Archives for November 2015

On the Road: Hudson River Valley Fall Getaway

Although we love our little travel buddy, Chester and I decided that we were long overdue for an adults only vacation. After considering a few options within driving distance of Philly, we decided to head up to the Hudson River Valley for a long weekend. Having visited the area a few years ago, we knew that it would be an ideal setting for a relaxing fall getaway.

This time, we stayed at the adorable Buttermilk Falls Inn, located in Milton. If you were so inclined, you wouldn’t even have to venture off the property to get a taste of what the area has to offer. The 75-acre estate includes a spa, a farm-to-table-restaurant, walking trails and scenic views of the Hudson River.

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An assortment of some of the animals we met at the inn.  City people don’t know what to do around farm animals. Also, I need a llama for Christmas.

If you want to do some sightseeing, Milton is just about 20 minutes away from Hyde Park, which has a few different points of interest.

Our first stop was the Culinary Insitute of America. Current students lead public tours a few times a week, and it was pretty cool to get a glimpse into the kitchens and classrooms, where future chefs and bakers were hard at work. After the tour, we had lunch at The Bocuse, one of the student-run restaurants on-campus.

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From top left: Black truffle soup, apple butternut soup, seared scallops with truffle, potato and cauliflower, veal with braised onions, kale and foie gras butter and an assortment of desserts. The white coffee ice cream was made table side with liquid nitrogen!

On the whole, the food and service were above average, with the exception of Chester’s veal entree, which was completely over-salted. He sent it back to the kitchen, but the second dish did not improve much. The students are all still learning though, so I suppose some hiccups are to be expected!

After lunch, we took a tour of Springwood. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born and is buried there, and it was the place that he often said truly felt like home.

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Burial place of FDR, Eleanor and two of their dogs

Old homes/estates are always among my favorite sites to see when we travel; this site is remarkable not only for the material objects it contains, but also for the fact that some of the decisions that impacted the course of history were made here. The grounds also are home to FDR’s library and archives. Built under his direction, it was the first presidential library and also housed his private study where he conducted several of his fireside chats. Today, it contains more than 50 million items related to FDR and his wife Eleanor.

Continuing with the historic home theme, the next day, we visited the Vanderbilt house, one of the oldest Hudson River estates and one of the best examples of a Gilded Age mansion.The ostentatious furnishings were a definite contrast to the more rustic and reserved elements of FDR’s home.

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I wish that our visit had coincided with the peak of the fall foliage season, because I bet that makes the views of the Hudson even more spectacular.

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We ended our trip with dinner at Henry’s at the Farm, the restaurant at Buttermilk Falls. My recommendation would absolutely be the lobster risotto and Chester would tell you to get the 48 oz Tomahawk steak. It looked exactly like the side of meat that they put into Fred’s car at the drive-through movie theater during the Flintstone’s theme song. He ate the entire thing. I feel like that deserves a plaque on the wall or some other kind of tribute!

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Although I did feel a bit guilty to leave B, it was so nice to have some time to reconnect with Chester. Life has been so busy lately, and it’s hard to find time even for a few little moments together in the midst of it all. I didn’t realize how much I missed him! We slept in (until 8:30!), had adult conversations (only about 80% of which revolved around our current and future child), enjoyed several hot meals/cups of coffee without having to worry about toddler meltdowns and even went to an actual theater to see a movie (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2). 

It was just like to good old days and I’m glad that we had this opportunity to take a breather, before things get even crazier with the arrival of Baby #2.

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(I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the world’s best Ni-Ni/mommy and the world’s best Ti-Ti/aunt for helping to make the weekend possible by letting B and Tracy, respectively, crash at their houses for a few days. You guys rock!)

 

 

 

My Little Cupcake

I’m kind of glad that B is at the age where she responds to bribery. After two years where she pretty much wanted nothing to do with her Halloween costume (see here and here), I was determined that this would be the year that I at least got one photo of her all dressed up.

Of course, she declared “no nap today!” on Halloween afternoon and was sort of moody by the early evening and my hopes were nearly dashed. But, then I told her that she could go outside to blow bubbles, if she wore her cupcake hat and dress.

Mission accomplished.

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I said “go get your pumpkin!” and she picked up every one that she owns

Although we practiced beforehand, she didn’t really get the concept of trick-or-treating. So, we kept things low key, just stopping by my mom’s, aunt’s and Chester’s parent’s house so they could see her all dressed up. Of course, in the days after Halloween, she seems to have caught on to the fact that she missed out on the opportunity for free chocolate and will bring her pumpkin treat bag over to me and sweetly say “some candy?” I’m sure that by next year, she will be begging us to take her to every house in a five mile radius so she can fill it up!

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Stopping by Grauntie’s (a.ka. Tee-Tee’s) house

And, don’t worry, I kept my promise about the bubbles. They actually created sort of a whimsical effect, swirling around as she strolled down the street.