Sun & Earth | Farm & Food Festival From Common Ground Farm at Stony Kill This Weekend

Photo Credit:  Common Ground Farm

Photo Credit: Common Ground Farm

DATE: Saturday August 3
TIME: 3 to 8 pm
RAIN DATE: Sunday, August 4

The Sun & Earth | Farm & Food Festival, presented by Common Ground Farm, will be a celebration of gratitude for natural resources, from the sun in the sky to the earth; highlighting sustainable agriculture, local food, music, and the supportive community. This happens on Saturday, August 3 from 3 to 8 pm.

Located on the historic Stony Kill property, the Sun & Earth Festival will welcome guests to explore Common Ground Farm, eat delicious local food, enjoy music performances and engage in food and farm activities. The event will highlight multiple activities including yoga, music, children’s activities on the farm and cooking demonstrations with farm-fresh produce. The evening will conclude with a fun outdoor dance party!

Food and Activities From Your Local Favorites

FOOD: Confirmed food vendors include Barb’s Butchery, Las Tres Americas taco truck, Samosa Shack, Zora Dora paletas and Drink More Good.

YOGA: Programs offered include yoga with local instructors Julian Paik and Kyla Wedenko, mindful relaxation with Beacon of Light Wellness, pottery with Newburgh Pottery and a farm activity led by Common Ground’s farm manager, Leah Garrard.

KIDS ACTIVITIES: There will also be children’s activities provided by Compass Arts, and cooking demonstrations and tastings with fresh Common Ground vegetables, led by Chef Sonya Joy Key and Chef Nicholas Leiss. Musical acts include live music from Tony DePaolo and a dance party DJ’ed by Jamie Pabst, aka Miss Behavior Music!

Sponsors who make this event possible include Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, and activity sponsors Allsport Fishkill (yoga), Vassar Brothers Hospital (yoga) and Stop and Shop (cooking demonstrations). Admission is free, with donations accepted to support Common Ground Farm’s efforts in expanding food access throughout the Hudson Valley.

About Common Ground Farm

CGF’s mission is to serve the community as a model for food justice and education for people of all ages and incomes. The organization maintains a 7-acre vegetable farm at the Stony Kill property in Wappingers Falls, runs education programs for children and adults on the farm and in the schools, and operates farmers markets and mobile markets in Beacon and Newburgh. You can find the farm’s produce weekly on Wednesdays at their Common Greens Mobile Market (a partnership with Green Teen Beacon and Cornell Cooperative Extension) at Forrestal Heights and the community health center in Beacon, Saturdays at the Newburgh Farmers Market, and Sundays at the Beacon Farmers Market.

Tioronda Garden Club Honors All Beacon Residents Who Have Served With Blue Star Marker Memorial

2019 marks the 90th anniversary of the Tioronda Garden Club. On this occasion, the garden club is proud to donate and present a Blue Star Memorial Marker to the City of Beacon, to honor all Beacon residents who have served and those serving currently to protect the freedom and safety of this nation.

Armed Forces Day - May 18

The ceremony will take place on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 11 am in front of Beacon City Hall, One Municipal Plaza, Route 9D. Denise Van Buren, First Vice-President General of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and a Blue Star Mother, will officiate at the dedication ceremony and unveiling.

The Tioronda Garden Club welcomes and encourages the public to join in this extraordinary event honoring all the brave men and women from Beacon who have served, past and present, to protect and preserve this great nation.

Blue Star Marker Program

The history of the Blue Star Marker program began in 1945 when the National Garden Clubs (the Tioronda Garden Club’s parent organization) was seeking a suitable way to honor World War II veterans. In 1951, the program was extended to honor all men and women of service in the armed forces of the United States. Rhode Island was the first state to adopt the memorial marker program, followed within three years by 32 more states. The Blue Star Memorial exists now all across the United States.

The event in Beacon on May 18 marks the first Blue Star Memorial Marker dedicated in Dutchess County. The marker measures 41 inches high by 45 inches wide, with an overall height when erected of 7 feet, 6 inches. It will be installed by the City of Beacon Highway Department.

Beacon's City-Wide Yard Sale Is Back for 2019


Now is your chance to kick your spring cleaning into high gear! It’s time to clear out the attic, basement, junk drawers and whatever other items you’re willing to let go of, and see them off to a new home. The City of Beacon is once again hosting their City-Wide Yard Sale held on Saturday, June 8, 2019, from 9 am to 3 pm. There is still time to register!

Get The Word Out

You can advertise your sale through the City of Beacon ahead of time to get the word out and gather some interest. List your yard sale for $10 or talk to your neighbors and list three for $20. Your sale will be listed by street address. This list will be available to shoppers on the morning of the sale at the Recreation Center as well as online for the weeks leading up to the sale. You will also receive a City-Wide Yard Sale sign to mark your house on the day of the sale. The City-Wide Yard Sale will be locally advertised in print and online by the Recreation Department.

