Daily Dose | Chronogram Magazine

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day-trip: Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The busy dining room at Mohonk Mountain House

Save room for the dessert table

A while ago Mohonk Mountain House invited me to try a spa service, lunch, and tour the Mohonk Mountain House, and on a dreary June Wednesday I finally took them up on their offer. Getting to Mohonk is an easy drive from Woodstock. I avoided the thruway (87), and enjoyed the scenic route via 209 South and Route 213. The road that leads to (Mountain Rest Road)Mohonk Mountain House is a little hilly, but my old Ford Focus made it without a problem. There is self-parking (free) or valet parking for $5. I drove straight up to valet parking, which is at the doorstep of the resort where I met Katie Martello, assistant director of marketing, who walked with me to the spa. The spa is the newest amenity at resort. It was added on in 2004. There was a bit of activity at the spa, but as it was Wednesday, there was no competition for the steam or sauna rooms. I had a little time before my 10 am massage so I went into the Eucalyptus steam room, and relaxed in stately Women’s Veranda which has really comfortable lounge chairs. I noticed that they don’t have any magazines there, and as iPhones and cell phones are also banned in the spa, I was left unplugged with nothing to read. It was actually very nice to just relax with my fancy tea and stare off into the forrest for ten minutes.

Soon massage therapist, Shiloh came out to greet me, and lead me to the treatment room for my Breathe Deep & Be Well Massage. I chose this massage because my tension creeps up in my neck, shoulders, and chest so I thought this would be extra relaxing, and it was! I started off resting on my stomach, and inhaling the aroma of Eucalyptus, while she massaged my back and arms. She told me that there would be stretching too. Shiloh used Naturopathica peppermint body cream on my hands, which felt wonderful. The 50 minutes went by very fast, and before I could drift away to sleep, it was over. After the massage, Shiloh presented me with a light snack of green grapes and cold Wild Cherry Apple cold drink, and walked me back to the Women’s Veranda. (There is also a co-ed Veranda, by the way).

I brought my bathing suit along so I went downstairs to test out the indoor swimming pool. There were a few women already swimming laps, and young couples lounging in the chairs. The pool is heated, but not super hot so I enjoyed swimming there for 15 minutes, admiring the high wooden beams on the ceiling as back stroked. (If you are not a hotel guest, and just get a spa service for the day, you have the option of purchasing a day pass for the pool and fitness center for an additional $25. This is only possible on midweek days, non-holidays, and off-peak times). Despite the rain, I really wanted to check out the heated outdoor mineral pool. It is about the size of a large jacuzzi, and set right outside the spa among the trees. There were a few women soaking in it, but I just went in for a few minutes. It was lovely, but it started to pour so I went back in to take a shower and get ready for the hotel tour.

Made a few wrong turns in the hotel. (It is easy to get lost here if you don’t know your way around). I made it to the front desk, and met marketing manager Emily McNamara, who showed me around the hotel to the conference area, Lake Lounge, a Classic room, a Victorian Room, a Lake View suite which includes 2 bathrooms, and finally the prestigious two story Mountain View Suite. Rooms start at $299, based on double occupancy (not including taxes and gratuity which are added on so you don’t worry about tipping at all during your stay). The rates include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Afternoon Tea and Cookies, and most resort activities (access to hiking trails, yoga, paddle-boarding, tennis, etc).

After the tour, it was time to enjoy the weekday buffet lunch in the elegant Mohonk Dining Room. Last time I dined here was for my husband’s birthday dinner four years ago. I love buffets, and Mohonk puts on a great one with many healthy options (bean salad, grilled salmon, jerked chicken, skirt steak at the carving station, and my favorite, the soft taco station. It was fun people watching. There were families, couples, groups of conference attendees, and girlfriends seated together. There were a few available tables, but it was pretty crowded. There were many tempting cakes and pies at the dessert table. I really enjoyed the chocolate dulce de leche cashew cake and the lemon poppy cupcakes. I left with a very satisfied belly, and relaxed back and shoulders. The 145 year old Victorian Castle resort has retained its beauty and charm.
Thank you Mohonk Mountain House! I will definitely be back.

Since 2009 Vanessa Ahern has been covering all the good stuff in the Hudson Valley in her blog, Hudson Valley Good Stuff. You can follow Hudson Valley Good Stuff, on Facebook, on Twitter & Instagram.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Iron and Wine

Posted By on Sun, Jun 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Before singer-songwriter Sam Beam released his first album in 2002, he worked as a professor of film and cinematography at two Miami universities. He’d made a hobby of writing music, but it wasn’t until a friend lent him a four-track recorder that he made a few demos and his music career took off.

Better known by his stage name Iron and Wine (inspired by a dietary supplement called Beef Iron & Wine), Beam now has five studio albums, a compilation, and three live albums under his belt. His style is decidedly folk, but he often pulls from other genres—his latest album Ghost on Ghost (2013, Nonesuch Records) is a demonstration of his increased exploration into the realm of pop, and cites jazz and R&B influences as well. “Lovers’ Revolution,” a song off the record, boasts a sort of cool jazz sound with soft vocals, backups reminiscent of soul, and swinging quartet accompaniment. Highly praised for its versatility and quality of packing “huge ideas into simple arrangements and vice versa” (NPR), Beam’s music has been featured in such television series and films as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House M.D.,” and Twilight.

Iron and Wine will play MASS MoCA on Sunday, June 22 at 6pm, having last played the museum to a sold-out audience in 2011. Country duo The Secret Sisters will open with selections from its April release, “Put Your Needle Down.” Tickets are general admission and standing room only, $29 in advance or $35 the day of. (413) 664 4461. At the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Borscht Belt Hotel to Become Wellness Resort in Monticello

Posted By on Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Kutshers Hotel
  • Kutsher's Hotel

It's the end of one era, and the beginning of a new one. Kutsher's, the iconic Catskills vacation spot for East Coast Jews, will be reborn as a yoga and wellness destination resort.

The transformation is the brain child of Indian media mogul Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee Entertainment and one of the richest men in the world. Last fall, Chandra's company Veria Lifestyle purchased the 1,310-acre Kutsher's property for $8.18 million.

The Kutsher's legacy dates back to 1907, when it opened as a midsize hotel outside of Monticello in Sullivan County. But it wasn't until the 1940s that Kutsher's grew into a destination of legend. That's when Milton Kutsher, a sports enthusiast, expanded the property into a 400-room hotel with an 18-hole golf course, two lakes, and a collection of bungalows. The property soon attracted not just East Coast Jews but also many big names from the sports world. Boxer Muhammed Ali trained at the resort, and basketball star Wilt Chamberlain (who apparently once worked as a bellhop at Kutsher's) considered it his Catskills home. During the resort's heyday, entertainers from Duke Ellington to Jerry Seinfeld graced Kutsher's stages.

In its new incarnation, the property will feature a 265-room resort where guests can spend anywhere from 3 to 21 days enjoying wellness services, indoor and outdoor sports, and biodynamic restaurants. Plans for the property include a 37,000-square-foot spa which will also offer Ayurvedic medical treatments, while activities will range from golf and tennis to yoga.

It's all part of Kutsher's journey from "Oy" to "OM." Stay tuned!

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¡Vive La Guelaguetza!

An Encounter with Oaxaca

Posted By on Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Every summer at the end of July, indigenous groups in the Mexican state of Oaxaca gather together to celebrate La Guelaguetza—a “mutual offering” of traditional music, dance, crafts, and food. The world-famous festival is an annual celebration of community and cultural diversity in Oaxaca, with origins in earth-based religious ceremonies predating the arrival of the Spanish. Since 2009, the Grupo Folclórico de Poughkeepsie (GFP) has promoted and preserved Mexican culture in the Hudson Valley with its own La Guelaguetza festival. Offering traditional dance performances, music from indigenous marching bands, and an array of festive food vendors, the event has become a local favorite.

This summer, GFP hosts another special event: “Vive La Guelaguetza: An Encounter with Oaxaca,” a colorful, vibrant exhibit commemorating the Oaxacan festival. The exhibit will feature original photographs of the state of Oaxaca and its festival, additional photos of the local festival at Waryas Park from past years, and beautiful paintings by Mexican-American artist Miguel Angel Mendoza. Visitors will also have a first-time opportunity to admire a series of authentic traditional dance costumes from Oaxaca.

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GFP’s exhibit will open on Saturday, June 21 at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center in Poughkeepsie, with a reception from 5-7pm that is free and open to the public. The series will remain on display until its closing reception on July 19, 5-7pm.

Grupo Folclórico de Poughkeepsie will host its sixth annual La Guelaguetza festival on August 3 from 1-4pm at Waryas Park.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Boice Bros.' Birthday Bash

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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When Boice Brothers Dairy first opened in Kingston in 1914, Pratt Boice personally delivered his bottled milk on a horse-drawn cart.

