A Hudson Valley Hamlet: Connelly, New York

I'm obsessed with this old firehouse.
I’m obsessed with this old firehouse.

I wanted to share with you some photos of where I live. In January of 2008, I was offered a dream job (turtle biologist!) in the Hudson Valley with the stipulation that I would start almost immediately. This was particularly challenging since I lived almost four hours away, I didn’t know the area very well, and it was the dead of winter–thus making it hard to just whizz on down there to look for suitable lodgings. Even worse, my sweet Petunia is a pit bull so most landlords won’t even consider us. My task seemed im-freakin-possible. However, my friend/supervisor ran into an acquaintance who was looking for a tenant. And as luck would have it, she was having an open house the next day. Petunia and I jumped in the car Dukes of Hazzard style, prayed for good weather, and made the slushy drive. Three and a half hours later, we found ourselves in perhaps the quirkiest place that this crazy state of New York has to offer. And that’s saying a lot! It has the claustrophobic street layout of New Orleans, the feral cat population of Key West and the diversity of New York City.

For simplicities sake, Connelly is three marinas in various states of shabbiness with a few adjoining streets. It’s on the Roudout Creek and is almost directly across from Kingston’s bustling Roudout-West Strand Historic District. Being that it’s only a few streets wide and a few streets long, it’s not on anyone’s radar. Some of its quirks include a dog poop station, a fix-it station, a community tomato garden, a memorial to residents who’ve passed, and a sketchy bait and tackle shop. Plus it has the amenities of a larger town such as its own post office (located in a house) and even its own fire department. I loved it as soon as we drove in, even in its snow-covered state. Petunia immediately won over the landlord, the apartment was perfect, and the rest is history…or so I thought. In 2009, the place I worked for nearly went under so I moved back upstate–leaving my sweet Connelly behind. Throughout the years, my landlord (who I would now consider a friend) would contact me to let me know that “my apartment” would soon be available and that the place isn’t the same without Petunia. I’ve been tempted many times to return but the timing just didn’t align until now. I’ve always told my friends that this place is magic and I definitely believe it. Just yesterday, Petunia and I took our early morning walk with an older lady who paints pet portraits for a living. The day before, my car-hoarding Jamaican neighbor threw butternuts at me and cracked up laughing because I couldn’t figure out where the heck they were coming from. There’s hijinx everywhere. Oh, it’s grand to be back!

This is where I live.
This is where I live.
This lovely abandoned building is actually the view from my porch.  The owner is hoping to make it into a creative space for makers.
This lovely abandoned building is actually the view from my porch. It was once an old school house.
A view from my street. That brick house is seemingly abandoned and it's a crying shame.
A view from my street. That brick house is one of my favorites. It was seemingly abandoned for a while but now a family has moved in.

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Our lovely park complete with playground equipment, a b-ball court and baseball field. Sadly, all underutilized.
Our lovely park complete with playground equipment, a b-ball court and baseball field. Sadly, all underutilized.
I adore the bright yellow house on the left.
I adore the bright yellow house on the left.
Tuna-butt!
Tuna-butt!

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Why the heck don't I have a boat? I clearly didn't get the memo.
Why the heck don’t I have a boat? I clearly didn’t get the memo.

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One of Connelly's wonderful quirks.
One of Connelly’s wonderful quirks.
It's all mine...as soon as it goes up for sale.
It’s all mine…as soon as it goes up for sale.
Standing at the four corners.
Standing at the four corners.
A memorial for resident who have passed.
A memorial for residents who have served our country.

3 responses to A Hudson Valley Hamlet: Connelly, New York

  1. Nate West says:

    I love this. My family has been in Connelly since before it incorporated back in the 1860’s. I grew up there and will always love it.

    • Jaime Lee Hazard says:

      Thanks Nate! Connelly is a great place. It broke my heart to move away…for the second time. But I always find my way back! I’ve never found such a unique place.

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