Ob...sessed With Beacon Open Studios - Which Studios We Are Visiting

Two of my favorite weekends in Beacon are

Beacon Open Studios,

and the

City Wide Yard Sale.

This is an opportunity to explore all of Beacon to find interesting things you have never seen before - and probably never will again. Beacon Open Studios has opened today through Sunday, May 21-22, 2016, so get your walking shoes on because you have a lot of exploring to do. If you're looking for a place to park all day, we made this

Free Public Parking Lot Guide

for you, with pictures and addresses of all of Beacon's free lots.

Beacon Open Studios is the reason why you're seeing the big red dot everywhere - from people's yards to galleries or storefronts. Artists of all kinds - painting, jewelry, sculpture, mixed media - open their homes or takeover a space to let you meet them and view their work. To find these studios, pick up a brochure from most any shop or restaurant in town, or the studio's headquarters,

2 Way Brewing Company

down on Beekman Street on the way to or from the Beacon train station.

Anna Bergin

is my current obsession. Pictured here in layers of color, Anna has popped up in a

PopUp Shop

this past winter with chocolate baker 5 Hens, which was a perfect match because Anna's paintings look like cupcake frosting that you could eat. The texture of the paint she mixes herself is thick and chalky - like sugar frosting. Painted with oil and ash in shades of pastel, these paintings are captivating. Hold on a minute - "Ash?" you ask? Yes, Anna mixes the paint with actual ash from her fireplace. Says Anna: "

I take the ash from my fireplace during winter and campfires during summer months. It's part of what I think is neat about it using what we burn." See her work now at 2 Way Brewing Company and Spire Studios. And be sure to

be on our newsletter

in case she pops up in another PopUp Shop.


Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Beth Weintraub, a printmaker, has eye-catching artwork on display. This piece on the left currently hangs in 2 Way Brewing Company right now as part of the Beacon Open Studios exhibit, and at Spire Studios.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

There is usually at least one hands-on art event for the kids, and this year, one of them includes an

opportunity to play with clay

from Beacon Craft Workshop, another regular in our

Kids Classes Guide.

Find it on Saturday in the upstairs classroom at the Howland Cultural Center, 477 Main St, Beacon, NY.


Photo Credit:

Beacon Craft Workshop

This beautiful

wood scrap sale from Wickham

down at the very end of Main Street by The Hop is a not-to-be-missed sale. If you are a collector of wood to make anything - shelves, tables, surfaces of any kind - this is one wood workshop you need to stop into.

Photo Credit:


Working in the studio, artist Joe Radoccia

gives you a taste

of what it's like to walk into one of these live-action studios.


Photo Credit:

Neg Kalfou

Breathtaking. David Swoop will be at 22 High Street. One can only look forward what else he has on display.


Photo Credit:

Beacon Open Studios

For all you romantics out there,

Anna West captures the moment.

She will also be at Spire Studios at 45 Beekman Street in Studio 2.


Photo Credit:

Beacon Open Studios

And for the jewelry collectors in the house, there are several in-home or jewelry studios open this weekend, a rare occasion indeed. This work space from



Photo Credit:


Tag #beaconopenstudios in Instagram while you are  out and about so that we can see what you see!

Binnacle Books - A New Bookstore on Main Street!

Binnacle Books on Main Street, Beacon NY
In what used to be a hair salon, the three owners of Beacon's newest bookshop, Binnacle Books, did more sweeping of finished haircuts than they ever thought possible in order to clean up for the grand opening of Binnacle Books during November's Second Saturday. And it was a good thing too, because Second Saturday on a sunny November day drew a plethora of bookworms to investigate the new bookstore.

Save Me The Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald, at Binnacle Books

Adding entrepreneurship to their list of pursuits, the three partners invested in Binnacle Books have collectively been writers, editors, musicians, producers, organizers, filmmakers, and organizers. The bookstore specializes in used and new literature, poetry, literary nonfiction, political history, art, drama, philosophy, graphic novels, and children's books. They profess to offer some of the best prices around to buy your best books. And if the title in this picture, Save Me The Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald, is any indication, we are all in for many treats to come.

The children's nook is filled with surprises, both new and old. We picked up a new set of yoga cards and there were many books available for all ages. Initially, Binnacle Books is open 7 days! So no need to wonder which day you're going to walk through their red door. Happily, we at A Little Beacon Blog have ordered a new logo from The Things To Do In Beacon Guides designer, Allie Bopp, for a new Bookstores category in the Shopping Guide!

