Several years ago, Michael Perkins and I published Walking Woodstock: Journeys into the Wild Heart of America’s Most Famous Small Town (Bushwhack Books). It rapidly became the Golden Notebook’s bestselling paperback of 2009 and has now reached its fifth (or sixth) printing. We’re still out there walking, as you may read in the Woodstock Times, but meanwhile…
The Pocket Guide to Woodstock, our latest venture, will soon appear. A visitor’s guide (for locals as well) this one features a historical walking tour of the village, plus the stories behind the artists colonies, the Buddhist monasteries, the festival that wasn’t held here…really the legends and the lore that have made this town so damned famous. Ever wonder where Bob Dylan had that motorcycle accident? Or Magic Markie set the world DJing record by spinning music for 33 1/3 straight days? (Okay, not every fact in this book is “useful” information, but some nuttiness is too good not to include.)
To celebrate, we’re teaming up with the Golden Notebook to host a Woodstock Summer Celebration at the Comeau Property on Sunday, July 8th from 2 to 5 pm. (Bring a picnic.) On stage for music, we’ll feature Uncle Rock, for this is meant to be a family event. Also, our good friend Bruce Ackerman will perform, as will the inimitable Paul McMahon, who also happens to be Woodstock’s bumper sticker laureate. A group of teenage Shakespeareans will perform a scene from “As You Like It.”
Since the theme of The Pocket Guide is that “history is all around us,” we’ll offer free walks during the afternoon. Robert Titus, the popular Catskills geologist, will explain how he knows that the Comeau was once at the bottom of Glacial Lake Woodstock. Richard Heppner, the Woodstock town historian, will lead a tour of the building to talk about the family who owned this summer estate before it became town property. Michael Kudish, the Catskills forest historian, will describe how Native Americans dramatically changed the forests of Woodstock to what we find today. Paul McMahon’s bumper sticker, “Welcome to Woodstock: Wannabe Indian Reservation,” turns out to be true.
I’ll send out further details as July 8th approaches. Please plan to join us. Don’t even think the word “rain.”
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The Mother Grouse Blog is produced by Will Nixon, author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges available on-line.