Fishkill Farms: pick your own fruit, organic veggies, farmstand and fun events all in a beautiful setting

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With the cool air of autumn just around the corner, our thoughts here in the Hudson Valley turn to afternoons of fruit picking, hay rides, harvest dinners, and pumpkin picking.  The region is filled with wonderful farms where one can back in touch with nature even if it is only for a short time.   Fishkill Farms in East Fishkill NY is a special farm that you want to visit soon.  It is   a 30 minute drive from Northern Westchester and 45 minutes  from mid Westchester.

I was fortunate to visit Fishkill Farms a few weeks back when they held their Peachtopia Fest.   The farm has been a family farm in the Morgenthau family for more than 100 years and now run by 2nd and 3rd generation family members.  The farm was an apple orchard which has now expanded its operations to included fruit growing (peaches, nectarines, apples, pumpkins, blackberries, blueberries) , a wide range of  organic vegetables (pick your own or CSA), a full service farm stand, and cidery.  They also have pasture raised hens that provide the farm with fresh eggs.

The mission of the farm is to produce healthy farm products without the use of man made pesticides or fertilizers.  This is something we can all appreciate and should support.

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Pick Your Own organic vegetables and flowers

The farm itself is set in a valley and as you look out from the farm stand you see the fields gently roll out before you.  It is quite the idyllic scene.  You can pick your own fruits or vegetables, or shop at the fully stocked farm stand which features their own products, home made donuts, and locally made items.

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The farm also holds numerous events throughout the year.  I attended  “Peachtopia” which was a fun event. I was able to enjoy a hayride out to the peach tree orchard to pick peaches and nectarines (they were amazing!)   There was food for sale, a band playing with a picnic area, and a tent was set up for adults to enjoy samples of Treasury Cider.   The cider is named in honor of Henry Morgenthau Jr., the founder of Fishkill Farm and former  Secretary of the Treasury under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.   The cider is smooth, dry and very refreshing.

With its beautiful scenery, fun activities, and fresh produce, Fishkill Farms is a great place to spend  a Fall day, or any day.  It is easy to locate right off Interstate 84.   Check out their website for more info, picking information, and upcoming events.

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Fishkill Farms

Fishkill Farm Road  Hopewell Junction NY 

tel. 845-897-4377

http://www.fishkillfarms.com

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Appropriate: a must see drama with a deep secret at Westport Country Playhouse

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As the house lights darken, the sound of cicadas fill the theater and set the mood for the drama that lies ahead.  The lights soften to reveal the inside of a dilapidated former plantation in Arkansas.  The  old once grand home is great disrepair and filled with years of a hoarders collection of  both artifacts and secrets.

Much like the mysterious cicada insect that lives underground only to return every 13 to 17 years and sing its mating song, the adult Lafayette family which has been distant from each other  decides to reunite at the plantation after the death of their father.  The purpose is to liquidate the estate and the decaying plantation house.  Of the three adult children, each has a  different reason for returning.  Toni, (Betsy Aidem) the oldest is the executor and is there with her son Rhys (Nick Selting) to oversee the sale of the contents of the home and the plantation itself.  However, she cannot seem to get a grasp on letting her father go, and the sale she charged with arranging is disorganized.  Her brother Bo (David Aaron Baker),  has come in from New York with his family so he can recoup his financial outlay of taking care of his father, and for his wife Rachel  (Diane Davis) and kids (Allison Winn and  Christian Camporin) to learn something about the reclusive father whom they have never known.

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Into the mix comes the long lost brother Franz (Shawn Fagan), the youngest sibling and  the misfit  of the family who has been out of touch from the family for 10 years.  With him is his earthy and soulful young girlfriend,  River (Anna Crivelli).  Franz (formerly Frank) was a burden to his family  for years and then dropped out of sight.  Franz  has returned not to seek money or his share of the estate, but to reunite with his siblings and make peace with his family,  His visit is to cleanse himself from the person he was  and to confront his troubled past growing up in the plantation.  With the assistance of River, he has reinvented himself and the misfit now morally rises above his siblings.

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Old houses as well as families have deep secrets that perhaps are best kept that way.  But by accident a horrible secret about their father emerges from the hoard of items found in the house.  Each sibling must grasp with this discovery.  There is denial, intrigue and accusations as we learn about each member and their relationship with their father.  The remaining family members struggle not only with the discovery of this secret, but must deal with the decay of their family ties which parallels the decay of the plantation itself.  I will not disclose the secret as that if for you to discover.

