Thursday, July 9, 2009

'Recession fundraiser' on tap for ARCS

Save the date! AIDS-Related Community Services (ARCS) will serve up its "fundraiser for the recession" -- a no-admission-charged cocktail fundraiser on Thursday, August 13 from 6-10 p.m. at Chill Wine Bar, 173 Main Street in Beacon. Chill will be offering free appetizers during the event and a cash bar.

RSVPs are encouraged and can be made by calling 914-785-8283. Event information and RSVPs can also be accessed via ARCS' Facebook page or at

Here is more from the press release:

"Chill Out: ARCS' Summer Friendraiser" focuses on gathering the agency's mid-Hudson Valley supporters, volunteers and new friends while bringing in much-needed funds for the comprehensive HIV/AIDS services that ARCS provides.

"This is our twist on the stately, stuffy cocktail reception that many people are used to," said Jay Dewey, director of ARCS' fundraising and special events. 'Chill Out' is designed to be casual, friendly and summery. This is a fundraiser for the recession. There's no cost to attend. We are not expecting our guests to stay for a whole evening. You can drop in, say hello, have a drink and some delicious food, and get to
know other ARCS supporters before heading off to the rest of your evening. Best of all, you don't have to put on fancy clothes. We encourage shorts and tee shirts if that's your thing."

The event aims to inform more people about the need for HIV/AIDS services, and to let them know how they can help the local fight against the virus. "Not everyone is in a position to donate money right now," Dewey acknowledges. "We understand that. However, there are many ways that Hudson Valley residents can contribute other than a financial
donation." Guests will be encouraged to make a donation at the door, but it is not required. ARCS will also raise funds by holding a 'chance' auction, in which guests purchase raffle tickets but choose between several prizes. Prizes include tickets to Chicago on Broadway, Barnes & Noble gift certificates, massages and selected wines.

"I'm very excited to partner with Chill Wine Bar to make this event happen," Dewey said. "The owners, Jim Svetz and Patrick McKenna, have created an increasingly popular, relaxed and fun place to hang out, and it has the perfect vibe for this Friendraiser." Chill serves wine and tapas from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. nightly and is located at 173 Main Street in downtown Beacon.

Community fundraising events like this are increasingly important to
ARCS, which has lost nearly $1 million in government funding in the past
year. The agency was forced to shutter a number of HIV prevention
programs in the wake of these budget cuts. ARCS serves more than 10,000
Hudson Valley residents in need each year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome celebrates 50th year

Intrigued by the vintage aircraft from the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome?

The Aerodrome will celebrate its 50th anniversary this weekend with music, special re-enactments on the ground and demonstrations of pioneer aircraft, including the Aerodrome’s 1909 Bleriot XI which has been flying for 100 years and is the oldest original airplane still flying in the United States.

There will also be a demonstration of Aerodrome founder Cole Palen’s original 1917 Curtiss “Jenny” JN-4D (shown above). More than 10,000 of these airplanes were built, most in a factory in Hammondsport but only two or three in the world are still flying.

The museum and grounds open at 10 a.m. with air shows on both days starting at 2 p.m. The Aerodrome has four hangars of antique airplanes and artifacts from the earliest days of aviation to explore and its two 1929 New Standard D-25 open cockpit biplanes will offer rides non-stop, except during the air shows. Directions are at the Web site.

(Photo by Don Fleming/Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Exhibit through July 31 at Artist's Palate

Here is an exhibit at the Artist's Palate, 307 Main St. in Poughkeepsie, by one of my favorite artists at one of my favorite restaurants, well worth checking out ... runs through July 31.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hudson Valley images

View beautiful images of the region (like this one!) by Poughkeepsie Journal photographer Lee Ferris through July 30 at the Hyde Park Library Annex. For more information, please call 845-229-7791.

