Friday, August 28, 2015

Restaurant Guide for Beacon, NY- Eating your way through Main Street

Beacon, NY Restaurant Guide

It's always a pleasure eating and drinking your way through Beacon, so we created this guide to help you know where to eat and drink as you explore the town.  

What to Know About This Guide:
  • This is organized as a "Walking Guide" starting from the train station on the west end of Main Street and ending by East Main Street past the dummy light.
  • The Guide mostly consists of restaurants, but we have also included bars, wine, liquor, tea, coffee and soda shops. You need some beverages to wash down your food!
  • Parking can be found on side streets, on Main Street, and in municipal lots.  
  • New places are always popping up in Beacon and we'll be updating periodically. But if you don't see your favorite place, or have the inside scoop on something new opening up- give us a shout in the comments or email
  • If you are restaurant or drink establishment owner and have something special to add, please email 
  • Advertising Opportunities: If would like to reach readers who refer to this Guide monthly, click here for advertising opportunities.


2 Way Brewing Company
18 West Main St.
(this is down the hill from Main Street proper, near the train)
(845) 202­-7334
On your way up from the train station, either on foot or by car, Beacon's own brewery is a must­stop. They will also have a new experimental beer to try each month!


(Close to the train station.)

Bank Square
129 Main St.
(845) 440­-7165
Your friendly place on the West End Main Street for a latte, craft beer, or Mast Brothers Hot Chocolate. Also has snacks like yogurt, granola bars, and homemade donuts when they are making them.

Chill Wine Bar
173 Main St.
(845) 765­-0885
A cozy wine bar offering tapas and live music every Saturday night. Sit at the bar or along the brick wall at a table for two, or spread out in the front in the window seat adorned with pillows. Especially known for their dessert selection which includes a s'more panini and cheese cake as well as their cheese and meat platter.

Tito Santana Taqueria
142 Main St.
(845) 765-­2350
Really fresh food you'd expect to find in a taqueria. From guacamole to fish tacos to cheesy quesadillas. Serves beer.

Kitchen Sink
157 Main St.
(845) 765-0240
Kitchen Sink features an eclectic mix of global and family influenced dishes, blending local ingredients with modern techniques. They put a spin on the classics, while creating new ones all using farm to table ingredients. Check out their awesome Monday night fried chicken specials! Open for dinner beginning at 5pm.

The Pandorica
165 Main St.
(845) 831-6287
If you're a fan of Dr. Who, you will love this restaurant. Most importantly, however, is their food, which is delicious, comforting, and offers plenty of dessert options. Serves beer.

Artisan Wine Shop
180 Main St.
(845) 440­-6923
Beacon's most delightful wine shop that specializes in pairing wine with food. Every Second Saturday, Artisan Wine Shop hosts a be wine tastings with winemaker/import representative Luis Moya.

Poppy's Burgers & Fries
184 Main St.
(845) 765­-2121
Enjoy a great burger and fries in wooden booths in Poppy's. Serves 100% grass fed beef, 100% Hudson Valley, and 100% Humanely raised. Serves craft beer.

Beacon Bread Company
193 Main St.
(845) 838­-2867
You'll find not just their delicious, fresh baked bread, but you can stop in for warm french onion soup, grilled cheeses and other sandwiches, cheese danishes, brownies...

BJ's Soul Food Restaurant
213 Main St.
(845) 831­-1221
Beacon's stop for soul food including fried chicken, ribs, ox tail and mac and cheese that rivals Stouffers. Enjoy a generous slice of a homemade three layer frosted cake. Serves beer.


Pleasant Ridge II
208 Main St.
(845) 831­-3444
Pizza and Italian food like chicken parmesan. Seats large parties. Serves wine and beer.

232 Main St.
(845) 831­-5096
Delicious spot for breakfast, lunch or sweet snacks (like carrot cake or chocolate mousse). If you are here on a Saturday, you are lucky because you get to order their deep dish french toast with real maple syrup, which is only baked on the weekend. Also has oatmeal, yogurt, quiche, sandwiches, and cheeses.

Isamu Sushi
240 Main St.
(845) 440­-0002
Beacon's most modern and hip looking sushi restaurant with a waterfall wall that kids love. Seats large party. Serves wine and beer.

Max's On Main
246 Main St.
(845) 838-6297
The local bar for a great dinner, live music, and late night eating. Live music every Saturday. Plus sports on TV.

Cafe Amacord
276 Main St.
(845) 440­-0050
Delicious Italian flare gourmet food. Enjoy salads with goat cheese and beets, cauliflower soup, entrees of fish or steak, and wine by the glass or bottle.

