Three Days In Woodstock

Downtown Woodstock

Washington Post journalist Alexandra Petri once referred to Woodstock as the natural progression of all that steam of a nation’s restless youth. I would like to say I was wrestling with the thought as I turned onto Rt. 375 and peddled the last remaining grains of sand from a four hour car ride. But truth be told, I just wanted to get to my Airbnb and hug my lit chick bestie, and then bend elbows to a couple frosty ones at a local watering hole.

That’s when the cosmos took a shine to me, tossing me a precious gem with which to spoil on for the space between. Petri’s name came up in a discussion that was taking place on the radio show I’d tuned in to, and before long they were culling a particular line Petri had fostered out of long lost places. It made the perfect amount of sense for the perfect storm that was Woodstock.

It defined a generation because, for a few days, it bottled its peculiar zeitgeist.

The words seemed congruent, if not familiar. Quotes are negatively buoyant creatures, in that they need thrust so they do not fall into the depths. And perhaps this quote is destined for obscurity, I don’t know. What I do know is that its pertinence was tangible, its timing impeccable, its gospel-like purity a gift.

I met up with my partner for this expedition and after a rather long and righteous embrace, we took to the road in search of nourishment. And frosty beverages. This was our first meeting but you’d never have known it from the chatter and buzz of familiarity we filled the missing puzzle pieces with.

The town of Woodstock has a printers box familiarity to it. Tracing the shadows of the Catskill Mountains, the main drag is a crunch of art galleries, cafes, gift shops and funky residential Victorians painted in all the colors of a time before houses became monotone showcases.

Oriole 9 Cafe was our first stop. We fell for the kitschy looking road sign that cropped it’s lovely head out from under the slumbering tree shade. The sign was a wonderfully budgeted scrap heap of a simple thing, hanging out on a main street whose bustle had gone lost to the bigger and badder places of a country whose best ideas became incorporated love stories long ago.

Oriole 9

I found the address to be of interest: 17 Tinker Street. My favorite number merging with a favorite word of mine, tinker. A word which possessed the essence of our three day archaeological dig, because tinkering would be the abject purpose of our manifest. To learn our friendship in real time and to learn a place we had stuck a virtual thumbtack into quite spontaneously.

Because Woodstock hadn’t been our initial destination. It wasn’t even our second choice. The parallels to the Woodstock Festival and this ‘mini-vacation’ . . . they were everywhere. Both events were three days long. Both were held in locales that were not the original idea. And both made funky music whose crimson scream was a baptismal fire of a thing.

We ordered up, beers first, and then toasted to finally being in the same place after lots of conversations about being in the same place. We went with craft beers, which can be an exercise in futility if you are not otherwise committed to the stuff. But we chose right because the choices went down smoothly with no sticker shock. The friendlies had an ample amount of awe without the requisite shock that some of its brethren possess. We toasted to solidarity, pastry dishes, ’80’s music, wrong turns, the Montreal Canadiens and Coca Cola. Well, maybe we didn’t toast to every single one of those things at once, but the sentiment was prospering with the clinks, so there’s that.

On This Site

We settled on our lunch selections and then we prospered a conversation whose wing span mated Budapest with Boucherville and the Bronx. We painted the lastima of foreign times in bold colors and transformed the cursory applications into a cursively luminescent mood. After lunch, we skimmed our toes in the center of town before heading back to our Airbnb to unpack before heading out to shop for groceries.

Topics of conversation ran the gamut: from peaceful protests to the death of heroes to military quagmires. Parallels once again, from there to here. From John and Yoko to Kaepernick . . from Watergate to Trump . . from the Gulf War to Vietnam. Inside of strange days, the song remains the same.

Peace Sign

Still, the sixties stand alone as a decade in which the world changed for its better and its worst. The Woodstock Festival closed out the decade, tucked between the tumult of ’68 and the Kent State shootings in 1970; a couple of mean and thankless bookends to a musical event whose footprints still matter. Because Woodstock is where Aquarius grew up. It’s where half a million souls learned us a lesson on democracy that didn’t include bullets, bombs or intimidation.

It’s where a garden grew and prospered on the spirit of true believers who weren’t about to let the complicated arrangement of the times keep them down. They were kids who had watched their leaders get stolen away, their voices get bullied into submission, their hopes and dreams get mitigated by an establishment whose best ideas had little to do with real progress.

With dark clouds behind them and more straight ahead, they invoked the spirit of our better angels and made peace over three days. And if that is a ‘peculiar form of zeitgeist’, then I know one thing for certain.

We need more of the stuff.




61 thoughts on “Three Days In Woodstock

  1. B,

    Daaay-um…this is sooo perfect. You have captured EXACTLY the feel of the place, our meeting, our connection.
    Your Cuban Sammy press was almost as good as my roasted beet salad 😉 Oriole 9 turned out to be the perfect “meeting place”. I can’t imagine Woodstock NOT being the place where we met now. Like you said, it was not the first choice but ended up being the best one. How ironic, your favourite number is the address of MY favourite number in the name of the place – weird synchronicity…

    Don’t think we’ll ever run out of things to say…


    Liked by 1 person

    • Q,

      I was so hoping to capture (with a d) the feel . . that connection. And thank you for the Harry Belafonte “DAY-UM!” squared, because it resonated . . this post, with one of the two inhabitants. 🙂
      Woodstock worked, perfectly. The music, the mood, the funky colored magnificence.
      And yes, isn’t it ironic? Don’t ya think? A little TOO ironic . . yeah I really do think!
      Well, since I’ve run out of things to say, Imma wrap up this comment . . .
      Hey, it’s Snark Week!


