The Joy of Bird Feeding

Birds are some of the most wonderful manifestations of nature; they are characterized by endless variety and diverse personalities. I’ve always loved spotting and watching birds, a pleasure that was rekindled upon joining the board of the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society this spring.  With some work, I have been rewarded with a perpetual show viewed from my living room and deck. Here are some tips for happy bird feeding:

Choosing a Feeder

There are many types and sizes of feeders, easily found online or in local stores. (One such store, located in Tilson, New York, near Rosendale, is the Tilson Birdwatchers Country Store.) Some feeders are more decorative than functional, and some are poorly made. I’ve found that functional feeders produced by a well-known company are best.  Keep in mind where the feeder will be placed: hung from a tree, on a pole, or on a hanger from a wall or fence. You’ll want a feeder that has good capacity, as hungry spring and summer birds can consume a lot of seed. Hang your feeder in an easy-to reach-place.

Choosing Seed

Good-quality birdseed produced for the Northeast region will attract a greater variety of birds. Watch out for seed that has become moldy.  A great source of seed is PHAS’s annual birdseed sale, coming up soon.


Squirrels are hungry too, and they are extremely ingenious at getting onto bird feeders. There are a lot of tips online about how to prevent squirrels from raiding feeders, but it is often a futile effort. Some people just give in and throw seed on the ground for the squirrels. I have found that creating a barrier with chicken wire is pretty effective. Another downside is that birds can be messy, littering the ground with cracked seed shells or bits they don’t like. Some cleaning up is necessary but is worth the effort.


Birds are an essential part of our natural ecosystem; they help everything else survive. They are also beautiful and entertaining to watch. This was our third summer here in the Hudson Valley and our first feeding the birds. I was amazed at how many more birds came to visit us and feed and grow.



Enjoy the endless spectacle of overwintering birds of all shapes and sizes by putting up a bird feeder and watching them in the comfort of your own home. The beautiful autumnal display in the Hudson Valley is a signal for bird lovers to start cleaning out and putting up feeders. It is also time for PHAS’s Fall birdseed sale. We hope you will support this fundraiser, which also benefits our feathered friends.  We sell only high-quality clean birdseed without fillers.

An order form can be found on the PHAS website:

Orders should be sent in by Monday, October 16, with pickup on Saturday, October 21, from 9 A.M. to noon, at the Taconic Outdoor Education Center. Audubon birders will be available to provide advice on feeder placement and birdseed choices.


Walking Meditation in the Garrison Institute Labyrinth


On a walk on the Glyncliffe Loop we found a side path which took us around the north side of the Garrison Institute property and came across the gate to the former monastery’s walled garden where a beautifully meditative labyrinth grows.

It was built and dedicated 10 years ago and is discretely open to the public.


I learned much about the magical power of labyrinths from our dear friend Garrison artist Diana Carulli who has created many beautiful public labyrinths. In an article discussing her work in Union Square she shared how walking a labyrinth brings focus and clarity and said “It clears thoughts…it gives insight to walk in that way,” she also expressed “the labyrinth has a multitude of functions, from being a work of art and a method of meditation to an efficient use of space for people to exercise when the lines of the labyrinth are followed.” The Villager 


Walking meditation here is with “ritual and contemplative significance going back to neolithic times.”  This labyrinth “is a living reminder of the spiraling, interconnected, organic, vital community that has grown up around the Institute”, where people work together  “to create transformative change.” Garrison Institute. Something that is truly needed in times like we face today.

You can see more about Diana Carulli Labyrinths here:  East River Reflections





A Different Sort of Beach Walk at Little Stony Point


We’ve walked so many beaches, oceans and seas, continents, none quite like this one just a few miles from home, along the beloved Hudson River, a precious place to explore.

Best time is the early morning, during the week, as you might expect it becomes very populated on the weekends. This visit was on Wednesday September 7th.

Little Stony Point, part of the Hudson Highlands State Park is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Hudson Valley. Sadly the park is not cared for by the many visitors as much as Pete Seeger had, a frequent habitué who was know for always taking out a bag of litter. We did.

Though if you walk beyond the closest trails you’ll find the many unsullied magical spots as we’ve captured here. The  Little Stony Point Citizens Association does a lot to keep this place beautiful, but they could use all our help. If you do visit we hope you will.

diana-walking-back-if-you-come-to-a-fork-in-the-roadAt the entrance there is a fork in the trail and as Yoga Berra advised, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Either way the paths lead you to the river and the contemplative beaches.


