Humans of the Catskills: Jen Dragon

Jen Dragon / Photo Credit:  © Steven Wechsler 2019

Journey to the Catskills:

In 1983, I brought my art school college boyfriend (who I had only known for about three weeks) to meet my sister (who lived in Mt. Tremper) by bus via Adirondacks Trailways. She sent us out on an errand in her car to get wild rice from Jane’s in Phoenicia (which later evolved into the famous Jane’s Ice Cream). We were so thrilled to be driving AN ACTUAL CAR that we overshot our goal and travelled up Route 214 to Chichester where we saw a guy (later introduced to us as Walt Ostrander) nailing a sign onto a tree that said: “FOR SALE BY OWNER”. We stopped, drove over a sketchy bridge to a derelict six-bedroom Gothic Revival estate (later revealed to us as the original “Chichester House” built in 1864 by Lemuel Chichester” with a long-closed Tavern, a very cute streamside Rental Cottage and some other outbuildings butting up against 10 square miles of Catskills Park). After a four-hour conversation, we were offered the 5-acre compound for $32,000 and Walt himself would HOLD THE MORTGAGE! Yes, you heard that right… no banks involved! So, there was a handshake, and the deal was sealed and at 22 years old, I became a homeowner. 


I am an agent and marketer for visual artists. Like actors have agents, I do that for artists. And then I market the exhibitions I book for them. 


Art criticism and curation. And gardening. I like to grow things.

Happiness Is:

A lazy Sunday and friends for dinner followed by night kayaking. 

Favorite Dish:

In the summer, it’s Poached Salmon with mustard/dill sauce, in the winter is Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon. And anything on the menu at The Red Onion. 

Ideal Country Home:

My ideal country home has a new cedar roof, a split level HVAC system, Pella windows, a view of both the Esopus and the Catskills, 100 acre fruit orchard, a waterfall, European appliances, Tulikivi soapstone fireplace with built-in oven, a rare book library, no rodents, a dry basement, high ceilings, central vacuum system, heated driveway, self-weeding gardens… all the things that I don’t have (and never will)!