Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mystery Spot In Daily Freeman

Phoenicia's own Mystery Spot was showcased in the Daily Freeman a few days ago. Owner Laura Levine talks about the items in the store from her private collections. Anyone who has ever been in the store knows that she has a lot of cool retro items for sale besides the things she keeps for herself. Check out the Freeman article when you get the chance.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

I want to wish everyone who celebrates a Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a wonderful day!

Here is another touching holiday poem from Woodland Valley's own Mike O'Neil. Enjoy!


Somewhere is the Christmas list I crayoned out to Santa,

Somewhere are the ashes from the evening’s lovely fire,

Somewhere are my parents, who swept me off to bed,

To dream of the saint who would soon shoot down our chimney.

All of that is here, as I number seventy-two.


Mike O'Neil aka Boreegard

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lots Of Rain

For everyone who is wondering what is going on in the valley weather-wise, you can relax. All the precipitation that has fallen in the last two days has been in the form of rain. Last week we woke up every morning for about 5 days to a dusting of snow on the cars. So there was a light covering over everything. There was also still some deeper snow and ice on the ground from the last storm.  But all the rain is melting that away. The forecast is for heavy rain today and then warm through Christmas. So my hope is that everything will be melted by the end of the week. But we shall see. I will of course try and keep you posted.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Boreegard Listens To An Aging Cat

Here is another wonderful bit of poetry from WCA member Mike O'Neil aka Boreegard. 


I looked Tony straight in the eye today,

As I plucked one more tick from his hide,
And asked, “Why, old lad, do you insist on,
Rolling on the early wet spring ground?”

“Oh Boss,” he said, “I’m old and I walk
Slowly—as I notice you do too.  I
Cannot race to catch the errant Carolina Wren,
Or that chipmunk packing in the birdfeeder spillings.”

“Isn’t the sun nice, filtering through the greening woods,
And your scratching and smoothing of my back,
Makes me feel purr purr purr,
Can there be a nicer moment in this uncertain world?”

Saturday December 20, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Chanakah - Playing Catch Up Again

I find myself once again behind in my blog posting. First, let me say Happy Chanakah to all the many Jewish families here in Woodland Valley! I hope you have a great holiday! By the way, if someone could advise me of the correct spelling of Chanakah I would be eternally grateful. I have seen it spelled Chanukah, Chanukkah, Hannukah, Hanukkah and more. If anyone could help this shiksa out on this topic it would be greatly appreciated. And even if I can't quite get a grip on the proper holiday spelling my heart is true when I wish you all the best this holiday season!

There is a lot going on in these parts right now so I have posted several other bits of local news below this post. So be sure to scroll down to see everything. Sorry I have been posting in larger chunks these days. But work has been very busy for me and I do the best I can.

So just to completely update you all, the weather in the valley has been a bit warmer in the last few days. Temperatures have gotten near 40 and the snow we had lying around is melting away. But there is still a fair amount of ice around so watch your step if you are coming to the valley and haven't been here in awhile.

So that's it for now. As always, I will try to keep you posted.

Library Almost Home

Here is the latest news from the folks at the Phoenicia Library.

Phoenicia Library is moving

into its renovated 

location on Main Street. 

New and Used Items



at Ava Maria 


Please contact the 


for information.

Computer/Internet “CafĂ©” at 9 Ava Maria location:  Volunteers will open the building  for public use of computers and internet.  Days and times will be posted in advance and won’t follow our usual hours.
Friday, January 2nd, 2015:  New Year, New Library!  The Phoenicia Library re-opens at 48 Main Street, all our usual library and computer services start again.
 Saturday, Jan. 17th 11-3:  Please join us at our Grand Opening Party with refreshments and entertainment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What services will be available during the closure?
Phoenicia Library will not be operating as a library until January 2nd. However, starting about the 2nd week of December, there will be limited hours at Ava Maria for use of our computers and internet. Hours will be posted in advance at both libraries, and on our webpage.
Where do I get my books during the closure?
Once we close: if you wish to obtain a book during this time, please have it sent to another library that is convenient to you, such as Olive or Pine Hill libraries, for pickup. When you place a hold online, you may choose a library other than Phoenicia for pick up location. That library will contact you to let you know the hold is there. Otherwise, all books that are coming from other libraries will be available for pickup once we open at Main Street in January.
Where do I return my books?
You can return them into our drop box at either location, and volunteers will drop them off at another library periodically. Or, you can bring them to another library, especially if time is a concern.
What if I need to contact the library while you are closed?
Our phones will be down for a short while during the move, but you can call if it is urgent at 688-7811. Please be patient as we attempt to get back to you. You can always call another library if you need help getting a specific item delivered to another library while we are closed.
Thank you for all your help since the fire. Thanks to you we are almost home!

