Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Hudson Valley May 2021

What is the saying “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. Our plans for our trip to Bolivia went awry, again. Yes, this is the second time we had planned to go to Bolivia. The first time was last June, which was canceled for obvious reasons. We rescheduled for May 2021, yep that is now. About three weeks before our departure the Bolivian Minister of Health put a ten-day quarantine on arrival in place. 

We still had the option to enter Bolivia, but once we arrived we would need to quarantine for ten days.

We would get a Covid test on our seventh day, if we tested negative, we would get released on the tenth day.

I was ok with this process. Bolivia has a poor healthcare system, this makes it important to protect their citizens from the spread of Covid. Unfortunately, my two guests, Kat and Margarite were not as excited to spend ten days locked in a hotel room with me, as I was to spend ten days locked in a hotel room with them. Thus, the reason the trip was canceled.

Our second choice was to head out to Moab, Utah for an adventure-filled week of mountain climbing and other crazy stuff. Unfortunately, this plan fell apart. We found out others had the same idea and the only accommodations available was a Super 8 Motel. In fact, the ladies thought ten days locked in a hotel in Bolivia with me, might be better than staying at a Super 8 Motel.

Our third choice was to head to the Hudson Valley, in New York. We could bring our bikes, and it was easy to get to. We decided to split the trip in two. In the first part, we will stay in the town of Newburgh, New York, which is on the west side of the Hudson River, across from the town of Beacon, New York.

One reason I voted for the Hudson Valley is the number of Ice Cream Shops. Here is a list of the Best Ice Cream in the Hudson Valley.

We rented a house overlooking the river. On our arrival, we decided to explore the town of Newburgh on foot. Our real goal was to sample Valerie’s Ice Cream, a traditional Ice Cream with a Latino flair. The town was in the process of a revival that appeared about thirty percent complete. As we walked, block to block some with buildings fully restored to their original luster, others in the process of being renovated, and a third feeling very neglected.

We arrived at our destination to be disappointed, it looked like our trip to Bolivia was not the only causality of Covid, it appeared that Valerie’s had not survived the pandemic.

The evening had beautiful weather, which made it easy to decided to have dinner on the waterfront. There were several restaurants to choose from we picked Billy Joe’s Rib Works. All three of us were happy with our choice. We enjoyed terrific food while watching the boat traffic float by.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, overcast with an off again, on again slight drizzle. Not a great day for biking, it was an easy decision to head to the Storm King Art Center a 500-acre outdoor sculpture garden. Storm King Art Center nurtures a vibrant bond between art, nature, and people, creating a place where discovery is limitless. Committed to supporting artists and stewarding its landscape, Storm King connects with visitors through dynamic exhibitions and programs.

We spent several hours walking the grounds enjoying the different pieces of art. We walked over five miles, which caused us to crave lunch.

Lucky for us Jones Farm is just around the corner from Storm King. Jones Farm has been a working farm since 1914 with a shop selling all kinds of great treats made right on the farm as well as a small cafè. We enjoyed a well-earned lunch.

With the rain picking up we decided to take a siesta until it was time to make dinner.

Being it was Cinco de Mayo we searched for a quality Mexican restaurant, but could not find one close by that had quality reviews. With all three of us having experiences in the culinary industry we decided we would make tacos for dinner. We were very happy with the outcome.

What a great day weather-wise, sunny and 60 degrees. We decided to take advantage of the weather and bike over to Beacon and hike Mount Beacon. The bike ride was a bit stressful but beautiful. The bike ride to the bridge was fine, but crossing the flat metal pedestrian section of the bridge at 250 feet above the river was loud and nerve-racking.

Once on the East side of the river, we biked to the trailhead for Mount Beacon.

The hike was as painful as enjoyable. You climbed over one-thousand feet in a short mile-long hike, yes that is steep. At the top, the views of the valley below were well worth the pain.

In the past, there was a rail tram that would take people up to the lookout. That has since gone into decay.

Lunch was at Baja 328, this was an option for our Cinco de Mayo dinner. The reviews were mediocre and so was our experience.

The next stop Beacon Creamery, it was not a disappointment excellent ice cream and large portions.

Now that our bellies were full it was time to bike back to Newburgh. In the afternoon we enjoyed the sunshine sitting on the back deck of the house watching the river go by.

Today we head to Saugerties, New York, only about an hour north of Newburgh. This will start the second part of our trip. We have a full day built into our schedule before we arrive in Saugerties.

First is the Dia Beacon an Art Museum in a repurposed Nabisco Factory. To my disappointment, there was no leftover Oreos. We spent several hours wandering the massive structure. Much of the art was interesting, but some I had a hard time calling art.

Next on our odyssey was the Walkway Over the Hudson an old railway bridge repurposed as a bike and pedestrian walkway, the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. The Walkway Over the Hudson connects Poughkeepsie on the east side of the river with Highland on the west side.

After an enjoyable walk across the bridge and back, much less painful than our hike up Mount Beacon, we decided it was lunchtime.

When in Highland, New York you must eat at The Flavorful Ladle. The food and service met our high expectations.

Our next stop also in Highland was at Lakeside Licks Ice Cream. Not only Ice Cream, but Lakeside Licks is also a mini-golf / putt-putt course, after playing 18 holes of golf we enjoyed wonderful ice cream.

