fabulous rhinebeck

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events

with david’s help, beckie, kim and i piled all of our luggage into the car last thursday morning and set out on our 2009 rhinebeck adventure. the weather reports for the weekend weren’t all that promising, but it’s not about being discouraged by the weather.

we had great success (and many laughs) with my new iPhone GPS app. she sounds a bit impatient, but not mean, exactly—i totally recommend it. we tried out a few names for her, settling for a while on “nora”, but eventually changing that to “norma” when we realized she slurred her speech just enough to sound like a slightly-drunk floozy. then we wondered if that was disrespectful of the real norma, so we switched to “phyllis” for a while.
turns out, the real norma couldn’t be happier to have our GPS named for her; see below (what was i thinking??).

our trip east was blessed with snow most of the way, but not bad enough to delay us. we arrived at our cozy rental house excited and ready to have a ton o’ fun for the next five days. the creekside house was perfect and we’ll rent it again next year if we can. we had a quick dinner of soup and bread, then settled in to warm up and knit for the evening.

the next day began a five-day food fest to top all food fests—we didn’t really plan it that way ahead of time, but we ended up eating one incredible meal after another throughout the weekend.

friday was our annual outing to CIA for lunch. this year we were joined by woolen rabbit kim at the american bounty restaurant, a new experience for us (we’ve eaten in escoffier room for the last three trips). next year, who knows—maybe the st. andrew’s or the tuscan restaurant . . .

we arrived a bit early, which gave us plenty of time to snoop through the bookstore and roam the halls of the main building, where there are great views into the kitchens.

plenty was going on behind the scenes in the bakery and patisserie. we watched these plump caramel apples become something entirely different and extravagant

then made a pass through the cafe/bakery where a person can get takeout goodies or eat a casual meal any time there is a table free

of course, eating a meal is just an excuse to follow up with dessert and there’s quite an array to choose from (kim might have come home with a red velvet cupcake . . .)

our meal in the more formal dining room was exquisite and delicious—i had crab cakes to start, followed by cioppino (seafood soup), followed by this

is it carrot cake or sculpture? pretty, yes, but yummy too—a really good fall dessert.

after we rolled out of there, we headed down-river to the mariott where our friend kim was staying to knit with her during the afternoon and early evening. we drew up chairs around the fire and before we knew it we were surrounded with the familiar faces of the new england knitters we’ve come to know over these last few years—laurie, carol, manise, kathy, lucia, vanessa, ruth, norma, claudia—and so many more. it felt wonderful to be back in their company once again.

i finally got to meet my friend norma in person—she totally lives up to her hilarious blog personality and we had many, many belly laughs in just a couple of hours. she was absolutely chuffed to be the namesake to our drunken GPS party girl, after all. so now i have a phone named norma . . .

when the rest of the group was ready to head out to dinner, we bid them good-bye—honestly, we were still stuffed seven hours after lunch ended (two desserts will do that to a girl).

saturday, we were up bright and early to head for a pre-show breakfast at bread alone bakery (BEST bagels in rhinebeck.). we didn’t waste too much time stuffing our faces there, though—the call of the wool was too strong.

it was a very chilly day—the coldest rhinebeck show i’ve ever been to. kim wore her jackie jacket the whole weekend and got lots of well-deserved compliments on how beautifully knit it is. we enjoyed every minute, walked through every building, looked at wool, wheels (i visited again with norm hall and drooled over his wheels), sheep, alpacas, visiting with friends and procuring supplies for winter knitting everywhere.

we were busy trying to take a picture of ourselves when along came our friend hattie to help us out. after which, we wandered down to join some members of the ravelry knitspot group for a picnic lunch and drinks near the racetrack area

it was sooo nice to get together—it’s a really fun and sweet group; there are a bunch of members that post often and are active participants. there’s KCkathy who came all the way from kansas city to attend the show in her central park (not) hoodie with a stonewall scarf/stole

donna (left) in an alhambra scarf and nancy (right) in an autumn arbor wrap drooling over donna’s laceweight la novia scarf.

it was delightful to meet them in person and to see everyone’s FOs—it’s true that finished knits just don’t come across the same in photos.

cathy modeled her gorgeous ondulé sweater in rose quartz woolen rabbit opulence

doesn’t she look stunning? that’s an oh! canada wrap she’s flinging about her shoulders because, well, you can never have too much pink on a dreary day, right??

