Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa's Arrival in Woodstock

A little before 6 p.m. on Chrismas Eve, a wagon of musical elves drew up at Woodstock's Village Green, pulled by a bright red tractor.

Next to arrive was a sleigh drawn by several energetic reindeer, one of whom had a twinkling red nose. But Santa was not in the sleigh. Where could he be?

After an anxious wait on the part of the large crowd gathered at the Green, Santa finally appeared on the rooftop above One Tinker Street in Woodstock. Welcoming cheers burst forth to greet him.

We hope that you're enjoying the holidays, whereever you are. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. Like Santa, come visit us soon in Woodstock!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Experience Woodstock Hospitality

On Friday, December 3, from 5 to 9 p.m., Woodstock celebrated the beginning of its fabulous winter “season of light” with the 29th annual Open House. Festivities included a bonfire, hot cider, wine and cheese tastings, free treats, caroling, free concerts, Frosty the Snowman, face painting by Mrs. Claus, a free mini-shuttle from one end of town to the other, and much, much more. Woodstock’s many shops and galleries decorated their windows and opened their doors to welcome visitors from near and far. Happy holidays!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Experience Woodstock Hiking

Courtesy of Phoenicia Times
There are plenty of wonderful hikes in and around Woodstock. A terrific new one is located just to the west of Woodstock Township in Phoenicia. Known as The Tanbark Trail, it references an era when many of the hemlocks in the Woodstock area were felled for their bark, which was the prime ingredient used in the process of tanning leather. Newly completed by the Tremper Mountain Firetower Committee, the trail begins on the east side of Phoenicia Park, just off St. Ursula Place in Phoenicia, NY, 12464.

The hike is just over two miles. It includes marvelous outlooks, rock formations, and numerous placards providing the history of the area (bluestone quarrying along with tanning) and identifying the surrounding Catskill Mountains.
Trail placard with a view of Phoenicia village above it

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Woodstock’s Jack-o’-Lanterns

One of Woodstock’s great traditions occurs each October at Sunfrost Farms. Always a source for magnificent pumpkins, Sunfrost sells as many as its grateful customers can use. The leftovers are carved into fabulous jack-o’-lanterns, lit up, and displayed for everyone to enjoy on Halloween.

Located at 217 Tinker Street (Route 212) and owned by the Ballister family, Sunfrost has been a purveyor of beautiful fruits and vegetables since it opened in 1969. The thing with the pumpkins has been going nearly that long—for about 39 years. Interviewed recently, Matthew Ballister says “it’s a great honor to be the keeper of the tradition.” Over the years so many things are lost, but he finds this “exciting, and it gives life meaning to keep this alive—because it is Woodstock.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Party Bus to Crosby, Stills and Nash Concert

On Tuesday, August 31, at 2:45 p.m., more than 50 lucky people climbed aboard Woodstock’s first ever (sold-out!) Party Bus to Bethel. This was the premiere in a series of joint ventures planned between the Woodstock Chamber and Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Those on the luxury Tonche Transit bus to Bethel were served delicious hors d’oeuvres catered by Ray Carucci, Chamber board member. The 90-minute ride also featured a DVD of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, as well as food and drinks brought from home. Just before arriving at Bethel, concert-goers were officially greeted by Chamber president Joyce Beymer, who was aboard the luxury coach along with several other Chamber board members.

The party bus was met at Bethel Woods by Jodi Kane, Manager of Group Sales; Wade Lawrence, Director of The Museum; and Rosie Vergilio, Director of Marketing. Those with tickets for The Museum were ushered in, and others who preferred to picnic were directed to a lovely area with reserved tables. Soon it was time for the concert—with the legendary David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. What fabulous performances by the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers! Those guys are not resting on their laurels. Were we dancing in the aisles? You bet!

Afterwards the Woodstockers strolled over to their bus and were given a priority exit from the Bethel grounds. Ray served up his tasty Life Is Good brownies on the trip home, and everyone enjoyed the hassle-free return to Woodstock. (The bus arrived back at least an hour before those traveling by car.) What a great experience! Turns out it is easy being green.

