Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Weather in New York State
In general we had good weather - always warm, but on a few occasions we had some torrential thunderstorms to cope with - so we got a bit wet, but it's not surprising really with so many rivers and lakes around.
When it rained then it was a good opportunity to check out the shops - here Suri is in a shop inside an old bank - the safe door was very impressive.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The centre of the Baseball business - and it's big business here with the Hall of Fame, loads of shirts and bats and other stuff - but watching a practice session - I still could not work it out - I asked one of the 100s of fans / enthusiasts visiting - why the batsman did not even attempt to hit the ball - he said - I dunno - in my opinion even more boring than test match cricket.
The New York State is blessed with lakes, waterfalls, forests and woods - here we relaxed as on many occasions by the side of the lake - this time it was lake Otsego.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


A Persian fantasy set high upon the hill not far away from the town of Hudson was quite different to what we expected - this was the home of Frederick Church a landscape artist of the late 19th century who travelled to the Middle East and was highly influenced by Persian art and architecture.
He built his house on the top of a hill overlooking the Hudson, the views were really good, inside the house there was certainly a Persian influence and Suri loved it - being able to translate some of the writings on carpets and other documents. To me the paintings were a little dull but everybody to their own views.
After an early visit - we were the first to arrive we set off to the Catskill Mountains where we discovered the Delaware Rail track - unfortunately we had missed the last train of the day but we were able to clamber all over them.
Later on we popped in to a custom / classic car event - the cars were immaculate - great to look at but we were expecting more of a fair atmosphere - but it was highly focused on the cars - still a good day out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hyde Park - F D Roosevelt & Eleanor D Roosevelt.
This visit to Eleanor's retreat and FD's family home and library was a great lesson in American history, Eleanor's house was quite small but the guide brought the place alive and especially when he described her Human Rights work which she devoted herself to after FD's death - definitely must find out more about her - she would have been such an interesting person to have known.
Similarly the work that FD did after being elected President - after Hoover in 1933 was amazing - some contrasts with toady's economic problems - but far far more depressed economically with millions out of work in the 30's.
The car he drove was in the basement, which had been adapted due to the effects of his polio.
In the museum building and his old house were some amazing items of memorabilia - too many to list off.

Friday, June 26, 2009

West Point
Security was lower than expected at this - the foremost and oldest US Military Academy - think about Robert E Lee, MacArthur, Patten and Eisenhower and you get the picture - the place itself was pretty impressive - but there was a distinct lack of students - future leaders the guide told us repeatedly, but a great location for a film or two. Not a bad idea too to be educated and to do pretty much every sport going - I am sure Colin would have loved it here - maybe he has played rugby against them
Fort Montgomery
Not far away this was the location of a great battle in 1777 between the English and the revolutionaries to control the Hudson - A good site for a camp and a difficult place to take in battle, a walk down the trail took us to the creek where we wandered over the bridge - a more recent structure.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Picked up car and we are off on our car trip around New York State

We headed up the Hudson - our first stop was Van Vortland Manor - Croton on Hudson - a country estate manor of the Revolutionary War era - 18 century -quite small really but a nice place to start with 2 old women sitting on the veranda doing 18 century stuff - all dressed up - nice gardens - though a tad on the small side - saw our first wild deer on the outskirts of the estate.

After we headed for Sleepy Hollows found a nice lake before using the Tom Tom provided by Joan - not very sleepy and no headless horses to be seen - except in the souvenir shops.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Strolling through Central Park

For our last day in the Big Apple we took the bus as usual - beginning to recognise the driver and the sights on the way in, then headed for Central Park - amazingly big and right in the centre of Manhattan - though not quite big enough to get lost in. There were lots of joggers, dog walkers and kids playing Baseball, people strolling - just like us - a great atmosphere.

At first the weather was good but then it turned to a little drizzle, so our stroll became more of a dash as we headed for the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the upper east side.

Here we went straight to the cafe, to give us the energy we needed to wander around this enormous and beautiful building - we were ready for this.

What struck me was the enormous number of artifacts from all around the world that had been loaned or donated by wealthy individuals or philanthropists, it made me wonder for example how much Egyptian treasures there were around in various museums as we had seen so much both in Egypt and in other countries, there must be so much and no doubt even more not on display. Also unlike in England there were few barriers - so you could get up close to the items on exhibit, though - no touching of course.

After seeing a good chunk of what was on view we decided we could not take in any more - I think that's how museums get you - you get to saturation point, we headed out - hoping for sun, but as we set off there was a downpour and everybody got soaked - but it was warm.

