So by now most of you “regular” visitors may be saying, hmmm, WonderfulWonders hasn’t done too much traveling in and around the Hudson Valley this summer…. Unfortunately you are right. Somehow our days have been filled with work, errands and then more work. So with my honey having this past Friday off (probably the last for a while) we decided to take a 3-day long weekend in the Catskills – we’re off to the Woodstock/Saugerties area!
Let me warn you, this blog post is a bit longer than my usual posts ~ we had such an amazing time I just couldn’t help myself when writing…
We couldn’t believe our eyes when we pulled up to the Grouse House/Penthouse, our weekend retreat! The Penthouse Suite provides complete privacy (with private entrance by spiral staircase). Here you can escape to one of 3 very private decks; the main/lowest deck is where you will find the outdoor hot tub and shower with small sitting area and porch swing. Up a small flight of wooden stairs to the middle/2nd level you have BBQ and the most entertaining squirrels you’ve ever seen! Then make your way up the final spiral stairway to the 3rd level where you have yet another private deck and entrance to the suite. The suite itself has a great king bed, Cathedral ceiling with ceiling fan, in-suite Jacuzzi tub and kitchenette! The kitchenette and self-serve breakfast is stocked with juice, muffins, fruit and coffee!
The private upper most deck has the most amazing views of the mountains and provides the tranquil setting to relax and enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you. In addition, Gilbert (the homeowner) has created a very unique “gym” area for the birds and squirrel to romp and play! Watch as the squirrels play in this amazing setting. Between the majestic views and entertainment of bird / squirrel watching you can easily loose track of time.
Gilbert is “wonderful,” he offers EVERYTHING you could need and then some! We completely enjoyed spending time chatting with him and hear about Ursa. Oh, didn’t I mention Ursa, she is the local bear that frequents the property on a pretty regular basis. She didn’t stop by (that we know of) while we were there but Gilbert has video of her attempting to climb the trees where the many bird feeders and the squirrel’s gym is located. Watch as Gilbert calmly tells her to get down and leave the feeders alone and be on her way.
The Grouse House is located only minutes from Woodstock and Saugerties. Both offer quaint shopping and eating, local artisanship and a variety of attractions along the way.
Typical for us, it was somewhat a rainy/overcast afternoon on Friday so we decided on spending the afternoon strolling around (shhh, yes that meant shopping a bit) Woodstock.
Okay, don’t laugh, first stop, yup, lunch! At Gilbert’s suggestion we headed out for lunch at Café Mezzaluna on Route 212in Saugerties. This great little cafe totally gave you that warm welcome feeling! Sherri was as friendly and down to earth as can be, made us feel like she was truly glad we stopped in. Serving your basic / classic sandwiches, drinks and homemade ice cream, Cafe Mezzaluna should be on everyone’s “to do” list along Route 212! We’ll be back, for more homemade mango ice cream – it was delicious! Visit our Weekend in the Catskills (Woodstock & Saugerties) July 2010 flickr album.
With our appetites feed we were now ready to venture into Saugerties. Yes it was still rainy/overcast but we decided we should check out the village anyway. To our surprise, we stumbled on The Horses Are Coming To Saugerties! For you faithful WonderfulWonders followers, you will remember last year my honey and I accidentally stumbled upon Cat-N-Around Catskill and Best in Show Hudson Dogsso for us to accidentally stumble on the Horses Are Coming to Saugerties was extra special! We loved it! The horses will be on display until September so if you can get up to Saugerties we say giddy-up!
We continued to walk through the village of Saugerties stopping by a few antique and/or thrift/gift shops.
Due to the rain, we left Saugerties and headed for Woodstock! Guess we were thinking it wouldn’t be raining 10 minutes down the road LOL. It’s been several years since I’ve been to Woodstock and I was just as excited to be there now as I was the first time I visited some 20 years ago. The shops are the same, the people are the same, heck, even some of the clothing is the same!
Known as the Colony of the Arts, Woodstock stands for and represents the idealism of a peaceful mind set and way of life. Woodstock, NY located in Ulster County, most famous for lending its name to the Woodstock Festival, actually held at Max Yasgur‘s dairy farm 43 miles away in Bethel, New York in Sullivan County. It’s a great day of walking around shops and galleries, enjoying good conversation along the way!
