Taking a Walk Up To Hurd Road to the Woodstock Site

11 Aug

My sister and I decided to take a walk up to Hurd Road this past weekend, as my brother told us that they had carved a giant peace sign into the hillside where everyone had been to watch the Woodstock concerts 45 years ago. We started the two mile walk at 7 o’clock in the morning. It was cool and brisk: a perfect summer morning at 56 degrees. We passed what was once Sheppy’s Bungalows on the left. Going up that hill brought back memories of many walks along West Shore Road. Right passed Sheppy’s is a little road called Lollipop Lane. I don’t remember that street at all. And it really is not a street at all, just a little impression in the grass. I am trying to remember what was once there. I actually think there was once another colony on that side of the road. Lollipop Lane Just past Lollipop Lane, walking in the other direction, came my brother. He had left for his walk much earlier. It was a great walking day. We spoke for a few minutes, and he continued back to our house. As we walked down and then up the bigger hill to Happy Avenue, we remembered when they filled the bottom in to make the hill and road less steep. The hill was once horrible on cars, but great fun for children. We used to go horseback riding once a week at Pine Creek Stables, it no longer exists, except in our memories. But our favorite part of the drive to the stables, which we took sitting on hay bales in the back of a pick up truck, was hitting the bottom of the hill and bouncing in the flatbed of the truck. We would all yell, “Go faster!” Now, of course, that is illegal. But then it was part of the fun of going up to the stables. We would spend about two hours at the stables each week. It was so much fun. We got to go horseback riding and visit with the horses, while our mothers had a couple of hours of peace. I now wonder what they did then? Visited with each other in quiet, or cleaned. I hope it was just relaxing. One of my cousins loved the stables and riding so much, he actually worked there for many summers. Mucking out the stables, riding whenever he wanted. Another friend also spent many hours there. I went whenever I could. Since the owner knew us all so well, as we got older we were allowed to take horses out without a guide. Great fun!

I love their sign. I love their sign.

As we continued our walk up to Happy Avenue, we passed a new riding stable. Rolling Stone Ranch. Its’ sign is definitely a play on the original Woodstock logo, but different. I loved the sign. This stable is not where Pine Creek was located. It is right before you reach Happy Avenue, Pine Creek Stables was a bit after the intersection. When we reached Happy Avenue, our brother drove up behind us. Okay, I admit it, my sister and I did not walk all the way to Hurd Road. We road the second mile with our brother.

These is where Pine Creek Stables once existed. These is where Pine Creek Stables once existed.

We passed the Pine Creek site on the right. Then we passed the farm with the famous “Woodstock” pond on the left. He no longer has the chicken coops there. Now there are fields of corn on both sides of the road. Then up one more hill and there we were at the site of part of Max Yasgur’s farm. The part everyone knows: the natural amphitheater where the Woodstock concerts were held. Woodstock monument We walked to the monument and looked over at the giant peace sign carved into the grass. Over the top of the hill we could see the tents of the Bethel Woods concert site. In fact tents were set up just on the other side of Hurd Road on a piece of land bordering both West Shore Road and Hurd Road. We are sure it is for the events celebrating the anniversary of Woodstock.

Peace Sign carved into the side of the hill. Peace Sign carved into the side of the hill.

The walk is so peaceful now. Nothing like the chaos of 45 years ago. And perhaps calling the area Bethel Woods has more meaning. Yes, it is in the Township of Beth El. But how many realize that Beth El means the House of God? And here we are in this peaceful place of West Shore Road, with so much beauty around us. While we were in Kauneonga Lake this past weekend, my siblings and I were cleaning out the many items stored by our grandparents and parents over the more than 50 years our family has owned our house.   We found some photos from the Woodstock weekend taken from our driveway. Our dad then is almost 20 years younger than my brother and I are now! While walking the path to Woodstock, I could not help remembering all the cars and the people who were there 45 years ago. I think of all those hills along the way. The only way to get anywhere that weekend was by foot or by horse. I remember the mounted police officers riding past our house to get up to the concert.

Looking up the hill from where the stage once stood. You can see the peace sign and the tent and a building belonging to BethEl Woods. Looking up the hill from where the stage once stood. You can see the peace sign and the tent and a building belonging to BethEl Woods.

As a friend reminded me, the concert organizers asked my grandfather for permission to land a helicopter on our lawn to get the musicians to the concert. He, emphatically, said, “No Helicopters!” We were not happy, as we told him then, we would get to meet everyone! But to my now adult mind, he was right. It would have caused mass hysteria from the crowds of people on the road. And even though we had a cleared acre of land, there were many trees nearby. The Woodstock weekend is one I will never forget. But for me, I love the quiet and joy and peace of West Shore Road that we usually relish. I love to walk and see the sights. I wanted you all to know that peace is in the Kauneonga Lake, Bethel Township. The giant peace sign on the grass is for the concert, but for me it was also for the inner peace in my heart whenever I return to Kauneonga Lake.   (My memories of the Woodstock weekend are in my blog,  “Woodstock Memories: A Walk on West Shore Road.”

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