Willow Street, Sharon Springs

It has been almost a year since I last visited Brent and Josh in Sharon Springs. I traveled there from Toronto with my friend Jessica Hodgson, whom I’ve known since we were small children. Jessie is a talented photographer and this was her first time to the town. We spent many hours together scouring its streets to look for inspiration. Jessie found so many beautiful compositions in all the hidden places of this storied place and took over 1,000 photographs during our four-day stay. Below are five of Jessie’s photographs of some of the magical places we discovered on Willow Street. They were all taken almost exactly a year ago.


  1. On Willow Street, between Washington St. and South St., there is a beautiful spot we discovered. It is a vacant lot that someone had planted with ferns and beautiful wildflowers. As we were driving home after a visit with Michelle Curran we noticed how the late morning sun seemed to be shining down almost exclusively on this little paradise. Jessie captured the essence of that moment perfectly.
  2. In that same hidden garden, Jessie got down low to the ground and attached the macro lens to her Nikon. She became one with the thrilling microcosms of tiny leaves, flowers and insects, peering into a secret world. I love the colors in this photograph (perfect inspiration for a painter’s palette) and the idea that everywhere – under every leaf – there is a story to be told.
  3. Across from this little park are the remnants of this great hotel, left to the effects of Time’s meddling fingers. Both Jessie and I were captivated by the contrasting textures and shadows and the ghostly reflections in the windows. We wondered about who once occupied those rooms, the romances and dramas that went on behind the now-decaying walls.
  4. At the base of this hotel Jessie discovered this Torah, torn and soaked with rain. We both got chills, knowing the history of Sharon Springs as a former summer vacation destination for Jews from New York City. Neither of us can read Hebrew and we are not sure if the book was opened to this page for a specific reason. Regardless, it was a very special discovery!
  5. Further along Willow Street we came upon this old carriage house that was almost completely overgrown with vines. They were just starting to bud and show signs of new life.

I can’t wait to see Sharon Springs again and hopefully it will be soon. Few places have moved me so deeply.
All photos by Jessica Hodgson.


by Andrew

Reader Comments

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linda schnell-leonardi

Thank GD, it is NOT a Torah, just a machine printed prayer book. Phew, scared me a little, cause I cannot believe for ONE minute that anyone would have left behind a Torah, they are always handwritten, can never contain even one mistake, and cost about $50-$100 K each.

linda schnell-leonardi

Common to not know, no problem. I have some lovely shots of the working synagogue that is in Sharon Springs. Families from the Williamsburg area, I believe, come up in the summer, still, if I am not mistaken, and open it for their use. There is a non working Mikvah somewhere on Division street, I believe that would be nice to get a look see of~

Ilona Crisp

The photos are beautiful. I enjoyed all of them, however, I was wondering what you did with the Torah? Did you just leave it there or find a special place for it? I look forward to your 5 things. Thank You.


I do understand that. My curiosity would have gotten the best of me and I would have tried to find the family, if possible, but you probably did the right thing. Thanks for your reply.


Breathtakingly beautiful. The image of the Torah is so haunting. She has a great eye for the unusual, detail and color!

Bruce W. Medanich

Beyond beautiful to wake up to this morning……..thank you..

Beverly Nan Murphy

The wonderful rusted lantern still shines its own light. Beautiful eye of photographer.It truly is a mystical place. thanks for the beautiful tour.

Sonja Norman

Beautiful as usual. The rundown building and the Jewish book are priceless.