Friday, January 17 2020
location: rural Hurley township, Ulster County, New York
As part of the celebration of her birthday, today Gretchen wanted to spend the night at a fancy bed and breakfast called the Inn on Lake Joseph in the hamlet of Forestburgh, NY (which lies near the western edge of the part of New York that we live which (an 80-mile-wide swath between Pennsylvania and Connecticut). To help get our evening started as early as possible, I made up an excuse so I could leave work at 1:00pm. Since Gretchen had rented us a dog-friendly room, our dogs (Ramona and Neville) got to come, to their unexpected delight.
Gretchen had planned the whole trip down to the rustic route we would follow, which was over obscure roads that I rarely have been on (even ones close to home). This started when we busted a right onto Joy Lane from Zandhoek Road while still in Hurley, and continued with roads such as Binnewater and Springtown. Our first destination was the isolated hamlet of Pine Bush, which, by some miracle, has a vegan Chinese restaurant called Pure City. The hamlet actually has a fair number of restaurants, including a Mexican place, a variety of Italian places and pizza joints, and several other Asian restaurants as well. A cold snap that had started yesterday evening made being outside miserable, but we nevertheless walked our dogs up and down the main street of Pine Bush while waiting for our big order (which Gretchen had phoned in from the road) to be finished. We also ducked into a convenient health food store to get a number of essential provisions that are impossible to find in normal grocery stores. Gretchen had ordered so much food that it came in two heavy plastic bags and cost over $60. The nearby Shawangunks make the area from west of New Paltz down to Pine Bush look like some place out west. I'd say it was beautiful, but that's a tiresome observation since every place is beautiful. It's more that it's unexpected.
Route 17 took us over the mass of mountains between Pine Bush and Montecello and then we took Route 42 down to Forestburgh. The main building at the Inn on Lake Joseph had a classy old architecture. The shake shingle that had been applied over the rounded gables gave the building an almost reptilian appearance. We quickly found Matt, the guy who would check us in. He gave us a surprisingly long orientation to the building and grounds. There were maps to go over and he had to know what sort of breakfast we would be wanting. Somebody Gretchen had talked to on the phone had acted like our vegan diet would be no problem, but this guy seemed unsure whether or not there would be oat milk for the morning coffee.
Our room was in the Cottage, one of two buildings with dog-friendly rooms. Our room was "platinum" grade and came with not just a gas-powered fireplace and private in-room jacuzzi, but a whole kitchen as well. The plan was to just do nothing, which is my idea of a perfect vacation. First, though, we took a stroll with the dogs down to the south end of Lake Joseph (which is about a mile long and a third of a mile wide and, on this evening, completely frozen over). On any other day that might've been a pleasant walk, but it was so cold that by the time we got back, my face hurt. After that, it was time for the jacuzzi, which was kind of small and drained a bit too quickly no matter what one did. But that was okay; there's only so much jacuzzi one can take. And then it was time for sexy time. Only after that was it time to bust into the Chinese food. Gretchen had gotten me an order of breaded fried mushrooms, which I sprinkled on everything else I ate. The food was not only vegan; it was also a bit healthier than most American-style Chinese food. Less oil and sugar had been used, and the default rice was brown. I wouldn't say it was amazing, but it had also been languishing in containers for hours.
The WiFi didn't seem to work in our room, so we ended up watching a Stephen-King-inspired mystery series on HBO entitled The Outsider. It starred Jason Bateman, though (spoiler alert) he seemed to get killed off early in the second episode. By that point I was too sleepy to stay awake to see the underlying mystery be revealed.
Neville hurrying back to our room after our face-freezing walk to Lake Joseph.
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