Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

new jewelry

Our neighbors at the Catskill Country Store will have a few pieces of my jewelry for sale starting this week. The little market is our favorite for local produce, honey, eggs, milk, bacon and butter! We visited the store on our first visit to Catskill for their hot coffee, as it was very cold outside. Since then we returned on every visit, charmed by the friendly owners Chuck and Carol. This will be the first time my work will be back in stores since the hurricane last year!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

settling into catskill

Well it's been quite a year since Hurricane Sandy. After living in Kingston for a little over half a year we moved on to a different town. There were things we liked about Kingston and things that just drove us nuts. We thought it would be a good idea to venture somewhere else, as trying Kingston on for size was part of our original plan. We now find ourselves twenty four miles north in the village of Catskill, the seat of smaller and more rural Greene County. So far so good, as we immediately noticed some things that made us happy, such as walkability. It's not just the difference in size that makes Catskill more walkable (4000 residents vs. Kingston's 24k+) but it's the priority placed on making it a safe place to walk. Ample sidewalks, clearly marked crosswalks and functioning Walk/Don't Walk signals should be a given in any community but in Kingston and surrounding Ulster Town they're not. Despite the city's strong suits such as a burgeoning food scene, great coffee houses, a wonderful farmer's market and the chance to see live music every night of the week, the government falls flat in supporting local endeavors by not providing the necessary infrastructure and information flow. Bryan and I were constantly asking each other WHY? Why are the crosswalks in such bad disrepair? Why are the parking lots Uptown so poorly marked? (there is a weird rumor that Uptown doesn't get the business it should because there is nowhere to park. This is untrue- there is plenty of parking. What's missing is signage, so people can find the parking lots that do exist) Why is the information flow in Kingston, the seat of Ulster County, so poor? This includes a barely navigable city website and poor to nonexistent use of social media. The story we always heard for why Kington is lacking in many respects is that it "has no money." The thing we couldn't help but notice though is that the police department appears to be flush with dollars. Brand new cruisers circle the town constantly- not only the Kingston police force, but Ulster County sheriffs and the State Police. So adding to our frustration that the city isn't managing its budget well is the discomfort brought on by a constant state of paranoia.

So! Here we are in Catskill. I'm in the midst of updating our website and loading it with new products for the holidays. I'm also working on some new pieces of jewelry, which has been a long time coming. Although we lost a majority of our inventory in the flood, some of the sturdier vintage pieces such as mugs, vases and ashtrays survived. And since I made an effort to recover my jewelry supplies, I have most of them too. They still might need more cleaning and polishing, but they're usable. Bryan has even repaired some of our power tools, which is a great thing.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

mansion planter

There can't be anything more adorable than letting your plant grow in its own little house. Hand made in Tokyo by Pull+Push products, the Mansion Planter is made of sturdy cement with tiny glass windows, and has a hole on the bottom for drainage. Designer Nobuhiro Sato is inspired by building materials, and the way they weather and age in our urban environments. He creates his miniature structures using the same materials used in construction- cement, stone, steel and glass. As all of his products are functional, each one will develop a gentle patina when used.

The Mansion Planter is now 30% off at Everbrite Mercantile Co.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

reasons to love the red ranch

Bryan and I have been doing a lot of traveling in the past month, and as such have searched for the best places to stay on our tight budget. Red Ranch on Route 32 in Catskill gets high marks on many counts. The Catskills of Ulster/Greene Counties where we've been staying is dotted with many mid-century motor lodges, in various states of repair. Some look okay from the road, but show their wear and tear when you get up close. Others are too nice for us, catering to the wealthier retiree crowd. Red Ranch is owned by a family who lives right on the property, the dad being a second-generation caretaker of the motel. It fits the bill for those of us who don't have a ton of money to spend, but want a clean and quiet environment to rest and relax. Here is what sets Red Ranch apart:

•low rates: $68 weekday, $80 weekend, during the season. $58/$68 off-season.
•spotlessly clean
•strong internet connection. this is a rarity in the region.
•swimming pool is large and rectangular, perfect for doing laps.
•soda machine and ice- not always a given.
•angela's restaurant next door- pizza, pasta, etc. but also some options if you're gluten-free like me. their antipasto is great and they have a few dinner entrees like chicken and fish. their breakfast is supposed to be good.
•playground and game room! table tennis!
•the owners live there, so they are always around to take care of your needs
•quiet. did I mention quiet?

lake george

Friday, August 23, 2013

motor lodges

Budgetel Motel, Route 9, South Glens Falls, New York.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

more hudson

there's a whole lotta hudson on my flickr page.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Hudson, the seat of Columbia County, lies 30 miles north of Kingston, on the east side of the Hudson River. Bryan and I visited in April and were impressed with its easy, creative vibe. The main drag in town, Warren Street, is known for its varied, if mostly upscale, antique shops. People describe the city, population under 7000, as being the most New York City-like in the region. I would say maybe in terms of elevated taste and style, but there are towns that feel more city-like to me that are closer to the city, like Beacon or Poughkeepsie. What caught my eye while browsing Warren Street was the love for what was old and decrepit, and how it was worked into the cleaned-up look of the street. Kingston looks a bit more buttoned-up in comparison.

