Cheers! Your Champagne Recipe for New Year's and Beyond

According to Timothy Buzinski, co-proprietor of Artisan Wine Shop in Beacon, NY, Champagne and other sparkling wines should be enjoyed at all times, as easy as wine or a craft beer. Yet in the States, bubbly is almost entirely associated with New Year's Eve and other celebrations. Perhaps one New Year's resolution could be to drink Champagne more often (not a hard resolution to keep, I would think!). To take it one step further, and make it easier to get creative, we are looking into making a cocktail out of that glass of bubbly.

On the eve of the New Year, I stopped into a few of Beacon's most trusted sources for Champagne and drink flavorings - Artisan Wine Shop and Drink More Good. The proprietors at each opened my eyes to pouring a few drips of bitters or cassis into champagne or a sparkly white wine.

Meet a few of the many bitters shelved on the wall under "Bitters" at Drink More Good. In flavors like Gypsy Tamarind Cacao, Kiki Lavender Elderberry, and my surprising favorite, Scarlet Strawberry Chili.

To taste test, one squeezes a drop of the flavor on the hand, then lick! I recommend also smelling the drop, because the experiences are totally different. To drink, squeeze one full dropper of your chosen flavor into a glass of Champagne, and enjoy.

At Artisan, you'll find a selection of bitters in flavors like Dandelion & Burdock Bitters, and orange flavors. These, Tim recommends, you could squeeze over a sugar cube that has been placed into your glass, then pour the Champagne over.

For a more traditional flavoring that is sure to be sweet, pour a bit of cassis into your glass, and you have a fresh and fruity treat. While dining, you may wonder what goes well with Champagne? Tim recommends popcorn. Pretty simple! I might take it a step further and make that a cheese-coated popcorn of some kind. But most important for this cocktail, Tim says, is to make sure the pairing is salty. If you're out to dinner, or planning on having Champagne after your meal, have smoked fish or trout, or other fish. Entertaining at home? Beacon Pantry has a shrimp cocktail that you can pre-order, and if you ask really nicely, they may even make you a cocktail sauce from scratch.

Happy New Year - And Beyond!

From Our Sleigh To Yours...Last-Minute Gifts Ideas Actually Purchased

Shopping while getting ready to head out of town can be so fun: As you are rapid-fire pulling triggers on choosing gifts for people on your list, you have no time to second-guess the decisions. Here is a rundown of what you can find on Beacon's Main Street for any last-minute gifts you need to dash to the store for:

Wool-felted soap for amazing exfoliation. We tweeted a Reader Request for where to find soaps in Beacon, and Wanderlust Gifts is one place you might find a twist on a traditional soap gift.
Find This In: Wanderlust Gifts (located on the east end, near Ella's Bellas)

A carry-on-friendly cocktail kit for the traveler on your gift list. My selection was the Champagne Cocktail, for a certain niece on my list who is flying all over the country on business.
Find This In: The Pfotoshop (located in the old train depot, formerly Hair Haven)
Editorial Note: The Pfotoshop is a Featured Business in A Little Beacon Blog's Shopping Guide, but this is not a sponsored spot! Pure editorial.

The copper mug that has exploded onto the cocktail and kitchen decor scene - copper mugs for Moscow Mules! I don't even know what a Moscow Mule cocktail is (but the recipe here calls for ginger beer, which you could inquire about at More Good); I am just a sucker for copper accents.
Find This In: Utensil Kitchenware (located on the east end of town, on the big curving bend in the road). I admit, I just cleaned out all of Utensil's copper mug stock, but more inventory will be in soon. One of the Cocktail Kits over at The Pfotoshop is for a Moscow Mule as well. You might even ask Utensil if they have a kit, since they have sugar and spice for just about everything else.

