Love Dragons? Must See Tony DiTerlizzi Show at the Norman Rockwell Museum Posted May 17, 2018 | Tags: Norman Rockwell Museum, Tony DiTerlizzi
You must see the Tony DiTerlizzi show at the Norman Rockwell Museum, “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi”. I had never heard of this artist before, but I am raving about it to all my guests!
I recently played tourist for a day and visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, which is just an easy 20 minute drive from my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, in Hillsdale, New York.
I was unfamiliar with the work of this artist as I am not a reader of children’s books, nor a fan of Dungeons and Dragons. But I always find the Rockwell Museum’s shows of other major illustrators, along with their collection of the most famous illustrator of them all, Norman Rockwell, to be most interesting, and so wanted to see this one. I am so glad I did.
I was charmed by DiTerlizzi’s illustrations for children’s books such as “Ted” by Zena Sutherland, the sweet story of a young boy who has an imaginary friend named Ted, a large pink creature with a button for a navel, and long floppy ears.
I particularly enjoyed the illustrations for a book based on Mary Howitt’s 1829 poem, “The Spider and the Fly”. This portion of the exhibit was in a separate darkened room all by itself. The illustrations are black and white and are a bit of an homage to Edward Gorey.
Artist DiTerlizzi discusses the influences on his work, ranging from Rockwell himself to Gorey, in a video interview which plays in the green room with its wonderful chandelier made of 2 dimensional DiTerlizzi creatures.
This exhibit of DiTerlizzi’s work runs through Memorial Day weekend, May 28, 2018, so don’t delay. I promise you will enjoy it as much as I did.
My location in the upper Hudson River Valley on the border of the Berkshires of Massachusetts offers easy access to a number of world class museums, including the Rockwell, the Clarke Art Institute and MassMoCA, so plan a museum getaway soon, and book your room at the Inn at Green River.
You’ll find even more ideas fun Berkshire adventures on our Things to Do in the Berkshires page.
As a Hillsdale resident, I just love a new section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail that opened up recently, heading south from the Hillsdale, NY hamlet, for 1.5 miles to the river, the Roeliff Jansen Kill.
The new portion of the trail offers visitors more options for hiking and biking, with the added advantage of wonderful views, east towards cultivated farm land and the Berkshire Ridge where Catamount Ski Area is located, and west towards the 800 acre Shagbark Tree Farm.
I walked the trail several times recently, and although I have lived in Hillsdale for thirty years, these views were new to me! Facing East, you see fields that are part of the Roeliff Jansen Park, some of which are cultivated by Markristo Farm, a family owned organic farm, whose products can be found at the Copake Hillsdale Farmer’s market in season. And across those fields is the Roe Jan Library, and the barns at the Roe Jan Park, where the farmer’s market is held on Saturday mornings.
Farms like these are what draw chefs to our region, resulting in many excellent farm to table restaurants. Check my Things to Do page on this website for a list of my favorite restaurants. A good lunch option, after walking or biking the rail trail is Cross Roads Food Shop in the center of Hillsdale, behind the Hillsdale General Store, a great farm to table place for breakfast or lunch.
Facing west when on the rail trail, one sees idyllic views of a large pond and hundreds of acres of young trees growing on Shagbark Farm. Click here to see my video showing a 180 degree view, starting with a farmer plowing the corn field to the east of the trail, then panning north along the trail, and west to views of the tree farm.
I can’t wait until this part of the trail is connected across Route 22 to the Copake Falls section of trail already open. For the time being, you have to drive down Route 22 to the next hamlet south of Hillsdale, Copake Falls, where you can access another 4.2 miles of rail trail. There is also the Depot Deli in what was clearly a former train station, where you may purchase drinks and snacks. This portion of the trail is in Taconic State Park. You can also access other hiking trails from this point, including one along Bash Bish Creek, to the base of Bash Bish Falls. Along with the trails at the Roeliff Jansen Park, a visit to Hillsdale, NY now offers many wonderful opportunities for walking and biking on safe, and beautiful, trails.
