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Best Friends Forever: Saugerties and Woodstock

Although Close, Each Town Has Something Different to Offer

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While Shakti Yoga used to be the only yoga game in town, the new Saugerties Hot Yoga begs you to break a sweat seven days a week in a 100-degree studio with hot vinyasa, Bikram-style, and community classes open to every level. There are less sweaty ways to unwind, of course. Perfect Blend Yarn and Tea on Market Street offers unwinding in both the literal and the figurative sense, since it stocks an array of yarns, needles, and knitting accessories. Bring your knitting project to the next knitalong, take a class, or drop in for some knitting help on Saturday mornings, all while sipping tea.

The Catskill Mountain view that inspired an artist movement lives right in the village in a place called Seamon Park, one of the best places in town to catch both a deep breath and a glimpse as you take in the views. Down by the creek, where the 18th-century grist mill once sat, a crumbling replica that was built in the 1970s remains, harkening back to Saugerties's mill-town roots. Seamon Park also hosts the town's annual Mum Festival, which sees the site festooned with hundreds of chrysanthemum blooms.

Seamon Park in Saugerties - EVA DEITCH
  • Eva Deitch
  • Seamon Park in Saugerties

The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is the granddaddy of Saugerties festivals and happens every early fall at Cantine Veterans Memorial Complex (known simply by locals as Cantine Field). For two days, food vendors offer their culinary interpretations of the delectable "stinking rose." While HITS (Horse Shows in the Sun) equestrian center isn't a festival, it maintains a festival atmosphere by hosting eight weeks of horse shows and competitions from May through mid-September, all open to the public and hugely popular among kids dreaming of ponies.

Partition Street Wine Shop in Saugerties - EVA DEITCH
  • Eva Deitch
  • Partition Street Wine Shop in Saugerties

There's plenty more for kids too, even if they're not digging the Little League scene at Cantine Field. The Boys and Girls Club of Saugerties is also geared toward keeping kids constructively busy with programs (including an afterschool program) throughout the year for young children and teens. Membership is $10 per year. Heading west on Route 212, away from the Village of Saugerties and toward Woodstock, is the Paul Green Rock Academy, which teaches the fine art of rocking to kids aged 8 to 18; they can choose between guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and voice lessons and participate in performances year-round. Adults can get in on the fun too, at the PGRA Adult Program, which has its own rehearsals and performances.

The Paul Green Rock Academy recently acquired the former Zena Elementary School in Woodstock and has converted it into the Woodstock Music Lab, and will be expanding its programs there to focus on the studio engineering and business sides of the music field. Long time Woodstock resident Lari Lang is the facilities manager for the music lab, and she's familiar with the bond that the Saugerties and Woodstock communities share. "I think both villages are similar," says Lang, referring to the boutique stores and storefronts in both villages, which she calls "quite cute and interesting." Lang believes that Woodstock could stand to use some more of the live-music spirit the town is identified with, especially after dark. "We are the coolest small town on earth. I'd truly love to have more nightlife back here."

People on the Village Green in Woodtsock - EVA DEITCH
  • Eva Deitch
  • People on the Village Green in Woodtsock

There is nightlife in Woodstock, but you might have to head to the hamlet of Bearsville to find it. The tiny 'burg, just outside of the village proper, is bursting with food, drink, music, and good times. The entertainment complex there includes the Bearsville Theater for live music, the Bear Café for fine creekside dining, the Little Bear Chinese restaurant, and the newest addition, the Commune Saloon, which is complete with outdoor seating around a fire pit. The nearby Cub Market fits into the Bearsville scheme and is a solid pit stop for specialty groceries, baked goods, and deli fare.

Bread Alone in Woodstock - EVA DEITCH
  • Eva Deitch
  • Bread Alone in Woodstock

Also outside of the Village of Woodstock is Maverick Concerts, which presents live classical music and jazz in a one-of-a-kind Arts and Crafts-era wooden concert shed, which was hand made in 1910 by a group of workers supervised by founding artist Hervey White. Woodstock Sessions is keen on presenting a new setting for musical performances by bringing audiences into the recording studio to watch live sessions unfold before their eyes and ears; it wouldn't be surprising to learn that the Woodstock Music Shop, on Rock City Road, supplies many of the musicians who appear at Woodstock Sessions with the very instruments they play. Woodstock Playhouse, on Mill Hill Road, its green, hexagonal façade immediately recognizable upon entering the village, also enriches Woodstock's musical vein with concerts, but live theater is its true bread and butter.

Kristina Sarhadi at Peace Love & Cupcakes in Woodstock - EVA DEITCH
  • Eva Deitch
  • Kristina Sarhadi at Peace Love & Cupcakes in Woodstock

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