For the voracious reader on your list, Binnacle Books provides Beaconites with nearly instant access to new and used books! The requirement for this gifting mission was to find a book about the Hudson Valley region for a man who is obsessed with learning about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, and has read just about every book on both subjects. "The Catskills" is a new release and the authors are from the Hudson Valley. Surely, this reader wouldn't have it yet! There are some signed copies still available in the store.
Find This In: Binnacle Books (located near Get Frosted Cupcakery and Subway; read our feature on Binnacle Books here)

For the avid knitter on your list, an easy pack-it-and-go gift is complementary shades of colored yarn. I am not a knitter; in fact, I have been known to verbally slip and call it "yarning," but pair these shades of gray yarn with a pop of red, and you have an instant OSU (Ohio State University)-friendly gift for someone who loves to knit spirit-wear. Many more color combos, already paired and ready for wrapping, are available in the store.
Find This In: Clay Wood & Cotton (located on the west end, near Bank Square Coffee)

"The Goonies" metal lunch box. I have been yearning to buy one of these metal lunch boxes from Play, and finally have a recipient who may appreciate it. This is for a nephew in medical school who may just be tired enough to get hooked on this lunch box as he takes snacks to and from studying.
Find This In: Play (located on the west end of town, across from Hudson Beach Glass)

For two nieces who are very different, yet really got into a sister-spat over last year's gifts: pretty wall art from Play. This year, they can play Tug-Of-War with these laser-cut floral wallets that feature tons of card slots and pockets.
Find This In: Play (located on the west end of town, across from Hudson Beach Glass)

Happy Shopping and Merry Christmas!

Tick-Tock! Dental Benefits Ending, Get Teeth Cleaned/Fixed at Beacon Dental! (Sponsored)

December is an extra-busy month for taking advantage of your unused health insurance benefits - before they start all over again from $0! You have spent the year - and your money - on making your deductible, so visits to the doctor and dentist are a bit easier on your wallet at the end of the year. Don't let the chance go by to get a teeth cleaning, or to take care of any other oral issues you have been putting off under your current dental plan.

Patients of Beacon Dental have it lucky - the office tracks unused benefits, and knows what you are qualified for with your current coverage. Call them today to make appointments for yourself and your family, (845) 838-3666.

Thank you for supporting businesses who support A Little Beacon Blog who make this publication possible!

Restaurants That Are Open Christmas Eve and Day, Plus Special HudsonValley Recommendations

The winter holidays are notoriously linked with cooking large meals for family and friends at home. But what if you're too tired, or your kitchen is so buried in dishes from breakfast quiches and croissants that you can't possibly cook a dinner? Well, for you and any out-of-towners who are here visiting Beacon, NY, for Christmas, we called restaurants in A Little Beacon Blog's Restaurant Guide who offer a cozy, sit-down dining experience to find out who is open on Christmas Eve and/or Day.

Additionally, we have a guest contributor to this restaurant list, for those who want a special dining experience elsewhere in the Hudson Valley! Hudson Valley Magazine editor Olivia Abel has given her Top 3 picks for where to dine in the Hudson Valley to enjoy a special night out this holiday season. Read on for more!

OPEN: Christmas Eve
The Roundhouse
The Vault
Brother's Trattoria
Chateau Beacon (3pm-7:30pm)
Pleasant Ridge
Cafe Amarcord
Baja 328
Draught (they do serve light food!)
Quinn's (free beer, wine or hot chocolate with receipt of a purchase on Main Street dated 12/24/15 details here)
Poppy's (open until 3pm)
Yankee Clipper (open until 3pm)

OPEN: Christmas Day
The Roundhouse Lounge only - 3pm-10pm, serving bar menu (burger-like fare)

CLOSED: Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The Hop
Kitchen Sink
Max's on Main (kitchen closes early)
Towne Crier Cafe

Classic Hudson Valley Dinner/Brunch Options for Christmas Eve/Day
Guest Contributor, Olivia Abel, Editor in Chief, Hudson Valley Magazine
There are several classic Hudson Valley restaurants that serve Christmas brunch/dinner. The following places, while a bit of a drive, are all top-notch, and offer other sightseeing stops along the way. Dining reservations may be required, so call before you head out.

Diamond Mills Hotel
Diamond Mills is a luxury boutique hotel and contemporary American tavern located in the historic village of Saugerties, New York. Nestled between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, Diamond Mills offers a hotel and culinary experience that you are sure to enjoy. Saugerties is also a really fun little river town to explore.
Open Christmas Eve: 3pm-9pm
Open Christmas Day: 10:30am-4pm

The Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck
This tavern/restaurant, established in 1766, features lots of fireplaces and cozy touches that will keep you in the Christmas spirit. Delicious food, with easy access near Rhinebeck's main drag (Market Street). Very fun.
Open Christmas Eve: Lunch, 11am-3pm; dinner 4pm-8pm (call first, as they may close early)
Open Christmas Day: Buffet, 12pm-4pm, This is the only meal of the day. Reservations Required

Cucina, Woodstock
This Italian standout is almost a decade old, and gets rave reviews all around. Located in the center of Woodstock, so you will have plenty to check out as you walk off your meal.