i was also pleasantly surprised by a visit from my cousin-in-law, peggy, who found me at lunchtime; it was so great to meet her in person and trade hugs and some news.

everyone looked lovely and happy; we laughed and hugged and chatted for about a half hour until the chill got to us, then headed off for more shopping and browsing.

i bet you’re wondering what-all i bought?? not too many fiber purchases on this trip, i’m afraid . . .

at carolina homespun, i bought more of this luxurious cashmere/tussah top by chasing rainbows dyeworks. you might remember that i spun some up recently in evergreen and totally feel in love with both the fiber and the yarn it turns into. this time i brought home the forest colorway.

honestly, there were so many booths i didn’t even get a chance to visit—the crowds were dense and i got sidetracked talking to people so often that i had to run ot keep up with kim and beckie, thus skipping quite a few vendors and products. i thought i’d just revisit them on sunday, but that plan turned pear-shaped when the weather got so rough the next day.

still, i managed to score a few great items—i had a list from david of things we needed for the house. many of these items have been on our shopping list for a long time (several years, even) but we hadn’t been finding what we wanted at other shows. this year, my luck turned—and big-time.

we have been searching for a good blanket for our bed seemingly forever. we wanted something unique and handmade as much as possible, from real farm wool. oh, there are lots of throw-type blankets around and we found them, but it’s pretty hard to find ones can actually be used as bedding—large enough for two people to sleep under with some left over for tucking in.

and then beckie found one—way to go beckie. it’s woven in a plaited twill pattern with a wide brown stripe along the selvedges. we just love it. this will go either on our bed or on the guest bed—still deciding. we might use it as a coverlet in the guest room this year (more about that later).

david also had a standing request for wool pillows, which i had been unable to find at a few other shows we visited over the last two years. then, while looking for fleece-lined slippers, i came upon the dashing star farm booth and found them.

they were even available in three different softnesses and several sizes. score!

a couple fo buildings later, i found marilyn magnus, whose rugs i have gravitated to year after year. i love every one she weaves, from the simple and straightforward to her most complex

this is the one i purchased in 2008 for the third-floor landing—i thought i’d try a small one to start and found that i fell even more in love with it over the past year. i look for any excuse to slip my shoes off and walk across it—the softness of it is that soothing.

this year i wanted on for the finished guest room and thought that one of marilyn’s blue patterns would look great with the white plaster, black wood floor, and gray trim in that room.

i love the simple geometric patterns she does, but she didn’t have any of those in the size i needed. i’d always lusted after the more complex patterns too, though, and she had one of those beauties in a good size for the room. i like the way it looks like a fair-isle sweater, sort-of.

david and i are hatching a plan to make an additional piece for that space in the same colors—a spinning/knitting project we’ll work on together after christmas (i know—i’m totally excited to get working on that).

so i was especially happy to see that marilyn also had a few bags of her border leicester fiber dyed in a gorgeous blue to go with the rug. we’ll be using this as an accent color and she had just enough

that was the only other fiber purchase i made. like i said, i did not spend enough time poking around in vendor booths—too many friends to talk to . . . we stayed at the show til the very end of saturday, happy and satisfied and ready to get up to do it all again the next day.

speaking of friends, we were thrilled to be reunited with chris and her briar rose family—their booth was absolutely mobbed the whole weekend and stripped pretty bare by the end of the festival. good thing we made a date beforehand to meet up with them at their hotel for dinner and talking, or we wouldn’t have seen much of them.

we actually had a lovely evening warming up and visiting with chris and roger, christy and nate, little dillan, jennie the potter, her beautiful mom, and her newborn daughter, lillian. debbie grale and her mate were also with us to round out the group.

we all retired early though—a full day of fresh, brisk air and lots of walking did us in.
sunday morning i had a class (more about that tomorrow), so we got going early. unfortunately, the day was not nearly as nice as the previous one and soon after we got to the fairgrounds, it started to rain. it was also much colder and windier (cue in shark music).

after my class we made few quick stops to look at wheels and browse a bit more

with a run to the car to drop stuff off. i wanted to go back through the show for the afternoon, but once we’d traipsed through the parking lot, i was so chilled that it was actually discouraging. just then it started to rain steadily. it didn’t take much persuading to get us in the warm car and headed to town for a hot cuppa coffee.

