Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Woodstock For Real – Wait, What?

This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.

– Michael Lang (Co-creator of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival)

As promised… here’s the next installment of our Woodstock Wander in Mid-July.  How can it be almost mid-August already?

Wednesday morning was THE day.  We were finally going to visit the site of THE Rock Concert of all time!  To say we were excited, is to put mildly.  Two Fifty-somethings all a-giggle, I tell ya…  By now we have watched countless videos about Woodstock, totally immersed ourselves into the whole experience as much as two born-too late-to-have-been-there peeps could be. (And if we had been there, would have been too young to remember and would have had beyond-cool (or crazy) parents… Just sayin’).  One hour, some 60-ish miles away.  I swear, we are still trying to wrap our heads around a Woodstock that never took place in Woodstock.  I think B’s wonderful intro post to our adventure says it best here.

But first, we needed sustenance.  I had brought my crêpe mix so of course I had to make those.  But then, I pimped ’em up.  We needed to fuel up, after all!  A little bacon, some Swiss cheese and a fried egg on top was sure to do the trick – add to that some Québec maple syrup and we had ourselves a breakfast of champions…

No matter how many videos we had watched – and we watched many there (not to mention tons more since our return), we were still amazed to drive through the winding country roads towards Bethel.  We tried to imagine all those thousands of cars simply left willy-nilly to block the road for three, almost four, days.  Insane.  Did you know that 37 rental cars were lost?  Thirty-seven!!  Just one of those little snippets of information discovered…

We finally get to our destination…

… and there are huge, I mean HUGE parking lots… now 😉  We chose a shady area to park the car and made our way to the main building.  How did I manage to NOT take a picture of the outside?  I dunno… So I have nabbed the one on the site…

I don’t know how to explain the myriad emotions this place evoked.  Maybe it was just us.  But I don’t think so.  Maybe we had created an expectation by reading about it, seeing movies, documentaries, listening to the music.  While neither one of us had this destination at the top of our bucket lists, we were still thrilled and awed that our desire to meet had directed us to this place.  Just how did the Universe sneakily direct us here?  Our love of music, culture and history might have had something to do with it.  Whatever it was that did bring us here, we felt we were on hallowed ground.  Or we gave it that descriptive.

Or maybe, just maybe, we each have a little Hippie in our Hearts.

We purchased our tickets and entered, looking forward to – we had no idea what!

“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

—John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3:30 am start time at Woodstock”

There were so many things to see, notes to read, we could have stayed in there for hours on end.

It’s funny… I didn’t take the picture of the sign explaining the fence but felt this other sign said it all.  This concert was going to be way bigger than anyone could have anticipated (Imagine how parties have gotten out of hand with the advent of Facebook?  Could you even imagine?)  People were not going to let some fence stop them from getting in…  Might as well give in.  And they did!  In the name of peace.  And debt.

So many details, so many stories, so many things to see!

There is a small theatre within the museum that shows a 20-minute movie about the event.  So, of course, we watched it!

So many acts played in those three days, that spilled into part of the fourth.  Sha Na Na?  Really?  John B. Sebastian wasn’t even scheduled to play.  He was a “filler” and, according to Ira Brooker from “A Talent for Idleness” Sebastian was the ultimate hippie.  I dig, I dig.  And, I didn’t know him.  And now I do.

Time to go outside and see just where this party took place.

The grounds around the museum are beautiful and a stroll was in order.

Though he never made a sound, I could sense B was itching to get to the site itself and I quickly snapped a couple more pics before joining him.

I don’t know why I never realised how much of a hill it was!  You see the pictures and there are masses of people but somehow, I just never focused on the terrain itself.  This sign gives you such a perspective of the size when you are in front of the field.  I purposefully left just a smidge of said sign in the second pic showing the road (we felt it would be disrespectful to walk on the grass itself – at that time, anyway!) we took to get down to the bottom to show you a portion of it.

As we made our way down, we could see, right in the middle of the field, a huge Peace sign cut into the grass (like a crop circle 😉 )  Too bad they have been suffering from lack of rain because it is a tad difficult to see, no matter how much I enhanced it.

We, of course, went to the official memorial monument (which bizarrely is NOT where the stage was…)

The stage is left of and further down from the marker when looking up the hill.  It was confusing to us at first but then I could see the demarcation of the sort of square where the stage was.

Standing on the “stage”, looking up I could not imagine 500,000 people.  I’m sure the 600 acres Max Yasgur rented out spilled out beyond… Plus, I do not have a wide lens… but still.  It takes your breath away.

I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world–not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!

— addressing the crowd at Woodstock on August 17, 1969
Peace and Love…

We made our way back to the car, our souvenirs in hand (of course I got a Tye-died shirt) with new memories created and oh-so happy we had made the trek.  We may have missed out on actually being part of the whole Woodstock experience 49 years earlier, but walking those grounds sure brought us closer to the feeling that we would have fit right in.

Joni Mitchell didn’t make it either, but all say she captured the feeling exactly.  I was torn between the video where Joni explains why she wasn’t there – with a little catch in her voice – or the one she did right after the concert… So I put both!