Friday, July 19, 2013

cooling off

The Hudson Valley is nothing if not watery. You move here thinking there must be dozens of places to swim- and there are- but you have to find them first. The most obvious place to start is with the state parks. D&P came for a visit last weekend, and swimming was on the agenda. As a newbie to the area I did my research online, and came up with Minnewaska State Park on the Shawengunk Ridge near New Paltz. After a tasty breakfast at Outdated- a place I haven't blogged about b/c sometimes I take my very favorite spots for granted- we headed southwest out of Kingston towards Kerhonkson on the 209, then up the ridge on its only road, the 44/55. We paid the eight dollar parking fee, got the rather useless *free* map, parked and headed towards Lake Minnewaska. Found out that the only designated swimming area (unless you join the distance swimmers association) is tiny and crowded. So thinking we were smart, we followed a trail that we kept seeing wet people emerge from, between the swimming beach and the kayak launch. It had a cement pad on which was painted "no swimming." The four of us waded quietly on the rocks. We considered going in deeper, as the ledge dropped off pretty dramatically, until we saw a snake swimming across the surface before it dove down. Shortly after a group of Russians came down the trail and without hesitation, dove in and swam to the boat launch. The last one of their group arrived and as she was changing we told her that we saw snakes. She blithely said "oh," before diving in and catching up with her friends. Eventually a couple of park rangers appeared from above, and called down to us from the main trail. They politely told us that the area was off limits to swimmers and that if they caught us here again, we might not be able to return. We politely started to pack up as the Russians returned. One stayed behind to talk with the rangers as the others scurried off, pretending not to understand English, as one of the rangers shouted at them; "weren't you here last week? aren't you from Williamsburg?"

Refreshed from the cool lake water, we hiked a bit up a trail. We could see people standing on top of cliffs from where we had been bathing- some scurried down the cliffs and got into the water from that side. Not that we were going to do that. When we got to the cliffs a guy of about 17 was there. His friends called to him from where we had just been, telling him to jump in. At first he said no incredulously and Bryan was telling him not to jump- the rocks jutted out too far. A kayaker came over and the kid asked him to measure the depth of the water. Pretty soon his two friends came along and they found a lower spot from which to jump. The wiry guy went first, then the athletic-looking one, but their chubbier friend hesitated. After his friends jumped twice- the drop was about twenty feet- he tore off his shirt and did it himself. This went on until the park rangers called from across the way and even the lifeguard at the beach was whistling like crazy. We hiked up the trail a little bit more, passed a couple of abandoned buildings, and found a gazebo perched high up, overlooking the lake. We sat there and talked, enjoying the shade and breeze. We could have sat there all day except Pamela was thirsty and I had to use a restroom. Minnewaska State Park is a low-amenities, carry in-carry-out, port-a-potty type place. Meaning that perpetually broke New York State and Ulster County would rather pay two guys to drive around in a golf cart harassing people than build and staff a second beach. But after talking with my cousin who lived in New Paltz for years, I found out that there is a second lake in the park, Awosting, two miles in. I assume that the rangers don't make it out that far. Conclusion- stunning lake, okay for swimming if you don't mind playing cat and mouse with the rangers, probably great for hiking in cooler weather. The park is enormous- 21,000 acres- and we only saw a tiny part of it. Across from the cliffs, the unsanctioned beach. The official beach is off camera to the left, and the boat launch is to the right.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Twenty miles north of Kingston, on the east side of the Hudson in southern Columbia County, is Germantown. This well-kept town of around 2000 people was settled by Palatine German refugees of the Thirty-Years War, in the early part of the 18th century. The Palantine migration to Ulster, Dutchess and Columbia Counties was one of the great pre-Revolutionary migrations from Europe, along with the Huguenots in New York, and the Amish, Quakers and Mennonites in Pennsylvania.

The main street has little, but what it has is top notch.
Otto's Market
Germantown Variety

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

delaware part II

About five miles north of Halcottsville up Route 30, along the East Branch of the Delaware River, is the town of Roxbury. Seen here are The Roxbury Motel and the Ate O Ate food truck. Behind The Roxbury's cool black and white façade is a psychedelic, theme-room explosion. We had already eaten by the time we got to Ate O Ate (big mistake!) but we got a drink and talked with the owners, who named their business in honor of Hawaii's area code. They noticed the Hang Loose stickers on Bryan's truck and an instant bond was made.

Delaware County

Halcottsville, NY