there’s always next year . . . i’m sorry i didn’t get to visit with some people and sorry that i didn’t see everything, but what i did see was really really inspiring and beautiful—this show has all the best there is on offer in the fiber world.

i feel very lucky that i’m able to travel there each year with my two beautiful best friends to attend. missing just a little of it this year will keep me longing for more next year.

and anyway, this was NOT the end of our weekend! we had lots more in store for the next couple of days—that’s the benefit of making a mini-vacation out of the trip; it’s not over til it’s over.

i think the three of us agree that the absolute highlight of our trip, in fact, awaited us at our next destination—dinner at the home of our friends, the fischers; john, his beautiful wife nathalie, and his lovely sister, mary.

we first met john at CIA, where he is a professor of table service. after kim chatted him up a bit, we discovered he is a spinner who attended the wool show every year. and, well, an instant friendship was born. we ran into them several times at last year’s events and emailed a bit over the winter.

when an invitation to visit their home for sunday evening was extended, we eagerly accepted.

john was hard at work in the kitchen when we arrived, the table was beautifully laid for a fall dinner,

and a nice spread of snacks waited in the cozy living room. we all got out our respective knitting and sat down for gossip, champagne, tapenade on toasts, and scrumptious cheeses (my favorite of foods and the fischers just finished working on a book all about them, yay)

after a bit, i visited john in the kitchen while he plated the salads (BTW, that’s a staghorn sweater knit for him by nathalie—how handsome is that?? you should check out her other projects—she’s amazing)

and we talked about food, writing, and the future (we discovered we are only a few months apart in age; “the future after 50” is always a topic worth exploring, heh)

soon we sat down to dinner and the serious eating began (well, began again, hahaha).

we started with a beautiful salad of fall pears, blue cheese, and local greens accompanied by a delicious chardonnay infused with the taste of coconut (for me, anyway).
then came the main course—a real work of art.

pot roast with chanterelles and portobella mushrooms in a mouth-watering gravy with herby polenta and sautéed garlicky greens.

john decanted a 13-year-old red and i took pictures, hahaha.

that’s the sediment he was working so carefully to keep out of the decanter.

and well done. it was a tart, musty, rich red (sorry, i don’t even know what variety) that i enjoyed immensely. it’s fun to eat with people who know what they’re doing, especially when you love food as much as we do.

i can’t say enough how much of a treat this was for us all. and we haven’t yet arrived at the best part—sorry john, but you know it’s true; everyone will agree—the dessert was over the top.

a concord grape pie baked by nathalie. if you weren’t in love with her yet, you are now, right??

omg, i never had this treat before, but i know i’ll have it again. and don’t even ask kim what she thought unless you have about an hour to listen to her review.

to be totally fair, john set an example by being the first to lick his plate clean and kim asked permission before following suit. she’s not totally debauched by pie alone . . .

dessert was followed by an excellent round of espresso coffees (john is more than a little proud of the crema produced by his espresso maker, heh)

and luscious chocolates handmade especially for us by one of john’s colleagues (sorry, by now i was dizzy with it all and the chef’s name has escaped me).

after dinner we rolled retired back to the living room to look at some of natalie’s current projects

and talk some more. my one regret is that i seem to have come home with no photos of mary or her knitting anywhere in my camera. darn.

though we would have loved to stay long into the wee hours (or simply move in with our new best friends), after a while we said our goodbyes and headed back to the house; we don’t at all want to wear out our welcome and risk not being invited back. or maybe next year we can somehow return the favor (right.).

our last day in the catskills dawned beautifully sunny and much milder than the weekend. we waffled a bit about whether to stay in and knit or get out in the sun and before long, we found ourselves taking a ride to woodstock (what can i say; we have a favorite shoe store there—need i elaborate?)

we spent a few hours poking around in the shops for gifts to bring home for our loved ones. chocolates, t-shirts, gadgets, and toys were procured over the course of a nice stroll through town.
we ended the day with a drive and one final delicious dinner at seravan in amenia, NY.

then it was back to the cottage to pack and get ready to head home—now it was over. well, except for the car trip which is always fun when you have a norma in your vehicle . . . .

tomorrow i’ll share the knitting and spinning i got done while i was away—it’s been hours now that i’ve been at this post and time for bed (while visions of lemon mousse dance in my head . . .)

