November 1, 2014 | 1:05am    area forecast: Today: Rain Showers High 50°F, Low 38°F

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UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Tuesday, October 7 - Tuesday, November 11
    World History through Architecture
    Tuesdays, 7pm. Phone: 845-255-5030. Url: http://eltinglibrary.org.

  • Thursday, October 30 - Sunday, November 2
    Side By Side by Sondheim
    Thu-Sat 8pm $39, Sun 2pm $34. This dazzling array of some of Sondheim’s best-known songs features numbers from Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, Anyone Can Whistle, and West Side Story, and others. A sure delight for all musical theatre lovers! Phone: 845-647-5511. Url: http://shadowlandtheatre.org.

  • Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2
    Peter Pan
    Musical based on J.M. Barrie’s immortal tale w/music by Mark Charlap & Jule Styne, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Directed and choreographed by Kevin Archambault. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sat and Sun at 3pm.Tkts: $26/$24/Sat mat $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    New Paltz Halloween Parade
    6pm. Start at Main St. & Manheim Blvd, end at the fire house for treats.

  • Friday, October 31
    Night of 100 Pumpkins
    6pm. The Bakery’s annual pumpkin carving contest. Come and see all the pumpkins lit. Enjoy free pumpkin bread, cocoa & cider. See website for entry info. Phone: 845-255-8840. Url: http://ilovethebakery.com.

  • Friday, October 31
    Haunted Huguenot Street Halloween
    4-6pm. Children and families are welcome to trick or treat at the historic houses which will be otherwise closed. Phone: 845-255-1660. Url: http://huguenotstreet.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    Haunted Huguenot Street.
    7-10pm. The historic street is transformed and guests will hear legends of hauntings, participate in Mrs. Gertrude Deyo Broadhead’s infamous Conundrum Party, and explore the art of haunted interpretation. Pre-registration is encouraged for interpretations. $25; $20 members, seniors & military; $30 at the door without pre-registration. Phone: 845-255-1660. Url: http://huguenotstreet.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    Cleoma’s Cajun String Band
    7:30pm. Old time traditional Cajun music. $15, $10 members, students with ID 1/2 price. Phone: 845-255-1559. Url: http://unisonarts.org.

  • Friday, October 31
    Rip Van Winkle Club Halloween Hike
    At Olana State Hist. site! Costumes are opt, but the more, the more fun for the whole group. 9am in parking lot behind house.; multiple trails, fantastic views, lunch on the back porch at noon. Phone: 518-248-2579. Url: http://newyorkheritage.com/rvw.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Red Hook Chocolate Festival
    First annual day-long festival featuring chocolate bomb skateboard race, demos and tastings, bake-off competitions, chocolate fountain, & more! Check website for times & locations. Phone: 845-758-0824. Email: info@redhookchamber.org. Url: http://redhookchamber.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Sun Ock Lee
    This master of Zen philosophy & mind/body dance technique returns to the Kaatsbaan stage. $30,/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    Wilderstein Landscape Day
    Help clean up gardens & trails. Refreshments. 8:30am. Phone: 845-876-4818. Email: wilderstein@wilderstein.org. Url: http://wilderstein.org.

  • Saturday, November 1
    breath, song
    Award-winning solo performer John Bloomfield plays works by Scarlatti, Haydn, Chopin, and Johannes Brahms. Also post-performance reception w/artist. $25. 7pm. Phone: 518-822-1438. Email: info@hudsonoperahouse.org. Url: http://hudsonoperahouse.org.

  • Sunday, November 2
    Conservatory Sunday
    Program to include Beethoven's Symphony No. 8, Reger's Four Tone Poems after Boecklin, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique." 3pm. $20/$15. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Sunday, November 2
    Maya Dance Theatre
    "Dedicated to collaborations, openness and experimentations. . . . inspiration from Asian traditions and aesthetics." $30/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Wednesday, November 5 - Sunday, November 9
    Bard Theater & Performance Program
    Original, work-in-progress musical theater production conceived by Amanda Palmer, directed by Steve Bogart, performed by Bard students. 11/5, 11/6, 11/7 & 11/9 at 7pm; 11/8 at 2pm and 7pm. $15/$10/free. Phone: 845-758-7900. Email: fishercenterboxoffice@bard.edu. Url: http://fishercenter.bard.edu.