All You Knead
308 Main St.
(845) 440­-8530
Stop in for a chocolate croissant, apple muffin, or chicken pot pie. You'll of course find a hearty chocolate chip cookie or brownie here, but you may also find whatever the baker decided to bake, like vegetable samosa.

Denning's Point Distillery
10 N. Chestnut Street
Denning’s Point Distillery in Beacon, NY crafts the finest artisanal spirits available including Viskill Vodka, Beacon American Whiskey & Denning's White Rye Whiskey.They use high quality grains from New York state farms and strive to create classic spirits of unique character and depth. Denning's Point Distillery works from a unique,urban production space and offers impromptu tours and tastings.

Get Frosted Cupcakery
323 Main Street, Beacon
(845) 765-1002
A cupcakery with many flavors. Be sure to try their lemon cupcake!

330 Main Street, Beacon
(845) 202-7447
The premiere collaborative, co-operative live music venue/Japanese restaurant in Beacon, NY! Their mixes traditional Japanese snacks, ramen and "Gringo Favorites" such as dog dogs and chili. They also offer a large selection of canned and bottled beers as well as fine wine and even a little sake.

The Towne Crier Cafe
379 Main St.
(845) 855­-1300
Founded in 1972, in an old stagecoach stop in Beekmanville, NY, the Towne Crier Cafe has become a mecca for fans—and performers—of live music. After a brief stay in Millbrook, then a quarter­century in Pawling, NY, they relocated in October, 2013, to the blossoming arts hub of Beacon, NY. Their performance space is spacious but intimate—bringing you what the NY Times called “Down­home access to world­class performers.” Their fine­dining menu emphasizes fresh, local and natural ingredients. The Towne Crier claims that you will be tweeting "OMGs" after eating their desserts.

Beacon Pantry
382 Main St.
(845) 440­8923
Beacon Pantry is a specialty market for meats, cheeses, fish, crackers, jams, honey, granola, ice cream, and so much more. Known for carrying French and Italian delectables. Enjoy a snack at their window seat or grab something and go.

More Good
383 Main St.
(845) 797­-1838
Drink More Good uses locally sourced and organic ingredients to create hand­crafted soda syrup concentrates, tea and tisane concentrates, and bitters.

Oak Vino Wine Bar
389 Main St.
(845) 765­-2400
Oak Vino is an oasis for wine lovers. Enjoy the curated wine collection that is always changing. Serves light fare of tapas including cheeses, chutney, hummus, and more.
Food menu is available until 10pm.

Draught Industries
394 Main St.
(845) 765­-8080
Beer, beer and more beer! This cozy alleyway of a bar has everything you need: BEER. Lots of beer on a big fancy, super­impressive and high­tech tap system. Bartenders dispense great advice and samples to find your perfect beer for the evening. Did we mention beer?

Yankee Clipper Diner
397 Main St.
(845) 440­-0021
If you need broad food selections from veggies to meat to seafood, Yankee Clipper is a Beacon staple that will seat you comfortably for any meal. If you've seen the movie "Nobody's Fool" with Paul Newman, you'll recognize Yankee Clipper in a scene. Find a huge menu that includes Italian, Southwestern, and enjoy a few dishes with a Greek flare such as a gyro or chicken slouvaki. Serves beer and wine.

Kennedy's Fried Chicken
392 Main St.
(845) 831-8411
Open LATE for your pizza roll, Jamaican beef patty, spicy chicken sandwich, and fried chicken meal cravings.


(Close to The Mountain.)

Ella's Bellas
418 Main St.
(845) 765-8502
A beautiful cafe and eatery serving baked goods, salads and soups that are all gluten free and really good. Some of the best chocolate chip cookies and lemon bars around. Be sure to try their mini pumpkin pies, and enjoy coffee from Tas Kafé and cocktails from syrups from More Good.

Cascadas Mexican Restaurant
424 Main St.
(845) 765-2570
Authentic Mexican food with Veracruz flavor. You can easily find your favorite dish on their extensive menu and wash i down with a $6 margarita during their Happy Hour.

The Vault
448 Main St
Coming Soon!

Harry's Hot Sandwiches
449 Main St.
(845) 765-8111
The name is pretty self explanatory: Great sandwiches, coffee, and other goodies. You can hang out or take it to go!

