Manitoga || The Woodland

”Over 70 years ago, Russel and Mary Wright acquired an abandoned quarry and surrounding hillside in the Lower Hudson Valley, and he slowly restored this land to a place of extraordinary beauty. Inspired by the legacy of the Wappinger people, the ancestral residents of the area, Wright called the emerging vision for these 75 acres “Manitoga” or Place of Great Spirit.”

Although the many elements of the garden are familiar—house, terraces, parking lot, trellis, and paths—nothing is conventional. Wright’s integrating vision changed all the familiar components, blending the built elements and the natural landscape together so that each was enriched, enhanced, and transformed by the other. Just as the house is interwoven with the site, the hillside is connected by views to its larger context of the Hudson River Valley, and the visitors themselves are involved in an intimate and unfolding relationship to the place.” [source]

The Russel Wright Design Center

Garrison, N.Y.

July 28th, 2019

Etched in Stone

The Stone House in Hurley was a Bed and Breakfast in a 300 year old Dutch estate, built sometime between 1705 and 1720, when New York was still New Amsterdam. There are more Dutch stone houses in Hurley, a village founded in 1662 as Nieuw Dorp by Dutch and Huguenots from Wiltwyck (now Kingston), burned to the ground by Esopus Natives, angry because they hadn’t been reimbursed for their lands, only to be rebuilt and remain Dutch until it was transferred to the English in 1664. And although its name was changed to Hurley, it remained Dutch in language and architecture. Our room was an homage to Vermeer’s most famous painting ”Girl with a Pearl Earring”, created around that time (c. 1665).

Our host was eagerly waiting to show us to the ”Girl with a Pearl Earring” – but only after we’d paid our dues!

The Stone House, Hurley, N.Y.

It has since been converted to a botanical perfume distillery, adding more aroma to its long history.

July 27th, 2019

Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

If he who has travelled and observed the skies of other climes will spend a few months on the banks of the Hudson, he must be constrained to acknowledge that for variety and magnificence American skies are unsurpassed.

Thus spoke Thomas Cole, who was born and grew up in England, but once discovered the beauty of the Catskills he remained forever faithful – so much so, that he went on to found America’s first major art movement, the Hudson River School.

Study for ”Catskill Creek”, c. 1844-45. Oil on wood
View Near Catskill, 1828-29. Oil on wood panel
Sunset, View on the Catskill, 1833. Oil on wood panel
North Mountain and Catskill Creek, 1838 [detail]. Oil on canvas
The view across the valley to the Catskill Mountains that can be seen from the porch is one that Thomas Cole painted more than any other.
Wooden Painting Stretcher for Catskill Creek, c. 1840s. Wood and graphite on chalk

Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, N.Y.

July 26th, 2019

CIA for Foodies

A stop at the Culinary Institute of America – the CIA for foodies, is essential when travelling Upstate; with four different student-run restaurants where the young creatives work hard for your taste buds’ delight, you couldn’t go wrong if you tried. Except… we did! Geared up for some of their famous apple pie after a late lunch, we rushed into the Apple Pie Bakery Café only to discover they were already sold out! Oh well, our lunch was still utterly delicious, living a sweet aftertaste and fond memories…

The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.

July 25th, 2019

Mine Kill Falls

You can walk the 357-mile Long Path, a hiking trail that begins in New York City, at the West 175th Street subway station near the George Washington Bridge and ends at Altamont, in Albany County, or take the short walk from the parking lot down to the Falls’ base for some wonderfully refreshing spray.

Part of the Mine Kill State Park which offers an array of activities and hiking trails, including a 5-mile segment of the Long Path.

July 24th, 2019