Stay tuned here for alerts about upcoming excursions being planned by the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts. For more, including info about bus trips from Bethel to Woodstock, contact

~Julia Blelock

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Experience Peace

Roughly two years ago, on the United Nations' International Peace Day, Woodstock residents welcomed a small beacon of hope into the center of town in the form of a peace pole. The well-recognized symbol, an eight-foot structure on the Woodstock Village Green in our case, features the saying, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," in over 100 languages on each of the four sides. Many people turned up for the unveiling, proving how important the monument is to keeping the message of peace alive everywhere. Sometimes, just having a place to pray or to share a moment of silence to consider the goings-on of the world is a helpful way to relieve stress and get away from the tension present in the world. Woodstock is not the first—or the last—place to have a peace pole.

Tens of thousands of peace poles can be found across the entire world, including very well-known places like the North Pole and Hiroshima, Japan. The main message that the peace pole conveys is simple: world peace. With each of us doing our part to honor the peace we do have, we are heading in the right direction. These poles are a small but significant part of the overall effort for a more peaceful planet.

~Danielle Barthel

Monday, August 16, 2010

Experience Woodstock Through Clothing

If you come to Woodstock wanting to shop for women's clothing, then Woodstock Design should certainly entice you as it's one of the most stylish places to shop. The store has been open since 1981, and was founded by Robin Kramer. It boasts a wonderful selection of simple yet gorgeous clothing and shoes. Woodstock Design has up-to-the-minute fashions available; for example, Eileen Fisher's clothing line is currently featured for the fall season. There is also a summer sale going on right now, so stop by and see if you can find the perfect shirt, shoes, or skirt for any occasion.

Now if you're interested in the more authentic Woodstock attire, perhaps you should visit Woodstock Legends, a shop packed with tie-dyed, colorful clothing, photographs, and records from Woodstock itself. The store is vibrant with the feel of the sixties; when you walk through the door, you wend your way through a self-proclaimed "labyrinth" of memorabilia hanging from every nook and cranny. You could walk in every day and find something new and exciting, which is part of what makes the store so fascinating. Make sure to take a trip to this uniquely Woodstock store to find anything (and everything) related to the festival.
~Danielle Barthel

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Woodstock . . . and the Woodstock Nation

I was born in Brooklyn in the last half of the 1950’s, too late to understand the 1969 Woodstock concert at the time. A few years later, when it began to make sense, I became a regular visitor, and now I bring my wife and 8 year old son along. I’ve been back to Brooklyn, but it isn’t there anymore (at least, not the way I remember it); on the other hand, Woodstock is as sweet today as it is in my memory.

This place has a special vibe that resonates in me. The smell of scented candles in the stores, the taste of stone ground pancakes eaten on a patio beside a brook that glitters between the leaf shade, the artistic and organic sensibility you find here, and the ubiquitous magical touches define cool in my book. Today, the town is more upscale—and less funky—but it’s still a sacred place to me, and it’s not like anywhere else, either. The historic concert took place somewhere else, but this is the center.

As a younger man, I ambled along Tinker Street on a crisp autumn day in the morning sun with the whole day ahead of me and my whole life, too. The chill was backing off and a few early risers like me were opening their shops, buying fresh bread, and sipping herbal teas with honey. I chatted with the woman who owns the candle shop while she lit the one that has burned every day since that August weekend. Like a candelabra cactus from a dream, it stands taller than me and drips fragrant colors, encasing the mementoes, trinkets, and shrines that have been added along the way to commemorate events and celebrate the lives of people who have passed. It is a time capsule, or a core sample, back into near history—my history.

The countryside is lush in summer. Just up from town on MacDaniel Road is the Magic Meadow, filled with flowers and light. From a trailhead that is at the base of Overlook Mountain and across from the Tibetan Buddhist temple, I’ve hiked up to the ruins of a mountain house that burned down first in 1875 and then again in 1923. The walk to the top is steep, but the view of the Hudson Valley is sublime. Back in town, the farmers’ market, tea shop, cafes, galleries, bookstores, and boutiques provide everything one might need, or wish for.

