Category Archives: Exploring the Historic Hudson River Valley in New York State

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-One: Halloween in Hasbrouck Heights and Salem, NJ and the Hudson River Valley October 1-31st, 2022

I do not think my feet touched the ground the entire month of October. Halloween night was spent in classes doing presentations and starting a new class on the Metaverse at NYU. It was not too awful as it rained during the parade for about an hour and was not the usual clear sunny (and usually warm) day that it had been in the past. Even though my partner at the parade, Mark Schuyler, said it was fun, the rain would be a bit of a deterrent.

The Village Merchant windows

The end of September lead to the crazy days of October as I settled into my classes at NYU and continued to get more assignments than I could keep up with. Between the three classes that I was taking at NYU and the three classes at Bergen Community College that I was teaching, my hands were so full that I never stopped running around. Everyone just kept adding more and more and I just had to keep up.

The Village Merchant windows at Halloween

The weather was surprising warm through early November this year which made the walk from Port Authority to campus a real pleasure. This is how I knew that Halloween was on its way. Here and there amongst the great little stores in the neighborhood, the window displays were full of pumpkins, witches, ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

The Salvation Army windows around the corner from NYU

Many of the merchants in the neighborhood really decorated their windows and it made it fun to exploring the side streets.

The Theater around the corner from NYU

As I walked through Washington Square Park, I thought back to the Haunted New York Ghost Tour that I took with the Cornell Club the year before and passed some of the sites in the neighborhood that we visited on the tour especially the “Hanging Tree” at the edge of the park.

The “Hanging Tree” in Washington Square Park where they used to hang prisoners until Society moved to the neighborhood and asked them to stop.

The Haunted Gotham Ghost Tour of 2021:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19628

I also remembered that Washington Square Park was a giant cemetery with a park on top of it. I am not too sure if people in the neighborhood or my fellow NYU classmates know all of this. Every once in a while when they have to fix the pipes near the edge of the park, they hit the tombs where bodies now rest. It is kind of eerie to know that people are buried under where people now play music, dance and protest. Just hope we don’t wake them up (Hee Hee).

Downtown Hasbrouck Heights decorated for Halloween in 2022

In early October, people really get into Halloween in a major way in Hasbrouck Heights and I start noticing that people are decorating their houses more for the holiday. By the end of the month, the Men’s Association starts to run around town judging houses for our annual contest. Some people started decorating early.

The beginnings of Halloween in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

The beginnings of Fall in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Looks like the competition will be fierce this year

My neighbors even put their evil scarecrow “Giggles” outside to scare the passersby on Route 46 East. I swear this thing has a mind of its own.

“Giggles the Scarecrow” at Route 46 East in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

The story of “Giggles the Scarecrow” on MywalkinManhattan.com Day One Hundred and Eighty-One:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/15868

As the temperature stayed warm and the trees stayed green, I could see the windows in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights start to change as the Annual Halloween Children’s Painting Contest for the elementary schools began. This goes on for about a week and sometimes the paintings stay up until Christmas time as people don’t realize that they are still on the windows. Some of these kids are really creative and do a nice job.

The Hasbrouck Heights Halloween WIndow Painting Contest

The merchants in our downtown like in the Village start to get creative with the window displays and this is why on the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association we added a Merchant winner this year to our Halloween House Decorating Contest. So many of the merchants do such a terrific job of getting into the spirit of the holiday. Halloween is a big business now.

Heights Flower Shoppe was our winner this year and this picture does not give the display justice

Spindler’s Bake Shop decorated inside and out to be the Runner Up

Residents of Hasbrouck Heights for Halloween last year went all out decorating their houses for the holidays. This year it seemed a bit more subdued as the economy, the elections and just the general environment seemed a bit testy, people held back a bit but some residents went all out and by the end of the month we started the Second Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association House Decorating Contest with a new Merchant Category. Halloween then really kicked off.

I knew that Halloween was coming when I saw the kids on the Boulevard painting away at the Merchants windows in Downtown Hasbrouck Heights the first week of October. The funny part is that I sometimes see these paintings through Christmas.

The kids do such a great job though and they are so creative. Here is a sampling up and down the Boulevard that I saw when I was judging businesses for Halloween. This is just a sampling of some of the paintings that the children of Hasbrouck Heights in 2022:

Ist Place

Some of the paintings on the Boulevard with the winner

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

Paintings on the Boulevard

The contest is really popular every year and there are winners at every level

With classes in full swing and projects that I had to work on it made it tough to have free time to visit a lot of places that I had done in the past, so I concentrated on new experiences and trying to revisit the places I had when I had a free moment. It took a lot of planning, but I was able to get to upstate New York and down to Southern New Jersey again. In simple terms, between classes and work, I never stopped running around for the entire month of October. I did a lot of driving this month.

First I had to spend my birthday in class making a major presentation in my ‘Business Models’ class and my ‘Travel Trends’ class. That was nerve wracking enough but I got an “A” on both so I was really happy. I did the project on Wheelchair tourism in NYC and the challenges that a person could face when visiting Manhattan in a wheelchair.

The in the evening, I was in my Business Models class explaining the use of the “Garbage Box”, a mythical product that I created to contain all the street garbage from leaking on the sidewalk and making the sidewalk a bit more attractive by packaging the garbage. That earned me another “A”.

The “Garbage Box” prototype that when after class I really used it and packed garbage inside and left it at the curb. See how much nicer the garbage looks now?

Between those two classes and work on my two classes getting papers graded and getting quizzes done, I was burnt out. When I got home from my Thursday night class in Lyndhurst, I went to Heights Bar & Grill in Hasbrouck Heights for a drink and a snack. Happy Birthday finally to me!

My birthday dinner (two weeks late) at Heights Bar & Grill. The Cosmos and Pizza were amazing

My TripAdvisor Review on Heights Bar & Grill:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46497-d4734828-Reviews-The_Heights_Bar_and_Grill-Hasbrouck_Heights_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

When I finally got those projects over and done with for school, I went Upstate to the Hudson River Valley for the Sheep & Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds on October 16th to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and to walk around the fairgrounds.

I don’t think the festival anticipated that many people that day

It ended up being almost 75 degrees that day but felt warmer. The fairgrounds were packed the entire afternoon. Not quite during the Dutchess County Fair but the food vendors were out in full force and that made me happy. There were not as many as during the fair and that led to a lot of long lines. This is the reason why I decided to walk around for a bit.

The large crowds at the food concessions at the Sheep & Wool Festival

Please enjoy my blog on the visiting the Sheep & Wool Festival Day One Hundred & Forty Nine:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/10723

I made my way to the animal pens and the Arts & Crafts sellers. You could see that everyone was getting ready for the Christmas holiday season. There were all sorts of items for stocking stuffers and people had all sorts of beautiful handcrafted ornaments and Santas. I love visiting my favorite woodcarving artists where I get my mother’s Santas every year.

Because of the warm weather, I don’t think the festival figured on the number of people

The guys were all there and all three of them showed me what they had to offer this Christmas. Since I never carry cash around (a mugger would hate me) and they never take credit cards, its makes it easy to make a selection. I have to buy the cheapest most creative one each year.

The wood carvers are so talented. I buy my Santas from these three men every year

I could not decide so I told the guys I would do what I usually did, see what was left over when I got back and make a decision then. I think they get a kick out of that philosophy of mine. I walked around the rest of the building to see what was there but I have a tough time spending $10.00 on a bar of soap or $20.00 on a bottle of honey. I do have limits on what I will spend money on.

The crowds on a warm October afternoon at the Sheep & Wool Festival

I walked around the rest of the buildings looking at the arts & crafts, a lot of yarn and crocheted articles at the booths and the homemade food stuffs. There was a lot to choose from. As I left the buildings with all the homemade articles, I passed displays for Halloween and could not even think about Christmas at this point (it’s always there at Halloween anyway) and remembered which holiday was coming up.

I loved this ‘Disco’ Ghost display in the main buildings

When I got to the animal pens that are usually filled with animals at the top of the hill were filled with more vendors. There were all different types of things to buy from ceramics to homemade flowers to honey and other wonderful gourmet foods to handmade cosmetic products. There really was something for everyone here.

I saw one of my favorite Children’s Arts & Crafts artist’s at the fair, Susannah White and I see her work every year. She creates the most wonderful dolls, fairy houses and masks. Everything is done by hand and her prices are very fair for the craftsmanship and attention to detail that each piece has to it.

I love the creativity and attention to detail this merchant has in her work

Artist Susannah White of Carapace Farm Pupperty

https://www.etsy.com/shop/carapacefarmpuppetry

https://www.facebook.com/susannah.white.12/

These are some of her finger puppets and masks that she create for ‘children’ but I see plenty of adults buying them too. I have to think about getting one of these in the future. They are ‘art’.

Another one of my favorite ‘children’s artists’ was there also displaying her puppets and sculpture as well. Artist Bonnie Hall creates these fantastic 3-D beasts of the imagination. They are so unusual and cute.

Bonny’s Beasts at the Sheep & Wool Festival

https://www.bonnysbeasts.com/

I walked the rest of the booths but nothing stood out as these few did. I always look forward to seeing these vendors and what they have come up with in terms of new merchandise.

I then visited the animal pens and made it in time to see the sheep being sheared and groomed. There are some people from the City that looked amused by all of this with a look in their eyes like, “it’s this quaint” when the very clothes they are wearing were created with a process that begins like this.

Some of the groomers explained how they do this and the process behind the step by step process it takes to shear an animal. Also, the difference in the wool from one part of the body to another and the difference in feel of it. I as a retailer thought this was fascinating. It is almost the same as when you skin an animal for its pelt. What is the difference between long hair fur and short hair fur.

The sheep looked they did not mind all the attention either making it a show of itself. They were probably used to all the attention at these shows after all these years.

I loved walking along the pens and looking at all the sheep and lambs staring back at me as well. I think they are amused by all of this as much as we are. These animals must be so used to human contact that they are jaded by it. Still it makes for an interesting interaction.

Ruppert’s stall at the fair

http://www.ruppertscorriedales.com/index.html

I walked around the fairgrounds to the rest of the pens and there was a combination of sheep and lambs. There were displays of the animals and the groomers were showing everyone how to care for them.

After I toured all the pens and barns with arts and crafts, I toured the small museums on the fairgrounds. I toured the Century Museum Village, which is a permanent museum on the property which shows life in rural New York State between 1880-1930. There was also the Schoolhouse Museum and Train Station Museum right up the hill from it. These give a look into Dutchess Counties past and compares how much has changed to today.

The Century Museum Village on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

The inside of the museum and the counties rural past

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com on the Century Museum Village:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/9609

By the end of the afternoon, the lines had gone down for food but not by much. I still had to wait in line at Janek’s for a Cheeseburger for a half hour. The lines only went down about an hour before the Sheep & Wool Festival closed for the day.

Janek’s makes the BEST burgers ever!

My favorite lunch at the fair is Janek’s ‘Piggyback Burger’, which is a freshly made burger topped with Cheddar Cheese, pulled pork, cured ham and topped with barbecue sauce and homemade pickles. Biting into it is like biting into a piece of heaven. The burger does not need any salt or pepper and make sure to get it with the side of their homemade pierogis with sour cream. I only eat this twice a year, once at the Dutchess County Fair and once at the Sheep & Wool Festival and I am satisfied for the rest of the year.

“The Piggyback Burger” with the side of homemade pierogis

As I relaxed and enjoyed my lunch, I could see that the sun was starting to move around, and the day was starting to get darker out. I had not realized that I spent the entire day at the fair. Time really went by fast especially as I had never seen crowds like this at the fair before. Having such warm weather made a big difference in the crowds. I think the food vendors will rethink this last year since there were a lot less then for the Dutchess County Fair.

As I left the fair that afternoon, I passed the St. James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park who were holding the Historic Graveyard Tours that evening. I did not have a reservation but stopped in to see if I could tour the graveyard that evening. I had planned on coming up the next week but since I was here, I figured why not try now (Thank God I did because it rained the next weekend). I stopped at the church first in the afternoon just in case I could not make the tour. No one was around but I took a quick tour of the cemetery before I left for the Sheep & Wool Festival.

The sign outside the church

The St. James Episcopal Church of Hyde Park at 4526 Albany Post Road

https://dioceseny.org/venue/st-james-church-hyde-park-2/

I walked down the path marked for that evening’s Cemetery Walk and got to see the graves and crypts before it got dark. In the start of the fall, the cemetery was very picturesque on a sunny afternoon. There was almost an elegance to the cemetery with its detailed tombstones and colorful foliage. It looked like a quiet and elegant resting place for these residents of Hyde Park. There are a lot of famous names buried here.

St. James Church before you enter the cemetery

The start of the Cemetery Walk during the day

Walking through the cemetery during the day is interesting

A walk through the cemetery at St. James

Following the path of the Cemetery Walk during the day

The Livingston Mausoleum at the St. James Cemetery

Sara Delano Roosevelt (the President’s Mother) gravesite at St. James Cemetery

Walking through the tombstones at St. James along the Cemetery Walk path

The graves at the St. James Cemetery

It is an interesting tour. Before I got to the fair, I had stopped by the church to talk to someone about the tour, but no one was around so I just walked the path on my own and took pictures during the day so it least if I could not go on the tour, I had seen the cemetery. It was really interesting. The tour guide took us on a lantern tour on a marked path of the 200-year-old graveyard and we got to meet characters who were buried there portrayed by local actors (who I never know how they do it. They have to sit in a dark cemetery until the next tour comes through).

inside the St. James Episcopal Church before the Cemetery Walk

We met in the church first and did a quick orientation on what to expect and then the tour guide took us on the tour. It was very interesting, and the actors did a good job with each character. We met the following characters:

Captain Isaac Russell, a Revolutionary War Soldier who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill and was present at the surrender of General Burgoyne on October 17th, 1777.

