A Travellerspoint blog

I LOVE NEW YORK

Falling Leaves at Mohonk

rain 45 °F

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There is lots to love about New York. I'm a New Yorker so I may be partial but this is one beautiful state. We have big cities, beautiful countryside
with vast open spaces, lakes, rivers, history, food and so much more. Did I mention great people....four of which (3 New Yorkers, 1 Bostonian) are getting together today to visit the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz?!

We have been looking forward to this day and it has finally arrived. We have also been enjoying the beautiful fall weather...until today. Wind, rain and 45 degress for our day trip to Mohonk but who cares...we will have a good time no matter what. We know how to have fun and we make the best of a situation, why?...because we are New Yorkers (except one)...that's what we do. Well, this blustery day didn't take much effort... four friends, a beautiful landmark, a great lunch, pumpkins, an afternoon tea, falling leaves...and photo ops galore....what's not to love.

Our first stop is a huge pumpkin patch we spot on our drive before we even reach our destination. Jane throws the car in park and out we go to snap some pics. Cameras clicking like the paparazzi, ooohs, aaaahs and "oh my God, how beautiful" are our only comments. We are all in agreement... this is the largest patch any of us have seen to date. The wind is kicking up, raindrops coming down, the temperature dropping ... so back in the car we go. We drive another 20 feet when we spot another part of the patch with a murder of crows. The brilliant halloween color scheme of black and orange catches our eyes and we decide we MUST stop again to capture "the perfect shot".

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Note to self: when spotting a murder of crows in a pumpkin patch, do not run toward them... waving camera and screaming "oh my God, look how beautiful!...I have to get this shot". These birds are not idiots.....the ones with the cameras?...questionable! Have you heard of the " flight or fight response"?! The sky turned dark for a few seconds but I did get another shot of the pumpkin patch with one lone crow who may have been contemplating the "fight" but shortly changed its mind. Lesson learned.

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We arrive at the gate, register and make our way to the entrance. We opt for the Valet parking and now the fun begins.

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Cameras clicking again before we enter the hotel...all four of us running in different directions to capture what we "spy with our eyes"! Just minutes late (but who's counting?)

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I ask a hotel attendant (I'll call him Earl) "which way to the restaurant? " You can easily get lost here..several floors, rooms, porches, entry ways, hallways and people. We have reservations, it's the midnight hour and we don't want to miss lunch! Earl directs us to the Lake Lounge and off we go. Lunch is delicious..a grand buffet which we thoroughly enjoy but, foremost on our minds... is the exploration of the grounds. I wouldn't say we are "woofing" down our meals but we aren't wasting any time...let's put it that way. A quick trip to the dessert buffet, coffee, tea...yum, yum... and we are ready to go.

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Back into the hallway, down the stairs and... we have no idea where we are going. We pass Earl again and I ask "which way to feed the fish?" Earl replies.." You wanna feed the fish?" (Talks to me like I'm 12 years old). I say, "yes, which way do we go?" Earl replies "That would be that way" as he points us in the proper direction. Once again, we are off...we find the fish, the lake, the gardens...gorgeous. We walk around on the porch and start a whirlwind photography session.

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It's freaking freezing, windy and wet...but...what the heck...when in Rome....roam! We now all have photos of everything and every angle on this side of the hotel but...we want more. Apparently there is a walk to get another view of the area called Eagle Cliff. We are running around inside trying to find our way to Eagle Cliff to begin that walk .....when ....who do we pass AGAIN? You guessed right.. .my new buddy Earl (who reminds me of Burl Ives). I stop in front of him and smile. He asks (again with that tone of a parent speaking with a 12 year old) "what are you looking for now?" I reply "Eagle Cliff". He says " that would be that way" and again points us in the proper direction. He's not a man of many words but that is perfectly fine with us..the clock is ticking and we have no time for small talk anyway. Well worth the trek...we did acquire some of the most picturesque photos of the grounds and discovered some interesting spots to revisit.

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There is so much more to see here that we will no doubt be returning. Mohonk Preserve and Mohonk Mountain House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. A Victorian Castle situated on 8000 acres of cliffs, ponds and forests located in the Shawangunk Ridge (a section of the Apalachian Mountains). It's a magical place. A must see!!

Tea is served to day guests and it's just what the Dr. ordered. A nice cup of hot tea and some homemade cookies to warmup before we head for home...perfect.

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Who knows, maybe you'll even spot a wood nymph!

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www.mohonkmountainhouse.com

PS...If you do decide to spend some time at Mohonk and need help navigating...just ask Earl...he'll point you in the right direction!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 15:29 Archived in USA Tagged mountains mountain lake new house eagle cliff ridge lounge preserve paltz mohonk shawangunk apalachian Comments (0)

Two Fair Ladies

Woodstock-New Paltz Craft Fair

sunny 75 °F

It's a beautiful Monday on Labor Day weekend and Jane (BFF) and I are off to the fair...not the Scarborough Fair but the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Craft Fair. We meet at the Park &Ride in Saugerties and catch up on life as we ride down to the fairgrounds.

