A Guide to Ulster County Towns: Woodstock and Saugerties | Community Pages | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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A Guide to Ulster County Towns: Woodstock and Saugerties 

click to enlarge Kathryn Spata and Nathalie Tsai-Probst at Nancy’s Ice Cream in Woodstock - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • Kathryn Spata and Nathalie Tsai-Probst at Nancy’s Ice Cream in Woodstock

Though head shops still abound, sleepy Woodstock has become a cosmopolitan destination, while nearby Saugerties blooms as a quaint, waterfront culture center.

Woodstock

click to enlarge The Woodstock Blues checkout counter. - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • The Woodstock Blues checkout counter.

Driving or biking into town past Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, the Tibetan Monastery on Overlook Mountain, you'll pass Family of Woodstock's handpainted rainbow sign and perhaps marvel at the humble auspices of what is now the largest social services non-profit in Ulster County, founded in 1970 when a woman came to a town meeting on the topic of the hippies sleeping in the cemetery and said, "Give them my number."

Now the population sleeping around the Woodstock Artists Cemetery has expanded to include weekenders from New York City in beautiful Airbnb locations. Sleepy Woodstock has become a cosmopolitan destination and no longer drifts off into house parties and Rip Van Winkles around ten. You can get a grilled cheese and play a game of pool at The Station Bar & Curio until two in the morning. You can amble down Tinker Street as though you were in Venice, reading menus and trying to decide which excellent and stylish restaurant to patronize. Reynolds & Reynolds Taproom has music tonight, A&P Bar has that berry shortcake, and Joshua's makes you feel as though you are in a treehouse overlooking the town. The former sous chef for Wolfgang Puck is at Harvest at The Lodge and people are raving.

click to enlarge Rachel Stein and Ananda DiMartino on Tinker Street in Woodstock - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • Rachel Stein and Ananda DiMartino on Tinker Street in Woodstock

Lex and Neil Howard have renovated the historic building next to Family, now known as the Colony, where you can see people like Happy Traum, Tracy Bonham, and visiting musical dignitaries perform. Debra Granik, director of A Winter's Bone and meditation on Hudson Valley rehab culture Down to the Bone recently gave a talk after a recent Saturday night showing of her new film, Leave No Trace. You can get classic and jazz music at Maverick Concerts, tour the artist studios at the Byrdcliffe Guild, or check out bluegrass nights at Catskill Mountain Pizza and Celtic nights at the new Provisions Pub. There's the Secret City and the Luthiers Showcase, rock shows at the Bearsville Theater and Levon Helm's barn, and Shiv Mirabato's Shivastan poetry ashram.

Woodstock is a town with a psychic and a few head shops, so if you decide to go that route, you will have company. In a sign of the changes in the town, though, you'll see that the large structure that was once the head shop, Not Fade Away, has moved next door and now houses quite a good restaurant, Sylvia, where you can eat oysters in leather banquets. Mountain Gate is down the street from Not Fade Away and is worth a visit if you are interested in curried chicken cream soup or mulligatawny and the quiet that used to permeate the town but now grows harder to find.

click to enlarge Station Bar & Curio in Woodstock. - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • Station Bar & Curio in Woodstock.

Ten years ago, I was spending disproportionate amounts of time reading and collecting vintage clothing in Brooklyn and had gradually woken up to the fact that the city was now faster than a beating heart, as that poet said, and that it was time to move on. Moving up here, I was overjoyed to find a chiffon Sretsis gang dress at the Mower Flea Market (Saturdays and Sundays, plus Wednesday in July and August). The Sweetheart Gallery has a new showroom with windows from which you can covet blown glass lamps with embroidered shades, further expanding Woodstock's glass galleries.

click to enlarge Hannah, Marianne, and Emile at Pegasus in Woodstock. - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • Hannah, Marianne, and Emile at Pegasus in Woodstock.

"Pageant of Inconceivables" is currently showing local and New York small scale sculptors at Kleinert/James Gallery and Japanese designer Asa Warshafsky shows his bags among other designers at D-Day, a bright gallery where I wandered through "Shaking the Dreamland Tree," curated by Jichee Schnee, featuring Will Lytle and other local artists.

The newest addition to the Woodstock gallery scene is the Burnette Gallery at 31 Mill Hill Road. The vision of singer/songwriter Tai Burnette, the gallery focuses on emerging artists. "Bite Me," a group show curated by Lily Primamore and Nicole Pollina is on display through October 31.

click to enlarge Salon Assistant Carly Lenhardt at Glo Spa in Woodstock - JOHN GARAY
  • John Garay
  • Salon Assistant Carly Lenhardt at Glo Spa in Woodstock

Ryan Giuliani and Jesse Halliburton have taken Woodstockers' concerns that guests at Woodstock Way might become over enthusiastic during their stay on the Tannery Brook to heart. They've soundproofed the walls and ceilings of their new hotel so that neighbors will not be disturbed by visitors. (Time will tell how well this relationship evolves.) Guests can look at the stars through the tree branches while listening to local musicians' curated record collections on their rooms' individual turntables or lounging in a copper bathtub. Giuliani and Halliburton have created Woodstock Way using locally sourced woods, reprocessed pine, redwood, black locust, repossessed fixtures and local craftsmanship, as well as bikes from Overlook Bicycles to rent.

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