A Catskill Catalog by Bill Birns

Bill Birns presents a weekly essay on history, geography, day-trips, arts and culture in the Catskill Mountain region.

A Catskill Catalog: March 31, 2010

When I was a kid, I had a record – vinyl, 33 and a third, long-playing – called “Great Moments in History,” or something like that. (I also had a complete set of small plastic statuettes of the 34 Presidents of the United States, but that’s another story.)


A Catskill Catalog: March 24, 2010

If the Catskills were a kingdom, the Hardenbergh Patent would be our Magna Carta.
By the patent, I mean the piece of paper, parchment probably, upon which, in 1708, New York Provincial Secretary George Clarke wrote.


A Catskill Catalog: March 17, 2010

The capital of American colonial history has to be Williamsburg, Va. Colonial Williamsburg recreates that city, as closely as possible, to what it was like just before independence. Spend a couple of days in Williamsburg and you are in colonial Virginia.


A Catskill Catalog: March 10, 2010

The late Nat Ciccone used to photograph Catskill Mountain barns. The longtime Margaretville Central teacher and coach would drive scenic mountain back roads, stopping to capture, on 35 millimeter film, those barns of Ulster and Delaware counties, that, Nat knew back in the ’80s, would not be around too much longer.


A Catskill Catalog: March 3, 2010

Just got in from shoveling. Big snow is all encompassing, takes our full attention: physically, certainly, but mentally, psychologically, and emotionally, as well. Big snow brings up wellsprings of memory and talk.