Crossing Waters: The Documentary A Jane Watson Film

Image 1 Crossing Waters Documentary by JaAne Watson

Jane Watson is an independent filmmaker living in the Hudson Valley. Her passion is film-making! She loves the process of making a film.  ” I love uncovering a story. I love listening to people tell me their stories. I love uncovering little details while watching the film take shape, evolve and change.  I love collaborating with other artists and story tellers”.

Crossing Waters: The Documentary   is a 40 minute documentary that she completed in Fall 2015 that has won several awards and is a main attraction featured at several film festivals across the country.

Crossing Waters Documentary Jane WatsonPoughkeepsie Immigration History

Jane began researching Poughkeepsie’s first ward a neighborhood now known as “little Italy” which lies underneath Poughkeepsie’s  Walkway Over The Hudson   Once her research began, it became clear that there were 60 years of history that had been forgotten or not known today by most of the community. Before the Italian immigrants arrived and began to settle in this neighborhood it had been primarily an Irish neighborhood.

Those 60 years represent a period in Poughkeepsie, as well as the country’s growing pains and conflict as America struggled with it’s first major wave of immigration. “The more I researched, the more I realized how similar the conflict of the past was exactly the same conflict of immigration today.”

Crossing Waters Chicago Irish Film Festival

She admits the film took three years to make because of a tiny budget, little resources and the amount of research that had to be done. She credits the resources of Vassar College, Marist College, FDR Library, IBM archives, NY State Archives, the Library of Congress and University of Connecticut.

After the film was completed, the process of submitting it into film festivals in the United States and Europe Began. It was a tough time because the film was competing to get accepted into film festivals where as many as 2,000 other films were submitted for each festival. The other films had budgets 10 – 12 times the budget of Crossing Waters. She was in direct competition  with films that had interviews with the Taliban or a film narrated by Liam Neeson.

Crossing Waters The Documentary

Awards + Film Festivals

The film with a tiny budget and no big name cast wound up doing pretty well. It won two film awards at film competitions in southern California and Atlanta. The Silver Award Spotlight Documentary Film Awards in Atlanta (December 2015) and an Award for Merit Special Mention for Technical and Artistic Capabilities Women Filmmakers IndieFest,  (November 2015) La Jolla, California 

Crossing Waters The Documentary

To date, her film has been accepted into three film festivals and interest from some others that we can’t mention at this time. A local Hudson Valley showing at prestigious Vassar College last week was only the first local preview. There is a plan in action for a larger viewing for the Hudson Valley Community.

Chicago Irish Film FEst

This past weekend, the film premiered at The Chicago Irish Film Festival where it got fantastic reviews from fellow filmmakers.

On the Road with Penn State

Saturday, March 17th Jane will attend PENN State for the College Town Film Festival  which is organized in Burbank, California and will travel to different college campuses. PENN State is just the first stop. Later this year, her first European festival will be at the Northern Wales International Film Festival. 

Oysters 3 Men - EditImmigration

Jane  says “the documentary deals with history. History does not tend to be as popular today…people are more interested in realty TV shows than history. But, she is quick to point out how strategically the film has a tie to America’s history and today’s current conflict of immigration. Including the similarities between Donald Trump and fear mongers of the past.”


Jane Watson is a graduate of NYU’S prestigious film school. She has worked in advertising for a division of Saatchi & Saatchi, the Writers Guild of America, production and post production in film and television. Her passion for documentary storytelling and photojournalism was developed while working as a newspaper photographer in New York City covering civil rights movements, police actions and the political life of the city.

She is currently developing several new projects including looking for a script of what she would like to call her dream project to make a smart, scary, thriller. “American women haven’t really broken into this genre. I’d like to bust open the boy’s club and work in this area”.




Sunday Brunch – Weekend Getaway: The Thayer Hotel

Thayer Hotel Suite

The Thayer Hotel at West Point is a landmark hotel celebrating it’s 90th anniversary this year. It is rich in our nation’s history and provides guests with a memorable experience.

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Did you know the Thayer Hotel is the only hotel on the Hudson River between Albany and New York City? Plus it has the prestigious 10996 West Point zip code.  It is a favorite for locals as well as weekend getaways and a stop for people who transition south for the winter also known as snowbirds.  People also travel from all over the country as well as from all over the world to stay at the Thayer.

Thayer Hotel BSunday Champagne Brunch

This past Sunday, I shared Sunday Brunch at the MacArthur Riverview Restaurant and a tour  of the hotel with Jose Tejedor; Director of Sales and Marketing of the historic hotel.  The Thayer Hotel opened it’s doors in the 1920’s and went through a huge transition about six years ago both in renovations and management. Jose talks about the hotel and it’s ambiance to the feel of a mid-evil castle on the outside but with all the modern amenities on the inside.

Thayer Hotel Omelette Station

Sunday Champagne Brunch is served from 10:30am – 2:30pm and  consists of tables and tables of food including an omelette and waffle station.

Waffle station

Fresh fruit, bagels and salmon, and other cold salads are featured as well as traditional breakfast egg and sausage dishes and lunch options are all ready in a circle of hot chafing dishes.

