by Heather Gibbons
Route 9G, Rhinebeck
Popular sledding spot rises to a 550-foot hilltop with panoramic views of the Hudson River Valley including the Shawangunk Ridge, Catskill and Taconic mountains, Stissing Mountain and the Berkshires. Protected by a Scenic Hudson conservation easement, the park is owned by Winnakee Land Trust and managed by the Burger Hill Committee. Several sledding areas with varying degrees of steepness. Open 9 a.m.-dusk.
Clermont State Historic Site
One Clermont Ave. off Route 9G, Germantown
Annual sledding party with bonfire and snowman contest held in late January/early February. http://www.friendsofclermont.org
Seigel Kline Kill Conservation Area
Route 21, Ghent
Newly cleared public sledding hill on land protected by the Columbia Land Conservancy. http://www.clctrust.org
Staatsburgh State Historic Site/Mills Mansion
Old Post Road, Staatsburg
A favorite and prime sledding area with unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Catskills beyond. Grounds are open daily January-March, dawn-dusk. Sleds with metal runners not allowed. http://www.staatsburgh.org.
Kiwanis Ice Arena
Cantine Memorial Complex, Washington Avenue, Saugerties
Public skate sessions of 1.5 hours each, Monday-Sunday, check website for specific times.
Learn to skate instructional Sundays, 8-9 a.m.; hockey skills instructional: Sundays,s 7-8 a.m.; figure skating lessons, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m. The rink is enclosed, but not heated. Admission: $6 adults; $4 students; 5 and under, free; skate rentals, $3.
Info: http://kiwanisicearena.com; 845.247.2590
McCann Ice Arena
Mid-Hudson Civic Center, 14 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie
McCann offers skating lessons, a hockey skill development clinic, and even speed skating lessons. There are Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey programs.
Holiday skating schedule: Mon., Dec. 27-Fri., Dec. 31, noon-2 p.m.; New Year’s Day, 2-4 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 2, 2-4 p.m.
Check website for full schedule. Friday DJ Skate from 7:15-9 p.m., $10, includes admission and skate rental.
Admission: $7, $4 (children under 10); Skate Rental: $3
Info: http://www.midhudsonciviccenter.com; 845-454-5800
Hudson Park Outdoor Ice Skating Area
3521 Route 9, south of Hudson
Stop by Restaurant to sign waiver before heading to ice rink. Bring your own skates and equipment. Thursday night Pond Hockey. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. & 6-9 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Mon. & Tues., 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Free, donations accepted.
Lake Taghkanic State Park
Exit off Taconic State Parkway in town of Ancram; or, 1528 Route 82, Ancram
Skating permitted when conditions are appropriate. Call to check ice thickness. 518.851.3631
Palatine Park Road, Germantown
ice skating conditions permitting
Rhinebeck Recreation Park
Located behind Starr Library, 68 West Market Street, Rhinebeck
by Nicole Ashey
When shopping for the holidays, it can sometimes be difficult to find something uniquely personal to buy. To make things easier on you this shopping season, I’ve rounded up a great selection of gifts from throughout the Valley that offers something for every person on your list that appreciates high design and loves his or her home.
Tivoli Mercantile, 5 East Market St., Red Hook
845.758.3230 • www.hudsonpaint.com
In the tiny, but vibrant space that is Tivoli Mercantile in Red Hook I found some great gift ideas.
Check out the Ikat photo frames ($30-$36) for the friend that you know can handle funky.
The Lotta Jansdotter Stencils ($24.95) is a great gift for the crafty person in your life who has been talking about redecorating their home. The kit offers instructions and a beautiful selection of stencils so they can hit the ground running.
1. A fabulous choice for the person who loves to entertain is Gray Works Design’s Footed Plattes ($30-$60). Sleek and made right in The Catskills, they’re perfect for serving a delicious selection of cheese and cured meat.
2. Another favorite is the colorful collection of locally made ceramic pieces that owner Jill Ter Molen-Cornillon commissioned a local potter to make. Her friend and the source for this particular design moved out of the country and permitted her to replicate it with a local ceramicist. They are stunning and range in price from $12 to $48.
Materia Locus, 10 Main St., New Paltz
845.255.0337 • www.materiadesigns.com
Materia Locus in New Paltz can’t be more than 200 square feet, yet owners Megan Sommerville and Matt Esner manage to wow customers with every little detail in the display of their merchandise. They have a knack for selecting artisan-made goods, and even make some themselves.
