We just came back from a blissful couple of days in upstate New York, enjoying the frosty fall while Lara entertained her grandparents. I have to say, I don't know what the number one birthday present is, but a list of the top three has got to include taking a two year old for a couple of days and sending her parents to a bed and breakfast in a beautiful place. My inlaws rock.
We stayed at The Villa at Saugerties, which is the only place I could find that had modern decor (rather than the Victorian-style interiors that most B&B's seem to go for). We're not too keen on little ceramic shepherd boys and doilies around here...
The Villa was perfect, especially since we stayed in the secluded Studio room. It was overcast the whole time, so our pictures didn't do the building justice, but look at their website - it really looked exactly like that.
The grounds included Diego, who followed us as we walked around his paddock and made us feel extremely guilty for not having an apple to give him.
In our defense, there were big warning signs against feeding him all over the place. Not only gorgeously colored, he also has heterochromia (one blue eye and one brown one), which he generously let us photograph.
We mostly hung around Saugerties and Woodstock, two cute towns about 15 minutes from one another whose centers are full of little shops (it's actually an interesting culture-clash of antique and rummage stores intermixed with cool Soho-ish design ones). It's very relaxing to go into stores without a stroller and a bored toddler. We looked at breakable things! We spent an hour and a half browsing books! We didn't have to keep to a schedule! It's the little things.
The food was fantastic, particularly Miss Lucy's Kitchen and the Red Onion. If you are ever there, go. Here we are at the New World Home Cooking Cafe, which was covered head to toe with all sorts of eclectic art, and where some of the customers looked like they had never left the original Woodstock festival.
We also went to an incredible - and incredibly idiosyncratic - placed called Opus 40, which is the culmination of 37 years of sculpting and design by a man who wanted to single-handedly build an outdoor sculpture gallery on his backyard. Working alone, he quarried the flagstone on his land and slowly built a series of undulating and interlocking paths, above- and underground, each of which leads to a viewing platform on which sculture is meant to be displayed. I'm not really sure why the place isn't being used as a gallery - it would be a really fantastic display.
In tribute to the place, many visitors construct little rock balancing sculptures out of the flagstone chips. We built one too (of course!) but the pictures didn't come out.