Photo by Flickr user Rosie Rogers. Published under Creative Commons license.
Ah, New Year's Eve. Time for kisses and champagne, feast foods and dancing. Here’s a smorgasbord of what’s going on out there around the Catskills and just beyond our borders, starting with a handful of family-friendly offerings.
Oneonta will host a full-on First Night celebration, packed with art and music and family fun. Billed as uplifting and alcohol-free, the festivities include kids’ activities in the afternoon, a parade packed with puppets as evening draws near, poetry, twenty-five bands, and fireworks.
In the Northeastern edge of the realm, First Night is also on in Saratoga, with a similarly artsy and family-friendly feel. There will be performances by Radio Disney stars and Buccaneer Bindlestiff’s Swashbuckling Circus. Both Oneonta and Saratoga’s First Night celebrations offer free admission for kids under twelve.
Hunter Mountain is throwing a family-friendly bash, with a kids’ torchlight parade leading up to a general torchlight parade down the mountain and fireworks to follow. They promise “plenty of giveaways and prizes,” starting at 4pm.
Hey, you can party with your kids the other 364 evenings, but if you want to make New Year's a celebration for the grownups, you have plenty of historical precedent. Heck, back when midwinter was Saturnalia time, dancin’ and romancin’ and decadent feast behavior were the main deal, never mind all this Elf on a Shelf stuff. Hide your eyes, Elf. It’s adult night at most of the following:
The Andes Hotel will be rocking with Blues Maneuver, and promises “more fun than you can handle.” Put on your big-kid dancing shoes and make them eat those words.
In Walton, they’ll be welcoming the new year into the “whee!” hours at The Castle, otherwise known as the Armory. Three bands, an open buffet, cash bar and champagne toast, all in an enchanted setting. Besides the Castle itself, you can get advance tickets at Radio Shack in Walton or Rachel’s Framing in Delhi.
Speaking of Delhi, the Midtowngrill Restaurant on Main Street will be transformed into a “romantic dance hall,” serving special three-course feasts and a champagne toast.
In Tannersville, people are heading to the Spinning Room Bar for “the most insane champagne toast anywhere,” involving a free bottle for everyone on the dance floor, the climax of a friendly battle of the DJs. They also have a phone number patrons can call for rides.
Down the street at Slopes, they’re reveling in a Hamptons reunion party with DJ Doug O’Mara. They’ve got your hats, your noisemakers and a room for the night all set.
At Legends Bar and Grill in Windham, you can let your kids romp in the Bouncy House and enjoy a family-friendly movie while you jam out with the Amish Outlaws, and all get together to scope out the fireworks at 9pm.
The Sharon Tavern in Sharon Springs is serving a mouthwatering celebratory menu starting at 4:30; they suggest you make reservations.
You can kick it out at the dinner dance with all the trimmings at the Cobleskill Best Western, complete with a swim and breakfast.
At A Taste of Europe in Cobleskill, they’ve invented New Years for the Saner Folks (or those who need to work next day.) Their party is from six till nine, with an entirely proper champagne toast at seven- which, after all, is midnight Greenwich Mean Time. Inspired.
Schoharie Recovery will be welcoming one and all to New Year’s Eve at the Parrott House, complete with elegant buffet and live swing dance band.
Bernie’s Holiday Restaurant in Rock Hill is inviting one and all to a classic New Year’s bash -- orgiastic buffet, open bar, Viennese dessert cart, champagne toast, the works. Here too, you can get a room as part of the package.
At the Dancing Cat Distillery and Saloon in Bethel, they’ve got a mouthwatering menu in mind to complement the sounds of Compton Maddox and Dirt Simple.
If you fancy something chancy, watch the ball drop on wide-screen TV at the Monticello Casino and Raceway, where they are sweetening the pot with chances to win free play, a buffet spread, and the sounds of Cloud Nyne in the Lava Lounge.
Just over the border in Pine Hill, you’ll find festivities a-plenty. The Pine Hill Arms offers a mouthwatering banquet menu from five till nine, with the music of The Big Deep after that. Nearby, they’ll be partying at the Colonial Inn until 3am, with feasting at their justifiably famous buffet and karaoke by Doreen.
Down the hill in Big Indian, the Peekamoose is trying its hand at its first New Year's extravaganza. Their “Peeka-Dance” shindig will feature hors d’oeuvres, the sounds of DJ Marquis, unlimited bubbly, and an in-house pro photographer to commemorate your festive selves against the Winter Wonderland backdrop. Reservations are an absolute necessity for this one, as they are aiming for the perfect-size crowd.
At the Ashokan Center in Olive, they’ll be swinging into 2013 with a smoke- and alcohol-free dinner dance. Molly Mason and Jay Ungar and Swingology will be among the performers.
In Woodstock, you can avail yourself of the Bearsville Theater’s New Years Eve Soul-Down with the Conor Kennedy Band and what are promised to be “special guests for the history books. “
At New World Home Cooking, Ric Orlando has a dinner dance brewing, featuring a festively fresh menu, oysters on the half shell and Uncle Funk.
In Saugerties, the Diamond Mills Hotel will sparkle up a New Year’s Ball which indeed sounds fit for royalty; an orchestra overlooking the Esopus Falls and a four-course feast.
Uptown Kingston is hosting a neighborhood-wide 1913 bash, incorporating “vaudeville, burlesque, pre-Prohibition style cocktails, era-specific menus and a BALL DROP on Wall Street at midnight.” Come in period garb for extra discounts and treats. The fun begins at 7pm.
If you’d rather keep it current and clubby, head down to the Rondout zone and join the party at Clublight Steelhouse, the VIP room on the Strand. (“We ♥ You & We ♥ to PARTY.”) Reservations guarantee you a VIP table and bottle service in between dancing to DJ Mister Vince and DJ Kue.
In Rosendale, there are two great gatherings within walking distance of each other. The exquisitely danceable sounds of Green House Funk will be rocking the Zagat-rated Bywater Bistro, and mere steps down the street, the 1850 House Tavern will be doing hot toddies by the fireplace, hors d’oeuvres and a sparkling wine toast. With no cover charge at either event, one could bounce back and forth from the smokin’ funk to the vintage good fellowship at whim.
New Paltz will be ringin’ in ‘13 as only New Paltz possibly could, from a country hoedown up at Joe’s East-West to ”A Very Neon New Year's Eve MasqueRave Dance Party Adventure!” at Cabaloosa's. Smart indie bands Los Doggies and Breakfast in Fur will be at Snug Harbor and Snowbear down at the Gilded Otter. New Paltz really has far too much to list; we recommend the insider FB page NewPaltz AtNight for further exuberance.
At the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, you can partake of a lavish gala cocktail party and dinner, stay over, and do the afterparty the next day with a breakfast buffet and a swim.