Life is Never Boring in Ulster County

  |  March 25, 2016

“We were never being boring,” Being Boring, Pet Shop Boys

Inevitably it happens every Saturday morning around 7:45 am. Mind you for most, Saturday Morning is a time of tranquil relaxation, a time to sleep and a time not to be awakened! That is of course unless you live with Gary Swenson. For me, Saturday Morning is the hatching ground for the tireless debate of where we’re having coffee and breakfast (I am not a breakfast cook). Almost instantaneously Mister Frazier and Heather Clementine, like any wise Scottish Terriers would, scurry to the far corners of the bed, as the battle royal is launched yet again.


Gary Swenson, the sleep terminator, preparing for Duo’s Saturday morning breakfast.

Thus began our weekly odyssey last Saturday morning as Gary and I headed to one of our typical weekend morning venues of Uptown Coffee, Dominick’s Cafe, or OutDated An Antique Cafe. That is, until we suddenly realized the newly expanded Duo Cafe was serving breakfast. Boy, oh boy what a marvelous renovation. What an interior and what a breakfast! Perhaps the best Huevos Rancheros we have had in some time. Perfection on a plate served with coffee (life can not be much better).


Duo dishes up a delicious Huevos Rancheros.

On this particular Saturday the newly designed interior spaces of Duo served as a further enhancement to a day focused upon interiors. For later that afternoon my great friend Brigid Walsh and I were joining pals John Krenek and Jamie Niblock, owners of Kingston design mecca Exit Nineteen, to host a reception featuring the art works of Joe Concra and Kevin Paulsen. As I finished my last cup of morning joe at Duo, visions of a moveable party danced in my head. I adore erered events, events which originate in one venue, then flow simply unto the next. Layered events in the Kingston of old were at best difficult. However, as the coin has turned in recent years, layered events are as simple as one, two, three. Quickly working with Duo’s gracious staff (while texting Brigid to confirm plans), a Dinner for thirteen at eight thirty was confirmed, simple, easy. Who says layered event options are only available in Manhattan?


The newly expanded Duo catered to our every need.

Five o’clock cocktails of signature drinks and rosé at Exit Nineteen provided the perfect setting for mingling, shopping and laughter in Uptown Kingston. Interior Designers from the AD 100 mingled with publicists, fashion designers and more than one or two noted authors.The Vogue girls laughed with long time Ulster County residents, as stories of decaying mansions, and family tales were shared.


The works of artist Kevin Paulsen are currently featured at Exit Nineteen.

As the party of 200 dispersed various segments of the attendees hosted additional layered events. While Brigid and I directed our group to an evening of martinis, humor and friendship at Duo, others headed to Rich Reeve’s Elephant, or Maria Phillips Boitson’s or Jean Jacques Le Canard.

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The work of Joe Concra accentuates a stylish Exit Nineteen vignette.

This is how we now roll in Ulster County of the 21st Century. Great friends, marvelous events, pairings of music venues, watering holes and chic restaurants now dot the terrain. Spring is here, so why not take a drive up the New York Thruway and take a stop at Exit 19? I guarantee you will be glad you did. You never know who you might spy sipping coffee or enjoying a martini, for life in Ulster County is “never being boring.”

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Jamie Niblock, Brigid Walsh, Haynes Llewellyn and John Krenek prepare to welcome guests for cocktails at Exit Nineteen.

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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