The cottage we always rent is on the millstream, and it’s an easy stroll into town. The stream has shallow pools populated with tiny fish you can pet if you are gentle and move slowly. Early each morning, a young couple bakes fresh pastries for the people who are staying in the cottages. Time slows down for me there.

Years ago, I was walking through the countryside as the trees’ long shadows became overwhelmed by dusk. I spied a young couple and their friend leaving an old country house and they were carrying chairs. Then, they brought out a card table, a pitcher of lemonade, and their instruments: two guitars and a flute. She wore a long summer dress that caught the breeze. The friends chatted in low tones, chuckling after a bird called out to them. I watched as they set up in the front yard with only yellow lamplight from the house to see by. I edged closer and listened to them play their music, wishing I lived there too. I stayed there a long time, listening. I am still wistful about that.

Woodstock is one of the things I miss about New York because it is a milestone on the one true path. I have veered, somewhat, from my own path as I acquired other commitments, and it is sometimes difficult to reconcile such things, but it is not so difficult to explain how the heart knows when it is home.

The ideals responsible for the 1969 concert’s success as a peaceful statement and joyful expression have their roots in the shadow of Overlook, a mountain sacred to the Iroquois, just west of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The spirit that transcends place but is present there in abundance is a touchstone for many of us and we know who we are—we are the Woodstock Nation.

~Danny Ramirez

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Experience Woodstock Parking

Parking in our little town can be a bit complicated if you've never visited before, so let me help by suggesting a few different places that you can look out for. The first parking lot that you will come to if you take the exit off Interstate 87 is in front of the H. Houst & Son garage. It is on the left-hand side of the street, right past the Bread Alone bakery, and parking is free. There are also handicapped spaces available.

Across from this parking lot, there is a larger lot where you can park for five dollars a day. If you take the right immediately after the Landau Grill, you will enter this municipal lot. If by chance you miss that right, continue straight until you see the intersection for Rock City Road, also on the right. There is a sign on the right to enter the lot. 

Further along Rock City Road on the left, there is a large municipal lot where the parking is free. This is opposite the Colony Cafe (at 22 Rock City Road).

One last helpful parking lot is towards the west end of the main part of Woodstock, directly across from Woodstock Hardware, on Comeau Drive. There you will find parking along one side of the street, as well as a lot a little further along that lane. Parking there is also free. And there is parking along one side of Route 212, also known as Mill Hill Road and Tinker Street, which is free, though sometimes restrictions apply.

~Danielle Barthel

Photos by Christine Kelly

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

In the week of July 19, 2010, Woodstock became the location for the upcoming movie, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, featuring Jane Fonda, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Catherine Keener, and Chase Crawford. According to IMDB, the Internet Movie Database, the plot of this movie centers on an upstanding lawyer, Keener, who takes her two children to Woodstock to meet their hippie grandmother, who is played by Fonda. It is directed by Bruce Beresford, who directed the well known Driving Miss Daisy back in 1989.

For the two days that the movie was filmed here, the whole town was abuzz. Locations such as Town Hall, the Village Green, and a house on Neher Street were used, and quite a few residents came out to watch the production. There was a casting call a few weeks ago, and many locals were used as extras. The production has moved elsewhere in the state for now, but it will be interesting to see how our little town is portrayed when the movie comes out in 2011.

~ Danielle Barthel

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

yum yum noodle bar

Last night a lucky few got a first taste of yum yum noodle bar—Woodstock's newest restaurant, at 4 Rock City Road. We began with the strawberry mint lemonade. So refreshing. Then we treated ourselves to big, beautiful bowls of ginger noodles. Sensational! And the prices can't be beat. Yum yum's official opening is Thursday, July 22, at 6 pm, but the word on the street is that they'll be secretly open tonight (Tuesday), from 6 until 10 pm. Try it out for yourselves!

