Jul 8, 2013

Walk Across the Hudson

Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  Whoever came up with the idea to turn an old
railroad bridge over the Hudson River into a walkway gets an “Atta’ Boy.” The railroad bridge was built in 1889 and was in service until 1974. Through the cooperation of public and private groups the Walkway Over the Hudson Historic Park opened in 2009 making it the longest footbridge in the world. John and I were there midmorning on a weekday and there were walkers, joggers, bikers and roller bladers. The usage must be even heavier on weekends because there were closed food trucks near the entrance. A kiosk with storyboards near the parking lots tells the story of the Walkway and explains why the Hudson is a “river that flows both ways.”  For 150 miles – from Manhattan to Troy – the river rises and falls with the tide. There are also storyboards on the walkway. The Walkway is part of a greater hiking/biking trail that can be accessed from several locations including the Poughkeepsie train station.

John and I can now say that we went to Vassar - but only for a couple of hours.   The college is home to the free Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. The Cesar Pelli designed Art Center is an interesting juxtaposition to the Vassar’s Gothic buildings. The Art Center was founded in 1864 and later renamed for Loeb, the primary donor of the new facility. While not vast in size it has a comprehensive selection of art with one room devoted to the Hudson River School of Art. The Hudson River Schools of Artists Romanized the beauty and grandeur of nature. The works range from Greek sculptures to Asian to Picasso. And, as a special treat there is a lovely sculpture garden. 
There is plenty in the Hudson River Valley to keep art lovers busy for a lifetime.  We found more art at the Millbrook Vineyards & Winery.  Many wineries have become artsy destinations.  This is
true of Millbrook where they frequently host jazz groups and feature Art in the Loft Exhibitions.  One of the first things we noticed was that the vineyard has labels indicating the kind of grapes that are being grown in that section. The second thing we noticed was the beautiful view of the rolling countryside. So serene. The perfect setting for music, art and wine.  On a tour Katie, our guide, explained  Millbrook’s wine production and two unique adaptions designed by the owner - the goblet and trellis system which allows the sun and air to reach the ripening grapes. The former farm barn now houses the shop, tasting room, and wine making facility while the loft, in partnership with The Dutchess County Arts Council, is home to works of art.  Interestingly, one of the artworks on display will be a featured wine label.  Like most wineries Millbrook is located in the rolling countryside making the drive scenic and you never know where you might end up.

Our country drive took us to Sprout Creek Farm.  You might say it’s the “everything” farm. It is owned and managed by two nuns of the Sacred Heart order who were gifted the property. It is a working farm, an educational center, summer camp, a market for the cheese they make from the free-range goats and cows they raise. Sadly, we arrived just as they were cleaning up from their cheese making. For more information check Dutchesstourism.com.