Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond: Blog en-us Copyright (C). All Rights Reserved. 2009-2018. Matthew Jarnich Photography. (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Fri, 09 Feb 2018 01:12:00 GMT Fri, 09 Feb 2018 01:12:00 GMT Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond: Blog 120 80 Stone Arch Bridges of Sullivan County, New York Sullivan County is home to three beautiful and historic stone arch bridges, the Hankins Stone Arch Bridge, the Tusten Stone Arch Bridge and the simply named Stone Arch Bridge. All three bridges played an important role in the development of their respective communities and are therefore listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “rare and intact example(s) of traditional stone arch bridge construction.” For photographs of all three bridges, visit the Structures page within the Gallery. Regional visitors can easily visit all three in a ½ day tour (and leave time for other attractions along the way). 


The first of three stone arch bridges in Sullivan County is the charming Hankins Stone Arch Bridge which was constructed in 1905 by John B. Inman, a local mason and quarryman, in order to link the hamlet of Hankins to the river community of Long Eddy. The single arch bridge crosses Hankins Creek just north of its confluence with the Delaware River. It is approximately 40 feet long, 15 feet wide and is made of local bluestone and Rosendale cement. The bridge remained a vital creek crossing for local traffic until 1973 when it was abandoned. The bridge, now open to pedestrian traffic only, has been restored and is home to a small roadside park. The historic bridge and the creek it spans are likely named in honor of John Hankins (1803-1847), who established the first permanent settlement here in 1835 with a home, store, sawmill and blacksmith’s shop. The Hankins Stone Arch Bridge is probably the least visited of the three bridges. The Hankins Stone Arch Bridge is included on the National Register of Historic Places.


The second bridge is the Tusten Stone Arch Bridge which was constructed in 1896 by William H. (“Uncle Billy”) Hankins, a local timber raftsman, stone mason and occasional postmaster. The bridge crosses the Ten Mile River just northeast of its confluence with the Delaware River. The two arch bridge, constructed of native bluestone, is approximately 52 feet long and 15 feet wide and continues to operate as a single lane vehicle bridge for local traffic. As per the bridge’s application form for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge is named in honor of Dr. Benjamin Tusten, “an American militia volunteer and physician, who was killed as he ministered to the wounded at the Battle of Minisink on July 22, 1779 less than ten mile to the south of this settlement.” The bridge and the surrounding land have been owned by the Boy Scouts of America since 1927 for their use an educational camp. Fortunately, through an agreement with the National Park Service, the bridge is publically accessible along the beginning section of the 3-mile Tusten Mountain Trail, an interesting hike with outstanding Upper Delaware Valley scenery. The Tusten Stone Arch Bridge is included on the National Register of Historic Places.


The third bridge is the simply named Stone Arch Bridge, one of the most recognizable sites in Sullivan County. The Stone Arch Bridge was constructed in 1872 by Henry and Phillip Hembdt, brothers and recent German immigrants, in order to support the growing commercial needs of the county, particularly farming, timbering and tanning. The three arch bridge, constructed of hand-cut native stone, crosses the East Branch Callicoon Creek, a major tributary of the Delaware River. The bridge remained open to vehicular traffic until 1955, after which it has since been open to pedestrian traffic only. Today, the bridge serves as the focal point of an eight acre county park that features a woodland walk, fishing rights, and a kid’s playground. It is the most popular of the three stone bridges featured here. The Stone Arch Bridge is included on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Stone Arch Bridge is also locally famous for its role in one of the most prominent murder cases in Catskills history. According to Cindy Monahan-Herbert at the Jeffersonville township website, “One of the few hex murders on record was committed on the bridge in 1882. A hex is a curse, a form of witchcraft. A curse was placed on Adam Heidt which was said to have caused him much pain and suffering in his life. To end this torment he and his son, Joseph, decided that murdering George Markert, the man they claimed to have put the spell on Adam was the only way to break the curse. One night, while Markert was crossing the bridge, Joseph shot Markert five times in the head, clubbed him with his own old heavy chairleg he used as a cane and dumped him over the bridge into the icy waters below. Joseph was convicted of the murder and spent several years in prison. Adam claimed a sudden recovery of all that plagued him.” Since that infamous night there have many rumored ghostly sightings of the murdered George Markert.



The Hankins Stone Arch Bridge is located in the hamlet of Hankins on Route 94, just north of its junction with Route 97.

The Tusten Stone Arch Bridge is located off of Route 97 in the former hamlet of Tusten, where Tusten Road crosses Ten Mile River.

The Stone Arch Bridge is located at the intersection of Route 52 and Route 52A, approximately 2 ½ miles south of Jeffersonville. 

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) arch bridge architecture art artist bridge catskills county park creek east branch callicoon creek gallery hankins hankins creek hankins stone arch bridge hex murder jeffersonville kenoza lake matthew jarnich murder national register of historic places new york park photographer photographs photography photos pictures river sightseeing stone arch bridge stone bridge structure sullivan county ten mile river tourism tourist travel tusten tusten stone arch bridge Fri, 09 Feb 2018 01:09:52 GMT
An Old Man Leaves a Message All that I tell you now,

All that my white hairs know,

I learned on a tall hill’s brow,

I found out from the snow.


All that the years have tried,

All I am sure is true,

I heard at a river’s side

Or followed the river to.


And all that I hold by came

In a time of solitude,

On a day without a name,

At the heart of an ancient wood;


For unsuspected friends

Are met by a man alone.

The wind from the world’s ends,

The sky no wind has known;


And they taught me, long ago,

To ponder earth and all.

From a hill, on days of snow,

In a wood when the soft rains fall.



– T. Morris Longstreth, author of the 1918 classic “The Catskills.”

