Make The Most Of Your Valentine’s Day At Home in Sullivan County

February 9th, 2016

blogicon3Here’s a quick guide to making your Valentine’s Day at home a little less boring and a little more rewarding.

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The Most Romantic Meals In Sullivan County this Valentine’s Day

February 9th, 2016

blogicon2If you are dining out in the Sullivan County Catskills, no matter where you choose to enjoy your romantic evening, you cannot go wrong. To make it even easier for you, we even outlined some of our favorites to help you plan a fool-proof date night that is sure to be one for the books.

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Make The Most Of Your Valentine’s Day At Home in Sullivan County

February 9th, 2016

So this year, you’ve decided you’d like to make Valentine’s Day a lazy Sunday. No running around. No extravagant plans.

Just a nice day together at home, enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Maybe you already celebrated the night before – many of our members will have special Valentine’s Day menus on Saturday – or maybe you just want to relax before the week starts up again (not everyone is off for Presidents Day, after all).

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in a little effort to make the day special, right? Here’s a quick guide to making your Valentine’s Day at home a little less boring and a little more rewarding.

Breakfast in Bed

What better way to start the day than with breakfast before you’ve even left the bed? Besides, nothing says “I love you” like waking up early on a Sunday. Make things special; forgo the usual flapjack style and create cute “XO” pancakes instead. Southern Living has a nice video to show you how that can be done.

Keep Things Spirit-ed

If you’re going to be spending most of the day at home anyway, you’ve provided yourselves the perfect opportunity to sample some of the local spirits and craft beers Sullivan County has to offer. Plan ahead, and pick up a few items in advance. Stop by Catskill Brewery and Roscoe Beer and pick up a few beers to try. Make a trip to Catskill Distillery and Prohibition Distillery for some might fine spirits. Just remember to take it easy – you do want to remember the day, after all.

Share a Movie Moment

If you’re one of Netflix’s 40+ million subscribers in the U.S., or a member of Amazon Prime, or any number of other streaming services, you should take advantage of that subscription fee you’re paying each month, and catch up on some movies. They should probably be romantic in nature, given the circumstances.

You could check out A Walk on the Moon the 1999 movie starring Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen – which is set against the Woodstock Festival that took place in Bethel in 1969. Or what about the classic Dirty Dancing set in the Catskills? Given how many people have used (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life as their wedding song, it seems like a good choice for romance.

Freshen Up for Dinner

You’ll need to make a small exception from your “stay at home” plans, but if you make a quick trip to Callicoon, the Indoor Farmer’s Market will be in full swing 11 a.m.-2 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. Stop by and pick up some fresh ingredients to cook your sweetheart a romantic meal. They recommend you check out http://www.yummly.com/ for some recipe ideas!

The Most Romantic Meals In Sullivan County this Valentine’s Day

February 3rd, 2016

It’s a fairly well-accepted fact that dinner is going to play a part in any successful Valentine’s Day. One of you – the one making the “plans” – will have to make a tough decision; brush up on your culinary skills and try to hack it in the kitchen, or make reservation (and yes, don’t forget to make a reservation ) and let the professionals handle the job.

Now, if you think you are taking the easy way out by opting to go out, you are wrong! Where do you go?! You have one chance to make the right decision! Luckily, if you are dining out in the Sullivan County Catskills, no matter where you choose to enjoy your romantic evening, you cannot go wrong. To make it even easier for you, we even outlined some of our favorites to help you plan a fool-proof date night that is sure to be one for the books. #You’reWelcome

Valentine’s Day Dinner, Dance & Romance at The Sullivan Hotel

If you have the opportunity to hit two birds with one stone, why not take it?

The Sullivan – a Rock Hill favorite – will be hosting an evening of fun, providing not only your Valentine’s Day meal, but a night of dancing and a place to spend the night as well. In addition to a cocktail party, appetizers, three dinner stations, and dessert stations, there will be dancing throughout the night – what could be more romantic?

Oh, and they’ll also have an Oyster Bar – whether you believe in the aphrodisiac properties of oysters or not, they’re pretty darn delicious.

The Arnold House’s Sunday is For Lovers Brunch

Hey, who says a meal has to take place at night to be romantic?

