The three-day event offers a variety of hands-on activities. Interpretive hikes are led by Ashokan instructors who stop at various locations like the Old Mill site or the Bluestone Quarry along the way, explaining their historical significance to the area. The Colonial Craft Village offers an opportunity to experience the smell of coal smoke and the effort required to shape tin into a useful product.
“We teach about how products were made in the past and about the history of a craftsman’s life, from apprentice to master,” says Brian Joyner, Ashokan’s coordinator of special programs.
The event will also provide numerous creature comforts, beginning with live music by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. Buffet-style meals will be prepared by a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with a variety of tastes and diets in mind.
“The food is usually very well prepared,” says Joyner. “A lot of people comment on the fact that they don’t get cooked for so well at home.”
There is a limit of 120 participants for the weekend. Joyner compares the event to a vacation at a ski lodge, where some people prefer to remain inside and socialize—perhaps enjoying some jack wax, a taffylike substance made of maple syrup that’s been boiled and poured over snow—while others prefer to be outside on the trails.
“Sometimes people just sit around inside and talk,” says Joyner. “I hear a lot of laughing.”
For those who can’t spend the entire weekend, Ashokan presents a one-day Winter Festival offering some of the same activities as the Winter Weekend, such as snow tubing and access to the Colonial Craft Village.
The Winter Weekend will take place February 9 through 11, and the Winter Festival will be held on February 10 from 11am to 4pm at the Ashokan Field Campus. (845) 657-8333;