Through the trees the sun glistens off the water.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-sandy-beachAnd entices you to broader views and placid spots to mediate.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-view-to-the-northTo the north. So exciting.

little-stony-pont-beach-cold-spring-view-to-the-southAnd the south. The view can be vast.

The further you walk the cleaner the park is. But do watch out for what some careless dog owners leave behind.


A stony path.


Stony dunes.


And a meadow.


A fire would be nice on a chilly night.


Gnarled roots. Look like slithering prehistoric snakes.


Pretty sand. We may bring our beach chairs next time.


Funny sites, does a bear live here?


Stony beach with inviting water.


Graffiti is dismaying, but I do love the words.


Magical light above the beach.

diana-walking-along-water-little-stony-pointYou can get lost in reflective reverie, with great joy and comfort.


Little Stony Point Citizens

Little Stony Point – Hike the Hudson Valley


Discovered a Prayer Path in Garrison

Garrison Prayer Trail The Second Cross Vignette

It is a mystery to me. I wonder what the story is on the ten wooden crosses that we found on a winding path near the Garrison Institute.

I know that the building and grounds here were once the home of the friary and a convent of the Capuchin Franciscans, Province of St. Mary. They acquired the property back in the 1920’s.  But, they have not been here for well over 15 years. While some of the crosses are very old, a few look brand new. Some souls are taking care of this treasure that I have called the “Prayer Trail.”

Since we moved to Garrison’s Landing 18 months ago we have walked the trails to Arden Point and the paths called Marica’s Mile dozens of times, but it was just recently we discovered the paths, part of Marcia’s Mile, that venture into the woods close to Garrison Institute.

Let me walk you through them.

One of the multiple entrances to these paths is right behind the marker that designates the way between Arden Point and Marcia’s Mile.

The Prayer Trail Starts Here

The trail wonders up into the woods.

Garrison Prayer Trail Starts Heading A mild incline into the woods

Following the main path which does branch off here and there you will come across the first cross.  This is one of the new crosses. Who you think put it here?

Garrison Prayer Trail The First CrossGarrison Prayer Trail The First Cross 2Garrison Prayer Trail The First Cross 4Further on is the second cross which is older. It stands on a rise. Overlooking the river.

Garrison Prayer Trail The Second Cross 2Garrison Prayer Trail The Second Cross 3

Most of the crosses are surrounded by some rocks, at first we though they might be grave markers.

Here is the third cross. We dismissed the grave marker idea.

Garrison Prayer Trail The Third Cross Garrison Prayer Trail The Third Cross 2

Along the way you will see remnants of stone stairs that were placed to make the trail easier.

Garrison Prayer Trail Old Steps

The fourth cross is in need of repair

Garrison Prayer Trail The Fourth Cross 2 Garrison Prayer Trail The Fourth Cross

Cross five has its horizontal piece broken away, I expect it will be repaired sometime soon.Garrison Prayer Trail The Fifth Cross

Garrison Prayer Trail Starts Heading North East

Cross six, is surround by stone blocks that form another cross. I can picture friars kneeling here in prayer.

Garrison Prayer Trail The Sixth Cross

The seventh cross is our favorite with the sitting area it has. The stone benches seem to have been in disrepair for some time but still quite tranquil and comforting. Perhaps here is where a group could sit and contemplate.

Garrison Prayer Trail The Seventh Cross Garrison Prayer Trail The Seventh Cross old sitting area Garrison Prayer Trail The Seventh Cross 2

The path rolls up and down through the woods and beds of Laurel
Garrison Prayer Trail Starts Trail Winds Up and Down
Garrison Prayer Trail Starts Heading A Pretty TrailThe eight cross is a newer one. Rousing more curiosity. We thought maybe they represented the eight apostles, but then we found two more.

Garrison Prayer Trail The Eighth Cross After this cross there is a fork in the trail. Following Yoga Berra’s advice “If you come to a fork in the road take it.”  If you want to see the ninth and tenth and find your way back to the main Marcia’s Mile path go to the right.
Garrison Prayer Trail SPlits down and to Garrison Institute

The left leads to the Garrison Institute buildings.

Garrison Prayer Trail SPlits down and to Garrison Institute 2

Very old boulders.

Garrison Prayer Trail Old Boulders

The ninth cross. Recently replaced, you can see the remains of the previous cross.Garrison Prayer Trail The Ninth Cross Garrison Prayer Trail The ninth Cross remains

The tenth cross.