52 thoughts on “fabulous rhinebeck

  1. What an incredible blog post to share an incredible weekend! the forest cashmere is breathtaking. such delightful friends and food. that pic of kim licking her plate cracked me up!

  2. I laughed at Kim and her plate too! 🙂 Your pictures are always so good!
    I am so sorry I missed meeting you! One of my goals that weekend was to score some cashmere to make Ivy Vines and I was successful!

  3. I love everything but especially the handwoven blanket with natural dyes!!! (I sell myself some handwoven blankets, I love these)

  4. This post is so great. I loved Rhinebeck this year, but driving back to Massachusetts in the snow on Sunday was a bit draining.

    I must confess you, Kim and Beckie were the first people I saw as I walked into the fairgrounds, but I didn’t say hello. I wish I had! You’re Rhinebeck post from 2007 actually inspired me to get some of my friends together for the weekend and go to Rhinebeck, too. Thank you!

  5. After seeing your purchases, I’d think that you’d need that bus to get it home. What a fantastic adventure you had.

    Yummmm…! Maybe you should set up a food tour for next year.

    Good to see you.

  6. Wow – yours was simply the most wonderful Rhinebeck post this year. I love the food pictures (yum) – but I think my favorite is the one of Norma. I can almost feel the infectious laughter. Wish I had been there – but thanks to you – I feel like I was. Glad you had a great time with such wonderful knitters.

  7. Wow! Just wow. Oh, and I’m lusting after that blue rug. ; ) I’ll have to follow some of your links.
    A wonderful post. I need to plan a trip to Rhinebeck.

  8. Anne, what a wonderful post and what a wonderful trip! The pic of Kim licking her plate made me howl.

    Our picnic was a blast. Thanks for being the heart and soul of the best group on Ravelry!

  9. It was such a pleasure having you all to our house for dinner. We had a blast! Now I just have to figure out a way to out-do that pie for next year.

  10. Nathalie – NOT POSSIBLE to outdo the pie. Just go with it. It was the singular BEST item I ate that whole week. It was divine.

  11. Hi Anne–thanks for sharing your trip with us. Except for the weather, it sounds like a great deal of fun. I would love to attend one year–it’s about a 13-hour drive from Chicago though! That blanket you purchased was really lovely! I want that pot roast with the polenta and the greens–it looked amazing!

  12. Okay, it’s a toss up! Either the blanket or the rug. And definitely the 13 year old red–even if the tannins would make my face flush bright red.

  13. That looks amazing. Something I really regret is that I didn’t start knitting until after I’d moved out of New York. So many years in the Catskills, and I never knew about Rhinebeck!

  14. Seriously the Rhinebeck organizers need to hire you for their marketing and photos! Your trip looks fabulous. Your pictures are perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Fabulous food, wool and friends, seasoned with shopping. What could be better?

    I’m nearly on overload from the pictures alone; in real life all that stimulating inspiration must be heaven.

  16. Thank you so much for the wonderful post! I felt like I was on the adventure with you. I appreciate the time it takes you to let us know of your travels, and meals, and friends, and shopping. . . . . .What a great great way to start my day!!

  17. A fabulous time was had in Rhinebeck indeed! It was wonderful meeting the other ladies in our Ravelry Knitspot group and put those beautiful faces to a name. Already looking forward to next year!

  18. OK, you’ve totally convinced me – next Rhinebeck will be a priority! Love the wonderful photos – yarn, chocolate, wine, and shoes – what a glorious weekend romp! The FO’s are very inspiring!

  19. That just sounds like heaven! One of these years, I’m going to go to Rhinebeck, but in the meantime, thanks for letting me live vicariously through you & your gal pals!

  20. what a wonderful post!! You make me feel like I was right there. And the food – oh!! Must show this post to the hubby – he loves getting foodie inspiration.

    And is that the Stonewall KCKathy showed you at this year’s fling?? It’s beautiful!

  21. What a wonderful vacation. Thanks for sharing it with us. Great friends, lots of wool, and fabulous food – nothing could be better. 🙂

  22. Hi Anne! The new big plaited twill blankie you bought? Fabulous! I don’t think you mentioned who the makers were. Would you mind telling? It’s one of the nicest onces I’ve seen and I couldn’t tell from the little card they put on it. Glad you had the best time ever!