PS: This blogger was mildly obsessed with Zelda Fitzgerald in college during an American Literature course, when I picked Save Me The Waltz as the subject of an academic paper. However, the writing style of my paper was accidentally influenced by Zelda's tumultuous life (including some time spent at the Craig House in Beacon) and dreamy writing (and I don't mean dreamy as in sweet, I mean dreamy as in ... like how in a dream you switch scenes and emotions a lot), so the report was filled with research but was an #epicfail in terms of being on par with how research papers are written. I redeemed myself by directing Tennessee Williams' play about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Clothes for a Summer Hotel," which was equally dreamy (Williams called it "a ghost play" in the title). So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this old friend of a book on the shelf, which is not a common title to see in bookstores. And I don't feel so bad about my paper, because the play was dubbed a "critical and commercial failure" for Williams. I'm telling you - once those Fitzgeralds get in your head, things get confusing!

November's Second Saturday Walking Guide for Art Showings

 Second Saturday Happenings on November 14, 2015!

The BeaconArts Logo for
Second Saturday.
"Second Saturday" is a lively day into night in Beacon, and is a celebration of Beacon's galleries, restaurants and other businesses arts on the second Saturday of every month. According to Dan Rigney, current president of BeaconArts, the organization who encouraged this movement to happen over a decade ago and heavily promotes the events, says: "Back then, Beacon was one of the last places people outside of town thought to go on a Saturday night. Now Second Saturday has become a part of the fabric of Beacon. It's such a part of it, many galleries have their opening events on other Saturdays, so that they get two big crowds each month." Second Saturday is a great reason to "walk" Main Street and beyond and explore the events going on around town. It's always a pleasure eating and drinking your way through Beacon, so this guide will help you know where to eat and drink as you explore special exhibits and happenings.

What to Know About This Guide:
  • This Guide includes gallery and art showings that may be hosted in a gallery or in a shop or restaurant. 
  • Many of these shows run through the current month, so check back often if you are on an art hunt.
  • Closing times posted here are for Second Saturdays only, and may not reflect regular Saturdays. Always call an establishment directly for current hours, offerings, or any other questions.
  • Parking can be found on side streets, on Main Street, and in municipal lots.  
  • Live-tweet your way through Second Saturday by using the hashtag created by BeaconArts: #2SAT and tack on #beaconny or #SecondSaturday if you have room in your tweets or Instagram postings.
  • If you are a gallery or business owner and have something special to add, please email editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com. 
  • For Galleries: You may submit one photo of artwork or something representing your show for Second Saturday. Otherwise, your storefront will be shown. Please email this to editorial@alittlebeaconblog.com
  • Advertising Opportunities: If you would like to reach readers who refer to this Guide monthly, click here for advertising opportunities.

Late-Night (After 9pm) Spots to Eat and Drink: 
After you walk the galleries, you'll be hungry and need (another) drink!
See our full list of restaurants who are open prior to 9pm in our Restaurant Guide
Bank Square 129 Main St.
Chill Wine Bar 173 Main St.
Max's On Main 246 Main St.
Baja 328 328 Main St.
Quinn's 330 Main St.
The Towne Crier (bar only) 379 Main St.
Oak Vino Wine Bar 389 Main St.
(call first to see if cheese plates + dessert still being served)
Draught Industries 394 Main St. 
The Vault 446 Main St.
Joe's Irish Pub 455 Main St.
The Hop 554 Main St.
(reservations usually needed for food)
Roundhouse 2 East Main St.
Dogwood 47 East Main St.



3 Beekman St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-0100
Special for Second Saturday: Gallery Talk: Helga Christofferson on Agnes Martin. Christofferson, assistant curator at the New Museum in Manhattan, will discuss Martin’s abstract expressionist painting. Gallery Talks at Dia:Beacon take place the second Saturday of every month at 2 pm. Focusing on the work of a single artist on view at Dia:Beacon, these one-hour walk-throughs are led by curators, art historians, and writers. Free with admission to the museum. (Beacon residents get in free on weekends!)
More details at Dia:Beacon.
Hours: 11 am to 4 pm

