The great thing about Maple Weekend is that it's actually two weekends.
Yes, you've got another chance this Saturday and Sunday to taste the first syrup of the 2014 maple season at sap houses and sugar bushes around the Catskills region. Try it fresh out of the evaporator, poured over pancakes, or baked into cookies, cakes, and doughnuts.
Above: Old-fashioned aprons hang in a Main Street window in Fleischmanns for the annual Maple Bake Off. Photo courtesy of Fleischmanns First.
The sights, sounds and smells of sap boiling in the sugarhouse mean that sweetness, like springtime, is just around the corner.
Syrupmaking is about as historic and local and hands-on as food production gets -- and nothing beats that flavor. Shake off the late-winter blahs and come celebrate Maple Weekend -- actually two weekends of open houses -- in the sugar shacks of the Catskills. Listed below are events that are within the Watershed Post's coverage area; a statewide list of all 146 locations can be found at mapleweekend.com.
Unless otherwise specified, the syrup-crafters listed below will be welcoming company on all four days of Maple Weekend: March 22-23, and March 29-30. Many visits and tours are free; there may be additional charges for breakfasts, pony rides, and other treats. Read more
'Tis the season for green beer -- and rural voting. The day after St. Patrick's Day, New York State's littlest municipalities head for the polls to pick their elected officials.
Most of New York State's villages will hold elections on Tuesday, March 18, although a few opt to hold them at the same time as local elections in November, or at another time in the year.
In the Catskills, most village elections are a sleepy affair, with few contested races. A couple of local villages this year have open posts for which no one is running, leaving the race wide open to write-in candidates.
But Bookah's mountaineering skills couldn't save her from a fate every dog owner dreads. While on a hike with Via in a remote and trailless area in the southwestern Catskills, Bookah ate a piece of meat that had been laced with the fast-acting poison strychnine, and died before Via could get her out of the woods. Read more
Above: The Edward Maloney Memorial Pipe Band marches in the 2013 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Delhi. Photo courtesy of the Delhi St. Patrick's Day Parade committee.
‘Tis time again to celebrate the Irish, those poetic and tenacious folks who’ve brought so much to the cultural feast. Suffer mightily they may have done, but as Irish fighter Bobby Sands put it, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”
When folks like that party, it’s not to be missed. Here’s our guide to the region’s various St. Paddy's Day festivities.
On Saturday, March 15, come out to Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury for an all-day "St. Platty’s Day" celebration, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They’re cooking corned beef and cabbage to go with the Irish drink specials and live entertainment. Outdoors, there will be a barbecue and a Shamrock Hunt. Read more
Top: Bill Pullman with Jessica Vecchione, the founder of the Catskill Mountains Film Festival. Photo by Riikka Olson, via the CMFF Facebook page. Above: Bill Pullman explains his relationship to the Catskills. Video shot by festival founder Jessica Veccchione.
Above: Snow falling thick and fast at 11:40 a.m. in Margaretville at the WP HQ.
This winter isn't over yet. The National Weather Service in Albany is predicting that a "quick burst" of 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in the eastern Catskills this afternoon -- specifically in Greene, Schoharie and Ulster counties. The snowfall rate will be heavy -- about an inch per hour.
It has already started snowing that hard in Margaretville. See our video above.