I was feeling like a Purdue Chicken, trapped in the four walls of my concrete New York apartment, stacked over countless others. Yes, there’s a beautiful vista outside our wall of windows...but I felt contained. Trapped. Sitting at my computer, absorbing who knows what toxic rays, with only an occasional foray into the kitchen for coffee and a snack or a bit of yoga in front of the flat screen oversized TV, I was feeling achy and depressed--too frequently. Not quite as restricted as the chicken, perhaps. And eating a better diet. But not breathing fresh air. And not getting real exercise. The thought of negotiating the elevator and then NYC traffic with my bicycle or pounding the concrete walkways (even if they were in Central Park or along the Hudson) was not appealing enough to get me outside on a clammy autumn day. What to do?! Why not get out of the city? my husband suggested.
Enter Zipcar. I was able to secure a hybrid vehicle parked within walking distance of our address replete with E-Z Pass. As it was a weekday, we had our choice of B&B’s within a few hours reach. It was a crisp morning and we opted to head north to Columbia County where we’re familiar with several places to stay, walk and buy incredible locally produced food.
First stop: Chatham, NY. Unfortunately, Our Daily Bread, a favorite lunch stop is closed Mondays. We found another place Ralph’s Pretty Good Food which was...pretty good. Then followed a walk around the Ooms Nature Conservancy, a sparkling lake surrounded by fields of green with specks of homes dotting the distant hillsides. Geese and a couple of dog walkers were our only company. Idyllic!
We chose to return to our favorite inn in the area, Thyme in the Country. A charming B&B run by Mary Koch, the house is located on her family farm. Four cozy rooms nestle above the downstairs living space replete with wood burning fireplace, upright piano and walls of books. Mary greeted us with hot local cider, donuts and apples stuffed with cheddar cheese which we snacked on in front of a crackling fire.
For dinner, we went into nearby Hudson and had a scrumptious and inexpensive dinner at The Diner. Everything comes from Grazing Angus Acres just up the road: the burger and fries, the no-nitrate hot dogs and the milk and ice cream in the thick old-fashioned shakes made from seasonal flavors. Chocolate and Vanilla are standards; but Autumn Pumpkin substituted for Summer Strawberry. Music was provided by a gleaming standing juke box that played 45‘s and took us back to the 50’s.