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Fall Foliage

In addition to touring around our beautiful back roads in your car to see the changing leaves and foliage, here is another mode of transport for you to consider.

The Inn at Green River is just 30 minutes east of the Hudson River, and enjoying a sail boat ride on the river to view the leaves is a very relaxing way of doing it. Capt. Jerome Hollick of the Tivoli Sailing Company offers Fall Foliage Sailing tours from mid-September through October. Booking a tour leaving from Rhinecliff or Tivoli would be the most convenient starting point for our inn guests.

Fall Foliage
Photo courtesy of Tivoli Sailing Company

In addition to the beautiful trees, you will enjoy seeing several light houses, and Olana, Hudson River Valley School painter, Frederic Church’s fabulous Persian fantasy castle, way up high on the ridge just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

Fall Foliage
Photo credit: Andy Milford

But the trees are fabulous as you can see in this photo by Andy Milford that I borrowed from the Tivoli Sailing Company website (with Andy’s permission of course!). Aren’t the leaves gorgeous with the Catskill Mountains as a backdrop? Call 845-901-2697 or visit their website to book your outing, and don’t forget to pack a camera, a wind breaker, sneakers, and a sweater! It can be chilly out there on the water in the fall.

 

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Fall is the Season for Harvest Festivals

The Columbus Day holiday weekend comes during the height of the foliage season, and always has a plethora of festivals and art exhibits, from the Berkshire Botanical Gardens Harvest Festival, perhaps the oldest running festival in the region, to Arts Walk in Hudson, NY (more on that in another post).

The BBG Harvest Festival is held on the beautiful grounds of the organization’s large display garden at the junction of Routes 183 and 102, between West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires. This Saturday and Sunday, October 6th and 7th, you will be entertained with live music, enjoy wonderful food, including local cheeses and baked goods, browse the wares offered by many vendors ranging from crafts, antiques, art, to, of course, plants. There will also be short talks on topics like Growing Tomatoes, Garlic, and Back Yard Beekeeping.

The Berkshire Botanical Garden is just 20 minutes from the Inn at Green River, and just one of many events to choose from. Come let us help you plan your weekend.

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Serious Theater in the Berkshires

Are you looking for some Serious Theater? I just saw an excellent production of The Puppetmaster of Lodz at the Unicorn Theater in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, part of the Berkshire Theater Group. This moving play, by Gilles Segal, is about a Jewish puppeteer who escaped from a notorious Polish concentration camp, and now, 5 years later, lives in hiding, not believing the war has ended.

The cast of 4 actors are all wonderful, headed by Joby Earle, playing Herr Finkelbaum, the puppetmaster. Earle was also in the War Horse at Lincoln Center in New York. This production ran this summer, and was brought back for a fall run, playing now through October 7th. It should not be missed.

 

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Fall foliage, perhaps the most beautiful season of the year, has arrived here in Columbia County, New York. I hope you are planning a visit soon to the Inn at Green River to see the colorful fall foliage, and enjoy the simple pleasure of a relaxing drive around the back country roads. But if you can’t visit in person, you can at least enjoy these photos by local artist, B. Docktor.  All these photos were taken in Columbia County where the Inn is located.
The photo above is of Bash Bish Falls, in Taconic State Park, just 15 minutes south of the Inn. There are great hiking trails, and a rail trail starting from the Falls.
I love this misty morning shot of a large elm tree that has started to lose its leaves. Notice the orchard in the foreground. Columbia County is quite rural, and we are lucky to have many working farms. Fall is also the time to come pick your own apples, or buy them already picked at one of many farm stands, along with apple cider, fruit pies, cider donuts, and pumpkins.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage
Acres of corn fields, shown in the foreground here, supply feed for the dairy and beef cattle farms.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage
I love these curious cows. They are British Whites at Herondale Farm in Ancramdale. B. Docktor calls this photo “Herondale Cows at Sunrise”. She has many great photos of farm animals and pets on her website.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage

 

The colorful leaves last for a good part of October, with the maples turning orange, yellow and red early on, and the oaks turning gold later in the season.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage
Columbia County is on the east side of the Hudson River, and offers spectacular views of the Catskills on the west side of the river. The best place to view the Catskill Mountains is from Olana, the home of Hudson River School painter, Frederic Church. See my fall photos taken there in the November 3, 2010 blog post.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage
The geese flying in formation as they head south for the winter are a common sight at this time of the year. I love this shot of a farm pond with the geese in the distance.
Armchair Viewing of Fall Foliage
The space available for photos on this blog doesn’t do justice to B. Docktor’s fabulous work. Please visit her website where you can see these photos, and many more, in larger sizes, and higher resolution. All are available for purchase. And I do hope I have enticed you to visit soon.

