I put my walking project in Manhattan on hold to participate in other activities that I was organizing during the month of December. Trips in the city became day trips to the museums, walking tours and many holiday events that was I was invited to or helped organize for other people.
Some of the memorable events I had was organizing my holiday party at work. I work with the disabled who are a very active bunch of people. I make sure that there is always exercising, stimulating speakers and lively engaging conversation. These are not people who will ever sit on the back of the bus if I can help it. I always want them to know you can get better and make better of any situation.
We had a lively party with exercise, music and good food. As I do every year, I have the Bamboo House 28 South Broad Street in Ridgewood, a small Chinese restaurant, cater the party (see my reviews on TripAdvisor) with wonderful lunch specials. You have to try their SubGum Wonton Soup, Mom’s Dumplings and Crystal Garlic chicken. This little hole in the wall is amazing and the owner, Mrs. Woo, has been a real friend over the years. She has been so accommodating to me over the years. She helped me out when my father and I used to eat there before our water aerobic class and my dad loved the food there. It was a lively afternoon of good food, wonderful conversation and holiday cheer. Everyone had a nice time.
All these project took their toll on me as well as getting ready for entertaining my family after the holidays. I had to prepare brunch for twelve and clean the house and touch up the lawn before the visit. Even in the beginning of the Winter, the temperature was at 60 degrees and the lawn was growing.
I was able to sneak into the city after all the work was done and before I left for Woodstock to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1000 Fifth Avenue for a Christmas concert in the Musical Instruments Wing with a pipe organ I never knew the museum had and a brass trio from Columbia University. It was an afternoon of lively holiday favorites with a sing along and a lot of cheering. I got to see the tree in the Medieval Wing again before it would be taken down for the season. It is something you should really see when visiting New York during the holidays.
I spent my second Christmas holiday enjoying the natural beauty and spirituality of Woodstock, New York. Last year it was a place of escape but this year it was a place of relaxation and reflection. I put the holidays into perspective and took a good long look at my life. Of what I have accomplished and what I want to accomplish. It is the most quiet and peaceful place to do it in.
I came up for the Village Parade on Christmas Eve night, a tradition in the town for over 50 years. Every year they try to find a more creative way to have Santa Claus appear and the anticipation is a lot of fun to watch. Last year though it rained like crazy but this year it was warm, clear and enjoyable. It was 70 degrees that night.
It is such a lively parade and a real family orientated event. There must have been hundreds of people lining the streets of this small hamlet, that like Rhinebeck, is beautifully and creatively decorated for Christmas. There a unique store displays with colored lights around the buildings and windows, festive displays around the stores and colorfully lit Christmas tree right in the town square, something out of a postcard.
Christmas in Woodstock, NY 2015
Well, every year they try to top the way Santa appears in the parade and they didn’t disappoint this year as Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny appeared first and then a hat inflated on the float and then there was smoke and steam and then Santa appeared in a explosion of confetti. Everyone cheered and applauded when Santa appeared and he climbed off the float and greeted everyone. He got to the square and started to meet with the local children.
Christmas Parade in Woodstock, NY 2015
Christmas Parade Woodstock, NY 2015
While the kids were taking their requests to Santa, I went over to listen to the Christmas concert by the Dutch Reformed Church performed by jazz singer, Lindsay Webster.
Lindsey Webster, a local singer and her band was singing Christmas carols on the lawn of the church. I had heard her in concert the year before and her and her band are excellent. She knows how to sing ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’. I asked her keyboard player if they cut a holiday album and note to everyone we my have to wait until next year.
Christmas Parade Woodstock, NY 2014 (My first Christmas in Woodstock, NY)
As soon as the parade starts, it is over. The whole place has to clear out by 6:45pm so that the Dutch Reformed Church can hold mass at 7:00pm. I had to run back to change clothes for mass.
The Dutch Reformed Church at 16 Tinker Street does things so differently then then the church that I go to, it is so much more lively. Their choir and bell chorus makes the mass so much better. Plus the pastor is very inspiring with his sermon on the meanings of Christmas and how it is in our lives.
