The Den is on Yelp

We have claimed our store and hope you’ll “check-in” on Yelp when you visit the Den for some great “check-in” deals, discounts, and coupons. Here is the link to the website, or click on the button below, or search for us by name on your mobile device. And if you use the app a lot, we hope you’ll give us some tips about Yelp in person. The Den would love to reach more day-trip visitors to the Hudson Valley through their mobile devices.


Yelp picture the Den


The Den in the News

Thank you Hudson Valley One/The New Paltz Times for the article about the Den from when we first opened. It focuses on what it was like to open up the teddy bear museum and run the brick-and-mortar business selling Steiff toys. Nan was interviewed as Steve was busy mowing the lawn when the reporter came, so we’ll be sure to feature his perspective next time. Click here to read it.

news article Den of Marbletown


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Here is an old article from the Daily Freeman back when we just opened the museum and we briefly operated also as a Bed and Breakfast. I still remember the moment I walked into the Port Ewen Diner, just down the road from where my parents live, and the exclaimed: “You made the front page of the paper!” We never did get around to framing the hard copy, but we did find the on-line version here. Thanks to Paula Ann Mitchell, the wonderful journalist who wrote this piece.

Daily Freeman News Article The Den

A Great 2nd Birthday!

Thank you all for joining us for the Den’s Second Birthday celebration. Here are some photos of the event, or see more images on our Facebook Page photo album of the event.


We were lucky to have beautiful weather and enjoyed seeing many new faces, as well as old, at the Den. Here are some highlights:


Lori Traver, the Scone Ridge Baker, made a cake that was delightful and delicious. She brought an assortment of cupcakes too!


Julia Harris of Centerline Dressage brought “Sparkles the Miniature Pony” who was a big hit despite his diminutive size.

iy9a4947 Steiffclub members got to pre-order new items that will soon be available in our gift shop. Three lucky members won the raffle prizes and all left with goodie bags provided by Steiff, North America.

iy9a4927 Sandy Sherman, whose marvelous collection of vintage Studio Steiff pieces are on loan at the museum, came to visit with her sister and got to see the newly appointed “Sandy Sherman Room,” named in her honor.

iy9a4926Shoppers enjoyed bringing home new treasures from our Steiff retail shop – we thank you for your support!

iy9a4903Outside, people enjoyed a perfect fall day in the Hudson Valley.

img_8039 Inside, kids enjoyed playing in our new “Kid Cub Cave” where they were free to crawl around, explore, climb and have fun with their friends.


Nancy Parker shared a very special diorama from her own collection. Her “Birthday Party” scene won first prize and was featured in the recent Steiffclub magazine. She adapted it into a Halloween Birthday Party scene to commemorate the Den’s Big day. We thank you, Nancy!

Thank you to all of our guests for your support and we look forward to seeing you at the next event!


Big Teddy Bear Thanks as Our Second Birthday Approaches.


Steiff Maple Bear Thank You

We want to extend our deep thanks to everyone who has supported the Den these past two years, including guests who visit the museum, shoppers who support the retail store, Steiff Club members who pre-order through us, Steiff collectors who generously loan us their treasures, Route 209 commuters who stop in to explore a new place, local business owners, museum professionals, and the press who provide us with so many tips and encouragement towards our efforts, our neighbors and friends who send out-of-town visitors our way, the Town of Marbletown who approved our permits, and everyone behind-the-scenes who have contributed their talents and creativity to help us turn this vision into a reality.

We are grateful and humbled by people who have imprinted the Den with their spirit as collaborators or visitors, to those who have helped us promote the Den, and to all who have been patient and understanding of us through our shortcomings, lapses, and mistakes during our steep learning curve. Here’s our heartfelt thank you and a big bear hug.

We’d like to acknowledge the folks who have been part of the Second Birthday Celebration Team here below. Please also scroll down this page to see the people who contributed to our previous events, including our Winter Wonderland and our Grand Opening. Thank you all for sharing your creativity, your intelligence, your talents, and your “can-do” spirit for events at the Den. We could not have done it without you all.


