Cheri Brasseale is a teacher, mother, wife and friend who appreciates the quotidian details of upstate life. Though she bemoans not being able to see the sunset from her house, she loves her simplified country lifestyle, her inspirational female friends and a smart pair of wool socks. Her pro-tip for newcomers: be nice to the guys working at the dump.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
I live in Cochecton, which was named after the Cushetunk Indians who lived in the area.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I am a Montessori teacher at the Homestead School in Glen Spey. It’s a little piece of heaven. I also teach yoga in a private studio in my backyard and I have an Airbnb rental in Narrowsburg, which I started last year.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN UPSTATE? WHAT LED YOU HERE?
My husband and I were living in the Meatpacking District and bought our property in 2000. And then I gave birth to my son on 9-11. That was an impetus to get us out of the city for a more simplified lifestyle. There is no value I can place on getting to watch my children walk out the front door as toddlers, sometimes naked and play in the yard.
WHAT SONG DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE UPSTATE?
“Set me Down on a Cloud” by Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real. He is the very talented son of Willie Nelson. I met him after seeing him play at Bethel Woods with Neil Young. He’s an adorable, humble, sweetheart and undiscovered treasure.
SPRING OR FALL?
The colors of fall are magical, but there is nothing like the rush of spring after hibernating for months.
HOW CAN YOU TELL WHEN SPRING HAS ARRIVED? By the birds. Also the bulbs of daffodils and snowdrops start coming.
Now that Henning’s Local is a two-minute drive from my house, I have considered picking up shifts to pay for my Steak Diane habit.
FAVORITE SWIMMING SPOT?
My neighbor’s pool because they always have good food and wine, but I enjoy the Ten Mile River too.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH THE SUNSET?
One thing I always bemoan is that the west is blocked from my house. But when I’m driving in the Bethel area, toward Narrowsburg, I see some beautiful sunsets over the Big Eddy.
SOMEONE SHOULD OPEN UP A (BLANK) HERE.
I wish I could get some Tex Mex around here.
BEST KEPT LOCAL SECRET (UNTIL NOW)?
Alright, I guess I’ll give it up. Many people don’t know that you can swim right under the Narrowsburg Bridge.
DESCRIBE YOUR BEST WILDLIFE SIGHTING Ooooh, gosh, let’s see. I’ve seen bears and deer up-close, but I think my favorite is when a bald eagle comes and flies right over me.
FAVORITE WILD EDIBLES?
Hen of the wood. It’s a type of mushroom. Have you heard of Nathaniel Whitmore? He does mushroom and plant walks. You should look him up.
NAME THREE THINGS A LOCAL SHOULD NOT BE WITHOUT.
A designated driver, smart wool socks and Internet connection.
ONE TOOL THAT YOU USE PRACTICALLY EVERY DAY.
Right now, our wood stove.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON ERRORS YOU SEE NEW LOCALS MAKE?
Not realizing we have four seasons. There is no way to know what surviving a winter here is like until you have lived it. Also, always be nice to the guys working at the dump. You never know when you’ll have to recycle a mattress or a refrigerator.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE INTERESTED IN MOVING UPSTATE?
Do it. There may be a lack of accessible culture compared to other cities but we make it for ourselves here.
WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?
My daughter was born in my living room, I have a spiritual connection to my land and I have a sweat lodge. But mostly, it is the community. I have a constellation of women friends that inspire me to be my best self, and at my age, I feel like that would be hard to find elsewhere.