Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hudson River Valley

For Memorial Day weekend . . . yes, that's right, I said Memorial Day, so I'm a little behind . . . we took a spontaneous trip to the Hudson River Valley. Marty had a few extra days off, and we decided we should go somewhere, so we checked out some websites and Marty discovered this itinerary. When he showed it to me, I got all excited, because there were several things on there I had known about from when I lived in NYC, and always wanted to do, but had forgotten. It was perfectly planned out too, so we just adjusted it a bit based on our traveling companion (Oliver), and added Saratoga Springs because Marty wanted to see the horses.

Traveling with a 3 year old isn't easy. Actually, it used to be easy, but suddenly, it's hard. So we had some challenges that grew worse on a later trip (that I'll get to eventually...patience people!).

Our first day, we headed to Storm King Art Center, a place I had known all about, and always wanted to visit. I'm just sorry we didn't go there earlier in our time here in the Northeast, as I think it would have been amazing to visit at different times of the year. It is a 500 acre sculpture park, with 100 works of modern site-specific sculpture. One of my areas of interest in Art History was Earth Art, as well as post-war American Art, so this was just my thing. It is an amazingly beautiful landscape, and it was a gorgeous day to visit. We all loved it, even Oliver, who was very interested in all the cool shapes and colors, and we talked a lot about what we saw and how big this one was or how many squares that one had. I think we've got an art lover! Makes Mommy proud!!

 Mark di Suvero's massive pieces. See that guy walking for a sense of scale. And yet the landscape around it was so big they were tiny in comparison.

 Oliver, communing with nature (don't mind the sunscreen marks on his face).

 Yes, he has had a haircut since then!

 Oliver and I go check out the big red Calder.

 My favorite, by Andy Goldsworthy

 Art inspired by nature. Love.

 Oliver's favorite mode of transportation these days. Walking to see that piece (I forgot the artist)

 Still full of energy, leading us on.

Up close, flat as a pancake.

"Let's go that way!", pointing towards the car. It was time for a very late lunch.

After lunch, we headed to the Staatsburg State Historic Site, where some cool big mansion was located on a state park. Eh, it was not all that interesting and we seemed to have arrived in the midst of a family reunion. Oliver didn't like it, so we just drove around, and then went back to see a Vanderbilt Mansion down the road. It was closed, but we walked around the grounds. Another trip, another Vanderbilt Mansion (we had seen several on our Newport trip). Oh, to have been a Vanderbilt!

The next day, we went to see Olana, the historic home of the famous Hudson River School painter, Frederic Church, which he designed based on Persian architecture he had seen on his travels. Another one of those places that I had always wanted to see. Unfortunately, Oliver did not. Not that tours of antique homes are high on the to-do list of 3 year olds, but one can always hope. So I took the tour alone, while he and Daddy enjoyed the landscape and waited oh so patiently for me to return. 

 Posing for me . . . 

 but only for a second.

 The view from the house.

 Another view of the porch, overlooking the river.

Stopping for a snack, on the custom built rustic outdoor benches.

How he really felt about the whole thing.

Our plan was to also visit Thomas Cole's home and studio (another HRS painter), but given the mood of the day, we decided to skip it. We attempted a drive to the Kaaterskill Falls, but so did everyone else in the state this Memorial Day weekend. Given that there are approximately 23 parking spaces in the area, the mountain road had turned into a very dangerous parking lot. So we turned around while we still could and got out of there. It was a pretty drive though! It was a long day in the car, so we headed to our hotel, found some dinner, and crashed. Finally, Oliver was happy. That kid loves hotels! 

The last day, we drove up to Saratoga Springs to see the horses, which we saw online were racing that day. We figured everyone would like this! Well, oops, the harness races were that day, but not the regular horse races. Turns out there are 2 race tracks in 2 locations, and it's very confusing which is which. Oh well, we checked out the cute little town, with a very vibrant revitalized downtown, had a great lunch, and played in the park for a while. We saw all the old hotels from when people used to come "take the waters." Very retro. Then we went to the harness races, why not? We even bet on a horse: Oliver's Kiss! He lost. Apparently nothing there was camera-worthy, because we have no pics from the entire day.

We drove back home through Vermont, so that we could say we've been there. The Green Mountains were beautiful, and it seemed like a very peaceful area. Oliver was great in the car, as he usually is, which bodes well for our upcoming (in 1 week, 2 days!) long trip. Now I have another state to add to my list! So, overall the trip was nice. Things didn't work out totally according to plan, but things seldom do when you have a 3 year old. Still, I'm really glad we got to see that part of the country, it really is so beautiful.

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