No Yard? No Problem!

Not enough stuff to set up a whole sale? Consider being part of the sale at the Beacon Recreation Center this year. The city will have space and an 8-foot table waiting for you at the Recreation Center. Bring a chair, an umbrella and your wares for sale and the center, at 23 West Center Street, will host a flea market. All this for $15 and your sale will be part of our list. Use the same form to sign up.

RSVP on Facebook

New Bathrooms On Bannerman Island - Civilized Circumstances At The Enchanting Castle

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Part of the fun of visiting Bannerman Castle, the abandoned structure perched on an island in the middle of the Hudson River, has always been the feeling that you’ve left civilization behind. Sure, it’s only a 20-minute boat ride from the Beacon dock, and the mysterious edifice is visible every day to thousands of Metro-North commuters on the Hudson Line. Still, once you step foot on the craggy Pollepel Island (now commonly referred to as Bannerman Island), it is easy to get swept away in both the history and the mystery. But things are getting a lot more civilized this summer.

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

State-Of-The-Art Restrooms Added & More Improvements

While activity on the island—lively historic tours, special events and performances—has been increasing each year, 2019 marks a major milestone. Not only is there a blockbuster lineup of music, theatre, and movie nights, but—wait for it —an actual state-of-the art, two-room permanent restroom has just been installed. No longer will visitors have to follow up Shakespeare or another show with a long trek down a steep staircase to access two portable toilets. In fact, we think the new handicapped-accessible restroom, designed and built by a team of 10 senior West Point engineering cadets, may now be one of the best public bathrooms in all of Beacon! 

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

The last couple of years have seen a host of major improvements to the island. In 2017 a new visitors center/museum opened in the round Bannerman residence building, perfectly situated on top of a hill with panoramic views. (Most eye-catching is a rusty bathtub used in the original house.) A cute “gift shop” area displays Bannerman Island paraphernalia: mugs, magnets, calendars, and more.

A proper gift shop at Bannerman Castle on Bannerman Island. Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

A proper gift shop at Bannerman Castle on Bannerman Island.
Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Learn The History of Bannerman Island

Here, the history of the island is laid out with old photographs and memorabilia. We learn about Frank Bannerman IV, who built the main castle between 1901 to 1918 to store his collection of antique military equipment, and how his family continued to use the residence through the 1930s. We see how the property fell into ruin after 1957, when the last superintendent retired, and how the interior of the castle was destroyed by a devastating three-day fire in the summer of 1969. Luckily, Neil Caplan, a local real estate broker and theatre enthusiast fell in love with the island, organized a nonprofit aimed at restoring it to its former glory, and first started leading tours in 2004.

Last year, a new stage was installed outside the visitors center. Frank Marquette, who with his wife runs the traveling theatre company Theatre on the Road, had such success with his nighttime production of Dracula there last year —The New York Times cooed: “An exceptionally skillful version of the classic thriller, fascinating”—that he is bringing it back for two more days in September. The company is also producing the classic comedy Arsenic and Old Lace for four days in July. As an added bonus, the daughter of Boris Karloff, who starred in the 1962 movie, will be on the island for two of those days to talk about why this show meant so much to her father.

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Photo Credit: Olivia Abel

Movie Lineup & Events This Summer

Six movies will be shown this year. The season kicks off with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on May 31, and also includes The Wizard of Oz (July 5), Jurassic Park (August 2), House of Wax (September 6) and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (September 27). It’s no surprise that—given the sometimes eerie crumbling castle surroundings— the two showings of the cult classic Psycho are almost sold out (June 7 and 8). 

Other special events include farm-fresh dinners and musical performances on the third Sunday of each month, from May through October. 

No matter what brought you to the island—a show or one of the 1.5-hour guided walking tours— an ever-present added bonus is the natural beauty that surrounds you at every turn. A dedicated team of volunteers tend to the carefully-cultivated gardens, which are sponsored by Adams Fairacre Farms; that’s a good thing, as the island has been designated a monarch butterfly waystation. And of course there are the ever-present views. From Frank Marquette, “The Bannerman experience is completely unique. There is just nothing else like this,” says Marquette. “Of course, there are some challenges—there are mosquitos, there are trains going by—but people are willing to overlook these things because of the gorgeous, exotic setting. And, of course, those views.”

Beaconites (and Visitors) Send In Their Favorite Views Of Beacon

We asked, and you delivered! We recently put out a call to share with us your view of Beacon. This is in light of rapidly changing scenery, with the new building developments sprouting all over Beacon. The subject of “viewsheds” has come in recent City Council meetings, and that idea is playing a role on future potential developments. So, we thought we’d all enjoy looking at views we like!

