Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Bluegrass Weekend

I originally planned for my big summer vacation to be a blissful long weekend of music, relaxing, and camping at Greyfox Bluegrass Festival in mid July, set on a bucolic Catskill farm.

But it was not to be - work schedules turned four nights away into just two, traffic delayed arrival, and pouring rain drove us into a hotel instead of a tent for the weekend.

Having picked the place randomly on The iThing, we were pleasantly surprised that the hotel we found ourselves at, The Thompson House in Windham, offered reasonably nice accommodations instead of a dump. If you ever find yourself in the middle of the Catskills with nowhere to stay, I'd recommend it - comfortable bed, private balcony looking out into the woods, friendly staff.

I managed to catch a bit of the Friday night show, after the rain slowed to a drizzle. I have never seen so much mud in my life! A whole farm of trodden mud! Of course, the next morning was beautiful and sunny and the mud had mostly magically dried up. I still really wanted to camp out that night, but unfortunately I had already paid the hotel for a second night.

At least I got some usage out of all the camping supplies - who knows if it was legal, but I set up the camping stove on the hotel balcony for a healthy breakfast on Saturday morning of oatmeal, tea, coffee, and OJ.

And there was a farmers market onsite at the festival, so I got some fresh vegetables and cheese to add to tacos made again on the camping stove on the back of the car on Saturday evening.

The "weeekend of bluegrass" basically whittled down to a long, hot sunshiny Saturday with perfect clouds. Just sat in comfy camping chairs enjoying the music and drinking Bud (BYOB allowed!) and doing some lazy walking and exploring.

Some of the music was better than others. It wasn't all the feet-tapping bluegrass my boyfriend hoped for. This little lady is only 16 (!), but she and her band totally rocked off our socks off with her mandolin and singing talent.

I also got to hear Tim O'Brien and Ricky Skaggs that night, watched a balloon float over the sunset, indulged in fried dough, and made a final harrowing dark drive through the winding mountain roads back to the hotel.

I skipped the music on Sunday to get back to the city before traffic could strike. We've had it with all the traffic this summer...which is why my most recent weekend trip was a carfree getaway I hope to tell you about soon!


  1. How cool. I grew up playing bluegrass when I was little. Of course, I can't remember how to play a lick now. Sounds like you at least had one good day of it.

  2. Fun fest, and what a handy little stove! Do you sing bluegrass?

  3. miz november - maybe it would come back to you if you tried easier than you think with muscle memory and all that...

    meag - i'd love to sing in a bluegrass band but i never know how to make that kind of stuff happen