According to Erica, Luc and Nina, the restauranteurs, "Yum yum is a contemporary noodle bar dedicated to serving healthy and low-cost dishes, ranging from $3 to $10 per course. We'll supply noodles for every diet, including many gluten-free and vegan options. Yum yum will also provide an array of Asian street food made from locally sourced products." For a sneak peak at the menu, click here. The restaurant's usual hours will be Thursday through Monday, 4:30 to 10 pm. Call 845-679-7992 for more info.

~Julia Blelock

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Experience Woodstock Through Art

With its many galleries, Woodstock offers an incredible array of artists and their endeavors—presented for locals and visitors alike. For example, if you stop into SweetHeart Gallery right now, you will see that they are featuring beautiful jewelry created by Margaret Ellis. If you go into Fletcher Gallery, you might be interested in the fact that they are advertising for the Equestrian Art Exhibition and Auction for September. VARGA Gallery just celebrated its seven year anniversary in June, while showcasing the Visionary Art Collective, which supports Woodstock's artistic community.

There is a myriad of local artists featured at these galleries, and even in regular shops in Woodstock; photographer Elliott Landy's pictures of Bob Dylan hang proudly in more than one store. Woodstock is a leading community for the appreciation of art, and with so many places to encounter it, who wouldn't want to take an afternoon to discover what our town has to offer?

~Danielle Barthel

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Experience Woodstock Through Food

Oriole 9 is a delicious, wholesome restaurant run by Pierre-Luc Moeys and Nina Paturel in the heart of Woodstock. It is open every day, from 8:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, and has a charming array of chairs and sofa seating available for customers. The menu boasts a wonderful compilation of organic breakfasts and lunches, which the owners also extend to a business in catering, a restaurant in Saugerties called Cafe with Love, and another soon-to-be-opened restaurant called Yum Yum Noodle Bar, which will also be in Woodstock. If you are interested in good food and nice atmosphere, please visit this wonderful addition to the Woodstock food scene.

To enjoy a pleasant lunch, dinner, or even brunch on Sunday, Violette is a fabulous place to stop. Opened in 2003 by Culinary Institute graduate Chef Daniel Rabiner, Violette is both a restaurant and a wine bar, and is a place run with the human palate in mind. Daniel and his mother Gladys, a French Culinary Institute graduate, work together to create interesting, flavorful food for their customers. The family run establishment is open every day except Wednesday, and is one of the first restaurants you will encounter on your way into Woodstock from the thruway. So if you've had a long day traveling to our town, treat yourself to a great dinner at a superb restaurant.

~Danielle Barthel

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Woodstock's Summer Farm Festival

Woodstock is a town that supports both the stores that line Main Street, and also the farms in the surrounding area. Through the aptly named Woodstock Farm Festival, local farms, nurseries, wineries, and more have a chance to set up tents to sell their fresh, organic produce every Wednesday during the summer, rain or shine. From around three until dark, more than twenty vendors congregate in the parking lot of Houst's hardware store at 6 Maple Lane, sharing with the public everything from bread to lettuce to jam to strawberries.
Beginning in late May and ending in late October, this festival is a growing phenomenon for the summer season, and it is open to everyone interested. The Farm Festival even sponsors activities for children and other special events, which are advertised on their website, Please join our local growers and bakers any Wednesday to enjoy what they have to offer. After all, "If it's Wednesday, it's Woodstock!"

~Danielle Barthel

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Side of Woodstock

Before visiting Woodstock, you might be unaware that the town is set in one of the most beautiful places in the Hudson Valley. Known mostly for its concert-related history, Woodstock's natural beauty can come as a pleasant surprise to visitors. The town is surrounded by the Catskill Mountains; you can look up from Main Street and see them looming over the town, protective rather than ominous.

It's a wonderful sight to behold, even if you have lived in Woodstock your entire life. So if you're in the mood to traverse away from town, to walk your dog, wander by yourself, or perhaps watch the local soccer teams compete, you should check out the Comeau Property.

Off Comeau Drive, there are acres of land available for the public to picnic, peruse, photograph, or otherwise make use of the outdoors. It is a family- and dog-friendly place outside the busy sidewalks of Main Street, almost behind Woodstock, and is very quiet, calm, and lovely. That is, unless a soccer game is going on! The Woodstock Soccer Club has used the spacious fields for games for over twenty years, and they are quite popular during the season.