Music in the Sanctuary at St. Andrew's
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
15 South Ave.
Beacon, NY
Special for Second Saturday: Music in the Sanctuary, presented by Howland Chamber Music Circle. The Heaton Sasaki Duo is Sara Heaton and Akiko Sasaki, two musicians recently transplanted to Beacon. Their musical tour includes stops in Germany, Japan, Brazil and the U.S. Heaton and Sasaki have performed at Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. In addition to performing, they teach privately in the Hudson Valley, based here in Beacon, and in New York City.
Hours: 4 pm to 6 pm


(Close to the train station)

Catalyst Gallery
Catalyst Gallery 
137 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 204-3844
An artist-run rental space in Beacon. The intention of this artist-run space is to create an opportunity for individual artists or groups to show and sell work in a vibrant community that supports the arts.
Special for Second Saturday: Recent Works: Paintings and drawings by Sara-Jane Lee explore the relationship between thought patterns and resulting facial expressions. "I hope to inspire a greater understanding and appreciation for the subtlety of emotions, as well as emphasizing the contrast between the feelings one gets while thinking alone, and how they differ greatly from any outward emotion presented to others," Lee says.
Hours: Noon to 9pm

The Gift Party at Colorant
145 Main St.
Beacon, NY
Special for Second Saturday: The bubbles will be flowing, the playlist blasting and artist Alex Anastas will be creating watercolor portraits live during this holiday shopping party. Find plant-dyed wool, cashmere, and silk from Colorant's signature label, as well as gift sets, soap, scarves, and jewelry, with up to 40 percent off storewide. Colorant carries an array of unique gifts for baby, toddler and modern womenswear. Gift-wrapping is available!
Hours: All day; watercolor portraits and wine from 5 pm to 8 pm

Bannerman Island Gallery
Bannerman Island Gallery
150 Main St. 
Beacon, NY
Special for Second Saturday: The Bannerman Castle Trust presents photographer/artist Thom Johnson. He has used photographs taken years ago of the tower on Pollepel Island to create mirror images that present this Hudson River landmark from a different view. A portion of the proceeds from the photos' sales will go to the Bannerman Castle Trust's preservation efforts for the Castle.
Hours: Noon to 8:30 pm

At Theo Ganz Studio
Theo Ganz Studio
149 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(917) 318-2239
Theo Ganz Studio, the little gallery with the big windows in Beacon's west end, was founded by artist Eleni Smolen as a venue for contemporary artists working in all media. Recognizing the importance of exhibitions in an artist's career, Smolen concentrates on presenting actively engaged emerging and mid-career professionals in either solo or group exhibitions.
Second Saturday: "The Wind Will Carry Us," opening reception from 6 pm to 8 pm. With an emphasis on painting, printmaking and sculpture and taking our title from Abbas Kiarostami’s poetic film, this exhibition is dedicated to refugees, an ode to the present and to all who make a journey, metaphorically or literally, in search of deeper awareness and a better world for themselves and other sentient beings. With work by: Kenojuak Ashevak, Joseph Ayers, Samantha Beste, Sunok Chun, Elana Goren, Mialia Jaw, Lori Merhige, Eleni Smolen and Kenneth Wright.
Hours: Noon to 5 pm; opening reception 6 to 8 pm

Russell Cusick at
Hudson Beach Glass
Hudson Beach Glass
162 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-0068
A glass studio casting functional and sculptural objects for over 20 years. A truly special establishment to have in Beacon. Stop in to find blown glass objects of all kinds, from lights to bowls to wind chimes. Sometimes on Second Saturday you can watch them blow glass.
Special for Second Saturday: Russell Cusick's acrylics, in which the mixed-medium process combines photography and painting. Works are a variety of sizes. An opening reception will be held from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm

RiverWinds Gallery
RiverWinds Gallery
172 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 838-2880
RiverWinds Gallery features Hudson Valley artists. Work includes fine art paintings and photography, plus contemporary crafts including ceramics, jewelry, fiber arts and more.
Special for Second Saturday: “Buone Feste” 12th annual holiday show includes a huge variety of holiday-themed and gift items made by Hudson Valley artisans. There's art of all kinds: paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, ornaments, jewelry and hand-made scarves and shawls. You'll also find kitchen items such as cutting boards, cookbooks, and mugs. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 pm.
Hours: Noon to 9 pm; reception 5 pm to 8 pm

Artisan Wine Shop
180 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-6923
Special for Second Saturday: Try some new bottlings from around the world, just for fun or with an eye toward holiday meal pairings. Four wines - two white, two red - will be poured for tasting from 3 pm to 6 pm.
Hours: 10 am to 7 pm; tasting 3 pm to 6 pm

Flora Garden and Home
197 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 764-1886
Special for Second Saturday: The recently-opened gardening and home decor shop offers such staples as plants, watering cans and indoor bulbs, but is branching out this month with an art showing of Ondine Crispin's classic botanical prints of plants from New York's High Line.
Hours: 11 am to 5:30 pm

Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries 
Beacon Institute
199 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 838-1600
This historic brick storefront houses the Institute’s gallery, Hudson River bookstore and gift shop, and its administrative headquarters. The gallery showcases river and environmentally themed art and educational exhibits. Events feature talks by artists and regional Hudson Valley authors.
Special for Second Saturday: The historic Mount Beacon Incline Railway gets a spotlight in this exhibit, which features large-format photography, digital renderings, animations, and infographics, all exploring the Incline Railway’s early origins in shaping Beacon. The exhibition explores the initiative to bring back the Incline Railway, through the lenses of a historic narrative and an eye towards the future.
Click here for more event details.
Hours: 11 am to 3 pm



The start of The Middle, aka "Market Square"

Howland Public Library
Howland Public Library
313 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 831-1134
Each month, the library features the work of Hudson Valley photographers and artists. (Please note, the gallery may not be accessible during some library programs.)
Special for Second Saturday: The Howland Public Library is pleased to present “Between the Lines," a semi-annual exhibition of student artwork from the Beacon City School District. This exhibit, organized by Claudine Farley, District Art Department Coordinator, features work from Beacon High School’s Studio Art Classes and is the first of what the library hopes will be many exhibits of student artwork at the library. A reception will be held from 2 pm to 4 pm.
In the Community Room, "Beacon Inspired" features paintings from Jan Dolan and photography by Jean Noack, both Beacon residents. The exhibit is a dialogue between two friends about the city they love. A reception for this exhibit will be from 5 pm to 7 pm.
Hours: 10 am to 4 pm (library hours); 5 pm to 7 pm

Binnacle Books
321 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 838-6191
Grand opening! Binnacle Books, Beacon's "new used (and new!) bookstore" opens its doors! All used books and gift cards are 10 percent off during the opening weekend. Browse the selection as you sip wine from Benmarl Winery.
Hours: Noon to 7 pm


(Close to the mountain)

The start of the East End of Main Street and Beyond.

Morphicism Gallery
Morphicism Gallery

444 Main Street
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-3092
Moveable art in frames. An art you must see and experience.
Hours: Call first


3B Gallery
3B Gallery
458 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-6782
Special for Second Saturday: "Blossom of a face, portrait of a flower" is a solo exhibition of Bob Sproul. His paintings in oil represent a body of work through the eyes of an artist who, for reasons of age, diverse life experience and an ever-increasing introspection, has been drawn to capturing the more intimate experiences of people and nature. An opening reception will be held from 6 pm to 8 pm.
Hours: 11 am to 8 pm


Matteawan Gallery
463 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-7901
Matteawan Gallery specializes in contemporary art with an emphasis on works on paper by emerging and mid-career artists.

Second Saturday: "Myths and Legends of the Hudson Valley" brings together the work of six artists who are interested in exploring history, art history, and literature in a variety of mediums. The exhibition includes paintings by Scott Daniel Ellison and
Deborah Brown, photographs by Wendy Small, drawings by Deborah Davidovits and Valerie Hegarty, and sculpture by Jackie Mock. An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 pm.
Hours: 6 pm to 9 pm


Back Room Gallery in Beacon NY
Back Room Gallery
Back Room Gallery
475 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 838-1838
Find 30 artists showing here, from large paintings to small collectibles. Also find art supplies such as sketch pads and charcoal pencils. And if you're with a man who wants to skip the art but loves anything to do with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, send him to the actual "back room" of this gallery for a viewing of a very valuable collection of War art on crepe fabric.
Special for Second Saturday: Stop in and find out!
Hours: LATE

Howland Cultural Center
Howland Cultural Center
477 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 831-4988
Beacon's Howland Cultural Center is not just another arts organization. Its beautiful home is a Victorian building that was born specifically to serve the community as a cultural resource
Special for Second Saturday: "you are my blue / i am your red" is a collaborative exhibition in words, photos, and textiles, with work by photographer Bibiana Huang Matheis and poet Bettina Wilkerson, aka Poet Gold, and a project between multimedia and installation artist Mimi Czajka Graminski and poet Sarah Stern. 
Hours: 1 pm to 5 pm

