Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Behind the Ropes

 Clermont from the woods.

 Barn on the property

 Amtrack heading north

 Ice Heaves on the Hudson in Tivoli

 My adventure partner bought tickets for this weekend's "Behind the Ropes" tour at Clermont State Historic site. Normally the house is closed for the winter, but they had a new fund raiser which opened it up for the weekend, so that one could tour rooms without the ropes, and see some of the decorative objects up close!

I have gone to Clermont many times over the years; the fields offer acres upon which to picnic, paint, or play. The front lawn of the house is often set up for croquet. I have visited the house, mainly back when it was free; now you have to pay to park and stroll the grounds during peak tourist season. But I don't mind, because the money helps keep these historic sites open.

Because it is a state site, no photographs are allowed inside the house. The interior is the most interesting thing about this house, which was built in 1740,  burned by the British in 1777, and rebuilt using the same foundation and two of the walls. It went through many styles of decorative fashion, and in the 1930s the family departed from the clutter of the Victorian era and hearkened back to the Colonial/Federal periods.

After the tour, we walked/hiked on old trails, and through the woods and fields that ran besides the Hudson River and the railroad. On the way home, I drove to Tivoli, down to the river, and carefully crossed the double set of Amtrack railroad tracks, to the ice jams on the river.

It was a day of history, art, exercise and mud - which is unusual for the time of year when the ground is usually covered with snow and frozen.  It was a sensory experience, and I was thrilled to spend my Sunday there.

This winter I have toured and hiked the Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, and Wilderstein estates, Mills Mansion, Clermont, and Olana. They offer fascinating tours, and miles of trails to hike. I am compiling my list of what is next- The Martin Van Buren House, Locust Grove, Kykuit,  Bannerman Castle,Boscobel, Lyndhurst...the list goes on. SO much richness in the Hudson Valley!

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.