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Last minute plans? No problem.

It seems winter weather has a way of changing people’s plans. Lately, we had many calls from people wanting to book a same-day stay, but our computer wouldn’t give them that option. Well, we’ve changed that. During our winter season we’re WI Winter Sign November 2014-2offering same day booking on our website. We’ll see how it goes now, in our slower season, and decide if we’ll keep the option available once things get busier.

Of course, while we always want to do what’s easiest for our guests, it’s also important that we do what’s best for our guests and having your room ready and warm is our top priority. Many travelers are affected by weather and opt to stay overnight rather than drive on dangerous roads. Others are discovering that the Catskills in winter have so many fun options, such as skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing that they want another day to take it all in. Offering the same day booking option seems one way to help those who have last minute plans. But of course you can always call us directly, at 845-679-8211 and we’ll help you with your reservations.

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Enjoy the calm (and savings) of winter

winter-chairWinter is an amazing time here in Woodstock. The mountain air is so fresh, the skiing is enjoyable – whether you opt for downhill or cross country. Hiking trails are not crowded, and snowshoeing is a perfect option if Mother Nature works her white magic on us. But the real joy of this season is found amid the peaceful nature throughout town. It’s just a nice, quiet pace. People have time to talk and visit, the stores have amazing sales going on, concert venues are warm and inviting – it’s truly a favorite season for so many locals.

So it’s kind of bittersweet to see the Hudson Valley making its mark in the tourism world.  National Geographic started it in 2013, making us a must-see destination, Vogue has written about Woodstock’s charm in 2014 and now Travel and Leisure magazine has chosen the Catskills as #2 of 50 Top places to visit in 2015, citing our region’s commitment to local, authentic experiences. Here, at the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream, that has always been our defining ethos. It’s such a treat to chat with guests and offer our local insights as you experience Woodstock. Whether you’re seeking an action-packed outdoor experience, a relaxing time in the heart of nature or want to rock ‘n rollobby with snow nov 2014l the night away, there’s always something happening. And certainly sharing our secret trails, favorite restaurants and just going the extra step to make your visit enjoyable is what makes our jobs rewarding. (This winter we’re also offering midweek savings – 50% off a second night – sorry holidays and week of Feb. 16-20 not included.)

Probably more people will be visiting this year, thanks to all the positive coverage, and that’s great. But it also makes us treasure this secret calm of winter even more. Hope you’ll join us and experience this magical season… It may be the start of a new year, but before you know it, the crocuses will be sprouting, so come see us soon and bask in winter’s beauty and calm.

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Karen’s secret ingredient revealed

bananabreadThis holiday season we are sharing one of the most sought after items at the Inn: Karen’s recipe for her delicious Banana-Blueberry bread. It’s always a special treat when she makes it as part of our breakfast offerings, but guests have been wanting to recreate this taste of Woodstock when they return home. The response to the shared recipe has been tremendous so we thought we’d share it here. Also, one guest has even substituted gluten-free oat flour and says it’s great, that people can’t even tell the difference. So, enjoy. Put your own yummy touches in your recipe (if you arrive at something super delicious do share it with us please on our Facebook page.) Just remember – add lots of Karen’s special ingredient!

Unknown-1Karen’s Banana/Blueberry bread
Preheat oven to 350 and butter a loaf pan

4 mashed ripe bananas…add 1/3 cup of melted butter…mix with love and a wooden spoon add …1 beaten egg, 1 tsp of vanilla and 3/4 cup of sugar……mix in .. with love.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of baking soda and a pinch of salt over the above … mix in … as always with love…
add 1.5 cups of flour and 1 cup of blueberries …mix with love and add any additional nuts, spices or other fruit that you fancy!

Bake for 1 hour.

 

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Snow thankful

lobby with snow nov 2014Every once in a while we become silly and think we can control things. We plan. We schedule. We prepare. And, nature has its way. So it is this Thanksgiving in the Hudson Valley. We’re humbled and amazed at the beauty that has pumpkin in snow copydescended upon us with this snow storm. Yes, some are still scrambling to get to destinations and the airports are not where you want to be. Yet, the goal of being with loved ones, of gathering together and giving thanks is what motivates us.

And so, we learn to take time. Enjoy the moments as they appear. Be thankful for the big and the small things: for seasons that blend together and remind us that time passes, but memories linger; porch w snow square nov 2014 copyfor the blessings, the people; even those oh-so-frustrating storms that force us to juggle schedules and plans; for the peace we are privileged to enjoy and that we want to extend into this big, sometimes scary, but oh so so amazingly beautiful world.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Enjoying the Hudson Valley’s libations

Farmers may be rushing to harvest the last of the crops before serious frosts hit, but that doesn’t mean an end to the locavore opportunities in HUDSON-386the Hudson Valley. We are so lucky to have such amazing brewers, vintners and distillers nearby that it’s easy to see why the region has become a libation groupie’s year-round destination. A tour of the local treasures requires nothing more than planning an easy and beautiful day trip from the Inn. (Don’t forget to name the designated driver!)

The Shawangunk Wine Trail is a great offering of area wineries and its Wreath Fineries at the Wineries is always a holiday hit. Held this weekend (Nov. 22-23) and the first two weekends in December (6-7 and 13-14) this event highlights the 14 wineries that call our region home. To start the day guests receive a grape vine wreath and at each winery an ornament is added, culminating with a memorable holiday wreath at the end of the tour, not to mention exploring and tasting lots of delicious varietals.red-trail-img Certainly, as more Hudson Valley wineries are gaining national recognition for their locally-crafted selections our area is getting some deserved kudos for both reds and whites. Whitecliff’s versatile Red Trail wine is always popular – whether its part of a picnic lunch for cross country skiiers or enjoyed in front of the fireplace, its blended smoothness reflects the diversity of the area’s grapes.

Distilleries are again resurfacing in the Hudson Valley, buoyed by the state’s Farm Distillery Bill. In the past five years they’ve been partnering and working together to draw in visitors as a destination trip. IMG_2954Certainly, Tutilltown Spirits in Gardiner dominates the state’s microdistilling field. Its Baby Bourbon, vodkas and whiskey are all popular, but the funky tasting room and behind the scenes tours make this a popular – and insightful – stop. Additional nearby distilleries include Coppersea Distilling in West Park and Catskill Distilling Company down by Bethel, but contact them directly to schedule tours.

Kitty super

And breweries in the region are surging, as the craft beer movement continues its popularity. Currently nine breweries are on the Hudson Valley Beer Trail and they produce a variety of beers. Keegan Ales is right down the road from Woodstock, in Kingston.The brewery has been serving up award-winning beers since 2003, including a delicious stout that the New York Times named one of the Top 10 stouts in the country. Their limited holiday offerings are also popular this time of year.

Of course, after a tough day of tastings, guests at the Innroom16-right can relax by the stream or in the gardens, sipping their favorite purchases of the day. Or choose a fireplace room, snuggle up and offer a toast to the amazing bounty within the Hudson Valley.

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What’s happening on Halloween in Woodstock? Everything!

images-1The chill is officially in the air, which means one of our favorite Woodstock holidays is rapidly approaching – that’s right Halloween is right around the corner. The Woodstock Film Festival wrapped up another amazing event this past weekend so now we’re on to costume planning, candy buying and trick scheming.

As always, Tinker Street will be the happening spot. (Remember the road will be shut down from 4 to 7, so if you’ll be staying at the Inn you’ll need to follow the detour signs.) The slight inconvenience of re-routing traffic is well worth it as the parade safely winds through town. Zombies, princesses and people of all ages enjoy the early evening revelry. The costume contest is always a highlight, but those candy treats from merchants are a close second.

One of the best things about Woodstock’s Halloween – and Woodstock in general – is the creativity that is seen everywhere. Costumes go from elaborate with special effects (think water melting off a human dressed as a glacier) to funny (think the queen of hearts in cheetah print.)

Sunfrost Farms will again be hosting its creative jack-o-lantern Sunfrostdisplay – this year it will be on both Oct. 30 and 31. This may very well be the best, if not the most attractive, use of unsold pumpkins in the country and truly transforms the store/restaurant site. It’s worth it to do a drive by in the day and then at night when it’s aglow. Who needs Christmas decorations when you have Sunfrost in the community? Located just west of town, at 217 Tinker Street, this is a must-visit for residents and tourists alike.

And yes, of course, it’s Woodstock. It’s a holiday. Obviously the music will be amazing. Connor Kennedy will be rocking at Bearsville with the Pink Floyd Halloween Freak Out show, with special effects by Liquid Light Lab. Creativity abounds.

And, to think – this is just the start of the weekend! We still have all Saturday and Sunday to enjoy everything else: hikes, galleries or better yet – sitting by the stream, watching nature weave her beauty on the trees and water. Pure bliss.

Come enjoy.

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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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