Wilderstein, Rhinebeck, NY – Historic House Tour

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Front view

We were in Claverack this past weekend, and on Sunday we decided to head to Rhinebeck for a tour of Wilderstein.  We have visited most of the historic homes in Dutchess and Columbia counties in the last twenty-five years, but somehow never got to this one.  It is a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.

Wilderstein was built by Thomas Suckley (pronounced Sookley), a descendant of the Beekman and Livingston families, in 1852, as a much more modest Italianate house, then remodeled and greatly enlarged in 1888 in the Queen Anne style, by Thomas’ son Robert.

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Side view

The last occupant of the house, Margaret Suckley, known as Daisy, was a close friend and confidante of Franklin Roosevelt.  Whether there was a romantic involvement has never been confirmed, but she spent a great deal of time with him after he and Eleanor began living separately.  There is a wonderful interview in the introductory video that begins the tour, of Daisy and her sister Elizabeth, when Daisy was ninety-five, four years before her death.

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View of the Hudson from the house

The interior is fascinating in its ornateness, along with the Victorian preference for very dark rooms.  I took these photos of the entrance hall before we were informed that photography was not permitted:

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For more information and visiting hours, visit the website:


Great lunch at Honey Paw in Portland, ME

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Stanley and I headed to Maine yesterday with our friends Arthur and Al.   On the way to Cundy’s Harbor for the weekend, we stopped in Portland for lunch.  We had hoped to get into Eventide Oyster Co., where we had a wonderful lunch three years ago, but it is so popular that the wait for a table or bar seating can easily run to an hour.  A friend had recommended Honey Paw, which is next door and under the same ownership, as an alternative.  We were able to get seated without a wait, though it did fill up while we were there.  The food here is a mix of seafood, meat and some vegetarian options, with Asian influences, all beautifully plated and delicious.  It’s mainly small plates, running $15 on average.  Two plates made for a very filling lunch.

I particularly liked the glass noodle salad with seafood, whose flavors reminded me very much of the Malaysian style cooking of Zak Pelaccio, which we loved at the now defunct Fatty Crab in Manhattan, and more recently at Back Bar in Hudson.  The fried spare ribs were well-spiced and meaty.  They also have a great selection of beers on tap and in bottles.  We had a Founder’s Stout that was superb.







Wm. Farmer & Sons – Hudson, N. Y.

Last week, Stanley and I had dinner with our friend Victor at Wm. Farmer & Sons.  It is yet another “farm to table” restaurant, and it has earned a well-deserved reputation for excellent food, a fine addition to the ever-growing Hudson restaurant scene.

wf1wf3wf2The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with just the right level of lighting.

Starters we had were beet salad, octopus, and rabbit pate, and main courses were chicken pot pie and duck breast.  We liked everything.   It’s especially nice that they use chicken thighs, giving the pot pie a much richer flavor.  The duck was perfectly done medium-rare.

The beer list shows a lot of thought. We very much enjoyed the porter from Suarez Family Brewery in Livingston.

By the way, Wm. Farmer & Sons also rents rooms, and is just two blocks from the station.


More Baby Lambs – One in a sweater

This has become an annual thing.  I’ve been posting photos of the lambs at a nearby farm for the last two years.  The first year they were born in very cold weather and were all wearing sweaters.  Last year it was already warm and no sweaters were seen. This year, only one had a sweater.  Perhaps he had a cold, or just wanted to be chic.