Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art - Hudson From Bear Mt
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Learning about the Ice Industry in the Hudson Valley

Growing up with the Lake Meahagh and Hudson River in my backyard, I’ve heard my father tell stories of how this area once served as the Hudson Valley’s major ice industry.  Yesterday we went to the 4th Annual Knickerbocker Ice Festival at Rockland Lake State Park in Rockland County.  

Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010 @ Rockland Lake

We attended the lecture The Rise & Demise of the Hudson River Ice Industry: Urban Needs & Rural Responses presented by Speaker: Wendy Harris, Principal Archeologist, Craigsmoor Consulting.  There where two points that stood out to me; the very same factors that were responsible for the rise of the ice industry were the very same factors that were responsible for its demise.  Two of these factors were the demand and technical advances.  The demand for ice became more and more important; first enabling the growth of the industry, later, unable to keep up with the advances with electricity (ice boxes, then refrigerators), lead to the demise.  It is also amazing to me that the life cycle of such an important era of time only lasted approximately 30 years from start to finish (approximately 1835- 1865).  Read more about the Story of Knickerbocker Ice Company and Rockland Lake and visit The Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain, Inc. or one of the many local historical groups.      

 Additional resources:

Palisades Parks Conservancy
Parks and Trails New York
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York – New Jersey Trail Conference

Hudson River Valley Greenway
Hudson River Valley Heritage. Type “Rockland Lake” in the search box for great photo archives of Rockland Lake 

 Then it was on to see the ice sculptures.  This year, four competing Ice Sculptors (Dan Bergin, Earl Covington, John Hedbavny, and Rob Patalano) were scheduled to participate.  Unfortunately when we were there only three sculptors were sculpting and we were only able to see two of them.  By the time we walked to the third sculptor, the sun (while making for a nice day) was too warm, making it dangerous for the ice sculptor to work unless wrapped in a covered tented area….darn.  But, we did enjoy seeing two sculptors and their works of ice.

Drawing of Woolly Mammoth Ice Sculpture

Woolly Mammoth In the Making

Woolly Mammoth being attacked by Saber Tooth Tiger in the Making

Woolly Mammoth being Attacked by Saber Tooth Tiger in the Making-

As an added pleasure, we were delighted to see and meet so many local artists as they set up their easels and painted the beautiful landscapes surrounding the lake!  We enjoyed meeting Phyllis Tarlow of Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art / Portraits from Hartsdale.  We watched and listened as Phyllis shared with us her love of painting landscapes and discovering new areas around the Hudson Valley to inspire her next painting!  Thank you Phyllis for sharing your love of the Hudson Valley with so many of us through your paintings!

Phyllis Tarlow at Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010

We also enjoyed meeting Marylyn Vanderpool local artist from Harriman, NY.  Marylyn’s love of the Hudson Valley, her energetic spirit comes alive through her watercolors as she captures the beauty that surrounds us so eloquently.

Marylyn Vanderpool at Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010

We briefly stopped to listen to award-winning storyteller Jonathan Kruk  Dressed in costume Jonathan tells colorful tales spun from the lore of historic Hudson Valley! Jonathan’s ability to truly capture his audience is amazing—you get drawn into his story and eagerly await the ending! Together with folk balladeer Rich Bala, they travel around the many villages & communities of the Hudson River and beyond since 1990, performing the region’s tunes, tales, and traditions at schools, museums, libraries, camps and historic sites. Thank you for sharing your storytelling talent with so many of us.  You can also purchase Jonathan’s tales on CD.

Storyteller Jonathan Kruk

Whew, as if the day hadn’t been exciting and different enough, we held true to our love of dining in the Hudson Valley and decided on Henry’s on the Hudson located at 634 Main Street, Peekskill, NY.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner overlooking the Peekskill Bay on the Hudson River all the while listening Mike play his guitar.  Mike’s selection of songs was fabulous!  Mike’s relaxing music combined with the spectacular view made for great evening. 

 I enjoyed shrimp over angel hair pasta and my honey satisfied his taste buds (and stomach LOL) with chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.  But wait, oh yes, those of you that follow my dinning in the Hudson Valley excursions know that we love dessert!  My honey’s famous line is “there is always room for dessert”!  Tonight being no exception we shared the   Chocolate Explosion which was a dark, dense chocolate decadence in an individual dessert with a rich creamy ganache oozing from the center and served with creamy vanilla ice cream…. oooohhh the most “wonderful” ending to a “wonderful” day!

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

7 Responses to “Learning about the Ice Industry in the Hudson Valley”

  • Kathy, thanks so much for your lovely write-up about meeting me at the Ice Festival. I had a wonderful time painting alongside Rockland Lake and getting to talk to you and Kurt and the many people who stopped to chat, ask questions and offer some nice compliments about my work.

    Your brief history of the ice industry suddenly threw me back to a very early time in my life when I could remember chunks of ice being delivered for use in a refrigerator we had at a summer residence in the Catskills. All the children would run up when the ice man arrived and would be given a small sliver of ice to suck on. We all considered it a big treat, much like my kids felt about the ice cream truck that came through the neighborhood in warm weather.

  • jonathan says:

    Your post on the Knickerbocker Ice Festival informs and engages! I found heartening as a storyteller of local lore, all the people breaking away from the malls, and day to day tasks to step into our heritage on the Hudson! If we take time to learn about what once was here, we better know how to preserve and perpetuate all we enjoy here!

  • Thanks to both of you for supporting the ice festival. It was a wonderful weekend and I’m glad you enjoyed yourselves.

  • Bruce says:

    Kathy, thanks so much for your lovely write-up about meeting me at the Ice Festival. I had a wonderful time painting alongside Rockland Lake and getting to talk to you and Kurt and the many people who stopped to chat, ask questions and offer some nice compliments about my work.

    Your brief history of the ice industry suddenly threw me back to a very early time in my life when I could remember chunks of ice being delivered for use in a refrigerator we had at a summer residence in the Catskills. All the children would run up when the ice man arrived and would be given a small sliver of ice to suck on. We all considered it a big treat, much like my kids felt about the ice cream truck that came through the neighborhood in warm weather.

  • Steve says:

    Thanks to both of you for supporting the ice festival. It was a wonderful weekend and I’m glad you enjoyed yourselves.

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