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: Sept. 22, 2010

You don’t have to live in the Catskills for long to figure out that autumn really begins sometime in the middle of August. Labor Day is a fiction. Oh, the honoring of those among us who toil with calloused hands is real; it’s the idea of summer’s end that stretches the truth. Our mountain end-of-season cook-outs are attended with a sweater.

A Catskill Catalog: Sept. 15, 2010

Dolores and Sonny Somelofski sold the Tremperskill Country Store last week, a real estate transaction that marks an interesting milestone in Catskill Mountain life.

A Catskill Catalog: Sept. 8, 2010

Let’s face it; there is only one Catskill Mountain town, village, or hamlet that has instant name recognition. Get not-too-far-away from home and say you’re from the Catskills. You sometimes get blank stares. “Near Woodstock,” you say.

“Oh, yeah.” They get it.

A Catskill Catalog: Sept. 1, 2010

On first glance, opera might seem, I don’t know, a bit unusual for the Catskills. Somehow, not down-home, a bit highbrow, too civilized, at home in the Berkshires, maybe, but the Catskills? Yet, Phoenicia’s “Festival of the Voice” was a rousing success, three days in August celebrating the art of singing, held in church sanctuaries, playhouse and park.

A Catskill Catalog: Aug. 18, 2010

“I don’t know much about Rondout,” I said to a friend. We’d been talking about the Strand, the riverside section of Kingston.