Category Archives: Hudson Valley NY

The Picturesque Wilderstein Mansion overlooking the Hudson River

Wilderstein was home to three generations of the Suckley Family. The last family member to live at Wilderstein was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley whose extraordinarily close friendship with former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well-chronicled and is the subject of much interest — Wilderstein Historic Society

Read More Willy B Mum

Mills Mansion in the quaintness that is Staatsburgh

Mills Mansion Upstate NY Staatsburg

My family lives in between 2 places; during the week we live in bustling New York City in an apartment and during the weekends (and all holidays) we live upstate NY in the gorgeous historic township of Rhinebeck in a house. Rhinebeck is located a stones throw away from the Hudson River about a 2 hour drive North of NYC. My family has done this commute for 7 years now, and we love the contrast of being surrounded by trees and animals one minute and then surrounded by skyscraper buildings with barely a tree in site, the next!

Rhinebeck is one of the oldest settled areas in the United States dating back to the year 1686 – over 320 years ago!! And, with all those hundreds of settled years comes with it, old mansions and properties that are no longer lived in but have instead been donated back to the public to explore, enjoy and love. Which I am personally so very thankful for!

One of my husband and my favorite places to explore with our dogs, before our Son was born, was (and still is) Mills Mansion on top of a grassy hill in the neighboring town at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site. Mills Mansion itself is an Awesome renovated Beaux-Arts mansion which includes 65 rooms involving 14 bathrooms and 23 fireplaces!! Wowser, can you imagine living in such a place with all fires burning? So glorious!

Mills Mansion was extended circa 1895 (from when the original house was burned down in 1832 and rebuilt) and is situated on 1,600 acres of Hudson River footage of awe and pure beauty!! I can vouch for that. Mills Mansion is now the property of the State of New York and thankfully open to the public.

During winter months, local children and families sled down the snow-covered hills. During the warmer months couples are married on the scenic water front, while families hike/play/run/laugh to their heart’s content. It is truly a gorgeous part of upstate NY which is pristine and protected and will always be there for ANY OF US who want to take advantage.

Last week, we visited Mills Mansion with our 2.5 year old – Miles Storm – walking and able to hike with us (for the first time since he was born) and the dogs along the River on the tracks. HE LOVED It. He pointed out all kinds of things like lighthouses, boats, sand and birds. Children grow up SO fast don’t they? I literally feel like I was at Mills Mansion yesterday, where my Son was a few weeks of age and I was pushing him around in his pram with him unable to talk, and me just totally confused as to how I was a Mother all of a sudden!

Fast forward.. almost 3 years and here we all are enjoying the Great Outdoors and Loving Life!

If you are planning a trip upstate New York, I definitely suggest a stop at Mills Mansion. Bring a picnic blanket and some food and lay down with your loved ones and enjoy the surroundings!

**Mills Mansion is on Old Post Road, Staatsburg 12580 with the outdoor area open from dusk to dawn every day of the year. January through March there are guided tours of the Mansion 11AM – 3PM. There is no cost to enter the property and is quite a large car park. However, there is nowhere to buy food or drinks so do not forget to bring yourself. There are also portable potties scattered around the property.

Thanks for reading my BLOG!

Oh how we love Mills Mansion

Daddy Time

Family shot – Mummy, Miles, Rockstarr and Mohawk

Pumpkin Picking at Kesicke Farm

Did you know that the North American native Pumpkin is the largest fruit in the world, and close to 1.5 billion pounds are produced in the United States each year! That is a whole lot of Pumpkin.

The fabulous fat orange Pumpkin is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium (Love That). As well, as being an ample source of Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium and Phosphorus. By eating pumpkins you also take in Vitamin A & C, Potassium, Copper and Manganese (among other benefits)  This may sound like Chinese to some, if so, just be assured that eating pumpkins are good for you.

One of my best-loved Annual Autumn activities is Pumpkin Picking, and it is definitely something that is way more fun now that Miles Storm is around.

This year, our favorite local Lobotsky Farm did not produce any pumpkins due to environmental restraints, which is a hard blow for them and many in the immediate area who love visiting their land every year to pick pumpkins.

Having no choice but to find another place to pick pumpkins we stumbled across Kesicke Farm which is in the neighboring town of Red Hook, close to where we spend every weekend Upstate NY.
And, what a find it was (as the photos show)!

There was so much to do, including;
- Pick Your Own Pumpkins
- Corn Maze
- Wagon Rides through the corn (which Miles & Mohawk loved, Daddy not so much)
- Hay Rides
- Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
- Corn Pit (Just like a sand pit but yellow)
- Pumpkin Painting with Arts & Crafts
- Mini Hay Maze for little ones
- Petting Zoo
- Fresh Farm Produce

We spent about 3 hours at the Farm, but we could have easily spent the whole day if we were prepared. It is a great family outing, with plenty on site to keep Little Ones busy.