If you're interested in seeing something beyond Woodstock's wonderful stores and restaurants, take a walk to the Comeau Property, and see a side of Woodstock you may not have even known existed.
~Danielle Barthel

Monday, June 14, 2010

Second Saturdays: Walking Woodstock

Walking Woodstock co-author Will Nixon (far right), leading a walk on the Comeau

Second Saturdays are an ongoing celebration of the arts in Woodstock, NY. They were founded by the Woodstock Arts Consortium (WAC), an eleven-member non-profit arts group, in 2005. Red balloons tied near doors on the designated days signal WAC events. If you come to town on a Second Saturday from May to December you can expect to find gallery openings, book signings and cultural happenings.

On June 12 the Historical Society of Woodstock, a WAC founding member, hosted a book event for Michael Perkins and Will Nixon, authors of Walking Woodstock: Jouneys into the Wild Heart of America's Most Famous Small Town. The event was held at the Eames House, 20 Comeau Drive in Woodstock, site of the Historical Society museum. The authors gave a talk, graciously signed books and afterwards led a walk around the Comeau property.

Walking Woodstock is filled with lore about the town and provides the casual visitor with some lively insights and tips on walks in the area. There are essays on hikes up Overlook Mountain, Mt. Guardian, Mink Hollow and many points in between.

~Weston Blelock

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WHAT'S IN STORE WOODSTOCK: New at the Farm Fest!

Check out the new What's In Store table at the Woodstock Farm Festival. It's your chance each Wednesday, 3 to 8 PM, to get a taste of the fabulous merchandise available at Woodstock's arty shops, galleries and boutiques. Sponsored by the Woodstock Chamber and organized by Life is Good shop owner Ray Carucci, WHAT'S IN STORE WOODSTOCK is another great way to experience the very best of Woodstock. See you there on Wednesdays!

~Julia Blelock

Above: Woodstock Chamber President, Joyce Beymer, trying on a new hat

The Woodstock Experience: Stores That Define the Town

The town of Woodstock, New York houses a unique combination of new and old businesses. When visitors walk down the street, chances are very good that they will enter stores that have been introduced to the town within the past five years, as well as those which have existed since the festival that bears its namesake, or before!

Candlestock, a wonderful candle store in the center of town, is still run by the original owners, Barbara and Dennis Moss. The store has been around since 1970, and the gigantic candle “mountain” inside is one year older than that. This wax sculpture is truly a sight to behold, intriguing customers from around the world. It often prompts interested buyers to purchase some drip candles before they leave to start their own piece of art. Also unique to Candlestock is the line of one-of-a-kind candles created by Dennis solely for this store. Colorful and beautiful glowing pillars are forged by hand, each different than the one before. There are even candles with sayings on them, ranging in meaning from the Serenity Prayer to words of wisdom from past presidents. It becomes an adventure each time you pass through the carved wooden candles that flank the front of the door.

Woodstock Hardware, another interesting local business, is a store that has existed in town since 1953. For fifty-seven years, this store has been serving the hardware, electrical, building, and most recently, kitchen-related needs of Woodstock. The store has had several different owners since its original opening, but has remained on the same premises for over half a century. With more than 5,000 square feet of floor space, you will be hard pressed not to find what you need, while being helped by a service-oriented, obliging staff.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Woodstock Experience: Bliss Yoga

Bliss Yoga has been in Woodstock since 2001, inviting all levels of interested participants to take part in an enticing array of classes and workshops.

Right off Route 212, Main Street in Woodstock, the center is focused on sustainability and a pure, natural way of life. Classes range from basic level to specific kinds of yoga, such as Kundalini and Ashtanga. Experienced instructors lead each class for an hour and a half, teaching, guiding, and shaping the lives of their students. The teachers are helpful and devoted to their classes, making Bliss a valuable asset to any student. The yoga center has been beneficial for the minds and bodies of countless residents and visitors to the Woodstock area for almost ten years. Workshops and retreats are two additional segments offered, made possible by the hard work of director Debi Medeski.

