Shandaken

Upcoming Events in Shandaken

Trains and trails make peace in Ulster County

Above: The Catskill Mountain Railroad during a Polar Express event in 2015. Photo via the CMRR's Facebook page

It's a holiday miracle: Railroad fans, trail enthusiasts and Ulster’s County’s executive have decided to end a three-year feud over a county-owned railroad right-of-way.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Ulster County Legislature unanimously voted to approve Resolution 488, a carefully-crafted “rail with trail” plan that gives both the Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR) and the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail what they really want for Christmas.

Neither railroad fans nor trail enthusiasts, who have been at each others' throats for years, will get an unbroken corridor of trains or trails all the way across Ulster County from Kingston to Shandaken on the old Ulster & Delaware railroad tracks.  Read more

This weekend: Christmas season in the Catskills

Above: Photo by Nannette Turner, via Flickr

Ring those bells and light those lights: It’s Christmastime in the Catskills. Public festivities abound. Come out and revel with your neighbors this weekend. Here’s our five-county guide to what’s doing.

DELAWARE COUNTY

On Friday, Dec. 11, there is a free holiday wine tasting at Roxbury Wine & Spirits—try four different holiday wines.   Read more

Catskills organizations awarded $26 million in state grants

Above: The Ulster County town of Shandaken will receive $415,000 in state funds to fix broken pipes in Phoenicia, part of $26 million in state grants won by Catskills organizations and municipalities today. Photo via PhoeniciaNY.com

The winners of the annual battle royal for New York State’s grant funds were revealed on Thursday, Dec. 10 at a press conference by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the Catskills took home about $26 million, according to our quick and dirty calculations. (See the state's list of grant winners here.)  Read more

Region reacts to Ulster County Sheriff’s call to arms

Above: Ulster County Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum on ABC News.

Paul Van Blarcum, the Sheriff of Ulster County, ignited a furor in the Catskills and in the national media on Thursday in when he posted a plea on Facebook asking licensed gun owners to carry their weapons with them at all times in case they encounter a mass shooting like the one that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday, Dec. 2. 

“I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO,” Van Blarcum wrote in a post that he also sent to local media outlets as a letter to the editor. “We are the thin blue line that is entrusted in keeping this country safe, and we must be prepared to act at any given moment.”  Read more

DEC issues permits for Belleayre Resort and Belleayre Mountain Ski Center upgrades

Above: A map of the Full Build-Out Alternative plan for the state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Area, from the SEQR Findings Statement for the Belleayre Mountain Ski Center Unit Management Plan.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wrapped up its role in the 16-year review process of the Belleayre Resort on Wednesday, Dec. 2 when it issued environmental permits for the resort and for upgrades to the state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Center next door.

The documents constitute the state’s sign-off for the two interlocking projects: a private developer will build the 739-acre Belleayre Resort in the Ulster County hamlet of Highmount, while the state will give the public ski center a facelift to accomodate the expected increase in use. The Belleayre Resort project was originally proposed in 1999, and has undergone extensive review by the DEC.   Read more

This weekend: Holiday shopping, festivals and St. Nick across the Catskills

Above: A decorated storefront in Narrowsburg in 2013. Photo by John of Catskills Photography, shared in the Watershed Post Flickr pool. 

Now that it's the first week of December, holiday events are legion across the Catskills. There are craft markets and festivals, concerts and carolers, and Santa is popping up in Roxbury, Bethel and Schoharie. Here's what to do this weekend. 

DELAWARE COUNTY

SUNY Delhi will host a Holiday Bazaar at the Farrell Center on Friday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.   Read more

Catskills patients and doctors left in lurch by Health Republic shutdown

Patients and doctors across the Catskills have been scrambling to deal with the abrupt closure of Health Republic, a troubled health insurance company that is closing for business today, Monday, Nov. 30.

The shuttered company is no longer paying its claims, leaving doctors unsure whether they will ever be paid for seeing Health Republic patients. Some doctors have turned patients away, or are bargaining directly with patients over their medical fees. 

In September, New York State regulators ordered Health Republic, the largest of many health insurance cooperatives to be established across the country as part of the Affordable Care Act, to close at the end of 2015.  Read more

Thanksgiving in the Catskills

Photo by icoNYca, via Flickr. 

As the fourth Thursday in November rolls around, we gather in a spirit of gratitude for our mountain peaks and sparkling creeks, our deer and raptors and black bear, and for each other. Here are some places to feast among neighbors in the Catskills this Thanksgiving Day. Unless otherwise specified, all events are taking place on Thursday, Nov. 26.

DELAWARE COUNTY

The Interfaith Council is inviting everyone in the greater Margaretville community to its 5th annual free Thanksgiving dinner, taking place from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. at the Margaretville United Methodist Church. All are welcome and take-outs are available.  Read more

Mama's Boy Market, a pioneer of Phoenicia's boom, closes

Above: Mama's Boy Market in Phoenicia. Photo via the Mama's Boy Facebook page

Mama's Boy Market, the funky little coffeeshop in the heart of the Ulster County hamlet of Phoenicia, will close on Monday, Nov. 30, according to owner Michael Koegel. 

"We lost our lease," Koegel wrote in an email on Wednesday, Nov. 25. He elaborated in a post he published on Tuesday, Nov. 24 on the Mama's Boy Market Facebook page:

It is with great sadness that I have to announce that Mama’s Boy Coffee Shop will be closing permanently on November 30th. Unfortunately, we lost our lease at our Phoenicia location and so our last day of serving the community will be this Monday.  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

Shandaken Letters