Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art - Hudson From Bear Mt
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Archive for 2010

The 98th Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossoms2-DC 2010

Some of you may know how much I love gardening, flowers, and the fragrance of some flowers and the bounty of colors provided by a beautiful garden.  So we decided to head down to Washington DC to the 98th National Cherry Blossom Festival®.  In a word, wow!  It was beautiful and truthfully some of the blossoms had already fallen, but what we saw was spectacular!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival® annually commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and celebrating the continued close relationship between our two cultures.

In 2012 the Festival will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of the gift of trees.  If you haven’t visited DC during this spectacular time I would highly suggest making the trip!

Of course there is a lot of history in Washington D.C.  Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States, founded on July 16, 1790.

There is so much to see while visiting Washington D.C. that you should plan on at least 3 days.  We were thrilled to see a few of the more well knows sites including:

The Capitol Building – The United States Capitol is no doubt the most architecturally impressive buildings I have ever seen.  Begun in 1793, the Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended, and restored; today, it stands as a monument not only to its builders but also to the American people and their government.

Capitol-Building-at-dusk

The Lincoln Memorial is my personal favorite.  For me, standing at the top of this massive, all inspiring memorial looking out at the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument was breathtaking.  As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.

Abraham-LincolnAbraham Lincoln MemorialAbraham-Lincoln-Memorial-Wall-Inside

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial brought chills to me.  I lost my cousin in the Vietnam War so this was especially heart warming for me.  The silence was somewhat eary yet at the same time was our way of showing respect for our fallen military members. 

The-Vietnam-Veterans-Memorial-Sign

The-Vietnam-Veterans-Memorial-WallThe-Vietnam-Veterans-Memorial

When you think of visiting a cemetery the word beautiful doesn’t normally come to mind I don’t believe, yet when visiting the Arlington National Cemetery, beautiful was one of the first words that came to our minds.  This is truly metery the most peaceful resting place I have ever visited. As we entered the Memorial Entrance, we were honored to show our respect and thank those that now rest in this cemetery, including:

Arlington-Cemetery-Memorial-Entrance

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

President-John-Fitzgerald-Kennedy-Eternal-Flame-at-Arlington

 

Robert F. Kennedy Memorial 

Robert-F.-Kennedy-Memorial

 

Edward M. Kennedy

Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial 

Space-Shuttle-Challenger-Memorial

 

Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial 

Space-Shuttle-Columbia-Memorial

 

We have all seen the famous picture of The Flag Raising (the most reproduced photograph in the history of photography) at The Battle of Iwo Jima yet seeing this The Marine Corps War Memorial before me, I again stood in awe. 

Iwo-Jima-Memorial

While we did not get to actually visit The National Air Force Memorial, the spires were another beautiful site.  My father was in the Air Force so for me, seeing these 3 spires reaching upward into the sky had a special meaning.  James Ingo Freed, one of America’s finest architects, gave the nation a design that truly honors the men and women of the Air Force. Featuring three stainless steel spires that soar skyward, the tallest reaching a height of 270 feet, the Memorial’s design is truly representative of flight and the flying spirit of the Air Force. The three spires impart a sense of accomplishment in command of the sky, and evoke the image of the precision “bomb burst” maneuver performed by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team.

r-Force-Museum

The three spires also represent the three core values of the Air Force – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that is done – and the Air Force’s total force – active, guard and reserve.

A poem about this soaring “monument to victory” was inspired by these 2006 dedication events. Click here to read and experience this moving tribute to our Nation’s Airmen.

White-House

Like I said, there is so much to see in DC.  It is well worth the trip!  As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today!

More photos click here

Helpful links:

http://washington.org/

http://www.thedistrict.com/

HUDSON VALLEY FRESH MILK….TRY IT!

I just learned about this and couldn’t wait to share it with all of you that love the Hudson Valley as I do!  Perhaps you are already aware of Hudson Valley Fresh which is a not-for-profit dairy cooperative dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of the Hudson River Valley and promoting it as one of the premier food regions of the United States.

 

Michael J. Fox (a resident of the HV also) supports this very important effort.


Currently their main business is producing premium quality dairy products – whole, skim, low-fat and chocolate milk along with half and half, heavy cream, and sour cream.  They believe in supporting sustainable agriculture and are currently preserving 5,000 acres of open land.  Their mission to secure living wages for our farmers and their families.

