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Kaatscast: the Catskills Podcast

Kaatscast: the Catskills Podcast

By Silver Hollow Audio
Kaatscast is a biweekly podcast featuring history, travel guides, arts & culture, outdoor adventures, sustainability news and local interviews from New York's Catskill mountains and Hudson Valley. Celebrate the Catskills with Kaatscast!
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Empire State Railway Museum: Catskills Rails Then and Now
In our last episode we took a ride on the old Ulster & Delaware rails with Rail Explorers, a pedal bike experience in Phoenicia, NY. This week, we're at the neighboring Empire State Railway Museum, at home in the historic 1899 Phoenicia train station since 1983, for a look back at Catskills railroad history. Curator Tom  Comito tells us about the 1913 peak of travel on these tracks, restoration projects underway, and the museum's evolving relationship with rail tourists. Many thanks to our sponsors: Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway Hanford Mills Museum Briars & Brambles Books The Mountain Eagle 
September 13, 2022
Rail Explorers
From the late 19th- to the early 20th-century, passengers could board an Ulster & Delaware train in Kingston and ride straight up through the Catskills, to Oneonta. These days, you can still experience a 4-mile stretch of that track, between Mt. Tremper and Phoenicia, with one small caveat. You have to pedal! Rail Explorers has repurposed a few such stretches of track nationwide, including in Rhode Island, Cooperstown, Las Vegas, and the Catskills. Join us as we pedal a "quad explorer" (the "Cadillac" of the fleet) on a scenic "River Run" tour above the Esopus creek. We'll hear from Catskills division manager Casey Farrell, tour guide Fatima Duque, and Empire State Railway Museum curator Tom Comito. Lots more from Tom in our next episode, so stay tuned! Many thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway Hanford Mills Museum Briars and Brambles Books
August 30, 2022
The Classical Concerts that Predate 1969's Woodstock: Inside the Maverick
Long before "THE" concert so closely associated with Woodstock, "Maverick Concerts" have been delighting fans of classical music for more than 100 years. We sat in the historic concert hall with music director Alexander Platt to hear about the history of the utopian Maverick art colony, the concert series that stemmed from it, and some 21st-century improvements to the Maverick experience. Plus, a look back at a groundbreaking John Cage composition that premiered at Maverick concert hall 70 years ago this month. For that, we get insights from music journalist and composer Kyle Gann.  Interested in taking in a Maverick concert? Here's a link for upcoming events and tickets. And to learn more about John Cage's 4'33", check out Gann's book, No Such Thing as Silence. Thank you to our sponsors: Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce Hanford Mills Museum The Mountain Eagle
August 16, 2022
Drive Time: at the Schoharie Turnpike – Kaaterskill Clove Road Rally
Earlier this summer, we joined dozens of auto enthusiasts for a 135-mile loop on the Schoharie Turnpike - Kaaterskill Clove Road Rally, one in a series of rallies that pairs Catskills scenery and history with the love of driving. Join us as we drive the northern Catskills in some unique and well-loved automobiles. More drives in September and October! To join in the fun, check out all 4 Catskills rallies at Historic Automobile Endurance Runs.  Thanks to our sponsors: Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway Hanford Mills Museum The Mountain Eagle
August 02, 2022
Protecting What You Love: with Author/Angler Stephen Sautner
Stephen Sautner is a lifelong fisherman, environmental activist, and the author of several books on those topics. And while his passion for fishing has taken him to the Falkland Islands, Cuba, the Zambezi River, and even ... New Jersey, a rustic fishing cabin in Hancock, New York, is Stephen's happy place. Tune it to hear Stephen's thoughts on trout, Catskills living, and being a steward of the places we love. Thanks to our sponsors: Hanford Mills Museum Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce The Mountain Eagle Kaatscast was voted BEST REGIONAL PODCAST in the 2022 Chronogrammies! 
July 19, 2022
No Kale, Just Flowers: Crespell's Flower CSA
Anne Hall's addiction to flower growing is a boon to Catskills designers, florists, restaurants, and individuals who want locally grown, chemical-free flowers in another league from generic supermarket fare. In February, we put out an episode on Jarita's, a local florist serving the Catskills for 45 years. One of our listeners heard that episode and said, hey, how about a story on a local grower? Well, we love to hear from listeners, and we were interested to know more about Catskills flower farms, and so here we are! Crespell is a queer women-owned flower farm and CSA in Lexington, NY. Many thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and Hanford Mills Museum.
July 05, 2022
Fire Tower Challenge!
If you're looking for a unique way to experience Catskills views, there's no better time to check out the Catskills' 6 hiker-accessible fire towers! The 2022 Catskills Fire Tower Challenge encourages hikers to visit all 6, with the added bonus of a challenge patch, a subscription to Conservationist magazine, and other prizes.  We met with the Catskill Center's Olivia Bernard, a Visitor Experience Coordinator at the Catskills Visitor Center, for a rundown of the challenge, a little fire tower history, and a climb to the top of the Upper Esopus fire tower, right there on the visitor center's property in Mt. Tremper, NY.  If you want to hear about a 7th fire tower coming back online, check out our story from Bramley Mountain.  Thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway Hanford Mills Museum 
June 21, 2022
Boom! Catskills Real Estate with Peggy Bellar
Just a few years ago, the coveted Catskills "cabin on 5 acres" was priced at $300,000, give or take. Today, that same property could easily cost you double. Real estate in the Catskills is booming, and while housing markets ebb and flow, according to realtor Peggy Bellar, there's no significant retraction in the forecast. Bellar showed us three properties in Delaware County as a sampling of today's housing inventory. Come along for the ride and join our tour, plus listen in on the latest trends shaping the housing market, including short-term rental investments, and work-from-home professionals embracing the country life.  Thanks to the Catskill Dream Team, and to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle, Hanford Mills Museum, and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce
June 07, 2022
Six Ticks: in the Lyme Light
If a tick bites you in the woods, and it's free of disease-causing pathogens, does it matter? We wanted to know how many of our Catskills ticks are pathogenetic, so we sent 6 of them to the Thangamani Lab at Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, NY. You, too, can send any New York tick, and Dr. Thangamani and his team will test it (for free!) for Lyme disease-causing bacteria, and 16 additional pathogens. It's all part of a massive citizen science research initiative tracking distribution of species and pathogens statewide. You can explore those trends using Dr. Thangamani's tick maps, updated daily by county. is also where forms can be found to submit your own tick(s) for testing. Let us know how it goes!  Thanks to our sponsors: Hanford Mills Museum, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and The Mountain Eagle.
