Monthly Archives: July 2015

Catskills Sandwich: Goatie White’s

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Fleischmanns’ Goatie White’s pork sandwich, on a light roll, made more moist and delicious by the addition of a generous helping of fried onions stuffed between the thinly-sliced pork and a thin layer of cheese. Not too heavy or greasy, it’s excellent pre-hike sustenance. A sandwich to love.

Catskills Conversations: Marino De La Cruz

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Marino De La Cruz is the owner of Vivae Colores barbershop in Fleischmanns.

JN: How long have you lived in the Catskills?

MDLC: About ten months now. My wife’s family is from here and my parents recently moved as well.

Continue reading

Catskills Conversations: Lisbeth Firmin

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Lisbeth Firmin works out of her warmly inviting art studio in Margaretville, in upstate New York. She was part of the Catskills Open Studio Art Tour last weekend in which she showed many strikingly gorgeous cityscapes in oil.

JN: How long have you lived in the Catskills?

LF: I moved from New York City in 2000, but I kept my apartment down there, so I went back and forth for a while.

What were you doing in the city?

I was a painter and I had a two-bedroomed apartment on Sullivan Street and I painted in one of the bedrooms. My career was just taking off and I needed a bigger space, so I bought a storefront in Franklin, upstate New York.

That sounds very Williamsburg. I remember, back in the day, artists used to buy storefronts and paint out of them. Those were the days.

Oh man, those days, Williamsburg. You can’t even go anywhere near the city these days. I’ve heard Newark is happening.

Continue reading

Catskills Conversations: Alex Wilson of Wayside Cider

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

How long have you lived in the Catskills?

I think we’ve had our house for about six and a half to seven years, right after we got married. Basically, we needed an escape from Manhattan. We started looking around Woodstock and realized that if you went a little bit further you could get a lot more for your money.

What were you doing back in the city?

I was producing and editing film, both documentary and commercial stuff. It’s just that being stuck in an edit room all day, the high pressure, deadlines, late nights: you need an escape from that. My wife’s an attorney so she worked long hours. We got married in a beautiful place in Vermont and we wanted to recreate that beautiful place up here. I grew up in a rural area in England and I’m never happier than when I’m in the countryside. I had to work in New York City, but I didn’t really love it. I was a big fan of London and I quickly learned that I didn’t enjoy New York as much. There wasn’t so much of a social scene with work. In London, your boss would always take you out for a drink on Friday night and you would get to know the people you worked with, but in New York City everyone went home after work. There wasn’t the same camaraderie that I had enjoyed in London and not as much space. It’s slightly more intense and slightly more money-centric. People just live to make money [in NYC] and I think, well what’s the use of money if you can’t enjoy it? Up here, you don’t need very much money but you have everything. Trout fishing, hiking, riding: friends of mine down the road have horses and I go and exercise them. I absolutely adore it.

I had a pretty serious traffic accident and I couldn’t really edit for about a year and a half because my hand was completely out of action. That gave me pause for thought in terms of what I really want to do, my love for this area and the potential in this area.

Continue reading

Catskill Open Studios Art Tour: Day 2 Halcottsville

The second and final day of the Arkville Roxbury Margaretville Art Tour wherein more than 20 artists showed their work and/or opened their studio to the public. Today’s highlights were Oneida Hammond, fine artist, who showed at the Halcott Grange on Main Street in Halcotsville and Alix Travis who has a studio in the hamlet.

Barn Door by Oneida Hammond

Barn Door by Oneida Hammond, Watercolor

It was worth making the trip just to peruse Oneida’s sketch pad and her Mexican travelogue.

Oneida Hammond's Travel Sketchbook

Oneida Hammond’s Travel Sketchbooks

And, of course, there was an array of public art that’s on show year round:

Mark Pilato's 911 Memorial in Halcotsville

Mark Pilato’s 911 Memorial in Halcotsville

Rust in Peace on Route 38 between Route 30 and Arkville, Lynn Johnson

Rust in Peace on Route 38 between Route 30 and Arkville, Lynn Johnson

Catskills Art Studio Tour: The Commons, Margaretville

Lisbeth Firmin

Lisbeth Firmin

Highlights in the Margaretville area: the EBDR Plein Air Painters’ group exhibition at the Commons Gallery, Lisbeth Firmin and Robert Axelrod. Robert’s stunning landscapes are on show at the Longyear Gallery. Lisbeth has opened her studio upstairs in the Commons Building to visitors today and will continue tomorrow. Her New York City scenes are lushly gorgeous and her studio is also reminiscent of a New York City painter’s studio with its warmly inviting office nook. It’s somewhere you’ll want to park yourself for a while, with a frosty beverage, and just soak up the atmosphere.

