...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

North Lake Revisited

Just short drive from our home is the North (officially North/South) Lake State Park. This park holds many fond memories for me, first as a child when I came here for picnics and swimming with my mom and later with my own family. My mom and her friend, Irene, used to round up a hoard of kids and bring us here on several summer outings.

In my teen years, I came with friends for many joy filled memories sitting around campfires, sharing ghost stories and practical jokes and doing lots of hiking.

Then for several years I came here with my own family. The church I attended organized a traditional Memorial Day Family Camping outing each year. We hiked, swam, created church services, and even baptisms. The boys loved the time with the other families, the hikes, swimming, but most of all the campfires. We really thought we were raising pyromaniacs the way they would throw logs, food, rocks, and almost anything that we weren't sitting on just to see it go up in flames!

We also fished, canoed and Bryan, one time, mountain biked.

We had our share of memory makers, the biggest and last being the time our whole family camped together with the church families. Bryan was known for having accidents as soon as the weather got warm enough to play outside. Memorial Day seemed to hold some significance for him and became the time of year we would say, "Bryan be careful! This is the time of year you have mishaps." This one fateful day, I remember warning him just as he road his bike on the very edge of a culvert on the side of the road. Later that day he would be taken to the hospital with a broken collar bone after flying over the handlebars of his bike into a creek bed. That was the last time we camped as a family!

This past weekend however, Jim and I returned for a more relaxing time. Since my torn calf muscle was limiting my hiking abilities, we decided to go up and take a boat out on the lake. We rented a canoe and paddled around South Lake (where the rentals were) and then went through the small area connecting to North Lake. Usually we swim and camp on the North Lake side, so this was unusual for us to go back and forth between both sides.

As we rowed around I took some photos of the sights we came across. These days I find it amazing how something as simple as lily pads floating on the water can take on a beauty all their own. A beauty that I probably overlooked in my many times at a lake or pond.

These two were a just as surprised as we were as we paddle by them. They followed us over to the beach later in the day to feed themselves as we fed ourselves.

Though the day started out cloudy, the skies cleared for a beautiful fall day! We were amazed that the colors in the mountains were as far along as they were. We are pretty green still around our house. Just goes to show you can't trust the weather channel's leaf mapping!

All in all it was a good day for two 50+ adults to enjoy God's creation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tivoli Bays - Part 1

Tivoli Bays, a Hudson riverside trail through fields, woods, marshes and mud pits is located across the river from our home. On past drives we have often seen the sign marking what we thought was the start of a scenic trail, but once we walked it found it lacking. One fork took us to an open field with high grass and no idea where the trail went from there. As this side of the river is known for deer tick infestations, we decide not to proceed. We turned back and took the other fork only to find ourselves deep in the woods going farther and farther from the river we were hoping to see. With sunlight starting to fade and past experiences with Dutchess County mosquitoes, we once again turned back.

A few weeks, ago after some research, Jim directed us to the start of the new trail head. First, we had to take the Rhinecliff/Kingston bridge to cross the river to the Bard College campus. This college is spread out over several town roads and it is an interesting drive. To get to the trail head, we had to pass historic homes, churches, dorms, college offices, recreation fields, the performing arts center and other areas of study. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were awestruck first, at this mansion tucked away at the end of Blithewood Road,

and then by the most unusual tree we had ever seen.

The students use this lawn to have frisbee contests.

It was a huge tree that had survived severe winds, lightning strikes, and rot. We think the white rock-like formations were from earlier supports of some kind. Possibly the tree grew around them or they decayed to the point they are now. Looks like a spook tree for Halloween, no?

We walked around the grounds of the mansion which we later learned was the Levy Economics Institute and before being purchased by Bard College was the home of  Andrew Zabriskie. Beautiful!

The house faces north rather than the river and on the west side are these formal gardens.

We found many beautiful flowers in this garden which gave me inspiration for my own at home.

The gardens included some great photo opps in addition to the flowers.

We have seen many statues like this in our tours of gardens and often wonder, why men and women alike are always depicted with one boob uncovered? Can any of my artiste friends explain this to us? We were tickled at the expression of the cat on this one. The smile on the subject's face is surely fictional as we are sure the claws of the kitty are digging into his/her leg at this point!

At the west end of the garden is a view of the river.
We can only assume that when the house was built the trees were probably cut back to allow a more magnificent view, but this one was beautiful and peaceful just the same.

 Hmmmm, we might have to come back when the leaves are down to check it out again!


In a later blog I will give you insights from the actual trail, just in case you were wondering...

(Remember, you can click on any of the photos to see the detail in the full size.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Family Vacation

Jim and I drove over 15 hours straight through from New York to Georgia in our new car

over Labor Day weekend to see Bryan and Jess' new home.

Their new home is situated on five acres in the suburbs of Atlanta in what could be called horse country. Ranches and stables and horses were everywhere we traveled. The home is a ranch with three bedrooms, a full basement, large familyroom/office, living room, three baths and a large eat-in kitchen. A lot of space!

Aaron & Corinn and Dan drove up together from Florida to join us. 

The boys shared their rooms with us. Of course this came at a high ;) price for us grandparents.

Country living has been a dream of both Bryan and Jess and after 10 years of living in tiny to large apartments this has been a dream come true. Bryan has taken on landscaping and deforesting the yard of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Of course with country living comes the unexpected guests who come to visit. Like the two tiny ring neck snakes. The huge lionlike dog that wandered through their yard during a rain storm, deer with baby fawns and the like.

Jess has been filling cabinets throughout the house and finding more cabinets and closets than she ever dreamed of having. Some are STILL empty! Elijah and Asher now have their own rooms and have their own taste in decorating.

There are also three areas to "retreat" outdoors if one wishes. My favorite was the screened porch with a large swing. Asher, Elijah and I spent many moments there birdwatching and reading together. (Thanks Elijah, for using your new hammer to tap in the nails that were popping up in the floor. Grandma's toes appreciate it!)

At one point as I sat on the front stoop (big enough to hold two large rocker chairs and small table with numerous trucks and toys, I thought how nice it would be for the boys to have riding toys to play with on the huge yard. Bryan must have read my mind because a one night after dinner he had Elijah entertain us with is new driving skills.

(Note:mower blades are not running while Elijah is driving.)

You can also catch a glimpse of the hammock they bought for another relaxing place in the yard. Great place to read, rest and hang out with little boys!

This brings to mind another thing new for this family -- climbing trees! The yard has some great ones and Elijah was just too eager to show his climbing skills.

The weather cooperated the whole time we were there. So we set out for some walks through some of Georgia's many trails. This one was an easy one so we were able to carry on conversations without having to worry about tripping over roots or stones.

Of course having the family together meant lots of meals together. We went out to eat several times for breakfast or grab a quick lunch or celebrate a birthday or two or three with dinner. (Dan, Aaron's and Asher's)

There were projects to work on:  Bryan's new grill, Elijah's new sword, using his new tools from Grandma and Grandpa, yard work to be done with new hedge cutters, etc.

It was a fun time, a relaxing vacation, a time to catch up with the kids and time to get to know our grandsons. (One is as goofy as ever!)

Now that Asher is speaking more clearly it is really amazing to hear what he has been thinking!

Now we look forward to repeating the adventure in November when we all gather for Thanksgiving -- again at Bryan and Jess'. For now...farewell and safe travels.

Goodbyes after breakfast.
Aaron & Corinn as they headed back.
Note: On previous blog it was mentioned that we would be taking the minibike down. Due to problems with our truck, we had to postpone that until Thanksgiving :(.