Joe's Irish Pub
455 Main St.
(845) 838­-1779
Local watering hole with great drink prices. Special for Second Saturday: St. George and Friends Second Saturday Jam­15 to 40 musicians every month under one roof. This love entertainment has been going on every Second Saturday for the past 12 years and continues into its 13th.

Beacon Bath & Bubble
458 Main St.
(845) 440­-6782
This spot is not only a soap shop, they also have the unique offering of old fashioned, vintage & retro soda pop in 36 brands! You can enjoy a bubbly soda pop from yesteryear in­house or to bring home as a customized 6­pack.

Brother's Trattoria
465 Main St.
(845) 838­-3300
Find pizza here of course, but also many more entrees of fish, steak and chicken. A favorite pizza is "Grandma's", a Sicilian style garlic cheese pizza with fresh tomato. Also ask about their gluten free pizza.

Beacon Bagel
466 Main St.
(845) 440­-6958
There is no replacement for a craving for a salmon lox on a bagel, or for a breakfast egg and cheese bagel sandwich ­ which is why you'll peel off into Beacon Bagel for a filling sandwich before you continue on your night of wine, beer and other spirits. Very kid friendly and can make pretty much anything you like. Serves chocolate milk, juice, and lattes.

Seoul Kitchen
469 Main St.
(845) 765-8596
Owned and run by Heewon Marshall, Seoul Kitchen offers home-style Korean cooking with food that has been prepared from a wide range of vegetables and specially prepared meat and chicken.

Beacon Falls Cafe
472 Main St.
(845) 765­-0172
This American Bistro restaurant has a cozy and comfortable atmosphere with its quaint, old mountain town decor and super friendly staff. They offer plenty of delicious comfort food and beer options for diners.

The Chocolate Studio
494 Main St.
(845) 765-­1165
The Chocolate Studio (formerly Gourmetibles) is perfectly suited for birthday parties for kids of all ages. They make their delicious treats in their own kitchen, including custom cakes, made to order. The aroma may hook you in for the night. They also make our own Cake Pops, French Macarons, chocolate covered Bacon, chocolate covered pretzels and lots more.

504 Main St.
Fresh Salads, sandwiches, soups, and smoothies. Create your own delicious salad from their salad bar or grab a Raddish original creation: the Buffalo Chicken Salad looks pretty hearty!

516 Main St.
(845) 790-5375
Sukhothai creates traditional Thai dishes, such as Pad Thai and Som Tam.  They offer to spice each entree is to your taste, available in 1–5 in degrees of hotness.

The Hop
554 Main St.
(845) 440­-8676
The Hop is a craft beer lovers bar for beer and artisanal comfort food. They feature over 150 craft beers by the bottle and can for retail and a rotating draft list of 9 craft beers for tasting with us or growler fills for home. They also feature feature local artisan cheeses, chocolates, pickles, jams & house-made sausages, terrines & pâtés crafted by Chef Matt Hutchins. All the meat is sourced locally and butchered in-house and as much local produce as possible is used to craft the menu.


(Just over the tiny Fishkill Creek bridge. This quickly becoming a boutique and artist hub.)

2 East Main Street
(845) 765­-8369
One of Beacon's biggest passion projects ­ The Roundhouse is a conversion of one of Beacon's most historic, beautiful buildings to be a hotel, restaurant, and bar. Enjoy stunning views of the waterfall at Fishkill Creek from within the spacious restaurant or plush lounge. If you appreciate interior design, you will love dining here. Seats large or small parties. Serves beer, wine and cocktails.

Dogwood Bar & Restaurant
47 East Main Street
(845) 202­-7500
Enjoy home­style favorites to innovative specials. Dogwood, as with so many restaurants in Beacon, uses organic, locally sourced ingredients. The draft beer menu is carefully chosen and constantly updated to reflect the very best in quality and seasonal flavors. Have fun picking a craft beer from the big chalkboard of specials flowing from their 16 taps and full bar.

Barb's Butchery
69 Spring St.
(845) 831-8050
Former math teacher barb is now our friendly, fresh local butcher! She sources from local farms and supplies our favorite local restaurants. Learn more about what delicious things you can order form her in our profile here. Check out her Beers and Brats for $8 special on Second Saturday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The "Welcome to Beacon" Sign - Who Are The Artists Behind The Letter Blocks?

The letter blocks at the top of the train station are the first hint that major creativity and involvement await visitors and prospective new residents when they exit the train to head up to the town of Beacon. Where did these letter blocks come from? Who designed and built them? Was it a city commissioned project? Those have often been my questions since I moved to Beacon in 2010, and it’s time we found out. Art awareness is especially high during the spring and summer months with projects like Beacon Open Studios, Windows on Main, and Beacon3D, so we wanted to explore the origins during this high-art season.

