Visiting Woodstock, N.Y. on July 4th

betty ming liu Travel 8 Comments

At 15, my daughter doesn’t really want to be seen in public with me anymore. Unless, of course, I’m treating her to a meal or taking her shopping. So that’s what we did this morning. But with a twist…today, we made the sweetest little trip to Woodstock, N.Y. Visiting this historic hippie town was fun and refreshing.

As you know, I don’t use my daughter’s name because she wants her privacy. There’s no reason for her to go public and be a blogging nut job like her mother. That’s why I refer to her as The Princess. Anyway, I took Princess and her friend — who wants to be called Cool Girl — on a July 4th excursion that made us all happy.

By 8:20 this morning, I pulled out of our suburban driveway with two sleeping teens in the car’s backseat and headed for the country. Traffic was light; charging up the New York State Thruway, we made it to Woodstock in less than 90 minutes. Then, we explored on our own terms. Cool Girl is a vegan. Princess is a shopoholic. Mom (me) will do anything to get the kids to spend time with her.

The 1969 Woodstock Festival is the concert that made this arts-y community a special tourist destination. But these days, the feeling is upscale. Sort of haute holistic with zen highlights. The boutiques are filled with tie-dye tees, hand-crafted ceramics and price-y, vintage-inspired clothes. Yet protest still lives — there was a petition drive against a proposed 10:30 p.m. curfew to keep kids under 17 off the streets. (Ironic, considering that the word “Woodstock” is such a symbol for youthful rebellion.)

We began with a lovely breakfast at Garden Cafe, a vegan restaurant. It was a delight to be in an eatery where it was perfectly normal to chow on gluten-free french toast made from rice flour bread and “sausage” concocted out of tofu.

For shopping, we stopped by Castaways, a funky thrift shop. Cool Girl bought a long, $10 fringed skirt. Princess found an irresistible $18, chair-sized electric massage pad (hard to explain). I went for a $20 linen dress and an $8 rayon batik print men’s shirt that works as a baggy kimono. Before we left, we wandered through the local flea market which carried everything from jewelry to organic blueberries.

After Woodstock, we drove another hour to my sister’s house. She lives deep in the misty heart of the Catskills. Even though this mountain range is far away from NYC, the two places are completely connected. The city gets its water from 19 reservoirs and three lakes sprawled over thousands of acres up here. Looking out at the mountains now makes me feel very complete.

Here are some photos from our day. Click on each one to enlarge.

Comments 8

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    It was very nice. In the evening, we went to watch the local fireworks. Btw, I think I should add that the legendary Woodstock Festival was never held in Woodstock. In the end, this famous artists’ colony lent its name to the event — which was actually held in nearby Bethel, N.Y.

    Another interesting factoid: In 1906, the Art Students League of New York (which is where I take painting classes) opened a summer school in Woodstock. This town has such a long history!

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  3. Sounds like a fun Fourth with the Princess, friend and your sister. I spent the Fourth watching the fireworks display from the pier in Newport, RI with my teenage kids and my husband, it was also lovely and nice for my college student son and high school kunior daughter to be together. My son has a summer job in New Haven, Ct., so we picked him up and drove to Newport. A good time was had by all… :-)

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    oooooh, leslie, i haven’t been in newport in ages. what a pretty place with a lot of history. thanks for putting it back on my radar as a destination! and how nice that your kids got to have some quality time with you and your honey.

  5. What a great place to visit! You’ve just given me an idea for a summer day-trip with my budding teenager.

  6. I absolutely love walking around places like Woodstock. I had never thought to visit it and now it’s on my list of things to do. My daughter’s have gone away to the Algarve with my parent’s for two weeks of fun in the sun. The weather and the ocean have been spectacular. I’ll be meeting up with them next Thursday for a week. Can’t wait! And I can’t wait to tell them about Woodstock. I think they’d love the experience. You are always an inspiration Betty!

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    hey carrie, is your teen still at an age where she adores you? if not, u might want to let her bring a friend when u girls go to wood stock. it puts u in more of a chaperone roll. but you might both feel more relaxed.

    monica, i think ur girls would like it too. you’ll get lots of ideas there for beaded jewelry, home decorating, etc.l

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