Sunday, February 07, 2016

Saugerties Adventures

 The Last Ice on the River
 From Trinity Church back yard.
 Trinity Church and Rectory

Tiffany Window in Hall
 William Morris Window Church
Location: Saugerties, NY.
Temp: 45 degrees
Weather: full sun
River Conditions: all ice nearly gone. Low Tide.
Total mileage for the day: 6.5 miles
Wind: none
Path: slightly muddy
Ice conditions: mostly melted, save for a few chunks washed upon the shore.
Lunch: Hudson Valley Desserts
Price: 4.95 for soup and buttered roll
Value: excellent and lovely staff
Difficulty: (trail from trailhead to lighthouse) easy. Flat, maybe 1/2 mile in. ? 

Splendid day to walk and catch views of the mountains along the Hudson River on the path to the Saugerties lighthouse. I had wished I bought a picnic and lunched on the river. The sun was warm on the lighthouse deck - the sky and water such wonderful blues.  We then walked from the lighthouse into town for soup and cookies. Excellent choice of venue and we and loved sitting in the cafe window watching the world go by.

On the way home, I asked Meredith to pull into the Trinity Church parking lot. I had sold a group of 100 year old photos of this very spot, possibly taken by Thomas Cole Jr. who was the Minister at the church for 40 years. I wanted to see the places that I had studied in the photographs while researching their providence.

We quickly read a sign stating the grounds are private, but a kind volunteer who happened to be working on the church, took pity on our enthusiastic interest in the history of the place, and he let us walk the grounds, take photos, and  even took us into the church and hall to see the Morris/Tiffany stained glass windows!!!!!!

I was glad I took this day to celebrate the sun, the beauty of our county, a friend, and art. The day unfolded itself, ripe with sensory experiences, mixed with a dash of art and history.

A stellar 5 star day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Adventure in Catskill

Due to a lot of company over the holidays, my adventures were minimal; walks at Dietz Stadium,  walks uptown Kingston.  So when I got an invite to spend the weekend at my sister in laws house in Catskill, I jumped upon the chancc; dinner, hot tub, Qi-Gong, movies,great conversation, and, a walk. It is always exciting to have a change of view, and I love Larry's family and the town they live in. 

It had been storming all day, and a brief break in the action prompted a group walk with the family dog. There are many side streets filled with lovely Victorian homes, and other great venues such as the Thomas Cole House, the Monastery, the Beattie-Powers Place, and on a good day- you can take the 2 mile walk on the bridge over the Hudson.

As we walked, the sunshine rapidly faded, the fog closed in. It got very very dark and a mountain storm blew upon us. We were a half a mile from home. Rich knows the neighborhoods well, and we found ourselves following him, running through paths, muddy squishy back yards (the ground is not frozen at this point in time!) getting pounded by heavy rain, topped off with a serious thunder storm crackling around us! We were screaming, laughing, like children late-for-dinner taking the shortest path to our waiting parents.

We walked  1.5 miles at the most, but it was wonderful to be outside on an unseasonably warm winter day, and experience the fog, the place, the adventure. It will be one of the walks I remember with fondness, as I saw life again - although briefly - through the memories and eyes of a child.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mansion Hopping in the Hudson Valley

 Inside Vanderbilt Mansion
 The back end of Mills Mansion at Sunset
 View of the Catskills and the Hudson from the Vanderbilt
  Formal Italian Gardens at Vanderbilt
More of the Gardens

With the busyness of the holiday season, my adventures have been cut short. I managed to get a few nice walks in however, and some historical sightseeing to boot.

The Hudson Valley is rich with the treasures of historical mansions. Olana, The Thomas Cole House, Clermont, Montgomery Place, Vanderbilt, Wilderstein, The Roosevelt Estate, Mills Mansion. And that are only the ones in a one hour radius from my Kingston home.

Because my adventure friend is over 62, she has a National Parks Pass which can be obtained at any National site for 10.00. That gets you into the Federal parks for free, such as some of the Cape Cod beaches, and other parks around the country - and up to three other guests I believe FOR FREE. So, in the spirit of saving and not spending, we opted for Vanderbilt Mansion which is a Federal site (which also means you can take photos anywhere in the house!) The second adventure was to Mills Mansion aka Staatsburg Mansion, which is a state site,  where we could not use the Parks Pass, AND, no interior photography allowed.  Senior admission  6.00, other adult 8.00. Admission gets you inside the mansion, as well as use of acres and acres of grounds.

Each mansion has its own stories, and was decorated for the holidays. Vanderbilt had a fabulous tour guide, and Mills was a self guided tour (which I like) with tons of volunteers stationed throughout the mansion. The Mills mansion also offers several special events where you can have a themed tea in the grand dining room on Sundays!

The grounds contain paths to wander that have views of the Hudson River, and Vanderbilt has a formal Italian garden, which even in winter is beautiful to walk through. They both have lovely gift shops, which is one of the places that I go to do some holiday shopping. Our purchases help support these stately examples of the Gilded Age.

I am hoping to visit a few of the other mansions over the next week or two, although I don't know how long they keep up their decorations. I suspect with the New Year, they strip it down, and some close until the spring.  Some of the sites charge for parking, some have free parking, with free use of the grounds, most charge for a visit inside the mansion.

I have a real affinity for the history, art and architecture of these places, and know that somehow these places will play an important place in my life, though I have not figured that out yet!