See our list of recommended things to do in Columbia County.
The Spring of 2018 was tardy, but has finally arrived in the upper Hudson Valley and impatient gardeners can choose from some fun gardening and flower related events coming up.
From now through May 13, on the weekends or by booking a private group tour midweek, don’t miss the Wildflower Festival at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, MA where you can hike the Cobble’s five miles of trails, and enjoy the wide variety of spring wildflowers in bloom. Bartholomew’s Cobble boasts great views and a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Gardeners will be thrilled by the opportunity to see 800 species of plants!
Also, right here in Hillsdale and Copake Falls, NY, check out the Saturday, May 5, 2018 Celebration of Food, Flowers and Gardens, a collaboration between local foodie and gardening mavens. Margaret Roach, well known garden writer, is opening her gardens in Copake Falls (just 10 minutes south of the Hillsdale hamlet) for self guided tours from 10 am-4 pm. She is also hosting a plant sale by Broken Arrow Nursery (gardeners note: you can even pre-order from their large inventory, and pick up your plants there), and making available discount coupons for garden tools for sale at the Hillsdale General Store.
Across the street, HGS Home Chef Shop is offering 2 cooking classes focused on herbs. You can choose from “Confidence with Herbs”, with cook book author, Ali Stafford, from 11 am-1:30 pm, which includes a light lunch, and “A Chef’s Way with Herbs”, taught by Serge Madikians of Serevan Restaurant in Amenia, NY, from 2:30-4pm.
Next door, the new Tiny Hearts Farm flower studio and showroom is having their grand opening, with free talks (registration required) and fresh, organic flowers, seedlings, and other floral products such as vases and frogs available for purchase. (I am excited about their flower CSA.) And finally, you can order box lunches for the day, prepared by CrossRoads Food Shop and Casana T House, also in the Hillsdale hamlet. For more information and to register for classes and talks, click here.
And don’t forget the annual Spencertown Academy Hidden Gardens tour coming up on June 16, 2018. Last year the Inn was honored to be included. 250 people toured the gardens that my bed and breakfast guests get to enjoy during their stay at the Inn at Green River. We created a plant list of the over 160 varieties of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals in our garden, including location, common and Latin names. If you would like a copy, just ask when you come stay at the Inn.
So book a room now for a May or June weekend, and welcome Spring 2018 into your life.
This annual event offers a series of garden themed workshops taught by volunteer master gardeners and local garden experts. The topics range from “Attracting Birds and Butterflies to your Garden with Native Plants” to “Garden Thugs: Dealing with Invasive Plants” to “Worm Composting and Build-Your-Own Worm Bin” … and lots more. There are 16 workshops being given. But beyond all the great gardening knowledge to be gained at this event, there’s some celebrity star power involved.
To ramp up the fun this year, the key note speakers are Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, better known as “The Fabulous Beekman Boys”. They are wonderful speakers, as I can attest first hand, having heard them speak at a Bed and Breakfast Conference several years ago. Here we are in Charleston, SC, in 2014.
I was delighted to meet them in person, as I had visited their Mercantile shop in Sharon Springs, NY, where they got their start. I identified with their story of having purchased a weekend house (farm in their case) in the country, only to encounter a major recession which necessitated a change of plans, and the invention of a business. When you visit the Inn, I will tell you my story. For more on theirs, visit their website.
To register for the Spring Gardening Day, click on the link above. The cost is just $30 per person for 2 workshops and the Beekman Boys’ talk, or $15 if you just want to hear Josh and Brent. Registration closes Friday April 6th. Walk ins are welcome, but you may find the class you want is full. The event is at Columbia Greene College, a beautiful 25 minute drive from the Inn. And of course, book a room at the Inn! Hope to see you soon.
Find more Columbia County events on our Things to Do in Columbia County page.
