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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Conservation Fund Buys Cowee Forest

From The Conservation Fund Press Release:

ALBANY, N.Y. —Today, The Conservation Fund announced its purchase of 23,053 acres of working forestland in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. Known as Cowee Forest, the acquired lands provide critical connections to existing conserved areas and recreational resources, including access to the Taconic Crest Trail and the Rensselaer Plateau, as well as protection for important wildlife habitat within a short drive from Albany, New York, and Bennington, Vermont....

Click here for full Press Release

Click here for coverage in Huffington Post

According to a information provided by the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance (RPA),  "More than 15,000 of these acres are in Rensselaer County and over 9,000 are on the Rensselaer Plateau. The Conservation Fund plans to work with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the communities and local partners, such as RPA, to create and implement permanent protection strategies for the land." 

Kudos to the Conservation Fund and our own local Rensselaer Plateau Alliance for this wonderful conservation news.  

Click here for information on how you can become a member of the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Happy Trails at Southern Vermont College

SVC's Everett Mansion

A couple of years ago, I posted SVC Hikes about the hiking trails at Southern Vermont College in Bennington. At the time, we took a hike there on a trail that was in need of maintenance, to put it mildly -- it became somewhat of a bushwhack.  Dennis, my college roommate and good friend, recently visited me from the Big Apple and I took him over to SVC (a really cool place!), where we hiked some trails on the north end of the property. These were in excellent condition and a lot of fun.

Click here for directions to SVC. Click here for a map of the trails (and then zoom in).

To further help you find the north-end I'm talking about -- the Carriage Road that leads to the Cave Trail -- I made this short video. Pull up to the parking lot by SVC's Everett Mansion, walk up to the courtyard on the west side of the mansion, and...

Walk to the SVC Hiking Trails (video)

View to the north of Bennington and the Bennington Monument.

Bucolic meadow north of the Everett Mansion and adjacent to the start of the north-end trails.

Old stone scenic veiw observation platform.

Traversing the meadow.

That would be my buddy Dennis "presenting" the stairway to the west of the Everett Mansion

Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails

Friday, June 30, 2017

Great Museum Deal

Bennington Museum
Over dinner with some friends from Bennington recently, I learned about a great deal on museum admissions. Frankly, it sounded too good to be true but it is. It works like this: buy a $100 Contributing level membership at the Bennington Museum and this provides the membership benefits for the Bennington Museum plus participation in the North American Reciprocal Museums (NARM) program covering more than 800 participating museums (click here). This is a win-win for Linda and I. It covers both of us for a year and it helps the Bennington Museum.

Here's a sampling of some museums, that participate in NARM:
  • Adirondack Museum (Blue Mountain)
  • Albany Institute of History & Art
  • Berkshire Botanical Garden (Stockbridge)
  • Bennington Center for the Arts
  • Bennington Museum
  • The Clark (Williamstown)
  • Hancock Shaker Village
  • Hildene (Manchester)
  • The Hyde Collection (Glens Falls)
  • The Mount (Lenox)
  • Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge)
  • Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton)
  • Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College
I particularly like the fact that we can go to the Bennington Museum, Hildene and The Clark, for a year, any time the whim hits us. Both the Clark and Hildene charge an admission fee of $20, so it doesn't take long to pass the $100 point if you like museums and have the time, like we do, to visit them. The Bennington Museum Contributing level membership also comes with four free passes to the Bennington Museum for your friends or family.

See also
Bennington Museum

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, just across the Massachusetts border, runs parallel to Route 8 between Adams and Lanesborough. It is a beautiul 10-foot wide, paved and immaculately maintained trail on a former railroad corridor.  Yesterday, we started on the trail and made it to Cheshire and back from Adams.  We'll return soon and do the other half of the 12+ mile trail and add to the photos below.

Click here for the trail map.

On the drive back, we stopped off at Ramuntos Pizza in North Adams for terrific pizza.

On the trail is this former railroad station, now a restaurant.

Pastoral view, 2-3 miles south of Adams on the trail.

Meticulously maintained

Nice bridge

Thanks Ronald!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Walloomsac Taproom & Brewery

Walloomsac Taproom & Brewery
Off a winding, dirt road adjacent to the Walloomsac River in Hoosick Falls, on 50 Factory Hill Road, sits Brown's Brewing Company's Walloomsac Taproom and Brewery.  The parking lot is large, but I recommend old shoes as it was very muddy the day I paid my visit. The brick building had formerly been a paper mill and valve company.  The taproom has been nicely refurbished, retaining large windows looking out on the river.

While first and foremost a microbrewery, with some very creative brews, the authentic mill-on-the-creek experience and quite good pub food make the trip mandatory if you're in the area. I chose the six beer flight with the 2015 Old Ale being the clear winner and worthy of a glass on its own. Honorable mention went to the Whiskey Porter. My Tiashoke Farm Wood Fire Grilled Hamburger was tasty as were the hand-cut fries served with it. I rate the burger and fries 3 stars and the beer 4 stars (5 star being highest)

View across the bar into the brewery

Friday, February 3, 2017

New York State Seedling Sale

Go Green!

New York State's Saratoga Tree Nursery has kicked off their annual tree and shrub seedling sale. Click here for details.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Frozen Lakes and Star Wars

Click here for a terrific PBS piece, and video, called "Why Does A Frozen Lake Sound Lke A Star Wars Blaster?"

Living on a lake, I've long been fascinated by the phenomenon.  Click here for a post on the subject from last year, "Taconic Lake Symphony" and click here for another one I did in 2012, "Moonlight and Ice Noise on Taconic Lake."