Kick off the day in the right way with brunch in Livingston Manor. What’s more romantic than starting your day with each other? After all, V-Day is on a Sunday this year; there’s no reason you can’t make the most of the entire day instead of a few hours after work. The Tavern at The Arnold House is cozy and comfortable – exactly as Valentine’s Day should be.

Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Heron and Karaoke at The Emerald Ballroom

Right on Main Street in Narrowsburg is The Heron, where a special Valentine’s Day dinner can be shared from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The intimate atmosphere at The Heron is certainly enough to put one in the mood for a little romance, but there’s an added bonus!

After dinner, you can team up and participate in Duets Only Karaoke at the Emerald Ballroom and sing your hearts out. If musicals have taught us anything about singing, it’s that it usually leads to a passionate embrace (or some other sensual moment).

Enjoy Classic Sullivan County Catskills Romance This Valentine’s Day

February 2nd, 2016

The Sullivan County Catskills is the perfect place to find whimsical romance this Valentine’s weekend, and the Sullivan County Visitors Association wants to make sure everyone knows it.

The organization has put together a digital resource, available on its website at SCVA.net/valentines-day, to help couples avoid the commonality of boxed chocolates and supermarket flowers this year, and plan a truly memorable Valentine’s Day instead. Visitors can use the information available to plan out an entire day – or weekend – from start to finish.

Any memorable day needs to be filled with memorable activities. If you’re the adventurous type, Sullivan County is host to a variety of outdoor activities to get your heart pumping, from snowmobiling to hiking. If you’re more of an indoor couple, take in a little culture by visiting one of many art galleries, breweries, or distilleries. Just looking to relax? Spend the day getting pampered at a spa.

And, of course, no Valentine’s Day would be complete without a romantic dinner for two. Fortunately, the Sullivan County Catskills is home to some of the best restaurants in the Hudson Valley, many of which are hosting Valentine’s Day specials for couples to enjoy a full-course meal, or even some dancing and karaoke.

Finally – and perhaps most importantly – pick out a place to spend the evening and get in that ever-so-important alone time. Sullivan County can accommodate any desire, whether the privacy of a quaint bed and breakfast with a roaring fire and a glass of wine, or the luxury of a full-service suite at a resort.

In addition to helping visitors plan their weekend, SCVA wants everyone to share the love with “Classic Catskills Valentines”, a series of fun, silly, Catskills-inspired valentines with a vintage theme. Check them out by visiting SCVA.net/classic-catskills-valentines, where you can share them on Facebook, and let someone special know “You are always my first resort!” or “No trout about it – we are meant to be”, amongst other pun-tastic phrases.

“This year, we want to remind everyone what the Sullivan County Catskills is all about – escaping the stress and distraction of everyday life, and taking the time to concentrate on the people you love,” said Roberta Byron-Lockwood, SCVA president. “We thought valentines themed as a throwback to the Classic Catskills – a time when simpler technology forced us to connect on a more personal basis than today – was a great way to accomplish that.”

This Valentine’s Day, enjoy a classic Sullivan County Catskills Romance

January 22nd, 2016

Sullivan County has long been a place for individuals, couples, and families to take a break from their busy lives and take some time to enjoy peace and tranquility. Visitors love the appeal of being able to simply relax and enjoy one another in the peaceful and serene beauty we have around every corner.

Through the past few decades, the pace of everyday life has only gotten quicker. Valentine’s Day is a time for lovers to abdicate their other responsibilities and focus on what’s truly important – one another. This year, make the most of the opportunity in the Sullivan County Catskills.

Love comes in all shapes and sizes and the Sullivan County Catskills has no shortage of places to enjoy great food, fine spirits, and charming hospitality. Take a look at our restaurants and lodgings directories to find that perfect place.

Hunting for a quaint bed and breakfast to canoodle in front of a roaring fire? Maybe you’d like to enjoy a candlelit dinner to set the mood.

More adventurous? Want to head outdoors? Sullivan County offers miles and miles of trails for snowmobiling, cross-county skiing, and snowshoeing. After all, couples who play together, stay together!

We’ve also got a whole slew of picturesque downtowns to explore hand-in-hand with your sweetheart. Maybe you’d like to enjoy a live performance to round out the evening? We’ve got those, too!

