Holiday Festivities at the Berkshire Botanical Garden 6 Dec 2013, 7:12 am
|Poster Art Courtesy of the Berkshire Botanical Garden|
The Gallery of Wreaths, just off the exhibit hall, is filled with hand made wreaths, artfully displayed on old doors. Look at these wreaths, just a few of the many which will be offered for sale. The Garden volunteers have been hard at work. Whether your tastes run to a traditional wreath with greens and red ribbons or one using materials gathered in the meadows and woodlands, you will find a beautiful wreath to decorate your home for the holiday season.
When I stopped by to see the preparations, volunteers were hard at work. Go to the Garden's Facebook page for more photos showing the transformation taking place in the Education Center.
This annual Holiday Marketplace weekend event kicks off with a cocktail party tonight, Friday, December 6, 2013, from 5-8 pm. There is an open bar and a raw bar, and you get first dibs on the beautiful items for sale. Last year, chef-owner Terry Moore of the Old Mill was there, whipping up mushroom risotto. Hmmm, I wonder if he will be there this year? Or perhaps another local celebrity chef!
The Holiday Marketplace runs from 10-5 on Saturday, December 7th, and 10-4 on Sunday the 8th. The Berkshire Botanical Garden is located at the junction of Routes 183 and 102 between West Stockbridge and Stockbridge, just 20 minutes east of my bed and breakast, the Inn at Green River. The annual "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, A Norman Rockwell Holiday" event takes place this weekend as well. You can read more about that in my blog post from last November.
Darlene Love in the Berkshires 28 Nov 2013, 9:15 amAlthough I have known Darlene Love's music for 40 years or so, (remember "He's a Rebel"?) I was not familiar with the person or the name behind the voice until I saw "20 Feet from Stardom" at the Berkshire Film Festival last spring.
|Image courtesy gettyimage|
This documentary, which premiered last year at the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of the back up singers whose voices we recognize, as they were instrumental in creating the sound of the music, but we probably didn't know their names. They often sang with no credit given, as was the case with Ms. Love during her early years singing for The Blossoms and The Crystals, groups managed by music producer, Phil Spector.
Now I can't wait to hear Darlene Love perform live at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center the day after Thanksgiving! Click here for a YouTube video about her - you will instantly know her voice.
There is still time to get tickets.
There is still time to get tickets.
Thanksgiving Traditions Sale 27 Nov 2013, 9:51 amTraditions, the wonderful linens business based here in Columbia County, always holds a big sale the weekend after Thanksgiving in their Claverack, NY outlet store.
Many of the matelasse coverlets and shams, pillows and linens at my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, have come from Traditions.
The Thorsden room, for example, features ruffled linen shams and a woven paisley design coverlet from Traditions.
At the sale last year, I purchased the pillow cases shown below in the Martin Van Buren room, as well as yardage of the same fabric, which I intend to use to make a new duvet cover for the comforter on that bed.
I just love this fabric, with a boucle stitch in green accenting the paisley crewel embroidered pattern on a cream linen fabric. As you can see, I am partial to paisley!
This year's sale, Friday and Saturday, November 29-30, 2013, runs from 9 am to 4 pm both days. Traditions Linens is about 20 minutes from the Inn at Green River. If you can't make the trip this time, plan to come in the spring, when they also hold a big sale around Memorial Day. And check out their website to peruse the gorgeous bedding collections and other products.
With Beth's Farm Kitchen on a Wild Maine Blueberry Run 17 Nov 2013, 11:05 amIf you have stayed at my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, you have enjoyed the wonderful jams made by Beth Linksey, owner of Beth's Farm Kitchen. Or you may have encountered her jams in their distinctive red and white labeled jars at the green markets in New York city.
|Photo Courtesy Jumping Rocks Photography|
Twice a year, Beth travels to Orland, Maine, north of Camden, to pick up wild Maine blueberries for the jam she makes for Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's blueberry yoghurt. I have joined her several times on this quick overnight trip. I enjoy it because it takes me back to my old stomping grounds. I grew up in New Hampshire, and worked in the seacoast region during the summers while in college. Also, my grandmother was a "Maine-iac" as she used to say. This is a long haul, driving a big van 8 hours up and 8 hours back, but the fun part is a great dinner and an over night stay, usually at a bed and breakfast, and I always enjoy seeing how other innkeepers do it!