Like most notable projects that just appear around Beacon, the “Welcome to Beacon” sign was not a city-funded art installation. However, it has roots in city leader George Mansfield and others. To find out the origins of the “Welcome to Beacon” sign, we first went to BeaconArts for a clue. Kelly Ellenwood, Vice President of the BeaconArts Community Association, referred us to Kalene Rivers, co-founder of Open Space, an exhibition space created to explore passions for art, culture and design. Kalene and her partner Daniel Weise had a history of organizing and curating public art in Beacon like Electric Windows.

Open Space was approached years a go by city councilman George Mansfield when he was running for his first term, after he had placed a large campaign sign in the very spot that the letter blocks are currently installed today. The owner of the property gave George permission to place his sign there. According to Kalene, “After the election, George had the idea to continue to utilize the space for art. Partly inspired by a ‘You Are Beautiful’ project, we decided that an eclectic ‘Welcome to Beacon’ sign would be wonderful in this location. George and I invited fifteen artists to create the first round of letters back in 2010.”

If you have been familiar with Beacon since then, you will know that in 2014, the “Welcome to Beacon” sign got a total refresh with new designs for each letter. Personally, the blocks inspired the first design for A Little Beacon Blog’s original logo (has since had its own redesign), so I was especially interested in the new design and who the creators were behind each look.

Kalene, with the ongoing permission of the property owner, again asked fifteen new artists to participate. Says Kalene, “Heidi Harrison and Chris Janks graciously volunteered to assist in the production, and the second round of letters were completed in November of 2014. George Mansfield and Patrick Freeman come down to the site on a cold morning and carefully installed the new sign. We had an unveiling on November 15th and it has proudly welcomed people to Beacon ever since.“

We have the names of each artist behind a letter in a spread below. If you follow the #BeaconNY community on Instagram, you may have gotten to know the styles of a few artists, and you have probably guessed which artist did what letter. Before you read the names, see if you can guess which artist did which block! Otherwise, satisfy your curiosity right here!

Jessica Wickham
Emily Sylvester
Kalene Rivers
Andrea Moreau
Ed Benavente
Dharman Abdu
Rick Rogers

Theresa Gooby
Carla Goldberg

Dylan Assael
Katrina Zezza
Jon Reichert
Joe Pimentel
Chris Janks

Monday, August 24, 2015

Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency: Business, Personal & Homeowners Insurance (Sponsor)

Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency
340 Main Street
Beacon NY 12508
(845) 831-4300

Insurance is a big, wide industry. There are a lot of faces you could to talk to when deciding what agent to use when purchasing your insurance. Antalek & Moore is a local Independent Insurance agency located in Beacon NY and licensed in several states. Located right on Main Street, the agents at Antalek & Moore have been serving the people of the Hudson Valley with personal, homeowners and business insurance for over a century. In addition, they are a leading resource in the community for educating business owners and home owners about what kind of insurance they need and why. Antalek & Moore specializes in Personal, Homeowners, and many types of Business Insurance.

As a sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog, Antalek & Moore looks forward to sharing important messages with you as you make choices about your personal, homeowners and business insurance.

Look around you when you're at a stop light, and you will see drivers in other cars with their heads tilted slightly downward, occasionally lifting their eyes to look up to see if the light changed from red to green. You'll notice this only if you are not already on your own device, thumbing down your Facebook feed or sending a "quick" text or email to someone very important who must hear from you right now.

That feeling of "right now" is an urge that is claiming the attention of many drivers on the road, from teens to adults, and it's called "distracted driving" by the auto industry and police who issue the ticket or record the reason for an accident. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the United States, causing nearly 20% of crashes. In New York State, it is illegal to text or use any portable electronic device while the vehicle is in motion. This includes checking the GPS map!

Adults are taught that there is value in multi-tasking, but there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37% (Carnegie Mellon).
Susan Pagones, partner at Antalek & Moore Insurance, feels strongly that parents lead by example, and not use their phones in the car while their children ride with them. Says Susan: "Our children will only learn what are safe driving habits by the examples we set. All electronic devices should be put away so there are no temptations or distractions. Drivers behind the wheel have a huge safety  responsibility to themselves, passengers and other drivers. Driving is an earned privilege, not a given one, so let's all be responsible."

Watch the video above to see Susan's daughter, Abby Pagones age 10, return to the screen to lecture Antalek & Moore partner Patrick Moore about the illusion and dangers of multi-tasking while on the phone.

