My cat played it cool when I walked through the door today, acting as if he was indifferent to the fact that I’d been gone since Thursday afternoon.
I knew otherwise, of course — not only did Buddy attack his cat sitter, he also puked on two different carpets, leaving me a pair of surprises as a welcome-home gift.
As usual, the little guy couldn’t keep up the charade. After a few minutes he forgot he was supposed to be mad at me and climbed up to head bunt and reestablish his scent on me.
I enjoyed my time in the Catskills despite the heat and the pandemic. It was pretty clear some of the local businesses were hurting, especially those relying on vacationers coming through in the summer season.
For those of you unfamiliar with the region, the Catskills is an area of New York State about 120 miles north of New York City.
Most people who don’t live here think of New York as the city and its surrounding environs like Long Island and Westchester, but the vast majority of the state is rural and known for agriculture and recreation: The National Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns, Niagara Falls, the Adirondack mountains, Lake George, dozens of ski resorts, rivers for kayaking and fishing, and many other things for people who want to get away.
The Catskills does have a feline etymology, for those of you wondering. “Kill” is the Dutch word for river or creek, and the suffix is found in the names of local towns and rivers: Fishkill, Spackenkill, and Peekskill among them.
The “cat” in Catskill comes from catamount, a somewhat archaic word for a cougar, also known as a puma, mountain lion or panther. Although they’re very rare in the area these days, mountain lions were abundant in the forested valleys and mountains of the Catskill region.
Thus Catskill translates to “cat creek.”
This hotel on Route 28 has a section dubbed The Catamount, with carved wooden mountain lions keeping watch over the guests:
Belleayre Mountain is a ski resort that offers scenic gondola rides in the summer. Here’s the view from the gondola:
And from the mountain top:
I saw this sign in Woodstock. We hope little Spooky finds her way home:
A sign declares “HIPPIES WELCOME” in Woodstock, but not today — the shop is closed because of COVID-19:
This is the interior of Candlestock, a candle shop in Woodstock, NY. As the sign says, the “drip mountain” was started 51 years ago and has grown into a monstrosity of wax:
This dog was well-behaved and polite and waited for us to get up from our chairs before he swooped in for potential crumbs beneath the table. He’s got a unique coat and look, and he’s missing his tail. Does anyone know what kind of dog this is?
A shop called Modern Mythology on Woodstock’s main stretch:
Here’s my seven-year-old niece exploring the edge of Esopus Creek:
A stretch of rural road that I thought looked pretty cool:
Fabulous Furniture on Route 28 is adorned with metal sculptures of aliens, rocket ships and UFOs, all built by the store’s owner, Steve Heller:
Heller also builds custom cars: