The 16th Annual Great Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim - Registration Closes Friday, July 19!

The River Pool at Beacon is hosting the 16th annual Great Newburgh to Beacon Hudson River Swim on Saturday, July 20, 2019 (rain date is Sunday, July 21). All swimmers must pre-register to swim by Friday, July 19, 2019. Registration on race day will not be allowed.

The race is a wonderful opportunity for experienced swimmers to swim about one mile (72 lengths of a standard 25-yard pool) across the Hudson River and raise funds to benefit the nonprofit volunteer organization River Pool at Beacon (a 501c3 tax-exempt organization). You can also learn more about the River Pool from this article we published about their 2018 opening.

Swimmers will check in on the Newburgh side of the river at Water Street, between 3rd St. and 4th St. (UNICO Park Plaza) between 8:30 and 10:15 am. Swimmers must be at least 10 years old, but swimmers ages 10-17 need certification of ability signed by a coach or athletic director.

Family and friends are encouraged to drop off swimmers in Newburgh, watch them start the race, then drive across the bridge to Beacon to greet them as they come out of the water. There will be light snacks, food, and beverages available for purchase on the Beacon riverfront.

Kayak Escorts Wanted

In addition to swimmers, they are also looking for kayak escorts for the race to ensure the safety and well-being of all swimmers, as well as keeping them on-course. There are no registration fees to be a kayak escort.

Regularly check for updates, especially the week before the swim. To register for the race as a swimmer or escort, visit

You Could Buy This Building With 2 Storefronts & 3 Apartments In Newburgh... For $389,900

If you were walking around Beacon this weekend, you may have been gazing at real estate listings taped to realtors’ windows on Main Street, and thought to yourself: “Gosh, I wish I could own something in Beacon. I wish I could buy one of these buildings.” But they are all going for $1 million, and you’re thinking: “Gosh, I really wish I could pay less, and have money left over for renovations or to hit the ground running with making it awesome.”

Your answer may be in Newburgh. Specifically at 321 Liberty Street. It’s a property that isn’t going to be listed for long. It’s going Off Market for the winter. Unlike a snowbird, it’s going to sit there until someone chirps up in the spring.

Buildings on Liberty Street in Newburgh - Kind Of Like Main Street, Beacon

Liberty Street is a pretty happening street in Newburgh. Just follow the blog Newburgh Restoration and you’ll see. Well, parts of Liberty that is. And 321 Liberty is north of this area, but close enough to be connected soon as new businesses set up shop on Liberty Street.

New businesses south of it include the cafe Blacc Vanilla and Cafe Macchiato (has changed hands a few times over the years and has a new dinner menu!), and the new bakery Newburgh Flour Shop (beware of their Instagram, you may drive over the bridge just for one pecan pie). Then there’s the Shred Foundation in Newburgh (working to introduce the youth in local rural and urban areas to snowboarding).

If you’re curious about owning and renovating buildings in Newburgh, talk to some of the current-day pioneers. Go into Newburgh Brewery and ask them all about it, and their involvement with the larger Newburgh community. Dine at Ms. Fairfax and ask for Phillip and Ellen. They can tell you about commercial and residential renovations, and their views on where the different neighborhoods are headed.

Newburgh Still In Come-Back Stages - Know Your Agent

Newburgh is very diverse with people, buildings, empty buildings, renovated buildings, abandoned buildings, beautiful homes, beautifully decaying homes, and beautifully renovated homes.

It’s quite a canvas over there. And this building probably needs work. The agent for this listing, Sarah Beckham Hooff, is up to her elbows in Newburgh, having renovated a building herself, which is what got her hooked on real estate and being involved in the community. She is a wealth of information for what is going on now, and can point you in the right direction for getting to know Newburgh better. Plus, this building at 321 Liberty Street is in a newly established area, granting tax breaks for capital gains, called an Opportunity Zone (learn more about that here).

This is your chance to participate in the revitalization of a once-thriving area of the country, centuries ago when it was Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War, as well as a shipping resource, before urban changes routed traffic out of there, leaving it to spiral downward. But it’s on a climb back up. Refresh or start your Newburgh history here.