May 24, 2022
Wellness Rx: a Prescription for Rural Healthcare
Ed Ullmann is the owner and pharmacy manager of Wellness Rx, a holistic and patient-centered pharmacy in Tannersville, and soon ... Phoenicia! Far from the chain store aesthetic (or lack thereof) the Tannersville location where we met is a meticulously painted Victorian with a wraparound porch. Inside there's a warm general store vibe, with wood floors and pharmacy cases, and a diverse inventory of traditional, natural, and holistic medicine; plus home goods, gifts, and crafts by dozens of local vendors. Ed Ullmann showed us around, and then we settled into a comfortable consultation room, to hear his vision for sustainable rural healthcare. Thanks to our sponsors: Hanford Mills Museum, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and The Mountain Eagle. Please vote for Kaatscast now through May 15th in the Chronogrammies for "best regional podcast."
May 10, 2022
Post-Hibernation with Leslie T. Sharpe
In 2020, Leslie T. Sharpe came to Silver Hollow Audio to narrate The Quarry Fox: and other Critters of the Wild Catskills, available at or wherever you get your audiobooks. Then the pandemic hit. Two years later, she returned to our studios for a reading of "The Bluebird Chronicles: a Catskills Romance."  In this episode, we sat down with Leslie to fill in some of the gaps between then and now, and to talk birds, bats, and butterflies, plus ways we can all be stewards of the Catskills and its diverse ecosystem. In fact, Leslie was named one of the "50 Stewards of the Catskills" by the Catskill Center in 2019.  Kaatscast was nominated for "best regional podcast" by Chronogram. Click here to vote for us through May 15th! And check out our new site, with a searchable database of shows, links to our sponsors, a newsletter signup, and more! This episode was sponsored by The Mountain Eagle and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
April 26, 2022
The Bluebird Chronicles: A Catskills Romance
The winter/spring 2022 issue of Appalachia, "America's longest-running journal of mountaineering and conservation," features an essay by Catskills writer Leslie T. Sharpe about our little blue harbinger of spring: the bluebird. In this episode, we have the exclusive audio edition! Leslie narrated her piece for Kaatscast, and we present it here in full.  Don't forget to tune in next time for a followup interview with Leslie T. Sharpe, author of The Quarry Fox: and other Critters of the Wild Catskills.  Thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle, and the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. Check out our new and expanded website for a searchable directory of episodes, links to show sponsors, and a mailing list signup! Kaatscast scored a Chronogrammies nomination for "best regional podcast" –– please vote now through May 15th for the win!
April 12, 2022
Beaverkill Trout Hatchery: Farming Trout for 5 Generations
Beaverkill Trout Hatchery is family owned and operated by the Shaver family since 1963. We met Sherry Shaver and a few of her relatives on a recent visit to the hatchery, where they were preparing for their busiest season, as fishing clubs order thousands of fish to stock streams and ponds, plus direct sales to area restaurants, and the public. Thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce. 
March 29, 2022
Special: Pierogi for Ukraine
On March 19th, 2022, a Pierogi and Borscht fundraiser at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Jewett, NY, brought in thousands of dollars for the people of Ukraine. We spent some time in the kitchen with organizer Switlana Breigle, parishioners, and volunteers with deep connections to Ukraine. This fundraiser supports the efforts of the Ukrainian American Freedom Coalition, "providing material and logistic assistance to the Ukrainian people in need of help with humanitarian supplies." There are already plans underway for another event soon. Photo by Megan Sperry.
March 20, 2022
Working for Women
Working for Women is a Catskills-based organization working nationwide to connect business dollars and resources with non-profits advocating for women in the workforce and toward financial independence. We sat down with Catskills native Beth Bengtson, CEO and founder of Working for Women, for a discussion on the challenges her organization is addressing, why focusing on women improves everyone's work lives, plus Beth's preference for active outdoor meetings. This episode was co-hosted by Ulster County legislator Megan Sperry and recorded at SUNY New Paltz's Sojourner Truth Library.  Producer and host: Brett Barry Audio engineer: Jared Lyman Sponsors: The Mountain Eagle and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce Kaatscast was named one of the Best 25 New York Podcasts in 2022. 
March 15, 2022
The Mountain Eagle
This year, The Mountain Eagle celebrates 40 years of newspaper publishing, and a relaunch in 2017 brought expanded coverage to Schoharie, Delaware, Greene, and northern Ulster counties. Join us for a conversation with publisher Matt Avitabile on local Catskills journalism and the nuts and bolts of creating and distributing a weekly paper in an increasingly digital age. Thanks to our sponsor: the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway Production intern: Jared Lyman Want to help us grow our audience? Please tell your friends and family about this podcast, and stay in the loop with our twice-a-month newsletter!
