Woodstock Fashions – the Unveiling of the Winter Boots



Labor Day is over now.  The warm summer days and summer moons are quickly becoming a memory…or maybe even less as  Woodstockers  move on to the promise of a harvest moon and  the local tradition of the unveiling of the winter boots.

When swimsuits, bare feet and slow walks back up Tannery Brook from the stream are replaced with winter boots – something happens to the soul.

The transformation to Autumn in Woodstock is not a gradual, gentle event.  Instead, everyone seems to charge into the new season with renewed enthusiasm.  People walk briskly along the sidewalks, shop in the stores, eat in the restaurants, and attend local meetings with feet shod in purchases from Pegasus or maybe (if truth be told) Montano’s in Saugerties or Kenco in Kingston.

Last summer’s swimmers who didn’t have the wherewithal for a fancy swimsuit swam in their street clothes and dried them out as they walked along Tannery Brook.  Now, with autumn upon us  (and winter on the way), these same people are getting their  boots at Woodstock’s most creative boutique – the Family of Woodstock Free Store.

There is an excited air of expectancy all over town.

“Woolly worms are scrawny  this year!”

“The Almanac is calling for a mild one.”

“Last night’s weather man predicted an early snow – maybe in October.”

People flock to buy tickets to the now famous Woodstock Film Festival which, in reality, plays films in movie theaters all over the area:

Upstate Films I&II in   Rhinebeck,

UPAC in Kingston,

Upstate Films in Woodstock,

Orpheum Theater in Saugerties,

Rosendale Theater,

Bearsville Theater,

BSP in Kingston

This area event is based in Woodstock – but it’s not really of Woodstock.  Ricos, stars, and wannabes flock to town during film festival week.  Every available mansion, house, B & B room,  apartment, bedroom, sofa, tee pee, porch, shed, yurt, and pup tent is rented out at top dollar to them.

They come rushing in and then, just as quickly, go rushing out with the last show, pausing only to get everything clean at Woodstock Laundry.  This short laundry stop allows people to chat with one another one more time before they take off to places far and near:  New York, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, LA and points further out.

Hallowe’en is a merchant event in Woodstock.  People of all ages flock into town in their costumes for a street party created when  Tinker Street businesses  set out candies and other goodies in front of their shops.  By the time the party is over, there won’t  be even 1 can of shaving cream or whipped topping to be found in town.  For my $$$, the best place to enjoy this event is in a top floor room at the Village Green Bed and Breakfast.    From this room, you can enjoy the entire show without getting covered in whipped topping.

In the weekends after Labor Day, the vendors at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market begin to add merchandise which can be sold for cold weather use and for holiday gifts.  We never really know exactly when the Flea will shut down each autumn.  It all depends on the vendors renting the spaces.  Everyone wants the place to stay open as long as the vendors  can stand it.

The real question every year is “Will winter be early?” The unspoken statement is “Will the flea close early this year?”  It  depends on how much stamina and determination the vendors  can muster as the weekends get colder and colder.

The locals hang out in front of Maria’s as long as they can every fall.  Then, reluctantly, they move indoors.  Maria has a very comfortable cafe there.  The food is really the best in town.  But, the locals like to sit outside as long as they can…talking and visiting with one another.  Both the known and the unknown gather in blessed anonymity.

The same is happening at Bread Alone.  The little side patio will be full as long as anyone can stand the cool temperatures.

This last spring the Landau winterized its  covered patio hoping to convince us all that it’s still summer as we drink a beer and eat a burger.  One thing they didn’t winterize is the picnic table area alongside the building where the smokers, pet owners, and their dogs sit.

Even though it’s still only  September, people are planning both the Thanksgiving Dinner and the Christmas Dinner.  These 2 traditions make living in Woodstock all worthwhile, really.

Everyone comes together and puts on the most fabulous feasts imaginable.  People donate turkeys.  Other people cook the turkeys.  Yet other  people bring special side dishes.   But…more about that in another blog post.

For now…let’s all enjoy our new winter boots.



Thanks for reading  this blog.  The stories are true and the people are real.

Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco

photo by Jennette Nearhood

Woodstock is Not a Vaccination Town (If you’re from Woodstock, don’t even bother to read this post.)