      Liked by 1 person

      • B,
        Uh-huh…. I believe the song is… DAY-OH or, like my friends used to sing, DAY-OLE (that would be me… if ya didn’t guess)…
        It did. It coloUred it beautifully.
        Ironic… way too ironic, but then again. Who are we to judge?
        Snark away, Snark Master!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wait . . what? Your friends were from the Bayou? So that explains all those beads in the back seat of your ride. Phew!
          Umm . . you over-voweled the word color.
          And I judge all the time. It’s a favorite pastime of mine. I grab a beverage of choice, I plug in to social media and I judge the hell out of things. By the end of my second round of beverages, I’m just ‘liking’ everything and sending apologies to anyone I may have dissed.

          Snark Master? I likey!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Beads? What beads? Remember, DON’T touch the brown acid…
            No. you under-voweled it.
            That’s a whole ‘nother blog post, yanno… just don’t be dissing me and we good.

            Yep. Snark Master. You’ve been duly crowned.

            Liked by 1 person

          • From what I understand, the brown acid isn’t specifically too good. But I wasn’t dipping in the brown acid, buhlieve me.
            Imma have to call Pat Sajak as per “Vowelgate”. Wait . . is he Canadian?
            I won’t diss . . . much. Okay, that was a diss, wasn’t it.

            Duly crowned. Or as we say here in the states, dly crowned. . .

            Liked by 1 person

          • I haven’t tripped on brown acid since the last time I ate at Waffle House. It’s on the menu actually. But it doesn’t have quite the same trippy effect since it’s fried into the hash browns . . .
            I just googled Pat Sajak, and it seems he wasn’t born on earth. So we both good.
            Alex Trebek was born in Ohio, in the same neighborhood as Michael J. .

            Liked by 1 person

          • Got me on that. Nope, never. Unless you count carbonated beverages. In which case, I am Jerry Fucking Garcia.
            If I had a dollar for everyone who said I looked like Ohio? I would need fifty more cents to buy a candy bar.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Ah well… We all have our vices…
            K. no Ohio for you, We’ll keep it at B. 😉
            All this nonsense has taken away from your beautifully written post. And I can’t wait for the next installment!

            Liked by 1 person

          • I dropped out of choirboy school just last week, so I’m still working on vices. I’m starting slow . . with that Kardashian reality show.
            Nonsense? Perpetrated by yours truly? Unlikely . . .

            Liked by 1 person

  2. With all our silly back and forth, I forgot to mention that you chose the perfect video for this post. To learn that he created that song on the fly to ‘stretch’ time… is an amazing thing in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wow – so much to take in here – and that sign from 2007 – the bankrupt from china sign – is chilling.
    I wonder if we will see things changing in years to come (here is hoping) and okay – time to play the video now –
    have a good night

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Duuuuuuuuude. We DEFINITELY need more of this stuff! I am totally digging this post. “With dark clouds behind them and more straight ahead, they invoked the spirit of our better angels and made peace over three days.” YES! I loved how you took us there with your magic words feeling all the feels. So glad you were able to share this awesome ride with a travel partner in crime that gets your awesomeness. Buen Camino indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cali in da HOUSE!

      You always bring that West Coast sunshine to my oftentimes cloudy East Coast crib, and thank you for that.
      My partner in crime was able to stand my company for three days, so another road trip is gonna have to happen! LOL.

      Peace and better angels


  5. Dear Marco,

    There’s a snarky saying that if you remember the 60’s you weren’t there. I’m here to tell you it’s not true. I had just turned 10 when JFK was assassinated. After that, the world was never the same. It never again felt safe. Not that it had up to then since African Americans decided that they should have the inalienable rights promised to all Americans. Woodstock was the second phenomena of the 60’s the first being the Beatles. Neither will happen again. There you have the reminiscence of a ‘senile citizen.’
    Loved this post. There’s something special about the friends we meet on social media. I’ve met a few who are the best friends and confidants I’ve ever had, one being our mutual Canuck. 😉 Love your writing sir…waiting to see what else you can learn me.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Rochelle,
      I’d not heard that particular bit of snark, which is amazing, considering my tank is usually humming with the stuff.
      Hearing the accounts of that horrible day in Dallas always make me think of what you just said- that something changed, and it didn’t go back to the way it was before after that day.
      And yes, it blows my mind that the voting rights act wasn’t passed until 1965. Which always makes me shakes my head at all this MAGA business. Because really . . .
      The Beatles and Woodstock provided seminal moments that changed music, and culture, forever. I like your examples . . they are bookends!
      This Canuck you speak of . . . she’s a pretty unique and special soul. Great travel partner too. Get this . . she brings her own homemade remedy adult beverages! Truth.



      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had written a bit, but we had a router issue this morning so it did not post. The most important I said was the fact that you and I need to have adult beverages in the very near future. There is so much to add from Woodstock to May 1968 in France. Alas . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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