March 01, 2022
The Wilderness Diary: Mental Health and Art in Roxbury
Delaware County artist Jessica Farrell was inspired by her aunt's journal from the 1960s and '70s to create "The Wilderness Journal," a series of portraits of adolescents who would go on to struggle with mental health issues. These portraits, in addition to a companion book and an audio narration of aunt Barbara's journal excerpts, is now on exhibit at the Roxbury Arts Center, in Roxbury, NY. Join us for this special program on mental health, advocacy, and art in the Catskills. Thanks to our sponsors: the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce and The Mountain Eagle Also mentioned: The National Alliance on Mental Illness
February 15, 2022
Flower Power! Woodstock's Jarita's Florist
Snowy weather can be a challenge for Valentine's Day rose delivery, but that's nothing new for Woodstock's Jarita's florist, with 45 years of experience delivering fresh, professionally arranged flowers to Catskills residents. On today's Kaatscast, an interview with the owners of Jarita's on decades of flower sales in Woodstock, NY; how the business has changed; and their unique interactions with the community.  This episode was recorded by Keith Kortright and sponsored by the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce and Hanford Mills Museum.
February 01, 2022
Rescuing Animals for 130 Years at a Local SPCA
Gina Carbonari is a retired U.S. Marine with a new mission. As executive director of the 130-year-old Ulster County SPCA, she's ensuring that the  homeless, abused, and neglected animals there are cared for, sheltered, and readied for adoption. Join us on a tour and meet some of the cats, dogs, and smaller critters safeguarded in Kingston, NY, as they await their new families. Recordist: Keith Kortright Sponsors: Hanford Mills Museum and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway
January 18, 2022
Ten Million for Tannersville: Talking with The Hunter Foundation
Tannersville, NY, is a small mountain village, with big aspirations. And now, with the help of a very large grant from New York State, it's preparing for a basket of revitalization projects that would surely put a smile on Rip Van Winkle's face. We sat down with The Hunter Foundation's Sean Mahoney and Amy Scheibe for some backstory on this major award, and the various partners working toward a more vibrant, equitable, and connected community. Thanks to our sponsors: Hanford Mills Museum and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce
January 04, 2022
Is This Recyclable?! "Wishcycling" at UCRRA
Recycling is a great way to reduce the (many) truckloads of trash bound for distant landfills, but "wishcycling," the practice of throwing questionable items into the blue bin and HOPING they'll be recycled, is problematic, too. The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency's Angelina Brandt lent us some hardhats and gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of UCRRA's bustling Kingston facility. Thanks to our production intern, Keith Kortright, for recording our tour.  And thanks to our local sponsors: The Mountain Eagle Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway
December 21, 2021
On Air: CO2 and Indoor Air Quality
Feeling sleepy? CO2 could be the culprit. For centuries, the Catskills have offered a respite from city life, and a bit of fresh air. But indoor air quality can be bad no matter where you live. Fortunately, air quality can be measured, and steps taken to get that indoor Catskills air more in line with outdoor Catskills air, for health and wellness. For more, we connected with IAQ expert Ljeta Putāne and local citizen scientist Liz Potter.  Thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle, and the Catskill Mts. Scenic byway. Kaatscast is a production of Silver Hollow Audio.
December 07, 2021
Fins, Feathers, Furs and the Great Outdoors with Tim Byron
It's hunting season in the Catskills, and even if you're not a hunter, you'll want to hear our interview with Tim Byron, a longtime friend with an infectious love for hunting, fishing, camping, and observing Catskills wildlife. A few years back, he started a YouTube series called "Fins - feathers -furs - and the great outdoors"-- documenting hunting and fishing trips,  family excursions, birding, cooking, and lots more.  Thanks to our sponsors: The Mountain Eagle, and the Catskill Mts. Scenic byway. Our interview was recorded by production intern, Keith Kortright. Kaatscast is a production of Silver Hollow Audio. 
November 23, 2021
Firewood: Keeping It Local!
As daylight shortens and temperatures fall, many of us in the Catskills turn to our wood stoves to help keep warm. "Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice," the old adage goes. But if you don't chop your own wood? Make sure it was chopped locally! In this episode, New York State Department of Environmental Protection's Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health Bureau Chief Justin Perry joined us for a conversation on firewood, Catskills trees, and the threats our forests face.  Check out the DEC's new film, Uninvited: The Spread of Invasive Species.  Thanks to Dixon Roadside and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway for their support!
November 09, 2021
Reimagining a Classic Catskills Ghost Story
This week, we spoke with author Christine Wade about her retelling of a classic Catskills ghost story. In 1819 Washington Irving published his tale of Rip Van Winkle, who wanders off into the woods to escape his nagging wife, and meets up with the ghosts of Henry Hudson and his crew. They bowl, they drink, and ... Rip falls asleep for 20 years. If you don't know the story, it's a quick read and an iconic piece of Catskills folklore. Cut to the 21st century, when Christine Wade, real-life resident of Rip Van Winkle country, wrote an historical novel called Seven Locks, featuring a character remarkably similar to Rip, the lazy husband of a hard-working wife in the pre-Revolutionary War Dutch Catskills. This interview was produced in association with Catskill Historical Views, an audio companion to Catskill Tri-County Historical Views, published by the Gilboa Museum & Juried History Center. With support from the Zadock Pratt Museum.
October 26, 2021
Watershed Moments: NYC and the Catskills Past and Present
For more than a century, New York City has relied on the Catskills for its abundant supply of clean, soft drinking water. The Catskills' relationship with NYC has been a complicated one, including the staggering loss of entire communities, and a multitude of mutual benefits along the way. This week, Adam Bosch recounts the history of that relationship, plus we hear from the Olive Free Library's Melissa McHugh on an exhibit showcasing life before the Ashokan reservoir. Then, we check in with with Lize Mogel, producer of a comprehensive new tour of the watershed.
October 12, 2021
Wild Mountain Bird Rescue
Each year, hundreds of injured birds arrive at Annie Mardiney's doorstep for a second chance at life in the wild. When she isn't rescuing birds, Annie's running educational programs, with companion raptors like Peregrine Falcon Meng, pictured. We spoke with her (Annie, not Meng) at a talk she gave at the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge. Hear her story, plus advice for helping injured wildlife.  Thanks to our sponsors: Dixon Roadside and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce For a list of wildlife rehabilitators near you, visit the DEC directory.
