Archive for July, 2010
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!
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.
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 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.
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!
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!