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Apple picking time in the Hudson Valley

slide_3007_42575_large-1There is just something so refreshing when the air gets crisp and the nights are cool and star-filled. In Woodstock we are lucky to enjoy so many outdoor activities, but certainly one of the funnest and tastiest is apple picking. Sunshine, a picnic basket, family and friends – what more could a person ask for? This year’s apples look to be a bumper crop coming in, so it will likely be an extra-rewarding season. Whether it’s the zestiness of a Gala or the juicy Cortland that you’re after, nothing beats the satisfaction of eating fruit that’s been warmed by the sun and fresh off the tree. In the Hudson Valley more than a dozen different types of apples are grown and each has a distinct aspect, from texture to tartness.

You can explore these options by visiting any of the nearbyUnknown-2 U-pick farms (Maynard, Stone Ridge Orchard) or many of Woodstock’s local stores and markets sell freshly-picked, locally-grown apples. One of our favorites is Woodstock Meats, which not only provides fresh, local produce it’s also a town staple. (If you wonder just how much a meat market can bring to a community check out their amazingly fun video, created by some of the Woodstock’s young and certainly talented youth.)

Of course, once apples are enjoyed in their natural form it becomes time to ponder how best to bake with them. The options are endless. We tend to stay with the traditional apple crisps, apple bread, apple pie, etc. However if you want to know more than you ever imagined about ways to eat apples, check out this list of 50 things to make with apples. Who knew that sesame-apple slaw actually exists?

It’s a bittersweet season – the literal fruits of farmers’ labors are being enjoyed, but we also know it is fleeting. Soon the sun won’t be quite as warm, the days will be even shorter, the nights longer. So, while the time – and picking – is ripe, enjoy this glorious gift from nature.

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A most wonderful time of the year

It’s always hard to choose a perfect season in the Hudson Valley, but as the days get shorter, the nights cooler and those glimpses of colored leaves magically appear, the charm of Fall is evident. Add onto that all the amazing festivals andfall-leaf events that are celebrated right here in Woodstock from now through November and it’s a smorgasboard of glorious moments. The trails throughout the Catskill Park are simply stunning, while one of our favorite go-to hikes that takes us up Overlook Mountain really starts to offer stunning views. Of course, with the rapidly changing leaves, just ask us at the desk and we can offer guidance for hikes (as well as plenty of other Woodstock activities!)  The Woodstock Film Festival is gearing up for its 15th annual event from Oct. 15-19. While many folks groove on the star-sightings along Tinker Street, this is also an amazing opportunity to enjoy watching some independent films and enjoying a full immersion into the film scene. The panels are usually informative and insightful – the whole event is a welcome reminder about the power of film to unify and move us in unexpected ways. Of course, since it’s Woodstock, there are also many amazing musical events happening in Fall. The Bearsville  Theater is hosting the inaugural Woodstock Jazz Festival on Oct. 4, featuring John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette and John Medeski and then on Oct. 20 the ever-amazing and talented Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter aka Stick Men will take to the stage. And, if that’s not sweet enough for you, don’t forget there’s always apple cider, apple doughnuts, apple pie and apple ice-cream. And, just plain and perfect apples ripe for the picking.

At the Inn, the stream becomes an ever-changing reflective, beautiful palette of colors as the adjacent trees begin their transformation with the cooler weather. Guests really take time to enjoy and watching them relax beside the stream is truly gratifying. Things start to slow down in a peaceful way and people – especially the leaf peepers! –  are wise enough to truly enjoy the beauty of the season. It is a tough choice, but Fall understandably ranks up there as a favorite (at least until winter works its charm). Hope you’ll make time for a visit.

 

 

 

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Celebrate community this Saturday

Every summer in Woodstock NY we take one Saturday to remember those who make our town our home. Whether they be volunteer firefighters or helpers at the local food pantry, we come together and appreciate that a community is a much more than a location – it’s a group of people who care about each other.
The local baseball field is transformed into a glorious outdoor town greenroom, with bands playing, food cooking and people mingling. This year is no exception. On Aug. 16, 2014 we will gather for the 10th annual event, amazed that kindness and appreciation are so deserving of being the core values of Volunteer Appreciation Day.
The amazing thing about this day is that both recipients of our volunteer efforts, as well as those who provide the services, gather together. From the folks who plan the annual Christmas Eve arrival of Santa Clause to those who protect our watershed, the volunteers are honored for the vast causes they support. And they are vast: Education, veterans, cleanups, international outreach, maintaining the cemetery – there are as many groups as there are interests. And of course, the musicians and artists who have been instrumental in keeping Woodstock as a thriving arts colony for decades will be on hand, celebrating and in some lucky cases, even playing for attendees.
A truly magical element of the day happens when the sun slips behind the mountains and the sky is suddenly lit up with an elaborate fireworks display. This show in the summer night sky is a beautiful reminder of what connects us in our small town in the Catskills.
All of us can appreciate the beauty as the colors burst overhead and we are reminded of the gentle simplicity of caring about each other, our neighbors and friends. And we can rest in the comfort of knowing, if needed, that there are volunteers who will answer a call and neighbors who care.