The ReAttached Team at Hanson Real Estate Partners Showcases the Creative Opportunities in Newburgh

Many thanks to ReAttached Team at Hanson Real Estate Partners, who have joined A Little Beacon Blog's Real Estate Guide as sponsors to show you a selection of their retail and commercial properties in Newburgh. If you were at Newburgh OPEN Studios this month, you may have experienced the buzzing energy over there - and gotten a creative itch to dig in. There's even a home for sale - a "TLC Heartthrob" on Beacon Street - in Newburgh! Check them out!

The ReAttached Team at Hanson Real Estate Partners invests in America’s livable urban spaces. They help creative and motivated individuals define their ideal lifestyle, and understand how owning or leasing real estate in Newburgh, New York, can accelerate people’s personal, professional and financial growth. See all of the ReAttached listings and call them for tours!

Sarah Beckham Hooff founded the ReAttached Team at Hanson Real Estate Partners after living abroad for 10-plus years, working as an environmental scientist, grant writer, social activist and performer. Three weeks after she discovered Newburgh, NY, she packed up and relocated. Shortly after landing, she founded a performance and recording studio in what was then an abandoned hair salon.

Inspired by other creatives’ interest in rediscovering and reinventing “downtown" American living, she founded a trilingual (Spanish, Russian, English) real estate sales team to support creative investors who think like homeowners, and motivated homeowners who think like investors. In 2018, Laura Suárez joined the Team as a licensed real estate agent, to facilitate transactions with Spanish-speaking clients.

New Listing - In Newburgh! This Multi-or-Single Family Home for $159,000

Our first listing in Newburgh! Realtor Sarah Beckham Hooff reached out to us to share some very creative listings. For the past few years, people and businesses have been relocating to Newburgh after finding commercial or residential properties to fix up. This multi-or-single family home is $159,900 and has lots of original detail to play with, like tin ceilings.

Pictures and Our Favorite Parts >

Update on Fundraiser for New LGBTQ+ Center Opening In Newburgh, NY


In March 2018, A Little Beacon Blog was the proud sponsor of the Move It Baby, Move It family dance party and fundraiser for the newly formed Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center. We checked in with the fundraiser's organizer and author of this article, Phoebe Zinman Winters, to see how it all went!

This dance party fundraiser for the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center tore up Quinn’s dance floor with some superstar DJs, raffle prizes and dancers that didn’t quit. Those dancing families raised $1,000 for the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, which helped the center open new doors.

Fundraising Opened the Doors To The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center

Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman Winters.  The DJs are Decora and H2O.

Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman Winters. The DJs are Decora and H2O.

We are so pleased to share such a great update from them! Karen Naimool from The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center reports that they used the funds to rent space in Newburgh for a "pop-up office."

"We are able to go into this venture for three months and are looking for additional funding to help us keep the doors open,” said Karen. The office will be used for general operations as well as a place where resources and events can be offered. The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center is involved in many events, education and trainings for community and board members; they also work on increasing their visibility in the community.

Fundraising Events Since Move It Baby, Move It

The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center's Purple Rain Prince Tribute Dance Party and Drag Show Fundraiser was in June, and fundraising dancers laced up our dancing shoes again (or zipped up our dancing boots) and partied like it was 1999. It was an especially good time and the dance floor was overflowing with cuteness and love. 

Karen let us know about the results of the Prince Fundraiser: "It was an amazing success. Monies were raised by ticket sales, the GoFundMe, community member donations and local business sponsorship." Sponsors of that event included:
1. The Wherehouse
2. Shapiro's Furniture Barn
3. Blacc Vanilla
4. Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley
5. Millenium Tattoo
6. Hale's Hardware
7. Machu Picchu Restaurant
8. Liberty Street Bistro

The next dance party is a drag show happening during Newburgh's Last Saturday celebrations on August 25, from 10 pm to 2 am at The Wherehouse on Liberty Street in Newburgh.