Garrison Prayer Trail The tenth Cross Garrison Prayer Trail The Tenth Cross 2

I also thought they might be stations of the cross, but are missing four more places if it was that.

I’ve search the internet high and low and found no description for these crosses or even a mention of the trail.

If you know anything about them please let us know.

A Walk About Glenclyffe Loop

The Gazebo on the River in Glenclyffe



The Endearing Esopus Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park in Esopus Great Place for Sailing

Some of our most exciting adventures in the Hudson Valley are joy rides to who knows where.  We see a sign and make a turn like this little jaunt on our way to Kingston.

We spotted a road marker that pointed to Lighthouse Park.  With a quick u-turn we were on our way. From 9W the park is a few miles down a small rural windy road. We passed a group of people walking with an old farm wagon and horse that looked like Amish or Mennonites.

The park is tiny but well kept and affords a beautiful view of a the river.

Lighthouse Park in Esopus Stone Benches

You can see the famed Esopus Meadows Lighthouse in the distance.

Lighthouse Park in Esopus Stone Esopuys Meadows Light House

A wonderful destination that is adjacent to Esopus Meadows Preserve, which has two miles of hiking trails.

Our visit was short was we were looking forward to getting to Kingston. But, we are planning to visit the town here which is reported to have been ” known as a haven for artists and performers including Academy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Frances McDormand, singer and Broadway actress Kelli O’Hara, soap opera star Sebastian Roche, director Joel Coen, choreographer Joe Langworth, Emmy Award-winning actor Peter Dinklage, actress Connie Ray, and musician Greg Naughton, all of whom resided in Esopus.” Ulster County Alive

Espous Lighthouse Park

Open year round, dawn to dusk.

255 River Road, Esopus, NY

You’ll Be Happy at the Stormville Airport Antique Show & Flea Market

Stormville Flea Market Don't Worry Be Happy

From the moment we announced our move to the  Hudson Valley friends exclaimed “You must go to the Stormville Flea Market!”  Well we finally made it this past weekend and what a spectacle it is.

Stormville Flea Market people walkting shopping 5

Our excited anticipation was frustrated on the way there, 3 miles out from our destination, the old Stormville Airport, traffic slowed to a crawl. Next time we’ll bring a thermos of coffee and some breakfast to enjoy while we wait in line.

Stormville Flea Market Slow Approach

As we got closer, brightly adorned traffic handlers pointed us to the second of the two massive parking lots.

Stormville Flea Market Almost There

Once we parked we started to scope out what seemed like endless aisles of merchandise, food, drink, all sorts of things new and old.

Stormville Flea Market people walking shopping 2

The people watching is great too, from locals, to tourists, hipsters and artists. Don’t mess with his guy.

Stormville Flea Market Hammer Time Don't Mess With Me

Sited at the old Stormville Airport which was opened in the early Forties, the market is steeped in history. The airport closed in the nineties,  but you can still feel the spirit of aircraft and pilots of old. Read more about Stormville Airport History Here.

The market began here in the Seventies with just  a few vendors on the front lawn. Over almost five decades it has grown to be one of  New York’s largest and most popular outdoor flea markets with over 600 vendors taking over many acres.

Stormville Flea Market people walking shopping

The aisles are more less arranged between new merchandise and antiques. There are just all sorts of goodies.

Stormville Flea Market Egyptian Icons

Stormville Flea Market Tiny Action Figures

It is clear that the experienced shoppers, Stormville veterans, know to bring their carts,

Stormville Flea Market Gotta Have the Right Cart

Stormville Flea Market Carts

Because you just might need one of these.Stormville Flea Market Old TVOr some of these.

Stormville Flea Market Hummels

Stormville Flea Market Five Buck Table

At every turn there was another aisle, we spent a couple of hours shopping.

Stormville Flea Market people walkting shopping 3

Of course there is food and drinks a plenty.

Stormville Flea Market Drinks a Plenty

Stormville Flea Market Lots to Eat

Stormville Flea Market Fried Dough

Fun for the kids.

Stormville Flea Market Fun For KIds Stormville Flea Market Lots to EatAnd more and more stuff.

Stormville Flea Market Hand Crafted Flowers

Stormville Flea Market Kids Trikes

Stormville Flea Market Ducks

And endless people.

