A Weekend in the Northern Catskills

fullsizeoutput_1ad3

We escaped this weekend to the Northern Catskills. I know we just returned from five weeks in Kauai, but you see the college kids were moving in this weekend, which meant party central was going to happen and we wanted to avoid the aggravation (plan failed btw of avoiding the parties, they had big ones last night, when we arrived home).

We selected this area because it was only a two hour drive away and we could get a good day of hiking in, in a new area and well we could hit a few breweries along the way.

Leaving from work, we had to wind our way through Springfield, Massachusetts which was having traffic jams, adding about 20 minutes on to our two hour drive.  Once we were through that mess it was smooth sailing and we landed in Leeds, NY at Carl’s Rip Van Winkle Motor Lodge. I was late in booking this, so we didn’t have much choice on units.  We ended up with the Balsam cabin, that had one creaky double bed and one stiff as a board twin.  It had a mini fridge, it was clean and cozy, so no complaints.

A little after six, we went in search of food and drink.  We decided to check out the town of Athens and their local brew pub, Crossroads Brewing.  Unfortunately this was not the best experience, the kitchen must have been under staffed because it took over an hour for the burger and salad to come out and this was after two attempts of asking the wait staff for food.  The beer was decent and they did comp the beers due to the long wait.

We were both exhausted from a full day of work and the drive so off to bed we went.

The lodge didn’t provide in room coffee, which we knew, so we brought our own set up to make coffee and food stuff for breakfast, so we were fueled up for our hike.

IMG_5837

Our planned hike was a loop hike known as North-South Lake: North Point.

fullsizeoutput_1ae0

We started our trek at the North/South Lake Public Campground. at 8 a.m.  Funny thing we lost the trail not even .2 miles in, followed a herd path and ended up down the road. We quickly retreated and found the correct trail.  We had to get used to looking for round blue metal trail markers, not the blue painted blazes  we are accustomed to in New England.

The views on this trail were beautiful and it was the perfect introduction to hiking in the Catskills region. It wasn’t a demanding trail and I would agree with the guide books as rating it as moderate.  The scrambles were fun and not overly taxing or difficult for short legs to accomplish. Only in one section, before the North Point, did I need assistance with a hand pull up to get up a ledge, coming down was much easier.

P1000625

North Point Hike

P1000562

North Point Hike

P1000564

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a8d

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a8e

North Point Hike

P1000565

North Point Hike

P1000570

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a8a

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a8f

North Point Hike

P1000585

Purple mushroom!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a94

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aa5

Be careful of crossing over this break in rocks

P1000596

In the world of fake news, look George and Martha Washington were here in 1916-1917  and again in 1918- 1919!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1a9f

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000602

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aa1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000603

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000605

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aa8

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000618

North Point Hike

P1000620

North Point Hike

P1000604

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1ac5

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aaa

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aad

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000637

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000627

North Point Hike

P1000633

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1abe

behind us is where we started

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

P1000642

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1aac

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

little creature hanging out

P1000613

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1ab7

fullsizeoutput_1ac7

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1ac1

our car is down there

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1ac4

North Point Hike

fullsizeoutput_1ace

North Point Hike

P1000665

road walk back to the car

P1000666

we were over there

P1000667

zoomed in

P1000662

North Point Hike

Our 7 mile hike lasted about 4 hours.  We needed to refuel our bodies, so we did an hour drive to a farm to glass brewery, Arrowood Farms  in Accord, NY.  WOW, what a way to cap off a great hike, sitting outside, facing the hops field, enjoying good beer and food.

Just when you think it can’t get any better, you drive out of the brewery to a view of a sunflower field.

P1000668P1000674IMG_5881

It was time to return to the lodge to rest, clean up and make a plan for dinner.  Our dinner choice found us going into Woodstock to R&R , Reynolds and Reynolds. This was a tiny place with a vegetarian menu and an excellent tap list.  The menu online doesn’t reflect what they actually offer, but we were not disappointed at all. The food was delicious, fresh and flavorful.

IMG_5891

I had the farro salad with roasted carrots and figs. Mike had a taco bowl, no meat but with chickpeas and we shared a mushroom cabbage hand pie.

