Berry Picking Near Me!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Winter is over! Yay!  Berry season is just beginning and some would say the king of berries, strawberries, are the first to show up each year and if you haven’t experienced visiting a local farm and picking your own at a strawberry picking farm you’re missing out on one of life’s simplest and sweetest joys.

Wash and dry them and set them in a single layer on a tray to freeze so they keep their shape until they’re frozen enough to fill freezer bags. This will extend your joy throughout the year. Smoothies, pie, pancakes….the possibilities are endless.

Not far behind the delectable strawberries are raspberries, red and black. That’s black raspberries, a whole different animal than blackberries, of which I personally am not a fan, but black raspberries are my absolute favorite. You can find them growing wild if you’re lucky! We used to pick them when we were kids and eat them with milk and sugar. Yum! They’re not nearly as familiar tho to a lot of our guests as the much bigger blackberries are, but I love them so much, I planted my own bushes and you’ll see some of my harvest from our bed and breakfast in the photo below. Don’t they look amazing?

Just after the raspberries come the longest lasting summer berries, the beloved blueberry! So delicious and so good for you! And there’s no comparison to the ones you get at the supermarket! You can see some of our own mixed in the black raspberries below. Our bushes have just about doubled in size this year. They say it takes 6 years for a blueberry bush to really produce!

green leafy bush with red and blue blueberries

Our own blueberry bush!

Chances are, if you come for a visit to Amenia, NY you’ll be enjoying some of the “fruits of our labor” for breakfast! Hope to see you soon!

Fresh red strawberries spread out on a cookie sheet

Strawberry Harvest Ready for Freezer

bowl filled with black raspberries and blueberries in a white paper towel

Our very own black raspberries and blueberries

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Country Living Fair Rhinebeck NY

optometrist lenses filled with nostalgic greeting card photos displayed on table

Optometrist lenses made beautiful

I’m so happy that Spring has finally arrived (on the calendar at least) but the warmer days and sunshine can’t be far behind! So it’s time to think about the fun and exciting variety of yearly events that are held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds May 31- June 2nd 2019 in Rhinebeck NY!  It’s just a 40 minute drive thru the lovely and picturesque countryside and stunning farms along the route from Hilltop House here in Amenia to the fairgrounds. One of my very favorites is the Country Living Fair! click here  Some call it junking!  Making good of cast-offs is good for all of us; it produces less trash in the long run. Orange sign in field parking lot says Country Living FairThe pendants above are made from old optometrist lenses–“do you see better now? how about now? and now?”–with nostalgic images secured inside. We made the photo big so you could see how wonderfully involving they are.

Different colored antique tureen lids displayed on wall

antique soup tureen lids

This photo above, shows a whimsical wall decor of pottery lids which have lost their bottoms long ago. I always thought that the lids were the first to break, “Auntie Em, I love these sweet potatoes, oops! Hot lid! Sorry.” but someone somewhere pulled all of these beauteous pieces together and they made for a compelling display.brown and white soup tureen lid on white table And you know, there’s money to be made in them thar lids, even if you don’t have a bottom seeking cover, they’re very handsome just on the wall (come to think of it, I wonder if any of those were used for chamber pots?).

There is so much to find and be inspired by in Dutchess County and nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut. You’ll find a little piece of heaven here waiting for you here in one or all of our Hudson Valley towns. Come on up and see us! click here

 

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Lion Rock Farm Annual Garden Show 2019

Trade Secrets, a rare plant and garden antiques show, is a yearly Spring time event held at beautiful Lion Rock Farm in Sharon Connecticut. Located just over the New York border, the event is held to raise funds for Women’s Support Services, a non-profit that assists victims of domestic violence.

After hosting many guests here at Hilltop House that come back year after year to attend this event, I decided it was time to go and check it out for myself.  Well, to say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement! Featuring over 60 vendors and artisans you’ll be sure to find something you just can’t live without! Trade Secrets is packed with every beautiful thing you could want for your garden, from rare plants to antique garden furniture and art to hand made pots and planters, topiaries and so much more.

Below you’ll see just a  sampling of some of the lovely things you can find at this amazing garden show.

Make sure you bring cash or checks because they aren’t set up for credit cards.

