Tag Archives: Ulster County

Preserving Civil War Graves in NYS, Revisited


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The Old Ellenville Cemetery, also known as the Leurenkill Cemetery, sits near the American Legion Post 111. It is the oldest public burial ground in the town of Wawarsing (Ulster County), with graves dating back to 1807. The earliest known veterans’ graves are from the War of 1812. This cemetery unfortunately suffers from many of the same problems that other old or abandoned cemeteries encounter. Recently, however, the Old Ellenville Cemetery received a needed financial boost with a combined effort involving the American Legion Post, The Veterans Grave Preservation Project, and Shop Rite in Ellenville. Continue reading

Lecture: Hudson Valley African American Experience


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On Sunday, February 26 at 4:00 pm, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is presenting a special talk, The Missing Chapter, about the lives and working conditions of African-Americans in the Hudson Valley region during the colonial and antebellum periods.

The award-winning presenter, Susan Stessin-Cohn, Director of Education at HHS, will discuss her current research on slavery including the personal stories of several local African-American families over the course of 200 years. The presentation will include information gathered from HHS’s archives as well as the Ulster County Hall of Records, the Senate House, and 18th & 19th century local and national newspapers. Susan will also discuss her virtual “Missing Chapter” exhibit which can be found at www.hrvh.org.

Susan Stessin-Cohn is currently the Director of Education at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz. She was formerly an instructor at SUNY New Paltz and Vasser College and is a past trustee of the Elting Library and a member of the New Paltz Preservation Committee. She now serves on the board of the Ulster County Historical Society, the Southeastern New York Library Resource Council and the Hudson River Valley Heritage Digital Advisory Committee.

For more information, call 845-255-1660, x108 or email Jan Melchior at jan@huguenotstreet.org.

Preserving Civil War Graves in New York State


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Last year, the nation celebrated the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. This momentous occasion, in which over 600,000 individuals lost their lives, profoundly affected New York State as well as the still young nation. New York State not only contributed the most of the northern states, but also paid dearly with the loss of over 50,000 soldiers according to the New York State Military Museum. Continue reading

Women’s Writes: A Reading and Writing Workshop


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The weekend of March 3rd and 4th, Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) is presenting Women’s Writes, a reading and writing workshop featuring two popular authors, Nava Atlas and Kate Hymes. The weekend kicks-off on Saturday, March 3, at 3pm with a guided tour of HHS’s Deyo House, which is set and interpreted in the Edwardian period, a popular time for many celebrated women authors.

At 4pm, Nava Atlas will read from her latest book, The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life, which explores the writing life of twelve celebrated women writers, including such renowned authors as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Madeleine L’Engle, Anais Nin, George Sand, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf through their journals, letters, and diaries. On Saturday evening at 7, the Wallkill Valley Writers will read from their anthology which includes personal essays, poems, and stories.

Sunday, March 4 will feature two three-hour Wallkill Valley Writers Workshops led by Kate Hymes. Session 1 is from 9– 12pm and Session 2 is from 1-4 pm. Anyone with a desire to write, whether a beginner or experienced, is invited to attend these workshops which will be held in a safe environment. Sources culled from the HHS archives and other local history will serve as an inspiration for writing throughout the weekend.

Saturday includes a book signing and refreshments. Fees are as follows: Saturday Deyo House Edwardian tour and reading with Nava Atlas: $15. Saturday evening reading with Wallkill Valley Writers: $5. Sunday per session: $40. Full weekend including one workshop on Sunday: $50.

To register or for more information, call 845-255-1660, x103 or email Jan Melchior at jan@huguenotstreet.org.

About the Presenters

Nava Atlas is the author and illustrator of visual books on family themes, humor, and women’s issues, including The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life (2011), exploring first-person narratives on the writing lives of twelve classic women authors, and commenting on the universal relevance of their experiences to all women who love to write. Secret Recipes for the Modern Wife (2009) is a satiric look at contemporary marriage and motherhood through the lens of a faux 1950s cookbook. Nava Atlas is also the author and illustrator of many books on vegetarian cooking, a book on leafy greens will be on the shelves in the spring of 2012. An active fine artist specializing in limited edition artist’s books and text-driven objects, her work is shown and collected by museums and universities across the U.S.

