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Eat, shop, gossip: Catskills general stores serve both food and community

Above: Lucky Dog Farm Store in Hamden sells local groceries and serves lunch. Photo by Richard A. Smith. 

In many ways, the Catskills region is the land that time forgot. Too rural to attract droves of big-box stores, and too stubborn to change fast, the little mountain towns are still home to many old traditions that have gone the way of the dodo elsewhere in the world. Among them is the old-fashioned general store, where residents and visitors alike can eat a home-cooked meal, pick up a few necessities and catch up on the latest news with friends and neighbors.  Read more

Ready for a foot of snow, Catskills?

Might want to make sure your front door is shut this weekend. Photo taken in Thompsonville on March 8, 2013 by John of Catskills Photography; shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool

It's official: We're about to get whomped. A storm moving into the area Saturday morning is predicted to dump anywhere from 6 to 12 inches on the Catskills and Hudson Valley over a 24-hour period, with even greater accumulations possible in parts of the eastern Catskills. As of late afternoon on Friday, a winter weather warning has been declared for the Catskills counties of Greene, Schoharie and Ulster, Delaware County is under a winter storm watch, and Sullivan County has a winter weather advisory.

Hudson Valley Weather is following the storm closely, and broadcasting updates on both Facebook and local radio; the volunteer-run social media site recently announced a partnership with Clear Channel of the Hudson Valley to broadcast weather updates on the group's nine radio stations.

Here at the WP, we're tracking the weather in real time, and will share weather updates in the Storify widget below as they come in. The latest updates are at the top. If you have a photo, video or eyewitness account you'd like to share with us, you can email it to us at editor@watershedpost.com or tweet it to us at @watershedpost. Please let us know if you see local road closings, accidents or other dangerous conditions out there. (And send us pix of snowmen/snow women/snow aliens/etc. We want those, too.)

Happy first big storm of the year. We wish you snow forts and hot cocoa.

Bomb hoax at SUNY Delhi -- again

Above: Evenden Tower at SUNY Delhi. Photo from a photo tour of the SUNY Delhi campus on the college's website

Two buildings at SUNY Delhi were evacuated early this morning, after a bomb threat was called in to university police and Delaware County 911. The buildings were declared safe and clear at 11:15 a.m., after a search of the area by police.

The calls came in around 7:13 a.m., according to a news release from the university. The caller told police that bombs had been placed in Evenden Tower and Sanford Hall, and were set to explode at 9:30 a.m.   Read more

Snow on the way to the lower Hudson Valley

In the forecast for the lower Hudson Valley today: Heavy snow, with the chance of more than six inches accumulating in some spots, according to the folks at Hudson Valley Weather. There's a winter weather advisory on for Orange and Rockland counties west of the Hudson, and also across the river in Putnam and Westchester counties

The Catskills region will see some snow, but not as much as our neighbors to the south and east. An inch or two at most is expected in the region, with the heaviest accumulations forecast for Ulster County. 

Local school districts are taking heed, and quite a few schools in Ulster and Sullivan counties are closed for the day.  Read more

A handmade holiday: Craft fairs around the Catskills

Above: Hand-painted glassware by Lilian Miccio, one of the artisan vendors at the Holiday Extravaganza at the Roxbury Arts Center, Dec. 7-8. Photo from the Roxbury Arts Group's Facebook page

Holiday shoppers: Looking for something you can't find on Amazon? If you want to give something truly unique this season, check out one of the upcoming holiday craft and artisan fairs happening around the Catskills. 

Hudson Valley Hullabaloo
Saturday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
323 Wall Street, Kingston

Billed as "arty meets party," the Hudson Valley Hullabaloo is a smorgasbord of handmade gifts and crafts from over 40 local vendors, from letterpress to leatherwork. This year, the festivities include a DJ, a photo booth, a craft table for kids, and a visit from the Ate.O.Ate food truck.  Read more

Farmers, brewers, chefs, retailers: Add your free online listing to the Catskills Food Guide

Above: A rooster from Horton Hill Farm in Jefferson casts a discerning eye on the Watershed Post's 2014 Catskills Food Guide. Thanks to Horton Hill Farm for the photo.

In the local economy, businesses don't stand alone. They form relationships with each other; they create connections.

We built our online Catskills Food Guide with those connections in mind. If you own a restaurant that sources produce from local farms (like the Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room in Big Indian), or if you're a producer whose foods can be found at local stores (like Bread Fellows in Andes), you can use our online listings to reflect those relationships -- and to let your customers know who else you're connected to locally.  Read more

NewsShed: New life on local Main Streets

Above: Middleburgh's newest business, Valley Tax and Accounting, which opened at 296 Main Street on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Downtown Middleburgh was devastated by flooding from Irene and Lee, and recovery has been a long process. But with several new businesses on Main Street -- and a new brewery set to open its doors in 2014 -- things are looking up in Middleburgh. In a press release, Valley Tax owner Francis Pipcynski says he's proud to be part of the comeback:

"We are pleased to be here and be part of the rebuilding process after such widespread devastation. What has impressed us so much is that after what seemed like a knock out punch, the residents and business owners did and continue to do whatever is necessary to get back on their feet."  Read more

How to buy local meat in the Catskills

To buy local meat in the Catskills, you've got to know where to look. But the extra effort pays delicious dividends -- like this grass-fed ribeye from Liddle Farm in the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville. Photo from the Facebook page of AgriForaging, Inc., a local farm consulting business. 

Buying locally raised meat is more complicated than buying vegetables, partly because sales of pork, beef, lamb, poultry and goat are subject to different sets of regulations.  Read more

NewsShed: Calling all ski bums

Above: Belleayre Mountain looking good on the first ski weekend of the season. The Catskills' three large ski centers -- Belleayre, Windham and Hunter -- all opened for ski season last weekend. Plattekill Mountain in Roxbury is slated to join them for the upcoming weekend, with a Dec. 7 opening day. 

Season's greetings, Catskills. It's that time of year again: The Thanksgiving leftovers are all but polished off, the Christmas carols have begun in earnest, and if you've got a pair of skis buried in the attic, it's high time you exhumed them.   Read more

Rain will go away -- but not before changing to sleet and snow

Above: Rainfall totals for the storm so far, posted to Facebook by the National Weather Service station in Albany around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

Rainfall has been heavy in the Catskills during the storm that began Tuesday afternoon. Most areas in the region have received 1 to 2 inches so far, with localized rainfall of around 3 inches in higher elevations in Ulster County. Rain will continue into the afternoon, with about another half-inch expected to fall. 

A flood watch issued on Tuesday is still in effect for Ulster and Greene counties in the Catskills region, along with a portion of the mid-Hudson Valley and parts of New England.

Drivers should watch out for fast-changing road conditions. Through the afternoon and into the evening Wednesday, roads in the area may ice over as the temperature drops quickly and rain shifts to sleet and snow.  Read more