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Winter Tale: The Horse Shoe

“Your grandfather cut ice at Mohonk.” My father spoke the words without preamble or explanation as we walked along the outside of a huge stone foundation in glorious Fall weather. I knew my grandfather (Louis Yess I) worked, as most subsistence farmers in the area had, doing anything—lumbering, field clearing, hauling, machine repair, construction, fishing, [Read More…]

Span of Time

Walkway Grand Opening Celebration Oct 2–4, 2009

  1974, Fire! Flames rose from the oil soaked railroad ties as charred debris rained down on the buildings, roads, and properties in Poughkeepsie. Our vantage point, on the West shore of the Hudson River, was about a half mile north of the burning railroad bridge. We viewed the fire from the site of Bellevue [Read More…]

Lake Minnewaska Mountain Houses

For most of tourism’s history on the Shawangunk Ridge, the Mohonk Mountain House was one of three Smiley family-owned vacation destinations for the well-heeled. All were set above pristine, glacially- formed lakes and astride the Shawangunk white conglomerate cliffs, each hotel’s magic drawing parched thousands every year to “take the air.” The other two hotels, [Read More…]

The Riordon School

Archery is “taught by Chief Crazy Bull (Ta Tan Ka Witko)—grandson of the heroic warrior of the Sioux, Sitting Bull…” That’s from the opening paragraph of a four-page brochure, Authentic American Archeryproduced by The Raymond Riordon School, Highland, Ulster County, New York, informing prospects this won’t be education-as-usual. Ulster County has had a number of [Read More…]

Promised Land: Father Divine’s Interracial Communities in Ulster County, New York

From the Preface of Promised Land: Father Divine lifted the despairing from the gutter to self-respect, but his methods troubled many observers. He commanded substantial wealth, but he mystified much of the world as to how he acquired it. He had charismatic power, but his talk of his supernatural abilities was difficult for the public [Read More…]

Main Streets

                                          All postcards and images from the collection of Vivian Yess Wadlin.

The Rise and Fall of Cedar Glen

Ruins in Reese Preserve—The last remains of a sad family

The newest park in the Town of Lloyd, the Franny Reese Preserve, provides spectacular views of the Hudson River and Poughkeepsie. But it also contains a mystery. Go a bit further along the trails, and you will come across castle-like ruins and the remains of several other stone structures. Something important must have been here [Read More…]

Hudson Valley Seed Library Fall Workshops

As the bounty of the season rolls in, gardeners’ thoughts transform. Worry over the fate of tender seedlings and the year’s insect pressures is replaced by gratitude as the sweet tomatoes and peppers of late summer fill the harvest basket, as the crunchy cabbages and succulent broccoli of fall take your garden eating into winter. [Read More…]

Honey Bee

Two years ago we discovered a colony of feral honey bees* in a tree at my family’s old homestead in Plutarch (not far from New Paltz). This spring when I checked, the tree was silent. The colony gone. That colony had been about 8 miles from our present home in Highland. Shortly after that disappointing [Read More…]

Swamps, Trails, and Other Things

Esopus: Shaupeneak Trials Coming from the south, Shaupeneak Trialhead is on Old Post Road (a left off Route 9W just north of Black Creek Apartments and Black Creek Road). Then, cross the railroad tracks and it’s on your right. Burroughs Sanctuary and Slabsides While you are in this neck of the woods, go south on [Read More…]

Milton Training Days

125 Year Old Station is Rescued, Will Be Rehabilitated, and Reused

Follow the mile markers along the CSX tracks north along the Hudson River and at marker #68 you will see the Milton Train Station looking much as it did 125 years ago–except the train doesn’t stop now. No wagons line up to disgorge the bounty of Ulster County. There are no baggage handlers, no carts, [Read More…]

Joseph Tubby Retrospective

At Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery

A retrospective of Joseph Tubby (1821-1896), a nineteenth century Kingston artist noted for his paintings of local landscapes, is open at the Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery. Tubby was a disciple of the Hudson River School and painted in that style throughout his career. Born in England, Tubby moved to Rondout as an adolescent when [Read More…]

Esopus Meadow Light House Lights Up

It is a night in 1839. The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse sits on the edge of Esopus Meadows Flats about three miles south of Kingston. It appears to be in the middle of the river. The lighthouse beam casts its warning to the busy cargo and passenger ships making their way through the darkness and into [Read More…]

Walkway Over The Hudson

Considered an unrivaled engineering feat, the bridge was the first to span the Hudson. When opened in 2009 for the Hudson Fulton Celebration, it will be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Thanks to the Board of the Walkway, the Dyson Foundation, and Bill Sepe, whose dream it always was.        

Orchard Mason Bees to the Rescue

With all the bad news for feral and domesticated honey bees (Colony Collapse Disorder), we thought a little good news for gardiners might be in order. That good news is the native Orchard Bees, a mild-mannered pollinator. Last year I purchased two orchard mason bee blocks or houses. These were made from 6x6x9 inch blocks [Read More…]

World Class Athlete, Super Star, and Local “Mystery Man”: Edward Payson Weston

When his parents purchased their farm on July 23, 1921 at the intersection of the towns of New Paltz, Esopus and Lloyd, seven-year old Louis Yess, had no idea of the once world-celebrated man living a few miles away. The neighbor, Edward Payson Weston, was a world famous perambulator (walker). He lived on “the Rifton [Read More…]

Putting Down Roots: Concetta Alessi McIntosh

According to the 1930 census of the Town of Lloyd, Rosa DeLena Alessi, head of household, lived with five of her seven surviving children. Joseph, Concetta, Mary, Anna, and Rose. Two, others, John and Frank, lived elsewhere. All the children were born in the United States, but Rosa and her husband, who had died in [Read More…]

Land Escapes

One of the most admired figures in any community is the local artist, and our area has been playing hosts to renowned artists for hundreds of years. The first local artists, the Hudson River School painters, began their work nearly two hundred years ago, as landscape painters. Despite the name, they were widely traveled and [Read More…]

Special Delivery

Sometimes it’s just the message conveyed by the sender that makes a card special. Here are a few I hope you enjoy.     PM New Paltz, NY July 27 6pm, 1910:   PM 1917 6am, NY:        (sent to 321 E 5th, NYC)     PM Rosendale Nov 18, 1909, 7am: (with [Read More…]

The New Paltz Normal School

April 18, 1906 Many people remember and many more will remember, if only briefly, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. It occurred at 5:13 in the morning on April 18th, an 8.25 on the Richter scale, on an otherwise clear day. It was a catastrophic event that brought down buildings and killed people. The earthquake [Read More…]