Friday, June 19, 2009

“A Silver Celebration under the Stars”

Wow -- this sounds like fun: Powerhouse Theater’s 25th anniversary gala benefit at Vassar College on June 27. It will feature performances by many award-winning artists, including Oscar winner Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Rob Morrow, Mark Linn-Baker, Tony and Grammy Award-winner Duncan Sheik, Deborah Hedwell, Carol Kane, Wendy Makkena, Randle Mell, Jenny Powers, Jon Tenney, Jennifer Westfeldt, (and many more to come) and will be followed by a "Locavore" party celebrating 25 seasons of Powerhouse.

Here are more details from the press release:

Beginning at 7pm the gala will offer selections from favorite Powerhouse plays and musicals performed by some of Broadway and Hollywood’s top artists, all of whom, at one time or another, have trod the stage at Powerhouse. A party will follow that will celebrate food and drink produced in the Hudson Valley.

Following the performance, the audience is invited to join the artists for a light supper with drinks and dessert under the stars as Powerhouse celebrates Hudson Valley food artisans with a Locavore Party—food and drinks grown or produced locally —offered by Gigi’s Hudson Valley, Clinton Vineyards, Keegan Ales, and Babycakes Café. The party will begin at 8:30pm, outside the Martel Theater on the Frances Daly Fergusson Quadrangle.

”I’m thrilled and honored that so many of our wonderful artist ‘alums’ are joining us here in Poughkeepsie to celebrate 25 seasons,” New York Stage and Film Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer said. “What a unique opportunity to see all these artists who mean so much to us, all sharing a stage together!”

“We’re celebrating our future stars as members of the current Powerhouse Apprentice Company will join in the program,” noted Edward Cheetham, producing director of Powerhouse Theater. “This special quarter-of-a-century celebration is also a benefit that will help support Powerhouse in the future and promises to be a great party!”

Individual tickets are on sale now; special sponsorship packages, which include gala tickets and Powerhouse season subscriptions, are also available. To purchase tickets and for additional information, go online (, call (845) 437-5599, or visit the Powerhouse Box Office in person on the Vassar campus.

The performance, directed by Sheryl Kaller, with musical direction by Fred Lassen, will begin at 7pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film.

Featured will be members of the original 1985 cast of John Patrick Shanley’s first Powerhouse play Savage in Limbo: Oscar winner Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves), Randle Mell, and Deborah Hedwell.

Other featured artists at the gala will include New York Stage and Film co-founder and producing director Mark Linn-Baker, who recently appeared off-Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s Romantic Poetry and is the star of the classic film My Favorite Year and the series Perfect Strangers; Carol Kane (Wicked, Annie Hall, and Taxi); Wendy Makkena (Side Man); Rob Morrow (Numb3rs, Northern Exposure); Jenny Powers (Little Women, Grease, Follies); Reg Rogers (Holiday); Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer of the smash Broadway hit Spring Awakening, Duncan Sheik; David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck, The River Wild, Passion Fish); from The Closer Jon Tenney (The Heiress), who is also a member of Vassar’s class of 1984; Jennifer Westfeldt (Wonderful Town, Kissing Jessica Stein, Ira & Abby); and many more to come!

These Powerhouse artists, along with members of the 2009 Powerhouse Apprentice Company, will perform selections from favorite plays and musicals of the past 25 seasons, including Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley (1985); Snakebit by David Marshall Grant (1994); the Tony Award-winning Side Man by Warren Leight (1996); A Year with Frog & Toad by Willie Reale and Robert Reale (2000); Adrift in Macao by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick (2002); Dangerous Beauty by Jeannine Dominy and Michele Brourman (2005); The Boy Who Heard Music by Pete Townshend (2007); and Nero (Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater, 2008).

Following the performance, the audience is invited to join the artists for a light supper with drinks and dessert under the stars as Powerhouse celebrates Hudson Valley food artisans with a Locavore Party (celebrating food grown or produced locally). A light supper will be prepared by Gigi's Hudson Valley, the official caterer of Vassar's Alumnae House, from the best fresh local produce in the area; Clinton Vineyards will pour some of their award-winning wines; Keegan Ales, voted best brewery in both the Hudson Valley and in New York State and recipient of the Matthew Vassar prize at the Tap New York Festival, will serve a selection of his favorite beverage; and a dessert buffet of sumptuous sweets will be provided by Babycakes Café. The party will begin at 8:30pm, outside the Martel Theater on the Frances Daly Fergusson Quadrangle.