Kate Hymes, a poet and educator living in the Hudson Valley, leads weekly writing workshops and writing retreats. She has over twenty years experience as an educator with experience teaching writing on college level, and over ten years leading workshops for people who make writing an artistic practice. Kate is certified to lead workshops using the Amherst Writers and Artists method. She has co-led trainings with Pat Schneider and other AWA instructors to teach others how to lead workshops. Kate and Pat also lead the workshop: If We Are Sisters: Black and White Women Writing Across Race. Kate serves as Executive Director of the Hudson Valley/Catskill Partnership: Regional Adult Education Network providing technical assistance and staff development to adult educators in a ten-county region of New York State. Kate currently serves as a member of the Dutchess County Arts Council and as panelist for Special Project, New York State Council on the Arts. She has a Master of Arts in American Literature from SUNY Stony Brook.

Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck’s Tory Son Cornelius?


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Governor George Clinton of New York sat down at his desk, in January 1781, to read a painful letter from Judge Robert Yates. The letter concerned the son of a now deceased acquaintance, Colonel Jonathan Hasbrouck. It involved his oldest son, Cornelius Hasbrouck, who as Clinton read the letter, sat in a Kingston jail tried, convicted, and branded for stealing “sundry oxen and goods and chattels of the United States of America”. Continue reading

Our Newest Contributor A.J. Schenkman


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Please join all of us here at New York History in welcoming our newest contributor A.J. Schenkman. Schenkman teaches in the Lower Hudson Valley and has a particular fondness for teaching history to hard to reach or at-risk adolescents.

He writes about the history of Ulster and Orange counties (which he’ll be covering here on this site) and is the author of two books and numerous articles on Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. He writes a monthly column for the Shawangunk Journal focusing on places such as Kerhonkson, Stone Ridge, Shawangunk, Rosendale, Ellenville, and Cragsmore.

18th Century Militia Muster at Senate House


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In conjunction with The Burning of Kingston Reenactment (sponsored by the First Ulster County Militia, the Queen’s 16th Light Dragoons and the City of Kingston) the 3rd Ulster County Militia will recreate military camp life on the grounds of Senate House State Historic Site on Sunday, October 16, from 10am – 4pm.

18th century activities featured throughout the day include blacksmithing, coopering, cooking, medicine, fur trade and musket firing. Also featured is a Native American camp along with other activities suck as candle dipping, corn husk doll making and 18th century currency. Guests can also enjoy colonial music performed by Rural Felicity and participate in the many hands-on activities.

On October 16, 1777, during the British campaign to control split the colonies, a fleet of 23 ships and 2,000 troops sent North toward Saratoga under General Vaughn stopped at Kingston, then capitol of New York, and burned every building but one.

There is no admission fee to attend this event and as usual Senate House will be open for tours. Admission to Senate House is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors & students and children 12 & under are free.

Senate House State Historic Site is part of a system of parks, recreation areas and historic sites operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the site is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information about this and other upcoming events please call the site at (845) 338-2786.

Photo: Member of the 1st Ulster Militia, courtesy Dean Barnes – 1st Ulster Militia.

September on Huguenot Street


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What is known today as Historic Huguenot Street began in 1678 when twelve French-speaking Huguenots settled on the banks of the Wallkill. Today, steps from downtown New Paltz, HHS features seven stone houses dating to 1705 and a reconstructed 1717 stone church on park-like grounds and offers unique programming to the local community and visitors alike. For more information, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call 845.255.1660 or 1889. Historic Huguenot Street is a National Historic Landmark District and is incorporated as Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, N.Y.

Saturday, September 17, 4pm. Art of the Street: Walking Tour with artist Kevin Cook. Join local landscape painter and Huguenot Street resident Kevin Cook for a unique tour of the site highlighting the fine art found in the museum houses, including works by Asher Durand, DuBois Fenelon Hasbrouck, Julia Dillon and others. Who better to present these fine period works than an artist who is himself especially inspired by the romantic work and ideals of the nineteenth century? Tour begins at the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street.

