Remembering The 3rd Annual Soirée on the Railway

On August 3rd, 2019, we gathered at The Delaware & Ulster Railroad to host the third Annual Soirée on the Railway, a lavish gathering set on a vintage train. Honoring the bygone glamour of the Catskills’ famed resorts, the evening was a celebration of the past and future of the Catskills.

Guests arrived dressed to the nines at the station in Arkville, NY, excitedly awaiting to board the vintage train. Greeted with letter pressed tickets and glasses of Veuve Clicquot, our stylish attendees took in the mist that lingered above the mountains. A musical parade led by The Bee’s Knees ushered everyone aboard the train and together we propelled forward towards Roxbury, NY. 

Featuring local ingredients at their finest, The Upstate Table graced the Soirée with incredible cuisine. Serving food inspired by the rich history of the Catskills, The Upstate Table presented a feast for the senses on multiple train cars. From the bar program, decor, florals, and even the compost management, local businesses were featured in every detail of the evening, bringing the areas’ talent together in an extraordinary display.

Together on the train’s six cars amongst a sea of suits and flowing gowns, we coasted by scenery only visible from these heritage tracks. Passing by misty mountains, fields of wildflowers, and crisp blue lakes, the evening culminated in a live performance by The Bee’s Knees in the train’s opulent lounge 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 produced by  Dylan Tuccillo Studio, filmed by Brian Miller and Dylan Tuccillo, with help from Clare Parme.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood
The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Our guests came from far and wide to board the train and were greeted with Veuve Clicquot on the platform before beginning their journey. Nothing is grander than sipping champagne on a vintage train with the landscape whipping by.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Inspired by the cross section of historic train travel and contemporary design, our letter pressed train tickets, designed by Nina Barry and printed by Thornwillow Press, were given to each guest upon their arrival as a memento of their journey.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

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 now owns the railway and keeps the memory of The Borscht Belt alive through weekly public excursions and special events like The Soirée.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood
The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Featuring local ingredients at their finest, The Upstate Table graced the Soirée with incredible cuisine that was inspired by the past and future of the Catskills. Our seventeen foot harvest table, custom built on top of existing train seats by Fabhaus, featured local meats and cheeses, smoked trout toasts, sourdough blinis, deviled eggs, Bread Alone loaves, and so much more.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Entrées were served in the dining car. Grilled lamb chops, farro with roasted beets, and delicious sides accompanied freshly shucked oysters from Oyster Party. Guests were then treated to a stunning array of desserts. Tiered lavender lemon curd cakes and Eat Me Ice Cream cones were carried through the lounge car past awestruck guests who quickly followed the parade of sweets.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Our Soirée florist, Miko Akasaka of Seasons on the Hudson sourced entirely from upstate flower farm Tiny Hearts farm to create the installations and arrangements scattered throughout the train. Arches of Cobea, Dahlias, and Zinnias crawled up the sides of our 1909 outdoor cars and wild arrangements of Cosmos and Scabiosa added to the grandeur of our harvest table and lounge bar. Creating elegance and whimsy, Miko’s florals transformed the train into spaces that can only be described as dreamlike.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood
The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Our soirée bars featured two cocktails that highlighted an incredible array of local spirits. Created by bartenders Eirikur Hallsson and Dave Reigada, the imaginative cocktails were inspired by the theme of the evening, celebrating the past and future of The Catskills. Guests were also offered refreshing cucumber beer from Mill House Brewing Co.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

The Mayme Taylor was a take on a classic with Hudson Whiskey Manhattan Rye, cherry shrub, and Fever-Tree ginger beer.
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The Roxbury Express offered a refreshing taste of Tommyrotter gin, Forthave Spirits Red Apertivo, spiced grapefruit cordial, lemon, and Fever-Tree elderflower tonic.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood
The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

When the most elegant train car has a sitting room in the WC, you fill it with flowers and your favorite products. Our train vanity included hair products from Davines, skin care and fragrances from 2 Note Hudson, and flowers by Seasons on the Hudson.
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As a special gift to our readers, Davines is offering 20% off and free shipping through 9/30/19. Use SOIREE20SHIP on davines.com.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

The train’s open-air cars were outfitted with a stunning collection of vintage rugs from Upstate Rug Supply. Shop their collection at upstaterugs.com.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

A jubilant performance by The Bee’s Knees in the train’s lounge car filled the air as we returned to the Arkville station. We couldn’t help but dance in the aisles as the five piece ensemble serenaded us while the darkening landscape rushed by.

The Soirée on the Railway hosted by And North. Photo by Natalie Chitwood

Thank you to our team who made this event possible! We feel so fortunate to have worked with you all!
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Sekai Abeni, Miko Akasaka, Nina Barry, Ecka Blaire, Nat Chitwood, R’el Dade, Lizz DeFeo, Courtney Escoto, Anna Ffrench, Rebecca Ffrench, Sabina Flagg, Austin Furnas, Mallory Gracenin, Eirikur Hallsson, Raelyn Hennessee, Alane Hogan, Alex Koffler, Frida Kristinsdottir, Atticus Lanigan, Tim LaSalle, Brendan Ledesma, Jonathon Linaberry, Marcus Lloyd, Griselda Meija, Brian Miller, Alanna Morton, Sam Murphy, Lisa Pryzstup, David Reigada, Madeleine Sentner, Nick Speranza, Sam Stauff, Jennell Stauff, Tehra Thorp, Emma Tuccillo, Dylan Tuccillo, Ryan Wagner, Edye Weissler, and Lauren West.