The Secret Lives of Potters

potter at wheel

While you are visiting the Inn you might be of a mind to explore some back country roads, poke around in some shops and antique stores, and perhaps do a bit of shopping in advance for the Christmas season. Or you may merely wish to bring home some useful additions to your kitchen and dining room.

The area has some wonderful pottery shops and studios, offering a large selection of lovingly handmade creative and unique pottery items, as well as offering some pottery classes and workshops for those who would like to feel the warm clay between their fingers and experience creating something unique.

Cornwall Bridge Pottery Store/Pottery Ltd (less than 20 minutes from the Inn)
415 Sharon-Goshen Turnpike, West Cornwall, CT and 69 Kent Rd S, Cornwall Bridge, CT
(860) 672-6545
http://cbpots.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Cornwall-Bridge-Pottery-Workshop-and-Store-118870361476998/
The Cornwall Bridge Pottery Store offers a 5000 square foot store with a huge selection of handmade pottery for every occasion. They have been producing woodfired pots, lamps, dining ware and more for more than 45 years. While you visit the store you can watch their potters at work on their pottery wheels as they create new pottery pieces for sale.

Milkhouse Pottery (less than 20 minutes from the Inn)
30 River Rd, Cornwall Bridge, CT
(860) 672-6369
http://milkhousepottery.net/
Milkhouse Pottery is created with white or brown clay in functional pieces suitable for all occasions. The artist makes her own glazes, and often experiments with different combinations and layers. The potteyware is decorate in nature, but also fully functional for daily use and quite durable. The studio is also home to small year-round classes of 4 people, where the small group setting offers one on one experiences so each attendee can work at their own skill level and comfort.

Montgomery Pottery (about 25 minutes from the Inn)
17 Dog Tail Corners Rd, Wingdale, NY 12594
(845) 832-2001
http://montgomerypottery.com
https://www.facebook.com/MontgomeryPottery/
A pottery studio offering functional and decorative ceramics, pottery classes as well as workshops.
Classes are ongoing and session groupings of 5, 10 or 20 classes are available. There are also weekly classes at all levels. Workshops are generally intermediate or advanced skill levels. Class topics include wheel throwing and hand building techniques, decorating and glazing.

Guy Wolff Pottery (about 30 minutes from the Inn)
1249 Bantam Rd, Bantam, CT 06750
(860) 567-5577
http://www.guywolff.com/
A quote from his website put his art into perspective: The architecture of the piece is my passion and is why I can look at 18th and 19th century English flowerpots and centuries old Asian vases with the same eye and ask the same question: What makes this antique pot so wonderful? The answer always comes back to the architectural integrity of the pot and the potter’s reverance and knowledge of the materials he is using. The potter knew where he was going in the making of that particular pot. This is where traditional craftsmanship is born: The knowledge of a particular material and its attributes after years of working with it and respecting the true potential of that material. Guy Wolff specializes in historical and antique inspired crockery with a lovely selection of styles and types ranking from crockery to flower pots. Stop in and visit as they throw pots almost daily.

Ben Wolff Pottery (about 30 minutes from the Inn)
305 Litchfield Turnpike, New Preston, CT 06777
(860) 480-7765
https://benwolffpottery.com/
Ben is the son of Guy Wolff, and grew up watching his father throw pottery in his shop in Woodville, CT. A potter from the very beginning, Ben was working with clay from a very young age. Ben uses a large selection of clays, glazes and finishes on his work and offers a wide variety of potteryware ranging from flower pots to decorate pieces to durable dining ware In addition to being a potter, Ben is also a musician and plays an array of different instruments and styles of music in bands. For more information on Ben’s music visit his music page https://benwolffpottery.com/pages/music. Ben was also featured on the Martha Stewart Show. “The Pot Show with Jimmy Fallon”, check it out at http://www.marthastewart.com/991033/pottery-ben-and-guy-wolff.

