Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New York - Wurtsboro


We headed north to New York on June 18, 2018. Catskills Adventure Resort, just north of Wurtsboro, NY was home for a week. It is a large campground with sites on both sides of Mt. Vernon Road. The majority of the campground is permanent sites. They are all kept up very well, most with beautiful landscaping. There is plenty to do as they have a large pool, playground, horseshoes, a stocked pond with canoes and planned activities. The onsite restaurant serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings and there is an adult lounge for happy hour.

The overnight sites are in an open field and all back ins. The sites are grass and very wide. They have a picnic table and a fire ring. Our site was plenty long enough for us with lots of room to store our tow-dolly. The WiFi was an extra $14.95 for the week and worked pretty well most of the time. We had no Verizon service in the park. The laundry and bathrooms were clean. We paid $48.71 a night with the WiFi added in, and no discount.

The FDR Presidential Library and Museum was America's first presidential library, and the only one used by a sitting president. FDR designed it himself and it opened in 1941 on the grounds of the Roosevelt estate, Springwood, in Hyde Park, NY.
We had to cross that! 
It was only 43 miles away, but having to cross a mountain made the trip over an hour. It was a beautiful drive so we didn't mind.

When FDR donated his papers to the Library he set a precedent for public ownership of presidential papers. This library became the model for the nation's presidential library system, now part of the National Archives.
In the Museum you can explore exhibits about the lives of the Roosevelts, the Great Depression, the New Deal and World War II.

Nancy's brother Bob, had polio as a child and has struggled with the after effects his whole life, thankfully he was never paralyzed but walking has always been difficult. But he never let it stop him, he owned his own business and built and installed custom cabinets! So it was pretty inspiring to hear the tale of FDR's fight with polio and all he did to maintain an active life and keep the public thinking he was strong and fit, which of course is what he was. He was paralyzed from the waist down but he learned to walk after the polio by supporting himself with two arm crutches and thrusting his shoulders forward to propel his body.
In the pictures that show him standing he is always holding onto someones arm or a table or podium.
His son was quoted as saying he always had bruises on his arm from his fathers strong grip. He had tremendous upper body strength. He would walk the full length of the driveway everyday that he was at Springwood.

He accomplished many things and made tremendous improvements to the country.

As you walk through the Museum, you get a glimpse of what life was like for the majority of Americans who were struggling through the depression and the war.

There are a number of videos to watch that describe what was happening in the country at the time. Some displays show the improvements of the time as well, like the development of TV. Well, we guess you could argue whether that was an improvement or not!

Once again there were moments of frustration as you are reminded that we just keep fighting the same battles over and over again and never seem to learn.

"The test of our progress in not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

FDR's vision was a world founded on four essential human freedoms. 

Eleanor Roosevelt not only shared FDR's thoughts on helping people, she had many progressive ideas of her own. She had a cottage, Val-Kill, just a few miles from the Roosevelt estate that she used as her escape and where she hosted many gatherings to discuss controversial issues of the time. Labor leaders, World leaders, United Nations colleagues were just some who visited there. It became her main home after FDR passed away. You can tour it as well, it is the only National Historic dedicated to a first lady.

She traveled world wide while FDR was in office, to meet with people of all walks of life. She championed for social programs and civil rights. Val-Kill Industries, which she owned with a few friends, trained out-of-work rural people in traditional crafts and was a prototype for many national New Deal projects.
After FDR passed away she thought she was done with politics as well, but that was not the case. She continued to fight for the under dog and to inspire others to do the same.

 J. Edgar Hoover, who was the head of the FBI at the time was suspicious of her political activities and associates. He was especially concerned with her involvement in civil rights and civil liberties.

The FBI had a complete file cabinet of information on her. It is one of the largest files ever compiled by the agency on an individual. The file began in 1924 and continued until her death in 1962. Much of it is unsubstantiated gossip and 90% of it concerns her civil rights work.

Springwood is where Franklin was born and grew up. It was his "Camp David" while in office. It is run by the National Parks Service.
L: Front of house - the two wings were added on in 1915~~~ Back of house
The tour includes the main level and the second level where the bedrooms are and is guided by a Park Ranger. You are free to wander each level and explore at your own pace. There is an elevator to the second floor. The third level where the children slept is closed off to the tour.

