My friend Steve refers to his flea market finds as “antiques of a dubious nature.” I’m sure his wife calls them something else. A few weeks ago I purchased this rusted metal frame during my Colgate University reunion weekend, intending to turn it into a wonderful memento. When I brought it to the folks at Architectural Metal and Glass and tried to explain my vision, their reaction was, at best, dubious. I picked it up today and I think they were actually sorry to see it go. Perhaps it is possible to turn an ugly duckling into a swan? Now if I can only figure out a way to hang this in the garden to reflect the hydrangeas while they last. Nestling it in the shrub is not a practical solution.
Wouldn’t this be absolutely fabulous on the Hudson?
It’s an outdoor arena on the island of Usedom, one of Germany’s Baltic islands. Vacationers can enjoy all of the Euro 2012 action while lounging by the beach on navy and white striped sling chairs. I couldn’t find confirmation but I have to believe there’s wonderful food and drink involved too!
Can we build this in time for the Olympics? Please?
It rained throughout May. And much of June. If this weather’s got you singing the blues, I’m suggesting a simple cure: food and fresh air as soon as there’s a break in the grey skies. Throw a blanket in the car and head to the Italian Food Center in West Haverstraw, about 30 miles north of NYC. Once you’ve packed your picnic, spend the afternoon at the spectacular, riverfront Haverstraw Bay Park.
If you have reason to leave Route 17 at Roscoe, New York (Trout Town USA and Home of the World Famous Roscoe Diner) and begin to wind your way through hamlets like Walton, Masonville and Norwich, your head will swivel dangerously as you check out the sights. The Cannonsville Reservoir on Route 10 is breathtaking, particularly in dusk’s early hours. My friend Chris is fascinated by the number of houses that have not one, not two, but three grills on the front porch. It is truly inexplicable.
It was Christmas in July when Dad brought home the silver Plymouth Fury station wagon. It meant that my brother, sister and I no longer had to fight over who had to sit in the middle of the back seat with their feet on the hump (where the drive shaft used to be). Someone got to ride in the rear-facing third seat, stretched out on the luxurious naugahyde, like Cleopatra on her chaise, napping or making faces at the passengers in the car behind us. This was a huge deal because summer meant vacation and vacation meant road trip. I was the oldest. I was the loudest. I got that back seat. Continue reading
If your summer travel plans include NY’s Central-Leatherstocking Region (Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, Howe Caverns, Turning Stone Casino) do yourself a favor and detour through Oneonta (Exit 16 off of I-88). Currently operated by the grandchildren of the original owners, Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q serves abundant quantities of ribs, beef and, arguably, the best chicken in upstate New York. Continue reading
This directive comes from Hunter S. Thompson’s classic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” While I would never publicly advise loading the car trunk with polypharmaceuticals and hitting the open road, gonzo-style, like the good doctor and his Samoan sidekick, I do embrace their spirt and approach my journeys with similar gusto and enthusiasm.
I like to think of travel as recess for adults, an opportunity to play and escape from the everyday routine. It’s like hopping on Mr. Rogers‘ trolley and transporting to the Neighborhood of Make Believe. You get to be someone else (The Tourist) in a new place (Bali! Punta Cana! Detroit!) and create your own adventure. When you travel with a sense of wonder and an openness to a new environment, special things can and will happen.
The first step is buying the ticket. The second is putting aside the fear and anxiety that travel naturally induces. I begin each trip with the assumption that something will go wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong? Probably not, but accepting the inevitability and learning to roll with it enables you to transform bad situations into memorable stories. For example, on a recent trip, my traveling companion contracted a severe case of Ali Baba’s revenge in Morocco. It peaked several days later in Madrid. Seeking some relief, the front desk clerk directed me to the local pharmacia where I acquired treatment. I administered it to her and she promptly dismissed me and took to bed. I had no desire to dine alone at a traditional restaurant, so I wandered around and stumbled upon the Mercado de San Miguel, a lively food flea market. I spent some time sampling delicious tapas and rioja and brought her back a cream puff that she enjoyed in the morning. We learned a valuable lesson (“Don’t eat the grapes in Tangier!”) and laugh about that night when we remember our trip.
The blog will feature several categories of posts, updated weekly. I’ll give you snapshots of some of my favorite spots, quick peeks behind some of the small doors I’ve opened on the road. Since I live in the Hudson Valley, I’ll provide day trip itineraries that combine a destination with a dining suggestion in the area. In addition to sharing tips that have worked well for me, I’ll show you how I’ve incorporated souvenirs from the road into my home. It’s a terrific way to rekindle your vacation memories every day. And finally, I’d like to engage you in a discussion about regional family vacation spots – the ones we remember from childhood and the places where we bring our families today.
So, open your suitcase and throw in what fits. Then hit the road, rails or skies. There are no rules. Well, maybe just one – enjoy the ride!