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Catskill Mountains: Day Trip from New York City, USA PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   
Catskill Mountains, Hunter, New York, 1851 Chickering Piano at the Piano Museum - photo by Luxury ExperienceThe Catskill Mountains, located two hours north of New York City, have long attracted year round visitors with its outdoor adventures, however, the area also has wonderful indoor experiences for you to discover including The Catskill Mountain Foundation Piano Performance Museum featuring the Steven E. Greenstein Piano Collection and the Doctorow Center for the Arts, where the Catskill High Peaks Music Festvial is held, located in Hunter, New York making it a perfect day trip at any time of the year.

Culture

Whether you are a musician, historian, or antiquarian, The Catskill Mountain Foundation Piano Performance Museum featuring the Steven E. Greenstein Piano Collection, located on Main Street in Hunter, New York, next door to the Doctorow Center for the Arts, is sure to enchant.

The museum opened in June 2011, and is truly a treasure, a gem in the Catskills' crown. We visited the museum in late August 2011 and took a tour of the museum with Director Kenneth Hamrick, and Curator and Collector Steven E. Greenstein, which was a delightful education in learning about the history of the museum and its Smithsonian level of museum quality standards, and its partnership with the Pleshakov Piano Museum. The historical pianos, of which only a third are on display and may be used for concerts at the museum or next door at the Doctrow Center for the Arts, the gorgeous collection of 19th century hand-embroidered silk piano shawls, piano making and tuning instruments, and other interesting artifacts are what make the museum so special, especially when one considers that the museum is located in the town of Hunter, New York, population of approximately 502, and not in some large, metropolitan city.

Kenneth Hamrick and Steen E. Greenstein at Piano Museum, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Kenneth Hamrick and Steven E. Greenstein

With Steven's and Kenneth's enthusiasm and guidance we learned about the unusual pianos on display including one from 1785-86 with all black keys (ivory was used later) and handmade strings. Steven explained that making strings by hand is like pulling soft taffy, and each string is different.

Image
Steven Greenstein and Edward

Also on display was a hand-painted 1813 Clementi, all intact, and all original, complete with its dust cover, which existed solely to prevent the ladies from seeing the "inner workings." We also learned that there were no foot pedals on the early pianos, as it would have seemed "vulgar," and instead, the pianos had a slight knee lift. Muzio Clementi, called the "father of the pianoforte," built the piano, played the piano, wrote the music, published the music, and sold the music. Although as famous as Mozart in his day, he was also very good at business, as a composer, publisher, and entrepreneur, and children learning to play the piano today still use Clementi sonatinas.

Image
Hand-painted 1813 Clementi 

Steven said, "The most amazing instrument that survived came all the way from Maine, a Square Grand, circa 1803-1804, where the hammers are covered in leather." Edward and I were also fascinated by a John Broadwood & Sons of London piano, circa 1842, which Kenneth explained was a Bicord Grand where every note is two strings. Kenneth pointed out that Chopin had played a Broadwood and he loved it as it has a great range of dynamics, which he demonstrated by playing it. As musical instruments need to be played, it was a joy to hear Steven and Kenneth play several of the pianos and hear how each one differed in sound.

Image
Piano Museum

The museum has a diverse and exceptional collection of historical pianos including an American made Babcock, circa 1824, of which only three exist. The piano has a metal plate, which G. Mackay patented, and revolutionized piano technology. Kenneth explained that originally "concerts were held in wealthy patrons' homes, and it was not until they built concert halls that pianos became bigger, and louder, and had more metal. Until 1850, music was composed for "poetic verse" not to dazzle you with gymnastics or how loud you could play."

Kenneth Hamrick at Piano Museum, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Kenneth Hamrick

Other fascinating pedigrees included an 1851 Chickering, which is the same style as the one used when President Abraham Lincoln was at the United States White House, and an 1865 Steinway Civil War Square Grand which sat in a factory until it could find a home, and has over-strung bass strings. Also at the museum was a Boardman and Grey piano used by legendary jazz pianist Sir Roland Hanna, on loan by his wife, Ramona Hanna.  

1851 Chickering Piano at Piano Museum, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
1851 Chickering

The museum is something that must be experienced to truly appreciate the beauty, artistry of the craftsmanship, and the quality of the collection. 

Piano Shawls at Piano Museum, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Piano Shawls 

The Piano Performance Museum is open to the public Friday and Saturday, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Group Tours are available by appointment throughout the year, during the week or on weekends, with a professional concert artist providing mini-concerts on the historic instruments. 

 Piano Museum and Doctorow Center, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Piano Museum at Doctorow Center for the Arts 

For more information on the museum, its upcoming programs, or to make an appointment to visit, please contact David Peskin at: +1-518-263-2036. 