You enter into the main foyer which is decorated with many photos and nautical items. FDR loved to build and collect model ships. He also collected many other things including stamps, he had one of the largest collections of his time. The storage area of the Library is filled with 100's of boats, art sculptures and paintings.
To the left of the front door is a cabinet filled with stuffed birds, some of which FDR did himself as a young boy. His father insisted that anything he hunted he had to taxidermy himself. That is until his mother discovered all the dangerous chemicals he was using, from then on the birds were done professionally. In front of the cabinet is a statue of FDR done by Prince Paul Troubetzkoy in 1911.

The house tour includes stories of Roosevelt's mother, Sara, who lived with them. She loved to entertain and always got photos of anyone who visited. The piano in the Sitting Room is covered in photographs of the rich and famous.

To the left of the sitting room is the Snuggery, which is what Sara called the room. She paid bills, planned the day and ate her breakfast in this room. It is also where the radio was and the TV was installed in here. Sara wanted to invest in the new technology of television but FDR advised against it because he thought it would never catch on!

At the end of the hall is the Library. There are lots of windows that let in plenty of light and look out over the river, which unlike today, could be seen when FDR lived here. Two of the walls are lined floor to ceiling with bookshelves.

There are four stairs that take you down into the Library. FDR had a removable ramp made so that he could wheel himself in and out of the room.
There are sheets of Plexiglas
 over the ramp and stairs
 that create a platform
into the Library. 
If a visitor came, someone on staff would remove the ramp before bringing them into the Library, where FDR would already be seated.
His wheel chair was custom made to look like a regular chair. When he was seated at a desk it looked like he was just sitting in a chair.

All the bedrooms were on the second floor, including Franklin's. He had an elevator installed, but not an electric one. His was a giant dumbwaiter that he could wheel his chair into and then pull himself up to the 2nd floor. We did say he had incredible upper body strength.

Boyhood room

Franklin's Boyhood Room is set up just like it was when he grew up here. The room that he was born in was recreated after his mother passed away. She had used the furniture in her bedroom in the South wing. Once she passed her room was turned into a guest room.

Birth Room

L: the door from Sara's room ~~ R: the door from FDR'S room
both enter into Eleanor's room. 
It was an interesting arrangement of bedrooms for Franklin, Eleanor and Sara. They were side by side with Eleanor in the middle. There were adjoining doors to all three rooms.
We both had a great relationship with our mother-in-laws but this arrangement seems just a little to close quarters!

FDR's room was chosen for its view. Franklin and Eleanor shared this room until he contracted polio. Then she moved into the room next door.

Hers was the smallest of all three. She had a small day bed and a desk.
 It is said that when FDR was not staying at the house, Eleanor would stay at her cottage just a few miles away.

Sara's room, as stated before was turned into a guest room. While she was living it looked pretty much like the birth room.

At the end of the hall where you turn to go downstairs is a mirror. The Secrect Service used this to keep an eye on the blind hallway. Nancy caught Les lurking in a doorway!

Both Franklin and Eleanor are buried here in the rose gardens. Their beloved Scottish Terrier, Fala is also buried here along with their first dog, Chief, a German Shepard.

FDR's grave is marked with the flag, the dogs are buried in front of the sun dial.

Woodstock, NY has always held a mystical place in our minds. It is a small town with a definite hippy vibe to it. We wandered in and out a few of the shops and art galleries. If you ever want to stay in town the Woodstock Waterfall Hideaway looked like a great place.
Outside one of the galleries is a Habitat for Artists (HFA) shed. HFA sheds are small, temporary studios located in a variety of locations. Some easily visible, others a little more obscure. The idea is to create a connection between artists and communities.

While creating their art, they get to engage with a new audience from that location. The one in Woodstock was all about what inspires you. People could leave their answers tacked to the side of the shed. So, what inspires you? Please let us know by leaving us a comment.

Just outside of Woodstock is the Karma Triyana Tibetan Monastery. Many classes are taught here and it is also a retreat center.

We also found The Big Pink, which is where Bob Dylan lived and his "basement" tapes were recorded. He's come a long ways.

Of course the Woodstock concert was not held here in town, but 50 miles south in Bethel, NY. We visited Yasgur Farm, where it all happened and where they have also held reunion concerts.

The farm is no longer owned by the Yasgur Family, well the majority of it anyways. Miriam Yasgur sold all but 1 sq. feet of it, which will always remain in her family.
There is a Hippy Muffler Man at the front fence of the property.
There is very little sign recognition of the Woodstock Concert. We did discover after the fact that the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts  has a Woodstock Museum in it. It will have to wait for our next time through.

We did find a memorial about a block away from the farm that we thought might be related to the concert. There is no plaque and we can't find any info about it on line. If anyone knows what it is please let us know!

We found a few Roadside Oddities.