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) adirondacks an old man leaves a message articles author books catskills earth longstreth poem poet river sky snow solitude song t. morris longstreth thomas morris longstreth Sat, 20 Jan 2018 01:52:28 GMT
Wanderer's Song Noted authors John Burroughs and T. Morris Longstreth enjoying a quiet moment together.The Greatest Catskills WritersNoted authors John Burroughs and T. Morris Longstreth enjoying a quiet moment together.

T. Morris Longstreth authored the 1918 classic "The Catskills," one of the best books ever written on that famous region.

Photo credit: "Books and the People Who Make Them." The Sun. Sunday, January 12, 1919.


The earth is my country,

I travel unknown,

Yet where I may wander

I go not alone,

The hills are my kindred

And the place where I dwell

Knows her son like a mother

And comforts her well.


The wind is my comrade,

His counsel is good, - -

Long days on the upland,

At nightfall the wood;

Her wide eaves are shelter

And her bed is the best

With a rain-song for slumber

When wanderers rest.


The earth is my kingdom,

My king, who is he?

His crown is the desert,

His scepter the sea,

His feet tread the hill-lines

That are lost in the dawn,

And his hand plucks my heart-strings

Compelling me on.


– T. Morris Longstreth, author of the 1918 classic “The Catskills.”

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) adirondacks articles author books catskills longstreth poem poet song t. morris longstreth thomas morris longstreth travel vagabond wander wanderer wanderer's song Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:49:29 GMT
Your Voice “Photographers find their voice when they discover what subjects move them most deeply. That passion, that emotion from within is the magic element.” – William Neill


“Learn to focus on your greatest sources of inspiration. Commit to seeking your own creative vision. Consider what style or themes drive your passion to photograph, and follow that path even if it’s “the long road” to success.” – William Neill

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) focus inspiration quote subject theme vision voice william neill Sun, 01 Oct 2017 02:31:07 GMT
Travelogue With Music for the Road There is something to be said for the 2 week vacation. One week vacations seem to be the standard, whether for work, personal or financial reasons. But with two weeks you find another level of satisfaction. When you hit the Saturday of the first week, instead of your mind straying to returning to work and responsibility, you are overcome with ease knowing that you still have an another, entire week to go. With that, we just wrapped up our wonderful 2 week family vacation to the great states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. For me it was also another step towards completing a “bucket list” goal of visiting all 50 states, with Minnesota being state 48 and Wisconsin being state 49.


We got an early start with a flight out of Newark airport to the Minneapolis airport, and then took a scenic four hour drive to the north country, “land of 10,000 lakes” section of northern Minnesota. Our first destination was the historic Burntside Lodge in Ely, Minnesota. The Lodge has been listed in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, but that in itself shouldn’t be the reason to visit, for there is so much more.


Our fantastic 1920’s era cabin echoed an aura of rustic chic, and my son fell in love fell in love with his room, an altered porch with wall-to-wall windows and direct water views. With a reputation that preceded it, the stay at Burnside still managed to exceed everything I had imagined about staying in a cabin on a Minnesota lake. Wonderful accommodations, gracious hosts, and a fully available marina with kayaks, canoes, pontoon boats. Boating a 12 mile long wild lake with 125 islands, and a world class dining experience that included an almond infused dessert that was one of the best of my life. Scenic waterfall at Kawishiwi Falls, great hiking at Bass Lake and Dry Lake, a tour of an old mine at Soudan with the charming character of a guide, an ex-miner, named Carl. Teaching my son to play solitaire on a quiet rainy day at the cabin. The distinctive call of the loon. The smile on my son’s face when I let him drive the pontoon boat across open waters. Watching my son belt out Country Roads (by John Denver), while my wife drives a boat for her first time, cruising along Burntside Lake in the glorious sunlight, was a defining moment. The Lodge is situated such that the sun sets on the far side of the lake, making for several memorable sunsets, including one of the best of my life on the first night of our stay. At Ely we also all picked up the Midwestern phrase of “you bet’cha” or “you bet” as a replacement for “thank you”, something that my son never tired of saying for the rest of the trip with an ear-to-ear smile on his face. 


After the week of quiet, we then hit the road for a 6 hour drive down to Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, which included a lunch stop on Lake Superior at Duluth, with the destination of five days at “the Dells”, advertised as the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” After having been in town for a few days I turned to my wife and said “This town is so gaudy that it works.” A 40-foot dinosaur at a gas station, an upside down White House, and at least 4 water parks all claiming to be the largest in the United States. Go-karts, mini-golf and arcades at every turn. Taking in the Tommy Bartlett show, one of the best live shows I have seen in a long time, complete with world class water-skiing followed by some comedic and stunt acts. The highlight was certainly the water-ski stunts, with Aqua the clown that had my son laughing out loud, but a close second would definitely be TJ Howell, making his entry on his famous “rocket cycle”, juggling chain saws and his comedic, side-splitting “little man” skit that brought me and wife to tears. 


We then headed west to the river port city of La Crosse, Wisconsin to spend a few days. The stay included a stop at the Grandad Bluff where it seemed you could see to infinity, a paddle boat trip with the La Crosse Queen along the “mighty” Mississippi River and a stop at the World’s Largest Six-Pack. Although my first impression of the city as we drove in was not a good one, I quickly warmed up to its charms with a concert at the riverside park, and more restaurants than would seem could be supported by a city of 52,000 people. If I were to associate Wisconsin with a food, it would of course be cheese, perhaps cheese curds, and maybe even beer, but we quickly learned, to my delight, the small pleasures of warm, soft pretzels with cheese that seemed to be available at every restaurant.


The drive back to Minneapolis brought us along the famous Great River Road, and included a stop at the National Eagle Center in the small riverside town of Wabasha, Minnesota. Everyone seemingly has a favorite animal, and for whatever reason mine is the bald eagle. Learning about these iconic creatures, seeing them close up, was well worth the visit. Although not for everyone, the live educational event that in part had an eagle eat a dead rat was interesting, although my son was not as big a fan, exclaiming “that’s disgusting!” 