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Once there and through the gates, we are off and running....making our way thru the tents admiring all the beautiful creations. We stop and try on a few "jewels". There are different methods of shopping when at a craft fair. Some people purchase as they go; if they see something they like..they buy it then and there. Others, meander through the tents, mark the program with their favorite booths, have a bite to eat and backtrack thru the tents to pick up their desired pieces. Then ... there are people like us...(people with a plan) we browse, try on, get our thoughts together as we make our way through....try to justify the desired items (do we really need this, will we really wear this, does this really look good on us...blah, blah blah...) trying to be very selective and trying not to buy ... on impulse. So, we make it through the first tent, purchase nothing although I did see a possible ring we may need to go back for...but, we will see..miles to go yet...we are being very selective. We check out the Adirondack chair and a cool chair made out of skis....when, out of nowhere... the maker of the chair nabs us and insists we have a seat and listen to his 5 minute spiel. He compliments us on how nice we look in his chairs. We could be models, he said. Hmmm...we will give that some thought! There is something about craft fairs that I love....you're always told how great you look, how wonderful the item looks on you...and ... how the very piece you're looking at... is made for you. We thank him for the five minute break and hit the next tent.

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As we make our way through this tent admiring the different pottery, furniture and jewelry, we suddenly mosey into a booth selling scarves. We notice a scarf that looks exactly like one we bought on the Cape. As we are talking, BAM!....we meet Barbara Bass, scarf maker and sales woman extraordinaire. She's been eavesdropping and hears us comment about the scarf ..."it may look like my scarf...people tell me that all the time...but it's not the same...mine is better." (Of course it is). "Let me tell you why!!" she says. "I hand make them and I have the wool specially made for me in Italy. See these hairs on here...(as she caresses the scarf)....this is specially made. She points to me, (like right in my face) and says.".... Look how beautiful you are...and you're going to look even more beautiful when I get done with you" (wow, she's working it).

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Jane starts laughing as Barbara Bass (whose character reminds me of Joan Rivers) pulls me by the arm toward a mirror, (keep in mind it is about 75 degrees outside, I'm walking thru a tent, packed with people and Barbara Bass is wrapping a wool scarf around my neck with fur on it! Jane is hysterical. Barbara walks over to her and says, "don't laugh...you're next...and your going to be even more unbelievable than her." Hey, wait a minute...,?! Huh?! What?! She starts telling us about how fabulous these colors look on us with the hair, the eyes, etc., she's flinging these scarves over our heads and giving us tips how to wrap them and button them with the hidden button, how to hide the neck issues (excuse me?) and just how beautiful we look. Then she whips out one with ostrich feathers and shows us all the colors they come in...and..as the grand finale of closing the deal (has she read Trumps book?)..she adds.."if you buy one..you get a free gift!" Wait...what? Free? Gift? So here is where our plan ends up in the crapper...all the talk about being selective, justifying the need, justifying when and where we will wear ithese furry scarves....(out the freaking window!) and why, you ask? Remember the little words free and gift? Was that what did it? Or do we really need a scarf with fur and feathers because we have lots of places to wear it to? Then she tells us how she loves us (how could she not) " I love you girls" were her exact words and...get this..we told her we love her too! And so...we bought the scarves. Ain't love grand! I now own a scarf with ostrich feathers and Jane owns one with fur! And the free gift? We have a choice of a pocket mirror or clips that say "crap" on them. We both chose the pocket mirror...have a look:

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Ok..that was a blast..meeting Barbara Bass was worth it in itself. We continue thru the fairgrounds, treat ourselves to another "must have" or two and realize we are ready for a break.

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After a quick nap...

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....we decide to leave the fair and head into the town of New Paltz to find a bite to eat. We noticed a field of beautiful sunflowers when we drove in this morning so we stop on the side of the road for a photo op:

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We stroll through the antique stores, cheese mongers, boutiques and make our way to the Parish for lunch. The grain fed burger and salad were just what we needed to recharge.

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It was a fun, lively and very colorful day! Oh yeah...did I mention "warm"!

If you're in the market for a scarf with fur or ostrich feathers, you will be in for a treat when you meet Barbara..www.barbarabass.com
and don't forget your free gift!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 17:01 Archived in USA Tagged i arts woodstock-new paltz Comments (0)

Echo Lake

Gather

sunny 72 °F

The invite said dinner at 5:00 with appetizers and cocktails on Sunday, Labor Day weekend! Works for us!

Teresa and Sprinkles (real name: John) have a beautiful home which looks out on Echo Lake in Warrensburgh, NY. We love visiting and here is why. First of all, they are Italian (what does that tell you?!). They are gourmet cooks, they love to garden, do amazing work beautifying Warrensburgh...and the list goes on.