P.S – Dogs are welcome!

**All of these photos were taken on a IPhone 4S, being lightened and sharpened with the Snapseed Application and then finished with a filter with the Photo Toaster Application.

Last day of Summer – Let’s go apple picking

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away. Well that is what I was always told by my parents when I was a little girl. I did not really understand what it meant back then, but I still tried to eat an Apple A Day because I did not really like going to the Doctor so much. Funny right.

You cannot go wrong eating apples (so eat them as much as you can) – they are free of fat, sodium & cholesterol, low in calories and full of fiber. It is always preferable to eat apples untouched with the skin on as it is chock-a-block of disease-fighting antioxidants. Not to mention, apples are the perfect carry-anywhere snack food, perfect for little hands & big hands alike.

This weekend, with my mother-in-law and my 2-year-old Son we decided to spend the last day of Summer (sigh) at our local Upstate NY Cedar Heights Orchard picking apples. Cedar Heights Orchard has been family owned for 150 years and is the only pick-your-own in the Rhinebeck area. It is a beautiful spot, with the orchard being on top of a Hill giving a great view of the historic Hudson Valley. A perfect place to spend some quality time with friends and family.

I had never been apple picking before, which seems weird being that I am all about nature and eating healthy foods, but yes it is a true story. It was also Miles Storm’s first day picking apples and I have to say, he really enjoyed himself.  He had a marvelous time running among the trees helping us to pick apples, then putting them in the cart to take home. Who knew picking apples could be so much fun? We are definitely going to go back again this season, and I am adding it to the list of family seasonal activities.

TIPS FOR PICKING YOUR OWN APPLES

  • Place apples gently into your cart, do not throw them in as they can bruise
  • To prevent spoilage, wash apples right before you are about to use them
  • Keeping apples out of hot temperatures helps conserve longevity, store in dry cool basement or in the fridge
  • Try to pick apples with the stem still attached to also help with longevity
  • Apples fall naturally from trees & it is okay to take them as long as they are not bruised, half-eaten or have wasps lurking inside
  • The color of apples is the best way to tell if they are ripe, as well as feeling that they are firm and crisp looking
  • It helps to have a stick to knock the branches so the apples fall, or even better an apple-picking tool with a grabber basket on the end (the orchard we visited had these available for customers to use)

Read More Willy B Mum

Finding my animal spirit with a Shamanic Healer

I go to therapy once a week in New York City to, you know, work through issues that us Mummies have. Lately though, I am not so sure I am really getting what I want from it. I feel at ends as to whether it is worth continuing? I have a hard time traveling to midtown NYC (Grand Central Station area) to sit in a fluorescent lit office for an hour, especially being such a nature-tree-grass kind of girl. With that said, I love my therapist in NYC, she is amazing and did wonders for me and my husband while we were in couple therapy when Miles Storm was first born – I do not think we would have made it without her. Thank-You Heidi! However, at this stage in my life I feel I need answers and not questions, does that make sense? I feel traditional therapy is all about asking questions.

Somehow this all came together the other night when my girlfriend Diana told me about how she went to the Shamanic Healer, Frauke Rotwein, who has consulted with people looking for spiritual guidance at The Omega Institute of Holistic Studies for 7 years. The Omega Institute is thankfully located 6 miles from our weekend house in Rhinebeck upstate NY. I just know I am going to spend a lot of time there over the next few years. What a gorgeous space it is and what enlightening classes they have – anything from Chinese Watercolor Painting to Flying Trapeze to the 7 day SILENCE retreat (yes, meaning nobody talks AT ALL for 7 days). And, what an AMAZING experience I had crossing over to a new realm and meeting my animal spirit for the first time consciously.

So what happened…..Frauke’s private session with me was broken down into 3 areas.

To start, I sat down with Frauke while she burned some of the cleansing herb Sage and asked me what was going on in my life. Which, not to bore you, but I told her a few of my biggest issues at the moment. She then went into her thing which broke down as follows:

