Railroads in the Catskills busy this Memorial Day weekend

Ben rounds, Catskill Mountains, new york, trains, upstate new york

With CMRR’s Great Train Robbery event, DURR’s first Rip Van Winkle charter run of the season and the new Rail Explorers USA opening weekend in Phoenicia, both Ulster and Delaware Counties proudly demonstrate to visitors the rails are the place to be this holiday weekend.

DURR Rip Van Winkle Flyer charter run on Thursday, May 24.

In Delaware County, although the official opening weekend was held up due to weather induced track repair, Delaware and Ulster Railroad (DURR) ran its first revenue train of the season, a private charter. Folks were all smiles on the beautiful 75 degree Thursday as they gently rocked through the mountains on the the Rip Van Winkle Flyer. A round trip from Arkville to Roxbury and back passes through the quaint hamlet of Halcottsville and provides passengers with bucolic views of Wawaka Lake, the Round Barn and several farms along the way.

June 2 is the official kick off for public rides. Get your tickets at DURR.org. Pricing is:

• $18.00- Adults

• $12.00 – Children (ages 2-12)

• $15.00 – Discount Adult (Senior/Military/Veteran)

• Dogs are free!

In Ulster County, you can participate in the creatively curated Great Train Robbery on Saturday, May 25. This is my personal fav. The website describes it as follows:

“Board our exciting journey back in time as the Catskill Mountain Railroad celebrates the legend of the Great Train Robbery – the classic 1903 silent movie by the same name – shot on the New York state rails. This interactive adventure will kick off at the Westbrook Station in Kingston, NY and travel up the Hurley Flats. Expect the unexpected as this excursion includes a stop at a local festival with live music and vendors serving up some of the best local flavors in town. Seating is open, so it’s suggested you arrive approximately a half hour early and pick your spot in one of our covered flat cars or inside one of our historic coaches. Please make our crew aware in if someone in your party may have difficulty navigating steps and require additional assistance or enjoy and alternate detour.”

The Ben Rounds Band will be waiting for you as you break along the way, playing their recognizable mix of country and rock covers. Ben is a major supporter of saving the rails in Ulster County and has played several fundraisers contributing to the cause, and his music never disappoints!

This is an event for the whole family and not to be missed. Visit CatskillMountainRailroad.com for more details and to purchase tickets. Pricing is:

• $18.00- Adults

• $12.00 – Children (ages 2-12)

• $16.00 – Discount Adult (Senior/Military/Veteran)

•  $0.00- Toddler (Under two on lap)

If you have a little more coin, and energy, you can ride the new Rail Explorers USA rail bikes through scenic Ulster County. Boarding takes place at the historic Phoenicia station, aka the Empire State Railroad Museum.

Rail bikes lined up for their inaugural run following the Rail Explorers USA Catskill Division Ceremony this past Wednesday. Please ask permission for photo usage.

In fact, trail without rail advocates, UC politicians Mike Hein and Kathy Nolan, who some consider to be the driving force behind the currently segmented (interrupted, compromised, decimated, however you choose to view it) rail line, stood on this hallowed ground on Wednesday during the ribbon cutting ceremony for Rail Explorers. Paul LaPierre, on the board  of  the ESRM*, in an unexpected gesture, wholeheartedly welcomed them, thanking Ulster County for its assistance in cleaning up the museam property and for the promise of a permit to keep equipment and cars on the property for repair and display purposes.

I digress.

My point is, if you miss riding along the mighty Esopus, as the CMRR has not been able to operate there since the loss of their lease in 2016, you can still do an eight mile round trip pedal through Mt. Tremper, across Rt. 28, stopping just a mile shy of where the tracks now end. Bring plenty of water and snacks. The beautiful tour, though electric motor assisted on the way back, is still a workout, so eat your wheaties! Bring your rain gear too, as Rail Explorers operates in mild to moderately inclement weather.

For all details and to book, go to RailExplorers.net. Pricing is:

• $42.50 pp (2 persons on Tandem Rider)

• $37.50 pp  (4 riders on not Quad Explorer)

• 10 % Discount for groups of 10 or more

*****
Please stay tuned for full, objective coverage of the Rail Explorers USA Ribbon Ceremony. In the meantime, enjoy this weekend safely, be thankful for every moment given to you and those you love, never forgetting the price paid by those who fight for our country, and their families.

*Please note a previous version of this article referred to Paul LaPierre as “head of the ESRM”. He has since brought to attention he is only a member of its board.

Silent Night -Digital Holiday Card

Ben rounds, Catskill Mountains, music videos, new york, photography, upstate new york

Update:

Sitting here

snowless,

January 25.

Just 2 hours south

are 30 plus inches in the city.

This mountain girl is baffled

by her snow-free surroundings,

and wondering why the 4

neighboring ski resorts

only boast man-made snow

after this historic weekend.

Life just is not fair.

So press play below,

it will cheer you up,

if you are pining for snow.

A sweet New York Catskill Mountain slideshow video highlights waterfalls,  moon-scapes and snow-scapes, set to Ben Rounds‘ rendition of ‘Silent Night’, for all the fans and supporters of Mountain Girl Photography & Design.

 with love, peace, joy! (& snow!)

How to Keep the Local Music/Art Scene Alive

Ben rounds, blog, Catskill Mountains, music videos, photography

The local music movement depends on small businesses working together. Its a symbiotic relationship.   The bar in town hires the band. The band hires a promoter/photographer/blogger. Its a busy night (as a result of the crowd-pleasing band being there) so the wait staff does well on tips.  The audience is impressed, someone grabs a business card, checks out the website, and hires the band for their next event.

And so the cycle repeats.

The following is an example of how this all works: A local favorite, the Ben Rounds Band, was hired by a local venue.  A photographer (me) put together the promotion of the event, and proceeded to video the 1st set.  Next, an exciting new collaboration between the promoter (me) i.e.  (Mountain Girl Photography & Design) and Fred Cristiani, aka bass player for B.R.B. then led to the latest production by MGP&D…a band booking demo complete with a fun time-lapse.  Next, an employee of a local business hired the band for their upcoming outdoor celebration.

Above: One of the many Ben Rounds videos on YouTube

So do yourself, your favorite local band, and your community a favor: watch and share this booking demo, hire local bands, or at least support them at their gigs.  Show appreciation by tipping the band, and keep them in mind the next time you want to hire entertainment.  You will be supporting not just the local music scene, but local artists who specialize in the promotion of music, local restaurants, and everyone in between.

Keep the local music scene alive!

(Find original blog post here, for my client Ben Rounds.)

Watch the fun “My Dog LiL” video that chronicles the day of a three-legged Jack Russell Terrier!