In my humble opinion

‘Tis the season

Posted 12/15/22

That it is, and now with snow blanketing the Upper Delaware River region, it’s even more evident that the holidays are upon us.

To further illustrate the point, I attended the Sullivan …

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In my humble opinion

‘Tis the season


That it is, and now with snow blanketing the Upper Delaware River region, it’s even more evident that the holidays are upon us.

To further illustrate the point, I attended the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association (SCVA) annual meeting at Bethel Woods last weekend, which was pretty darned festive.

Traditionally, the SCVA presents  its Hospitality Awards at the event, and this year was no exception.

Prior to that, folks mingled and jingled their way through cocktails, finger foods and more, while holiday tunes filled the air as pianist Jim Quinlan tickled the ivories with style. Dharma the Wonder Dog met some of her adoring fans and I schmoozed, snapping pics and exchanging bon mots with the glitterati.

SCVA president/CEO Roberta Byron-Lockwood opened the ceremony with glowing words of encouragement about the tourism industry in Sullivan County and what has transpired over the last 12 months.

“Today, our popularity as a travel destination is ever more apparent,” Lockwood enthused. “Our successes are driven by new and inventive entrepreneurs and established businesses who are strategic and mindful of our ever-changing economic climate.

“It gives me great pleasure,” Roberta announced, “to share that in 2021 traveler spending reached a record high of $710 million—a 66 percent increase over 2020.”

Wow, man. That sounds like a good reason to celebrate.

Four gleaming crystal Hospitality Awards were handed out that evening, including the Emerging Business Award to Dara Manzi  (Upstate D Tours), and the TOAST award for exceptional service to Jheneel Burkely (Kartrite Resort  & Indoor Waterpark). The STAR Award for Business Achievement went to the Eldred Preserve.

Rounding out the ceremony was the STAR Award for individual achievement, which was presented to Sullivan County’s own Paul Carlucci, vice president of the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center. Carlucci has been the face of the Villa for many years, and his recognition as a star in the industry was (IMHO) long overdue. Congrats to all.

Me? I won nothing. Nada. Zip. Maybe I should do something noteworthy. I’ll work on that in 2023.

On Saturday, Dickens on the Delaware made its triumphant return to the streets of Callicoon, NY, and gave Dharma an excuse to get all gussied up in her finest (don’t’ judge!) Victorian velvet gown. I looked like a bum, but my dog has expensive taste and generous friends. What can I say?

More schmoozing ensued as we checked out the stores and the vendors, sipped hot chocolate and chatted with revelers, whether they were visiting or called the Catskills home. Dharma even sat with Santa, undoubtedly asking for toys. She’s 13, and needs nothing—but if I know St. Nick, she will likely get some regardless.

I’m a fan of this annual event, but silently wished for snow to fall to make the pics more Currier and Ives, and less Spring Awakening. “Be careful what you wish for” my mother would say, and what do you know? I’m putting boots on and schlepping the snowblower out of the garage right now. Oh, joy.

For more photos of both events, follow us on Facebook and check out the gallery at

Ask the Google: Q. What the heck is a “bon mot?” A. A “clever saying, phrase or witticism; often a witty riposte [oh, just look it up!] in dialogue.”

Sullivan County Visitors Association, Hospitality Awards, Dickens on the Delaware, Dharma the wonder dog, SCVA


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