Humans of the Catskills: Heidi Stonier

Heidi Stonier and Randy Leer

Journey to the Catskills:

What brought me to the Catskills? Fate, love, destiny? Our dream of opening an art and cultural center waited thirty years as my husband and I raised our family in suburban New Jersey. We’ve known and loved the Catskills and have family roots dating back to the 1940s when Fleischmanns, New York provided refuge to émigrés fleeing World War II. When our lives reached a crossroads, and a magnificent Victorian home came on the market, instead of retiring, we opened the Arts Inn on Main Street. We weathered two years of Covid and finally opened our doors in January of 2022.  

In May of this same year, we had a mini art festival in our backyard, that was a dream come true for us: a celebration of local and global artists, first time performers alongside Carnegie Hall regulars, poets, filmmakers, good food, great people and lots of dancing! We hope to make it a yearly event. It’s a special time for artists and such a privilege to have a resource to offer to the community. The Catskills is the perfect setting for our ongoing dream of bringing people together through art and cultural exchange.


My vocation is artist, educator and facilitator. At present the vehicle is the Arts Inn, 923 Main Street, Fleischmanns, New York, where, in addition to offering the arts, we rent rooms and the entire space for events. 


I love to dance, write, paint, hang with the family, cook, wander the mountains and be collective. At foundation is my meditation practice of nearly thirty years, which I gladly share for free because it was given to me as such.

Happiness Is:

Happiness is conditional, joy is unconditional and comes when I feel connected to my spirit, to those around me and to nature.

Favorite Dish:

Spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti. I make my own marinara, which takes seven hours (!) and am ecstatic/annoyed to have found an eggplant parmesan sandwich at my local Village East Cafe with a sauce that is better than mine!

Ideal Country Home:

An ideal country home is the one I have. It is beautiful, made the old-fashioned way with attention to detail, quality, natural materials, aesthetic design and most importantly because it is big enough to hold many people and fill with love. One day, when we actually retire, I may want a little cottage though. Meanwhile, I am grateful for everything I have.