Gifts for guys


For 30 years of his adult life, my father got the same present from his aunt: long thermal underwear. It wasn’t a huge need in Phoenix, but Dad was a good sport and always called to say thank you. What did he really want? Time to spend hiking and a Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I computer.

So you’re buying for a guy who, when asked, says, “I don’t know.” Give it some thought—what does he like to do?—and then go find it, locally. “By supporting local businesses, you are in turn supporting your local economy. Significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned businesses,” said Jaime Schmeiser, president and CEO of the Sullivan County Chamber.

Snow-blower season

Shopping at John H. Eschenberg in Callicoon is more than just stopping by, grabbing what you need, paying for it and then peeling out onto 17B, getting back to your day. 

You visit. You listen to the stories and share your own. Take your time. This is what business was like back in the old days.

Owner Dennis Eschenberg has worked in the family shop since he was nine—“Sixty years ago,” he says—and has seen how time changes things. 

“My grandparents came up in the Depression.” He gestures around the bright showroom, chainsaws on the wall, a green Polly Gas pump at one end of the room. “This was the barn. My father came home from the war and in ‘47 he opened the shop.” John H. Eschenberg worked there for 50 years, keeping long hours and building a business that’s as much a part of Callicoon as the stores on Main Street. 

Now, Eschenberg and co-worker Cathy Eschenberg look over rows of Ariens and Husqvarna snowblowers, ranging from small ones you push to large ones that practically drive themselves. In another room, lawnmowers await spring.  “Everything we sell we warranty, and we service the products ourselves.” 

The staff is long-term; they’ve been with the Eschenbergs for a decade or more. Nobody as long as Dennis (who insists he’s retired and the business is just his hobby now), but you get the feeling that, someday, they’ll get there. 

For the outdoorsmen


At Marshall Machinery, near Honesdale, PA, the field is blanketed with orange Kubota tractors.

It’s all work toys, not play toys, but if you’ve got a guy whose idea of fun is work? This is his shopping paradise. 

They have snow-removal equipment, farm equipment, excavators and mowers. The tractors handle everything from landscaping to construction, and they come in a size to suit your needs. 

Marshall Machinery has three locations: Honesdale and Swiftwater in PA and Middletown, NY. For more information, go to their website,


The Can-Am Outlander in mossy oak took the Hunting ATV of the Year award at You’ll find an increase in horsepower, better ground clearance, superior towing capacity and a winch for retrieving game, says It’s available locally at Klinger Powersports in Walton, NY. 


The Polaris Switchback tops best-snowmobile lists for its power and balance, according to The 2020 Switchback Assault 144 “is for aggressive, backcountry riders who want off-trail agility with on-trail confidence,” the company says. It’s available through Bill Case Polaris in Beach Lake. 

For the gamers

Some people will jump for the shiny new thing, waiting a year before purchase. But if someone you love has worn out their system, or something unspeakable happened to the old setup, take a look at the current crop. The bugs have been worked out, the price has come down and you’ll know what you’re getting. There’s a lot to be said for that.

For the builder: entire worlds, one brick at a time

Lego is on our minds these days, as the Legoland NY theme park is set to open in Goshen on July 4, 2020.

The building blocks have always been lauded for the imaginative creations kids can build. But adults have seized on them too, creating entire worlds that dominate conventions and are displayed in museums. (See Brickworld Chicago 2019 on Facebook, or Nathan Sawaya’s work at

So for the precise, detail-oriented guy on your list, start with one of these sets. And then let him go from there.


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