Above: The Margaretville Motel, which was slated to receive $1.3 million from New York State after being developed into a Best Western hotel. Plans for the project are now uncertain. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Peter Molnar, a prominent local businessman who owned a financial consultancy and a set of properties and lodging businesses in the Delaware County village of Margaretville, was missing for days before his body was found in a room in one of his own motels on Saturday, March 21, police said.
Molnar, 57, had told his family he was going on a business trip, and left home on Monday, March 16, according to State Police investigator Jeff Moore. Molnar stayed in touch with his family throughout the week.
But Molnar’s actual whereabouts from Monday until Saturday, when his body was found, are unknown, Moore said. Read more
Above: An image from Catskill Made, a new digital publication. Photo of milkweed by Tom Smith.
Along with maple syrup and the first red blush of buds on the mountainsides, spring is bringing a bloom of new publications devoted to covering the culture, arts and lifestyle of the Catskills — through the eyes of flatlanders.
These days, urbanites are fleeing to the Catskills from New York City in droves. If you ask them why, they say that they're searching for something -- a kind of authenticity absent from more citifed environs.
“We yearned for a place with a slower pace of life, fewer pretensions, friendlier people, and more authenticity — something we had always experienced on our trips here," said Alecia Eberhardt, a new arrival to the Catskills who is the editor of Catskill Made, a new digital quarterly journal that launched on March 21. "So in the summer of 2013 we made the leap, and almost two years later, here we are.” Read more
It's spring, sort of. It's freezing and there's still ice on the ground. The only thing you can do at the end of March, after six months of snow, is laugh.
The Open Eye Theater in Margaretville is hosting a comedy night this Saturday that doubles as a fundraiser for the theater's upcoming season. Catskills locals -- Gail Lennstrom, John Bernhardt, Marcy Thorn, John Exter, Jill Ribich and Erwin Karl -- will mount the stage and put on their best Borscht Belt routines.
Make 'Em Laugh Fundraiser. Saturday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. The Open Eye Theater, 960 Main St., Margaretville. 845-586-1660. theopeneyetheater.org.
Above: Attendees at the Main Street Boot Camp in Margaretville on Tuesday, March 24. Photo by Julia Reischel.
A two-day Main Street Boot Camp conference sponsored by the Arkville-based MARK Project nonprofit attracted 90 attendees each day, according to Peg Ellsworth, the MARK Project's executive director.
The conference, which was held on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24 at the Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club in Margaretville, aimed to bring together business owners, county and municipal officials and state development coordinators to discuss economic development in the Catskills. Read more
Above: Fresh-made donuts at Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts. Photo by Julia Reischel.
New eateries serving fresh doughnuts, Vietnamese banh mi, baklava and cheesy grits have all opened in the mountains this past year or so. From the 2015 Catskills Food Guide, here are some of our favorites.
The doughnuts at Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts (5950 Main St., Tannersville, 518-589-6262), which opened in late 2013, are made to order by the Doughnut Robot, a countertop machine that deploys circles of batter into bubbling hot oil while you wait. After frying, they’re dipped in flavored glazes like Key lime, pumpkin, apple cider, and caramel and sea salt. For a quarter, you can add a bacon glaze. For $4.50, you can add eggs, cheese and meat to make a true caloric heavyweight: a doughnut-based breakfast sandwich “slider.”
Above: Doughnut sliders at Twin Peaks Coffee & Doughnuts. Photo by Julia Reischel.
Tara and Nathan Jamieson, the owners of Feather & Stone (38 West St., Walton, 607-510-4027, featherandstonerestaurant.com), which opened in September 2014, express their love of travel in their menu. One week, they’re celebrating the Midwest with fried cheese curds, and the next it’s the American southwest with Texas smoked brisket. They have a special affection for New York state dishes — the Rochester Garbage Plate is a mix of meats, chili, fries and salad — and the humble burger, seven versions of which appear on the menu. Read more
Above: The SUNY New Paltz campus on March 13. Photo by Keady Sullivan.
After a brutal winter in the Catskills, college students are holding their breath, hoping for no more snow days.
College classes at SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Delhi, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oneonta, SUNY Sullivan and SUNY Ulster have all experienced weather-related cancellations with more frequency than usual in 2015.
For SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Sullivan students, Monday classes have been hit particularly hard. Three consecutive Monday snow days on Jan. 26, Feb. 2, and Feb. 9 prevented classes from meeting and have significantly set back course curriculums.
SUNY Sullivan had the most official, university-declared cancellations of colleges in the Catskills region. Four whole days of classes were cancelled, and classes were either delayed or closed early on three additional days. In Ulster County, SUNY New Paltz cancelled classes six times and SUNY Ulster cancelled classes four times.
In Schoharie County, SUNY Cobleskill cancelled classes three times. In Delaware County, SUNY Delhi cancelled classes twice. And in Otsego County, SUNY Oneonta cancelled classed on one day and partially cancelled classes on another day. Read more
Above: Maple syrup from the Catskill Mountain Sugar House in Grahamsville. Photo by Richard A. Smith
New York state produces almost a fifth of the nation’s maple syrup, and much of that comes from the Catskills. The mountains are home to many sugarhouses, from large operations with state-of-the-art evaporators that use reverse osmosis to little shacks that still use the old-fashioned boiling method.
Maple syrup is available all year long, but the tapping season lasts for just a few weeks in March, when frosty nights and sunny days get the sap moving.
The best way to watch a sugarhouse in action is to visit one. The sights, sounds and smells of sap boiling in the sugarhouse mean that sweetness, like springtime, is just around the corner. Shake off the late-winter blahs and come celebrateMaple 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 160 locations can be found at mapleweekend.com. Read more
Today, Wednesday, March 18, is Election Day for most New York villages. Village elections in many Catskills villages are sleepy, uncontested affairs, but a few are real contests with full slates of candidates from multiple parties. Read more
Above: Delhi's St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo via the parade's organizers.
It’s a gray and drizzly St. Patrick’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. Festivities celebrating the Irish continue all this week in the Catskills.
A few St. Pat’s events take place today:
Gavin’s Irish Country Inn in East Durham in Greene County will be celebrating all day long on St. Patrick’s Day itself, Tuesday, March 17, with a Irish pub fare and a three-course dinner with their own homemade Irish bread, leading up to a fine evening shindig with the Brothers Flynn Band and the Farrell School of Irish Dancing from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Read more
Above: A large explosion set a garage on fire just outside the village of Margaretville on Monday, March 16, 2015. Photos by Julia Reischel.
A man was badly burned in a series of explosions in a garage on Route 30 just outside of the village of Margaretville in Delaware County on Monday, March 16. In between blasts, two of the man’s neighbors, Allen Misner and Cody Ackerly, helped drag him to safely as the garage burned.
The man was severely injured, Misner, Ackerly and other witnesses at the scene report.
On Tuesday, March 17, the staff of Westchester Medical Center's burn unit said that the man's medical condition is stable.
The man is still not being identified by the New York State Police, according to spokesman Nathan Riegal. But because his condition is stable, his next of kin have been notified and his name has been widely publicized by other newspapers, we are identifying him as Sandy Scudder, a Margaretville resident.
The first explosion happened around 12:15 p.m. on Monday at 42463 Route 30, and blew the door off the garage into the street. Read more