Make this year’s Valentine’s Day getaway extra special by celebrating in Sullivan County, and we’ll help you make it one to remember!

Giving trees back (to Mother Nature)

January 5th, 2016

Courtesy of Real Tree Talk Blog

Now that the season is over, it’s unfortunately time to take that tree down. But before you just toss it on the curbside, check out this blog from Tree Talk with tips on recycling that tree!

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Many recycling programs are wrapping up. 12th Night has passed. If you still need to get your farm-grown REAL Christmas tree into the local plant material recycling program, please do so. Remember folks, don’t try this with a plastic fake tree. Here’s another great example of a well-organized, community-wide tree recycling program implemented by a non-profit group in the Reno/Sparks, NV area: http://ktmb.org/christmas-tree-recycling/

It’s been fascinating over the years to see so many creative, innovative, and productive uses of the trees after the holidays. It seems to me that as programs find more ways to recycle trees, there’s more interest in recycling in general, and I’ve had more inquiries and interview requests about it. In case you haven’t seen it, we have compiled a brief sampling of some of the programs around North America we have seen over the years. They can be found on this page of the main site: http://realchristmastrees.org/dnn/AllAboutTrees/HowtoRecycle.aspx

Being an angler, my favorite programs are those where trees are used to create fish habitat, boost the natural eco-system of a body of fresh water, and improve fishing prospects. I wrote in detail about how the whole process works back in 2009… check it out if interested here: http://realtreetalk.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-do-trees-help-fish.html

This past year, I did an interview with NPR’s Adam Cole about Christmas tree recycling; it’s history and evolution from “a few scattered programs” to something that’s now ubiquitous and commonplace. He very cleverly compiled some Christmas tree recycling stories into a poem. You can read it or listen to it here: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/04/259436930/tree-incarnation-christmas-trees-return-to-nature-a-poem

Christmas tree recycling – REAL ONES GROWN ON A FARM – are a great success story. It’s something to point out the next time someone mistakenly suggests that they made a better environmental choice by buying a plastic, tree-shaped decoration because they can re-use it. That’s very shortsighted, because in a matter of years (maybe 6-9) those non-biodegradable, manufactured products will end up in a landfill. Forever. Real Christmas trees on the other hand, as 100% biodegradable plants, will always decompose and return nutrients to the Earth, as all plants do.

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Christmas Tree Stands 101

December 17th, 2015

Courtesy of Real Tree Talk Blog

We always put plenty of effort into picking out that perfect Christmas tree, but the tree stand sometimes is an afterthought! Here are some suggestions on selecting a tree stand from Tree Talk.

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In all the years I have been answering questions, concerns and comments from consumers in my role for NCTA as the person who answers those, several trends have always been trends. Which makes them something more like a truth really.

Anyway, one of those is that when people describe a “bad” experience with displaying a fresh Christmas tree, the MOST COMMON cause behind the negative experience is that they were using a crummy tree stand.  Either it was flimsy, not suited to their decorating style, not sized correctly to their tree, didn’t hold enough water, or some other simple design flaw.

Avoid the Most Common Mistake with Fresh Christmas Trees: Get a Good Tree Stand

Your Real Christmas Tree stand is an important part of your home’s holiday festivities. An obvious reason is that you can’t safely put up your tree without one. The good news is you have options for stands that can fit your space, your tree, and your personal preference or decorating style. NCTA recommends four types of stands because of their advantages listed below – and all of them include a large water reservoir that allows the plant to absorb as much water as needed. Absorbing plenty of water keeps the tree from dehydrating or turning brown, and prevents the needles from falling too quickly.

Where there’s a tree, there’s often a stand. Use a tree locator to find retailers in your area. Many tree lots and farms also offer a large selection of stand. Precautionary note: Remember to match the stand’s recommended maximum weight and tree size capacity.

Four Types of Stands NCTA Recommends:


The Center Pin Stand

This type of stand has a pin sticking up in the center of the water pan. Ask your grower/retailer to drill a vertical hole in the end of your tree’s trunk with a special drill machine made specifically for this purpose. The tree will then slide over the stand’s pin without the need for additional support. This style is good for trees with very low branches, if you prefer them to be close to the floor. Another benefit of this stand is quick and easy set up, but you do have to find a retailer with the correct drill machine to use.