The big treat on this trip was dinner at Primo, Melissa Kelly's fantastic farm to table restaurant in Rockland, Maine. In the late '90's, Chef Kelly worked at Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. Inn nearby, and I have been wanting to eat at this restaurant ever since she left Columbia County and moved to Maine.
We started the evening with a drink at the upstairs bar, where these fabulous skinny, hand rolled bread sticks were offered in large glass vases, almost like a dried floral arrangement. And they were very tasty.
We then moved downstairs for dinner. I am used to excellent farm to table food here in our region of the upper Hudson Valley, but I must say, there is a reason Chef Kelly just won the James Beard Best Chef in the North East award....again. Here is a dessert we shared. Beth loved the pumpkin creme brule on the left, I preferred the ginger bread like little cake on the right.
We stayed overnight at the Strawberry Hill Seaside Inn, a motel in the most stunning location. Here is the view from the back, overlooking the Penobscot Bay.
Just a quick cup of tea in the morning, and out the door by 7:30 to get to Allen's in Orland, Maine, where Beth buys her blueberries. Aren't the blueberry field gorgeous in the fall when the leaves turn red?
As I said, this is a working trip. Here is Beth helping load 2500 pounds of frozen wild blueberries into the van...
with a little help from the guy with the front loader!
I helped too!
Next stop, Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a delicious lunch of seafood chowder and Caesar salad looking out at the harbor from our table by the windows at the River House Restaurant on Bow Street.
Downtown Portsmouth has come a long way from the early '70's when I was a cocktail waitress in Hampton, NH and used to go up to Portsmouth after work with other waitresses and bartenders to Gilley's, an all night place that served hotdogs and hamburgers....from the windows of a c. 1940 Worcester diner, parked in the main square. It was hauled into place each night by a truck... and received a parking ticket each night...for decades. In the mid '70's it was moved to a permanent location, and you can still go there...I plan to on the next trip. Watch this video to get the whole story.
The historic section of Portsmouth, near the harbour, is now gentrified and flourishing, with lots of shops, restaurants and bars.
Thanks, Beth, for taking me along on this trip to help drive the van, and enjoy the seacoast food!
Cabot Cheese Farm Tours this Columbus Day Weekend 11 Oct 2013, 6:56 amCabot Cheese is a favorite of mine, partly because friends are members of the network of farmers whose dairy farms produce milk for Cabot, but also because it is delicious cheese and local to New England and upstate New York.
|Photo Courtesy B. Docktor
These beautiful cows are from a farm in our region, although as you may be able to tell, these are not dairy cows, but I can't resist sharing one of B. Docktor's gorgeous photos.
This Sunday, October 13, 2013, from 11 am to 2 pm, 49 Cabot farms across the region will welcome visitors for free to see their operations and meet their cows and sample some wonderful cheddar cheese. Three farms are within a half hour drive from the Inn at Green River, in Ancramdale and Millerton, New York, and East Canaan, Connecticut. Click here to see a map of the participating farms.
|Photo Courtesy B. Docktor|
And of course, the timing couldn't be better for you to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage as you drive to the farms.
Corn, Corn, Corn 31 Jul 2013, 6:46 pmI know I write a lot about the beautiful rural country side in this upper Hudson Valley/Berkshires region where my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River, is located. How is this for a serene view of a corn field at sunset?
|Photo Courtesy B. Docktor
Right now, in the height of summer, the corn is high in many fields ...both "cow" corn to be fed to the cows, and sweet corn for we humans. Actually I think this is probably cow corn. For more gorgeous photos of our countryside, see B. Docktor's website.
|Photo Courtesy B. Docktor
With the native corn just starting to come into the markets, I was inspired to make corn flan as a side dish for today's breakfast.
Here's the recipe, which I learned during a B&B conference cooking demonstration given by the owners of the Inn at Meander Plantation.
Start with 3-4 ears of fresh corn cut from the cob, which should give you about 2.5 C of corn. Whisk 4 eggs, 1/2 C heavy cream, 1/2 tsp salt together. Add a 1/2 C grated cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)and the corn and stir until blended. Add chopped chives, tarragon, white pepper and salt to taste. Pour the mixture into a 9' x 9" baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 400 degree oven until the custard is set.
