Saugerties, New York
64.5 square miles
Population of the village of Saugerties-2,000 (1990)
42°00'00 North latitude 73°52'30 West longitude
Saugerties is located in upstate New York on the West Bank of the Hudson River, 100 miles north of New York City. It was founded in the middle of the 17th century by Dutch pioneers, coming to the Esopus creek for the power of its waterfalls. The town's name comes from the Holland Dutch words Zager's Killetje, Zager meaning sawmill or sawyer and kill meaning creek or stream, with the suffix tje (which was later modernized to ties) to indicate small or little.
Henry Barclay built the first paper mill in Saugerties, and it soon became the base of Saugerties' booming paper industry. Coated papers named "Catskill" and "Ashokan" were produced in Saugerties, and they soon earned national fame. In the eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds, Saugerties was one of the leading paper producers in the country, turning out as much as eight tons of paper products each day. Saugerties also was a major bluestone mining town, shipping out over 750,000 dollars worth of bluestone a year from its ports on the Hudson to all over the world. All good things must come to and end though, and when Saugerties was hit by the Great Depression, all the mills were closed and mining operations halted.
Today, Saugerties' economy is based greatly upon tourism coming to Saugerties to go antique shopping and sight seeing. The oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River is in Saugerties, as well as Opus 40, the giant stone sculpture garden created by Harvey Fite.
Saugerties hosts a number of festivals celebrating the arts and food in order to attract tourism. Woodstock '94 was held in Saugerties, drawing hundreds of thousands of people. The annual Garlic Festival attracted over 30,000 people last year, in its third season. Saugerties also hosts the lesser known strawberry festival and recently, a jazz festival.
Even before Woodstock 94 Saugerties was a hot spot for the arts. In 1966 the band "The Band" bought a house in Saugerties and named it Big Pink. They recorded with Bob Dylan there, producing The Basement Tapes. Arm of the Sea, an excellent puppetry theatre run by Patrick Wadden, is based out of Saugerties and it plays all over the Hudson Valley. The Runaway Circus, created and formerly maintained by John Kahn and family (not the greatful dead's John Kahn, silly), was based out of Saugerties until around 1996 when it broke down. Today, as far as I can tell, the arts have ebbed out of the ultra-mainstream, but have not dropped completely out of sight. There is still a poetry reading here, and a puppet show there, but nothing major since Woodstock 94.
Saugerties is a nice little town to visit, but living here is kind of dull. All the major businesses in town are antique stores and cafes. We have virtually no non sports related entertainment here, and all of our sports teams suck. The little three show movie theatre plays mostly horror and romance films, and the village arcade was closed down because of drug deals. So come to friendly, historic Saugerties, stay a while, go antique shopping, but for God's sake, don't move here.
Places to go in Saugerties (In descending order of greatness)
- Opus 40-An amazing rock sculpture garden with concerts and poetry readings.
- Seamon Park-A beautiful garden with fire pits for bbq and a little playground for the kiddies.
- The Book Trader-My favorite book store of all time. It's a used bookstore but the owner will just trade you old books you've read for old books you haven"t read. He's a real cool guy, and he knows a lot about the area.
- Hope Farm Press-The number one source for information on the Hudson Valley's history.
Food and Drink:
- Anne Marie's-Gourmet food at a somewhat reasonable price. In the summer she opens a very nice ice cream parlor.
- Frank's Hunting Lodge-Good calzones and decent burgers. They have venison around deer season.
- The Dutch Tavern-I just go there sometimes for the Belgian waffles. Go figure.
Just walk into town; you'll see at least four different antique stores in the first five minutes you're there.