Individual orchestra tickets are $100; limited balcony seats available for $50 (Enter code: GALABALC). Both options include the performance and party. A special Mainstage subscription plus gala packages offers admission to the gala, any of the three Mainstage shows, and all 9 readings for one person (15% off single ticket prices). To purchase tickets, go online to Powerhouse, call (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599, or visit the Box Office on the Vassar campus.

Powerhouse Theater, now entering its 25th season, is the result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College. The program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus during which more than 200 professional artists and some 40 apprentices live and work together to create new theater works. Powerhouse steadfastly supports both emerging and established artists.

The annual residency has included such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Henry Kreiger, Warren Leight, Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Belber, Eric Bogosian, Steve Martin, Dael Orlandersmith, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater; directors Mark Brokaw, Joe Mantello, Lisa Peterson, Roger Rees, Liz Swados, David Warren, and Michael Wilson; and actors Chris Cooper, Dana Delany, Olympia Dukakis, Edie Falco, Peter Gallagher, Joel Grey, Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Johnston, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies, Rob Morrow, Frances McDormand, Josh Radnor, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kyra Sedgwick, Fisher Stevens, David Strathairn, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Westfeldt, among many others.

Since its inception in 1985, Powerhouse has played a significant role in the development of hundreds of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for the Hudson Valley, the New York metropolitan area, and the surrounding region.

Mark O'Connor to debut Quad Quartet

Grammy Award-winning violinist and composer Mark O'Connor returns to Riverspace in Nyack tomorrow for the local debut of a string quartet commissioned to celebrate the Hudson River Quadricentennial.

String Quartet No. 3 is called "Old Time." Like "Appalachia Waltz" - his best-known solo violin work, which he performed at Riverspace in 2007 - and the six-movement "American Symphony," the new piece paints a sweeping musical picture. You can read more in this article.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Historic Bicycle Tour of Olde Fishkill

The Fishkill Historical Society will sponsor a bike tour of "Olde Fishkill" on Sunday, June 21 with three different bicycle tours for three different skill levels. Each tour incorporates historic sites along the way. The family tour covers 0.6 miles of even terrain and visits 8 historic sites within the Village of Fishkill. This tour can also be easily walked. The medium tour covers 4 miles, with some hills and even terrain, and visits 15 historic sites in the Village and Town of Fishkill. The extended tour covers 24 miles, with some challenging hills, and visits 26 historic sites. This goes through the Village and Town of Fishkill as well as parts of Beacon. Sites will have receivers to briefly share information about the site.

A community picnic will follow at Van Wyck Homestead from 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Registration for the event begins at noon, and is free; donations are gratefully accepted.

Registration for the family and medium tours is at Van Wyck (Village) Hall, 1095 Main St. in Fishkill, and the extended tour registration is at Van Wyck Homestead, 504 Rt. 9 in Fishkill. Maps can be picked up at Town and Village Hall in Fishkill prior to the event, and at the registration locations the day of the event. Visit for more details.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Learn background, care of your historic home

Historic Huguenot Street is offering a series of lectures designed for owners of early 20th century to colonial-era homes, starting Saturday, June 20. This sounds like a great activity for homeowners who are curious about how to stay true to the origins of their houses.

