Tag Archives: Woodstock Holiday Parade

Day Sixty-Three: Christmas in Woodstock, NY Again: December 24th-25th, 2016

I traveled to Woodstock, NY for my third Christmas upstate to see the Christmas Parade in downtown Woodstock and go to Christmas Eve services at the Dutch Reformed Church. After that, a quiet dinner out and then a drive by the town Christmas tree. It has been my Christmas tradition since my father passed away. I like the calm and the beauty of Upstate New York. I like to relax after the hustle of the holidays.

I love the trip up to the Hudson Valley region. After going to school up here for two years, (Alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America Class of ’98, Honors and Perfect Attendance) I have never gotten over how glorious this region can be in the early winter. The leaves have already fallen but the hills and streams are still so impressive. It is also not that far from home and the area is fun to explore. Woodstock is not exactly isolated but it is further off the beaten path.

I love how the town is decorated for the holidays. The tree on the square is a classic every year with plain colorful lights with the backdrop of the lit Dutch Reformed Church, several well decorated businesses and the Village Green B & B behind it (where I stayed the year before). The whole square lit for the holidays can put any non-believer in the Christmas mood. It is classic New England Christmas.

Woodstock Christmas Eve

The Green in Downtown Woodstock, NY

The Parade in Woodstock is unusual in the way it is timed. It starts when the last bus leaves the square  for New York City at 5:15pm and must be over at 6:30pm before the Dutch Reformed Church starts its 7:00pm services. It runs like a well-oiled machine. The second that bus leaves the square, I swear I saw the police and fire department had those roads fast.

I got up early around 4:00pm knowing from past history that you will never get into town if you don’t get arrive before 5:00pm. I stayed this year at the Woodstock Inn at the Millstream (See review on TripAdvisor). What a beautiful and unique little hotel. I was talking with the manager, Karen, when I arrived and she said that it was an old motel that the owners found and fixed up. It is the most unassuming and beautiful place to stay.

Woodstock Inn at Millstream.jpg

Woodstock Inn at Millstream

It is just off the beaten path off the downtown and within walking distance of downtown. It has the picturesque location right by the Mill Stream. It must truly show itself in the summer months when you can sit under the shade trees and look at the stream.

There was a large size crowd this year for the parade but not as big as last year when the temperature was 70 degrees (the hottest in history of record keeping). The temperature was a balmy 42 degrees. Very seasonable. Still there was a lot of energy in the crowd as we all waited to see how Santa would arrive.

Santa did not disappoint and with the help of the Woodstock Fire Department, Santa made his appearance  via a Partridge in a Pear tree.  It is the most anticipated part of the parade to see how Santa will make his appearance. Last year it was via a magic hat with a snowman dancing around.

As Santa exited the fire truck and was greeted with Mrs. Claus who arrived on another float, the crowd stood in line for their turn to talk to Santa. The jazz band started to play outside the church. That was the one part of the parade I was disappointed with, in that every year that I have been up in Woodstock, Lindsay Webster and her band, had entertained everyone with her version of jazz Christmas carols. That the parade to me. It was Woodstock’s own stamp to the holidays (Ms. Webster and her band I found out later were touring in Europe for the holidays).

Here’s a clip from the parade in Downtown Woodstock, NY

For the next hour, people were milling around the square, listening to bands, eating snacks in the local restaurants (there is an place called ‘Shindig’ on the square that makes the most mind-blowing mac & cheese, See my review on TripAdvisor) and meeting up with their neighbors and friends. It really does have the small town feel about it as unlike Sinterklass in Rhinebeck a few weeks earlier that is attracting larger crowds. Woodstock attracts crowds but still keeps it small due to the restrictions of time.

I swear by 6:30pm, the crowds started to thin out and the band wrapped it up and were putting equipment away before the church doors opened by 6:45pm. I entered the church about ten to seven and most people including Santa were wrapping things up.

Christmas Eve service at the Dutch Reformed Church is always special to me. The church run such informal and welcoming service. It is so different from Catholic services, where we spend the whole service standing up and sitting down. The Church was decorated all over with garland and bows and candles. The Church was build in the 1800’s so it does have the old wooden pews that us modern folk have to squeeze into and there are two levels so you look up and see more parishioner’s.