Of course a meal like that needs to be followed by an amazing dessert.  Mike had discovered an ice cream place in Saugerties that served a flight of ice cream.  Of we went to find Alleyway Ice Cream.  We found it, down an alley, inside of a closet, under a business.  What a charming place and the best homemade ice cream on the planet.  We had our flight of ice cream and while eating we partook in the writing of our wishes to hang on the wishing wall.

This was the perfect place to end an amazing day.  Sadly on our way home, there was a traffic delay, a young cub had been hit. This was our first time we’ve seen a bear hit by a car.

fullsizeoutput_1ad6

Once we returned back the lodge, it was time for some reading and lights out.  Sunday morning came quickly. We did the same coffee set up as Saturday, but with a little less coffee because we were headed out for breakfast in Saugerties, once business opened up. We decided to try Bluestone Roasting Company for breakfast. Mike had an excellent cup of coffee, my cappuccino wasn’t up to par, but there were issues with machine, so I forgive them for that. Breakfast foods were excellent.

IMG_5909

On our way out of town, we stopped at one of the rocking horses so I could have a picture.  One of my sisters used to frighten me with tales of the headless horseman on Halloween, so I found it fitting to take his picture and send it to her.

IMG_5911

Once we returned to the lodge, it was time to clean up and pack up.  We meandered home via different routes. Our first stop was in Athens, to see the lighthouse in Hudson River and plan our route from there.

We did one of motorcycle scenic routes  on Route 23 and 23A to Route 28 and wound ourselves over to Suarez Family Brewery in Hudson, NY.  They don’t serve food, but we had stopped along the way to grab a sandwich to eat, while drinking.  The beer here was phenomenal.  If you are only IPA fan, don’t go (or rather go and expand your palate). This is one of the best new breweries out there, we were blown away and plan to return soon!

We took back roads to return home, the drive was about two and half hours.  This was such a fun little get away with so much more for us to explore and hike, that we are planning our return visit already.  We can’t wait for our next trip.

IMG_5844

Posted in Catskills Region, Hiking in the Catskills, Long Path Hiking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 35.5 – And Just Like That It Is Over

Monday was our last day on Kauai.  We started the day with a beach walk at Hanalei Bay followed by a cup of coffee.  The morning was just perfect. While we sat, enjoying our coffee, two women started playing their ukuleles behind us, before their yoga class began.  It couldn’t have been staged any better.

On the way back to the house, I found my eyes started leaking. It was to early for the tears to come, I didn’t think it would happen until we flew out.

At the house we made our last papaya boats.  I will miss the tropical fruit so much. I know I have blueberries, peach, apple season going on here in New England, but fresh tropical fruit can’t compare.

IMG_5620

After savoring the boats, it was time to do the last clean up, give away a few things to friends that we didn’t want to pack home and fill the car up with the last bits of recycling and our bags.

As we passed Hanalei Bay one last time, my eyes filled with water and spilled over.  I can’t believe on our first trip here, 7 years ago, we never walked the bay. On our 2nd trip here we went maybe two times, but this trip it stole our hearts.  Maybe because we could see our retirement mornings here, yoga class for me, a swim for mike followed by a walk and coffee together.

The flights were relatively uneventful, except for my uncontrolled tears. Really I tried to stop them, but they wouldn’t comply.

We landed in Honolulu, didn’t have a long layover and then hopped on the next one. We did have to sit for an hour because of a mechanical issue, but hey I didn’t care, we did this trip first class!

The delay meant when we landed in DC, we had just enough time to walk to the gate to catch our final flight home.  We watched the aloha disappear in the air as soon as we hit DC, people didn’t have the same vibe and fought like heck to keep ours going.

So we are home in New England, we’ve been awake for  30 hours with maybe 3 hours of sleep, things are a bit blurry, so excuse any huge grammatical errors.

This trip started as a 100 birthday celebration for us (both of us turned 50 within the last year), however it really turned into a retirement rehearsal trip.  We loved the pace of our days, the excitement of finding new places to explore and eat at, revisiting old favorites, nightly sunsets with friends and just being surrounded by aloha made this a truly memorable trip.

