July 17-19 – Time with John and Judi Melby, Hillsdale, NY

Thursday –  With a cold front having passed through late yesterday, today held hopes for lower temperatures and far less humidity.  We headed out early for John’s and Judi’s boat, ”The Utmost” which they keep in a marina on Rondout Creek (comes from the fort, or redoubt, that was erected near its mouth in November, 1666) in Kingston, NY, the first such navigable tributary on the Hudson north of New York City , some 80 miles away.

While The Utmost was built in 1969, it remains a beautiful and comfortable boat.

Heading out of Rondout Creek, we passed the waterfront of historic Old Kingston,

old barges,

several tugs

and the Hestia,

which bears a striking resemblance to the “African Queen”, made famous in the Bogart and Hepburn movie of the same name.

Leaving the Creek, we passed by one of the Hudson River’s four major lighthouses between Albany and New York City.

Rondout Creek Lighthouse (built in 1913)

Never having done more than drive or walk over the Hudson River, we were impressed with how pretty it was, albeit we were well away from its urban shorelines.

Working Tugs Pushing Large Barges Upriver

Esopus Meadow Lighthouse (built in 1871)

Yachts on the River

Sailboats …under sail

and washed up along the shore, when stranded by Hurricane Irene

The predictable tourist boats

The Catskills in the distance

Castle-like Monasteries

The 112’ Lucky Seven which can be rented for a mere $42,500 per week

Large Freighters

And, at the other end of the spectrum … Jet SkiesAfter an incredible afternoon on the water, we returned to Rondout Creek.

Enroute back to John  and Judi’s, we stopped briefly at in a town of 6,401

where we had a chance to see their incredible collection of model cars … there must have been at least 500 on display

and where we saw our first green-haired person on this trip.We spent our last afternoon together around their pond, with wine and hors d’oeuvres

Wednesday –  After another morning of catching up with John and Judi, we left for Taconic State Park, and hiked up to the Bash Bish Gorge and Falls, crossing the New York/Massachusetts border

part way to the falls.

Perhaps not surprising, the

was generally ignored.

There were also some “characters” scrambling around the gorge.

Still in the park, although back in New York, we visited the remnants of the Copake Iron Works.

Established in 1845, along the Bash Bish Brook the area offered all of the elements essential to the successful production or of iron; iron ore deposits, water power, limestone and charcoal.  The facility remained in operation until 1903.

Before heading back to Hillsdale, we stopped in Copake for lunch in a 1950s themed diner for lunch.

Tuesday –  After a lengthy morning of “hanging out” we left for Stockbridge, MA and the historic Red Lion Inn

one of the few New England inns operating continuously since the 18th century and where we were able to get out of the heat and humidity for a few hours for a great lunch.

With some “cool” signs.

Gorgeous beds of colorful daylilies framed the inn’s street façade.

Our next stop was the Norman Rockwell Museum and his studio

from his later years living in Stockbridge.  A history of his artwork was displayed, including copies of each of his Saturday Evening Post covers were displayed … from his

First cover, May 20, 1916

To his last, December 14, 1963

During the interim 47 years, some of the best-known of his some 4,000 original illustrations and paintings appeared on the Post covers.

Triple Self-Portrait

Thanksgiving – Mother and Son Pealing Potatoes

Policeman and Boy in Diner

Red Sox Locker-room


Young Lovers

Girl Reading the Post

A Boy and His Doctor

That evening, another incredible sunset.

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