Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wounded Soldiers and Marines go Camping

If there is something that Soldiers and Marines are good at, it is leading from the front and working as a team. These ideals will be put to test when visiting Wounded Warriors are paired up one-on-one basis with STRIDE Youth Athletes for a Wounded Warrior Fall Family Retreat at Moreau State Park in Glens Falls in September.

STRIDE also has Wounded Warrior ski and snowboard programs. The photo you see here is from one of those this past winter.

Glens Falls really is in the Adirondaks, but its water feeds into the Hudson River and therefore the Hudson Valley. More importantly, this is such a worthwhile program that it should be mentioned here -- and supported -- including by Hudson Valley businesses who can contribute money as sponsors, or products such as steaks and sleeping bags that the Wounded Warriors, their spouses and their kids, will need for this weekend.

STRIDE is a unique program, since it unites Soldiers, Marines and other Veterans who have sustained injuries and/or disabilities with some of STRIDE’s youth athletes who also have special needs. So, it's theraputic and supportive for both sides.

It is a first of its kind program nationwide. Each soldier, along with their family members ‘volunteers’ to mentor a STRIDE youth athlete with a similar disability for a weekend of learning together. Soldiers and children are introduced via email and ‘pen-pal’ before camping together, so by the time the event is held, it's more like an extended family than a group of strangers.

STRIDE has been taking youths with special needs into the woods of New York State Parks for more than two decades. The success of that program, plus the growing population of U. S. Military members returning from deployment with permanent injuries, prompted them to add this type of camping event.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Help Clean up The Hudson River

Join Riverkeeper, TEVA Footwear and Keep Rockland Beautiful this Saturday, July 26th, to help get the junk out of the water and away from the beautiful shores of the Hudson River.

There are two ways you can help -- actually three, if you count making a donation to Riverkeeper, the #1 protector of our beautiful Hudson River.

Grab a trash bag or two and meet at the Piermont Pier in Piermont for a 10:30 a.m. start to pick up trash around the pier and nearby, too. To sign up, contact Heartie Look -- what a great name! -- at

If you have a kayak or a canoe, you can help clean up the river while you paddle from Nyack to Piermont. This mid-river clean-up starts at Nyack's Memorial Park at 9 a.m. Contact Manny Polloni from American Terrain Outdoors Store to sign-up --

The Hudson River is the heart and soul of the Hudson Valley. Help keep it clean. See you there?

Virgin Atlantic Serving Hudson Valley Wines

We all know Sir Richard Branson has excellent taste and is a truly visionary businessman. All good reasons to serve Hudson Valley wines to passengers of his Virgin Atlantic airline. A selection is available to Upper Class passengers.

Hudson Valley wines are being poured for Upper Class passengers at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse lounge at London's Heathrow Airport. This is not your ordinary airline lounge, and it's not just because of the HV wines. This lounge has a fabulous bar with talented 'mixologists', a mouth-watering array of things to nibble, including sushi, free internet and Wi-Fi, a roof garden, and even a beauty salon where you can get a quick haircut, mini-facial or manicure -- all complimentary.

Let's get back to the wines. Thanks to the I Love NY program of Empire State Development, which partnered with Virgin Atlantic, a selection of New York wines are being offered through September. One of them is Millbrook Cabernet Franc, from the winery owned by John Dyson, in Millbrook. How appropriate, since Dyson is the man who coined the iconic I Love NY phrase when he was commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Commerce in the 70s

Virgin Atlantic also is offering a selection of Long Island and Finger Lakes wines. Hey, they are good, too. These include a Wolffer Chardonnay and Peconic Bay Cabernet Sauvignon from Long Island, and Dr. Frank Semi-Dry Riesling and Heron Hill Rosé of Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes.
Virgin's Clubhouse concierges are telling their guests that when they land at JFK, they are less than two hours from the wineries of the Hudson Valley. Or Long Island. And a bit longer to the Finger Lakes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

African-American Food Festival

Philipsburg Manor's third annual African-American Foodways Festival is being held on Sunday, June 27th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the historic farm. The event is in conjunction with Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, and will feature West African, West Indian, and colonial American foods.

You'll learn about okra, beans and other leafy greens -- how they were prepared in the 1600s, and the important role of food in the culture of the Hudson Valley. There also will be dance performances and children's activities.

Events are being held in both places, so be sure to take advantage of the free shuttle that runs between the two sites all day -- between Philipsburg Manor and Stone Barns.

Food and history -- two great reasons to visit the Hudson Valley.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

George Washington Slept Here

George Washington did more than visit the Hudson Valley -- he lived here for the last six months of the Revolutionary War, and for six months after what he called the "cessation of hostilities".

Gen. Washington commanded the troops from a brick farmhouse in Newburgh, on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. The house was owned by the Hasbrouck family, for whom the nearby village Hasbrouck Heights is named. Appropriately, the name of the street where this house is located is Liberty Street.

It could be the most patriotic thing you do this Fourth of July weekend -- besides flying the American flag, of course -- to visit the house now known as Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site. It's a museum about the Continental Army's activities in the Hudson Valley, plus an art gallery that's mostly portraits of Revolutionary patriots -- only Hudson Valley patriots, no Boston Patriots, with or without football helmets.

It was in this house that Gen. Washington rejected the idea of becoming king after the war. It was here that he created and awarded the Badge of Military Merit, which later became the Purple Heart. And it was from here that he posted letters to State Governors that influenced the writing of the Constitution.

Another important bit of history about Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site -- in 1850 an act of Congress named Washington's Hudson Valley headquarters as the very first National Historic Landmark. How appropriate for the first President of the United States.