Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Learn About Bears

Are there bears in the Hudson Valley? Of course there are. Are they dangerous? Or just a nuisance?

The answers to those last two questions are -- yes, no, maybe, it depends.

To learn more about these majestic creatures, you should attend a free Nature Education Program, "Black Bears", Friday, May 30th at 7:00 pm in the Discovery Lodge at Belleayre Mountain.

Bears are a central part of the outdoor experience. This program will educate you how to
  • protect your trash bins and birdfeeders from hungry bears fresh from their winter hibernation,
  • act and react when confronted by a bear.
  • co-exist peacefully with this iconic, furry forest dweller.

The program features Department of Environmental Conservation Biologist Larry Bifaro. The man knows a thing or two about bears -- he is co-leader of the statewide black bear management team. His other duties include general wildlife and wetland work in Greene County.

Who knows the formal, scientific name of the bear? No, not Yogi Bear or Winnie the Pooh bear or Teddy bear. A pot of honey to anybody who could name Ursus Americanus.

Bears don't just visit the Hudson Valley -- they live here!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Happy 125th Birthday to the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883, linking the city of New York with the city of Brooklyn (years later Brooklyn became part of the new, unified New York City).

It is an icon of engineering, and, simply, one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.

So, you must be asking -- what does the Brooklyn Bridge have to do with the Hudson Valley? Plenty.

Its architect, John Roebling, built the bridge with cement from Rosendale, in the Hudson Valley. Rosendale Cement also was used to build the base of the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument in DC, and the wings of the US Capitol building.

Roebling was injured during the 13-year-long construction of this bridge, and the job was finished by his son, Washington Roebling, who married a girl from Hudson Valley.

Emily Warren's parents operated Warren's Tavern in Garrison, which opened in 1761 as a stagecoach stop. Today, it is the Bird and Bottle Inn. Restaurant downstairs, charming bed & breakfast upstairs. Many guests request to stay in "Emily's Room".

The Brooklyn Bridge -- so much a part of New York City -- is one more reason to visit the Hudson Valley.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hunter Mountain Skyride Opens Memorial Day Weekend

In the winter, it's called a chairlift, and it whisks skiers and snowboarders to the top of one of the best reasons to visit the Hudson Valley.

In the summer, Hunter Mountain, changes the name of this device to Skyride, but it still whisks outdoor enthusiasts to the top of one of the best reasons to visit the Hudson Valley.

The view from the top is a 360-degree picture postcard panorama, so be sure to ride up with your camera.

There are three ways to get back down. You could ride the lift down -- that takes around eight minutes. You could walk back down -- a liesurely stroll takes around 30 minutes, depending on whether you play frisbee with your friend's dog en route, as I did last summer. Or, you could ride your mountain bike down.

The Hunter Mountain Skyride opens for the summer starting July 5, but will be running this Memorial Day weekend from 10am - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $8 for adults (13 and over) and $6 for juniors (7-12 years). Children 6 and under ride for free!

Hunter Mountain -- and the Hudson Valley -- are a great place to visit in any season.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Visit the West Point Museum

The West Point Museum contains one of the world's largest collections of weapons, flags, uniforms and other military artifacts, from ancient Egypt and Roman times through today. An excellent reason to visit the Hudson Valley.

Look for items from some of the most famous graduates of the United States Military Academy, which is the official name of West Point, including the generals

  • Dwight David Eisenhower,
  • George S. Patton,
  • Robert E. Lee,
  • William Tecumseh Sherman.

There is an exhibit of items from the NASA space program, and sections on Native American weaponry, Revolutionary War flintlocks, even a 1916 Dodge Brothers car used by officers in World War I.

The West Point Museum is open daily.

West Point is one of the most famous and most popular sites to visit in the Hudson Valley.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Top Hudson Valley Restaurants in Historic Buildings

The Hudson Valley is dotted with a bounty of lovingly restored Revolutionary-era buildings. It's one of the greatest collections of historic homes anywhere in the Northeast.

While some of these have been turned into museums -- such as Philipsburg Manor in Tarrytown (pictured) -- others have been turned into fine dining establishments for elegant, special occasion dining, whether it is Mother's Day or another day.
  • Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua, a 1790 farmhouse that was a rowdy roadhouse during the 1930s,

  • Old Drover's Inn, in Dover Plains, where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton hid away from the photographers following their romance,

  • Depuy Canal House in High Falls, where chef/owner John Novi introduced fresh, seasonal, local ingredients in a gourmet menu to the Hudson Valley in the 1970s. That's when he bought the 1797 tavern.

You can read more about the history of good taste in the Hudson Valley in my article in the May issue of AAA Car & Travel magazine.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


The logo that started it all is back. The iconic "I LOVE NY" campaign has gotten a facelift and new budget sure to bring more tourists to visit the Hudson Valley.

"I LOVE NY' is one of the world's most well-known, signature brands, copied by hundreds of other cities and states.

The new advertising and marketing campaign is expected to help increase New York State tourism from 155 million visitors in 2006 to 200 million by 2020, and boost direct tourism spending to $60 billion annually.

Tourism in New York State supports more than 740,000 jobs, which does not include the souvenir makers who will be churning out zillions of "I LOVE NY" t-shirts, coffee cups, refrigerator magnets, and other chotchkes.

The original "I LOVE NY' campaign was launched 31 years ago.

Here's a tidbit I bet you didn't know -- the slogan was coined by John Dyson, when he was commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Today, Dyson owns Millbrook Vineyards and Winery in the Hudson Valley.

I love New York. I love the Hudson Valley, too.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Learn Cheesemaking at Sprout Creek Farm

Learn cheesemaking on Saturdays this spring and summer at a Hudson Valley farm.

Sprout Creek Farm is a unique teaching farm in Poughkeepsie. The farm raises both grass-fed goats and cows, and has extensive education programs for both adults and kids, to teach us that food does not grow in styrofoam and shrink-wrapped supermarket packages.

The Saturday cheesemaking classes are taught by Colin McGrath, a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, who also supervises the farm's own production of artisanal goat cheeses. More than 600 pounds of cheese a week is produced from Sprout Creek Farm's herds. The cheeses also are available for purchase at the farm store.

Reservations are required: call: 845-485-9885