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Sunset at the Oasis
Woodstock musicians Robbie Dupree and Matthew Ballister (Sunfrost) open the Oasis Juice Bar and Grill

by Haven James

Lunchtime at the Oasis, or dinner, or even breakfast is served at a great new hide-a-way tucked down along the shoreline across from the Rondout section of Kingston. The place is closed by midnight so Maria's song won't work as a promo but you will probably find that tune along with a number of other Woodstock favorites on the custom contoured jukebox.

Two of Woodstock's entrepreneur artists have made a splash dockside at the Rondout Yacht Basin in what is technically the Town of Connelly by opening the Oasis Juice Bar and Grill. What was once a snack shack has been transformed into an outpost of tropical paradise by musician Robbie Dupree and Sunfrost's Matthew Ballister. A likely partnership in a lot of ways, the two dove into this project mid-spring and marathoned their labors to be open for Memorial Day weekend. This past weekend was the first of what will be monthly extravaganzas, each following a theme and featuring special menus and music to coordinate with marina events. Though oriented to serve the boat people in residence at the moorings, the facility is open to all, and making the journey down to the waterside is, simply put, pretty damn cool.

The motif is thoroughly island style from the color scheme to the architectural accents. The duo actually trucked 3,000 palm fronds up from Florida to build a natural thatched-roof covering for the otherwise open-air deck. Around the original snack shop they've extended a natural wood bar that now runs around two sides of the interior structure. Stools line the counter and a few less than a dozen tables spread over the veranda. The breeze off the river flows through freely as small waves lap at the hulls of the yachts, sailboats and motorboats docked all around it. The Oasis sits right on the water's edge.

A lot of the woodwork was done by Woodstock's own Johnnie Average but he'll put down his saw and pick up his guitar for the next big marina event. Average and his Rockabillies will play for a Tex-Mex jamboree scheduled for mid-July at the Yacht Basin. There are plans to have more casual music on intermittent evenings throughout the summer, something like a duo or trio perched along the railing for low-key listening while folks meet and greet and eat.

Which brings us to the menu; famous already in Woodstock is Matthew's Sunfrost juice bar and vegetable market. Expanding on that theme, Matthew has crafted a sensible, healthy menu that makes the most of his fresh produce supply line and combines the new grill aspect of the Oasis. Of course the fruit smoothies, with or without ice cream, are a feature, and there are both vegetarian and carnivorian choices to select.

That this venture came together at all is a bit of a fluke. Dupree keeps his boat at the Yacht Basin and had had his eye on the snack bar. When it became available the owner of the marina offered Robbie the opportunity to submit a proposal. It was a natural to enlist Matthew as partner, and their ideas won the deal hands down, or up, if you will. What they have done is to create a lovely haven of tropical tranquility, which makes the very most of the indigenous characteristics of the boat community.

To get there is easy but requires a little faith. Cross over the old Route 9W Port Ewen steel suspension bridge (originally designed and built as a prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge) and take the first right where the sign reads "Connelly." Continue on all the way to the bottom of the hill and bear right following the signs that point to the marina. As you enter the gate, the Oasis is straight ahead. The juice bar and grill are open Friday through Sunday plus any holiday extension days from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. all the way through the season to the fall colors. You can call the Oasis at 331-4449 for info on the special events, and in case you want to picnic or have boating plans, they do take-out orders. If you're looking to get out of Dodge and get a little sun and sea air at a mellow spot, you've found it. The views are magnificent and sunset at the Oasis is simply stunning.

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on June 22nd, 1999

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