Anna Roosevelt Halstead, the daughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She had served in President Kennedy’s Citizens Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and she also served as the Vice-Chairman of the President’s Commission for the Observance of Human Rights.

Susan Cowman Carter, an early St. James Choir Director and organist.

Christopher Hughes III, a 19th century Hyde Park farmer

Adelaide Roddy, a pioneering early 20th century female Theologian who died on her honeymoon of spinal meningitis.

Arthur (Rube) DeGroff, Hyde Park’s very own Professional Baseball Player who had played with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1905. He played one game in 1906 and then was sent back to the minors.

The tour was very interesting, and each actor did a good job telling their story. The tour guide was right though, you had to stay on the path, or you would trip over a tombstone (as I almost did). I have to say one thing in that I was glad there were so many people on the tour and that the next tour after ours was full as well. Once you passed the lit areas, this cemetery was really gloomy and dark. Even the church looked a little creepy from a distance. Maybe that was the effect that they were going for on the tour. After the tour was over, I headed home.

School got even busier, so I had to pace myself with the activities and I managed to finish all my homework as well as get the students quizzes graded and the papers finished before I left for South Jersey the next weekend. The weather was going to be nice, and I decided to head back down to Salem, NJ again to finish touring some of the historical sites for my blogs and to go on the Salem Haunted Tour of the Downtown business district.

The Salem NJ Walking Ghost Tour in 2023

Before the walking tour there would be a concert “Tunes from the Crypt” at St. John’s Episcopal Church with musician Erik Meyer.

I had seen this tour advertised for many years, but it was tough to go on it from such a distance away. Since the weekend would be open, I hopped in the car on a Friday night and made another reservation at the Inn at Salem Country Club for the night. I was glad that Yvonne, the owner had the room open.

I got down early enough on Friday afternoon to take pictures at the Salem Oak Cemetery, the Salem Historical Society and at various points of interest in Salem’s Historical Downtown.

The historic Salem Oak Cemetery where many of the founders of Salem are buried and was home to the oldest Oak Tree in the State until it fell in 2019.

The Salem Oak Cemetery on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7707

The Salem Historical Society is always interesting to visit

The Salem Historical Society in VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1742

The Salem Fire Museum is never open

The Salem Fire Museum on VisitingaMuseum.com:

Downtown Salem has the most beautiful and historical residential district

I snapped pictures all the over the downtown area and managed to get all the pictures that I missed over the summer when I came down to do my blog on the Historic sites of Southern New Jersey (see blog below):

My blog on the Historical Sites of Southern New Jersey: Day Two Hundred and Forty:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/24348

Before I took the tour and after I settled into the hotel, I had a quick dinner at Bravo Pizza at 179 West Boardway in Downtown Salem. I must have been attracting attention with all my picture taking in Downtown Salem. Since Salem is not the safest town, some gangbanger looking guys came in while I was eating my meatball hero to check me out. I just stared back, and they disappeared out the back door. I swear everyone thinks I am a Fed.

Bravo Pizza & Pasta at 179 West Broadway is really good and the prices are fair

https://www.bravospizzasalem.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d4514081-Reviews-Bravo_Pizza_and_Pasta-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The meatball subs are really good here

I was able to get settled into the Inn before the tour and took a lot of pictures of the church’s cemetery before the Haunted Walk and then got to the church in time for the organist started a special Halloween concert. This was taking place before the walking tour. The weather surprisingly cooperated, and it was a warm October weekend.

The Inn at Salem Country Club at 91 Country Club Road (Now called the Salem River Inn)

https://salemriverinn.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46799-d12378333-Reviews-Salem_River_Inn-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Once I had eaten and was settled in, it was time to visit the downtown before the concert. Halloween weekend in recent years has gotten much warmer. The night of the concert and the walking tour was not different. It must have been in the mid 60’s the night of the tour.

I was one of the first ones at St. John’s Episcopal Church that evening so I got a prime parking spot right in front of the church and since there were no signs that I could not park there, it was nice that I did not have to move far.

St. John’s Episcopal

http://www.stjohnssalemnj.org/

https://www.facebook.com/StJohnsSalemNJ/

The historic marker of the St. John’s Church

The inside of the church was beautiful with all the historic stained glass windows and wooden pews. I was walking around admiring the church before the concert. What I love about these hundred year old churches is that they have a classic look to them. There is such a history to them. I admired the stained glass windows which were beautiful.

The inside of St. John’s Church

The stained glass windows at the church

The stained glass windows at the church

The church was very impressive. Most of these were Tiffany windows

Still these churches are so old that they have an intriguing look to them with an air of mystery. The interiors look like they belong in a independent horror film.

Even the church had a mysterious look to it at night

Musician Erik Meyer performed a series of classical horror film melodies on the church organ. What I thought was funny was the priest for St. John’s Church did the introduction and made a comment to a packed church full of people of all ages in the pews this was the most amount of people he had seen in the church in a long time.

Musician Erik Meyer dressed as Count Dracula next to the organ

After the concert was over, I talked with Erik Meyer about the irony of performing Halloween music in a church. He said many churches while their thoughts on Halloween are mixed have embraced this type of fundraiser to bring people back to the churches and raise money for them at the same time. He also told me that he had been performing these concerts at churches all over the state for the same reason. They have become very popular.

After the concert was over, the whole group of us at the church headed over to the antique store where we would be starting the Haunted Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Salem. The tour took us from the store to the Salem Historical Society and back. I guess the rest of the Downtown at night was not the safest (I experienced that).

The start of the Ghost Tour

I have to admit the Historic Market Street neighborhood while very pretty and elegant with all the Federalist homes during the day is very pretty, at night it does look pretty spooky.

Downtown Salem Market Street Historic District at night

People did decorate in Downtown Salem, NJ

This townhouse really got into the spirit of Halloween

More detail on the house

Our first stop on the tour was visiting a small Dutch house that was a recreation of old homes that used to be part of the community. The home had been rebuilt in honor of visiting dignitaries visiting from Europe. The house was now a popular tourist site. While we were inside we got to peek inside and see the furnishings and a live fire in the fireplace.

The small Dutch House on the walking tour

I went back the next day and it did not seem that creepy

A Salem resident shares a ghostly tale of his home since moving here

Creepy tales at the Salem Historical Society courtyard

The Society courtyard is less creepy and very beautiful during the day with the fall foliage

Tales at the St. John’s cemetery

The St. John’s Cemetery is a very interesting place to visit during the day. The foliage in Salem, NJ was at its peak right before Halloween and the end of the October and I got to tour the graves of the people that the narrator was talking about during the day. It was an interesting story of how this resident treated his first wife in death and treatment of the second wife when she died. People are still people.

The entrance to St. John’s Cemetery

During the day, walking around this historic cemetery is very interesting. Many of the founding members of the Salem community are buried here and you can find the family cemetery plots among the paths. I would take the time to visit and walk around this interesting piece of the past.

The the tale of the Second wife that you see above during the day. The husband and second wife are in the elevated crypts and the first wife has a slab on top of here. As the narrator said this is what he thought of her in the end.

Colonial Robert Johnson and his second wife, Julia in the elevated crypts

The St. John’s Cemetery during the day

The St. John’s Cemetery

The St. John’s Cemetery family plots

The famous people buried in the cemetery-The Sinnickson Family plot-One of the founding families of Salem, NJ

After we left the church, we joined this friendly witch who told us the story about a spirit that haunts houses. To confuse them, you have to leave a bowl of rice at the doorway so that you confuse the spirit as it tries to count the grains of rice and then gets frustrated and leaves. I had never heard this story before but I did get a small bag of rice as a gift that I keep in my travel bag now.

Tales of spirits and the use of rice to keep them away

A Ghoul with a New York accent tells the tales

We ended the tour at the Salem Creek with tales of ghostly fisherman but you could not see anything at night so I took this the next morning. I almost tripped on the hill leaving this little park.

After the tour was over, we went back to the antique store to have hot cider and homemade cookies. I thought this was a very nice touch to a wonderful evening. There were a few more tours going on after I was finished so I got to walk around the antique store and then around the downtown and look at all the buildings at night. On a warm October evening, I found this tour to not just be relaxing but fascinating as well to learn the history of the town. When I got back to the Inn, I slept so soundly that night.

When I woke up on Saturday morning, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I watched the phases of the sun come up over the field from my bedroom window. I swear the location of this Inn is amazing and has the most spectacular views.

The Inn at Salem Country Club sunrise:

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

Sunrise from my room

The sunrise from my room in its final phase and it was an amazing warm day.

What I like about the Inn at Salem Country Club is its location on Delaware Bay. In the warmer months, people use the beaches outside the Inn for swimming and recreation. Its location on the Delaware Bay is pretty spectacular and I never really noticed when I visited in the summer. I was so busy running around Southern New Jersey and I had gotten there late and left early the last time. On this trip, I had more time in the morning to walk around the grounds before I went to visit the remaining museums on my list (most of them were closed anyway as they were only open on certain weekends).

The grounds of the Salem Country Club Inn in late October

The grounds of the Inn were very beautiful on this warm Saturday morning in late October. The leaves were still changing colors and the weather was warm. I had my breakfast on the enclosed terrace (it was too cool to eat outside in the morning) and just watched the boats and birds pass by. It was such a wonderful morning to just relax and watch time go by.

The beach at the Inn at Salem Country Club

The lawn of the Inn of Salem Country Club

The beach at the Inn at Salem Country Club

After a relaxing night’s sleep, Yvonne ordered breakfast for me again from the Salem Diamond Diner just past the downtown. Over French Toast and sausage and fresh fruit, I watch the beauty of the Delaware Bay from the open room on the first floor. It was too cool to eat on the deck but another five degrees and I would have been out there. The views are just amazing when it is sunny.

My reviews of breakfast sent to me at the Inn from the Diamond Grill in Salem:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46799-d24137933-Reviews-Diamond_Grill-Salem_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The rest of the day after I checked out I spent revisiting or trying to visit historical sites that I have missed on my Father’s Day weekend trip here. Most were so small that they were not even on the listing that I had from the summer. Almost all of them were either closed for the season at that point or would be open sometime in November and I was not racing down to South Jersey for a two hour visit to a historical site. This just makes another trip to the area justified in the Spring.

I had already visited the Salem Historical Society, the Salem Oak Cemetery and tried to visit the Salem Fire Museum so I ventured back to some of the places I seen over the summer. I also wanted to visit some of the smaller Historical societies I had a list of from the last trip. Most of them were closed for the season.

Some of the places that I visited were:

The Hancock House at 3 Front Street in Hancock’s Bridge:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46491-d14113448-Reviews-Hancock_House-Hancocks_Bridge_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7658

The Quinton’s Bridge at Alloway Creek at Route 49:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46799-d24137890-Reviews-Quinton_s_Bridge_At_Alloways_Creek-Salem_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7716

The ones that were closed were:

The Lower Alloways Creek Historical Society at 735 Smick Road:

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8882

The Alloway Township History Museum at 49 Greenwich Street:

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on VisitingaMuseum:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8873

I had to cross the county after visiting a these obscure sites to get to the Church Landing Farm at Pennsville Historical Society at 86 Church Landing Road. Thank God it was still open at 3:00pm. It was a real treat:

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46726-d24140695-Reviews-Church_Landing_Farmhouse-Pennsville_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/7734

I was able to tour the Hancock House again while they were having a little Halloween festival and take pictures of the house. I also got to tour the Church Landing Farmhouse and visit all the little out buildings with all the displays. It was fun to finally see with more time to spend. Though it was just an overnight trip, I felt like I was gone for a week. I was so refreshed from the trip. It was time to go home and get some work done.

The Halloween Festival at the Hancock House on Halloween weekend

The days before Halloween, we were in the final judging of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest so when I got home from Salem, NJ, I had to present the awards to the winners and their families. Later the next week, I presented the awards to the merchants in town who were not opened on Sunday. It was a long but very productive morning and afternoon as the winners and runners-up were thrilled by their awards.

My blog on the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween House Decorating Contest Day Two Hundred and Fifty on MywalkinManhattan.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/26589

It was a series of long drives around town, late nights looking at spooky lights, figures of fright and things that go bump in the night but the members of the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Halloween Decorating Contest made a decision who had the best decorated house and downtown business in Hasbrouck Heights.

Decorations at 85 Woodside Avenue

Like last year the decision was tough but we chose 85 Woodside Avenue, the home of Matt and Lisa Fiduccia, last year’s runners up. The house was decorated to the hilt with ghosts, ghouls and figures that frightened the passersby. “We learned more from last year,” Matt Fiduccia said when they found out they won this year’s contest. “We added more to it.”

85 Woodside Avenue in Hasbrouck Heights Halloween 2022-Winner

The zombies and ghouls of 85 Woodside Avenue

The committee liked the theme of the property, the organization of the props and decorations of the doorway and the lighting of the house the night before Halloween which really showcased their creativity. The family was really excited about winning this year and the whole Fiduccia family joined Chairman Justin Watrel and Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association President Steve Palladino for the presentation of the plaque and official sign from the organization declaring them winner. It was an award well deserved.

