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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Good Press for a Favorite Farm to Table Restaurant

John Andrews Restaurant in South Egremont, Massachusetts, is one of my top 5 choices when suggesting dinner options to my bed and breakfast guests. And like Pavlov's dog, my mouth starts watering whenever I talk about chef/owner Dan Smith's fantastic sweetbreads, shown below.

I just came across a nice write up about the restaurant on "The Berkshire Edge", an online magazine.
The article was published on December 17, 2014, and written by Laurily Epstein. She does a nice job of relating the history of the restaurant which Dan opened in 1990. As she notes, "well before the "buy local" mantra hit the Berkshires, Dan Smith, chef-owner of the John Andrews restaurant in Egremont, was doing just that."

Although I have been dining at John Andrews since its early days, and thought I knew a thing or two about Chef Dan, this article made me more aware of just how extensive Dan Smith's involvement in the Berkshire community is. He has been generous with his time and skill, helping with cooking classes for young teenagers through the Railroad Street Youth Project with Chef Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn, and participating in many charitable events.

I knew that Dan and other Berkshire chefs make an annual trip to the James Beard House in Manhattan to cook a "Berkshire Cure-All". The latest news is that Dan will be doing his first solo dinner at the Beard House on April 28, 2015. How I would like to be at that! Good luck, Dan!

So read the article, enjoy the recipe for JA bartender Eric's delicious ginger soda, and be sure to let me make dinner reservations at John Andrews for you on your next trip to the Inn at Green River!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cross Country Skiing in the Upper Hudson Valley of New York

What could be better than a steaming mug of hot chocolate to warm you, after an afternoon of cross country skiing across beautiful fields above a lake?

That's what you will find at the Copake Country Club in Copake, New York, just 20 minutes south east of my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River. With several recent snow storms, conditions are now perfect to strap on those skis and head out across the hills at this pretty country club which overlooks Copake Lake.

Photo Credit: Copake Country Club
The $25 fee covers your skis, poles and boots rental, and access to the trails. These can be picked up at the Pro Shop. You should call ahead to reserve your equipment - 518-325-4338. If you own your own skis or snow shoes, there is simply a $5 trail fee. Again, stop at the Pro Shop to register.

Photo Credit: Copake Country Club
And that mug of hot chocolate is free with lunch at The Greens Restaurant in the club house. What a lovely place to relax, while looking out at the snowy fields. I love the ambiance with the antler chandeliers and central fireplace. Bring warm clothes and wool socks, and oh yes, don't forget to book your room at the Inn. Call us at 518-325-7248, or book online at www.innatgreenriver.com. Just click the availability button. Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Impromptu Dinner for Guests at the Icebound Inn

The Inn at Green River normally caters to adults seeking a quiet, romantic getaway, but in the winter ski season, there are often families with "well behaved" children staying at the Inn. This Martin Luther King Day weekend was no exception.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature wasn't in the mood to cooperate and today's snow and ice ruined the skiing for 9 guests who came home soaking wet from sitting on the chair lift in the pouring rain! And to add insult to injury, no one dared drive out on the icy roads this evening to enjoy dinner at one of our great area restaurants.

Thankfully, I had bought provisions to try a tomato soup I found on Ree Drummond's blog, The Pioneer Woman, and tonight this recipe saved the day, err, night. What could be better on a winter's night than tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, particularly when the soup is made from scratch? Click here for the Tomato Soup with Parmesan Croutons recipe.

So what started as a disappointment, turned into a fun evening. My two 12 year old young ladies, who had never met before, bonded over setting the table, pouring the ice water, making the cheese croutons, and serving the bowls of soup to their families.

Nothing like a minor crisis to encourage camaraderie!

And the evening ended with the kids having a great time playing Monopoly in the living room, while the parents got to relax. And the Innkeeper didn't have to worry about guests driving on icy roads.

I hope the new found friends convince their parents to plan another ski weekend at the Inn at Green River!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cheese Making Classes at Cricket Creek Farm

I love cheese! Who doesn't? 

Photo Courtesy Cricket Creek Farm

Photo Courtesy Cricket Creek Farm

And given my bed and breakfast's location in New York's upper Hudson Valley, in the foot hills of the Berkshires, I have access to many local, artisanal cheeses.

One of my favorite local cheese producers is Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, Massachustts, just 45 minutes up the road from my Inn. Below is a screen shot of their website. Look at that gorgeous location in the Berkshire mountains.

