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.
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!
Hillsdale Holiday Shopping, 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 Sip-n-Snip Posted December 7, 2017
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.
Bola Granola – New Favorite for Breakfast at the Inn Posted June 12, 2017 | Tags: breakfast, granola
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, honey, and a wonderful granola made locally.
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 Michelle Miller’s new venture, Bola Granola. I have been a fan of Michelle 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.
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!
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.
Bicycle Aficionados – Don’t Miss the 2017 Copake Bike Auction Posted April 3, 2017 | Tags: bike auction, Classic Bicycle Auction, Copake Antique Bicycle Auction, Copake Auction
April always brings old friends to my Inn at Green River – bicycle aficionados who come year after year for the Copake Bicycle Auction. This is the 26th year for this well known auction, taking place Saturday, April 22, 2017.
The two day event starts off bright and early Friday morning at 6 am with the swap meet. Bicycle enthusiasts come from all over the world to this annual event. Some of the people in this photo taken at last year’s swap meet, traveled from the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Germany and England!
As any savvy auction goer knows, you must attend the previews which take place Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 5 pm. This is the chance to personally inspect all the items to be sold, and ask questions of the knowledgeable staff.
I usually get to the Friday preview, and even though I don’t attend the auction, or bid on any items over the phone, I do appreciate seeing the classic and antique bikes, like this beautiful C. 1884-85 Victor adult tricycle which sold last year for $16,380.
This 2017 auction promises to be a great one, with items from two museums, as well as two collectors, Robert Trimble and Jim Carpenter. Some highlights include this c. 1898 Rex Pneumatic Safety Bicycle, reportedly owned by Diamond Jim Brady, from the Jim Carpenter collection.
And from Robert Trimble’s collection, a c. 1868 wooden velocipede tricycle alleged to have belonged to Lizzy Borden, the famous axe murderer!
For more information on this wonderful event, go to the Copake Auction website, where you can download the entire PDF catalog to help you prepare. And don’t forget to book your room at the Inn at Green River, my 7 guest room bed and breakfast just 15 minutes up the valley from the Copake Auction House. My serious buyers come in Thursday night so they can be at the swap meet before daylight. And guys, if your spouse is coming with you, and does not want to be out the door at 5:30 am for the swap meet, don’t worry, I provide a scrumptious, full breakfast and a ride down to the auction later in the morning. But you can also arrive on Friday afternoon in time to do the preview, stay just Friday night at the Inn, and check out Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast to sustain you through the day long auction. Hope to see you!
This is the 9th annual, free afternoon of documentaries about farming, put on by three local Columbia County organizations – the Chatham Film Club, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Chatham Agricultural Partnership. The Film Fest takes place Sunday, March 19, from 1-4 pm and includes the screening of 8 films, followed by a discussion featuring a panel of local farmers, moderated by Peter Paden, the Executive Director of the Columbia Land Conservancy.
I have attended several of these festivals, and they are always fascinating. Several films being shown this year piqued my interest. One is “Grazin’s Grassfed Burgers:A Small Diner Aims to Make the Cleanest Burger You’ll Ever Eat”, by filmmaker Liza de Guia. This diner is owned by the Gibson family. Dan Gibson left the corporate hotel world (Starwood’s W hotels) to raise grass fed Black Angus cattle on a farm in Columbia County in the early 2000s. I toured that farm, Grazin Angus Acres, and marveled at the return to the way things used to be done, cattle and chickens raised out in open pasture, leading happy and surprisingly symbiotic, lives. In 2009, the Gibson’s daughter Christine, and her husband Andrew Chiappinelli, also moved upstate, and started an AWA restaurant, Grazin’, in a vintage diner in Hudson, NY. What is AWA? Animal Welfare Approved. The Village Voice wrote an interesting article about the family, the farm, and the diner (there is now one in TriBeCa as well) in 2015. You can read it here.
Another short film I look forward to seeing is “How Does It Grow? Hydroponic Spinach” by filmmakers Nicole Coltroneo Jolly and Mark Jolly. And the list goes on, “Milking Robots and “The Beekeeper”.
So come learn a bit more about where your food comes from. Just bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to Chatham’s Silent Food Pantry which is the only cost to attend. A reminder, the Inn at Green River is just 15 minutes from the charming town of Chatham. Hope to see you there.
Inn at Green River guests love my spicy ginger molasses cookies, and frequently ask for the recipe, so here is my holiday gift to you! Now you can enjoy these great cookies even when you are not at the Inn.
I have been making these delicious cookies for years, and never look at the recipe any longer. When I went searching through my old recipe file today in preparation for writing out the recipe for you, I found this old card which my mother wrote out decades ago! She called them Gingersnaps, I call them Ginger Molasses Cookies, but they are great, whatever you call them. Also very retro; notice they call for shortening, not butter. I have tried making them with butter, but the cookies tend to spread, rather than holding their shape and texture as shown in the photo above.
I have also upped the spices and the molasses, and lowered the amount of baking soda and shortening. And I make a smaller cookie so I get about 24-30 cookies per batch. My mother’s recipe card calls for dark molasses. I use “Grandma’s Molasses” which is unsulfured and made from cane sugar. And I add the spices directly to the wet batter, before mixing in the flour.
So here is my Ginger Molasses Cookie recipe:
Cream together 1 C. white sugar and 3/4 C. shortening (Crisco). Beat in 1 large egg, and add 1/3 – 1/2 C. dark molasses. Stir well. Add 1 tsp. baking soda; 1/8 tsp. salt; 2 tsp. ground cinnamon; 1 & 1/2 tsp. ginger; 1/2 tsp. ground cloves; 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg. Mix the spices in well, then stir in 2 C. white flour.
Form the mixture into one inch balls, and roll them in sugar and place at least 1″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. The batter will be rather wet, but rolling it in the sugar makes the cookie balls easy to handle and keeps them from sticking to the cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool the cookies for a minute on the tray, then carefully remove with a spatula to a rack to finish cooling. Do not leave them too long on the cookie tray or you will have great difficulty getting them off.
Store in a cookie tin. No need to refrigerate, they won’t last long anyway! And need I remind you that the Inn at Green River is known for the delicious breakfasts we serve. Check out our breakfast page on our website, and then go to the “book now” button in the upper right hand corner! I look forward to seeing you soon and serving you some tea and home made cookies!