Chairman Justin Watrel with the Fiduccia family at 85 Woodside Avenue

Winners Matt and Lisa Fiduccia with their children and the official sign from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association

It was a tough decision to make this year as last year’s winner, Scott Vicario and runners up last year Frank and Mary Rose Blunda also created wonderful displays that would dazzle and delight trick or treaters the next night for Halloween.

253 Henry Street-The Runner-up this year

This is the second year Scott Vicario created a moving cemetery and ghoul fest all over his front lawn starting with a possessed woman climbing a tree outside the property and a variety of ghouls and zombies climbing popping and walking around the yard. “I keep finding new things to add to the display,” Scott told the committee when he was presented his award. “I look for professionally made displays.” Mr. Vicario who lives at 253 Henry Street said he “has more planned for next year” to win the award back.

Last year’s winner, Scott Vicario, was runner up this year

Some of the decorations were truly frightening

Ghosts and ghouls at 253 Henry Street

Scott Varicario in front of 253 Henry Street

253 Henry Street was full of zombies and ghosts

The other runners up last year, Frank and Mary Rose Blunda, keep creating frightening but friendly displays that dazzle their Halloween visitors. Trick or Treaters keep coming back for the displays of vampires and pumpkin headed beasts.

510 Henry Street

“We really love Halloween and we do this for the kids,” Frank Blunda said. “The families get such a kick out of visiting our house every year.” The Blunda’s love that families take a special trip to see their home.

The Ghosts, Ghouls and Pumpkin Heads of 510 Henry Street

Mary Rose and Frank Blunda of 510 Henry Street were runners-up again this year

Chairman Justin Watrel with Mary Rose and Frank Blunda at 510 Henry Street

The House Decorating Committee added a Merchant Division this year and we were dazzled by Heights Flower Shoppe, who always displays their holiday merchandise so nicely. Ray Vorisek, the owner of Heights Flower Shoppe was very thankful to the committee for the award. “We always like decorating the store to the hilt for the holidays.

Heights Flower Shoppe at 209 Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

People come from all over to visit us.” Both inside and outside, the store was full of all sorts of merchandise to decorate the house and for creative Halloween parties. Ghosts and witches flowed all over the store.

The decorations of the windows at Heights Flower Shoppe

https://www.heightsflowershoppe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/130

With winner and owner, Ray Virosek

Chairman Justin Watrel with owner Ray Viroske outside the store with the official Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association sign

The Runner-up was Spindler’s Bakery, owned by Bob and Ginny Spindler, whose family business has been in Hasbrouck Heights for over fifty years.

Spindler’s Bake Shop at 247 Boulevard was this year’s runner up

https://spindlersbuttercookies-com.3dcartstores.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46497-d12898321-Reviews-Spindler_s_Bake_Shop-Hasbrouck_Heights_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on LittleShoponMainStreet@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/littleshoponmainstreet.wordpress.com/1190

“We have a creative team that works together here,” Mrs. Spindler said as she accepted her framed award. “It is a team effort that got the store ready for the holiday.” Spindler’s Bakery not only decorated the windows with pumpkins and bears ready for Trick or Treating but the store had all sorts of delicious looking decorated pastries and cookies, perfect for any Halloween Party.

The inside of Spindler’s Bake Shop with decorations and Halloween treats

Chairman Justin Watrel with runner-up winner, Ginny Spindler and her co-worker

We also wanted to mention the Honorary mentions, whose decorated home made the first and second round cut of the contest and we wish you luck next year. These are 110 Central Avenue, 458 Jefferson Avenue, 415 Madison Avenue, 115 Ottawa Avenue and 310 Bell Avenue. Good luck and have a wonderful and safe holiday season from the Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association.

Honorary Mention on Ottawa Avenue

Another Honorary Mention on Ottawa Avenue

Halloween Night was a bust for me. I had to start my first night of my Tourism Innovation Class, which concentrated on the Metaverse that evening and for the first time in six years I did not work on the Halloween Parade. It was a real bummer and I know Mark was really disappointed that I could not make it that evening. It rained during part of the parade so that at least made me feel a bit better.

When I left class that evening, it was also about 9:30pm and since we were meeting in the Uptown campus on West 42nd Street, I did not notice any part of the parade except for a few people heading back to New Jersey through the Port Authority. It was a cold and rather gloomy night because of the quick shower we had earlier. Not much of a holiday but at least I was able to celebrate in different ways in different parts of the month.

‘Aristocrats’ Justin Watrel (Beekman family) and Marc Schuyler (Schuyler family) at the Halloween Parade gate 2019.

Before Halloween was over I managed to sneak up to Croton on the Hudson to the Van Cortlandt Manor to see the Annual “Pumpkin Blaze” (see the blog attached):

Visiting the Pumpkin Blaze Day Two Hundred and Six:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/19970

The weather was really mild that night and I got tickets for the 8:00pm walk. Being later in the season, it was not as busy as it would be before Halloween. Still I could walk the show at my own pace and enjoy the displays. If you have never been there, I highly suggest it.

The entrance to the “Pumpkin Blaze”

The displays keep changing every year and it is fun to see all the new creative ideas that they come up with for the evening. It was the perfect way to finish the Halloween festivities. Now here comes Christmas!

The Headless Horseman riding through

The pumpkins with their evil stare!

Happy Halloween!

Boo!

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Don’t miss this permanent museum exhibition at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.

The Century Museum Village at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

The museum at its entrance.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-4000

https://centurymuseum.wixsite.com/home

Dutchess Fair Features

Open: When the fairgrounds are open Spring, Summer and Fall for events

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Century Museum Village inside the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

When the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are open for the season for big events in the Spring, Summer and Fall, the fairgrounds open their historical museums that are located on the property. These include the School House Museum and the Train Station Museum and the when the volunteers are there the Dutchess County Volunteer Firemen’s Museum. The main museum is the Century Museum Village, a look at rural life in Dutchess County at the turn of the last century.

The Schoolhouse Museum in the Century Museum Village

The Train Station Museum at the Century Museum Village

The Century Museum Village gives an interesting…

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Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Six Attending the Kingston, NY ‘Snowflake Festival’ and participating in the Rhinebeck, NY ‘Sinterklaas Parade’ and the ‘Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Christmas Party’ in Boonton, NJ December 2nd-4th, 2022

Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time and something wonderful and fun happens. My weekend up in the Hudson River Valley was like that when I was on a recent business trip. It was restful and I got my mind off school and work. I had to go to the Culinary Institute of America to talk to one of my old chefs for a project I was working on for my Innovations in Tourism class at NYU.

Roth Hall during Christmas time 2022

It was a step back in time for me walking around campus and talking to students in their chef’s gear. It reminded me of when I was attending the CIA and visitors asking me what it was like to be a student there. Roth Hall where I took all my classes was decked out for Christmas which I never experienced when I was on campus because I left campus in October when it was still warm and worked in Hawaii during the holiday season.

The inside entrance of Roth Hall decorated for Christmas

The outside of Roth Hall decked out for Christmas

While on campus, I noticed in the paper that there was going to be a small Christmas celebration in Downtown Kingston, the “Snowflake Festival” from 6:00pm-8:00pm that evening so I thought I would just visit Kingston after I settled in the hotel.

My chef was not available that afternoon but it gave me a chance to walk around the campus and visit parts of campus that I had not visited since pre-COVID. It got to see some of the new buildings and renovations of the old ones. I forgot how beautiful the campus is on the Hudson River.

The campus was quiet because most of the students were in their night classes so the restaurants were preparing for evening dinner shift. Visitors were taking tours of campus so I took time to explore all the restaurants and see what they looked like. It was a step back in time to see that not too much had changed but the course levels and curriculum kept evolving.

The artwork on campus is interesting

After a long tour of the building, I walked around the grounds of the campus. I visited the new Student Center and the Recreation Building to see all the happenings. They now have more clubs than ever and a series of sports teams. We never had those things when I was on campus. I walked through the “Egg”, which is the big cafeteria for the students and then the path outside the building following the Hudson River.

I knew that it was going to be a long day so I stopped for some lunch at the Apple Pie Cafe, which had not opened until I graduated. The Apple Pie Cafe is a Panera type restaurant featuring soups, sandwiches, small entrees and desserts. It is really popular with all the tourists.

The Apple Pie Cafe on the first floor of Roth Hall

I got there near closing time so the menu was limited. I decided on the Mac & Cheese and an Apple Cider donut. Everything was delicious but then I would not have expected anything else. The Mac & Cheese was made of Cheddar, Asiana and Parmesan. It had been sitting so it was firm on the outside but still tender and cheesy on the inside and the flavor was excellent.

The Mac & Cheese is baked until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside

For dessert, I had one the Apple Cider Cake donuts and it was wonderful. The donut was freshly fried and then it was almost poached in a reduction of Apple Cider so the top was firm and the bottom was dipped in the reduction giving the bottom of the donut a sweeter taste.

The Apple Pie Cafe at 1946 Campus Drive on the Culinary Institute of America campus in Hyde Park, NY

https://www.applepiebakerycafe.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60801-d1929618-Reviews-Apple_Pie_Bakery_Cafe-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

The Apple Cider Donuts were excellent

The whole meal was delicious and they let us continue eating after the restaurant was closed. They were just cleaning up the kitchen around us. After I finished that wonderful lunch, I got back to Heinz Plaza as twilight was happening and the sun was receding along the Hudson River. The Christmas trees were lit in the plaza and it looked very festive.

The Christmas Tree in the Courtyard was lit for the evening and the site of the Tree was wonderful.

I went back outside to see the Christmas tree in the courtyard lit. The whole effect was very beautiful.

I left campus that day refreshed after a good lunch and a long walk and wanted to relax at the hotel before I left for Kingston. It was just nice to sink into the bed of the Quality Inn in Hyde Park. The rooms are so comfortable and the beds are soft and firm. I just relaxed in the room for about an hour and just took it easy. It had been a long week of classes at both colleges.

The Courtyard at night

The campus Christmas tree was fully lit when I returned to talk to Chef Zearfoss

I left for Kingston, NY across the river and got to the Stockade section of the City around 6:00pm when things were just starting up. The weather was perfect and it was around 50 degrees when I got there so the streets were really busy with people walking around to hear the bands.

The “Snowflake Festival” in Downtown Kingston, NY

The town had a lot of activities going on that night

I was greeted by this festive sign welcoming people to the festival

Downtown Kingston’s Stockard section was beautifully decorated for the holidays

I got the Stockade neighborhood in the oldest part of Kingston by 6:30pm so people were just starting to arrive when I got there to join in the festivities. The crowds were starting to grow as the evening progressed as it was a crisp but pleasant December evening. It was not too hot and not too cold. It was the perfect 48 degree evening.

People arriving in the Stockage section of the City of Kingston, NY

Snowflakes decorated the whole downtown area

The crowds kept growing through the evening

It was really a fun evening. The City of Kingston had a lot of activities planned all over the downtown and people were walking all over the decorated downtown. All the lights were on all over the streets and the main streets were lined with Christmas lights and snowflakes. The display windows of the business were decorated to the hilt for the holiday season.

Downtown merchant window display

Downtown merchant window display

My favorite window display was a home furnishing store on the main street

The merchants of Kingston really went all out for the holidays

The merchants in Kingston really got into the spirit of it all

I first wondered around the downtown on where to start first and just walked all the streets of the downtown area to see what was going on. My first stop was the Dutch Reformed Church were they were going to have a series of concerts. I had been there many times for Sinterklaas fundraisers in the past but had not been there for this event.

The church was all decked out with garlands and lights for the Christmas holiday season. I love these old churches when they are decorated for the holidays. There is such a beauty to them and so many traditions that they are a part of in the community. This church is in the center of old Kingston and always has such interesting events.

The outside of the Dutch Reformed Church of Kingston at 272 Wall Street was very festive with garland and lights

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d7232701-Reviews-Old_Dutch_Church-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The Christmas Tree looked unusual but elegant

I had been in the church before for Sinterklaas fundraisers but never in the main part of the church where services took place. It is one of those old 19th century churches with the wooden pews, the elaborate stained glass windows and the high pulpit above the congregation.

The church was decorated with lights, bows, holly and garland all over the pews and aisles. It is amazing how secular these churches are getting for the holidays. The concert was a lot of fun and very festive. They not only performed classic hits, contemporary music but also some traditional Christmas songs. It really got everyone in the mood for the holidays.

The concerts were very lively

After visiting the church, I walked around the grounds. It is amazing how short the distance is between Halloween and Christmas but the lines are getting more blurred every year. It seems that time is flying by between the two holidays. I even see some of the Halloween merchandise still sitting on the shelves in stores.

I followed the carolers around the downtown area and took several pictures by the Kingston Christmas tree. Their tree was very impressive this year and beautifully lit for the holidays. Downtown Kingston was very beautiful that evening as I admired all the buildings that were being renovated and all the new stores opening up.

The Downtown Kingston Christmas Tree on Main Street

I walked around the streets and I came to the Kingston Volunteer Firefighters Museum that was open and decorated for the holidays. They even had an antique fire engine in the front of the museum decorated with lights.