 

The Two-piece Stand

This stand has a t-bolt and lock system that helps hold the tree straight. The removable water reservoir (that’s the second “piece”) is easy to fill and can be removed separately after you take the tree and its attached piece out. This style makes it easy for one person to make adjustments to get the tree straight in a vertical position.

The Four-bolt Stand

The simple design of this stand makes it very easy to use. Made of various materials, this style is probably the most common. This type of stand is typically available in many sizes for trees that range in height from four to 20 feet. The four-bolt stand is good for trees with long “handles,” meaning the lower branches have been removed. It is also designed with a “lip” along the bottom, which catches any water spilled when filling.  Many people find it easier to attach the stand initially when the tree is on its side, but only tighten the bolts down about 80%.  Then set it vertical, adjust the tree’s angle, and finish tightening the bolts.  Do not be afraid of over-tightening the bolts, even if they penetrate the bark of the tree.  This will NOT limit the tree’s ability to absorb water.

 

The “Clamp” Stand

This style has a foot pedal that adjusts the clamp and claw system and can make it easier for one person to set up their tree. It typically holds trees up to 9 feet high with trunks up to 7 inches in diameter. The stand’s base holds up to 1-½ gallons of water, making refilling easier. It is also a good fit for people with pets – they can’t easily get to or drink the water because it is enclosed within the structure of the stand.

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How to Care for Your Farm-Grown Christmas Tree

December 14th, 2015

Courtesy of the National Christmas Tree Association

Planning on checking out one of the Christmas Tree Farms in the Sullivan County Catskills? Check out these great tips on how to care for your tree!

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When a Christmas tree is cut, more than half its weight is water. With proper care, you can maintain the quality of your tree. Below are a number of tips on caring for your tree:

  1. Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way of maintaining their freshness and minimizing needle loss problems. View the four types of tree stands that NCTA recommends.
  2. To display the trees indoors, use a stand with an adequate water holding capacity for the tree. As a general rule, stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter. Devices are available that help maintain a constant water level in the stand.
  3. Use a stand that fits your tree. Avoid whittling the sides of the trunk down to fit a stand. The outer layers of wood are the most efficient in taking up water and should not be removed.
  4. Make a fresh cut to remove about a 1/2-inch thick disk of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand. Make the cut perpendicular to the stem axis. Don’t cut the trunk at an angle, or into a v-shape, which makes it far more difficult to hold the tree in the stand and also reduces the amount of water available to the tree.
  5. Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.
  6. Once home, place the tree in water as soon as possible. Most species can go 6 to 8 hours after cutting the trunk and still take up water. Don’t bruise the cut surface or get it dirty. If needed, trees can be temporarily stored for several days in a cool location. Place the freshly cut trunk in a bucket that is kept full of water.
  7. The temperature of the water used to fill the stand is not important and does not affect water uptake.
  8. Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree. With many stands, there can still be water in the stand even though the base of the tree is no longer submerged in water.
  9. Keep trees away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
  10. Use of lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, will reduce drying of the tree.
  11. Always inspect light sets prior to placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
  12. Do not overload electrical circuits.
  13. Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
  14. Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas, or if the tree is very dry, remove it from the house.
  15. Find a tree recycling program near you.
  16. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace.

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Cornell Cooperative Extension Releases Annual List of Tree Farms

December 14th, 2015

Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County has once again released its annual list of local tree farms in Sullivan County that will provide live trees for Christmas.

Each year Cornell Cooperative Extension provides Sullivan County residents a list of locations where they and their families can purchase a locally-grown tree. All offer the option to cut your own tree, with some offering the option to pick your own or purchase pre-cut trees.

“Cutting down your own Christmas tree only adds to the magic of the holiday season,” said Sullivan County Visitors Association President Robert Byron-Lockwood. “Additionally, it helps support our local agricultural businesses by purchasing a tree grown with love right here in Sullivan County.”

The list includes the following tree farms:

  • Diehl Farm & Market – Calicoon, NY
  • Friendly Acres – Cochecton, NY
  • Maplehorst Farm Nursery – Monticello, NY
  • Pine Farm – Youngsville, NY

The list is available on the Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County website, along with tips for caring for a live tree, at http://sullivancce.org/agriculture/buy-local/local-christmas-trees.