In preparation for the trip I made yet another epic road trip mix. Hope you like it.


Yuma – Justin Townes Earle

Nobody Knows My Trouble – Ryan Bingham

Ain’t No Reason – Brett Dennan

I’m Goin’ Down – Trampled By Turtles

Lungs (Live) – Townes Van Zandt

Aunt Peg’s New Old Man – Robbie Fulks

Unknown Legend – Shovels & Rope & Shakey Graves

Time To Move On – Tom Petty

Telephone Road – Steve Earle

Valley Road – James McMurty

Rio Grande – Dave Alvin

Waitin’ Around To Die – Townes Van Zandt

Dollar Bill Blues – Townes Van Zandt

Pancho and Lefty – Townes Van Zandt

Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight – Rodney Crowell

Seven Times the Wind – John Stewart

Gold – John Stewart

Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah – Reckless Kelly

Seven Nights In Eire – Reckless Kelly


Overall, it was the kind of trip that hits your soul. Witnessing the majesty of Americana and life on the road, and to do it as a family made it that much more special. It hit the peaceful moments of life on a lake, the chaotic fun of an over-the-top tourist town and a step back in time at a river port city. For me there is something about classic road trips that really makes me live in the moment, seemingly forgetting about any troubles, and reminding me of one of my favorite songs for the road, Windfall by Son Volt:

May the wind take your troubles away,

May the wind take your troubles away,

Both feet on the floor, two hands on the wheel,

May the wind take your trouble away.


Till the next time on the road . . .

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) bald eagle bucket list burntside lake burntside lodge duluth eagle ely grandad bluff la crosse la crosse queen lake minnesota mississippi river music national eagle center playlist road trip show song tommy bartlett travel trip wabasha wisconsin wisconsin dells world's largest six-pack Sun, 03 Sep 2017 02:32:04 GMT
Music for the Catskills Here is the latest ultimate road trip music playlist I’ve created for an upcoming road trip to the southern Catskills. I will be heading out to the Liberty area as a base from which to photograph beautiful summer time Sullivan County. With cooperating weather it should be a very exciting trip, with a new playlist to accompany me down long country roads. Hope you enjoy the music!


Ultimate Road Trip #4


We Can’t Make It Here – James McMurty

Stuff That Works – Guy Clark

Youngstown – Bruce Springstein

The Ghost of Tom Joad – Bruce Springstein

Lone Pine Hill – Justin Townes Earle

Crossing the Water – Bill Staines

Born and Raised in Black and White – Highwaymen

123 Goodbye – Elvis Perkins in Dearland

These Old Shoes – Deer Tick

Twenty Miles – Deer Tick

Turtles All The Way Down – Sturgil Simpson

Crossroads – Gurf Morlix

Big Trucks – Pedro the Lion

Baltimore Blues No. 1 – Deer Tick

Ridin’ Out the Storm – Rodney Crowell

Clay Pigeons – Gurf Morlix

Earthbound – Rodney Crowell

Fate’s Right Hand – Rodney Crowell

Harlem River Blues – Justin Townes Earle

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Music for the Catskills artist mix music musician playlist road road trip song travel trip Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:04:38 GMT
Recommencement "The history of success in any art is a history of recommencements, of the dispersal and reforming of doubts, of an ever-increasing conception of the extent of the territory unconquered, and an ever-decreasing conception of the extent of territory conquered." --- Arnold Bennett

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Arnold Bennett The Human Machine art artist author book challenge creativity history photographer photography quotation quote recommencement Sat, 06 Jun 2015 15:56:00 GMT
The Ultimate Road Trip Mix Travel enough, drive enough, explore enough and you will want a top notch music road trip mix. Music that coincides with a feeling of freedom. Music that puts you in another place. Music that makes you “one with the road” as the miles pass by. Song lyrics that ring forever true. Of course in today’s digital world it is easier than ever to put together a mix, with listeners having access to practically every song ever made. With access to so much music some would even say that the very notion of a mix is outdated. With them, I disagree. There is still something about a unique set of songs, with a certain mood, songs that just feel right for you the driver, a playlist with a beginning and end, songs meant for driving the back roads of the country.


Over the years I’ve made several such road trip mixes for my national park and Catskills trips, and listened to them all during one 27 hour, cross country drive to Texas. These mixes have often taken months, if not years, to put together. I was not content with any catchy song, any playlist. There was no rush to complete each mix. I wanted music with a certain mood, often with lyrics highlighting travel and being on the road. The music, each song, had to “fit” together, although defining what made music “fit” was nearly impossible. The order of the songs was critical, each song to flow from the previous, and in to the next. Below are a couple of my favorite mixes that have accompanied me on more trips that I can remember. Enjoy!


Ultimate Road Trip #1

Turn the Page – Bob Seger

Roll Me Away – Bob Seger

Kamera – Wilco

Not Home Anymore – Whiskeytown

Punkrocker – Teddybears

Road Trippin – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Saving the Best for Last – Marc Cohn