Stormville Flea Market people walkting shopping 4

Stormville Flea Market people walking shopping 3
Stormville Flea Market Spooky Statues

Lots of curiosities and curios

Stormville Flea Market Time Has Come Today

Stormville Flea Market Oscar Meyer Weiner Toy

Stormville Flea Market Kids Trikes

Stormville Flea Market Hands in Cage

Stormville Flea Market God Bless America

This is quite an event! Stormville Airport Flea Market and Antique Show

428 Route 216
Stormville, NY 12582


By the way, sorry no pets allowed.`

Stormville Flea Market Sorry No Pets Allowed




Are We Lost – Winter Walk Around Canopus Lake — Fahnestock Memorial State Park

Walk Around Canopus Hi Friends

A certain fearful anxiety can haunt some first time walks into the woods. Thoughts swirl around “are we on the right trail, might we get lost, will night fall come before we find our way back.” Stories have been told of souls being lost, massive searches launched, don’t want to be one of those people.

Fahnestock State Park is a big beautiful park with many trails and interesting things to see. It is well documented and maps are available but on this walk we thought we knew the way.

Walk Around Canopus Lake Path

One of the highlights of this park is Canopus Lake, that spans 105 acres, 1.5 miles long. We’ve passed it many times by car, and were longing to get a closer look.

Walk Around Canopus Lake Long View

On the Cold Spring Carmel Road, Route 301, east of  route 9 there is a boat launch area and some parking area across the road a bit west of the launch. We thought there was a trailhead that began at the boat launch but the path into  the woods was unmarked. Undaunted and following a small but cryptic map that showed a path around the lake we ventured in.

Walk Around Canopus Lake another view Walk Around Canopus Lake another Path

As much as we prefer the warmer weather, without leaf cover winter walks allow such nice views.

Walk Around Canopus Lake View Walk Around Canopus Lake Tall Grass Walk Around Canopus Lake Islands Walk Around Canopus Lake Frozen Over Walk Around Canopus Lake No Walking Here

We eventually figured out that what were on was the cross country ski trails that are maintained by the parks department. But with the light snow we had this winter there was not enough on the ground to allow this sport.

Walk Around Canopus Lake Red Berries

But the paths do provide many visual pleasures.

Walk Around Canopus Lake Tall Grass two

At a mid point in the lake there is a bridge which we crossed looking for a trail that circled around but were unsuccessful and returned the way we came. At this point we were feeling lost and not sure how to return,

We finally made it back. There are a few branches of the path we were on that took us by some old interesting ruins. Seem to have misplaced those pictures.

Across 301 there is an interesting cavern.

Walk Around Canopus crater Walk Around Canopus crater 2

It seems that the Appalachian Trail [blazed white] runs through the park by the lake. But we had not accessed it at the right point.  We will try again in the spring.

More Info Here



A Walk on the Charcoal Burners Trail Fahnestock State Park

Jordan Pond overlooking Glynwood Farms on the Cabot Trail off the Charcoal BurnersNamed for the men who labored here in nineteenth century downing trees and making charcoal this trail is a magical place that lives up to it’s “easy” designation.

On Route 301, the Cold Spring Turnpike, 3.4 miles east of Route 9 you will see this sign that marks one entry point of the trail.

Charcoal Burners Trail Sign

It loops around through the woods to the north then back across the turnpike returning on the south side of the road back to your starting point.

Charcoal snowey path

Even in winter the trail is green, rich with mountain laurel and moss. The laurel bushes bloom in June with gentle white and pink flowers. Looking forward to that come the Spring.

Charcoal Burner Woods with Laurel and Snow

The path is narrow in many places and often you are walking on ancient boulders strewn here by some might glacier.

Rivlets of sparkling water from the melting snow made the rocky trail dangerous and enchanting.

Charcoal Burner boldersAfter about 2/3rds of a mile on this trail marked in red,  you will see the Cabot Trail which is marked in white. Taking that path brings you to a beautiful view of Jordan Pond and Glynwood Farm.

There is a short unmarked path that brings you to the pond’s edge.

Charcoal Burner Path to Pond

Someone left a hefty stump where you can sit for a moment or hours.

Jordan Pond overlooking Glynwood Farms on the Cabot Trail off the Charcoal Burners closeAnd take in the tranquil view.

Jordan Pond overlooking Glynwood Farms on the Cabot Trail off the Charcoal BurnersWalking back we enjoyed the woods.

Charcoal Burner WoodsStreams.

Charcoal Burner Stream

And crisp blue sky.

Charcoal Burner bright sky

More information here


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



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