How You Can Donate & Get Involved

The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center set a fundraising goal in June 2018, and made it to $3,760.77! This funding will go towards programs (materials, advertising, etc…), stipends for organizers and further leadership development through trainings, retreats and workshops.

If you’d like to contribute to the center's current fundraising goals, you can donate at to continue to grow and support this valuable local resource in its mission to serve the needs of the community.

Stay tuned for more fabulous Move It Baby, Move It dance parties in the future, and if you have any great ideas for fundraising recipients, you can send them along to

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 Storm Photos - Macrobursts and Tornadoes Everywhere Ripping Down Trees, Cutting Power

The fire in this picture is on 9D, near Stony Kill Farm. A transformer exploded on the road.  Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog - photos taken from various sources, noted below.

The fire in this picture is on 9D, near Stony Kill Farm. A transformer exploded on the road.
Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog - photos taken from various sources, noted below.

Turns out that a sick day, with three kids in quarantine after a diagnosis of strep throat, was a blessing in disguise. A major storm hit Beacon (and the Hudson Highlands, NYC, CT, PA, and NJ) at around 4 pm on Tuesday, May 15. Weather watchers were expecting rain, but when warnings of hail and high winds came across the TV, severe-weather veterans took to their yards to bring in potted plants and lower the basketball hoops. My neighbor is such a veteran weather watcher that he warned me of imminent hail before I embarked on a family walk to Key Food to fill up the fridge after my little ones ate through everything. An hour after returning, my phone vibrated its insistent SOS call, which we usually only hear for Amber Alerts. Only this time, it said "Tornado in your area. Take shelter."

"This was the storm rolling in! Hudson Valley Weather called this photo a gust front!"  Photo Credit: Sheila Lassen, Mountainville, NY (Part of Cornwall)

"This was the storm rolling in! Hudson Valley Weather called this photo a gust front!"
Photo Credit: Sheila Lassen, Mountainville, NY (Part of Cornwall)

I gathered my brood, and we went straight to the basement. Thank goodness that for Mother's Day I treated myself to a bunch of new flashlights and lanterns. After a brief power outage from our winter blizzards, I realized I had no working flashlights anymore. Normally at this time of day, my husband would be working in New York City, but on Tuesday, he was headed home early (he'd been recovering from his own bout with strep) and was on 9D when the rains, macrobursts and tornadoes hit. The winds flattened trees around him and literally ripped through other trees.

At least three fatalities were blamed on the winds, which brought trees down, right onto people in cars (see details in this Highlands Current article). Three tornadoes went through Connecticut, and at least four hit New York (including one in Newburgh) bringing winds between 75 and 100 mph, spanning paths of several miles (see a photo here from Central Hudson). Some of the worst damage was caused by macrobursts that ripped through Dutchess County and other counties. Macrobursts possess wind speeds of 100 mph or more, and travel in straight lines for miles, unlike tornadoes, which have rotating, swirling, damaging winds. Central Hudson also confirmed that 1,000 lightning strikes happened per hour: “Storm with winds up to 78 MPH + 1,000 lightning strikes per hour has interrupted service to more than 72,000 customers.” Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro declared a State of Emergency, and Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a State of Emergency and deployed 125 National Guard members to help with the storm's effects.

On Wednesday, Central Hudson stated that many workers were on duty to clear trees (from street scenes like these) and restore power: “Approximately 185 line workers together with nearly 180 tree personnel are clearing roads and restoring power in our service territory today. Additionally, more than 270 mutual aid line workers are anticipated to arrive throughout the day.” See Central Hudson's trucks here restoring power.

By Thursday, that number grew: “A field force more than 1,000 strong is at work today clearing roads, responding to emergencies and restoring electric service.” They noted: “Mutual aid crews from as far as Niagara Falls, Michigan and Vermont have arrived.”