We finally reached our final destination Saugerties, where we rented a house just a few blocks off Main Street. Before dinner, we took a quick walk around town to scope out the three well-known and respected Ice Cream Shops. More on those later.

It is overcast with, on-again, off-again rain showers today. With our busy day traveling and sightseeing from Newburgh to Saugerties yesterday, we got a late start today. Our goal today is to visit Woodstock where the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival took place, or so we thought.

Woodstock is a great little town, the biggest disappointment was the one Ice Cream shop was closed. Why would you close an Ice Cream Shop on a Saturday? After some great tacos at Tinker Taco Lab we continued walking the town looking for some history of the music festival, surely there would be a museum. Our goal was to visit the site of the festivals.

To make a long story short after searching for the museum we found out the Woodstock Music Festival was not in Woodstock, New York. It was in Bethel, New York a good two hours from Woodstock. Who would have thought?

Today we will start our exploration of Saugerties and the surrounding area. Our first stop, the three Ice Cream Shops in town. Unfortunately, Alleyway does not open until one o’clock. Luckily for us, Stella’s Scoops is right across the street and opens early. The Ice Cream was Hersey’s Ice Cream which was fine but not from the Hudson Valley a bit of a disappointment. Just up the block is Kylies Gelateria, our next stop. Not sure why but we followed the sign but could not find it.

It was starting to rain, so we decided to drive out to Opus 40 Sculptor Park. Opus 40 originally was a bluestone quarry, now it is a sculpture park. Interesting, it is a Sculpture Park without any sculptures. Harvey Fite the creator of the park, at some point, decided to remove the sculptures as he felt they took away from the huge bluestone pedestals he had built to hold the sculptures.

When we returned to Saugerties, we found the Alleyway Ice Cream Shop open. What a wonderful treat, delicious Homemade Ice Cream. The shop is down a small Alleyway with a small window as the storefront. We were told the shop is actually a broom closet for the building it was attached to.

We asked around how to find Kylies Ice Cream Shop. We found out Kylies was a small kiosk in the open area across from Alleyway Ice Cream. A few years back a storm blew the kiosk down and the owner never rebuilt it. No shop, but the sign remains.

We walked Main Street checking out the local shops.

We woke to a beautiful sunny day. Our quest today is to bike to the Saugerties lighthouse. Kat got a lesson about biking, if you go towards water most likely you are riding downhill, away from water, uphill. The ride to the lighthouse was easier than the ride back to town.

The lighthouse was not what one might think of as a traditional lighthouse with a striped tower. This was a brick house on the edge of the water with a lighthouse fixture on top.

After lunch, our goal was to visit some fiber farms. A fiber farm is where they raise animals to produce wool (fiber). The Hudson Valley is known for its fiber farms.

The first farm we visited was the Blackberry Hill Farm. When we arrived the farm seemed abandoned, Maybe because it was Mother’s Day. Not a soul in sight. A few old cars parked haphazardly around the yard and a llama with a bad case of dreadlocks and a sheep that had seen better days. Somewhat of a disappointment. We knocked on doors and searched around, but no sign of human life.

Our next stop was the Buckwheat Bridge Angora Fiber Farm. We are starting to see a trend. Again this farm had a few cars parked, but no humans. The house looked more like a spaceship than a house. The farm was massive. The highlight was freeing a goat that got its horns wedged in a hole in the fence. Kat was so intent on watching us free the goat she forgot to take photos or video. You will have to use your imagination of Margarite and me wrestling with the goat to free its horns from the fence.

The animals here seemed in much better health than at the first farm we visited. They all greeted us as we walked around. The Alpaca seemed as interested in us as we were in it.

With Kylies no longer around, we needed to find a third Ice Cream Shop before the day was out. Holy Cow had high marks. Holy Cow is in Red Hook which is on the East side of the river across from Saugerties. This worked out perfectly since this was the side of the river whereon.

The soft-serve ice cream did not disappoint.

Today is overcast with a few light rain showers. Nothing that will stop us from a bike ride on the rails to trails Ashokan Rail Trail. This was a nice bike ride along the Ashokan Reservoir. Funny signs we would see along the trail would say the former site of “name of the town”. When the reservoir was created, towns in the way of the reservoir had to be relocated. These signs were erected where the towns had been. It took us a while to understand what was going on.

After the bike ride, we took a drive to Tannersville, a small town up in the Catskill Mountains not far from Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. Being a Monday a lot of shops were closed. Luckily for us, Maggie’s Crooked Café was open. The food and service were great. Not only did Maggie wait on us, but she also prepared our food.

On our way into town, we passed Mama’s Boy Burgers. When you drive by a shop with a huge Ice Cream Cone on top, you know you have to visit. While they did have hard ice cream as well as soft-serve, I was in the mood for soft-serve, it was just ok. A reason for my low rating might have been my full belly revolting. Did you see the size of the BLT I had from Maggie’s?

A little siesta this afternoon before we have dinner on the River at Tavern at Diamond Mills.

The Tavern was not open, so dinner was at the Pig Bar and Grill. Good food and service. That is it for the Hudson Valley. Today we get rid of Kat and head home.

More travels to come as the world opens up.



All Pictures Below:

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