Sunday, November 25, 2007

Window Shopping

This is the view from Olana, Frederick Church's home in Hudson, NY. We saw it up on the mountain as we drove across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on our way across the river to Hudson.
(We didn't go up there today, though--too much shopping to do!)

Kathleen and I went shopping today. We drove south, intending to go to Hudson, to check out some of my favorite shops, and do a little Christmas shopping. Well, in the manner in which we do things, we veered off of our planned path, and ended up in Saugerties. How did that happen, you ask? It all started when Kathleen said (because we always have our best chats in the car) that all of her friends have fun stories to tell about things their mothers used to do when they were younger, and she didn't have any to share! She said I don't tell stories about my younger days. And you know, she's right! My father used to share his childhood stories with us all the time when we were kids, and I remember being entranced by them! So why then, have I so neglected that tradition? I guess I've never been much of a storyteller...

So there we were, taking the scenic route south, making a bee-line for Hudson, and it occurred to me that we were coming up to the turn I took during the summer of 1985 to go to work at Pleasant Acres Resort in Leeds, NY. I thought, HEY--what a perfect opportunity to share one of my "stories." So we took the turn, and as we drove the twisty road to where the resort used to be, I saw new houses that had been erected, forests that had been chopped, and a "newness" that took me aback. But the further we drove, the more familiar it got, and I showed Kathleen the spot where I had 360'd the old green Subaru on a rainy day and scared myself half to death, and told her a bit about the 7-days-a-week, 3-meals-a-day drudgery that was that summer of waitressing at Pleasant Acres. It wasn't all drudgery, of course, because I worked with my sister, and made new friends, but when I think of the hours I worked then--oy! Thank God I was just a kid. Hmmm...I forgot to tell her about the night my sister and I sang during "Talent Night" up on stage. That was a big night for me! Lights, a band, microphones....people WATCHING It was fun. I guess that's a story for another day!

As we drove through Leeds, which is a very cute old town, I saw the sign for the NYS Thruway, so we got on it, heading south. Silly me...if I had just gone straight THROUGH Leeds, we would have been over the river and into Hudson in 5 minutes. But NO. It's been so long since I've been on that road, that I got confused. So, since we were headed south toward Saugerties, and we couldn't turn around, I made sure we stopped and did a little shopping there, before we headed back up to Hudson. We ended up in the Saugerties Antiques Gallery, and The Willow Tree, and we passed a bunch of others on our way out of town, in our haste to get to our REAL destination. The find of the day? A book at The Willow Tree called something like "Tell Me Your Stories, Mom." (It's downstairs hidden with the other Christmas gifts, or I'd go find the real title for you.) How serendipitous was THAT, though?! Kathleen picked it up, and said "Oh my GOSH! LOOK at this! Can I give it to you for Christmas, and will you fill it out?!" I looked through the book, and it's a guided story-telling book, with lots of questions to prompt stories from my childhood. It's JUST what she needs from me, and it's JUST what I need to give her. My hist0ry--it'll be my gift to her. I wish I had one from my mother.

We finally made it to Hudson, and stopped at my favorite shop, Lilli and Loo, which unfortunately does not yet have a website, or I'd link you up. It's two floors filled with beautiful handmade scarves, fabulous funky furniture, and quirky little accessories like carved graphite sculptures that you can write with, and real bugs encased in clear acrylic blocks. The owner has a great eye for what's new and different, and her store is a visual treat. I can't believe I didn't buy anything there!

Then it was off to Hudson Home, which is my next favorite shop in Hudson. This place is unreal. They have a great line of transitional furniture, cowskin rugs, beautiful glassware, funky one-of-a-kind lighting and accessories. It's another treat for the senses, and I love going there just to drool. They even had two silk Fortuny lamps which I tried to keep my hands off of. They were following behind me with drool-cloths...hee!

