Where to Buy a Christmas Tree Near Beacon, NY


Your hunt for a Christmas tree in or near Beacon is going to be a satisfying one. Below, you’ll find different local Christmas tree lots from which to purchase your live tree. The lots will smell heavenly, as the aroma is bursting from the trees. If you are totally out of decorations, and need a place to start, you could go to Brett’s Hardware in Beacon for the Christmas tree stand and an entire galaxy of light options (choices for your house, your tree and for other outdoor decorations like a mini-light show).

You could also go to Home Depot in Fishkill for Martha Stewart brand shatter-proof ornaments and other staples for indoor and outdoor decorating. If you change your mind on a real tree and instead opt for an artificial tree, you could head back to Brett’s or read our faux tree roundup.


sunny gardens christmas trees in lot no snow.JPG

Sunny Gardens Nursery is the nearby nursery located on 9D a little ways past Stony Kill Farm as you head toward Poughkeepsie. The regular plant nursery is open in spring, summer and fall. Once frosty winter days hit, Sunny Gardens opens its lot for the Christmas trees, wreaths, and decorated wreath balls.

Drive into the parking lot and step out, and it smells. so. good. The pine fragrance is accented with a slow-burning fire as the staff keeps warm around a fire-pit off to the side while you search for the exactly-right, perfect-for-you, favorite tree.


The Christmas tree shed from the Beacon Engine Fire Company next to Dogwood's parking lot.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Beacon Fire Engine Company’s Christmas tree lot usually keeps hours consistent year to year.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beaconites can also buy a tree that benefits the Beacon Fire Engine Company, which is one of three fire companies in Beacon that respond to fires. To buy a tree from these firefighters, look for them in the lot next to Dogwood's parking lot (a single rope separates the two parking lots), at East Main Street and Liberty Street, on the east end of town, over Fishkill Creek, near the mountain.

A perfect December day might include a late lunch or dinner and a beer at Dogwood, followed by a Christmas tree pickup.
Location: 60 East Main Street 
Wednesdays to Fridays, 5 to 9 pm

Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 6 pm


Wow, what a beautiful location to go buy a Christmas tree! Fishkill Farms is just a short trip east on I-84. In addition to the fragrant trees, you may also smell the homemade donuts being cooked up fresh every morning. Don’t miss their store stocked with their apples and homegrown organic veggies, eggs, and fresh-pressed cider. Plus, Santa is visiting on Saturday, December 15, 2018.


Speaking of homemade donuts, more homemade donuts are in Cold Spring at Vera’s Marketplace & Garden Center, and they are famous. The garden center is located in a strip on a rural part of Route 9, and it shares its location with The Pantry and Marbled Meat Shop. You will not leave hungry from this tree hunt when you get yours from Vera’s. Getting there from Beacon is easy.


And of course, you can buy your Christmas tree from Adams Fairacre Farms on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls. Adams offers a big selection of small and large trees, and walking through their tree nursery at night is always a lovely, fragrant experience. In years past, they’ve had real. live. reindeer.


If you’re the real adventurous type, and want to cut down your own Christmas tree, you could try Battenfelds, up in Red Hook in the arctic reaches of northern Dutchess County. They offer wagon rides, Santa sightings and do sell other Christmas decorations. Just a heads up, though: They open at the end of November, so you may need to go early in the season if you want more of a selection. You could also visit TJ’s Tree Farm in Highland, which opens on Black Friday. They offer pre-cut trees, as well as trees you can cut yourself.


If you're a recent transplant from NYC, then buying a Christmas tree from Home Depot on Route 9 (to the right off the ramp from eastbound I-84), or from the parking lot across from Walmart on Route 9 (to the left off the same ramp) won't feel that much different from picking a tree from a pop-up Christmas tree lineup on Broadway.

Keys to Beacon 2018: An Exploration Of The Outdoor Pianos That Played In Beacon

Photo Credits: Izdihar Dabashi

Photo Credits: Izdihar Dabashi

A boy crouches to play a tiny piano outside of Towne Crier. Photo Credit: Lisa Marie Martinez; Piano Artist:  Miss Vickie

A boy crouches to play a tiny piano outside of Towne Crier.
Photo Credit: Lisa Marie Martinez; Piano Artist: Miss Vickie

Back before the peak fall foliage season of September, and before the first blizzard of the pre-winter season hit us, A Little Beacon Blog planned a big feature on the Keys to Beacon project from BeaconArts. This is the outdoor, interactive art installation, in which 11 pianos covered in some kind of artistic expression were placed at locations throughout the city.

