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Archive for 2010

BOHV 2010 – Best Restaurant in Dutchess County

As you know, my honey and I absolutely love traveling in and around the Hudson Valley, we completely enjoy waterfront dinning and are always on the lookout for new places to enjoy dinner, lunch or just a great cup of coffee and dessert. 

With the winners of the 2010 Best of the Hudson Valley                            recently announced by the Hudson Valley magazine, we decided that we would make a conscious effort to try to visit a few of these places during our travels.

After our “wonderful” day spent at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome this past Saturday we pulled out our magazine to see where we could experience the BOHV while in Rhinebeck (Dutchess County).  The winner was, the Terrapin Restaurant was voted the Best Restaurant in Dutchess County and was located in Rhinebeck!

Terrapin's Restaurant

It was early so we opted to dine outside on the patio to enjoy the somewhat brisk fall temperature while we dined.  It was a typical early Fall evening with a briskness in the air which made us very pleased that Terrapin had these amazing heat lamps strategically placed on the patio.  We were lucky and sat with a lamp on each side of our table keeping us comfortable.  Situated on a fairly busy street in Rhinebeck we enjoyed and were pleased to see so many people mulling about the streets stepping in and out of the various boutiques and shops of Rhinebeck. 

We started off with an absolutely delicious appetizer: macadamia-nut tempura calamari with pineapple dipping sauce that was great!  I wish I knew the recipe for the pineapple sauce as I think it would be perfect on a number of meats and fish dishes! 

Terrapin's appetizer-macadamia-nut tempura calamari with pineapple dipping sauce

The we both settled on “creating our own sandwich” and choose burgers.  I had the veggie burger and my honey (supporting our local farmers) had the Hudson Valley cattle company beef 1/4 pound hamburger.  The experience of “create your own” was different as you first selected the type of sandwich, then selected your bread, then sauce, then cheese, topping or extras.  While both our burgers were very good, we think it was a bit pricy for burgers.  Terrapin has mixed reviews on Zagat 

 

but overall, if you are in the area you might consider stopping in, after all they were voted the Best Restaurant in Dutchess County!

Terrapins-veggie-burger-on-crusty-french-baguette

Terrapins-hudson-valley-cattle-company-beef-qtr-pound-burger-on-soft-brioche-roll

Because we had purchased fresh baked apple cider donuts from Migliorelli Farm stand down the street with passed on dessert this time (I know, very unusual for us!) The Migliorelli Farm is located in Tivoli NY and operates farm stands in Rhinebeck and Red Hook.  I’ve been purchasing their peaches, apples and other fruits & vegetables all season as they also have a booth at my local Croton-on-Hudson farmer’s market every Wednesday.   

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 

Autumn's Colors from 5,000 Ft.

To me, the beauty of the Hudson Valley and Autumn’s colors is nothing short of breathtaking, until I seen its beauty from 5,000′! 

My honey and I had another spectacular weekend!   The air was crisp as we headed north on Route 9 early Saturday morning as we ventured out on another one of our famous “day-trips.”  Today’s destination was the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck NY.   

You may not know but my honey is an avid model plane builder/flyer .  He has been building and flying model planes since he was a child growing up in New Jersey.  While I truly enjoy watching him fly his planes, I wasn’t sure I would be “wowed” by our visit to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome but I knew he would be thrilled so off we went.

Upon arriving at the Aerodrome we were excited to learn they were celebrating their 9th Annual Glenn Curtiss Day (we somehow always seem to stumble upon an event or celebration taking place!) 

I am not an expert on airplanes, designs, manufacturers or aviation at any level but I was intrigued to learn that Glenn Curtiss flew from Albany to Manhattan in some documents report 5 hours and others 3 according to the MC at the Aerodrome.  Glenn Curtiss was born in Hammondsport NY and is considered “The Father of Naval Aviation” and “Founder of the American Aircraft Industry”, Now according to the MC at the event, some documents indicate this flight took 5 hours and some say 3, none the less it was a historical flight over the Hudson River.  The plane Glenn Curtiss flew during his flight from Albany to Manhattan was the Albany Flyer.  This flight was captured by artist John Gould as he paints the Albany Flyer flying past Bannerman’s Island and Storm King Mountain. 

Original Painting of the Albany Flyer by John Gould

It was interesting to see so many of these old planes many of which the ORA still fly today.  Some may only lift off the ground maybe 4′ but none the less, for a plane that was built in the early 1900’s and is still able to lift off the ground is a remarkable feat!  If only our cars of today were built to last as long LOL!

The ORA puts on spectacular air shows with many of these planes.  In addition to the air shows they have period music and automobiles as part of the show.  Members of the audience are encouraged to participate by volunteering to wear period clothing and ride in these beautiful old cars!  

One of the most exciting things to do / see while at the ORA is to take a ride in the open-cockpit 1929 New Standard biplane!  I felt like Amelia Earhart (my mother asked me if I had my scarf, darn I knew I forgot something!). We dubbed ourselves Amelia and Orville “wannabes.”

The New Standard D25 Bi Plane

More Autumn’s Colors from 5,000 Ft. photos

After a “wonderful” day at the ORA we decided to find something new for dinner.  With the Best of the Hudson Valley 2010 list recently announced we decided we were going to try to visit a few of the places voted BOHV 2010 while out n ’bout during our travels.  Being in Dutchess County we choose to have dinner at Terrapin Restaurant voted Best Restaurant in Dutchess County.  You can read more about our dinner at Terrapin in my “BOHV 2010 – Best Restaurant in Dutchess County” post.

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 

FALL FESTIVALS IN THE HUDSON VALLEY

What a beautiful Fall Saturday it was!  Finally, (for all of you that follow me) my “honey” and I were back to our “Hudson Valley ‘Travelingselves'” this past weekend!  Yippee, we were so excited as there were so many apple festivals, farmer’s markets and craft fairs along with the very early stages of the beautiful fall foliage, we couldn’t wait to jump in the car.  I need to warn you, because we haven’t been out ‘n about in while, we tried to visit a few of the many activities taking place so this post may be a tad longer than normal but hopefully you’ll be intrigued and want to read to the end.