Museum and Steiff Gift Shop

• Grace Bress, whose collection of thousands of Steiff animals and accessories provided the foundation of our museum endeavor;

• The Family of the late Mary Couke, who leant the museum our oldest and most valuable piece, the 1904 Rod Bear – the “holy grail” for serious Steiff collectors;

• Sandy Sherman, whose loan from her private collection of vintage Steiff Studio pieces (nearly-life sized!) has made the jaws of many guests drop with amazement and delight;

• Rebekah Kaufman, “Steiffgal,our favorite Steiff Archivist and Consultant who teaches us about the History of Steiff and introduces us to new friends in the Steiff community;

Steiff North America Inc, whose staff shows us the ropes of how to run a Steiff Retail Shop;

• The Town of Marbletown, who approved our zoning request to transform some of the former B&B rooms into a goodie shop serving coffee, snacks, drinks, sandwiches, baked goods, and bubble tea … opening this winter!


Fall Exhibition Diorama Artists

• Doreen Johnson, Doreen J Designs, “The Rail Trail Café” – we loved Doreen’s idea to feature this unique Hudson Valley attraction and she recreates the vibrant outdoor experience with her details of food, musical instruments, and a lively community of Steiff critters celebrating together. Doreen’s structure of the cafe almost leaps out of the diorama with the bustling activity. Always love her attention to detail: Doreen even sanded down and repainted the miniature bike in the diorama to fit her color motif.

• Bill and Kelly Merchant, “The D&H Canal Museum“- the amazing and true story of the alligator that landed in the High Falls canal is told with Steiff animals (“Gaty,” our vintage Steiff alligator, is the star of the show). There is also a tiny newspaper, a miniature canal boat being pulled by two Steiff donkeys (historically accurate), and a great photo from the canal museum’s archives. As president of the D&H Canal Museum, Bill is also a local historian and the story of this diorama scene truly comes to life when he tells it. So if you find him at an antiques market in High Falls, do make him tell you the alligator story. Kelly assisted on this diorama, and has made her own in the past. We love when she borrows the Steiff animals from the museum for her photography shoots or for local Hive Collective events.

• Nancy Ostrovsky, “Steiff Circus”- Live-action painter Nancy Ostrovsky brings her flare for the spectacle of performance art to life for our Steiff animals her multi-colored, painted, jewel-encased, kinetic, synesthesia diorama experience of the Steiff circus. Don’t forget to grab your ticket and buy some pop corn from the beautifully-costumed Steiff circus creatures as you sit back and watch the show. We’re currently editing video footage of Nancy at work on one of her dynamic paintings and we look forward to displaying this alongside of her diorama.

• Nancy Parker, “Halloween Birthday Party” – a special addition for our 2nd birthday event is this charming scene created by this local artist and avid Steiff collector (for 60 years!), Nancy Parker. She has kindly shared pieces from her own collection for this display (some pieces were purchased here at the Den). Nancy Parker entered Steiff North America contest to create a scene to commemorate Steiff’s 135th Birthday Party and won first prize! She has adapted her scene to celebrate both the Den’s Second Birthday Party and Halloween. She has hand-crafted the miniature Halloween party hats, the Halloween cards, much of the food, and even the “bobbing for apples” scene. This delightful display will be on view for only a short time, so do come and see it soon.

• Lora Shelley, “The Hudson Valley Artist’s Studio”- Lora Shelley has made miniature paintings of Steiff animals for the diorama, hand-sewn many of the costumes, and created teeny-tiny bristle brushes and pallets for the animal artists to use in their busy atelier. Her careful selection and placement of the vintage Steiff animals in her design is mesmerizing – they interact so convincingly with their art, with each other and with you, the viewer. Perhaps her secret is that she talks to the animals when creating her dioramas.

• The Staff from the Den, “The Mills Mansion“- interior photos of the glorious Mills Mansion (across the river in Staatsburgh) are the backdrop to this diorama and we’ve cast “Pieps” the vintage Steiff mouse (in her original yellow satin dress and pearl necklace –her best “Country Mouse” costume) as Mrs. Mills, walking about her beautiful Red Satin bedroom. Downstairs tea is served on vintage “Petite Princess” doll house furniture by Ideal.


Fall Exhibition Design, Interior, and Content People

• Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design, our website/logo design hero who is so creative and patient with us. She just recently refreshed our memories on how to update our WordPress website after we neglected it for a while. She also makes and sells delicious local maple syrup called Tree Juice – our daughter loves the vanilla bean-infused syrup and just finished a bottle with her pancakes this week.

• Doug Motel,, online consultant who demystified Facebook event marketing in a 30 minute consultation – it was totally worthwhile to get his expert advice. Now we need his diorama skills after having seen his intriguing pointillist art.