ESRM Christmas Party

Don't forget that the Christmas festivities in Phoenicia this Saturday, December 20th include a party at the Empire State Railway Museum. The celebration at the museum is from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and features many fun things to do. There will be model trains, live music, mini-train rides, cider, popcorn and Santa himself. So go visit the museum on Saturday for some holiday fun!

More Great Press

Once again a travel magazine has pronounced the Catskills a great place to visit (we already know that!). Below is the latest in the string of articles voting us among the best places to travel in 2015. Looks like we made number 3 on this list. Travel and leisure has a big circulation so get set for even more tourists (you didn't think it was possible did you?) in the coming months. But all kidding aside, these kind of articles help support the wonderful businesses and restaurants in our area so I think this is great!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Celebrate Christmas Next Saturday In Phoenicia

PHOENICIA CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION DAY!!! December, Saturday 20th - Stores open until 9pm! Pick your favorite event or come to all, anyway peruse the charming shops and discover the new restaurants in Phoenicia!( open late!) 

11 a.m. - STS Playhouse's annual Christmas Show (Free) with skits, songs and lots o? fun for all. 

1 p.m. - Empire State Railroad Museum Party; starts with Santa's arrival at 1, with model trains, mint-train rides, live music, and munchies 

5:30 p.m. - Bonfire with free cookies and hot cider at Mama's Boy, with caroling! Bring your candles and sing along! 

6:30 p.m. - "gaudete," A free Concert at the Wesleyan Church with members of the Phoenicia and Woodstock Choirs. 

8:00 p.m. - SantaLand Diaries at STS Playhouse. David Sedaris' Account of stints as a Santa elf (not suitable for young audiences) . Admission reduced to $15.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Done For Now

This last winter storm seems to be over for the most part. We didn't get more than a couple inches here in the valley. Unfortunately, it was wet and slushy snow and now with the dropping temperatures it is frozen solid. So for the most part any snow you see has ice underneath. Temps tonight are in the teens but are forecasted to warm early next week. All in all I think we dodged a bullet. The prediction was for a lot more snow then we actually got in the end. The worst accumulations seem to have been to the north and west of us. So that's it for now. All is well in Woodland Valley.

Silent Auction For Phoenicia Primary School

Auction chair, Marcey Brownstein, emailed me with the following message regarding the upcoming silent auction to benefit the Phoenicia Primary School. Here is what Marcey had to say.

On behalf of the Phoenicia Primary PTA, I would like to invite you to our silent auction being held during our holiday crafts fair Friday, December 12 at 3:45 p.m. Bidding will end promptly at 5:15 p.m. Snow date is December 19. There are going to be an amazing array of over 75 items to bid on. We would love to see you there. If you can't make it and wish to  bid by proxy, please email Marcey at Foodandwineinchelsea@gmail.com for a full list and with your proxy bid.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just A Little More

We got a bit of rain here this morning followed by some more snow in the late afternoon/early evening. Nothing too bad, maybe another inch at the top of the valley by the campground. Phoenicia itself got a little more than we did up here, maybe 2 inches tops. But the wet, heavy snow from yesterday has frozen underneath everything making for slippery conditions on driveways and walkways.

The roads weren't too bad when I came home tonight at about 7:30pm. The town trucks have continued to sand and salt to make Woodland Valley Road safer. But I didn't even attempt to drive up my driveway to the house. It is always treacherous when a little slushy snow freezes underneath everything.

I think we are expecting more snow overnight into tomorrow. Hopefully, that will turn out to be pretty minimal as well. That's all for tonight. I will try and do another update tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Weather So Far

Despite the dire predictions of 12-18 inches for this storm the accumulations have been far less at this point. We seem to be riding right on the rain/snow line. I woke up this morning to freezing rain. It changed to snow later in the morning but then spent the rest of the day going back and forth between the two. What is on the ground right now is basically 2 - 3 inches of very, very heavy slushy snow. I went outside to move it and it was very laborious.

