Locals have a number of techniques to stay spry until spring

Sonnie Howe of Lake Katrine prepares to serve. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Sonnie Howe of Lake Katrine prepares to serve. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

You don’t need a quote from a psychologist to tell you how depressing and de-motivating winter can be, especially in the last few weeks before spring finally hurries up and gets here. Locals are finding all sorts of ways, both physical and mental, to get through the season without losing it completely.

One such person is Mark Hammersley Jr. of Kingston. He works at for the Kingston City School District and said bowling is his ticket to paradise. Hammersley has been bowling since he was six years old. Monday nights and Tuesday nights are his specific bowling nights, but he said he totals between three to four days per week on the lanes. Hammersley will be doing the Kingston Bowling Association tournament for which he has been priming his pin-shattering skills. Also, he has passed down his bowling gift and penchant for awkward shoes and dizzying carpet to his son, who bowls Saturday mornings in the Children’s League at Kingston’s Hoe Bowl. “I always [have] a lot to do with bowling all year round,” said Hammersley. “Usually the places are open also, even if it is [poor] weather, but leagues get canceled due to people traveling. It’s a good thing to do and can be fun or serious depending on the person. Competition is awesome.” Hammersley has met some of his nearest and dearest friends on the lanes. “I owe a lot to it. I started at 6 years old at a birthday party and my father got me into the father and son bowling league when I was 11, and it’s still a league going today on Sunday mornings. He passed away 11 years ago and the bowling is still a constant memory of him for me.”


Everyone, yes everyone, loves badminton. Glenn Decker of Hurley said he’s in the second season at the Hurley Reformed Church badminton league, which runs Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10-11 a.m. “It’s an excellent workout, especially if you’re not good at it,” laughed Decker. “All the running around, stretching. It really helps with flexibility.” Decker said that by this season, the group could even maintain a volley. “My rule is whenever you can’t play golf, we play badminton until it’s 50 degrees or warmer.”

Two winter-defeating options sit in one location: The Town of Esopus Library, 128 Canal St., Port Ewen. The Ulster County Photography Club is a club of image-oriented folks of all ages and skill levels, and they meet the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at the library. The Duck Pond Gallery is housed downstairs in the Hasbrouck room, and will soon exhibit work by the Ulster County Photography Club, starting March 2. Visitors can stroll through to admire their work.

Town of Ulster resident Joan Quigley, wife of Supervisor James Quigley, says the Perfect Blend Yarn and Tea shop in Saugerties is her ideal spot to rise above winter’s misery. One can learn something new in their classes or enjoy group the mentality in their Knit-Alongs. Quigley’s daughter Jennifer, 17, a senior at Coleman Catholic High School, prefers a little more action than the serenity found with two sticks and ball of string, so she horseback-rides six days a week all winter in an indoor ring in Rhinebeck. Her love for her horse is what has her crossing the bridge ever day, but once she hops in the saddle there’s no mistaking the workout. If you don’t think that horseback riding is a workout, Jennifer begs to differ. “You have to use your back muscles and core muscles to hold yourself up,” she explained. “[It requires] good posture, good leg muscles, and keeping your stirrups means you have to keep your heels way down, which is also a work out.”

Sometimes staying active is just about putting intention to do so in your routine throughout the day. Kingston resident Victor Albright said he stays active through his relationship with the beloved animals in his life. Albright said he walks his two dogs, one at a time several times a day so they can heed nature’s call, as well as get some exercise. “Sometimes the walk can get a little more ‘energetic’ if a deer or rabbit wonders into the yard,” mused Albright. “Getting my pups outside for a bit helps thwart the winter blues because they are always so happy to get out for a while and those wagging tails and dog smiles make it well worth the effort.”

Duke, the team's 9 year old shih tzu mascot. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

Duke, the Hurley Reformed Church badminton team’s 9 year old shih tzu mascot. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

If you’re looking for a spontaneous, energetic alternative, the Rondout Music Lounge has the venue. Owner Brandi Walters said they just had a Spring Fever Dance weekend, most nights include dancing. “We have become quite skilled at converting the dinning room into a dance floor,” said Walters. “We did it in the spirit of Spring Fever…getting out and active and shaking off the winter blues.”

Even the Hudson Valley Horrors roller derby team has to keep it together during the winter. Kingston resident and roller derby maven Jeshurun “Rxy Ramalotte” Nickerson sat this season out with a belly full o’ baby, but said that planning for the upcoming season for both the adult and junior league kept her busy during the cold months during which the league winters over as well. Nickerson said most of the women in the league did Crossfit, P90X “and Insanity [a workout technique that is apparently irrationally hard] binges” to keep in shape during the team’s two months off, and a few of the members scheduled group skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing trips to keep busy. “The group mentality definitely allowed everyone to indulge in the classic holiday feasts without guilt; being pregnant allowed me to eat whatever I want without guilt, ha ha.”