 

By ensuring a fair price for their farmers’ goods, HVF is keeping those farmers in business, which means preventing the loss of their land to development. Consider this – in the 1970s, there were 275 dairies in Dutchess County, the highest number of dairy farms in New York State — and now there only 26.   They formed a dairy cooperative in 2004 to provide a sustainable future in agriculture for participating cooperative members by stabilizing market prices.

The HVF milk is sold in the Mid-Hudson Valley, Long Island, and New York City and Connecticut. 

 

All HVF dairy farmers live within 20 miles of the processing plant at Boice Brothers Dairy in Kingston, N.Y. (conventional milk usually travels hundreds of miles before it reaches the processing plant.)

By keeping farming economically feasible, the farmers in turn spend their income on local goods and services. Studies show that farmers put most of their income back into the local economy, i.e., by buying feed, farm machinery, veterinary services, hiring plumbers, electricians, and using all the services in their community.

The economic multiplier factor ranges from 1 1/2 to 4 times. This means the $32 million estimated farm product sales per year from Dutchess County farms puts any where from $50 to $120 million back into the local economy.

Hudson Valley Fresh Milk Locations

 

Consider trying the HVF Milk For Yourself at the Following Milk Tastings:

Event Name Date Time Location
Nature’s Pantry 4/24/2010 10-2PM 142 Route 17k Newburgh, NY 12550
Whole Foods 4/24/2010 11-3pm 2101 Northern Boulevard Manhasset, NY 11030-3528
Whole Foods 5/1/2010 11-3pm 270 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10007 USA

 

For more information about this amazing organization and their efforts please visit the Hudson Valley Fresh website (http://www.hudsonvalleyfresh.com)  

Courtesy: hudsonvalleyfresh.com

An Early Spring Afternoon @ The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens!

The weather was absolutely spectacular this past weekend!  On Saturday afternoon we couldn’t wait to jump in the car and head out on one of our famous “day-trips”!  This time we headed south (shh, we ventured outside of the Hudson Valley, LOL) and went to the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

On one hand, we were amazed and how crowded (because of the “recession”) and on the other hand we expected many people enjoying quiet time reading under a tree or walking through the gardens as we were. 

We were visiting at the beginning of the BBG’s Cherry Blossom Season which is April 3 – May 2. We are planning a trip to DC next weekend to visit during the National Cherry Blossom Festival so we choose to pass on walking through the early blooms of these cherry trees.  Instead, we headed to the left side of the gardens and leisurely strolled along.  First walking along the brick path passing Shakespeare Garden, which wasn’t yet in bloom but still beautiful and peaceful. 

Fragrance Garden

Then it was on to the wonderful Fragrance Garden.  The BBG proudly recognizes this as “the first garden in the country designed for the sight-impaired.”  The fragrances will capture your senses and take your mind wondering to a tranquil place that we can, for a movement, forget all the worries of our lives.  

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Continuing along we wandered into the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.  The garden was the first Japanese garden to be created in an American public garden. According to BBG, “it is considered to be the masterpiece of its creator, Japanese landscape designer Takeo Shiota (1881-1943). Simplicity and “harmonious asymmetry” are important principles in Japanese gardens, making them more beautiful than most to me. 

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Then it was on to the spectacular Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

When I say spectacular, I mean spectacular!  I was surprised to learn there are some 17 varieties of magnolia’s.  Magnolia Plaza is both breath taking and fragrant.  An elegant formal garden of magnificent trees spread in front of the beaux arts Administration Building. The sweet scent and showy blossoms of magnolias are among the early signs of spring at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In March, the star magnolias (Magnolia stellata) bloom, covering the trees.

Judith D. Zuk Magnolia Plaza

Then on to Daffodil Hill which filled the hillside with bright yellows sure to put a smile on anyone’s face, including ours! 

Daffodils on Daffodil Hill

Just down the steps past the magnolia’s we approached Lily Pool Terrace.  

Jenkins Fountain at Lily Pool Terrace

 The centerpiece of Lily Pool Terrace is the Jenkins Fountain, directly in front of the Palm House. Two large pools are situated to its north and south, bordered on the west by the mixed perennial border, and on the east by the annual border.  Two large pools are planted with nearly 100 varieties of hardy and tropical water-lilies and sacred lotus—a stunning attraction in July, August, and September. 

