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Schools of Thought

I chose “Luminari” for the title typeface of this article because it captures the spirit of the camps, colonies, and schools that have fed the minds and imaginations of countless students from every socio-economic strata. Some of those schools evolved (above B&W postcard of the Mt. St. Alphonsus Seminary, now The Mount, a private high [Read More…]

Levi Calhoun

based on a previous About Town article

As I look at this photo of Levi, I am suddenly a five-year old standing at the edge of an unpaved road. It’s 1949. “Poison ivy,” Levi says knowingly. His incredible aquamarine eyes survey the ravages of the plant’s oil on my arms. “Stay,” he commands, and carefully lays his bicycle on the grass next [Read More…]

Racing Hearts

This article honors the historic racing spirit of Ulster County. This September, two unusual races take place here. The Catskill Conquest Pilot Rally partially follows the historic auto-endurance race of 1903 sponsored by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (original 800 miles from NJ to PA). The September 22nd race starts in Ulster County and [Read More…]

What Might Have Been

Twenty years ago, American Demographics magazine published an article titled “Strong Home Towns.” It was based on a study of the 3,600+ counties in the United States detailing the civic connectedness of citizens in each county and ranking them more or less “strong home towns.” Some of the data they looked at were lengths of [Read More…]

Woodstock: An Original Long Before…

Outside influences, large and small, tangible and intangible, have shaped Woodstock, NY, for the last 100 years or more. Ideas that crossed the Atlantic in the prior century challenged the accepted orthodoxy of community. Worldly painters brought the beauty of the wild to the city-bound. The affordable publishing and distribution of newspapers and periodicals helped [Read More…]

Street Art: Celebrating the Highland-New Paltz Trolley

Art evokes feeling. For many of us, trolley images from early last century do just that. They beckon us to imagine riding on them. To think about how they changed the places and people they connected. Now, the Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society, whose mission is, in part, to collect and preserve the historic [Read More…]

The Deep Family Roots of an Old Vineyard

Fall is a great time to discover Ulster County wineries, and we have plenty: Adair Vineyards, Baldwin Vineyards, Benmarl Winery, Brimstone Hill Vineyard & Winery, Cereghino Smith Winery, El Paso Winery, Enlightenment Winery, Glorie Farm Winery, Kedem Winery, Magnanini Farm Winery,  Maple Hill Winery, Robibero Family Vineyards, Stoutridge Vineyards, and Whitecliff Vineyard (see Whitecliff listing). This list doesn’t include all the “hobby” vineyards scattered throughout [Read More…]

Where’s Waldo?

J. Waldo Smith, engineer, and George B. McClellan, NYC Mayor, are each honored on the “McClellan Monument” shown above in an early post card. The structure, near the Ashokan Reservoir dam, commemorates the amazing feat of sending millions of gallons of water per day to New York City from 92 miles upstream in the Catskill Mountains. [Read More…]

A New Paltz Reunion

Members of the New Paltz High School Class of 1962 were born at the end of World War II. In July we celebrate the 55th anniversary of our commencement into the world at large-a world of great opportunity. Though we’ve changed beyond recognition in many cases, many areas of New Paltz are much the same. [Read More…]

Recasting Recreation

To paraphrase a mantra of tourism and business developers throughout the world: Happy residents draw visitors. And, I add, businesses. It makes good sense. Residents who like where they live and work usually work and live in very nice places. Who wouldn’t want to visit? It explains why Ulster County has always been a destination. [Read More…]

Winter Tales

Winter. The thought summons dread to many New Yorkers. To others, it’s the best season–invigorating and challenging. Perspective is often missing in today’s revilers and revelers of winter. We are not that encumbered any more by the season’s bluster. This Winter story begins with entries from a set of diaries begun in 1874 by a [Read More…]

275 of History: Going, Going…

By the Casparus Westervelt House as recorded by Tim Harnett By the time you read this, I may be gone. Since I’m still standing now, though, I have some time to share my story. I was built in 1741 in Poughkeepsie, on King’s Highway between New York and Albany. Now, the Americans call this road [Read More…]

The Elverhoj Art Colony And Its Kindred Spirits

The frequency of connections among the places and players in Ulster County’s history–from Gomez Mill House’s Dard Hunter to Gustav Stickley and his publication The Craftsman, from the Roycrofters to John Burroughs and Henry Ford,, and from Sticlkey to the Raymond Riordon School, and dozens of other threads  criss-crossing our paths, all add to our [Read More…]

October – A Murmuration

Waiting at the bus stop just after sunset, I suddenly caught a glimpse of a cloud swirling low overhead. Tiny black specks coalesced then spread apart, like a breath morphing across the sky, quickly disappearing in the distance. Breathless myself, I gazed beyond into the turquoise sky, reorienting my brain: That was a murmuration of [Read More…]

John Burroughs: A Lasting Source of Wisdom

There’s no better time than Fall in the Hudson Valley, and no better guide to the wonders of nature than world-renowned naturalist John Burroughs (1837-1921). Below are listed a few of the many places to learn from him. Burroughs led generations of Americans to see nature and—in seeing and experiencing it firsthand–to love and sustain [Read More…]

The System

Turning On the $pigot On Friday, May 20, 2016, the New York City Water Board voted to raise the cost of water and sewer services for its users. According to a Wall Street Journal article printed the next day, titled “City Water Rates Going Up,” the rate would increase 2.1% effective July 1st. Since 1980 [Read More…]

Caboose Gallery

The Hudson Valley Rail Trail Caboose Gallery in Highland began its second summer of operation on Memorial Day weekend. Housed in a 1926 caboose and located alongside the Rail Trail just yards from Walkway Over the Hudson, it is right next to the Rail Trail’s Haviland Road parking lot. It is open to the public [Read More…]

Kerhonkson

A sign of the times The large green and white New York State DOT “Kerhonkson” sign stood in front of the 1888 Victorian Rhodes house at the intersection of Milton Avenue and Route 9W in Highland for as long as most of us could remember. It directed people to Kerhonkson (NY) via Route 44/55 taking [Read More…]

Beeing Surprised

Vivian Yess Wadlin with Dena Paige, Beekeeper and owner of Mid Hudson Hives While researching for an unrelated About Town article, I came upon an interesting 1908 New York Times story recounting the costs and causes[1] of forest fires in New York State. Among a variety of fire-causing culprits were the honey bee hunters. In their [Read More…]

A Personal Story

When I was ten, I attended my first funeral. I did not know why I was there as the woman in the coffin was unknown to me. She was my grandmother. She had been in HRSH my entire life and no one had ever mentioned her, but as I look back, I recall Sundays when [Read More…]