The four workshops are:
Intro to Preservation, Saturday, June 20
Researching Your Home's "Genealogy" with Archives Specialist Susan Stessin-Cohn, Saturday, July 18
Period Roofs and Windows, Saturday, August 15
Historic Hardware with blacksmith Jonathan Nedbor, Saturday, September 19

Workshops take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Restoration Workshop at Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, with the exception of July 18, which will be held in the site's library.  Cost is $80 for the series or $25 per workshop.  Advance registration is strongly recommended.  To get more information or to register, click on the "Historic Homeowners Series" link at or call 845-255-1660, ext. 300.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival

Following all the River Days flotilla excitement ... the Beacon Sloop Club’s annual Strawberry Festival takes place, rain or shine, from 12-5pm Sunday June 14 at Riverfront Park in Beacon (very close to the Metro North Beacon Train Station).

Here is the club's message:

Our guests will hear live music and enjoy the best shortcake you have ever imagined --- locally grown strawberries made with home-made biscuits topped with real whipped cream --- while surrounded on three sides by the glorious Hudson River. There will be many treats such as strawberry smoothies, freshly made chocolate covered strawberries and other great foods. Many vendors will be on hand selling food and crafts, and a farmers’ market will offer freshly baked breads, vegetables and many other local items. Tanks of live fish and other river life will be on exhibition along with displays of local river history and environment. An area is also available with activities and musical performances for children throughout the festival.
For information on being a food or crafts vendor or booking an activist or environmental table please call 845-463-4660 or visit for an application.
The Woody Guthrie will be taking guests on free sails from the Beacon Harbor. The public may sign up for a free afternoon sail to experience the beauty, power and grandeur of the Hudson. Guests may sign up at the Beacon Sloop Club booth for one of the five free sails during the afternoon. Seating is limited so be sure to arrive early and sign up at the Beacon sloop Club table.
The music will be sublime with folksinger/activist Pete Seeger, Dan Einbender & His Kids, Melissa Ortquist & Karen Brooks, Dave King, Spook Handy, Driscoll & Smith, Howland Wolves, Cecilia St. King.
Admission is free to Beacon Sloop Club Strawberry Festival. For additional festival info: (845) 831-6962, (845) 496-5617,
The Beacon Sloop Club is all volunteer and a non-profit organization. The BSC Strawberry Festival raises money for the public sailing program on the Woody Guthrie and other environmental education programs. There is never a charge for sailing aboard the Woody. The BSC meets the first Friday of each month at the clubhouse in Beacon, right on the river near the Metro-North train station, for a potluck dinner, business meeting and music. The public is always welcome.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rare Mercedes Silver Arrow headed for Lime Rock

Labor Day may seem like a long way off but if you're interested in rare cars, you might want to mark this on your calender ...

One of the world’s great racing cars, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrow, will be specially featured at Lime Rock Park’s Vintage Festival September 4-7, 2009.

A stellar attraction of the legendary period from 1934 to 1939, the W 154 represents the apogee of the supercharger era of Mercedes-Benz's racing vehicles. Rudolf Carraciola drove a Silver Arrow to the Grand Prix world title in 1938. The car dominated again in 1939, piloted by Hermann Lang.

Germany's Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union GP motor racing vehicles between 1934 and 1939 were dubbed “Silver Arrows” by the press, applying later to Mercedes-Benz F1 and sports cars from 1954 onward.

Very few of these cars were built and many were broken up or simply disappeared during the war era 1939-45 war. Audi has commissioned several replicas of their Auto Union ancestors which appear at important vintage events.

But the W 154 Mercedes coming to Lime Rock is the real thing, campaigned by the likes of Lang, Carraciola and England’s Dick Seaman, who won the 1938 German Grand Prix.

The Mercedes will join several other exceptionally rare Grand Prix cars at the Festival. "The Festival this year will have some of the greatest racing cars of all time, both on display and competing," said Skip Barber. "I can't wait to see them on our newly resurfaced track.”

Lime Rock Park is located just over the Dutchess County border in Lakeville, in northwest Connecticut.

Monday, June 1, 2009

River Day dinner-dance in Poughkeepsie

A reminder that the reservation deadline is coming up for the June 9 River Day dinner-dance celebration at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum Pavilion, to benefit Walkway Over the Hudson. The event should offer a great view of the the Halfmoon, the Clearwater, and the rest of the Quadricentennial Flotilla as they arrive in Poughkeepsie.