Bully 6

MY OLDEST DAUGHTER, MICHELE ALMOST DIED FROM CHICKEN POX.  We covered her hands with thick mittens in an effort to keep the scarring down as she scratched the scabs continually for about a week.  At one point we put her in a bathtub filled with cold water and 8 bags of ice when she got delirious with fever.

Chicken pox survivors are, later in life, subject to the ravages of shingles.  What an awful, painful  disease.   As soon as that shot came out, I got immunized because I never, ever want to suffer with shingles.  Michele, now over  50, recently got her shingle shot, too.

As a child, I became ill with what we called the “10-day measles”.  I WAS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT.  No one came in my room but my mother for fear that it would be spread around the neighborhood.  The room was pitch dark the entire 10 days because of the danger of permanent blindness.

For what it’s worth, Woodstock IS an Arnica town.  And, it’s NOT a vaccination town.

As September rolls in, the pharmacy employees are preparing their stores  for immunization season.   THE NEW 2015-16 FLU SEASON VACCINE IS ALREADY IN TOWN.   And, truth be told, we can get   flu, meningitis, pneumonia, and shingles shots all year long at


Rite Aid

Village Apothecary.

Personally, I think the signs are sent out to the stores to be left up all year long but as the months go by, they begin to look a little ragged.  Some of them just disappear. You know how it goes.

The signs are already up in the parking lot and the pharmacy entrance at the RiteAid.  The RiteAid has serums on hand for all vaccinations.  The chairs are in place back in the pharmacy area.  The only thing missing is the privacy screen.  They plan to have it ready when they need it.

The CVS is almost the same except the signs aren’t in yet.  They’ve been shipped, they just haven’t arrived yet.  However, the serums are in the pharmacy.  The chairs are in place and the privacy screen is operational.

Village Apothecary has the serum but doesn’t put out signs.  They have a discreet  privacy area located in the rear of the pharmacy.  The setup at the Village Apothecary is very professional.  Josh can speak reasonably and knowledgeably as he answers any and all questions you might have about vaccinations.  They have all vaccines available at Village Apothecary.

Frankly, I don’t even know why the pharmacy employees at any Woodstock area pharmacy even bother to put out the signs.  IT MUST ALL BE BASED ON WISHFUL THINKING BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ANYONE IN WOODSTOCK WHO’S WILLING TO FESS UP TO GETTING INOCULATED.

When I’m sitting around a group of people and the conversation begins to lag, all I have to do is say the word  “vaccination” and everything gets lively in less than 3 seconds.

I’m the only person I know in Woodstock who gets vaccinated  for anything.   And, since I’ve been immunized  against everything, no one wants to sit next to me at the table when they hear this. IT’S AS IF I’VE SUDDENLY COME DOWN WITH COOTIES JUST BECAUSE I’VE HAD A FLU SHOT.  The whole thing reminds me of Arlo Guthrie’s Group W Bench experience.

Love ’em or hate ’em, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground for immunizations.   Well, I’m not one to shy away from a controversial subject, so I chime in whenever I want to share  my experiences with contagious diseases.     After all, I’m way into my 70’s so I’ve seen a few in my time.

There is absolutely no need for a person to suffer with any of these diseases.  Every time I talk with a person who’s against immunizations.  I learn  she’s never seen anyone  with chicken pox, measles, mumps, smallpox.  (And, some of these diseases are making a come back.)

When they hear this, they usually say they have to go home.  I KNOW THE PARTY’S OVER.

We have  inoculations against tetanus, diptheria, mumps, measles, whooping cough, meningitis…and more.  These infections are all serious (often life threatening illnesses) and can lead to lifelong disabilities.

The way we keep these terrible diseases in the past is with inoculations.  When immunization  rates are high in a community, it’s difficult for the disease to gain a foothold there.  This offers  “herd immunity”  to those who are unprotected.

There’s not much herd immunity in Woodstock.  TRUTH BE TOLD, THERE MAY NOT BE ANY HERD IMMUNITY HERE.  I hate to discourage tourists from visiting our famous and fabulous community.  But, really, you’re taking a chance if you depend on herd immunity to protect yourself in Woodstock.

The way I see it, if any Woodstockers do get vaccinated against anything, they probably sneak over to Kingston so nobody will know the awful truth.  (And, by the way, I saw a fresh flu shot sign up in Kingston today outside a CVS.)

