Doers and Dreamers – Sam Osterhout

Along with a fair number of entrepreneurs that have set up shop in Kingston in recent years, a number of talented artists, musicians, and writers have also found their way to our community. They are drawn by all of the aspects that make Kingston a livable city and in turn make their contributions as well. Say ‘hello’ to this week’s Doer and Dreamer, Sam Osterhout, who not only drinks enough coffee at Outdated to keep it fresh for you and I, but is helping members of our community to connect in a unique way.

Your name: Sam Osterhout

Occupation: Writer, host of The Locals

What is your approach to your business or occupation that makes you unique?
I guess my unique approach is also the thing that keeps me from succeeding more often. That is, if I have an idea, I generally do it. Sometimes the ideas are good and sometimes they…are not. But I don’t like talking about things too much. Working out details is great, but only if something is going to happen. I get frustrated with a lack of forward motion and maybe sometimes give up on some projects too early. I want to be constantly doing. Sometimes this means taking on too much. But it also means that I have been able to do a lot in the past 15 years.

Where are you from originally?

What brought you to the Kingston area and keeps you in this area?
I lived in New York City for several years with my wife. When we had our first baby we decided to buy a home upstate. We decided to make Kingston our full time home when my wife became pregnant with our second baby. We love the creative energy here. There is a very strong community of makers, artists, writers, and filmmakers here who have managed to make a living doing what they love to do. And while that community exists in the city, certainly, the quality of creativity is different here. There’s less rush. Obviously, the hustle of the city can create a certain creative tension that produces loads of work, there’s something to be said for taking one’s time to develop thoughtful, engaging work. Up here, we have a little more of that time, and I think the work – the food, the writing, the music, the art – reflects that time, that consideration, that thoughtfulness. That’s why we stay.

What is your favorite hangout in this area and why?
Outdated Cafe in Kingston. I spend less time there in the winter, mostly because I walk there so my wife and kids can have the car, and I don’t like walking in the cold (despite having lived in Minneapolis for ten years, I’m a cold coward). But even in the winter, I spend at least one day a week there. In the other seasons you can probably find me there, sitting at a table with my headphones on, working, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at least a few days a week.
I love everything about that place. They’ve managed to open up such a cozy, warm space where you can work alongside a lot of people, without feeling crowded. I know a lot of other writers who work there, so there must be something about the lighting, the thousands of amazing objects that they’ve collected and have for sale. I don’t know. The food is delicious. It’s simple and not over-thought. The ingredients are easy and fresh and everything is well-prepared. The coffee is good.
It’s like a community center for writers who love food.

When you’re not in Kingston, what’s your idea of a wonderful city to visit, and why?
I love New York, but I’m going to say Minneapolis. Minneapolis has the advantage of being so unbelievably cold, which keeps a lot of people away. If it wasn’t so cold (weird hypothetical alert – if it wasn’t so cold there, it wouldn’t be Minneapolis), everyone would live there. There are hundreds of miles of bike trails in the city and surrounding areas, which makes it easy to commute that way. There are lakes everywhere. The food is excellent. The beer is excellent. The people are smart and creative and love their lives (except in winter, which, really, is terrible), except for the ones who don’t. But even they are polite.

Tell us something that we never would have guessed about you.
I was born with 11 fingers.