a woman selling taquitos at Woodstock's farmers' market. hIPPIE PrIdE Besides art galleries and restaurants, the village is dominated by shops selling memorabilia photos, posters, badges, T-shirts, fringed vests, bellbottom trousers and other reminders of the 1960s. At the Corner Cupboard delicatessen (at Rock City Road and Tinker Street), a sign reads "Hippies Always Welcome." Peace signs are still plastered on many of the vehicles, but the cars are more likely to be newish BMWs rather than rickety VW buses. The centre of town needs a traffic light, but local officials fear it would ruin the small-town feel. It is a village with character, and full of characters. On summer weekends you might spot Uma Thurman her family has a house in the area or some other boldfaced name. You'll be almost guaranteed to see Father Woodstock in his multicoloured tatters, holding one hand up in the two-finger peace salute and the other hand out for dollars from tourists taking his photo. One of the most beloved local characters was Silent Mark, a onetime Manhattan lawyer who would go months without speaking; he handed everyone stones he had marked with the Buddhist Om mantra. When he died recently, townspeople created an impromptu memorial on the green by piling up "Om" stones he had given them. On a shaded bench near the square on a recent afternoon, a young mom in a tank top handed an ice cream cone to her son, who looked to be about five or six years old, and told him about hippies. The little boy's eyes widened as he licked his ice cream. Hippies didn't like rules, and did whatever they wanted as long as it didn't hurt anybody? They all lived together and wore crazy clothes? They camped out and played music? They didn't have to get haircuts or take baths? To him, being a hippie sounded pretty cool. Behind the counter of a nearby tea shop, Marykate Marley, 20, said she likes living amid the legacy. "This town is so different from anywhere else I've ever been," she added. "You still can walk around with no shoes on and enter into a store, nobody is bothered if you decide to take "anybody who says they remember Woodstock wasn't really there." your instrument to the green and play out loud for a few hours. The local hitch-hikers are well known and can still hitch a ride." Over breakfast at Oriole9 (17 Tinker Street), Bill Pfleging, the local computer guru, talked about how he rode his bicycle to the original festival. He was a 17-year-old aspiring guitarist who hadn't really done drugs until then and doesn't remember much about the weekend. "Anybody who says they remember Woodstock wasn't really there," he said. OPEN-dOOr POLICy Down a long dirt driveway a few miles away, Shelli Lipton agreed. She was 21 when she went to Woodstock to paint peace symbols on people's faces. "I never painted any faces," she said. "I don't even know what bands I heard." A few years ago she and her husband, the alternative filmmaker Nathan Koenig, declared themselves a "living museum," put up a sign and a website and began welcoming visitors to their home on 10 acres in the adjacent town of Saugerties. Their compound includes a gallery, a screening room and modest displays of Woodstock books, posters and memorabilia. They host performances by local musicians, and workshops on tie-dying, Native American crafts and organic gardening. They pose in front of a life-sized wooden carving of a hippie with a guitar, Lipton in her flowing "rainbow" dress and Koenig in a cap with a marijuana logo reading "This bud's for you." They welcome visitors Saturday and Sunday afternoons and on weekdays by appointment, but said European visitors in rental cars often drop in unannounced. Many tourists are disappointed to learn that their home is not the site of the original festival, but most stay for an hour or two anyway. Lipton and Koenig show them around and describe their efforts to lead an environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle that is true to Woodstock's spirit of idealism. "We are the keepers of the flame," Koenig said. "But we're not stuck in the `60s. We're showing the next generation how to protect freedom and the environment." OCTOBER 2010 BLUE WINGS 33
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