Appropriate is a brilliantly written play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. It is complex, and thought provoking.  I found myself rewinding the scenes of the play in my mind long after I left the theater.   Direction by David Kennedy is wonderful as the audience is immediately drawn into the action and held there for the duration.  The set design is wonderful and captures the decay of the plantation.  Special note should go the effects, lighting and sound which are all instrumental to the performance.

Notable acting performances include Betsy Aidem as Toni who commands the stage as her character swings from sadness to remorse to rage during the play. Shawn Fagan as Franz gives an illuminating performance of a character who embodies redemption.   It is perhaps Anna Crivelli as River whose rational zen like character brings both levity and calm which is the most memorable performance.

This is a must see drama and one of the finest I have seen in some time.

The show runs through September 2 2017

 

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct

tel.203-227-4177   

tickets: http://www.westportplayhouse.org/tickets/Calendar/Buy/id/3962

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Lola’s Cafe: a fun new dining spot comes to New Paltz

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New Paltz is already a Hudson Valley town known for its shops and its variety of dining options.  Now this great destination has welcomed a new comer to downtown, Lola’s Cafe.   Lola’s is already known to Hudson Valley foodies for its location in Poughkeepsie which opened in 2005.   Owned by Chef Ed Kowalski who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.  The culinary theme of the restaurant  is described as “American fast casual” with an emphasis on fresh locally sourced ingredients.

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The new location at the corner of Main and North Chestnut Streets in the heart of New Paltz makes it the perfect spot to dine after apple picking or wine tasting on one of the local farms, or hiking up at Mohonk or at Minnewaska State Park.  The newly renovated space has a simple vibe with earth tone colors and the use of natural materials.  Outside on the patio is numerous seating under market umbrellas where you can see the Mohonk Escarpment in the distance.

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The menu  contains a full range of items including fresh bowls, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, and a wide range of salads.  Beer and wine is also available with 8 different brews and 7 different varieties of wine.  There are also craft sodas, and some fine ice teas.

The day we visited we sampled several items from the menu.  The Power Bowl was a healthy meal with edamame, mushrooms, over farro and quinoa and served with a fresh ginger carrot vinaigrette.  Very healthy and tasty.  All bowls can add chicken or shrimp for an additional charge.

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The Thai wrap was just one of the items on the wrap menu that was composed of grilled chicken, romaine, Asian slaw and a spicy Thai peanut sauce.  The taste was just spicy enough without being overpowering, and the combo of ingredients was very satisfying.

There is a wide assortment of salads offered and we sampled the South Beach Salad.  It included shrimp, mandarins, cherry tomato, dried cranberry, cucumbers, feta cheese, over mixed greens and served with a fresh herb vinaigrette.  Delicious!   For those who like meat in their salad, there  are four other salad options with chicken as an ingredient.

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With all this healthy dining we could not leave Lola’s without trying one of their decadent milk shakes.  All shakes use Ronnybrook organic dairy products and local gelato.  If you have the room, you may want to share one!

Lola’s is an excellent new addition to the vibrant  New Paltz dining scene. In the future I hope to visit their Poughkeepsie location  near the Walkway on the Hudson.

Lola’s Cafe

49 Main Street New Paltz, New York   tel:  845.255.6555

https://www.lolascafeandcatering.com

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Bareburger of Ridgefield: organic fresh food sets this burger place apart

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Bareburger is not just another burger restaurant.  This is an eatery with a mission to provide its customers with a blend of the finest natural ingredients, locally sourced when possible and complimented with great service.

Bareburger  is passionate about the ingredients in its menu items and that translate to delicious dishes.  The Veggies and fruit are all certified organic, and non-gmo.   The meat used in the burgers is from Vermont Country Farm of Fossil Farms and is from cattle that is natural grass grazing animals.   The chicken is from free range, cage free chickens and no steroids or anti biotics.

Even the sauces are made with organic ingredients, non-GMO and cage free eggs.   Soda comes from Maine Root Soda and uses fresh organic ingredients and spices.  The coffee and tea is all free trade and is organic.  Bareburger provides a healthy and satisfying alternative to the usual burger joint.

At our meal we sampled some of the burgers on the menu.  Please note that the menu is not just beef burgers, there is also elk, duck, bison, lamb and turkey.   For the vegetarian and  healthy eater in your party have no fear as there are several tasty and innovative veggie burger options for you as well.