Business insurance is a big deal to all businesses, who often overlook it or save it for later to think about. Until "Later" calls on the phone or arrives in the mailbox from a company or individual who has a problem with your business. Not having business insurance or not having coverage in risky areas of your business can be an expensive regret. Whether your business is located in a storefront, is a website, is run out of your home, or if you are visiting other people's homes, Antalek & Moore have many articles on their blog to educate and inspire you, such as these blog posts:
  • Day Care Insurance: Three Hidden Items Your Policy Should Cover
  • 7 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Summer Vacation
  • How to Ensure You're Working With a Reliable Insurance Agent
  • Small Business Workers Comp Insurance: Everything You Need to Stay Protected
  • 10 Bills a Post-Grad Needs to Pay - The Hudson Valley "Reality Check" List

Also find a Resources page of White Papers they have written, including: 
  • How to Properly Insure Your Yoga Studio
  • The Essential Not-For-Profit Insurance Guide
  • 5 Activities Every Business Owner Must Do
This summer, the folks behind Antalek & Moore produced a video (with out-takes!) that stars a local child actor (and daughter of agency partner Susan Pagones) and Pat Moore, one of the owners of the agency, in a lemonade stand bit to make business insurance less intimidating. Watch the video and stop in or call Antalek & Moore at (845) 831-4300 about insurance options for your business.

Check out behind-the-scene footage of the making of Antalek & Moore's educational bits about business insurance and current obsession of texting and "multi-tasking" by parents and adults.

A Little Beacon Blog thanks Antalek & Moore for being a sponsor, which helps make our coverage of the amazing people and things to do in and around Beacon possible!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Denning's Point Hike: Walking The Rise & Fall of American Grandeur During the Industrial Revolution to the Jazz Age

Look at the bald eagle perched above you. The Wiccappee Indians saw them too. Stand on the clay and rock of the beach and watch the tide, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton did as well. Tucked away and easy to bypass, Denning's Point is as filled with as much history as it is with dense, diverse nature. Take in the breathtaking scenery and terrain of this 1.2 mile circuit trail, and take your time to inhale the vast history of it as well.

Denning's Point

The Nuts and Bolts of the Denning's Point Hike

You can park in the parking lot off of Denning's Avenue and take the little connector dirt road to the overpass going over the railroad and onto the point. You can also access the trail via the Madame Brett connectors or the Klara Sauer Trail. The point is actually a peninsula that juts out into the Hudson River, and is the northern-most point of the Hudson Highlands state park. It’s a flat hike that is full of native and invasive species of flora and fauna. The most common of these invasive include water chestnut, which blankets huge swaths of the river around the point, buckthorn, Asiatic bittersweet and swallowwart. You’ll also find, as you pass several old abandoned buildings, a multitude of tree species from maples to cherry and apple, as well as shrubs of honeysuckle, sumac and tastier varieties like black and elderberry, autumn olive and more. If you are into foraging, be sure to look out for wild ginger, burdock, garlic mustard, field garlic, asparagus, thistle, strawberry, milkweed, St. Johnswort and much, much more! One could open an apothecary just on the bounty around Denning's Point. (While on the beach, try and find remains of an old cider mill for Pippen apples, the apple orchard once maintained here for “Fishkill champagne”!). And don’t forget about the bald eagles-the park is a nesting place for them, and is actually closed during the late fall through winter months to protect their nesting periods. 

The trail forks just past the large abandoned factory. You can take either loop, and both will run course along the river, eventually opening up to gorgeous views of the Hudson, the highlands, and Newburgh. The rocky beach area has a near deserted Island feel and is a delightful respite from the dense wooded trail area where you can relax to the lapping sounds of water and rays of sunshine. The 1.2 mile loop is a fairly even grade, though getting down to the beach area is a little steep, but well worth it. Allow for an hour at least to take in all the nature and scenery. 

The History of Denning's Point

Archeologists have found evidence of inhabitants as far back as 4000 B.C. in this outcrop on the Hudson River. The Hudson River historian, Arthur Adams had pointed out that Wiccapee and Shenandoah Indian tribes had used it as burial grounds. And the history only gets better from there. The site was initially part of the large Rombout Patent, the large land purchase by Frans Rombouts and the Verplank family from the Wappinger Indians. The daughter of Mr. Verplank, Catharyna, built a grist mill just off the point in the beginning of the 18th century after marrying a Roger Brett. After he passed, Madame Brett in the middle of the century, sold the land to Jacob de Peyster, who renamed it DePyester’s Point and built on it. During the American Revolution, the point became and eastern terminus for the war efforts. General Washington was said to have walked the point himself and spent time on conducting war business there. It was an important part of the transportation and strategic planning for the Patriots. So important in fact that Alexander Hamilton actually rented one of DePeyster’s homes on the point, and wrote the precursors to The Federalist Papers while here! One can imagine, with the types of men Washington and his generals were, that they perhaps picked, or even introduced some of the edible shrubs and herbs around the hike, although a local trail leader suggests that a renown female horticulturalist introduced several plants. Shortly after the war in 1785, Washington Staffer, Adjutant-General William Denning purchased the land and built his own mansion, “Presqu’ile” on 45 acres of the southern point.

William Denning's mansion built on 45 acres on the southern point.
Photo Credit: Jim Heron sharing his knowledge on Beacon Citizen.

A century later, after turnover from a bankrupt railroad, the site was converted to a brickworks factory and fanciful homestead by Newburgh resident Homer Ramsdell. In your traverses around Beacon, you might have found bricks labeled “DPBW,” (or Denning's Point Brick Works).

Bricks from the Denning's Point Brick Works.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

At Presqu’ile, all the splendors (and eventual downfalls) of the pre-industrial antibellum age were experienced by Emily Denning Van Rensselaer et al, with the sweeping lawns and elegant parties. But amid this grandeur, Ramsedell, or “Old Man Tardy” as he was known to some, cleared a third of the point for clay and sand to make his bricks. Soon the point was swarming with industry and immigrants (some of whose relatives still live in Beacon today) and Emily Van Rensselaer left but the brickworks was going steady (eventually pulling out of the point in 1939). Several decades after Emily left, in the 1920’s, the estate was in ruins having been vacant, then settled by brick-worker families, then vacated again. But that didn’t stop the point from being an attraction. 

The 1920’s and 30’s were a buzz-worthy time for the point. Thousands of locals and travelers came to Denning's Point to swim in the brackish waters and enjoy Sunday music and a lively resort. Ferries would motor guests across the river from Newburgh, and coaches would haul picnic-goers from all over. On a typical weekend day, the little beach would be packed with sunbathers and partygoers, often dancing away to live music. So much so, that the little park was called “The Coney Island of Dutchess County.” 

(Source: Beacon Revisted, by Robert J Murphy, Denis Doring VanBuren)

After exchanging company hands for the next handful of decades (a construction paneling company, Durisol, and a pin ticket manufacturer called Noesting), the point was eventually purchased by the State of New York in 1988. In 2003, then Governor George Pataki chose the site for a new research facility, Rivers and Estuary Center, now Beacon Institute's Center for Environmental Innovation and Education. To learn more about the remarkable history of Denning's Point, check out Denning's Point, A Hudson River History by Jim Heron

Extend Your Stay on the Trail…

Expand the 1.2 mile loop by continuing on to the Klara Sauer Trail along the river once you exit the point. This trail will bring you out to Long Dock Park. Or you can turn right from the trailhead when heading over the train tracks to the parking lot to traverse the new Dave Miller Connector trail that marries Denning's Point to Madame Brett Park and on to the waterfront. My wife and I typically do the whole loop, starting from Tioronda and continuing on to Madame Brett, the connector and do the entirety through Denning’s Point to the waterfront which is a great way to see the beautiful, historic rim of Beacon!

Denning's Point perfectly encapsulates the great and often turbulent narrative of America, from the Native Americans, to Henry Hudson, the American Revolution; from the Federalist grandeur and antebellum culture to the rise and fall of industrial America. The remarkable diversity of plant species and gorgeous river views will certainly help you appreciate the history even more.

Please welcome back contributor Dylan Price, a writer/filmmaker and avid outdoorsman who moved to Beacon with his wife from Washington D.C. They were attracted to Beacon for the unique mix of nature, art and food. Dylan will continue to explore and share the more historical aspects of our local trails for our Hiking Series.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#TBT Throwback Thursday: The Unofficial Restoration Of The Dummy Light By Erica Hauser

This little bit of Beacon trivia for #TBT is courtesy of the yarnbombing incident, which inspired people to post memory photos of local artist, Erica Hauser, taking it upon herself to restore the Dummy Light down on the far East End of Main Street, across the street from 1 East Main. Erica serves on the board of Beacon Arts, who has been an organization that attracts residents of Beacon to its board who take it upon themselves to improve their surroundings.

