Sunday, September 26, 2010

Woodstock: The big Finale

If there's one thing I love about travel, it's being able to see things I can ONLY see at the location to which I'm traveling.  That's what made our final day in Woodstock SO INCREDIBLE.

Our first stop was a bit of a teaser.  We drove up to Kaaterskill Falls trail but didn't have time to see the big falls (Katterskill) this day (had to get home).  However, we DID have time to see Bastion Falls since it's so close to Route 23a.  Tho smaller than it's sister Falls, Bastion is still quite beautiful.  Next time, we'll make the 1/2 mile hike up to the top falls.
... so happy to share my weekend with Elizabeth!

Then off to the BIG FINALE!  

Imagine you are a brilliant sculpture who just bought a now-defunct bluestone quary.  Then you start building ramps and walkways out of this stone to exhibit your sculptures.  Then, imagine the work grows to such a size and complexity that it becomes a work of art in and of itself.  This is what you get... Opus 40.  You will want to click on the photos to see the full-size images.
One man, Harvey Fite, created this beauty from 1938 - 1976
The Monolith is 9-tons, lifted entirely by traditional 1930s quarrying tools.
The bluestone covers over 6-acres
Not one drop of cement or material to hold the stones in place... just balance and gravity.
If you are ever in the Woodstock, NY area you MUST visit Opus 40.  
It is simply breathtaking - beautiful and peaceful - and the PERFECT way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Woodstock, Day 2

Saturday was a full, full day in and around Woodstock.
How full was it?
Overflowing!  And WONDERFUL!

We started with a casual breakfast at the Inn.  Good natural foods, gourmet coffee, and a promise of perfect weather.  Then we walked around the corner to Mower's Saturday Flea Market - a marketplace that's been around for over 30-years!
As I always like to buy a "local" souvenir (hand crafted by folks from the area I'm visiting), I was SO happy when I found Davin Butterfield of Butterfield Pottery.  I would have liked to buy a full set of dishes from him, but I settled on this little creamer. (It was perfect for maple syrup on our french toast this past Monday morning).
We returned to the Inn to drop off our goodies, then back into town we went to explore "downtown" Woodstock.  In and out of shops & galleries we went, people-watching all the while.  And if you can believe it... the whole town smelled of incense (would you expect anything else?).  It was amazing!

Okay... here is when my story of my adventure in Woodstock takes an unexpected turn...
Instead of chilling out in the land of the hippies, I got "high" with Elizabeth.
No.  Not that way.
We got high in the altitude way.

I'll explain.
As you know, I'm a geocacher.  I use million-dollar satellites to find ammo-cans in the woods.  Since I can't go anywhere without looking for a cache, I brought a long list of possible finds with me.
The most interesting looking cache (as well as the most challenging) was one called the Overlook Mountain House Cache.  To get to the cache location, one must hike 2.4 miles up Overlook Mountain.  (and then to get back, you need to hike down.)  I didn't know if either Elizabeth or I were up for such a hike.  BUT... after seeing the photos posted by previous cachers I was SO excited to try it.  But was E?
Fortunately, she shares in my love of cool old "creepy" structures, so she was willing to make the hike to visit the ruins of the Overlook Mountain House (and maybe find a cache).

So UP we went.
The hike itself was nothing spectacular.  (For a nice pictorial of the trail, visit The Bridge & Tunnel Club site.)
However... it was a tough, tough climb.  The phrase of the day was "it just keeps going up" - just when we'd get to a flat spot, it was only a few hundred feet before the steep climb started again.
But, BOY, was it worth it.
Here's what we found when we arrived at the top of Overlook.  (Click on the photos to see a larger version.)

The Overlook Hotel:

The 1928 Building:

From here, we went up a little bit more to the lookout point.  OMG.  What an incredible view.

 We certainly weren't the first ones here...
... and I'm SURE we won't be the last.

So... all-in-all we climbed almost 1600' in about 90 minutes.  I think we calculated about 800 calories burned over the 4 hours we were hiking around, which was perfect, because we REALLY enjoyed ourselves at dinner that night.  

So ends day two of the adventures in Woodstock.  Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of the trip in my next blog entry!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Woodstock: Three days of...

... Peace.
... Adventure.
... Relaxation.
... Fun!