Potter at pottery wheel

Local Upcoming Events:
The Hollister House Garden located in Washington Connecticut is inviting garden and music enthusiasts to celebrate the official beginning of summer with a classical music concert presented by The New Baroque Soloists led by creative director, Douglas Myers. ‘Festive Music for the Summer Solstice’ also known as ‘Music in the Garden’ will be held on the main lawn of the garden on Sunday, June 18th at 5 p.m. All are invited to bring a picnic – rosé wine and sparkling water are provided.
https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/HollisterHouseGardenInc/music.html

Open Your Eyes Studio Tour organized by the Northwest Arts Council on June 24 and June 25 in the charming towns of Salisbury and Sharon gives you the opportunity to visit artists in these studios and learn about their creative process. This year there are thirty-one studios on the tour and feature artists in many mediums from oil and water color paintings to potters and jewelry makers and much more. The tour is free. Visit the website for tour maps, directions, itineraries and preview party information.
http://artsnwct.org/open-your-eyes-studio-tour/studio-tour-artists

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De-Stress the Omega Way!

If you need a vacation, or just time to de-stress or decompress, pair a holiday or vacation away at the Hilltop House B&B and pair it with some classes at the Omega Institute for the perfect solution to reaching the perfect OM!

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies has served as a destination for creative individuals who want to explore the arts, as well as enhance and learn leadership skills and explore personal growth.

Located on 200 acres in the heart of the Hudson Valley, the institute offers retreats, workshops and classes in it’s Rhinebeck location, as well as to others in it’s other locations around the world.

A non-profit, Omega has hosted over 23,000 people at their events, and has been at the head of innovations for natural healing and programs that explore and connect people with science to spirituality. Omega attendees come from all over the world to learn more about health, growth, personal change and development. In addition to classes, there are additional event offerings at Omega, including purification lodges, community dances, talent shows, arts and crafts fairs.

The name “Omega” came from the teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a renowned 20th-century philosopher, who used the term “Omega Point” to describe the peak of unity and integration toward which all life is evolving.

Staff and Community Members consist of about 75 people who expand to several hundred during the main season between April and October. They help and provide assistance to the thousands of people who attend the workshops, trainings and retreats that Omega hosts.

Check out just a few of the upcoming workshops at Omega!

Body Mind and Spirit Workshops
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction In Mind-Body Medicine
An Introduction To Yin Yoga
Celebrating Your Second Journey
Introduction To Solarplate Etching
And many more…

Health and Healing Workshops
Become Your Healthiest Self
Stretch Your Lungs With Breatheology
Transformational Cleansing™
Yoga & Mindfulness For Emotional Well-Being
The Happiness Program
And many more…

Creative Expression Workshops:
The Art Of Monoprinting
Warm Water Yoga Teacher Training
Scripting Your Soul’s Purpose
Conquer The Enemy Within
And many more…

Relationships and Family Workshops: 
Mothers & Daughters (Preteens)
Kiss Your Fights Goodbye
Prodigal Fathers, Wayward Sons
Getting The Love You Want
And many more…

Leadership and Work Workshops:
Financial Literacy & Beyond
Tools For Social Change
Centering Leadership In Presence
Micro-Resilience For Women Leaders
And many more…

Sustainable Living Workshops: 
Gifts From The Forest
Ecological Literacy Immersion Program (ELIP)
Grow Food Everywhere
Food Forestry For Your Backyard
And many more…

The Omega Institute (1/2 an hour from Hilltop House B&B)
150 Lake Drive, Rhinebeck, New York
877-944-2002
https://www.eomega.org
https://www.facebook.com/eOmega.org
https://twitter.com/omega_institute
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOmegaInstitute
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+omegainstitute
https://www.instagram.com/omegainstitute/
https://www.pinterest.com/OmegaInstitute/

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Geocaching in the Hudson Valley

Looking for Geocaches
What is Geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS (Global Positioning System). Geocachers find a specific set of GPS coordinates on their smart phones or other GPS enabled devices, and then attempt to find the geocache (a container holding an item, or a number of other items) hidden at that location.

Geocaches can be found all over the world. Geocachers tend to hide caches in locations that are important to them. These locations can be quite unique. They may be at your local state park, at the end of a trail, in a mountain stream or on the mantel of door on a busy city street. Some of the containers are tiny, and are attached behind street signs using a magnet; others are large and usually (but not always) found in wooded areas. A cache always contains a logbook or log sheet for participants to log their finds. The larger caches may contain any number of additional items. These items turn the adventure into a more extended treasure hunt as they lead you to new places and new coordinates.

There are lots of different types of Caches, some of the Traditional Caches include Mystery or Puzzle Caches, Multi-Caches (Offset Cache), Earth Caches, or Letterbox Caches, but there are also many more, check out some of the additional at https://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx.