Walkway Over the Hudson is the nonprofit leading the effort to the transform the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian park.

The $40 admission charge covers dinner by Lola’s Café and beer and wine donated by Mahoney’s Irish Pub. (Children under 10 years old will be admitted free.) Music will be provided by a popular area DJ and fun activities are planned. Reservations are required as seating is limited. To reserve seats please visit or call 845-454-9649.

More information about the event is in this earlier Quad Updates blog post.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance benefit

A benefit to support the efforts of the Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the stabilization, restoration and adaptive reuse of the Hoyt House at Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park in Staatsburg and other endangered architectural sites throughout the United States, will take place from 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday. It will include music by David Temple, refreshments, and several speakers. More information is in this Poughkeepsie Journal article.

Monday, May 18, 2009

HITS Saugerties begins this week

The HITS Saugerties Spring Horse Show Series begins on Wednesday, May 20. The first week runs through Sunday, May 24, and is followed by Week II from May 27-31 and Week III from June 3-7. The shows take place at the scenic HITS-on-the-Hudson facility in Saugerties and will feature more than 1,000 horses in a variety of divisions.

You can see more than just horses at HITS -- on Saturday, the second annual HITS Classic Car Showcase returns to the show grounds with hot rods to classic cruisers. On the same day, sample fare from area restaurants at the Taste of HITS-on-the-Hudson.

And for the first time, the Hors'n Around Saugerties exhibit takes place on the streets of Saugerties with nearly 50 artist-decorated fiberglass carousel horses. The horses will all be available for purchase at an auction to raise money for a local food bank at the end of the season during the Marshall & Sterling Finals on September 12.

Here is more information about the HITS schedule:

The HITS Saugerties Spring Horse Shows offer divisions for every level of rider in equitation, hunter, and jumper disciplines. The Open Jumpers are one of the most popular divisions, and as always HITS Saugerties will offer some of the best prize money in the nation for them.
The Open Jumper Division will consist of four Open Jumper classes each week, including a $10,000 Open Welcome, $5,000 Open Speed, and two Grand Prix events, held each Friday and Sunday. The Friday class will offer $25,000 each week, while the Sunday class will offer increasing prize money of $50,000 (sponsored by EMO Insurance), $75,000 and $125,000 (sponsored by Purina Mills in the spring and by Strongid C 2X in the summer) during each three-week series.
Top grand prix rider and HITS Saugerties High Performance Committee member Laura Chapot shows at Saugerties every year. This year, Sshe will bring horses and clients to the first and third weeks of the spring series and then will show at all of the HITS Saugerties Summer Series (July 19 - August 2).
Chapot is pleased to contribute to the High Performance Committee. She said, "I think it's been great to be a part of the High Performance Committee for HITS Saugerties and to have a management team that wants to hear what we want - our suggestions and our feelings. Tom has put in a tremendous amount of effort to make these shows the best they can be, and we're really excited to see the improvements this year."
Chapot feels that the most important improvement made to HITS Saugerties is the footing. "The key thing is footing. To get good footing in will make the whole experience for everyone a lot better. It sounds like HITS really made a huge effort and hopefully found the right mix. It will make a big difference to everyone, most importantly for our horses and the competition."
While the prize money for the open jumpers is a big draw, Chapot feels that the reduced fees for this year's competitions is what makes it feasible for many riders at Saugerties. "The prize money increasing each week is great, but what's even better is that HITS has been reducing costs for exhibitors. Prize money only goes to a few people. In order to encourage people and have them be able to show, the fact that they reduced the nominating fee and entry fees is really something that they should be praised for," she explained. "That affects everyone. As a trainer and rider, and a person who owns some of her own horses, entry fees affect me a lot. We bring several younger horses, and they might not win prize money. To bring them at less cost is greatly appreciated."
The lower fees will also make a big difference for riders who compete in the non-professional divisions. Junior and Amateur Jumpers will have a great opportunity to win money at Saugerties this year because the classics will be split not only by High and Low, but by Juniors and Amateurs as well.  This means there will be four classics each week:  $5,000 Junior Jumper Low, $5,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Low, $10,000 Junior Jumper High and $10,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper High.  And, the Low Junior and Amateur-Owner Classics will also count for NAL points.
Starting out Week I, the Children's/Adult Jumpers will compete together in their $10,000 Marshall and Sterling Jumper Classic. For Weeks II and III, they will be split and compete for $2,500 each in their classics and will earn points for both Marshall & Sterling and NAL. And every week, the Modified Junior/Amateur Jumpers will have a classic worth $3,500 in prize money. During Week II, there will be a fun Saugerties Team Relay Classic.
The hunters will have their fair share of prize money as well. The Amateur-Owner Hunters, Small Junior Hunters, Large Junior Hunters, and Small, Medium, and Large Pony Hunters will each have a $1,000 classic every week. The M&S/NAL Adult Hunters, M&S/NAL Children's Hunters, and Bit O' Straw Classics will each give $500 in prize money every week as well.
In addition to the great prize money available, exhibitors will be happy to know that the footing has been revamped in most of the show rings. Tom Struzzieri, President and CEO of HITS, Inc., made the decision to redo the footing in the grand prix ring, all of the jumper rings and schooling areas, as well as many of the hunter rings. HITS also plans to use the old footing from the rings to improve the walkways leading from the stabling areas to the competition areas.
This year, HITS has the popular new wood and metal stalls available, an upgraded VIP area, and increased access to electrical power in the tent areas. Olympic Course Decorator Flora Baptiston is returning to bring beauty and color to all of the rings at HITS Saugerties.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shad Fest becomes Springtide Festival