City of New Orleans – Willie Nelson

White Crosses – Omar and the Howlers

Waymore’s Blues – J.J. Cale

Me and You and a Dog Named Boo – Lobo

Lake Shore Drive – Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah

Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

The Only Road – Scott Miller and the Commonwealth

Pancho and Lefty – Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

American Remains – Highwaymen


Ultimate Road Trip # 2

Lucky Break – The Bottle Rockets

The Road Goes on Forever – Robert Earl Keen

Highwayman – Highwaymen

People Are Crazy – Billy Currington

Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

Everything is Beautiful (In It’s Own Way) – Willie Nelson & Dolly Parton

On the Road Again – Bill Staines

One Prairie Outpost – Carbon Leaf

Everett Reuss – Dana and Susan Robinson

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

The Rain Came Down – Steve Earle

Montana Time – David Walburn

This Land Is Your Land – Woody and Arlo Guthrie

The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 – Kris Kristofferson

I Taught Myself How to Grow Old – Ryan Adams

Moving it Down the Line – Bill Staines

If I Needed You – Townes Van Zandt

Looking For a Way Out – Uncle Tupelo

The Weary Kind – Ryan Bingham

Windfall – Son Volt


Ultimate Road Trip #3

Southside of Heaven – Ryan Bingham

Everett Reuss – Dave Alvin

L.A. Freeway – Guy Clark

Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd

Alone – Trampled by Turtles

Cross by the Highway – The Bottle Rockets

Among the Leaves – Sun Kill Moon

Me and Bobby McGee – Kris Kristofferson

Copenhagen – Lucinda Williams

When the Well Runs Dry – Drive-by Truckers

The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty (On the Road) – Aztec Two-Step

America – Neil Diamond

Convoy – C.W. McCall

Silver Stallion – The Highwaymen

Wanderin’ – Justin Townes Earle

Clyde – Waylon Jennings

Feeling Good Again – Robert Earl Keen

Let It Ride – Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) album band best country digital drive favorite freedom great greatest listen lyrics mix music musician place playlist road road trip singer song travel trip ultimate ultimate road trip Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:40:38 GMT
The Lost Treasure of Phoenicia When one thinks of lost or hidden treasure, places in the United States that likely come to mind are the waters off North Carolina or Florida with sunken ships carrying tons of gold and silver, or perhaps a secret cave in the American west where outlaws and bank robbers stashed their ill-gotten gains, or even secret vaults owned by Chicago prohibition-era mobsters. But one does not have to travel that far as right here in the Catskills there is the enduring legend of gangster Dutch Schultz and his lost treasure.


Dutch Schultz, born as Arthur Flegenheimer, was a fearsome mobster in the early 20th century who made a career bootlegging alcohol during prohibition, extortion and organizing numbers rackets. His criminal activities brought him into to contact with other notorious mobsters of the day including Lucky Luciano, Jack “Legs” Diamond and the “Commission”, a committee of the bosses of the mafia’s New York Five Families.


As Schultz’s wealth and power grew authorities targeted him for income tax evasion. Despite several acquittals Schultz was still under pressure from the authorities and sought permission from the mafia Commission to murder US Attorney and special prosecutor Thomas Dewey. Permission was not granted, and fearing the attention of law enforcement if Schultz were to go ahead with the hit anyway, the Commission immediately ordered a hit on Schultz. Schultz was killed in October 1935 at the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey. He is buried at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York. 


The legend of Schultz’s lost treasure begins around the time of his tax evasion trials. Worried that he would be convicted and sent to jail and that he would have no money upon his release, Schultz supposedly constructed an airtight, waterproof “treasure” chest. The metal chest was supposedly filled with millions of dollars worth of money, gold, diamonds, and bonds. Schultz transported the chest to upstate New York and, being known to have been a regular visitor to the Phoenicia area, supposedly buried it in that vicinity. 


Schultz was killed soon thereafter. Right after the mafia’s Newark hit, despite his body being riddled with bullets, Schultz survived for nearly 24 hours. During those last hours, his rambling, seemingly incoherent words were recorded by a police stenographer. Some believe that those last words provide key clues in finding the Schultz treasure. 


Whether the treasure ever existed is anyone’s guess. And if it was in fact buried in the Phoenicia area, it’s also anyone’s guess as to whether it is still there. But that doesn’t stop many of the adventure seekers who have tried their luck in searching the area in and around Phoenicia. Perhaps one of Dutch’s henchman found the loot soon after Schultz was killed. Or the chest could still be out there, perhaps in the woods. Or near the Esopus Creek. Or within a grove of pine trees. Or near the Phoenicia hamlet. Or near Devil’s Tombstone. Or just maybe though the treasure could have just been legend all along.


For more information specifically about this legend there is a great book by John Conway, Sullivan County Historian, called Dutch Schultz and His Lost Catskills’ Treasure. The book is a short read but is detailed, yet quite engaging in recounting the entire tale. There are several available books about Schultz that cover his life and mob career. Dutch Schultz has also been portrayed in several movies including The Cotton Club (1984) and Billy Bathgate (1991). There was also a locally produced documentary that featured at a local film festival called Digging for Dutch: The Search for the Lost Treasure of Dutch Schultz. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a copy.

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) alcohol arthur flegenheimer assassination attorney billy bathgate bonds books bootlegging catskills chest commission devil's tombstone diamonds digging for dutch dollars dutch schultz dutch schultz and his lost catskills treasure esopus creek extortion family five families gangster gate of heaven cemetery gold hamlet hawthorne historian hit income tax jack legs diamond john conway killed legend lucky luciano mafia map mob money murder new jersey new york newark numbers palace chop house phoenicia prohibition prosecutor rackets shandaken story sullivan county historian tale the cotton club thomas dewey treasure treasure hunter ulster county Thu, 20 Nov 2014 01:42:57 GMT
Good Reading: My Favorite Books about the Catskills There is a wealth of information about the Catskills, with new books being released every year. There are books on history, railroads, bluestone, famous national and regional painters, travel guides for nearly every activity and much more. Having read a lot, if not most, of the books about the region, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to narrow down the lengthy list of books to my favorites. If someone were to say to me: “I am not familiar with the Catskills. Which books should I read first?”; then these are my choices.


