Tuesday, July 28, 2009

what to do in Columbia County, Chatham-centric ideas

Chatham New York: 10 miles from Glencadia.  Chatham wiki. Here is the village website.

If you go a ski resort, it's pretty obvious what the recreational activity is supposed to be. If you go to a beach location, same. Up here it's less obvious what you are supposed to do to. You can do many different things: cultural (see a performance), natural (hike or swim), agricultural (visit farms, buy local products), work out (canoe, bike, run), or aesthetic (see villages, country roads, mountains, rivers).

[Of course we have beaches on the Hudson and at the lake and you can ski only 20 minutes away at Catamount or about 35 minutes to Jimminy Peak.]

So here are some of the things I (we, family) like to do and some of it may interest visitors. If so, great. If not, write a comment. If you have another suggestion, I would love more links and comments. So here is my Chatham-centric guide to Columbia County for visitors.

If you want to bike, you might check this site out. We can try to accommodate guests with our bikes. BREAKING: I just wrote up how to get to a few nice spots by bike from CHATHAM not from my house. Here.

If you want to canoe, same story. I would suggest the Hudson or the Kinderhook creek and I have a couple of ideas.

Want to fish? Try this. Hunt? Then you know already. This is a great organization with events and guided hikes.
Local News. Buy a house. Or get yourself a farm!

Oh, and I've been going to the Crellin town park more often and it's very close to the house and you can play and swim there. It's a big nice park. Oh, and the Morris Memorial facilities are open to the public from 2 pm on (pool table, inside basketball, playroom, computers, wifi). It's across the street from the house.

LISTING SITE: Things going on in the area.

ANOTHER SET OF LINKS: Hudson (nearby town). Check out the links!
DRINK: Right around the corner there is our local and terrific microbrew. Bring your bottles back for a refill. And you have to try our local Vodka. Dynamite. Or wine. Lot of alcohol up here. The pub in Chatham has it's charm: Peint o Gwrw Tafarn.
NEARBY STUFF (walk out the door): Babysitting, indoor play area.
Free play group provided by the county.
The county fair.
Locally grown food This place just started up.
Two great bakeries: one for
bread and one for sweets.
Blue Plate Restaurant
Ralphs Pretty Good Cafe
The community center across the street -- There is a gym and a community center with basketball across the street. There are regular play groups in there for young kids and sports and other stuff.
I like the library, about two blocks away.

FARM OUTINGS:
These are farms that are set up to accommodate visitors, with business hours and all that.

Pick your own berries. Or closer to Chatham here. Finch during strawberries (late June early July) or blueberries (July) is a terrific outing.

Hawthorne Valley Farm
Biodynamic, associated with Waldorf school. You can see the pigs, the cows, lots of great festivals.
Here is the school. They do great festivals and so on but the site doesn't seem to have one page with all of them. You get the complete list if you join the email newsletter. This is us at the Farm Festival.

You can go the farm store, buy local meat, raw milk, cheese, visit the pigs and cows, then cross the street to the creek behind the school and splash and make damns, then walk in the woods to the pond. There are also many beautiful country roads to bike or walk on. There is a gift shop, book store. This is a great outing for a morning or afternoon.

Shaker Museum and right next door is the sheep farm. The sheep farm is quite an operation. If you can also get into the museum, then you have yourself a full activity. We have other Shaker stuff here: Hancock Shaker Village in MA and New Lebanon. And Hancock Shaker Village has animals too. New Lebanon is quite fascinating. Here is us at the sheep farm.

Pick apples at minimally treated ochard (close as you'll get to organic on the east coast): Philips, Claverack, Philip Orchards PO Box 370. Claverack NY, 12513. Phone (518) 851-6351. Other orchards have more crops (cherries, peaches) but may use more chemicals: Love Apple on 9H in Stockport.

Other great farms that are not set up to know what to do if you drop by: Threshold Farm Philmont (can't be more beautiful spot or more interesting people, although the farmers are also damn good looking!)... there are so many I'll take a break.

The berry farm is close. It's a store and a pick your own.

STATE PARKS: Beebe State Park
You can climb the fire tower. That's fun and not too strenuous.

Breaking: this is great if you want a short canoe ride (only way in is by boat). About 3 miles from my house and I just discovered it.

A real beach with lifeguards. Taghkanic State Park. There are two areas, one with grass, one with sand. Good to boat or swim: groomed experience.

Walk and splash along to great waterfall (crossing state line from NY to MA in the process) at Bish Bash State Park (MA) or Taconic State Park (NY). Woods, creek, paths.

Here is our latest trip to Bash Bish (not Bish Bash) or COPAKE FALLS. Search for Copake Falls in New York State.


OTHER NATURE/CONSERVATION AREAS:
Ooms pond: One of our favorites. Walk around the pond, then head back to Chatham. Here we are at Ooms.
Bird Sanctuary. Nice hikes right out of town.

Further from Chatham:
Go to Stuyvesant Landing (farmers market Friday afternoon) then walk on the Hudson, a path with little beaches or go to Nutten Hook then walk up a little hill to the ruins of an ice factory. There is a children's book called The Ice Horse about how they used to cut huge blocks of ice out of the Hudson (which you frequently cannot do anymore) and store them for ice boxes in the summer. You can read the book with your kids, them show them the spot where it happened. You can also go the only business in Stuyvesant Landing, the cafe.

You can also go to this trail on a boardwalk deep in the wetlands jungle of the Hudson river. Quite something. It's pretty cool.

Go to the Greenpoint Conservation Area for great Hudson River views then go into the town of Hudson for lunch and antiques and shops. That's a good 1/2 day outing.

SWIM IN A POOL: Winding Brook Country Club

SWIM IN THE CREEK: There are swimming holes along the Kinderhook Creek that are pretty unofficial. At the end of Kinderhook, right at 9h and 203 there is a more or less official spot and in Stuyvesant Falls we have the town park/waterfall, north of Chatham there is a great one off of route 66. Harder to find. These are great, though, especially the hard to find one. Read here about how to find it.

PERFORMANCE INSTITUTIONS:
Outdoor Performance Space close to Chatham Village. Spencertown Academy also close.
Art Omi -- fascinating and close.

Olana: bizarre house and amazing views
Another Hudson River mansion open to the public that has the most beautiful gardens: Clermont.

FARMERS MARKETS:
Chatham 15 Church Street Friday 4-7 PM
Kinderhook Village Green (intersection of 9 and 203) Saturday 8 am-12 noon
Hudson Saturday Columbia Street and 6th Street Saturday 9 am -1 pm


PLACES I LIKE OUT OF CHATHAM:
Nice restaurant in Philmont (near Hawthorne Valley)
Le Gamin -- lovely people, aces
Mexican Radio -- terrific guy owns this
Great Pizza: THEY DELIVER? No.

3 comments:

aileen said...

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Glencadia said...

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Anonymous said...

This is our 4th day at the house in chatham. We had fun at lake Taghonic, enjoyed the serenity and beauty of High Falls, splashed at the creek near Berry Farm and picked some berries at Berry farm, bought some local produce there, then jogged near the pond right here at Chatham near library and then also walked at Ooms pond and ate once at Local 111 and shopped at Hawthorne Valley store, and going for more nature fun ;) Natalya