Thanks to everyone who read and my apologies for not returning to Kauai until 2019.

Wishing all of you Aloha.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Day 35 – The Final Full Day

This was our final full day here, it pains me to type that.  We did a lot, but yet we still have much more to do, to explore to hike, and to eat.  Honestly before we left for this trip, we really thought this would be our last trip here until we retire.  We landed and we knew that thought was a joke, we were just kidding ourselves. We can’t keep ourselves away, so for all those things we didn’t do, I’m not upset, just gives us something to look forward to when we return in two years.

Today we went for a beach walk on Cannon’s. We did try to park at Ke’e first, but at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday the lot closest to the beach was full.  I think this was our second Sunday we tried and well, no not the time to go.  So to Cannon’s we went.

We came home to  make breakfast and start the packing, laundry and cleaning of the house.

We also made a quick run into Hanalei, I wanted to pick up some cards at a store and get our last bit of poke fix in from The Dolphin.

We were expecting friends to stop in to have their first visit to Tunnels. Kelly and I met teaching, but she moved away and we haven’t seen each other in maybe 9 years, but through the magic of FB we have kept in touch.  They arrived mid afternoon and we took them to the beach, Kelly and her husband snorkeled (yes they had a great time, even swam with a turtle), while Mike and I did our last float.  It was fun for us to watch someone see Tunnels Beach for the first time and go WOW!

After they left it was back to packing, more laundry and having dinner of poke.  We headed down to the beach for our last sunset. Last night the Kauai Gods gave us a green flash, tonight they bestowed on us a beautiful after sunset glow.

Our last full day here, it was full of things we love, beach walks, time with friends, poke, and a beautiful sunset.  We are grateful to have all this.

Tomorrow our long journey home begins.  There will be no blog post tomorrow, maybe on Tuesday when we land and figure out our time zone, I will post one, but maybe not.

Posted in Kauai, Tunnels Beach | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Day 34 – Third Time’s the Charm

Today our plan was to get to Pila’a beach, following the local’s foot trail, not totally rock hopping as the Trailblazers book said to.  We started off with papaya boats for breakfast, oh how I will miss the fresh tropical fruit once we get back East.

IMG_5543

Today was our third attempt to get to Pila’a Beach.  We made it! We took a different path down this time that was a bit steep, but well used definetly by locals.

Once we crossed the stream we were at the beach.  Only one other family was there and they were fishing. We found our own tree to hang out under, put our stuff out and went for a float.

While I enjoyed the views, Mike rock hopped over to the next little beach.

After spending a little over an hour here, we headed back, we walked the field behind the beach until we hit the stream.

We were passed on the trail by a trail runner and his little Pekingese dog. Now that hurt the ego, the dog ran right past me on his short little legs. Once we reached the top we savored the views and figured out our game plan in the back of our rental (I may or may not have taken a little snooze).

After our little beach trek, we drove around Kilauea’s neighborhood, drooling over houses for a little bit.  Our next stop was SushiGirl Kauai to pick up lunch to enjoy at home.

After lunch it was laundry time and a little bit of tidying up, as the dreadful day of leaving is almost upon us.  I think the island gave us a goodbye gift today, a green flash at sunset. You could hear the clapping and cheering up and down Tunnels Beach.

The third time’s a charm for Pila’a beach for us.  Now that we know the way, on our next trip we will come with lunch packed and snorkel gear with us, truly a gem of a beach.

Posted in Hiking in Kauai, Kauai, Tunnels Beach | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Day 33 – What to do on a Rainy Day?

Try to outrun the rain? Or just drive around? Or go play outside between showers? We did all of those things and a few more!

We had a few rain showers overnight, but no gushing downpours. We woke to a bit of cloudy skies, but after reading Glen’s detailed forecast we knew showers would be more numerous today due to the remnants of a tropical storm.

We had to have a beach walk to start our day, so we just went “around the block”, a brief road walk to the beach and then back to the road.  Lucky for us we did this loop, we had monk seal encounter #5 of this vacation and a rainbow!

After the walk it was breakfast time and then the jackfruit adventure awaited Mike.