~Danielle Barthel

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Woodstock Experience: Featured Gallery

Lotus Fine Art & Design is a family-owned gallery on Rock City Road, run by local artist Jamie Barthel and her husband, Doug. This gallery features photographs, paintings, sculptures, chandeliers and more, all created by artists in the Hudson Valley region. This gallery has been in Woodstock since 2005, making it a relatively new addition to the town’s bustling scene, but it proves its worth daily by displaying gorgeous art that everyone can appreciate. Currently, Lotus Fine Art has exhibits by well-known photographer Barry Feinstein, painter F.E. Green, and also, Jamie herself, with her astounding reverse hand-painted glass. Along with displaying beautiful art for the community, Lotus Fine Art also offers framing possibilities for special posters, photos, and other art.

~Danielle Barthel

Friday, May 28, 2010

Woodstock Chamber Welcomes You

Shelli Lipton of the Woodstock Chamber

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Come visit us in Woodstock, where Shelli Lipton of the Woodstock Chamber is looking forward to meeting you and helping you have the best possible Woodstock experience. The Woodstock Chamber booth is now open for the summer season. Hours are Fridays, 12 to 6, and Saturdays and Sundays, 11 to 5. See you soon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dog-Friendly Lodging in Woodstock

Photo at left: Taken at Waterfall House in Palenville, NY

Hey, it's nearly summer. What better time to visit Woodstock? We're looking forward to seeing your whole family—including the family dog! If you're able to stay for several days, here's a list of dog-friendly lodging in the Woodstock area. Others may also welcome your pooch, but we know that these will for sure:

1. Carriage House, 917-596-8533, steps from Woodstock’s town center (can walk to all shops, galleries)

2. Getaway on the Falls, 845-679-2568, 5 Waterfall Way, Woodstock; .2 miles from Woodstock town center

3. Morning Glory B&B, 845-679-3208, 141 Tinker Street, Woodstock; .9 miles from town center

4. The Gift, 917-596-8533, 1.8 miles from town center

5. Bed by the Stream, 845-246-2979, 9 George Sickle Road, Saugerties; 6.2 miles from town center

6. Emerson Resort & Spa, 845-688-2828, 146 Mt. Pleasant Road, Mt. Tremper; 10 miles from town center

7. Enchanted Manor of Woodstock, 845-679-9012, 23 Rowe Road, Kingston; 10 miles from town center

8. Waterfall House, 845-246-6666, 370 Malden Avenue, Palenville; 12 miles from town center

Enjoy your visit to Woodstock!
~Julia Blelock

Friday, May 21, 2010

Party @ Woodstock School of Art

Everyone had a great time at the Woodstock Chamber party on May 13, graciously hosted by the Woodstock School of Art. Photos by John Kleinhans

Experience Woodstock Card: Printable Listing of Offers

For those of you who've requested it, here is an updated listing of offers associated with the Experience Woodstock Card. This two-page document can be printed out on a single sheet (front and back; keep it green!) and carried around as you walk or bike through town, enjoying your Woodstock experience. Click here to download the PDF.

Check back here or to the Woodstock Chamber web site ( every Thursday for a revised listing.

~Julia Blelock

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Experience Woodstock Card

What do a lunch at Oriole 9, a dinner at Joshua's Cafe, tickets to a Marc Black concert (at the Kleinert/James Arts Center on June 11), a soil test kit from H. Houst & Son, copies from Catskill Art and Office Supply, and kitty litter from Woofstock have in common? They are all purchases made by a single cardholder in just a few days with the new Experience Woodstock Card (EWC).

Available from the Woodstock Chamber to visitors and locals for just $25, the EWC provides a way to experience Woodstock in depth, with a festival of special offers. It's valid for unlimited use through the end of the year, enabling savings of money, time, gasoline and the environment. Close to 60 offers are currently listed on the Chamber web site: Link to and click on the animated banner at the top of the page. New offers, including weekend performance specials, are posted every Thursday.