Photo Courtesy of Cricket Creek Farm

I first tasted their cheeses at the spring fair at the Berkshire Botanical Garden several years ago. They were making grilled cheese sandwiches with Maggie's Round, the cheese in the photo above, and their Tobasi. Delicious! I was hooked. They also attend some of the local farmer's markets with their cheeses made from the milk produced by their grass fed herd of cows.

You have a chance to see their operations and try your hand at cheese making in one of their cheese making classes, The first 2015 class is scheduled for Sunday, January 25th, from 9-3 pm. The cost is $40. As you will be there all day, it is a pot luck, ie, bring some food to share for lunch. They promise a "full behind the scenes tour"!

Photo Courtesy Cricket Creek Farm

So book a room at the Inn over the weekend, enjoy some skiing, perhaps snow shoeing at Furnace Brook Winery (and wine tasting of course) and I will get you out the door early with a Continental breakfast to go for the 9 am class on Sunday morning.

Cricket Creek Farm is located at 1255 Oblong Road, Williamstown, MA 01267, 413-458-5888. Email them at info@cricketcreekfarm.com to register for this class.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Great Theater this Fall in the Berkshires

Even though the hustle and bustle of the summer season is behind us, here in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, great theater continues. Why not combine a little leaf peeping with an evening of live theater at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, just half an hour from my Hillsdale, NY bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River. The leaves are just beginning to change!

They have a fun show, "Character Man", starting tonight, September 18th. The Barrington Stage

Art used with permission, Barrington Stage Co.

website describes this as a "musical memoir celebrating the Golden Age of the American Musical." The show stars Drama Desk Award winner, Jim Brochu, and salutes popular character actors and musical stars of Broadway, including Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, Charles Nelson Riley, and Jackie Gleason. I certainly remember all these wonderful actors, do you?

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
The New York Times describes it as "A blend of cabaret, theater and scrapbook...walks down memory lane are rarely so entertaining." And The New Yorker weighs in with "Brochu is a terrific storyteller, and a fine singer, too."

Barrington Stage shows routinely wow the critics, so don't miss it. The show runs September 18-28, 2014, Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 pm, and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3 pm. The venue is the St. Germain Stage, at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield, MA. Ticket prices start at $40.

Friday, September 12, 2014

World Class Music at the Hillsdale Grange

This Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 7:30 pm, the Hillsdale Grange, just 4 miles down the road from my Hudson Valley bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, is definitely the place to be!

Well known musicians will be performing chamber music there as part of the Leaf Peeper Concert series, which has been presented here in Columbia County each fall by Clarion Concerts for the last 33 years. Violinist Sanford Allen has been the music director of the series since 1996.

Mr. Allen began studying the violin at age 7, and entered the Juilliard School of Music at age 10. He was the first black musician ever to become a regular member of the New York Philharmonic, playing with the orchestra from 1962 - 1977. For a complete biography, see the Clarion Concert's website.

This Saturday's concert will introduce Music Director Designate, acclaimed flutist, Eugenia Zukerman, who will take over from Mr. Allen when he retires later this fall. Ms. Zukerman has also enjoyed a distinguished career as an orchestral soloist, chamber musician and recitalist. For her complete biography, see her website.

Photo Credit: Angela Jimenez
This Saturday's concert features works by C.P.E. Bach, Mozart and Leon for violin, cello and viola.

The concert will be held in a classic Greek Revival building which was a Grange. For those of you who did not grow up in small farming communities and are not familiar with this term, The National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry was an association of farmers founded just after the Civil War. For more on this interesting movement go to this site.

To steal a famous lyric, this Saturday, the Hillsdale "hills will be alive with the sound of music"! Don't miss this concert.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Deals for early risers at Catamount Aerial Adventure Park

Here's a little known insider's deal. After a scrumptious breakfast at the Inn at Green River, head down the Route 22 valley for a morning of fun at the Catamount Aerial Adventure Park, a pretty 15 minute drive from the Inn. Arrive by 10 am, and you save $10 on your ticket.

Photo Courtesy Catamount Aerial Adventure Park

Check the FAQ page of Catamount's website to help you plan your day at the Park and answer any questions you may have about this fun outing. Catamount is situated on the border of New York and Massachusetts, in the beautiful Berkshires. The Park offers 12 self guided trails of varying degrees of difficulty.

Photo Courtesy Catamount Aerial Adventure Park

And, the Inn offers a mid week package...stay two nights midweek in the romantic Thorsden (shown in photo below) or Merrill rooms, and we will include the cost of one adult ticket. But hurry, the forest aerial adventure park closes for the season October 26th, 2014.

Photo by Jumping Rocks