  • SHAMANIC COUNSELING. This allowed me to experience the ancient method of the shamanic journey. Aided by the heartbeat of Frauke’s drumming around me, I feel I did slip willingly into a deeper state of mind. I was also surrounded by trees and birds outside which let me access a deeper awareness of nature. Being in tune with our Earth in its rawest form is a loving and supportive universe which encourages healing. But, you have to get there, you have to feel the vibe to reap the rewards.
  • SOUL RETRIEVAL. This is a technique for restoring wholeness and balance to the spirit. My Shamic Healer, Frauke, channeled with my spirits and met with a few “Lost Libby’s” politely asking them to come back to me because I need them to be whole. Areas of our soul leave us through trauma or disease etc. In all seriousness, Frauke found part of me in a tree-house in Australia, and I did not tell her till the end but she described my tree-house that I built when I was 14 to the finer details. I think I was actually in shock and it took me a good 15 minutes before I could say to her “That was my tree”. I especially loved that when she was retrieving my Soul at the tree-house she was on the ground looking up at me and asked if I would come down & I responded “No, you come up here”. Wow, for the people who know me this is so spot on.
  • SPIRIT ANIMAL DISCOVERY It is known that everybody has a spirit animal and our spirit animal chooses us, not the other way around. Spirit animals help in restoring power and balance in one’s life. I was put into a trance of sorts by Frauke and she told me if an animal comes before me I must ask them “Are you my power animal and do you have a message for me”? What happened was, after 20 minutes of a intense drumming session I did see something that was running really fast… some kind of land animal? However, uit was going so fast I was not sure what I was seeing?
    It ends up my spirit animal is a Black Panther, he is a gleaming cat that sits near me always purring and loves me unconditionally. LOVE THAT.
    Now that I know my panther is there, if I ever shut my eyes, concentrate and ask for help he will strike out and do all he can do to help me… which being a black panther, I am sure, is a lot. Funnily enough before I first went to Omega I told my husband (out of all the animals in the world) that his spirit animal was a black sleek panther. I was close, just I was describing my animal spirit not his.

Read More Willy B Mum

Gorgeous Day upstate NY today

My family is fortunate that we divide our time between living upstate NY in Rhinebeck on the weekends, and during the week in the city in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We have been doing this for 6 years now. Every Friday, we head upstate, and Monday we return to the bustling city. It is a lot of time commuting, however it is definitely worth it.

It is a wonderful contrast for Miles Storm, being exposed to city living and country living.  I love that he is already able to identify many animals that he constantly sees when we are out and about-  from turtles to turkeys and geese to snakes. He also gets to spend time helping his Dad in the garden, swimming in the pool, horse-riding, and petting the many animals at the near-by Sepascot Home Farm.

Rhinebeck is a beautiful little town nestled in the historic northern Dutchess County on the Hudson River. It is actually one of the oldest settled towns in America having recently celebrated it 400 year anniversary. George Washington used to drink at the Oldest Inn in America in town called “The Beekman Arms” – isn’t that crazy to think about!

This Saturday we went to the “Rhinecliff Family Water Day” which was so much fun. Miles had a great time. It was a quaint turn-out with clowns, a bouncing castle, and a water installation for the children to play with. Later that afternoon, we drove up to Hunter Mountain to watch Ben Folds perform at the Mountain Jam music festival. It was a beautiful day which I wish could have lasted forever.

There is much to do upstate, all year round and never enough time in the day.

I sometimes wonder if I could live to Rhinebeck full-time, I love it upstate but Williamsburg is a pretty cool place to spend time too. I think that it is great, for now, just the way it is.

Me and Miles Storm on the Hudson River in Rhinecliff, upstate NY!

Mid Hudson Children’s Museum – Poughkeepsie

Upstate on Sunday it was a dreary grey day, not to mention in the 20′s and freezing cold. Miles Storm was pretty antsy and we wanted to do something fun with him that was going to excite him. I would feel bad if he had to be inside all day, so we decided to the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum located at 75 North Water Street on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie (approximately 80 miles from NYC). The cost is $7.50 per person including adults.

It was a perfect call, there was so much to see and do. It was educational as well as being entertaining. My little munchkin spent the 2 hours we were there running around like a race horse from one exhibit to the next – there was a sand pit, a DJ booth, a train set, a water area, a mini aquarium, a sail boat, slides, and a rock climbing wall!  He was not a happy camper when it was time to leave and threw a small fit when we finally did head out to the car. He would have stayed until he dropped from exhaustion if he had it his way.

Two minutes into the car ride home to our upstate house he was sleeping. Mission accomplished. No need to say anymore!

*If you take a train from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie the station is literally a 5 minute walk from the Museum. There is also an outdoor area with beautiful river views, and a really cool little mini skateboard park. The train ride upstate is really beautiful, well I love it anyway.  The Museum and Skateboard park are located directly underneath the famed tourist attraction Walkway Over the Hudson. There is plenty to do if you make it a day trip.

Trying to hold on to Miles at the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum upstate. He loved it & definitely did not want to pose for a photo.

Sepascot Home Farm – Rhinebeck

My family is very fortunate in that we live upstate NY in Dutchess County every weekend, and in the bustling city of Williamsburg during the week. We have been doing this for close to 6 years now.

Upstate, we live very close to Sepascot Home Farm and buy as much food as possible from them. The animals are treated kindly and are very well looked after. They are also out on open pastures and are only fed organic feed, other than what they find in their environment. My husband makes raw milk yoghurt from the dairy cows milk and we buy all of our eggs there too. We never buy eggs from a supermarket!

Read More Willy B Mum