Wednesday, September 21, 10am to 3pm: Home School Day. With the general rising trend in home-schooling, HHS has set aside a day especially for home-schooled students to come to The Street and experience our history through tours and document-based lessons. We are offering a special new program called A Walk Through Time: One Street, Many Stories for this day. Travel back through time with six individuals whose lives were part of the fabric of the Hudson Valley. Working in small groups, students will use physical artifacts and primary documents to piece together the lives of a Lenape woman, a Revolutionary War soldier, a colonial school girl, a run-away slave, a Civil War soldier and a 19th century student at the Poughkeepsie Academy. Please call ahead with reservations to Susan Stessin-Cohn Director of Exhibits, Educational, and Public Programs @ 255-6738 or contact susan@huguenotstreet.org.

Friday, September 23, 7pm. Local Color: An intimate look at Landscapes with photographer Robert Goldwitz. A Fine Art Photography Opening. At HHS, the preservation of the past is our concentration, while the preservation of the moment is where Robert Goldwitz turns his eye. Robert Goldwitz captures images at opportune instants that speak to the heart of his subject. With a keen eye for composition, light and detail, Rob’s subjects range from the purely realistic to the evocatively abstract. An award-winning photographer, Goldwitz has been featured in one-man and group shows in New York City, Key West and elsewhere. In the DuBois Fort | 81 Huguenot Street. Light refreshments will be served. This event is also an opportunity to meet the new Executive Director of Historic Huguenot Street, Tracy Doolittle McNally.

Sunday, September 25, 11am and 2pm. Ulster Resident’s Day. This day caps off Ulster County Heritage Week, which is designed to highlight the rich culture and tradition that our county has to offer. Historic Huguenot Street is marking the occasion with a special “pay what you wish” day on the Street. Ulster County residents, with proof of residence, can enjoy either our 11am or 2pm guided museum house tour for whatever they wish to contribute. No reservations necessary. Tours begin at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center | 81 Huguenot Street.

Sunday, September 25, 3pm. Certainly Not Silent: Women of the Huguenot Street Archive with Laura Rose. This enlightening presentation breathes life into several women whose paths crossed Huguenot Street whether during their lives or after. The stories are touching, sad, funny — even shocking. Join historical detective Laura Rose as she shares some of the most delectable tales she’s found. In Deyo Hall | 6 Broadhead Avenue.

New Leadership at Huguenot Street


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Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has announced the appointment of Tracy Doolittle McNally as the new Executive Director, effective August 29, 2011. Tracy is an 11th generation descendant of the Huguenot founders of New Paltz. “Ms. McNally has a proven track record professionally in both corporate and non-profit organizations with strong expertise in marketing, development, special events, public relations, and financial management” HHS Board Chair Mary Etta Schneider said in a prepared statement.

McNally has a B.A. from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from SUNY New Paltz School of Business. Most recently McNally was head of the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and was widely recognized as one of Greene County’s top businesswomen. When asked what she thought might be the greatest opportunity in her new position, Tracy said, “Many people think Historic Huguenot Street is about stone houses and a quiet street, but it is so much more than that. We need to continue to make the exciting stories, extensive archives and valuable collections come alive in unique ways. I look forward to working with the Board in accomplishing this.”

Historic Huguenot Street has also announced that Susan Stessin-Cohn has joined the organization to fill the newly created position of Director of Exhibits, Educational and Public Programs. Susan has been involved with HHS for several years in a variety of curatorial, research and education-related roles. Ms. Stessin-Cohn has a Masters of Science in Elementary Education and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Anthropology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Susan has an extensive background as a professor, exhibit curator, archives specialist, curriculum developer and historical consultant as well as being an active volunteer in the community.

Rejoining HHS is Rebecca Mackey, Manager of Programs, Tours, Volunteer Care and the Museum Shop. Rebecca, who has both a B.A. in Women’s Studies and in History, will be responsible for the implementation of educational and public programs.

Jan Melchior will be stepping up from her role as Communications, Design and Development Coordinator to an expanded role as Manager of Promotion and Marketing. Jan brings over twenty five years of experience in marketing, advertising, development and promotion of non-profits.

Mary Etta Schneider, who has been acting as Interim Executive Director, will be resigning that position and will continue in her role as President and Board Chair of HHS.

