Unsure if responding is the way to report on my trip but here goes.
First we discovered that we’re no good at foodie trips. The B&Bs fed us so well at breakfast that we had to stretch for one big meal and we often opted for a late lunch. Sad. However we loved the Hudson Valley and we’re already planning next year’s trip.
Cooperstown. Perfectly ok burgers at Mel’s, right in the village. My glass of Concannon Petit Syrah came almost warm (everywhere was warm, it was freaky warm outside!). Pet peeve. But I drank it.
Breakfast buffet at the Otesaga Resort, the parent to the Cooperstown Inn. Nice buffet but we went there for the spectacular view of the lake! Cooperstown is so, so beautiful.
Gorgeous drive through the Catskills on Route 23 to Woodstock. Dinner at Cucina, a converted Victorian. Weather balmy, we were seated on the porch. Prix Fixe, three courses for $34: I had the butternut squash soup, seafood risotto, and butterscotch budino. My companion chose a veggie pasta and a selection of gelati/sorbetti. The risotto was well prepared and rich with shrimp and scallops, but it was quite salty. I don’t eat a lot of salt so perhaps others would not agree. And then the budino was salted (but delicious) covered in toasted coconut and creme fraiche, so I finished it and drank a pitcher of water. Service was excellent. We tried to eat breakfast at Oriole9 but we walked around for an hour waiting for them to open, only to find a ‘closed’ note on the door. (Unhappy face.) So breakfast at Maria’s, a hippie deli. Excellent granola (and a nice thin crust pizza). Woodstock is funky, our inn was funky, hours are funky, you just have to go with the flow. The setting is lovely.
Next night at the Olde Rhinebeck Inn, wonderful place. Breakfast sophisticated and delicious – whipped eggs, local charcuterie, and flourless pear tart. Late lunch at Terrapin. The innkeeper noted that other guests had been underwhelmed with the formal menu so lunch worked out for us through the bar. We ate on the terrace. My salmon was served with a beet-truffle sauce (really wonderful!). My friend opted for a nostalgia meal of fried chicken, collards and mac-n-cheese. Very good! Although she missed a heaping helping of black pepper in the chicken breading. But it was full of flavor, crisp, and the meat was moist and tender. I was surprised by the use of apple cider vinegar in the collards - new to me, but nice acidity with the other dishes.
Finally on to Hudson and the Mount Merino Manor. Highly recommended. Breakfasts of well prepared eggs, maple-cured bacon, fresh baked etc. Lunch at Grazin’. Superb butternut squash soup. Next day, light meals and a finale dinner at Helsinki Hudson. Another home-sick Southern chef?? The menu is South Texas/Louisiana all the way. A converted warehouse, beautiful, atmospheric (and dark, so dark we were blinded by phone flashlights. Keep them pointed down, people!!). Friend chose more fried chicken. My grouper was moist, perfectly cooked, top-seared, and served on a delicious gumbo. Fried green tomatoes served with a brown mustard aioli rich with tarragon. A combo I plan to keep in rotation. Again, collards cooked with apple cider vinegar so it must be authentic. And a perfect sazerac, followed by pear crisp. Service, again, was flawless. In fact everyone in the hospitality sector throughout the trip was first rate (well, Woodstock was shaky). Shopping on Thursday was a bust. Be warned, many retailers don’t bother to open until Friday. Some shopkeepers almost laughably haughty, others wistful and sweet. Wished we had time to explore the town. Olana was well worth the two-hour tour.
Thanks to all the HOs who helped us plan. We look forward to another week in 2018.