IMG_4733

Lisbeth Firmin’s Studio

Robert Axelrod

Robert Axelrod

Catskills Open Studio Tour: July 25th & 26th

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 4.37.00 PM

Upstate Dispatch goes on the road! Catch us if you can…

This weekend, July 25th & 26th join Upstate Dispatch for the Art Tour Margaretville Roxbury Open Studios 2015. There are so many talented artists here in the Catskills and they are throwing open the doors to their studios and welcoming visitors.

Take a gander around the website here, print out the map, and then take the tour in your car. Zoom around the countryside and eat at the following places on your tour:

Roxbury Public Lounge, opposite WIOX radio station in Roxbury

The Cheese Barrel (in Margaretville when you visit The Commons Gallery and our fine watercolours, all for sale)

The Flour Patch (best vegetable sandwich, dressing to die for), across the street opposite Freshtown

Goatie White’s in Fleischmanns

Arkville Bread Breakfast

Finish up at Peekamoose or The Phoenicia Diner for post-tour refreshment.

Sunset Hikes with Catskill Mountain Wild

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

As Jeff Vincent explained a couple of months ago in our conversation, “one day of hiking with somebody, you feel like you’ve known them for months and months” and it’s true. Jeff runs Catskill Mountain Wild, an outdoor guide business and he is also authorized to conduct marriages on top of mountains in what he calls “wild weddings”.

Continue reading

The Annex in Andes

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

My persistent, resolute village envy has been exacerbated by the opening of The Annex in Andes, a boutique indoor market selling freshly cut flowers, cider, honey and herbs grown from seed, all locally produced. The building is on the corner of Main Street, that is Route 28, where it does a sharp right on its way to Delhi. Its interior looks like a rustic, aged restaurant made lovelier by the presence of herbs and flowers in the front and thirst-quenching Wayside cider in the back. Phoenicia Honey Co makes a welcome appearance.

Continue reading

Catskills Conversations: Louann Aleksander

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Louann Aleksander sells herbs, which she grows from seed, wholesale and in The Annex in Andes.

How long have you lived in the Catskills?

It’s going to be eight years on August 1st.

So what made you decide to move here?

We had friends who had moved to Andes and before that my husband would come up maybe once a year and he absolutely loved it. We wanted to get out of the rat race of Long Island. It was getting where you work to go back to work. We weren’t enjoying life at all.

Continue reading

Plein Air Painters’ Exhibition in August

Watercolor by Oneida Hammond

Watercolor by Oneida Hammond

The next artists to show at The Commons Gallery are Oneida Hammond (watercolor) and Dale Amato (oil and acrylics) in their joint show: Two Women, Two Visions starting on August 1st 2015. The two painters couldn’t be more different yet complement each other perfectly. Hammond is precise and fine; Amato is emotive and vibrant. Well worth a visit for such a gorgeous juxtaposition. Revel in Amato’s invigorating forests; be calmed by Hammond’s captivating farm scenes and precise close-ups.

The Commons Gallery
785 Main Street
Margaretville, NY 12455

Gallery hours: 11am to 5pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Reception: Saturday August 8th 2pm to 5pm.

Continue reading

The Urge Unchecked at The Commons

IMG_6783A new pop-up show, The Urge Unchecked at the Commons in Margaretville had its reception last night and there are some beautiful pieces in there ranging widely in both size and price. The art is installed in the small gallery in the right window of the Commons building and in the back in the former Home Goods Store.

TheUrgecan_6770A favorite is Elizabeth Firmin’s “Old Man Sleeping” (below). Well worth a visit, the show is up for a month.

THeUrgecan_6776The Urge Unchecked at The Commons
785 Main Street
Margaretville, NY 12455

More Wildflowers

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15

Some of the wild flowers I’ve seen fade so quickly that catching them in their prime requires daily survey. I don’t know what these flowers are, but they are blooming and wilting in abundance. Update: this is crown vetch which was introducted to the United States in the 1950s, primarily for soil erosion control, from the Meditteranean region. According to the USDA: “crown vetch is a useful but overused erosion control plant. Its spreading growth habit, and strong root system provide soil holding ability and ground cover. The dark green foliage and profuse flower have aesthetic value. It is a good plant for road bank stabilization in areas where rocky conditions predominate, but… in general, however, crownvetch dominates other plants and tends toward a monoculture”.

