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Spent a lovely few hours in Hudson, New York, on Thursday afternoon. Located right on the Hudson River, the small city of Hudson is renowned for its many antique dealers and is just a 25 minute drive from the Inn at Green River. I had lunch at Cafe Le Perche at 230 Warren Street.

Cafe Le Perche Bakery & Patisserie

This restaurant opened to great fanfare last year. The New York Times wrote about the genesis of the bakery. Owner Allan Chapin fell in love with the delicious local baguettes while visiting the le Perche region of northern France. He ended up purchasing and shipping home an enormous French oven and French made bricks to rebuild it in the carriage house behind a former bank building he owned in Hudson. The bakery and patisserie now turns out wonderful baguettes made with stone ground flour milled from locally grown grains, as well as a great assortment of other breads and pastries.

Cafe Le Perche Bakery & Patisserie

I enjoyed a wonderful, obviously home made tomato soup, and shared a beautiful small spinach, feta and mushroom quiche and fresh green salad with my companion.  We ate at the bar, but there is also a nice dining room in the back and a garden courtyard beyond that for out door dining. Note it is best to plan your visit to Hudson on Thursdays through Sundays, as many of the antique dealers are closed mid week.

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Housatonic River Walk

On a warm spring or summer day, the River Walk in Great Barrington, Mass. along the Housatonic River, beckons. Great Barrington is close to the Inn at Green River,  an easy 9 mile or 15 minute drive through lovely countryside.

One can access the walkway in several spots off Main Street (Route 7). It feels quite secluded and peaceful although only a few steps from the town center.

Housatonic River Walk

At the southern end of the walkway off Bridge Street, the access is at street level. Here, a bit further north, the access is via the steps shown at the left. There is signage pointing out interesting flora and fauna, for example where turtles are known to lay their eggs.

Housatonic River Walk

This display explains a bit of the history of the river, including former mill sites. One can spend a leisurely 15 or 20 minutes on the walk, then stroll back through town for shopping and great food at one of Great Barrington’s many excellent restaurants. And leave room for SoCo Creamery’s locally made ice cream!

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A favorite New York adventure travel activity among my guests is a visit to the Catamount Aerial Adventure Park here in Hillsdale, New York, on the border of Massachusetts. It is an easy 15 minute drive from the Inn at Green River.

The park offers an aerial forest adventure for people of all ages (that is 7 & older) and abilities. Eleven courses of varying degrees of difficulty challenge you to cross bridges, climb ladders, negotiate obstacles, and glide across zip lines. Your intrepid innkeeper did just fine on the two easiest levels, yellow and green, but I did not have the upper body strength for the blue and black courses. I made it through about half of a blue level course, then took the escape zip line! Nevertheless, I found it exhilarating, and I am sure you will too!

Catamount Forest Aerial Adventure Park

The park is scheduled to open for the 2012 season in May, but check back, as it may open earlier this year due to the very early spring we are experiencing. Book a two night, midweek stay at the Inn, and we will pay for 1 ticket. The cost for adults is $51, children’s passes are less.

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Have you enjoyed my Malted Flour Pear Pancakes during your stay at the Inn at Green River? I recently made a cooking video to show you just how easy it is to make these pancakes with the circle of pear in the middle. I give credit for the concept to Martha Stewart Living Magazine. And I use Carbon’s Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour which makes a delicious, light pancake. I buy this by the case, but you can purchase it in smaller quantities on their website.

To see my video, go to YouTube and please tell me what you think!

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Chef Franck

Here’s a video I took when I attended another Manger! Boire! cooking class at Chez Nous, the French bistro in Lee, Massachusetts, last Thursday. This one was all about crepes and galettes (savory buckwheat flour crepes). Chef/owner Franck Tessier first demonstrated the technique of crepe making to our group of about 20 foodies, and then we were served a three course meal. The first course was a delicious shiitake mushroom filled crepe tied up in a little beggar’s purse shape and served on a bed of leeks.

The main course was a galette filled with a poached egg, bacon, cheese and fresh arugula. You can see a picture of this on the Chez Nous blog post from April 24th. I may experiment with this at breakfast soon.

The dessert was a sweet crepe filled with bananas and a Nutella sauce. Two ciders ( one French, one local) were served. In Brittany it is typical to serve French cidre with crepes. With the main course another French wine was poured. They are very generous with their tastings!

Tonight’s Manger! Boire! is all about food from the Lyon region, paired with  two Rhone Valley wines. (Thursday, May 5th, 6:30 pm). As always, if you book a room here at the Inn Thursday night, we will cover the cost of one Manger! Boire! dinner.

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Each April, the Copake Auction in Copake, New York, just 20 minutes south of the Inn at Green River, runs an antique and classic bicycle auction, luring buyers from around the US and Europe with a large selection (over 700 lots this year) of bicycles and related ephemera. This year, the 20th annual sale, starts off with the popular swap meet (6 am – dusk) on Friday, April 15th, where collector bring bicycles and bike parts to buy and sell or swap with each other. Friday afternoon at 2 pm, Chris Brooks will discuss his new book, All About North American Acetylene Gas Bicycle Lamps. And at 3 pm, leaving from the auction house, is the inaugural ‘Ten Mile Ride” open to all. Bring your bikes!

Copake Antique & Classic Bicycle Auction

Saturday morning,  bidders arrive bright and early to claim their seats, and get a last chance to preview the items for sale. The auction begins at 10 am. I have guests at the Inn who come every year for this special sale, adding to, and editing their bicycle collection, and also finding great bicycle related art, prints, sculpture, etc. One year the Inn’s guests included a man bidding for a bicycle museum in Holland!

