East Coast 2018:
Day 8 - New York

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East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

Saturday, April 7, 2018: Our hosts fed us a wonderful breakfast of bagels, bacon, and sausage, ...
... then we said our goodbyes and were on our way before 10 AM.
Some delicious cookies came along with us too, but they didn't last long.
We crossed into Massachusetts and drove the Mass Turnpike for a while.
One of the service areas had a D'Angelo sandwich shop that featured lobster rolls, but we weren't hungry enough yet to have one. We had planned to visit another one further down the turnpike, but that one was located on the other side of the road and we couldn't reach it. Fortunately, our bellies were still full of lobster from the night before.
Pretty winter scenery.
More pretty winter scenery.
We crossed back into New York again and made our way toward the Hudson River Valley.
This photo of two tree trunks becomes way more interesting when we tell you that there are maple syrup buckets attached to those trees.
Charming town.
Charming road.
Seriously? Another Statue of Liberty replica? There must be thousands of these things!
Having missed our chance for Massachusetts lobster, we decided to get lunch in the pretty little town of Hudson, which is filled with shops and cafes.
Tom had been craving Mexican food so we ate at Mexican Radio, ...
... a very colorful restaurant with adequate seating, which seemed rare for this town.
Tom had soup and chips, and Debbie had the Southwestern spring roll, which she swears she'll reproduce at home someday.
Here's another shot of the main drag looking the other direction.
We were here to visit Olana, and flags hanging from the lightposts reminded us of this fact.
We should go there right now.
We started up the road to the top of the hill where Olana is perched.
See it up there?
Here we are.
Olana was the home of Hudson River School artist Frederic Church, who lived from 1826 to 1900.
We had never heard of this place or of Frederic Church until very recently. We've always loved Marc Cohn's 1998 song, "Olana," about an artist who built a house, but it never occurred to us that it was a real place. A quick search last year revealed that it was a real place that can actually be visited.
So here we were. "They say my final masterpiece was this house upon the hill, ..."
"... high above the great and mighty river."
The river views are magnificent.
This one in particular shows up in many of Church's works.
Church deliberately designed the landscape of the hill around the home, planting trees and shrubs and gardens on land that had previously been cleared for farming.
Rustic wooden benches dot the property, ...
... and modern artworks are displayed from time to time on the grounds, such as this 1990 work by Jesús Rafael Soto, Penetrable. It invites the viewer to interact with it, just like these kids did.
So, back to the house. We snapped photos of the exterior while we waited for the tour to begin.
Church's designs were influenced by his travels to the Middle East.
He used stone and brick in a unique style all his own.
He also made extensive use of stenciling both indoors and out.
Multiple tours were taking place and ours started just as one was finishing. Since it was still more-or-less winter, the main entry had a winter door that was flush with the interior to create a windbreak/entry way in front of the real door that was set several feet back.
Our tour started in the parlor, which was filled with Church's work.
The Middle Eastern influence is evident in the tile work and wood detail.
These photos work their way around the room in a clockwise direction.
Here's the carefully stenciled main doors to the parlor.
More artwork, ...
... and still more.
The windows overlooked an amazing view of the river, a theme that is echoed in each room.
This view.
This painting was a small study of one of Church's most famous works, "Heart of the Andes" (1859).
This work is a winter scene of that famous river view.
Next, we moved into the living room.
It had a porch just outside with the same huge view of the river.
But the real star of the show was the staircase that could double as a stage for entertaining visitors.
Here's a look at some of the furniture to the right of the staircase, ...
... and a look back at the main door where we entered.
We moved into the next room and once again, our photos are presented in clockwise order, this time from the door where we entered.
This room's centerpiece window faces the same view as the last two rooms.
The natural light is stunning.

Here's an early study of Niagara Falls, which we'd be seeing in person the very next day.

"From the Andes to Niagara, to where we stand today,
I drew the great creations of my master.
'Til the oil and the canvas,
Lord I threw them all away,
and traded them for stone and brick and plaster.
I traded them all for you."

