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August 22, 2014
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Winterfest: have an ice day

This inventive sleigh ride sure looked like fun (from a distance) at Winterfest in Matamoras, PA


February 17 - Just before the white stuff begins to thaw, with Valentine’s Day nipping at my nose, I seek refuge from the blustery winds by celebrating a few of the things that make my blood run cold—snow, ice and love everlasting...

Admittedly a bit depressed over the severe temperatures and missing the elusive sting of Cupid’s arrow, I was determined, over the weekend, to overcome my ennui and search the countryside for respite from the bitter winds. What better way, then, to spend time outdoors, bundled up and feeling sorry for myself!

Intrigued by the announcement that the Riverview Inn
(riverviewinninc.com) overlooking the Delaware on 42 glorious acres in Matamoras, PA would be hosting their first annual Winterfest, I struck out with a pal, in lieu of a date, confident that I would find true love sometime after the ice age.

The announcement promised “vendors, exhibits, a cooking contest, art show, music, magic & more,” so hopes were high as we pulled into the lot. As usual, weather is key when it comes to anything outside, and frigid temperatures are necessary to support bobsled rides and ice fishing, so it should have come as no surprise that I was cold, so darn cold!

We perused the snowman competition, snapped a few pics of kids frolicking, and searched (in vain) for hot chocolate, which became my mantra as the weekend progressed. I love observing the joy on kids’ frozen faces, but (as Bette Midler would say) “From a Distance.”

Too chilled to really let loose and enjoy myself, I gave in and hit the road. Checking my schedule, I realized that Jack Frost was having a laugh at my expense, since the next stop was more ice. As it turned out, there was quite a turnout for yet another Winterfest (which raises the question: what is so festive about winter?), in the charming town of Wurtsboro, NY, which the website (wurtsboro.org) promised would be replete with “Vendors, exhibits, a cooking contest, art & more.”

With no hot chocolate in sight, I sighed and traipsed around town, cheery pal in tow, while bemoaning my lack of true love, making a mental note that (IMHO) romance eludes those who constantly have cold feet. I couldn’t help but notice that the theme for the ice carving contest was (arrgh) love. Seeing no way around it, I succumbed and found myself entranced by the amazing sculptures that were in abundance along Main Street.

Overhearing the judging committee discuss a mystery in their midst, my heart swelled as they debated over who might be responsible for the surprising sculpture discovered in front of one of the shops (consignium.com). From what I could glean, someone had shown up in the wee hours to carve a block of ice that had been overlooked, with no hint of the artist’s identity. This “secret admirer” reminded me that true love can appear in many forms and I was (momentarily) warmed by the thought.

My third stop on the (now frozen) list was the Sullivan County Museum (sul livancountyhistory.org) on Main Street (catchy name!) in Hurleyville, NY. Hurleyville is the winter (there’s that word again) home of the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop (scdw.net), whose members were presenting a cabaret show devoted to (yep) love and all things Valentine, clearly designed (in my egocentric world) to get my goat.

The SCDW is currently accepting donations to complete the restoration of its once glittering marquee, and a nice crowd braved the cold to contribute and show their support.

Welcoming the audience, SCDW president Sally Gladden thanked all for attending, saying, “Only with this opportunity from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, coupled with support of contributors, are we able to restore this jewel to its original splendor.”

Acknowledging that I was in the audience to show my support, I endured the “tribute to love” without complaining about showing up stag. Songs like “Stardust Melody,” “I Got Rhythm” and “Tonight You’re Mine” filled the air, but the numbers that resonated with me were (oddly enough) “Cry Me a River,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” Every tax-deductible donation makes a difference, assisting in lighting the way to a brighter tomorrow, even on the sidewalks of South Fallsburg, so I will continue to champion the cause.

As the old saying goes: “Hope Springs Eternal.” With spring just around the corner, I will keep the sarcasm down to a dull roar and overlook the daze of whine and roses... this time. No telling what frigid, mind-numbing, loveless adventures await. Cupid, I dare you: draw back your bow.