The Hudson River Maritime Museum's "Springtide Festival" takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday along the Rondout waterfront in Kingston. The event used to be called the Shad Festival, but was changed in 2008 when conservation groups noticed a decline in the numbers of shad and asked organizations not to serve shad or shad roe at their events. The Museum's spring festival instead focuses on the shad’s birth and spawning venue – the Hudson River.

This year, in honor of the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration and the 400th anniversary of Hudson’s 1609 voyage, HRMM has put together a display of 400 years of living and boating on the Hudson River. Boats that will be present at the museum’s waterfront dock and in the yard will include a Native American canoe, small steamboat, kayak, wooden sailboat, “perriauger”, the “Lark” (boat used to ferry visitors to the Rondout II Lighthouse), HRMM’s 1898 steam tug “Mathilda”, 24-foot sea skiff – even a ’57 Chevy boat. More about the Quadricentennial on the Quad Updates Blog.

There will also be numerous displays and exhibits, live entertainment, and Taste of the Rondout where local restaurateurs will serve "alfresco" samples of their regional cuisine in the museum's park-like waterfront yard. Hot dogs, veggie dogs and soft drinks will also be available for purchase.

More details and directions are at the Hudson River Maritime Museum Web site.

Honoring Ben Feder of Clinton Vineyards

The Hudson Valley Wine and Grape Association and Hudson Valley Vintners will honor Clinton Vineyards owner and winemaker Ben Feder on June 12 at the Hudson Valley Wine & Culinary Food Pairing Dinner.

Ben will receive the "Hudson Valley Veritas Award" for lifetime achievement for visionary leadership in Hudson Valley winemaking. Here is more about Ben from the release:

Ben Feder, former graphic artist and book designer came to the Hudson Valley in 1969 and purchased a rundown 100 acre dairy farm. Ben and the cows didn’t seem to get along. Intrigued by making wine, Ben sought advice from fellow winemaker Herman Wiemer who made wine for Walter S. Taylor at the Bully Hill Vineyard and then went off to make his own prize winning riesling in the Finger Lakes. Advice to Ben was to grow Seyval Blanc, a French-American hybrid grape that does well in the harsh climate of the Northeast. The cows left their pasture and grapes were planted.  Ben’s first vintage was in 1977, the year after Gov. Hugh L. Carey put through a farm winery bill permitting small wineries to sell direct to customers, retailers and restaurants.  Ben produces white wine, champagnes, made from the classic method champenoise, late harvest dessert wine and pure fruit dessert wines made from locally grown fruits.