The Volunteer Firemen’s Hall and Museum at 265 Fair Street

https://kingstonvolunteerfiremensmuseum.weebly.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3367598-Reviews-Volunteer_Fireman_s_Hall_Museum_of_Kingston-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The retired firefighters from the former volunteer companies really did a great job dressing the museum up for the event. In the upstairs Chief’s office, there was garland and a Christmas tree.

All the equipment was shined up for the open house and all the firemen were swapping stories with those of us in the fire service who understood what we were talking about. They had some pretty good stories to tell. What I like about visiting this museum is all the antique equipment they have on display.

I love the parade hose beds that the museum has on display. These elaborate pieces are the pride of these fire companies and were out for every parade.

Before I left though, I had the worst (I mean worst) cup of hot chocolate that I ever drank. It tasted like it was cooked in a burnt pot. I had to throw that out and find something else to drink.

After the fire museum, I turned the corner to see the horse drawn carriage rides that were available. I loved the look of the carriage with the horses decked out for the holidays and the driver in a top hat. The only problem was there was one driver and the line even towards the end of the event was fifty deep. I did not know how they were going to get through all those people before it was time to go.

My last visit for the evening was to the Senate House in the historic area of downtown. The lawn and all the trees were lit with Christmas lights and the buildings covered in garland.

The Senate House Complex at 295 Fair Street was beautifully decorated that night

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3225491-Reviews-Senate_House_State_Historic_Site-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

The festive lights on the Senate lawn

The Senate House Museum decorated for Christmas

Here a performer was singing Christmas songs and leading sing a longs while Santa wished everyone well and listened to what everyone wanted for Christmas.

Singer Mark Rust at the Senate House lawn for the Snowflake Festival

The lines to see Santa were also fifty deep as everyone was trying to see Santa before the event ended. I just was a casual observer.

Santa was really busy that night. I don’t know how he handled the crowds

The event winded down rather quickly at 8:00pm and when I started to turn the corners of the downtown again especially on main street, they were starting to pack things up. 8:00pm meant 8:00pm! The strange part was that it looked like all the restaurants were closing at 8:00pm as well. It was as if the whole downtown was rolling up its sleeves. By 8:30pm. the downtown looked like a ghost town.

The Snowflake decorations in Downtown Kingston, NY

Street art in Downtown Kingston, NY by the Christmas tree

I tried to find a place to eat that evening but literally most every place was closed and the only Chinese restaurant that was open did not have a place to sit down so I left Kingston to cross the river again. I knew that Golden Wok in Red Hook was open late so I decided to head to Red Hook, NY for dinner.

Red Hook like the other towns in the Hudson River Valley is so picturesque during the holidays and is one town that is not geared towards tourists as opposed to the local citizens. Their restaurants are reasonable and the town is not overloaded with expensive gift shops like Rhinebeck and Woodstock are in their downtowns. It is also so beautifully decorated with garland and white lights all over the buildings downtown.

Downtown Red Hook, NY was decked out for the holidays

Downtown Red Hook, NY decked out for the holidays

Downtown Red Hook, NY

Annabelle’s Village Bake Shop really decorated to the hilt for Christmas

It was also quiet in Red Hook as well and I was the only one walking around the downtown. I walked around for a bit, admiring the lights and looking over their town Christmas tree which just a few weeks earlier had been a Fall display for Halloween.

Downtown Red Hook, NY Christmas tree

Things move fast in these towns.

I was Golden Wok’s only customer at that time so I ate in at the front table and just watched the traffic go by. The food at the restaurant is just amazing. For a small take out place, they do a wonderful job with their dishes.

Golden Wok at 7479 South Broadway in Red Hook, NY

https://goldenwokredhook.uorder.io/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48473-d821529-Reviews-Golden_Wok-Red_Hook_New_York.html?m=19905

I had the most delicious Roast Pork Lo Mein with Pork Fried Rice and an Egg Roll for dinner. Not only was the food good but the portion sizes were very generous. I just sat back and relaxed and ate realizing that I did not have to be anywhere or race to do anything. That was a nice feeling. It was just nice to eat and admire all the Christmas decorations. The restaurant got a little busier as people saw me eating in the front of the restaurant and I guess figured that it was open and started to come in. They got a bit of a rush after that

.

The Roast Pork Lo Mein and Fried Rice are delicious at Golden Wok

I headed back to my hotel to get some rest. I had to be up the next morning to help with the Sinterklaas Parade. During the Sinterklaas weekend, I always stay at the Quality Inn in Hyde Park, NY which is near the Culinary Institute of America campus. It is the halfway point between all the towns that I visit and not that far from Rhinebeck so it is a quick trip for set up the next morning.

The Quality Inn Hyde Park at 4142 Albany Post Road

https://www.choicehotels.com/new-york/hyde-park/quality-inn-hotels/ny343

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60801-d590312-Reviews-Quality_Inn_Hyde_Park_Poughkeepsie_North-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Since we had the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association party for the residents on Sunday morning and afternoon in Boonton, NJ, I arranged to stay for two nights. One top of the loads of homework I had for graduate school, I also was taking pictures for my blogs as well and trying to catch up the visuals on my VisitingaMuseum.com site. I had to get settled into the hotel and ended up staying up until almost one in the morning getting work done for school.

The next morning could not have been more miserable. It was cold and rainy when I got up for the Sinterklaas parade. They said it was going to rain all day and that did not make me happy. I had walked in the Sinterklaas Parade in the past in the rain and it is no fun!

I made a big mistake and got up really early and ate my breakfast early and got to the Starlight Library in Rhinebeck by 8:30am thinking I would be late. I forgot that this is when I used to leave home to get to Rhinebeck. The set up was usually at 10:00am and I forgot. So I sat there making phone calls until 10:30am wondering where everyone was that morning. I was not the only one as another volunteer did the same thing. We both ended up back downtown in Rhinebeck asking what was going on.

I ended up that the parade organizers decided to wait until 11:00am to start setting up. By that point, I was starved again and went to Peter’s Famous for an early lunch and decided to go to opening ceremonies before heading back to the library. It was there I heard that they were setting up at the library by 11:00am. I decided to stay and head up after.

I have been participating and/or attending the Sinterklaas Parade since 2010 when my dad and I went up to Rhinebeck, NY when I was interviewing Jeanne Fleming for an article I was working on for the Soup Kitchen. We loved it so much that we continued to go for years even after my father got sick. We made the best of the whole experience.

Since I was not too sure what was going on, I decided I wanted to see the opening ceremony first so I had a quick lunch at Pete’s Famous in Rhinebeck at 34 East Market Street #1. I was in the mood for one of their club sandwiches and ended up indulging in their homemade Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches ($11.99) with French Fries and a Coke.

Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY

https://www.petesfamous.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Did that sandwich hit the spot and kept me going for the rest of the afternoon. The chicken salad was delicious and the sandwich was so filling. The French Fries really warmed me up on this cool gloomy morning and the service is always so friendly.

The Chicken Salad Club at Pete’s Famous is a ‘must try’ when dining here

After lunch was over, I headed over to the Beekman Arms where in the banquet room they had the opening ceremony for Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas Director and founder Jeanne Fleming at the opening ceremony

The Mayor of Rhinebeck, NY welcoming everyone to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming the Pocket Lady to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming Mother Holly and her story book to the event

Jeanne Fleming welcoming the evil “Gadfly” to the event

The Grove of Trees of the magic forest

The musical polar bear enters the room to bring cheer to the crowd

The meddlesome Gadfly jealous of the polar bear

Hansel and Gretel close the ceremony with a song

The Opening Ceremony was about an hour long and we got to meet all the characters of Sinterklaas. There was the Pocket Lady who shares a gift with all the good little children from her series of pockets, Mother Holly (who is always feeling jolly), the Queen Bee (Oh!), the Dancing Musical Polar Bear and the evil Gadfly. The Mayor of Rhinebeck, NY welcomed everyone to the annual event and wished everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

The Polar Bear danced down the aisle high fiving everyone much to the Gadfly’s dismay and he started to kvetch about it. Only when he was shushed by the crowd did he calm down. Then the dancing trees took their place on stage to be followed by a song by Hansel and Gretel, who closed the ceremony with a lively song. Everyone was wished a Happy Sinterklaas and some people stayed to listen to storyteller Jonathan Kruk tell the story of Sinterklaas while I went out to enjoy the festivities.

When I got outside the Beekman Arms, I saw the first musical group performing on the lawn of the Beekman Arms. I stopped for a bit to watch them perform and then I rushed to the library to see if there was anything left to do for the parade. When I got there, the last touches were being put on the puppets for the parade and there was not much left to do. The weather started to clear so it looked like the parade was on for later that evening.

The first group was performing on the lawn of the Beekman Arms

I looked over all the puppets like they were close friends seeing these puppets over the years and watching them being created by our puppet masters, Alex and Sophia, who have been running this part of the parade for years. Their ingenuity is what creates these masterpieces every year. Everything was wrapped in plastic waiting to see if the rain would clear for the evening (it did and was a clear and starry night).

Mother Holly welcoming children to her story house

With the parade set up wrapped up, I did not have to be back to help until 4:00pm, I decided to head back down the hill and join everyone else in all the celebrations around Rhinebeck. The weather was slowly clearing and I could see some blue peeking out of the clouds.

The Parade under wraps

The Owls awaiting for their parade

Getting ready for the parade

The bees are buzzing for the parade

The Dragon awaits opening

The stars are kept under wraps

When I left the library, the weather report said it was going to clear and when I reached downtown, the blue of the sky was there. More people started to show up for the activities. Not like last year but people were crowding the sidewalks and enjoying the festivities.

I decided to head to the ‘Porcupine Grove’ where a mysterious woman was doing the reading of the porcupine. It was an unusual home and place to visit but the creativity of the person who designed it was immense. We were told the story of the Porcupine, the representative of this year’s parade.

The Porcupine Grove ceiling to his home

The porcupine’s mushrooms were our seats for the talk

Here we heard the tail of “The Porcupine” by a wise woman

I was lucky that I got to the porcupines home first because as soon as I exited the line to get in was twenty deep and counting. It looked like I was the first one there with my group of visitors.

After the talk in the porcupine’s home, I walked all over Downtown Rhinebeck as the festivities were starting and decided my next stop would be at the Reformed Church to see the “Into the Light” show that I had not seen in years. The church location had changed and it was now in the Reformed Church Sanctuary. This is where I met up with my ‘cousin’ Marc Schuyler, who was working the door to control crowds. We got to catch up on the Halloween Parade that I was not able to attend because of classes that night at NYU.

Myself and Marc at the Halloween Parade a couple years ago

I had not seen the show in a couple of years and stared at the girl who was performing the lead role. She a little too developed to play the role of a young girl in the play. Come to find out this was the same girl I had seen in the show ten years earlier and she was still playing it.

The Reformed Church on Route 9

“Into the Light” is the story of a young girl’s journey throughout the world searching for the light. It features giant puppets and music. The kids did a nice job on the show.

The “Into the Light” show

The “Into the Light” show at the Reformed Church

The “Into the Light” show

The cast taking their bows

After the “Into the Light” show, I said my goodbyes to Marc and told him I would see him (if I do not have class that night) on October 31st, 2023 for the next Halloween Parade. I was off walking to my next stop, the United Methodist Church to hear the brass bands play. What was ironic was that most of these groups had been at the Dutch Reformed Church the night before in Kingston so I got to hear them perform again.

People were dancing in the aisles at the United Methodist Church to the brass bands

There were also musical groups outside the church as well

As the weather cleared during the afternoon, outside the church got lively.

I was only able to stay for two shows and then I had to head back up to the Starlight Library to help with the set up of the parade route and help get volunteers to where they needed to go. The streets got more lively as the weather got sunnier and clear. There were all sorts of musicians walking around, the Gumpuses were performing before the crowd (many of these guys I have seen over the years), angels on stilts dancing to the bands, our friend, the Polar Bear, was dancing around everyone. It really lively on the Main Street.

The Gumpuses dancing around town

The Polar Bear dances to the musical beat

The Angel’s on stilts lead the magical forest around town

Musical bands played all over the main street

Different bands were playing all over the downtown area as the weather cleared

I walked up to the library after watching all the bands perform and every one was having such a nice time. As the weather got better, the crowds really started to arrive and I guest people figured with the weather getting better and the parade night clearing up, it is a perfect time to come out and see it.

I loved how decorated the town was for the event. Downtown Rhinebeck is one of the most beautiful downtown’s during the Christmas holidays. All the merchants and home owners decorate to the hilt and the whole town is covered in garland, bows, white lights and Christmas decorations that give it a festive appearance and put you in the holiday spirit.

The homes and businesses were beautifully decorated

I always admire this house on my walk back up to the Starlight Library

When I got to the Starlight Library, all the volunteers were preparing for the rest of the parade volunteers to arrive. We got to eat some dinner provided by the Parade committee and then we had to get to work making sure everyone was where they needed to be. People wanted to test out their puppets and walk around. I have never seen an evening zoom by so fast and soon it was time to start the parade and get lined up and ready to go. It is always exciting to take that trip down the hill.

The Angels on stilts were exciting about leading the parade

As darkness came, it was time to light up the puppets and get the parade started. It is the most exciting time of the night as the puppet prepare for the lineup.

The Star Puppets lead the way each year and light the path of the parade

The Christmas Dove in the parade

The serpents leading the way both at the Halloween and Sinterklaas Parades

The Dragon lighting the way

The Bees have been lighting the way for years

The wise old owls enter the parade route

Miss Mouse enters the parade

The Star puppets lead the way down the hill to Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

The Start of the Parade at the Starlight Library. You can see me holding the banner at the end of the parade.