It had to be almost a year ago when, my friend, Elizabeth, had a great idea... while our husbands are away, why don't we play?  So we made plans for September 17-19 to drop them off at the Ashokan Center for their thing, then off we went to stay in the quaint Woodstock Inn for a "girls weekend".  Today, I am home, relaxing and thinking about what a wonderful time we had.  I can't wait to do it again.  In the meantime, I'll share with you some of my favorite photos from the trip.

First... we drop off the boys... but not before a tour of the Ashokan Center.  The Center is dedicated to teaching people about history, nature, and arts.  There are a number of historical buildings on campus, including "The Homestead" where people used to come to live as 1820 homesteaders.

Our first stop, the remnants of the Pulp Mill, from the late 1800's.

Then a short hike to the Homestead.

And finally, a visit to the historical farming area...

The dinner bell rang for the boys, so off we went to our weekend "home away from home", the Woodstock Inn on the Millstream(to see photos of the Inn, click on the link & visit their website)
What ambiance!  From our adorable little room to the beautifully maintained grounds, we were bathed in relaxation and serenity.   Plus, we had Bonnie... the most wonderful Innkeeper around.   

Aside from dinner, this was the end of our first day in Woodstock.  I slept like a rock that night, in my tiny little bed, with excitement and anticipation of the adventures we would have on Saturday.  I'll post photos soon... c'mon back and see.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

12-of-12: September 2010

Hello from the new home of my 12-of-12 photos!  I'm approaching my 2-year anniversary of 12-of-12 participation and decided after last month's submission that I no longer wanted my 12 on a separate blog from my main site.  SO... from now on, please visit me (and my 12-of-12 shots) here.

For those of you new to the 12-of-12, it's a fun photography project started by Chad Darnell that goes something like this... On the 12th of each month, you post 12 photos that represent your day.  You do this for all 12 months.  There are other rules (more like guidelines), but you get the gist.  Visit Chad's site to learn more or see photos from other 12-ers around the world.

September's 12th falls on a Sunday, so the hubby and I planned a full day with (hopefully) lots of photo opportunities.  We were not disappointed.  Even with a bit of rain in the morning, we got a TON of shots... so many so, that I'm totally breaking the "rule of 12" because I couldn't shrink my set any further.

So without further ado..

12:12am at home
 Last night we watched 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' with Jack Nickolson.  Interesting film.  I didn't realize how long it was.  It was 11:45pm when it ended.  Since I'm not usually awake this late, I had to stay up a little longer to get an early shot on the 12th.  I felt this was a good time for today's project.

9am at home
Good morning!!  Had a special treat this morning for breakfast... Cranberry Honey Oatmeal bread/toast with our coffee.  YUM!  It tasted extra nice after my somewhat soggy and chilly bike ride.

1pm in Fredonia, NY
It's Concord Grape season in Western New York, so that means a road trip to Fredonia to Lasecki's Farms (a small family farm, the kind we like to support).  We got our grapes from them last year and they were AWESOME!  This year we learned that we could PICK OUR OWN!  We grabbed a couple baskets and some shears and into the vines we went.
Look at these beauties.  They smell heavenly and taste even better.  (So sorry this isn't smell-o-vision, folks).

3pm at Evangola State Park, Irving, NY
Our road trip continued up Route 5 to the park and beach!  No, 65-degrees & windy doesn't really make it a normal beach day, but it was PERFECT for the pups.  The beach is closed for swimming which means dogs have a chance to romp in the surf.  This is the south cost of Lake Erie.
The hubby and I had dueling cameras today - he was taking a picture of this tree when I snapped mine of him.

After our walk on the beach, we did a bit of geocaching!  Here are the kids relaxing (crashed-out) after their hike (with their find, of course).

On our way out of the park, we saw this cool old covered bridge.  I don't know the story behind it, unfortunately.  I couldn't help playing with the "antiquing" effect in iPhoto.
Mr. and Mrs. Whitetail Deer wished us farewell as we headed home.

8pm at home
Dinner's done, time for one more 'to do' before sitting down to publish my 12-of-12.  Turning those fresh-picked grapes into jam.

A View from the Porch
Last night's and today's rain prompted mixed feelings... kind of a bummer to not have a super sunny day for picture-taking, but we were so happy because we REALLY needed it.  It's been a dry, dry summer.  Not much change in the yard since last month... but didn't want to leave this shot out of the series.

It's 9:45pm now.  It's been a great day, but now I'm ready to relax and enjoy the last hour-or-so of the weekend with the family.  Hope you had a great 12th - see ya next month!