Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

It’s Wednesday and people have started wondering why there is no update yet. So here it goes. We had a very good weekend and did a lot of fun things.

Purple Cottage of Clove Cottages.Our cottage was in a secluded place, away from the noisy towns, and that’s exactly what we were hopping for. Yet it was located close within 5-10 minutes away from the places that we wanted to visit.

Cottage itself was clean, yet it has been furnished with antique furniture it seemed. The owners were very nice and they baked some scones for all the guests on Sunday. They also have 2 llamas for pets, but sadly we didn’t end up with any good pictures.

"Helpful" notes all over the place.Another strange thing was that they had instructions for everything. I mean all the cabin was taped up with small notes on proper and not proper ways of doing things.


On Saturday morning we ate our breakfast at one of the small delis in High Falls and went on on our first adventure of the day — biking. We rented 2 mountain bikes for $25 per day each and took them on a local trail. We had a lot of fun.

Alёna and mountain bikes.The trail was packed dirt, mud, puddles and stones. Road bike would have 0 chance of going through there. It would’ve been scary and unfun. Mountains bike — that’s a whole other story. I could maintain pretty high speed and it was handling the road just fine. My bike had dual suspension on the rear and the front. I even managed to ride up a no-road hill alongside the trail and got off from it without falling and breaking my neck. Fun.

Mountain bike. Some bridge in the middle of the trail.Our ride took a little bit less than 2 hours and was 14 miles in length. Not too bad of a time for a dirt trail with practically no cycling since the end of April.

After that we drove through the local winery trail. The first winery that we encountered (El Paso Winery) had a nice and friendly owner, but a pretty bad choice of wines, at least in our opinion. They use the grapes from Long Island (the owner asked us if we ever heard of such a place) and don’t really grow anything there themselves.

El Paso Winery.We tried 6 wines and were quite disappointed. Nothing like our tasting in Maine. Not to be time wasting bastards we still bought 1 bottle of the wine that we found least bad.

Stoutridge Winery.After that we drove through a bunch of wineries that were either closed or we just couldn’t find the tasting place. And at the end we ended up at a place called Stoutridge Distillery & Winery.

Wines for tasting.Now this was a whole different story. First we got a very good presentation from the wine-maker himself. He was very excited and full of passion for his craft. We tried 4 white wines and 2 red ones and were very impressed. We tend to favor white semi-dry wines more, and we were very pleased with his selection. We ended up buying 6 bottles.

Wine maker.For dinner we came back to High Falls and went to Depuy Canal House Restaurant. The place had the most ancient furniture I have ever seen and the clientele was no less ancient. Even though they had some Zagat Award and their prices could rival many places in Manhattan we were not impressed.

Restaurant interior. Or was it an antiques store?Alёna got served a meal with an elaborate name which could’ve been gotten in any pizzeria for $5. And my meal was somewhat similar. Not that the food was bad, it’s just that it doesn’t seem to match all the fuss that they are making about the place.

And that was our first day. We went back to our cottage and from what I remember went to sleep soon after.


Umm, raspberries.Next day we started with a hike through the forest right from our cottage (no driving anywhere). Turns out our cottage was on top of a pretty big mountain and when you go down you end up at a river which formed a couple of large pools where one could take a nice swim. It was pretty cold thought and we weren’t really in the mood. We did see a whole bunch of deer while hiking. It seems they are everywhere.

Forest hike.The next objective was a farm of some kind. We went to Stone Ridge Orchard. First we proceeded to raspberry part. We did collect a lot of them, but mostly into our mouths. Then we also collected a pair of buckets which we had to pay a bunch of money for. Considering the price I assume the part that goes into the mouth was priced in as well.

Let me just hover up to that apple.Then we went to the apple garden. It was full of trees covered in … wait for it … apples. The part that we were supposed to pick in consisted of McIntosh apples. But we also wondered into the peach part, plum part and tried a bit of everything.

Plum tree.With 2 bags full of apples we were done with the farm. It was fun. I’ve never tried it before and I haven’t been a fan raspberries for a long time, but I found these very delicious.

The rest of our plan was simple — buy a lot of cheese and drink a lot of wine. And then do stuff. Well, you know.

We stopped on a large yard sale on our way to the cheese shop. I have to say that these towns have 3 yard sales on each block. And it seems all the restaurants and whatever else they have in these towns are designed with stuff obtained at said yard sales. They keep each other in business.

Peach tree.The reason we were stopping at this is that I had a splendid idea — somebody somewhere is selling some great older Nikon lens with great optics for cheap. I was not lucky enough to find any Nikon glass, but my thesis was correct. We did find a cool Kodak camera made somewhere in the 40s and we did find some Minolta lenses. Of course I have no use for either, so we bought nothing.

In the cheese shop we tried at least 10 different cheeses and bought small slices of about 6 I think.

Cottage window.We stopped by another local restaurant — Egg’s Nest — for lunch. This one not only was full on antique furniture, it also had a corresponding smell. o.O The food however was pretty damn good. After our Maine trip, as Alёna noted, we did not became fans of lobsters, but fans of mussels. I never thought I’d be able to eat this kind of stuff, and enjoy it on top of it.

Egg's Nest restaurant.Ate a good bowl of French Onion Soup and ordered some fancy quezadilla with more cheese inside to go.

Mussles.At our cottage we grabbed a couple of DVDs (they didn’t pay for cable, but they had a good large collection of weird tapes and DVDs from 80s and earlier it seems). We grabbed our worst bottle of wine (didn’t want to spend a good one) and drank it with our quezadilla and cheese. The movie that we ended up watching was Firm with Tom Cruise which turned out to be pretty good.

Drive Back

In the morning, after checking out, we drove back to I-87 through New Paltz (about 15 minutes away from our cottage). New Paltz seems to be a college town with a lot of young people who looked like they were coming Gyro place in New Paltz.out of a 2 day long high.

We ate breakfast at a local Greek place (a pair of gyros) and there wasn’t much more to do there.

On our way back we stopped in Woodbury Commons Mall which was filled with people and cars. It took us 30 minutes at least to find parking and even more time to get out of there.

I wanted to get some new shoes, but wasn’t sure of my size again, so I wanted to try some on before ordering online. Long story short we ended up spending about 5 hours there! shock I know, I was shocked myself. However we did stock up on a lot of new clothing, shoes and other stuff. We also did adjust a bracelet on my watch and got a pair of white gold diamond ear rings for Alёna. They are really tiny and we wanted to get some for a long time, so she could wear them all the time and prevent her ear piercing from closing up.

Last moring.In the end we managed to get home without getting stuck in traffic yet again. Amazing. We were thinking about going out and eating somewhere, but we were so tired that Alёna just cooked some dumplings and that was the end of our vacation.

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