September 28, 2021
Talking Bats with Kathy Nolan
This week... it's the only mammal capable of flight. And it can catch 1000 mosquitos in an hour! We're talking bats with Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director, Kathy Nolan, who joined me among the little brown bats of Shandaken, NY. Thanks to our sponsors: the Catskill Center; and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, hosting the 17th annual Cauliflower Festival. Thanks also to Robert Burke Warren, for the use of his song, "It's a Bat!" And to Raimund Specht, Avisoft Bioacoustics, for the bat recordings.
September 14, 2021
Outdoor Guides of the Catskills: The “Adventure Experts”
On May 11, 2019, the Phoenicia Library presented live, Outdoor Guides of the Catskills: The “Adventure Experts” -- this is a recording of that presentation, featuring Will Soter, co-founder of Upstate Adventure Guides and the president of the New York State Outdoor Guide Association (NYSOGA); Legendary fishing guide Hank Rope, owner of Big Indian Guide Service; Lifelong angler and expert guide Cliff Schwark, a founder of the Catskill Mt. Chapter of Trout Unlimited; and Patty Rudge, the first woman to serve as a full time NYS Forest Ranger. Since the early 1800’s, New York’s guides have been leading visitors into the wild areas of our beautiful state. Back in the day, colorful characacters like Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps and other local outdoorsmen plied their trade as fishing and hunting guides to the wealthy robber barons of the Adirondack Great Camps. By 1924, New York required guides to be licensed, in an effort to reduce fires, enforce conservation laws, curb hunting abuses and enhance enjoyment of the outdoors. Today, the tradition continues, and licensed guides are available for outdoor adventure opportunities like whitewater, rock climbing, snowshoeing and nature studies, in addition to fishing and hunting. Thanks to our sponsors: the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and the Catskill Center. 
August 31, 2021
Dowsing for Water with Bill Getz
Need water? Choose a random spot, drill, and drill some more, until you hit water. However, if you want to pinpoint the ideal location for clean, clear water, with minimal drilling, you might consider hiring a dowser like Bill Getz to survey the land. Hear about this age-old craft that combines sticks and rods with intuition, a connection to nature, and perhaps a dose of psychic energy. This episode of Kaatscast is supported by Dixon Roadside and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce. Recorded at the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, as part of their Wild Saturdays series.
August 17, 2021
Lunch with Mike Cioffi at the Phoenicia Diner
Restaurant owner Mike Cioffi talks food, pandemic adaptations, and running (two) successful restaurants in the Catskills –– Phoenicia's landmark Phoenicia Diner, and Woodstock's Dixon Roadside. Thanks to Mike, Courtney, Bella, and everyone behind the scenes who made our Phoenicia Diner lunch possible. And thank you to our local sponsors: the Phoenicia Playhouse, and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
August 03, 2021
Arts and Culture along the CMSB
This week, we present an audio driving guide on arts and culture, produced a few years back, in association with the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. Hear from artists, musicians, and farmers with tips on farms, galleries, museums, and scenery you'll want to mark on a map for your next trip up the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway ... Route 28, from Olive to Andes. Please visit our sponsors: the Phoenicia Playhouse, and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce. 
July 20, 2021
Outdoor Adventure Guide to the Central Catskills
Over the years, Silver Hollow Audio has produced a number of audio driving guides, including tours of art, history, and outdoor recreation. This week, we've pulled out our outdoor adventure guide, produced in 2016 in association with the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. It's chock full of ideas for your next hiking, paddling, cycling, or fishing trip. Peter Manning is our tour guide, with specific suggestions along Route 28, heading west from Olive to Andes. Plus, we'll hear from some of the Catskills' most experienced outdoors-people on those very trails and waterways. Trail access and sporting regulations do tend to change, so please be sure to check maps and local guides for updates. There have also been some major additions in the past few years, like Rail Explorers, out of Phoenicia; and the Ashokan Rail Trail, with trailheads in Woodstock, Shokan, and Boiceville. To hear about the rail trail, check out Kaatscast episode 30. So ... grab a map, and a note pad, because this episode is loaded with ideas for your next outdoor adventure.
July 06, 2021
Bramley Mountain Fire Tower
At one time, New York state had more than 100 active fire towers, the purpose of which was to help lookouts –– you guessed it –– spot fires. These days, some of the remaining towers have been repurposed for recreational use. At Bramley Mountain, in the western Catskills, the fire tower was dismantled in the 1970s, but a local family has been keeping it safe in a nearby barn. Now that Bramley has an official hiking trail, that tower is destined, once again, for the summit. Laurie Rankin tells us more, on our Bramley Mountain hike. Thanks to WIOX and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway for their support.  To learn more about the Bramley fire tower project, head on over to
June 22, 2021
Hanford Mills and the Power of the Past
Hanford Mills Museum operates an authentic water- and steam-powered historic site, which includes a sawmill, gristmill, and woodworking shop. The mission of Hanford Mills Museum is to inspire audiences of all ages to explore connections among energy, technology, natural resources, and entrepreneurship in rural communities with a focus on sustainable choices. The museum is listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places. We took a tour, and you can too! For scheduling and information, visit Thanks to our sponsors, WIOX and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
June 08, 2021
Honoring the Dead: Cemetery Stories from Delaware County
This Memorial Day week, we visited two area cemeteries where historians are taking steps to memorialize former Catskills residents in the towns of Delhi and Roxbury. At the Roxbury Methodist Church cemetery, gravestones obscured by years of algae and lichen growth are being restored with a special cleaning agent and some good ol' historian elbow grease. And in Delhi, a poorhouse cemetery lost in time is finally getting the recognition and care that it deserves.  County historian Gabrielle Pierce is working with Christa Schafer's Delaware County Office, to restore stones to hundreds of graves in Delhi, NY. And in Roxbury, historians Diane Galusha and Anthony Liberatore scrub 80 years of grime to renew a marble headstone. Kaatscast is supported by WIOX Community Radio, live and local in the Catskills; and by the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. 
