Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Hudson Valley in Springtime

Bash Bish Falls
Clay and I spent a delightful April weekend with the blooming flowers and trees in the Hudson Valley.  Stationed in the terrific home in Craryville, NY of our friends, John and Carl, it was a perfect combination of rest, relaxation, discovery, and dog!

Craryville, itself, is nothing to write home about, but it is conveniently right off the Taconic State Parkway, and our friends, John and Carl,  have a comfortable, dog-friendly A-frame house complete with fireplace and plenty of woods to roam.  Lovie and I took our regular squirrel hunts, but this time there were deer, chipmunks, and wild turkey for him to scout, and he did a great job. Clay and Lovie enjoyed some great time together in an open field chasing a ball, and I'm never sure who has more fun at John and Carl's - Lovie or us!

Beyond the house, there was plenty to explore, including Olana, home of the Hudson Valley School painter, Frederick Church, an easy hike to  Bash Bish Falls (above) and, my personal favorite, the Rodgers Book Barn in nearby Hillsdale, New York.  Art and architecture at the first, Mother Nature at her finest at the second, and a treasure trove of used books for sale at the third -- what more could someone ask for?

We did have to eat, of course, and we sampled two fine places in Hudson, New York.  Baba Louie's is a well-known, popular pizza place where the waitress urged us to "Skip the pasta, go for the salads and pizza", which we did.  Sadly, both of our pizzas were over baked and dry which spoiled the otherwise fresh and tempting ingredients.  Another night we had the great good fortune of eating at Swoon Kitchenbar.  We each had a delectable meal that could compare with any fine dining we have done in New York City or elsewhere.  I had a mushroom tart for an appetizer followed by a  spectacular and special cavatelli dish with ricotta cheese and chicken sausage (YUM!).  Clay had a cheese plate for an appetizer, unusual for him, followed by one of the more memorable dishes of leg of lamb either of us has ever had.  The wine selection was quite fine, and when I asked for a recommendation for a very dry white, I was referred to a French wine, L'Insolite, that was precious and perfect for my dish.  We left completely happy and satisfied, and will surely return the next time we have a chance.

I can't exclude lunches: one day was a quick trip to Great Barrington, MA for lunch at a favorite spot: The Great Barrington Bagel Co., accurately renowned as "the best lunch in the Berkshires"; and the other lunch was at Hudson Park Burgers, which is a burger stand replete with baseball memorabilia that I suspect is mobbed in season.  We were a bit early in the season, so the place was blessedly quiet, but we had a classic lunch of hand-packed grilled burgers, shakes, and fries that followed our tour of Olana perfectly.   'A bit of town and gown, if you catch my drift.

All of this outdoor activity, good eating, and happy dog time was enough to tire out the males of the family, and here's proof -- with a taste of the welcoming place we called home for three days.

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