The Stony Kill wagon, a reliable sight on route 9D promoting the Open Barn, was turned over. Amazing that it did not get torn to smithereens! The wagon has since been righted back up.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Stony Kill wagon, a reliable sight on route 9D promoting the Open Barn, was turned over. Amazing that it did not get torn to smithereens! The wagon has since been righted back up.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

In Wallkill, my assistant was working on a project with me via email, and the next minute she was MIA, as the wind had ripped open a tree in her yard, and it tore apart a newly completed shed at her neighbor's house.

Castle Point, which is located along the Hudson River just north of Beacon, is the home of many families as well as the VA Hudson Valley Health Care system. Macrobursts ripped through the area. My friend's wife works at the VA hospital, and he was waiting for her to come home, as it's a 10-minute drive. She did not get home for several hours, after being stuck in Castle Point as it dealt with trees and debris that had been tossed around by wind.

Beacon school teacher Brian Antalek, who lives in Castle Point, was quoted in the Poughkeepsie Journal as having to park his car at neighboring Stony Kill Foundation and walk two miles to his home in Castle Point. One man who I encountered at the grocery store told me about the huge oak tree in his yard that blew into the next yard. Shingles and pieces of housing landed in his yard, and he could only surmise that they were from Newburgh, as they didn't match anything nearby.

A map of a tornado path in Saugerties shows a tornado traveling across the Hudson River.  Photo Credit: National Weather Service via  Hudson Valley Weather .

A map of a tornado path in Saugerties shows a tornado traveling across the Hudson River.
Photo Credit: National Weather Service via Hudson Valley Weather.

Newburgh received extensive damage, and is still recovering and still has areas without power. According to Eastern Dutchess Fire and Rescue: "Electrical substations which supplied power to the City of Newburgh sustained heavy damage requiring extensive repair. It is very possible that vast areas of the City may experience many days without electricity." Residents are boiling their water and those with gym memberships were using the facilities to shower. I got a call from a sales person living in Newburgh on Friday trying to set up a meeting, which she couldn't quite commit to, saying "I can't see anyone like this, I have to wait until the power comes back on."

Stony Kill Farm and Common Ground Farm in Fishkill suffered many trees down. A fire erupted on 9D near the farm (in the picture below with red bathroom barn). A transformer had exploded and caught fire on 9D. Stacey from Stony Kill Foundation reports that all of the farm's animals were unharmed and OK.

We had been to Stony Kill and Common Ground a week prior, on school field trips to see Common Ground Farm's pride and glory, the thriving tomatoes under the tarp greenhouses they built - which were destroyed by the winds.

An electrical fire blazing on 9D, in front of Stony Kill Farm. This view is of their bathroom facing 9D. The fire was not in any of Stony Kill's buildings and all of their farm animals are OK.  Photo Credit:  Common Ground Farm

An electrical fire blazing on 9D, in front of Stony Kill Farm. This view is of their bathroom facing 9D. The fire was not in any of Stony Kill's buildings and all of their farm animals are OK.
Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

The greenhouse that protects the fledgling tomatoes at Common Ground Farm.  Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

The greenhouse that protects the fledgling tomatoes at Common Ground Farm.
Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

In Dutchess Junction, a tree fell on a power line. That caused an electrical fire for about 45 minutes until Central Hudson came and turned off the power, according to Maria Garcia Mojica, who submitted the picture below.

An electrical fire in Dutchess Junction.  Photo Credit: Maria Garcia Mojica  

An electrical fire in Dutchess Junction.
Photo Credit: Maria Garcia Mojica 

The interior designer Ryan Samuelson experienced severe damage to his home on Washington Avenue in Beacon while he was in the basement. "I was just coincidentally down in the basement grabbing something. I didn’t even know about the storm warnings. Then I felt and heard a loud crunch and knew something pretty serious just happened."

Ryan Samuelson's home on Washington Avenue in Beacon.  Photo Credit: Ryan Samuelson

Ryan Samuelson's home on Washington Avenue in Beacon.
Photo Credit: Ryan Samuelson

In Fishkill, Route 52 was brought to a standstill, contributing to the traffic blockade that delayed people for hours trying to get into or out of Beacon. The CVS pictured below is the one on Route 52 near Love Nails. These photos were submitted by Kathy Harrison.

