By Charlene Hutchison
This year's DVT (Delaware Valley Triumphs) Fall Getaway on October 24th, 25th & 26th, proved to be another wonderful weather weekend for both driving and sight seeing. At 8:00 AM on Friday morning eight couples gathered at the Hutchison's in Quakertown for scones and coffee/tea. The three other couples would meet us at the hotel later, as they were coming from other states... we soon hope to be international!
Our destination this year was the "Museum at Bethel Woods", site of the original Woodstock Festival, (aka "an Aquarian Exposition", originally billed as "3 Days of Peace & Music") which took place in August of 1969. Since our actual visit to the site would be just one day, we thought it quite proper to incorporate our packages of traveling supplies (plus 2 kazoos for an event later that evening) for each couple, in none other than shoeboxes, which, thanks to Reebok, had replicas of Union Jack flags on them. Yes it's true, we would be "Woodstock Shoebies". For those of you not from the Philadelphia area, this expression is a name that was given to the folks who traveled to the Jersey shore for one day and carried their lunches in shoe boxes to the beach.
At 9:05 AM we officially began our scenic tour from Quakertown, PA to historic Rosendale, New York, in the Hudson River Valley, approximately 7 miles from New Paltz, NY. The autumn colors were spectacular as we enjoyed winding roads through the beautiful Bucks County countryside and along the Delaware River up through Riegelsville into Easton. Route 611 from Riegelsville, PA to Easton, PA is a scenic treasure any time of the year, but especially in the Fall.
After a not so short roadwork detour in downtown Easton and once all the troops were finally back together in the caravan, our next stop was Port Jervis, NY. Port Jervis is a town well past it's prime, but home of the infamous “Erie Hotel & Restaurant”, built in 1890 and restored in 1994 . After the first long stint of our drive, we all had a chance to stretch our legs for a few minutes then headed into the restaurant for the first group meal on our journey. The food was very good and the portions, more than generous. They also have a very unique bar imported from Germany that is incredibly designed and has the old world craftsmanship that you do not see very often these days. I would recommend this spot as a stopover to anyone who is traveling through Port Jervis.
After lunch we departed the Erie and headed north on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (Rt 97) directly to “Hawk's Nest”( about 5 minutes away) for a “short spirited ride” through an area well known for a great mountain side stretch of a twisty road and incredibly scenic views. If you are up that way, don't miss this little gem of a drive! We did it twice! After a short stop for pictures, we tooled our way up the road to the Monticello Motor Club, about 30 minutes away. Opened in July 2008, and privately owned and operated, this track is a very unique raceway. Dave had made advance reservations for our group, so after a brief overview from the very informative staff, we were able to view a portion of the 4.1 mile road circuit from the clubhouse area. A “members only” driving event was underway and we were able to stand behind the pit wall talk to a couple of professional drivers and watch a couple of race cars enter and exit the pits. Check out www.monticellomotorclub.com to learn more about this very exclusive motor-sports club. After our tour, we did have to drag a couple of the guys kicking and screaming from pit wall in order to keep to our timetable and be on our way to the hotel. One of our participants was caught mouthing the words h e a v a n.... We think he will be back!
Once we reached our destination hotel, the 1850 Inn and Tavern in Rosendale, New York, we met up with two more of our couples, the third would join us later. After a short respite and exploration of the tiny quaint town of Rosendale, we departed engroup for our first dinner of the trip at the “Rock & Rye” Tavern. This tavern from 1750 was originally owned by one of the founding families of New Paltz. It was a “Farm to Table” menu and it did not disappoint. We had a room to ourselves and were treated to the warm, friendly and efficient wait staff and an absolutely delicious dinner. After dinner, one of the attendees was surprised with a birthday cake and all kazoos surfaced. He was treated to the worse kazoo version of “Happy Birthday” from our group that anyone has ever heard. (As a side note, Dave Hutchison is now offering free “Kazoo lessons” to anyone who does not A - know which side of a kazoo to blow into, and B - anyone who does not know the real tune of the age old song “Happy Birthday”.) After dinner we returned to our hotel and had drinks and good conversation with the group, as well as some of the locals who were enjoying a Friday night at the local hotel tavern.