• Rosanne Percival, 2D-3D Design, Inc., is both the artist of our new exterior signs (the bear on the side porch and the hand-painted sign outside our front door), and our retail designer for the goodie shop (opening this winter 2017). She designs kitchens, cafés, Whole Foods displays, and personally fabricates many elements within her designs. Anyone who attended the recent RVGA Barn Dance can thank Rosanne for donating her design skills toward the layout of event at Tongore Park.

RCS Fine Art, creator of our museum didactics and installation consultant. Rebecca curates, designs, and installs museum/gallery shows both in NYC and here in the Hudson Valley. She has such a perfect expertise for the Den and we marvel at her bricollage abilities in which she’s always ready to make a Steiff scene come to life EVEN MORE by Mavericking together some subtle suspension element with sewing needle, fishing line, a random ceiling hook and a few LED lights – all of which seem to be found in a tiny tin tool kit she always carries in her purse.

• Maria Reidelbach,, graphic designer of our interior signs who did yet another speedy turnaround for us through her beautiful work. Maria’s vivid graphics are all over this region, on business signs, in logos, in pamphlets and programs, including her “Stick to Local Farms” map and cookbook. We love seeing the creative ways she updates her statue of “Gnome Chomsky” (the World’s Third Largest Garden Gnome on Route 209 at Kelder Farm) with accessories like a hula hoop or a Halloween costume.

Lora Shelley has kindly allowed the Den to continue displaying her paintings and prints throughout the farm house and her art is currently on view on the first floor and second floor hallways near the stairs. Many of her paintings and prints feature vintage Steiff animals from the Den’s own collection. A price list of Lora’s paintings and prints is mounted on the first floor hallway and a second copy is available in the Retail Gift Shop.

• Katherine Smith has helped so much both inside and outside. I thought we’d need four people to move the old fridge to the garage but then I looked and saw Katie was moving it single-handedly! Really. I’m still thinking “no way!” But that’s Katie.

• Crystal Bates and David Girard have also helped both inside and outside of the Den, but especially doing landscaping. You may have seen them with Steve chopping down trees and clearing brush around the pond as you’ve driven by on 209. Love seeing Crystal rocking out to music with her headphones on.


October 16 Event Day

• Julie Harris, Centerline Dressage, we were so touched when Julie offered to bring “Sparkles the Miniature Pony” to the front lawn of the Den event starting around noon. What a great way to appeal to drivers on 209! She is a wonderful riding instructor in Accord.

• Diane Reeder, Kingston Candy Bar, our partner/packager of candy has been providing us with all varieties of gummy bears and goodies since we opened. She generously gave us use of her storefront window in Uptown Kingston to create seasonal Steiff displays for many months, until she needed to reclaim the space for her new donut-making equipment. We miss being in her store but love stopping in for a chocolate ganache donut. We look forward to sharing her candy with the kiddos at our Birthday event, and to selling it in the goodie shop (opening in winter, 2017).

• Carolyn Smith, Steiff USA – we are honored and thrilled that Caroline will drive all the way to the Hudson Valley to host a Steiff Club Event as part of our Birthday Celebration. She’ll bring sample items of Steiff toys in production for all to preview (and pre-order) and she is also bringing Steiff items for a special raffle for Steiff Club members. The Den is offering up several great Steiff raffle items as well for all of our guests to enter.

• Lori Traver, Scone Ridge Baker, is baking the birthday cake for the party and will provide snacks and baked goods for us when the goodie shop opens after the holidays. Let us know your favorite sweet treat and we’ll see if we can include it. We look forward to hosting food-decorating events with her … so start practicing your fondant skills now so you’ll be ready for our own version of “Cake Wars” at the Den this winter.

Thanks again everyone! We hope to see you all on Sunday, October 16 from 11-5pm.


Thank You Winter Wonderland Team!

swan diorama Steiff

We’ve enjoyed a touch of enchantment at the Den through our winter wonderland animal dioramas, featuring the art work of the Bennett Intermediate School 5th Grade Students, with Roberta Ziemba as their art instructor. Roberta selected a beautiful color palette of blue, purples, and pinks with shimmering decorative effects. We loved seeing these talented students and their families at the opening!

We’d also like to thank RCS Fine Art for their help with the dioramas in the Steiff History Room, which combined the student work with our own Steiff winter animal artifacts. Thank you Rebecca Shea and Charlie Butterly.


Our doll house came to life through a cozy party scene filled with delicious miniature food and lots of Steiff teddy bears. Many thanks to Diana Smith Rush for staging such a beautiful scene, and to Charlie Butterly for lighting it.