Many construction projects are in progress here in Beacon. The most recent are those on 9D which cleared parcels of trees to prepare for the construction of new apartment buildings. One of two trees left on one property blew over (doesn't seem to be dead yet, however). Fencing blocking the other construction project blew away. A reproduction of the children's book, The Lorax, which is about preserving trees, had been posted on the fence in a statement about the removal of the trees. That portion of the fence remained through the wind blast. The fencing destroyed in the storm has since been replaced.

In Beacon, many trees came down. This yellow house on Verplanck is a known abandoned house, which is rumored to be lost in bank foreclosure paperwork. Just who will haul away this tree may not be straightforward.

Abandoned house on Verplanck.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Abandoned house on Verplanck.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A tree blown down on Willow Street by the storm blocked this alternate backroads artery for two days after the storm. With 9D already limited by planned construction to finish NYSDOT ADA curb-cut ramps between Main Street and I-84, side streets like Willow, Orchard Place, Dutchess Terrace and others become back-road alternates. This made getting into or out of Beacon even more difficult. This tree below was cleared swiftly on Friday.

This Tree, down and blocking Willow Street, was Cleared away two days after the storm.  Photo Credit:  Dana Devine O'Malley

This Tree, down and blocking Willow Street, was Cleared away two days after the storm.
Photo Credit: Dana Devine O'Malley

The macrobursts took out bits and pieces of structures in their path, making some of the destruction seem random. A brick wall and bush were taken out at this house on Rombout Avenue.

A house on Rombout Avenue.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A house on Rombout Avenue.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The small Fanny Fay Girl Scout House, at the end of Rombout Avenue, is surrounded by trees. We headed over to check out if any had fallen. This one did, but fell away from the house, further into the woods.

This Tree uprooted at the end of rombout avenue, at the Fanny Fay Girl Scout House.  Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

This Tree uprooted at the end of rombout avenue, at the Fanny Fay Girl Scout House.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Please note that most businesses in Beacon are now open! Several opened soon after the storm. Some parts of Main Street were without power, while others retained it. Main Street Beacon is back in business.

Statistics on a Few Tornadoes in New York

While the macrobursts, with winds of 100 mph and higher, caused major widespread damage, here are some statistics on the recorded tornadoes.

Ulster County
Saugerties, NY

Rating: EF1
Estimated Peak Winds: 90 mph
Path Length: 5 miles
Path Width: 528 feet (0.1 mile)
Start Time: 2:29 pm
Location: The tornado path started along Route 212 between Woodstock and Saugerties and moved east through the western and southern part of Saugerties before crossing the Hudson River and ending in Tivoli, NY, just south of Clermont State Historic Site.

Orange County
Newburgh, NY

Rating: EF0
Estimated Peak Winds: 75 mph
Path Length: 0.62 miles
Path Width: 50 yards
Start Time: 4:16 pm
Location: Originated near Albany Post Road, south of Bennett Road. The tornado lifted near the Hudson River behind Susan Drive.

Putnam County, NY Tornadoes
Kent, NY

Rating: EF2
Estimated Peak Winds: 115 mph
Path Length: 100 yards
Path Width: 1.14 miles
Start Time: 4:29 pm
Location: Originated near apartments on Route 52, continuing along Route 52 before lifting near Town Road

Patterson, NY
Rating: EF1
Estimated Peak Winds: 100 mph
Path Length: 75 yards
Path Width: 2.89 miles
Start Time: 4:32 pm
Location: Originated along Route 22 north of Haviland Hollow Road, lifting near the intersection of East Branch Road and Fairfield Drive.

What was your story during the storm? Please share it in the comments below.

Newburgh Gets Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund From Rhinebeck Bank and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress


A six-block radius of Newburgh has access to newly established capital through a program called the Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund, through the efforts of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress and Rhinebeck Bank. According to a press release announcing the loan, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress has launched an economic development plan with a goal of improving the business climate in an approximate six square block area within the City of Newburgh, near furniture maker and studio space rental initiative Atlas Industries, and SUNY Orange’s City of Newburgh campus. The zone roughly includes an area bordered on the north by Catherine Street and on the south by South William Street. To the west, it is bordered by South Johnston Street and to the east by River Road. See the full map here.