Dutch Reformed Church Woodstock

Dutch Reformed Church on the Green in Woodstock, NY

The service started with a combo playing all sorts holiday music and then we were welcomed by members of the Church to the holiday mass. The service is lively with many Christmas songs that the audience participates in and the service I have always found very inspirational and enlighten. Reverend Josh has a real passion in making people feel comfortable in Church. His sermons actually say something and he makes it more personable.

There are those little touches that I don’t see in my local Church such as the bell choir and lighting the candles during the last part of mass. If you really want to see something its a Church fully lit with candles in the pitch black. Does that make an effect inside a Church the way the light played off the woodwork and decorations.

After Church, it was the most uninspiring visit to Cucina, an Italian restaurant in Woodstock. After two disappointing years at Joshua’s on the Green, I decided to try something different. As much as the restaurant is beautifully decorated and appointed and the service friendly and accommodating, the food is dismal. It had no flavor and its presentation was less than perfect (See review on TripAdvisor).

I went back to my room to change and then I took a walk to the Green to look at the stars. I swear you can almost touch them up here. It is also nice to have the whole Green to yourself. It is fun to just sit and look at the tree and the well light store fronts. It is so quiet and peaceful it really gives you a chance to sit back and reflect on the year. I could not believe another Christmas had come again.

I had never seen a year come and go so fast. Time does have a way of passing by quickly without you noticing it. Even so, looking up at the stars and the moon, it really does make you want to catch a glimpse for Santa’s sleight passing by. It was just one of those nights.

The next morning after an amazing nights sleep with the sound of a stream passing by and a great breakfast of homemade granola (Karen makes this and it is excellent) and fresh fruit, I made my traditional phone calls to my family and friends and play catch up beyond all the Christmas cards that I sent out earlier in the month. Everyone was happy to hear from me and I had nice conversations with my cousins who lived in different states and friends that I had not heard from in a long time.

I had visited my friend, Lillian, who lives in Assisted Living out on Long Island earlier in the week and talked with other friends earlier in the month, so it was nice just to exchange well-wishes. After sending out about eight boxes of Christmas cards, the lines of communication between myself and my friends and family are excellent.

Then I took a long drive up into the Catskill Mountains. I know why the place is so inspirational to writers and painters, it is just so beautiful and graceful of a place. The mountains are just so picturesque even with no leaves on the ground.

It is sad that many of the small town on Route 28 have gotten so depressed. Even Phoenicia that had so many nice little restaurants and shops two years earlier, things have just closed down. The further I went up Route 28, the more depressed it got. Pine Hill is run down, Fleishman is the same, in Margaretville each of the buildings could have used a good paint job and it was not until I got to Andes did I see a little spark of vibrancy. There were some nice little shops and places to eat.

I was taking this tour to visit Bovina Center, which is off Route 28 on Route 6 in the middle of a farming community to visit the Bushman Eating House, a restaurant I had read about in a magazine. I was hoping to have lunch there but unfortunately like most things on Christmas Day, it was closed. Maybe sometime in the Spring when the weather is nicer (See trip to Cornell University Day Seventy-Seven in MywalkinManhattan.com).

Brushland Eating House

Bovina Center Brushland Eating House

I made a turnaround and went down Route 10, past the SUNY campus in Delhi, which is located in the quaint little town of Delhi and through Stamford and other smaller towns and then to Tannersville to see some of the closed galleries and then back down Route 214 through Phoenicia again which really closed for the night.

I ate at Little Bear (see review on TripAdvisor) by 5:30pm and enjoyed another Chinese meal there before the crowds beseeched on the only restaurant open in a ten mile radius.  When I mean that this place gets packed for the evening, it gets packed. I finished my meal at 5:00pm and the line was already 20 deep with the phones ringing off the hook for to go orders. People can be so pushy especially here when they are hungry.

The food at Little Bear is usually very good but on Christmas Day they just can’t handle the crowds and it suffered the year before. You have to get here before the first movie lets out at 6:30pm. After that it is ciaos until 9:00pm. I had delicious Shu Mai starter followed by Mu Shu pork and a order of Dragon & the Phoenix (shrimp and chicken combo), both which were good but tepid. They need more help during the holidays (See review on TripAdvisor). They have a hard time just keeping up with the to go orders let alone seating people. Otherwise, the one time I ate here when it was quiet, the food was wonderful.

