From the Editor
What a tumultuous past few months it has been! While we have a new president and there is a renewed hope and optimism for the future, there are also some frightening prospects: the economy is the worst it has been for a very long time. People are losing their homes, their jobs and their life savings. Faced with such hard economic and material realities, it’s very hard to see how any of this can inspire love and compassion.
But I’ve come to realize that it can. I was recently taught by a very wise man, who told me to look at the financial woes of our nation not as something to be feared, but as a great opportunity to live my life better, to shift my priorities and to find out what is truly important to me. I’m still on the path to figuring out what that is entirely, but here’s what I do know: I’m a big fan of love. Not just the hearts and flowers kind of stuff, but a deeper love for all living creatures, and for the planet that nourishes us all; a love that infuses my being, that informs every action (and reaction) I make. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not always easy. But it’s an honorable goal to try to achieve: to fill your life with a love and compassion for other beings that’s deeper than you’ve ever known.
Of course, when we think of “love,” we automatically go to the romantic stuff (hey, I like it too!). And what’s more romantic than a wedding? Once you’ve decided to take the leap, the Catskill Region and Hudson Valley are wonderful spots for your wedding. Not only are the mountains and valleys of the Region spectacular spots to recite your vows, but you can also get top-quality services—everything from florists to caterers to bakers to jewelers to wedding planners—at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay in Manhattan (or any nearby city, really). Our “Directory of Wedding Services” is a great way to get started.
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve watched at least one episode of Bridezillas, that reality program where brides-to-be are so caught up in their wedding planning that they are just awful to their friends, family, even their fiancés. Friends who have had even modest weddings have told me that the key to staying sane throughout the process is to be organized. Our “Wedding Checklist” gives you a complete timeline of what you need to get done and when, so that you can have a beautiful day, and come out of it happy and still speaking to your loved ones.
We’ve also included two articles to give you ideas about where to have your wedding. Jonathan Ment’s “Weddings on the Water,” has several options for a Hudson River wedding, including at a lighthouse, or aboard one of the vessels that regularly cruises the river. Or, you can choose to have your wedding in Roxbury, one of the most charming towns in the Catskill Mountains. A number of Roxbury businesses have recently partnered to offer affordable wedding packages.
Once you’re married, you’ve got to start to build a life together, right? Ann Hutton profiles husband and wife artists Joe Concra and Denise Orzo. Their life is an interesting example of how to live, love and work together.
And finally, I started off this letter by talking about a higher form of love. Each February, we include an article about the love expressed at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. I encourage you to read “Alternative Valentines” (an expanded version will appear on www.catskillregionguide.com) with an open heart. Over the years, the stories of these abused animals, and the people who dedicate their lives towards rehabilitating them, have changed my life. I hope it will encourage you to make some different choices as well.