Thayer Hotel Sunday Brunch Fruit platter

Then of course there is the desert station and a complimentary Mimosa or Bloody Mary.

Thayer Hotel Sunday Brunch desert bar

Reservations are suggested. Reservations are now being taken for Easter and Mother’s Day Brunch. This is a great place to share with someone special or the whole family!

Thayer Hotel Lobby

Weekenders from New York City as well as all over the country and the world love to visit this hotel on weekends. Special packages are available for a shopping experience at Woodbury Common Outlets. Did you know that Woodbury Common Outlet’s is the  #1 Tourism destination in Orange County?  Jose and his team can also plan a trip that includes Storm King Art Center;  one of the world’s leading outdoor sculpture parks. Boscobel, the elegant Federal home with it’s own spectacular history and views of the Hudson River.   Wine tastings and tours are available at local wineries since the hotel is located in the center of Hudson Valley Wine Country.

Thayer Hotel Exterior

Leisure is what people come for on the weekends or a day or evening out for lunch or dinner.  The restaurant is now reserving Valentine’s Weekend at MacArthur’s Riverview Restaurant with a romantic 4-course dinner offered Friday, February 12th thru Sunday, February 14th.

Thayer Hotel Lobby Upstairs

The rooms and suites have been remodeled and offer a modern look in the prestigious historic setting. Each of the suites have a bit of a different look paying homage to West Point.

Thayer Hotel General Pattton's Tavern

General Patton’s Tavern  is a favorite place to watch any game including ARMY football, and basketball. This tavern originally opened in 1926 and has river views and all the feeling of  your favorite tavern with a long bar and leather couches and chairs which make it a cozy place to watch the game! Drink specials are offered and appetizers and sandwiches are served.

Thayer Hotel


Zulo is the rooftop outdoor bar open April through the fall. Here too, the views are spectacular and  in season things kick off at happy hour.

If your a local and you have cabin fever be sure to take a short scenic drive to West Point for Sunday Brunch, an evening out with dinner or watching the game with some friends. If your a weekender or coming up from New York City for a getaway you will love the “Getaway Experience” at The Thayer.

Thayer Hotel Weddings & Conferences

During the week the hotel’s clientele serves many name companies in the tri-state area and beyond. It’s a favorite place for meetings and conferences accommodating up to 300. The hotel has several large rooms for events and weddings.


View from West Point onto Hudson River


Photos By Melissa Tyler






10 Books Written
More To Come! Joanne Michaels is
THE Hudson Valley Story

The Joanne Michaels Catalog

One Book is an accomplishment! 10 Books, that’s a CATALOG!

Joanne Michaels is an Author, President of JMB Publications, former editor at two major publishing houses and was Editor-In-Chief for five years at Hudson Valley Magazine.

She has been a contributing writer for New York Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Wine Enthusiasts, The Village Voice, Redbook, Self, Brides, Working Mother and Capital Region just to name a few. Right out of the gate she received national attention and was on The Phil Donahue Show for her first two penned books “Living Contradictions: The Women of the Baby Boom Come of Age” and “The Joy of Divorce”.

It’s hard to find many people that really inspire you. When you do. . .it’s even better when they become a friend and a mentor. I was introduced to Joanne several years ago through an acquaintance. We hit it off right away. She has a great sense of humor! Our first conversation began with her telling me a story about an experience she had. Her story was one that I was familiar with in my own life and I just knew we would be fast friends!


Author Joanne Michaels


Joanne, What Inspired you to become a writer?

Joanne Michaels:
I kind of fell into it. I was an editor at Simon & Schuster and part of the job as editor is to acquire books for the company. There was a discussion with a literary agent about looking for books about women’s rights and turning 30. It was suggested that I write a proposal to present an idea I had. . .which would became the book I wrote called “Living Contradictions: The Women Of The Baby Book Come Of Age”.

Three weeks after I wrote the proposal I got a deal and a book contract with Simon & Schuster. It forced me to learn the craft of writing a book…then I started to write articles for major magazines.

You seem to have a love for the written word. Would you say that is true and what inspires you to write a book or article?

Joanne Michaels:
I have to feel strong or passionate about something to write about it. That has always been a motivation…then I propose an idea to write about.

When do you find time to write so many books? You’ve written 10 already!

Joanne Michaels:
Usually my pattern is to set aside the winter months from December through April when my selling business of my book company Joanne Michael Books is quieter.

You seem to have a passion for travel and tourism. Tell us how that came about?

Joanne Michaels:
I’ve always traveled since I was a teenager experiencing different cultures and seeing different ways of life. When I moved to Woodstock, I wrote the publisher of Hudson Valley Magazine. He called me up looking for someone to run the magazine. I was Editor in Chief from 1981 through 1986. That’s how and when I got involved with tourism in the Hudson Valley. In 1986, I got a book contract for my first guidebook…and they have been in print for 25 years.

Tell us about the “Famous Woodstock Cooks” published in 1986? What inspired you to come up with the concept and do you have any unique story about writing it?