The Catskills by T. Morris Longstreth (1886-1975). This is perhaps my favorite book about the Catskills. The travelogue follows the author as he journeys through the Catskill Mountains in 1918. Longstreth takes you to Overlook Mountain, Stony Clove, Phoenicia, Hunter, Slide Mountain, Kaaterskill Falls, the Ashokan Reservoir, Mount Utsayantha and many more places. Along the way Longstreth fishes the mountain streams, sleeps under the stars, lodges at local boarding houses and dairy farms, tramps the backroads, talks to the people and witnesses the many majesties of nature. The book has an easy flow, making the pages turn by effortlessly. Interspersed throughout the book are great pieces of advice which, taken by themselves, are worth the read.


Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. No literary list about the best of Catskills related books can be complete without including the timeless Rip Van Winkle, published in 1819 to international acclaim. Set in the Catskills, an amiable Rip wanders off in the woods with his dog Wolf to escape his wife’s nagging and to avert “all kinds of profitable labor” only to encounter a silent group of short, bearded men playing nine-pins. After drinking some of their liquor he falls asleep for twenty years. Upon waking, he returns to his village to learn that his wife has died, the American Revolution has occurred and that he must face the fact that many of his former friends have either died, moved on or simply do not recognize him. The short story is an American classic. Today, you can’t turn anywhere in the Catskills region without seeing a reference to the affable Rip Van Winkle.


The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock by Alf Evers. The Catskills, the result of over eight years of detailed research, is the most authoritative book on Catskills history ever published. Although, at 736 pages it is long and will take you several, if not many, sittings to complete, it is worth the effort to gain an in-depth perspective of the region. It covers a lot of ground, with a thoroughness and breadth that you won’t find in any other regional history. Alf Evers (1905-2004) began his career as a children’s writer, authoring over 50 books with his wife Helen. After their divorce he turned his attention to history, publishing numerous newspaper articles and several other authoritative books including Woodstock: History of an American Town; Kingston: City on the Hudson; and In Catskill Country: Collected Essays on Mountain History, Life and Lore. Alf also served as the Woodstock town historian.


The Catskill Mountain House by Roland Van Zandt. Once upon a time, the Catskill Mountain House was among the most famous hotels in the United States, if not the world. Van Zandt brilliantly takes you through the hotel’s history, the people, and its lasting influence on the region. Van Zandt also provides insightful historical context that helps the reader understand the popularity of the Catskills in popular culture and the public’s imagination. Any person looking to learn more about the Catskills region should certainly seek out this book. Roland Van Zandt served as director of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. The Catskills Mountain House has long been out of print, but you can often pick up a copy online.


My Side of the Mountain. Although I have not read this book in many, many years it was still very easy for me to include it on the list of my favorite Catskills books. This is one of the books from my childhood that I remember the most. I read, and re-read, this book so many times that it is a wonder that the binding didn’t fall off. I already look forward to sharing this story with my son when he gets older. I can only hope that he enjoys it as much as I did when I was a kid. 


The fictional story follows a young Sam Gribley who, tired of his family’s crowded New York City apartment, runs away from home to his great-grandfather’s abandoned farm in the town of Delhi in Delaware County. Sam begins a new life by building a home in a carved out tree and learning to live off the land. In the process, Sam learns about nature, himself and survival in this fictional tale of courage and determination. My Side of the Mountain was written in 1959 by Jean Craighead George. It won the Newbury Award  and several other honors for young adult fiction books, in addition to being named to the “Top 100 Books for Children” list by the National Education Association. It is a timeless classic.


In the Catskills: Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs  This is a collection of eight essays about the author’s home region, and includes an essay called “The Heart of the Southern Catskills” that details his climb of Slide Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Catskills.


John Burroughs (1837-1921) was a noted Catskills and American naturalist, writer and conservationist. Burroughs’ most popular writings became generally known as the nature essay. The nature essay relied on Burroughs’ astute observation of his natural surroundings. He took long walks in the woods, collected plant and animal specimens and read voraciously about nature. He would often write not about faraway places that few readers would ever see but about his immediate surroundings. Subjects would include flowers, trees, birds, country living, open fields, barns and barnyards and farm animals. He would write about long hiking trips and fly-fishing. Readers could individually relate to the subjects and his essays resonated with wide audiences.


Burroughs would author some 27 books, many of them collections of articles and essays that appeared in the most popular magazines of the day. His first book (and his big break), Wake Robin in 1871, was an early collection of his published nature essays. Although Burroughs traveled and wrote widely he was always most associated with the Catskills region. His fame led to friendships with some of the country’s most influential citizens such as Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Walt Whitman, about whom he would write several biographies.    

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Alf Evers Catskills In the Catskills: Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs Jean Craighead George John Burroughs My Side of the Mountain Rip Van Winkle Roland Van Zandt T. Morris Longstreth The Catskills The Catskills Mountain House The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock Washington Irving author book children favorite fiction history kid list literature non-fiction read reader reading young adult Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:12:21 GMT
John Burroughs: My Favorite Quotes John Burroughs was a popular author, naturalist and conservationist in the 19th and early 20th century. Burroughs would author some 27 books, many of them collections of articles and essays that appeared in the most popular magazines of the day. His first book (and his big break), Wake Robin in 1871, was an early collection of his published nature essays. In The Catskills: Selections from the Writings of John Burroughs collects eight essays about the author’s home region, including an essay called “The Heart of the Southern Catskills” that details his climb of Slide Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Catskills. Although Burroughs traveled and wrote widely he was always most associated with the Catskills region. His fame led to friendships with some of the country’s most influential citizens such as Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Walt Whitman, about whom he would write several biographies.


Burroughs’ most popular writings became generally known as the nature essay. The nature essay relied on Burroughs’ astute observation of his natural surroundings. He took long walks in the woods, collected plant and animal specimens and read voraciously about nature. He would often write not about faraway places that few readers would ever see but about his immediate surroundings. Subjects would include flowers, trees, birds, country living, open fields, barns and barnyards and farm animals. He would write about long hiking trips and fly-fishing. Readers could individually relate to the subjects and his essays resonated with wide audiences.


