Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #2:Thirteen Things I Love about Columbia County

Thirteen Things I Love About Columbia County

1. The Purple Mountain Majesty. Nestled between the Catskills and the Berkshires there are many view of mountains almost everywhere you go in this beautiful valley. But there might be no better view than the westerly one right off our back deck. In the morning and the evening purple mountain majesty exists in all it's breathtaking glory!!

2. The Country Sounds. It's so quiet and rural here that you rarely hear anything but nature....birds singing, crickets chirping, chipmunks scampering, frogs peeping, woodpeckers pecking, hummingbirds and dragonflies whirring. It is amazing lying in bed just listening to God's glorious symphony.

3. The People. Everyone is SO nice. The people here are so unassuming, trusting, non-judgemental and would do anything for you. The first weekend we were up here David went off to buy us a broom. Agway was having a sale on pretty blue grills so he impulsively bought one not quite realizing that it wouldn't fit in his car. Another customer in line saw his plight and said "where are you taking it?" When David told him, he offered to load it in his pickup and follow David home with it. This is just one of the many examples.

4. The Neighbors. I lived 12 years in the same town house in Westchester County. I knew only my immediate neighbors by name, never was invited over, never had anyone at my place. Here in the country, neighbors come to greet you as soon as you move in and we became friendly with three sets of neighbors almost immediately. We have each other over for dinners, share stories, laugh a lot, and of course help each other out on just about everything. It's a great feeling to know we're all in it together.

5. The Food. Farm fresh food is growing all around. As we've mentioned in our blog previously, we live in the middle of organic, biodynamic farming country. Not far from the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park we often get graduates coming to this area to set up new restaurants. Many take advantage of being here to use the freshest local farm ingredients and the results are delectable! It's hard to stay in and cook for yourselves when the local chefs use the same farm fresh ingredients, combine them in their amazing way, with prices so reasonable! Some of our most favorites include Swoon KitchenBar, The Red Barn, Local 111, The Blue Plate, Baba Louie's and Lipperas at the Chatham House.

6. The Art. In the middle of this paradise are some of the most amazing artists. There are showcases of local work up and down the streets of the main streets of most of our country towns (Hudson, Chatham, Claverack, Kinderhook....) and in almost every restaurant there is local art hanging on the walls that you can purchase. One of the highlights just down the street from us is the spectacular ArtOMI - with a modern outdoor art sculpture park viewable from the road enticing you to stop and explore.

7. The Architecture. In addition to many fabulous old farm houses and barns dotting the area sitting on land with to-die-for pastoral views, there are some real architectural gems here too such as Olana, the perian style home of Hudson River painter Frederick Church, the Lukyas Van Alen and several other historic homes that you can tour.

8. The Music. Some call this the NY side of Tanglewood. One of the reasons we moved here was to be close to that amazing summer classical music venue. But since moving here we've found so many other things right here in Columbia County to assauge our musical cravings like the Mac-Haydn Theater, the Ghent Playhouse, the Taconic Hills Performing Arts Center the Spencertown Academy, and PS21 - Performing Spaces for the 21st Century.

9. The History. As well as the historic homes I mentioned in #7, there are museums everywhere. We have yet to explore them all but they include the Shaker Museum, the Columbia Country Historical Society Museum , the Fire Museum of Hudson and much much more.

10. The Traffic. There is none! Even when we were just weekending here, the Taconic Parkway was almost always an easy ride. The occasional accident or construction slowed you down every now and then but even on major travel days like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving you rarely hit any traffic.

11. The Train. Ok, so the trains are often late, especially those coming from Canada, but hop on that Amtrak and you're in NY City in 2 hours. There are only 5 stops max, and some are express trains with even fewer. You get a glorious view of the Hudson River out the window, there are electrical plugs in every seat for charging those attention splattering appliances, and the parking is still free at the Hudson station!! I have found it a great way to gear up or wind down from my day.

12. The lack of Starbucks. Believe it or not, there is no Starbucks that I have come across yet anywhere in Columbia County. Thank Heaven! We are particular about our coffee - grind our own beans fresh every morning - but we much prefer the local organic at the Muddy Cup or free trade beans we get at Hawthorne Valley Farm to the overroasted acidic taste of the popular coffee chain's. Heresy, I know.

13. The Peaceful Feeling. There's a feeling of peace here that you can feel just driving up. You step onto our deck, catch a glimpse of the unobstructed mountain view and the stresses all melt away. Sitting on the deck with a cup of joe in a zero gravity lawn chair, all seems right with the world. Guests have told us this is why they keep coming back.

And that, my friends, are just thirteen of the things we love about Columbia County! There are so many many more. The four seasons, the beautiful hiking trails, the quaint little towns,.... I could go on and on. But enjoy these thirteen. And Happy Thursday!!!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


The Rock Chick said...

Wow! This is so descriptive and well-written that even without a picture I can totally visualize Columbia County in my head!!! Awesome post!

Happy TT!
Jessica The Rock Chick

Kate said...

Sounds like an awesome place! Great list...Happy TT!

Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

You make it sound heavenly. How wonderful that you so love your home. So many people are caught up in tomorrows that may never come.

Kathy said...

Rock Chick - thanks for the positive comments, I'm just beginning to get my "blogging legs."

Kate - Happy TT to you too! I am starting to really love Thursdays.

Nancy - We are truly blessed! It's easy to be positive and live in the present when the present has so many great things to offer.