A Day at Lily Pool Terrace

Then we stopped and enjoyed a great lunch at the Terrace Café.  The café offers delightful outdoor dinning with a “wonderful menu of gourmet lunches & beverages from spring to early fall.  How special lunch was when we sat with another couple that is also planning on visiting the DC area next weekend for the final weekend of the National Cherry Blossom Festival; maybe we’ll see them in DC!

 Now for all you shopaholics, no trip (be it a “day-trip” or week long vacation) is complete without some shopping, but of course!  The BBGarden now has two shops, both located on Lily Pool Terrace.

The Gift Shop carries some unique stationery, personal accessories, and items for your home. Many items are exclusive to the Garden, including signature products featuring the Garden’s distinctive logo. Several products that utilize the artwork of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Florilegeum Society are also available.  If you can’t get to the garden, consider visiting the online Garden Gift shop

The Garden Shop carries everything for the garden, books, and gifts for children. New York Magazinewrites that “the (garden) shop has an amazing selection of plants … and features one of the most extensive selections of bulbs and seeds in the city.” The shop, located in Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s spectacular Steinhardt Conservatory complex, carries just about everything a gardener could want, from plants to tools to garden supplies, as well as an extensive collection of gardening books.

We had a great afternoon at the BBG and if you love flowers, gardening, strolling along pathways or simply enjoy nature and the outdoors, we encourage you to consider making a visit too. 

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

Beautiful!Persian Fritillary-Lily Family

Alpine Squill-Hyacinth Family

PARTICIPATING IN HUDSON VALLEY RESTAURANT WEEK!

Cathryn's Tuscan Grill - Cold Spring NY

Okay, so you all know that I have lived here in  the Hudson Valley my entire life and completely love living along the banks of the Hudson River and being swept away by the beauty the changes of seasons provides.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve now come to also appreciate the abundant supply of various ways to learn and grow through a variety of events & activities focusing on a wide range of cultural and nature experiences

 

Now in its 4th year (my `1st – what took me so long to participate in this I don’t know LOL), Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is the largest, most successful dining event in the Hudson Valley. More than 140 restaurants in Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster, and Columbia Counties are participating. And over 150,000 people are expected to dine out between March 15th through 28th

During the 14-day celebration, participating restaurants serve three-course prix-fixe lunches for $20 and/or three-course dinners for $28 (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). Many chefs feature products from surrounding farms and artisanal producers and offer wines, spirits and beverages produced in the Hudson Valley to complement your meal. So now the question was, hmmm, with so many great choices, where do we eat?  Lunch or dinner?

After browsing the list of participating restaurants, we decided on Cathryn’s Tuscan Grill located at 91 Main Street in Cold Spring.  I adore walking along the streets of this quaint village during early spring (before too many tourists start visiting).  I can only image these streets filled with people years ago (before so much commercialism) walking along meeting friends along the way while shopping and dining. 

Cathryn’s was a hidden treasure that we hadn’t experienced on any of our visits to Cold Spring.  This cozy restaurant is located on the corner of a charming courtyard, decorated with dried flowers, bottles of wine fill tall bookcases and beautiful bold murals and great swathes of sheer fabric hang down from the ceiling.  It provided a soft, inviting and slightly romantic atmosphere. 

 

You know how much my honey and I love to share our deserts, well we decided to share our entrée as well so we could enjoy a variety!  I started with the celery root, beet, apple and walnut salad that was fabulous!  I wouldn’t have thought of such a delightful combination for a salad but I’m glad I did and may now try to duplicate myself at home.  My honey had the bean soup which was also very good.  Then on to our shared entrées; we decided on the Pork Tenderloin with Remsburger Maple Glaze served with roasted potatoes with Brussels Sprouts and Carrots was done to perfection!  The tenderloin was the tenderest loin I’ve had and the glaze was delicious!  The second entrée was the Pan Seared Lemon Sole with Basil Hazelnut Crust!

 

Due to our busy schedules our dinner at Cathryn’s will most likely be our only opportunity to support and participate in Hudson Valley Restaurant week this year and we are thrilled with our experience!  Did you visit any Hudson Valley Restaurants during this year’s event, if so share with us and our readers your experience.