Our first stop was the 4th Annual Hudson Valley Bounty Festival held at the Cluett Schantz Memorial Park in the tiny hamlet of Milton, NY.  Milton and Marlboro are hamlets of the Town of Marlborough, New York.

Pictures from the HVBF:

Nestled on the banks of the Hudson River, half way between Albany and New York City, this community (in Ulster County) represents the very heart of the Hudson valley.  Marlborough is an active farming community, with some of the best fruit and vegetable  products in the Hudson Valley.

As we drove along 299 (just outside of New Paltz which was our afternoon stop) we were stunned when we saw the many many many different apple festivals, farmer’s markets, etc. taking place in and around the Hudson Valley.

This mid-Hudson Valley area offers everything from scenic views, farms where you can pick the freshest fruits & produce, vineyards for you to sip the finest wines, savor the agri-cuisine, go horse back riding, relax at luxurious modern spas, stay the night for a wonderful weekend get-away at beautiful B&B’s, browse the eclectic shops, take in the magnificent; river, valley, mountains & bucolic views.  Psst, can you tell I love the Hudson Valley! LOL!

An absolute unexpected treat was the entertainment!  I’m so excited to have found a great new band and to learn they are from the Hudson Valley!  We were so impressed with John Cary & George Segnit of the Hudson Ridge Band that I’ve already purchased their CD!  

Take a minute to listen/watch my video here and you too will fall in love with this band!

And then we were absolutely thrilled to see the legendary Pete Seeger!   At 91 he is amazing!  Listen and watch my videos here as he performs one of my favorites Sailin’ Up, Sailin’ Down (ringtone available) which is about cleaning up the Hudson River – most likely sailing on the beautiful sloop Clearwater.  Pete Seeger launched the Clearwater in 1969 to clean up the Hudson River.  I would like to encourage you to help support the sloop Clearwater, consider making a donation or purchasing a great t-shirt from their store!

Watch and listen and Pete Seeger again captivated us as everyone stopped to sing alone with this legend and friend of the Hudson Valley.

As you know, I grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and wouldn’t trade it for the world.  My love of the river and the entire Hudson Valley grows deeper as I get older and can appreciate all the history behind our beautiful region including the history of Verplanck.  Stories of how Henry Hudson’s Halfmoon is reported to have dropped anchor in the waters off Verplanck.  NY Times Article dated March 8, 1896 refers to the date of  August 24, 1683 when Verplanck was purchased from the Indians for “wampum, rum, beer, knives, and trinkets”.

I cherish the many stories my father has told me about when he and his friends would swim across the river from Steamboat Dock in Verplanck.  I remember my father taking us in our boat over to the Hudson River National Defense Fleet of ships and listening to his stories of how he and his friends used to swim the length of these ships underwater! These ships are huge, and as a child they were enormous!   My father has told me stories of how brickyards and the ice industry were major industries for Verplanck.

The following was taken from a commemorative roadside plaque on Riverview Ave in Verplanck:

“In the 1840s John Henry, the principal landowner of Verplanck’s Point at that time, opened the first brickyard north of Steamboat Dock. In 1884, there were 10 separate brickyards operating in Verplanck, employing about 425 men, mostly Irish immigrants. The brick making season lasted about 150 days and the combined output of the yards was apx. 60 million brick per year. At the beginning of the 20th century the clay deposits were becoming exhausted and the brick-making era was coming to a close. By 1914 there were only 2 yards operating in Verplanck.”

This 1891 map of this area by F. W. Beers shows many brick companies in this general region. Right on Verplanck’s Point, it lists the Bonner Brick Company to the north and the Hudson River Brick Company to the south. More brick companies were located to the south in Montrose and Crugers (Jones, F.W. Seward and Bellefuille). These yards were later operated by OBRIEN and today is the Montrose Point State Forest. Here’s a Trail Map. Farther south in Crugers was the L. H. Lynch Co. yard.

Lake Meahagh (which was literally my backyard) is actually an artificial lake created by the Knickerbocker Ice Company to ship ice to New York City residents.  Having the sounds of the ducks and swans as my lullaby each night I beleive is also responsible for my love of living on the water!

To read more about the Hudson River,  check out the Google book The Hudson, a guide book to the river by Arthur G. Adams.

At the bounty festival we also discovered Luigi’s Infused Oils!      Their oil is amazing!  All ingredients locally grown and yes, for those of you that follow me, we did purchase the Sun-Dried Tomato oil! I was thrilled to see the back of their business card actually shared a few tips & suggestions! Their oil may be purchased from a variety of retail locations in and around the Hudson Valley.

We loved meeting Diana Henry from Quimby Farm and sampling her delicious jams and jellies.  They grow their own berries to make this “wonderful” jams and jellies.

After leaving the bounty festival we stumbled upon a sign that read “festival” with an arrow.  Yes, you guessed it, we turned to see what it was and we came upon our 2nd stop of the day at the    DuBois Farm in Highland and their “Fall Into Fall” festival!  This 54 acre farm was voted Best Pick-Your-Own in the Mid-Hudson Valley.  The orchards seem to go on and on.  They provide a pumpkin patch area, you can shop for fresh apple cider and donuts,    lunch and overall spend the day enjoying a day on the farm! .  There are a variety of events scheduled between now and November 7th so if you are looking for a great way to spend a weekend picking your own apples DuBois Farm is the place!

Some pictures from the farm:

Next stop was the   The 21th Annual Huguenot Street App le Festival & Craft Fair in New Paltz.   Huguenot Street is rich in history.  Huguenot Street is now a National Historic Landmark and was created to preserve the oldest continuously inhabited street in America with its original houses, a wonderful collection exhibiting Dutch vernacular architecture and furnishings. My personal favorite was the Deyo Houseone of the twelve (12) original houses.  The principle houses on Huguenot Street were built surrounding the turn of the 17th into the 18th centuries, from 1680’s through the first decates of the 18th century. Descendants of the first families lived in them for hundreds of years and some were adapted for their changing needs.  The twelve originals patentees were:

The twelve patentees were:

  1. Louis DuBois and his sons,
  2. Abraham DuBois and
  3. Isaac DuBois
  4. Christian Deyo and his son,
  5. Pierre Deyo
  6. Simon LeFevre and his brother,
  7. Andries LeFevre
  8. Jean Hasbrouck and his brother,
  9. Abraham Hasbrouck
  10. Antoine Crispell
  11. Louis Bevier
  12. Hugo Freer

The streets will filled with various local craftsmen & women, local bakers, local painters, and more! We sampled a couple homemade apple fritters that were absolutely delicious, darn, wish I could bake them that good!