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Family…

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write a post this late evening.  I am writing to honor a friend/co-worker who died all too soon.  Here at the Inn …we are a family…all of us.  Over the years you can see the same faces here…cleaning, gardening, mowing, repairing, building…it’s always the same faces because we love it here and we have created a home not just for the guests but for ourselves.  It is also our place of refuge.  To lose a member of our family… so young has devastated each and everyone of us here.  Words are useless…prayers abound.  I took a hike this evening…this gorgeous autumn like evening and was thinking about what a beautiful day my friend Jonathan was missing.  When I came down the mountain at Overlook I took a walk down the Dharma path across from the monastery.  The evening could not have been finer.  I walked, I prayed and I wept for my friend, for his two young children  and for our now broken family.  Rest in peace dear Jonathan.  We love you.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez

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After the rain, the sun is shining in Woodstock

flower rain sunWowzers! Last night’s deluge has left the creek cascading past the Inn – it sounds so melodious. And now today’s warm sun shine is quickly drying things out. After breakfast one guest happily announced she was going to her room,  getting her sunglasses and was going to set about enjoying the day. It’s such a delight seeing people embrace their stay at the Inn. Certainly, that mid-week, evening storm was powerful, but it really cleared the air and even gave the flowers a well-deserved shower. Everything seems to be perking up again, getting ready for another busy and beautiful weekend here in the Catskills. It seems summer took a long time getting here – June was busy with graduations and reunions, but now it’s already halfway through July and I’m not quite sure how that happened. The getaway guests are here, but the dog days of August will soon be upon us, when people traditionally relax for longer stays at the Inn. They really explore the Hudson Valley – both its rich history and its fun current activities. Of course, in Woodstock we continue to have our own afternoon favorite activities, including the Wednesday  Woodstock farm  festival and the Saturday/Sunday Mowers market.  But perhaps the nicest moments we experience are when guests simply enjoy the beauty of the Inn – when they take time to watch the stream flow past and marvel at the pure beauty of rain drops glistening on our colorfully blooming gardens. It’s both humbling and refreshing to connect with nature – a perfectly rewarding vacation experience – even for those of us lucky enough to live here everyday.

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A summer storm

lighteningThere’s just something  magical about the summer storms that roll through the mountains. Today at lunch, the sky grew dark, and you could almost feel the far-off rumblings as the thunder grew ever closer. Lightening flashes became more frequent, and as if the tap were suddenly turned wide open, the rain came pouring down, slicing through the humid air.

These moments give pause. They are quick respites and reminders of the power of nature, always around us, but so often hiding from view. Summer storms pull back the curtains of nature and offer us front-row seats  to witness this amazing world.

And as these fast storm pass they take with them the heavy air, leaving us renewed and refreshed, ready to go about the business of the day.

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I scream, you scream ….

ice creamWe recently received a lovely review that reminded us of the beauty and simple joys of summer. A highlight of  this guest’s visit was walking into Woodstock Village each night and enjoying some of the areas fresh, homemade ice cream and sorbet. MMMMM. Got our tastebuds going so we decided to do a little investigating ourselves. While Jane’s Homemade Ice Cream, served at selected Woodstock establishments,  is rightfully reknown throughout the region (and the tri-state area) we ventured into Catskill Mountain Pizza Company and happily discovered many options but settled on some mango sorbet and some peach ice cream. Can you say delish? It was a scoop of summer in a cup: perfect for warm days, starry nights. Summer has been a long time coming to the Hudson Valley, so it’s all the sweeter for all of us now that it’s here.

 

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Green, green, green

The flowers are all abloom here at the Inn, brightening up summertime in the Hudson Valley.

The flowers are all abloom here at the Inn, brightening up summertime in the Hudson Valley.

Nothing like some heavy-duty rain to nudge everything into bloom. The recent rain brought out the best and brightest of the flowers on the Inn’s property and we’re sure the grass really is now greener on this side of the fence. And while Friday’s heavy rains had the stream powerfully rushing past us, it also gave way to the weekend’s bright clear days. It’s so amazing to see the weather changes at the start of summer: From gray and dreary to warm and brilliant sometimes in a matter of minutes. It’s always hard to choose a favorite time of year, but right now, as things are in bloom and we’re preparing for our summer season, things feel just about perfect.

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Fresh and delicious – every Wednesday

Isn’t it amazing to enjoy the bounty of our nearby farmers? Every Wednesday night the Woodstock Farm Festival is asparagus-woodstock-farm-festivala pleasant reminder that the Hudson Valley is home to amazing food. We’re pleased, as a Woodstock business,  to sponsor this event. But we’re really happy as people who live here and love fresh, nutritious food that we have such an event in our town.

The festival is a great addition to the heart of town, bringing together food, music and neighbors. It makes summer an extra-special season here. Come on up for a mid-week visit and see for yourself why National Geographic named Woodstock a must-see destination.

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If at first you don’t succeed…call!

I just returned from an amazing vacation visiting my brother Andrew in Portland, Oregon.  What beauty!  Now I am back in the saddle and gearing up for what looks like will be one of our busiest seasons ever!  I write this because I want our fans on FB…and all of our loyal followers and guests to know that if you do not see availability online…always make sure you call Angela or I to check the veracity of that reading!  Sometimes we DO have openings…I might even be saving a room for you if I know you come that time every year and I saw that rooms were flying off the books!  I know not everyone thinks in January what they may be doing in August…so call and check before you give up!

 

peace,

Karen

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