Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mighty Craic in the Catskills

My blog posts have slowed down because I was in the Catskills from July 16 through July 22 attending Catskills Irish Arts Week in East Durham, New York. I took a traditional singing class with Roisin White of Northern Ireland as well as a master class with Julee Glaub of North Carolina. I also attended several great lectures, enjoyed many wonderful performances, and played flute in some marvelous sessions in the pubs around town. In the next few weeks there will be multiple posts on my adventures there, but at the moment I'm still savoring and digesting the experience.

I thought I'd ease my way into the heavier stuff by sharing the beauty of Greene County, New York. This map of NY State below shows that Greene County is about 150 miles north of Long Island, that bit of land at the southern tip of NY that juts eastward into the Atlantic. I drove up from Manhattan, the little island between the NY mainland and Long Island, not really visible on this map.

The hamlet of East Durham arranges itself around one road, New York highway 145. Every so often a side road like the one below branches off NY-145 and meanders into the countryside. I traveled on roads like this to and from the boarding house where I stayed. During the week I saw deer, adult and baby rabbits, a possum, a red tailed hawk, a family of wild turkeys, numerous chipmunks and squirrels as well as farm animals such as horses, cows, goats, and chickens. One of my housemates even saw a flock of peacocks crossing the road!

I stayed in a private Victorian guest house called. The Woodlands located in Roundtop, NY, 15 minutes from East Durham. (The owners rent it only occasionally, so please don't call thinking it is a year-round B&B.) My picture below shows a side view of the house and allows you to look across the spacious front lawn. Click on the link above to see the front view of the house as well as some interior shots.

Occasionally I was in the right place at the right time to see a beautiful sunset like the one below. Before I left NYC, I told a few people I was going to Irish music heaven for the upcoming week. They thought I was kidding. But with scenery like this, incredible music, likeminded folk, and plenty of Guinness, this week of Irish music in the Catskills is for me a bit of heaven on earth. Or, as the Irish would say, "the craic is mighty!"

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
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