“My Life in Spring Glen” by Sherry Bigelisen (written May, 2012)
Spring Glen holds a wealth of memories for me and my family. I spent my entire life in Spring Glen. As a child I spent summers there, and then when I was 19 I became a year-round resident, something I thought I could only dream about.
My sister attended middle school and high school in Ellenville, about 6 miles north of Spring Glen. I had graduated from high school when our mother bought our home, which we still own today. After working in Ellenville, I felt I needed more, and new friends encouraged me to attend college. I attended Orange County Community College and after graduating, I earned a BA from SUNY New Paltz. A career as an editor brought me back to NYC, and my sister, a high school teacher, also returned to NYC. However, we’ve been commuting to Spring Glen on weekends and vacations because this is our home.
Over the years so many folks have asked “what is there to do up there…don’t you get bored?” If you’re asking the same, you are in for a surprise because our answer is endless.
First, you have to love the country, with its peacefulness and freedom. In summer, swimming and fishing is a start. Most co-ops have pools and Sandburg Creek runs through town…stocked with fish. Of course, if you care to venture beyond Spring Glen there are Town pools and lakes throughout the area for fishing and boating. My dad and uncle fished in streams, lakes, ponds and even the Walkill River south over the mountain for huge carp.
Ellenville offers an array of interesting activities such as the Shadowland Theatre, an Actors Equity theater. Ellenville also has some fine restaurants for a great evening out. There’s also a bowling alley, a library with a full schedule of activities and a golf course in the area. Ellenville also features a weekly newspaper, which features a variety of local news, personal columns, and more.
About 30 minutes northwest there is gaming in Monticello. About 10 miles beyond that is a magnificent venue, Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts. Built on the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, located on 800 acres of beautifully kept grounds, it features an amphitheatre that seats 15,000. Top name entertainers perform and other events take place throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
In addition, there are county fairs, street fairs, organizational breakfasts, yard sales, and numerous other “small town” events. In August, Ellenville hosts the annual Blueberry/Huckleberry Festival, with all things blueberry, and other fair foods. Memorial Day weekend, the Phillipsport Community Center hosts a Music Night on Saturday evening where, for a few dollars, one can enjoy a local band, coffee, and dessert. Many groups throughout the area offer evenings like this from July to October, and some events continue into Christmas season.
Sadly, the Spring Glen jukebox and pinball machines that amused us in the evenings as teenagers are gone. Most of today’s youngsters are clueless at the word “jukebox.” For me and the friends I’ve made while we danced the cha-cha and the twist, the thought of a jukebox conjures up wonderfully warm memories like Sky High ice-cream cones, Davy Crocket ice-cream cones, fireballs, and root beer in a frozen mug. I remember the ice cream man, and the Chow Chow truck, where one could buy a small cup of Chinese food. I even remember days when a salesman came around with a station wagon loaded with ladies clothing. All these folks came around to local bungalows because with husbands in New York City working weekdays, wives were without transportation and were happy to have everything brought to their doors. It was a great vacation out of the hot city.
We had no day camps, no television, and no computers. But we did have radio and imagination and that kept us busy every summer. Today there are websites filled with old friends and names of bungalow colonies where we all stayed.
Some of us made friends for life. We see each other and always keep in touch. We’ve been to each other’s weddings and other important life events. We remember our loved ones in the synagogue in Spring Glen and we remember the hamlet’s rich history as well.
So now in our home, our calendar is filling up. It’s going to be a busy spring and busier summer and we’ve already had to turn away guests who are anxious to enjoy an afternoon barbecue and maybe a campfire roasting marshmallows in the evening. If you want to enjoy what’s here now and make your own memories for the future, this is the place to come. You’ll never lack for things to do or friends at your door.