Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Road to Woodstock

The first weekend in December I went on a little road trip with Dulsk to Bethel and 
Woodstock, New York. To put in simple, I didn’t want to ever leave. 
The entire trip was like a dream. When I’m home I’m tired, get headaches, become moody, etc. and during this trip I truly felt like I was on cloud 9 the entire time. We left Thursday after work and drove almost 4 hours to Lancaster, PA to visit one of my bestest friends, Kaitlyn. She and her husband have a beautiful home that all decorated for Christmas. As soon as we got there, Kev walked inside and up the steps to put his bag in the spare bedroom and apparently on his way back down stairs he stepped in some of their dog Monkey’s poop. So that was a nice little welcome—he trailed it all down the hall, down the steps and into the entryway. Don’t worry it all came out. Silly, Kev J Kate took us out to an awesome restaurant decorated with tons of Steelers gear and afterwards we continued our drinking at a little bar closer to her house. We got home, exchanged gifts (she got me TONS of beautiful peacock things) and I made some ramen slaw for the weekend. Unfortunately Kev and I needed to get up super early to get on the road so our visit was short.

Our drive was supposed to be close to 4 hours and due to some direction difficulties ended up being closer to 6 hours. Somewhere along the way we started going towards Bethel, CT and not Bethel, NY. Took us about 2 hours out of our way—I was not a happy camper after this. But we did get to see this pretty site:
This is Bloom's Mill. It house Revolutionary soldiers during the war.
Eventually we made it to Bethel. Anyone who knows me knows how I get when I am way too excited about something. Needless to say, I was ready to get out of that car. We drove straight to the Museum at Bethel Woods and opted to check into the hotel until after. Going to this museum ahs been one of the best memories and experiences I've ever had. It looks on the small side, but I can promise it is filled to the brims with photos, videos, music & more. We met one of the volunteers (whose name I can't remember) and he guided us downstairs to the "Pig Light Show." Marc Rubenstein also known as "Pig" created these light shows in the 60s and played them most famously at the Fillmore. He started out using overhead projectors, oil and dye and made beautiful images that moved along to the sound of music. We saw John Lennon "Imagine," and various Aerosmith and Jefferson Airplane songs. This was a special exhibit and ending the next day so we were glad we made it.
It was finally time to head upstairs into the main museum. I walked in and immediately became overwhelmed with happiness. The museum was exactly as I imagined. It was the 60’s wrapped up in one room:  colorful, interactive, groovy, psychedelic, peaceful and filled with love. The museum had everything. From MLK to JFK and Bobby, Haight-Ashbury, Timothy Leary, the Vietnam War and every record and legendary photograph you could 
It’s hard to pick a favorite part, but I did love that psychedelic bus. I stepped inside and was ready to move in. The tie-dyed tapestries on the ceiling, beads hanging from the window, the music being played just put me in that mood. The windshield was used as a screen and played clips from Woodstock. While we were sitting on the bus, the first volunteer we met came on and sat with us. Turns out he grew up in Pittsburgh near McKeesport and his sister still lives there in Bethel Park! He played college football in the 60s, so unfortunately had to miss out on the Woodstock experience, but was still full of information and happy to tell us about anything we asked.

Clearly it was our lucky day, because the museum was slow so it felt like we had it to ourselves, with the exception of one older couple and one man. This one man was at Woodstock. He was there to relive one of the best weeks of his life. He told us stories and we talked about the reality of today compared to the years of peace and love. It was pretty amazing. As we reached the end, we stayed and watched a special 20 minute film made just for the museum, and can you even believe that Grace Potter and drummer Matt were featured? They were responding to the films of each performance at the festival.

The exit of the museum was the entrance to the gift shop. I picked up a few things and once again met an awesome museum worker. It was closing time and we were the last to leave. He stayed and suggested some sites to check out and answered a few questions. I asked if he ever got bored of working at the museum. He responded by saying “You mean all the music, peace and love stuff? Not at all—I love it.”

We said goodbye to our fellow Pittsburgher and headed to dinner. Bethel has a little town square with a couple restaurants and shops. It’s a very small town so we were told that was about it when it came to options for dinner. Well that small town gave us some of the best meals we’ve ever had. I had crab and scallop stuffed flounder with mashed potatoes and asparagus and Kev had a burger with lots of different spices. The service was awesome, which we were expecting. 

The next morning the museum had a craft show, we stopped by and I got some winter tea, a postcard, a charm made out of an old domino and Kev bought his sister a rug made out of recycled plastic bags. Next came one of the best parts of the trip:  the Woodstock monument. When I walked near that field and looked out over the fence, I felt like I was there. If you’ve ever been to Ellis Island and walked into the main room all the immigrants came through, it’s the same feeling. At one time the place you are standing was filled with people, memories, and experience that you will most likely never come close to having, but still feeling like you were part of it.
I’ve always had so much respect for the culture, people, artists and leaders of that era, but after this experience it has reached a whole new level. It was awesome, fulfilling and life-changing.

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