Rhinebeck Bank is enhancing the efforts of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress on this project by "allocating $3 million of our loan portfolio to fund secured-term loans including commercial express loans, equipment and vehicle purchases, leasehold improvements and real estate transactions under favorable pricing, advance rates and terms to the prospective borrowers in the Newburgh Creative Neighborhood," according to their website.

Says Rhinebeck Bank's president and CEO, Mike Quinn in a press release from Pattern for Progress: “There’s a lot of great ideas, but just an idea doesn’t do it,” he said. “It needs financing [and] it needs advice.”

A business who has already benefited from the Creative Neighborhood Loan Fund is one of Newburgh's newest businesses, Liberty Street Bistro. Owner and Chef Michael Kelly discusses it here with Michelle Barone-Lepore.

For more information on applying for this loan, reach out to Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, at or call (845) 565-4900, or to Rhinebeck Bank's Richard J. Kolosky, Commercial Lending Director, Hudson Valley West, at or (845) 790-1538.

Editorial Note: Rhinebeck Bank is a sponsor of A Little Beacon Blog, but this article is not related to their campaign. A Little Beacon Blog learned about the program and thought readers would like to know more about it, as more Beaconites look to Newburgh for business space innitiatives.

Beacon Locals Casting Call for TV Series 'Big Dogs'

Choice Films & Theatricals is currently seeking extras for the upcoming TV series production of BIG DOGS! All roles are paid, meals will be provided, and you will even get an IMDB credit! They are currently in production and will be shooting for the next four months in and around Newburgh and Manhattan. They are looking for many local people for immediate hire to appear as background in the series. There will be shooting in Beacon this Thursday and in Newburgh on Friday, so don't delay!

Anyone interested in becoming an extra should email with a headshot (it does not have to be a professional headshot) and your contact information.

Flag Day Celebrated in Beacon at Elks Lodge Second Sunday at 2pm

Poster commemorating the 140th Flag Day on June 14, 1917. Photo Credit: Wikipedia Page for Flag Day.

Poster commemorating the 140th Flag Day on June 14, 1917.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Page for Flag Day.

Flag Day Event at Elks Lodge
Location: 900 Wolcott Ave.
Time: 2 pm
Questions? Call the Elks Lodge: (845) 831-9746

In New York State, the Second Sunday in June has strong patriotic significance: It is the state-recognized holiday of Flag Day. Locally, it is one of the most important days for the Elks Lodge, as one of its most famed members, Harry S. Truman, was the president when National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. The Elks Lodge at 900 Wolcott Ave. is commemorating the day by conducting the Elks Ritual on the history of the nation's flag. A coalition will be held immediately following the event. The Boy Scout Troop #41 and the Newburgh Free Academy high school Air Force ROTC will present the colors.

History of Flag Day

The flag was initially adopted on June 14, 1777, by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day, followed by the Act of Congress during Truman's presidency. While the day is not a federal holiday, New York State did designate it as a state holiday to be recognized on the Second Sunday of June.

Carl Oken, District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of the Mid Hudson Elks Club, is looking forward to the event and says: "It's an event you should not miss, and is a great education for our children."

Free Motorcyclepedia Museum Pass Now Available from Howland Public Library to Borrow/Check Out

Grab your library card and rev up those engines! The Howland Public Library has announced that patrons can now visit the Motorcyclopedia Museum in Newburgh for free when you check out the museum pass at the library. 

The museum, which opened in 2011, includes 85,000 square feet of exhibit space with more than 500 motorcycles, dating from 1897 to the present. Exhibits also include photographs, posters, memorabilia, machinery and all things related to bikes.

Here are the details for the museum pass: 

  • The pass is good for free regular admission for two adults, or one adult and one child. (Children under 3 years of age are free.)
  • The pass can be checked out by an adult (18 or older) in possession of a library card in good standing with Beacon as the home library.
  • The pass must be returned to the Howland Public Library’s front desk before closing time on the same day it was checked out. If borrowed on Saturday or Sunday, the pass may be returned the following day.