Joanne Michaels:
I wrote it with the assistant editor from Hudson Valley Magazine Mary Barile. I had only been living in woodstock four or five years. It was a great way for me to meet a lot of people that were living in Woodstock. We interviewed a cross section of people. It’s almost 30 years ago and the book has become a COLLECTORS ITEM because of the resurgence in Woodstock. It was a lot of fun to write that book!

What was it like to have such a great success early on with your debut book ” Living Contradictions” What was it like to be on the Phil Donahue show and receive such notary early on as an author?

Joanne Michaels:
It was great because it was my intent was to use that book as a vehicle for my success and the success of divorce and inequity issues. I was on the Phil Donahue Show two times. The first time was July, 1983 in connection with “Living Contradictions”. The 2nd time was for “The Joy of Divorce” in 1995.

Are you working on a new book this winter?

Joanne Michaels:
I am. I am updating “Living Contradictions”.


Cover Hudson River & Catskill Mountains
The Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains:
An Explorer’s Guide, an insider’s guide covering the finest inns, restaurants, historic sites and points of interest in ten counties between Westchester and Saratoga Springs. This book has been in print for twenty years and is currently in it’s sixth edition.

Cover Hrudson River Towns
Hudson River Towns
Treat yourself to a captivating journey through the cities and villages that are the lifeblood of one of America’s most beautiful and historic regions from Albany to Tarrytown. Seasoned travel writer Joanne Michaels and award winning photographer Hardie Truesdale created a vivid portrait of contemporary Hudson Valley life. Over 120 full-color photographs.

Cover Famous Woodstock Cooks

Famous Woodstock Cooks and their Recipes
This book reads like a chronicle of Woodstock’s subculture from the 80’s with fifty-one personalities offering insight into what’s really cooking around this renowned village. Humorous tidbits are also included.


Cover Adirondack High
Adirondack High
A celebration of America’s first wilderness, the Adirondack Park, created in 1892 out of a patchwork of public and private lands. Roughly the size of the state of Vermont, the park has neither an entrance gate nor an admission fee and contains six million acres seamed with more then 200 miles of trails – the nations largest trail system. Photos by one of history’s great landscape photographers Hardie Truesdale.

Hr#96 Views From The First Ledge On Breakneck Ridge
Hudson River Journey
Two Hudson River natives teamed up to document the beauty and passion of this special part of New York State. Their stunning photographic journey in words and images follows the path of this historic river, through the Catskill Mountains, Shawangunks, past the Palisades all the way to New York Harbor. Photos by Hardie Truesdale.

Cover The Joy of Divorce
The Joy of Divorce
Geraldo Rivera said ” This little book is terrific”. This book includes pearls of wisdom from Katherine Hepburn, Cher, Johnny Carson, Gilda Radner and John Lennon just to name a few! Humorous quotations that are the perfect gift for anyone- man or women – going through a divorce. Author Joanne Michaels was featured on The Phil Donahue show.

Joanne Michaels books make a perfect holiday gift or great for the person who likes to collect books by local authors.

For more information on other books and projects or to discuss projects or to book Joanne Michaels as a guest speaker contact Author Joanne Michaels through her website www.joannemichaels.com



Our Favorite Cocktails – Hudson Valley Goddess and THE Hudson Valley Story

With Fall here…it’s time to start switching up to a new season of cocktails.

So we asked THE #HudsonValleyWineGoddess what her favorite cocktail of the moment is and shared ours!

HV Wine Goddess Fav Lemon Basil Martini

Lemon Basil Martini made by Helen at the Virginia Hotel Ebbitt Room bar.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make yours!

4-5 Fresh Basil Leaves
15 ml (1/2 oz) Lemon Juice
15 ml (1/2 oz) Simple Syrup
60 ml (2 oz) Citrus Vodka
1 Basil Sprig
1 Lemon Wedge
1 cup Crushed Ice


1.    Add fresh basil leaves, lemon juice and simple syrup in cocktail shaker and muddle basil leaves. Let it soak in lemon juice for couple of minutes. This will let basil flavor mix well in resulting drink.

2.    Add crushed ice in cocktail shaker. Pour citrus vodka over it and shake well for 25-30 seconds.

3.    Take chilled martini glass, strain and pour lemon and basil mixed drink in it.

4.    Skew basil sprig and lemon wedge in cocktail skewer and garnish martini as shown in photo above.

On Chilly nights, THE Hudson Valley Story says Hot Toddy’s are one of my personal favorites. I love using Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey from THE Hudson Valley’s own Tuthilltown Spirits in Gardiner.

Hot Toddy

Here are the ingredients you will need to make yours:

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one Teaspoon of honey ( a bit more is good too)

2-3 ounces boiling water (depending on size of mg)

1 Teabag

1 shot of Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

1 Cinnamon stick

1 lemon wedge

1 pinch of Nutmeg


1. Boil water and pour into glass with teabag and shot of whiskey and honey, squeeze lemon wedge and add a pinch of nutmeg and top off with a cinnamon stick.


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