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Robin Catalano

Robin Catalano has 25 articles published.

Robin Catalano believes in the power of storytelling to connect communities and cultures. She’s applied her creative approach to writing for magazines, books, blogs, websites, and a wide variety of marketing projects, and has published more than 75 articles and 1,000+ blog posts. As an editor, she has worked on more than 350 books for publishers including Penguin Random House, Workman, and Simon & Schuster. She has also served as a book coach for independent authors, helping them take their ideas from concept to print. An avid traveler and travel writer, Robin lives, reads, and writes voraciously in upstate NY.

Snapshot Travel Guide
Hoosick Falls, New York

Mural based on Anna Mary Robertson's, a.k.a. Grandma Moses, 1960 painting Wagon Repair Shop; photo by Robin Catalano.
Mural based on Anna Mary Robertson's, a.k.a. Grandma Moses, 1960 painting Wagon Repair Shop; photo by Robin Catalano.

A curious village with a tenacious history, Hoosick Falls is located in the town of Hoosick, between the Capital Region of New York and Bennington, VT. Originally settled in the mid-1700s, it was torched during French and Indian War. Settlers returned and rebuilt, and it became an industry powerhouse during the Victorian era. Like many once-prosperous industrial towns in the Hudson Valley, it eventually declined in the mid-1900s. But this sleepy village is on the verge of a major wake-up and shake-up, with a concerted effort in economic development currently under way.

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Weekend Picks: The Haunt: Forest Frights in New Lebanon; FilmColumbia

The Haunt Halloween Trail; photo by Robin Catalano.
The Haunt Halloween Trail; photo by Robin Catalano.

For this edition of our Weekend Travel Pick, we’ve got a Columbia County, New York, twofer: one of the region’s best film festivals, and some spooky pre-Halloween fun.

The Haunt: Forest Frights in New Lebanon

Go ahead. Ring the doorbell.

Then push open the creaky gate—the one with the blinking eyeball—and be plunged into the darkness, with only an itty-bitty flashlight, some caution tape, and your own sense of self-possession to guide you. You’re in The Haunt, Columbia County’s newest spookfest. For the next 40 minutes, you’ll wander a twisting haunted Halloween trail in the woods of New Lebanon—which, if I’m being honest, can be pretty hair-raising all on their own at night.

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Best of Hudson Shopping: Clothing, Jewelry & Accessories

Much of the great shopping in Hudson, New York can be found on Warren Street; photo by Dan Region.
Much of the great shopping in Hudson, New York can be found on Warren Street; photo by Dan Region.

Best of Hudson Shopping: Clothing, Jewelry & Accessories

Living in a quiet rural region has its perks. There’s plenty of room to spread out when you want to make like Greta Garbo and be alone. There are dozens of farm-to-table restaurants and farm-to-bottle beverage producers serving some truly inspired food and drink. It’s beautiful, even when it’s -10 degrees F and the wind is howling, and especially during the parade of color in the fall. And it’s rare to spend more than a few minutes in traffic, even when there’s a jam (or, more likely, endless road construction).

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Snapshot Travel Guide —
Castle Hill, Ipswich, Mass.

Robin doesn’t stop moving for long. She’s in Europe at the moment, and we can’t wait for her to share some of the stories and images she’s picking up in her travels. Just before she went abroad, though, she toured one of America’s “castles” in Ipswich, Mass.

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Unsung Eats: The KShack in New Lebanon

The KShack, which opened on the Fourth of July, 2019 in New Lebanon, serves up seasonal delights, locally sourced when possible; photo by Robin Catalano.
The KShack, which opened on the Fourth of July, 2019 in New Lebanon, serves up seasonal delights, locally sourced when possible; photo by Robin Catalano.

Drive through New Lebanon on Route 20, and you may notice something a little different: a colorful, comics-esque sign for The KShack. It’s easy to pass if you’re on a mission from Pittsfield to Albany or from New York City to the Berkshires, but this roadside food stand, set off the main drag on Tilden Lane, is worth a stop. In each travel direction.

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Beyond the Witches: 48 Hours in Salem

For locals and tourists alike, Salem Willows has been the heart of Salem for generations; photo by Robin Catalano.
For locals and tourists alike, Salem Willows has been the heart of Salem for generations; photo by Robin Catalano.

And now a Halloween-bubble-bursting PSA: there were never any witches in Salem.

At least not in 1692, and not in the cauldron-stirring, body-snatching way Hollywood would have us believe. And while this minor thrill—that something wicked supposedly this way comes—might seem like a reason to visit Salem, it’s not the best one, not by a mile. The real reason to make a weekend getaway to Salem is because this quirky, energized city has evolved from its roots as a maritime trading power into an eclectic destination with dozens of options for exploration—most of them affordable and accessible, and nearly all of them memorable.

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Treading a Spiritual Path:
Hiking Shaker Mountain

Shaker Reservoir in late Summer; submitted photo.
Shaker Reservoir in late Summer; submitted photo.

