Tag Archives: vacation

The last day.

I know, you thought we’d never get here.

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But here we are… Day 7 of the Berkshire vacation, in which we head to Hyde Park, New York.

Hyde Park is the site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home Springwood, as well as his presidential library, Top Cottage and Eleanor’s retreat Val Kill.

Yes, history lovers… it’s another riveting day for you.

We arrived early and elected to tour the famous house first.

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Springwood was FDR’s boyhood home, and where he later lived with Eleanor.

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The tours are crowded, and quick. You have very little time to wander the house and even less time to try and frame photos without 20 people standing in your way.

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The interior was dark….

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Heavily wooded and Victorian.

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Decorated by FDR’s mother.

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Chintz ruled.

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It was said Eleanor heartily disliked the look and wanted to remodel after her MIL died but Franklin wouldn’t allow it.

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Unable to use the staircase after contracting polio, a lift was installed for FDR.

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But not a motorized elevator.  He had to use his arms to pull the rope, and let me tell you… that sucker was heavy!

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To be honest, the house was rather unimpressive.

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With small, dark cluttered rooms.

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But the history always intrigues me.

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Along with the personal tidbits.

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Poor Eleanor…

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Before you could blink, the tour was over and they were herding you out a side door and stairway built specifically for that purpose.

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A quick look around the back…

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And you were shuffled off to make room for the next batch of tourists.

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While I’m glad we saw it, and appreciate the fact that it’s open to the public at all…

It’s not the way I prefer to tour historic sites.

White Horse for lunch….

 

No, we didn’t eat Trigger.

 

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But Trip Advisor did lead us to one of the best restaurants ever.

 

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The White Horse in New Preston Connecticut.

 

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Yo, Trigger. Trot across the street will ya…

 

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It was quite nice inside with warm woods, and a rustic English country pub atmosphere.

 

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Yes, that’s a motorcycle enshrined behind the bar.

 

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But not just any motorcycle. This was a 1920 Indian Scout, the first production year for what would eventually evolve into the famous Chief.

Sweet!!

But more importantly….

 

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I began working my way down the martini list.

 

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The Ginger Horse was first up… and first rate.

 

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While we cruised the menu, I noticed there were some very interesting pieces scattered  around the various rooms.

Take a look.

The husband ordered a chicken tender appetizer, and the presentation was kind of cute.

 

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So while he ate, I drank. And the White Horse Cosmo was so good I forgot to photograph it.

 

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Husband opted for the Chicken Pot Pie… and talk about presentation.

 

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Isn’t that just the best?

 

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I went for the Kobe beef burger with caramelized onions and blue cheese, which had a horse grilled into the bun. They’re nothing if not loyal to their brand.

Drink #3 was the Freedom Horse, because sure…

I can be loyal too.

And who could resist their desserts?

 

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Not me.

Banoffi Pie – toffee, banana cream filling, and whipped cream with a chocolate drizzle. Favored at Buckingham Palace, they say.

I agree with the Queen.  It was amazing…

 

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And came with prerequisite horse.

Trigger would be proud.

 

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Okay, okay. Technically Trigger wasn’t white.

But Buttermilk, Dale Evans’ horse, was.

And who cares?

They’re both dead, stuffed and won’t mind if I take a little artistic license.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6, and we travel back in time.

 

 

Well, not really. We didn’t have a Tardis…

 

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But we did drive over to Connecticut so the husband could revisit his boyhood home.

 

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He was born in Maine, but the family ( 9 kids! He’s #2 ) moved when he was 8 years old.

 

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The town is very rural, and famous for it’s covered bridge.

 

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Which we always have to drive through, just because.

 

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Everything about the place is quaint, and quintessentially New England.

 

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This….

 

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Was quite literally my husband’s backyard growing up.

 

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Yes, all of it.

 

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He grew up on a farm which encompassed the entire valley, at the base of Coltsfoot Mountain.

 

 

I have no idea how many acres it was, but you can imagine when his mother told them to go outside and play…. she didn’t see them for a while.

The house and barn are at the end of this next video.

 

 

Back in the husband’s day there were 3 large barns, and many large cows. But being a dairy farm, you’d expect that.

 

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There were probably many large cow pies as well.

 

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No, not that kind.

 

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Reminiscing finished, we headed back into “town” to look for some lunch.

 

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Being the giant metropolis that it is, there was only choice… and it was shut up tighter than the proverbial drum.

Someone told us it went out of business, but that’s the husband peering anxiously through the windows.

I tend to get cranky when hungry and clearly he was desperate.

 

The Freight Yard pub…

 

After a full day with butterflies and bugs, we headed to a restaurant that came highly recommended by friends.

 

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But first, some random Berkshire scenery.

 

 

All of New England is famous for it’s churches….

 

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And Massachusetts is no exception.

 

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I particularly like the ones made of stone.