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

AN EARLY MARCH WEEKEND IN AND AROUND THE HUDSON VALLEY

It’s not exactly spring (although it’s close, only about a week or so to go) and we are getting the itch to get out and about!  The weather was a bit warmer this past weekend so we jumped in the car and headed out…where we weren’t exactly sure as we had no specific plans or place in mind.

 Heading north on 9W traveling through Highland Falls, Ft. Montgomery and finding our way into Ulster County we saw a sign for (and had a vague plan on visiting) the Benmarl Winery in Marlboro, NY.  The NYTimes travel section recently wrote about this very same winery! Talk about timing….

Benmarl Winery

Vineyard at entrance of Benmarl in late winter

Entrance to Benmarl Winery

Entering the Tasting Room @ Benmarl Winery

 

What we didn’t know was that the Benmarl Winery at Slate Hill Vineyards.  Benmarl Vineyards is located at 156 Highland Avenue, Marlboro, NY 12542 in Ulster County and holds the claim to America’s oldest vineyard!  While I’m not the best when it comes to describing wines, I will say that the atmosphere was warm and relaxing and everyone seemed to enjoy the tasting!  Though I did taste the Merlot and Cabernet, I most enjoyed their Sangria a sweet wine.  To learn more details about Benmarl, you may enjoy reading The Story of Benmarl Vineyards blog by stagingrockland.com  

 The views from Benmarl are absolutely beautiful! I can imagine during the spring and/or summer months with the bounty of colors surrounding the mountain sides it’s even more spectacular.  On this weekend we caught a glimpse of a White-breasted Nuthatch dinning from a birdfeeder just outside the entrance way. 

Nuthatch Bird eating from feeder @ Benmarl Winery

After our visit at Benmarl we had no specific plans or thoughts of where to go next so we simply continued driving along Route 9W then turning onto Route 299 and driving for a bit e found ourselves in the quaint eclectic village of New Paltz

New Paltz NY

New Paltz is located about 80 miles north of New York City and 70 miles south of Albany.  The Village of New Paltz is located within the Town of New Paltz. New Paltz is also home to the State University of New York New Paltz, founded in 1828.

Typical of most towns/villages, everything happens along “Main Street”!  From antique dealers, art galleries many eateries and more, Main Street is the place to be on a warm spring day! 

Alook down Main Street-New Paltz NY

Eclectic-ism at its best in New Paltz

We enjoyed a “wonderful” stroll around Water Street Market – antiques and shops located at 10 Main Street.  One of my “Top Picks” places to visit! 

Water Street Market-Antiques and shops

Harvest Cafe @ Water Street Market

Enjoy a feast for the palate and eyes at this Hudson Valley favorite featuring fresh-from-the-farm cuisine, a global wine selection, and a second-story deck with spectacular views of the ridge and river. It’s truly a lunch or dinnertime experience to savor.   “Awesome views of the Shawnagunks.”
-New York Magazine

Mudd Puddle @ Water Street Market

We first stopped off at The Mudd Puddle and sampled their flavored coffee; I simply loved the Irish Cream Latté while my honey enjoyed the strawberry – all we can say is hmm hmm good!

The on to Paws of Distinction – Adorable pet boutique featuring dog and cat clothing, accessories, and toys as well as its own ‘petisserie’ serving all-natural home-baked pet treats. Four-legged friends are welcome to join their human parents as they shop!

Maglyn's Dream at Water Street Market

Next I feel in love with Maglyn’s Dream!  Oh my gosh, from the minute I walked in I was in heaven and wanted one of almost everything!  This unique store features fashions, art, and décor created by 80 local and regional artists. From handmade jewelry to decorative lighting to woven shawls, there’s a gift here for everyone with an eye for the original.  I found the absolutely, better than “wonderful.” wall art that I would love to have.  I told Maggie and Lynn (the owners) that I’m hoping to come back in about a month and get that great piece!!

As my honey says, we had an “action packed fun filled day” and yes, we were now starving and couldn’t wait to try out one of the many eateries along Main Street.  There are so many places to choose from but we finally decided on The Moon Light Cafe located at 53 Main Street.      Serving  a Mediterranean/American dishes we shared a delighful shrimp dish served with a variety of veggies mediterain style. 