Because of the weather earlier in the morning, we did not have the crowds we had last year and in 2019 but still everyone lined the Main Street on the way to the community parking lot on our way to the Closing Ceremonies. People were so excited when the parade came down the hill. It is quite a event with all the lights and music and puppets dancing around the streets.

I was behind the stars and the dove and had the drummers behind me. I could not hear for most of the parade.

The parade moving down the hill towards downtown

The parade in the heart of Downtown Rhinebeck, NY is really exciting!

The parade slowed down as we entered the Community Parking lot as the puppets were being dropped off and the Closing Ceremony started. By the time I got to the parking lot, everyone had pretty much dropped off their puppets but the Stars and Bees who lingered a bit longer.

Than we started the Closing Ceremonies where all the main characters are introduced one more time before they make their exit from the parade awaiting next year. Everyone was so excited and the stage really breemed with artists having a good time.

The closing ceremony with Sinterklaas and his court of people helping him that day.

The Grumpuses perform their last dance of the day on stage.

The Polar Bear was leading the dance at the end of the parade

Hansel and Gretel singing and dancing at the parade.

The band plays on at the closing ceremonies

The flame throwers performed at the end of the Closing Ceremonies.

The stage after the performances were over. It was really creatively done.

After the Closing ceremonies, I walked around the downtown area and spent time admiring the window displays at the stores and admiring the artwork around the trees. It got very quiet in Downtown Rhinebeck. Within an hour of the parade, you would have never known there was a parade.

The merchants in Downtown Rhinebeck really decorated their stores to the hilt for the holidays

The display windows in Downtown Rhinebeck were amazing

Merchant’s window at Christmas

Merchant’s windows at Christmas

Merchant’s windows at Christmas

The night had cooled down but you could see all the beautiful stars in the sky when the weather cleared and in the background I could hear the saxophonist who always plays at night. The Christmas songs he was playing really put me in the Christmas spirit.

I ended the evening with a couple of slices of pizza at Village Pizza. I can’t tell you how good that pizza tasted at the end of the evening. I was talking with the staff there and they said they were consistent that day but not like the two previous years when they did not sit still. The rain at the beginning of the day put a damper on everything.

Village Pizza at 19 East Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY during Sinterklaas

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

The pizza is excellent at Village Pizza

After dinner, I walked around Downtown Rhinebeck, which to me outside of Cape May, NJ is one of the beautiful town’s to spend Christmas in. The whole downtown was beautifully decorated and the Christmas tree was amazing.

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY after the Sinterklaas Parade

Downtown Rhinebeck, NY at Christmas time

The Christmas tree in Downtown Rhinebeck, NY

The angels in the alleyway

The angel in the alleyway

I got back to the hotel and went right to bed. I slept so soundly that evening. Between the heat of the room and how comfortable the bed was I got one of the best night’s sleep in a long time. With all the stress of school and having to bring work with me, I just needed this evening to relax.

The view from my room the next day. It was sunny and warmer.

After breakfast the next day, it was off to Boonton, NJ to the New Jersey Firemen’s Home to volunteer for the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Christmas Party. It was the first time in three years we had had the full party with entertainment and dropping off presents. The members had time before the party to socialize with each other and I even got better acquainted with the Firemen’s Home resident dog, Wells.

Our article on the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association website:

https://wordpress.com/post/tbcfha.wordpress.com/631

The Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association Executive Board, Tom Simpson, George Heflich, Justin Watrel, John Kinner.

Vice-President Justin Watrel with resident dog, Wells.

Member Jerry Naylis’s daughter and grandchildren were part of the entertainment again this year and really charmed the residents.

The members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association gathered together for our annual membership picture after the party was over.

After the entertainment was over, we handed out our presents to the residents which was a beautiful red fleece jacket with the residents name on it. I could tell that all the residents were touched by the gift and it really meant something to all of them to be remembered at the holidays.

Our Christmas present to the residents

While the entertainment carried on for the next 45 minutes, some of the members stopped for dinner at the Columbia Inn in Montville, NJ and just relaxed. It had been a long day for everyone and a good meal was a nice way to end the day. I had the most wonderful Chicken Rollatini special that really warmed me up on this cool early evening. It was nice to catch up with the other members before the holidays went into full force.

The Columbia Inn at 29 Main Road in Montville, NJ

https://www.thecolumbiainn.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46639-d639843-Reviews-Columbia_Inn_Restaurant-Montville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

It had been a long weekend and when I got home, it was getting ready for classes again, finishing my White Page for my Trends in Tourism class, my Metaverse paper for Innovations in Tourism class and our Mapping project for my Data Analytics class. This on top of all the work I had to finish in my own classes at Bergen Community College. It was going to be a long next three weeks before Christmas and both colleges would keep me busy.

Places to stay:

Quality Inn Hyde Park

4142 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 407-0936

https://www.choicehotels.com/new-york/hyde-park/quality-inn-hotels/ny343

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60801-d590312-Reviews-Quality_Inn_Hyde_Park_Poughkeepsie_North-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Places to Visit:

The Historic Old Dutch Church

272 Wall Street

Kingston, New York  12401

(845) 338-6759

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d7232701-Reviews-Old_Dutch_Church-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/1710

The Senate House

296 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12401

(845) 338-2786

http://www.palisadeparksconservancy.org

Home

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm/Wednesday-Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm (April 15-October 31). Open by Appointment only (November 1-April 14)

Fee: Adults $4.00/Seniors (62+) $3.00/Children under 12 and under Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3225491-Reviews-Senate_House_State_Historic_Site-Kingston_Catskill_Region_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3634

Volunteer Firemen’s Hall & Museum of Kingston

265 Fair Street

Kingston, NY  12402

(831) 331-0866

https://kingstonvolunteerfiremensmuseum.weebly.com/

Open:  The hours vary by the season so please look to the website for the openings. School groups please call for an appointment.

Fee: Free but donations accepted

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48003-d3367598-Reviews-Volunteer_Fireman_s_Hall_Museum_of_Kingston-Kingston_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3627

Places to Eat:

Apple Pie Bakery Cafe

1946 Campus Drive

Culinary Institute of America

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 908-4500

https://www.applepiebakerycafe.com/

Open: Sunday Closed/Monday-Tuesday 8:00am-4:00pm/Wednesday-Thursday Closed/Friday 8:00am-4:00pm/Saturday Closed

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60801-d1929618-Reviews-Apple_Pie_Bakery_Cafe-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Golden Wok

7479 South Broadway

Red Hook, NY 12571

(845) 758-6868

https://goldenwokredhook.uorder.io/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Monday 11:00am-9:30pm/Tuesday Closed/Wednesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48473-d821529-Reviews-Golden_Wok-Red_Hook_New_York.html?m=19905

Pete’s Famous Restaurant

34 East Market Street

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-7271

https://www.petesfamous.com/

Open: Sunday 8:00am-5:00pm/Monday-Saturday 8:00am-8:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Village Pizza of Rhinebeck

19 East Market Street

Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-9676

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-9:00pm/Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

Columbia Inn Restaurant

29 Main Road

Montville, NJ 07045

(973) 263-1300

https://www.thecolumbiainn.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-8:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9:00pm/Friday 11:30am-10:00pm/Saturday 12:00pm-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46639-d639843-Reviews-Columbia_Inn_Restaurant-Montville_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Hyde Park Historical Society 4389 Albany Post Road Hyde Park, NY 12538

Don’t miss this gem of a museum in Downtown Hyde Park, NY that takes pride in the local community and its history.

The Hyde Park Historical Society in Hyde Park, NY

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Hyde Park Historical Society

4389 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY 12538

(845) 229-2559

https://hydeparkhistoricalsociety1821.org/

https://www.hydeparkny.us/669/Hyde-Park-Historical-Society

Open: Sunday 11:00am-3:00pm/Monday-Friday Closed/Saturday 10:00am-3:00pm

Fee: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d3426818-Reviews-Hyde_Park_Historical_Society_Museum-Hyde_Park_New_York.html

The Hyde Park Historical Society at 4389 Albany Post Road

The Hyde Park Historical Society is going through a type of rebirth as it has reopened with a fresh approach towards not just the history of Hyde Park, NY but the area in general and life here over the last two hundred years. The society is taking a new direction and revamping their efforts on the displays and on the history and activities of the museum. The museum is housed in what was once the Hyde Park, NY Fire Department building.

The museum is broken down into sections by displays. When you enter the museum there is an display of bicycles and recreation items that would have been used over the years…

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Day Two Hundred and Forty-Five Exploring the Historical sites of Fishkill, NY- A Local Journey August 7th and 14th and December 9th, 2022

I love visiting the Hudson River Valley so any event or tour that I can go on is an excuse to come up here. I had visited all the sites that I wanted to see on a trip two weeks earlier but wanted to see them in more detail plus I wanted to take some pictures. The weather finally broke, and it was a much more pleasant 83 degrees as opposed to the 96 degrees the trip before. That makes the trip much nicer.

I asked my aunt along so that we could share in the experience, and I could use her phone to take pictures of the all the sites. It is a much nicer trip when you have someone along who enjoys these things. The one nice thing about traveling to the Fishkill, New York area is that it is only an hour away and a straight run up the New York Thruway to Route 84 and then to Route 9. Just a couple of quick back streets and you will be there.

On my first trip up, I got there so early that no one was at the first site, The Brinckerhoff Homestead Historical site, the home of the East Fishkill Historical Society at 68 North Kensington Drive in Hopewell Junction, NY. I double back and stopped for a quick snack at G & R Deli Cafe, a small deli at 2003 Route 52 in a strip mall near the old IBM campus. I needed a snack. This was my go to place both in the summer and when I came back for Christmas. The owners are really nice and the food is excellent.

G &R Deli Cafe at 2003 Route 52

https://www.gnrdelicafe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/grdelicafe/

Since I already had dinner plans, I ordered a Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a roll ($5.95) which was a bit more expensive than in the City but it was delicious. The sausage had a nice taste of sage and gave it a lot of flavor. I just relaxed outside in the parking lot and ate breakfast. Another time that I visited, I had the same version with bacon and both times the sandwiches were excellent.

The breakfast sandwiches at G & R Deli are excellent

After my snack, I got back to the Brinckerhoff Homestead at 12:00pm when it was supposed to open but around 12:30pm there was still no one there and I kept knocking on the door. That’s when one of the county members let me know that they did not open until 1:00pm. Since I had a list of places to visit that day and the time had been posted all over the internet, I asked if we could please start early. He agreed and I got a personal tour of the house. When I came back two weeks later, I better timed it for the 1:00pm opening to take pictures.

The Brinckerhoff Homestead at 68 Kensington Drive

https://kk-kz.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

The Brinckerhoff family is prominent in the Fishkill area and family members still visit the homestead so the house’s history is ongoing. The house is broken down into three sections as you can see by the picture. The original part of the home was built by John G. Brinckerhoff in 1755 and it consisted of the “Everything Room” on the lower floor with the hearth for cooking, a beehive oven and the large room upstairs for family living.

As John Brinckerhoff’s family grew, they moved out of the house and his brother, George G. Brinckerhoff moved into the home with his family. After the Revolutionary War was over and George G.’s assignment was over in the army, he returned to the house and in 1785 added the middle main addition of the house with four additional rooms. The larger rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence in that they could heat the home.

When George died in 1812, his brother John and his family moved back into the house. In 1814, the family sold the house to the Purdy family. They lived in the house for the next 60 years and added the final addition onto the house to the left with a summer kitchen and an outdoor oven. It remained in the family until 1875 when it was sold to the Palen family who used it again as a farm. It was then again sold to the Moore family in 1926 and lastly sold to East Fishkill Historical Society in 1974 by developer Gustav Fink who was a developer in the area (East Fishkill Historical Society).

The rooms are decorated in period furnishings and when we started the tour, you begin in the oldest section of the home with the original kitchen area.

The “Everything Room” in the Brinckerhoff Homestead

This is where the family would cook, eat, do their work on farm affairs and socialize. There was also a small general store on the property as well. The upstairs was closed to the public.

You next moved into the main rooms of the 1785 addition which brought it the into then modern era with high ceilings and larger rooms so that the family had more living space and could entertain.

The Main Dining Room of the home which was set for Hot Chocolate service which again showed the family’s affluence as chocolate was very expensive then

We also toured the Living Room which was set for socializing and work women did for the home with needlepoint, weaving, and clothes making. There was still room for people to gather and entertain.

The Living Room of the 1785 addition to the home

Along the main corridor of the home in the addition was all sorts of artifacts from the Revolutionary War period and items from the time.

Our last part of the tour was the latest addition by the Purdy family when we toured the ‘Summer Kitchen”, which showed how the home had progressed over the years. Little by little each family brought it into the next ‘modern era’.

Both times I got to tour the grounds and the beautiful gardens that the volunteers maintained. Rock gardens and flower beds line the three acres of land around the house. Along with the flower beds, several historical buildings have been moved to the property including the one room schoolhouse from District 9 in East Fishkill that was built in 1826, the 1870 Icehouse which once supplied another home with its ice for the home to keep food fresh before the advent of refrigeration.

The Schoolhouse and the Icehouse and gardens

Another building that is still in use and is open when the house is open for touring is the John Hyatt Blacksmith shop from 1880. It still has some of the original tools and the blacksmith on duty still works the fire and performs tasks in the building.

