Last weekend, I had my first foray into being a tour coordinator, a good time was had by all. On Friday night, we met at Linda's shop in North Tonawanda. We were five in number which necessitated a two-car convoy. By 11:00pm we were ensconced in a Motel 8 in Kingston, New York. The next morning found us at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck.
After a (pleasantly) exhausting day shopping and eating festival food, one carload left to return to Western New York and the other folks repaired to a hotel in lovely Hudson, NY. In our recap of the day our group was in general agreement. The Rhinebeck festival is not for the faint-hearted. The vendors and dispalys are wonderful, but we weren't quite sure if it was all worth battling a crowd. One thing that has changed this get-together is the addition of "and family fun" to the festival's official title. In practical terms, this translates to a major influx of disinterested husbands and small children who are not particularly enamored of fiber festivals. My pet peeve (of which I have many) is the situation in which you must deal with people who disregard the "no strollers" sign placed in full view as one enters a building and proceed to plow their way through a crowd, feeling free to stop and chat. This, you can imagine causes bottle necks. The most notable instance of this is the 40" wide double stroller causing all sorts of mayhem for the pedestrians. The topper? The stroller was empty except for a couple of adult coats. Grrr!
Anyhoo, our party of three woke up Sunday morning and proceeded to the lovely historic landmark Olana. This is a mansion situated above the Hudson River. It was built by Frederic Church, a painter of the Hudson River School of art in the 1800's. The Moorish design was inspired by the great artist's travels in North Africa. I have wanted to go there for years, and it was prettier and more interesting than I had imagined.
We continued the trip across This Great State and made our way to Saratoga Springs. If you haven't visited this place, you should make every effort. It has so many things to do and places to eat. In the summer there is a world famous racetrack to see. We made a stop at the Roosevelt Spa to take the waters. It was refurbished not too long ago. They managed to keep the charm from the original structure dating from the 1930's. It was a real treat to soak in the mineral water. It was effervescent and because of the well-insulated cast iron tub, the water stayed beautifully warm for the forty- minute bath. Our spa assistant assured us that the water comes out of the tap perfectly clear, but quickly oxidizes to the color of strong tea. We each took a sip of the mineral water from a drinking fountain. My opinion: Yuck! It tastes like alka-seltzer.
We hopped in the car and drove home. Our arrival time was 9:30, just in time to see the season finale of Mad Men. So... I'm thinking about the next excursion. Maybe Pennsylvania this time.