New Year’s Weekend Auction Fun in the Hudson Valley Posted December 31, 2017 | Tags: auction, Copake Auction, Meissner Auction
Since moving to the Hudson Valley, my favorite thing to do on New Year’s Day has always been to go to an auction! Auctions were a favorite haunt of mine in the early years of running the Inn at Green River, and much of the furniture and art work in the Inn came from local auctions. These January 1st auctions can a bit unusual as sometimes one isn’t even allowed to preview the items. This means that there are great bargains to be had, as the buyer is really taking a risk not being able to inspect the goods before bidding, and so the bids are on the low side. I have two small paintings I dearly love, that I bought this way. Shown at right, the upper one of the house in winter with a horse and sleigh is a signed painting by Canadian artist, A.M.Pattison with its original frame. Yes, auctions are a wonderful thing!
But this year, there are preview opportunities at two Columbia County auction houses on New Year’s Day. Copake Auction, in Copake, NY, the town just south of Hillsdale where the Inn is located, is holding its 38th Annual New Year’s Day Auction starting at 10 am, and there is a preview opportunity from 9-9:45 am. The auction house describes this as their “premiere Americana auction of the year featuring a collection of original Cream Of Wheat advertising art (Provenance Ex: Kraft Food Collection/Morton Grove III), estate fresh 18th and 19th c. furniture, artwork, folk art, period accessories, china, glass, stoneware, primitives & more”. There are some really interesting items coming up for bid, including a 19th c. digar store wooden Turk figure, from Salem, Massachusetts, estimated to sell for $10-15k. And at the other end of the art spectrum, a Jean Michel-Basquiat oil stick painting, also estimated to sell for $10-15k.
Meissner’s Auction, located in New Lebanon, NY, about 25 minutes north of the Inn, is also having a New Year’s Day sale, starting at noon, with the preview at 10 am.
This auction includes some Shaker furniture, Arts and Crafts copper, Georg Jensen and Tiffany sterling, lamps, paintings and Oriental rugs. I don’t want to miss this one either!
But even if you are not in Columbia County for these New Year’s Day auctions, you will have plenty of opportunities on other weekends through out the year for fabulous auction going. Just give me a call, and I can let you know about upcoming auctions, and availability at the Inn, of course!
You’ll find even more fun things to do on our Things to Do in Columbia County page.
Holiday Shopping in Hillsdale, or Why I Love Small Town Shopping Posted December 12, 2017 | Tags: Hillsdale, holiday shopping, NY, Shopping
It’s that holiday shopping madness season again, so my trusty photographer friend and I took in a preview of what’s literally “in store” in downtown Hillsdale, NY (not that there’s really a midtown or uptown to Hillsdale, but you get my drift). And if you haven’t visited my favorite hamlet lately, you will be pleasantly surprised by the new shops, new sidewalks and street lights, and even a renovated building or two.
We started with a delicious breakfast at Casana T House, the newest addition to Hillsdale’s shopping and restaurant establishments. One side of the building is the tea house offering an excellent selection of more than 20 loose teas, properly brewed, along with espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and all things coffee, baked goods, quiches, and sandwiches (including gluten free) to pick you up at breakfast or lunch. The other side is Casana Designs, with beautiful cashmere scarves, throws and wraps created by owner Carrie Chen. Ms Chen also conducts Japanese Tea Workshops. Find more details about the next one taking place, Saturday, December 30th from 4:30 – 6pm, on her website.
We then headed next door to the beautifully restored pink Victorian housing HGS Home Chef. This is owner Matthew White’s second business in the hamlet (he opened the Hillsdale General Store in 2011) and it is great to see this creative investment in our town. There are holiday gifts galore here for the foodies in your life.
I love the Swiss Diamond brand omelet pans I purchased here, as well as my Krups coffee grinder, and glass Chemex coffee maker. Our timing was excellent as In-House Cook, Louise Roback, was in one of the demonstration kitchens testing a yummy butternut squash lasagna recipe for a “Winter Comfort Food” class she will give in late January at the store. Neighboring store owner Carrie Chen is teaching a Chinese New Year Feast class at the Chef Shop, February 10, 2018. I missed her sold-out Chinese dumpling class, and hope that comes back around in the schedule! Check out all the classes here. A gift certificate for one would be a great stocking stuffer.
