Saturday, May 18, 2013

Red Hook, New York


We left the City in Friday afternoon traffic and followed the parkways along the Hudson River North. The tall buildings fell farther and farther away in the landscape, replaced by taller growing trees, wildflowers, grassy meadows and the depths of forest darkness. So too did wide roads gently narrow into the winding country side.

On top of a hill, past a crooked mailbox and row of tall pines we arrived at the vintage cottage for which this trip was intended. Built from 18th century timber this 1930’s era stone cottage overlooks the Hudson Valley and the distant Catskills beyond. The apple hedge lines the driveway with giant spruce, ferns, and tiger lilies throughout the large groomed landscape.

The gray skies were looming as the view vanished to the approaching rain. We opened a bottle of wine and waited. The first drops fell slowly, dotting the teak wood deck and immediately soaking in. As I looked across the yard, I could see the entire rain event as the drops became larger and fatter – first in the distance and then falling before me on the now soaked porch. Lightning and thunder and heavy rain, the gutters spilling over –drains blocked by fallen needles – and ripples as if in a pond on the flooded deck with each new juicy drop of rain. With a flash of lighting, the thunder followed – the lights flickered and the alarm sounded. We’d arrived in America’s Loire Valley for the weekend.


The wild turkeys ran on the lawn. Water droplets sparkled like diamonds and covered the shaded plants. The dusk turned blue. We drove into the one town near hear – the back yard of BARD College of Liberal Arts. On their campus stands the new $64 million stainless steel Frank Gehry designed theatre arts building. It is the second most expensive private liberal arts school in the country with exceptional schools in both film and photography.

It is a strangely odd place – between the Hudson River and points beyond – a land grant, protected indefinitely from development – destined for eternity by the Getty fortune. Dark and deep forests abound – intertwined by multi-million dollar estates – the names of which include Liebowitz, Cornel, Clermont, Wilderstien, Livingston, Brokby and Gould.

I had a Mexican fusion pork tacos for dinner – and a couple of the best margaritas ever. I could not be in New York.


The skies were still threatening and plans to fly by private plane to Lake Placid are put on hold. With my first cup of coffee, I showered outdoors on the deck at the side of the shed – overlooking the forest and meadow and barn and pond below. It rained lightly throughout. There is a small road just past the barn – but unfortunately no one drove by.

With antique auction in the town square this morning and a circus performing at BARD and Tea tonight at Edgewood – the eighth oldest country club in the country, founded by the Livingston’s when King George was in charge here – we have a lot to see. Tomorrow I will gather my gear and shoot the house and grounds.

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