Woodchuck Lodge, the old family home and Burroughs summertime home that is now also known as John Burroughs Memorial State Historic Site, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962. Slabsides, a rustic cabin built in 1895 by his Riverby home, followed suit in 1968. Slide, Cornell and Wittenburg Mountains in the central Catskills are collectively referred to as the Burroughs Range in his honor. A memorial plaque commemorates Burroughs at the summit of Slide Mountain. While his fame has diminished over the past century since his death, his contribution to the literary arts and environmental conservation has ensured that his legacy will not be forgotten. 


Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the legendary John Burroughs:


  • “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

  • “If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.”

  • “Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth.”

  • “To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter. . . to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”

  • “A man’s life may stagnate as literally as water may stagnate, and just as motion and direction are the remedy for one, so purpose and activity are the remedy for the other.”

  • “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.”

  • “We cannot walk through life on mountain peaks.”

  • “I have discovered the secret of happiness – it is work, either with the hands or the head. The moment I have something to do, the draughts are open and my chimney draws, and I am happy.”

  • “Blessed is the man who has some congenial work, some occupation in which he can put his heart, and which affords a complete outlet to all the forces there are in him.”

  • “To me – old age is always ten years older than I am.”

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Catskills John Burroughs author conservationist essay naturalist nature quotation quotes writer Sun, 08 Jun 2014 01:25:01 GMT
Making Art “Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Andy Warhol art artist quotation quote Sun, 09 Feb 2014 15:00:26 GMT
One Sunrise, One Sunset “You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.” ―Galen Rowell


Burntside Lake, located adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely, perfectly represents the beauty of the Northwoods region of Minnesota.Burntside Lake SunsetBurnstside Lake, Ely, Minnesota

Burntside Lake perfectly represents the beauty of the Northwoods region of Minnesota. Located adjacent to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near Ely, Minnesota, the lake spans over 12 miles and is dotted with over 125 islands such as Lost Girl, Honeymoon, Blueberry, Snake, Moccasin and Beach Islands. The shoreline is dotted with beautiful lake homes as well as the famous and historic Burntside Lodge. The lake makes for a perfect place to hear the call of the loon, revel in beautiful sunsets or take the boat out for the day for some fishing, swimming or on-the-water picnicking.

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) galen rowell photographer quote sunrise sunset Wed, 05 Feb 2014 01:34:26 GMT
Richard Lionel De Lisser: Catskills Photographer      No discussion about Catskill Mountain photography would be complete without mention of Richard Lionel De Lisser, author of two late 19th century photographic surveys of Greene and Ulster Counties. Combined, they contain over 1,600 over photographs, mixed among the author’s writings, that highlighted his rambles in search of the picturesque. Part guidebook, part photo-documentary, both volumes vividly capture the essence of late 19th century life in the Catskills.


     De Lisser was born in 1849 in New York City to Richard Lindo and Elizabeth Mary De Lisser. Although not much is known about his early years, it is known that he studied art in Germany. He achieved a small amount of fame for his paintings, several of which sell today for thousands of dollars. But it is his photographic work in the Catskills for which he his most remembered and would become, perhaps, his lasting legacy.


     Beginning in the summer and fall of 1893, De Lisser tramped the countryside of Greene County searching for the picturesque. He traveled extensively on his buggy pulled by his faithful companion, his horse known as Cherry-Tree. The culmination of these ramblings was the first of his photographic surveys, Picturesque Catskills: Greene County. It was published in 1894 by the aptly named Picturesque Publishing Company. The work contains over 600 black-and-white photographs and illustrations of the people and places of the county.


     The second photographic survey was Picturesque Ulster, which was originally published in eight numbered parts between 1896 and 1905. (The 1960s reprinted version combines all eight parts in to one volume.) It was published by the Styles and Bruyn Publishing Company and contained over 1,000 black-and-white photographs and original illustrations. Each section was sold to regional tourists for 75 cents. Picturesque Ulster focused on the city of Kingston, townships of Denning, Hardenburgh, Hurley, Olive, Shandaken, Woodstock and the village of Saugerties. A second volume focusing on the southern section of Ulster County was planned but was never completed.


     The people and occupations typical of the era are all vividly represented: farmers, lumbermen, railroad men, bluestone quarry workers, summer boarders, hikers and blacksmiths. The places are also diligently captured: scenic views, grand hotels, boarding houses, churches, barns, farm houses, Main Street business districts and so on. The photographs have stood the test of time as one of the most comprehensive collections ever taken of the Catskills region. Alf Evers, the noted Catskills historian, writes in the introduction of the reprinted version: “Nothing else ever written about Ulster County has anything like the transporting power of Picturesque Ulster.”


     For many years both Picturesque Catskills and Picturesque Ulster were long out of print, being found only in the hands of the lucky few. Fortunately, both volumes have been reprinted in recent years, first in the 1960s and then again in 2006 and 1998, respectively, by Hope Farm Press. Today, they are now available to any student of Catskills region history or photography. Enjoy the step back in time to the late 19th century!  

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Cherry-Tree Denning Hardenburgh Hope Farm Press Hurley Kingston Olive Picturesque Catskills: Greene County Picturesque Publishing Company Picturesque Ulster Richard Lionel de Lisser Saugerties Shandaken Styles and Bruyn Publishing Company Ulster County Woodstock art artist photograph photographer Fri, 03 Jan 2014 18:09:39 GMT
Frederick William Odwell: An Unlikely Home Run Champion      While reading and researching the Catskills, whether for photography, history or general interest, I occasionally come across a little tidbit that strikes me as quite fascinating. And so it was with the fact that the Major League Baseball home run champion of 1905 was a Catskills native. This fact prompted me to dig deeper into this interesting, albeit rather obscure, story line; and it only got better. It turns out that the home run champion captured that title on the next-to-last day of the season, he prevented a teammate from winning the coveted Triple Crown with that dramatic home run, and he would never hit another home run in his career. Here’s that story.  


