Huguenot Street and Treats from the Tea Room

The DuBois Fort Visitor Center is open for business.

Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz repays a visit at any time of year. The light is different, the flowers and foliage change–it’s even nice with snow (remember that white stuff?). Right now it’s open for the season. You can go on a guide-led tour of the

A Window onto the Huguenot World

buildings or just pop into the Visitor Center and enjoy the exhibits there. Currently there’s an exhibit titled Through the Lens: A Nineteenth Century Photographic Journey, which of course I found fascinating.

A weekend in mid-July brought some extra treats: the Visitor Center was selling baked goods from the Village Tea Room, with all proceeds benefitting the ongoing fine work at Historic Huguenot Street. So you got to enjoy some tasty muffins and brownies, along with an excellent cup of coffee, and know that your money was helping New Paltz’s jewel attraction.

Curious to learn more about the origin of these baked goodies, I returned the following weekend to visit the Village Tea Room. This Bake Shop and Restaurant offers, of course, the baked goods that you can buy to take out, but it also has indoor and outdoor sit-down service offering quite a varied and interesting menu. As a Swedophile, I made a mental note to return one day with a

The Village Tea Room’s cozy indoor restaurant

friend to order the gravlax open-face sandwich.

The Village Tea Room Bake Shop and Restaurant is located at 10 Plattekill Avenue, just off Route 299 in central New Paltz. They are open every day except Monday. Why not pay a visit the next time you’re in town?

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Margaretville Stages a Comeback

You have to say this for the intrepid people of the Western Catskills: When first Hurricane Irene and then the October snowstorm struck the area like a one-two punch in 2011, they weren’t content to sit around wallowing in self-pity, waiting for folks from the outside to come in and rescue them from the devastation. No, they immediately set to work organizing their own relief efforts, collecting food, clothes, and money, and working with whatever agencies were in place to assist.

What a difference a few short weeks make. When I visited on Easter Sunday, April 8, the Freshtown Supermarket, which had been completely inundated with water so that even the CVS right next to it completely collapsed and left a gaping hole, had not yet reopened. The Cheese Barrel, a popular restaurant and food store, had relocated to temporary premises in the old Galli-Curci Theater across Main Street; the owners were hoping to be back in their original home by Memorial Day Weekend or in early June at the latest. And in Arkville to the east, the Delaware and Ulster tourist railroad was still busy reconstructing in hopes of being open in time for the summer season.

Fast forward to mid-June and here’s what I found. The Freshtown Supermarket, looking all bright and new, reopened on May 23! The Cheese Barrel is indeed back in its original home. And the Delaware and Ulster tourist railroad is back in business, taking people for rides along the historic railway tracks on Saturdays and Sundays.

The CVS, which relocated to new premises following the complete collapse of their original building next to Freshtown after Hurricane Irene, is still in those premises. Whether they intend to stay there or to rebuild on the original site, I don’t know; perhaps someone reading this blog can tell me.

This report wouldn’t be complete without a big thank-you as well for New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo for being right in the thick of things, visiting these devastated sites and galvanizing all the agencies to do everything possible, ASAP, to help these brave and resourceful people to help themselves. Kudos to the people of Margaretville and Arkville and to Governor Cuomo. And did I mention that the main bridge into picturesque little Phoenicia is now reopened?