Monday, October 22, 2012

Rhinebeck Trip: Thursday

I couldn't decide where to begin in telling you about my trip, so I've decided chronologically is the best way to go. That means you'll have to wait a while to see my goodies, but it's worth the wait, I promise!

Thursday morning I was in shower by 5 a.m. (It helped that I went to bed at 8:15 the night before) and in the car a little before 6. The drive was easy and the foliage along the Taconic Parkway was GORGEOUS!

I arrived at the Vanderbilt Mansion at about 9:30, bought a ticket for the 10 o'clock tour and wandered around the gift shop and the grounds waiting for it to begin. Our tour guide, Demetri (I think), was very knowledgeable and did a great job explaining both some background of the Vanderbilt family and the culture that Frederick Vanderbilt and his wife lived in. The house is beautiful! Apparently, it's the smallest of all the Vanderbilt mansions, with the Biltmore being the largest.
Doesn't this just scream out "small"?

The house is full of ostentatious details. Here's a glimpse of the marble foyer from the second floor overlook:
And here's the view from the bottom of the servants' stairs:
As much as I enjoyed the house, the walk around the grounds was really the highlight of my visit. The trees are gorgeous and I really wished my kids could be there, running around. I could totally imagine people in the late '20s having a picnic, with all the ladies in white gowns and the guys in knickers, vests, and caps.

Can't you just picture white parasols, blankets, and champagne behind me?

After the Vanderbilts, I was on to the Culinary Institute of American for my lunch at the Caterina d'Medici restaurant. The campus itself is gorgeous and has lovely views of the Hudson River. My waiter was a little nervous. I think he wasn't quite sure what to do with one person at the table. The food was unbelievably good! To start, I had a vegetable tart with truffled ricotta that was melt in your mouth creamy and an amazing blend of flavors. I followed that with a pan-seared sea bass with potatoes, olives, and onions, and a little fried basil on top.
Doesn't that look amazing? Yum!

For dessert, I had a Cafe Italiano (coffee, brandy, whipped cream, and brown sugar. I have to figure out to make these, because I want one on cold winter nights!) and an Italian chocolate pudding with sea salt.
Hehe, I took a bit before I took a picture
Lunch was certainly expensive, but is definitely one of my top 5 best meals ever. (Best two - Pier 77 in Kennybunkport, Maine and the Virgina Ham dinner I had in Williamsburg).

After lunch, I drove to the FDR house. By then, my mom had arrived at the hotel, so I walked the grounds for a little bit and then went to meet her at the Holiday Inn.

Me at FDR's house
The Holiday Inn? You ask. Wasn't I supposed to be staying at the Super 8? Why yes, I was. But at the last minute my mother decided she was so worried about the quality of the motel room that she couldn't enjoy the thought of going (and by last minute, I mean I was driving to Hyde Park when she told me this). I won't say anymore about it, except that I made the reservation at the Super 8 over a year ago, and really, she had lots of time to think about it. That said, I'm super glad we switched! We had a GREAT time at the Holiday Inn and the bed was SUPER comfortable.

I'm very sad to tell you that I do not have pictures from the rest of our night. We drove to the Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company in Red Hook. This is a true small business. The owner raises the sheep, spins and dyes the yarn, and sells her product right there! I really wish I had gotten some pictures of the sheep and their very protective border collie. We got a tour of the workroom, where ALL of the cleaning, carding, spinning, and dyeing takes place. I came home with a skein of Icelandic Laceweight for a gift and the most obnoxiously colored pink sock yarn. My mom came away with some Icelandic Laceweight too to make a Tunisian crocheted wrap they had on display there.

After that, we went to bed so we would be ready for our classes in the morning!


Gracey is not my name.... said...

2 years ago I stayed over and stopped at the Vanderbilt mansion..I just walked the is amazing, but I've visited all the Newport mansions..the grounds were just amazing! I also went to Eleanor Roosevelt's house, which is different than the FDR one...there is so much to do in the area..

KayJayDee said...

Lovely, cultured and fun! What a great day!