We sent out an essayist to find and experience as many pianos as she could in real life. Please meet Izdihar Dabashi, a writer, poet and college student, and follow along on her discoveries, and read how the pianos touched her and those around her.

Keys To Beacon 2018 - An Exploration

by Izdihar Dabashi
All Photos by Izdihar Dabashi
Izdihar is studying Psychology. She is a writer, loves fiction novels and writing poetry. When she is not writing, she is reading a novel with a strong heroine and drinking tea in a faux fur coat.

Auburn leaves danced in the wind, wisps of hair and tangles of scarves flit about in the cool weather. Softly, Adele’s voice weaves into the moment creating an ambiance that is undoubtedly autumn in New York. As if singing “Hello” to myself isn’t dramatic enough, the universe seems to encourage my bout of melodrama, as evidenced by the several pianos adorning Main Street. I was tempted to ignore the peculiar sights and continue to sonder, but the tinkling sounds of the pianos rang through the air and lured me to their sights.

Piano at Bank Square at Polhill Park  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Bank Square at Polhill Park
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Across the street from Bank Square at Polhill Park, a white-speckled black piano bathed in the autumn sun. Strikes of sheer gold paint the surface of the piano, balloon-like blobs of paint float amidst the spectacular design. A trio of city girls tinkered with the keys, flooding the afternoon light with airy chimes and tittering smiles. Leaves of maroon and honey weaved through the air pushing me forward to my next location, humming “Colors of the Wind” underneath my breath as the scenic fall weather emitted a Pocahontas-like movie moment from me.

Piano Artist: Donna Mickelson

I found myself outside of City Hall facing a grand piano. Blends of scarlet fade into citrus, bursting out smooth blues and shocks of violet; the sophisticated rainbow design contrasted beautifully against the sleek ebony body. I seated myself on the sturdy bench, stretched my dainty fingers, and summoned a tune so beautiful and strange all of Beacon peeked out from their windows, traffic stilled, even the birds turned their ambitious chirps into humble murmurs.

Kidding - it took about five minutes for my short stubby fingers to figure out how to gracefully lift the fall board. I could understand why BeaconArts placed this particular piano outside City Hall, because the glorious sight was enough to reinforce the visual legacy Beacon holds, an enticing city full of expression.

Piano at Beacon Historical Society on South Avenue  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Beacon Historical Society on South Avenue
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Somehow, my suede camel boots clicked their wooden heels all the way to Beacon Historical Society. A tangerine piano with magenta circles brought me back to the days of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast , a popular children’s cartoon show. Childlike-wonder surrounded the theme of this piece and graced a smile on a little girl’s face. She happened to be the pianist of the hour, and a runaway from the birthday party hosted next door. Setting down her fairy wand and birthday party hat, she clambered to settle onto the orange bench. Her happiness was contagious and soon a small crowd formed, finding joy in her clumsy tune as she confidently bobbed her head. We should have exchanged autographs.

Making my way back to Main Street, immersing myself in the hustle and bustle of the weekend flow, I came across the next piano. Situated a few feet away from the Rick Price mural, a sky-blue piano covered in paintings of a garden and a chubby Garfield-like cat invited a young couple to playfully serenade one another. It was disgustingly cute, a scene straight out of a Rom-Com.

Piano at Key Food.  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Key Food.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Flickering flames mask the small black piano outside of Key Food. An adorable little boy dressed in black and red fit the aesthetic of the piano; the scene was too cute for me not to stop and take a photo of him.

Piano outside of Beacon Pantry.  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano outside of Beacon Pantry.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Outside of Beacon Pantry, a chalkboard piano waits for me to scribble my signature all over it. A bucket full of colorful chalk is screwed into the top of the piano, inviting people to temporarily leave their mark. I left my autograph then followed the scent of sharp cheese and fresh bread for a heavenly sandwich from Beacon Pantry.

Piano at Howland Cultural Center.  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano at Howland Cultural Center.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

The piano next to the Howland Cultural Center is covered in sheet music and children’s handprints in an array of vivid colors. This piano seems to play on its own, simply needing the wind to tinker with the keys. Soft blue spikes decorate the surface of the bench hosting a young pianist. Her bright smile crinkled the corners of her cinnamon eyes, her joy as distinguishable as her vibrant magenta shirt. My inner babushka managed to resist pinching her cheeks.

Edging closer to Beacon Falls, an ivory piano blanketed with a crocheted burst of warm orange and yellow sits across from Loopy Mango, the chunky yarn store. I was in the middle of explaining to my parents how I wanted to take a photo of the piano when my mother whipped out her phone and took several photos of my father modeling. Le sigh.

