At 54, Osman, the Dream Away's self-described "sandman," has the outsize presence of the actor he trained to be—one who's found the optimum stage for his unique brand of showmanship. Through a groovy front-room bar crammed with an accumulation of snow globes and Michelob lanterns, a cozy wood-paneled dining room has been set with mismatched tablecloths and colorful vases full of orange lilies. The scent of garlic mashed potatoes wafts in from the kitchen.
The lodge's folksy, tchotchke-laden charm is the stuff of legend. Back in 1975, members of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue—including Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, and Allen Ginsberg—dropped by the former speakeasy and brothel and ended up staying all day, drinking, smoking, and making music; playwright Sam Shepard documented the whole thing in the Rolling Thunder Logbook. The place so bewitched Osman when he stumbled upon it while working the summer theater festivals nearby that in 1997 he decamped to the country to buy it (that is, once the owners had painstakingly questioned and vetted Osman, and judged him sufficiently wise to the restaurant's essence—i.e., not a land-grabbing yuppie looking for a teardown). Osman has taken seriously the task of preserving the lodge's "nostalgic hippie sweetness," as he calls it, and paying homage to its history. "There's a Sinatra rumor," he says, lowering his voice to a whisper. "A Janis Joplin legend. Liberace was certifiably here. Milton Berle..."
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