Monthly Archives: October 2015

Daily Catskills: 10/29/15

63F at 9am, humid and cloudy after continuous overnight rain that had started at 3pm yesterday. Gulleys running like waterfalls. More rain mid-morning, cloudy, windy and 58F by 1pm. Showers in the afternoon.

© J.N. Urbanski 9.15am

© J.N. Urbanski 9.15am

 

Catskills Conversations: Jack McShane

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

JN: What brought you to the Catskills?
JM: I guess a love of the forest and the outdoors. Nancy and I used to ski a lot up in Hunter and Windham, but we didn’t want to be in a ski-town, so we looked further afield. Plus, we figured that a lot of the open space here would be protected because it’s in the New York City watershed and won’t be highly developed which is what we were trying to avoid.

Where were you living before you lived in the Catskills?
We were down in Long Beach, Long Island.

I have friends there.
The reason I wound up in Long Beach first is because I was born in Brooklyn, but I was big into surfing and fishing and all that, so I found a little studio apartment in Long Beach overlooking the ocean. It was very expensive at $70 a month. [Laughs]

When was that?
A million years ago, but it was great. I was 21, or whatever, and all my buddies would be calling me and asking me if the surf was up. Plus, we would go fishing.

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Daily Catskills: 10/28/15

43F at 8.30am with overnight rain continuing into morning and sodden trees waving in the gusty winds. 50F by 3pm, with misty cloud and strong winds blowing throughout the afternoon.

© J.N. Urbanski 3.15pm

© J.N. Urbanski 3.15pm

Catskills Culture: November Events

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It’s been another spectacular fall with vivid, fiery reds and yellows transforming to their final phase: brilliantly rusted shades of amber, bronze, tan, copper and gold. Tourism is the Catskills’ most lucrative business and it’s a given that many friends and neighbors fall out of touch over the summer, engaged in the reception and entertainment of visitors from all over the world. For those not in that business, summer was a time to fix up the homestead: new boiler, woodstove, siding and perhaps a window or two. Summer is our busiest time, and quiet moments snatched in between interminable chores and work in the glorious warmth of the lush summer season, are few and far between.

But, winter is coming… Winter is coming and it’s a chance to gather with everyone and entertain each other. It might get so cold that it freezes the balls off a brass statue, but our entertainment is just warming up. Join us for some Catskills culture as we kick off November with a week of art, literary and eclectic musical events.

Some forthcoming cultural events in the Upstate Dispatch sphere next week are as follows:

The Spillian Scribblers:

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

It’s National Novel Writing Month in November and Upstate Dispatch is chronicling the life of the writer with guests on WIOX on alternate Mondays in November (2nd, 16th & 30th) at 9am. Furthermore, the Scribblers, a writers’ group that started last month after a myth-writing workshop run by Leigh Melander, will meet on Tuesday, November 3rd at Spillian in Fleischmanns. Convening In the majestic splendor of a historical Catskills landmark by a cozy fire, we read each other’s works aloud and offer comments over cake and booze. Spillian has a cash bar. If you are a writer and wish to join in, please email info@upstatedispatch.com.

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Daily Catskills: 10/25/15

Yesterday’s late afternoon rain continued throughout the night and into the morning leaving the landscape sodden. 50F at 11.30am, cloudy and blustery.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1pm

Halloween in the Catskills

© J.N. Urbanski 10/31/14 9am

© J.N. Urbanski 10/31/14 9am

Halloween is a treasured time at the end of summer, a time where we all get together after having been out of touch for so long, after a hectic high season in the tourist industry that sustains the Catskills. Take a ride up Route 28 and join us for these events during the forthcoming week. The Upstate Dispatch Halloween weekend will include the following:

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post included Friday night drinks at the Phoenicia Diner Lounge, but the Lounge has closed for the season. This will make the long wait for Spring even more arduous. It’s a good thing that Mike Cioffi, owner of the Phoenica Diner is working on a new bar after buying property in Woodstock. Meanwhile, we are working on a list of great bars in the vicinity of the Lounge in a new post. Watch this space for a link to the list of places to drink on Friday night. Of course, there is also our beloved Peekamoose as detailed below. Friday night drinks at Peekamoose Tap Room are everyone’s favorite way to decompress after a hard week. The bar and restaurant is further up past Phoenicia by about ten minutes on Route 28 in the town of Big Indian.