Piano near Beacon Falls, along the Fishkill Creek. Piano created by the artist  Lori Merhige .  Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Piano near Beacon Falls, along the Fishkill Creek. Piano created by the artist Lori Merhige.
Photo Credit: Izdihar Dabashi

Crimson wings hide out under a cover of branches across from Beacon Falls. The massive red piano settled beneath the serenity of the clusters of trees attracted several city goers to an otherwise abandoned spot. I expected a magical dragon to appear and summon me to a quest, or perhaps the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland to lure me to another dizzying sight of magic. I stumbled across a family of three celebrating their father’s birthday, and another cluster of friends creating tunes out of thin air.

Locations For All Of The Pianos

BeaconArts volunteers (including local artists and musicians) provoked conversation and inspired feelings of awe by placing 11 pianos around Beacon. This year's locations have been City Hall, Beacon Historical Society, Polhill Park, the pop-up park at Cross and Main streets, Key Food, Howland Library, 380 Main St., Howland Cultural Center, Fishkill Falls Park, Memorial Clock (across from Loopy Mango), & Hudson Valley Brewery.

To follow the fate of the pianos as they were moved around the city, and to see other performances and activities around the pianos, visit the Keys to Beacon website.

To learn how to support the project with a donation, or to donate a piano, see their support page.

The Most Epic Trail Run In Beacon - Happening Saturday - The Cannonball Run Fundraiser


Don't let the name fool you! The organizers of this event - The Beacon Recreation Department - are inspired by all sorts of things. This second annual epic trail run through the University Settlement Park is named after a road race movie (Cannonball Run) starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, and Farrah Fawcett. In this case, though, the run is with your legs - you're jogging, walking or sprinting the 5K or 1-mile trail - and the cannonball is going to be YOU jumping into the pool after you finish the race!

That's right - the Beacon Pool is part of the course! Bonus points for the raffle prize you might win from Meyer's Olde Dutch (burgers and such), Mountain Tops Outfitters, Garrison Art Center, Fishkill Farms, or one of the many more local business sponsors who have stepped up to aid in the run's fundraising efforts. You don't even have to be a runner/walker to enter the raffle!

A Little Beacon Blog is a proud media sponsor of Beacon's Cannonball Run because we are hooked on its mission. The proceeds from the race registrations and raffle tickets go to the Beacon After School Program, which started in Beacon's elementary schools. But if enough money is raised, and another mile marker is hit, then monies will be used toward starting the After School Program in the Middle School. This has been a tremendous program benefiting kids and working parents, and parents who simply want more options for their kids after school.

Read our article to learn more about the program and the race, and see you bright and early tomorrow (Saturday) morning!

The River Pool at Beacon IN The Hudson River Opens for 2018!

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The left side of The Beacon River Pool - eye level.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

As you play at Riverfront Park, known since 2014 as Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park, you may have experienced the extreme desire to swim in the Hudson River to cool off. Well, now you can - because The River Pool at Beacon is open again this year! Starting in 2007, five years after submitting construction plans to New York State, the pool opened to the public for the first time. The river pool idea was originally proposed by the pool's co-founder, Pete Seeger, according to the pool's History page.

What's a River Pool?

The river pool is netted and shallow, with a net bottom designed by Meta Brunzema Architect P.C., a New York City-based design firm. You could crawl on it, with a child on your back, pretending you are an alligator gliding just under the water surface. Or you could sit or stand in the shallow water, enjoying the breeze off the water and gazing up or down the river, thankful you aren't in the traffic moving (or not moving) on the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge. Or, you could simply sit on the colorful plastic seats and bask in the sun, slipping further into the water as you're ready.

River pools aren't unique to this spot - they have been around since at least 1830, up and down the Hudson River - but they were removed after 1930 due to water pollution. Pete Seeger was a major advocate for cleanup of the Hudson River. Thanks to his efforts as well as many other organizations including Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper, the river has improved since then, and many groups and people continue to advocate in this direction.

Can Anyone Use the River Pool?

It's a free pool for all, thanks to support from individual donations, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Durst Organization, the Abrons Foundation, the Hudson River Foundation. The pool's organizers actually want to increase its size. They're working with another architecture firm to design a bigger pool, and they're talking with cities and towns to find the right location that offers agreeable environmental considerations.

What's It Like Swimming in the River Pool?

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The changing room at The Beacon River Pool.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

So fun. So relaxing. You're IN the river, just sitting there protected from the currents by the anchored netting. The pool is small, so you'll be near others as they dip in and out of the pool. The pool is also very shallow: An adult is up to their waist or thighs. The River Pool is fully staffed by lifeguards, and even has a changing room!