A wonderful gourmet breakfast met us the next morning and the entire caravan of 11 cars, (2 Miata's, 2 Lotus', one Range Rover, two Jaguars, one Sunbeam Tiger and three Triumphs), headed up the road at 8:30 AM. Our sights were set for the “Museum at Bethel Woods” in the Catskill Mountains. About 15 minutes into our trip, one of the cars had a malfunction and tools appeared from almost every car. (I am convinced that our guys live in joyful anticipation of a breakdown, and repair!) Once that problem was resolved, we were on our way again and arrived a bit late for our docent tour of the museum, but all was forgiven as our docent, Mary, had once owned a Triumph TR 3A and was originally from the Philadelphia area! The tour was very interesting and for me it seemed strange there was an actual museum dedicated exclusively to this one event and the counter culture movement of the 60's and 70's. There was so much history that all of us could relate to, it was wonderful!
After we lost a few folks in the museum shop for awhile, we took a walk on the actual grounds of the event, they are in one word, Spectacular! Bob DeLucia and Chip Krout, pointed out the area where the stage had been located and different services had been set up. Did I mention both Bob and Chip had attended the original Woodstock event? It seems Bob left his sleeping bag there and was hoping there was a lost and found at the site where he could reclaim his muddy 50 year old bag. ( I suspect that was his plan all along when he mentioned we should do a DVT Getaway trip to the Museum to see some “Memorabilia”!) We took a group picture, reflected on the event 50 years ago and left with the memory of this “Far Out” site firmly implanted in our minds, we were still “Hippies” at heart!
For lunch, we headed to the Dancing Cat Saloon, about 5 minutes away, where another delicious meal took place. After a short visit to a Distillery on the grounds of the Dancing Cat and a few shops in the town of Bethel, it really is only a few shops, we headed to the actual town of Woodstock, which is a mere 60 miles away from the museum.
Interlude: There is a long story about why the event was called Woodstock, since the actual event took place in Bethel, NY. Basically it has to do with the fact that no one in the actual Woodstock area wanted thousands of “Hippies” traipsing around in their back yard for three days. Since the posters had already been printed and distributed, they decided to stick with the original title. One man, stilled hailed as a hero in the area, Max Yasgur, offered his 600 acre dairy farm to hold the event for a small fee but as the size of the proposed crowd grew from 5,000 to over 40,000, he decided to rent out the farm for $75,000, which would cover his crop losses that summer. (I think we can safely say he probably never anticipated the 400,000 that actually showed up!) His neighbors in Sullivan County were not happy and took him to task over it. At that point it became personal to Max as he felt that the hippies should have the right to gather and therefore stood his ground about the concert. Max Yasgur died at the age of 53 in 1973. To this day Max is still hailed as the Patron saint of Woodstock.
After a long ride and a short stop in the actual town of Woodstock for some “groovy” and “far out” shopping, (Dave had to have a Patchouli candle and incense fix) we headed out of town to the Red Onion Restaurant in Saugerties, NY, a couple of miles down the road. We arrived for an “early” dinner which turned into a 3.5 hour event. The ambiance of the restaurant was so nice and relaxing and the food was delicious and plentiful, so no one was in a rush to leave. We did encounter some rain on our return to the hotel, but we all made it back safe and sound, an uneventful ride, we are happy to say.
Sunday morning was peaceful and leisurely with another delicious breakfast, and the pumpkin pancakes at the 1850 were the best I ever tasted! Amy and Mike, the proprietors were incredible hosts I am happy to say! There was a small farmer's market in town, so we did our share to help out the local economy. We all took our leave just about 11:00 am and some decided to take the scenic route home, whereas others just took the fastest route, ourselves included.
The hotel and the sites were really memorable. All in all the trip was great and we are really looking forward to next year's DVT Fall Getaway.
Happy Motoring, Charlene