Oh my dear heart: New Paltz, NY

As previously mentioned, this past week I traveled to New York to visit family and show off my adorable son to anyone who would take a gander, and many partook.  Come on, I mean, he's adorable.  Who could deny this face?:

Yes, I know he's lovely.  Send items to be autographed at the following address...

Just kidding.  I'm not giving out my address.  Who knows what crazies would seek to defile his beauty? 


Yes, my son was adored by all and definitely made a few lady-friends in the flight attendants.  We had a lovely time out east, spending the majority of it with my grandfather on Long Island, of whom I enjoyed drinking coffee with and discussing worldly endeavors.  We enjoy ourselves immensely. 

However this trip we also decided to make the short jaunt up to New Paltz, a lovely town about 90 minutes north of New York City.  My great aunt and uncle reside upon Cherry Hill Rd--isn't that a fabulously quaint name for a road?  I can just picture Anne of Green Gables finding utmost pleasure in it.  Anyway.  I feel a lot of tangents coming on.  I'll try to steer clear of 'em. 

I make no promises, however.

Janet and Jim, seen here (aren't they a great-looking couple?):

They are two of my favorite people, living in my favorite town, in my favorite part of the country.  What could be better than to spend a few days with them?  I can't think of anything.  Can you?  If not, then maybe you should visit them.  Just make sure to call, but I'm sure they'd love you too.  They are a lively sort and enjoy singing, gardening, laughing, reading, chatting... 

Yikes, tangent averted.  Back to New Paltz.

So, this town is situated at the onset of the Catskills, very near Minnewaska State Park.  It's a gorgeous place with rolling hills, abundant trees, older homes, and inhabitants who care deeply for nature & soil.  One of the main draws is the town's focus on sustainable living/eating.  There are eight CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture, find a local one near you, or to understand more about CSAs and what they entail, click HERE), a multitude of farmer's markets, natural foods stores, organic restaurants, and renewable energy enthusiasts. 

It's right up my alley.

While there I was able to partake in the stark beauty of the place, taking many-a-moment to bask in it:

Coming in from the north side:

Lovely view toward Minnewaska State Park:

A friendly walker...well, she may not have been friendly, but I shot a photo anyway.  Come to think of it, she looks cold.  Ah well, it was picturesque of her to be there at the exact moment I needed her.  Thank you, kind pedestrian lady.

The gatehouse to Mohonk Mountain House,
where Stephen King is said to have written quite a few of his creepy reads.

Some of the many spacious houses.  I'm talking my husband into purchasing one. 
We'll see how that goes...

And then there was this eyesore.  I believe it's the visitor's center. 
How blindingly cheery.  Yikes.

Famous Huguenot Street
It is said that in 1678, a small, audacious group of French Huguenot refugees from southern Belgium and northern France set out to create a community of their own.

Their search led them to New York's Mid-Hudson Valley. They named this area New Paltz. 
That's your history lesson for today, folks. 

Of the eight original stone houses (built in the early 1700s), six remain. 
Here is one of them:

One of the original stone wells:

A Huguenot Church and graveyard:

Downtown New Paltz, endearingly kitschy and inviting

I meant to check out this bookstore but time got the best of me.  Next time, next time. 
Or maybe when I live there. 

A divine little bakery.  The boulanger in me just had to go in. 
I just had to, yeast and I go way back.  Well, way back to last summer when I learned how to use it.

Adorable children searching for a scrumptious treat:

Oh my heart be still.  I love chalkboard menus.

My sixth sense pushed me toward the back of the store,
where I gazed upon the kitchen itself.  And turned green with envy.
Have I mentioned my dream to open a little bakery and cook in the back,
in my very own little kitchen.  With my very own beastly stand-mixers and whisks?
Well, consider it mentioned.

And I thought my KitchenAid was big.  These leave mine in the dust.  Or in the flour.  Or whatever.

Onward forth!  From the bakery we headed over to the winter farmer's market. 
Did I mention New Paltz is known for it's very organic and wholesome-minded individuals? 

