Hudson Valley Garlic Festival NY

Old Oct 4th, 2022, 03:12 AM
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Hudson Valley Garlic Festival NY

Thanks to suggestions three of us enjoyed a long weekend in the Catskills/Hudson River Valley area. We have been friends since junior high and started our annual getaway weekends over 40 years ago. Usually it's a road trip someplace not too far from NH. I don't know why it has taken us so long to discover this area of NY.
we took a slight detour to Chicopee MA to enjoy lunch at Munich Haus. Our entrees were wonderful but fortunately we saved room to share an apple strudel dessert. One of the best desserts I have ever eaten.

Our afternoon activity was a house tour and tram ride at Olana, a very interesting and unique mansion on a hilltop with splendid views of the Hudson River. Frederic Church was a wealthy artist and also a farmer. The tram ride only takes 5 passengers and our guide was knowledgeable and fun. I use hiking poles to help with walking and was happy that a folding stool was available for me to use during the house tour so I could sit while the docent explained each room.
Our air b&b was in a rural area in a town I couldn't pronounce. We have trouble finding single level accomodations withenough beds. This was three bedroom with lots of space and a lovely yard at the end of a private road. Fortunately J always locks her car since that night a bear visited. The air b&b owner emailed a video from her security camera. For those who don't know, bears can open car doors. Our arrival time and a 7:15pm zoom meeting didn't leave us time for restaurant dining so we opted to pick up edibles at a nearby grocery store. Well, small town and not a large store so it was happy with a can of soup time. Usually with kitchen facilities we bring some meals but this year only MG was willing to cook and brought breakfast.

A Hudson River boat cruise was scheduled for Friday morning. This was the beginning of arguments with J's google maps gps system. We were on a bridge when the gps announced we were there. Since we didn't want to jump off the bridge and swim to the dock J finally pulled over to call the boat company so she could put the street address into the gps. That worked. The cruise narration was fascinating but it was cold and I hadn't dressed warmly enough. Others wore winter coats, hats and mittens. The river as an important trade route changed when railroads were built. Like many rivers in the northeast it became polluted until clean up started 30 years ago.

Kingston looked like it had plenty of choices for lunch so we chose Stone Soup because it looked interesting and we could grab a parking spot right in front. I appreciated that they allowed me to get seafood bisque instead of salad with my mac 'n cheese and broccoli (remember, I had froze on the boat). There are only a few tables but we lucked out. Despite being very busy our orders were delivered to the table. The food was delicious. MG chose a layered eggplant dish.

since we hadn't done a lot of research we stopped if something looked interesting so J had to turn the car around several times. We splurged at a chocolate shop and also enjoyed some locally popular Jane's ice cream. Then came browsing around Woodstock NY, a beautiful little town filled with shops and celebrating a film festival. After a couple of shops I opted to sit on a bench in the lovely little park.

Dinner that night was at the Red Onion which we had learned was a white tablecloth place. We were surprised it was already busy at 5:30. Reservations were a must. Typically I get more interested in appetizers than in entrees so I opted to have a beet and baby spinach salad with another starter served as an entree. M decided she wanted to try the Thai mussels so I added those to my order. They were quite spicy and yes, you want to sop up the broth with bread. My pork belly with bok choy soup was flavored with miso and hoisin. The pork belly which I knew would be fatty was tasty but I think I would have preferred pork butt instead. J thought her steak was wonderful. M was happy with her entree. Highly recommended but noisy restaurant.
Saturday weather was iffy but we were prepared to enjoy the garlic festival rain or shine. Once again we argued with J's gps since there were signs pointing to the festival all over the place. I suggested that the locals had a reason for pointing us in certain directions and lo and behold we were being directed to on site parking. I got $10 ready but because we needed handicapped parking it was free and very convenient. We realized we had forgotten something important when we saw othe people with wheel carts. All three of us ended up buying $20 canvas bags for our our purchases plus a place to stow raingear we didn't need because the sun came out. There are food samples galore. Early arrival is important because the lines get longer as it gets more crowded. Buses bring people in from remote parking lots. Benches and bales of hay provide resting spots. Yes, I had garlic ice cream but enjoyed bread pudding with fig balsamic sauce more. M shared her eggplant fries with me. I skipped the craft vendors area except to watch the Morris dancers and there was another food section I didn't get to. I gave up trying to find room to eat one more thing, started buying the heavier items I wanted, called J to tell her Where I was but not to hurry.

I needed a nap but they woke me in time to get to the Phoenician Diner before it closed at six. Although lunch and breakfast are served all day the menu is not typical diner food. M chose roast beef hash that she liked although would have liked it to contain more potatoes. I had pulled pork hash with kim chi and apple sauce, two eggs, and slices of fresh tomato. Although the kim chi was too spicy for me, I would order it again. The potato in my dish was finely shredded. J sent her corn chowder back since it didn't have any potatoes and there was a strange flavor she didn't like.

For outdoor enthusiasts there was a popular rail pedal car ride place. Fall color had started so it was a great weekend before the foliage traffic gets bad.

The Handcrafted Octoberfest at Rhineback was our sunday activity as we headed home. At first it looked small but that was because we could only see the outdoor vendors. The building contained a wonderful variety of handcrafted items so we could start early Christmas shopping. This is probably a juried fair because quality was high. Next we let the gps help us choose a restaurant for lunch. Since only M was happy with her meal I won't mention the name. I think I simply chose the wrong item to try. J didn't like hers but I thought it was good just not as good as we get at home.

Like many places in the Catskills, internet reception was iffy so the gps refused to load when J entered request to take us home. We looked at the cloudy sky and decided which way was east and turned that way. Eventually we came to highway signs and internet.

I'd love to go back again next year but J found another garlic festival in Mystic CT and an air b&b that looks even better than perfect.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 08:17 AM
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How great that you and your friends have kept up these getaways, dfrostnh! The garlic festival sounds super....although I must hold back comment about garlic ice cream. 😁 Thanks for your TR!
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 10:09 AM
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Next time, dress in layers so you don’t freeze. Nice that you got to spend time with friends.

Thanks for the report
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 11:40 AM
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A very busy few days, dfrost! The three of you had a packed schedule with a great variety of activities. Thanks for the report.

I, too, enjoyed the tram tour at Olana: our guide/driver was terrific and had so much info the share. Loved the idea of Church creating the landscapes that he would later paint.
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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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Nice trip report. Further upstate NY we've seen crazy #s of tourists ever since about May. Non-stop all summer and continuing into fall. It's great for local businesses but makes it harder when you want to go out to dinner & don't have a reservation. #s are higher than pre-pandemic - I think it's a lot of pent up demand to get away, and we are only a few hours drive for millions of downstate, NYC, and NJ residents.

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Old Oct 4th, 2022, 08:33 PM
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Girls trips are so much fun. It sounds l8ke you had a great time.🙂
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