Part 1

Part 2

Woodstock – Woods and other Stock

I did promise there would be more to come and I do like to keep my promises.

Tuesday’s forecast called for rain but we sure were not going to let that determine what we could or couldn’t do.  We had promised ourselves a hike on one of the many trails in the vicinity and hike we would.  After a hearty frittata breakfast, to The Comeau Property, we went.  A mere hop, step and a jump away from our Airbnb and right in the middle of Woodstock.  Not what one would call a challenging hike but it was a very pleasant walk along the Sawkill Stream.

Arriving at the parking lot, we found a map of the trail, (Did I take a picture?  Of course not!)  So this one was snagged from the website.

©BarkerHudson.com

See that map on the right panel?  Yeah well… I dunno who was behind the design of the thing but it was confusing as all get-out!  And bass-ackwards.  We found the short trail – coz it was right there behind said “Info Centre”.  The trail brought is immediately to the stream which seemed quite low.  Hopping from one rock to another, we found ourselves right in the middle.

As we continued walking along the trail, the rain started, but the canopy of trees protected us.  Besides, it didn’t last long.  Before long, we realised we had gotten off the trail and found ourselves in the middle of a wide empty field.  Or was it?

How cool to see this family of deer racing past.  Thank goodness I had time to switch my zoom lens and capture them!  I know for some it is no big whup to come across deer in mid-day but for us, it was magical.

It’s funny, we kinda forgot we were in the middle of the Catskill Mountains until we turned around.

We returned to the woods and continued our walk, enjoying the quiet.  It is summer season and we were amazed at how few people we encountered.  One was some weirdo chatting away on his cell… You are surrounded by nature and instead of listening to the sounds provided by said nature, you gotta jibber-jabber on the phone?  To each his own.  We were glad when he was no longer in our vicinity.

We ended up back in the parking lot, looked at the map again, tried to figure out just where the second trail started… I did mention it was not exactly clear.  We crossed the street and lo and behold!  There it was!

We walked along the trail, a lovely carpet of dried leaves cushioning our feet, the daylight shining through gaps in the canopy.  We could hear the water nearby and the trail led us to it from this side.  Did I mention how calming and soul-filling these walks can be?

This trail was so much more.  The water flowed stronger and the vista was enchanting.

Of course, I’m a bit of a rebel, so I totally trespassed (with proof I was the only one…)

We drove back “home” in the rain and M decided it would be grand to go for a run.  By the way, there may have been some rumblings of thunder.  Just sayin’.  I, totally NOT a runner, especially not one in a storm, wished him well and stayed back to get ready for the movies.  We had checked the local listing and decided to go for a short drive to see the afternoon viewing of “Oceans 8”, which we both enjoyed, along with a mega bucket of popcorn.

I had seen a video of a certain sandwich on the Facebooks and we decided to try it.  I mean come ON… we already had my fab vodka mix; all we needed was to pick up a few more ingredients so I could make us “Bloody Mary Grilled Cheese”.  We did not have the perfect bread (or a quick dip would have been better) but taste-wise?  Yeah, baby!  I am so doing these again.

The rain had stopped again and we decided to sit outside under the balcony for an early nightcap.  We were blessed once again with a couple of visitors.  Luckily I was able to capture this little guy.

And then this beauty.

This was turning into a fabulous getaway in the presence of most pleasant company, both the four-legged and two-legged kind.

Next up, THE site!

Part one is here, for anyone interested…

 

 

 

 

 

Why Not Woodstock?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, Live the life you’ve always imagined.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Without going into any woe-is-me sob story (which is not my style, anyway), many of you know there have been challenges sent my way over the years.  I don’t think these events changed the way I already thought and acted or reacted, but maybe they just magnified the who that I am.  I can tell you that they gave me the power to not be afraid of:

  1. being alone (not that I want to remain so forever, but if I do, I will survive)
  2. doing things by myself for myself
  3. putting myself out there, either by writing or travelling or whatever opportunity presents itself.

Why have I gone on with this preamble of sorts?  Because I must explain how the hell I ended up in Woodstock, baby!  I cannot honestly say it was ever a destination on my “bucket list” (if I were to have one, that is).  Yes, I adore the music of that time and love the idea that 400,000+ people could gather in the conditions that they were and not turn to violence… you know like rioters do now when their team friggen WINS

Anyway.

Last February, I “met” a blogger on another blogger’s blog (say that ten times quickly 😉 ).  We exchanged miles of comments until it was suggested by moi to chat elsewhere.  Good thing because I am quasi-positive there is some sort of blog etiquette on hogging another’s comments section.

Our exchanges – via text, voice, video chat – occurred almost daily.  We discovered that we had so many things in common and felt we could share pretty much any and everything.  A true friendship was born.  We started joking that it would be great to meet in person.  Little snag was we lived about eight hours apart by car.  Still.  What about meeting half-way?  Great.  We did talk about New York City which would have had a coolness all its own though is not quite an even half-way point but I was willing to do the extra.  Problem was, who in the name of all that is holy wants to go sweat in NYC in July?  Besides, there was nothing available hotel-wise.  So that was that.