Now in its 100th year, the local family-owned company boasts a large dairy plant, dairy store, and ice cream shop—a Kingston favorite. The operation supplies eggs and dairy products to businesses around the Hudson Valley and processes only Hudson Valley Fresh milk, all hormone- and antibiotic-free and sourced from the cows of local farms. Offering 12 delicious flavors of hard and soft ice cream and made-to-order cakes, the Boice Bros. Milk House is the community’s favorite place to indulge.

To celebrate a century of fresh, local dairy products, Boice Bros. Dairy will host its Across the Generations Birthday Bash on July 20. The fun-filled afternoon will dish up live music from local bands such as Saints of Swing and the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston, a children’s lineup of clowns, mimes, and facepainters, and a variety of delicious food and exciting prizes.

And what kind of birthday would it be without a little something sweet? The cherry on top of the cake will be an opportunity to eat the Longest Ice Cream Sundae in the World. Spanning five football fields and weighing over one ton, the Boice Bros. Dairy sundae will make ice cream history.

Bring a spoon and an appetite to the Hudson Valley’s ultimate birthday party, a fundraiser for the Hudson River Maritime Museum and Clearwater Organization’s new education program for fourth graders: The Hudson River Stewards Program. July 20 from noon-4pm at the TR Gallo West Strand Park and Waterfront Promenade in Kingston.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Punk Icon Jello Biafra Plays Poughkeepsie

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Jello Biafra
  • Jello Biafra

Now here’s a late-breaking Nightlife Highlight for June: Former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra is coming to the Chance on June 24.

I still haven’t forgotten hearing the Dead Kennedys’ “California Űber Alles” in late 1979, on the late-night punk/new wave show of Seton Hall University radio station WSOU. It was my freshman year of high school and my punk-curious crew and I had heard whispers about the band—we were in sniggering disbelief at the sheer gall of the name. But where to hear them? Naturally, the big FM stations that we knew best weren’t, to be mild, playing much serious punk rock. And they definitely weren’t about to enrage or disgust their listeners and sponsors with music by a band called the Dead Kennedys. College radio, though, was one musical revelation after another. And on that night into my stealthy headphones WSOU’s DJ announced the tune.

With nervous anticipation, I listened as the foreboding bass built and the psycho-noir guitar lines opened the door for Biafra’s warbling, strangulated voice to enter. The lyrics were both insurgent and hilarious: a scathing satire of a nightmarish, enforced-smiley-face, hippie-fascist state administered by “the Suede-Denim Secret Police” and imposed with “organic poison gas.” Brilliant…

Take a spin, if you dare:


Jello Biafra will perform at the Chance in Poughkeepsie on June 24 at 7pm. New Red Scare opens. Tickets are $16 and $18. For more information, call (845) 471-1966 or visit www.thechancetheater.com.

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Stephanie Zimbalist at Shadowland Theatre

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Celebrating its 30th mainstage season, Ellenville Actors’ Equity company Shadowland Theatre welcomes Golden Globe-nominated actress Stephanie Zimbalist back to its stage in the summer production of “Three Viewings,” a comic drama by Jeffrey Hatcher (June 20-July 6).

Zimbalist, a veteran of both stage and screen, is most well-known for her role as detective Laura Holt in the hit NBC series “Remington Steele” (1982-1987). She returns to Shadowland after performing in its 2009 staging of Arthur Miller’s “The Price.” Other recent credits include an appearance in the 22th Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival (2008) and a portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in the one-woman play “Tea At Five” (2009). In addition to acting, Zimbalist has lent her voice to several audio books—one, Lori Lansen’s The Girls, was the winner of the 2006 Listen-Up Award.

REMINGTON STEELE (1985) Episodes Directed by Rocky Lang - Theme Music by Henry Mancini from Rafael Martinez on Vimeo.

Zimbalist will be joined by Philadelphia-based actor Tom Teti and by Julie Sihilling; James Glossman will direct. “Three Viewings” is the third play of Shadowland’s seven-show mainstage program this summer. It follows the stories of three people—Emil, Mac, and Virginia—in one Midwestern funeral parlor.

Shadowland Theatre presents “Three Viewings,” running June 20 to July 6. Performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm, as well as a “First Sats Mats” performance on Saturday, June 21 at 2pm. Tickets are $34 and $39 and can be booked at (845) 647-5511 or at the theater box office. 157 Canal Street, Ellenville.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dar Williams Holds Songwriting Retreat in Garrison

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Dar Wiliams
  • Dar Wiliams

I had the pleasure of meeting acclaimed singer-songwriter and Beacon resident Dar Williams when I interviewed her for the July 2011 issue of Chronogram. Such a warm, sweet, and friendly soul. And now Williams is about to extend that warmth and sweetness—along with some key knowledge of her hit-making craft—to aspiring songwriters, with “Writing a Song That Matters,” a special retreat that takes place over four days next week in Garrison.