We had an amazing day traveling around Ulster County this past weekend.  We were a little disappointed that there wasn’t as much color/fall foliage as I had expected.  The weekend before, we had traveled up to the city of Hudson in Columbia County to visit Taconic Orchards with my parents & brother and we were thrilled to see the early stages of the fall colors peaking in and out of the trees.

Looks like we will just have to go back to the beautiful mid-Hudson region in a week or two if we want to see the display of colors in it’s peak!!

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

Fall In & Around the Hudson Valley

Welcome to October in the beautiful Hudson Valley and beautiful it is!  The hills and valleys come alive with color in late September and October.  Fall in the Hudson Valleys is both breath taking and invigorating!  Apple season is upon us and the fall foliage is everywhere as families, couples and people from cities and suburbs visit the valley to take it all in.

Dozens of The Hudson Valley has many many established farms that welcome visitors year after year to come and pick their own apples and pumpkins in the crisp fall air. Of course you can’t leave one of these “wonderful” stands without also picking up some fall flowers, Indian corn and yes, the best part for me and my honey, fresh baked pies and apple cider donuts!

I’ve put together a small listing of some of the apple festivals, orchards, farm stands and more that you may consider as you plan your drives into the valley this Fall.

FALL IN & AROUND THE HUDSON VALLEY NY

Sunday, Oct. 3rdThe Warwick Apple Festival, 10 am – 5 pm Warwick, NY

Sat. Oct. 2nd = Capital District Apple Festival and Craft Fair at Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, NY –Seventeenth annual family fall festival. Haunted house, pony rides, kids’ activities, wine tasting, farmers market, entertainment and more.

Sat. Oct. 2nd = The 21th Annual Huguenot Street Apple Festival & Craft Fair! Huguenot Street New Paltz NY – This street wide festival features everything apple….great food, live entertainment, quality craft vendors, children’s activities and best of all, homemade apple pies, fritters, candied apples, cider & more.


Sat. Oct. 2nd – 10:00am-3:00pm rain or shine — APPLE FESTIVALRhinebeck Reformed Church 6368 Mill Street/Rt. 9 Rhinebeck, NY – Fresh Apple Pies made from local apples for sale, bake table, crafts, and gently used items for sale. Lunch is available from 11:30 until 2. Rain or shine

Sat. Oct. 2nd & Sun Oct. 3rdCrafts at RhinebeckDutchess County FairgroundsRhinebeck NY

Sat., Oct. 2ndThe Heart of the Hudson Valley Bounty Festival Cluett Schantz Memorial Park, 1801-1805 Route 9W, Milton, NY –  lots of; fun, live music, a taste of the local cuisines, artists, crafts, demos, farmers market, wine tasting, + plus a special musical performances, cider and apple desserts. There is no admission fee for this event

Oct. 2nd & 3rd & 9th & & 10thOktoberfest Hunter Mountain, NY – October is the time of the harvest, and in the old country, after the harvest is in, it’s time for celebration. Join us in celebrating Oktoberfest, in the finest old-world tradition – Free Admission

Sat. Oct. 2nd Capital Region Vegetarian Expo 10:00AM-5:00PM Empire State Plaza (Directions) Encouraging compassionate lifestyles

  • Free Admission ($5 donation suggested)
  • Free off-street parking available

Oct. 17th Beacon Sloop Club Pumpkin Festival – Beacon Waterfront noon to 5:00pm

Oct. 1ST – 3RD Oct. 9TH -11TH Oct. 16TH & 17TH Country Charm Farm 201 DuBois Road New Paltz, NY   (845) 255-4321        Fall Harvest Festival – Visit this family farm, take a wagon in the fields to pick your own pumpkins, ride the scenic hayride, see over 40 life-size scarecrows, find your way through the corn maze, and browse in the giant barn sale.
$3 per adult and $1 for ages 10 & under – (includes unlimited hayrides and corn maze admission) — No admission charged on Fri, Oct. 2, Barn Sale Day
Oct. 16th & 17thNYS Sheep and WoolDutchess County Fair Grounds

Saturday 9AM-6PM Sunday 10AM-5PM

Fall Foliage Guide – If you visit any of the orchards/farms or festivals mentioned please share your thoughts & pictures, I’d love to hear from you – leave me a comment below.

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

Our Modern Day Pilgrimage

Hey everyone, well this Summer we stayed a lot closer to home, didn’t take as many of our famous “day-trips” because we were saving and planning on a trip to US Virgin IslandsSt. Thomas!  America’s Caribbean Paradise – words such as Exotic, Luxurious, Beautiful, Romantic are used to describe this tropical paradise – WhooHoo right, we were excited and couldn’t wait until August 30th to take off! 

It was 4:00am Monday Aug. 30th when the alarm went off as a signal of the start of what was supposed to be our dream vacation.  We leave the house at 5:05 headed to Newark Liberty International Airport for the 1st part of our journey a short flight to Charlotte, NC.  The thing we didn’t know was that at 5:26am we received both a voice mail message at home and an email informing us our connecting flight from NC to STT had been cancelled due to hurricane Earl

Upon landing in NC is when we learned our connecting flight to STT was cancelled.  The airline didn’t assume any responsibility for providing us with lodging for the night so we were on our own.  At that time the next day’s flight to STT was still on schedule according to the airline so they re-booked us for the following day’s flight to STT.  We found a hotel for the evening, had a quiet dinner and watch the weather channel all night keeping a close eye on Earl and its path.  It was early evening when my cell phone rang – it was the owner of the villa in St. Thomas advising us not to continue on – she said the airport was closed, power lines/tress were down, and rain was fore-casted for the entire week!