The Motorcyclepedia Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Call the Howland Library with questions: (845) 831-1134

Exhibit of the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry Now Open - But First, Did You Take the Ferry Yet?

“This Way to the Ferry” Exhibit
Sundays 1-4 pm, through Dec. 31, 2016
$5 suggested donation
The Crawford House
189 Montgomery Street, Newburgh

Many locals are likely aware of the cute blue and white ferry that chugs back and forth between Beacon and Newburgh multiple times each weekday. It's the official Newburgh-Beacon Ferry that roared back to life in 2005 after being taken out of the water when the Newburgh-Beacon bridge was built, and it is in the spotlight right now at the Newburgh Historical Society, who has the ferry's history on display at their headquarters at The Crawford House.

The Newburgh-Beacon Ferry as it approaches the Beacon dock from Newburgh. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Most of the ferry riders are commuters from the west side of the Hudson River who have opted out of driving to New York City. Instead of driving over the bridge and trying to snag a coveted parking spot at the Beacon Metro-North train station, they hop on the ferry and arrive on the Beacon side, just steps from the local and express trains that will whisk them into New York City for work.

Any seat on the ferry has a view. The upper deck will get you unobstructed views of rolling hills and mountains. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Still, savvy adventure-seekers are also discovering that the quick river jaunt (it’s about six to eight minutes) makes for a fun and affordable outing. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous, capped off with cocktails on the Newburgh waterfront, or just a breezy boat ride with the kids, taking the ferry is a cool way to explore the region. 

The boarding dock on the Newburgh side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

A one-way fare for an adult is an easy $1.75, and kids under 5 ride for free. Children ages 6 to 11 as well as seniors 62 and older are only $1. The last trip from Newburgh to Beacon is around 8:20pm (always check the train schedule), so plan for an early night if hitting the Newburgh waterfront.

A ferrygoer, verifying the last ferry time, making sure to not miss the boat.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The Newburgh-Beacon Ferry runs on the weekdays only, so this is one trip you want to plan during the week. Keep in mind, however, that the ferry schedule is related to the peak-train schedule. The last ferry of the morning/day departs Newburgh at 8:04am, and then pauses for the day. The ferry starts up again with a departure out of Beacon at 5:42pm, and the last ferry returning from Newburgh at 8:24pm. Perhaps if the NY Waterway knew that more passengers wanted to ride the ferry during the day, they would expand their schedule (let them know here). Can you imagine, avoiding all of that bridge traffic to get to Newburgh, and enjoying an easy, breezy ride on the water for six minutes of relaxation? Don't believe me? Watch this video footage from our investigation (and wave to the captain):

“Whenever somebody comes to visit, the first thing that I do is take them down to the ferry,” says Mary McTamaney, the Newburgh City historian. “People are always amazed at how beautiful it is here and they get to see the scope of the river and Newburgh, perched up on the hill.”

The current ferry began service in October 2005, mainly to deal with the overcrowding at the Beacon train station parking lot. But the Newburgh-Beacon ferry actually has a long and storied history as one of the first, and longest-lasting, ferry routes in the country. First established with a charter from King George II in 1743, ferry service continued for 220 years until 1963, when the completion of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge made the ferry obsolete. ... Or so people thought.

Now, the new exhibit at the Crawford House Historical Museum in Newburgh uses photos, paintings, documents, videos, and other memorabilia to bring to life the story of the ferries that were such an integral part of transforming both Newburgh and Beacon into bustling industrial hubs.

What You'll Find at the Exhibit

The one-room exhibit, which is jointly sponsored by the Historical Society of the Newburgh Bay and the Highlands as well as the Beacon Historical Society, covers a lot of ground. It begins with the early days when the first ferries were powered by oars and then horses. Even George Washington and his troops rode the ferries frequently during the War of Independence!