The Hudson Valley Wine & Culinary Food Pairing Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. June 12, 2009 at Terrapin Catering located at the Dinsmore Golf Course in Staatsburg. The dinner will celebrate winning wines from the Hudson Valley Wine Competition, which will be paired with haute cuisine prepared by Chef Josh Kroner. The dinner is open to the public and costs $85 per person, which includes dinner, wine, tax and gratuities. Pre-paid reservations may be made at

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New top chef at Bird & Bottle

The Bird & Bottle Inn in Garrison has named Douglas Gardner of Cortlandt Manor as executive chef of its restaurant. The historic building first opened as an inn and tavern in 1761.

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, Gardner attended classes and lectures given by his role model, famed Chef Jacques Pepin. Gardner first joined Bird & Bottle in 2006 as a sous chef, and then worked at Zeph's restaurant in Peekskill before returning to the Bird & Bottle as executive chef.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hudson Valley chefs, authors win James Beard awards

The Hudson Valley made a great showing in tonight's James Beard Foundation awards -- the "Oscars" of the culinary world.

WineWise -- written by a trio of professors at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park -- won best beverage book. Authors included Michael Weiss, who has been wines columnist for Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine for the past three years, Steven Kolpan, wines columnist for the Valley Table magazine, and Brian H. Smith. Congratulations to all!

Also, Westchester County chef Dan Barber won the prestigious Outstanding Chef award. Way to go!

You can read about all the awards in this story from USA Today.

The ceremony was hosted by Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse and Stanley Tucci at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Awards in 38 categories were presented, including Restaurant and Chef, Book, Design and Graphics, and special achievement awards.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Make scents for Mother's Day

Here's a suggestion for an early Mother's Day gift -- the Scenterprise "Perfume Studio Seminar" taking place this Sunday (May 3) in the Cucina Room at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck. Each participant will create his or her own custom fragrance, and each leave with a personalized Bespoke Perfume. Cost is $85 per person. Gigi Skizza (their delicious signature flatbread pizzas) and soft beverages are included and a cash bar will be available. To register, contact or call 917-449-1134.

Here's more from the Gigi e-mail:
About Host Sue Phillips: President of Scenterprises Ltd, and recognized international fragrance expert who created TIFFANY, TIFFANY FOR MEN, BURBERRYS, DIANE VON FURSTENBERG'S HOME FRAGRANCE COLLECTION, TRISH MCEVOY 1, 2, 3, and many more.  Sue will lead the Perfume Studio workshop -  a fun, interactive and innovative way to experience fragrance.
Price of $85.00 per person includes:
* Fragrance Seminar and Master Class Workshop  
* Olfactory Journey by Expert Fragrance Guide
* Your 20 ml Custom Perfume Creation & Spray
* Certificate of Registration with your own Formula

Speaking of Gigi ... Laura Pensiero, John Storm and the rest of the Gigi folks have been keeping busy with many projects, including their Gigi Trattoria restaurant in Rhinebeck, running the catering at the Vassar College Alumnae House in Poughkeepsie, and the Gigi farm market and cafe at Greig Farm in Red Hook.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tasty Rhinebeck


Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation has announced the winners of the "People's Choice Awards" from Taste of Rhinebeck:

Best Beverage
Old Mill Wine & Spirits - for their selection of fine South American Wines

Best Appetizer
Le Petit Bistro - for their Fish Tacos

Best Main Course
Rhinebeck Bagels - Southern Fried Chicken BLT Slider with Sea Salted Beer Fries

Best Dessert
Rhinebeck Health Foods - Me-Oh-My cookies

Best Overall- Rhinebeck Bagels

The event raised just over $10,000 with a crowd of 300. For more information about the Foundation events and ways to give, visit


Following up on my previous writeup about last night's Taste of Rhinebeck fund-raising event for Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation ... it looks like it was quite the success!