We stopped in a few shops including the Bread Alone Bakery’s Woodstock Café on Mill Hill Roadeagerly anticipating some of the tempting treats described on their website. Hmmm, granted, it was late afternoon/early evening but they really didn’t have a large selection, leaving us slight disappointed. I’m sure their treats are tasty, perhaps we’ll get to try again another time. Then we just popped in and out of a few shops. . .okay, this time there was no major shopping spree on my part, I was good (saving up for our St. Thomas vacation end of August).
So we all know how much we love our waterfront dinning right, so we had heard a great deal about The Bear Café, Streamside & Fireside Dinning on Tinker Street (Route 212) so we just had to have dinner here. Because we had a late lunch, neither of was terribly hungry so we both had the three-cheese ravioli with garlic – it was good, but, too much garlic for our taste.
After a full day of enjoying the drive to the Catskills, strolling stepping back in time while strolling through the streets of Woodstock, it was time to head back to the suite for a relaxing evening in the hot tub! While enjoying each other’s company as we discussed our day, we were graced with the presence of a local visitor! Amazing to have this deer just walk past you on her way to the other side of the yard!
Up early Saturday morning to enjoy our coffee and muffin on the deck while soaking up the fog lifting over the mountains! This was so beautiful and peaceful. Along with this beauty of the mountains came along more local visitors – these wild turkeys casually went from one end of the yard to the other as we watched from our penthouse deck.
I was completely mesmerized as I sat sipping my coffee, watching the birds fly from feeder to feeder, the squirrel’s playing, the turkeys strolling along and the sun burning off the early mountain fog. This is the good life! Check out one of Gilbert’s videos of his “squirrel circus.”
Ironically, the bird that was flying around the most was the American Goldfinch—interesting little fact: the American Goldfinch is the state bird of New Jersey (my honey’s home state), as well as Iowa & Washington.
Saturday morning and it’s very hot and humid even in the mountains. So, we decide to go swimming in The Deep Swimming hold in Woodstock. Located on Route 212 about 1.5 miles before the center of Woodstock This secluded setting, is just minutes outside of Woodstock . It’s easy to miss though. Look for Gallo’s plant nursery on Route 212 and the entrance to Big Deep is on the other side. This Google map has approximate location. Park where you can and walk down the dirt path to the swimming area and be sure to carry out any trash you bring in!
After a nice swim we headed over to Opus 40 on Fite Roadin Saugerties. This truly is a fascinating pieces of sculpture ever created by a single man.
The work is an immense composition of finely fitted stone, rising in ramps and swirling terraces around pools and trees and fountains out of the rock bed of an abandoned bluestone quarry. It spreads out over more than six acres.
It is the product of more than thirty-seven years of a man’s life. His name was Harvey Fite. He worked alone, using his hands and traditional quarryman’s tools, to build his masterpiece: Opus 40.Mr. Fite purchased the abandoned quarry in 1937 and began working on his masterpiece the following year in 1938. He worked tirelessly for the next 37 years, passing away just 3 years prior to it’s original goal of 40 years.
Then the grand finale of our weekend was the Celtic Woman concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Saturday night!
Home of the original Woodstock back in 1969-3 days of music in the Hudson Valley. We first visited the museum which was like a flash back to the 60’s right before your eyes! It was great; and while I was born just a little too late to actually be able to go or even completely understand what was happening at the time, I know now that it was an event of its decade and one our nation will never forget.
We sat and ate our picnic lunch/dinner as we waited for the shuttle to take us to the pavilion. The Celtic Woman were outstanding! They are truly gifted and talented ladies. As the concert was coming to its end the skies lit up with lighting while thunder rolled over head and the rains came down! We were completely soaked. It was like 1969 without the mud.
So can you tell we had a “wonderful” weekend in the Catskills. Despite the rain on Friday afternoon/evening, and again Saturday night and yet again Sunday afternoon, we can’t wait to go back.
As always, I wish you days filled with happiness and “wonder” – take the time to “wonder” what it is that made you smile today! Don’t forget, we would love to hear from you about your if you’ve visited any of the places we’ve visited, leave us a comment below!