If thunder rolls in and you need to leave the pool and wait 30 thunder-free minutes to go back in, you could always shoot baskets at the park's basketball court, or play on the playgrounds. Or have a picnic on the grass (watch out for alllll of the goose poop).

An additional perk: Riverfront Park is very breezy, so you'll be cooled off quickly down by the river no matter what.

Is Swimming in the Hudson River Safe?

The Hudson River was contaminated by companies who dumped pollutants into it for many years. An ongoing effort to clean up the Hudson River has spanned several decades. As of today, it has reached cleaner levels, but is closely monitored by The River Pool at Beacon. Says a representative from The River Pool this year: "The quality in Beacon Harbor is definitely of concern. Beacon Harbor had a long run of low numbers. We hope this is a temporary situation. That said, the pool is off the north shore of Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park. The water is tested every week by the county health department. We would not open if the water was not considered safe for swimming."

Swim For The Pool - From Beacon To Newburgh!

Fundraising continues for the pool with regular donations that you can make at any time, and during the 15th Annual Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim, where you can sponsor a swimmer - or be a swimmer that people sponsor! See the Beacon to Newburgh Swim page for details.

Make a donation here to keep this all going, but don't worry if you can't. It was designed for all to be able to access and experience the Hudson River. See you at the pool!

The Beacon Pool 2018 Opening, How It Works, and Summer Hours

Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

The Beacon Pool is back for its 2018 season! Beacon lifers might remember the days when the Beacon Pool had to close, and was an empty cement hole for many hot summers. But no longer. Operated by the Beacon Recreation Department and staffed by lifeguards and pool staff you've come to recognize year after year, the Beacon Pool is now open for business and still has season passes available, though you can buy affordable day passes as well. Over the years, we've gotten to know the pool and how it works, so here's what you'll need to know:

Season Pass Holders

While this feels like a VIP pass (and you should feel like a VIP for having one, because you're seriously committed), it's really just a convenience so you can avoid scrounging for dollars in your pool bag or car. Season Pass Holders don't get priority for swimming; they don't get in even when there is a line at the gate when the pool reaches its capacity of 75 people - which happens quickly. But having the Season Pass makes life easier when you're just swinging by the pool for a quick dip. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to justify heading out for a 20-minute "quick dip" and ask yourself if it's worth it. Answer: It is. Just go.

2018 Day Use Pool Fees

Adult Day Pass: $4
Child/Senior Day Pass: $3

The Line and Wait Time

There is no messing with this Poolside Fashionista. No running!  Photo Credit:  The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

There is no messing with this Poolside Fashionista. No running!
Photo Credit: The Beacon Pool's Facebook Page

So, there is this issue of the pool often having a line to get in. And you can't bribe the pool bouncers - we've tried. Waiting isn't soooo bad, as long as you are prepared. Bring snacks, maybe a soccer ball or your own radio and a low volume. Don't walk away or expect a fancy paging system to buzz you when you're next in line. Stay close to the fence to hear your name being called.

Speaking of Food...

You can bring your own, but you can't eat it within the pool area. They don't want too many extra bees flying around.

Why Does It Open at 2 pm?

We've heard this before. No the lifeguards aren't just rolling out of bed then. The pool staff has actually been there for some time, teaching swim classes and entertaining campers from around the area. The afternoon is when it opens to the public.

Monday to Friday - 2 to 7 pm
Saturday and Sunday - Noon to 7 pm

The Beacon Pool keeps an "unofficial" Facebook Group, where they often post their hours for the day. Hours don't generally vary unless something unexpected happens, like a thunderstorm or cleaning of the pool. If you're not on Facebook, you're out of luck in terms of updates. Which is why we would encourage the pool to develop a basic website to post their updates! Email Katie James Inc. for help... (wink wink).

Who Can Go? Only Beacon Residents?

Speaking of the public, anyone can go. Anyone from any city, town, county or state. You do not need to be a Beacon resident to go.

Where Is the Beacon Pool?

It's really hard to see from the street. In fact, you can't see from Route 9D - it's hidden behind trees and woods.

The Beacon Pool is located at the Park at The Settlement Camp, 724 Wolcott Ave., Beacon. It is across from the Craig House.

How Accessible Is the Pool?

The pool itself is 140 feet by 50 feet, and progresses in depth from 2 feet to 8 feet deep, making it perfect for swimmers and water lovers of all ages. You could step down and wade into the pool. There are steps available for those who need them, upon request.

The basic bathrooms on-site could serve as a changing room, but the floor is pretty wet from other swimmers, so change at home if you can.