The Stone Church, The Chapel of the Holy Name, in Cragsmoor, NY actually came up on the Roadside America website. It is a beautiful church, still holds services and the view is amazing.

The Boy and His Boot are in the center of downtown Ellenville. It is one of three that the town has had over the years. The Shanley Hotel in Napanoch, NY is reportedly haunted. The Giant Gnome welcomes you to Kedler's Farm in Kerhonkson, NY.
"Peg Leg" Bates, was born Clayton Bates on October 10, 1907 to sharecroppers in Fountain Inn, SC. At the age of 10 he lost a leg in a farming accident. Prior to that he earned money dancing on street corners

Image from intetnet
His uncle made him a wooden leg and he taught himself how to tap dance on it. He performed all over the world, including for the King and Queen of England in 1936. When he retired he owned and operated the Peg Leg Bates Country Club in Kerhonkson. He was the first black resort owner in Ulster county.

We drove through Irish Corners on our way back from Woodstock. There is not much here other than a cemetery at the St. Charles Borromeo Church that has some pretty headstones and a large Grassy Monster.

From Irish Corners we drove the Scenic Byway to Ellenville. There are a number of overlooks that offer some great views. At one we found a  painted rock from a member of RVing Rocks. A FaceBook group for rock painters who leave them for others to find and keep or re-hide. We re-hid this one in Connecticut. Nancy has painted a few rocks that we have left for others.

Perrine's Covered Bridge was another find on our way back from Woodstock. It is the second oldest covered bridge in New York. It was built in 1844 and crosses the Wallkill River. It is located in Esopus, NY.

Carolyn ~ Nancy ~ Laurelle 
Nancy was so excited to find out that the annual Reiki Retreat, held by the International Center for Reiki Training was just 10-miles away in Ellenville. Nancy worked at the Center in Michigan before we moved to Asheville, NC. She has kept in contact with many of the teachers from the center as well as some of the customers. She popped in and surprised a few of them. It is always so great seeing old friends.
Speaking of Reiki and old friends. We also got to spend a day with Jim Crowley. We met him years ago when he came to Michigan to take a Reiki Master class. We have also kept in touch with him, thank you FaceBook. He came to the campground and spent the day with us just catching up. He used to have an Airedale so of course Mielikki got lots of loving. We forgot to get a picture, but he got one or two of the dog!

Next up East Haddam, CT.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Bugs!!!!
We talked of issues with bugs before and while we really don't consider ourselves "campers" in the true sense of camping, we are staying in campgrounds and that means bugs!
Bugs inside and out!
There are as many ways to get rid of bugs as there are bugs! Google it sometime and you could spend hours reading all about it!
~ Traps are the most obvious and easiest - ant traps, roach traps and poison for mice. They come in all shapes and sizes.
We place the ant traps along the walls and inside the cupboards.
Roach traps are under all of our cabinets - we pulled out all the drawers and removed vent covers to put them in those dark hiding places.
Mice pellets are also placed under our cabinets - it is impossible to seal off every opening in a RV!

~ Spray - again there are a number of different types of spray to choose from and pretty sure they all work about the same.

 We did a complete spray along every wall in the entire RV, bumper to bumper, as a precaution and then repeat based on the recommendations on the package.
We also do spot spraying when we start seeing bugs again. Along the edge of the cabinets and behind the vent covers.

If our site has a ton of ants on it when we pull in we spray the tires and the hoses that touch the ground to keep the ants from crawling up. Also around the stairs and doorway.
Borax sprinkled on the ground around the tires is supposed to help with ants and mice as well.
We have a ton of underneath storage outside of our RV, we have placed mice pellets and sprayed for bugs in all of them.
We have a Thermacell Repellent Lantern. The lantern has a cartridge inside that emits a mist and gives you up to 15-feet of bug protection. Easy to use and provides light too.

Natural bug spray for our bodies, yes we use a lot of chemicals in this process but on our skin we go natural. We found ours at a Farmers Market in Delaware - Remarle Natural Skin Care - they make many other items as well. It works great and smells good too!

As stated we are using toxins and chemicals except on our skin. We have tried a number of home remedies and the Borax tip seems to work okay, but most just don't do the trick for us. So we are careful when and how we use them.
The traps are placed in places that Mielikki can't get to, corners, under the couch, under drawers etc. The Pet Poison Control hot line does say that if a dog eats an ant trap it shouldn't hurt them, but you should call your vet right away.
We only spray when we are going to be out of the RV for hours. We take Mielikki outside then spray everything and leave. Once back home we clean the floor, etc to make sure she can't get into any of it.

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