David Bowie is said to have his ashes scattered at his secret home just outside of Woodstock, where it is reported that he spent most of his final days with his family. The star wanted no funeral or memorial, leaving his most recent album ‘Blackstar’ as his final goodbye to fans, after losing his long battle with cancer on January 10th, 2016.
Friends say that David Bowie was happiest on his woodland compound in the Catskill Mountains. Guitarist Gerry Leonard, who recorded 3 albums with Bowie, said that Woodstock was where Bowie would spend time with his family and “recharge.” It is here that the music icon’s ashes will be spread with only close family in attendance- keeping the location of his Woodstock retreat a secret still, as it always has been.
Bowie hadn’t always been a country boy. In fact in 2002, Bowie had said, “I went to Woodstock once and I hated it. It was just too cute for words.” However, on his love of the nearby Catskill Mountain range, Bowie countered, “That is not cute. It’s stark and it has a Spartan quality about it.” It was only while recording his album Heathen, roughly 15 years ago, that Bowie proved his love for the region by purchasing the 64 acre Little Tonche Mountain in Shokan, NY, just adjacent from Allaire Studios, where he had been recording. The mountain, with no buildings, or prospects to build such, would just about sit dormant for 10 years until Bowie and his family were ready to call upstate home.
In that time, Bowie and his wife would purchase more homes and property in and around Woodstock. In 2011, Bowie paid an estimated 1.4 million for a 3 bedroom property and land. The house, built into the mountainside, was renovated to add 2 additional bedrooms and bathrooms and more windows to take in the beautiful vistas. Bowie’s daughter Lexi fell hard for the wildlife that city living has never been able to offer her and spent much of her time chasing deer and other wildlife on the grounds. Bowie and his wife, Iman, fought fiercely to keep their home’s location a secret and to this day many people in the surrounding area don’t know where the house is located. Even friend and Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director, Meira Blaustein, who had been to Bowie’s Woodstock home, said that while she knows of the location of the home, that even she was not aware when Bowie was there; he kept as much as he could private.
Bowie wanted to keep his serenity a secret from his fans, and from the rest of the world. He went out of his way to buy this property under a limited liability company instead of putting it under his own name, like he had previously done for other properties he had purchased. The numerous “keep out” signs and cameras on the extensive grounds reinforced the notion that this was Bowie’s private pad.
Despite his residential status remaining a protected secret, Bowie and his family immersed themselves into Woodstock’s community and were often seen at local eateries and shops (regularly frequenting the 28 West Gym and the Stone Ridge fitness centre, along with fellow superstar Daniel Craig).
He frequented Catskill Art and Office Supply, scouring for things for his garage annex and artist studio- his newest planned renovation to his beloved home, when he became sicker in the summer of 2015. Owner, Michael Hague, said “Once when he came in the shop, on of his records started playing on the radio, I can’t remember which one, but David just burst out laughing. He had a great sense of humour and was always telling jokes. But he was so low-key people would always do double-takes.”
Bowie did his best to protect the location of his Woodstock home and ultimately succeeded. Even after his passing, and out of respect for Bowie,his family and their privacy, the location of Bowie’s final resting place will remain a secret. No memorials or monuments will mark Bowie’s ‘grave’ site, but, just as he wished, he will live on forever through his music; controlling his legacy, up until his final act.