  • Thursday, November 6 - Sunday, November 9
    NEWvember New Plays Festival
    The 4th NEWvember Festival w/plays from emerging playwrights, w/veteran actors and directors! Tangent Theatre Co. and AboutFACE Ireland. Thu & Fri 8pm; Sat 2pm & 8pm; Sun 2pm & 6pm. $15 per show, or $60 for the whole festival. Phone: 845-230-7020. Email: info@tangent-arts.org. Url: http://tangent-arts.org.

  • Friday, November 7 - Sunday, November 9
    Peter Pan
    Musical based on J.M. Barrie’s immortal tale w/music by Mark Charlap & Jule Styne, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden & Adolph Green. Directed and choreographed by Kevin Archambault. Fri & Sat at 8pm; Sat and Sun at 3pm.Tkts: $26/$24/Sat mat $20. Phone: 845-876-3080. Url: http://centerforperformingarts.org.

  • Saturday, November 8
    American Dance Machine
    W/Artistic Director Margo Sappington; Dance Machine's mission: to create a "living archive" of the great masterpieces of American musical theater. $30/$10. Phone: 845-757-5106x2. Email: pgrkaats@bestweb.net. Url: http://www.kaatsbaan.org.

  • Saturday, November 8
    4th Annual Family Concert
    The Hudson Valley Chamber Music Circle presents the 4th Annual Family Concert featuring Faculty and Students of the Bard Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division. This Free Concert will include fun chamber and solo music for the whole family. Kids of all ages are welcome and they are invited to sit up close to hear the musicians! Phone: 615-498-4996. Email: bardprep@bard.edu. Url: http://bard.edu/conservatory/preparatory/.

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Postcard showing Mill Pond, Amenia. credit Courtesy Amenia Historical Society.

Amenia and the Birth of "The Brotherhood"

Spring 2014   

Ever wonder about that stone bank building at the corner of routes 343 and 22 at the center of Amenia village? If it looks to you like it came from another world, you’re right. In 1860, Dutchess County was the birthplace of the Brotherhood of the New Life, one of the many "alternative communities" born during the great American spiritual revival of the mid-nineteenth century. The Brotherhood began in Wassaic, and grew onto additional property in nearby Amenia where, after accumulating a sizeable amount of capital, the group founded the First National Bank of Amenia and built that stone building.

The Brotherhood’s founder was Thomas Lake Harris, a hypnotic and otherworldly minister who cobbled together his own eclectic set of beliefs during an evolving career. Harris started out as a young preacher in Western New York, where he became known for the poetical passion of his oratory. Then he embraced spiritualism, claiming to be in touch with the angels and publishing three books of poetical revelations dictated while in trances during his visits with dead poets in heaven.


Thomas Lake Harris in is late seventies. credit Courtesy Bart Casey.

Soon he declared that he had spirit-traveled to celestial communities on Mars, Jupiter and other planets—all part of his training to become the pivotal go-between between fallen man and the Deity.

By 1859, at age 36, Harris was the leader of New York City’s Church of the Good Shepherd, an independent, progressive and well-heeled congregation holding Sunday services in the chapel of New York University in Washington Square. Followers included Horace Greeley, future presidential candidate and editor of the New York Tribune, as well as wealthy heiress Jane Waring, daughter of a successful New York State stove manufacturer.

Harris traveled around the South on the eve of the Civil War and in Great Britain after the Crimean War. The civil and social unrest he witnessed convinced him that the tumultuous period was beginning,which would precede the final struggle between Good and Evil, itself the precursor to the second coming of Christ. To counter this cataclysm, he convinced a close inner circle of followers to pool their money and buy property in Dutchess County where they could prepare for the changes to come and become ready to play leading roles saving mankind in the new post-apocalyptic order.

For a brief period in the years before founding the Amenia settlement, Harris had been co-leader of a failed utopian community in West Virginia. Here he learned that any community attempting to set up a new world order should have only one leader—and a well-funded one at that. Sound finances and savvy business practices became his hallmarks. At the start, Harris’s main benefactor and deputy was Jane Waring, the heiress, who contributed millions of dollars in today’s money to the community. Jane also ran the farming operations, having grown up on a farm with her agriculturalist brother George, manager of Greeley’s farm in Chappaqua and lead sanitary engineer for the draining of Manhattan’s wetlands and the ensuing creation of New York’s Central Park. Joining from New York City and contributing commercial expertise came several experienced businessmen with their families, During the Civil War three large families arrived from Georgia, escaping the depradations of that battle-ravaged state and adding the proceeds from the sale of their properties and slaves. From Britain came Arthur Cuthbert and his fiancée, Emily Fawcett, to be married in Amenia by Harris; Cuthbert would become Harris’s lifelong disciple and biographer.