The next morning we headed over to the Charlotte airport and explained we needed to re-book our flights again, this time back to NY.  Long story short, the airline was not helpful or understanding but we finally made our way back to NY.  We picked up our car at about 4:00pm on Tuesday August 31st (by now we have lost 2 days of our vacation).  We looked at each other and said well our bags are packed and in the car. . .let’s go somewhere / anywhere to salvage the remainder of our week’s vacation.  We agreed we needed to head north as Earl was projected to hit the east coast and move up later in the week – we needed to stay ahead of Earl (if possible).

So we were off, not sure where to, but we were off and looking forward to finishing our week better that we started. 

As we crossed over the Massachusetts border on the MA Turnpike we pulled over for a slice of pizza (not the tropical dinner we were supposed to be enjoying) and started surfing the Internet looking for a place to stay.  We knew we wanted to be along the coast but wasn’t sure where to go and still being out of Earl’s lingering path.  We called a couple B&B’s that were booked when we were then referred to Above the Bay at The Thornton Adams B&B in Plymouth.     

 

Never having been to Plymouth, therefore not realizing its close proximity to the ocean / Cape Code, our initial thought was okay we’d stay the night, maybe two but then move on to either Hyannis or somewhere that we knew (meaning someplace that we’d heard more about other than historically) was close to ocean. 

    

Once we arrived at Above the Bay at The Thornton Adams B&B and meeting Sandy we knew we were not going anywhere else! This was exactly where we were intended to finish our vacation.  Sandy is absolutely wonderful; she is warm, friendly, inviting and most helpful.  The Thornton Adams house is perfect, a great location, clean, spacious, and Sandy’s breakfasts are top notch!

   

Of course Plymouth is rich with history but I’m not certain I would have enjoyed or appreciated as much if we actually planned a trip there.  I think there was something about Sandy providing us with tips on places to go, things to do, restaurants to enjoy dinner and of course the greatest shops to shop and the fact that like the pilgrims we set out on our journey not knowing where we would land and we landed in Plymouth – both elements made our entire visit more special. 

The ever famous Plymouth Rockwas not what I expected – it was smaller and incased in a portico – none the less, once there and learning more about it’s history I have a new appreciation for this very special time/place in history.  From the Leyden Street (the street stretching from Brewster Gardens to First Church is Leyden Street, named for Leyden in Holland, a refuge for Pilgrims during their persecutions. This is the original Plymouth Street) to Mayflower II (replica of the ship that carried The Pilgrims to the New World).     

Jenney Grist Mill (first mill built in the United States),  

 1640 Richard Sparrow House Pottery and Museum (Plymouth’s oldest house),           Burial Hill (A must stop along the historic Pilgrim’s Path. This site is one of the first forts of the Pilgrims and the burial place of William Bradford       and other first settlers. Set high atop the hill, the Pilgrims placed their cannons facing the harbor for protection), and of course the Plymouth Plantation –        Situated along the Eel River wetlands overlooking Cape Cod Bay, the 100-acre main campus is a stunning setting for the recreated historic Wampanoag Homesite, the 17th Century English Village, and the Crafts Center. Truly a great place to visit and learn – their gift shopshave very unique gifts many still made by original crafters and in the same manor of the Wampanoag Indians and first settlers (trust me, you know me, I’m a shop-a-holic so if I say it’s unique its unique LOL). We purchased one of the very special pottery items – a mug with three handles.  According to Sandy (our very special innkeeper) history or legend has it that the purpose for multiple handles was that when drinking with friends, the mug could be easily passed from one person to the next without have to worry about turning in a manor that the handle was easily available for the next person. 

These are just a few of the many places to visit and learn the fascinating history of this beautiful area.  Now you all know me and my honey do love our waterfront dining and Plymouth Harbor offer many wonderful restaurants to enjoy both a great view and great food.  We enjoyed dinner at the 14 Union Dockside Bar & Grill– service was good, location/view was great but for me, the food was a little pricy for what was offered.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a selection of seafood on the entrees.  As our first course, we shared the Lobster & Crab Rangoon – Lobster and crab rangoons golden fried and served with an orange ginger soy sauce which was absolutely delicious!  As my entrée  I had two appetizers: Coconut Shrimp which was golden fried and served with an orange ginger soy dipping sauce. and the 2nd was Crab Cakes which was a wonderfully light blend of lump crab meat with panko breadcrumbs. Served with a remoulade sauce. both were great!  My honey enjoyed the Seafood Bouillabaisse which was Shrimp, Mussels, Scallops and Fish steamed in a savory saffron flavored tomato broth with an herbed crostini. Yup, we do know how to dine well LOL!  We also enjoy great dinners at the East Bay Grill and Pebbles and others!                       

Then there is Cupcake Charlies– OMG – WOW are just a couple phrases that come to mind LOL, Let’s just say that their slogan is “Life is short, eat a cupcake” that should give you an idea how serious they are about cupcakes – every flavor, combination and topping you can imagine – yes, we indulged in the triple chocolate something or other–it was hmmmm hmmmm good!  If your taste buds are looking for something a bit less sweet you have to visit Blue Blinds Bakery!  You’ll be amazed with the wonderful murals on the walls and be delighted with great cup of locally roasted coffee and a white chocolate chip raspberry scone. They sell fresh-baked artisan breads, pastries, pies, cakes and more. Everything is made from scratch — okay okay, yes, here were treated ourselves to a wonderful cranberry biscotti and coffee!  Hey, cranberries are from this region so we had to support the local economy (he he he).

I could go on and on about this wonderful village.  Visit “more pictures of our visit in Plymouth.”  While we were able to see and do a lot, there is much more that we didn’t have time to do on this trip so Sandy, be on the look out because we can’t wait to come back!  If you too have visited Plymouth I’d love to hear from you what some of your special places were-leave me a comment below. 

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 

Lov’in the Hudson Valley Farmers and Farmers' Markets!