Next we popped into the Hillsdale General Store, a delightful emporium in a tastefully restored building that offers the shopper all sorts of wonderments from Christmas ornaments, local jams, jellies, honey and coffee, to garden items, vintage glasses and barware, and games for adults and children. And don’t miss the antiques, bath, and stationery collections on the second floor. It’s truly a general store, which was how it started out in 1855. And check out Crossroads Food Shop in the back of the same building – a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.
Then on to Passiflora Home where I defy you to come away empty handed. Owners Kevin Draves and Ken Davis love to travel, and they describe their shop as a “treasure trove of exceptional pieces from home and abroad selected for their individuality and affordability.”
Cards, scarves, soaps, candles, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, Kopper’s chocolates, and framed photographs by the wonderful Donna DiMari are just a few of the choices that demand your attention in this gift store. In the warm months, Ken and Kevin also operate the Village Scoop located between the General Store and Passiflora. Excellent ice cream from Jane’s of Kingston, delicious coffee and Harney teas, and baked goods make for a great stopping point in the midst of a shopping spree. I still remember a root beer float I had there last summer!
Next, on to the new Hillsdale Fine Wine and Spirits on Anthony Street (or enter from the parking lot of the local IGA Supermarket. Stop here on your way to the Inn (we don’t have a liquor license, so can’t offer you any alcoholic libations), for an excellent selection of wines and liquors in a smartly designed retail space.
And taking the small town spirit to heart, our businesses try to promote each other, so you might even buy a piece of furniture here. I loved the industrial looking wine rack/table (right) from C. Herrington Home +Design (located at the junction of Routes 22 and 23 on the eastern end of the hamlet in the beautiful brick 18th century building).
That does it for the first round of holiday shopping, and we didn’t get to all the stores and galleries and restaurants in Hillsdale, so stay tuned for more photos, or come up to the Inn soon and make some serious progress on your own holiday shopping list! Or any time of year. Shopping in Hillsdale is always fun.
Make your own Centerpiece at the Holiday Winery Sip-n-Snip Posted December 7, 2017 | Tags: Hudson-Chatham Winery
There are many fun events to attend here in Columbia County in New York’s upper Hudson Valley throughout the holiday season, and Hudson-Chatham Winery has a novel one. They are partnering with Flower Blossom Farm to host their first Sip-n-Snip Party, Saturday afternoon, December 16, 2017.
The winemakers offer to “get your creative juices flowing” with some of their fine wine and then the talented flower experts at the Farm will provide the materials and guide you in fashioning a beautiful holiday centerpiece made from natural materials.
Have you visited the Hudson-Chatham Winery on one of your visits to the Inn? It is my favorite Columbia County Winery, just 10 years old, and already producing award winning wines. For example, this past March, Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded their Middlehope Casscles Vineyards Baco Noir 91 points and Editors’ Choice, and their Pinot Noir 90 points. And TimeOut New York chose them as one of the best Hudson Valley wineries in April, 2016.
And while I was not familiar with Flower Blossom Farm until I saw the news of this event, a look at their website made me put it on the list to explore next summer.
This fun event begins at 1:30 pm at Flower Blossom Farm at 967 Country Route 9, in Ghent, New York, and runs for 2 hours. The Farm is just 2 minutes from the Winery, so you might want to stop by the Winery afterwards to check out all their wines. And all this is just a scenic 20 minute drive from the Inn at Green River. So do plan to come for the weekend, and take home your own beautiful holiday centerpiece.
Find even more adventure opportunities on our Things to Do in Columbia County page.
Bola Granola – New Favorite for Breakfast at the Inn Posted June 12, 2017 | Tags: BOLA granola, breakfast
The Inn at Green River has a great reputation for the delicious breakfasts we serve, and lately my favorite breakfast starter is a yogurt parfait with fresh fruit, local honey, and the wonderful BOLA Granola which is made in nearby Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
I was never particularly a fan of granola, but apparently I just hadn’t found the right one. In a regional magazine I recently read about Michele Miller’s new venture, BOLA Granola. I have been a fan of Michele Miller for several decades, going back to her shop in Lenox, Suchele Bakers, then her restaurant, the Boiler Room Cafe. Sadly for her customers, she closed that restaurant in 1997. I was delighted to read about her new venture, BOLA Granola, located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 15 minutes from the inn, and the town in which I do most of my shopping.
