Passion for hospitality
When I received the invitation to the Kartrite Business Blender, the thing that caught my eye was that the affair was catered by Mr. Willy.
Mr. Willy, aka Bill Sipos, has been serving up food in Sullivan County since 1968. I remember with great fondness gatherings at his Route 42 restaurant. Sharing a beer following a State of the County Address with Rick Lander and Ned Lang is one of my favorites.
And this gathering, with the Kartrite Hotel and Indoor Waterpark rising in the distance, had that same flair of county pride, expectation, and cuisine abundance.
The breweries and distilleries—Catskill Brewery, Catskill Distilling Company, Roscoe Brewery, and Prohibition Distillery—were on hand generously handing out libations of all sorts. And the food really was over the top.
It was delightful to see Mr. Willy and the traveling kitchen, manned by his son, Bob, and to hear that all of the food was made on premises. (This is his new gig after closing the restaurant some years ago.) I loved hearing that Mr. Willy was having the time his life. As he strode through the gathering, greeting people, checking all of the hot stations and hors-d'oeuvre arrays, it was clear this was a man in his element.
It’s always meaningful to see that authentic expression of someone's unique gifts.
Speaking of unique gifts and treasures, I was fortunate to have a tour of Bethel Pastures Farm, with host Rochelle Beck, while delivering our summer magazines there for her guests. In one sense, this absolutely charming old (and renovated) boarding house, with its full rocking chair porch and 52 acres with stone walled lined paths, chickens and sheep, is the other end of the spectrum of tourism from the $200 million facility at the campus of the Resorts World Catskills.
Bethel Pastures Farm is a showcase for Upper Delaware simple elegance. Renovated rooms with quilts and fans, newly built cabins with quilts and solar power fans, and a glamping (glamorous camping) site, is the real that will combine with the world-class dreams of the casino and the waterpark.
Rochelle beams as she tells me how much she enjoys sharing her property. How it was a dream for 19 years to have a farm bed and breakfast. How she loves all her visitors, especially the repeat customers. She is delighted that her family: her parents, Sol and Marion, and husband, Mark, and their 13-year old son, Jonathan, share that passion of providing hospitality. (They are celebrating their fifth anniversary, and have been making improvements each year.)
I think about families camping at Bethel Pastures Farm being able to go the waterpark for the day and return back to their grill and barbecue and to the lovely vistas of the Upper Delaware.
We each have our passion, our preferences, the unique ways that we choose to spend our time.
Me, I have a passion for good food and country hospitality.
It’s been a good week. The future looks pretty good, too.