The October issue of the Hudson Valley Magazine features winners in over 270 categories that amount to the "Hudson Valley's Best for 2006". The list is now in its twentieth year of uncovering the region's finest. Categories range from "The Best Barbecue Chicken" (Hickory BBQ House in Kingston) to "The Best Ski Area" (Hunter Mountain). This year's list includes six "Best of" winners in the Ellenville Wawarsing area: "Best Bistro" – Aroma Thyme, "Best Artist" – Roger Baker, "Best Radio Personality" – Dennis Warner, "Best Florist" – Rosegarten, "Best Outdoor Sports Store" – Mountain Wings, "Best Comeback" – Ellenville Regional Hospital.
The winners were picked by both the readership and editorial staff of the Hudson Valley Magazine as part of its attempt to list the more interesting and unique places throughout the Hudson Valley.
Steve Kelley and Dennis Warner.
John Flis and Bob Christian of Rosegarten.
For several area winners, this was not the first time that they had received the honor. Aroma Thyme has won its category for the third consecutive year. Mountain Wings has won twice in a row and Roger Baker has won several times as well.
Marcus and Jamie Guiliano, owners of the Aroma Thyme Bistro, offered their perspective on the selection with Marcus saying, "Any time we get a mention we always get phone calls. People rely on the magazine for their lifestyle choices."
Asked his thoughts about the honor and what it means for the area, Greg Black of Mountain Wings said, "It's about time. Everyone's been working together so that everybody can grow. Ellenville's the pearl in the oyster [of New York State]. It's always been hidden but we're finally getting noticed."
Asked whether this newfound notoriety could somehow spoil Ellenville's small-town charm, Jamie Guiliano responded, "We shouldn't be fearful of success. We should take it and grab it because there is a lot more to come. It's only going to get better."
Asked about his selection, local artist and Ellenville Journal cartoonist, Roger Baker said, "It's a blast. It wasn't gangbusters out of the gate but you keep at it and then you look back and see how far you've come. There's a different kind of small town mentality around now. People are proud to say they are from here and that was not always the case. Thirty years ago, people were kind of ashamed to admit this is where they were from. Now, it's like, 'Hey, I'm from Ellenville.'"
Dennis Warner couldn't believe his ears when he heard about it. "I first heard about it and I thought it was a joke because Eric Aiese told me about it. I thought he was kidding me because he is wont to do that. The librarian had to come in with the magazine and show me to make it legitimate."
President and CEO Steve Kelley described his reaction when he found out as, "shocked." He went onto say, "It's really great to get that kind of recognition. I think it's emblematic of a larger comeback for the whole community. We're glad to be the tip of the spear. But we really see ourselves as a reflection of something happening all throughout the community."
The magazine will hold a reception its "Best of" recipients on Friday, October 27 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel.
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