Moon Light Cafe - New Paltz NY

Shrimp & Veggies served mediterranean style

 

There are so many great shops here to visit I highly recommend stopping by here the next time you are in the area, or make it a trip there are so many places to say and things to do in the area including these Water Street Market events:

WATER STREET CINEMA

MONDAYS
JUNE 14TH THROUGH AUGUST 30TH
FILMS BEGIN AT DUSK

They show thought provoking and enlightening films for free on Monday nights throughout the summer. Some of our big hits this season were Cinema Paradiso, The Laya Project and The Visitor. Always expect free popcorn on movie nights 

JUNE THROUGH AUGUST WATER STREET MARKET SUMMER SERIES

Heading into the third season of Water Street Market’s summer series one of their goals at Water Street Market is to hold events which support sustainability, while providing thought provoking ideas and creating a cohesive community. They strive to support locally owned businesses and the environment, while fostering community and acting as a catalyst to local charities. Their courtyard setting has often been compared to an Italian piazza, a place where locals come to co-mingle, eat, celebrate and collaborate. Throughout the summer they make this happen each week at their free weekly events

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

FEBRUARY: VALENTINES = NY to FL & BACK!

As February draws to its end, I look back and can’t believe the month is over already.  I know it is the shortest month but golly, seems like it flew by and at the end of the month the Hudson Valley saw one of its biggest snow storms in years!

My Valentines 2010 Roses

I was treated to long stem roses and a wonderful brunch at Overlook Lodge at Bear Mountain for Valentine’s Day! 

SUNDAY BRUNCH OVERLOOK LODGE at BEAR MT

The food was delicious as we enjoyed a grand view overlooking the Hudson River and its winter background. 

Our view while having brunch

Sunday Brunch @ Overlook Lodge at Bear Mt

My Healthy Brunch-egg white omlete-fruits and veggies

After a wonderful Valentine’s Brunch at Overlook Lodge at Bear Mountain, we headed south for a long weekend in the sunshine state; FL. 

Moss Tree

Our trip covered over 500 miles in just 4 short days. 

It was an action packed fun filled weekend of visiting family and friends from coast to coast.  First stop, was an overnight stay on the east coast in Ft. Lauderdale.  Then early the next morning we headed to Delray Beach to have brunch with family.  Next, we set out on a 4 hour drive across the state to Bradenton on the west coast. While traveling across the famous “Alligator Alley” (I-75) we saw several alligator along the banks. 

Alligator along Alligator Alley in FL

Arriving in Bradenton late afternoon/early evening, we enjoyed dinner and an overnight stay with more family! 

Bradenton FL

Early next morning we were in the car as we set out for a 3 hour drive further north & west to our next destination of Dunnellon, FL

Dunnellon FL

Arriving in Dunnellon late morning we now enjoyed a wonderful lunch with even more family (yes, I have family and/or friends practically in every corner of the state LOL).  

After a restful night at my aunts in Dunnellon, we headed out towards Cedar Key for a day of fun in the sun! Cedar Key is a quiet island filled with nature’s beauty!  A place that allows you to stop, relax and enjoy the unique qualities of the coastal environment.  One of my “Top Picks” and a place we can’t wait to go back and vist and maybe spend a week or weekend!  The streets are lined with my favorite type of unique shops and great waterfront dining!  We had lunch at Kona Joe’s Island Cafe overlooking the gulf!

Kona Joe's Island Cafe Cedar Key FL

Strolling along the streets of Cedar Key FL

All in all, we had a great month and great trip to FL – even if it was one of their coldest winters in 40 years some of the locals told us. 

Pelicans & birds in Cedar Key FL

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

Attended Teatown’s Hudson River 6th Annual EagleFest

Teatown’s 6th Annual Hudson River EagleFest 2010

It was so cold today that I can’t believe we actually braved the 25° F temps (with wind chills of about 17°F) to attend Teatown’s Hudson River 6th Annual EagleFest at Croton Point Park (Croton On-Hudson, NY) but we did, and I must say, I am truly glad we did!

