Nestled in the hills just south of Greene County, Woodstock was founded in 1787 but became well known in the 1960s when the Woodstock Music Festival was in the early stages of being hatched. The actual festival ended up being held in Bethel, NY, almost 60 miles away in Sullivan County though.
Woodstock has long been a mecca for artists of all sorts. One of the nation’s oldest arts and crafts colonies, The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, brought the first artists to Woodstock in 1903, forever changing the cultural landscape of the town. Hervey White was one of the founders of the artist colony and then went on to create the more radical Maverick artists colony and built the concert hall. The Maverick Music Festival is is the nation’s longest running summer chamber music festival, just finishing up their 103rd season.
Levon Helm fell in love with the small-town vibe and bucolic countryside and put down roots here along with Bob Dylan when they began backing him after Dylan went electric. Levon recalled, “The town took in the band and treated us like favorite sons. If someone asked, ‘Is the band in town?, they could be talking only about us. That’s how the town actually gave us our name.” The Band.
Whether it’s the vibrant spirit of the town, the mountain views, hiking trails or swimming holes that bring you to the area, there is always comfort in knowing that peace and love have become not just a slogan but a way of life here.