So Sunny!

Mostly, the pool is in the sun. This year, new blue and white striped umbrellas provide some shade! The very end of the day is a great time to go - like after 5:30pm. Most likely, there will still be a line, but shade starts creeping in on the sides.

Backyard Pool for Heat Wave - Blow It Up


Call it a heat wave, or just call it summer in the Humid Hudson Valley. Either way, you're going to need water to dip into. If you are too dazed to get down to the River Pool in the Hudson River, then head to Rite Aid to get this big blowup pool. Adults can fit into it, as well as small mermaids. Mermaid tails aren't included, but you can get an actual one here. Swim for free in your backyard, or in the River Pool.

Be sure to pick up an air pump at Brett's True Value down on West Main Street (on the way to the Metro-North train station). The pump will make it a breeze to inflate the backyard pool!

BAM!! Beacon's Fireworks Are Happening... But They Almost Didn't

Photo Credit: Betsy Biggar Hellmuth

Photo Credit: Betsy Biggar Hellmuth

Date: Sunday, July 1, 2018
Location: Memorial Park, Robert Cahill Drive, Beacon, NY
Time: Music starts at 5 pm. Fireworks begin at 9 pm.
Entertainment: There will be live music, and vendors selling food.

"When are Beacon's fireworks this year?"

It's a simple question. One that normally has an answer without a second thought. When annual events or things happen - like hanging baskets of petunias on Main Street - one doesn't normally question how or why they happen, only that they do happen.

So when chatter started about Beacon's fireworks not happening for 2018, ears perked up in disbelief. Rather than accept that Beacon wouldn't have fireworks, Beaconites took it upon themselves to make it happen.

The City of Beacon itself is not involved in the production of most of the annual events scheduled throughout the year. These commemorative and festive events have drawn renewed interest and involvement from community members, though:

The Spirit of Beacon Day Parade almost didn't happen in 2018 when its organizers disbanded (but then it did happen, as new organizers stepped in!). The Memorial Day Parade, which is organized by veterans who live in Beacon, did not happen in 2018, but will return in 2019, as announced by a veteran during last month's Memorial Day service at the Memorial Building. They expressed how humbled they were by the public's strong turnout to this year's ceremony.

Another group of Beacon citizens has organized a reading of the Declaration of Independence set to happen on Wednesday, July 4, at 11 am.

As for Beacon's fireworks show, it's really an event produced by the people of Beacon. There are many involved who are putting together a big fireworks display for 2018. Here's what we know so far:

A Changing of the Guard for Beacon's Fireworks

You may not have realized that historically, the Kiwanis Club of Beacon did the fundraising for the fireworks. Additionally, the organization known as "I Am Beacon" used to play a part in organizing events that began in the afternoon and ran into the night. Sometimes things change, however, and unfortunately, the Kiwanis Club disbanded this year with no clear guideline in place for passing the firework fundraising torch (irresistible pun intended).

Enter LT Sherpa, owner of Beacon Natural Market. He was overcome with shock when he heard that there would be no fireworks in Beacon. "You can't have the Fourth of July without fireworks," he said to himself, and then to me while interviewing him for this story.

Beacon Natural, Verplanck Auto, and Beacon Recreation Department Step Up to Produce Celebration

"I decided that the Beacon Natural Market would offer to sponsor the fireworks," LT continued. "After speaking to the mayor and discovering that the cost was a little more than what the market could do alone, I spearheaded a donation drive from Beacon businesses to hold the fireworks. Beacon has been good to businesses, and I want us to give back.” LT is working with Mark Price, director of Beacon's Recreation Department, who has usually facilitated the production of Beacon's Fourth of July celebration in years past.

If you would like to donate to the event, please contact LT or Kitty Sherpa:
Call: Beacon Natural Market, (845) 838-1288
Email: beacon348@verizon.net
Donate in person: Beacon Natural Market, 348 Main St., Beacon, NY
Checks: Make payable to the City of Beacon.

No matter what LT and his wife Kitty raise during the donation drive, LT has assured the City that he is writing a check for the full amount of the fireworks. The fireworks will commence on Sunday, July 1, 2018, and there is no rain date.

All donations for the fireworks can be made out to the City of Beacon, and can be dropped off at Beacon Natural Market.

Live Music for Beacon's Fireworks

Some of you know Manny from Verplanck Auto, and some of you have your cars in his lot right now being repaired. Said Manny when being interviewed for this story: "I spoke to Mark Price on a chance meeting about this event. I wanted to help. My son, who will be a high school senior this year, Zack Taylor, has been performing at the Fourth of July celebration for the past three to four years with his band, Seal the Deal."