 

Hiking on Hillsdale’s Back Roads Posted September 26, 2012 | Tags: ,

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Hiking on Hillsdale's Back Roads

I am working on exploring Hillsdale’s back roads and when the perfect fall afternoon – clear blue sky and crisp temperatures – beckoned,  I had to go hiking. I headed to Shunpike Road, so named because it was a pass over the ridge which avoided the toll house on Route 23 just to the south, hence shunning the turnpike. The toll house building on Route 23 is still there, right on the side of the road, although a bit bedraggled. There is also another road going over the ridge that separates Hillsdale, NY from Egremont, MA, and that is called Shun Toll Road. Those colonists didn’t like paying taxes and road tolls!

I drove south Route 22 and along Mitchell Street to reach the base of Shunpike Road. It is a pretty drive, and just about 7 miles from my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River. This walk is a bit strenuous, as you are climbing a fairly steep hill. The photo above doesn’t really illustrate just how steep the road is, but I did it, and you can, too. The only sounds you will hear will be birds, as almost no cars attempt this road. It is actually closed in the winter months. Check the Inn’s Things to Do page for links to other hiking trails and state parks when planning your next visit.

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For a rural, sparsely populated area, we are blessed with many excellent restaurants, and are doubly blessed that there are so many local farms to supply those restaurants with everything from meat and dairy to fruit and vegetables. One of my favorite restaurants, and one which takes great advantage of our locally grown food, is John Andrews Restaurant in South Egremont, Massachusetts.

More Fun with Food in the Berkshires

The gaily painted restaurant is surrounded by extensive gardens.

More Fun with Food in the Berkshires

In nice weather, the back deck beckons – a relaxing spot to have a drink and enjoy the gardens, several sculptures, and old out buildings that date from when the place was a farm.

More Fun with Food in the Berkshires

The restaurant describes itself as a farmhouse restaurant, and a special midweek prix fixe menu shines the spotlight on a different farm supplier each week. One week it might be Indian Line Farm in South Egremont, one of the first CSA’s in the country. Another week it might be Cool Whisper Farm, just down the road from the Inn in Hillsdale, which raises pigs, chickens and Highlander cattle – you know those beautiful cattle with the long horns, and shaggy red coats. And if you haven’t ever seen one, I will show you the way to that farm.

More Fun with Food in the Berkshires

The restaurant has a modern vibe inside, with Venetian plastered walls, and simple sconces. The back room has the feeling of a porch, with large floor to ceiling windows opening out onto the pretty back gardens.

More Fun with Food in the Berkshires

Of course, the main reason to visit John Andrews is to enjoy the inventive meals created by chef/owner, Dan Smith. I am one of those people who finds a favorite dish, and tends to order it over and over. I have a hard time straying from the delicious duck, served rare, and the sweet breads, which no one does better. However lately, my favorite dinner option is to sit in the bar and order the mussel appetizer and a salad. The mussels are served in a bacon, roast tomato and pastis broth, and I can assure you, none of that broth goes back to the kitchen! Did I mention all the pasta served at the restaurant is house made, as is the ice cream? Whatever you order, the food is delicious. So let me make a reservation for you the next time you are visiting the Inn at Green River!

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A Great Lunch Spot in Chatham

If you are visiting Chatham, New York, be sure to stop in at Ralph’s
Pretty Good Cafe for breakfast or lunch. How did it get its name? When
Ralph first bought the former Summit Cafe, his response to people asking
“How is the food?” would be an off-handed “pretty good”.  After awhile, it seemed an apt name.

