In the Zena section of Woodstock there is a gorgeous pocket of land, forever protected from development, and open to all. It has meadow with paths groomed for walking and forest. There are wetlands and stream and a pond. Sixty acres entire, the property offers a stunning view of Overlook Mountain and the wildlife is abundant — a direct result from such a diverse and protected habitat. This is the Catskill Center's Thorn Preserve.
The estate of Laura Thorn gifted the land to the Catskill Center in 2013 complete with two existing structures; a garage/guest house and a cottage. Both were in intense disrepair and this last year the Bruderhof community, graciously funded the renovation of the Thorn cottage.
This Friday evening prior, despite threatening weather and a spit of drizzle, a group of neighbors and Woodstock citizens met over cocktails to celebrate the public opening of the rejuvenated Thorn Cottage. Jeff Senterman, executive director of the Catskill Center, was in attendance and personally thanked the Bruderhof via representatives, Martin Mathis and Johann Huleatt.
Bread Alone, Harpersfield Cheeses and Foodtown of Margaretville generously supplied delicious nosh; drink was courtesy of the Wine Hutch in Hurley. The staff of the Catskill Center decorated the cottage with floral arrangements and Catskill art. Twas a cozy and inviting evening.
The day after the party, four Americorps students moved into the cottage. They will be spending their summer building trails for the Woodstock Land Conservancy and the Catskill Center.
In spite of the improvements, there is still more work to be done. The cottage’s beautiful cobblestone chimney leaks and may have to be replaced. Additionally, the Catskill Center is in the process of converting the site classification from “single-family residence” to a Public Preserve, which requires the installation of a planning board-approved, 10-space parking area.
It is the hope of the Catskill Center that friends and members of the public who celebrate the existence of the Thorn Preserve and its cottage will support and help fund this next leg of work and other similar projects.