I promptly went to the website, then called, and ordered a big bag. No need to taste…I was confident it would be delicious. And of course it is. Michele’s granolas have oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds along with other organic grains and a key ingredient, delicious vanilla. You won’t be disappointed in the flavor and crunch. She even has a gluten free version which you might want to order online.
So on your next visit to the Inn at Green River, ask for the fruit and granola yogurt parfait…you will love it.
I was alerted to this rising star at a Tanglewood Business Partners get-together the previous winter when one of the Boston Symphony Orchestra staff told us, “don’t miss this concert!” I blogged about it last April, and attended the Sunday afternoon concert where Maestro Gimeno conducted the BSO in a program of 20th c. music by Prokovief, Ravel, Gershwin and Stravinsky, featuring the soloist Yuja Wang at the piano. It was a glorious concert! And I have been talking about it to my guests ever since.
So imagine my delight when the BSO announced the 2017 Tanglewood schedule, and Gustavo Gimeno is back! He will conduct Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety” featuring pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. This concert is one of three UnderScore Friday concerts this summer, before which, an onstage BSO musician will comment on the program for the audience.
So book your room at the Inn now, and don’t miss this concert on Friday, July 21, 2017, at 8 pm. The inn is an easy 20 minute drive to Tanglewood. Do plan to check in Friday afternoon, so you can get settled, and I can show you the back way into Tanglewood, avoiding the traffic on Route 7. In fact, you can follow me over!
See our list of recommended things to do in the Berkshires.
Inn at Green River’s Gardens are a Haven for Birds Posted April 8, 2017 | Tags: birding; gardens, Hillsdale NY, Hudson Valley bed and breakfast
In my youth, I wanted to be a landscape architect, so the Inn at Green River’s gardens are a source of great delight to this innkeeper. My bed and breakfast is beautifully situated on an acre of lawn and gardens, next to a 20 acre meadow that is bordered by the Green River and Cranse Creek. We are “green” here at the Inn, so no poisons or insecticides are used in the gardens. Hence we have lots of beneficial insects, including all the “good” ones, like honey bees and other native pollinators, lady bugs, beautiful moths and butterflies. The insects in turn, attract a wide variety of birds which feed on those insects, as well as the berries and flowers on the many native shrubs and plants in the gardens. And, of course, the birds in this region are naturally drawn to these native species, so our garden is a real haven for birds.
In the space of 10 minutes one spring morning, I saw an indigo bunting, a bright red Cardinal, a gorgeous Blue Jay, and heard a Baltimore Oriole in the big silver maple next to the Inn.
Then, as I was feeding the fish in the small pool in the back garden, a Redstart landed in the lilacs, just 4 feet from me, and flitted from branch to branch for a few minutes. At the same time a Ruby Throated Hummingbird arrived to drink the nectar from the Siberian Iris growing in the pool. It was an ahhh… moment.
A visit to the Inn at Green River will delight garden lovers and bird lovers alike, particularly in the spring, when the birds are singing very loudly, both to attract a mate, and defend their territory. I just read an interesting British blog post explaining in more detail the reasons for the sudden uptick in both decibel level and numbers of bird calls in the spring.
The Inn is located in the upper Hudson River Valley, in Columbia County. This county has several bird sanctuaries and numerous parks which might interest serious birders, for example, the Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Sanctuary and Center in Craryville, the town adjacent to Hillsdale. Also the Roeliff Jansen Park right here in Hillsdale. Columbia Country Tourism has a listing of the many conservation areas, parks and sanctuaries in the area.
So do plan a visit to my Hillsdale, New York bed and breakfast soon, preferably this spring if you want to be awakened by wonderful bird songs. I look forward to seeing you.