Today being Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to take a break from the Going Backward series and look at some of the positive aspects of Greene County. They do exist, although they are not always top of mind. So there are some grounds for optimism, even in the face of the county’s serious problems.

Most readers of this blog likely came to Greene (or Columbia, or Ulster) from somewhere else. In many cases, the place of origin was metropolitan New York. But I know people from England, from California, from the Netherlands … we really are a fairly cosmopolitan bunch. And those of us who did come here from elsewhere would usually say the primary reason was something along the lines of “beauty” or “lifestyle” or “peace of mind.”

It is beautiful here. We have a slower pace than many parts of the country, and many people find this very soothing. If you’re among them, then take a nice walk today and be thankful you live in a place with so much natural beauty, yet which is still under 3 hours from Manhattan.

While Greene is certainly no cultural center, there is culture in our area. Music and art fare especially well. The Windham Chamber Music Festival attracts top-flight performers to the Mountain Top every year. In fact, The Windham Festival Chamber Orchestra has a concert this Saturday evening, in Hunter. There are other music venues in the area as well, and many galleries to showcase the work of local artists.

Finally, Greene is home to some great people who are working toward a better future for the county and its residents. One thinks of Doreen Davis, who has revitalized the Democratic Party in Greene County and achieved some striking results in the recent election, particularly in Catskill (Vinny Seeley, Joseph Kozloski and Kevin Lennon all won District 1 seats in the County Legislature). In fact, Seeley (who is also Village President) and the Catskill Local Development Corporation just opened a retail proving ground called “Gifted” on Main Street. And yesterday, Seeley and others led U.S. Senator Charles Schumer on a Main Street tour.

“It’s great,” Schumer said. “It’s beautiful. It’s coming back.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.