by Heather Gibbons

Sledding:

Burger Hill
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.

Ice skating:

Indoors:

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

Outdoors:

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

http://www.nysparks.com/parks/38/details.aspx

Palatine Park
Palatine Park Road, Germantown
ice skating conditions permitting
518.537.4600; 518.537.6687

Rhinebeck Recreation Park

Located behind Starr Library, 68 West Market Street, Rhinebeck
845.876.3409

by Germantown 300th Anniversary Committee

Germantown is buzzing with preparations for its big 300th Anniversary Celebration in October.  Many of the town’s most talented people have been hard at work for almost two years, devising effective fundraising and marketing tools to support the two big weekends of history, entertainment and family fun.

Germantown 300th Anniversary Banner

Perhaps you’ve seen the colorful 300th Anniversary banners along Main Street and Palatine Park Road. The original 300th Anniversary Celebration logo was designed by Adrienne Westmore, a graphic designer.  Larry Osgood, a retired television producer and writer who is the Treasurer and main fundraiser for the 300th Anniversary Celebration, assisted with editorial and graphic reviews, production and planning. The logo was first used to create the 300th Anniversary Committee letterhead for fundraising and other activities.

The ship used in the logo design originated with an etching of a barque, one of the merchant ships that would have brought the Palatine migrants across the seas to New York.  Other, smaller boats carried them up the Hudson River, where they landed at East Camp (now Germantown) and West Camp (now Saugerties) in October 1710.

To create the banners, Karin Janson, Senior Graphic Designer for the Culinary Institute, worked with Adrienne and Larry to convert the design into digital form for printing.  G-Tel Teleconnections in Germantown contributed their services to properly place and hang the banners.  The banners serve three functions — fundraising from local businesses to produce them, publicity for the event, and supporting the community spirit that makes it all possible.

Visit http://www.germantownnyhistory.org and you’ll see the Power Point presentation created by Devin Overington, a Germantown Central School student, for the 300th Anniversary Celebration. Devin’s father Martin, a lighting and stage designer for big-name talent in New York City for 15 years, now commutes from Germantown to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), where he trains students at their Lighting Research Center.  Fourteen-year-old Devin has been absorbing digital skills and learning from his Dad since he was very young, and has put his talents to work for school and community theatre projects.  Devin’s 300th Anniversary presentation has been used very effectively to raise funds from local businesses, foundations, and individual donors.

An array of “Germantown 300th” commemorative merchandise, featuring a colorful fireworks design, has been produced by Gelinas Graphics of Clermont, with oversight by Nadine Rumke, Chairman of the 300th Celebration. Golf shirts, sweatshirts, and baseball caps have been created in a wide range of bright colors. Two tote bags have been created, one with an illustration of The Parsonage, the town’s oldest building (1746). Otto’s Market, Main Street, and First Niagara Bank at the corner of Main Street and Route 9-G, are sales outlets.  Sales will continue up to and during the October Celebration weekends.

For more information on the Germantown 300th Anniversary Celebration, visit www.germantownnyhistory.org or telephone 518-537-6687, ext. 308.

by Germantown and Saugerties Historical Societies
Germantown analemma sculpture

Germantown analemma created by artists Dea Archbold and Kurt Holsapple

Just beyond the lakeshore in Palatine Park,  (affectionately known in Germantown as “Lake George South”), the sun casts a sharp shadow of a bare spruce pole installed there on the first day of winter, the winter solstice, in 2009.  About 12 feet tall, the pole has three knobs below the peak, turned from red elm.  Every day, the pole’s shadow moves, but the pole is still.  It is called a ‘gnomon,’ (no-mon), and it is the first step in an “analemma” sculpture being created by two Germantown artists, Dea Archbold and Kurt Holsapple, as their contribution to the town’s 300th birthday this year – the Palatine Analemma.

An analemma is an ancient design marking the positions of the sun through the seasons of the year.  “It will be in the shape of an elongated figure 8,” Holsapple explained.  “The long loop marks the path of the sun from autumn through spring; the short one marks the summer, when the sun is high.”  Archbold and Holsapple are marking the shifting positions of the gnomon’s shadow at the same time each week. The markings will eventually create a pattern for a low stone wall in the precise shape of the analemma — which has appeared for generations on antique globes of the world.

Dea Archbold went to SUNY Buffalo. After a long apprenticeship in the ancient art of stained glass, she creates and sells unique stained glass designs.  Kurt Holsapple, a Fine Arts graduate of SUNY Alfred, is an expert cabinetmaker and woodworker.  Both artists exhibit frequently at ArtSpace, Tivoli Arts Co-op, and other galleries in the area.

Archbold and Holsapple, third cousins, are tenth-generation descendants of the original Palatine settlers who came to Germantown in 1710.  The Analemma and the early-October birthday celebrations will honor the Palatines, their often harsh lives, and their endurance.  Holsapple explains:  “We’re not clearing the land, as they did.”  The sculpture “will probably look very much like a dry stone wall, which our ancestors used to mark their pastures and meadows.  In a way, we’re doing what they did.”

Practical astronomy was crucial to the Palatine farmers.  “They had to be very aware of where the sun was in the sky, when to plan for the harvest,” says Archbold. Holsapple adds, “We want to mark, in stone, the actual time of the Palatines’ arrival and other significant events in Germantown history.  The height of the sculpture will vary, reflecting changing angles.”

Hundreds of people from around the region and the nation are coming to enjoy Germantown’s 300th birthday bash.  The first weekend, October 2-3, includes a major Palatine History Seminar, historical exhibitions, and the debut of a new Harold Farberman composition at a gala Palatine Concert featuring local amateur and professional musicians and singers.  A huge Palatine Oktoberfest will run through the second weekend, October 8-10, with a wagon parade and big bonfire on the first night, dozens of crafters and food vendors, bands, a Saturday night dance for teen-agers, free wagon rides throughout the weekend, and spectacular fireworks to close the celebration on Sunday night.  Oktoberfest admission and parking are free.

By the first two weekends in October, the Palatine Analemma will be nearing completion, due on the winter solstice in December. Visiting the Analemma will be a meaningful highlight of the Palatine celebration, and the unusual stone sculpture will live on into the future.

Lodging information for visitors is available on the web sites of Columbia County Tourism, Dutchess County Tourism, Green County Tourism, and Ulster County Tourism. Visit www.germantownnyhistory.org for Palatine History Seminar scheduling and ticket information and other 300th Anniversary information.  Further details are available by telephone to 518-537-6687, ext. 308.

Original text and photos courtesy of “Palatine Packet,” published by the Germantown and Saugerties Historical Societies, Vol. 1, No. 3, April/May 2010.

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