Monday, May 31, 2010

Rentals Near NYC: Catskills Retreat

I had so many people comment on the rental house in the Hudson Valley that I mentioned about a month ago. I mean, at least five families I know are booking it. And they've all said the same thing--it's so daunting to find a rental--because there are so many hideous rentals out there on the rental sites. So I thought I'd try my hand at doing the work for you, at least for this week. 

Here is a cute house in the woods, near Woodstock. It seems well appointed, and it's 1500 square feet, with 2 bedroom--suitable for up to 5 people. It's $325 per weekend night, or $1625 for a week.
(photos from home owner's website)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sullivan County: Nest Store

One of my favorite stores in New York just happens to be in Sullivan County, in the perfectly sleepy town of Narrowburg, which is right on the Delaware River. Nest is owned by Anna Bern, a former art director who used to work at W and Vogue, and now lives full-time in Sullivan County. Lucky for us! She provides us with a fun place to drop into when we've been housebound for too long. Her taste is impeccable--from her housewares and kids clothes, to the jewelry and leather goods she brings back from Brazil. Nothing feels out of place and too international for the small town shop though--she has just the right edit. And across the street, go to the lookout point, and point the telescope into the trees. You'll probably see an eagle or two.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Best Memorial Day Parade

We've had a place in Sullivan County for nine years now, and go up there as much as we can. But somehow, we never made it to the Memorial Day parade that is a five minute drive from our house, in the sleepy little hamlet of Fremont Center. I thought the Tractor Parade in the town of Callicoon was the best parade (200+ tractors in a 3 block town--it happens on Sunday June 13th I think), but this one, which has been going on for 125 years, takes the cake. It starts at 10am. If you are so inclined to make some last minute plans and come up to Sullivan County for the weekend, my favorite places to suggest are The Golden Guernsey and The Old North Branch Inn. The Old North Branch Inn is really great, but the owner doesn't allow families unless she has no other bookings, which makes it hard for me to recommend. It still is a place that is worth stopping at for lunch or a snack, (she doesn't always have consistent kitchen hours), and seeing her hand-pin bowling alley. If you're interesting in going there, read this piece from the NY Times, which was pretty spot-on in its description. I'll write more about the area tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Natural History Museum

I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never been to the Natural History Museum. Clara has, multiple times, with school, camp, a playdate...but any time I have thought about going, I always imagined it would be too crowded, and I end up taking her to the Met. But this week, after our London trip, I realized that I have made more of a cultural effort in every town but my own, and I was determined to make it there. We had a doctor appointment in the city, so we decided to go afterwards, close to closing time at the museum. It was magical, and I think a big part of why it was so great is because it wasn't crowded. There were no school field trips, it wasn't a weekend--it was 4:30 on a weekday, and we had the place almost to ourselves. And, it was so late, they gave us the tickets for free! We had such a blast, and were so inspired, that we decided to go back two days later when we had dinner plans in the city. (Although this time we didn't get in for free.) Since we only had about an hour each visit, we planned what we were going to see on each visit, and now we know what we have to go back and check out. I think the most exciting thing of all was hearing Clara exclaim how much she loves science, as we were looking at the petrified wood, and how she wants me to find science dvds, so she can learn more. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

London: Papillon Shoes

This was so not a shopping trip for us. First of all, we still have a box of shoes from the Cookie closet giveaway,  and second, we are just trying to be more careful. (I'd rather spend on food and wine and travel.) But after seeing all the amazing children's shoes that our friend's daughter had from Papillon, and hearing their very reasonable prices, I decided we had to check it out, and could possibly buy one pair. Besides the shoes being very cute, I loved that the woman running the store had some kind of certification that she was authorized to fit shoes properly. They also have lots of the shoes now in women's sizes. We bought a lovely pair of tall black boots (just for Clara) for the fall.

London: Lamb's Conduit Street

We had a couple of hours on our last day in London, and asked our friend Paul what his favorite street in London, right now. Lamb's Conduit in the Bloomsbury neighborhood was his first choice, so off we went. We stopped in at Oliver Spencer, a really lovely store that carries men's and women's clothing, all of it great. Then we had a quick lunch at the Spanish restaurant on the corner, Cigala , and a perfect macchiato at The Espresso Room (Paul said this is probably the best espresso in London). This area is a block away from the Coram Fields Park , which I had high hopes for, since its website looks great. From the site, it appears to be a country farm in the middle of the city, but instead it's a bit sad, with a couple of bunny rabbits in hutches, and some chickens and goats in gloomy pens. But it is a big open space nonetheless, with a large playground area, so it's just good to know it's there, if you find yourself in this neighborhood. I am linking to a neighborhood report done by Monocle Magazine, because I think it will give you a nice sense of the area. 
lunch at Cigala--Clara loved those potatoes...