The last building on the property is the Van Wyck Carriage Barn from 1845. It had been built by Judge Theodorus Van Wyck for his home that was built in East Fishkill that was torn down by the development of the IBM Campus in 1984. IBM paid to have the carriage house dismantled and moved to this property.

The East Fishkill Historical Society with the Brinckerhoff home in the center, the schoolhouse to the right and the blacksmith shop and the carriage house to the left

We took our time to tour the house and the grounds and on my initial visit I got to tour the schoolhouse, the ice house and the blacksmith shop to see the inner workings of these buildings and how they operated.

The docents had told me that they had recently held a ‘Strawberry Festival’ recently promoting the local fruit crops and serving complimentary strawberry shortcake that everyone enjoyed and was gone quickly. There are also Revolutionary War reenactments done on the property and for the holiday season the home will be decorated for the period Christmas holidays with an open house, so there will be things to do and see in the future.

When I returned in December, the curator invited me back to see the house decorated for Christmas. So while I was up seeing the decorated mansions of the Hudson River Valley the first, second and third weekends of December (read my blog on visiting the Hudson River Valley-Day Two Hundred and Fifty-Five-Christmas Again?):

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/27296

The whole Brinkerhoff Homestead site was decorated for a Revolutionary era Christmas and the tables were set for an Afternoon Tea Fundraiser. The displays showed both a Revolutionary War and Victorian theme. With the fire places blazing, it made the whole house smell of oak and pine.

The Brinckerhoff Homestead decorated for Christmas

The Brinckerhoff Homestead Christmas tree

The Christmas display case at the Brinckerhoff House of Victorian toys

Santa does visit the first weekend of December

Our next stop on the tour of homes was the Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9, the old Albany Post Road. The house had stood on the main transportation line during the Revolutionary War period and it had served as General George Washington’s northern supply depot during the war because of this location.

Van Wyck Homestead Museum at 504 Route 9 (the Old Albany Post Road)

http://www.fishkillhistoricalsociety.org/

In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck bought 959 acres of land from the original Rombout Patent and built the smaller section of the home to the right in 1732. As the family gained affluence in farming and trade, the larger section of the home to the left was built in 1757 with larger rooms and higher ceilings again to show a family’s wealth.

Because of the location of the house in Fishkill on the main road of transportation and the strategic location near the mountains to the south, General George Washington requisitioned the home as the northern supply depot for the Continental Army in October of 1776. Here supplies were run through, army regiments passed and people were buried who died during the war. The house was also used as the headquarters and court marshals and punishments took place on the property (Van Wyck Homestead Museum pamphlet). After the war was over, the house and farm was returned to the family.

The historical marker of the original home

The way the house was furnished was slightly different from the Brinckerhoff Homestead that looked more like you were walking into someone’s actual home. The old Living Room of the Van Wyck Homestead is being used as a meeting room and a place to display items from the Revolutionary War.

The Living Room and Meeting Room at the Van Wyck Homestead

The Revolutionary War Collection at the Van Wyck Homestead

Towards the back of the home is a Library/Research area and we were able to see all the old books and records that are part of the home’s collection. This is where most people do their genealogy work and family research.

The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead

What both my aunt and I thought was interesting was when we entered the older part of the house and the old Dining Room area. Many of the artifacts were old Van Wyck family heirlooms that had been donated over the years.

The Dining Room of the Van Wyck Homestead

Some of the recent additions were the crib which had been in the family for five generations and had just been donated to the home as well as the painting over the fireplace had just been collected by the home. Like the Brinckerhoff Homestead, there are many members of the Van Wyck family who come back to visit and still live in the area.

The Colonial kitchen and hearth are in the oldest section of the home from 1732. This is where the “Everything Room” was located. Back when this was the only section of the home, this is where all the cooking, dining, family business and social activities were located. All sorts of kitchen equipment lined the walls and shelves to show life in colonial times. It was funny that much of it has not changed over the years, just modernized.

The original family kitchen in the 1732 section of the Van Wyck Homestead

Outside the home, the organization planted the outside gardens and there is a recreation of the old beehive oven aside the home. It gave you a glimpse of how food came about for these large families before supermarkets.

The Van Wyck Gardens showed how the house was self-sufficient at one time

After touring the grounds, we walked back to see the displays one more time. On my initial trip, the tour guide let me see the upstairs rooms. In the newer part of the home, they had been turned into storage and offices for the docents. In the older part of the home, the old loft area was used for storage, and it was pretty dusty. The house was closed for Christmas but will reopen in the Spring.

After touring these two homes, we were off to Wappinger’s Falls further up Route 9 to visit the Mesier Homestead in Mesier Park just off the beginning of Downtown Wappinger’s Falls. There was a concert going on in the park and my aunt said she needed a break from visiting these old homes. Too many arrowheads and Revolutionary War furniture so she stayed and listened to the concert while I toured the home.

The Mesier Homestead in Mesier Park

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/mesier-homestead

The Mesier Homestead is the home of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society, who maintains the home. The Mesier home is much like the other homes in that it had been added onto as the family grew and became more affluent. The original part of the home is currently going through a renovation and the President of the Wappinger Falls Historical Society explained that they just discovered the old hearth and oven and are currently restoring the historic windows.

The original part of the home is currently under renovation

Starting the tour at the front entrance of the home that leads to the formal Living Room that is decorated with Victorian decor. Again the large rooms and high ceilings showed the family affluence by showing how they could afford to heat their home.

The Living Room at the Mesier Homestead

The copies of the Mesier family portraits in the Mesier Living Room

The Living Room leads to the back Library where many additions of older books are held and where visitors can do research on their family history in the Wappinger Falls. Many are trying to trace their family’s history.

The Mesier Homestead Library and Research Room

The back area of the house is closed for renovations, but you can climb the stairs to the old bedrooms on the second floor. Here is where both the family and the family slaves then servants lived on the same floor.

The Adult’s Bedroom set during Victorian times

A woman’s boudoir during Victorian times

The rooms also showed a child’s place in the family where during Victorian times were treated like ‘little adults’ being trained for their future lives. Toys not just sparked the imagination but also prepared children for domestic life

Children’s playthings during Victorian times spurred imagination

On top of the recreations of the family life in both Colonial and Victorian times that the family lived through, there was an extensive collection of Native American items showing the original settlers of the region when the Lenape Indians lived, fished and hunted in this area before the arrival of the Dutch in the late 1600’s.

The Native American collection on the second floor of the Mesier Homestead

The last part of the tour ended in the formal Dining Room where the entertainment was done and the family took their meals. When I asked why these homes seemed so much smaller than homes like the Vanderbilts and Mills families, it was explained that these families were older more established and did not have to show off their wealth. Since these were God fearing individuals, it was not acceptable to be ‘showy’. People knew they were affluent so they could show off but not flaunt it.

The formal Dining Room at the Mesier Homestead set for dinner

During the Christmas holiday season, the house is beautifully decorated for a Victorian Christmas with garlands and bows and period decorations. Most of these old homes are elegantly decorated as the families once had done during the holidays.

The Living Room at the Mesier Homestead at Christmas

During Colonial times, Christmas meant church services in the morning or afternoon and then a formal dinner in the afternoon. You might have pine, garland and berries decorate the house whereas during Victorian times, it was a much more elaborate affair. There would be a Christmas tree, garland and pine all over the home and gift giving. Christmas cards would have also decorated the home as well.

The Mesier Homestead foyer decked at Christmas time

The Dining Room table was decorated for Christmas lunch

After the tour, I took a quick walk into downtown Wappinger Falls which has a great downtown with terrific restaurants and a great view of the river and falls.

Downtown Wappinger Falls has such a unique look to it.

During Christmas time, the downtown had a quaint look to it with garland and wreaths decorating people’s homes.

Downtown Wappingers Falls during Christmas

The Christmas tree in the Wappingers Falls square downtown

The Bandstand decorated at night

Our last part of the tour was visiting the First Reformed Church of Fishkill at 717 Route 9 at the beginning of Downtown Fishkill, NY. This elegant old church with its historic cemetery was built in 1732 on land that had been set aside for the church.

The Fishkill First Reformed Dutch Church at 717 Route 9 with the DuBois House next door

The church was closed for the afternoon as services are at 10:00am on Sundays so I toured around the church and the cemetery. What was interesting about the cemetery is all the family plots and who was intermarried into whose families.

The cemetery behind the church is full of family plots including the Brinckerhoff and Van Wyck families

After touring the church and the cemetery grounds, I took my time and walked Downtown Fishkill which is lined with small but interesting restaurants and stores. The street had been lively the two times that I visited with people enjoying the outdoor dining and the perfect 80-degree weather.

Historic Downtown Fishkill, NY

https://shopdowntown.org/pages/shop-downtown-Fishkill-New%20York

The Van Wyck family vault is located in the church’s cemetery

During Christmas time, the church was tastefully decorated for Christmas and for holiday services.

The church was decked with wreaths and garland

The church doorway looked like something out of a Christmas Card

Downtown Fishkill, NY decorated for Christmas

CIty Hall decorated for Christmas

I searched that entire downtown from one end to another and I could not find the Fishkill Town Christmas tree.

While walking around Downtown Fishkill, I came across the Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street and needed a quick snack on a hot afternoon. The store was really busy with people eating outside on the benches and tables. I stopped in and had a scoop of Strawberry Cheesecake and a scoop of Birthday Cake ice cream. Did it hit the spot! The Strawberry Cheesecake was especially good with chunks of fresh strawberries in it.

The Fishkill Creamery at 1042 Main Street in Downtown Fishkill

https://www.facebook.com/FishkillCreamery/

After the ice cream, it was time for dinner (I always believe in saving room for dessert). Both times I tried Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9 in Fishkill. You really have to search for the restaurant as it is located in the strip mall in the Shoprite Mall.

Antonella’s Pizzeria & Restaurant at 738 Route 9

The food here is really good. When I came up on my own, I just wanted something small, and I ordered the Cheese Calzone ($8.95). The thing was huge! The Calzone was so large that it could have fed two people easily. It was loaded with Ricotta, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and they make a terrific marinara sauce that accompanied it. By the time I finished devouring the thing, I was stuffed. This after all that ice cream.

We returned to Antonella’s when my aunt and I returned to Fishkill for the touring since I was so impressed with the food and service. My aunt had the Sausage, Pepper & Onion Roll ($8.50) and I had the Stromboli Roll ($8.50) which had ham, salami, pepperoni, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses wrapped in a perfectly baked pizza dough. Both were served with their flavorful marinara sauce. After a long day of touring, it was just what we needed. We also took plenty of time to relax and digest on this trip.

The Cheese Calzone’s at Antonella’s are excellent

It was really a nice day and there is so much to see and do in this part of the Hudson River Valley. I had not really explored Fishkill, NY so it was fascinating to see all these old homes and historic sites and know their place in history. Take the time to tour these homes and hear the family stories. Remember to head back during the Christmas holiday season and explore these homes and the downtowns when they are decorated for the season. There is a special magic in the Hudson River Valley during the holiday season. Check their websites for more activities during the year.

(Please read the accompanying reviews on VisitingaMuseum.com to see a full description on these homes).

Places to Visit:

Brinckerhoff House Historic Site/East Fishkill Historical Society

68 North Kensington Drive

Hopewell Junction, NY 12524

(845) 227-4136

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

Admission: Free

Open: Sundays 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed/June-August

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47922-d24829233-Reviews-Brinckerhoff_House_Historical_Site-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8327

Van Wyck Homestead Museum

504 U.S. 9

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-0560

https://www.hudsonrivervalley.com/sites/Van-Wyck-Homestead-Museum-/details

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Wyck_Homestead_Museum

Admission: Free

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed/June-October

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263982-Reviews-Van_Wyck_Homestead_Museum-Fishkill_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8339

The Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society

2 Spring Street

Wappinger’s Falls, NY  12590

(845) 632-1281

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Check website for special events

Fee: Adult $10.00/Seniors $7.00/Children 7-18 $5.00/Members Free

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48799-d16919924-Reviews-Mesier_Homestead_and_Museum-Wappingers_Falls_New_York.html?m=19905

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/4173

First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill

1153 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-4546

Open: Church Services are on Sundays at 10:00am

https://www.facebook.com/FirstReformedChurchofFishkill/

Home Page

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263921-Reviews-First_Reformed_Church_of_Fishkill-Fishkill_New_York.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/8333

Where to Eat:

G &R Deli Café

2003 NY Route 52

Hopewell Junction, NY 12533

(845) 202-7669

https://www.gnrdelicafe.com/

https://www.facebook.com/grdelicafe/

Open: Sunday 7:00am-2:00pm/Monday-Friday 6:00am-4:00pm/Saturday 7:00am-3:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47922-d24829555-r851173564-G_R_Deli_Cafe-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html?m=19905

Antonella’s Italian Restaurant

738 Route 9 Suite 13

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-9191

https://www.antonellasrestaurant.com/fishkill-menu

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-10:00pm/Monday-Thursday 11:00am-10:00pm/Friday and Saturday 11:00am-11:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g47724-d5112543-r851247421-Antonella_s_Italian_Restaurant_Pizza-Fishkill_New_York.html?m=19905

Fishkill Creamery

1042 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 214-5544

https://www.fishkillcreamery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FishkillCreamery/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Monday-Thursday 12:00pm-9:30pm/Friday-Saturday 12:00pm-10:30pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g47724-d23864092-Reviews-Fishkill_Creamery-Fishkill_New_York.html?m=19905

First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill 1153 Main Street Fishkill, NY 12524

Don’t miss this interesting tour of the church and its cemetery in the start of Downtown Fishkill, NY.

