I finally got to visit the Visitor's Center kiosk on the corner of 9D and Main Street. Run by the Chamber of Commerce and chock full of informational brochures for Beacon and the Hudson Valley, it was staffed by a family of friendly volunteers. Local vendors are allowed to bring posters, flyers and business cards to have available for distribution--helpful for Beaconites, as well as visitors to town. Word has it that if you don't find this center open, you call always stop into RiverWinds Gallery on Main Street, which serves as a tourist information site as well. Great for business and helpful for those looking for personal recommendations from those who are in the know!
I also finally got to The Hop, although I almost kept hopping along because of the size of the lunch time crowd on Labor Day. But I was determined to take in the ambiance and savor the selection of comestibles and potables in this artisanal fare and craft beer specialty shop.
While the logo on the available T-shirt advises that The Hop is "not a bar" -- I wondered if some couples holding court at the counter were in fact using it as a 'watering hole' as they addressed politics, the economy and sports over a few glasses of ale served on tap. It was the friendliness of the waitress that encouraged me to stay and test out the menu with the
simple grilled cheese (Adirondack Red Wax) on multigrain bread served with a cup of the best corn chowder I've ever tasted along with a glass of Doc's Hard Apple Cider. Simple and delicious.
On the way out I asked for a link of the uncooked lamb and kale sausage in the refrigerated case along with other meats and cheeses for sale for take-out, making it very clear that the butchering that occurs in The Hop is serious and shouldn't be overlooked for special ingredients for cooking at home. The sausage was perfect sautéed with fresh tomatoes and garlic that were picked up last week from Obercreek Farm, the CSA that picked up where Common Ground Farm left off.
All in all, it was a satisfying lunch and the visit allowed me to see that standing around the center island, which showcases a variety of local beers, was not inconvenient or uncomfortable when all the tables (way too few in number for the popularity of this venue) are full -- which is quite often. Thank goodness for the take out option!
Across from The Hop is my favorite antiques dealer, Kathleen Newcomb, of Studio Antiques. Now in its third location since first shopping there in January 2011, the shop is now home to multiple dealers. It's always a pleasure to browse and have a chat with Kathleen who is also an artist and master of restoring fine paintings.
Now that I've finally caught up with the odds and ends at summer's end, I eagerly anticipate the autumn with all of its activities that are packed into a limited amount of time and hope to blog about some of them in detail in a more timely fashion!
Some food for thought: Some of us need closure and are troubled when we have those loose ends hanging around. Blogging has left many loose ends for me over the last couple of months, but the satisfaction of finally getting to tie them up and check them off the list is a good feeling. These quiet days in early September when the weather is cool in the morning and evening, the days are growing shorter and the leaves are starting to change colors are like loose ends. There is a sense of turning and moving in a direction that will eventually signify there is completion. Boats are being pulled from the Hudson, pools are being covered over, annual plants are being unpotted and perennials are being pruned, and the harvest of new apples is in full swing. All of these rituals are endings that can be savored while they last because they will make room for what is to come. The season of abundance, variety and novelty is on its way. It is the season for the Hudson Valley to continue re-inventing itself along the lines of the historical tradition of drawing people to the area that look for creative and restorative activity. Past and present artifacts attest to this impression. The first 100 years of life in Beacon just might be undone by the second 100 years at the rate things are going. There's a virtual renaissance of food, art, culture, and naturalistic leisure. Anticipate the pleasure and savor each moment of joy. Hello autumn!
Selected Coming Attractions
9/13-9/15 - Beacon Independent Film Festival (BIFF) - University Settlement Camp
9/14 Second Saturday
9/22 First Wine Class of the Season on Pinot Noir at Artisan Wine Shop
9/29 Mt. Beacon Incline Railway hike during NY Ramble
9/29 Spirit of Beacon Day Parade (rain date 10/6)
10/4 Opening show at Towne Crier Café
10/12 & 10/13 Clearwater's public sails from Beacon (Saturday) and Cold Spring (Sunday)
10/12 Second Saturday
10/18-10/20 Sheep & Wool Festival, Rhinebeck, NY
10/20 Cider Crawl in Beacon, coordinated by Artisan Wine Shop
And don't forget your last Zora Dora of the season before they close in October!
Highlights of summer 2013
Cucumber-Lime-Mint, Caramel Pink Sea Salt, Vanilla Beet Tie Dye, Avocado, Grapefruit-Honey-Ginger