Senate House Hosting Apple Heritage Day


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Join Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, NY for Apple Heritage Day on Sunday, September 25, 2011 from 12pm – 5pm in conjunction with Ulster County Cultural Heritage Week. Enjoy a variety of 18 century apple related activities to celebrate Ulster County’s long history of apple growing. Afternoon activities include pressing apples for apple cider, making apple butter over an open fire, baking apple sauce cake in a Dutch oven and making dried apple wreaths and dolls. At 1pm and 3pm enjoy the 18th century magic of Bob Olson A.K.A. Mr. Bayly and featured at 2pm and 4pm are children’s puppet shows.

Also throughout the afternoon enjoy 18th century music performed by Rural Felicity and help Senate House wish Johnny Appleseed a happy birthday, born September 26, 1774. Admission to this event is free and as usual Senate House will be open for tours. Fees to tour Senate House are $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for seniors and children 12 and under are free.

Senate House State Historic Site is part of a system of parks, recreation areas and historic sites operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the site is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information about this and other upcoming events call the site at (845) 338-2786 or visit the State Parks website at www.nysparks.com.

Historic Huguenot St Creates New Scholarship Fund


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In 1689, when the founders of New Paltz hired Jean Tebanin as the first schoolmaster in the small settlement, they set a precedent for the community. This focus on education continues today at Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) in both the programs and scholarships offered by the New Paltz organization.

Earlier this month, the organization received a bequest from Lucille Stoeppler Baker. The funds were given with the stipulation that they be used for scholarship assistance. Ms. Baker’s intent was to provide financial help to undergraduate students majoring in historical anthropology.

Dr. Baker, who held degrees from the College of St. Vincent, Fordham University and Cornell University, was devoted to the field of education. She served for twenty-four years as Professor of Sociology at Tompkins Cortland Community College in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She was awarded the college’s first Professor Emerita status in March 1993. The Dr. Lucille S. Baker Learning Commons on campus is named in her honor. Dr. Baker’s interest in Huguenot history grew from a friendship with Kenneth Hasbrouck, the long-time director of HHS, and members of the LeFevre Family Association. She is interred at the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery.

The funds given by Dr. Baker will be used to create the Lucille Stoeppler Baker Memorial Scholarship Fund. With the creation of this fund, Historic Huguenot Street will now have five distinct scholarship funds. Scholarships are offered on an annual basis in collaboration with the Hasbrouck Family Association.

The deadline for scholarship applications is quickly approaching. Submissions must be received by August 31, 2011. More information and guidelines are available at www.huguenotstreet.org or by calling (845) 255-1660.

Millbrook Carriage Road Restoration Project Complete


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The Millbrook Carriage Road, a multi-use carriage road that is used for hiking, biking and horseback riding in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, has reopened following completion of the first of several carriage road restoration projects in the Shawangunk Mountains. The project was made possible in part from a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund and a substantial individual donation.

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Palisades Parks Conservancy, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure.

The Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads offer guests easy access to lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing access to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. T

To support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reach their goal of restoring the entire 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve (which is expected to costs more than $4 million) visit their website.

Preservation Secured for Historic Huguenot Land


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The Open Space Institute (OSI), Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) and the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation have announced the preservation in perpetuity of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, a 56-acre nature preserve located on Huguenot Street in the town and village of New Paltz.

OSI, through its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the Sanctuary for $110,000 on June 21st from Historic Huguenot Street. HHS owns and maintains a National Historic Landmark District which includes a number of historic houses dating to the early 18th century set on ten acres in downtown New Paltz.

HHS acquired the property known as the Harcourt Sanctuary from Hastings Harcourt in 1976 and subsequently established the wildlife sanctuary. In 2009, HHS entered into a Conservation Easement with the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. According to a statement issued to the press, HHS has been focusing its efforts on the historic properties on Huguenot Street and has been searching for a buyer for the Harcourt property. Mary Etta Schneider, President of HHS comments, “It was especially important that we find a buyer that would honor Mr. Harcourt’s original intent to keep the land open to the public and in its natural state. We are delighted to collaborate with OSI and the Nyquist Foundation to make this happen.”