     Frederick William Odwell was born on September 25, 1872 in Downsville, New York. He was one of six children born to John T., a respected lawyer, and Sarah Odwell. Odwell, after playing locally for several years, began his official playing career in 1897 with the minor league Wilkes-Barre Coal Barons. Odwell, nicknamed Fritz, was an ironman of sorts that first season, playing 72 games in the field and batting a respectable .287, while also pitching 247 innings (2nd most on the team) with a 3.06 ERA. Odwell played for the Coal Barons for several years but also bounced around with other minor league teams, including the Rome Romans, the Montreal Royals and the Louisville Colonels. After seven long years in the minors, culminating in a solid 1903 season with Louisville where he batted .318 and stole 47 bases, Odwell finally got his big break.


     Odwell signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds and played his first professional baseball game on April 16, 1904 at the not-so-young age of 31. In his rookie season, Odwell played in 129 games and batted a solid .284. He stole 30 bases, which was good enough for 10th in the league. He hit one home run in 468 at-bats. He was also 9th in the league in sacrifice hits and was reportedly a decent outfielder.


     Going in to the 1905 season, Odwell was considered a reliable, but not necessarily core, member of the Reds. As the season wore on however, and while Odwell’s batting average slumped to .241, he went on a bit of a power surge (for the era*). He hit 2 home runs in June, 2 more in July, 3 more in August and 1 in September. In October, going in to the second-to-last-day of the 1905 season, Odwell was tied with Reds teammate, James Bentley “Cy” Seymour for the league lead in home runs with 8. Seymour, regarded as one of the best hitters in the league, was having a terrific season, leading the league with .377 batting average, 121 RBIs, .559 slugging %, 219 hits, 325 total bases, 40 doubles and 21 triples. If Seymour remained tied for the home run lead with Odwell or if Seymour finished ahead of Odwell, he would win the now-famous Triple Crown. (The Triple Crown is an unofficial title earned by leading the league in three statistical categories: batting average, home runs and RBIs (runs batted in); and is thought to represent key attributes of the all-around hitter. For historical reference, the Triple Crown has only been accomplished 17 times in baseball history.)  


     “Cy”, short for “Cyclone”, Seymour was an extremely versatile ball player. Starting his career as a pitcher, Seymour would win 61 games in just over 3 seasons, averaging over 300 innings pitched per season and a 3.76 earned run average (ERA). In 1898, his best pitching year, he won 25 games and led the league in strikeouts. After an arm injury, in a move that would today garner headlines and magazine covers, he transitioned to the outfield and would be equally as successful, belting out 1,724 hits for a career batting average of .303. Bill Kirwin highlights in his biography of Seymour for the American Baseball Research that “Since 1893 only one player in the history of the game, Babe Ruth, combined to ever have more pitching victories AND more hits than Seymour. [And Seymour] was a pitcher in a hitting era and hitter in a pitching era. He managed to combine the abilities of hitting and pitching into an exceptional and rare career.” Seymour was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1998.


     Back to October 7, 1905, the second-to-last-day of the season, and Odwell’s Cincinnati Reds were playing a home double-header against the Saint Louis Cardinals. The Reds lost the first game by a score of 7-3. In the 2nd game, in the bottom of the 8th inning, Odwell would hit his 9th homerun of the year, an inside-the-park homerun off 23 year old Cardinals rookie Charles Edward “Buster” Brown. The Reds won the game 6-3, ensuring that they would finish with an above .500 winning percentage. Odwell led all of major league baseball in home runs with 9 and his late inning home run prevented teammate Cy Seymour from winning the Triple Crown. Prior to the 1905 season, including his seven years in the minor leagues, Odwell had hit only 18 home runs, and never more than 8 in a season. Three of his 1905 homeruns were inside-the-park. Ironically, that early October homerun would also turn out to be the last of his professional career. All told, Odwell is certainly one of the most unlikely home run champions in baseball history.


     Odwell would remain with the Reds in Major League Baseball for two more years, playing his final game on September 12, 1907. He had played 411 games for the Reds over 4 years with 365 hits, a .258 batting average, 72 stolen bases and, of course, one league leading home run title. With a love for baseball regardless of the venue, Odwell would go on to play for five more years in the minor leagues, four of them with the Columbus Senators and one with the Marion Orphans / Ironton Diggers, before retiring in 1912 at the age of 39. Although information is scarce it is believed that he went on to be a real estate broker and local postmaster in his hometown of Downsville, New York. Odwell passed away on August 19, 1948. He is buried at Paige Cemetery in Downsville, New York.


*Note: Today’s home run sluggers are in a different statistical category than those from baseball’s first years. For example, the home run champions from 1871 to 1919 hit an average of 12.0 home runs in a season. As comparison, with the arrival of Babe Ruth who forever changed the national pastime, home run champions from 1920 to 2013  hit an average of 42.5 home runs in a season. 

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) 1905 baseball catskills champion cincinnati reds columbus senators cy seymour downsville fred odwell frederick william odwell hall of fame home run ironton diggers louisville colonels major league baseball marion orphans montreal royals paige cemetery player rome romans triple crown wilkes-barre coal barons Fri, 06 Dec 2013 01:42:55 GMT
Focusing on History: Using the National Register of Historic Places      The National Register of Historic Places is a federal government program created in 1966 that aims to identify and protect cultural and historic places deemed worthy of preservation, whether they be buildings, structures, sites, objects or districts. The program has been a huge success with over 80,000 sites on the list, and more being added every year. Nearly all counties in the United States contain at least one place listed on the National Register. Inclusion on the National Register provides community, regional and national recognition while also preserving the sites for generations to come. The program is managed by the National Park Service.