But the bulk of the exhibit focuses on the early part of the 20th century, with intriguing photos of the three main ferry boats of this era: the Orange, the Dutchess, and the Beacon, all of which could carry up to 30 cars (the current ferry only transports people).

Photo Credit: NewburGh historical Society

The Dutchess ferry, carrying cars
Photo Credit: NewburGh historical Society

By the early part of the 20th century, both Newburgh and Beacon had bustling waterfronts. Situated halfway between New York City and Albany, Newburgh was a transportation hub on the river and had dozens of waterside factories producing everything from bricks to lawnmowers to ships. Both the Dutchess and the Orange were built in a Newburgh shipyard.  Workers crisscrossed the river via the ferries constantly — either to work in Newburgh or in one of the many Beacon factories that produced hats, bricks, and other wares.

The Ferry at Fishkill Landing. Photo Credit: Newburgh historical Society

The ferry was also a popular river crossing for travelers in the Northeast, as well a social outlet for people of all ages. “Teenagers, families, everybody loved to ride the ferry,” says McTamaney.

The boarding dock today near Long Dock on the Beacon side. Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The boarding dock today near Long Dock on the Beacon side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The rose-lined walking path to the boarding dock on the Newburgh side.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The exhibit highlights lots of fun facts. When the Dutchess made its maiden voyage in 1910, there were separate entrances for men and women. Fares in 1953? Car: 60 cents. Large truck: $2.50. Pedestrians, bikes, baby carriage: 15 cents. By the 1950s, the ferries were running 24 hours a day, and one man recalls spending the entire night in the middle of the river when the Orange became encased in ice: “The boat departed the Newburgh slip at 11:30 pm … Five minutes later and close to mid-stream we really slammed into something which gave us a sudden jolt. We couldn’t see too well but the ice seemed to have piled up almost level with some of the windows.”  

Photo Credit: Newburgh Historical Society

Photo Credit: Newburgh Historical Society

Several photos and newspaper articles highlight the historic last day of ferry service: November 3, 1963 — one day after the opening of the Newburgh-Beacon bridge. The Dutchess and the Orange famously saluted each other mid-river on their final run. Captain William Atkins had been a ferry pilot for 41 years and recalls his last trip: “Twenty cars and a handful of passengers, many intent only on getting to Beacon, rode the Dutchess. The ferry’s smoke blew toward the Dutchess County shore. The slip rumbled as the engines started and the boat’s whistle sent up a forlorn goodbye to Newburgh.” The closure of the ferry is reminiscent of how The Little Red Lighthouse felt when the bridge got built above it, but this fear of becoming obsolete became a reality for decades. The resurgence of the ferry since 2005 has corrected that, thanks to the demand from commuters, and perhaps now people seeking an easier way to get to Newburgh than by car. Who knows, maybe with enough requests it will open on the weekend, or even return to running 24 hours a day!

In addition to the exhibit, the Crawford House itself is a must-see. This grand 1830 Neoclassical home simply oozes with historic (albeit musty) charm, featuring stunning river views and an impressive collection of Hudson River School paintings. It was built for Captain David Crawford, a maritime entrepreneur, who played a key role in turning Newburgh into a major shipping and industrial city. Architectural highlights include 40-foot iconic columns, front and rear Palladian windows, and exquisite woodcarvings throughout. In 1958, the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands purchased the house to prevent its demolition for a planned parking lot.

One kink in the perfect planning of going to the ferry exhibit: Visitors cannot take the ferry itself there, as the ferry only runs on weekdays, and this exhibit is open on Sundays from 1 to 4pm until December 31, 2016.


Olivia Abel

Olivia Abel is a longtime magazine editor and writer. Most recently, she spent a decade as the Editor in Chief of Hudson Valley Magazine, but she’s also written for People, The New York Times and many other publications. Olivia loves living in a town that has its very own eponymous mountain and although she never lived up to her public claim that she would climb said mountain every morning before work, she still loves exploring from one side of Beacon to the other. She is obsessed with local history and we’re happy that she’s hung up her editor’s hat (for now) and is writing for us.