You can also see pictures of some of the fascinating bikes for sale at last year’s auction on the website of a Burlington, VT bicycle shop, the Old Spokes Home. The Copake Bicycle auction makes a great excuse for a spring getaway to Columbia County!

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The Inn at Green River is convenient to a number of art museums and historic houses in Columbia County, New York, and the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Today the innkeeper took a day off and drove to Pittsfield to see the Escher Show at the Berkshire Museum – “M.C. Escher: Seeing the Unseen”. I have been a fan of Dutch artist, Max Escher’s work for many years, certainly since college, as I was reminded when I saw the vintage printed polyester shirt on display along with some black light posters!

Tessellations and Cardboard - Art in the Berkshires

This is a large show, spread across three galleries. It covers his early work inspired by visits to Italy and his interest in the natural world, on through the work he is best known for, his repeating images of birds, fish and reptiles. It turns out a visit to Spain in the 1930’s where he became fascinated by the intricate interlocking shapes (tessellations) of mosaic tiles was a major turning point. (Not the only artist to be intrigued by those – see my blog about painter Frederic Church’s Olana below.) On display are woodblock prints, some actual handcut woodblocks used to make the prints, water colors and some rare preparatory drawings shown beside the finished prints. Also great fun are the interactive stations where children and adults alike can play with puzzle pieces of his famous shapes. I was not the only adult enjoying those!

Don’t miss the Escher show. It runs through May 22, 2011.

Tessellations and Cardboard - Art in the Berkshires

Also on display is a captivating show of artist, Henry Klimowicz’s works which are constructed of “disused cardboard”. They are playful and at the same time truly beautiful. But hurry, this show ends March 27th.

Escher’s “Metamorphosis III” @2010 The M.C. Escher Company-Holland. All rights reserved. www.mcesher.com

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I encountered wonderful pottery where ever I went last week. First a delightful couple spent several nights at my Hillsdale bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River. (They originally booked just one night…I guess they liked it!) Nicolas teaches ceramics and sculpture at Marymount Manhattan College. I love his work! The anthropomorphic quality of three legged tea pot shown here

Pottery

also reminded me of the wonderful creature in the Australian animated short film that just won an Oscar, “The Lost Thing“. And Nicolas’ sculptural pieces are beautiful. Here’s one of my favorites. How does he do that? It looks like a piece of quartz, but I am sure it is done with a masterful use of glazes.

Pottery

I then took a short “busman’s holiday” and visited Ithaca, New York, with several innkeeper friends. We stayed at another innkeeper friend’s wonderful bed and breakfast, the William Henry Miller Inn. I highly recommend it, and the breakfasts and late night desserts are a treat! While there we visited the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell College. I thought the exhibits at this small museum were wonderfully curated, and particularly enjoyed – you guessed it – the ceramic exhibit – “Reawakenings: Modern and Contemporary Ceramics from the Shatzman Collection.

Pottery

In my youth, I “potted” and so have a particular appreciation for ceramics. This exhibit includes 20th c. work by German, Scandinavian and Japanese artists, and I thought it was wonderful. But get there quickly, this exhibit ends March 20th, 2011.

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The new Deneen stoneware pottery mugs just arrived at the Inn!

New Deneen Pottery Mugs at the Inn

I have been looking at these mugs at the PAII Innkeeper Conferences for the last several years, and finally took the plunge and ordered 50, yes 50! They come in two colors, butter and sage, with the Inn at Green River logo on each. I chose pale colors that go well with the light, soothing colors on the walls in the inn. I hope you like them.

New Deneen Pottery Mugs at the Inn

These signature mugs retail for $17.95 each. Deneen Pottery makes these handmade stoneware mugs at their pottery in Minnesota, and have been doing so since 1972. (Gee, I was actually throwing pots back in the ’70s, myself, but that’s another story!) You may have seen these mugs at other B&B’s and country inns you have visited. Now you have some more colors to add to your collection! And they are dishwasher, microwave, freezer, oven safe and very durable. Coming to the Inn soon to celebrate a birthday? Let us provide a small cake (see our Specials page for details) and have us gift wrap two mugs as a present for your loved one to remember a special birthday weekend getaway! Won’t they look pretty at your own breakfast table.

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Romance on Valentines or Any Other Day? Still looking for a romantic getaway for this Valentine’s Day? Start by checking in on Sunday at our Berkshires bed and breakfast in Hillsdale, New York, then head 15 minutes up the road to Furnace Brook Winery and Hilltop Orchards for some snow shoeing and wine tasting by their large stone fireplace. Or you could take a Valentine’s Horse Drawn Carriage Ride at Cranwell Resort in Lenox (11 am to 2:30 pm.) Then off to a great local restaurant for a romantic dinner….perhaps by the fireplace at John Andrews Restaurant, or in the candle lit dining room at the Old Inn on the Green.

Romance on Valentines or Any Other Day

After a scrumptious breakfast at the Inn on Valentine’s Day, head out to explore the quaint Berkshire towns of Stockbridge or Lenox but be sure to leave time to reach Bizalion’s in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for a romantic lunch. As Jean-Francois describes it: “melt your love into a rich and delicious amalgam over the intimacy of a fondue pot.” They are serving from 11 to 3 on Valentine’s Day. Let me reserve your pot! And finish a perfect day with dinner and dancing at Castle Street Cafe. My favorite chanteuse, Wanda Houston, is performing with her band, and they are all great musicians!

Don’t forget to stop at one of our chocolatiers for some great locally made confections. My favorites include Catherine’s in Great Barrington and Chocolate Springs in Lenox.

And if you can’t make it for Valentine’s, don’t despair. The Inn at Green River staff can help you plan a romantic stay any time of year! Just call 518-325-7248 or book on-line.