Hudson Valley Libations

Purple Sunset on the Hudson With Ships Wheel

As we wonder about the year ahead.  Contemplating what great and dreadful events we may witness, taking a moment to celebrate the present is always good, to share a libation and not necessarily the alcoholic type.

You see a libation is a ritualistic pouring of liquid. It may be a toast, a long celebrated tradition, featuring rich glasses of beer, wine or spirits.

However, the roots of this practice, of libation or oblation, came from the pouring of liquids as offerings to the deities found in many religious ancient and contemporary.  Very often this was wine, but also olive oil, in India I am told they used the refined butter called ghee, each poured from exotic vessels like a patera. Like this one from the Byzantine era. Spilled onto an altar or the earth.


I’ve read that in East Asia, the reverent seek to detach themselves from surrounding bad karmic energy by pouring an offering of rice into a running stream. How about a river?Thang Long Discovert

That being said we do enjoy a proper toast, with libations of the alcoholic kind.

There is quite a long history to this practice, it is an ancient tradition reports Rebecca Rupp writing for National Geographic in an article “Cheers: Celebration Drinking Is an Ancient Tradition” where she says. “No one knows exactly when alcohol first entered the human diet—chances are it was a serendipitous prehistoric stumble on fermented fruit—but clearly we took to it like ducks to water.”  Read More

We enjoy these “Toasts Proposed during the Revolutionary War” posted by  after an event for the launch of her novel, The Chamomile. Which started with: “George Washington attended a Public Dinner at Frances Tavern on Pearl Street in New York where he would propose 13 Toasts with Hot Butter’d Rum.”  and ended with

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” – Ben Franklin  Read More


Our own toast is this:

May the Year Ahead Be Great

Flow Everlasting with Surprising and Foreseeable Events

May We Relish and Be Grateful for Every Moment

Share with Others our Bounty


Of course there are many ways to accompany this toast with a suitable drink.  Check Them Out Here



The Writer’s Lonely Life


I must apologize, for goofing off, not writing in weeks. The excuses are easy, the holidays, work demands, all that. But it is really this.  As Earnest Hemingway once said “Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.”  Not that I mind. Frankly I am a hermit by nature. Give me some good books, some wine, a comfortable chair, some things to eat, a view of the river and I am set for days. Ask my wife.

But , sometimes, the lonely life, leads to writer’s laziness, I won’t dare to say block because it is not nearly that severe. There has been no shortage of content, the last month has been filled with tons of activities, family, friends, holiday festivities. Lots of stories to tell.

Nevertheless, as a writer you can wonder, is anyone even reading? Does any one care? Why bother? Then something happens.

Yesterday, Neal Santelmann, Cold Spring resident, writer himself, with Hawkins International Public Relations, and member of the fabulous local band Laminated Menu, approached Diana in Foodtown yesterday. Saying “your her” from Hudson Valley Pleasures, “you changed the name to InTheHV.Com.” He paid us some very nice compliments and from a fellow writer that means a lot.

So off we go into a new year, inspired and writing again! Thanks Neal!


Yes They Are the Best Eggs We’ve Ever Tasted

Lydia's Cat Rock Farm EggsWe both, Diana and I, found these eggs on Facebook as friends, mutual and distinct, raved about their delicious flavor and crafty presentation. Said they were the best!

I was skeptical, we have been enjoying a lot of good eggs this year all gently hatched at the wholesome farms about the valley. We’ve had white eggs, green and brown, but these present a wider rainbow of colors.

They are from Cat Rock Egg Farm in Garrison NY, and as the hand signed letter that comes with your first box of eggs describes, these are from “pet hens raised with love & attention at our free to muck about home “yolkette”   says farmer  Lydia.  Continue reading Yes They Are the Best Eggs We’ve Ever Tasted


Happy New Year – Happy 2016 – A Leap Year and One with Great Promise


A toast and cheers to you, wishing you a very wonderful 2016.

It is hard to believe it has been almost a year, four wonderful seasons here in the Hudson Valley. We have met so many great people and had so many great times in all the wonderful places we have explored around our wonderful Hudson River Valley.

Looking forward to another great year and wish the same for you.

Peter and Diana

Peter and Diana Stonecrop Bamboo


Sunday Poem – Oh, What a Feeling in Me

By the Hudson in GarriosnA beautiful Poem by Peter Duncan.

Oh, what a feeling in me
To be, on this wonderful day
I’m here on this beautiful morning
I’m alive in a beautiful way
I’m hearing these birds all around me
Just singing a love song for me
It’s a wonderful, beautiful morning
By this river that captivates me.

It be five o clock in the morning
In the joy of this beautiful day
The kookaburra how he be laughing
In such a magnificent way
I think that he knows I am happy
This bird he is laughing for me
Oh, here in this countryside morning
I am filled with such sweet mystery.

The river gets into my being
As I sit here alone in the dawn
It’s wonderful, beautiful feeling
I feel like I’m being reborn
Oh what a sweet combination
All this morning, and nature, and me
I’m in love on this wonderful morning
Just me and this sweet mystery.

Copyright © 2015 Peter Duggan


Rogers and Hammerstein Come To Life at The Depot Theater


We left full of joy after an evening of spirited live entertainment in the closing event of the Cabaret in the Country series at our own Philipstown Depot Theater.