After mass, it was another dinner at Joshua’s at 51 Tinker Street off the square, which was beautifully decorated with lights all over the trees in front of the restaurant and display in the windows (see the review on TripAdvisor) and then a walk around the square before I went to bed.
The square where the Christmas Tree is located was so quiet and peaceful it is a great place to wait for Santa. I just sat there and looked at the tree. No one else was in the square but me and I forgot how much I missed this spot from last year. It was quiet reflection. I really did think I would see Santa that night.
This is what Woodstock, NY should look like in the Winter. Not the Spring Weather I had!
I almost thought that when the burglar alarm was set off at five in the morning. I had to call the owner of the Village Green B & B where I was going to reset the alarm and that he had better check it in the morning. I thought Santa was trying to get out.
After a restful wake up three hours later and a leisurely breakfast, I was on the phone with relatives and friends from nine in the morning until about one thirty in the afternoon. After long conversations with people I have not spoke with in a while and wanting to go to the movies at four, I got out of the B & B and toured around the Catskills for the afternoon. Since it was Christmas Day, it was extremely quiet.
My journey took me up Route 28 to Phoenicia and the Pine Hill area again like last year but I decided to take another turn and drive through Route 214 and go up to Tannersville and Hunter. The drive through the mountains is very inspiring. I now know why so many writers and painters live up there.
Phoenicia was extremely quiet and being 67 degrees, it gave me the energy to walk around the downtown. I could not believe how depressed the town got in just one year. So many businesses either closed or had moved to another spot. That was not a good sign. Still a picture perfect town nestled in the hills but even I could tell the tourists have stayed away.
The only life in the town that day was at the Phoenicia Fire Department as they were having their annual Christmas Party and it was still going strong long into the afternoon. Last year it broke up by one.
Even thought there were no leaves on the trees, the site of the forest was still breath taking and scenic. There were barely any cars on the road until I got to Tannersville, NY, a quirky little town on a quiet highway up in the mountains.
There was not life there either as only one restaurant was open to a small crowd of people and a deli selling coffee to a steady stream of locals. This was a very artsy town with a performing arts center and a few galleries but even I wondered how much art must these people have to sell to stay open in this location. I almost had lunch here but traveled on.
I drove through hills and gorges and came across a waterfall that I did not find too exciting but cars full of Asian tourists seem to love. The parking lot was jammed with people walking over to take pictures,
The remainder of my journey took me back to Woodstock to go to Upstate Films to the movies and dinner at Little Bear Chinese Restaurant at 295 Tinker Street in Bearsville, NY . There I saw the largest crowd of people that whole day as the restaurant was packed with hungry diners who had come after the movies for dinner. The whole place was so jammed with people trying to eat at once that the service was rushed and the food overcooked for the most part (see my review on TripAdvisor).
My last evening was spent in the square again, doing some writing by the Christmas tree. Even though it was’t the most beautiful tree it seemed to fit the town nicely with it’s artsy look and beautifully strung lights. It fit the mood of a hipster Christmas.
Leaving the next day was hard because I was so relaxed. I walked around the busy square which had come back to life with locals and tourists doing their business. Woodstock is a very special place and I will always remember my Christmas’s here fondly.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!
Places to Visit:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Open: Sunday-Thursday-10:00am-5:30pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm
Woodstock, NY: Annual Christmas Parade Christmas Eve night
Village Green B & B
12 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
Dutch Reformed Church for Christmas Eve Mass
16 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
Places to Dine:
28 South Broad Street
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 11:30am-10:00pm
51 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY 12498
Open: Sunday-10:00am-9:00pm/Monday-Friday-10:00am-10:00pm/Closed Wednesday/Saturday 10:00am-11:00pm
Little Bear Chinese Restaurant
295 Tinker Street Street B
Bearsville, NY 12409
Please watch this video of the parade. I credit the contributor of the video of the parade. It really is a magical night. I credit the contributors of YouTube for these videos.
This video was from my first year in Woodstock, NY when it poured like crazy.