...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trip Down Memory Lane(s)...

Small creekbed in Byrdcliffe
Sunday was our 35th Wedding Anniversary. Jim and I decided to start our day at one of our favorite breakfast places Dolce in downtown Kingston.

Then we headed up to the Byrdcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock. We walked through the trails amidst many of the old artist studios, theater and barn. It was an interesting part of history. However the brochure was a tad misleading as all the "studios" or "houses" are now owned by private citizens with very unwelcoming signage that detracted from the experience.
From there we drove over the mountain to Mt. Tremper and then on to West Shokan where I grew up. We went to check out my old homestead. My brother Rick bought the house from the rest of us last year and is making some improvements.

He's had a new deck built and cut down some of the old pine trees that were dying from blight and he put in some new plantings and trimmed a few trees.

I was driving so I took on a little tour of my old hang outs. We drove up Moonhaw Road to our old swimming hole, Red Rocks. The dam has washed away and with no one to rebuild it the water isn't creating the deep 'hole' we used to swim in. The rocks we used to sunbathe and dry ourselves on have been overtaken by the shrubs, but it's still a beautiful place.
Red Rocks

Falls above Red Rocks
We drove up a little bit farther to see several places my dad used to maintain for the NYC "Summer People" when I was a kid. My favorite was a place called, "Lily of the Valley" probably for the tons of those particular flowers that grew there. When our son Bryan was a young boy, I took him there to fish. The pond was heavily stocked and as soon as we put our line in we caught one. I really wanted him to experience the actual "catching" of a fish and boy did we. The experience took all of 15 minutes. I think it took me that long to put the poor worm on the hook! But he was so excited to catch a fish. For years after that we fished all over NY and never caught a 'keeper' like that day!

As we drove back down Moonhaw, I reminisced about the various "neighbors" that I had visited as a kid. The Brockingtons became good friends of ours after I had moved from home and they helped keep my mom busy with caring for their home in her later years. It was their way of giving her extra spending money and a reason to have her stop by so they could make sure she was doing okay. The Jamesons lived across the road from Red Rocks and I remember the son who was my age and an older sister. They swam with us a few times, but they weren't around during the cooler months. Raymond Bell was a good friend of my dad's, little did I know I would eventually marry into their family -- though distant cousins, we are related.

Lily of the Valley
The Hydes moved in during our later years and I believe were related to Charlie North who lived down the road from them. Charlie was unique in that he was an elderly man who offered us kids a drink of water as we tromped back and forth from swimming. We loved to watch him pump the artisan well and fill a pot, then ladle out the water in aluminum cups that sweated in the heat. No water has ever tasted as good as Charlie's water.

At one point Moonhaw meets Druykill (Dry Brook Road) -- this name never made sense to me because Dry Brook never ever went dry -- and Manitou house is on the corner. Manitou house had quite a history. It was an inn and restaurant when I was a little. My sister Lynn used to waitress there and possibly did chambermaid work. I remember one year my mom left us in the care of my dad while she went to visit her sister in Michigan. I was probably in my early teen years and tried my hand at cooking dinner for my dad and my younger brother. I seem to remember tasting my boiled potatoes -- a favorite of my dad's -- and finding them a tad salty. My dad was said the meal was soooo good that he thought the chef deserved the next day off and he took us to Manitou House for dinner once if not two or three times the week mom was gone. Gotta love my dad.
Molloy's Chicken Coop Apt.

Across from Manitou is the Molloys property, where deer ate the apples under their multiple trees and kids gathered to play basketball and baseball. It's also where I worked one of my first cleaning jobs for their grandmother in her house in the converted chicken coop!

We continue down Moohaw as I relayed to Jim where the Hesleys and Finkens, the Burghers, Grovers, Reitmeiers, Maugs and Monacos and Wilsons all lived. The famous bus stop...."I walked all the way from my house to here to catch the bus!"

Then we headed down past flat rock, split rock, the Steens house, Asam's Hill (great for sledding.) The old Schneider home that had flooded in "the '57 flood." The Johansens, then Scanlans, and the new "Private Road" where Carol Robin works and lives. Finally to Donovans where one of my earliest memories of being at a Christmas party was at their house. From there my brother Jim's friends the Fugels lived but I am not sure which house. From there on we drive up Peekamoose Mountain Road. My little Ford Focus strains to climb the steep hills and I recall Ann Roser and I making the daring attempt to ride our bikes up this mountain! We did make to the lake at the top. The ride back down was terrifying!

On our way we pass the "Ice Box" an opening to an underground cave where there is ice almost all summer. We can't stop because we have two cars behind us and no place to pull over. We make it to the top and once again drive along the edge of the lake and property of the Packs. Jim's dad used to work on their vehicles. Jim remembers the barn with the equipment to maintain their personal ski lifts on the mountain. It's just after the 'caretakers cottage' a pretty nice house at the end of the lake.

At this point, I remember the strange phenomenon that happens at this point on the mountain. When we started to see the lake it was flowing down the east side of the mountain. Now as we pass the house and the bridge over the creek on the other side of the lake the water flows down the west side. How come the lake NEVER empties? I always wondered how this was to be.

Soon we are driving down the other side and we start to see the falls on the right side of the road. We stop and climb the first one and take a few photos. Then we climb back in the car and go on until we come to another falls, this one larger than the other, but so many people clogging up the lot and both sides of the road we drive on vowing to come back another time.

We search for the Blue Hole and see many areas we thought was it but so much has changed with the flooding over the years, we are not sure if any of the camping areas along the creek are there anymore. Farther down the road, where the creek meanders on the right side of the road, we see sign for NY State campgrounds. These are the "official" camping areas that the locals rarely stay at.

We drive on and come out once again at the Rondout Reservoir. We were here early last spring and today we drive down the other side. Amazing construction similar to our own Ashokan Reservoir. Both were built to maintain water for all the people in NYC. These reservoirs were surrounded by giant pine trees that have been there for years. But this year with the blight and the pine beetles the trees are dying faster than they can be replaced. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next 3-5 years.

After driving down Route 55 to Ellenville we seek out the restaurant we plan to eat our dinner at. Aroma Thyme is a new found eclectic place with "The Chef on a Mission" Marcus Guiliano. I have been reading/listening to his blogs over the past few months and he sent us a coupon for our anniversary. Check out his blog(s), he really has some great healthful information there.
We did have some time to kill so I took us up on Route 52 which climbs the mountain on the east side of Ellenville and stopped at several overlooks. It was a beautiful sight to look down on the old Nevele hotel and the valley.

We headed on in search of a little country store I discovered while on a work assignment. Alas we never found the store but ended up in Gardiner. By then we had enough time to make it back to Aroma Thyme for our dinner.

I had the shrimp curry and Jim had the chicken breast with vegetables. Everything from the bread, bean dip, cheese plate, dinners were all natural or organic and mostly from our neck of the woods. What a nice change to know someone cares about your food like you do.

As Chef Marcus states on his blog,"don't come to my restaurant if you want a cheap meal. I buy the best and healthiest ingredients to give you the best!" That was evident. The meals were delicious and I really expected them to be on the smaller portion size side. They were not...I brought home plenty for lunch the next day.

A great way to celebrate 35 years of marriage...only wish the kids could have been here.