Manny and LT are working with Mark from the Recreation Department, who is orchestrating the programming for the entire day. "People are coming out of the woodwork to help out," said Manny. "L+J is donating the sound equipment, and many others are donating time and such to the whole process," said Manny.

Musical Lineup Before the Fireworks

The festival will be at Memorial Park on Sunday, July 1. There will be vendors selling food as well as live music. The music starts at 5 pm, and will be done by the time the fireworks begin at 9 pm.

This musical lineup was sent to us by Zack Kotzias, who is known for performing in interesting venues around Beacon:

5-5:30 pm Brian Daniel (R&B)
5:45-6:15 pm Jeremy Torres (Acoustic)
6:30-7 pm Backseat Lover (Rock)
7:15-7:45 pm Seal the Deal (Rock)
8-8:15 pm Tony E (Hip Hop)
8:20-9 pm Decora (Hip Hop)

If you are involved with this year's production or if you have already donated, go ahead and give yourself a shout-out and pat on the back in the Comments below!

Business Donors So Far

M&T Bank, John Car Realty, Homespun, Dominic Penzetta, Dogwood, Drink More Good, Hudson, Valley Auctioneers, Greg Zabel, Hudson Beach Glass, Artisan Wine Store, Hudson Valley Brewery, Mobile Gas Station, Quinns, Quinns Employees, Keyfood, Antalek & Moore, Mountain Tops, Kitchen Sink, Hudson Valley Zoned, Luxe Optical, Law Office of Dennis Vetrano, Gate House Realty, Kiwanis Club, Roundhouse, Melzingah Tap House, Poppy’s, Beacon Natural Market, and Thundercut.


Hanging Baskets of Petunias Have Arrived on Main Street - How They Got There


Quick - what's the prettiest way to tell what season it is in Beacon? Look up, to Main Street's lampposts, and see what's hanging as the seasons change. In the winter, it's wreaths and illuminated stars. In the spring and summer, it's the petunias. But these petunias don't water themselves. And where do they come from, anyway?

The Hanging Petunia Baskets Are A Community Effort

The Tioronda Garden Club pays for the hanging baskets, and Sunny Garden Greenhouses, the nursery north on Route 9D past Stony Kill Farm, makes the hanging baskets. Mayor Randy Casale and former councilperson Sam Way water the baskets in the early morning, and have done so ever since the baskets were removed from the City's budget years ago.

Fundraisers are put on each year by the Tioronda Garden Club for the hanging baskets (we covered it last year), so watch for your chance to help! And just look at the Tioronda Garden Club's new website, with all of their events listed! This is a great way to connect with other gardening enthusiasts. You could even possibly be one of these secret gardeners on Main Street, if you wanted to join the Tioronda Garden Club.

This year, my photo of the petunias is from inside A Little Beacon office at 291 Main Street, in the Telephone Building. I don't recall seeing the hanging baskets last year outside my window, but I'm so happy to see it daily now!

Watch for Giant Turtles Crossing - What Do They Do On The Other Side?

In last weekend’s edition of the Highlands Current, the reporting was turned on Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms, who normally writes up Beacon news for the newspaper. His animal-rescue experience landed him front-page treatment. Normally, his own article would be in this spot. Last week, however, he himself was in ink (not the ink on his arm, but on the page).

While riding his bike down Route 9D from Beacon to Cold Spring on his way to the Current's production meeting, Jeff spotted this snapping turtle gradually making his way across the road. According to the article, Jeff pulled his bike over and attempted to encourage the turtle to go faster or move away from the busy road.

May and June is prime time to see snapping turtles, which are one of 11 species native to New York. In the late spring and early summer, they're on the move, laying their eggs in sandy areas or loose soil, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC issued an advisory last year reminding motorists to watch out for migrating turtles, whose populations are declining. "The reptiles lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, which means the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local turtle population," according to the advisory. Suffice to say, the turtle that Jeff spotted was on a mission and would not be deterred.

But its slow progress left it vulnerable, so Jeff’s next move was to call in the professionals: Mark Price, Beacon’s own director of the parks and recreation department. Together, they moved the turtle by lifting it by either side of its shell, the method DEC recommends if you need to move one (see the DEC's full recommendation on how to move a turtle to safety).

Exciting times for this Tree City! Beacon is an official Tree City, as designated by New York State’s Urban Forestry Program, which “fosters comprehensive planning, management and education throughout New York to create a healthy urban and community forest and enhance quality of life,” as stated in their mission. Spotting snapping turtles is a reminder that we are surrounded by an an ecosystem of fauna and flora, turtles to treetops, and it's good to keep them healthy!