I am lov’in the fresh fruits and vegetables available  throughout the Hudson Valley this time of year!  We totally enjoy visiting the many farmers’ markets and meeting all the great local farmers and their friends.  Not to mention that I am a huge believer in supporting our local businesses/farmers.  Where ever and when ever possible we make a special point to do business locally!

There are several great farmers markets in Westchester County – each offering a variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables. 

Some of my personal favorites include:

Pika’s Farm Table – the best quiches, tarts we had.  For the past couple weeks my neighbor and I have gone to the Croton-on-Hudson Farmers’ Market and purchased the quiche.  With this unprecedented heat this summer, a quiche and salad makes for the perfect summer dinner!  A couple weeks ago we had their  Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche which was great!  This week we had the Carrot Curry Feta Tart, hmm hmm good is an understatement!  I asked what was the difference between the tart and the quiche and learned the tart is made with a bit less eggs and cheese, thereby being a bit more healthy; so now I can both enjoy what I’m eating and feel good about it too!

Okay so what would a delicious dinner be without dessert…..and out-of-this-world dessert is what you get when you purchase from Meredith’s Bread.  Originating from Kingston, NY, Meredith’s Bread specializes in a variety of home-made and preservative-free breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, pies and preserves.  This includes several lines dedicated to sugar free, wheat free, gluten free, and organic baked goods. My honey and I tend to favor ANY of the fruit/berry pies & tarts!  I think the mixed berry tart is my personal favorite but I’ve had the others and they all leave you wanting more!

Also at the  Croton-on-Hudson Farmers’ Market this week was  Bread Alone Bakery from the Catskills.  How special, as my honey and I just visited their store last weekend while we were tooling around the Catskills.

So, let’s share – what are some of your favorite farmer’s market finds here in the Hudson Valley, leave us a comment below!

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! 

A SUMMER WEEKEND IN THE CATSKILLS

 So by now most of you “regular” visitors may be saying, hmmm, WonderfulWonders hasn’t done too much traveling in and around the Hudson Valley this summer…. Unfortunately you are right.  Somehow our days have been filled with work, errands and then more work. So with my honey having this past Friday off (probably the last for a while) we decided to take a 3-day long weekend in the Catskills – we’re off to the Woodstock/Saugerties area! 

 Let me warn you, this blog post is a bit longer than my usual posts ~ we had such an amazing time I just couldn’t help myself when writing…

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we pulled up to the Grouse House/Penthouse, our weekend retreat!  The Penthouse Suite provides complete privacy (with private entrance by spiral staircase).  Here you can escape to one of 3 very private decks; the main/lowest deck is where you will find the outdoor hot tub and shower with small sitting area and porch swing.  Up a small flight of wooden stairs to the middle/2nd level you have BBQ and the most entertaining squirrels you’ve ever seen!  Then make your way up the final spiral stairway to the 3rd level where you have yet another private deck and entrance to the suite.  The suite itself has a great king bed, Cathedral ceiling with ceiling fan, in-suite Jacuzzi tub and kitchenette!  The kitchenette and self-serve breakfast is stocked with juice, muffins, fruit and coffee!  

  

  The private upper most deck has the most amazing views of the mountains and provides the tranquil setting to relax and enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you.  In addition, Gilbert (the homeowner) has created a very unique “gym” area for the birds and squirrel to romp and play!  Watch as the squirrels play in this amazing setting.  Between the majestic views and entertainment of bird / squirrel watching you can easily loose track of time. 

A Bird's Paradise at The Grouse House

  Gilbert is “wonderful,” he offers EVERYTHING you could need and then some!  We completely enjoyed spending time chatting with him and hear about Ursa.  Oh, didn’t I mention Ursa, she is the local bear that frequents the property on a pretty regular basis.  She didn’t stop by (that we know of) while we were there but Gilbert has video of her attempting to climb the trees where the many bird feeders and the squirrel’s gym is located.  Watch as Gilbert calmly tells her to get down and leave the feeders alone and be on her way.  

  The Grouse House is located only minutes from Woodstock and Saugerties.  Both offer quaint shopping and eating, local artisanship and a variety of attractions along the way. 

 Typical for us, it was somewhat a rainy/overcast afternoon on Friday so we decided on spending the afternoon strolling around (shhh, yes that meant shopping a bit) Woodstock. 

 Okay, don’t laugh, first stop, yup, lunch!  At Gilbert’s suggestion we headed out for lunch at   Café Mezzaluna on Route 212in Saugerties.  This great little cafe totally gave you that warm welcome feeling!  Sherri was as friendly and down to earth as can be, made us feel like she was truly glad we stopped in.  Serving your basic / classic sandwiches, drinks and homemade ice cream, Cafe Mezzaluna should be on everyone’s “to do” list along Route 212!  We’ll be back, for more homemade mango ice cream – it was delicious! Visit our Weekend in the Catskills (Woodstock & Saugerties) July 2010 flickr album.

With our appetites feed we were now ready to venture into Saugerties.  Yes it was still rainy/overcast but we decided we should check out the village anyway.  To our surprise, we stumbled on The Horses Are Coming To Saugerties!  For you faithful WonderfulWonders followers, you will remember last year my honey and I accidentally stumbled upon Cat-N-Around Catskill and Best in Show Hudson Dogsso for us to accidentally stumble on the Horses Are Coming to Saugerties was extra special!  We loved it!  The horses will be on display until September so if you can get up to Saugerties we say giddy-up! 

   

We continued to walk through the village of Saugerties stopping by a few antique and/or thrift/gift shops.

 Due to the rain, we left Saugerties and headed for Woodstock!  Guess we were thinking it wouldn’t be raining 10 minutes down the road LOL.  It’s been several years since I’ve been to Woodstock and I was just as excited to be there now as I was the first time I visited some 20 years ago.  The shops are the same, the people are the same, heck, even some of the clothing is the same! 

  

 Known as the Colony of the Arts, Woodstock stands for and represents the idealism of a peaceful mind set and way of life.  Woodstock, NY located in Ulster County, most famous for lending its name to the Woodstock Festival, actually held at Max Yasgur‘s dairy farm 43 miles away in Bethel, New York in Sullivan County.  It’s a great day of walking around shops and galleries, enjoying good conversation along the way! 