I like to serve this corn flan as an accompaniment to omelettes and frittatas in the summer. Do plan to visit us before summer's end to enjoy this flan. And if you are traveling to Virginia, I highly recommend a stay, and perhaps a cooking class at the Inn at Meander Plantation!
The New York Times Raves about Theater in the Berkshires 8 Jul 2013, 7:56 amThe Berkshires has long been known for great summer stock theater in Williamstown and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. But there are many fine theater companies in our tri-state area of New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. And right now, the Barrington Stage Company, which calls Pittsfield home, is getting rave reviews from The New York Times for its revival production of the musical "On The Town".
|Photo Courtesy Barrington Stage; Photographer Kevin Sprague|
Says Times reviewer, Ben Brantley, "Normally, I wouldn't tell citizens of the five boroughs to drive three hours to be told that New York is a helluva town. But this enchanted vision of a city that was - and of course never was - is worth catching before it evaporates."
Here is a link to aYouTube video clip about the show...
The writing (Comden and Greene) and music (Leonard Bernstein) are renowned, and the choreography, acting and dancing in this production are fabulous. The show runs through July 13, so buy those tickets now!
Happy Chickens at Cool Whisper Farm 3 Jul 2013, 5:38 pmThis week I took some video experts to see Cool Whisper Farm, a favorite of mine, just 10 minutes down a country road from my bed and breakfast, the Inn at Green River. I was in the midst of professional photo and video shoots at the Inn, and we also wanted to shoot some of the local flora and fauna! So many of my guests are from large cities, and they are very interested in knowing where the food is grown that they are eating in our local restaurants. And they enjoy stopping at farms and farmers markets, visiting local wineries and cheese makers and distillers, etc.
If you are interested in these things too, be sure to send me an email care of the Inn's website, and I would be happy to help you plan a stay that includes farm tours at Hawthorne Valley and cheese making classes at Twin Maple Farms.
Here is a short video clip of the videographer shooting the Cool Whisper chickens. Aren't they cute?
And the eggs taste so great!
And I make a pretty mean omelette!
|Photo By Jumping Rocks|
More guest reviews on video 12 Jun 2013, 9:46 amMy guests, Emilia and Bill Westney, agreed to let me run the video camera while they gave the Inn a quick review!
Their reasons for enjoying their stay are typical of guests who choose the Inn at Green River - good bed, good breakfast, beautiful, quiet surroundings, yet convenient to great restaurants and all the things you would want to visit in the upper Hudson Valley and the Berkshires.
Bill is a concert pianist and music professor, and Emilia is also a college professor. If you visit Bill's website, you can see videos of some of his recent concerts. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with them at breakfast. As other guests have pointed out, I have the most interesting guests!
Annual Copake Bicycle Auction 2013 17 May 2013, 5:29 amI always look forward to April and the arrival of the guests who return to my Inn each year for the annual Copake Bicycle Auction. They were here again this year for a special auction of Carl Burgwardt's Pedaling History Museum Collection. The collection is being sold over the course of three auctions, the last of which takes place next October, 2013.
You can view a video of the action at the first of the three Pedaling Museum auctions in December 2012 on the Copake Auction website.
As always, there are lots of gorgeous antique bicycles going on the auction block. Although I have no idea about their values, I can certainly appreciate their beauty.
This one, a ladies "safety bike" made of hickory wood caught my eye. This bicycle sold for $16,000. And I loved reading the signs behind it.
And this streamlined white bike was unexpectedly futuristic. I noticed in the video that one like it (or maybe it was resold) went for $12,000 in the December auction.
I also liked these brightly painted children's tricycles.
The highlight of the auction (which grossed $800,000 by the way) was this 1911 motorized Pierce shown here by auctioneer Mike Fallon in a photo I borrowed from their Facebook page. It sold for $145,000. That sale must have elicited some applause!
|Photo Courtesy Copake Auction, Inc.|
I have blogged about this auction in the past, so for more photos and information, see the April, 2011 post and the April, 2012 post which go into more detail about the Swap Meet that takes place starting at 6 am on Friday before the Saturday auction. And make your reservations at the Inn for the October 19, 2013 auction, the final one of this amazing collection.