Maria Lago Studio 502
Maria Lago Studio 502
502 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 765-8421
Hours: Call first

BAU Gallery
BAU Gallery
506 Main St.
Beacon, NY
(845) 440-7584
bau (Beacon Artist Union) is a platform for members/artists to grow, present and market their work and collaborative curatorial projects, while hosting events of related disciplines: performances, talks, film and music. BAU builds a vital link between the activities at bau and the community.
Special for Second Saturday:  BAU Gallery's 131st consecutive monthly gallery opening will feature “In the Hands of God…wtf?” - a bronze, sculpture self-portrait - by Gary Jacketti in Gallery One, new photographs by Grey Zeien in Gallery Two, and in the Beacon Room, “The Pursuit of Perfection” installation: video projection, hand-painted animation, mixed media elements, sound and scent by Chuck Glicksman and Ginger Andro. A reception will be held from 6 to 9 pm. 
Hours: Noon to 6 pm; reception from 6 pm to 9 pm


BEACON near RT. 52
(Beacon's part of Rt. 52 that heads into or out of town.)

The Lofts at Beacon Gallery
18 Front St.
Beacon, NY
The Lofts at Beacon brought back to life a 19th-century brick mill that once made textiles in the Hudson Valley, located by the Fishkill Creek and situated near the Hudson River in the artists' haven town of Beacon. The Lofts have been completely remodeled into beautiful lofts, providing excellent loft rental units for the working artist.
Second Saturday: Prime Time - A Group Show
Featuring the work of Peg Borcherdt (sculpture), Dennis Connors (sculpture), Jack Murphy (photography), Robert Paschal (painting/collage), Matthew Pleva (drawing), and Michael Ulrich (gyotaku prints). Open 9 am to 4 pm.
Hours: 9 am to 4 pm; closing reception 3 pm to 6 pm

Wee Play Tot Park At Memorial Park Gets 3 New Umbrella Shade Structures

Photo courtesy Wee Play Community Project
Graphic treatment Katie Hellmuth Martin

Umbrellas were installed over the summer of 2015 to complete a project that has been in the works for years, and was a major wish-list item for parents, family members and caregivers who bring babies and toddlers to the Tot Park at Memorial Park.

The Wee Play Community Project, a longstanding volunteer group that works and advocates for the City of Beacon's playgrounds, as well as youth programming (some of which you can experience at Howland Public Library and at the University Settlement Camp), has been saving every dollar donated by the community as well as funds taken in during their main annual fundraiser, the Ree Play Sale. A total of $7,285 was donated via the Ree Play Sale, held in May. The remaining balance of $12,515 was matched and provided by the City of Beacon Recreation Fund. The Wee Play Community Project also provided funding for two new benches and a permanent ride-on toy, totaling $2,700.

In their press release, Wee Play Community Project thanks the many community members and volunteers who have helped make the Ree Play Sale a success year after year, and states: "Community support has been essential to the completion of this major improvement to the park."

Wee Play also thanks the Beacon City Council, Mayor Randy Casale and Recreation Director Mark Price for their endorsement of the project, and for approving the use of the Recreation Fund to complete it.

Trees planted years ago begin to add shade as they grow.
Photo credits: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Shade provided by umbrellas and trees.
As the sun moves, so does the shade from the umbrellas. Shade from trees is already increasing, as shown in the above picture of the shadow cast on the sandbox from a young tree.

View from under the red umbrella as tree shadows are cast, making patterns.
View from under the yellow umbrella.
The Tot Park at Memorial Park began with a bare landscape, with trees and herb gardens added and maintained by Wee Play over the years. The park has evolved to incorporate nature and permanent shaded structures during very hot days, creating different experiences within one space.

Decorate That Pumpkin With A Power Drill! As Discovered In Pinterest

Katie's pumpkin once carved with a power drill to look like a beaded design.
Pumpkin "carved" with a power drill.
Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin
Oh Pinterest, you never fail to make really unique designs actually look easy!

