Sunday, July 24, 2016

Road tripping

Faireys Upstate New York Adventure!
June 23-25 2016

Set off from Atlantic Avenue at 10am in hire car.  Somewhat fraught getting out of the city - Manhattan traffic is a bitch.  But my written instructions got us over the Brooklyn Bridge, up the east side of Manhattan, out over the George Washington Bridge and onto the New Jersey Palisades Parkway heading north.
Coordinated green t-shirts is a happy coincidence.

Diner stop! For coffees and eggs, sausages, potatoes, toast.

Much driving.  Much.  Some getting lost.  My carefully copied directions sent us wrong when a road we were supposed to be following briefly had a different name before once again becoming the road we needed...or a lot of detours but also a stop in the town of Livingston Manor for groceries and charcoal.

Much driving later - voila! One cabin, as promised.  Bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, cosy and clean with a barbecue and outdoor fireplace.

Sitting outside with a book, a beer and a bag of crisps is THE LIFE.

Right that's enough sitting, time for some team dinner-making.
John on barbecue steaks, Tessa on salad and new potatoes.

An absolute feast followed by ice cream (my idea)

Quite cloudy the first day but a merciful respite from the steam room/oven that is the city.  Surrounded by trees and close to mountains and water = refreshing.

Day 2!

Start the day as champions.  This is all the work of Daddy, the maestro of fry ups.

Bluer skies and sun

Setting out for Livingston Manor to grab a wifi and phone signal (cabin is v. cut off - nice but we wanted to know what was happening in the world) and then on our way to Mongaup Pond, one of the biggest lakes in the region not counting the reservoirs.

Beware of Farmers!

***Images Missing - awaiting their arrival!***

A beautiful lake surrounded by trees with a tiny beach, and woodland hike trails all around.  In a roundabout way through several miles of woodland we found the waterfall marked on our completely not to scale map - give me a waterfall and river I can stand in and I'm a happy camper.  Speaking of which there are camping spots for rent all around the lake and I have ambitions of going up there one day with friends.  You could really camp there in comfort for a while - each spot has a barbecue and picnic benches, you can access water easily and you're right by a lake for crying out loud.  
I'll make it happen one day.

Then back to the cabin for ham sandwiches and a sit down (lots of stomping through the woods necessitates this) and then on to activity number two - a visit to Bethel Woods Museum and Arts Centre, located at the site of Woodstock.

This museum is awesome - it's full of history of the 60s and the historical and social context that led to Woodstock being possible and why its performances are so legendary.  They have tons of images from the festival and a film about the performances with loads of footage and background information, like how before he played Woodstock Joe Cocker's American fans had no idea really what he looked like, and how Jefferson Airplane were supposed to play on Saturday night but they ended up going on at 9am Sunday morning and how Ravi Shankur played all the way through in the pouring rain.

Performers schedule

An example of the yellow school buses used by the Hog Farm collective and the Merry Pranksters who arrived en masse to help set up the festival's infrastructure.

**also missing images**

Finished off the day with a lovely meal at a teeny tiny restaurant in the town nearest the cabin.  It was Russian cuisine with some other elements mixed in - I had delicious pickled herring and rye bread followed by butternut squash gnocchi and Dad had a trout which was in his own words 'perfectly cooked'.  And then I had chocolate mousse cake because I'm an unstoppable pudding fiend.  Back home for a relatively early night - I did some really good sleeping in that cabin.

Day 3!

Another beautiful clear day.  Today's mission was drive over to the town of New Paltz with a lake stop off on the way, before driving back down to NYC.

Bye cabin!

We passed two reservoirs on our drive - Neversink and Rondout.  They. Are. HUGE.  My mind boggles at the size of them, and the thought that they are supplying the water I am drinking right now.  So much water.
This shows a small fraction of the entire reservoir - it took us like 15 minutes to drive all the way past it.

A scenery stop on the road

Arrived at our destination: Minnewaska State Park, featuring sky lake! And forest trails and a river, with waterfalls.
 A good time to soak up all the nature before returning to the urban jungle.

No photos of New Paltz but it's a small, pretty university town with a lot of great looking eateries.  Also a huge number of gift-type shops selling soaps and candles.  Like, a LOT of them.  It's very much a hippy-oriented town and I liked it a lot.

On the road home - we had an excellent riverside sandwich and Bounty bar stop off, and except for my getting East and West wrong and sending us over the Hudson river by mistake, we made good time back to the city.

George Washington Bridge

And back in sight of the Brooklyn Bridge

Back to Atlantic Avenue, return car and Dad set up in his (very nice) hotel and we congratulate ourselves on exploration well done.

I always say I feel like I forget how to leave the city when I don't do it for a while, and seeing how very easy it actually is to hire a vehicle and hit the road was a nice reminder/inspiration that it doesn't have to be complicated or require a ton of planning.  We did this with seriously minimal planning! Which is the best way to make plans, I think.  

Big thanks to almighty Dad for having the idea in the first place, steak/fry up skills and err for driving! One day I'll learn how to confidently drive on the other side of the road, could be a while though.

Next up, Mass Rhetoric!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Red Hook

I know, my postings are intermittent - I'll reiterate that my laptop is a little beaten up these days and the main problem is the function of the keyboard. Poorly functioning keyboard = no typing = less blogging (using my phone right now but it's only effective for shorter posts).
With that in mind, I'm going to be a little out of chronological order - the many wonderful events and experienced of most of June will be detailed here at the weekend when I will be able to borrow a slicker laptop. For today, here's my current situation and whereabouts:
I'm dog and cat-sitting for Sam and Val while they're on holidays in California for three weeks, so I'm staying in their Brooklyn neighbourhood Red Hook. It's a weird but nice 'hood, characterised by converted industrial spaces, empty lots, bus depots and waterfront-based business. I have yet to try any of the local cafes or bars but there are several on my list.
Mostly though I'm here for the aminals and I'm also getting a little time to myself to shake of the plague that struck me down HARD over the weekend - it was building in me for a couple of weeks and I absolutely crashed last Saturday, high temperature and everything that comes with it. It was rubbish. So I'm still shaking off the remnants of a nasty cough and some congestion headaches but it's fading.

I'm also happy to report that I'm back to dance classes - went to ballet yesterday and will again tomorrow, it's much needed and it feels great.

One of the best things about spending three weeks in Red Hook - not super close to any subways - is the chance to ride my bike every day to and from the train and other parts of Brooklyn (like my house).

Also there is this rather nice view that I found walking Bobby just now