We stopped in a few shops including the Bread Alone Bakery’s  Woodstock Café on Mill Hill Roadeagerly anticipating some of the tempting treats described on their website. Hmmm, granted, it was late afternoon/early evening but they really didn’t have a large selection, leaving us slight disappointed.  I’m sure their treats are tasty, perhaps we’ll get to try again another time. Then we just popped in and out of a few shops. . .okay, this time there was no major shopping spree on my part, I was good (saving up for our St. Thomas vacation end of August).

So we all know how much we love our waterfront dinning right, so we had heard a great deal about The Bear Café, Streamside & Fireside Dinning    on Tinker Street (Route 212) so we just had to have dinner here.   Because we had a late lunch, neither of was terribly hungry so we both had the three-cheese ravioli with garlic – it was good, but, too much garlic for our taste. 

After a full day of enjoying the drive to the Catskills, strolling stepping back in time while strolling through the streets of Woodstock, it was time to head back to the suite for a relaxing evening in the hot tub!  While enjoying each other’s company as we discussed our day, we were graced with the presence of a local visitor! Amazing to have this deer just walk past you on her way to the other side of the yard! 

Up early Saturday morning to enjoy our coffee and muffin on the deck while soaking up the fog lifting over the mountains! This was so beautiful and peaceful.  Along with this beauty of the mountains came along more local visitors – these wild turkeys casually went from one end of the yard to the other as we watched from our penthouse deck.   

 I was completely mesmerized as I sat sipping my coffee, watching the birds fly from feeder to feeder, the squirrel’s playing, the turkeys strolling along and the sun burning off the early mountain fog. This is the good life! Check out one of Gilbert’s videos of his “squirrel circus.”

Ironically, the bird that was flying around the most was the American Goldfinch—interesting little fact: the American Goldfinch is the state bird of New Jersey (my honey’s home state), as well as Iowa & Washington.

Saturday morning and it’s very hot and humid even in the mountains.  So, we decide to go swimming in The Deep Swimming hold in Woodstock.  Located on Route 212 about 1.5 miles before the center of Woodstock   This secluded setting, is just minutes outside of Woodstock . It’s easy to miss though.  Look for Gallo’s plant nursery on Route 212 and the entrance to Big Deep is on the other side. This Google map has approximate location.  Park where you can and walk down the dirt path to the swimming area and be sure to carry out any trash you bring in!

The Deep Swimming Hole-Woodstock NY

After a nice swim we headed over to Opus 40 on Fite Roadin Saugerties.   This truly is a fascinating pieces of sculpture ever created by a single man.

The work is an immense composition of finely fitted stone, rising in ramps and swirling terraces around pools and trees and fountains out of the rock bed of an abandoned bluestone quarry. It spreads out over more than six acres.

It is the product of more than thirty-seven years of a man’s life. His name was Harvey Fite. He worked alone, using his hands and traditional quarryman’s tools, to build his masterpiece: Opus 40.Mr. Fite purchased the abandoned quarry in 1937 and began working on his masterpiece the following year in 1938.  He worked tirelessly for the next 37 years, passing away just 3 years prior to it’s original goal of 40 years. 

Then the grand finale of our weekend was the Celtic Woman concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Saturday night!  

Bethel Woods Center for The Arts

Home of the original Woodstock back in 1969-3 days of music in the Hudson Valley.  We first visited the museum which was like a flash back to the 60’s right before your eyes!  It was great; and while I was born just a little too late to actually be able to go or even completely understand what was happening at the time, I know now that it was an event of its decade and one our nation will never forget. 

We sat and ate our picnic lunch/dinner as we waited for the shuttle to take us to the pavilion.  The Celtic Woman were outstanding!  They are truly gifted and talented ladies.   As the concert was coming to its end the skies lit up with lighting while thunder rolled over head and the rains came down!  We were completely soaked.  It was like 1969 without the mud.

So can you tell we had a “wonderful” weekend in the Catskills.  Despite the rain on Friday afternoon/evening, and again Saturday night and yet again Sunday afternoon, we can’t wait to go back. 

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!  Don’t forget, we would love to hear from you about your if you’ve visited any of the places we’ve visited, leave us a comment below!

A Day @ Sugar Loaf, NY Artisans Village!

  

Sugar Loaf, NY Artisans Village

What a spectacular day it was this past Saturday as my honey and I started out on one of our famous “day-trips”!  We headed to Sugar Loaf Artisans Village located in the picturesque Warwick Valley, Orange County, New York. Directions to Sugar Loaf.  Many people refer to Sugar Load village as a “mini Woodstock.”    

Oh my gosh, here I go again but, without a doubt Sugar Loaf is now on the list of my “Top Picks” places to visit!  Handmade treasures, meeting great local artisans and the beauty of the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley Sugar Loaf should be on your to-do list.  

You can’t help but fall in love with this quaint village filled with outstanding selection of handmade art, crafts and gifts. There are so many “wonderful” unique shops each offering a broad range of artistic items from oil and acrylic paintings, water color, stained glass, black & white and color photography, pottery, antiques, jewelry and woodworks, candles, soap, sculpture and much much more!  

I truly believe this village is one of the most unique shopping villages in the Hudson Valley.  This “wonderful” village has the distinguished reputation as a crafts community for over 250 years, Today, Sugar Loaf remains true to its heritage as the year round home of over fifty independent business men and women. Many of these artisans live and work in the original barns and buildings which date back to the 1700’s.  There you still find a rich history of artists, writers and creative people that have left a great legacy to build on.  

You’ll find everything in Sugar Loaf within easy strolling distance; there are specialty and gift shops, pottery, art and photography studios. Spend the day browsing though the “wonderful” collection of shops, bring a camera or sketch pad and create your own impressions, Sugar Loaf’s beautiful surroundings will release your creative energies! When your stomach starts to stir, stop at one of the fine restaurants for a rejuvenating meal, quick snack or a refreshing drink.  