There is quite a bit of snow sticking in the trees. While I was out I heard a lot of cracking sounds from the branches breaking under the weight of the heavy, wet snow. The boughs that are not breaking are hanging very low in places. Hopefully, we won't get much wind or I am afraid we will see a lot of branches coming down.

I just checked the radar and it seems like we will have a bit of a break as the first part of this storm moves through. But they are forecasting snow on and off through Thursday so I will try and keep you posted. That's all from here so far. Wherever you are stay warm and safe!

Benefit For Flying Cat

Potluck Dinner & Benefit Concert
for Flying Cat Music
Sunday, December 14
Dinner at 6:00 p.m.
Music at 7:30 (doors at 7:00)
Empire State Railway Museum
70 Lower High Street, Phoenicia, NY 12464
Suggested donation of $10 or more
RSVP recommended to flyingcatmusic@gmail.com
For information email as above
or call 845-688-9453

Flying Cat Music ends its 2014 concert year on Sunday, December 14, with a gala celebration and benefit concert to help defray costs of the ongoing Railway Station Concert Series held at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia. For those fond of festive socializing, the concert will be preceded by a potluck dinner at 6:00 p.m. Admission to the concert portion of the evening begins at 7:00 p.m. with a suggested donation of $10 or more. Music will begin at 7:30. Reservations for this concert at the ESRM may be made by writing flyingcatmusic@gmail.com. For more information please email or call 845-688-9453.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weather For Weekenders 12/5/14

If you are headed this way and want to know what is happening in the valley weather-wise I am here to give you an update. The rain we had this week melted all the snow that was on the ground from last week's storm. But it is frosty up here. The temps got into the teens last night and the forecast for today is saying that another storm is expected starting this afternoon into tomorrow.

The dreaded "wintery mix" phrase, is being thrown around in advance of this weather event. And it sounds like driving through the early evening overnight into tomorrow may be challenging. So do check your local weather outlets before you head north for the weekend. And as always, drive carefully!

Holiday Sale In Phoenicia

Once again I would like to remind all of you that when shopping for holiday gifts think local!!! There are many, many great shops in our area and keeping your money in the community benefits your friends and neighbors directly. And if the person on your shopping list already has everything you can get them a gift certificate for one of the many awesome local restaurants, spas or other services (massages, manicures and pedicures etc) offered in our area. Again, your dollars will go directly to helping the local economy if you shop in town rather than head to the big box stores.

To kick things off there is a craft sale this weekend in Phoenicia. It is Saturday Dec 6th and Sunday Dec 7th from 10am - 5pm at Parish Hall on Main Street in Phoenicia. So go and check it out. I am sure there will be a lot of great stuff on sale!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hunters From Seasons Past

Since hunting season is upon us WV resident historian Rolf Reiss sent me some great old photos of hunters from the past. Here is what Rolf had to say:

"Since it still the season I thought I would share a few images from the early 1900's of successful local hunts.
The first one shows several gents in front of the Central Hotel in Phoenicia including Al Wispell ( the proprietor and stout fellow leaning on the butt of his shotgun) along with several men who unfortunately I have yet to identify. The Central Hotel eventually became Ricciardella's Restaurant and is now awaiting a new purpose. We can only speculate as to whom exactly fired the fatal shot, participated in the hunt or was simply present in town with a rifle or shotgun when the photo was taken.
The second photo taken at the same location seems to include a different cast of characters ( some apparently in their "Sunday go to meeting clothes" ) and a different victim along with a live pet fox on a chain and two adorable imps in the lower left corner sneaking in to the picture.
The last hunt photo was shot in the Woodland Valley Park Association beyond the state campsite.Thanks to our long time resident and avid local historian Linda McDonald who was able to identify the hunter and his son as Fred and Phillip Roberts. Fred was the Association's caretaker for many years. The sign on the tree reads " Automobiles slow down to 8 miles per hour". That was in the days when the old Woodland Valley / Slide Mt. turnpike was still open to cars and connected us to Winnisook Lake, Claryville and beyond."
Best wishes,