September’s here now.   I’ve been waiting until after Labor Day  to get my flu shot. I know full well that no one in Woodstock agrees with me.  I blame it on the fact that I wasn’t born here and I didn’t come from Brooklyn.

That’s my excuse for believing in vaccinations.  That, life experiences, and scientific evidence.



Thanks for reading this blog.

The stories are true.  The people are real.

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Thurman Greco

Margo, Pieta, and The Real Estate Agents of Ulster County – Heroes for Hunger

Bully hands

“Hi Thurman, this is Margo.”

“Hi,  Thurman, this is Pieta.”.

I get these calls occasionlly…randomly.  I never know when to expect them.  They are always a wonderful surprise!

Margo called earlier this week with book bags  for the pantry.  Pieta calls with items of dignity:  deodorant, women’s feminine products, bars of soap, razors.

In all cases, these gifts are  distributed to people who simply do not have the funds to provide for themselves.  Margo’s recent gifts of book bags came with pencils, crayons, spiral notebooks, composition books.

Think back to your own childhood.  How difficult was it for your family to get you ready for school?  Was there money for school supplies?  Did you ever begin the school year unprepared with even the basic essentials needed?  Were you ever embarrassed by this situation…either for yourself or for others?

In today’s Struggling Class, there is no money left over for things like school supplies, school lunches, new school clothes.

When Margo and Pieta drop items off for our pantry, they never ask or expect gratitude or even recognition.  With Pieta, I  just come home and find bags of these beautiful necessities waiting for distribution.

And, I know that pantries throughout Ulster County are receiving these wonderful items.  Margo casually mentioned that the Ulster County Realtors Association purchased 500 book bags  this year.

On behalf of pantry shoppers everywhere, I send  gratitude.  There are so many people in the Struggling Class these days.

The Ulster County Realtors Association is reflective of the attitude toward generosity in Woodstock.  In Woodstock, people are comfortable just dropping off things that the Iess fortunate can use.  No one seeks recognition.  No one wants a thank you note.  They just want the things to be used by people who need them.

You may feel that I have mistakenly posted this article in the wrong blog…that this article should have been sent to http://www.hungerisnotadisease.com.  But, I intentionally posted it here at http://www.goodmorningwoodstock.com because Margo and Pieta and the Realtors completely personify the Woodstock attitude toward giving.  Both as individuals and as a group, Woodstockers will give their last dollar, their only coat to someone, anyone who needs it.

I offer a salute of gratitude for the generosity.

Thanks for reading this blog.

The stories are true.  The people are real.

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Thurman greco



Today’s post is…..

Angel 2

not happening.  I’m in writers’ boot camp all week.

Wish me luck!

Woodstock, Abbe and her Woodstock Wooden Kazoo

snowy branch

No blog about Woodstock will be complete or even acceptable without a post honoring the brightest star of of all the stars in Woodstock:  Abbe Graber, otherwise known as Miss G.  Abbe is big, beautiful, talented, and a light in the darkness for all of us in Woodstock.

I hadn’t been living in Woodstock long before I discovered the local flea market.    It seemed she had a booth at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market every weekend that summer.  What a way to spend the summer!

Abbe’s booth was generally along the back perimeter and she  smiled this gorgeous smile at everyone who visited her table.  Throughout the day, if a lull occurred, Abbe  belted out a jazzy song that could be heard all over town.  What a voice!

When I was a little girl of 7 or 8 years, if anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…I always replied “singer”.  Nobody quite got it.  After all, I couldn’t even carry a tune.  But,  I promise you,  to know what I wanted to be when I grew up…all you have to do is listen to Abbe Graber belt out a song.

I’m not a jealous person.  I didn’t want to be Abbe.  But, when I was 8, I wanted to grow up and have a voice just exactly like her’s.  And, of course, the truth here is that there is only one voice like Abbe’s and she’s got it.

For starters, I still can’t carry a tune.

So, I happily live with my talents and thoroughly enjoy her voice when I get a chance to hear it.

But, Abbe’s  more than just a gorgeous, show stopping voice.  She’s got a smile that lights up the whole town.   And, if that’s not enough, she’s got a kazoo company.  Abbe makes the world famous Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.

These handsome, individually made musical instruments  come in different sizes and are made of several different woods.  They come in walnut, maple, oak, cherry, mahogany, and cedar.

