Part road trip, part chill out on a farm, at long last we were on vacation.
After a relatively painless exit from NYC (including the initial escape over the Triboro Bridge and traverse through the South Bronx), we reached Suffern in good time, segued to Route 17 and exited at Bethel, NY.
Bethel…? I said to myself. Bethel….why is the name so familiar? Hunger (and curiosity) lured us into the parking lot of Janet Planet’s Kozmic Kitchen. Then, I remembered. The Woodstock festival was actually held in Bethel, NY. Not in Woodstock. Rendering it, to my mind, tourist-free and pure.
“Did you hang out at the mall?” she said, dipping her question in irony.
Eating veggie burgers to the tunes of Janis Joplin, Canned Heat and Santana, brought us back. It was fun. Janet, who is also the chef, suggested we take Route 97 to Route 17B, instead of Route 17, on our way up to outskirts of Ithaca, for an off-the-beaten-track, unspoiled adventure. Happily, we took her advice.
Before saying goodbye, Mr. Ninth House took the photo of Janet & Co., above. Outside, we paused to check out the lawn sculpture in back of the restaurant.
We headed for scenic route 17B. Before we had landed on on Janet’s Planet, we passed through many little towns. One example is Bloomingburg, a seemingly peaceable village, landscaped with Victorian homes and green lawns. But there were some weird roadside protestors, all middle-aged females, waving signs as we drove through. “Hi y’all Kiryas Denzll” or No sh’tetls in the ‘Burg,” read the signs. Not far from Bloomingburg is Kiryas Joel, a hamlet I had read about in the newspaper, which is exclusively inhabited by Hasidic jews.
C’mon, Bloomingburg. That’s not very nice.
In Monticello, another town we detoured through — which is a few souls minus a ghost town — a shopping mall, circa 1969, named for the eponymous space mission, stood rusted, derelict and abandoned. We ascertained its namesake from two spindly “rockets” — listing warily from their plumb line, aiming tentatively skyward and shedding paint like dandruff. We found them planted side by side in an empty and forgotten section of the lot.
Down on Main St., businesses and shops in Monticello were either: 1) closed because it was Saturday (Heimish Bakery and Glatt Air Technologies, to name two that were not boarded up) ; or 2) boarded up. With the exception of a single bagel store with a shiny-ish new sign, which was both neither boarded up nor closed nor crowded. Apollo, we have a problem…
We didn’t stick around there long. It was creepy. We headed back to Route 97 toward Route 17B. “Uh oh,” was our reaction when a John Deere combine (I’m guessing that’s what this vehicle is) pulled onto the road ahead of us.
It was the first real “Farm” moment of our vacation retreat. We chilled out and slowed our pace. After all, we could have been back in the city trailing behind an MTA bus or, worse, standing face to face with a coughing passenger on a packed F train. But, we weren’t. We were upstate New York!
The sky overcast and autumn leaves ablaze, we continued on through the towns of Hancock and Callicoon, which overlooked Kenosha Lake.
Shortly after we reached Route 67, we arrived in a place called Long Eddy. Route 67 is a snaky, unpaved, narrow road that twists and turns alongside the Delaware River, cutting through woods and grassy fields. This lovely, out of the way road brought us directly to Kellams Bridge. A bridge the width of one car. We climbed out of the car, stood on the bridge and gazed out over the river.
It was so quiet.
We drove over Kellams Bridge and exited onto Bridge Rd. 40, made a U-turn and drove back over the bridge again. In the village of Long Eddy, we encountered this quaint little cemetery.
It began to rain. Great cemetery weather! But it was nearly 5:00 PM. We couldn’t linger. We had promised our hosts, Rita and Don (the Rosenberg and Barber of Rosebarb Farm), we would arrive by 5:30 PM to pick up the keys to our rental cottage. They had tickets to a hockey game at Cornell University and had to leave at 5:30 PM.
We motored on. But then we had to stop again because an authentic “Muffler Man” was peeking/peaking over the bushes alongside of the road:
We love Muffler Men.
Picking up our speed once again, we soon reached Landon Road, which would lead us to Rosebarb Farm. But then the Wat Lao Samakhitham Inc. Buddhist Temple (2040 Rt. 11) came into view. Curiosity was killing us. Mr. Ninth House wanted to stop. We squelched the urge and moved on. By this time, it was pouring rain. We needed to get to the farm. Besides, I’m leery of any religious temple with INC. in it’s name.
At 5:20 PM, we arrived at the beautiful, peaceful, scenic refuge that is Rosebarb Farm in Caroline, New York. Our retreat had officially begun.
Stay tuned for Day 2: SUNDAY at Rosebarb Farm…