The challenge of winters in Sullivan County (and probably a lot of locales that depend upon summer tourism) is that a good portion of warm weather activities get put on hold when the visitors go home.
I was here for a couple of weeks during summer and the difference is very noticeable. In summer, there are many fairs and concerts, people on the sidewalks, hikers on the trails and the sound of children enjoying a cone at the local ice cream parlor. Winter, by contrast, means it might be Beth and Scott and 4 other people shopping at Peck’s, our local grocery store.
I’m not complaining. Crowds and traffic are what we were trying to avoid when we decided to tryout life in this area. And I like getting good, friendly service at the few restaurants open to locals. As I’ve said before, it’s very cool to walk into the post office and have the clerks grab my packages without having to ask my name.
We’ve also played at a number of schools in the area (see below) and there’s lots of great people here who want Sullivan to grow and improve. It’s a place with a booming past and, some investors think, quite a lot of potential. I agree.
What I did not anticipate, however, was the effect that all of this gentle quiet coupled with the loss of color in winter might have on my senses. There’s also plenty of abandoned or neglected properties amidst the newer businesses and homes that serve to make some of the towns look, well, run-down (especially when they look empty this time of year). I think it’s fair to say that Sullivan, despite many people investing in its growth, is a work in progress and has been for awhile.
In Westchester, the small cities and towns are more developed and more modern than what’s around here. Driving through many of those places during our frequent business trips originally displeased me and I couldn’t wait to come back to our more rustic abode near the Catskill mountains. But this time of year has me thinking, “Can I fully adjust to the slower pace, the mix of new and old and the way the towns just empty out in winter?” It has me scratching my quite large head.
Coming here was/is part of the Adventure. A part of us wanted to find a less expensive, bucolic place within driving distance of my parents, good friends and our more established clients. And Sullivan is that place. Another part of us longs to travel the country, to return to RVing full time. It’s a tough choice between laying down roots and investing in a growing community versus spreading our wings and feeding our wanderlust.
One last thing: I am so very grateful and inspired by the work of our new friends and colleagues, Gary and Judy. They encouraged us to come to Sullivan and Gary has been working tirelessly to develop the arts on behalf of children through their organization, STEAM. In fact, the John Lennon Real Love Project premiered in Sullivan!
Regardless of where we live, I believe that there will be opportunities for us and for other artists in Sullivan thanks to this dynamic couple. They have been introducing us (and the arts) to local schools and organizations and it’s turning into jobs. We believe our business, Beth & Scott and Friends, will remain connected here to help them in their quest to revitalize the area, no matter where we call home!
Like all important decisions, it’s best to take time, to be wise instead of willful. If we keep our current plan and return to RVing from July through October, we will either be more thoroughly confused or more sure of what’s next. Till then, it’s one song at a time.