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New Paltz & Sleepy Hollow!

 I figured a quick trip upstate before winter settles in and the third wave hits us was the cure-all needed. So, the mermaid and I packed a few bags and hit the highway. She booked an Airbnb just outside of town. My kids have used Airbnb, but I never did, preferring the safety of big hotel chains, but the mermaid picked the perfect location overlooking the Shawangunk ridge and the tower at Mohonk. The one room accommodation had an outdoor hot tub, and it stopped raining just enough for a dip in the soothing waters overlooking the valley and ridge beyond. I ordered a hot tub in July of this year and am still waiting on delivery, so this was a nice reminder as to what I have in store for me once it’s delivered. My kids think I already have it set up and have just been delaying telling them about it. Would I do that? Never!

New Paltz is a cute, hippie-themed college town. People wear masks there, and I was happy to see that. We ate at the brewery in town, and I have to say I have never been there, but I enjoyed it, even in a pandemic. We had dinner at a beautiful place called Garvan’s run by an Irishman from Donegal and the food and atmosphere was terrific. We once again toured Huguenot Street, with homes from the late 1600s from the escapees from religious persecution in Europe.

The mermaid had a surprise for me on this trip. She booked a hike with llamas and alpacas. That’s right, llamas and alpacas! This farm in Hyde Park has about thirty of them and many more sheep. In fact, the llamas act as guardians for the sheep. My llama’s name was Prince Caspian, and we got along very well. Apparently, the stories about them spitting are true, but only if they feel threatened. I made sure not to threaten the Prince!

We hiked through the farmlands, and we learned the difference between the two animals: llamas are bigger, have bigger ears, although alpacas have fatter faces (don’t say that to them, they are self-conscious); alpacas are bred for their fiber; while llamas are pack animals; but don’t be fooled, llamas are much more independent than alpacas. So, when Prince Caspian wanted to stop for a bite to eat, who was I to argue with the 400-pound Prince! All in all, it was a fun thing to do, even in the rain!!

Our next stop was more to my liking: a cemetery! It being the week of Halloween, I thought it appropriate to stop at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. If you have never been, it’s literally right off the Thruway just before the Mario Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee for you old-timers!). We stayed overnight at the Tarrytown Estate which is an old mansion used as a conference center. Because it was pouring rain, we had the cemetery all to ourselves. We visited the Old Dutch Church and of course, Mr. Washington Irving himself. You’ll be happy to know that he is not alone there, as his family plot includes about thirty others in an enclosed portion of the cemetery. Many other famous people are interred there including Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden, a Rockefeller or two and many more. It is a spooky place that is filled with atmosphere, and the rain made it feel even spookier.

When we got up for our return trip to Rockaway, we were greeted with snow! It was a stark reminder that summer is officially over, and it’s time to get out the winter coats. It was also a reminder that we have been living in a pandemic for about eight months now. New York has just recently put in restrictions coming back into the state if you travel. But you are ok if you stay in state. While traveling is generally discouraged by government officials, if you stay in state, you won’t have as many restrictions, and you can refresh your soul before the real cold comes!

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