Tag Archives: dutchess county

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

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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.

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Oh how we love Mills Mansion

Daddy Time

Family shot – Mummy, Miles, Rockstarr and Mohawk

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!

Did anyone, like me, consider a Water-Birth that never happened?

It seems to be common knowledge, if you are a holistic-minded mummy in New York City, that there is not one hospital on the Island of Manhattan that approves of water births. There is a birthing tub at St Luke’s Hospital but it is apparently there ONLY for relief before a mother gives birth, rather than for a mother to give birth in?

The Pro’s for having a baby in water seem endless – promotes relaxation, speeds up labor, reduces blood pressure, reduces the need for drugs and intervention, and is a gentler welcoming for a baby (among many other things).

I was 100% per cent dedicated to having a water-birth, amplified by the quite renowned Neugarten Family Birth Center  located in the country town of Rhinebeck where I spend weekends upstate New York. The clinic opened in 1985 as the first hospital-based birthing center in New York State, which is very impressive! The water tubs were not added until 2000, but now on average annually 800 mothers travel from near and far to give birth at the facility. And why not, Rhinebeck is such a beautiful little town.

My husband and I took our official tour at Neugarten Family Birth Center months before Miles Storm was even close to being born. It is a lovely facility. I especially loved that the babies stay in the rooms with the Mummies after birth.

As I live between the city and the country, I had great plans of seeing my pregnancy through with my city Ob/Gyn Dr Andrea Dobrenis who delivers at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC, and then moving to an upstate mid-wife when it was closer to my delivery date. But, a few things happened A) I fell in love with Dr Dobrenis’s attitude and approach, and B) Miles Storm was breech.

Approximately a month before my Son’s deliver date I went to the hospital for a routine check-up and was told I had hardly any amniotic fluid in my body, and as a protection mechanism his body had started shunting blood to his head resulting in his head getting bigger. If I hadn’t been lying down, I would have fallen down from shock….. and the nurse was so casual about it all!!! It was all so unexpected. Long story short; I was directed over to the Labor and Maternity ward to have an emergency c-section!

Miles Storm was born just over 5 pounds perfectly healthy, and I made it through the ordeal just fine too. I had a great experience at the hospital, and I love Dr Andrea Dobrenis – she is one in a million!

The question is – if I ever have another baby will I want to try the water-birth thing again? The answer is – of course absolutely.

Miles Storm 6 days of age.

Second Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change.

This year I was able to take part in the second annual “The Great Cloth Diaper Change” at the upstate NY Rhinebeck based “Waddle n Swaddle” maternity boutique where 81 Mummies and Babies got their cloth nappy on!

It happened like this – At 12.26PM all the babies were held in the air, at 12.28PM all the clean cloth nappies were held in the air, and at 12.30PM the nappies were all changed. It was very fast and all over red rover in about 8 minutes!

Besides raising awareness about reusable cloth nappies and raising money for charity, the event also aimed to break last year’s Guinness World Record of 5,026 babies simultaneously changed into cloth nappies. That is a lot of nappies right, it sure is, BUT still less than the total number of disposable nappies that the Real Diaper Association (RDA) estimates one child goes through before they turn 2 years of age!

Cloth nappies aren’t like they used to be when I was a baby being that they had to pre-folded and fastened with metal pins – Ouch! These days; cloth nappies are bright and colorful, better for the environment and a lot cheaper than the thousands of dollars you can spend on disposable nappies until your child is potty trained. They can also be reused with additional children.

The event this year was held in 16 countries compared to 5 countries last year so excitingly awareness is growing at speed!

There is still no official word as to how many nappies were changed on Saturday, although I am sure, with 11 more countries joining the movement it will be a lot higher than 5026!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change upstate NY at the Rhinebeck “Waddle n Swaddle” store

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!

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