There is one thing they had done in their front room, which doesn't show on the website, because those pictures are older, that really caught my eye this time. First of all, it was the fireplace wall. Inside the "fireplace", or rather, where a fireplace SHOULD have been, they had glued thin slices of birch logs all onto a black board, to make the fireplace look as if it had been stacked chock-full of logs. I just saw this in one of my deco mags recently, and thougt it was such a clever idea! THEN, surrounding the fireplace, and bear with me, because this is difficult to describe, but it was essentially a faux library wall. All white. There were thin firring strips attached to the wall horizonally, protruding a bit, to give the illusion of shelf edges. Then hundreds more firring strips had been cut into book-height pieces, and lined up and stacked up on these "shelves" to create this relief, I guess, for lack of a better word...a "library" relief. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it on my phone. Darn. Next time. Anyway, the whole thing was painted white, so it was punctuated only by the fireplace mantel, and the "logs" inside it. Too cool for school, my friends. If I can find a picture on the internet of something similar, I'll come back to show you. Heck, maybe when I get my house, I'll copy it and show you MY version! Ha! :)

Well, here's a link to the antique shops in Hudson, and galleries. I wish there was a site with ALL the shops. It's like a little Hamptons right in the middle of "upstate" NY. Hudson used to be such a dive. It's amazing what has happened in just a few short years. People travel from all over to do their shopping there...I even saw the furniture twins (I forget their from Antiques Roadshow there a few years ago. Nifty.

Oops, I almost forgot our in-between stop in Catskill. It's called Variegated, and they do all of their own silkscreened linens and pillows. Very cool. The town of Catskill is also seeing a bit of a rebirth in recent years. Kathleen and I actually went to Hood & Company on Thanksgiving day....I spent a chunk of change there on Christmas gifts. The owner is a doll--very sweet guy, and very into making the whole Main St, Catskill thing a success. I wish him the best!

Ok, that's it. I'm done talking about my shopping day! I hope I didn't bore you all. I just love that I live so close to such great places to shop. Tomorrow I'm headed up to Saratoga for an appointment with a client at Sutton's Marketplace. I'll let you know what I find! Last year, they had great Christmas trees up all over, and ornaments galore. 'Tis the season! Where have YOU been shopping? (And I don't want to hear ""


Rose said...

What an excellent day you and Kathleen had. The fill in your own story book sounds really cool. She's gonna love that. I really enjoyed your descriptions of all the little shops you visited, that I'm never going to get to see in person. Sounds like a great day!


Anonymous said...

No need for a caption...I recognized Olana right away. Beautiful memories there and no, I haven't forgotten the flute piece "Olana." I'm reworking it as a flute and piano piece and submitting it to my publisher in the Spring. BTW, you are a gifted writer, Sharon, and you need to do something with that! Quite a talented lady: A musician, an artist, and a writer. Is there such thing as a Renaissance WOMAN? There has to be, because it's you. :)

PAT said...

Sharon...I've always wanted to visit Upstate NY....your post makes me wish it all the more! I loved hearing all about your day with Kathleen! How wonderful you found that book!

Now I'm going to have a look at all these intriguing links! Thank you, so much! I'm going to enjoy browsing!


Amber said...

Well, you must not've read my Scroogie post, 'cause yep...I was on Amazon this morning! LOL 'Course, if I had this amazing selection of eclectic shops nearby, then maybe I'd be more in the shopping spirit, too. What a lovely outing you had with Tat...and I love that you're passing on memories. You are a wonderful mom and you've got to be the coolest chica around. I'm ready to hop a flight to Albany and have you take me for a shopping trip!

Rose said...

How beautiful and thoughtful that Kathleen wants to know more about you in your younger days; that makes my heart sing. And how lovely that you didn't stick to the plan and simply allowed the day to unfold as it did. Release and acceptance. One of my favorite meditative thoughts is "Receive what you have been given"; you two were given a very special day together. The "library relief" sounds so cool!

BTW, I've tagged you for a Crazy Eights meme. Please check m'blog:
Hope you have a fun day today!

Greg said...

Sounds like a great day.

Haven't done much Christmas shopping yet. Parties at work and making ready to move are the priority just now. History says that during such years (we always seem to move in early December) I'll shop just before the mailing deadline for the Out of Towners and then deal with gifts for our household when last-minute sales go on.

I promise next year I'll be finished before Thanksgiving.

Yah, right...

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