Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York — in the foothills of the Berkshires ... visit website

Friday, March 7, 2014

Revisiting the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck

I first blogged last May about the Country Living Fair, that took place in Rhinebeck, June 7-9, 2013,  in New York's Hudson Valley. This was the first time Country Living did a fair in the North East. It was so successful, they are doing it again this June, 6-8, 2014.

Two friends were among the many vendors. I have blogged about Franca Fusco before. She is the wonderful creator of Boxwood Linens. Her lovely shop is on the ground level of the Hillsdale General Store. I visit her store often to sigh over the beautiful, crisp linens - tablecloths, napkins, aprons, towels, shower curtains, etc. Also, I love the elegant hand made candles.

And I enjoy the singular vision of Chrisie Cordrey who is, as her website states, "inspired by the folky, edgy, historical piece of cloth [or] furniture, or really anything". I love her pillows, and re-imagined clothing and furniture.

Go to the Country Living website to see a video about last year's fair. Chrisie's Corduroy Shop sign flashes by at 29 seconds into the video.

I love this c. 1860 settee covered in a denim quilt that she created from antique textiles.

And this chair would definitely work in the Inn, don't you think?

Some famous folks, like the Beekman Boys, will be there again this year, too. I met them BTW, at an innkeeper's conference this past January. They are great.

So hope to see you in Rhinebeck in June, and don't forget to book a room at the Inn!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Tis the Season for "It's a Wonderful Life"

Every year at this time, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA, shows the classic Frank Capra movie, "It's a Wonderful Life".

Copyright Paramount Pictures

The movie was made in 1946, (actually opened on Christmas Day) and has a wonderful cast headed by Jimmie Stewart and Donna Reid, supported by Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Ward Bond, Gloria Graham, and so many excellent character actors. Remember the faces of those actors in the final scene of the movie, when everyone is singing "Auld Lang Syne"? It is a scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting...those fabulous faces.

It is great to see this movie on a big screen in a real theater, complete with balcony and box seating....and it is free...the Mahaiwe Theater's gift to the community. Are you like me? I watch this movie every year, usually on television, but I did see it at the Mahaiwe last year. This year's showing is Sunday, December 22, at 7 pm.

If you are a fan, you might enjoy "The Making of It's a Wonderful Life" a 1990 documentary narrated by Tom Bosley, complete with interviews of Frank Capra, and Jimmie Stewart. It is shown in 2 parts on YouTube, each about 10 minutes long.

Part 2

So if you can't get to the Mahaiwe on Sunday, do watch these videos, and then find the movie on your TV this coming week. And make plans to visit my Inn at Green River next year at this time!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Festivities at the Berkshire Botanical Garden

Poster Art Courtesy of the Berkshire Botanical Garden
Although the gardens have been put to bed for the winter, visitors flock to the wonderful Berkshire Botanical Garden in early December for a festive Holiday Marketplace. The Education Center is re-imagined as a magical winter wonderland where you will find gorgeous wreaths, centerpieces, ornaments, handsomely potted flowering bulbs and artisanal gifts.

The Gallery of Wreaths, just off the exhibit hall, is filled with hand made wreaths, artfully displayed on old doors. Look at these wreaths, just a few of the many which will be offered for sale. The Garden volunteers have been hard at work. Whether your tastes run to a traditional wreath with greens and red ribbons or one using materials gathered in the meadows and woodlands, you will find a beautiful wreath to decorate your home for the holiday season. 

When I stopped by to see the preparations, volunteers were hard at work. Go to the Garden's Facebook page for more photos showing the transformation taking place in the Education Center.

This annual Holiday Marketplace weekend event kicks off with a cocktail party tonight, Friday, December 6, 2013, from 5-8 pm. There is an open bar and a raw bar, and you get first dibs on the beautiful items for sale. Last year, chef-owner Terry Moore of the Old Mill was there, whipping up mushroom risotto. Hmmm, I wonder if he will be there this year? Or perhaps another local celebrity chef!

The Holiday Marketplace runs from 10-5 on Saturday, December 7th, and 10-4 on Sunday the 8th. The Berkshire Botanical Garden is located at the junction of Routes 183 and 102 between West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, just 20 minutes east of my bed and breakast, the Inn at Green River. The annual "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, A Norman Rockwell Holiday" event takes place this weekend as well. You can read more about that in my blog post from last November.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Darlene Love in the Berkshires

Although I have known Darlene Love's music for 40 years or so, (remember "He's a Rebel"?) I was not familiar with the person or the name behind the voice until I saw "20 Feet from Stardom" at the Berkshire Film Festival last spring.

Image courtesy gettyimage

This documentary, which premiered last year at the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of the back up singers whose voices we recognize, as they were instrumental in creating the sound of the music, but  we probably didn't know their names. They often sang with no credit given, as was the case with Ms. Love during her early years singing for The Blossoms and The Crystals, groups managed by music producer, Phil Spector.

Now I can't wait to hear Darlene Love perform live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center the day after Thanksgiving! Click here for a YouTube video about her - you will instantly know her voice.