We started our meal with a healthy plate of crispy brussel sprouts, a tasty starter to share with asiago and sea salt.  There are a number of share dishes including fries, chicken tenders and even delicious falafel cups.

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We followed up with another healthy option, the Cali Fresh Salad, one of more than 20 salads on the menu .  The delicious and healthy Cali featured baby kale, green hummus, quinoa, grape tomato, alfalfa in a lemon tahini dressing.  Great alone or to share.

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Cali Fresh Salad

You can build your own burger at Bareburger or choose from the list of 15 options.  We sampled the Buckaroo burger featuring beef, brisket, aged cheddar, mushroom and smoke sauce on a brioche bun.  Talk about a tasty combination.  We also shared the healthy So Cal with turkey, cheddar, guacamole, alfafa on a sprout bun.  My first time eating a sprout bun, which is much like a multi grain and was a perfect complement to the burger.

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We went vegetarian on the next options with the Farmstead which features a sweet potato and wild rice patty, green hummus, kale, avocado basil dressing in a collard green wrap.  Not your traditional burger for sure but a very fresh and tasty dish.     The Prairie, is a quinoa patty, vegan American cheese, roasted onions, garlic, baby spinach on a sprout bun.  We ordered without the onions and this dish was really delicious and one of my favorite veggie burgers I have sampled in a long time.

 

Bareburger is not just food, but has amazing fresh fruity sodas (we tried the unique blueberry soda) and of course decadent milk shakes.  We sampled the Raspberry Nutella shake and it was loaded with fresh flavor.   There are desserts as well  (8 in all) and you can even build your own shake.

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Bareburger has something for everyone.  Great organic meats for the carnivore in the family, healthy organic salads,  and other healthy veggie options.   With a laid back vibe, reasonable prices and great service, this is place you will want to return time and time again.

Burgers:  $9.65 to $13.95

Salads: side salads start at $5,  share salads are higher

Sides: $3.50 and up

You can even order on line for pick up at the restaurant.

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Bareburger (Ridgefield Ct)

38  Danbury Road Ridgefield, Ct

tel. 203.438.2273

web https://bareburger.com/

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Classic Harbor Line: A fun and elegant way to tour NYC

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Even if you are a frequent visitor or resident of New York City, you really have not experienced the wonder that is New York until you have seen it in a luxury motor yacht.   Recently we had the great pleasure to tour Manhattan by boat and enjoy a fantastic Sunday Brunch.  This is a three-hour escape that will you will remember long after the yacht ties up back at its pier in Chelsea.

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Sunday brunch is just one of the fantastic tours you can take on the Classic Harbor Line.  The fleet has several classic yachts and sailing vessels  and we were able to cruise in high style on the Manhattan II.     The yacht recalls the elegant era of the 1920s motor yachts.  It is 100 feet long  and is outfitted with beautiful polished teak with mahogany accents.  The yacht is enclosed with large panoramic glass windows, glass ceiling, cozy tables, and a full service bar.

On the bow of the vessel is an outdoor area where you can get an unobstructed view of the cityscape and allow the breeze to blow through your hair.

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The Manhattan II makes its home port at Chelsea Piers on the west side of Manhattan.  Parking is available there or at private garages located a short walk away.    As the yacht was tied off, and slipped away from the pier, it turned south into the Hudson for our three hour adventure.

We opted for the Sunday Brunch cruise but there are other very interesting cruises available:

  • Wine tasting tours
  • Wine and cheese tasting
  • Champagne Sunset tour
  • Architecture tour
  • Jazz
  • Fall foliage (up the Hudson River)

Our brunch was excellent and served as a buffet and there was plenty of food for the guest that day.  Some of the delicious offerings were pasties, rolls, croissants, quiche fresh fruit,  waffle station and more! And of course a full bar serving mimosas and even local NY craft brews.

The ship is equipped with a state of the art sound system and the knowledgable captain pointed out land marks as well as other points of interest.  This cruise took up down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty up past Governors Island and into the East River.  Sailing by the ever changing cityscape was fantastic and it is such a great way to experience the city.

The tour took us up the Harlem River where we met the Hudson River and turned south the length of Manhattan Back to Chelsea.  On that day,  a warm sea breeze greeted us as the yacht made its way down river.

The Classic Harbor Line is a special way to see Manhattan and should not be missed.  For more information on this cruise and the many other adventures visit their website.

Classic Harbor Line Cruises

tel. 212.637.1825      web:  https://www.sail-nyc.com/

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