This founding group spent their days in healthy manual labor building the first house in Wassaic, which was located across from the famous Gridley kilns, on the wooded hillside overlooking the deep gorge creek of the Wassaic River, just off today’s Route 22. Today, forest has grown over the original stable’s grounds and garden. An early member recalled that the structure was "a very fine one at the time, and known locally as the House in the Woods." Evenings were spent in "right breathing": reaching out for contact with the celestial realm, where Harris was already a frequent visitor and confidant of the archangels. As more people came, new properties were bought around Mill Pond, on today’s Lake Amenia Avenue, where the Brotherhood operated a mill as a first base of commerce in the community. Jane Waring then planted the Brotherhood’s vineyards on the adjoining hillside, near today’s Silo Ridge Golf Course.


The stone bank building in Amenia built by the Brotherhood, now a branch of M&T Bank. credit Courtesy Amenia Historical Society.

As the community flourished, Harris decided they should spread the word more to local villagers about the great changes to come. To do this, his New York City disciples helped Harris found the First National Bank of Amenia, installing the prophet as president. At first, the bank was a modest one-room wooden structure with an imposing safe, a welcoming woodstove, and a wealth of chairs for townspeople to rest on and chat. Eventually, in 1865, the bank built its distinctive five-sided stone building now gracing the main street of the village.

More exotic members began to arrive. J. W. Hyde, an expert winemaker from Missouri, joined with his wife Lucy and son John to take over vineyard operations. In London Emily Fawcett Cuthbert talked up Harris to her close friend Lady Maria Oliphant, and soon this widow of the chief justice of Ceylon petitioned to join the Brotherhood. Before long she brought along as well her son Laurence, a prominent writer, war correspondent and member of parliament. The Oliphants brought wealth and an implied endorsement for Harris from the highest levels of British society, where they were friends and intimates of ministers, aristocrats and the royal family. And when Laurence completed his probationary period in England and arrived in Dutchess County, he brought with him a group of Samurai students on a secret mission from their lord in the southern Japanese province of Satsuma to learn the mysterious ways of the West. They were, in fact, some of the earliest visitors from Japan to ever come to the USA, and several went on to high office as ambassadors for the modern government set up by Meiji-era Japan; one even became minister of education.

Since everyone joining the Brotherhood contributed all of their worldly funds, the safe at the First National Bank of Amenia might well have been bursting at its seams. By 1867, it was decided the entire group should re-scale itself and relocate to larger properties 400 miles to the west on Lake Erie, , at Brocton, New York, where a more sizeable wine business could be cultivated. So, after a successful birth and seven-year childhood in Dutchess County, the Brotherhood moved on to adolescence in Brocton, and eventual adulthood in Santa Rosa, California, where from 1876 to 1934 it became a leading Sonoma County winery on the fabulous Fountaingrove estate. One family, disgruntled with Harris’s leadership, eventually returned east to Washingtonville, in the Hudson Valley, where as competitors to Harris they took over the oldest winery in the country and renamed it after the Brotherhood. This winery is still in operation today.

Harris’s later years brought scandals about sexual shenanigans and financial deceptions, casting a permanent cloud over the reputations of both Harris and Oliphant (who broke with Harris as well and went on publishing bestselling books about his exotic travels). At its inception in Dutchess County, however, this colorful community was full of hope and idealism. Writing in 1930, Robert Martin, who grew up in the Brotherhood, addressed questions about any possible "lax morals, or improper conduct" in the early Dutchess County days. He stated then they were all "a straightlaced, God-fearing band of men and women" intent on leading mankind to salvation. However, Martin didn’t pull any punches about his final assessment of Harris and the Brotherhood for his somber ending to the story, where he judged Harris "a charlatan, with feet of the most ordinary clay" who eventually squandered the members’ money and dashed their dreams of glory.

 
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Featured Community Businesses

All your Indian favorites: curries, tandooris, vindaloos, vegetarian and meat favorites, breads and appetizers.