The First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill, NY

Don’t miss touring their historic cemetery.

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

First Reformed Dutch Church of Fishkill

1153 Main Street

Fishkill, NY 12524

(845) 896-4546

Open: Church Services are on Sundays at 10:00am

https://www.facebook.com/FirstReformedChurchofFishkill/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47724-d263921-Reviews-First_Reformed_Church_of_Fishkill-Fishkill_New_York.html

After visiting three historical homes in the Fishkill area covering the towns of Hopewell Junction and Wappingers Falls, my last stop of the day was the First Dutch Reformed Church of Fishkill, NY. The church was closed at this point with services being on Sunday’s only starting at 10:00am. I was able to tour around the church admiring its architecture, looking over the DuBois House which is also owned by the church and exploring the cemetery.

The cemetery was the most interesting being the final resting place of many of the ‘first families’ of the area, including family plots of the Van Wyck and Brinckerhoff families, who also intermarried with each other. There were sections dedicated just to the families…

View original post 1,417 more words

Brinckerhoff House Historic Site/East Fishkill Historical Society 68 North Kensington Drive Hopewell Junction, NY 12524

Don’t miss the interesting look at farm life in early America at the Brinckerhoff Homestead.

The Brinckerhoff Homestead at 68 North Kensington Drive

The Dining Room at the Brinckerhoff Homestead

Visiting a Museum: The Unique, Unusual, Obscure and Historical

Brinckerhoff House Historic Site/East Fishkill Historical Society

68 North Kensington Drive

Hopewell Junction, NY 12524

(845) 227-4136

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057186982344

Admission: Free

Open: Sundays 1:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed/June-August

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47922-d24829233-Reviews-Brinckerhoff_House_Historical_Site-Hopewell_Junction_New_York.html

The Brinckerhoff House Historical Site

The Brinckerhoff House Historical Site was built in three different time periods with the oldest part of the house to the right, the main part of the house was built second and the Sun Room and porch to the left was built last. The house opens up in all parts but you can see the distinct different in the style of the design.

The entrance of the original homestead

The entrance of the Homestead has the schoolhouse and icehouse to the left of the entrance and the blacksmith shop and the carriage house to the right. The Blacksmith shop has a real blacksmith on duty working when the house is open for tours.

The original section…

View original post 895 more words

Day Two Hundred and Forty-Three Visiting the Ulster County Fair in Ulster County New York August 5th, 2022

I really enjoy my trips to the Hudson River Valley to attend weekend events. When I read about the series of County Fairs that will be held during August upstate, I wanted to start visiting them. I have been to the Dutchess County Fair for many years, but I never ventured outside that fair. I have never really explored Ulster County, so I decided to head upstate and visit the Uster County Fair for the afternoon. It was an eye opener.

https://www.facebook.com/ulstercountyfair/

I found that the Ulster County Fair was about half the size of the Dutchess County Fair across the river. The fairgrounds are smaller than Dutchess County’s so you could tour the fair much quicker. There were lots to do at the fairgrounds and I explored the whole fair over the next three hours.

I first visited the Volunteer Fire Museum and the Police Museum that are only open when the fair is open. The Police Museum was stocked with equipment that law enforcement has used over the last hundred years that includes batons, handcuffs and how a police station works. They even had a small jail display. The Volunteer Fire Museum was stocked with equipment that volunteer fire departments had donated, pictures and patches of local departments and like The Police Museum staffed by volunteers from the departments who could describe the objects in the museum and what their position was in their departments.

It was a nice to talk to other volunteer fire fighters who face the issues we all face, changing ranks in the volunteers with a generation gap and trying to recruit new fire fighters. All of us still have the pride of being a fire fighter but the role seems to be changing. The museum reflected that with new ways of firefighting are being practiced but keeping the traditions alive. Both museums should be a bit more updated.

After I left the museums, I toured the 4H displays. There were barn pens filled with cows, horses, rabbits, pigs and chickens. The 4H members were taking care of their animals, washing them and feeding them and the animals seemed to know that they were on display. Some of them looked like they were showing off by the way they moved around in their pens. The kids showed their pride by the way they cared for them. The way they cleaned and brushed them and cared for their pens.

What I liked about the 4H stand was their food station. They had the most reasonable food at the fair. Their hot dogs were $2.00, their sodas were $1.00, and their milkshakes were $5.00 as opposed to the higher prices of the food vendors. I had a vanilla shake that the kids made, and I will tell you that there is nothing better than a fresh vanilla shake made with fresh milk and fresh ice cream made from their cows. I really enjoyed it.

I looked around at the food vendors and I could not believe the prices. Everything was so expensive. The hamburgers pulled pork sandwiches and cheesesteaks were between $12.00 to $15.00 and I thought that was too high. The zeppole and fried dough not only were $8.00 for six small zeppole but all the fried foods were sitting under heat lamps. If there were seventy or eighty people at the fair that afternoon, it was a lot. There was no reason for them to cook so much food in advance. I stopped at one pizza stand and had a slice of pizza for $6.00 and a Coke for $3.00 and it was a lot for a slice of pizza with no flavor.

I walked around all the booths that were selling local wares and there were people selling arts and crafts and food items. There were some interesting food stuffs like local honey, jellies, syrups and baked items but again they priced them so high that it was cheaper to buy them in a grocery store. Maple syrup should not be $14.00 for a small jar. I think these vendors priced out the customers that were coming to the fair.

I walked around the amusement area of the fair and that got busier by the end of the afternoon as families started to arrive during the early evening. As I walked around the rides, more and more kids were on the rides. Most of the rides were geared towards small children and I could see the teenagers watching their younger siblings enjoying themselves. They would go off with their friends as soon as the parents returned.

The Ulster County Fair Amusement area

After I had visited all the attractions, amusement areas and walked around the fair about four times, I ventured out of the fair to get dinner. The options were just too expensive, and the selection was not very good. I decided to head into downtown New Platz for dinner.

As I was leaving at 6:00pm, the crowds really started to come in as the entertainment was going to start at 8:00pm. Singer Allie Colleen was headlining that night and it looked like she was going to have a big crowd. What I did not realize until later is that she is Garth Brook’s daughter and a noted Country music singer.

Singer Allie Colleen

https://www.alliecolleenmusic.com/

Trying to leave the fair was an experience as the traffic started to increase and you had to leave the way you came in. I could not believe that the entrance was the exit as well.

The funny part of the Ulster County Fair Grounds is that it is in the middle of farmland as opposed to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds that are on the edge of Rhinebeck. Two different fairs with two different vibes. I really felt that I was among the locals at this fair whereas the Dutchess County Fair gets people from the City and from New Jersey as well. I really did feel like a visitor.

I parked up in Downtown New Platz and have to admit that it has not changed much since my first visit during Christmas of 2014. Parts of the downtown have attracted more expensive restaurants and there are some newer stores but the downtown still has that college vibe to it with a ‘New Age’ feel. It’s like a bigger version of Woodstock.

Downtown New Paltz, NY

https://www.townofnewpaltz.org/

https://www.iloveny.com/places-to-go/hudson-valley/spotlight-new-paltz/

I walked all around the downtown area to see all the new places to eat and shop. I got into the downtown just before things started to close. Like many other towns, New Paltz has taken a hit in their businesses when the SUNY Campus closed but it looks like new businesses are starting to open in their place. What surprised me was the prices for meals. These restaurants were not catering to the artists or the college students but more to out-of-town visitors. I have this thing about $34.00 entrees in a college town.

I went to McGillicuddy’s restaurant at 84 Main Street for dinner that night. I had been there many times before when visiting New Paltz and I love the college vibe of the place. Plus, you can watch the games on the big screen TVs.

McGillicuddy’s at 84 Main Street

https://cuddysny.com/

I ordered one of their Original Hamburgers with a side of Waffle fries and I have to tell you it was one of the best burgers that I had had in a long time. Their burgers are large and juicy and have a wonderful beefy taste (order it medium well to get a well-done burger) and it was accompanied by a large portion of waffle fries ($12.95). Everything was delicious and the service was great.

The burger and fries were delicious

What is nice about New Paltz is that it is on the opposite side of the river from all the places I normally visit like Rhinebeck and Red Hook and once out of town, you immediately get to the New York Thruway, and I was home in just over an hour.

It was a nice experience and fun visiting the fair. Now off to visit the Dutchess County Fair in two weeks!

My day at the Dutchess County Fair:

Day One Hundred and Nineteen-Visiting the Dutchess County Fair:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7786

Places to Visit:

The Ulster County Fair (Every August)

Ulster County Fairgrounds

249 Libertyville Road

New Paltz, NY 12561

(845) 255-1380

https://ulstercountyfair.com/

Open: The Fair is every August but check their website for other events

Places to Eat:

McGillicuddy’s

84 Main Street

New Paltz, NY 12561

(845) 256-9289

https://cuddysny.com/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-12:00am/Monday-Thursday 3:00pm-12:00pm/Friday 3:00pm-4:00am/Saturday 12:00pm-4:00am

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48245-d2192041-Reviews-McGillicuddy_s-New_Paltz_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

Day Two Hundred and Eleven: From the delivery of trees to the Sinterklaas Parade in Rhinebeck, NY and other Christmas activities that changed in the blink of an eye: Welcome to another crazy COVID Christmas! December 1st-31st, 2021

I cannot believe that another Christmas has come and gone and COVID is still raging around. Talk about having to adapt to a new world a lot wiser and more aware. I have just become more careful over the last year and kept my activities to a minimum (yeh right, I still run all over the place for work and keeping people informed about happenings all over the place). I just try to stay safe. I put my walk of the Garment District on hold for the Christmas holidays and all that came with it.

Christmas started right after I came home from Thanksgiving dinner in Lambertville when the next morning, I had to wake up at 6:00am to get ready to go to the Christmas tree lot for the Annual Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association Christmas Tree Drop Off of the trees. We had 390 trees being delivered and it was all hands-on deck.

Setting up the Christmas trees

Who knew that the truck would arrive at 8:00am and we got caught off guard. No one expected it to come until at least 10:30am. So, at 9:00am, over thirty members and their children emptied all 390 Christmas trees off the truck (they shorted us ten trees), got them tagged and ready to sell. We had not even finished tagging the trees and our first tree sold at 10:30am.

The Hasbrouck Heights Men’s Association at Christmas tree set up 2021

I stayed on the site until 4:30pm and we had already sold the first twenty-one trees. I could not believe how fast the trees sold that day. The only reason why I left is that I had to help with the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department on the town’s Annual Holiday Parade. God did it get cold that night.

The night after Thanksgiving, the Hasbrouck Heights Chamber of Commerce holds the Annual Holiday Parade and the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department is always a participant from helping Santa enter town in the Parade to setting up the sound system for the Tree Lighting Ceremony. I swear it got so cold that night by the time the town lit the tree it must have gone down to 35 degrees. Thank God we bundled up!

The Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department at the Annual Hasbrouck Heights Holiday Parade

After the tree was lit, I never saw a place empty out so fast. People were so cold! Even with all our layers, we were cold too.

I did an about face and the next morning left for Beach Haven, NJ to attend some of Long Beach Island’s Christmas activities. The day ended up being much nicer and was a bit warmer. It is a two-hour trip to the shore and you would think that a beach community is not the place to spend an early Christmas weekend but you would be amazed at the activities they had planned all over the island that day.

I left the house around 8:30am on what started out as a gloomy morning that turned sunny and clear by the time I reached Long Beach Island. I decided to visit the Barnegat Lighthouse first to see if it was decorated with lights like the lighthouse at Montauk Point. That was always impressive the years I went out to visit my friend, Lillian.

The lighthouse was not decorated for the holidays but was finally open to walk in and climb the stairs. It was over a hundred steps up and back down. What a view all the way up. There were small stops on the way up with views on each level landing. By the time I reached the top of the stairs there were only three of us up there and God was it windy. I only lasted at the top of the lighthouse a few minutes before I almost blew off. What views of the waves coming in!

The Barnegat Lighthouse at the tip of Long Beach Island

https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/barnegatlighthousestatepark.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d286497-Reviews-Barnegat_Lighthouse_State_Park-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/5345

Before I made the journey to the southern part of the island on my November trip, I stopped by the “Santa’s Viking Christmas Village” to see the arts and crafts festival at Viking Village at 19th and the Bay Barnegat Light. It was a sunny but cool afternoon but the winds had calmed down and I was able to walk the booths with no problems. I was in search of homemade Santa’s for my mother’s upcoming birthday. I found them in two different booths, one made of a conch shell and another made of wood.

The local seafood restaurant was open for takeout and you could smell the fried fish in the distance along with the horrible singing by a guitarist who could not carry a note. Thank God he took a break in time for the Barnegat Light Fire Department to bring Mr. and Mrs. Claus to the Village for a visit to the local children.