This used to be a door into the next room but is now a window.
The painting over the fireplace is of the dramatic approach to Petra in Jordan.
Tom pulled up our 2014 photo of the same scene for comparison.
Here's the beautiful fireplace beneath, ...
... and a closeup of the detail on the fireplace.
We passed the library. Nearly everything is original to the house and is in amazing condition.
We had one room left before heading into the studio.
Look at the size of that tapestry.
A staircase was tucked away below the tapestry wall. We got to see quite a bit of the house but only the main level, so the lower and upper levels remain a mystery.
This room was nearly completely open to that lovely river view. So beautiful.
Now, we enter the studio.
Starting immediately to our left, these windows overlook ...
... the same river scene as all of the other rooms.
On the next wall we have a new view ...

... of a terrace overlooking another portion of the river and valley.

"Winter wind blows and the river lies frozen at my feet.
Springtime come and the river wanna run above the street.
Sun beat down on a summertime town, he left me here.
Watching these hills turnin' gold for one more year."

A piano graced the third wall, ...
... and a painting studio was near the fourth wall.
Here's a closer look.
We had to backtrack just a bit on our way to the next destination and we passed this painting that Church created for his kids of their goldfish. It is the only underwater scene he ever painted.
Here's a hallway with closets ...
... and a sink area.
Here's the kitchen sink ...
... and one of two walls of china displays.
Our last visit was to the dining room which was filled with works by other artists, collected by Church on his visits to Europe.
Our tour over, we were free to walk the grounds again. This cool fencing was done in the same style as the wooden benches that were scattered around the property.
We headed to the gift shop where we picked up a pencil and some Olana notecards, ...
... then we sat down to watch the 27-minute video presentation, "Frederic Church's Olana."
It was mesmerizing and we enjoyed seeing some of his most famous work. This painting of Niagara is much larger and nicer than the study we had seen inside the home.
Here's the famous "Heart of the Andes." Looks like a nice painting, right? No big deal ...
... until you zoom in and marvel at the detail of just one section of this panting.

We said farewell to Olana by playing Marc Cohn's song in the parking lot.

"She came to me one night while I was tossing in my dreams.
She said she'd give my family protection.
I recall the night I died beneath her arches and her beams.
I thanked her for the shelter and direction.
I was lost until Olana."

We drove back down the hill, passing the lake that Church had dug into the landscape, ...
... and Cosy Cottage, the home where Church and his family lived before Olana was built.
We started to cross the Hudson River, ...
... and several attempts to photograph Olana on the hill behind us failed. A part of it is visible on the far right in this attempt.
The bridge we were on was the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, according to the helpful sign on the other side of the river.
A half hour later, we were welcomed to the Capital Region, ...
... and using our I-Pass once again.
We headed to O'Toole's Restaurant Pub in Albany, ...
... where we had a great time visiting Debbie's cousins Nancy and Mark. Nancy drove from her home in the Boston area to visit us and her brother, Mark, who lives in Albany.
We still had a couple more hours of driving to go before our day would be over.
Fortunately, it was scenic.
The weather was lovely too.
We followed the route of the Erie Canal. In some places, it looked very canal-like. In others, like this, the only hint was that locks were in place along the river.
Maersk! You'll have to really look closely for this one.
We passed mile after mile of frozen waterfalls along the side of the highway.
Sunset did not disappoint.
This neon Utica Club sign gave us a hint as to where we were.
In Whitesboro, New York, we took a short detour to visit the Oneida County 40&8 Club where New York's Merci Train boxcar is located.
The boxcar is in great shape and one side has a ramp so that it is completely accessible. It appears that the boxcar can be opened, so there's probably a display of some sort inside, but we didn't investigate further.

We stopped for the night at Red Carpet Inn near Syracuse.

Day 9 >

East Coast 2018: [Day 1: West Virginia] [Day 2: Virginia/Maryland] [Day 3: Washington DC] [Day 4: Washington DC] [Day 5: Washington DC] [Day 6: New Jersey] [Day 7: NYC/Connecticut] [Day 8: New York] [Day 9: Niagara Falls]

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