As hard as we tried, we couldn’t visit all the great shops and galleries in one day. Darn, guess we’ll have to plan another trip LOL! We couldn’t visit them all because we were thrilled to spend time meeting & chatting with the owners/artisans of the shops we were able to visit!  So here are a few of my favorites:  

 The White Weathered BarnThe White Weathered Barn– what can I say but fantastic! I was thrilled to meet Rena (another Westchester County girl!) and wish here luck in her new and expanded space at Sugar Loaf.  And yes, I couldn’t resist purchasing one of the most beautiful bracelets I’ve seen!  It was like it was made for me as the colors were an absolute perfect match for what I was wearing, so, I just couldn’t resist!  Go ahead and follow The White Weathered Barn’s blog  or visit their website

The White Weathered Barn from from Romer’s Alley

  

Sugar Loaf Mountain Herbslove it!  At Rena’s suggestion (knowing how much I too love gardening and such) we next visited Sugar Loaf Mountain Herbs and met our new friend Alicia.  This special shop offers a variety of specialty teas, organic bulk herbs and spices, heartfelt gifts, aromatherapy and herb plants and flowers in season. So if you are interest is in making your own or rather the convenience of ready-made, Alicia has it all. Okay okay, I know you’re wondering, so, did she purchase anything……and the answer….but of course!  I purchased this beautiful old style urn filled with dried flowers!  Keep up with Sugar Loaf Mountain Herbs via their blog!

     

   

Next stop,  Rosner’s Traditional Soap Makers, I’ve been anxiously waiting to visit this shop to get their Soapstone (also known as steatite or soaprock) soap dishes! Again, thanks to links on my friend Rena’s site is where I first learned about these soapstone soap dishesand couldn’t wait to get one for myself!  While I didn’t purchase any soap on this trip (I’ll save that for our next visit), I clearly understand why Rosner Soap was voted Best Soap in The Hudson Valley 2006, by Hudson Valley Magazine. Can’t wait to go back!  

charm outside of Rosner's

Onward to  Kelly Jane Accessories, adorable accessories and more! Unique handmade handbags & coordinating accessories fill this shop!  Everyone loves to have a bag or accessory that is a conversation piece and that is what you will find in this great shop!  Kelly does all her own sewing and each piece is created to be a fashioned to be a statement of originality!  I know, I know, yes, I purchased a great little blue bead stretch bracelet! I just can’t help myself when I’m surrounded by so many “wonderful,” people and things! Go ahead, visit the website of Kelly Jane Accessories shop and see for your self.  

Kelly Jane Accessories from Romer’s Alley

Up next was Bostree, okay so I wanted one of everything!  This shop/gallery has a large varied selection of unique functional and decorative American craft created by numerous local and national craftspeople as well as by its owners, Theresa and Ray Boswell. I fell in love with the many unique mirrors! And so, true to form, I purchased one and added one to my “wish list” for our next visit!  If you like these mirrors they can be customized to a particular color if you wish.  The picture here titled “wish list” I’m having done in a green – so go ahead and visit the website of Bostree shop, you’ll be glad you did as you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.  

Mirror I purchased from Bostree"Wish List" Mirror from BostreeHaving this done in green instead of blue shown

Then on to The Exposures Gallery, here you will see the most amazing photos of the Hudson Valley and many other exciting places Nick has photographed along his travels.  He recently released a beautiful coffee table book entitled “The Great Valley” containing over 140 color photographs spanning 25 years in the region.  As we looked through the book we were in awe of the beauty of Nick’s photos of our great Hudson Valley.  This book is wonderful and now on my Christmas Wish List! Without a doubt The Exposures Gallery is a place to visit – visit their website.  

So these are just a few of the many shops that await you in Sugar Loaf.  There are a variety of restaurants too!  If you haven’t already visited then you must consider planning a day trip to Sugar Loaf, you’ll be happy you did!  Feel free to leave a comment on your visits to Sugar Loaf!  

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!  

Memorial Day 2010 Weekend Out 'N About in NJ

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  To all our military brothers and sisters that have served, are currently serving or have lost their lives for us, I say to you THANK YOU!

Turned out to be a great weekend!  We decided to spend Saturday out ‘n about on one of our famous “day-trips” in New Jersey (my honey’s home state). 

We started off at the Bergen Amateur Radio Association’s Spring Hamfest. A Hamfest is the “lingo” for ham radio flea market. Who knew that there was a flea market for ham radio stuff – not me until I was introduced to the world of ham radio from my honey who has his Extra Class Amateur Radio License. 

Then we traveled across the state stopping along the way to browse (okay and make a few purchases LOL!) at a few garden shops!  We stopped off at the Stone Mill Garden Center located on 769 Ridgewood Road, Washington Twp, NJ only to find they had the most beautiful bluebells calling my name (hee hee) and right along side the bluebells were a few other perennials that of course I couldn’t resist.  Of course they all needed to be added to my garden so in the car they went! Along with a great new garden flag proudly featuring our great America Flag!

Next stop was the Olde Lafayette Village is located in the heart Sussex County at the intersection of State Routes 15 and 94 in Lafayette, New Jersey.  I truly love these villages – there is something to be said for enjoying a beautiful spring or summer afternoon strolling along pathways, while stopping off and visiting various shops and meeting new friends!  A few places I loved here included:

  • JUDY & UNA LEE’S PRIM PANTRY etc. and just as their slogan reads, this adorable little shop has a little of this and a little of that-I loved it!  Here I found this adorable little blue bird pot sitter which I immediately put on one of my window boxes!
  • CAREY LANE ACCENTS was great! Here I found the most beautiful flower lights that had my name on but, I contained myself here and didn’t actually get this, this time, now I have a reason to go back!
  • VILLAGE ANTIQUES AND COLLECTIBLES was a treasure!  Here I purchased a beautiful table runner with lace trimmed edges surrounding a pattern of pinks & mauve roses!
  • NIHAO FASHION BOUTIQUE was fun! I love to find those special things that are unique and different – well here I found an adorable pink popcorn shirt and very special Victorian lady necklace holder!   
  • Everything Homemade Pastry Shop & Cafe and yes, our outings wouldn’t be complete without a little dessert, even if it comes as an afternoon snack while strolling through the shops of Olde Lafayette Village. 

