Woodstock is of course most famous as the location of the iconic Music festival back in 1969. Except it never actually hosted it at all – the event was planned for there but eventually took place some 60 miles away at Yasgur’s Farm, near Bethel.
What Woodstock has hosted, and is somewhat less famous for, are the generations of artists and musicians that made (and continue to make) this pretty Catskills village their home.
Their most famous resident was Bob Dylan, who had several homes here, before being driven out by hippies who disturbed his privacy, often finding their way right in to his house. One of his homes was very close to Hotel Dylan in Ohayo Mountain Road, whilst another was near Byrdcliffe, an arts and crafts artistic commune from 1903 which effectively kick-started the towns artistic heritage. Dylan was drawn by its musical community and others like Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, The Band and David Bowie followed.
The Hotel Dylan itself is also something of a relic from the Festival era – an unpresupposing sixties roadside motel. It would be easy to drive past assuming that it has remained little changed, but that would be both wrong, and a big mistake.
For Hotel Dylan is one of the most charming and quirky places that you could ever stay. A talented husband-and-wife team, The Novogratz, have mixed natural materials, industrial cast-offs and handmade products, with colourful and highly original results.
The motel is spruced up and renovated, the reception area has a great little shop. Each room is now named after one of the rock n’ roll greats associated with the Woodstock area – The Van Room or The Jimi for example – or with a musical reference like The Roadies.
Ours was dedicated to Van Morrison and featured a bed from rough hewn wood, topped with an excellent quality mattress, white linen and colourful cushions. There were reclaimed metal bedside cabinets, yellow anglepoise lamps and iconic rock and roll photography from Elliott Landy and Michael De Feo gracing the walls.
On a long cabinet sat some excellent books, a Crosley record player and a stack of top quality vinyl. Sure enough Van Morrison’s Moondance sat on the top, whilst below were the likes of The Stones, Talking Heads and Bob Dylan. Vinyl heaven!
Guests can also grab extra records at the front desk whilst outdoors there is a fire pit and, seasonally, a hammock and a swimming pool equipped with underwater speakers.
Santa Fe Woodstock, a (shares the location with Hotel Dylan) restaurant and bar, serving top quality modern Mexican cuisine, but be aware that a continental breakfast is currently only served on weekends. On other days you’ll need to leap in the car for a short drive to one of the charming spots in central Woodstock.
You should not of course come to the Hotel Dylan for a 5 star experience but to sink in to the atmosphere of rural Woodstock. Pop on some classic vinyl, open a book and soak up the local vibe.
This review was originally published in CELLOPHANELAND* on December 11, 2016.
To see the entire review click here.