Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Woodstock and the Catskills. Fun in the New York countryside.

Well we got invited to visit some friends in Bearsville New York. They live in NYC but have a weekend house about two hours outside of the city in the Catskills. It was an amazing, relaxing weekend.

I got off of work a little bit early and met Dave at Union station for the train ride up to Pen Station in New York. I have to say that Amtrak really, really sucks but this trip wasn’t all that bad. We sat there and read while the country side went by. They even had someone pushing a cart up and down the aisles selling drinks and food so we had a glass of wine. We got to NYC and had about an hour to wait until we got the train out to Woodstock.

We’ve always heard of Poughkeepsie, Yonkers and Hoboken but they always seemed to be funny little names with no actual place to connect them to. Well the train was going to Poughkeepsie and we went through Yonkers and Hoboken, it’s cool to know that they exist and where they are now.

Once we got to the train stop and got off, one of our friends was there to pick us up. About twenty minutes later we were at the weekend house. What a lovely little house it was/is, it is on a couple of archers of land and has been recently renovated from the ground up from its original 1927 construction. It’s open and airy and you can’t be in the house anywhere without seeing the forest outside.

We had dinner waiting for us which was pretty amazing considering we got there so late. Lamb burgers in pita bread with yogurt sauce. It was really, really good. We stayed up a little bit and then went to bed for a nice sleep in the country side silence.

Saturday we got up to coffee and the French open on the TV. I haven’t watched tennis in so long I didn’t even know who the people were on the court. It was still fun to watch. We then went to brunch in a little town down the way that I can’t remember the name of. It was very nice and very country. The price was a bit steep I thought for the area but not too bad. We then headed for the village of Woodstock just to see it. It seems that the whole Woodstock legend is just that, legend. The festival had gotten so big that the original farm outside of Woodstock could no longer hold it so they had to move it forty three miles away to another farm that could near Bethel, NY. Things you never knew.

The village is still full of hippies and your hippie want-a-be’s.

We walked a little way after getting a great parking spot and went straight to a clothing store. The store is run by the neighbors of the friends that we stayed with so we socialized a bit and then started looking around.

This store is exactly what we want it DC. It had cool, funky, not found in DC clothes and Dave and I immediately feel in love with it. $250 dollars later and one pair of shorts and two shirts I was a very happy boy. Funky cool clothes to wear at the next party. Love it.

We then got some ice cream and walked around a little bit. There was this strange guy walking around that kind of seemed to be following us. It was a little bit spooky because everywhere we went he was there. We decided it was time to go back to the house and have a nap before dinner. But first we had to see some art by a friend of theirs in a showing at a gallery near their house.

It was amazing stuff and if we had an extra 30k lying around I’m sure we would have gotten three or four of the paintings. The problem is we need new windows before we need new paintings. Still, if we win the lottery we’ll be back to purchase some of it. Very abstract landscapes. Loved it.

After the nap it was cocktail time. Wine for me, I’ve kind of gone off vodka. The neighbors came over for drinks and chatting and socializing. They brought a whole picture of cosmos. Oh my! We sat on the screened porch for a good long time while a thunder storm went over head. The neighbors went home to cook and we started cooking too.

We had tender loin stuffed with mushrooms, asparagus (which was a little bit burned but interesting just the same) and some kind of starch that’s escaping me right now; I think it was couis couis. All with lots of lovely wine. It was a very relaxing evening just having dinner with friends and enjoying the tranquility of the country.

The next morning was brunch with some Campaign to fight off the little bit of a hangover we all had from the wine the night before. We then just read the New York Times and chilled on the porch again until it was time to head back to the city. We had a bus (yes you got that right, we rode a bus home!) that was leaving from Pen station at 8pm so we left the house to drive back around 3:30/4:00. It takes a little under 2 hours to get back to the city.

We ended up getting there a bit early and after saying good bye and thank you to the boys we decided to eat before getting on the bus. We stopped at this Irish pub across from the station thinking it might not be too expensive and that we could get some real food. One house salad, one ceaser salad, one fish dish, one chicken dish, one glass of wine and two pints of beer and forty five minutes later we were presented with a check for $100. Mind you the food was good and all but it was more like a $50 dinner, not $100. Oh well, it was mid town NYC.

We then decide that we should get to the bus a little bit early just in case it was full. Silly us, there was a rather large line to get on the bus when we got there. Once we finally got on board I think we got the last two seats together.

A few observations about the DC to NY bus.

1. They give you water, which is nice considering it only cost $20 for the whole trip.

2. They play movies, which sucks if you want to sleep.

3. You can only go number 1 in the bathroom. This was fine with me. Seems number 2 stinks up the whole back of the bus.

4. They will take a break in Delaware even though there was a vote that told them not to.

5. It takes a lot longer than the train. About four and a half hours to five hours.

6. It drops off at two places in DC, Eye Street and 14th and in Dupont Circle.

Once we got to Dupont Circle it was a matter of a five minute walk to our house. We finally got in the door around 12:30am and were completely tired because all the sleep we were supposed to get on the bus didn’t happen because of the movies. Around 1ish we finally started to wind down enough to get to sleep.

Monday sucked, I didn’t get to run that morning and showed up at the office at 9:30, I’m usually there around 7:45 so that was late for me. Fortunately I’ve was able to work out that afternoon and have been able to run every morning this week since.

I also had my performance review on Tuesday. It went well.

That’s all the excitement for now.

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