Bear Mountain Inn, Restaurant 1915
Fairly close to Beacon, the Bear Mountain Inn is a beautiful and historic resort (originally opened in 1915) that I wrote about here is an Adirondack-style stone lodge with soaring ceilings.
Open Christmas Eve: Kitchen closes at 8pm
Open Christmas Day: Kitchen closes at 9pm

Photo Credit: This photo is of the Lounge at Roundhouse. Graphic design work by Katie Hellmuth Martin.

New Pets Section Added to Beauty Guide with Paws & Mittens as First Addition

New to A Little Beacon Blog's Beauty Guide is a Pets section! Doggies and kitties are always happier with clean fur and clipped nails. If they don't get to run around outside a lot, those nails don't have as much opportunity to get filed down.

Paws and Mittens, located at 186 Main Street near the Beacon Barkery, is under new ownership, and is now grooming cats again, as well as dogs. Pay no attention to the current website, which last mentioned an April vacation - hey...websites can be intimidating to update! - instead, stick with the Facebook page of Paws and Mittens, especially if you want to see cute photos of fluffy dogs.

#TBT: Vogel's Old Sign Gets a New Paint Job

A staple in Beacon is the Vogel Pharmacy sign. Vogel is located right next door to Homespun Foods, and is an easy spot to pick up your prescriptions while getting a chocolate chip cookie next door. Vogel Pharmacy is your old school, original, locally owned pharmacy, tended by Anthony Valicenti. Over the years, the sign had grown a little tired. In fact, this was our very first "Where Is This?" contest picture back in 2011, and the hint we gave was: "It's peeling." Vogel was actually the subject of another "Where Is This?" contest picture, this time the interior.

Looks like the sign came out of its throwback stage, and got a fresh coat of paint! Local artist Erica Hauser, who has been known to repaint objects out in public, approached Vogel to repaint it, and was hired to do the job.

Job well done!

Get Your Sweet Tooth & Dancing Shoes Ready This Weekend!

We have more Pop-Up Guide action happening this weekend in Beacon, filled with sweet, delicious goodness and more!
It's the second week of Flowers & Flours at Clay Wood & Cotton, featuring dried flowers and wreaths from Diana Mae Flowers and assorted sweets from The Darling Kitchen. Stop by this Saturday, starting at 11 am.

Also this Saturday over at the east end of Main Street, stop by Echo and pick up freshly baked goods by 5Hens, sure to delight your recipient. Cookie boxes, teacher gifts, marshmallows and more. You can pre-order by visiting or email Pick up at the store.

Once you're done snacking, head over to The Howland Cultural Center for a night of dancing! This monthly dance series is attended by singles, couples, friends and strangers. Great bands and voices will be heard, including a variety of rhythms, styles and moods. Light refreshments will be served. Suggested donation: $10.00

As always, you can check out all of Beacon's ongoing events throughout the year in our Events Guide

Happy Birthday, Newburgh Restoration Blog! 7th Anniversary

Photo collage of pictorial highlights from Newburgh Restoration.
Photo credit: Newburgh Restoration

The Newburgh Restoration blog celebrates its 7th year of publication this year, and the publisher, Cher Vick, has put together her yearly write-up of the highlights in Newburgh - among them, her graduation with a master's degree in Urban Planning. Her mission for the blog is "to be at the forefront of the Newburgh renaissance and encourage the revitalization of the city." She does this by "encouraging economic development, new businesses, rehabilitation of houses (vacant and occupied), home ownership, resident interviews, and the Newburgh arts scene."

Cher publishes almost every day, and if you sign up for Newburgh Restoration's newsletter, you can pretty much set your clock by it. At 6:02pm every day there is a new blog post, featuring a dose of what is going on in Newburgh. Like:

Pretty much, if you want to know what's going on in Newburgh, from home development, total house fixer-upper projects, new businesses opening, or the outcome of local events, Newburgh Restoration is your source to keep the pulse on Newburgh. If you are looking to move to Newburgh, or are a home improvement junkie, your eyes will be glued to Cher's site, if they aren't already.