EagleFest 2010

Of course, growing up along the banks of the beautiful Hudson River, I have seen many eagles soaring overhead, perched in trees around the shore line of Lake Meahagh in Verplanck, NY and of course floating on the ice drifting down the river.  Yet, I was thrilled to attend this event where I learned a few things that I may not have otherwise known about these wonderful birds of prey and our national bird. 

First we sat in on an informative lecture (check out a few sound bites from the lecture below) where we learned that the female eagles are usually the largest of the pair.  And, did you know the word “Bald” is from the Middle English word balled, meaning shining white. Some of the previous names are American Eagle, White-headed Eagle, and American Fish Eagle.   Did you also know that eagles generally take a mate for life; eagles will only separate if after a few years they are not able to have their own eaglets.   So how many of you know that eagles do not like to get their wings wet?  I knew that, but I can honestly say, I didn’t know the real danger it could pose – if an eagle’s wings get too wet as they dive into water for food it could actually prohibit them from flying.  If an eagle’s wings get too wet, they would actually have to swim/paddle to shore (which could be quite a distance) and then hope they can keep warm long enough for their wings to dry out – amazing!

Other interesting activities during the day included an Eagle Exploration Bus Tour, Hudson River Eagles talk by Christopher Letts, and Jonathan Kruk Storyteller (who we seen recently saw at the Knickerbocker Ice Festival) and more! 

We took the Eagle Exploration Bus tour which was a two hour tour of the “hot spots” best known for eagle spotting.  Funny thing is, my mom called me about 8:30am this morning to tell me to look out my window as there were two eagles sitting on the ice of Lake Meahagh (my backyard) LOL! Maybe next year’s EagleFest should include a trip to Lake Meahagh in Verplanck, NY.  Our tour stopped at three well known eagle spotting sites. 

1.  First we stopped at Croton Boat Ramp at Croton-Harmon Train Station.  Here we spotted a young eagle perched in a tree (too far away to get any good pictures unfortunately).  Here we also learned that the eagles not only dine on fish, but they will also scavenge for food and are often seen picking at a deer unfortunately killed by the passing trains.  The sad fact here is that eagles don’t react fast enough to sounds and/or light and it is estimated that approximately 2-10 eagles are killed each year by fast moving trains.

2.  Second stop was George’s Island Park Dutch Street, Montrose, NY.  Here we spotted a young eagle perched in a tree.  It was so bitterly cold along the river’s edge we were grateful for the warming tent serving hot cocoa!

Looking for Eagles-George's Island-Montrose

Young Eagle Perched In Tree-George's Island Park

3.  Finally was a stop at Croton Dam.  I must confess, by this point we were just too cold and sat this exploration out.  Instead we stayed on the bus and warmed up a bit!

As with the lecture, we learned more interesting facts about the eagles while on our bus tour.  For instance, did you know that Benjamin Franklin didn’t want the Bald Eagle to be our nation bird but instead fought for the Wild Turkey!  Who knew!  All in all we enjoyed the bus tour and the additional knowledge we learned from Lisa and Aaron our tour guides—thank you Lisa & Aaron! 

Informative Bus Tour

 I have always had a strong appreciation for the beauty of the area in which we live.  Attending today’s event only increased my awareness of the beauty that surrounds us each day and the fact that we need to do our part in preserving nature.  As it was stated today, the land or natural surroundings here along the Hudson River are the bald eagles home.  You wouldn’t go into your neighbors’ home and be disrespectful by littering or worse, so please, don’t be disrespectful of the homes of our national bird, the bald eagle!

For more information please consider contacting and/or visiting the

Teatown Lake Reservation 1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY? – (914) 762-2912?

DIAL - LISTEN & LEARN

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

Supporting the Verplanck Fire Department

Verplanck Fire Department

As a lifelong resident of the tiny hamlet of Verplanck, I am proud that my great grandfather was among the founding members of the Verplanck Fire Department  (VFD) now on 8th Street in Verplanck, NY, and my father also served in the department. 

The VFD celebrated 80th birthday last year!  The VFD is a volunteer fire department located in Westchester County, NY. They primarily serve and protect the residential hamlet of Verplanck within the Town of Cortlandt. In addition to this residential area, the Verplanck Fire District includes several commercial sites including the Indian Point nuclear power station located in the neighboring town of Buchanan.