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Daily Catskills: 10/24/15

Still only 34F at 9am with serene, satine clouds over a burnished, golden landscape and blustery winds. 42F by 1pm, but pleasantly humid. Time to crank up the woodstove for the second time this month.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.30pm

© J.N. Urbanski 1.30pm

 

Catskills Conversations: Peg DiBenedetto

© Peg DiBenedetto Self-Portrait

© Peg DiBenedetto Self-Portrait

JN: How long have you lived in the Catskills?

PD: I was born in Margaretville, so I’m a lifelong resident except for five years that Michael and I – the year after I got married, I was very young – we moved to Texas. We lived there for five years so we could finish school for basically free. Then came back and started raising our family here in the Catskills. So we moved back to my Dad’s farm and he gave a piece of it to each sibling.

Nice.

So my children grew up climbing on the same stone walls that I grew up climbing on and also my grandchildren are [doing that] as well. My brother and I used to bring the cows from the barn down the road up here to this field and then take them back again at the end of the day to be milked.

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Catskills Conversations: Burr Hubbell

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski

JN: How long have you lived in the Catskills?

BH: I was actually born here and then I moved away for college. I lived in New York City for a while and Boston for a while. I came back here and practiced law for a bit and then moved to the Finger Lakes area when our first child was born. I lived in Dutchess County for a while and came back about four years ago, right after Hurricane Irene.

So you like to travel?

No, I actually don’t like to travel, but my first wife was a navy brat and she did like to travel, so we did.

I was having a conversation with somebody else about that, about how young people are moving away and how we can keep young people in the region.

And that’s been an issue ever since I went to school here. I can remember the Rotary Club had about eight of us come down from my class in 1976 and asking us what would it take for [us] to come back here, but in being 18 years old, we didn’t really have an answer at the time.

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Chasing Honey Farm: Preparing for Winter

Upstate Dispatch now has a YouTube Channel for all our video content. Please take a look around. We are in the midst of uploading video taken at the tops of all the Catskills mountains, doing farm tours and reporting on food and the arts in our region. Above is our 20-minute short of the day we spent with Chase Kruppo while he inspected his beehives and prepared them for winter. Chasing Honey Farm is a pesticide free apiary in Fleischmanns in its first year of business. He installed his bees in May of this year and after the summer, he harvested 147.625lbs pounds of raw honey comb plus 10lbs of liquid honey for his CSA members.

Daily Catskills: 10/09/15

58F at 9.30am, gloomy and overcast, with overnight rain having made the landscape soggy and wet and showers continuing into the morning. A day only enlivened by the multi-colored confetti been strewn around in the breeze.

© J.N. Urbanski 10.50am

© J.N. Urbanski 10.50am

 

The Catskill 35: Blackhead, Black Dome & Thomas Cole

© J.N. Urbanski

© J.N. Urbanski The view south from Black Dome Mountain

Climbing Blackhead Mountain is like driving to New York City via the Tappanzee Bridge for the first time. By the time you’re more than halfway there it has become ridiculously difficult and you’re suddenly slightly afraid. You’ve got vertigo and you want to turn back, but you’re on a mission and survival is obligatory. The worst part about climbing Blackhead is the realization that, once you get to the top, if you want to be part of the Catskill 3500 Club, you have to return and repeat the experience in the winter. Four peaks are required hiking between December 21st and March 21st for entry into the club – Blackhead, Slide, Panther and Balsam – and Blackhead will require crampons, snowshoes and an ice pick – or all three. I already have a superb set of crampons from Hillsound, which I will be testing out on all four peaks.

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Daily Catskills: 10/07/15

50F at 8am, gorgeous sunrise among the clouds, rising to 68F by mid-afternoon with hazy sunshines in parts, but otherwise clear skies. Another stunning fall day in the Catskills.

© J.N. Urbanski 12.40pm

© J.N. Urbanski 12.40pm

 

Daily Catskills: 10/01/15

42F at 8.10pm and gloomy with the air chilly and still. A cold snap for the beginning of the month, only rising to 52F by 1.30pm with an afternoon breeze gently dispersing vividly colorful leaves under a monochromatic sky.

© J.N. Urbanski 9.50am

© J.N. Urbanski 9.50am