Steiff Doll House

Our stone room diorama artists worked under a tight deadline to create inviting winter wonderland habitats for our Steiff animals, and John Cox of Refab made wonderful, light-weight boxes that our artists could transport to their studios with ease. Thank you to the following for creating these large box dioramas:

“Wandering Winter Bearries” by Doreen Johnson
“Winter’s Muse” by Kelly Merchant
“Winter Den” by India Sachi
“Winter Garden” by Jennifer Muck
“Magic Hour” by Roberta Ziemba
“Steiff Circus” by Nancy Ostrovsky

Bear_House_Vacation 062

Maria Reidelbach created a beautiful, wintery-graphic-design-look for us on very short notice! You saved us again.

Kelly Merchant responded to eleventh hour call of “HELP!” by organizing and curating many of the shelves of Steiff animals in the upstairs gallery of the collection room. Her selection of “Jewel Toned” Steiff is one of the visitor’s favorite shelves this winter.

Steiff Collection Room

Lora Shelley designed another beautiful storeshop display at Kingston Candy Bar, including her hand-sewn costumes and banners. Thanks to Diane Reeder for continuing to extend this great opportunity to us, and for packaging the gummy bears and candy we sell via the Kingston Candy Bar. You can now buy Steiff animals you see on display directly from the Kingston Candy Bar.

candy bar winter wonderland

Holiday Decoration Team was lead by Doreen Johnson, with help from Heather Needham, and RCS Fine Art. Doreen hung beautiful garlands throughout the house, Heather decorated sleds as a focal point outside and created hand-made wreaths for the windows. Kiddos Clara and Ella decorated the Christmas tree.

Exterior lighting thanks goes to Doreen Johnson, John Cox, Frank Meli, and Steve Schaefer – if it hadn’t been for them, Steve and I never would have hung up the lights around the porch, sign, or the deer decorations in time for Christmas. We’d also like to thank Seth Rubin for getting some much-needed, temporary spotlights onto our sign during the frightening ice storm on our opening.

Thanks to Lisa Jones for the delicious food she’s served at several winter events, including the exhibition opening, and the RVGA event. We continue to carry her baked goods here at the Den. Thanks to Nancy Cobb for helping us organize the space better and keep up on those annoying pine needles and glitter.

We thank everyone who braved the weather during the opening event. To all of you who have volunteered, who have come as visitors this winter, or who spread the word to friends, we thank you all!


Winter Break Drop-Off Camps

We’re so pleased to offer some mini-camps during winter break at the Den. Here’s our flyer with the details. Just call us during business hours to register or send us an email and we’ll save you a spot and send you the registration form.

We’ll also have cookie decorating at the Den from December 22 through January 2nd (closed on Dec 24/25).

The Den Winter Break Camp


Front Back Cover


Dream Team for the Grand Opening: Thank You !!!

We feel so grateful to have had such an extraordinary team to help us get this venture off the ground. One of our favorite parts of this has been working with all of the folks listed here. Somehow, the right people showed up with the skills we needed and with great “can-do” spirits; this was truly magical for us.  We’ll miss the energy you all brought to the house during the wonderful and crazy days leading up to the opening. We loved working with you all.



Planning and Approval:
Accountant: Craig Sickler, Sickler, Torchia, Allen & Churchill
Architect: Kurt Sutherland, KWS Architecture
Code Enforcer: Ray VanKleeck
Lawyer: Sara McGinty, Sara McGinty Law
Previous owners of the Basten House: Rodney and Lourd Basten
Realtor: Laurel Sweeney, Prudential Nutshell Realty
Town of Marbletown Planning Board, Rich Lanzarone – chair
Town of Marbletown Zoning Board, Will Husta – chair

House, Structural:
Cistern Removal: Jurgen Beneke
Electrician: Frank Meli Electric
Electrician: Steve Schaefer
General Contractor: Myron Baker (+ Will)
Painting: Charlie Butterly, Linda Ferri, Louis Ferri, Kathryn Smith
Plaster Repair: Charlie Butterly
Plumbing/Bathroom Addition: EZ Does it Plumbing
Plumbing/Steam Heat: Eric Heinz

House, Interior:
Antique Light Restoration: Tom Blake
Curtains: Jack O’Connor, Dolores Ferri, Lisa Ferri
Custom Picture Framing: John Cox, Refab and Lora Shelley
Custom Furniture and Retail Shop Cabinetry: John Cox + Nate Wade, Refab
Diorama Boxes: Mike Dwyer
Hard Wood Floors: Joe Whitmore, Walk on Wood
Interior Design Consultant: Nico Accardi
Interior Painting: Charlie Butterly

