With snowy brightness and sparse vegetation, the winter landscape affords a greater opportunity to spot our animal friends. This pair of coyotes popped up in Phoenicia...

 in the window of a campground office. I wish I had seen them in their natural habitat (and a bit more animated) but hey, check out that deer in the snow....don't disturb him - he looks like he's ready to bolt!

White on white

This bus looks awfully lonely in its hibernation. When the temperature rises it will be full of passengers. Who are they and where are they going? (hint: not school, but schools may be found there)

The Stage is Set in Shandaken

Judging from the appearance of this country clapboard structure...

...would you expect to find this inside?

This is the set for Over the River and Through the Woods, the latest production staged by the Shandaken Theatrical Society. The STS is a community theater dedicated to producing high quality dramas, comedies and musicals. They also host movie nights, cabarets, holiday extravaganzas, local playwright festivals and theater workshops for all ages.  Oh, and their homemade snacks are sublime!

The actors are mostly local - some professional, others newbies. It's cool to bump into any one of them in town. I always get a little starstruck. The STS was founded in 1976. In 1998, they purchased this landmark building in the cozy hamlet of Phoenicia and turned it into a theater.  Renovations were done inside...

...and out. The box office is just darling!

...and from another angle.

I was curious about the building's history.
What does I.O.O.F. stand for?

Choose one:

1. International Office of Old Fishermen
2. Incorporated Orchestra of Oak Fiddles
3. Independent Order of Odd Fellows
4. Inspirational Organization of Organic Farmers

If you picked number 3 *dingdingding* you are correct! The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is an altruistic fraternal organization that has been in existence since the 1700s. By 1896 it was the largest among all fraternal organizations (take that, Masons!) The I.O.O.F's mission is "to improve and elevate the character of mankind by imparting the principles of friendship, love and truth (as represented by the three links) and making the world a better place to live by aiding the community at large in every way possible." What better place for this wonderful theater to make its permanent home!

If you're ever in the area, come treat yourself to a theater experience that would rival any other...and it's a lot cheaper than Broadway! More info can be found here.