When life gives you lemons, make lemoncello martinis

Here we are, a full week after pulling into Half Moon Bay, with all of exactly zero nautical miles of progress to show for it.  Grrr.  We’ve adopted our buddy Jeff’s strategy of avoiding toilet bowls, however, and right now there are two of them predicted out and about off the east coast.

Although a week in Croton-on-Hudson promised to be a week of rank suckage, actually it turned out ok.  We knocked off some boat chores and the cute town has a bookstore and some good restaurants.

Things took a big upturn when Dave and Becky drove over for the afternoon.  It’s always big fun to catch up with them, even if Becky’s sense of the horizon is a bit slanted.

Sunday afternoon we awoke from our obligatory naps to a new temptation.  Actually a new Temptation, as in the 37-meter super yacht recently sold by the dude who served as CEO of Land’s End and Tommy Hilfiger, among other things.  This is our fifth time to Half Moon but we’ve never seen anything like this honker in here.  No offense to our pal Steve, but charter guests pay $80,000 per week and stop here?  Nut-jobs.  Rich, but nut-jobs.

The local Enterprise had a car we could rent, but only on Monday and Tuesday.  Hey now, this is promising.  We’ve done the Culinary Institute, Westpoint, Woodstock, Roosevelt’s House, and a winery, but let’s see what else we can find in upstate New York.

How about Sing Sing?  Lots of big names passed through here, with many of them expiring while seated in “Old Sparky.”  Albert Fish, Son of Sam, Lucky Luciano, and the Rosenbergs, for example, all were inmates.  Serial killer/rapist Father Hans Schmidt remains the only Catholic priest to be executed in the United States, although others may have deserved it.  One of us—but only one of us—felt the historical significance of the place justified a quick stop at the gate.

We’ve previously offered our general thoughts on “The Largest” this or “The Longest” that.  Often, things and places claiming world titles are silly.  But not always.  The “World’s Largest Cherry Pie” in Charlevoix, for example, is hokey.  That bridge in Poughkeepsie we walked across last post, on the other hand, isn’t hokey.  “The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope” in Mt. Tremper?  The absolute opposite of hokey.  It’s amazing.  They installed literal tons of precision-cut glass and mirrors inside an old silo, and put together amazing shows with narration and music.  One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen.

Basically you lie on the floor in the dark and look up at the dome while the show unfolds.  The photos we took may appear to be electron microscopy of colorful virus cells, but they’re not.  It’s inside The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope.  Incredible.

Newburgh is home to George Washington’s headquarters, from which he orchestrated much of the Continental Army’s final and successful push to keep British monarchs off our currency.  Supposedly it’s a great museum.  Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Of course.

Newburgh also once was home to Orange County Choppers, made famous through one of those dumb reality-TV shows.  Learning nothing from Icarus’s cautionary tale of hubris, OCC built a huge complex, only to lose it to the bank when said dumb TV show fizzled.  Now it’s closed seven days a week and grass is growing in the parking lot.  More pointedly, why is there an Orange County in New York?

When Google-mapping interesting places to visit, we spotted something called “Cornish Estate.”  We know quite a lot about Cornwall because we’ve finished the first season of Poldark, so were intrigued enough to hike through the Hudson Highlands State Park to check out the ruins.

The remnants of the old mansion and related buildings are cool enough, but seemingly without any connection to Ross or Demelza or the Wheal Ledger copper mine.  Instead, the property once was owned by Ed and Selina Cornish.  What a disappointment.

We’d planned to hike up past the ruins to an overlook with a breathtaking view of Storm King Mountain, but somehow New York botched the trail markers such that we ultimately gave up, returning to the car with only a view through the trees.

Actually, that’s more than anything named Storm King deserved from us.  Dave and Becky urged us to visit Storm King Arts Center—which consists of five hundred acres “including vistas, hills, meadows, ponds, stands of trees, allées, and walking paths, scaled to embrace both small- and large-scale works of art in a variety of mediums”—and got us all excited.  Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Of course.

The Village of Sleepy Hollow is famous for that night after the party when Ichabod Crane was chased by the Headless Horseman and disappeared by the wooden bridge with only his hat and a pumpkin left behind.  We stopped by.  The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at the Old Dutch Church is one of the more impressive graveyards we’ve visited, and not just because it has ghosts.

The wooden bridge by the cemetery isn’t the same one, of course, because the real bridge wouldn’t have survived for two hundred years and even more because the story is fictional.

We were so in the Sleepy Hollow mood that we drove out to see Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s historic home in Tarrytown.  Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and—because they were uncertain how long we might have the rental car—closed on Wednesdays as well.  Couldn’t even see anything from the road.  Of course.*

Fortunately for us the Croton Dam always is open.  As dams go, it’s hard to get much prettier.

Our plan now is to hop to Jersey City tomorrow, and then stage at Atlantic Highlands on the off chance it becomes safe to travel before we get old and the girls move us off the boat and into a Home for the Bewildered.  Either way, this quite likely is the last time we’ll visit Croton-on-Hudson so we’re glad we made the best of it.


*At this point, judgmental people using a condescending tone might ask “Why don’t you research hours of operation before driving all over the state only to find places closed?”  The simple answer is those people should find a different blog.

4 thoughts on “When life gives you lemons, make lemoncello martinis”

  1. Despite your understandable trepidation over anything with the word “storm” in the title, Storm King inspired an incredible landscape painting or two from a couple of my heroes of the Hudson River School of painters.

    If you’re up for it when you reach Norfolk and if you don’t show up on a Monday (hint, hint) and if you haven’t already toured our great little art museum (I know a lot of ifs) I’d love to give you a personal tour of The Chrysler Museum of Art during your stop on your way south. And, fair warning, there are no paintings of Storm King in the Chrysler’s collection.

Your thoughts?

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