May 25, 2021
Vintage Baseball in Delaware County
Hankering for some baseball circa 1895? Teams like Mountain Athletic Club and the Bovina Dairymen are playing vintage "base ball" right here in the Catskills. Spectators and players welcome! We spoke with the M.A.C.'s Collin Miller during spring practice on Creamery Field in Bovina, NY. Collin's team is "fashioned after the original team established in Griffin Corners, New York in 1895 by yeast magnates Julius and Max Fleischmann. Thanks to M.A.C., the Bovina Dairymen, and the Delhi Base Ball Club for inviting us to practice.  Thanks also to our sponsors: Roxbury's WIOX and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.
May 11, 2021
An Interview with Brian Flynn
This week, I met with Brian Flynn for a no-holds-barred interview on his run for Congress, his business ventures, a family tragedy, a life of activism, civic engagement, and the donation of not one, but two living organs. All that, and more, from Brian's home in Elka Park, NY. This episode was edited by our production intern, Skye Ruse. Please support our supporters: the Phoenicia Playhouse and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
April 27, 2021
Woodstock NY Pollinator Pathway
Honey bees aren't the only species facing serious population declines. Wild bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, and other insects, plus birds, bats, and amphibians are losing natural habitat and being forced out by invasive species, pesticides and herbicides. Pollinator pathways are a series of pollinator friendly areas that are spaced closely enough to create a habitat corridor. And for Catskills landowners, the Woodstock NY Pollinator Pathway offers simple ways to affect positive change for our pollinator pals. Committee Chair Georgia Asher tells us more. Supported by WIOX and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.
April 13, 2021
Sugaring Season at Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple
Oliverea schoolhouse maple is a 4,000 tap maple farm owned and operated by Herb Van Baren. We tagged along for the day as he tapped trees and pumped sap to be boiled down to 1,000 gallons of Catskill Mountain syrup! This episode was sponsored by WIOX and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.
March 30, 2021
Bicknell: the Bird and the Man
With snow and ice still reluctant to make way for long-awaited signs of spring, bird species know that warm weather is indeed on its way, and many are already en route back to their Catskills breeding grounds. For many of us, robins are a telltale sign that spring has sprung. If you're hiking in the high country, though, you might be lucky enough to hear a Bicknell's thrush, back from its winter home in Hispaniola. Although its range is not limited to the Catskills, the bird was discovered here in the 19th century, by Eugene P. Bicknell. To tell us more about the man behind the bird, I spoke with Jeremy Kirchman, Curator of Birds at the New York State Museum. This episode originally aired as part of Catskill Historical Views, an audio companion to Catskill Tri-County Historical Views, published by the Gilboa Museum & Juried History Center, with support from the Zadock Pratt Museum. Thanks to Humanities New York for their support.
March 16, 2021
Writers in the Mountains
This week, we're joined by 4 Catskills writers, teachers, and board members of Writers in the Mountains, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. Simona David is a media consultant, author of How Art Is Made: In the Catskills (published in 2017), and former president of Writers In The Mountains (from 2012 – 2019). She's currently working as an advisor to the Board.  Sharon Israel hosts the radio show, Planet Poet-Words in Space, on Roxbury's WIOX, and she hosts a podcast by the same name. Her debut chapbook, Voice Lesson, was published in 2017 by Post Traumatic Press. And she's been on the Writers in the Mountains Board of Directors for over a decade.  Anique Sara Taylor is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has appeared in Rattle, Common Ground Review, Stillwater Review, Earth’s Daughters and several anthologies. She’s co-authored works for HBO, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster and a three-act play that was performed by Playwrights Horizons and Williamstown Theatre Festival.  She's also an award-winning artist, and she teaches Creative Writing for Benedictine Hospital’s Oncology Support Program, Bard Lifetime Learning Institute, and Writers in the Mountains.  Leslie T. Sharpe is a lifelong naturalist living in the Great Western Catskills. Her book, The Quarry Fox and Other Critters of the Wild Catskills, is an Independent Book Publisher "Gold Medal Award winner for Excellence". And I had the pleasure of producing the audiobook edition, beautifully narrated by Leslie, and available wherever audiobooks are found. In 2019, Leslie was named one of Fifty Stewards of the Catskills. She's taught writing and editing at Columbia University, New York University, the City College of New York, and currently, at Writers in the Mountains.  Supported by WIOX and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
March 02, 2021
Sustainable Catskills part 2
Join us for part two of our behind-the-scenes tour of "Sustainable Catskills," with stops at the nation's first "passive house" library, an eco-conscious resort on the banks of the Esopus, and an Arkville solar array that implements local art and bluestone into its design. Thanks to Ulster Tourism and The 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, following New York State Route 28 through the heart of the Central Catskills.
February 16, 2021
Sustainable Catskills part 1
Come along for a behind-the-scenes tour of "Sustainable Catskills," with a stop at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, a walk on the Ashokan Rail Trail, and a swim at the Catskill Recreation Center! Thanks to Ulster Tourism and The 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, following New York State Route 28 through the heart of the Central Catskills.
February 02, 2021
Dean's Beans: Life-changing Coffee
This week, an insightful interview with Dean Cycon, founder of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company. Hear how coffee is creating meaningful change through ethical business practices rooted in respect for the earth, the farmer, the employee, and the consumer. Some highlights from our conversation: fair trade? or "fairer" trade? conventional coffee is more expensive direct links between the border crisis and underpaid farmers detrimental impacts of climate change unexpected pandemic impacts combatting hunger in western Massachusetts  Dean's favorite bean! Thanks to Dixon Roadside and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce for their support!