There is still time to get tickets.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions Sale

Traditions, the wonderful linens business based here in Columbia County, always holds a big sale the weekend after Thanksgiving in their Claverack, NY outlet store.

Many of the matelasse coverlets and shams, pillows and linens at my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, have come from Traditions.

The Thorsden room, for example, features ruffled linen shams and a woven paisley design coverlet from Traditions.

At the sale last year, I purchased the pillow cases shown below in the Martin Van Buren room, as well as yardage of the same fabric, which I intend to use to make a new duvet cover for the comforter on that bed.

I just love this fabric, with a boucle stitch in green accenting the paisley crewel embroidered pattern on a cream linen fabric. As you can see, I am partial to paisley!

This year's sale, Friday and Saturday, November 29-30, 2013, runs from 9 am to 4 pm both days. Traditions Linens is about 20 minutes from the Inn at Green River. If you can't make the trip this time, plan to come in the spring, when they also hold a big sale around Memorial Day. And check out their website to peruse the gorgeous bedding collections and other products.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

With Beth's Farm Kitchen on a Wild Maine Blueberry Run

If you have stayed at my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, you have enjoyed the wonderful jams made by Beth Linksey, owner of Beth's Farm Kitchen. Or you may have encountered her jams in their distinctive red and white labeled jars at the green markets in New York city.

Photo Courtesy Jumping Rocks Photography

Twice a year, Beth travels to Orland, Maine, north of Camden, to pick up wild Maine blueberries for the jam she makes for Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's blueberry yoghurt. I have joined her several times on this quick overnight trip.  I enjoy it because it takes me back to my old stomping grounds. I grew up in New Hampshire, and worked in the seacoast region during the summers while in college. Also, my grandmother was a "Maine-iac" as she used to say. This is a long haul, driving a big van 8 hours up and 8 hours back, but the fun part is a great dinner and an over night stay, usually at a bed and breakfast, and I always enjoy seeing how other innkeepers do it!

The big treat on this trip was dinner at Primo, Melissa Kelly's fantastic farm to table restaurant in Rockland, Maine. In the late '90's, Chef Kelly worked at Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. Inn nearby, and I have been wanting to eat at this restaurant ever since she left Columbia County and moved to Maine.

We started the evening with a drink at the upstairs bar, where these fabulous skinny, hand rolled bread sticks were offered in large glass vases, almost like a dried floral arrangement. And they were very tasty.

We then moved downstairs for dinner. I am used to excellent farm to table food here in our region of the upper Hudson Valley, but I must say, there is a reason Chef Kelly just won the James Beard Best Chef in the North East award....again. Here is a dessert we shared. Beth loved the pumpkin creme brule on the left, I preferred the ginger bread like little cake on the right.

We stayed overnight at the Strawberry Hill Seaside Inn,  a motel in the most stunning location. Here is the view from the back, overlooking the Penobscot Bay.

Just a quick cup of tea in the morning, and out the door by 7:30 to get to Allen's in Orland, Maine, where Beth buys her blueberries. Aren't the blueberry field gorgeous in the fall when the leaves turn red?

As I said, this is a working trip. Here is Beth helping load 2500 pounds of frozen wild blueberries into the van...

 with a little help from the guy with the front loader!

I helped too!

Next stop, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a delicious lunch of seafood chowder and Caesar salad looking out at the harbor from our table by the windows at the River House Restaurant on Bow Street.

Downtown Portsmouth has come a long way from the early '70's when I was a cocktail waitress in Hampton, NH and used to go up to Portsmouth after work with other waitresses and bartenders to Gilley's, an all night place that served hotdogs and hamburgers....from the windows of a c. 1940 Worcester diner, parked in the main square. It was hauled into place each night by a truck... and received a parking ticket each night...for decades. In the mid '70's it was moved to a permanent location, and you can still go there...I plan to on the next trip. Watch this video to get the whole story.

The historic section of Portsmouth, near the harbour, is now gentrified and flourishing, with lots of shops, restaurants and bars.

Thanks, Beth, for taking me along on this trip to help drive the van, and enjoy the seacoast food!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cabot Cheese Farm Tours this Columbus Day Weekend

Cabot Cheese is a favorite of mine, partly because friends are members of the network of farmers whose dairy farms produce milk for Cabot, but also because it is delicious cheese and local to New England and upstate New York.

Photo Courtesy B. Docktor

These beautiful cows are from a farm in our region, although as you may be able to tell, these are not dairy cows, but I can't resist sharing one of B. Docktor's gorgeous photos.

This Sunday, October 13, 2013, from 11 am to 2 pm, 49 Cabot farms across the region will welcome visitors for free to see their operations and meet their cows and sample some wonderful cheddar cheese. Three farms are within a half hour drive from the Inn at Green River, in Ancramdale and Millerton, New York, and East Canaan, Connecticut. Click here to see a map of the participating farms.

Photo Courtesy B. Docktor

And of course, the timing couldn't be better for you to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage as you drive to the farms.