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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Driving Through Vermont is for Lovers too

"It's That Time of Year When the World Falls in Love."

December 2017 Somewhere in Vermont
There is not a day that goes by these past flu infected weeks of black ice and rain of February where I do not think about the road trip we took by way of center Connecticut, then Massachusetts to the winter wonderland of Vermont.

It was not originally intended for us to travel this way.  We usually take the flat farmland route with a few scattered mountain ranges in between New York State mostly then Vermont to reach our destination of Burlington.  This time, however, we decided to try something different with an hour to shave off our time in case we actually, in the dead of winter, wanted to have dinner in the somewhat daylight.

December 2017 En route to Burlington
At one point we were detoured because of an accident in Connecticut.  We found our way driving through the rich towns you might find that are architecturally preserved in the 18th and 19th centuries (blog to come).  This would have been completely avoided had it been perfect driving weather.  However, isn't that the point sometime?  Is it about getting off-coarse - getting out of your head?
I truly believe your vacation, your getaway, your day trip should engage with your participation the second your walk out of your house and get in the car.  You are driver and the road is your launch pad to another dimension in time and space. This time is was taken on Route 91 N to Route 89 N.

There are so many places to end up with a wrong turn.  One can't help but beg the question, why have an itinerary in the first place?  That might be a little too heady and when one is on a limited schedule to begin with - maybe just a little room for adventure outside the scheduled activities will really let you unwind and help you find what it was your were looking for when you went out for a new discovery.

The snow began to fall, as we had left that morning knowing full well, we were headed into a snow storm.  That did not deter us as we were needing some time away. I often find a little struggle or rather, work, will release even more tension that one is looking to do when getting away from it all. That extra plan of concentration through a blizzard in a warm cozy car with a friend or a loved warm with the heater blasting and the radio serenading you with Dean Martin's Marshmallow World.

It was a few days after Christmas when found ourselves out and about.  It was a few more days to hold on to that winter solace of peace with the gift given to us some 2000 years ago.

To look onto the marshmallow world and see the flurry of snow cover a forest of pine that rose up to the sky was breath taking.  Even if we ended up getting to our destination two hours over our original time, with just a stop or two for some drive through dinner - the ride wasn't just a ride.

It was an experience.
December 2017 Vermont is for Lovers~

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Halloween on the Hudson

Boo York Haunts for a Wicked Weekend

Fun House 2017

There is something that just feels natural in the fall season of New York State, and that is Halloween.  I know, many of you might think Salem, Massachusetts is where it's at, but I argue that anywhere along the Hudson on a foggy night beats the Salem Witch Museum.

We made our way up to Putnam County for the Annual Kevin McCurdys Haunted House that has been in successful operation for over forty years.  The ticket's online will set you back twenty five dollars but the action itself last a full thirty minutes with great drama and frightful folks get you in the mood.

Beacon, New York
Minty Cocoa and Friend
Just a drive around Cold Springs, Garrison or Beacon passing foliage laced mansard roofs or cemeteries with Sirius Radio Halloween Channel with hot apple cider in hand can be fun.  We hit the weekend before the 31st and got some great foggy weather with thunder storms.  It made the evenings with a little wine, Edgar Allen Poe, flashlight and Bon Bons at our Air BnB rental cozy and in the spirit.

Casa De Flatironbetty ala Air BnB Rental
I have a habit of bringing festivus whenever I travel to either a private home or hotel. Some copper string battery lights, holiday props, seasonal flowers and decorative table clothe can dress up any room to make it feel more personable.

Cold Springs, New York 2017
Cold Springs, New York 2017
Between dining at the Hudson House over looking Storm King across the way or grabbing a bite at Whistling Willies up the hill - you can fill up on truffle mac and cheese to Parmesan fries.  All for the price of a trip to Cold Springs.  If you are looking for something more high end for bites - waterfall included, I would give The Roundhouse in Beacon a good once over.  Occasionally, I make my way up in the dead of winter to either the Hudson House or Roundhouse to cozy up next to a fireplace with a glass of wine and glance, occasionally, at the mountainous views outside.

No matter where you end up in October for ghoulish behavior, make sure you ride south 9W to Bay View Road and take in the breath taking views of Cold Springs from Storm King Mountain.  You are basically at Cessna plane level looking up and down the Hudson - it's gorgeous.  The road dips into the mountain range than back out.  It has it's scary appeal with the darkness of the mountain forest. The fact it's on a very narrow two lane road with a rock wall separating you from the drop off is also something to ponder.  Due check the weather before heading out.  The parks department tends to shut Bay View Road down when there is chance of an avalanche due to rain or snow.
Bay View Road, Storm King Mountain

If Hudson Valley area doesn't rock your boat - I have a link that will lead you to secrets of all the counties of New York State for a scurry time.  They even have a catalog you can order online to be mailed to you before the season starts.  Enjoy! Boo York

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ocean Grove

Take Me Back to Ocean Grove, We'll Get There Easy and We'll Take It Slow....

Ocean Grove Beach, New Jersey
Ocean Grove is slowly becoming one of my favorite beach getaways that do not need a plane ticket and it's not necessarily just for the summer.  I am falling love with the town in it self.  Maybe its the largest neighborhood of Queen Anne Victorian houses in the country.  Maybe its the neighboring towns of Asbury Park that is making a comeback or Allenhurst that of home that put the show Downton Abby to shame but there is certainly something about this little New Jersey beach town that is extra charming.

Allenhurst, New Jersey
I first rediscovered this town from my childhood when I started making pilgrimages back to Ocean Town Ship where I had spent my formative years in a sleepy cove named Elberon.  I main train stop where in the 19 century you were greeted by horse driven carriages to take you to your summer chalet.

Quaker Inn, Ocean Grove
It was only when a friend had bought a home in Asbury Park at the time, very cheaply I might add that I began to venture out by bicycle that I came across the beach town lost in time.

Somewhere between Asbury Park and Bradley Beach is a a little town that was founded by American Methodist Church.  In fact, it is the oldest Methodist settlement in America.  While you may certainly buy a home here; the land itself is owned by the church.  There is a 99 year lease signed when purchasing the home in where you must resign a new lease once you have lived over the 99 years.

Ocean Grove Main Street
You would think that might sound Orwellian but it works out nicely.  The town has been nicely preserved.  If  a house becomes unlivable or a fire takes it away you must follow strict guidelines when building again.  Main Avenue, while small has very cute shops as you would find in a town like this.  Nagles is a staple in the community, it used to provide pharmacy service and double as an ice cream shop.  It had changed hands only a few times and still functions selling ice cream and works as a diner.

Ocean Grove Summer Tent Beach Cabins
Young adults riding down the streets on skate boards chewing bubble gum with little ones in pig tails following on tricycles gives you a sense of another time.  This definitely resonates with the senior crowd on a random Friday night pull out the old key board and sit on a random stoop and sing the classics.

While the beach might make Miami Beach look like an abandoned desert, patiently you will find a spot with some careful planning, especially on the weekend.  Don't miss out next summer on the delights of the easy summer breeze of Jersey and maybe some Beach Boys ABBA, Air Supply - they play at the Methodist Hall from time to time.
UMC Hall circa 1894