On July 6th, OSI sold the parcel for $55,000 to the Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation. The sale included a restriction requiring the property to be made available to the public in perpetuity for recreational use. Thomas E. Nyquist, chair of the Foundation says, “The acquisition of the Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary reflects a long-existing appreciation of the beauty of the mid-Hudson Valley by the Nyquist family. Through the foundation, the Nyquists are pleased to serve as stewards of the newly-named Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary.”

The Sanctuary contains the “oxbow,” a complex of ponds and wetlands remaining from a tightly curved meander cut off when the Wallkill River straightened its course hundreds of years ago. It has over 1,300 feet of frontage on the Wallkill River and adjoins the Jewett and Khosla farms, two historic Huguenot farms totaling more than 180 acres that were protected by OSI and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust in the “Two Farms” campaign in 2007. The Sanctuary also adjoins land owned by the village of New Paltz containing the Gardens for Nutrition, a community-supported public gardening area.

“With the generous participation of the Nyquist Foundation, we are thrilled to be able to preserve the Harcourt Sanctuary,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “Like the other properties we’ve protected along Huguenot Street, it exemplifies both the rich history and natural resources of New Paltz and the Wallkill River.”

The property has relatively open areas dominated by grasses and herbaceous plants, which provide rich and varied habitat opportunities for a wide range of plants and animals. In 1987 the Town of New Paltz Environmental Conservation Commission created the Huguenot Path, an improved nature trail which loops through the Sanctuary and the adjacent Village-owned property.

The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character. OSI achieves its goals through land acquisition, conservation easements, regional loan programs, fiscal sponsorship, creative partnerships, and analytical research. OSI has protected more than 110,000 acres in New York State. Through its Northern Forest Protection Fund and Conservation Finance Program, OSI has assisted in the protection of an additional 1.8 million acres in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Georgia. Please visit www.osiny.org for more information.

The Thomas and Corinne Nyquist Foundation is a family foundation founded in 2004 to provide financial support for local initiatives and programs of nonprofit organizations and groups in New Paltz and in Roosevelt County, Montana with emphasis on the communities of Bainville, Culbertson and Froid.

Historic Huguenot Street (HHS), located on the banks of the Wallkill River, is the place where the spirit of individualism that New Paltz is known for today began. Here a small group of French-speaking Huguenots settled in 1678. Just steps from downtown New Paltz, the site features seven stone houses dating to 1705, a burying ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church – all in their original village setting. HHS offers ten acres of landscaped green space and public programming to the local community and visitors from around the world. For more information about Historic Huguenot Street, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.

New Deal Youth Exhibit in Woodstock


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A new exhibition opened Saturday at the Woodstock School of Art (2470 Route 212, Woodstock) entitled “A New Deal for Youth: Eleanor Roosevelt, Val-Kill Industries and the Woodstock Resident Work Center”.

The exhibit offers a rare chance to see furniture, pewter, and weavings from the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites’ collection of Val-Kill Industries pieces; photographs and historical documents from the Woodstock School of Art’s and Woodstock Historical Society’s collections; and video recollections of living descendants of some of the young people who worked at the Craft Center.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will remain on view through November 5th. Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday, 9am-3pm.

Kingston 18th Cent Market Days, Militia Muster


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The Brigade of the American Revolution will hold their 18th Century Market Days and Militia Muster on the grounds of Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, NY. This free event will be held on Saturday, June 25, from 10am – 4:30pm, and Sunday June 26, from 11:00am – 3:00pm.

Throughout the weekend a variety of 18th century vendors will be on hand demonstrating their crafts and selling their goods. Participants can also enjoy militia drills and firing demonstrations, children’s games and drill, presentations on 18th century foodways and fashion and style, and 18th century dance instruction.

At 4pm on Saturday and 12pm on Sunday, a Meet the Authors will take place in the site’s museum. Norman Desmarais, Paul Huey and Tom Baker will all be on hand for the book signing. As usual Senate House State Historic Site will be open for tours. Admission to tour Senate House is $4.00 for Adults, $3.00 for seniors and students and free for children 12 and under. So take a step back in time and experience what life was like for soldiers of the American Revolution at the 18th Century Market Days and Militia Muster on the grounds of Senate House State Historic Site.