Keep your photos coming! We will publish new ones here, so revisit this article and click Refresh.

To submit, email to Please state the location of the picture, and why you love it. The view can be from the street, from your porch, from your apartment, of a scenic view in the woods, anything.

Fishkill Creek, Looking South From Churchill Road

Below are images submitted by Jessica Laug, who says “This is the Fishkill Creek, looking south from the Churchill Road bridge. It’s basically our backyard and I love it in every season.”

Long Dock, Mount Beacon Casino

Enjoy these lovely views submitted by Debbie Joyce

Madam Brett Park and Denning’s Point

The photo on the left is Madam Brett Park right by the waterfall. The second is Denning’s Point. From Dan Calabrese, who says, “I love both of them because you can feel like you’re really in nature with minimal investment of time. I could literally walk to either of these places from home. Having such great, diverse nature spots in our backyard makes it easy to get in a hike even after a busy day.”

The Hudson River, As Viewed From Main Street

One of my favorite views is of the Hudson River is from Main Street. I have always liked being able to see it from 9D. The river becomes an everyday part of life. Having lived in Manhattan, the Hudson River was not part of my life, unless I was walking alongside it. Living in Beacon, with the Hudson River within easy distance, has changed my relationship with the river, bringing me closer and wanting to keep it clean and accessible.

-Katie Hellmuth Martin

Main Street (West End)

Here’s a great shot from Mary Ann Glass, who writes: “It’s the peak of spring beauty! The Bartlett Pears are a’bloom. Corner of Main and Cross Street, Rick Price’s great mural of the Hudson River  and of course RiverWinds Gallery. “


View Of A Magnolia Tree Coming Through The Overcast April Days


That’s right, April, just keep those magnolia trees blooming! We’ll take the nip in the air. And we’ll also take ourselves to A Little Beacon Blog’s Shopping Guide, to see which stores that have the rain boots, light rain ☔️ coat, and just a little pick-me-up to get through the overcast days! Head on down, everyone. Walk over to Main Street and treat yourself to a little Beacon.

This intersection is a few blocks behind Bank Square in what is quite a hilly area. Straight ahead and over a bit, you can almost spy the bright blue beBhakti Yoga Center.

First Snowfall Of March In Beacon 2019

Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

Photo Credit: A Little Beacon Blog

The first snowfall of March for 2019 has fallen onto lilac tree buds and hyacinth shoots. Fear not, they have been covered before. 

The snow fell heavy and wet onto warm (well, not super-cold) ground, temperate from the Sunday before when the days had just started to warm up a bit. 

Schools in New York City are closed, with a Hazardous Travel Advisory issued by NYC, according to WNYC. Most schools in the Hudson Valley are on a two-hour delay, with some schools on a three-hour delay, or a Transportation Delay. Some Hudson Valley Schools are simply closed for the day.

Beacon City Schools are in a two-hour delay, and our delay call came last night, which helps with planning and rescheduling. Delays have become commonplace over the years when snow is expected to be on the ground in the morning. According to Beacon Superintendent Matthew Landahl, a small team from the school’s Transportation Department goes out at 3:30 am to check the roads to make a decision, since buses start their routes at 6 am.

“Since I live here,” says Dr. Landahl, “I sometimes go out and join in on the fun.” If the team finds icy patches where the buses need to drive to transport kids in and out of the district, Landahl is inclined to call a two-hour delay. Robocalls issued by Dr. Landahl have helped to keep everyone informed along the way. This morning, a call was issued to confirm the decision from the night before: that everything was good to go for the planned delay. “See you soon,” he added, and credited the city’s Highway Department and school facility teams for getting the roads clear for everyone. To follow along with other school schedules during weather, check out the list here:


Well, you know what snowfall means: shoveling. And you know what shoveling means: chocolate chip pancakes! Or deep-dish French toast from Homespun, three-layer cake from BJs, a cheese danish from Beacon Bread Company, a hearty bagel sandwich from Beacon Bagel, or cut to the chase with a bacon egg sandwich from Mr. V’s or Bob’s. Permission granted to totally carb out.

Be safe! Don’t overdo it. Take breaks. And don’t stand under snow-covered heavy branches of snow. OK, that’s a lot to remember. Enjoy!

Bear Mountain Bridge on the morning commute from Beacon to New York City. Photo Credit: David Ray Martin

Bear Mountain Bridge on the morning commute from Beacon to New York City. Photo Credit: David Ray Martin

The east end of Main Street, before the second half of the east end of Main Street beyond Teller Avenue. Photo Credit: David Ray Martin

The east end of Main Street, before the second half of the east end of Main Street beyond Teller Avenue. Photo Credit: David Ray Martin

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
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!