The Department answers approximately 200 alarms per year, consisting of Fire Alarms, EMS, Auto Accidents, Boating Incidents on the Hudson River, and other emergencies. We provide mutual aid to our neighboring departments of Montrose and Buchanan as well as the City of Peekskill.

Besides the obvious reason of supporting my local fire department, I’m excited to have the chance of winning a 52″ Samsung HDTV & Samsung Home Theater System w/Blu-ray player! $5 a ticket or 5 for $20! 

Verplanck Fire Dept Raffle

The drawing will be Sunday July 18, 2010 *** THE WINNER MUST PICK UP THE PRIZE AT THE VERPLANCK FIREHOUSE IN VER…PLANCK NY OR PAY ALL SHIPPING COSTS*** If you would like to purchase tickets please send an email to verplanckfire@gmail.com with your order. Please be sure to include your name, address and phone number along with how.many tickets you want. 

You will receive your tickets along with a self- addressed stamped envelope. When you get the tickets, just return the ticket stubs along with your payment. If you plan to pay by check, please make check payable to the Verplanck Fire Protective Association.

 Follow the Verplanck Fire Department is on Facebook

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

Learning about the Ice Industry in the Hudson Valley

Growing up with the Lake Meahagh and Hudson River in my backyard, I’ve heard my father tell stories of how this area once served as the Hudson Valley’s major ice industry.  Yesterday we went to the 4th Annual Knickerbocker Ice Festival at Rockland Lake State Park in Rockland County.  

Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010 @ Rockland Lake

We attended the lecture The Rise & Demise of the Hudson River Ice Industry: Urban Needs & Rural Responses presented by Speaker: Wendy Harris, Principal Archeologist, Craigsmoor Consulting.  There where two points that stood out to me; the very same factors that were responsible for the rise of the ice industry were the very same factors that were responsible for its demise.  Two of these factors were the demand and technical advances.  The demand for ice became more and more important; first enabling the growth of the industry, later, unable to keep up with the advances with electricity (ice boxes, then refrigerators), lead to the demise.  It is also amazing to me that the life cycle of such an important era of time only lasted approximately 30 years from start to finish (approximately 1835- 1865).  Read more about the Story of Knickerbocker Ice Company and Rockland Lake and visit The Friends of Rockland Lake and Hook Mountain, Inc. or one of the many local historical groups.      

 Additional resources:

Palisades Parks Conservancy
Parks and Trails New York
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
New York – New Jersey Trail Conference

Hudson River Valley Greenway
Hudson River Valley Heritage. Type “Rockland Lake” in the search box for great photo archives of Rockland Lake 

 Then it was on to see the ice sculptures.  This year, four competing Ice Sculptors (Dan Bergin, Earl Covington, John Hedbavny, and Rob Patalano) were scheduled to participate.  Unfortunately when we were there only three sculptors were sculpting and we were only able to see two of them.  By the time we walked to the third sculptor, the sun (while making for a nice day) was too warm, making it dangerous for the ice sculptor to work unless wrapped in a covered tented area….darn.  But, we did enjoy seeing two sculptors and their works of ice.

Drawing of Woolly Mammoth Ice Sculpture

Woolly Mammoth In the Making

Woolly Mammoth being attacked by Saber Tooth Tiger in the Making

Woolly Mammoth being Attacked by Saber Tooth Tiger in the Making-

As an added pleasure, we were delighted to see and meet so many local artists as they set up their easels and painted the beautiful landscapes surrounding the lake!  We enjoyed meeting Phyllis Tarlow of Phyllis Tarlow Fine Art / Portraits from Hartsdale.  We watched and listened as Phyllis shared with us her love of painting landscapes and discovering new areas around the Hudson Valley to inspire her next painting!  Thank you Phyllis for sharing your love of the Hudson Valley with so many of us through your paintings!

Phyllis Tarlow at Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010

We also enjoyed meeting Marylyn Vanderpool local artist from Harriman, NY.  Marylyn’s love of the Hudson Valley, her energetic spirit comes alive through her watercolors as she captures the beauty that surrounds us so eloquently.

Marylyn Vanderpool at Knickerbocker Ice Festival 2010

We briefly stopped to listen to award-winning storyteller Jonathan Kruk  Dressed in costume Jonathan tells colorful tales spun from the lore of historic Hudson Valley! Jonathan’s ability to truly capture his audience is amazing—you get drawn into his story and eagerly await the ending! Together with folk balladeer Rich Bala, they travel around the many villages & communities of the Hudson River and beyond since 1990, performing the region’s tunes, tales, and traditions at schools, museums, libraries, camps and historic sites. Thank you for sharing your storytelling talent with so many of us.  You can also purchase Jonathan’s tales on CD.

Storyteller Jonathan Kruk

Whew, as if the day hadn’t been exciting and different enough, we held true to our love of dining in the Hudson Valley and decided on Henry’s on the Hudson located at 634 Main Street, Peekskill, NY.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner overlooking the Peekskill Bay on the Hudson River all the while listening Mike play his guitar.  Mike’s selection of songs was fabulous!  Mike’s relaxing music combined with the spectacular view made for great evening. 

 I enjoyed shrimp over angel hair pasta and my honey satisfied his taste buds (and stomach LOL) with chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables.  But wait, oh yes, those of you that follow my dinning in the Hudson Valley excursions know that we love dessert!  My honey’s famous line is “there is always room for dessert”!  Tonight being no exception we shared the   Chocolate Explosion which was a dark, dense chocolate decadence in an individual dessert with a rich creamy ganache oozing from the center and served with creamy vanilla ice cream…. oooohhh the most “wonderful” ending to a “wonderful” day!

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

Eagles on the Hudson

Each time I see a Bald Eagle I stand in amazement and watch as it flys overhead or sits perched in a tree.  While we do not do many of our famous “day-trips” during the winter months, we decided to spend this weekend eagle scouting.  We simply couldn’t resist as our backyard (the lower Hudson Valley) sees more and more eagles each year along the majestic Hudson River.

 

According to a NYTimes.com article “…last year, Bald Eagles were once plentiful in New York. But by 1976, only one pair of eaglets remained. Environmentalists blamed pesticides, particularly DDT (which was banned in 1972), for interfering with the raptors’ ability to reproduce.

 

Today, roughly 500 bald eagles winter in New York (they migrate here when the waters begin to freeze in Canada and Nova Scotia), and 143 pairs remain in the state during the summer. Dr. Koontz said that eight pairs had stayed year-round in the lower Hudson Valley.”

 

With so many places to choose from, we decided to check out the places best known for spotting eagles.  On our list, Croton Point Park in Croton-On-Hudson, NY. While we did not see to many eagles, we did enjoy a great walk (of course we lucked out with Saturday being Spring like with temps nearing 50° F) along the Westchester RiverWalk which is a 51.5 mile pathway paralleling the Hudson River connecting some 14 towns/ villages/municipalities in Westchester.  More details about the Westchester RiverWalk.

 

 

On our way out of Croton Point Park we (and many many others) were shocked to see this hawk (we believe a Red Tail Hawk) just sitting in the field.  So many people were walking around him (at a safe distance but none-the-less) and he didn’t move.  I don’t think that was a good sign that he didn’t move or seem to be bothered by everyone lurking around and taking his picture.  Beautiful as he is, I’m fearful he was sick.

 

 

red-tailed-hawk-croton-point-park

Then Sunday morning we went out early (leaving the house by 8:00am is early for us on a Sunday LOL!).  We headed to Fleischmann Pier in Peekskill, NY.

 

fleischmanns-pier

Here we were successful in our eagle scouting adventure! 

Eagle on the Hudson @ Fleischmann's Pier

Eagle on the Hudson @ Fleischmann's Pier

 

 

 

 

Eagles @ Fleischmann's Pier

Eagles @ Fleischmann's Pier

 

Then it was off to Charles Point Marina just a short distance down the road from Fleischmann Pier.  There we saw a beautiful eagle perched in the tree! I was so excited! I only wish it wasn’t such an overcast / gray day and the picture was a bit clearer, oh well, it was still a great day!

 

eagle-pirched-in-tree-at-charles-point-marina2

 

Then on to my hometown of Verplanck, NY to steamboat dock.  There we were thrilled to see the most eagles we’d seen so far.  We watched as the eagles (about 4 or 5) enjoyed a ride down the river on the ice! 

It was a wonderful weekend!

 

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

Winter's sunshine

Winter's sunshine

  

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