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15

 

Catskills Art Event: Doodle with Ohiso

doodle_email

This Saturday Ohiso is curating a public art event called Doodle. It’s no secret that the arts are employed as therapy and the specific benefits of doodling have also been examined in media outlets like PBS, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post . Doodling is therapeutic. I once worked with the executive assistant of a prominent British CEO who continually worked on an intricate doodle on a large piece of cardboard whenever she had to be on the phone and her masterpiece grew to enormous proportions. It was her lifeline in a very stressful environment and it was something I’ll never forget.

I asked Ellie Ohiso what inspired her to found a doodle event. She says “we took to the doodling notion because sometimes as you do more art-focused events, you realize that some who are not in the traditional art world see it to the exclusion of themselves. Art becomes this kind of intimidating notion. Doodling is for everyone. It’s universal, non-judgmental, free. You don’t need to know anything about art, or art history, or even to be good at it for it to be classified as a doodle”.

Wildflowers: Milkweed

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15 5.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7/2/15 5.40pm

I embarked on the Daily Catskills project on September 10th 2014 and every day I take an image – or several, or a hundred – of the Catskills. After a few months of this, in order to keep things interesting, I had to get more creative and, as a result, developed a more acute awareness of the landscape. Wildflowers are especially fascinating because many of them only have a short life. You have to pay daily attention to catch the budding, flowering and expiring of plants like rhododendrons, lupine and lilac, for example. Milkweed has quite a long life and milkweed’s long, green stalks began to grow on our ridge in May. Now, the buds are in various stages of which there are about three main stages: the green closed bud (1), which turns pink (2) and the open pink bloom (pictured above). Quickly after that, the pink blooms wilt, become floppy and fall off, but most important you can find buds at all stages on one milkweed stalk.

I’ve never seen milkweed in such abundance on our ridge until now and it’s attracting many gorgeous butterflies to the area, like the Monarch which the Sierra Club says is endangered. Programmes like Monarch Joint Venture encourage people to create milkweed habitats for the Monarch Butterfly.

© J.N. Urbanski 7/4/15 5.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7/4/15 5.40pm

Evening Catskills: 07/04/15 Bees Bedding Down

The rain stopped at 2.30pm and the sun burned through the hazy cloud. As the golden raspberries have blossomed and begun to fruit, the bumble bees have moved in. As dusk quiets the Catskills, the bees bed down underneath the leaves and in the fruit, buzzing the bushes to sleep. We have about thirty or forty bumble bees now asleep in on the farm.

© J.N. Urbanski 7.20pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7.20pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7.15pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7.15pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 7.30pm

Tonight: Twilight on the Rails

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

Tonight, July 4th and on August 1st and 30th, the Delaware and Ulster Railroad will be hosting Twilight train rides between Arkville and Roxbury with live music. Starting at 6.30pm tonight’s ride will follow the exquisitely picturesque East Branch of the Delaware River in the light of the waning sun and attendees are invited to bring a picnic dinner and their beverage of choice. $20 per person.

Catskills Conversations: Rob Greenberg

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

So what brought you to the Catskills?

First of all, I’ve been upstate for many, many years in different areas, Syracuse, Poughkeepsie and I lived in Kingston for a couple of years. I was born in Brooklyn. We moved out of Brooklyn when I was pretty young. I was 11 or 12 years old. I wound up coming to the Catskills from Long Island. I lived on Long Island for twenty something odd years and I used to backpack up here and hike, and that really was the original motivation to come to the Catskills. I had no idea about moving here or living here [when I visited]. I thought it was a great place to come for long weekends and to embrace the mountains that way.

It’s tough to live up here to make a living.

That’s why so many of the young people leave and they come back to retire here or semi-retire here. If you’re not in the service industries, it’s tough.

Continue reading

Plein Air Painters’ Exhibition in July

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

The tireless Alix Travis, our fearless leader, organizer of the East Branch of the Delaware River Plein Air Painters’ group has organized a group exhibition for us in July at the Commons Gallery in Margaretville, upstate New York. The reception is Friday 3rd July from 3pm to 5pm. Come and see a selection of our work, which was hung this morning.

The Commons Gallery
785 Main Street
Margaretville, NY 12455

Reception: July 3rd, 2015 3pm to 5pm

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center

© J.N. Urbanski 7/1/15

© J.N. Urbanski 7/1/15

Today, the ribbon was cut on the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, a new center for visitors to the Catskills off Route 28 in Mount Tremper. A partnership of the Catskill Center, the Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, it features state of the art technology. The CIC is a space for the interpretation of the natural and cultural resources of the Catskill region.

You’ll find it tucked away behind an array of sculptures and a large kiosk on 5096 Route 28 in Mount Tremper. Plan your next trip the Catskills here.