Costumes, Causes and the Hudson Valley’s Pervasive Sense of Community

  |  October 28, 2014
Scarecrows in Frog Alley, in historic Uptown Kingston

Scarecrows in Frog Alley, in historic Uptown Kingston

One of the things I enjoy most about living in the Hudson Valley is the sense of community in everyday life. Of course, no matter where you live in the world, this togetherness quickly arises following an unforeseen tragedy or natural disaster. But in the seven years I have lived in the Hudson Valley, it is a daily occurrence. I’m a former jaded New Yorker, so this at first was startling. Having lived for almost a decade in one of Manhattan’s White Glove buildings, my experience with community was, at best, limited.

Throughout the weekend I attended a number of events, each with the purpose of enhancing the quality of life for others in our region — events which raised funds to restore a children’s park and recreational facility, a scarecrow contest that afforded children and adults the opportunity to celebrate the rich farming history of the Hudson Valley. And this weekend was no anomaly.

So, in keeping with the theme, this Thursday, October 30, my dear friends Marstephanie Corsonnes, Nancy Garraghan, Elenie Loizou, and Robert Tonner (founder of the Tonner Doll Co.) and I are hosting Costumes for a Cause to raise needed funds for People’s Place’s Thanksgiving meals and holiday children’s gift program. People’s Place is just one of the many charities rising to the challenge in the region, providing daily meals, clothing items and varied necessities for families in need in the Hudson Valley.

Volunteers At People's Place Pantry and Thrift Shop

Volunteers At People’s Place Pantry and Thrift Shop

The setting for this event will be the stunningly renovated Kingston home of Vickie St. John Gilligan. Vickie, through her repeated generosity as well as her willingness to share her home with others, redefines the term philanthropist. Did I also mention Vickie’s home is a stunner?

Costumes for a Cause

The Setting of Costumes for a Cause decorated with Hudson Valley Pumpkins

Vickie St. John Gilligan's interior renovation of her Kingston home

Vickie St. John Gilligan’s interior renovation of her Kingston home

Costumes for a Cause perfectly illustrates the meshing of individuals to enhance the quality of life for everyone in our town, and throughout each region of the Hudson Valley this sense of community permeates the lives of transplants, natives and weekenders.

About Haynes Llewellyn

Haynes Llewellyn, an interior designer, preservationist and accomplished party planner, relocated to the Hudson Valley city of Kingston from Manhattan’s Central Park West neighborhood in 2007. During Haynes’s almost nine years in the Hudson Valley, he has been featured in numerous television, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews. Haynes’s first Kingston restoration project was of a Historic 1840’s Greek Revival home, featured in the recently released Rizzoli Interior Design book Heart and Home: Rooms that Tell Stories by Linda Okeeffe. Haynes has served on a number of boards of directors, event committees and commissions since arriving in the Hudson Valley. Haynes, along with his two Scottish Terrier Rescues and partner Gary Swenson, is currently in the process of renovating his second Kingston home, a 1939 Colonial.

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