28 E. Market St, Red Hook
845-758-2666

A business oriented Chamber with monthly social and business meetings and dinners. Health insurance available and other benefits. Serving Lloyd, Plattekill, New Paltz, Gardiner, Milton, Marlboro and the surrounding area. Just off Route 9W on Milton Ave in the Mid-Hudson Professional bldg.

3730 Rte 9W/Milton Ave Suite 3, Highland
845-691-6070

Restaurant and Tavern. Homemade, American cuisine in a historic 1788 Grist Mill. Our menu is inspired by Italian and American country cooking, featuring fresh, local artisan products and ingredients of the Hudson Valley. Outside riverside dining. Private space for events. Open for Lunch and Dinner.

A National Historic Landmark

29 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner
845-255-4151

Very private home decorated in the Shaker spirit of simplicity and grace. On 20 acres i apple country featuring pool, walking trail, gardens, beautiful views and sunsets. Meet our Scottish Highland cattle and chickens. Two suites, each with full private bath, AC, TV/DVD, fridge, seating and dining area. A delicious homemade breakfast is delivered to your suitel Close to New Paltz and all area attractions and activities. Check availability on website.

129 Patura Rd, Modena
845-883-7868 or 800-822-7868

We make the old look new! Tile and grout stains and discolorations plaguing you? Call us. Tile and grout cleaning and sealing, and grout color sealing all done with low VOC products. We also provide “zero-dust” hard wood floor maintenance and carpet cleaning. Three average size rooms of carpet cleaning for only $99. Clean is so refreshing! And, it’s easier to maintain. Free estimates. Local references available.

845-750-5627

Moscow Conservatory trained musicians. Reasonable rates, references.

New Paltz
845-256-9767

The Knitting Garage @ Stickle's, the new knitting boutique! Featuring yarns by: Blue Sky, Spud & Chloe, Madeline Tosh, Shuibui and more! At A.L. Stickle Variety Store: in the back through the red double doors!

13 East Market St. , Rhinebeck
845-876-3206

Beadzo offers a wonderful selection of creative, artistic and ethnic jewelry from around the world as well as from our local artists and beaders. Necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from vintage, collectible and contemporary beads and metals are available. Semi-precious stones, pearls and lamp work beads have been made into unique creations and make special gifts. Silk scarves from Thailand and artistic hand knitted scarves can be found there as well. Folk art masks, clocks, earring holders and lively hand-painted wooden chests and jewelry boxes are also added to the mix. It’s all very whimsical, fun and full of spirit!

60 Broadway, Tivoli
845-757-5306

For a unique collaboration of your nature and mother nature. We offer full services of design/build of landscapes, including stone work. We will create a low-maintenance, timeless aesthetic solution to your landscaping needs. Completely insured, references available upon request. BBB member, A+ rated.

845-758-4088

Fall classes include: belly dancing, Reiki, SAT prep, photography, piano, pickleball, basketball, watercolor, collage art, Tai Chi, zumba, cooking, yoga, Pilates, tennis, babysitter certification, defensive driving, 5-hour pre-licensing, and more.

Red Hook
845 758-2241x71351

Rated #1 on Trip Advisor. Enjoy a country experience, take a walk to the lake or kayak. All rooms with private bath, AC, TV, fireplace. Salt water pool. Gourmet breakfast. Pet friendly. Just 6 miles to New Paltz.

12 Calderone Dr, Wallkill
845-464-5106

Buy your holiday and house-warming gifts at this Juried Art Show and Reception

Thursday, September 4th, 6-9pm, $45 admission. 

Wiltwyck Golf Club

404 Steward Lane, Kingston

Vintage Five & Dime with a special Knitting Shop. Carrying various yarns and supplies. Toys, household needs, crafts and so much more.

13 East Market St. , Rhinebeck
845-876-3206

Full-service Hudson Valley commercial, digital studio specializing in every aspect of business and web photography, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, holy communions, special events, family & executive portraits, and headshots of models and all people in the arts.

845-255-5255

A unique B&B just for your cat. Luxurious custom built cat-centric accommodations. Large walk in individual rooms, three levels and views of wildlife. Cageless, stress free, personalized care. Other available services: safe transportation to and from the lodge, animal care in your home, and more. 42 years keeping cats happy!

High Falls
845-687-0330

AboutTown Ulster: PO Box 474, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-691-2089  EMAIL US
AboutTown Dutchess/Columbia: The Chocolate Factory, 54 Elizabeth Street, Suite 11, Red Hook, NY 12571, 845-758-3616  EMAIL US
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