Thursday, September 18, 2014

Free Audio Driving Tour of Rt 28

Chichester resident and all around nice guy, Brett Barry, has produced a free audio tour of scenic Rt 28 right here in Shandaken. Many local residents participated including WCA member Harry Jameson. Here is some information about the audio tour and link to download it. Thanks for bringing this to us, Brett!


New York –– September 17, 2014 –– A free one-hour driving guide featuring unforgettable sounds, stories and characters of the Central Catskills is now available as a free digital recording.

Produced by Brett Barry of Silver Hollow Audio, the guide can be downloaded at, to be played on mobile devices while traveling along 50 miles of NYS Route 28 between Olive in Ulster County and Andes in Delaware County. CDs may also be ordered on the website, and will be made available to area outlets later this fall.

The program is not so much a site by site tour guide detailing specific locales – though many are mentioned – but rather a collection of narratives by 11 people who share stories of love, work and play in the Catskills. They speak of history and legend, nature and outdoor fun, music and food, poetry and art, and in their voices we get a sense of the region’s heart and soul. 

The project is the first of a series of themed audio tours to promote the proposed Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway (Route 28). Official State designation of the Byway is still awaited, but the coordinating organization, the Central Catskills Collaborative, is wasting no time promoting travel on the beautiful highway that traverses two counties, four towns, two villages and some of the most breathtaking scenery in the East.

“Guides” heard on the audio tour were interviewed in appropriate environments, allowing us to hear, for example, the gurgle of Rochester Hollow stream and the clank of dishes at the Phoenicia Diner.

Speakers include Bill Rudge of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation discussing the Catskill Park, and Diane Galusha of the Catskill Watershed Corporation, explaining the region’s significance as the source of most of the water for New York City.

Columnist and gourmand Joe Munster describes some memorable meals at local restaurants; and Mike Cioffi, explains how he went from being the owner of a theatrical scenery company to proprietor of the Phoenicia Diner. 

Fishing guide Mark Loete expounds on the quiet thrill of flyfishing; and Harry Jameson takes listeners along for a ride on his Town Tinker Tube Rental bus full of excited Esopus Creek tubers.

Mary Lou Stapleton, whose family goes back several generations in the Oliverea Valley, tells the legend of Winnisook, the “Big Indian” that gave that hamlet its name.

Bill Birns talks about the evolution of the historic village of Fleischmanns, and explains the attraction and resonance of the nature essays of Catskill native John Burroughs. Musician Steve Koester tells how Burroughs’ essays inspired him to compose a suite of songs, some of which, played by the John Burroughs Locust & Wild Honey Mountain Orchestra, are heard in the audio guide.

Tom Tar explains how winter skiing and summer concerts make Belleayre Mountain in Highmount among the busiest places on the Byway; while at the end of the tour, George Ballantine remembers growing up in sleepy Andes, where he later created a public park on the crystal clear Tremperskill stream.

New York actress and part-time Catskills resident Kathleen McNenny provides narrated segues throughout the audio guide, and broadcast journalist Rolland Smith recites an excerpt from John Burroughs’ essay, “Speckled Trout.”

The project was supported by the New York Council for the Humanities, in coordination with the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Local sponsors include The Emerson Resort, and Keegan Ales.

Brett Barry and Silver Hollow Audio have produced hundreds of audiobooks, broadcast promos, and public radio segments, from their audio studio in Chichester, NY.

For information and interviews:

Brett Barry, Silver Hollow Audio, 845-688-7333;

Carol O’Beirne, Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, 845-586-3300;