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October 24, 2016
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The times, they are a changin’

“On these anniversaries, we find people wandering in with artifacts and stories year after year,” Lawrence said. “Visitors like these are a nice validation of what we do.”

Wade then suggested that I visit nearby Hector’s campground, where “many return year after year, like the swallows to Capistrano,” and look for Mark Victor, who had stopped by earlier to show Lawrence his van, which is painted like the VW busses of old, and is personally signed by many of the performers who had been at the Woodstock Festival.

I found Victor, who had driven his mobile salute to the ‘60s from Grand Rapids, MI, hanging out with friends and graciously allowing anyone who wandered by to take pictures and chat about the vehicle. It certainly symbolizes the time period, replete with peace signs, naked revelers and a life-sized portrait of The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. Victor invited me inside, and we spent some time pouring over his scrapbook of Woodstock and the scads of musical icons who have signed the van. Hippies, both young and old, were everywhere, and the mood was festive at Hector’s. More vendors were visible, but the majority of campers were quietly celebrating the anniversary, while swapping stories, strumming guitars and hanging out by the fire pit.

As I prepared to make my way to the Catskill Distilling Company (www.catskilldistilling.com) just across the road from Bethel Woods, I couldn’t help but muse on the times, and how they have indeed changed, yet somehow continue to resonate with the past. The distillery was introducing their newest spirits, “Most Righteous Bourbon” and “Wicked White Whiskey,” which took their rightful place alongside the company’s first offering: “Peace Vodka.” Understanding that time stands still for no one is healthy, but it’s nice to look back and honor the past. The region already holds several pages in the history books, and it ain’t over yet. Can’t wait to see the next chapter unfold.