Williams was motivated to offer the retreat after doing a songwriting workshop at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch. In addition to talks and songwriting sessions led by Williams, the five-day retreat at the stunningly tranquil Garrison Institute features singing, morning yoga, inspirational interaction, fine vegetarian meals, and more.

“This workshop is for anyone who wants to write a song that counts: for ourselves, for the people (or pets) we love and for the world,” says Williams via her website. “Our songs can be funny, catchy, heavy, or sappy! We’ll just be looking for ways to say what we really want to say. We’ll explore everything from the bag of tricks we use in songwriting to discussions of why we need to write in the first place, how we can stay the course in writing, and how we can finish our songs, no matter how discouraging the voices in our heads might be.”

Here, she sings “It’s Alright” live on public radio in 2010:


Dar Williams’s “Writing a Song That Matters” retreat takes place at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, June 24-27. To register and learn more, visit http://darwilliamsretreat.com/.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Mid-Hudson Buffet in Kingston: Budget-friendly & kid friendly!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 9:00 AM

One of the zillion tables at the Mid-Hudson Buffet

We pass through Ulster Avenue in Kingston about ten times a week, and I've been curious about Mid-Hudson Buffet for about 8 years now, but I have never been inside. The generic exterior is not inviting. It has a drab colored green roof, and it is right next to Sleepy's. A few acquaintances have told me that it is worth checking out. One of my friends told me that the thing she doesn't like is that she always ends up eating too much. Well, last Sunday my family decided to take the risk of over-eating.

We arrived at 6:00pm on Sunday. The restaurant was packed with people of all ages. I saw couples, small families, large families, a few men eating solo, crying babies, and lots of food continuously being replaced. I knew right away that this would be a fun family date night. It costs $11.79 per person, and $5.99 for children 10 and under.

The staff is very friendly, and the server came over and took our drink orders right away. We grabbed our plates, and ventured to the buffet. Wow! There area a zillion options here. I would say 60 percent of the dishes are Chinese. You will find sweet and sour chicken, dim-sum, dumplings, fried rice, spare ribs, etc. Then there are small carving station with turkey, ham, and roast beef. I was happy to find a few dishes my daughter would eat: macaroni and cheese, baked spinach, and meatloaf.

Taking my friend's warning, I tried really hard not too over do it. I started with a few california rolls, baked salmon, baked spinach, and then went for seconds and thirds of small things, a slab of roast beef, and a dim-sum. Nothing on the dessert station really tempted me as I didn't have much room left, but they have vanilla soft serve ice cream and sprinkles for the kids, which is a bonus. I would recommend Mid-Hudson Buffet if you are really hungry, and in the mood for good Chinese food, and something extra for a good price. While they do serve many fried foods there, you can find lighter foods too. You can also take-out.

Visit Vanessa Ahern's Hudson Valley Good Stuff blog for more word of mouth finds in the Hudson Valley!

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Clearwater Festival

The 49th Great Hudson River Revival

Posted By on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Pete Seeger—beloved American folk icon and writer of such classic songs as “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn”—founded the Clearwater Festival with his wife Toshi Seeger in 1966. The festival's goal was simple: to use music, storytelling, and other entertainment as a means of promoting environmental education, encouraging a sustainable lifestyle, and cleaning up the Hudson River.

The 2014 Great Hudson River Revival (the official title of the festival) will feature special musical tributes to honor the memory of its two founders, who passed away this past year. Tributes will include performances by the Clearwater Family Band, a group of banjo players led by Tony Trischka, and two of Pete’s former bands, The Weavers and the Almanac Singers. Celebrating its 49th consecutive year, Clearwater also welcomes to its stage such diverse performers as Rufus Wainwright, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Puss N Boots (featuring Norah Jones).

As always, the Revival offers concertgoers additional attractions such as a Handcrafters’ Village, showcasing the handmade items of over 50 crafters and folk artists, an Artisanal Food & Farm Market of specialty items from all over the Hudson Valley, and the opportunity to ride the famous sloop Clearwater or schooner Mystic Whaler.

The Clearwater Festival returns to Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, June 22. It will be wheelchair accessible and staffed with American Sign Language Interpreters. Tickets are $56 for members, $70 for nonmembers. Children under 12 free.

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Hand Building 9/17-10/22 @ Fall Kill Creative Works

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