Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sunday Funday...a day early

A couple Saturdays ago, Ash and I made the three-hour drive from Philly to the Hudson Valley area of New York for a family reunion - where relatives of my great grandmother's family (she lived from 1911-2003) gathered to share stories, reminisce, or in my case, meet each other for the very first time. Our family has deep roots in that area of New York - the original farm house still stands amid rolling hills on Cottekill Road just west of the Hudson.

I've visited the area many times, one being several years ago to interview for a job and scope out potential places to live. Truth be told, my heart was set on settling there over Philadelphia. There's something about places you belong, whether you consciously know you belong in them or not, taking you in and making you aware of something you haven't known before. My moment happened on a late night drive down a dark, wooded road during the summer of 2007. I was on my way to an old mansion on the grounds of Bard College, where I would stay the night before my interview. The song I listened to over and over around the time my great grandmother passed had, almost by some play of the universe, come on. It was blasting through my speakers, and as I made my way down this road I'd never driven before, I suddenly felt at home.

As things go, I didn't end up moving to Kingston or Rhinebeck or any of those other beautiful little towns on the Hudson, but I relish every moment I get to spend there because to me, it still feels like home.

After the reunion, we drove across the river to Poets' Walk Park (free!). A couple of years ago I read about the park and have wanted to visit ever since. It's a place that's rumored to have inspired Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and to have been a haunt of many other well known authors. Naturally built structures across the landscape invoke feelings of the Transcendentalists, and taking in the majestic views, it's almost impossible to deny nature of the glory she deserves.

We hiked through meadows, through woods, over creeks and to look-outs above the mighty Hudson River. We saw the remnants of the 17 year locust brood emergence. I saw my first bald eagle ever in the wild and coolest of all, it had a fish in its talons and was flying back to the treetops from the river. So cool! And then we saw another, sans fish.      

It was a pretty great day. The bugs were crazy in the woods, but the meadows were gorgeous and the views couldn't be beat. I can't wait to go back for a visit again soon.

Photo by Ash at Poets' Walk Park