Phil Warish became a local business owner. In 2007 he hauled his 19th-century floorstanding Chandler Price platen press out of storage, where it had been for fifteen years. He arranged an eclectic collection of vintage items, put up a sign, and opened Blue Farm Antiques and Letterpress Printing. He’s been in his current location for six years.
The Hudson Valley in general, and recently Ulster County in particular, have gotten national attention for the precipitous rise of the cost of housing. But the mass exodus of buyers from the New York City area to upstate covers a lot more ground than that. Delaware County, the forgotten, sleepy area the size of Rhode Island, has been white-hot, too.
My family had a soft spot for trains. It started in Ulster County.
My son’s childhood was a long span of baseball games in the summer and basketball in the winter. He loved sports, and he was a good athlete. He played as soon as he was old enough to join a team. Always two or three heads taller than his classmates, he became a lanky, imposing presence on the pitcher’s mound, at shortstop, or playing center or forward on the basketball court.
In Connecticut, there aren’t a lot of signs, but everyone was wearing a mask. It I didn’t see anyone who slipped the mask beneath their nose. They covered their mouths and noses, and no one seemed to be too put out about it.
I’ve been looking for Brigadoon most of my life. I first became aware of the legend in that old MGM musical by the same name. It’s about an enchanted Scots village that disappeared and travelled through time when everyone in town went to sleep. They’d wake up, and a hundred years had gone by. They hadn’t changed a bit, and no one ever found them. Until Gene Kelly showed up. It’s romantic and it’s ridiculous. I wanted to live there.
When I can lift my head out of my stress fog, I’m reminded of a time when my entire life was swept out to sea by an undertow of grief. Feeling so intensely wounded made me suddenly understand that everyone is wounded, in some way or another. And despite what felt like the end of my life as I knew it, I never felt closer to humanity as a whole, never more connected.
Jackie Kennedy was glamorous. Hillary Clinton was a working first lady. Barbara Bush was made of iron. Michelle Obama was all those things, but she was more.
There is a frantic client who has sold his home in the Hudson Valley, and now needs to find a new place farther out in the Catskills. Everything he likes is spoken for before he can see it. I’m lining him up a day of househunting, as well as connecting him with brokers in other parts of the country so he can see properties there, too. Perhaps it’s quieter elsewhere. If he can travel, that is. One buyer is arriving to look at houses this weekend. She’s made an offer on a property she’s never seen. She wants to be sure it is still there for her to look at when she arrives.
“Go back where you came from” is a remarkably stupid thing to say to anyone here, as practically every single one of us came from somewhere else. Unlike people in Italy or in England or Spain, you cannot trace your ancestors back to this land very far, unless your people were native. Your relatives moved here from somewhere else. So did mine. And many people were brought here against their will, enslaved and used as free labor. But this is their children and grandchildren’s country now, too.