Friday, June 27, 2008

Fireworks at the Bellayre Music Festival

Renowned Irish tenor Ronan Tynan teams with the Festival Orchestra to open the 2008 Belleayre Music Festival on Saturday, July 5 at 8 p.m. A gala fireworks display follows the concert.

Tynan is best known as a member of the Three Irish Tenors. He left the group in 2004 to go solo. The Belleayre concert program features a memorable mix of traditional classics, Irish melodies and Broadway and pop favorites, including, of course, music appropriate to the Fourth of July weekend celebration.

At the personal invitation of Nancy Reagan, he performed "Amazing Grace" and "Ave Maria" at the 2004 state funeral of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan at the Washington National Cathedral, which was viewed by an international television audience of more than 35 million. He has also is well known to New Yorkers for his performances of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium and for singing at numerous benefits and memorial services for New York City firefighters and police officers killed on September 11, 2001.

In addition to a glorious, inspiring voice, Tynan's personal story is an inspration, as well. Following a car accident when he was 20, Tynan's legs had to be amputated below the knee. Within a year, he was winning gold medals in the Paralympics. Between 1981 and 1984, he earned 18 gold medals and 14 world records - nine of which he still holds.

The Bellayre Music Festival has conceerts all summer. The schedule includes legendary Beach Boy Brian Wilson - The Hits Tour, on Saturday, July 12.

Summer music concerts by international stars. Definitely a reason to visit the Hudson Valley.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

United Airlines Features Hudson Valley Restaurants

Hemispheres Magazine, the United Airlines magazine, has discovered the most delicious reason to visit the Hudson Valley -- our wonderful restaurants, many housed in historic buildings dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Each month, the magazine's Global Gourmet feature tempts in-flight passengers with the good taste of a particular city or region. The June issue is a taste of the Hudson Valley. I wrote it.

The Hudson Valley has a bounty of talented chefs who use fresh ingredients from nearby farms, most of which are family-owned, not huge corporate conglomerates. Actually, so are these fine dining establishments -- in many cases the chef is also the owner and lives upstairs or across the road.

There's also a slideshow of Hudson Valley restaurants and destinations on the web version of my "Scrumptious Hudson" article, with images of the chefs and the dishes they create.

So, thank you, UAL Hemispheres, for allowing me to showcase the Hudson Valley for your passengers and on-line magazine subscribers.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Award Winning Hudson Valley Wines

The Hudson Valley Wine Competition has produced some winners to sip and savor.

These wineries are Gold Medal winners --
  • Millbrook Vineyards and Winery was the top winner, for its 2006 Cabernet Franc. This fragrant red received awards for Best in Class, Best in Show, and Best Hudson Valley Wine.

  • Benmarl Winery, for its 2007 Seyval. Benmarl also won Best of Class and Best White Hybrid for this light, white that's perfect for summer.

  • Millbrook also garnered gold for its 2007 Tokai Fruilano, which named Best of Class and Best White Vinifera.

  • Adair Vineyards received the award for Best Fruit Wine for its 2007 Peche.
Grapes have been growing in the Hudson Valley since 1677, when French Huegonots planted the vines they brought with them from Europe. That means the Hudson Valley has been producing wine for a couple of hundred years more than California.

Hudson Valley wines -- yet another reason to visit the Hudson Valley.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New Museum About the Legendary Woodstock Concert

The most famous thing in the Hudson Valley in the last 100 years probably was the three-day music festival and love-in simply known as Woodstock. More than a half-million people came to visit, hang out, listen to rock stars including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Richie Havens, and party.

Next year, 2009, is the 40th anniversary of that legendary concert, and the town of Bethel is getting ahead of the celebration by opening a new museum that memorializes the entire decade of the Sixties, not just the 1969 Woodstock whatever-it-was.

It was the Age of Aquarius, psychedelic clothing and drugs, an unpopular war in Vietnam, and the civil rights movement. During The Sixties, we cried over the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, and glowed with pride when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

It's all there, in the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. The museum is part of a $100 million center with a 15,000 seat outdoor performance space, at the site of that huge field on Max Yasgur's farm where the Woodstock festival took place.

But, it will surely become known as the Woodstock Museum. Take a trip back to the Sixties, including a 21-minute clip of the music festival, plus clips of other news events, the fashions, the politics, and the emergence of a new group of musicians from England. The Beatles.

The Woodstock museum -- Just one more reason to visit the Hudson Valley.