Looking at maps, one place than another was suggested until he said:  Why not Woodstock?  A true half-way point for both of us, easy access, lots of places to stay plus the potential of visiting THE musical site of musical sites of all times…

It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.
~ Carl Jung

And so, in May, Woodstock was booked.  Now we had to wait until July 16th.

So. Far. Away.

Till it was here.

We had discussed the official meet-up, who would bring what – I was gonna introduce this Yank to Clamato… welcome him to the Canadian Bloody Caesar (rare are the Canucks who do Bloody Marys).  Not only that, I was making my special “Garden mix” vodka. I warned him I would probably ruin him for future Bloody Marys… He was bringing beer and stuff that comes to mind when one thinks of Woodstock – and what we would do.  We had checked out the surrounding areas and found there were various places to hike so that was definitely on our agenda.  Plus, of course, visiting the venue.

We aimed to meet at the Airbnb for 1 pm on Monday.  Excellent.  We would then go for lunch to break the ice and then do some grocery shopping for some of our meals, eat in on Monday night and then go with the flow and the weather.

Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.
~ Bob Dylan

The morning was perfect.  My bags had all been packed, the booze, the crepe mix, my clothes.  According to Google Maps, if i Ieft by 8:15, I would arrive at my destination for 1.  I left at 7:55.  Got to the border at 8:50 – record time as there was zero traffic, stopped off at Duty Free for a coffee, some water bottles and made my way to the border itself.  One car ahead of me.  The border guy asked where I was going, of course, and wished me a fun time.

Set my cruise control to 118 kph (73 mph) because I am a lead-foot and need to be restrained and off I went.  My first pleasant surprise was when I filled my gas tank.  Down to 1/4 tank, I don’t mess around and stopped as soon as I could.  I forgot that trick of using the three digits in my postal code and adding two zeros because the stupid gas tanks ask for a zip code… so I had to pay inside.  The cashier asks me how much, so I say “fifty bucks”.  She says not to worry, whatever amount I use is all I’ll be charged for…  Cool. Press the lever and it pops at $23.38.  What?  Press again and a few cents’ worth is added.  Holy moly!  Or rather… FUCK!  We pay way too much for gas in Quebec!!  3/4 of a tank would have cost me at least $45…

Continue on and arrive in Woodstock.  GPS tells me to turn into the driveway and I can’t see the address but trust it. It is 12:55 and no one is there.  Not even the owners.  Hmmm…  So I sit on the porch.  It feels like it’s 100 degrees.   I walk around and feel that maybe this isn’t right.  Hmmm… I can’t remember there being a pool in the pics.  I do remember 3 doors on the carriage house but don’t remember the colour.  That should have been my first “Hello? may be at the wrong place?”  Just as I am about to jump into my car and drive a bit further, I get a text.  “I’m here.”  I respond, “Me, too”.  “Huh?”

Dumbass.  I was at the house next door.  Way to make a great first impression, Rogerson.

Drive into the nice and narrow drive where I was supposed to be…

A smile and a nice long hug and a glad we made it, we left my stuff in my car because the house wasn’t ready for us.  Using his car we made our way into town for lunch. Our chatter picked up exactly where it had left off the night before.  We knew it.  The comfort level was exactly what we had expected/hoped it would be.

We chose the Oriole 9 which had a fabulous selection of salads and sandwiches and beers… we were good!  Enjoyed our lunch (I was starving), found a grocery store, picked up some items and back to the carriage house.

The sweet owners, Emy and James, were the perfect hosts, made sure we were well-connected to their smart TV and that we lacked for nothing – then we never saw them again!   We connected to YouTube and focused on everything Woodstock.  How neither one of us thought to do any research before hand is beyond us both.  This turned out to be a good thing.  We were able to absorb everything together.  Cooking supper, enjoying each other’s company, watching videos.  We were good.

And seriously, how ironic was it that we were there from July 16-19 and 49 years earlier, the famous concert of concerts was held August 15-18?

The spell had just begun….

 

Seeing Things – Friday Fictioneers

Good Thursday evening my peeps!  Just got back from a little four-day get-away in Woodstock so… needless to say, I’ve got it on my mind 😉  I know, I know, I had it on my mind before leaving as my previous story suggested!  And yes, there will an official “My Visit to Woodstock” in the very near future, once I’ve organised my pictures.

I could not very well diss this week’s FF as it is my picture that our lovely leader chose.  Thank you Rochelle.  Come play with us.  Just click on the blue frog below and add your 100-word story based on this picture…

Get your Code here

Seeing Things

She had spent a restless night, tossing and turning.  Woodstock songs played in a loop in her head, driving her nuts – to be expected, she had watched so many videos about the event.

Finally giving up, she got up and opened the curtain.  Gazing out at the weak morning sun peaking through the haze, she noticed what looked like the body of a naked female, shining on the house next door.

Whipping around, she was half-certain she would see one of the flower children standing there.

Laughing at herself she thought “And yet, I didn’t take the not-quite-good brown acid…”