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Robin Catalano

Robin Catalano has 19 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.

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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Dance Review: Umanoove and The Happiness Project

Photo of dancer dancing in large clear plastic bag:The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.
The Happiness Project runs through July 21, at Jacob's Pillow; photo by Grace Kathryn Landefeld.

By Robin Catalano

Happiness is tricky. It’s something we all want, but it often feels just out of reach—that if we do this, buy that, go there, we’ll find it, wrapped and waiting like a birthday gift. The fleeting, often elusive quality of happiness lies at the center of The Happiness Project, a 2016 work by Dutch-born choreographer Didy Veldman, whose company, Umanoove, makes its U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow this week.

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Weekend Travel Pick: Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Image of Hot Air Balloon. Caption: Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.
Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.

A few facts you might not know about hot-air balloons: it’s hot—as in, skin-prickling hot—riding directly beneath their burners. Hot-air balloons also rise off the ground a lot faster than you’d think, and can vertically travel 10 feet or more per second. And once you’re up, you feel weightless and free-floating, as if you’re suspended over the landscape on the gentle breath of the breeze.

Another fact: the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, now in its 28th year, returns—bigger and more aww-inspiring—to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, this weekend. Dubbed “Little Albuquerque” by insiders (after the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest in the world), the Hudson Valley festival started out as a 10-balloon event with 3,000 spectators. Last year, 35,000 people came out to watch more than twice as many balloons. This year, with more than 100 morning and evening launches of 30 invitation-only balloons helmed by both national and international riders, attendance may tip the scale at closer to 50,000.

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Phoenix Rising — 48 Hours in Portland, Maine

The City of Portland, Maine rises above the waters of Portland Harbor, which is filled with sailing vessels and pleasure boats. The landmark Time and Temperature building can be seen, reading 5:39; photo by Benjamin Williamson.

By Robin Catalano

Even on a raw, rainy afternoon, with a uniform blanket of cinder-block gray settling over the sky, it’s easy to see why Portland, Maine, has smitten so many travelers. Raindrops the size of lima beans melt down the sides of buildings. The wind whooshes and gusts, cutting through coat sleeves and tossing hats. Atlantic waves wallop the jagged rocks in a spray of white foam. Still, the city seems just as beautiful, and possibly even more transfixing, as it does when there are blue skies for miles over Casco Bay.

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Game of Thrones Has a Serious Girl Problem

Composite image of familiar "Game of Thrones" faces Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen; HBO.
Composite image of familiar "Game of Thrones" faces Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, and Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen; HBO.

Like most of the civilized world, I’ve zealously planted myself in front of the TV on Sunday nights for the past eight years to watch Game of Thrones unfold. I’ve largely enjoyed it, at least up until the rush-to-the-finish seasons 7 and 8, which have packed far too much character development and time hopping into a handful of episodes (how did Jaime Lannister and Arya Stark get to King’s Landing so quickly?), in an effort to tie up loose ends dangled but not yet resolved by author George R. R. Martin’s source material. As the series marches toward its final episode this weekend, I’ve come to realize that beyond poor pacing, there’s something more I deeply dislike about it: Game of Thrones has a girl problem.

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I Am Going to Leave Her Here

The lush, stone-walled Italian Garden at The Mount provides a respite from Northeastern summer heat and humidity; early morning photo by Kevin Sprague.
The lush, stone-walled Italian Garden at The Mount provides a respite from Northeastern summer heat and humidity; early morning photo by Kevin Sprague.

by Robin Catalano

The homes of favorite authors are always must-stops on my travel itineraries. But perhaps owing to the old adage “Never meet your heroes,” the reality of where my favorite writers lived and worked has usually been less than remarkable, running the rather limited gamut from the spartan and unexceptional to the unkempt, if not derelict.

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The Pillar Profiles:
Lindsey Schmid

Editors Note: What does it mean when we say that someone is a “pillar of the community?” How you answer depends a lot on your experiences and intersections with the people who, in your mind, help support and strengthen the areas of local life that are most important to us. In this new series, we’ll surely tread some well worn paths in search of those personalities. We’ll blaze new trails looking for emerging leaders, as well as expand our vision of where to look for these pillars of our community. Know someone you think fills the bill? E-mail us.

When most of us Berkshires dwellers encourage friends to visit, we usually highlight the traveler’s trifecta of arts, culture, and outdoor recreation. But for Lindsey Schmid, tourism in the Berkshires is a lot more specific and varied. It’s about mindfulness and wellness. It’s about glamping and hotspots for watching wildlife. It’s the craft beverage trend, farm-to-table foods, and cannabis tours. And it’s about interactive experiences and behind-the-scenes tours of well-known venues—all the better to attract thrill seekers jonesing to be the first person to post on Instagram and say, “I did this!”

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