According to an article in Phillipstown, Erica wrote to the City to ask about any restoration plans of the Dummy Light, not much of a response was generated. So she got some paint and a safety vest and...painted it.

Erica Hauser, restoring the paint on The Dummy Light
Photo by Erica Hauser.

Rusted Root and Other Musical Sensations Keep Performing at Towne Crier

If the Towne Crier isn't already on your regular destination list for hearing live bluegrass, folk, Cajun, Swamp-Pop, country music, and performances from major stars who you may not have realized were guitar heroes, like Jeff Daniels, then you need to investigate this major music hall.

Beacon locals may know it as the large restaurant that was one of the first to occupy the empty space in what is now known as "Market Square". A market indeed, of tea, wine and extreme fitness training, as its neighbors are More Good, Locomotive Crossfit, and Oak Vino. Behind that vast dining space is the music room - the big stage that hosts Grammy award winners and other adored musicians most Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. And on Mondays and Wednesdays, you may have attended a friend's performance or spotted a local star at the Towne Crier's Open Mike Night.

Coming up very soon in August, is an appearance from Rusted Root, a Top 40s favorite from my high school days, when they were then known as a different sort of sound.

Rusted Root would just be an introduction to the amazing talent that comes to Towne Crier regularly. Take Alison Brown for instance, a celebrated banjoist, and a 4 time Grammy nominee, winning one Grammy, and has recorded 10 critically-acclaimed solo albums.

And then there are The Revelers, two bands originally knows as The Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys out of Louisiana, who "joined together to form a Louisiana Supergroup which combines Swamp-Pop, Cajun, Country, Blues and Zydeco into a powerful tonic of roots music that could only come from Southwest Louisiana. And PS: they really like fire, although they call it cooking.

Jeff Daniels? What? Music critics probably already know he was a music sensation and unstoppable playwrite, having written 15 plays for his theatre company in Chelsea, Michigan, The Purple Rose Theatre Company,  named for his role in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo.  Jeff has written more than 400 songs, and played over 300 gigs over the past 12 years by touring with his son’s band, the Ben Daniels Band.  Someone has hitched himself to some coattails to book touring mileage!

If you need a dinner and music destination for friends vising you for the weekend, Towne Crier is a pretty safe, yet musically thrilling bet for a great meal, delicious dessert from a famous pastry chef, and then onto your show.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Yarnbombing: A History That Came To Beacon And Connects It To The Wall Street Bull And Other Yarnbombed Landmarks

The original yarnbomb by Diana Currie on the
Dummy Light before it was mysteriously removed.
Over the weekend in Beacon, people were ravenously refreshing their Facebook feeds to see where "the yarnbomber" was going to strike next. A "yarnstorm" had formed after an art installation by Diana Currie that was part of Windows on Main Street 2015 (#WOMS2015) had been taken down, inspiring local knitters to band together to take to the streets at night to put more yarn up throughout the city. If you were in line to get coffee at a cafe or to support a local bake sale, people were discussing where they had been lucky enough to spot a yarnbomb before it was taken down. Diana's installation, a gray and blue yarn cozie for Beacon's famous Dummy Light, which is on the endangered species list as far as tech things go, was one of over 30 art installations created for the 11th annual Windows On Main Street exhibition. The theme this year was "Industrial/Metal", and the artists went to work creating their expressions in various windows throughout Beacon.

The Wall Street Bull got covered in carefully stitched yarn in 2010 by artist Agata Oleksiak aka Olek.
But Why Would Anyone Knit A Dummy Light?
Yarnbombing is a thing, but if you have never seen it before, it can be shocking. Yarnbombing has its own Wikipedia page which credits various people with starting the movement in Houston back in 2005, although it could be the 1990s. The first time it came on my radar was when I lived in New York in 2010 and read an article in the New York Times which covered the history of yarnbombing right after the Wall Street Bull got blanketed in a camouflage pattern of fuchsia, purple, black and teal by the artist Agata Oleksiak aka Olek.  When A Little Beacon Blog announced we were a media sponsor of Windows on Main 2015, we titled the post "#WOMS2015 Has Blogbombed A Little Beacon Blog" because a website can't be wrapped in actual yarn, but it can be wrapped in pictures. We would love to get yarnbombed though!

Yarnbomb on Dummy Light disappears after 48hrs.
Artists rush to react, first with a sign from Keith Decent,
then with replacement knitted pieces.
So What Happened?
The knitted piece got mysteriously taken down within 48 hours. I am speculating here to say that not everyone knows about yarnstorming or yarnbombing, and when one or a few people saw the knitted cozie on the Dummy Light, they felt uncomfortable about a landmark being graffitied in yarn, and took it down.