Check out photos of people having fun at Taste in this Poughkeepsie Journal slideshow. Deborah Breen, executive director of the Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation, said in the newspaper's article that the foundation hoped to raise about $10,000 from the event, which will go to several projects at Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck.

Thank you for the yellow deer!

Drive south on Route 9G, just before its intersection with Slate Quarry Road in Rhinebeck, and look up on a small hill on the left side of the road to see a forsythia bush that has been carved to resemble a deer with antlers. This time of year it turns into a bushy yellow deer due to the seasonal blooms. In summer, it’s a green deer and in winter, a brown deer. I’ve noticed it for several years now.

There’s something about this whimsical creature that appeals to me. I like topiaries that push the boundaries beyond sedate ball shapes and spiral trees. In 2003, I was invited to a press tour of the Montreal International Mosaiculture in Canada, an international topiary competition featuring acres of stunning two-dimensional and three-dimensional works by horticulture artists from around the world. You can see some photos at this Web site. The visit greatly expanded my concept of “topiary”.

I don’t know anything about the person who created or maintains the deer topiary in Rhinebeck but whoever you are – thank you. Your creation always brightens my day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beacon Barks

Got dogs? Like dogs? Then you might want to head to Beacon on Saturday for the annual Beacon Barks. Support the Dutchess SPCA.

Michael Woyton has more details and video on his blog.

Grass-fed beef cooking demo

Learn about the merits and benefits of grass-fed beef during Chef Jeff Loshinsky's cooking demo on Tuesday, April 28, from 6-8 p.m. at Vince Mulford Gallery in Hudson.

Georgia Ranney of Kinderhook Farm, a Columbia County producer of grass-fed Angus beef, will visit the class. The demo will show two methods of preparing beef sirloin -- a Korean-style marinade for stove top or outdoor grilling and a slow braised recipe called Braciolone (a specialty of the city of Trapani on the western coast of Sicily). A simple Risotto Primavera, the perfect accompaniment to the Braciolone, will also be prepared.

Mary Hack, from East Chatham Wines and Spirits, will talk about the featured wine pairing, Malbec.

The gallery is at 417-419 Warren Street in Hudson; enter via Cherry Alley.  RSVP by calling 646-752-5977. Cost for class is $35 per person, and $28 for Columbia County Bounty members.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hudson River photo contest winners

What beautiful images in the March edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal's Hudson River photo contest!

The two winning photos are stunning. Robert Rightmyer of Poughkeepsie won first-place for his "highly colorful, well-framed image" of the Rondout area in Kingston. Dan Seifort of Poughkeepsie won honorable mention for his "moody, highly technical" black and white image of the Mid-Hudson Bridge taken in the fog. You can see both photos (and others entered in the contest) at the site.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gnome for a home

I want a garden gnome. I'm usually not one for cutesy garden decor. Maybe it's the subtle influence of one of my favorite movies, Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, or that I admired them in the community garden plots when I lived in Germany in the 1970s. (A gnome statue has a minor, though important, role in the Amélie film, and I sometimes saw gnomes decorating those gardens in Germany. Indeed, garden gnomes are a German tradition.)

I've denied my gnome urge for years, but this spring, as I expand my gardens, I've decided a gnome would finally fit in the plan. I would rather buy it locally than over the Internet, if possible. Any suggestions re: local gnome vendors?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Going once ... Pasta Primo Vino tickets

Advance ticket sales for the Shawangunk Wine Trail's Pasta Primo Vino end today at 6 p.m.

The event takes place Saturday and Sunday, (April 18 & 19) and tickets cost $20 per person in advance (until 6 p.m.) and $25 at the door if available.

The event includes a self-guided tour of the Hudson Valley wineries that make up the Shawangunk Wine Trail as they pair their wines -- including new releases -- with delicious pasta dishes.