Cupcake Festival in Beacon, NY 2018 - Reached the Cupcake Mecca

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Streets were packed on Beacon's east end of town for the Cupcake Festival 2018.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Streets were packed on Beacon's east end of town for the Cupcake Festival 2018.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Did you reach the mecca? The Cupcake Festival? The east end of town was thick with cupcake celebrators, but in our journey to walk all of Main Street from the train to the mountain, we got to duck into a few favorite local businesses...

Luxe Optique (where we helped a friend buy some glasses!), American Gypsy Vintage while waiting for a to-go chicken wrap from Ziatun to eat on the way, NFP Studio (got a personal demonstration of how to wear their architecture-inspired sweaters!), Utensil Kitchenware (bought some nesting containers at last!), Jeffrey Terreson Fine Art (always love seeing that guy and he had a stunning, ginormous print on the floor ready for shipping out the door). And at last, we decorated this cupcake from Tops, and indulged in a generous chocolate cupcake with a lot of vanilla frosting from The Chocolate Studio. Alas, we ate it before the camera could capture a picture.

We Shopped at American Gypsy Vintage on the way down to the Cupcake Festival, while waiting for a takeout chicken wrap from Ziatun.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

We Shopped at American Gypsy Vintage on the way down to the Cupcake Festival, while waiting for a takeout chicken wrap from Ziatun.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

How many cupcakes should you bring if you're a cupcake vendor? A lot. This is just a fraction - 1/279th - of the cupcakes that were for sale.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

How many cupcakes should you bring if you're a cupcake vendor? A lot. This is just a fraction - 1/279th - of the cupcakes that were for sale.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Finally Stopped into NFP Studio to experience the sweaters!  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Finally Stopped into NFP Studio to experience the sweaters!
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

During Last year's Cupcake Festival, no one ventured down to 1 East Main, which is literally Just down a grassy hill from the Happenin' Event. This year, Since  Trax Coffee Roasters Has moved in , Cupcake Aficionados Were Happy to venture down the hill.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

During Last year's Cupcake Festival, no one ventured down to 1 East Main, which is literally Just down a grassy hill from the Happenin' Event. This year, Since Trax Coffee Roasters Has moved in, Cupcake Aficionados Were Happy to venture down the hill.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beacon Still in Bloom: Chain Link Fences of Beacon

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin   

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beacon is still in bloom for what is shaping up to be a long floral season, with the healthy doses of rain we’ve been getting. The lilacs, dogwoods, and magnolias have just started opening up. There was a time, for two or three seasons in a row I seem to recall, when it did snow on the new magnolia buds. But so far... well, I won’t say more and jinx us. :)

Meanwhile, Beacon is famous for its chain link fences, and to be honest, the biggest benefit of the chain link fence is that you can see through it, letting in light which is good for plantings, and it doesn’t fall down as easily as soggy wooden fences do. (Though I love a good, soggy, mossy wooden fence. So atmospheric.)

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Clearwater receives Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley grant for Sailing Classroom Equipment


One of the Hudson Valley's best-known environmental organizations closed out the year with a bang. On December 27, 2017, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater was awarded a $1,962 grant from Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Community Grant Fund – Putnam County to help purchase science equipment for Clearwater’s Sailing Classroom. This grant makes possible the curriculum’s aim to teach young people about the ecology of the Hudson River estuary, according to a news release from Clearwater.

"We are extremely grateful for this support from the Community Foundation of Putnam County," says Maija Niemisto, Clearwater's Education Director. "Students aboard the sloop Clearwater will now have access to the equipment needed for sampling the Hudson River water, fish, and plankton with their own hands. Clearwater’s Board joins me in thanking the Foundation for providing young people with the tools necessary to investigate the natural world around them on voyages of discovery aboard The Environmental Tallship of America.”

Clearwater anticipates that by the end of 2018, more than 600 students in Putnam County will have benefited from using this science equipment.

About Hudson River Sloop Clearwater 

Launched in 1969 by legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as champions of the Hudson River. To date, more than half a million people have experienced their first real look at an estuary’s ecosystem aboard the sloop Clearwater. Clearwater has become the grassroots model for producing positive changes to protect our planet. For more information, visit Clearwater's website.

The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley

Serving all of Dutchess, Putnam and Ulster counties, the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley is a driving force in philanthropy in the region, distributing funds from thousands of donors to connect people who care with causes that matter. Administering more than $60 million in assets, Community Foundations works with donors to provide grants and scholarships. The group also establishes endowment funds for nonprofits and other charitable causes, and collaborates with government, private foundations and local leaders to address current and emerging needs. Learn more at Community Foundations' website.