3. Their oculus mirror is striking and available for a splurge on a loved one or your home (home’s need holiday presents too.) However, if you’re looking for something less expensive, they have a handful of lovely items to choose from.
4. Try a set of two hand-thrown stoneware coffee mugs by Stone Window Gallery ($18). Megan recommends Ben Wolff’s Black Clay Waramaug Pot ($20) filled with smooth river rocks and narcissus as a great gift for the host of a holiday party.
(Psssst! Ask about the jewelry by Gogo Ferguson ranging in price from $75-$350. It’s out of this world!)
All of these items come gift-wrapped and can be shipped anywhere.
Hammertown, 6420 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck
845.876.1450 • www.hammertown.com
The selection at Hammertown in Rhinebeck is plentiful. but I’ve narrowed it down and highlighted some great shopping ideas for you.
For the soda lover in your life, why not save them some money and calories with the SodaStream soda maker ($109). Yes you can make your own soda! From tonic to cola, there are a variety of flavors to choose from. This earth-friendly product comes with reusable bottles. It’s also people-friendly as there is no high fructose corn syrup in their soda flavoring….and, with its sleek design, it looks great too.
5. Laura Zindel’s pottery, handmade in Vermont, makes a beautiful gift for the nature lover (range $53-$242).
For a touch of whimsy, check out the Fishes Eddy Alice in Wonderland drinking glasses ($22 for a set of 4).
6. Finally, a fun stocking stuffer is the Matryoshka measuring cups ($13.50) in the shape of Russian nesting dolls.
Lili and Loo, 259 Warren St., Hudson
518.822.9492 • www.liliandloo.com
At Lili and Loo in Hudson it will be difficult to remember you are shopping for others and not yourself while you explore their abundant 5,000 square feet of retail space. Some things to look for are the beautiful stainless steel salad servers ($20) with decorative mild steel handles. 7. The much smaller servers, meant for hors d’oeuvres ($20) are cast from nature and also make a great choice.
For a bit of luxury, take a look at the traditional Laguiole steak knives ($75). These knives are elegantly designed and known for their blades’ cutting ability. They are also available in a rosewood gift box ($85).
Nicole Ashey is the principal of Burlock Decorating & Home Staging in Beacon. For more inspiration and decorating ideas visit www.burlockhome.com.
by Owen O'Connor, photograph courtesy Columbia Land Conservancy
When people find out that I run a farm with my partner, they often ask me if I grew up on a farm. Yes and no, I reply. I grew up on subdivided farmland, as many raised in Dutchess County did. Both of my parents worked for the postal service, and while we lived in a rural area, most of the people that we knew did not have a direct connection to agriculture or land-based business. And while the culture of gleaning one’s livelihood from the land was largely absent in my early life, the land itself was very present. From our house in Clinton Corners, I could see a wide spread of our county’s hills, and the Catskills and Shawangunks past the Hudson. Enough time has passed that I can admit to having very little respect for property lines as I rambled through the forests and fields of central Dutchess county. I had very little connection to agriculture, but I fell in love with the land. In many ways, my journey thus far is a playing out of a love affair with the land of the Hudson Valley.
Certainly, there is a lot of politicking about land use. And as we have structured land as a commodity, many people have large economic interests tied up in land. But I feel like these issues and interests can sometime distract us from connecting with a real sense of gratitude for the place where we live. Whether your ancestors came to the Hudson Valley 10 or 10,000 years ago, in the 1970’s or the 1770’s, we are all immigrants to this place. All guests. The valley will still be here when all of our descendants have moved on. That the gift of this place has been passed on to us, and that we are responsible for it being passed onto future generations, should elicit a spirit of stewardship and care from everyone that deals with the land.
My child will grow up with farmers as parents, but it matters very little to me that he pursues agriculture as a profession or even as a passion. I do, however feel grateful that I am able to take him with me as I work, to have him experience the relationship that I am trying to cultivate with the fields that we manage, to have him see me try to make a career out of a land ethic. I feel proud to be able to raise him in the landscape that I hold so dear. And glad that he can see me pursuing my own version of what it means to feel gratitude for this place.
