Team Amirault's Taj II touring America & Canada Blog

Catskill Mountains – Saugerties, Kingston, Woodstock & Bethel

The second part of this trip was an 8 day stays at Saugerties/Woodstock KOA Campground at the base of the Catskills  A small campground with maybe 60-70 sites for tents, RVs and cabin renters.  The weather was perfect most days – less humidity than in the Poconos, although it is a forest area – it was less dense and more breezy  The mountains were lovely as were the small towns we visited and enjoyed.  We visited Opus 40  – a magnificent earth sculpture in Woodstock designed, created & constructed by Harvey Fite alone, single handedly! The mountains in the distance behind this amazing sculpture make the entire experience inspirational.  I will post several Opus 40 photos – it is a spot not to be missed if you are in this area.  Also recommended is a Hudson River Cruise – 2 hour trip down the river from Kingston with pleasant narrative and views of the lovely historical architecture and river front – still unspoiled by development  The river itself is not recommended for swimming but the sights are worth the $13 per person  – for seniors.  Also don’t miss The Red Onion Restaurant in Woodstock  and Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in downtown Saugerties. We found these on TripAdvisor and they lived up to their reviews. Dinner at the Onion was delicious – best Caesar salad in years with a pleasant Syrah selected from the impressive list.  Seafood Risotto and two fabulous desserts crowned a great meal that was definitely up to our Boston standards – in a converted old victorian surrounded by thick forest and daunting mountains. It did have a lot of New York City types there as it was a Friday night – so many folks come for the weekend … :-).  Our server was delightful  – recently arrived from LA (?)and she brought humor and warmth to the experience.  There are not a lot of four star restaurants – McDonalds, local pizzerias and diners abound, so it was a pleasure to find these two places.  There were no similar restaurants in the Delaware River Gap area.  Miss Lucy’s Kitchen had the best homemade pastrami you can imagine – and one sandwich is enough for two – we discovered.  Its a small place just off the Saugerties main drag – seats about 30 but great little bar with comfy stools and reasonable wine selections – we would do dinner if we ever get back that way.  Saugerties was a sweet riverside town with interesting architecture and obvious attempts to retain its historical character. Its an artsy area – with a creative atmosphere everywhere and a number of artists studios. Each summer there is an auction to raise money for youth organizations and this year theme is decorated cars about 15 inches in length – they are exhibited around the main street area along the sidewalks.  You will see photos of the cars too.  Kingston appears slighted bigger also historic – because of port location it was the first capital of New York during the mid 1600s. The river cruise departed from the dock area so we had a chance to see the historic preservation underway.  The river is dotted with unique lighthouses – two mark these two ports – they are still in use although not manned and one is a bed & breakfast as well as a museum  We walked out to the Saugerties Lighthouse through a dense marsh/flood plain – which gave us many bird watching and photographic opportunities – Lenny got a chance to get wet and cool off there – it was in the 90’s that day.

We also drove to Bethel  one day – site of Woodstock Festival.  I along with thousands of others never made it there – stuck in traffic somewhere just inside NY border.  The museum is worth the trip – the presentation of the Festival’s historical context takes you back in time – its a time warp – the memories come flooding back.  The field was bought by some well intentioned folks several years ago and is preserved in its natural state – Bethel Center for the Performing Arts is the site above it with the museum and concert area  The trip there from our campground took several hours but the mountain roads, occasional waterfalls, winding rivers, streams and farmland made it a beautiful journey.  It was cool & important to connect again with what changed us all forever – the music, art, the protests, the Vietnam War and the struggle to have a voice in our futures.

On the trip we met all kinds of people from Canada, Florida, South & North Carolina, Iowa, New York, Maine, Vermont, California, Quebec, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts – there is an amazing array of diversity out there on the road – its fascinating and there is never a dull moment. This trip reaffirmed our decision to start our USA Tour full time in late September.  It’s what we want to do.  It will not be without pitfalls – we dragged the Honda for a few hundred feet as we were leaving NY with the parking brake on and that cost us a new tire.  Won’t do that again.  Rick had a reoccurrence of gout but we got his meds ASAP via his PCP & CVS.  I fought mosquitoes everywhere but have found some successful anti bite strategies.  We learned a lot about the beautiful bus we own and how to use all its features.  We also got lots of new ideas from other travelers.

This is going to be a lot of fun!!

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