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