Catskills Weekend: Woodstock


My mom was a hippy--or at least she would have been if she'd been born in the US and if my grandma had been less strict. Still, as a kid I was given a healthy appreciation for the summer of love, bohemian ideals, "make love, not war," and all the rest. She left out certain fun bits like psychedelic drugs and "free love", nonetheless let's at least call her a flower child. So what kind of daughter would I be if I got anywhere near the area and didn't stop by Woodstock.

Of course, as you probably already know, Woodstock was not actually at Woodstock. It was moved to Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel. What I didn't realize is just how far away that actually is from the town of Woodstock—it's almost 70 miles away according to Google maps. Actually none of the subsequent anniversary festivals were in Woodstock either. Here's a snippet from Wikipedia:

In 1994, Saugerties (which you might recall, I just wrote about) was the home of the Woodstock '94 music festival, held on the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock Festival. Saugerties is just 10 miles (16 km) east of the town of Woodstock, New York . . .while the 1999 festival in Rome, NY was 160 miles (260 km) away from Woodstock.

Apparently, the town of Woodstock thought there weren’t going to be enough Port-a-Potties to comply with code. They might of have had a point, but they sure are riding the wave of fame though. There are stores full of paraphernalia everywhere. That's the predictable downside. My mom laments not having gone to the festival—well she could easily outfit herself with enough gear here so as to fool anybody. The truth is though, that I don't think she'd actually have enjoyed hanging around the mud and the rain. She also hates the smell of patchouli.

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I do, however, think she'd like the Woodstock that actually is.  It was an artists colony long before the festival fever took over—members of the Hudson River School staid here in the late 1800’s—and that boho feeling is still alive and well.  It's as cute as cute can be, just like so many other quaint little towns, but alongside the B&B's and the manicured square, there are vegan cafe's, galleries, and signs for artists' and yoga retreats. Yup, my artist/yoga instructor mom would fit right in. 

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We only got to stay a short while, but had a lovely time. For breakfast/brunch we stopped into Oriole9, right in the center of town, which was fantastic. This seemed like the kind of place that might serve as refuge for hipsters that have fled Brooklyn for a more peaceful life. (And I truly mean that in a good way.) Colorful works from local artists adorn the walls, OJ is squeezed fresh to order, the coffee's delicious, and the food is super fresh.  And as demonstration that this is an up to the minute joint, and not your old school farm-to-table place, waitresses take your order on their iPhones, which makes for super speedy service. (The slight downside, as Greg pointed out, is that it's just slightly awkward when they show you your bill on that same iPhone.)

Spinach and goat cheese omelette
Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelette

Corned Beef Hash
Corned Beef Hash topped with an Egg

Coffee and art
Coffee and art

After breakfast we took a walk around town, made a stop at the Sunday market to purchase some new gypsy gear, and took a drive around the surrounding areas to see how people live. (They might have a hippy streak, but they don't seem to be doing so bad.)

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We saw beautiful homes and a peace barn--seems about right.

Before heading out we squeezed in one more meal, this time at The Little Bear, a Chinese restaurant on the edge of town. Why hit a Chinese restaurant in upstate NY state? That seems random, you say. Well, maybe but this one happens to be on a really pretty property overlooking a creek.

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There are a couple of other buildings sharing this property. There’s the Bearsville Theatre, WDST,  Radio Woodstock--lots of art going on on this little property--
and The Bear Café, which is a larger fine dinning restaurant with similarly pretty views of the stream and woods, but which was closed on the day of our visit. Still, Little Bear had really solid Americanized Chinese food. I really enjoyed the crispy scallops. Try to get at table in the back by the windows overlooking the creek and the woods to enjoy the scenery as you eat.

Crispy scallops and beef and broccoli
Crispy Scallops and Beef and Broccoli 

After lunch, it was time to hit the road again, but altogether I felt very blissed out from our short stop in Woodstock. 


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