My Getaway…

Grab a cup of coffee, it’s going to be a long one! First let me say how lucky I am I have two sisters.  We are close, as close as geography lets us.  Though we can’t be involved in each other’s lives on a daily basis, we look for opportunities to get together, just the three of us, and it is always a splendid time.  We laugh, we tease, we gossip, we drink, and did I mention we laugh?

My baby sister turned 50 over the weekend.  My sister and her husband recently bought a house in the Catskills in NY State, and since my middle sister and I had never seen it, we took the opportunity to see the cabin in the woods, and celebrate my little sister’s birthday, just the three of us.

My middle sister Marta, bought us shirts that say, What happens with the sisters, stays with the sisters.  My baby sister Tammy bought this spectacular log cabin, that sits literally a stone’s throw from a gurgling stream, visible from the living room windows.

We stopped at the Ashokan Reservoir, not far from my sister’s cabin. It is amazing what you can perch a camera on to take a timed shot.

On Thursday, we packed a lunch and set out to tour some spectacular 19th century estates in the Historic Hudson Valley, since Marta is an architect, and Tammy is a gardener, any opportunity to see architecture and gardens in the same setting, well we’re on it!

First stop was Montgomery Place overlooking the Hudson.  Montgomery was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis (1803-1892) which didn’t mean much to me, but Marta was thrilled since she is in the middle of a huge 19th century restoration project in Maryland.  We wandered through the gardens, and climbed up a cliff overlooking a waterfall.  She was very familiar with Davis’ work.

Next stop was Claremont, home of Robert R. Livingston, negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase and co-inventor, with Robert Fulton, of the world’s first practical steamboat.  Who knew?

We found all sorts of wonderful stick structures as we traveled around.  And some adorable frogs.

We traveled up to Olana during a massive rainstorm, and when we pulled into the parking lot, the rain stopped and we were so glad because this is one amazing estate, created by Frederic Edwin Church, one of America’s great 19th century landscape painters.

All of these estates sit overlooking the Hudson River, which is still lush and pristine, and spectacular.

We ended a perfect day with a stop at the El Paso Winery in Ulster Park NY.  NY State wines are quite different than California wines, and we all fell in love with a very crisp fruity Chardonnay, and I came home with seven bottles.  🙂

Friday morning we went into the little town of Phoenicia, in search of trout.  The Leaping Trout Project involves local artists in an attempt to raise community awareness of conservation issues.

“The Ashokan-Pepacton Watershed Chapter of Trout Unlimited supplied 27 Catskill artists with an aluminum blank cut-out of a leaping trout. The purpose of the project is to stimulate community awareness of the conservation issues facing the Esopus Creek and the Ashokan Watershed. The final works of art will be on display throughout our local community and auctioned off to help raise funds to support the efforts of APWCTU.”

The trout are displayed in various local establishments, the deli, the bank, the pharmacy, and a restaurant or two.  There is a map of the trout, and it makes for a wonderful treasure hunt adventure, “finding the trout”.  The one on the right was done by my friend Alisa Brown, who is a handweaver from that area.  She knit her trout a sweater.  Alisa is the one who told me about the whole project, and I passed the information onto my sister.  Who knew it as all happening in her little town.

Friday afternoon I raced home down the NY Thruway, to meet up with my husband to head to the Prudential Center in Newark, to see Carole King and James Taylor in a reunion concert.  Can I say here that both of them have aged like fine wines, their voices just as sweet and beautiful as they were 40 years ago, and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I want to have that kind of stamina and energy and presence when I’m 68 years old.  Carole King is a brilliant musician and song writer, my husband I both found ourselves gasping in amazement, one song after the other, “I didn’t know she wrote that…”

Saturday morning my husband and I raced back up the Thruway for my sister’s actual 50th birthday celebration at Mohonk Mountain.  Another 19th century historic site, this mountain house and surrounding grounds is known around the world for it’s vacation resort status, and the brunch buffet was the best I’ve ever eaten.  I’m seriously starting to not fit in my clothes…  🙁

After brunch we went on a tour of the Mountain house and learned about the history of the estate, and then hiked to Sky Top, overlooking the entire complex.

We were home by late Saturday night, and my husband left on Sunday for another two week stint in Saudi Arabia.  I can’t say that I came home rested.  But I dove in on Sunday, back to my Convergence countdown to-do list.  I updated my Website Success Monograph in preparation for the lecture I’m giving at Convergence.  The trouble with any subject that has to do with technology is that it has to be updated constantly.  Every link has to be checked, recommended software and hosting companies updated, versions updated, and of course, no discussion on Websites or web presences is complete without mentioning the Social Networking sites like facebook, which wasn’t part of the original presentation I did a year ago.  So that job is done, and the monographs are printed and bound, and I spent the day working on binding the handouts for the Inkle Loom workshop, until I ran out of comb binding spines, which I promptly ordered from Staples, and then set about putting together 17 inkle looms which will be rented to the students.

I’m off to bed, tomorrow is another day with another long list of stuff to do, including the end of the month paperwork and bill paying.  At least we had some really heavy rains today so I won’t have to spend an hour watering the gardens tomorrow like I did this morning.  🙂

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June 29, 2010 8:42 am

Oh the places you’ve gone! And keep going! I would love to see Mohonk some day. Have you read River Horse by William Least Heat Moon? About his travel across the country in his boat on riverways. He started on the Hudson as I remember. It has always seemed fabulous to me to see the country from the water.
I’m glad you had some fun with your sisters even if it wasn’t restful. You always have such memorable escapades!

June 30, 2010 11:39 am

Sisters are one of the best things. I have three and we live in driving distance of each other. We manage a “sister date” about every other month. I weave/sew/lace, #2 sews/quilts, #3 paints/collage, #4 sculpts dolls. Our dates can be visiting somewhere or making something one of us is interested in. Great times with sisters.

July 1, 2010 8:38 pm

Feel very special to have you as a sister! Many thanks for an incredible few days that I’ll never forget. 50 rocks, particularly with a mojito on the rocks! Love, Your baby sister

P.S. You forgot to mention my favorite gardener. . .

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