Scenic Hudson Proposes Increased Parking Spots at Mt. Beacon Trailhead

Photo Credit:  Concept rendering of Mount Beacon trailhead parking. Copyright © 2017 Scenic Hudson, Inc., All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Concept rendering of Mount Beacon trailhead parking. Copyright © 2017 Scenic Hudson, Inc., All rights reserved.

If you're a regular visitor to Mount Beacon Park, where you first encounter the steep staircase only to be met with a steep climb up the mountain to breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley, you'll have noted that parking at the base of Mount Beacon is thick. Daily, cars quickly fill up the 39 spaces that are currently available. Scenic Hudson manages Mount Beacon Park, in cooperation with the Mount Beacon Incline Railway Society, and is proposing to increase the number of parking spots from 39 to 77 on the existing surface of the parking lot. (Ie, they don't plan to construct new platforms above or below ground, but to expand at ground level.)

The plans include constructing universally accessible parking and walkways, enhanced walkways and an emergency access gate, a pedestrian connection to Howland Avenue, and increased landscaping to shield the view of the parking lot.

In addition to making increased parking spots in the existing parking lot, Scenic Hudson is proposing to add connections to mass transit. "We've provided a pickup/drop-off area for a future trolley or bus stop," says Scenic Hudson’s Senior Park Planner, Meg Rasmussen.

Beacon's Planning Board is hearing the proposal tonight, Tuesday, November 14, at its regular meeting at the Beacon Municipal Center, 1 Municipal Plaza, and the public is encouraged to attend to voice opinions. The project is filed under 788 Wolcott Avenue. It's a loaded meeting, with several development projects in the agenda. The meeting starts at 7:30 pm, preceded by a training/workshop portion to start at 7 pm. Details about the project have been posted at the City Of Beacon website and can also be found here in our "Easy Access to City Meetings" section. When the video of this meeting posts, we will also add it to this meeting's overview page here at A Little Beacon Blog.

The Coolest Lemonade Stand Opens - But With Vegetables - At Beacon Elementary Schools

Photo Credit: Ashley Lederer Chinen, founder of  Thoughtful Food Nutrition , based in Beacon.

Photo Credit: Ashley Lederer Chinen, founder of Thoughtful Food Nutrition, based in Beacon.

Summer may be over for lemonade stands, but it's just starting for the newest farm-fresh favorite activity to hit Beacon - vegetable stands. Fleeting vegetable markets have popped up in Beacon for a few years now, with the green truck from Green Teen (a program connected to Common Ground Farm) parking in designated lots, as well as appearing at the Beacon Farmers Market (of course) on Sundays.

Now, thanks to an initiative from the Beacon Parks and Recreation Department, Hudson Valley Seed (an education-based food-growing program that is woven into Beacon City Schools' curriculum), and Common Ground Farm, kids from Beacon's After School Program (A Little Beacon Blog first wrote about the program here) will be running "Crop Shops," pop-up vegetable stands during the students' Food Fridays, rotating Fridays among South Avenue, J.V. Forrestal, and Sargent elementary schools.

In the After School Program, each weekday has a theme, such as baking, karate, yoga, or bird-watching, run by a business or nonprofit from the Beacon community. During the program's first quarterly session, Fridays are designated Food Fridays, and the kids learn to make snacks. Thanks to this program, the kids will also learn commerce as they run the vegetable stands. "Staff from the After School Program as well as Hudson Valley Seed will be on hand to make sure the kids have a great experience and learn about produce, small business and salesmanship," says Nate Smith, the Recreation Department's assistant director. "Please be patient while a second grader figures out your total and makes change!"

Donation to the After School Program's Tuition Assistance Program

The kid-run vegetable stands are open to the public, and will rotate among three of the Beacon district's four elementary schools. (Glenham Elementary isn't participating right now.) The stands, which will spend two Fridays at each school, will be open from 4:45 to 6 pm. Half of the stands' proceeds will go toward the After School Program's Tuition Assistance Program, which offers a 50 percent discount to students who qualify for the Free Lunch Program. Kids in roughly half of the families in Beacon qualify for free lunch program.

Schedule for Farm Stand Fridays

Here's the lineup. Check back with this article to make sure you're going on the right day!

Fridays, 4:45 to 6 pm

10/6 and 10/13 – South Avenue
Front entrance near the disabled parking

10/20 and 10/27 – Sargent
Lower cafeteria entrance

11/3 and 11/10 – J.V. Forrestal
In front of main entrance