 

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There wasn’t much in the way of bright autumn color, but every now and then we caught a glimpse.

 

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A pie bar?

Now that something yours truly will belly up to any old day…..

 

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As evening was descending we drove through Williamstown….

 

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A lovely town, home to Williams college….

 

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And more of those impressive stone churches.

 

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We had a hard time finding this particular restaurant…

 

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As it really was in an old freight yard on the other side of the tracks. We stumbled around out back for a while, trying to find the entrance… when the owner took pity on us and hollered out the window, “Get in here you silly gits. It’s raining… or hadn’t you noticed?”

Ah… a snarky barkeep. I felt at home already.

 

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It was a friendly place, with lots of locals giving each other a pleasantly hard time.

 

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I can heartily recommend the cranberry margaritas. The first went down quickly, the second was tasty… and the third? The husband said I enjoyed it, so I’ll have to take his word for it.

 

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Of course, he had a few of these. So make of that what you will…

 

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The French Onion Soup burger sounded interesting but once again, my inner pasta demon was calling.

 

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Pan seared scallops and shrimp in a lemon and white wine sauce with spinach, tomatoes, garlic and parmesan cheese served over homemade fettuccine with garlic bread. Holy Hell, that was the richest thing I’ve ever eaten. Almost too rich… if there is such a thing.

 

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The husband opted for pan seared scallops that were then baked with a seafood stuffing in a garlic cream sauce, baked potato and seasonal veggies.

We poured ourselves out of there.

Literally and figuratively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird and wonderful….

 

It wasn’t all pretty little butterflies at Magic Wings.

 

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There were also more than enough weirdos to keep a girl happy.

 

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Like this guy.

And more specifically, this one…..

 

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Oh, yes I did.

 

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And he really lived up to his name. When he’s walking up your arm? You can really feel the pricks.

 

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On his legs, people.

His legs.

Moving on with the weird….

Butterflies that look like dead leaves?

 

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Check.

A Columbian Tegu named Porkchop?

 

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Check.

There was even a weird and wonderful butterfly nursery.

 

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With a delightful Silence of the Lambs feel, no?

 

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The flora was as unique as the fauna.

 

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With some interesting exotic blooms.

 

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These looked rather Seussian.

 

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Truffula tree anyone?

But by far, one of the most beautiful creatures was this:

 

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Emerging from his (her?) cocoon.

 

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Is that fabulous, or is that fabulous?

 

 

Amen Steven.

 

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I honestly couldn’t stop staring at it.

 

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I mean… look at it!

But okay, it was 110 degrees in there… and the husband had been patiently melting into a puddle for the past few hours while I took the required 3,496 photographs, so we starting making our way to the door.

 

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Totally enamored with this little jewel of a tourist attraction.

 

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Magic Wings, Part Three.

 

It’s hard to relay how utterly wonderful this little place was. The photos are frozen, and the videos a pale representation.

 

 

It was like an oasis of rain forest….

 

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Plunked down in the middle of Deerfield, Massachusetts.

 

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Peaceful…

 

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Soothing.

 

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Tranquil.

 

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But really….

 

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Surrounded by those delicate creatures…

 

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Even this fast talking, transplanted Jersey girl slowed down and said…

Ahh.

 

 

The bird agreed.

 

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I think my blood pressure must have dropped 10 points.

 

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Give me a book and a glass of iced tea?

 

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I could have stayed there all day.

And then, there were butterflies.

 

Magic Wings is aptly named.

 

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It’s a large greenhouse like building with meandering paths filled with tropical foliage, blooms, birds and…..

 

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Butterflies!

 

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Everywhere you look…

 

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There were bright bursts of color flitting from leaf to leaf…

 

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And hat to hat.

 

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The husband was popular among the winged set at first…

 

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But I had my admirers as well.

 

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It really was quite magical.

 

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As a matter of fact, I am.

 

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There were brightly colored birds…

 

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And brightly colored feeding stations.

 

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Sugared water in a dish scrubber? Might be worth trying at home.

 

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It wasn’t easy photographing them as they’re constantly on the move.

 

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And even more impossible to film them flying by.

 

But rotting bananas seemed to be a good pit stop.

 

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This blue fellow was terribly hard to catch standing still.

 

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While these two were battling tooth and nail for the right to that impatient bloom.

 

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You had to be careful where you walked, and sat….

 

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Since butterflies expend an enormous amount of energy flying from flower to flower, they sometimes run out of oomph and simply drop to the floor in front of you.

And sometimes, if you were lucky…

 

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You captured a little butterfly porn.

 

 

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It was lovely.

 

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And if you’re asking the question, “Have you petted your fringed lizard today?”

 

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Why yes….

 

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Yes, I have.

Her name was Samantha, and she was a very sweet girl.

Don’t judge.

Reptiles need love too….

 

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