Examples of pumpkin carving with a drill from Pinterest.
One day, while looking for pumpkin decorating ideas, these brightly lit beaded pumpkins caught my eye. They look so different from any glowing pumpkin I'd ever seen, and they actually looked like I could tackle the design! My patience level for carving is very slim. Slim to none. Hence this pumpkin decorating idea on gilding a pumpkin from local artist Deborah Bigelow. I have never carved a pumpkin and have little desire to draw a design, only to struggle with carving it, which most likely results in carving outside of the lines. Unlike these prize-winning pumpkins in the City Of Beacon's Pumpkin Carving Event!

Where can I get more precision? A power drill! And I'm not even that great with a power drill. But hey, by using various drill bits, I got different sizes of perfectly formed circles. Pop a glowing candle inside for glowy Halloween effect, and your friends will surely be impressed.

What follows below is what you need to decorate your pumpkin with a beaded effect using a power drill. My kids and I also made a demo video on Periscope and then published to YouTube, which you can watch at the bottom of this post! The picture at the top is the finished result of our drill bitcarved pumpkin.

1 big pumpkin
1 big knife to carve top
1 big spoon to scoop out seeds and slimy stuff
1 paper bag to contain pumpkin guts
1 power drill
2 sizes drill bits: use bits that are at least two sizes larger or smaller than each other
1 candle
broom & dustbin

STEP 1: Cut out the top of the pumpkin and scoop out your pumpkin with a spoon.

STEP 2: Get your power drill ready! For the beaded look, you can do 4 or 5 large holes in a line, and then switch drill bits to the smaller size. When you use drill bits that are more than one size different from each other, you will get a more dramatic beading that is more noticeable from the street.
Note: You could draw tiny dots where you want your circles to go. But don't get too precise, because your drill may spin out the first few tries until you get in the flow.

STEP 3: Mess alert! As your drill bit spins, the pumpkin shell spins onto the floor. You can see what I mean in the video below.

STEP 4: Once you have drilled all of your holes, place your candle inside of your pumpkin and enjoy!

Back in season for Fall, the famous cheese fondue pumpkin! A great party food idea, or order by the slice. Delicious.

Watch our video that we broadcast live on Periscope! To catch more of A Little Beacon Blog's live broadcasts, follow us at Periscope: www.periscope.tv/alittlebeacon.

Historical Hike | Meet Madam Brett, See The Factory Ruins While Hiking The Park

Find this view when you turn right on the trail and go past the mill. Shown in video below.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Linking Beacon’s industrial past with its nature-loving, creative present, Madam Brett Park provides a unique ecological map of our city, including waterfalls, marshes, hunting grounds and habitats. Take in the various sights along boardwalks and dirt trails to see the remains of places that helped to form Beacon as we know it today, and to become an industrial powerhouse known, at one time, as the “hat-making capital of the US.”

The Nuts and Bolts of the Madam Brett Park Hike

A parking lot is off to the left once you go under the old train trestle just off Tioronda Avenue.

The entry point from Tioronda Avenue. Go under the old train trestle.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

According to Google Maps, it is two miles from the Newburgh-Beacon bridge via 9D. Start your visit at the park's east end, taking in the scenic Tioronda waterfall from the observation deck. The deck itself was part of the old


(a gate that controlled water flow), and you can still make out some of the foundation which was built across the falls.

A cement wall is part of the sluiceway that you will walk across as part of your hike east, headed toward the small waterfalls.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

This foundation is part of the sluiceway that controlled the creek's flow for the mill, and also was part of a structure that pulled trains across the creek. You will be climbing up it! The entry into the creek is worth it.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The trails within

Madam Brett

are a gentle, fairly even mile, scraping the Fishkill Creek and the old

Tioronda Hat Works factory

, adjacent to the park in the large brick building via woodland or gravel trails and a boardwalk. 

The boardwalk along the old mill when you turn west to hike along the Fishkill Creek.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Old ruins of a hat factory, seen as you walk along the boardwalk.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

At the entry to the boardwalk, take a look at what remains of the iron-truss Tioronda bridge, built between 1869 and 1873 (a

nd, for safety reasons, mostly torn down in 2006

) with its rare bowstring design. 

Old remains of the Tioronda Bridge.

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

The twelve acres of parkland is full of all kinds of wildlife. Much of the woodlands surrounding Madam Brett is devoured by flora and fauna - just as it was in the Colonial era, when Madam Brett first laid eyes on the place. The banks, creek, hillside and marshland are home to a diverse set of animals, including predatory birds such as osprey and bald eagle who hunt and nest here, muskrats, and a large selection of fish and amphibious animals. In the spring, striped bass and shad journey up the Hudson to spawn here. Make sure to stop and take in several vistas along the marsh and creek, where the views are serene and plentiful. Listen for the variety of bird calls, and the train that passes now and again along the lazy tidal wetland.