Local blogging is coming into its own with growing readerships, and offers audiences a special view into the depth of a city from different vantage points. Beacon has its own local blogs, like A Little Beacon Blog, Beacon Bits, Wigwam Economy, the original local forum Beacon Citizen which is like a lot of personal blogs consolidated together in one giant forum, Hudson Valley Compass (as the name suggests, this covers several destinations; Beacon is just one), Beacon Streets, and deep into the depths of Instagram there are such favorites as Beacon Transplant and so many others.

Just hit your #beaconny and #newburghny hashtags, and you'll discover all of the lovely and hopeful depictions of activities happening around here.

Congratulations on your anniversary, Newburgh Restoration!

A Little Beacon Blog is on Pinterest!

A Little Beacon Blog on Pinterest
We are happy to announce that A Little Beacon Blog is now on Pinterest!  When you live in a place as beautiful and visual as Beacon is, with a backdrop as stunning as the Hudson Valley, you know there's lots of eye candy to share! We have boards like "Handmade in Beacon," "Nightlife in Beacon," "Eat and Drink," and "Services" - even one for "Lovely Letters," because one can't have a Pinterest account and not obsess over typography!

A Little Beacon Blog on Pinterest

We have pin boards for each of our guides, with lots more to come! Are you on Pinterest? Let us know your Pinterest user name in the comments below, and don't forget to follow us at!

Meet the New People on the A Little Beacon Blog Team!


Remember when I put that ad up for a Social Media Coordinator/Editorial Assistant, way back in September? Well, a lot of really talented people came out. It was humbling and extremely exciting.

Slowly, very slowly over the years, I have added the required social media channels, newsletter, and carefully designed photos that work in Facebook. I say "slowly" because it all takes time and coordination to make sure it flows, visually and editorially, for you, the reader.

When I agreed with myself to do The Things To Do In Beacon Guides, I knew I couldn't do it alone. I needed a team. It takes a special set of skills to balance the fun part of blogging with the scientific part of keeping an editorial calendar in Google Docs to make sure we get all of our ideas written up, photographed, and socialized. Not everyone looks forward to getting Google Alerts from Google Calendar that certain articles need to publish on certain days. But some people do! And I am honored to work with a few of them. So without further ado, please meet...

Marilyn Perez is a designer and blog tech specialist. She actually works for one of the first blogging platforms I fell in love with by way of helping the blogs of those writers work correctly. Marilyn was first known to me as Pulp Sushi, a jewelry designer who I followed in Twitter. She's also one of the designers on the Hudson Valley Etsy Team. Marilyn loves Pinterest, and scheduling. Therefore, she is A Little Beacon Blog's official Pinterest Curator! Read her announcement blog post about it here! She helps to keep the gears moving smoothly when we promote different Guides in the Things To Do In Beacon Guides, and also when businesses who advertise in those Guides get socialized. It means we look at an Excel spreadsheet of which stories get published when, and which Guides get promoted! Color coordinating helps. View her full bio here!

Catherine Sweet loves copy editing. She is actually going to come in here to this article and edit the word "copyediting" to see if it is "copyediting" or "copy editing" or even "copy-editing." (Note from Catherine: Various style guides disagree on this. I like to be consistent with using two words, so it parallels "copy editor," which almost all of the style guides have as two words always. Digging into style questions makes me make a perplexed-amused face, as seen above.) Catherine also loves researching, enhancing blog posts with historical references from other blog posts, and writing social media blurbs. She is on a stealth mission to clean up typos and sentences that are too long, and make sure things read smoothly. Catherine is the Editor of the Second Saturday Guide, and compiles write-ups of the shows, and then tweets out every single show throughout the day on Saturday to help get people excited about it. Catherine was one of the first winners of the Where Is This? contest. View her full bio here!

Leigh Baumann is obsessed with good imagery. Leigh is in charge of the advertiser photos in the Things To Do In Beacon Guides, when businesses upgrade to become advertisers in them. She is the social media photographer who we send in to take special photos to display in those Guides, and in our Twitter and Instagram feeds. Leigh also designs special ads for our major sponsors, the Featured Businesses of the entire blog, who support this publication and make it possible. In addition to the visual contributions Leigh makes, she is also a foodie, and if she had a journalistic beat, restaurants would be it! Therefore, Leigh is the Editor of the Restaurant Guide in Beacon and keeps it up to date! View her full bio here!

A few more people work with A Little Beacon Blog in different capacities, so do check them out on the About Us page!

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone!