NY: Catskills of Sullivan County Shout Outs

While I love the Catskills, I found Sullivan County hit or miss so I share my favorites.

Entertainment – Bethel Woods – cooking demonstrations and tasting – the home of 1969 Woodstock

Dinner and Wine – Seminary Hill Vineyard

Seminary Hill Vineyard

Cattail Brook Falls- Livingston Manor – a bit hidden in plain site;

Livingston Manor Covered Bridge -1869;

Roeblings wire suspension bridge – oldest in US and used to be an aqueduct with cars now where the water used to be PA on the other side.

Hawks Nest road overlooking Delaware River- originally a dirt road in 1859;

Hawks Nest
Stone Arch Bridge
Ten Mile River

Inspiration: Magnolia Snow Flakes

I can hardly express how much joy I get from this tree – together with friends who each year return to view it with me. Especially in the spring where its flowers look like snow flakes in the foggy background

I was gifted a wind chime with a low pitch gong that periodically reminds me to be present and appreciate the sounds, the scents and the view. It was perfectly placed on the tree by another friend. I appreciate each of my friends and recall of their contributions each time the tree blooms and the chime sounds.

But of course they’re not snowflakes. They’re beautiful magnolias that only bloom for about 3 weeks a year. They may even shed sooner if there’s a hard April shower.

All the more reason to stop and smell the magnolias every year around Passover and Easter and celebrate the new beginnings of Spring with friends – new and old.

With appreciation in front of the Magnolia

CT: Madison: Hammonasset State Park

Enjoyed a wonderfully tranquil walk beach side.

For several years I have gone to the Meig’s point area of Hammonasset in hopes to see a glimpse of the winter seals that are said to come near the shore.

Fortunately I came upon a woman with binoculars to improve my view. The picture is at a distance but the memory is crystal clear.

The return walk equally tranquil and peaceful as a man sat on driftwood and softly played his guitar. I found myself drawn towards him as he looked like Sam Eliot. I smiled and nodded in appreciation for his music.

NY: New Paltz: Mohonk Mountain House Mystery Weekend

Hands down Mohonk Mountain house provides an escape from the real world. It’s several miles away from civilization upon a mountain – just enough distance.

Happily snowbound for the mystery and puzzle weekend, we all remained immersed in the 1920s during prohibition to uncover the clues to solve the case of who murdered Lulu!

The cast remained in character as the acts unfolded over the weekend as well as you may encounter them in the halls or at afternoon tea. The puzzles were a challenging enough to keep you engaged while not being overwhelmingly so to discourage.

In addition to a puzzling weekend the stay also included ice skating, snow tubing, the pool, snow shoeing or skiing as well as indoors options!

NYC: NY Botanical Garden – Orchid Show

What’s great about returning to a recurring event is it gives you the opportunity to see the lesser obvious parts of the attractions.

While we took in the bigger draws of this years orchid show – and they were stunning – I was intrigued by the patterned greenery as well as the cactus “snakes.”

They also add an art installation in a long hallway between exhibits which we happened to go through on our own! Photo op!

Dress in layers as it’s cold out during this season but hot in the greenhouses! This famous exhibit is included in the annual membership which is something to consider if nearby.

NY: Lake George- Ice Castles & Winter Festival

With mild winters upon us, the frozen ice castles in Lake George is not always a certainty. The first year I signed up it was cancelled due to the warm weather. But this year it was a go!

There was a real igloo with an ice bar. I had a “Dirty Snowman” which was hot chocolate with a bit of whiskey. It was all very well executed and lots of beautiful people coming in costumes and taking fun pictures.

One of my favorite other activities was snow tubing on Gore Mountain which is my first experience at that height. I was pretty much a woman superhero with my heated gloves. So fun!

Keep a look out for their winter festival and go during those weeks so that there’s a bit more to do in the area in these winter months.

Fun fact- a week before I was on vacation in the Florida keys! It was fun to go from one end of the country and temperature from one week to the next – not easy but fun! Challenge yourself and if the timing works out just do it!

RI-Newport- Mansions at Christmas

In recent years I have been searching for those fairytale Christmas towns to get me in the holiday spirit. This years pick was Newport and the mansion tours.

The Breakers

You can buy tickets for their self guided tours to three mansions- The Breakers, The Elm and Marblehouse.

The Elm

I appreciated getting all these great ideas for decorating trees, fireplaces and doorways – realizing you can do much more with an ornament besides hanging it on a tree.

Marble House

It’s also a great activity to do regardless of the weather. A great side trip is to Castle Hill for their hot chocolate bar or to stop in to One Pelham Place and hear the dueling pianos.

CT: Thompson: Morning Bekons Farm

A few years ago I was enamored by a LLama named Bolt whom I met at a farm in Goshen, CT in 2019.

I didn’t know much about llamas and somehow thought they only lived in some far off land – many of us who grew up in NYC feel that way.

Researching the quiet corner of CT I stumbled upon an alpaca farm and wondered what’s the difference between a llama and an alpaca?

They both spit. The difference is primarily in their size and the coarseness of their hair – alpaca hair being softer and finer. I bought a winter headband as a momento.

They were super friendly- especially baby Harold. So friendly we had to be taught how to put up our hand to move them back! They very much enjoyed selfies I found. As you can see they were hamming it up and photo bombing my shots!

It was a happy day with the Alpacas. There were also other animals at the farm and the tour was an hour for $15 with the owner who was a great guide. His wife was running the store. Sweet couple!

343a Sand Dam Road, Thompson

Next stop/post: Tri-State Marker CT/RI/MA accessible from Thompson

This is Bolt – still my favorite llama

CT: New London: Colchester: Cato Corner Farm

With part of my family from France, cheese and wine tastings is one of my favorite pastimes. While I can’t seem to get myself to France, tasting the delicious farm fresh cheeses at Cato Corner in Colchester takes me away.

I was so busy eating I didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of the actual cheeses but I got three on this lovely warm day in November.

Part of the farm’s charm is to visit the cows and observe how they are loved and cared for which comes out in the cheese I think.

A great escape to wander the farm and speak with the staff who truly enjoys sharing knowledge about the cheese and the art behind its creation.

Ahh. . . The cheeses I selected and recommend. . . Wise Womenchego, Sofia Feta and Aged Bloomsday. . . Each coupled with your favorite wine will transport you on an international journey.

178 Cato Corner Road, Colchester