The History of Madam Brett Park

As the trail itself now connects to Denning's Point, so does the history of Madam Brett’s land. Catharyna Rombout Brett (1687-1764) became the first European settler in Beacon, in large part due to the Rombout Patent. After her father, Frans Rombouts (sometimes spelled Francis Rombouts), died in 1691, Catharyna became an heir to her family’s third of a stake in the Rombout Patent. Twelve years later, 16-year-old Catharyna married Roger Brett, a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy who had arrived in the colonies with Lord Cornbury. The newlyweds took up residence in the stately Rombout family home in lower Manhattan. Roger Brett became a vestryman

for Trinity Church for several years as they enjoyed great wealth. However, after her mother passed away in 1707, Catharyna and Roger were left with very little money, an enormous house they couldn’t afford, and thousands of acres in the remote Hudson Valley wilderness. After the Rombout Patent was partitioned among the owning Van Cortlandt, Verplanck and Rombout (now Brett) families, Catharyna received more than 20,000 acres on the lower Fishkill Creek. They mortgaged the Rombout home in lower Manhattan, and - portending such migrations 300 years later - relocated with their sons and slaves to the remote and wild lands of what would become lower Dutchess County. 

The Madam Brett homestead.

After building their Homestead (the original Rombout Patent document is displayed at her historic home), the family got to work. While still relatively wild, Madam Brett saw the plot of land where Fishkill Creek let out into the marshy waters and into the Hudson River as opportunity. It was a popular spot for local farmers and Native Americans to congregate, sell and trade. The family soon built a gristmill on the land that married the creek and the river, and started to lease other partitions of land to farmers.

View Of The Fishkill Creek From The Boardwalk

While this was a very successful venture, tragedy would soon strike again for young Catharyna Brett. During these Colonial times, farmers in the region would ship their produce down the river to Manhattan on sloops run by Roger, a former Navy officer. One day, his sloop was struck by a freak storm upon returning from his delivery in the city, and he drowned in the Hudson. A widow at the age of 31, Catharyna partnered with George Clarke, secretary of the province and former partners with Roger, to make several key land deals in order for Madam Brett to become the sole proprietor of her land and the gristmill.

Running and maintaining the mill became the center of her life. Catharyna also looked out for the locals, to whom she provided food, clothing and servants. Aside from her fellow colonists, she became friendly with the local Wiccopee tribe, allowing them to camp on her front yard and spending time in their village. Her children Thomas and Francis could often be seen playing with the local Sachem (tribe leader) Nimham’s children. This relationship also proved beneficial when, during a financial dispute with Poughkeepsie settlers, Native Americans were sent to attack the Brett family, but the Sachem’s son warned them and the Bretts were able to escape.

In 1748, along with eighteen men, Madam Brett helped create the first river freight building to help ship produce from the local farmers, as well as the meal and flour her factories were grinding out. The building, called the Frankfort Store House, was erected on “Lower Landing,” what is now the Denning's Point area. It helped the village of Fishkill Landing (which would become part of present-day Beacon) become one of the first river ports, drawing the strategic eyes of American revolutionary military minds. (Alexander Hamilton landed just off the Store House as he finished his first entry in the Federalist Papers.) Madam Brett was also the first widow to arrange for a cooperative produce business for colonists.

As the Colonial era wound down and high fashion became all the rage, hat factories took the place of flour mills on Madam Brett’s land. At one point in the 1800s, as many as fifty factories were present around Beacon! The area’s reputation as an industrial powerhouse was strong, and would remain so for another century. 

Extend Your Stay on the Trail

The Dave Miller Connector Trail opened in 2013. It allows travel beyond Madam Brett Park, linking up with Denning's Point as well as the Klara Sauer Trail north to Long Dock Park. If you are up for a long, though not strenuous, walk through the history of Beacon, my wife and I will often walk from the Roundhouse, down Tioronda Avenue, through Madam Brett Park, on to Denning's Point and beyond to Long Dock. This loops back to the beginning of Main Street on the west side, which we follow all the way back. It’s a wonderful, leisurely hike that will take a couple of hours.