The Catskill Mountain Foundation Piano Performance Museum
7970 Main Street
P.O. Box 924
Hunter, New York 12442
United States
Telephone:      +1-518 263 2036
Fax:                 +1-518 263 2025
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:         www.CatskillMtn.org

The impressive 250-seat Doctorow Center for the Arts was built like a major European concert hall, in essence, the hall is a building within a building, with hardwood walls, and stadium seats for maximum acoustics and comfort. 

The Doctorow Center for the Arts holds many performances throughout the year, and we had the opportunity to attend the opening night of the Catskill High Peaks Festival - Music with Altitude!  held on August 27, 2011. The program, A Night of Trios, featured pianist James Tocco, violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, and cellist Yehuda Hanani

Catskill High Peaks Festival, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Shmuel Ashkenasi, James Tocco, and Yehuda Hanani

The evening opened with a Prelude Showcase, Trio Elegiac written by Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1892, and beautifully performed by the Sahato Trio, which featured violinist Yu Quia, cellist Chen Pu, and pianist Liang Liang, Young Artists in Residence from Beijing, China. 

Catskill High Peaks Festival, Hunter, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Yu Quia, Liang Liang, and Chen Pu

The program continued with Trio No. 4 in B-flat Major, Opus 11, written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1798, and masterfully performed by pianist James Tocco, violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, and cellist Yehuda Hanani.

3 movements:

I.               
Allegro con Brio 
II. 
Adagio
III. 
Tema con Variazioni 

After a short intermission, the exciting program concluded with Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Opus 66 written and composed by Felix Mendelssohn and published in 1845, and performed by pianist James Tocco, violinist Shmuel Ashkenasi, and cellist Yehuda Hanani.

4 movements: 

I. 
Allegro energico e con fuoco 
II. 
Andante espressivo 
III.            
Scherzo: Molto allegro quasi presto 
IV. 
Finale: Allegro Appassionato 

For information on the Catskill High Peaks Festival - Music with Altitude! or The Catskill Mountain Foundation, please visit the website, www.CatskillMtn.org

Read about the Catskill High Peaks Festival - Music with Altitude! in the Performances section.

Catskill Mountain Foundation, Hunter, New York
The Catskill Mountain Foundation
7970 Main Street
P.O. Box 924
Hunter, New York 12442
United States
Telephone:                   +1-518-263-2000
Ticket Line:                  +1-518-263-2063
Fax:                              +1-518-263-2025
Email:                          
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:                      www.CatskillMtn.org

Where to Dine

Austrian Chef/Owner Edward Lanzinger opened Village Bistro in nearby Tannersville, New York, a short drive from Hunter, New York in 2006 with his business partner, Shake Kertoyan.

Chef Edward Lanzinger of Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Chef Edward Lanzinger

The ambience is cozy, inviting, bright, and airy, live plants grace the many large windows, a fireplace beckons in the front of the room, as does the wood bar lined with high wood stools located at the back of the room, which we learned Chef Edward Lanzinger had built. Hardwood floors, wood wainscoting on green walls, a copper colored pressed tin ceiling add interest to the room, as does the tables that are double draped with white and green linens to pick up the colors of the room.

Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Village Bistro Restaurant

Chef Edward Lanzinger's focus for Village Bistro is creating what he calls "international food" utilizing local and seasonal produce, and local game when available, and the menu has enough diversity to appeal to both carnivores as well as vegetarians. 

Bistro Vegetarian at Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Bistro Vegetarian

A few of the highlights from our dinner included Eggplant Rollatini, thinly sliced battered eggplants that were stuffed with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese, rolled, and served on a bed of tomato sauce and garnished with tomatoes and lettuce; Bistro Vegetarian, an ample platter featuring hummus, baba-ghanouj, tabbouleh, dolmas, fresh greens, tomatoes, and hot pita bread; the Braised Lamb Shanks and Potatoes; and Pasta de Roma, which was another vegetarian course, consisting of imported pasta with gorgonzola cheese, sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and olive oil, and garnished with steamed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Braised Lamb Shanks at Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Braised Lamb Shank

Although the dessert offerings were tempting, portions at the restaurant were more than ample, and duly satisfied, we wisely decided to forego dessert for another time.

Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York - Photo by Luxury Experience
Village Bistro, Tannersville, New York

Village Bistro is open for dinner from Thursday until Tuesday from 4:00 pm. Please note that the restaurant is closed on Wednesday. On Thursday, the restaurant offers a special three course Bistro pre-fixe menu. They also have wine dinners throughout the year, and other special interest dinners.

Village Bistro, Tannersville, New YorkVillage Bistro
6033 Main Street
Tannersville, New York 12485
United States
Telephone:      +1-518-589-5855
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Email:              This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website:         
www.TannersvilleVillageBistro.com

With its close proximity to New York City, the Catskill Mountains are just waiting for you to discover them. You might be surprised by what you find.

Read other articles on the Catskill Mountains in the Restaurants and Performances sections.

© January 2012. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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