The removal of the yarnbomb set off a hailstorm in Facebook, both on people's personal feeds, and in various groups dedicated to things or passions in Beacon. The trouble with combining Facebook and passions is that the public forum became a very "loud" yet silent place of opinions and name-calling that one might never actually say out loud directly to another person.

Woa - Sounds Dramatic - What Happened Next?
Conversations happened quickly and in many different threads. One man who is credited with igniting the negative talk, later rescinded his comment after learning that yarnbombing is a form of well-received artistic expression. He later gave suggestions that the yarnbombers consider knitting an American flag. Instead, fly-by-night yarnbombers decorated Beacon with cozy wraps or adornments. 
Artistic expression can entice emotions, and emotions were running wild. Name calling started, someone called everyone and "artsy tartsy," and that's when the tote bags and iPhone covers got made.

The Conversation Took To The Streets
Knitting brigades formed and the yarnstorm grew. Signs, made by another artist Keith Decent, accompanied new yarnbombs which brought the art installation to a new level. Dialogue was happening between the artist, the community who took up arms  - I mean yarn - and folks who were working through their own understanding of art.

Local reporter Brian Cronin (also a contributor to A Little Beacon Blog) was on the case, filing a special weekend report about the yarn bomber as events unfolded. Normally yarnbombing is a peaceful, colorful, comforting expression to the object on which it covers. The greatest part about its name is that people who do it are so harmless, that they get to call themselves "knitting ninjas" in books like "Knit the City: A Whodunnknit Set in London" by Deadly Knitshade, which is a graffiti knitting collective founded by Lauren O'Farrell from London, who pushed the yarnbombing movement from simple 'cozies' to the innovation of the 'stitched story'. The stitched story in Beacon became a live action page turner. Here are a few of the developments, as told through Facebook screenshots:
The reaction to name calling in Facebook.

Another attempt at wrapping the Dummy Light.
This time camouflaged as yellow street paint.
But it was still spotted and removed.

I felt lucky when I spotted this wrap, which lasted a few days.
Other artists who were inspired by the Dummy Light showed support.
This Dummy Light necklace from Caiming Cung Jewelry was wrapped in knitted yarn.

The Strangest Part Of All...
Diana has another installation up at Dogwood. It is two curtains with half a heart on each. When the curtains are still, the heart is formed. When the wind blows, the heart splits. I had seen Diana at the Dogwood prior to Windows on Main opening, and she very subtly told me that her art was up on the Dogwood exterior, and that it was a giant statement to the bruhaha that happens in Facebook groups. She did not want to make a big deal of the meaning, as it could launch a series of ironic dialogue. We discussed this phenomena of unfiltered commenting happening all over the country in many different kinds of groups, not just local ones.

The fact that 45 crochet squares of gray and teal that took 15 hours to make is the piece that started this interactive conversation is surprising. Yet for Windows on Main, a project that happens with the support of Beacon Arts, the crocheted installation is a success. Not only did it start a dialogue, which is what art installations aim to do, but the dialogue became a running commentary of comments, of knitters going out into the night to put up more wraps and signs, of people getting joy out of spotting the yarnbombs and signs, of people removing those yarnbombs, and of memorabilia being created. I even put up a blanket! I don't knit, so I called it "yarning" and wrapped a pink and white blanket around the Dummy Light. It was only there for 12hrs, however.

In Other Beacon Trivia...
Diana's installation on the Dummy Light is across the street from 1 East Main, a former electric blanket factory and the location of the street art event put on by Electric Windows in 2010, where street artists painted canvases live while the public watches and eats from nearby restaurants. Those paintings are still in the windows as of 2015.

For a link to a lot of photos in the Windows on Main exhibit to see the amazing pieces of work by all of the artists, visit Windows on Main's Facebook page. There are also pamphlet maps all over the city to show you which artist is in which shop or location.

Watch Olek install her knitted blanket in 2010 on the Wall Street Bull at night. Truly fascinating!

Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming
Now that it all seems to have lifted (or been lifted - no pun intended!), we can all get back to our regular weekends of drinking beer on the back porch, grilling hotdogs, roasting fresh corn, and having pie from the Beacon Pie Company. And if you think you are missing a weekend festival, you probably are, so best to check A Little Beacon Blog's Annual Events Calendar of things happening in and around Beacon, NY.