I thought about a movie after dinner but settled on another walk to the Green. It was just too beautiful of a night to sit in the movies when I could walk around town. With all the lights on at the downtown businesses and the tree lit in the Green, it just felt like Christmas Day night. Like Santa had just visited and people were just enjoying time with their families. A few people were walking their dogs or just looking at the tree in the Green with their children.

Christmas in Woodstock,NY

To me, Woodstock, New York is just such a nice place to come to celebrate Christmas. So quiet, so picturesque and serene and relaxing. It is a place that you can sit, think and reflect on the year.

Merry Christmas to you all & a Happy New Year!

 

If you like this blog, check out my other Christmas visits to Woodstock, NY on:

Day Thirty-Four: Christmas in Woodstock, NY 2015:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/662

 

Places to stay:

The Woodstock Inn at Mill Stream

48 Tannery Brook Road

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 679-8211

https://www.woodstock-inn-ny.com/

My TripAdvisor review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48915-d80289-Reviews-The_Woodstock_Inn_on_the_Millstream-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to eat:

Cucina

109 Mill Hill Road

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 679-9800

info@cucinawoodstock.com

Hours: Sunday 11:00am-9:30pm/Monday-Thursday 5:00pm-9:30pm/Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm

My Review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48915-d1457080-Reviews-Cucina-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Little Bear Chinese Restaurant

295 Tinker Street, Street B

Bearsville, NY  12409

(845) 679-8849

http://littlebearchineserestaurant.com/

Open: Sunday-Thursday 12:00pm-10:00pm/Friday-Saturday 12:00pm-11:00pm

My TripAdvisor review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47293-d3216488-Reviews-The_Little_Bear-Bearsville_New_York.html?m=19905

Shindig

1 Tinker Street

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 684-7091

Open:

Sunday-9:00am-9:00pm/Tuesday-10:00am-9:00pm/Thursday 9:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 9:00am-10:00pm

shindig1Tinker@yahoo.com

My TripAdvisor review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48915-d7376319-Reviews-Shindig-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

The Dutch Reformed Church

16 Tinker Street

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 679-6610

https://www.woodstockreformedchurch.org/Home/who-we-are

 

 

 

Day Thirty-Four: Returning to Woodstock, NY for the Christmas Eve Parade and the Christmas Holidays December 25th, 2015

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 Sub Gum 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 still cutting and edging the lawn into January.

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.

christmasinwoodstock2cny

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.

Dutch Reformed Church Woodstock.jpg

The Dutch Reformed Church in Woodstock, NY

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.

Jousha's II.jpg

Jousha’s Restaurant at the holidays

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.

christmasinwoodstock2cny

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 (see review on TripAdvisor) 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!

 

If you like this visit to Woodstock, NY for Christmas, check on my return to Woodstock, NY on Day Sixty-Three:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/3408

 

Places to Visit:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(800) 622-3397

http://www.metmuseum.org

Open: Sunday-Thursday-10:00am-5:30pm/Friday & Saturday 10:00am-9:00pm

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d105125-Reviews-The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Woodstock, NY: Annual Christmas Parade Christmas Eve night

Places to Stay:

Village Green B & B

12 Tinker Street

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 679-0313

info@VillageGreenbb.com

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48915-d80284-Reviews-Village_Green_Bed_and_Breakfast-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Worship on Christmas:

 

Dutch Reformed Church for Christmas Eve Mass

16 Tinker Street

Woodstock, NY  12498

(845) 679-6610

 

Places to Dine:

Bamboo House

28 South Broad Street

Ridgewood, NJ  07450

(201) 447-3111

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 11:30am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46772-d3998588-Reviews-Bamboo_House-Ridgewood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

 

Jousha’s

51 Tinker Street

Woodstock, NY  12498

http://www.joushaswoodstock.com

(845) 679-5533

Open: Sunday-10:00am-9:00pm/Monday-Friday-10:00am-10:00pm/Closed Wednesday/Saturday 10:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48915-d458534-Reviews-Joshua_s-Woodstock_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Little Bear Chinese Restaurant

295 Tinker Street Street B

Bearsville, NY  12409

(845) 679-8899

Open: Sunday-Thursday-12:00pm-10:00pm/Friday-Saturday-12:00pm-11:00pm review

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47293-d3216488-Reviews-The_Little_Bear-Bearsville_New_York.html?m=19905

 

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.