Well, the jackfruit adventure was a bit of a bust and disappointing. Mike watched youtube videos on how to cut the fruit and what it should look like, so he was prepared. However the jackfruit was picked to early and wasn’t ripe.  The pods were rock hard and didn’t have that juicy fruit taste.

After a clean up of the area and Mike from the gluey substance that jackfruits give off, we headed to do the other side of Waiakalua Beach.  On Day 26, we went to the left side of the beach, today we attempted the right side.  The adventure here didn’t get very far, the rocks we had to go over were more and further than we expected to get to the secluded beach.  Plus it started to rain, which was making the rocks very slippery.

After that we packed in the adventures for the day, went to the Dolphin for lunch and had a salad and a fin burger, cajun style.

IMG_5534

We arrived home to patches of blue sky, mixed with gray.  When we had a fairly large swath of blue, our neighbor invited us to look at another neighbor’s gardens and her stunning orchids.  I feel like this trip, orchids are all the rage!

We had a late lunch, so we just had some chips and salsa for dinner before sunset viewing.  We were treated to rainbow before the sun sunk.

In our three trips to Kauai, we never had a truly full day of rain, today was the rainiest we’ve encountered, but we survived, dodging the rain and at times embracing it.  You have to make the most of the days, rain or shine!

Posted in Hawaiian Endangered Species, Kauai, Tunnels Beach | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 32 – Daily Delights

I love the spontaneity of our days. We never know what little or big delight will cross our path during the day.  Today we had a few delights and last the one of the day was HUGE.

The day began with a two mile beach walk at Cannon’s beach. It wasn’t the plan to walk that much, but we just kept going, until hunger pains set in and returned home to breakfast.

After our breakfast, we made the plan to hike the Moloaa Coastal Trail. While doing some research we learned that this is a disputed trail, but luckily it is still open to hike. One blogger called it the trail to nowhere.  It does end at a fence line, but the views are dramatic and worth it to go “nowhere”.  You have to walk to the left of the bay to access the trail.  We lucked out today and had a monk seal sighting on the way to the trail head!

This was about a 1 mile walk from the car and to the end of the trail at the fence. Don’t worry, you know when you hit the end of the trail, signs inform you of it.

After our hike we jumped in the water for a quick cool off, we even tried to get the seal in our water selfie!

This is a lovely little area and one we need to spend more time at.  We had planned another adventure after this, but once again hunger pains steered us in another direction, to lunch we went.

We decided to try out The Bistro in Kilauea. Before we went there, we did have to stop by the egg place at mile marker 18 to see if they had fresh eggs. We scored, they did! Once again I got to hang out the sold out sign.

On to The Bistro we went. They had two specials, fresh caught ahi, served over soba noodles with pineapple salsa in a coconut curry sauce and a chicken sandwich (not locally caught) that had a tomato goat cheese spread with lettuce and tomatoes served with fries. To be honest Street Burger has the better fries. We decided to try both dishes and have the pineapple cobbler for dessert.  Everything was delicious and yes you might say a bit pricey, but we were ok with that.

After lunch we stopped at the soap store to pick up more surfer salve soap and a few other goodies to ship back.  Once we arrived at the house, I took my regular afternoon siesta and then we had dinner. Yes tonight we had the ahi the neighbor caught, served on grains with long beans.

After dinner a rain shower was passing through, so we decided to get a head start on tonight’s dessert, the bananas wrapped in limpia pastry, this time I drizzled dark chocolate on it.

IMG_5499

Sunset tonight was wet, hazy and full of weddings.. Three different weddings, one came complete with a singer and hula dancer.  We had the good fortune to be treated to the couple’s first dance, the music provided by the Ukulele player singing Iz’s rendition of Over the Rainbow.  Yes, I did tear up.

When we returned home, very wet, the hughest delight was waiting for us, jackfruit.  A neighbor asked if we wanted one, we said sure, next time we will ask what size before saying yes…yikes, anyone have any recipe suggestions?

We truly had a day full of all different delights. Who knows what delights tomorrow will bring us.

Posted in Hawaiian Endangered Species, Hiking in Kauai, Kauai, Tunnels Beach | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments