Friday, December 28, 2012

Winter Playground

So we had about 8" of snow yesterday and here you can see the view from the window of the Lacemaker room of some of the trees in our garden, the Lower Esopus Creek, the Winter Wheat in the fields beyond and then the foothills of the Catskill State Park. So moodily beautiful at this time of year, ideal for landscape photography. It's also an ideal time now for Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing, Ice Skating, Snowboarding, Downhill Skiing and all those other fun winter activities!

Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding/ Snow Tubing

Belleayre Mountain, (45 minutes away)
Off Rt. 28, Highmount, NY 12441, tel 1-800-942-6904
171 skiable acres with 96% of terrain covered by snowmaking; 8 lifts, 47 trails & glades, Rail Park, Terrain Park & Half Pipe; 4 lodges; equipment rentals & lessons; open daily, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Lodges; 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. 

Sawkill Family Ski Center (10 minutes away)
167 Hill Rd, Kingston NY 12401, tel 845-336-6977
Small family ski center very close to us. Open weekends and holidays for skiing, snow tubing and snow boarding.

Cross-Country Skiing/Snowshoeing

Belleayre Mountain (see above) also has 9.2 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails

Minnewaska State Park Preserve (25 minutes away)
Rt 44/55, New Paltz, NY 12561, tel 845-255-0752
Located in the Shawangunk Mountains just outside of New Paltz. Minnewask hosts winter nature programs, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowshoe rentals. Open 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily. Fees:$7/car; snowshoe rentals; $15/person.

Mohonk Mountain House (20 minutes away)
1000 Mountain Rest Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561, tel 845-256-2197
30 miles of trails; Ski Shop with ski and snow shoe rentals on premises. Day fees: Midweek– $18/adults; $13/children under 12; Weekends & Holidays– $23/adults; $18/children under 12. Ski rentals: $20/adults; $14/children. Snowshoe rentals: $16/adults; $12/children

Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center (40 minutes away)
6198 Main Street Tannersville, NY 12485, tel 18-589-5361
Nestled on the northern border of Tannersville, located in the beautiful Northern Catskills.
National ski patrol, lessons, equipment hire, 35 kilometers of quiet nature trails on 300 acres that are groomed, track-set, and marked to degree of difficulty. Highly recommended

For other cross-country skiing options which may or may not be groomed, you can also check out:
The Hudson Valley Rail Trail (30 minutes away) , The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail (30 minutes away) , The O&W Rail Trail (right next to our house) , and the Mohonk Preserve (20 minutes away)

Ice Skating

Kiwanis Ice Arena (20 minutes away) tel 845-247-2590
Fully enclosed refrigerated Olympic-size ice rink facility. Daily. Sept-April.

Mohonk Mountain House Ice Skating Pavilion (20 minutes away)
1000 Mountain Rest Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561
18,000-square-foot ice rink. Outside pavilion with open sides, wooden roof beams, stone columns, and a 39-foot-tall stone fireplace overlooking the enchanting lake. Highly recommended.

Moriello Park Ice Rink (30 minutes away)
Mulberry St, New Paltz 12561 (go to Recreation Dept – then choose: Recreation Updates)
Newly opened outdoor ice rink set at the town of New Paltz Moriello Pool/Park. Open daily for skating: 11:00 AM-2:00 PM; 4:00 PM-7:30 PM. FREE! Outdoor pond skating and sledding is also available at New Paltz Sports Park (across from the Ulster County Fairgrounds), Libertyville Rd., New Paltz. For ice and sledding conditions, you can check the town website listed above.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minuite Gifts

It's never too late to purchase one of our very own Gift Certificates, you can easily order them online here: . (You can also click on the icon top left on our home page). A great gift for friends, family or business associates you can buy them in any multiple of $25. They can be redeemed against a stay at any time in the following 12 months (or longer by request).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Getting into the holiday spirit!

We're getting our seasonal decor together in the house....

Meanwhile, we found this neat interactive map of activities here in Ulster County to help you plan your stay:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baking, baking

We're busy baking! In peak leaf season, we find we take our usual recipes and quadruple the amounts....above is a tray of biscotti, and the anise seeds we added (thanks to friends who grew them and gave them to us). At the moment, we're baking our bread in batches of 12 or 24 loaves........mostly our seeded oat bread, and a rye bread, both using the no-knead method of baking that saves so much time. Guests love our breads, and you can have a go at baking them yourself, as they're both in our new recipe book, which you can order directly from the printers by clicking on this link.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pedal Power!

Congratulations to the very happy Mr and Mrs Boesen, who were our first guests to arrive from New York City without a car or taxi. They put their bikes on a Metro North train, and cycled here from Poughkeepsie, using the spectacular Walkway over the Hudson. The Hudson Valley Rail Trail, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and Delaware and Hudson Canal Heritage Corridor/O&W Rail Trail brought them here with relatively little road cycling. While they stayed with us, they cycled to the Ashokan Reservoir and Saugerties.

We were excited to learn recently that a 21-story glass elevator will soon be built to allow even easier access from Poughkeepsie station to the Walkway. We're also watching developments regarding the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail extension - if the amazing Rosendale Railroad Trestle is restored, it will become a crucial link for rail trail use across a wide area, and will allow for an almost continous rail trail connection from New Paltz, practically to our front door! Track the Trestle!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hurley's Dutch Origins

We were honored this weekend to host Mr and Mrs Rob de Vos. They were both such kind and unassuming people that we had no idea, until just before they left, that Rob de Vos is actually the Consul General at the Netherlands Consulate in New York. We've had a few visits from those working at the Consulate, but it took us a while to realise Rob de Vos was actually their boss.......

Over 30 years in the Dutch Foreign Service has taken him to North Yemen, Dar es Salaam, London, Mali, Madrid, South Africa, and now New York. Of course, the Dutch heritage in this area is of great interest to those from the Netherlands Consulate. One very interesting book we've been given and can recommend is The Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto, which is based on recently found documents about the original New Amsterdam. It sheds interesting light on some of the roots of America's freedoms.

Mr and Mrs de Vos were interested to hear that Hurley is having its 350th Anniversary Celebration on September 15th this year. You can check here for more information.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our herb garden

One of the first things we did when we started renovating the house was to establish a herb garden. We're always using herbs freshly picked from the garden, whether it's parsley or chives in some scrambled eggs, or basil for a frittata, or mint for a red grapefruit, apple and mint salad, etc.....this year we even tried out some lavender in shortbread for the guest cookie jar! At the top you can see the herb garden as it is now - we're excited that the box hedges have nearly joined up.........below you can just about see a couple of box hedges when we planted them, bottom right, about 4" high, back in 2008. It's amazing what happens if you wait a little while. Now, all we need is for the plum tree we planted at the same time to start bearing fruit too.....

Monday, April 30, 2012

We're one of the BEST!

We're thrilled to be listed as one of nine BEST inns and B&Bs in New York State, in Frommer's 5th edition of their guide. They've given us 3 stars (= a "must-see") and listed us as a "special find"!

Here's what they have to say (p.236):

"In a charming, 300-year-old stone house in Hurley, one of the Catskills towns with old Dutch roots, this lovely property pays tribute to the area's heritage by naming its rooms for paintings by Johannes Vermeer, the 17th century Dutch master. And they're suitably aesthetically minded, with four-poster beds and luxurious Frette sheets. It's nearly impossible to choose a favorite room, but "The Girl with a Pearl Earring" seems to be the consensus pick. This is the type of elegance and historic character not often (ever?) seen in B&Bs, and the husband-and-wife team, Sam and Nadia, run it with aplomb and great attention to detail, serving terrific breakfasts and orienting guests to the Catksills' great offerings. The grounds and views overlooking the Esopus Creek are outstanding. Look online for great package deals, such as 3 nights of the price of 2."

We'd like to thank our guests for recently pointing out to us that we were listed, it really made our day! We might add that we're just as well positioned for the Mid-Hudson Valley as for the Catskills. We feel very lucky to be living in such a beautiful part of the world. Come and visit, and enjoy....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time to do some gardening

At last, we've had some rain! Time to do some gardening.........Above (top) are wildflowers on the river bank, Nadia busy getting rid of some weeds, and pansies that seem to have planted themselves.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Slow Roots Farm

Meet Jacob Diaz and his chickens! We started using his eggs in the Fall, and then had to wait until now because they stopped laying for the winter. When we first started using these, we couldn't get over how deep yellow the yolks were.....they certainly weren't like anything we'd ever bought in a supermarket. Jacob's website is full of information about his CSA farm and visitors to Saugerties and Rosendale farm markets last year will be familiar with his wonderful produce. We highly recommend buying a share of his harvest, and consider ourselves very lucky to be living so close to his farm.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Our favorite olive oil Gluten Free bread

Our guests love this olive oil bread, whether they have to avoid gluten or not. This is adapted from a recipe in ‘Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day’ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and we think it’s really delicious! For all our bread baking we preheat a baking stone in the oven, and use a silicone mat on a pizza peel to slide the bread in when it’s the right temperature. We bake a lot of bread using the new no-knead method –and making 4 pound loaves in one go also saves a lot of time.
Once you’ve bought the ingredients, this is really easy to make. In a large bowl mix together:

1 cup brown rice flour, ½ cup soy flour, 1 cup tapioca starch/tapioca flour, 3 1/2 cups cornstarch, 2 tablespoons granulated yeast, 1 tablespoon kosher salt (really important for the flavor, add more to taste), 2 tablespoons xanthan gum

 You can do this by hand, or in a stand mixer with paddle, or a food processor – but be aware this is a large amount. If your machine’s too small, by hand might be easiest. Then add:

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water, 4 large eggs, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup canola oil (or increase proportion of olive oil to taste), 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar/cider vinegar

At this point you may be thinking, what’s this gloopy mess?! But don’t panic, even if you have to spoon it onto the silicone mat. Make four ‘piles’ and then, with wet hands, scoop up one of them and hand it to and fro, making an oval shaped loaf. Do the same with the other 3, washing your hands each time and keeping them wet. At the end, you can further smooth the top of the loaf, again making sure your hands are wet.

Cover each loaf loosely with plastic wrap, and leave somewhere warm to rise for about an hour. Make sure to preheat the oven to 450 F about 30 minutes before you need it. Then, remove plastic and sprinkle on top:

Sesame seeds and flaxseeds

...and bake for 30 minutes. (For this bread, you don’t need steam to get a nice crust). After 15 minutes, remove the silicone mat so the loaves are resting on the stone for the last 15 minutes. Leave the loaves you’re not using to cool, and freeze them. You can easily defrost and then refresh them later, in an oven at 350F for 20 minutes to get that just-baked taste. Enjoy!

PS Update Dec 23rd 2012: Very many thanks to Phyllis Bales from Washington State who called today to let us know we'd somehow forgotten to list one VERY important ingredient, namely the water!! Huge apologies to anyone who tried this recipe without it.........

Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Origami

We like to have fun with our seasonal gifts for guests. Here we're using origami to make small boxes for chocolates; - these come free with your reservation on and around the 14th. (Although we're nearly full both weekends either side of the 14th, there's still good availability on the day - and if you'd like one of these for any booking in February, just call and request one).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second only to the Virgin Islands........

We've always said that this area has the potential to grow as a tourist destination. Last year, we were featured as a 'gourmet' destination by the Canadian press, and now the Lonely Planet has rated the Hudson Valley #2 in its top 10 US travel destinations for 2012, (just after the US Virgin Islands). To quote: "It’s a real city break, with leafy drives, wineries and plenty of farm-to-table foodie options that draw even spoiled-for-choice Manhattanites away from the city."

(The photo is of Lake Minnewaska, taken by Sam).