A Holiday Full of Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald… and Home


For a guy who builds country retreats, nothing showcases both my ambitions as a lifestyle provider or our clients’ aspirations for an upstate lifestyle in general than the holidays.

A home. A front door with a wreath on it. A swervy little stone driveway leading to a little house that’s easily warmed. A quiet comfort. A strong drink too many. A confession too true.

A wreath. A candle light window. A tree. A stocking. A shared meal. A volunteer’s hour. A gift from the kitchen. A need. A family. A relaxing calm of a weekend too short. Always too short.

Parents. Children. Babies. Churches. Quiet, leaf-blown small-town streets. A dog with a holiday vest.

A fireplace. Poinsettias. Plastic window candles from Amazon. A movie in the queue. A book from the shelf. A quiet evening. A sweater from the archives. Gifts under the tree.

Quiet sad appreciation of all that is good. Mothers. Fathers. Brothers. Sisters. Neighbors you see too little. Folks gone too soon who meant too much. Pets long gone and still missed, like a poignant Nina Simone cover of “Mr. Bo Jangles.”

Too many letters unwritten. Too many thank you’s unspoken. Too many middle grounds forsaken in defense of the vested opinion.

Not to get too Fitzgeraldesque, but too many good times gone which betray the dullness of today. But are good times any match for the intimate conversation of a long friendship?


A country house. Be it a memory of wallpaper. Or a smell. Or the anticipation. Full of joy. Full of hope. Full of promise. Full of a yearnful compilations of captured moments.

I guess, what I’m saying is a holiday full of Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. Full of Bob Dylan and Levon Helm.

And from The Band, “Someday everything is going to sound like a rhapsody, when I paint my masterpiece.” And I’m hoping that masterpiece is experienced upstate, in a comfortable, well-fitting home, where sleigh bells can be heard in the snow, and Santa’s late-night imprints on the rooftop are faintly felt as the zzzzzzz’s smother the excitement.

About Catskill Farms

Charles Petersheim founded design/build firm Catskill Farms in 2002 in Sullivan County. Continually inspired wholly by regional architecture, his 100+ new old homes dot the Hudson Valley, including Sullivan, Ulster and Dutchess counties. His 12 years of Catskills building have given him broad perspective on how to succeed upstate, be it with farming, building, small business or just relaxing on the front porch.

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