We met Lori Majewski at Bearsville Theatre. Lori is a freelance writer and has co-written a book with Jonathan Bernstein titled Mad World: An Oral History of New Wave Artists and Songs That Defined the 1980s.
Lori is one of the many people who have spent their lives in the New York metropolitan area but have decided to purchase a getaway home in the Hudson Valley. While she loves the hustle and bustle of New York City and all it has to offer for her career and social life, she savors her peaceful weekends in Woodstock, New York. The tranquility, she says, is something that still surprises her. To wake up and not hear police sirens or people shouting is a luxury for city dwellers like Lori who are accustomed to a more hectic lifestyle. “They say your most creative moments are when you first wake up,” Lori tells us. Her ideal morning consists of waking up, enjoying the scenery, and writing. She warned us, “Don’t use your cell phone!” when we first get out of bed.
For Lori, Woodstock has truly become her home. After a few years of living here, she says that she feels like a local. She participates in community events, meets new people, and keeps a finger on the pulse of Woodstock’s art and music scene. One of her favorite aspects of Woodstock is the affordable concerts. At Woodstock, she says, one can expect to hear quality music without breaking the bank. That allows for her to explore more, and find new artists. During our conversation, Lori reflects on her adolescent music taste and admits that she was once quite snooty about different genres. But now she is at a different stage in her life – one in which she can enjoy the folksiness of Woodstock and get away from New York City and its distractions.
Our class began to stumble along to a grassy lawn boarded by stream. The water was clear and cool and immediately diverted all attention away from the theatre. There we began to climb about and wander what we would later learn was a small priced of the Sawkill. Our next insight into Woodstock, Joshua Colow found us there, climbing and fiddling it the stream bed. He grew up by the Sawkill and the town of Woodstock during its beginnings as a haven for music and creativity. Colow went to a local cooperative school in the area after living on a small farm his parents had renovated into an art studio. The home was by the Sawkill and after his introductions, he lead us on a hike up the road to an old mill who used to function under the pressure of the stream. His home and the mill have turned into second homes and airbnb destinations in support of the growing tourist industry of Woodstock. But back to the creative aspect of Woodstock…
“Yeah the migration of artists to Woodstock has been going on since the early 20th century,” Colow told us (remarking on the general cultural atmosphere of the area), “it grew up as an art community before any industry came to town.” The influence of artistic and creative minds is hard to miss in this town. Whether it’s the numerous not-so-subtle allusions to the Woodstock Music Festival on the flyers stapled to every lamppost and corkboard or the multitude of galleries lining the streets, the influence of Woodstock’s artistic heritage is hard to miss. Maybe it’s the rolling hills, verdant open fields, and crystalline streams that attract artists like a magnet, it certainly couldn’t be prettier around here. Colow mentioned the Byrdcliffe Art Colony while conversing with our class, and although we never visited there on our field trip, I just had to look it up. The first sentence of its mission statement pretty much fit perfectly with what I expected: “The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild provides a vibrant center for excellence in the arts and crafts in the beautiful and unique rural community of Woodstock, New York, while preserving the historic and natural environment of one of the earliest utopian art colonies in America”(http://www.woodstockguild.org/about-byrdcliffe/). So, to all you artists of the world, if you’re looking for a new muse, I highly suggest Woodstock, New York.