In this place, footfalls seem softer. The air somehow seems easier to breathe, and the rays of sunshine that stream between the birches and pines more brilliant. The soil even smells sweeter. In this place, where water shushes through rock-strewn brooks and the wind plays the trees like tambourines, centuries-old history comes alive like a heartbeat.

This place is Shaker Mountain.

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Snapshot Travel Guide — Exeter, New Hampshire

A view of Exeter from across the banks of the Squamscott River, a popular body of water for canoeing, kayaking, boating, and fishing along some sections; photo by Robin Catalano.
Exeter was founded in 1638 by a group of Puritan rabble-rousers who were tossed out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their dissident religious views. It’s also the birthplace of sculptor Daniel Chester French; photo by Robin Catalano.
You won’t want for food choices in Exeter. Our top pick at hip-and-healthful Laney & Lu: Thai peanut noodles with carrots, beets, cabbage, avocado, beet-pickled egg, and watermelon radish; photo by Robin Catalano.
The Ladd-Gilman House, originally built in 1721, was the state treasury during the Revolution. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s now a museum, and houses one of only 26 surviving copies of the Dunlap Broadside (the first reproduction copies of the Declaration of Independence) and two rare drafts of the U.S. Constitution; photo by Robin Catalano.
Lest you think Exeter is all crusty historical stuff, every Labor Day Weekend, the town hosts a UFO Festival, to commemorate a mysterious incident. In 1965, a young man was hitching a ride home when he noticed flashing red lights that seemed to hover over a farm, then move toward him. The same evening, a woman was found sitting in her car along Route 108, visibly shaken from having been followed for miles by a “huge object with flashing red lights.” Two police officers later testified to having seen the same unidentified object. Virtually all shops and restaurants in the Downtown Area Commercial District get in on the alien-invasion fun.
Despite its small size and walkability, downtown Exeter has a surprising number of shops. Serendipity is a great choice for housewares, gifts, and clothing; photo by Robin Catalano.
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We always think of you when we’re off adventuring — wouldn’t it be great if we could ALL go touring together?

On second thought, that might look like an invasion from Greylock Nation! But we can share snapshot moments that let you in our fave finds in both near and far–flung locales (is “near-flung a thing?) If you’ve been to this destination, leave a comment below to share your favorite restaurant, shop, attraction, or other feature.

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This Land Is Our Land

Photo of indigenous American dancer in traditional ceremonial attire: The Land On Which We Dance Inside/Out Performance; photo byGrace Kathryn Landefeld.
The Land On Which We Dance Inside/Out Performance; photo byGrace Kathryn Landefeld.

Jacob’s Pillow shifts the conversation on indigenous dance through its landmark celebration The Land on Which We Dance.

Editor’s Note: This independent, original article generously sponsored by Jacob’s Pillow.

An Arapaho proverb says, “All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us, and if we listen, we can hear them.” It’s an elegantly simple explanation of the interconnectedness of life on and with earth—a central belief in most, if not all, indigenous traditions.

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Weekend Pick: Basquiat x Warhol at The School

Outdoor photo of the front of The Shainman Gallery, formerly the Martin Van Buren Elementary School in Kinderhook, New York, hosts Basquiat x Warhol through September 7; photo by Robin Catalano.
The Shainman Gallery, in Kinderhook, New York, hosts Basquiat x Warhol through September 7; photo by Robin Catalano.

The pretty and petite Village of Kinderhook in Columbia County, New York, is a place where you’d expect to find historic buildings, vintage-inspired restaurants, and well-groomed, flower-lined streets. And it does have all of those things—plus an unexpected, worth-the-detour extra: The School, Jack Shainman Gallery, which hosts the world-class Basquiat x Warhol exhibit through September 7.

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The Sea Is All About Us

VIDEO: However many whale watches you’ve enjoyed, a whale watch in Gloucester is a don’t-miss. Here, a humpback dives for a meal; video by Floren Garcia.

Driving along the boulder-strewn coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, gives the impression of endless shoreline. Beach rose, summersweet, and milkweed bloom in tight clusters above towering cliffs, their tops desert hues of clay and sand, their bottoms turned inky by millennia of ocean swells. Scenic beaches, where foamy waves slurp against the shore and seagulls trawl the water’s edge for reckless crabs, appear regularly along coast-hugging Route 127. The air is heavy with salt, slightly tacky on the fingertips and damp against the throat. Massive hotels and the homes of the not necessarily famous but certainly capable of dropping a cool few million jut out over the ocean like patrician jaws, glossy and studiously lived-in.

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Dance Review: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

Photo of a group of eight dancers, in a cluster formation, all in the same pose, leaning backward: A.I.M in "Drive"; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.
A.I.M in "Drive"; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.

Kyle Abraham is looking for something. The multi-award-winning choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, whose company, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, makes its mainstage debut at Jacob’s Pillow this week, brings his signature search for identity and struggle with personal and societal emotional trauma to a packed, five-dance program.

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