Oak Hill Day 2018: Unlikely Neighbors Celebrate A Tiny, Vibrant Town
There's no place like Oak Hill.
We can't imagine another town where a young gardener and designer leave their bigger city lives to turn a little white barn into a tropical paradise (see Hort and Pott, above), and where a religious group gives up their sabbath to fill their tree-house-like cafe with the magical music, while several of the players balance children on their laps (see The Yellow Deli below, and listen to a soundbite beneath the photo).
And where, just a few doors down, a gorgeous, slightly goth record store vibrates with bassy, soulful dance music (see Preserved Instincts, below).
Where a nearby a garage houses a gallery of neo-Dadaist art made by dearly departed neighbor, Norman Hasselriis. (It's apparently only open to the public once a year, on Oak Hill Day.)
Where a "relaxation station" doesn't involve a masseuse — just a semi-circle of chairs in the shade, where some local elders smile and wave, and a friendly NYC transplant rises from the group to encourage us to vote where our hearts are, especially if our hearts are in Greene County and we want to vote for the illustrious Aidan O'Connor for State Assembly.
Oh, and just steps from the Democratic party rep, there's a blacksmith twisting metal over a coal fire, there are hot dogs for sale outside the church, and there's an electric guitar maker noodling through some Grateful Dead riffs. Sure, why not? It's Oak Hill Day, and it's not over yet.
Across the street from the guitars, a young man with a crew cut sells deliciously fragrant, pastel-colored soaps. My 4-year-old daughter wants them all, but we settle on lavender-rosemary, lemongrass-orange, and lavender-spearmint.
Then, we mosey along to IU Tripp to say hi to Mary Lou Nahas, who seems to be the organizational force behind this special day, though we don't suppose she'd take credit for it. There, we pick out another bundle of aromatic gifts-to-ourselves, including a rose-scented geranium soap, some intensely smoky Icelandic sea salt, and a lavender sachet in indigo-printed fabric.
Before we leave, my mom runs back into Hort and Pott to grab the pretty little kokedama hanging plant she'd spotted on the way in. Because, really, where else would you get such a thing? And what better way to remember this delightful mishmash of people and things than by bringing home a floating Japanese moss ball, handmade in the Catskills?
We drive home and hang it from our deck, and it looks just right.
Most people hear about Oak Hill Day through word-of-mouth. If you want to visit next year, follow Oak Hill and Vicinity on Facebook.