Wholesome in the food-sense, that is.  Ha.  I do believe the market was one of the highlights of our trip.
It breathed earth, soil, and happiness. 
I like happy people. 

These folks love their chalkboard menus:

Real Vermont maple syrup.  Yum and double yum.

THIS is what apples are supposed to look like. 
Unpolished, beaten up a bit, completely lovely in their imperfections. 
Kind of like me.

Happy farmers selling to avid produce enthusiasts.  I've never seen someone get so worked up about sprouts.  I admired him and his tattered hat.  And his sprout-fetish.  I want a sprout fetish. 
I'll work on that.

This was the avid butter-man.  We had the sprout man and the butter man.
Oh they were a passionate breed, they were.

Now somehow goat milk fudge just doesn't sound appealing to me
but I'm willing to try anything once, and, I have to say--it wasn't half bad. 
Give it a chance.

This sweet little soul was gnoshing on a carrot. 
What Mom wouldn't want to take a photo of a kid enjoying his veggies?

My great uncle, seemingly thrilled about his carrots. 
He tends to get this way about his veggies, it must be where I get it from. 
Ode to you, Uncle Jim, you and I are two peas in a pod.  Literally.

Oh-kay.  So this is the reason for this getting-to-be-quite-long post. 
I had to share a fabulous find. 

This incredible little place, The Main Street Bistro, is one of the best little cafes I've ever had the privilege of savoring. Oh my, was it ever magnificent. Our last day in NP, we decided to hit up brunch at this little joint. It was a good decision, indeed.

The Bistro is quite small, but packed to the gills. There was a 15-20 minute wait upon arrival and the steady stream of people kept-a-flowin' the entire meal. It seemed people had no qualms waiting. In fact, everyone appeared to know each other and gladly stood while chatting and laughing.
It was more like family gathered around a dining room than a food joint.

I found myself smiling just being a part of the "dinner table," so to speak.

New Paltzians are well-informed and well-read, it seems.

The Bistro, however, did not get the chalkboard memo.

Grandpa and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

And my son loved people-watching.  He's good at that.

Oh but let me tell you, the gastronomic fare was out-of-this-world. 

Check out these blueberry pancakes:

And you thought oatmeal was boring, think again:

French toast isn't merely for Francophiles...
Nor' Easterners know how to make this typical breakfast go-to a gourmet dish, indeed.

However, some of us chose to partake in lunch instead.  The vegetarian chili lacked nothing, it was perfectly divine without meat, and the portobello mushroom sandwich on whole grain bread was loaded with local vegetables--making it that much more flavorful and delicious.

Oh my dear heart.  Yes, New Paltz was lovely.  I am still in the process of convincing my husband that we must, must, must live there.  It would be good for my soul, mind, and body.  He is slightly warming to the idea...we'll see how many years of convincing it takes. 

If I do reside out east in the not-so-distant future, you are more than welcome to visit.  Please do, in fact.  I would love to show you around.  But, if not, please go without me.  I'm certain any of the friendly New Paltzians would love to share their community with you, as they so graciously did for me.

In fact, I'm certain they would.

And if you do go, could you bring me back some o'that French toast?  And maybe a pint of maple syrup?  Or maybe the excited butter man.  He'd be a fun conversational piece.

I'm ending this tangent now.


Anonymous said...

Abbie: I so enjoyed your post today! Isn't the "Eastern Culture" wonderful? It makes me long for a trip to PA!!!
Aunt Jean

Anonymous said...

Wow, Abbie, You make me want to move to New Paltz!!!! Oh, um, I forgot... I live here! It is a great place and you did it great honor by writing about it so eloquently.
Dear Great Niece, PLLLLLEEEZE MOVE HERE with Curt and Will!
Auntie J

Anonymous said...

Hey Abbie!

This was a nice write-up on my hometown! Wish I could have been there with you all.

Cousin Tom-O

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