City folk often wonder where exactly we live. Upstate? Catskills? Hudson Valley? Downstate? Upstate is different from the city in it’s arrangement of towns, hamlets, villages etc. We pay our taxes to the ‘town’ of Marbletown which includes the ‘hamlets’ of Stone Ridge and High Falls, but our zip code is in Kingston (go figure), and our ‘fire district’ is Lomontville! Lomontville might best be described as our neighborhood, since it is no longer a proper town, just a fire house. We feel connected to all these towns. Stone Ridge is really our town and Kingston is our closest city.

Kingston is an interesting place and, in 2016, feels very much like it’s on the upswing. Founded in the 17th century, it is full of New York history as well as colonial history. Kingston was settled, along with Albany and New Amsterdam, by the Dutch in 1651. It persisted as a Dutch settlement for many years, but like most of the area, was taken over by English-speaking colonists during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1777, Kingston became the capitol of New York State for a short time until the city was torched by British soldiers during the American Revolution. The city thrived for over a hundred years but was negatively impacted in the 20th century by the loss of the railroad, the end of the bluestone trade, the closing of the upstate NY canal system and the departure of IBM in 1987. The current population is about 24,000. The city has it’s issues, including lack of jobs, an aging infrastructure and budget woes, but it is a beautiful town with lots to offer.


The 17th-18th century neighborhood is called Uptown or the Stockade district, and the more 19th century area, which used to be a separate town, is called the Rondout. There are some amazing houses & neighborhoods here. Many of the stone homes are open for tours, and there are walking tours of historic Kingston. You can have a nice meal in the 1679 Hoffman House.

I can’t claim to have discovered any of these houses on my own (linked below and found on design blogs, etc) but I am happy to share the info. On DesignSponge there was Hayes Clement’s home which I learned was designed by Calvert Vaux, who, with Frederick Law Olmstead, designed both Central Park and Prospect Park, among other things. Turns out Calvert Vaux married a woman from Kingston and lived here.

DesignSponge home tour  http://www.designsponge.com/2014/10/sneak-peek-hayes-clement.html

Uptown Kingston was first settled at the end of the 17th century by the Dutch and there are lots of beautiful stone houses here. Like these:




This is a pretty rental/event space pictured below. We went to a party in this lovely courtyard but you can also find the entire place for rent on AirBnB.  http://www.churchdesartistes.com/ Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 9.37.12 AM

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Below is a fun design blog of a young Manhattanite renovating some pretty Kingston houses. http://manhattan-nest.com/


Here’s another home renovation/house rental in Kingston, also featured on DesignSponge: http://www.designsponge.com/2013/09/a-young-couples-charm-filled-hudson-valley-home.html
















I can’t resist a plug for my fave restaurant in town: Boitsons!

It’s worth a trip.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.23.35 AM Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.24.31 AMUs locals are also incredibly excited about the new National Premier Soccer League team coming to Kingston, the Kingston Stockade! Read all about it here: http://www.kingstonx.com/2015/12/01/soccer-made-in-kingston-semi-pro-stockade-fc-starts-play-at-dietz-next-year



So… I realize that this is just barely scratching the surface of Kingston and doesn’t include restaurants, shops, etc. but I have been thinking about how much potential this little city has with great history, architecture, a beautiful location on the Hudson river and only 2 hours from New York City!!

Kitchen in progress

Here is a recap of the first weeks of construction: Floor being patched, walls open for electrical. Day 10.

IMG_1728Beams boxed in, walls getting closed up, Day 16, above.


Pickles on the test patches, above. This is the floor we picked, below. ‘Jacoby’ stain on sanded red oak. The patched areas should pretty much disappear.


Walls getting closed up. Note 3 windows to the left because they are about to be removed. Floors are done but covered to protect them. Day 25 below.IMG_2153

Windows gone, LED lights! Day 28nowindow.

New window and wall finishing, Day 32, below.IMG_2214

Getting closer, cabinets starting to go in, Day 34, below. Color of cabinets is creamier than I remembered. Good thing the paint I picked is a tiny bit warmer than the paint colors in the other rooms, Benjamin Moore: Swiss Coffee on the walls. IMG_2260

This was a great idea Ann came up with, replacing the window over the new sink location really opens up the room, it’s going to look great. IMG_2269



Wintery winter.

Hello! It’s only January but it’s been a very wintery winter so far. The colors of winter are amazing, as is the winter light. The early morning sun turns the tops of the pine trees pink at the woodland edge.IMG_3089


There are wonderful mature trees next door, which is also our sledding hill (big thank you to our neighbors Dennis & Chelsa).

sledding2Some instagrammed pictures below: shadows, fog & blowing snow.

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Flat grey sky.



Doggie face.

Country livin’

Much time has passed since my last post. It’s October now and we are settling in to our new life in “the country”. Yes, it is very photogenic here.


Above you see the upside of having a dog, I would NEVER have been outside at 6am to capture this scene if it weren’t for the dog.


The flip side of that is not so lovely. These were my good, ie: “real”, reading glasses. Layla just destroyed them with her gigantic mouth and left them in the meadow.



IMG_1096Much of the past month has been taken up with new school activities and new friends and also MUCH pet wrangling. The pets are pretty cute though.


Pretty pictures give the impression that it’s all just pure gorgeousness up here. It is pretty, yes, but daily life is very similar to Brooklyn except with more driving and more time spent outdoors. I still work at home on my computer, still do the 3pm school pickup and still I still listen to wnyc on the radio all day, so for the time being I still feel connected to our old life in the City. One difference is I don’t recall having QUITE so many chipmunks in the house in Brooklyn! Both the dog and the cat seem to like to bring small mammals into the house which totally freaks me out.

IMG_1650I have also become a soccer mom, see below. F has been playing really well and he’s really loving it. He is a super Red Bulls fan, as well as a loyal Leeds United supporter.


We have been taking the dog for walks on the local ‘rail trail’ which is a lovely way to start the day. It sure beats my former commute to Long Island City via the G train. Here is the rail trail in the morning light.   IMG_1949IMG_2014IMG_1950

Saugerties Lighthouse.

IMG_0946For anyone visiting (or living in) the Catskills, a visit to the Saugerties Lighthouse is essential. It’s a Victorian-era brick lighthouse set on a sandy peninsula in the middle of the Hudson River.

IMG_0911 copyIt’s a good idea to read up on tidal info here because the path can get soggy at high tide.

IMG_0933It is a short walk to a great place to have a picnic, or to watch the boats go by.

IMG_0989This was taken at high tide looking west back towards the mountains.

IMG_0936A sandy part of the path.

IMG_0941Believe it or not, this beautiful building is a B & B, and if you book way ahead you can wake up in the middle of the Hudson River. The history of the place is on their excellent website.

IMG_0943We visited on a day with a very rainy forecast so no one was there but this area is usually filled with picnic-ers and swimmers.

IMG_0945This is high tide, but at low tide this is a nice place to swim.


View of the Hudson looking east.

IMG_0983Native beauty Joe Pye Weed in the foreground.