and revel to your heart’s content.

SCHOHARIE COUNTY

There will be a grand New Year's Eve Dinner & Celebration at the Bull's Head Inn in Cobleskill. Reserve your seats (call 518-234-1802) for the special four-course dinner being served from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., then enjoy the live sounds of Jay “Diz” Dizacomo from 8:30 until “sometime in 2016.”

The American Hotel in Sharon Springs will be serving a five-course New Year’s Eve Dinner with seatings at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Call 518-284-2105 to reserve a table.

Come out and enjoy an Old World-flavored New Year’s Eve Celebration at A Taste of Europe in Cobleskill.   Read more

A 12 Days of Christmas Catskills Gift Guide

Gifting is so much fun. But the classic ideas can always stand an update. After all, a partridge in a pear tree takes up the entire living room, shipments of milkmaids and drummers need to be housed (to say nothing of a gymnasium space for all those leaping lords), and calling birds just keep calling...and calling...and calling.

But you, you lucky soul, have the Catskills at your disposal. And these hills are packed with delicious foods, life-enhancing objects, fantastic fashion, life-changing experiences and mouthwatering edibles. So we’re hoping you’ll do your shopping locally, among the small independent merchants where your dollar makes a big difference.

Here are 12 local Catskills gift ideas for this holiday season.

On the first day of Christmas the Catskills gave to me:

A massage with aromatherapy

  Read more

This weekend: Woodstock's everyday history and other holiday events

Above: Santa Claus in Woodstock. Photo by Julia Reischel.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, Woodstock Town Historian Richard Heppner will discuss his brand-new book, “Woodstock: Everyday History,” at the Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free.

Heppner, who is the author of several other books about Woodstock and the Catskills, uses this book to explore the lives of not-so-famous Woodstockers like Elias Hasbrouck, Woodstock’s first town supervisor, and Alf Evers, the definitive historian of the Catskills, and Phillip Buttrick, a soldier who served with the French army in WWI.

Heppner has an encyclopedic knowledge of Woodstock history. He'll regale you with tales lesser-known episodes in the town's history, like the great Swim-In of 1922 and the history of the Woodstock Playhouse, which burned down in 1988. 

Other events this weekend:

DELAWARE COUNTY  Read more

BUSHEL and One Grand: Two new literary venues open in Catskills

Above: B U S H E L, a "new and evolving nonprofit storefront space" opening in the Delaware County town of Delhi on Satuday, Dec. 5. Photo via bushelcollective.org. 

The Catskills region is getting a literary infusion this weekend with the openings of two new spots in Delaware and Sullivan Counties. On Saturday, multi-use art space Bushel is soft-launching its storefront in Delhi, while bookstore One Grand is celebrating its opening in Narrowsburg.

B U S H E L, Delhi

This nonprofit space celebrates its soft opening this weekend. Drawing inspiration from old-timey rural gathering spots, Bushel is a collective made up of area artists, performers, farmers, craftspeople and activists. The space plans to play host to a variety of events and tenants, from pop-up stores to classes to performances.  Read more

This weekend: Hunt for poems in Woodstock

Above: Taco Juan's in Woodstock. Photo by Kat Stan, shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr pool

Will Nixon, the co-author of “Walking Woodstock” and “The Pocket Guide to Woodstock,” has decided that the best way to capture the spirit of Woodstock life is in verse.

Nixon’s new book, “Acrostic Woodstock,” is a collection of 70 poems about the famous little Ulster County town. Each poem is an acrostic, where the first letters of each line spell out the title of the poem.

The real fun is the subject matter. For Nixon, everything is fodder for a poem. Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble gets an ode, as does the town hardware store and the taco shop:

TACO JUAN’S BENCH  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

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.

DELAWARE COUNTY

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

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

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. 

DELAWARE COUNTY  Read more


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