January 19, 2021
Reservoir Year: A Walker's Book of Days
Happy New Year! This week's podcast is a celebration of our annual spin around the sun, and a book by local author Nina Shengold on her 365-day walk along the Ashokan Reservoir. On the eve of her 60th birthday, she decided to walk the reservoir every day for one year and to chronicle the journey. We produced an audiobook in collaboration with Syracuse University Press, and in this podcast, you'll hear excerpts from the book, along with reflections by some of the creative Catskillians -- narrator, musician, writer -- involved in the process.  Thanks to the Catskills Visitor Center and the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway for their support. For more on Nina's book: For the audio edition: And for the locally orchestrated soundtrack:
January 05, 2021
The Nutcracker & Orpheum Dance
Each year, the Catskill Mountain Foundation's Orpheum Dance Program puts on a performance of The Nutcracker, directed by ballet pro Victoria Rinaldi. This year's pandemic brings this annual tradition online, using clips from the past five years of performances, plus new material featuring students like Lada Svechnikova, pictured here. Join us for an interview with Victoria and Lada in Hunter, NY. Thanks to Cyndi and Paul LaPierre, and to the the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce for their support of this episode.
December 22, 2020
Catskill Historical Views: John D. Clarke
We spoke with Delaware County historian Bill Birns about the legacy of “Hobart’s greatest” (albeit largely forgotten) son, John Davenport Clarke: farmer, forester, and congressman.   Catskill Historical Views is a collaboration between Catskill Tri-County Historical Views, the Zadock Pratt Museum, and Silver Hollow Audio. Thanks to Humanities New York for their support of this series.
December 08, 2020
Voices from the Central Catskills
This week, we highlight four segments from our original "Experience the Central Catskills" audio driving guide, for a westward drive from Olive to Andes on NYS Route 28.  DEC Natural Resources Supervisor Bill Rudge and an overview of the Catskill Park past and present Historian Diane Galusha on the Ashokan Reservoir and the New York City water supply Fly fishing the Esopus creek with Mark Loete Reminiscences of John Burroughs, with Bill Birns, Steve Koester, and Rolland Smith Thanks to our sponsors, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, the Emerson Resort & Spa, and listener support! Photo courtesy of Tim Luby.
November 24, 2020
Emerson's Uses of Great Men
American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, a literary, philosophical and spiritual movement with a belief in humanity's fundamental goodness; and a reverence for self-reliance, non-conformity, and a deep, personal connection to the natural world. And while the title of his essay, "Uses of great Men," may come off as misogynistic, or at least "dated," transcendentalists like Emerson were outspoken advocates of civil rights and social justice. This week, a reading of Emerson's "Uses of Great Men," by Rolland G. Smith. If Rolland Smith was born a century earlier, he would likely seek fellowship in the Transcendental Club, to converse with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. A child of the 20th century, however, Rolland gravitated toward broadcast media, where he reported for outlets like WCBS, NBC, and WWOR. He's interviewed U.S. presidents, reported live from the front lines in Vietnam, and served as anchor of the historic "Live Aid" concert to an international audience of 2 billion. His journalistic integrity, contemplative storytelling, and abiding faith in humankind lie in stark contrast to today's media punditry, social media scrolling, and click bait. If Ralph Waldo Emerson was born a century later, he'd probably get his news from Rolland Smith. Here's Rolland to introduce "Uses of Great Men," followed by his narration of the essay, recorded right here in the Catskills. This week's show was made possible by the Emerson Resort & Spa and the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.
November 10, 2020
Treasure Hunt with the Delaware County Diggers!
The Delaware County Diggers is a group of metal detecting enthusiasts with a passion for history and preservation. We joined them at the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury, NY, where they beeped and dug their way to an eclectic assortment of 19th- and 20th-century treasures. Come along with us for an archaeological treasure hunt just beneath the surface of John Burroughs' property at the historic Woodchuck Lodge!  Thanks to the Delaware County Diggers, the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, and to our sponsors: the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, and the Catskill Center. 
October 27, 2020
Fall in the Catskills and Thoreau's "Autumnal Tints"
It’s fall in the Catskills, with that too-brief splash of color that draws leaf peepers near and far. In 1862, as famed naturalist Henry David Thoreau lay dying from tuberculosis, he wrote an essay entitled "Autumnal Tints," an ode to autumn in New England. In 2008, we published an audio edition of that work, and this week … a selection from that essay, titled "Fallen Leaves." Thank you to our sponsors: the 52-mile Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and the historic Phoenicia Playhouse.
October 13, 2020
Things that Sting with professor Justin O. Schmidt
This week: bees! wasps! hornets! yellowjackets! (and other things that sting) with special guest Justin O. Schmidt, research biologist at Southwestern Biological Institute, adjunct faculty at University of Arizona’s department of entymology, author of The Sting of the Wild, and creator of the famous Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Scientific American called Schmidt the "King of Sting." The New York Times dubbed him a “Connoisseur of Pain.” Here’s your college class on stings, with ... if we may ... the "sommelier of sting." Thanks to our sponsors, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, and the Catskill Center.
September 29, 2020
Remote Work Post-Pandemic
John Lyons is a transportation professional, sustainability leader, solar entrepreneur, and business developer with a passion for addressing the climate crisis and creating a clean energy future. He's been incorporating remote work into his career for decades, and he shares his insights on working remotely from both employee and employer perspectives. Plus, suggestions for translating what we've learned this year into a post-pandemic strategy for workplace adaptability moving forward. Thanks to John Lyons, and to our sponsors:  Sustainable Hudson Valley and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce
September 15, 2020
Climate Change in the Hudson Valley with SHV's Dave Conover
Dave Conover is Program Coordinator at Sustainable Hudson Valley.  He grew up in the Catskills and has spent much of his career working on environmental issues as an educator and program developer. Climate change is resulting in obvious changes to our very own ecosystem. Dave connects the dots and offers us a hopeful path for the future. But the time to act is now. This episode was produced in collaboration with Sustainable Hudson Valley. Thanks also to our sponsor, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. 