Owen O’Connor runs Awesome Farm, ltd with his partner KayCee Wimbish. They raise and sell grass-fed lamb and beef in Red Hook and Claverack, NY. Owen grew up in Clinton Corners, ans was working in organic vegetable farms before he and KayCee started their own project.
by Nicole Ashey, photograph by Jennifer Kiaba
An axe, a fishing spear, a giant mixing blade, barbed wire, a machine base—not the first things that come to mind when you’re redecorating the family room. However, for the better part of the past decade, a growing trend to adaptively reuse industrial remnants as furniture and decorative accessories has emerged. Whether you want to run with the cool crowd or not, using these items as décor adds an element of history and warmth to any room, (even if it’s an axe) and not only that, it’s eco-friendly too.
Last year, I opened the catalog for Roost, one of the leading wholesalers for modern home furnishings, and there were giant metal halide light bulbs on walnut bases, and vintage foundry molds for automotive and railway parts—all meant for purely decorative tabletop delight. This signaled supply meeting demand. However, the supply has existed locally for years prior to my thumbing through that catalog.
Mark Wasserbach and Larry Forman have been trolling the tri-state region for about two decades foraging early farm tools, sand-casting forms (sand casting is a casting process where molten metal is poured into a mold made of sand), molds for just about any metal part, hooks, steam valve cranks and the list goes on. Their shop in Hudson is a great starting point for the inventive mind. Their clientele include fellow shopkeepers, designers, photo stylists and art directors for print and film. I can speak from experience, a sand-casting form at the right height makes for a great table base. You’ll probably have to retrofit the item yourself, or collaborate with someone in the wood or metal trade, but Mark and Larry’s Antiques is the go-to source for raw materials for such projects.
If you’re feeling less industrious, don’t fret, you have options. High Falls Mercantile has been in operation for seven years offering a beautifully displayed mix of old and new home furnishings. They carry the largest selection of industrial décor I’ve seen in the area, and their specialty is old hand tools mounted on custom-made metal display stands. From old kitchen chopping devices, to hand-forged iron tongs, wrenches and eel spears, these items once used for everyday tasks can now retire as knock out tabletop sculpture. And if you’re looking for ways to mix up your accessories, this shop is truly inspiring. It will illustrate, for instance, that you can most definitely pair an antique, broad-headed axe with a soft linen throw in a small space.
Another fabulous resource is Hunter Bee in Millerton. Along with their eclectic mix of early American, mid-century and contemporary furnishings, they also have a selection of industrial pieces: a small water wheel, fan blades and glass fishing buoys, to name a few. In addition, they have been wiring industrial-sized dough mixing blades to be used as table lamps—quirky and very cool. Finally, what really stands out, is their collection of wooden hat molds. Who knew what it used to take to shape a hat?
As it turns out, Sandra Macintosh knew, and still knows.
Sandra is the owner of East Market Street Antiques in Red Hook. Her shop serves as part retail shop, part museum. The collection of items she houses here is quite simply astounding. I dare say her store should be added to the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Also a sculptor, Sandra arranges and curates with amazing artistry—auto and railroad reflectors, rotary hoes, early kitchen tools, queen bee boxes, and 20 or more different styles of barbed wire. All these items were hand made once upon a time and all are uniquely beautiful.
About a month ago, I walked into the office of my neighbor and commercial landlord, Metconix, Inc., a custom metal shop in Beacon. I needed to ask a question and I instantly forgot why I was there. There sat two of the most amazing objects I’ve ever seen—ribbed and striated, shiny, silver blocks of metal with rounded edges and a worn, black patina. I learned that they were motorcycle engine heads. Metconix had fabricated the display stands on which they sat, and they were about to be reborn as tabletop accessories for one of New York’s most renowned decorators. Ha! Celebrities and hedge-fund managers with motorcycle parts in their living room!
So if you’re in the market for a decorative piece to add character to your home, there are many unusual, wonderful objects in need of good homes (and now you know where to find some of them).
Mark and Larry’s Antiques
612 Warren Street, Hudson, NY
518 701 5382
High Falls Mercantile
113 Main Street. High Falls, NY
800 687 6707; highfallsmercantile.com
21 Main Street, Millerton, NY
518 789 2127; beestyled.com
East Market Street Antiques
25 East Market Street, Red Hook, NY
845 758 9000; eastmarketstreetantiques.com
Nicole Ashey is the principal of Burlock Decorating & Home Staging. She lives in Beacon and is one of the organizers of the art event Electric Windows. For more inspiration and decorating ideas, view her website
www.burlockhome.com or follow Burlock on Facebook.