Bethel, Capital of the Woodstock Nation

IN August 1969, Bethel, N.Y., was a once-in-a-lifetime weekend getaway for some 400,000 people who yasgurswarmed Max Yasgur’s 600-acre farm for the Woodstock Music & Art Fair to hear rock acts like the Who, Jimi Hendrix and Country Joe McDonald. hese days, Bethel is among the fastest-growing towns in Sullivan County, town officials say, and has a thriving second-home community; its full-time population of just over 4,500 expands to about 10,000 in late spring, summer and early fall. Second-home owners are drawn because it’s only about a hundred miles from Manhattan and because of its many lakes and ponds and the availability of land for development.

The rural town includes the hamlets of White Lake, Kauneonga Lake, Smallwood, Bethel, Mongaup Valley, Briscoe and parts of Swan Lake. And while Woodstock patted itself on the back as three days of peace and music, most of those heading to Bethel today care much more about the peace (and quiet) and not quite as much about buzz saw electric guitars. More

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