House, Exterior:
Carpenter for Sign: Ron Parenti
Landscaping: Nancy Cobb
Paving: Nick DeLaura, Nick DeLaura Concrete
Septic Engineer: Peak Engineering
Septic: Ed Garland
Stone Wall: Ryan Hoffstatter
Storm Windows: Mike Dwyer
Tree Removal: Ubashant

The Den porch

Fall Exhibit Artists and Graphics:
Diorama Artist: Doreen Johnson, Doreen J Designs
Diorama Artist: Lisa Ferri
Diorama Artist: Lora Shelley
Diorama Artist: Nan Bress + RCS Fine Art
Diorama Artist: Nancy Ostrovsky
Diorama Subject: Wendy Hollender/Dina Falconi, Foraging and Feasting
Exterior Sign Design: Maria Reidelbach
Exterior Sign Painting: Rosanne Percivalle, 2D3D Design, Inc
Installation: RCS Fine Art
Interior Signs and Graphic Design: Maria Reidelbach
Logo Design: Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design
Steiff Vintage Animal Paintings: Lora Shelley
Website Design: Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design

Art Designer and Installation: Rebecca Shea, RCS Fine Art
Art Handler: Charlie Butterly, RCS Fine Art
Interactive Designer: Adam Samson
Intern: Andrew Morgan
Intern: Tisa Lowen
Steiff Archivist and Consulting: Rebekah Kaufman, “Steiffgal”
Steiff Collection Donation: Grace Bress
Steiff North America, Inc.
Steiff Rod Bear Loan: from the collection of the late Mary Couke
Steiff Studio Animals Loan: Sandy Sherman

Grand Opening:
Baker: Lisa Jones, Hudson Valley Food Matters
Event Decorations and Furniture: Tammy Baldwin Basten, Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals
Food: Emmanuel’s Marketplace
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Rondout Valley Business Association
New Business Profile: Blue Stone Press
Photography: Sean Kahlil, Sean Kahlil Photography


Plaster Repair the Den

The Den’s New Radio Jingle

We have a catchy new, toe-tapping tune to air on the radio! We spent a day in the recording studio, seeing the magic unfold for our first ever radio jingle. We think it’s really catchy and hope you do too!

John Cox of “John Jacob Jinglehiemer Hitz” composed the jingle and performed the upright bass and the vocals. Dean Jones of “No Parking Studio” was the sound engineer and performed the drums and the piano. Click the picture below to hear the radio ad, read below the break for the full story, photos and clips.

The Den Radio Jingle play crop



Before we arrived, Dean set down the piano track and then he set down the drum track, each timed for 1 minute.


Then John did the vocals – he’d sing the jingle and read the copy together in one take, using the early tracks on the headphones for his timing and pacing. Pretty amazing that his voice held up all day. Here is the live footage of take #6 of 14 total:

John sings jingle for the Den

Notice anything special about that microphone? Turns out this mic was used in Simon and Garfunkel’s Live Concert in Central Park – cool! In the background of this photo, below the record on the wall, is some foam core that was used to protect the Grammy that Dean won several years ago – he uses the foam for acoustics, but if you look closely you can recognize the little horn shape cut out from the iconic Grammy statue.

Dean used protools to cut and paste the best parts of each take and did his audio mixing by the time I brought back our take-out burgers from Market Market. Final steps – adding the upright bass and audio sweetening.

Many thanks to John and Dean! It is kind of a dream for us to have a radio jingle. We hope to hear you all humming it when you … come on down to the Den of Marbletown.




Our Sign

Maria Reidelbach The Den Sign

We just got back from a field trip to Maria Reidelbach’s studio to see the work that is being done on our hand-made sign. We’re thrilled with Maria’s design and Rosanne Percival’s painting (along with her assistant, Amelia). We wanted an old-fashioned, hand-painted sign that would age well under the elements. The results are better than we had even dreamed. Many thanks to you both!


Welcome To the Den of Marbletown Blog

How to Start a Blog

Thanks for checking out our Den Blog.

We will use our blog in a number of ways:

  • to chronicle our adventures starting up a teddy bear museum and B & B
  • to highlight experiences in the Hudson Valley for our guests
  • to share information about the world of Steiff geared toward Steiff Club Members.

Hope you’ll follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube, for other content and updates.

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