We finished off our visit to Manhattan by having a coffee, drying off and looking out the window - people watching - always an interesting pass time.

Then back on the bus where Joan fed and watered us in preparation of the next stage ..... on our own driving through New York State - should be good - looking forward to some new and exciting places.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Empire State Building

On top of the world we were ..... after whizzing up to the top of the Empire State Building in a super fast lift, though the queues put a bit of a brake on the action.

Once up on the top we were fortunate to have good weather so the views were really good, and it was less crowded than I had expected after seeing all of the queues, we spent quite a bit of time checking out all of the landmarks.

After that we had a bit of lunch, with a bit of help from me Suri resisted popping into the biggest store in the world - according to Macys.
We then headed south towards Little Italy and China Town but eventually ran out of steam as it had been a long day and many miles walked - so Suri told me, though she could not prove it as she had left her pedo back at Joan's place.

During the day we checked out some of the wonderful parks that Manhattan has to offer- Bryant Park - Union Park - Manhattan Square and others where we saw amongst other things - a photo shoot of some unknown model - at least we saw her as the previous day we just missed seeing Harrison Ford on his photo shoot - still she was better looking than Harrison - oh and I decided not to challenge anybody at the chess tables.
We returned to Midland Park somewhat knackered -but Joan as always had some lovely food ready for us - what a great host she is.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Manhattan - here we come

We set off on foot to catch the bus into Manhattan - the bus was on time and we made good time - til there was a diversion - the road / bridge / tunnel ahead was blocked and the police were creating chaos - still it was an adventure.......

We did arrive at Port Authority Bus Station - and hit the streets - 42nd Street West - down to the Piers to catch the Circle Line around the island - well worth it as recommended by Joan - we saw pretty much all of the sights from the water, including the Statue of Liberty, we went under every bridge as each landmark was highlighted to us - although it was 3 hours it was just what we wanted as no way could we see everything.

After the boat trip we headed off back up 42nd Street to Times Square and sat around taking in the views and the people just milling around, after that - up Broadway, then over to the Rockefeller centre - though we did not go up as we were running out of time and energy , passing St Patricks Cathedral - as t was closed, then into Grand Central Station - what a WOW this place is considering how many people use it each day - fantastic - highlight for me so far.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An escorted tour around the 7 lakes

Joe had to head off as he was working early the next day.

Joan took us for a drive up New York State where I used my navigational skills - so did not get lost once -though the SAt Nav did help towards the end!!!

We visited Stony Point - the place of a great battle 1779 - as the Americans would say as they thrashed the English who were i tad unprepared - fortunately there were only a few losses of life, the place itself was very scenic and there were people in costume to help recreate the life of the time - a place to recommend if in the area.

After that we headed for Bear Mountain Park - where we saw no bears but there were 7 lakes which were very impressive, though more place to park and stop and look would have been good. We did however stop at a couple of places - but each time it started to rain - pour down in fact.

After that we headed to Piermont on the Lower Hudson, a good place to walk right out into the Hudson on what was an old rail track but is now a nature walk, here Suri found the local mulberry bush and polished of many a handful.

On the way back we checked out a Pizza place - near a place called Ho Ho Kus, guess what it poured down - but at least we were inside

Raining in Midland Park

A day for recovering after our late night - so confusing to the body this time difference, no wonder that New Jersey is known as the Garden State - if today is anything to go by - it rains a lot.

We spent much of the day chatting, though we did venture out a couple of times - to the shops where Suri bought more clothes.

In the evening we went to a lovely Italian restaurant check out the pic above - the decor was ever so authentic - almost Mafia like - but there were families there as it was the day before Fathers Day - thanks Dan and Geoff by the way............

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New York Trip

At last we were off to the Big Apple, the taxi, the bus and the flight went all to plan, we arrived in Newark where Joan - Suri's friend ( and now my friend) was there to greet us, but before that we had to get through customs - never straight forward when entering the USA, but still after a bit of interrogation they let us through, having convinced the men with the tazers that we were here to help them rebuild their economy.

Joan was there waiting for us, I didn't recognise her and she me neither so amazingly we sat next to each other, until Suri returned from the restroom - as they are called here it here and she then recognised Joan - and me too, which was pretty good too.

It's quite a short journey from Newark to Midland Park where we are now based - where we met Joe, what a lovely area - lots of trees and the houses and gardens are picture book.

After a few drinks and lots of chatting - Zebedee said it's time for bed!

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