   Within the four counties of the Catskills, the National Register currently includes an estimated 409 locations, with 173 locations listed for Ulster County, 96 locations for Greene County, 75 locations for Sullivan County and 65 locations for Delaware County. Regional travelers are likely familiar with some of the sites on the list, such as Huguenot Street in New Paltz, the Stockade District in Kingston and the Saugerties Lighthouse for example. However, for every site that you are familiar with there are likely several (or many) more that you have not seen or even knew existed. For this reason, referencing the National Register can be an invaluable resource for photographers to research new photographic destinations and ideas. Example historical sites within the Catskills include covered bridges, stone houses, churches, synagogues, lighthouses, fire towers, theaters, schools, stone bridges, railroad stations and much more.


     New York State maintains a publicly accessible and searchable website that includes all the state sites included on the National Register. While the site can be hard to find and slightly cumbersome to use at first, it is a great starting point and an invaluable resource for your research. Each location includes pictures of the historic site in addition to its government application for inclusion on the register. The application contains a detailed description of the site’s historical significance, its history and, usually, some historical context. (Go to, from the “Historic Preservation” tab choose “Historic Preservation Office”, click “Online Tools”, then click “Enter Document Imaging”, click “Agree” to the two disclaimers. Click basic criteria and enter as much or as little information as you want. Most often, to keep it simple, from the “County” drop-down, I choose either Ulster, Greene, Sullivan or Delaware. After you’ve made your selection, click the “Results” tab for the list of locations.) As an alternative, and for an easy, albeit basic, reference, Wikipedia contains a listing of sites by county throughout New York State. 


     It is important to note that the National Register includes both public and private property. For those sites identified as public property, enjoy photographing them to your heart’s content. However, for those sites identified as private property, be sure not to trespass or seek permission from the rightful owners. If you are unsure of the property’s status, which can occur more often than you think, be sure to research the site thoroughly and, if in doubt, do not trespass or seek permission from the rightful owners.


     In summary, the National Register is a list of the most important cultural and historic treasures in the United States. Photographers that are new to the Catskills region, or any county in the country for that matter, can utilize the register to help plan their itineraries while locally based photographers can use the register to go beyond the obvious and add to their regional portfolio. Visiting these locations will often take you off the typical tourist trail while simultaneously offering the photographer the ability to not only shoot some amazing sites but to also learn about the region’s history. 

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Catskills Delaware County Greene County National Park Service National Register of Historic Places New York Sullivan County Ulster County buildings districts history objects photograph photographer photography preservation sites structures Sat, 23 Nov 2013 00:00:00 GMT
Kingston: A Visit to the Stockade District The Mohican Market building in Kingston’s historic Stockade District is now home to Gerald Celente’s Trends Institute.The MohicanStockade District, Kingston

The historic Mohican Market building is located within the Stockade District of uptown Kingston. For much of its history the Mohican Market building was home to a grocery store and popular bakery. The Mohican Market was part of a now defunct 75-store chain of grocery markets founded by notorious newspaper publisher Frank Munsey (1854-1925). The chain, first established in 1896, operated in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England. Today, the building serves as the headquarters for Gerald Celente’s Trends Institute, a forecasting company and publisher of The Trends Journal magazine. Gerald Celente has been an active preservationist in Kingston, having purchased and restored the 1750s Franz Roggen house, the 1774 Kingston Academy and the 1763 Jansen House.



In mid-November, I had the opportunity to visit the Stockade District in Kingston for two days of shooting. Having visited Kingston many times over the decades, it seems to me that the often-discussed but long-time-in-the-making revitalization efforts for the uptown area have finally taken firm root. The neighborhood feels more welcoming. New restaurants, boutiques, galleries and trendy wares can be found at every turn. There is an overall positive vibe, and a friendlier welcome, that has not been there on my previous visits. And while this remarkable revitalization has been critical to the city's resurgence, both for locals and tourists, it is the "old" as much as the "new" that attracts the photographer.


     The Stockade District of Kingston is home to over, depending on how you count them, 33 historically significant buildings, many of which are two or three centuries old. The entire historic district while architecturally diverse enough to keep the photographer busy all day is still compact enough as to be eminently walkable. There is much to photograph within a few block radius. Just about all the architectural sites listed on the tourist maps are worth a visit. However, that being said, if you are short on photography time, I would say that my favorite buildings in the Stockade District include, in no particular order, the Henry Sleight House, the four houses at the Four Corners, the arcades along Wall Street and North Front Street, and the Fred J. Johnston Museum.


     As you wander the streets of Kingston, and although it can be said for any photographic destination, go beyond the obvious. Look for details. The storefront. The sign. The mural. The brick facade. The colorful window shutters. The graveyard. The church steeple. And speaking of churches, every photographer wants to shoot the Old Dutch Church, but many of the other neighborhood churches offer just as much curbside appeal. For example, try shooting the Saint James United Methodist Church (at the corner of Fair and Pearl Streets) for a church that has the appearance of a castle.


     All told, the enjoyable two day visit to Kingston provided an architectural step back in time, and some interesting additions to my study of this great city. I am already looking forward to my next trip. I would certainly recommend a photography visit to Kingston, particularly for those photographers with a leaning towards history and architecture.  

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) architecture buildings church city four corners fred j. johnston museum graveyard henry sleight house kingston north front street old dutch church revitalization saint james united methodist church stockade district tour tourist visit walk wall street Sat, 16 Nov 2013 02:23:21 GMT
My First Blog Post Welcome to my first blog post. I hope to use this space to highlight my Catskill ramblings, photography musings, and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your Catskill trips.

]]> (Matthew Jarnich Photography: The Catskills and Beyond) Thu, 07 Nov 2013 02:34:33 GMT