The Sound of Their Music: Rodgers & Hammerstein artfully created and produced by Hudson Valley resident Phil Geoffrey Bond, was a fabulous tribute to the unsurpassed Broadway and Hollywood musical greats Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

We smiled, chuckled and squeezed each others hand as each wonderful song excited oh so many pleasant memories.


The series included, and we wish we had the opportunity to see them all, performances by many of Broadway and New York Cabaret most applauded performers as they delivered great music for Simply Streisand, Aspects of Andrew: Lloyd Webber, Sondheim Unplugged, and of course this show.

We love a night on the town, but there is much pleasure to be had in the intimate surroundings of Philipstown Depot Theater.

Check out their programs here.

Philipstown Depot Theater

Phillipstown Depot THeater



Sunday Poem — The Weaver and the Loom

Loom Cropped Enhanced

My friend Judy Becker read this moving poem after sitting in meditation together.  I hope you enjoy it too.

The Weaver and the Loom

Sit here for a bit. Place yourself outside the frenzied pace of life.

Slow down long enough to appreciate birds in flight, water drops like prisms in the grass and countless shades of green.

Step off the fast track and listen to the sound of breath and birdsong.

Take a moment to just be, and in the being, know the whole of this creation,
mystery and madness, passion and profanity, know it all as one, stunning

Sit still and the thin line between sacred and profane simply fades away. There is nothing then to reconcile. All the disparate threads are woven on the loom of life.

Sit here for a bit and your unique place in the pattern becomes clear. Take the still point with you when it’s time to walk away.

Make the choice to see affinity, to watch the picture taking shape as thread joins thread.

Dare to be the weaver and the loom, creator and creation, the sower and the sown.

In a moment of stillness, all that came before is seen as one.



by Danna Faulds

Go In and In: Poems From the Heart of Yoga




Hiking at Manitoga
Two Days – Two Paths

Manitoga Lost Pond Reflections

Near the crest of the Lost Pond Trail at Manitoga you will come upon a moving site, inspiring and quieting at the same moment. Named with the Algonquin word meaning “Place of the Great Spirit,” Manitoga is so filled with the spiritual essence of its creator, you can truly feel it.

We walked two of the longer paths here on a cloudy day and then one filled with sun.

Manitoga Paths Diana Happy

This was the home of Russel Wright, the renowned forward thinking industrial designer. Created out of a desolate area that had been a quarry.  The house can be toured by special arrangements but the paths in the 75 acre woodland garden can be walked whenever the property is open.

Manitoga Paths Accross the Meadow is a map and guideBeautiful on a cloudy or sunny day the paths ascend in a winding pattern ascending in stages as much 650 feet through the woods.

Manitoga Red Hat HikerEntry is from Route 9D, there is a parking lot.  Visitors first stop into the visitors center to sign in, get information and make a donation.

Manitoga Paths Entry House Register and Donate From here you will walk toward the paths, discrete signage leads the way.

Manitoga Paths Follow the SignsAt the foot of the three trails there is a map and guide.

Manitoga Paths Map and Guide

We walked the longer White Pine Loop marked with red and Lost Pond Loop marked with white.

Manitoga Three Paths

Through the woods.

Manitoga Paths through woods

They travel together foe awhile and then branch off. The paths are meant to be walked in one direction, each a loop, the markers with a block dot indicate you are heading the wrong way.

Manitoga Paths Wrong Way

At points you will come to two bridges that go over the stream.

Manitoga Paths bridge over a streamManitoga Paths Rock Bridge

Each step of the way feels rich and fulfilling, I really felt the love and attention that went into creating this place. And all the enjoyment that people have had here. There are spots where you can catch glimpses of the house.

Manitoga Paths View of the House

And the mighty Hudson River. At least now that the leaves have fallen.

Manitoga Paths See the river 2 Manitoga Paths River View At one observation point, marked ion yellow, there are very old boulders, and the house can be seen from another angle.

Manitoga Paths Overlook Manitoga Paths Glimpse of House

Back on the trail.

Manitoga Paths the Blue Manitoga Paths Markers

The no hunting posting signs are mounted backwards in places, looks nicer that way. 
Manitoga Backwards Posting

Someone created this nest for a very big bird.

Manitoga Paths Nest for a Big Bird
Manitoga Big Bird Nest
Manitoga Paths Nest for a Big Bird 2

Moss lines some of the paths.
Manitoga Paths Moss

I was expecting this boulder to speak to me.

Manitoga Paths markers for the three trails

You see how the path ascends.

Manitoga Paths higher 250 feet

Towards the top is the Lost Pond.

Manitoga Paths Lost Pond Sign

At a low point now, in the spring it is much larger, deeper.

Manitoga Paths Lost Pond

All three paths end here at the area called Four Corners.

Manitoga Paths Four Corners

And then you begin your walk down.

Manitoga Paths Walking back down

Passing another house. Probably a caretaker’s home. I would not mind.

Manitoga Paths Someone's house

I loved these to Adirondack Chairs in the wood.

Manitoga Path Two ChairsManitoga Paths Study the Guide




More very old boulders.

manitoga paths very old boulders was a quarry

At the bottom is Mary’s Meadow.  I told you there is always a meadow.  Mary was Russel Wright’s wife and Mother of Annie Wright.
 Manitoga Paths Mary's Meadow

Manitoga Paths a rock stair Manitoga Paths Accross the Meadow is a map and guide
Manitoga Paths look back

Manitoga Web Site