Remembering The 2nd Annual Soirée on the Railway
On August 4th, 2018, we gathered on The Delaware & Ulster Railroad to host the Second Annual Soirée on the Railway, a lavish train voyage to celebrate the past, present, and future of the Catskills.
The evening began on the platform of the Delaware & Ulster station in Arkville, NY. Our impeccably dressed guests were greeted with personalized tickets and refreshing cocktails before being ushered onto the vintage train. The horn sounded and the engine let up smoke as we propelled forward towards Roxbury, NY. Together on the train’s open-air car, amongst a sea of floral suits, flowing gowns, and smiling faces, we coasted by scenery only visible from these heritage tracks.
The Soirée honored the bygone glamour of train travel to the Catskills’ famed resorts, notably referred to as the “The Borscht Belt”. Once attracting hundreds of thousands of first and second-generation immigrants throughout the mid-twentieth century, the Catskills became the mecca for families in search of a bucolic summer retreat. Thanks to the Ulster & Delaware Railroad, New Yorkers were able to flee the city with ease every summer. From the day the first tracks were laid down in 1866, the U&D was the heart of the Catskill Mountains. The Catskills Revitalization Corporation owns the railway and keeps the memory of The Borscht Belt alive through weekly public excursions and special events like The Soirée.
Today, the Catskills are once again thriving. The talent found in the region could be seen at every turn on the restored train cars, adorned with luxurious floral installations by Season on Hudson and vibrant antique rugs from Upstate Rug Supply. The Catskill inspired menu by Brushland Eating House and the collection of local makers at the affair brought the surrounding areas’ talent together in an extraordinary display. Passing by misty mountains, fields of wildflowers, and crisp blue lakes, the evening culminated in a live performance by The Bee’s Knees, a lively five-piece jazz band that played nostalgic melodies from the back of the open-air car. As the sky darkened and the train rumbled back to the station, we couldn’t help but feel that we were waking from a wonderful dream.
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Video directed and edited by Dylan Tuccillo, filmed by Thomas Peisel and Brian Miller, with help from Sohpia Dean.
Dressed to the nines in their finest attire, our guests came from far and wide to board the train. Greeted with smiles from the And North team and refreshing cocktails, they stepped on to the open-air cars and felt instantly transported to another time.
Inspired by the cross section of historic train travel and contemporary design, the train tickets, designed by And North Design Director Tim LaSalle, were given to each guest upon their arrival as a memento of their journey.
Honoring the bygone cocktail fare of the 1940’s Catskill resorts, Brushland Eating House and Antonio Mora served a never ending procession of small bites to our dapper guests while the landscape rushed by.
An installation of dahlias, thistle, amaranthus, and ivy crept up the side of the train’s open air car. Inspired by the wildflowers along the train’s route, Seasons on Hudson crafted this lush archway as if an enchanted vine had grown there overnight. Along the railings hung garlands of asparagus fern and lemon leaves while arrangements of garden roses and lisianthus accented the bars. A floral dream come to life.
No train soirée is complete without overflowing glasses of Champagne. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label was served in L’entramise stemless glassware as guests sashayed to Louis Armstrong and the sounding of the train horn.
The train’s open-air cars were outfitted with a colorful collection of vintage rugs from Upstate Rug Supply.
Angry Orchard Walden Hollow Cider and Barr Hill Gin were served at our indoor and outdoor bars. The Conductor’s Cup made with gin, genepy, chamomile, and meyer lemon was a favorite among guests.
Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald serenaded our guests as they walked from the outdoor cars to the indoor lounge, complete with a mahogany bar, etched glass sconces, and built-in banquets, perfect for taking in the scenery.
We were very happy to host a group of invited guests to join us for a curated weekend culminating in The Soirée. With transportation provided by Catskill Carriage, lodging by Scribner’s Lodge, and support from Visit Catskills, our special guests experienced the area in a lavish fashion few will soon forget.
Classic jazz numbers performed by The Bee’s Knees lingered in the air as we returned to the Arkville station. Perched on the back of the open-air car against an archway of flowers, the five piece ensemble serenaded us while the moon illuminated the darkening landscape that rushed by.