The Brigade of the American Revolution is a non-profit living history association dedicated to recreating the life of the common soldier during the American Revolution, 1775-1783. Members represent elements of all armies involved: Continental, Militia, British, Loyalist, German, French, Spanish, and Native American forces along with civilian men, women and children.

Photo courtesy The Brigade of the American Revolution.

Village Historic House Tour In New Paltz


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Many know New Paltz for its unique heritage. Founded by French-speaking Protestants in 1678, the town has a long history. Much of it is preserved at Historic Huguenot Street.

And yet, historic homes, and history are not limited to the famous street. The village’s evolving history is documented in homes throughout the community. Last year, local resident Hollise Tirendi came to Historic Huguenot Street with the idea of creating a tour that will allow people to see some of the village’s most interesting homes – private homes not often open for the public to see.

From this idea came the New Paltz Village Historic House Tour. Offered on Sunday, June 12th from 12 to 5pm, the event offers a glimpse into nine of the community’s most unique private residence, as well as a “work in progress” peak into the Jean Hasbrouck House at Historic Huguenot Street. The house is currently undergoing restoration and reinterpretation, and is closed to the public.

Among the houses featured is the Benjamin Hasbrouck, an 18th century stone house across form the SUNY New Paltz campus that continues to be a private residence.

Capping off the event is a reception at the grand Philip Elting House. The owners of this stunning house, once a summer residence for members of the Elting family, will be sharing their home, along with their clock and classic car collections.

Tickets for the event are $25 in advance of $30 on the day of. Tickets will be held, and can be picked up at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street in New Paltz, starting at 11:45 on Sunday, June 12th. To register, visit www.huguenotstreet.org or call (845) 255-1889.

Photo: Benjamin Hasbrouck House by Richard Heyl de Ortiz.

Minnewaska Preserve June Public Programs


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Minnewaska State Park Preserve has announced its June 2011 Public Programs. Pre-registration is required for participation in public programs, but parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival to the Park Preserve is recommended as the Park Preserve may fill to capacity before noon, particularly on weekends. For outings, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring snacks and water. A parent or guardian over the age of 18 years must accompany children wishing to participate in any programs. Unless otherwise noted, all programs meet at the Nature Center.

Saturday, June 11, 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Mountain Laurel Walk on Mossy Glen
Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken will lead this three-mile hike along the quietly babbling edges of the Peter’s Kill, a stream running through cool hemlock forests and tropical-feeling rhododendron stands along the Mossy Glen footpath. This trail does include some tricky footing, but the return trip along the Lower Awosting Carriage Road is an easy stroll. Pre-registration is required.

Sunday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Mountain Laurel Hike on the High Peter’s Kill
Join Laura Conner, Environmental Educator, for this approximately five-mile-long hike that features breathtaking views of the Rondout Valley and more from high atop the High Peter’s Kill footpath. Along the way, the mountain laurel should be spectacular in all their pink and white splendor of bloom. And, the hike will conclude with a walk up the Awosting Falls Carriage Road and past the magnificent 60 feet high Awosting Falls. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 18, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron Walk
Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken for a walk down to the cool edges of the Peter’s Kill stream to look for blooming mountain laurel and possibly even rhododendron. This one-and-a-half-mile loop trail does include a steep hill to climb and also a scenic view over the Rondout Valley and the Catskill Mountains. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 18, 11:15 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Lake Minnewaska Beach Opens for Season
The swimming beach at Lake Minnewaska will open today for the swimming season. The small, shale-covered beach, which is located along the northwestern shore of Lake Minnewaska, will be open seven days per week until Labor Day, staff and weather permitting.

Saturday, June 18, 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Lake Awosting Beach Opens for Weekend
The swimming beach at Lake Awosting will open today for the weekend only. The swimming season will open seven days per week through Labor Day starting Saturday, June 25th. This beach, which is located approximately four miles by foot or bike from the Wildmere parking area, features a smooth rock slab beach on the remote and beautiful Lake Awosting.