  23. Awesome post and recap of the weekend! And the food…. *drool*

    Love the photo of Beckie at the wheel- she was definitely in the Zen Zone. 🙂

    It was wonderful being greeted by you outside on my arrival at the hotel and I feel so very lucky to have had the chance to talk to you more than once over the weekend.

  24. Oh, wow, oh, wow! So many good things, I hardly know where to start. First, did you say shoe store? Were there shoes (inquiring minds)? And second, did you say where that amazing blanket came from and whether they do online orders, because I’ve got a lust on for one. And third, I had to laugh when I saw that gorgeous tussah/cashmere in the forest colorway — can I just tell you how many times I almost walked away with that very one at the institute? Great minds…

    Welcome home!

  25. What an incredibly FULL post, as was your weekend. Cathy’s sweater is gorgeous, and meeting you was one of the big highlights of my weekend, too! (and you were the iPod life-saver)

    And boy, do I want to hang out with YOU more, as you seem to know where all the best food is. We should try the CIA for lunch, I see now! We missed out on all the pastries (except for the wonderful crepes suzette we had for OUR dessert) on display, etc. What an incredible treat for the eyes and senses — the table and food at John and Nathalie’s home! Awesome, awesome.

  26. HI! Yours is always the best post-Rhinebeck post I can find. It feels like I was there, without the stash enhancement and the calories (but what calories they were – the CIA!).

    We chose a British lady voice for our GPS (“Take the roundabout, second exit, then take the motorway…”) so we named it Letitia. One of my friends calls hers “the b—- on the dashboard”, but I appreciate Letitia more than that.

    Knit on!

  27. Anne:

    What a wonderful post about a wonderful weekend. Loved hearing about your escapades at Rhinebeck.


  28. I’m positively salivating over your lovely food pictures — if they even tasted half as good as your photos look, you had some very yummy eats over the weekend. Glad you enjoyed yourself so much!

  29. OMG……..I SO wish I had been with you at John’s….it is positively decandent! I almost died laughing at Kim licking the plate…that is SO her…I can say that now after sharing lunch with her…hahaha! (love you Kim!)

    I enjoyed spending time with you, Kim and Beckie this year. 🙂

  30. oh wow…i think i gained five pounds just reading this post! it all looks so delicious.

    i love your new blanket – absolutely gorgeous, wonderful pattern. weaving’s always been something i’ve been intrigued by…if only there were space for a loom….

  31. Always good to see you. I think you got the best of all of Rhinebeck and surrounding attractions! What an amazing meal you had. Where was the 13 year old wine from??

  32. BEST WEEKEND EVER! Had a great time with you, Kim and Beckie. Had so much fun gabbing and eating that I couldn’t concentrate on my knitting! Looking forward to next year!

  33. The wine scoop:
    White – Chardonnay: Williams-Selyem Allen Vineyard 2006
    Red – Cabernet Sauvignon Laurel Glen 1996

  34. Oh, I wish I hadn’t read this post on an empty stomach! Concord grape pie–what a great idea. But what about the seeds? I’d love to see a recipe. And a special project to go with that fabulous rug–a wall hanging, perhaps? BTW, I loved seeing your knits at the Briar Rose booth. The jacket is wonderful. The Creatively Dyed Yarns booth across the way was another highlight for me. The whole show was such a treat. Maybe I’ll meet you there next year!

  35. Wow, great post, Anne
    The company, food, surroundings and creativity are wonderful.

    I have a queston. The blanket you bought in the plaited twill pattern is beautiful, but I am unable to tell by the exposed portion of the label, who is the producer of the blanket?

  36. What a wonderful post for both those who were able to attend, and those of us who do it vicariously through you. Thank you.

    You give so much of yourself through your blog, that I feel a bit guilty asking for more. Butttttt…… I would like to know how you plan to spin the Tussah Cashmere blend. I have some of the same fiber in the Dove colorway and would like to do it justice. Any guidance you are willing to share about your fiber prep, number of ply and grist would be greatly appreciated. I learn so much from you. Thanks

  37. Hi Anne, I was so glad that we were able to connect at Rhinebeck. It was easy to spot you from a distance. You look so much like your mother. When we met up with your brother in Hawaii a few years ago we knew it was him from far away. That beautiful “Hanson hair” gives you all away. I know our visit was brief but I’m sure we are going to see you soon. I know you are going to be at Trumpet Hill in November. Hal and I are going to make every effort to be there. Until then take care.

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