By Ernest Barteldes
Once a regular part of our lives, the MTA one-day getaways to Long Island and the Hudson Valley were forgotten for a while. I guess our little circle of friends got busy with other things and it just got tiresome to take the trips on our own – until someone else came up with the idea of doing it again.
So we headed to Grand Central Station, where we met our group for the two-hour ride to the city of Poughkeepsie, where we met the bus that would take us on our “Farm Fresh Weekend” trip, which was labeled “wine, cheese and ice cream” was slated to begin in the village of Millbrook, located a few miles from Poughkeepsie, NY.
Millbrook is one of these quaint locales where you find several antique shops and a handful of restaurants – we looked at several of the shops and then went for a quick lunch at the Millbrook Cafe, where Renata and I both had their tuna melt and a couple of glasses of wine. It was quite delicious and filling, and it was a pity that we didn’t have more time there to enjoy the home-like atmosphere and especially the heat of their wood-burning oven.
The weather that day did not help – it was cold and raining most of the time, so it made of a less enjoyable experience. One of the members of our group was in a bad mood as a result, but that didn’t faze the rest of us – we just enjoyed the day the best we could. We then headed to The Clinton Vineyards, where we tasted a variety of locally produced wines – their Pinot Noir was quite good, and so was one of their dessert wines – so we brought back a bottle of the former. The next stop was at Meadowland Farm, where we were supposed to try some cheese – but that did not happen. Instead, they had two barns where they were selling apples and cider and a small grocery store that sold vegetables and frozen meats.
At that point, I started wondering why the hell they selected this stop. It was not like anyone would buy any frozen lamb to take back to New York over a 2-hour train ride. Cured meats would have made sense, but this just didn’t. Incidentally, where the hell was the cheese? Our hosts apologized for the weather and all, but this was just ridiculous to begin with. After about 45 minutes we got back on the bus and headed to the last stop, a local creamery called Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn, a shop whose motto is “to the cow to the cone in three days.” The experience was like stepping back in time – an old-style shop with quite a menu.
I cannot remember what flavor of ice cream I had – I rarely have the stuff – but it was quite nice. I wandered around the premises and a bit outside and then we headed back to Poughkeepsie, where we met our train back to New York.
On previous trips we’d hung at the local bar across from the train station, but for whatever reason we didn’t. Probably it was the weather, or the mood of one of the members of our party. But it was a good time nevertheless, and I hope to have that opportunity again soon.