Woodstock is the most famous small town in the world, due, of course, to the generation- bending, spectacularly successful 1969 Woodstock Music Festival held at Yasgur’s dairy farm some 43 miles away. But before “Woodstock”, there was Woodstock: the town… a sleepy village with no paved sidewalks but plenty of music, food and a long history as an artist colony and a tolerance for all kinds of eccentric behavior. The energy of Woodstock continues today with locals, visitors, second homeowners, celebrities, artists, and musicians all basking in the light of a laid-back attitude amid the splendor of the surrounding mountains and streams. The sidewalks are paved now, but the enthusiasm of its people is as vibrant as ever.
Entering Woodstock you become aware of how it is nestled into the sloping spine of Overlook Mountain and bordered by the Sawkill Creek. Even on the hottest of days you can always find respite under a tree and watch the Woodstock Nation slowly pass by.
The Village Green is the center of town, where the bus from New York City unloads its cargo of visitors, who quickly meld into the welcoming atmosphere. A short walk along the main street provides an extraordinary shopping experience with everything from Woodstock era beads and glitter to sculpture, painting, Asian art, galleries, jewelry, unique clothing and best of all, restaurants catering to all tastes buds.
And if you think Woodstock is a summer only destination then you haven’t been wowed by the beauty of the shops decked out with Christmas colors, offering free hot cider and Santa arriving by the most extraordinary means. (One year he came by elephant).
So, come visit us. Stay a day or a lifetime. Woodstock is ready for you to experience her charms.
Music and art go hand in hand in Woodstock. Byrdcliffe art colony is the nation’s oldest Arts & Crafts colony dating back to 1903. In fact, the very first Festival was held in 1915 (and continued until 1931) and might have made the 1969 gathering tame by comparison. In addition, Maverick Concerts (just minutes outside of town) is a music chapel and home to the oldest chamber music festival in America. The open-air handmade venue with almost perfect acoustics is on the National Register of Historic Places with world-class musicians playing there from June to September.
The town also supports the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum (right in the center of town) and is one of the oldest artist organizations in the region celebrating the works of many well-known painters and was also the home of the Art Students League of New York for almost 50 years.
But there is more! The Woodstock Guild, founded in 1939 now oversees the Brydcliffe Colony and sponsors exhibitions, classes, concerts, dance and theatre and runs the oldest craft shop in Woodstock. Byrdcliffe is also on the National Register of Historic Places and is a destination and haven for today’s artists.
Music, however, is everywhere. The mountains provide the setting and some of the most famous jazz and rock artists started here and still reside in this wonderful rural town of 5000 persons. Check out our calendar for music and art events, which are hosted year-round.
While Woodstock may be the heart of Ulster County and Ulster County may be the heart of the Hudson Valley, there are many sites to see in and around the town. Just a mile up Rock City Road is a trailhead leading to the summit of Overlook Mountain, which tenderly stands guard over the town. The short walk up this 2100’ high mountain affords a panoramic view of the area.
And, just down the road (actually in the township of Saugerties) is one of the great sculptures in the United States: Opus 40. A monumental construction of bluestone built right in the quarry, it is also a museum and a concert venue. The views of the monolith with Overlook Mountain in the background is an icon of beauty and, for many, symbolizes the connection between art and nature.
Come and explore the nearby towns of Saugerties (a Mecca for antiques), Phoenicia (a mountain town known for its tubing adventures and fly fishing). The port city of Kingston (New York’s first capital) is but 10 miles away and New Paltz (home to the best rock climbing on the east coast) is but another short jump further south.
There’s lots to do and if we can help make your visit even more special please call 1-800-342-5826 for assistance.