September 01, 2020
Cynthia Nikitin on Public Spaces and Resiliency
“People, Places, Possibilities” – A Conversation with Cynthia Nikitin Sustainable Hudson Valley is working to accelerate progress against climate change through programs to scale up the clean energy marketplace and by helping communities plan for more resource-efficient patterns of living and working.  Like everyone in the Hudson Valley, we are confronting four major crises: Covid-19, social injustice, economic recession, and climate change.  SHV is spearheading a large-scale public conversation on responding to the urgency of each crisis, while understanding how they are connected and using that understanding to generate more sophisticated solutions.  It’s an ambitious idea that we are developing with our network of experts, including six Senior Fellows. One of them is Boiceville resident Cynthia Nikitin, a 28-year veteran of the Project for Public Spaces.  She’s managed hundreds of  “placemaking” projects around the world, helping people to design downtowns, waterfronts, campuses and more, in ways that enhance sociability, connectivity and usefulness – for example, by developing residences and workplaces near transit and each other.  Right now, Cynthia is excited about the way that communities and businesses are being forced to re-think how space is used, even expanding restaurant space into parking lots and surrounding neighborhoods for safety.  She thinks this small shift can drive bigger changes in reclaiming excess streetscape, parking lots and under-utilized land for community revitalization and resilience. Thanks to our sponsors: Sustainable Hudson Valley, and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.  Photo by Brian Paccione
August 18, 2020
People, Places, Possibilities with Sustainable Hudson Valley
There are a many conversations these days about the future, and understandably so. We are in the midst of four distinct crises: accelerating climate change, a pandemic, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and a wakeup to systemic racism. Kaatscast is collaborating with Sustainable Hudson Valley on a series called “People, Places, Possibilities," to explore aspects of this new reality, and––without minimizing the downsides––to consider the opportunities that arise simply from the pace and scale of change. In this episode, we speak with Sustainable Hudson Valley's Executive Director, Melissa Everett, about the organization's goals, and where we stand as a region. Stay tuned for future interviews in this special series, right here on Kaatscast! For more information, visit  Thanks also to the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce for their continued support of this podcast.
August 04, 2020
The Land of Little Rain
First published in 1903, The Land of Little Rain is Mary Austin’s classic homage to the American Southwest. Her collection of short stories and essays takes listeners on an enchanted journey through Death Valley, the High Sierras, and the Mojave Desert. Aridity and heat lie counterpoint to our Catskills’ seemingly limitless water and endless winters. Like other nature writers of her time — John Burroughs and John Muir among them — Mary Austin deftly describes the natural world in which she is immersed, including its creatures and its characters. This week, hear Ellen Parker's award-winning narration of the first two chapters. Sponsored by The Mountain Eagle and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
July 21, 2020
Nick Lyons: A Life Well Fished
We recorded 85-year-old Nick Lyons at the Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection in Phoenicia, NY, as part of its "Sporting Legends of The Catskills" series.  From that event: "Nick began to fish as a child during summers at the Laurel House in Haines Falls, when the hotel was owned by his grandfather. He went on to wet a line just about everywhere he could find water — from Steeplechase Pier in Brooklyn to the Catskill Mountains, and beyond. Nick is widely known for his popular “Seasonable Angler” column in Fly Fisherman Magazine, which he wrote for decades. In articles for Fly Fisherman and other publications, and in more than a dozen books, he chonicled his fishing adventures all over the world. Meanwhile, he pursued a busy life as an English professor at Hunter College and as a book publisher. Nick’s late wife Mari was an accomplished artist who accompanied Nick on many of his journeys. Her watercolors and sketches appear in all of his later books." Painting courtesy Mari Lyons, from Nick's well-known book “Spring Creek.” Thanks to Beth Waterman and the Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection; and to our sponsor, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. 
July 07, 2020
The Quarry Fox: and Other Critters of the Wild Catskills
In The Quarry Fox, Leslie T. Sharpe chronicles the seasons and the vibrant wildlife of a landscape she cherishes, offering her keen insights in an engaging narrative that celebrates the splendor of the natural world. From crafty foxes and hibernating bears to vulnerable monarch butterflies, The Quarry Fox explores the creatures of the Great Western Catskills in loving, lyrical detail. Heir to John Burroughs, who tramped through these mountains more than a hundred years before her, Sharpe revisits the meadows, creeks, and bobcat dens, and invites us to come along for the trek. The Quarry Fox is now an audiobook, published by Silver Hollow Audio and available wherever audiobooks are found. In this episode, we present chapter 4: "Natural Beauties." Enjoy! Thanks to the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce for their support of this podcast. 
June 23, 2020
Platte Clove and Elka Park
Platte Clove is a steep and narrow valley, accessed by Platte Clove Road between Tannersville and West Saugerties, NY. Part of the road is seasonal use only, offering a gorgeous (and hair-raising) drive April through October. John Farrell and Paul Dibbell are no strangers to this valley, and they talk to us about Elka Park, a 19th-century Victorian community; hiking and driving through the valley; and reminiscences of days past. Produced with support from the Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway, Mama's Boy Burgers, and the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce.
June 09, 2020
Catskills Artist Christie Scheele
Christie Scheele is an artist living in the Catskills, whose art is collected nationally and internationally by hundreds of private and public collectors. She says, "The single most distinctive aspect to what I do as a landscape painter lies in my ability to reduce a scene to its essentials. This gives the viewer what is important, without the distraction, or visual clutter, of too much detail. Both by providing this overview and by using soft, scumbled edges, these paintings can quiet a viewer's mind and evoke a more direct response." In this episode, we catch up with Christie by phone to see how she's been handling art-life in quarantine, and then rewind 5 months to a conversation we recorded with a live audience at Albert Shahinian Fine Art Gallery, in Rhinebeck, NY.  Thanks to our sponsors: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway.