Madam Brett was a revolutionary businesswoman and the founding mother of Beacon. She built up a small empire, was a trailblazer in settling farms in Dutchess County and paved a free road through her lands to the river - today’s Route 52. She was one of the few to sell to settlers, allowing them to own their own land for farming (although, owning a keen business mind, she always made sure she had rights to build a mill on the property she sold). The parkland that we know today as Madam Brett Park played a key role in forming the local community, and helped stamp Beacon as an industrial hub, once of grain and later of hats. The park still plays an important role in Beacon, and is now helping to conserve the beauty and history of this region.

Please welcome back contributor

Dylan Price, a writer/filmmaker and avid outdoorsman who moved to Beacon with his wife from Washington, D.C., yet have since moved to Florida. They were attracted to Beacon for the unique mix of nature, art and food. 

Gilding The Pumpkin | A Pumpkin Decorating Idea For Non-Carvers

The Instagram account of Gilded Twig, aka Deborah Bigelow, who is by Instagram's definition an "Art Conservator, Master Gilder, Building Renovator, and Landlord" (she owns the building that contains Nixie Sparrow and Beahive), is quite curious. It's not often that you come across a professional gilder who knows how to cover walls in gold and renovate the precious details of this world with fresh gold (and we share love for the same hairdresser!). Her projects have included Salon Dore at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and an installation at Walter De Maria Enterprises. So when I began thinking of pumpkin decorating ideas for our front porch for this year's Halloween, it hit me - I bet Gilded Twig would know how to cover a pumpkin in gold! (In another attempt to decorate sans carving, I tried my hand at another Pinterest-inspired pumpkin project: I used a power drill to make delicate-looking bead designs in a pumpkin!)

Perfect for a spooky front yard recreation of a scene where anything you touch turns to gold, maybe Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin would be there. Deborah was kind enough to cover a pumpkin in gold for us, and share her secrets for how to do it.

Deborah Bigelow
Gilded Twig
 Gilding a Pumpkin

You’ve heard the phrase “gilding the lily”?
Well, now there’s “gilding the pumpkin”!

Pumpkins are beautiful just the way nature made them.
But, if you want to gold-leaf one for a Fall display, here’s how:

(All materials available at your local art store and food market.)

a pumpkin (get A Little Beacon Blog's guide on Where to Pick Your Pumpkins This October)
painter's tape
wax paper
black foam brush
fast-drying oil
gold leaf (Deborah likes Sepp Leaf Products, Inc. in New York City, in any karat)
soft sable brush
23K Loose Gold Leaf

Wash the pumpkin with a drop of detergent in water.
Rinse with clear water and dry off.
Tape off the stem with painter’s tape. Place the pumpkin on a piece of wax paper.
Using a black foam brush, apply a whisper-thin, even layer of fast-drying oil size.

Check the surface periodically until it feels dry but slightly tacky to the touch.
Open up a book of gold leaf and pick up the sheet with a gilder’s tip.
I used Manetti’s Red Gold Leaf on the pumpkin.
Beginning at the bottom, lay the gold leaf down on the pumpkin’s surface.
Press down the gold leaf with a soft sable brush.
Repeat until the entire pumpkin is covered.
Remove all of the excess leaf with the same soft brush.

Your golden pumpkin is ready to shine!

Back in season for Fall, the famous cheese fondue pumpkin! A great party food idea, or order by the slice. Delicious.

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We would love to see your decorated pumpkins! Please tag A Little Beacon Blog on Instagram and Twitter with your work of art - no matter how it turns out!

Pictures From Spirit Of Beacon Day 2015! Plus a Video!

Once again, Spirit of Beacon Day 2015 was filled with spirit, cheers and sunshine! It was a glorious day, and everyone enjoyed seeing each other, supporting the Beacon School District with a full representation of the four elementary schools, and the marching band. Boy and Girl Scout Troops were proudly marching, and dancers from Beacon's local dance schools were in costume. Main Street is a mile long, so it's a long parade with plenty to see and eat along the way. Here are a few pictures from the day, and video of walking in the parade:

Go South Avenue Elementary!

Go Sargent Elementary!

Go Glenham Elementary!

Go J.V. Forrestal Elementary!

Glorious day.

Consider donating this year to the City Of Beacon Fire Department! And look, there is the home of one of A Little Beacon Blog's sponsors, Antalek & Moore!

The day was so sunny and hot, that you needed a pitcher of house margarita.

A parade that ends in pie, and a brownie, fresh grapes and cabbage rolls.