Santa’s Viking Christmas Village at dusk at closing

http://www.vikingvillageshows.com/village-info.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46285-d2471201-Reviews-Viking_Village-Barnegat_Light_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

After touring the Village, I made my way back down Long Beach Boulevard to the LBI Foundation of The Arts & Sciences Holiday Market 2021, which was mostly full of more expensive artwork and home decor products. It was not as festive as the Village Market and all our mask wearing steamed up everyone’s glasses which was a big complaint.

My next stop was the Long Beach Island Historical Society which sponsored an “Elves Workshop” for kids and their parents with all sorts of arts and crafts happening at twelve different tables lining the front room of the museum. There was cookie decorating and Christmas tree creation with beads and cloth and gingerbread house making. To end the evening, they had Smores and Marshmallows roasting over open firepits in the park across the street.

The Elves Workshop at the Long Beach Island Historical Society

https://lbihistoricalmuseum.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46292-d11444615-Reviews-Long_Beach_Island_Historical_Museum-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/3311

The museum knows how to welcome in the holiday season.

The Christmas display at the front of the Long Beach Island Historical Society

After my visit to the Historical Society, I went down the road and revisited the NJ Maritime Museum 528 Dock Road right by the water. I had read so much at the shark attacks in New Jersey back in 1916 and wanted to see the exhibition again. I also wanted to see the exhibition on shipwrecks again so I spent the rest of the afternoon at the museum and then walking down to the harbor to watch the sun set. The sun sets on that island are amazing.

The NJ Maritime Museum at 528 Dock Road

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46292-d1881647-Reviews-Museum_of_NJ_Maritime_History-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html

My review on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/5338

For dinner that night, I went back to the Chicken or the Egg at 207 North Bay Avenue in the Beach Haven downtown. The food and the selection here is just excellent and the perfect place for comfort foods on a cool night. My waiter could not have been nicer and recommended the White Clam Chowder, which was so thick and rich and you could taste the cream and fresh clams in every bite. God the seafood was so sweet.

The Chicken or the Egg at 207 North Bay Avenue in Beach Haven, NJ

https://www.facebook.com/chegg609/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46292-d438676-Reviews-The_Chicken_or_the_Egg-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

For dinner, I started with the New England Clam Chowder and did it hit the spot. Loaded with clams and potatoes in a rich cream soup. It warmed me up inside. I ordered the Chicken Pot Pie for the entree, which was delicious as well. Chunks of chicken and fresh vegetables in a flaky crust and a rich gravy. On a cool night by the shore, there is nothing like it to warm you up. Talk about making the perfect choices for dinner.

The Woo Hoo at 211 South Bay Avenue

https://thewoohoo.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g46292-d7646259-Reviews-The_WooHoo-Beach_Haven_Long_Beach_Island_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

My review on DiningonaShoeStringinNYC@Wordpress.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/diningonashoestringinnyc.wordpress.com/1244

After dinner on my visit in November of 2021 at the Chicken or the Egg, I finished dessert at The Woo Hoo and walked up through the downtown to see the last of the people roasting marshmallows in the park and walked to Kapler’s Pharmacy at 1 South Bay Street. The drug store was sponsoring horse drawn carriage rides around the neighborhood. I thought what a nice way to end the evening with a twilight view of the sun setting and watching the Christmas lights going on at houses around the neighborhood. The Jersey Shore at Christmas can really surprise you.

Kapler’s Pharmacy event at 1 South Bay Avenue in 2021

https://www.facebook.com/events/kaplers-pharmacy/classis-christmas-soiree/284160150273064/

I thought it was a nice group of visits to get my mind off what is going on in the world. What’s better than the Jersey Shore in warm weather? Visiting at all times of the year in warm weather and then returning for the Christmas holiday events. Who says the Shore closes at Labor Day?

Later that day I found out that Michigan State beat Penn State 30-27. What a way to end the day on my November trip!

After a short trip down to my mom’s for her birthday and two Private Member Nights in New York City at The Met and the Museum of the City of New York (see blog below):

Day Two Hundred and Eight: Private Members Nights in NYC:

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/20227

it was back to Rhinebeck, NY for the Sinterklaas Parade and Celebration on Saturday, December 4th. I swear I was running from one place to another the whole week but was looking forward to the parade that had been cancelled last year because of COVID.

I travelled back up to Rhinebeck again for the festivities and got there by 10:00am in time to help unload the truck at the Starr Library. That brought back a lot of memories from parades past and it was so nice to walk around the cool air of Upstate New York. What started off as a very gloomy morning cleared up and it ended up being a clear, sunny and mild day in Rhinebeck.

We unpacked the familiar floats and puppets from years past and put together the bees, owls, geese, knights and dragons, horses that would lead Sinterklaas down his route and Children’s puppets that had children hoping for better times ahead. I always enjoy the comradery of the morning of putting the puppets together for the parade. Our theme this year was “Miss Mouse and Mr. Toad get married” so our events were based on the two characters getting hitched.

(I wanted to thank volunteer Jonathan Green for these pictures)

Me (in the jacket and khakis at the set up for the ‘Sinterklaas Parade’ in Rhinebeck, NY

Setting up the puppets for the parade is interesting

All the latest puppets ready to enter the parade

Mr. Toad preparing for his marriage to Miss Mouse

Miss Mouse preparing for her marriage to Mr. Toad in the Sinterklaas Parade

The Dragon is preparing for his duel with the knights of the parade

The puppets were set up in record time and we were finished by 11:45am

After we were done with the puppets, I drove down to Downtown Rhinebeck and parked a few blocks away and walked over to Main Street and joined in the opening festivities at the Beekman Arms. The restaurant was already packed with customers when I got there and the banquet room was full of visitors at the Opening Ceremony.

I had already checked in to my hotel, so I did not have to come back to the hotel until later that evening. This time I stayed at the Marriott Poughkeepsie which was much closer to Rhinebeck than staying at the one in Fishkill. I have to say that both hotels were wonderful when I was visiting the area.

The Marriott Poughkeepsie at 2641 South Road/Route 9

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pouch-courtyard-poughkeepsie/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48443-d93719-Reviews-Courtyard_Poughkeepsie-Poughkeepsie_New_York.html?m=19905

The Opening Ceremony at the Beekman Arms is always a lot of fun. All the costumed characters are introduced like the Pocket Lady, Mother Holly (who is always feeling jolly), the Queen Bee and the Snow King and Queen. They also introduced the Mayor of Rhinebeck and his wife, who portrayed Mr. Toad and Miss Mouse and reconfirmed their wedding vows in real life in front of the whole crowd. I thought that was very touching and I told her this later when I ran into her at another event.

After the marriage ceremony and the traditional Polar Bear Dance, Jonathan Kruk, a well-known storyteller, told the story of Sinterklaas. Mr. Kruk is a wonderful speaker and knows how to tell a story. He always captivates a crowd. Even though I have heard the same stories for years, I still enjoy listening to him speak.

No one is better at storytelling then Jonathan Kruk at Sinterklaas

Because I said that I would help with the checking in with the volunteers for the parade, I had to be back to the library by 4:00pm so that only gave me about a little over two and a half hours this time to enjoy the festivities.

What was nice was the policy blocked off the Downtown area so that everyone could walk in the streets and watch the performers do their thing. There were bands on stilts performing rag time music and holiday classics, the Polar Bear danced around and greeted visits with a quick spin on the street and I visited the Toad Stool where Mr. Toad and Miss Mouse greeted each visitor with a bundle of ribbons so that you could give them to strangers for good luck. I had never heard of that tradition before but it was interesting to walk through a giant toadstool.

I also walked around the businesses that were open and admired the store window displays. It was as if each store was trying to outdo the other for creativity and beauty of the Christmas season. My favorite was Samuel’s Sweet Shop at 42 East Market Street in Downtown Rhinebeck.

Samuel’s Sweet Shop at 42 East Market Street

https://www.facebook.com/samuelsofrhinebeck/

I watched the Grumpuses, Sinterklaas’s helpers do their traditional dance, singing groups entertain the outdoor crowds (Keeping COVID safe) and performers with sticks doing their routine. What I liked about Sinterklaas this year is that there were a lot of outdoor venues, so people were not cooped up inside wearing masks.

By 3:00pm I was starved and knowing that I would not be able to eat until way after the parade was over, I stopped at Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street. I love dining here and like their generous portions and the friendly service. I had my favorite Turkey Club sandwich with French Fries which is always good. They roast their own fresh turkey every day for their sandwiches.

Pete’s Famous at 34 East Market Street

https://www.petesfamous.com/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d823142-Reviews-Pete_s_Famous_Restaurant-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

The day started to fall into dusk and the whole town was being lit up. This is when Rhinebeck shows its true beauty as a Christmas village. All the trees in the Downtown are lit with white lights and adorned with paintings of the Sinterklaas Festival and ribbons. Also, all the stores light their windows and it makes the whole town look like a Currier & Ives woodprint.

Downtown Rhinebeck at dusk

Downtown Rhinebeck at night when its magic comes to life

I got back to the library at 4:00pm and assisted the staff in getting everyone ready for the parade, explaining how to work the puppets and hold them and making sure that everyone knew to listen to the marshals who were running the parade when it started.

It had been two years since we had a parade but it felt like time had not even passed by. I love to watch the parade come to life. As everyone lines up, the lights go on at each puppet and the bands get into high gear. Then there is the excitement of walking down the hill into Downtown Rhinebeck to the adoring crowds of the parade.

The crowds have tripled in the decade that I have been volunteering for the parade. The first time that I volunteered it was in 2010 with my father on my first trip up to Rhinebeck since being at the Culinary Institute and then I started volunteering again in 2014 when I started working on the Halloween Parade in the City. Just like that parade, excitement builds as the parade starts.

Walking down that hill is an amazing thing as people get so excited to see the floats and hear the music especially at this time with COVID raging on. Things seemed more festive as this is an outdoor event and it was two weeks before the omicron outbreak raged the country. It was a night of revelry and welcoming in the holiday season.

Sinterklaas is a magically evening in Downtown Rhinebeck

Opening Ceremonies at The Beekman Arms

Because the positions in the parade and the puppets were all filling myself and the other person, I worked with on checking people in took the “Follow the Banner in the Parade” banner down the hill to get everyone to the staging area for the conclusion of the parade. We were right behind the drumline of women who concluded the parade and whipped spectators into a dancing frenzy. I watched as people literally danced in the streets happy to be outside enjoying this evening. It was so nice to see families have such a good time.

This wonderful view of the parade that was posted online of ‘Sinterklaas 2021’

The parade ended in the community parking lot with all the characters are introduced and the well wishes to Sinterklaas and his entourage. There was music and the fire eaters showing their talents off to the large crowd who were looking towards a much happier holiday season. It was just nice to see everyone having a festive evening.

After the ceremony was over, I just walked around Downtown Rhinebeck, admiring the beautifully decorated windows and admiring the white lights adorning the trees. I love this downtown at Christmas.

The Downtown Rhinebeck Christmas Tree near the Community parking lot.

I stopped at Village Pizza for dinner and it was nice to just warm up. God is their pizza delicious.

Village Pizza at 19 East Market Street

https://www.facebook.com/RBKVP/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g48486-d818463-Reviews-Village_Pizza_of_Rhinebeck-Rhinebeck_New_York.html?m=19905

After dinner, it was another quiet walk around downtown Rhinebeck to admire the lights and the window displays. I love walking around this town.

Downtown Rhinebeck before dusk

Downtown Rhinebeck’s merchants go all out for the holidays

The next morning, I was off early to join some of the other members of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association for a modified Christmas hello to all our retired firefighters living in the NJ State Firemen’s Association.

Since our party was cancelled for the residents due to COVID, we gave our gift to the residents the week before (we got each resident a long-sleeved shirt that was monogramed with their name on it which I heard they all loved) and we also had a special Jersey Mike’s lunch for the residents the month before to ring in the holiday season.

Because of COVID regulations, we could only have a few members come but myself and the President of the Bergen County Firemen’s Home Association talked with our fellow firefighters during ‘Holiday Bingo’ or walked around to greet them and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’.

Santa greeting guests at the NJ Firemen’s Home in Boonton, NJ in 2019 in better times

It was just for a short time that we were allowed to stay but the members of the home appreciated it. We wanted to let our fellow firefighters know that we did not forget them during the holidays.

Members of the NJ State Firemen’s Home enjoying the Jersey Mike’s dinner we sponsored

Classes took up most of next week for me as we prepared for my Introduction to Business class to make their big presentation to me for their final grade. So, I was running around most of the week working with both my online class and my live class as we were getting ready for final exams.

On Thursday, December 9th, I took a break from all of my grading and went to see the production of “A Christmas Pudding” at Bergen Community College where I work. The students were putting on a Christmas retrospect of songs and readings which was a very nice performance.

The Theater students sang many traditional and contemporary songs from the American songbook with one student singing a very emotional version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”. Considering everything that was going on with COVID, I thought it was very touching. The students did a good job with the production and it really put me into the Christmas spirit.

The Play “A Christmas Pudding” at Ciccone Theater at Bergen Community College on December 9th

Another thing that put me into the Christmas spirit was all the new songs coming out this year. Did we need some Christmas cheer this year! I wanted to share two of my favorites that came to me via YouTube.

These two songs appeared on the Internet when I was writing this blog and I thought they were very symbolic of what is going on right now during the holidays as we try to resume to a new normal. I wanted to share them with all of you.

John Legend’s new Christmas song: “You Deserve it All”

Nora Jones new Christmas song: “Christmas Calling”

Kohmi Hirose did this great version of “Sleigh Ride” in English