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Today we are enjoying some of their summer's harvest, homemade caponata, local cheeses, bean salad, mixed greens, Caprese, grilled meat perfectly seasoned, farm-fresh corn. We brought homemade pickles, roasted red peppers, charcuterie from Oscar's rival...the Alpine Pork Store in Greene County, NY. A variety of wonderful wine was free-flowing and a do I dare mention the desserts..homemade Berry Pie with Lemon Crust, Tart Napoleon, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, homemade vanilla ice cream and mango sorbet served with deliciously strong, hot coffee and aperitifs. We are not counting calories today!

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The house and gardens are so lovely and so relaxing, I feel like I am on vacation...and .... that dock on the lake with that beautiful view...breathtaking. The people, the food, the atmosphere, the location, the weather...perfect. If I had to choose a word to describe today I would say that word is "abundance". Definition: Abundance - an extremely plentiful or over sufficient quantity or supply....of everything!

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And...since so many of you loved the homemade pickles...here is that pickle recipe! Enjoy!

Sweet Country Cucumber Pickles

2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup White Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Celery Seed
7 Cups sliced cucumbers

Mix all together and store in refrigerator in an uncovered glass bowl overnight! That's it....enjoy!

.....and many thanks to Teresa and Sprinkles for a wonderful day"!

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On my next visit to Warrensburgh, a stop at the Deadwood Mountain Trading Company is on my list...I hear it's a great shop with a little bit of everything for everyone! If you're passing through the area....stop in and let me know what you find!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 16:27 Archived in USA Tagged mountain company trading deadwood Comments (0)

Jersey-girl Tours

Tina

sunny 90 °F

During my week on the Jersey shore for my niece's wedding, I have a little time to get together with Tina, a friend I met in Cuba a few years ago. Tina lives in New Jersey and what better place to meet but Long Branch. As luck would have it our timing is perfect and we meet at Pier Village. Tina knows the area inside and out since she's been a resident here for who knows how long. We start at "The Avenue" with a cocktail and a few appetizers and decide we will make our way around town sipping and tasting as we go.

The Avenue:

A restaurant, ...the ambiance of a Parisienne brasserie with high ceilings, marble tile, excellent service...located on the boardwalk...overlooking the beautiful beach. . A few glasses of wine and a shared crab salad and onion tart provide an excellent start to our reunion. We reminisce about our trip to Cuba, weddings, France and Tina's new book.

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Touring

We hop in the car, and with Tina as our tour guide, head further down the shore. We pass through Deal, a very, very beautiful and wealthy area with homes and gardens that take your breath away. Allenhurst is next..same is true here ...all I can say is "big money". We keep going thru more towns and the scenery is beautiful, of course, with the ocean yards away. We discuss Tina's new book ...and Rick, being Rick (instead of waiting for the book to be finished) digs for information. He's already a fan...as am I. Tina..we can't wait. We make our way to Asbury where we stop for refreshment. We sit out on the rooftop bar of the Watermark, sipping our drinks, overlooking the beach, Boardwalk, and "The Stone Pony" (of Bruce Springsteen fame). We continue down the shore to a town where I picture myself living: Avon-by-the-Sea, quaint houses, porches with awnings ...a stones throw from the beach. The Main Street lined with bistros, boutiques and art galleries. (It's really nice to dream). The conversation leads back to food, of course, so we decide we are all in for some good Cuban food. Tina has a hot tip from friends about the Cuban Cafe. Well, this was definitely the right choice..."muy excellante"!

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Tina

As I mentioned before, we met Tina on an educational tour we took to Cuba in the fall of 2014 before President Obama "opened the gates", so to speak. Small changes have been made but certainly not enough and definitely not fast enough to improve the living conditions for the beautiful people who occupy that island. Anyway, back to Tina. We discovered we had quite a bit in common, travelling, cooking.....food, as well as a great sense of adventure and a weird sense of humor. Tina is a published writer "Hardscrabble Way" , among others, and the motivation behind this blog. I always enjoyed writing but like everything else, life gets in the way and I didn't take the time to write. What better souvenier of our travels around the world than recording the details that make each trip so memorable....so, I'm making the time and loving every minute of it. Tina is working on a new book, (it's a secret right now...I cannot tell) but will make mention of it, once published...you can be sure. Tina had an interesting experience...well, more than one, for sure, but this one concerns her book "Hardscrabble Way". She told me she had pictured Gwyneth Paltrow as the lead character in her book. As luck would have it...who do you think is in NYC doing a book signing? Gwyneth Paltrow....oh yes she is! And who do you think grabbed a copy of her book and ran to NYC to do a little networking? Tina Gordon...oh yes she did! Tina gave Gwyneth the details and now Gwyneth has a copy of the book! We may be seeing it on the big screen...who knows! Thanks, Tina, for inspiring me...I love your stories, hearing about your experiences and following you around the world through your blog. So glad we got to cross paths...so....when are we getting together in NYC? Let's make it soon!

Wish we had more time to spend in Jersey...lots to see. Thanks for the tour and we'll definitely be back!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 13:41 Archived in USA Tagged shore long branch jersey Comments (1)

Extra....extra....

random photos....

rain

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til next year......

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Posted by Linda Fluckiger 03:42 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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