For weeks, I had been looking forward to exploring the Dutchess County Fairgrounds (Rhinebeck) at the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, which was held October 19th and 20th (for next year, the festival is always the full third weekend in October). It’s an annual event, and one of the largest, if not the largest festival of its kind in the country. It was my first Sheep and Wool Festival so I wasn’t sure what to expect; immediately I walked into display after display of the most amazing, beautiful wool.
You don’t see wool like this in stores; it made me want pull my knitting needles out of hibernation! Everywhere there were samples by fiber artists, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and yarn enthusiast of every stitch!
Anyone could try their hand at spinning wool, observe it being hand dyed, help sheer the sheep, watch the llama parade or hang out at the sheep dog herding demonstrations
NYS Sheep and Wool Herder Course
I also found out about a facebook-like group for knitters et al online http://knitting.about.com/od/knittingcommunity/f/ravelry.htm Evidently, it is one of the main reasons why knitting is becoming popular once again. One can put her/his projects on from sheep to sweater and all the steps in between. Beginners can get help from pros etc.
Talk about craft culture! People came from all over the country. I heard tell of a busload from a knitting club that traveled for hours to Rhinebeck. One of my guests told me there are other sheep and wool festivals in this country but none like ours in this heartfelt Hudson Valley with its backdrop of beauty and the partly cloudy sky capping the perfect fall weather.
Scene from Salomar in Millerton, just up Rte. 22 from Hilltop House B&B.
It’s breathtaking to see what Nature provides with the help of Farmers!! Thanks.
I always relish this time of year, but even more so since moving to the country. Sure there are leaves to rake, perennials to cut back and mulch…or maybe this year we’ll just blow the leaves into the flower beds and let those dang deciduous dropping disintegrate into a mass of uber eco mulch. That would leave us more time to get out to the farms and orchards in the Hudson Valley and across into Litchfield County CT and delight in the bounty of the fall harvest.
We are blessed, yes, regardless of any religious affiliation one might espouse, the word is blessed, for living in the heart of the Hudson Valley where farms abound. We try to avail ourselves of the goodness of local produce, and then of course there is the beauty of the season! These are a few shots Kelly, my daughter, snapped yesterday. You can see how orange defines itself this time of year in the painted palette of pumpkins. Hay bales, gourds and cornstalks contrast their delicious color. (And Pumpkin—cap P—is delicious! And great for you, [can you say beta carotene?] and surprisingly craved by the little ones who live here at Hilltop House.) And carved.
If you’ve never partaken of a pick-your-own orchard visit, I recommend you do. Now is the season! Apples are so succulent just picked off the tree. The fragrance of the apples permeates the ground beneath the trees where dropped fruit sometimes splits and topples its tenderness to Mother Nature. The aroma will make it nearly impossible to stop the saliva flow; you’ll need all the self-control you’ve got to keep from munching into that sweet little Macoun you’ve just plucked off the tree. (Oh, and by the way, if you want Macouns, then get out early, they aren’t that plentiful for the desirability they demand.)
If you’re up for a quick weekend getaway and haven’t seen the fall foliage in the Hudson Valley, this is the time and the place for it. Looking forward to seeing you!
I love these pictures we shot from the Rail Trail that starts just down the street, so I’m going to post them before we start all that Fall Stuff! Come on by, the bikes and the helmets are yours for the staying at Hilltop House, and while we can’t guarantee the llamas will be out when you drive by, who is to say what you’ll find on your adventure up and down the Oblong Valley!
Far east in the Hudson Valley the North South Rail Trail = Great Biking
Rail Trail Climbing Rocks! Great biking in Dutchess County