Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chagall in High Falls

Marc Chagall and Virginia Haggard Mc Neill

The history books tell you that the famous painter Marc Chagall escaped France for New York in 1941, only to return triumphantly to France again in 1949. They tell you that his beloved first wife died here in 1944.
They don't usually tell you he bought a house in High Falls, just a 15 minute drive away from here.
They don't tell you that he lived there from 1946-1948 with Virginia Haggard, or that they had a son. He was very prolific during that time, producing 90 to 100 works, as he rediscovered "the colour of love".
We attended a very interesting lecture by Vivian Jacobson this evening, who worked with Chagall for the last eleven years of his life. It seems that the Dorsky Museum (at SUNY, New Paltz) is putting together a major exhibition to shed light on the significance of his time here, including the importance of his relationship with Virginia. Locals have tales to tell, and much is yet to be discovered. For anyone who loves Chagall's work, this really is quite exciting. We hope to find out more. Watch this space.

Bouquet with Flying Lovers, Marc Chagall 1947

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saugerties Lighthouse

It's a pleasant evening walk to the Saugerties Lighthouse on the Hudson River. This is the only lighthouse on the river that can be reached on foot, as it's connected to the mainland by a spit of land which is a publicly accessible nature trail. The first lighthouse was built here in 1838, the present one in 1869.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"....we laughed and laughed, and told stories for an hour and a half......."

We always like to see what our guests say in their reviews and comments and we've just had a really nice review on bedandbreakfast.com that we'd like to share with you:

"We experienced a one night stay at The Stone House B&B in March of 2011. When we arrived we were greeted by Nadia who welcomed us and escorted us to our room. She had a very friendly and well mannered character. She offered us a brief tour and history of the House. We gladly accepted, and off we were learning about the restoration challenges and actual history of the House. We were intrigued by the details, architecture, and building methods of the time the House was built. Original fireplaces, pots, floor boards (12" wide), ceiling joists, 15"+ thick stone and cement walls, single pane glass windows, and even bathtubs truly made this place feel like you were living in the past. The room we settled in, was "The Lacemaker". We could not stop looking around, wide eyed and mouths open, and whispering..."Babe! Look at this!", "Hun, Check this out!” The place was beautiful, very well maintained, wonderfully restored, and extremely clean. Nine AM breakfast was a very unexpected experience. The food (emphasis on the bread and coffee) was so good, we couldn't stop eating. It tasted and felt so home cooked and right off the land. The company we had at the table (guests) made an unforgettable impression on us. We laughed and laughed, and told stories for an hour and a half. The room we were in contributed greatly to our moods and set the stage for a relaxed and friendly time at the table. Sam, who attended the table was such a well mannered and sophisticated gentleman, who just like Nadia, made the whole place and experience feel personal and one of a kind. We could not stop thinking about our experiences at The Stone House Bed and Breakfast. We felt so grateful for people like Nadia and Sam who take on challenges to preserve the past and provide our generation an unsurpassed place to stay. A place that that outlives and exceeds, service, locale, price, quality, and feel of any mainstream hotel out there. Yes, we’re are going back for more."

Many thanks to all our guests who write reviews. You can see more here:
and here:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things found, things unknown

This is the doll, 3 1/2 inches high, that we found behind forties sheetrock, in what is now the Lacemaker room. We often wonder if Olive (see below) hid this keepsake from her childhood there, for future owners to find......
Next to her are various objects found in a cigar box in the attic. This cigar box is intriguing to us because it's the only thing we have found that has ties with her life in Kingston, when she was still living with both her father and mother. (She would later live with her mother's family in this house).
Behind the doll, on the toy bench, is a 1925 membership card for her father Harry H. Clearwater, for the Rondout masonic lodge in Kingston. Also in the box is a 1927 newsletter for a different Kingston Lodge, which lists Alphonso T. Clearwater as the Lodge's "Historiographer".
Alphonso T. Clearwater (1848-1933) was a judge on the New York Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and is also known for being an important collector of early American silver. Was Olive related to him? That we don't yet know.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Olive Clearwater

Here are two photos we have of Olive Clearwater. The bottom one was possibly taken in the 1930s, with the southwestern side of the house in the background, the top one possibly in the 1940s. In the early 20th century, this was her grandparents' house, and she came to live here with her mother when she was a girl, eventually owning it herself and remaining here until she died, in the 1990s. Olive was an avid historian, and she received a 'Pride of Ulster County' award in 1986 for her book "Hurley in the Days of Slavery", which she wrote together with fellow Town Historian John J. Hofler. Through her maternal line, Olive could trace her ancestry back to the Olivers in the mid 19th century, who were in some way related to the original Kool/Cole family who originally built the house.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lots of Links with Historic Hugenot Street

In the 17th century, before the British came to this part of North America, the Dutch established Wiltwijck (now Kingston) in 1651, and Nieuw Dorp (now Hurley) in 1662. In 1678, a few French-speaking Hugenot families struck out on their own, and left Wiltwijck and our very own Nieuw Dorp(Hurley) to found New Paltz.
Now, the Historic Hugenot Street in New Paltz (just half an hour away) offers 6 acres of a National Historic Landmark that features seven unique houses that date to the early 1700s - a great place to visit.
So why do we mention this? Well, the way the Dutch and the Hugenots built their houses was very similar. And this Saturday, at the Historic Huguenot Street the curator/administrator for the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will give an insider's glimpse of the way the Dutch room there (pictured above) was acquired and installed.
And why do we mention that?! Well, we're restoring a room on the ground floor of this house (scroll down to see 'Groote Kamer' below and the recent photo in our local Daily Freeman paper) that's now got a huge early fireplace in the same style.....The enormous hood was hand-crafted by William McMillen (top photo, left), who's an acquaintance of ours, and he made the one for the Metropolitan Museum of Art too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hudson Valley Thaw

As you can see in the little video above the Hudson Valley is gradually thawing out after a very snowy winter. The first few shots in the video were taken at Awosting Falls in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, one of the highest waterfalls in the area with a drop of 60'. The last few shots were taken from the Walkway Over The Hudson , the last shot looking downstream towards the Mid-Hudson Bridge.