And, they are not just pretty little toys.  Abbe’s Woodstock Wooden Kazoos have a crisp, yet mellow sound.  They are easy to play.  And, they are owned by many professional musicians the world over.

And, as if Abbe’s star isn’t bright enough, she makes beautiful ironwork sculptures. Abbe’s actually bilocating these days.  She’s got her plant on Mill Hill right behind EvolveD and then, at the other end of town, she’s right around the corner from Joshua’s Restaurant at Woodstock Earth located at 5 Tannery Brook.

Drop by her  Tannery Brook location to visit  for a minute,  bask in the sunshine in her smile.  The new location boasts many creations made by local artists in addition to  her Woodstock Wooden Kazoos.



Thanks for reading this blog post.  The story is true.  The people are real.

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Photo donated by Jennette Nearhood

Thurman Greco


Dr. Wayne Longmore – Woodstock Hero for Hunger

Angel 1It hangs on a wall in my living room, my daughter’s self portrait.

Larger than life, the piece shows 1 eye, her nose and mouth.

Just beginning her studies at the Corcoran, Jennette wasn’t comfortable painting an entire face.  A photography major, she was painting for the first time in her life.

Sometimes I sit in my chair with my 3 Chihuahuas and just look at the painting for several minutes when I come home from the pantry.  So much of this painting is relevant to what I’m doing now, what the pantry shoppers are experiencing.

As people travel the path to a pantry, they lose things.  One shopper recently gave me 3 paintings.  He was offloading personal possessions and just didn’t want to see them go in the dumpster.  I featured one of them in posts for months.

I also have paintings given to me by other shoppers.  If I stay in this business long enough, I’ll end up with a whole gallery.  That actually happened to Dr. Wayne Longmore, the absolute best physician in the area.

There’s a moral in this story somewhere for me.  I’m just not sure what it is yet.

Dr. Longmore, an Emergency Medicine specialist, was a Woodsstock physician.  He practiced by himself, without the help of a receptionist or nurse.  He was favored by artists, writers, musicians as well as many other people from around the area.  Artists went to him with their health issues and he treated them with dignity and respect, whether or not they had $$$.  Most of them had no $$$ so, when he worked to make them well, they brought over paintings.

Dr. Longmore finally had the best local art collection in the area.  The paintings and sculptures disappeared from his office after he was arrested.  I never learned the real story of what happened.

The public story was that he prescribed too many painkillers…too much Oxycodone.  The FBI Report referred to the product as hydrocodone.  Well, the public stories in the papers aren’t always the whole story or even a piece of a story.  I know that from personal experience.

Dr. Longmore and I knew a lot of the same people.  He healed them.  The pantry fed them.  Without even trying, I knew more or less who was on what.  How could I not know?  I saw them every week under fairly intimate circumstances.

I only knew 2 people on Oxycodone.  And, one of those 2 was trying to sell the stuff.  So, they can’t blame Dr. Longmore for that.

He was sentenced to 6 months house arrest, 3 years probation, 200 hours community service and fined $200,000.00.  The real punishment went to the poor in Woodstock who now have nowhere to go for a doctor.  It puts a lot of pressure on the Healthcare as a Human Right group.

His office, just down from Lori’s cafe, sat empty for the longest time…the office at 104 Mill Hill Road.  It was adorned with a sad “for sale” sign.  I think of Dr. Longmore every time I pass by.  I remember his beautiful art collection, all the down and out people he served, all the good the man did for the needy in Woodstock.

Last Winter,  the For Sale sign disappeared.  As spring approached, workers began to fix up the office both inside and out.

While this happened, Lori’s became Nana’s and several other stores in the little complex changed hands.  EvolveD expanded and   Fringe moved down one space.     Venus Adorned, a corset/dress shop  opened recently.  Ed Dempsey Tattoos is in the upstairs space.  I joke to myself about musical businesses.

The building  at the other end of the complex sports several Win Morrison signs while the businesses within still have their signs.  One, IDivide, raises questions about whether or not someone is trying to run a business in the midst of it all.

Only 2 spaces have appeared to stay the same:  Woodstock Wooden Kazoo and Woodstock Print Express.  They are the anchor stores.

