Favorite towns: Woodstock, the place in upstate New York where the concert didn’t happen

Even though the town of Woodstock in the Hudson Valley region of New York balked at letting the mega concert happen within its domain—and even though all of Ulster County didn’t want the concert there, Woodstock the town is a groovy, upscale (and a little downscale) arts haven that is definitely worth heading to for a day of wandering, particularly if you like to shop for lovely, interesting items. It is one of my favorite towns to head, particularly because the people who live here make sure it remains true to who they are and not what corporate giants would like them to be.

There are tree-lined streets and small historic buildings. The arts focus started here back in 1902 which helps make it eye candy for shopping. Plus, even though the concert didn’t happen here, hippies are welcome and mixed in with the upscale, there is an edgy grit.

I head here every summer to look for wedding, baby and birthday gifts, plus a new pair of shoes. The shoes are for me. Sometimes it’s a quick trip, mostly for the shoes, but once in awhile there’s that wonderful summer day where no where else really matters. Here is my Woodstock guide–mostly shopping. Everything I’ve listed, I have done.

Some shopping stops that are my favorites:

If you wander along Tinker Street where each of these are located, you’ll also come across shops selling all sorts of specialty items from kitchen supplies to books to clothing to greeting cards. Some shops are the up-scale variety and others center around tie dye and incense.

Clouds Gallery: Located on the right-hand side of Tinker Street if you are driving up through town. The specialty is hand blown contemporary glass, fine American crafts and jewelry. My daughter has a collection of blown glass hearts– one for each birthday, from this store. The hearts are gifts from my mother who is my companion on these jaunts. Tell Robert, the owner, I said hi.

Pegasus Footwear: This is where I always find an interesting pair of shoes. The types they sell are perfect for travelers’ feet. They also last.

Timbuktu: An eclectic mix of folk art, pottery, jewelry and fusion type fare from different countries. Whoever is the buyer knows his or her stuff. Presents I’ve bought here: salad servers with beaded work from Kenya, a hand painted clock with a sun’s face on it, and ceramics to name a few.

Tinker Street Toys of Woodstock: Right next door to Clouds. This is a child’s dream store (and adults). I’ve played in here many a time and pick up stocking stuffers for the real kids in my life–and my husband.

For other shopping suggestions, click here.

Where to eat

Our favorite place is The Little Bear, an upscale Chinese restaurant two miles out of town. Eat in the sun room type addition. It overlooks a stream and you may even see deer. I’ve been here with kids and the staff has always been amenable–even when my son was only a year and a half.

Anywhere I’ve wandered in for a bite, I’ve found the food good, but you can’t go wrong at The Little Bear.

What to do at night:

The Tinker Street Cinema movie theater, housed in a former church–, the old wooden, white kind, is a one-screen kind of place. Popcorn always tastes better in movie theaters like this one. The last movie I saw here was 21 Grams.

There are other things to do at night, but since I’m mostly visiting family and friends in Kingston, I’m not here much after dinner. Folks, who have, please offer suggestions. I do know there are always concerts, talks and art events going on somewhere. This is a happening place.

Other places to head:

Where Woodstock, the concert happened. It takes a 43 mile drive.