A Great Lunch Spot in Chatham

It’s more than pretty good. As one reviewer put it, it is “pretty damn good!” I am partial to the grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, served with tasty greens. The food is always fresh, made from good, local ingredients. One can sit outside under the umbrellas in nice weather or at small table inside, reading one of the local papers left on the counter for customers, and watching the activity on Chatham’s Main Street. People actually talk to each other here, as there is a sign celebrating the “lap top free environment”!   It’s a cheery place with yellow walls, and the work of local artists providing a revolving exhibit on the walls.

A Great Lunch Spot in Chatham

Here’s a friend and loyal Ralph fan, sitting in the small restaurant. Her favorite lunch is a quesadilla with whatever roasted vegetables they have on hand that day. That sounds good. I’ll have to try that next time.

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With my seven room bed and breakfast to furnish and decorate, I have thoroughly explored my region of eastern New York and western Massachusetts, hunting for great fabric at good prices. Also, I prefer to buy furniture at auction or in antique shops, and have it reupholstered, to coordinate with curtains and drapes that I have custom made, so I can always find an excuse to buy fabric.

Food and Fabric Shopping Expedition

My favorite place to shop for fabric is the enormous Osgood’s Textiles in West Springfield, Massachusetts, about an hour east of the Inn. Even in my years working for a large textile manufacturer, Milliken, I never saw so much fabric in one place! Be prepared to spend some time finding your way around the large warehouse, and getting to know where the particular types of fabrics are located. Soon you will know which aisles have the upholstery and drapery fabrics, which have the apparel fabrics, etc. The fabrics used in my room at the inn, shown above, came from Osgood’s. The floral on the wing chair, window seats and roman shades was just $7/yard – a great find as I needed over 30 yards!

After a few hours of fabric shopping, I always make time to enjoy lunch at The Student Prince in downtown Springfield.

Food and Fabric Shopping Expedition

This traditional German restaurant first opened in 1935, and the main bar room has the original woodwork with wonderful booths, carved wooden sconces, and an enormous beer stein collection.

Food and Fabric Shopping Expedition

They say the collection of beer steins is one of the largest in the country.

Food and Fabric Shopping Expedition

The menu is very retro, with inexpensive luncheon specials that start with a glass of tomato juice, move on to German fare like meatloaf or bratwurst, and end with a bowl of jello. As I said, retro! But I find it delightfully old fashioned.

Food and Fabric Shopping Expedition

Come visit the inn sometime in the off season, armed with paint chips and photos of a room or piece of furniture you want to redo, and we’ll head over to Springfield for a lunch and fabric outing! This could be the focus of a great girlfriend’s getaway, fabric shopping and antique shopping with the innkeeper showing you the way!

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Artist, Patricia Munson Gravett, always has several of her still life and landscape paintings on display at my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River.

Her works are influenced by the Italian and Dutch still life tradition and the Hudson River School of painting. She received a BFA from the University of Maryland; studied with Ray Goodbred and Robert Beverly Hale at the Art Students League; attended the National Academy of Design (NYC) and taught at Marymount Manhattan College. Her work has been exhibited regionally and is represented in many private collections. She lives in upstate New York, between the Hudson River and the Berkshire Mountains.

Artist displays her paintings at the Inn at Green River

This week we arranged an impromptu show in the sun room for some guests
who were trying to decide whether to buy one of her paintings.

Artist displays her paintings at the Inn at Green River

This video shows her love of our local landscape, and “the work of the old Dutch School Masters and the way they captured light in their still lifes.”

PS. They bought both!

 

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In the mood for a little political satire in this election season? Then head to a performance by The Capitol Steps, the musical satire group, at the Cranwell Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Political Satire in the Berkshires

This group of musically talented former politicos got its start in December 1981 when staff members for Senator Charles Percy were working on entertainment for a Christmas party, and decided to spoof the very people they worked with and for.

I make it a point each summer to see the show at Cranwell. The musical skits are hilarious, although I find it’s always easier to laugh when the joke is on the party you didn’t vote for! But never fear, the Capitol Steps gleefully skewer both sides of the aisle. So mix a little politics in with your music and culture this summer in the Berkshires. Shows are performed nightly, except Tuesdays, now through Labor Day weekend.