For the outdoors men and women who like to hike and explore, Geocaching is a fun pastime that can be done around the world at any time of year. A good place to start is at the Geocaching.com website. Sign up for a free account, get the app and start your explorations!

There are official events you can attend to network, seminars, environmental cleanups and other outdoors activities that you can get involved with. There are Facebook groups groups all over the world, including a very good one here in the Hudson Valley at https://www.facebook.com/groups/401127463248952/.

The best part of geocaching is exploring the places the GPS and the caches you find takes you to. You will visit areas you never would have thought to explore otherwise, and find incredible scenic places of beauty and hidden wonders that the general public hasn’t found.

Combine packing a picnic lunch and heading off for the day after a good night’s sleep and a hearty delicious breakfast at the inn, and going treasure hunting in the Valley is a weekend getaway everyone should experience!

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The Sweet Smell of Maple in the Morning!

Syrup BucketsThere is almost nothing better than the smell of walking into a sugar house and smelling boiling maple sap! The best thing after smelling it, is tasting it! Drizzling real maple syrup on the delicious pancakes and waffles that you will wake up to while staying at Hilltop House!

While you are here for a visit, check out some of the local Sugar Houses! Maple Weekend and the Sugaring Festival is coming up soon, and what better souvenirs to bring back to friends and relatives (and keep a tasty stash for yourself!) than good maple syrup and other maple goodies!

Annual Maple Sugaring Festival
March 4, 2017
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Adults $15, children $10.
The Institute for American Indian Studies (About 45 minutes from the Inn)
38 Curtis Rd. Washington, CT 06793
Enjoy an afternoon celebrating the taste of Maple Sugar. Enjoy pancakes, local maple syrup, coffee and more (served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), and learn how Native Americans traditionally made maple syrup. Learn about the technique of collecting sap and boiling it down into syrup, and its importance to Native American culture. Connecticut Valley Siberian Husky Club’s dog sledding and mushing demonstration from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
For more information visit http://www.iaismuseum.org/annual.shtml

Maple Syrup on Snow (Also called Sugar on Snow)

Soukup Farms (About 12 minutes from the Inn)
271 Halls Corners Rd., Dover Plains, New York
845-264-3137
Maple Weekend will be held on March 18th & 19th and March 25th & 26th from 10 to 4 each day at the sugarhouse. They will have ongoing tours and explanations of how they make maple syrup from tree to bottle. They will also be offering samples of all four grades of their maple syrup and will have it for sales as well!
https://www.facebook.com/events/428317390833536/

Soukup Farms is a third generation family farm, producing and selling pure New York Maple Syrup. It was started as a hobby in the early 1950’s and expanded to 800 taps in the 1990’s and today has more than 2,000 taps.
http://www.soukupfarms.com
https://www.facebook.com/SoukupFarms

Crown Maple (About 20 minutes from the Inn)
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains NY 12522
845-877-0640
Winter Hours of Operation: Open Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Tours at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. The Crown Maple Estate will resume regular hours of 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday March 18th.

Celebrate New York State Maple Weekends at The Crown Maple Estate. They will be featuring complimentary tastings, maple inspired lunch, tree tapping demonstrations and more! Free admission.
The Crown Maple Estate is located on 800 acres at Madava Farms in New York. All products are certified-organic.
https://www.crownmaple.com/
https://www.facebook.com/crownmaple
https://twitter.com/crownmaple
https://www.instagram.com/crownmaple/
https://www.pinterest.com/crownmaple/

Some fun facts about maple syrup:
It takes 40 to 50 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of syrup.
A tree takes about 40 years before it’s big enough to tap
A quarter-cup of maple syrup is high in minerals
Stored properly, a sealed container of maple syrup can keep for several years
If you put a glass of water and a glass of maple sap side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
A gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds
The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent; sugar content of maple syrup is at least 66 percent or more
Tapping does no permanent damage and only 10 percent of the sap is collected each year. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 or more years.

Did you know what the different grades of maple syrup mean and what’s best used for?
• Light Amber or Fancy Grade has a mild maple taste and is made early in the season. This is considered best for fine maple candy.
• Medium Amber has a little more maple flavor and is made about mid-season.
• Dark Amber, although slightly darker and with a stronger maple flavor, is fast becoming a favored table syrup.

There are many additional sugar house around the Hudson Valley in NY and Litchfield County in CT, to find out more information please visit
http://www.upperhudsonmaple.com, http://www.nysmaple.com/ and http://www.ctmaple.org

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