Friday, July 13, 2012

New York!

I am such a very bad blogger!  I just cannot seem to manage to carve out a block of time (while I am also in a location with a wi-fi connection) so I can blog while on vacation.

This post will cover our time in New York (June 29th - July 6th).  We left Virginia right on schedule (5:30 am) on Friday morning (June 29th).  We zipped up I-95 and wound around Philadelphia and through rural New Jersey to get on the New York State Thruway in North Western New Jersey.  We made one stop for gas (and to use the bathroom) and arrived at my parents' home in New Paltz just before 11:00 am.  Not a bad trip at all.

Upon our arrival (and as per my request), my mom had ready all of the fixin's for us to make delicious sandwiches... roast beef, smoked turkey, roasted ham, American & Swiss cheeses as well as "fresh from the garden" lettuce, onions and tomatoes. The absolute BEST part of this  meal was the bread (white & rye bread and hard rolls) from Deising's Bakery that we used as the cornerstone of our sandwiches. I won't go into the history of Deising's Bakery (it is very interesting though and you can read about it here) but I will say that they make fabulous bread and baked goods and it is one thing (of many) that we look forward to having when we are at my parents'. Yes, I know I am only talking about sandwiches here and not some gourmet 5 star meal but we cannot get good (or even decent) deli sandwiches in Thailand - at least not that I have been able to find. For several weeks prior to our departure from Bangkok, I had been craving a roast beef sandwich like you wouldn't believe!  This sandwich totally hit the spot and I hope it will carry me over for the next year.  Quite frequently, I toy with the idea of becoming a vegetarian but after eating a sandwich like that one, I know that it just isn't possible.  Roast beef and bacon are my two carnivore "weaknesses" for sure.

The weather was perfect while we were visiting my parents' home.  When we first arrived in NY, the temps were in the mid-high 90's and everyone was complaining about the heat and humidity but it felt pretty normal to us, maybe even a little cool.  The heat wave broke on Sunday and then we enjoyed sunshine and temps in the high 80's for the rest of our visit.  The morning temps were in the high 60's and Kevin and I took advantage of the cool weather and had some fantastic runs during the week. It was so wonderful to run in temps that were not 80+degrees and 90%+ humidity!

The Walkill Valley Rail Trail is very close to my parents' home and that is our favorite spot to run when we visit them.  From the Walkill Valley Rail Trail Association website, I found this information about the trail...

"The Walkill Valley Rail Trail officially opened in October 1993 and was the seventeenth rail trail in New York State. The trail extends for 12.2 miles from the southern border of Gardiner to the Northern border of New Paltz. Along the way it passes through woods, open fields, and agricultural lands, and links the hamlet of Gardiner with downtown New Paltz. Trail users will discover a wide variety of birds and other wildlife and beautiful views of the Shawangunk Ridge and the Wallkill River. The trail surface is gravel and packed dirt."

And, a little history about the trail...
"In the late 19th century, the Wallkill Valley Railroad ferried fresh produce and vegetables from the farmlands of Ulster County to the streets of New York City. It also served as a commuter railroad for passengers traveling along the Hudson Valley. For more than a half century, the railroad supported business and tourism, provided jobs and created a critical economic link between upstate and downstate.  By 1933 only one passenger train ran daily each way, and four years later, all passenger service came to a halt. Over the next few decades, numerous stations along the Wallkill line closed. In 1977, the Wallkill Valley Railroad took its last freight run. 

The Wallkill Valley Railroad sat abandoned for several years. Then, in 1983, plans were launched for the railroad's transformation into a linear park. Rail trail supporters galvanized others in the push toward a trail that would accommodate hiking, biking, running, cross-country skiing and other forms of outdoor recreation.  The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail opened informally in April 1991, the 17th such trail created in New York State. Flanked by the majestic Shawangunk Mountains, the trail stretches along the Wallkill River through the Ulster County Village of New Paltz, from Rosendale to Gardiner. The trail is owned by the towns of Gardiner and New Paltz and the village of New Paltz.  In addition to providing a relaxing and peaceful spot for various outdoor activities, the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail also is the site of a number of special events that are open to the public each year."

The Rail Trail really is a beautiful place to run and/or walk - very quiet and peaceful. We always see a lot of deer and small wildlife in the woods.  One morning, we even saw two fawns that still had their spots.  This photo is from the Walkill Valley Rail Trail Association's website and shows the point at which we access the trail to begin our runs.  The bridge is across the Walkill River and is located off of Springtown Road in New Paltz.
Another photo from the Association's website showing the actual trail...
One evening, we went to a spot on the Esopus Creek (near Phoenicia) to fish with my dad.  The 65.4 mile long Esopus Creek drains the East-Central Catskill Mountains and is a tributary of the Hudson River.  It drains from its source at the Winnisook Lake, down and across Ulster County and into the Hudson River at Saugerties.  In Olive Bridge, just a few miles South of where we were fishing, the Esopus Creek flows into the Ashokan Reservoir which is one of several reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains that are part of New York City's water supply system.

The path leading to our fishing spot on the Esopus Creek.

This sign was posted near the path.
On the (very) off-chance that you might be wondering what Rock Snot is, I also took this photo...
Lovely!  And, before I had a chance to open my mouth and warn the others about the Rock Snot, guess who was in the water?!?
Christopher insisted on spending the first 30 minutes practicing his "Parkour" skills on the rocks and tree limbs scattered around and over the Creek. Parkouring was developed in France and is a non-competitive sport which focuses on efficient movement around obstacles. The main purpose of Parkouring is to teach participants how to move through their environments by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and leaping. Let me assure you, Christopher did all of the above and my heart was in my throat the entire time.  Finally, he picked up a fishing pole...
The fishermen.

And the fishergirl.
The fishergirl gave up after a while and began to read on her Kindle.  Gotta love technology!
While the Keating family did not catch any fish, my dad caught two.  Both were some kind of trout... brown, brook, rainbow ???  I forget the exact kind but they went into the freezer as soon as we returned home and they were cleaned. 
Some random photos of the Creek.  Although I had no idea what it looked like, I was on high alert for Rock Snot.
One night we had grilled shrimp and veggie kabobs for dinner.  So delicious!
I thought I would be able to include our entire New York trip in one post but I guess we were busier than I thought (or I just wrote a lot).  I would like to get something posted today so I will stop here and finish up with New York tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

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