Sunday, June 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Terrific Trees for Kids
Bring your children to the Minnewaska Nature Center to learn the basics about trees and why they are so important to us. First, we’ll take a walk on the trails near the Nature Center and kids will play a leaf-matching game. Then, we’ll head back to the Nature Center to learn how to age a tree and participants will make a “tree cookie” of their own life to take home. This program is recommended for children aged six to nine years old accompanied by a parent or guardian at least 18 years of age. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Scrambled Snakes Session for Families
Join Park Preserve educator Jillian Koehnken in the Minnewaska Nature Center for a program about slippery snakes. A brief lesson about the snakes found in the Park Preserve will be followed by our Snake Scents Game, where you are the snake and must determine what is inside a container by scent alone. After this short game, everyone will create their own snake jig-saw puzzle to take home! This program is recommended for children seven years of age and older, accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. Pre-registration is required.

Sunday, June 26, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Four Mile Scenic Loop Hike
Join Laura Conner for a hike along the Mossy Glen footpath, which follows along the edge of the Peter’s Kill stream, and then up a short section of the Blueberry Run footpath to reach the easy-walking Upper Awosting Carriage Road. From here, we’ll walk towards Lake Minnewaska, where we’ll turn down the Scenic Sunset Carriage Road and follow that back down towards the Awosting Parking Lot, our original point of departure. Pre-registration is required.

For information and to register for programs, call the Park Preserve Office at 845-255-0752. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. through June 5th. From June 6th through July 31st the Park Preserve will close at 9:00 p.m. The fee for parking is $8 per vehicle and there are no additional fees for public programs, unless noted. All fees are subject to change. Minnewaska State Park Preserve consists of approximately 21,000 acres of wild and scenic land located on Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299 in Gardiner, New York.

Minnewaska Carriage Road Project Begins


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A contract to restore the Millbrook Carriage Road in Minnewaska State Park Preserve (Shawangunk Ridge) is scheduled to begin this week. The project is expected to take 90 days to complete, though that time frame is largely weather dependent. The Millbrook Carriage Road and Gertrude’s Nose footpath will be closed for the duration of this project. Millbrook Mountain will be accessible via Millbrook Footpath for hikers only. Additionally, numerous pieces of heavy equipment will be utilizing Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road from the main parking areas to the entrance to Millbrook as this is the only access route for Millbrook Carriage Road. Patrons should be aware of construction vehicles on Lake Minnewaska Carriage Road and should yield to construction vehicles in an effort to speed project completion. Multiple signs will be placed in appropriate locations to notify patrons regarding the project, trail closures, and trail detours

Restoration and maintenance of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve carriage roads is an important undertaking that will ensure the preservation of historic pieces of this country’s heritage for future generations. The Preserve offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the peaceful and natural environment that still remains undisturbed by modern technology. The carriage roads offer guests easy access to the majestic scenery surrounding the lakes, steep ravines, and scenic lookouts. The intention of the carriage roads was and still is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional, while providing a safe and comfortable journey to previously inaccessible and rugged terrain. The resulting network of carriage roads continues to provide people with the same participatory experience in nature envisioned by the Smiley brothers more than a century ago. Preservation and restoration of this historical system of carriage roads is much easier if the process begins before nature has erased all identifiable attributes.

While some of the 35 miles of carriage roads at Minnewaska receive dedicated funding and are maintained to the highest standards for heavy use, many of them are in a serious state of decline and face restrictions of access and eventual closure unless incremental improvements are completed.The damage from floods, ice storms, and foot, horse, and bicycle traffic has led to the point where deferral is no longer an option, and reduced services are becoming more commonplace every year.

The Palisades Parks Conservancy has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund administered through The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission, the Mohonk Preserve, and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have launched an urgent joint initiative to rebuild the historic Smiley family carriage road network in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains. Many of the 83 miles of hand-built broken stone are in stages of disrepair, some causing closure. This grant will continue to fund an existing network-wide planning and restoration campaign, as well as address the immediate needs of one significant stretch of carriage road, the Millbrook Mountain Carriage road.

Help is needed to support the Palisades Parks Conservancy reaching their goal of restoring the entire historic carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve for the enjoyment of future generations and protection of natural resources. They need over four million dollars to restore the 35 mile carriage road network at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Photo: Historic Carriage Road at Minnewaska State Park Preserve.