Now, Dr. Longmore’s old office has a new coat of paint and other improvements.  Plants in pots placed beside the door encourage a prospective new tenant.  A “For Rent” sign is in one of the windows.

The whole area is being gentrified.  When I look around, I see 3 banks and a theater surrounding the building and I  realize that Woodstock now has an emerging  financial/theater district surrounding  Dr. Longmore’s old office.

So, I suppose the down-and-out patients – artists, writers – would seem out of place in the newly transitioned area.

In spite of the paint, the sign and the plants, the building  sits empty, a monument commemorating those in Woodstock who unfailingly give of themselves.  Frankly, I don’t care if they ever rent it.





Artwork donated by Jennette Nearhood

Thank you for reading the blog.

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Thurman Greco

The Woodstock Farm Festival and National Farmer’s Market Week

vegetable soup

The Woodstock Farm Festival is quite an event.  In typical Woodstock fashion, the town wrangled over the market before it finally became a reality.  Every improvement in our community seems to take ages before it happens.    But, now it’s a tradition  and people come from miles around on Wednesday afternoons to  shop for fresh produce, baked goods, and listen to the music.  They feast on the efforts of:

Abas Falafel

Black Eyed Susie’s

Catskill Fungi

Clove Valley CSA

Four Winds Farm

Just Good Eats

Lenny Bee Productions

Marilyn’s Roadside Eatery

Medicine Gardens

Migliorelli Farm

Northwind Farms

Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple

Rick Reilingh

Sow Good Bakery

Wright’s Farm

On Wednesday evenings, a  heat hovers over the Market.  Shoppers, some wearing the least amount of clothing possible in an effort to get comfortable, hurry from booth to booth finding   greens, tomatoes, herbs, cheese, baked goods for tomorrow’s meals.

The first full week of August is special  for the market because  it’s  National Farmer’s  Market week.  Farmers bring together communities and food to offer us all healthy, nutritious, locally grown and raised products.

Music is scheduled  every market afternoon in 2 venues:  on the main stage and in the market itself.  Woodstockers  love to shop for fruits, veggies, baked goods and cheeses accompanied by music played by local area musicians.

Just as the Good Neighbor Food Pantry closes,  pantry volunteers  ignoring the promise of a summer moon  scurry around the Migliorelli booth with empty boxes. Quickly, to avoid being seen, they load some of the unsold Migliorelli produce into a vehicle  and   take  it back to the pantry  for distribution on Thursday.

What a gift!  Migliorelli offers a real  boost to the pantry  shoppers in the form of  delicious, nutritious food. Many of them have absolutely no $$$ at all.    Migliorelli feeds the body as well as the soul.  This is a real gift for people, many of whom are in the process of losing so much.  This gesture means more than the people at Migliorelli Farm will ever know.

When the pantry shoppers receive this special food, they not only get the food they could never buy, they have a connection to their community – this has a spiritual, religious layer, the value of which cannot be calculated.

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Good Luck to us all.

Thurman Greco

The Facebook Rant


“You write a book and it’s like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean.  You don’t know if it will ever reach any shore.  And there, you see, sometimes it falls in the hands of the right person.” – Isabel Allende

Somebody wrote a Facebook post  recently about how to cross a street in Woodstock.   On and on the post went…about how nobody looks before they cross the street in Woodstock.  I forgot who  wrote the post.  I tried and tried to remember.  When I tried to find the post later, I could not…simply could not.

So, I sent out a call asking for information.

Back came a post from Melissa Lovaglio.  “The author of the lost post is Christine Dempsey!”  Thank you Melissa!  And, thank you Christine!

The post was correct…every word of it.  Jaywalkers rule in Woodstock.  After all, we have more 50+ seniors  in Woodstock than any other community in Ulster County.  So, there’s a whole bunch of us who just never remember what we’re supposed to do before we cross the street.

The tourists who visit Woodstock for a day, or weekend, or even a week are both special and important.  They  walk around  town wearing “Woodstock Grins” on their faces and never even see the traffic.   And, it’s okay.  The $$$ they leave in the summer  keeps our stores open in the winter.

Woodstock’s Colorful Characters are important to our community.  For many of us who live here, they are more important than the  rock  stars who show up.

Grandpa Woodstock brings in a lot of people to this town…with his peace sign and his cart.  Actually, his cart is brand new.  Somebody stole the other one or something.   Anyway, he’s got a fancy new cart and it looks like he’s selling hats and scarves and other goodies off of it.  He doesn’t need to look either to the right or the left as he goes through town.  He’s too busy posing for pictures and stuff.

Ricochet doesn’t look when he crosses the street.  He spends more time looking over his shoulder than he does looking to the left and  to the right.  Ricochet isn’t known to that many tourists.  But he’s a genuine Woodstock Colorful Character, knows he’s a genuine Woodstock Colorful Character, and he’s not about to look left and right.  But, just because he’s isn’t that well known to the tourists doesn’t mean that he’s not famous.  Don’t let that fool you.  He was  written up weekly for years in Michael Pacut’s  paper “Free the Press”.  He’s got a strong reputation as an FBI/CIA operative implicated in the Iran Contra Scandals.

Ricochet weighs about  100 pounds and gets around on a small bike.  He and Michael Pacut were  at each other for what seems like forever.  Some in town believe Ricochet tried to kill Michael more than once.  It didn’t work, though, because Michael is a Marine and we all know Marines  trump the FBI and the CIA any day of the week.

Jogger John can be seen crossing streets in Woodstock daily – both on foot and on his bike.  Jogger keeps our sidewalks clean.  In the winter, he gets the snow off them ASAP.  In the summer, he keeps the dirt/mud gone.

Jogger John is one of Woodstock’s most beloved citizens.  He’s also the Psychic for many who live here.  So, when Jogger John crosses the street, he definitely looks both ways and sees many things we do not.  One thing…Jogger John loves people and they love him.  And, he is a very special person to all who know him.

When things were especially tough at the pantry, I consulted with  him weekly.  His visions inspired me to leave the pantry in Woodstock and work with Prasida, Sean, and Bonnie to open the pantry in Boiceville.  It was 100% the right decision.  I’ve never looked back.

He never charged a cent, Jogger John.  His gift is God-given, so he’s not interested in what he receives.  He’s interested in giving.

A Colorful Character I call “Feathers” (I never learned the name and really like the one I chose.) can be seen in Woodstock pretty often.  Feathers is  easy to spot with long hair, a beard and several eagle feathers in an ever present hat.

A seemingly spiritual person, the  image includes long black skirts, dark jackets and medium-to-large purses.  I’m suspecting that the wardrobe comes from the boutique at Family of Woodstock which offers fabulous opportunities for creative self expression.  (Some of Woodstock’s best dressed citizens shop there exclusively.)

Woodstock also has a special, elite collection of Colorful Characters in Training.  I see the face of God in their eyes.  A couple of them were regulars at the pantry when I was there.  I don’t know if they still pantry shop  or not.

But, this I do know.  Their reality grids are special.  Their gifts are wondrous.  For the most part, they are comfortable in their bodies here.  They are comfortable living in Woodstock. We in Woodstock are blessed to have them.

They are never, not under any circumstances that I can imagine, going to look before they cross the street.

And, actually, I feel that way about the whole bunch of us.  None of us – not the 50+ cotton top seniors, not the Colorful Characters, not the Trainees…

and certainly  the tourists are  ever, not even in your wildest dreams, going to look:





as we take off across the street.

Thanks for reading this blog.

The stories in this blog are true.  The people are real.

Please share this article with your preferred social media network.

Don’t forget to join the email list.

Michele Garner donated  the artwork for this post.

Christine Dempsey wrote the inspiring Facebook post.

Melissa Lovaglio shared Christine’s name with me.

Thurman Greco





A Swimsuit Summer in Woodstock


Summer in Woodstock can be mystical and magical.  Tourists flock to the town almost every day leaving $$$ in the stores and taking shopping bags with them.  It wasn’t always this way.  Between 2008 and 2012, shopping bags were scarce as unicorns.  People came, walked around town, got in their cars, and took off.

But, no more.  At the very least, they buy a cone at Taco Juan’s, a necklace at Gwen’s Gems and a coffee at Bread Alone.  I’m happy to see them.  And, I’m  extremely happy to see the shopping bags they carry.  When people leave carrying  shopping bags in their hands, we have a good chance of not looking at too many vacant store fronts next winter.

Two places the tourists don’t know much about are Maria’s and Harmony.  We residents can enjoy our town without too many of the tourists gawking when we visit those 2 places.

Maria’s, located across from Bread Alone and behind Sparkles,  has the best breakfast in town.  I love the place and wish I could go everyday but somehow that never happens.  I’m in the breakfast crowd but Maria’s also has wonderful food for lunch or dinner.  The pasta dishes are created with  pastas made in her daughter’s own Bella Pasta factory on Route 28.   Her salmon is to “die” for.  I love her desserts.

I occasionally go into Harmony, the local music cafe located on Mill Hill Road.  It’s right across the street from Catskill Mountain Pizza.  I occasionally go into Harmony on Monday or Tuesday evenings for a dinner of oriental food and I feel like I own the place.  No one else is in the dining room.  I usually arrive about 6:15 and the evening poetry readings or music event hasn’t begun yet.

The most summer fun event to be had in town costs not 1 cent and it’s not on Tinker Street.  The most summer fun to be had is at the corner of Tannery Brook, Ohayo Mountain Road and Millstream  Road.  Actually, it’s under the bridge there.

That’s where the summer swimming hole is.  Most of the bathers  walk past my parking lot on Tannery Brook and then past the Inn on the Millstream.  .  Young, mostly, with tiny swimsuits, they’re excited about an afternoon and early evening in the water and on the banks of the stream.  It’s a procession marked by skin, water,  and the promise of a summer moon.

Most of the excitement comes down the street as they head to the stream.  But, they don’t all walk down Tannery Brook.  Some of them drive up Millstream  Road and park along the edge of the pavement just before they get to the bridge.

And, they don’t all arrive wearing tiny swimsuits.    Some of them, the ones I used to see at the pantry every week,  don’t have the luxury of a swimsuit so they enjoy the water in their street clothes.

Every summer day, one of Woodstock’s Colorful Characters walks carefully down to the stream…alone and barefooted.  He makes a point of either getting to the stream ahead of everyone or arriving last after the place has emptied out so he can enjoy the beauty of the place, the cleansing effect of the water, all to himself.

But, swimsuit or not, after an afternoon playing in the water, they walk back on Taannery Brook much slower than when they came.  Whatever they wear will dry on its own in the summer heat.

These warm summer days and summer moons are to be enjoyed, cherished really.  For, all too soon, we’ll be wearing our new winter boots.  A seasonal ritual practiced by Woodstockers each fall is to show up in town wearing winter boots right after Labor Day.

When the winter boots come out, the swimsuit summer days punctuated by skin, water, and summer moons become a memory…maybe even less.

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Photography by Renee Ruwee

Thurman Greco


George, George, Richard, Vito, Alex and…Another Woodstock Secret

snowy branch


We all have an idea of things we’d like to find in heaven.

For me…if I had my druthers, I’d have jazz on Sunday mornings.

Well, now I don’t have to wait to die and try to sweet talk St. Peter into letting me get into heaven to hear the Sunday Morning Jam.


Sunday Morning Jam is alive and well in Woodstock.

It’s FREE and it’s at Upstate Films.

All you have to do is show up a little after 10 on Sunday morning and enjoy the fun until about 2:00.

Today they played until about noon and then had a coffee break.  They offered me coffee.  Can you imagine that?  They not only let me in free but they offered me coffee!

Jazz was offered by George on keyboard, George on drums, Rich on clarinet,  Vito on horns, and Alex on drums.

Amaretta came – a true diva singer.

I enjoyed Angel Eyes, St. Louis Blues, The Girl from Ipanema, At the Mambo Inn, Everytime We Say Goodbye, Ask Me Now,  among other favorites. The music changes over time as the players change.

“New artists are welcome to come and try out songs with us” George said.  “We’re open here.  We’re all about playing  and sharing music.  It’s how we all get better.”  This attitude takes us all back to music as it was played in the ’70s.  Famous musicians made themselves available to the younger and newer ones.  It was a way of life for musicians.  It was a lifestyle.  It was a vibe.

This vibe looms large over the whole theater on Sunday mornings.

Come join in the fun.  Sunday Morning Jam at Upstate films is a special  bit of heaven.  The rotating roster of musicians makes it very easy to be a regular.

Thanks for reading this blog.  The information shared here is absolutely true.  The people are real.


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Thurman Greco