May 26, 2020
Joan Wulff: “First Lady of Fly Fishing”
On October 27, 2018, at the Phoenicia Library's Jerry Bartlett Angling Collection, “First Lady” Joan Wulff and her associate Jen Grossman took the floor to tell the story of Joan's remarkable life and career in the angling world. Hooked on fishing at a very early age, she rose to prominence as a National Casting Champion, winning competitions for both distance (161 feet!) and accuracy from 1943-1960. In the late 1970s, she and her husband, Lee Wulff, opened the Wulff School of Fly Fishing in Lew Beach on the Upper Beaverkill. Sponsored by the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, with original program support from the Catskill Watershed Corporation.  Photo credit: Mark Loete
May 12, 2020
Catskill Forests, Trees, Hemlocks
Forest historian Michael Kudish talks trees and forest composition in the Stony Clove, bridging Ulster and Greene Counties. Then, a conversation with forest entomologist Mark Whitmore, on an invasive threat to our Catskill hemlocks.  Thanks to our sponsors, Greene County Soil & Water; and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway. 
April 28, 2020
John Burroughs' Heart of the Southern Catskills
Full audio edition of John Burroughs’ classic essay, "The Heart of the Southern Catskills."  In 1886, Princeton geology professor Arnold Henry Guyot determined by survey that Slide Mountain, far to the southwest of the Hudson-hugging mountaintops, was the highest peak in the region, reaching over 4,000 feet. The opening of resorts like the Catskill Mountain House and the Grand Hotel at Highmount drew tourists upstate, and John Burroughs’ account of his 1885 ascent of Slide Mountain offered vacationers an enticing challenge. Hiking Slide Mountain became then, as it is now, a key attraction. Enjoy the climb with him. Original 2-disc set, produced in partnership with the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, is available at Silver Hollow Audio.
April 14, 2020
John Burroughs' Pepacton
This audio edition of John Burroughs’ classic essay, "Pepacton: A Summer Voyage," is the story of Burroughs’ journey down the meandering river he called Pepacton, the name native people gave the stream. Burroughs was in his 40s when he made the trip, on a raft-type craft he fashioned himself, a grown man playing Huck Finn, traveling his personal Mississippi. This 19th-century Catskills tale is pure Burroughs, filled with the values and ideas that are at his core: simplicity of life, joy in small things, harmony with the natural world, connection with people, and outdoor adventure. Original 2-disc set, produced in partnership with the John Burroughs' Woodchuck Lodge, is available at Silver Hollow Audio. 
March 31, 2020
Special: COVID-19
Thousands infected, businesses shuttered, social distancing, and closed schools. In this special, unscheduled episode, listen in on 5 interviews on the pandemic, and how the Catskills are responding.  • Lissa Harris, reporter for The River Hudson Valley Newsroom • "Rachel," a recent college grad who's battling COVID-19 head-on • Ulster County Economic Development director, Lisa Berger • Local restaurateur Mike Cioffi • Onteora school superintendent Victoria McLaren  Thanks to our interviewees; stay healthy, everyone. Produced by Silver Hollow Audio
March 21, 2020
Lights... Camera... Catskills!
The Catskills, with its beautiful scenery and quirky towns, offers ready-made backdrops for movies and TV. Add talented local crews and substantial tax credits, and it's no wonder increasing numbers of film and television productions are setting up here. In this episode, we speak with the Hudson Valley Film Commission's Laurent Rejto, and with a local innkeeper whose B&B was a key location for an upcoming film about werewolves.  Thanks to our sponsors, the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway and the Phoenicia Playhouse.
March 17, 2020
The Loop: Haines Falls to Tannersville
We tour "the loop," of Routes 25 and 23c, that connects Haines Falls to Tannersville, via the mountaintop. Hear from Cyndi LaPierre and Dede Thorpe on historic homes and the origins of Onteora Park; famed residents like Maude Adams (Peter Pan); visiting the Mountain Top Arboretum; and a church that served as a quarantine during the 1914 influenza epidemic (history certainly does repeat itself).
March 03, 2020
Jan Sawka: Polish Refugee in the Hudson Valley
In 1976, renowned artist Jan Sawka fled communist Poland with his wife Hanna, and baby daughter, also named Hanna. They eventually settled in High Falls, NY, and Jan would draw inspiration for his paintings from the Ashokan Reservoir and Catskills Mountains. We spoke with Jan’s family at an exhibition of his work at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, at SUNY New Paltz.
February 18, 2020
Grand Hotels and Railroad Travel
In this episode, hear from Jon Ham and Bob Gildersleeve about the grand hotels that attracted visitors at the turn of the century, and the trains that got them there. Also... "mutton?!" How one hotel's refusal to serve chicken led to the construction of a famous competitor. 
February 04, 2020
The "Kaat"skills, the Dutch, and Kaaterskill Falls
In this episode, you’ll hear from historian Cyndi LaPierre on the history of the word "Catskills," and if you’re wondering why Kaatscast starts with a “K,” instead of a “C,” this segment should help clear things up. In the second half of the show, we’ll travel to Kaaterskill falls with geologist Bob Titus, who takes us back even further, to when the Catskills felt more like … the Bahamas!
January 21, 2020
Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway - Palenville to Hunter
Welcome to Kaatscast –– a biweekly podcast delivering interviews, arts, culture, and history, from New York's Catskill mountains. Please subscribe, and be the first to hear all the great content, from quick interviews with Catskills locals, to full-length audio driving tours and fully-produced audiobooks. In this first episode, we take you on a tour of the Northern Catskills’ Mountain Cloves Scenic Byway. You can listen anywhere, but for the best experience, it’s designed for a westward drive from Palenville, NY, to Hunter, NY, on Route 23a. This is the main stretch. In future episodes, we’ll post side excursions, so please don’t forget to hit that subscribe button. In this episode … learn about painter Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School, then we’ll delve into the cottage communities of the late 1800s, with a current Twilight Park resident. From there, we speak with a New York State forester on the history of the Catskill Park.  Then we’re off to Tannersville, to meet the mayor, followed by a chat with Hunter Mountain’s Gary Slutzky.
January 07, 2020