May 18&19.  For additional info click here

 

 

garden show market with a wicker bike
wicker bike!
handmade mossy pots on market table
handmade mossy pots
garden furniture under tent on grass
garden furniture
 floral wall art is made with tiny beads on antique table
This floral art is made with tiny little jewelry beads!
 planters with small varieties of succulent plants
Succulents
metal garden chair with succulents planted in seat
Creative succulents
tents in grass field with baskets and antiquesA nice way to spend a Saturday in May! So if you love all things garden, mark your calendars for next year. It’s just 8 miles from us and we’ll hold a room for you!

tents in field with shoppers and plants

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Come to the Hilltop House B&B, a Hiker’s Paradise

Deer in the woods

Hilltop House Bed and Breakfast is the perfect basecamp for a weekend or mid-week getaway if you like to explore the outdoors. Situated close to the border of CT, it gives access to both the best of the Hudson Valley hikes as well as the trails in the beautiful Litchfield County portion of Connecticut. Book your room at our award winning Bed and Breakfast, then head outside to find your favorite trails. You could spend days exploring the trails and never get tired of the views, ranging from those along the Hudson River to those in the wooded hills of the surrounding areas, the area is home to some of the best hiking opportunities in the Northeast.  The scenic beauty of this area will keep you coming back time and time again.

A great way to document a hike or walk, spring, summer, fall or winter is create a documentary or do a photo scavenger hunt of your trip. This is fun thing to do with kids or without! Bring your camera and a trail map, and create a list of things to look for and document them as you find them by making notes on your trail map, and then corresponding them to your photos. This is fun to share with friends and family on Facebook, or create a blog post with your photos and notes.

Some suggested things to look for on a hike.

  • Animal tracks in the mud, sand or snow
  • A historical marker
  • Trail Signs
  • Wild Flowers
  • Interesting dead trees or branches
  • Pine cones
  • Berries
  • Vines
  • Moss
  • Seeds or seed pods
  • Ferns
  • Hole in a tree
  • Unusual shaped leaf
  • Caterpillar
  • Squirrel
  • Bird
  • Butterfly or moth
  • Feathers
  • Insects
  • Spider webs
  • Birds nests
  • Insects on a tree
  • Animal holes in the ground
  • Animal Scat
  • Deer and/or Deer Tracks
  • Frog or Toads
  • Leaf with insect holes

Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, bug spray and plenty of water for hydration. Back up cell phone chargers are also recommended. Happy Hiking! We look forward to hearing about your adventures!

There are hundreds of hikes locally, here are a few of our best links to help you plan the perfect hiking tours when you come to stay!

Hudson Valley Views
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/25/travel/escapes/25hudson.html?_r=0

Hike the Hudson Valley
http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/

The Best Hiking Trails and Paths in the Hudson Valley, New York
http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/July-2011/Hudson-Valley-Hiking-2011-Best-Hiking-Trails-and-Paths-in-the-Hudson-Valley-New-York/

Hudson Valley Hiking
https://www.trails.com/activity.aspx?area=10424

Hiking in Litchfield County
http://www.visitconnecticut.com/litchfield_northwest/walking-and-hiking/

Litchfield County CT Hiking Trails & Land Trusts
http://www.matthewsgroupre.com/activities/hiking-trails-land-trusts/

Litchfield, Connecticut Trails and Maps
http://www.traillink.com/city/litchfield-ct-trails.aspx

Local Events of Interest:
August 23-28, 2016 – Dutchess County Fair
For six days each August, the bucolic fairgrounds on Route 9 in Rhinebeck plays host to nearly half a million patrons. The second largest county fair in New York State is the showplace for agriculture in Dutchess County. Over 144 +/- acres of finely manicured gardens and grass create the beautiful setting for thousands of farm animals, agricultural exhibits and horticultural displays.
http://dutchessfair.com/

September 1-5, 2016 – Lime Rock Park Labor Day Weekend Events
Since 1983, Lime Rock Park has held its annual celebration of historic motoring significance by combining authentic-car vintage racing with a prestigious Concours d’Elegance. It’s an event unique to North America in that the racing and the concours are all on one property during one major vintage and historic event. The historic racing on Lime Rock’s classic 1.5-mile, 7-turn circuit on Friday, Saturday and Labor Day Monday sandwiches the Sunday in the Park Concours d’Elegance, held on the track’s 2,200-foot Sam Posey Straight. In the past decade the Historic Festival has added a 17-mile race car parade-and-rally over local roads and through three town centers, ending in a community street fair in nearby Falls Village, as well as creating a 1,000-car Gathering of the Marques car show that’s held concomitant with the concours.
http://limerock.com/labor-day-historics

Hike along the falls

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