Woodstock village, carved out of the lush deciduous woodlands and cut by fast-rushing creeks, was not actually the venue of the famed psychedelic picnic of August 1969. That was some sixty miles southwest in Bethel, where a monument at Herd and West Shore roads marks the site on the farm owned by Max Yasgur where the first festival was held. However, Woodstock has enjoyed a bohemian reputation since the foundation in 1903 of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony (which runs summer residency courses; Tel:845/679-2079, Web: www.woodstockguild.org ), and during the 1960s it was a favourite stomping ground for the likes of Dylan, Hendrix, and Van Morrison. The town still trades on its hippie past: shops sell crystals and tie-dyed T-shirts, and there's even the odd commune out in the woods. Woodstock's galleries and craft shops command a regional reputation and the village is also a hub for the performing arts: the Maverick Concert series (late June to Aug; $20 per concert/$5 students; Tel:845/679-8217, Web: www.maverickconcerts.org ) has played host to some of the world's finest chamber musicians since 1906.
Woodstock is a great base for exploring the Catskills, and the best option for accommodation is the cozy Twin Gables Guest House, 73 Tinker St (Tel:845/679-9479, Web: www.twingableswoodstockny.com ; Price: $76-100). If this is full, try the equally central Getaway-on-the-Falls at 5 Waterfall Way (Tel:845/679-2568, Web: www.tinkervillagewoodstock.com ; Price: $131-160). Between Woodstock and Saugerties, which offers a string of chain motels ten miles northeast, are Bed by the Stream (Tel:845/246-2979, Web: www.bedbythestream.com ; Price: $131-160), a lovely rustic B&B, and Rip Van Winklecampgrounds (May– Oct; $30 per tentsite; Tel:845/246-8334), both signposted off Rte-212. Apart from the town's favourite café, Joshua's, at 51 Tinker St (Tel:845/679-5533), the best places to eat are a little way out of the village: the menu at the ANew World Home Cooking Company, towards Saugerties at 1411 Rte-212 (April– Oct; Tel:845/246-0900), has Caribbean and Creole-influenced dishes for under $20, while two miles west on Rte-212 in tiny Bearsville, the lively Bear Café (Tel:845/679-5555) serves excellent French bistro cuisine. Several daily buses take two and a half hours to reach Woodstock from New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal (Adirondack Trailways; Tel:1-800/858-8555, Web: www.trailwaysny.com ). For more information, visit the Chamber of Commerce booth on Rock City Road, just off the village green (Tel:845/679-6234, Web: www.woodstockchamber.com ).