 

As you know, we most enjoy the new friends we meet as we travel in and around the Hudson Valley and Tri-State area.  We are pleased to have had the chance to meet Don Thoenig, a.k.a. Don The Kazoo Man!  Don was a delight to chat with and most entertaining! If you haven’t yet visited this quaint little shopping village we say consider visiting on June 19 when you will be able to meet and be entertained by Don! 

Then, the surprise of the day was when we decided to get a bite to eat at The Chatterbox Drive-In, a family owned fifties and sixties style “drive-in” restaurant in Augusta, NJ.  From Memorial Day through Labor Day they  provide “Car-hop” service where you simply pull in and you will be served in your car by one of our waitresses! This will bring you back to the “good ol’ days,” even if you weren’t a part of them! But, back to the surprise, we pulled in only to find the Sussex, NJ Wanders Car Club was holding their Cruise Night! WOW, there must have been 200 or more amazing cars here! Check out some of the great cars!

We had another great day out ‘n about! As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

Shad Fest 2010 in Lambertville NJ–then over to Peddler's Village!

This past Saturday was an absolute perfect day, so, of course, me and my honey headed out on one of our famous “day-trips” only this one was outside of our normal Hudson Valley adventures. 

I’ve been trying for the last two years to get roe for my father when the shad is running but haven’t had any success locally.  We heard about the Shad Fest in Lambertville, NJ so we decided we would make the trip (about a 2 hour drive) in the hopes of finding roe for my father.  While we had a great time, unfortunately we again were unsuccessful in finding any roe for my father. 

There’s a short period in the spring when Alosa Sapidissima run. American Shad, which are anadromous like Salmon, leave the ocean and swim up fresh water rivers to mate. There’s even a bush called the shad bush which blossoms about the same time of year. People look for the signs with eager anticipation of this once a year treat. Huge festivals celebrate the shad up and down the rivers where they run. Shad roe, the large double roe sac is a delicacy that appears on many upscale menus during spring.  Unfortunately, the shad population has declined in recent years to dangerously low levels.  To learn more about saving the American Shad and other Hudson River signature fish which are similarly at risk, consider attending the 20th Annual Shad Festival and Hudson River Celebration at Boscobel in Garrison, NY.

None the less, the Shad Fest in Lambertville was fun.  We enjoyed the “world famous” crab cake sandwich provided by Bell’s Tavern

Bell's Tavern

for lunch and strolling up and down the streets visiting the local shops and area vendors.  A few of the area vendors/shops we visited and yes, purchased great items from include:

Me & My Dog Pet Bakery offering gourmet pet treats made from only the highest quality, fresh, all natural ingredients.  No sugar, salt, artificial flavors or preservatives of any kind.  Their treats are personally hand-rolled, cut and baked to insure freshness.  In fact, their treats are so fresh and preservative-free that they recommend refrigerating them when they arrive.  So if your 4-legged family member needs spoiling, shop their online store today!

Anneliese Honsinger has the most adorable Pet Bandanas!  Bandanas are available in multiple sizes, colors and patterns to choose from.  Yes, my little girl benefited most from out shopping LOL!

OMG, while we were not successful in finding roe, Ennis Market & Gourmet Deli? located at 5 North Union Street in Lambertville had the best shad chowder – I was thrilled to be able to get my Dad a container!

Overall, the people, food, arts & crafts were “wonderful”!

It was such a beautiful day and we still had the afternoon ahead of us so, at the suggestion of our neighbors (thanks Donna & Hank), we decided to head over to  Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Bucks County, PA which was only about a 4 or 5 mile drive.  Oh my gosh, without a doubt Peddler’s Village is now on the list of One of my “Top Picks” places to visit! You can’t help but fall in love with this quaint village with its winding brick pathways to unique shopping and dining experience!  There is truly something for everyone from 70 specialty shops and six restaurants to the luxurious 70-room Golden Plough Inn and the Giggleberry Fair family entertainment center. They have 11 annual events.  We visited a few of these “wonderful” shops including:

My Favorite Shoppe – WOW, I loved this shop!  I bought the cuties little flower shelf people to along the edge of my kitchen’s ceiling molding. There were so many “wonderful” items in this store that I had to restrain myself.  I can promise you, we will be visiting this shop again (and again!).

Pewter Plus – I know I’m repeating myself but, I loved this shop too!  Susan (the owner) was a delight and pleasure to meet.  This shop surrounds you with a warm and inviting atmosphere from the minute you open the door.  Here you will find a display of traditional table and accessory pewter, tastefully surrounded with fine American folk art decor and wall enhancements.  As a collector of perfume bottle, I couldn’t resist purchasing this perfect mini pewter and green glass perfume bottle! 

Signs of the Village was fun.  Reading the many custom sayings made us laugh at a few and become impressed by others.  All of their signs are custom made and manufactured in their Feasterville warehouse or now right there in the Village! If you don’t see a particular saying you were hoping for, just let them know and they will custom make your sign. 

Pigadilly’s Ice Cream and Gelato okay, okay, you all know how much my honey and I love to indulge in our desserts while out ‘n ‘bout sooo, we of course had to stop in at Pigadilly’s!  But, we were good, as usual; we shared an absolutely delicious dish of black raspberry ice cream!!  

Elderth Pottery has a great selection of exceptional hand-made salt-glazed stoneware and redware using many of the techniques employed by the Pennsylvania Germans. 

Thomas Kinkade Gallery – here too I could have purchased a few specific pieces.  My father has bought me a few Kinkade pieces over the years as I am such a huge fan of his work.  I one specific piece that I saw that I hope to go back and purchase soon!

If you haven’t yet visited Peddler’s Village I strongly suggest making the trip!  It’s a great place for the entire family or for a weekend get-a-way!

As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

Shad Fest 2010 – Lambertville, NJ pictures

Peddler’s Village pictures

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