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Weekend Travel Pick: Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival

Image of Hot Air Balloon. Caption: Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.
Ever wonder what a hot air balloon ride feels like? Why not treat yourself to a tethered launch? You might get hooked on the feeling! Photo by Robin Catalano.

A few facts you might not know about hot-air balloons: it’s hot—as in, skin-prickling hot—riding directly beneath their burners. Hot-air balloons also rise off the ground a lot faster than you’d think, and can vertically travel 10 feet or more per second. And once you’re up, you feel weightless and free-floating, as if you’re suspended over the landscape on the gentle breath of the breeze.

Another fact: the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, now in its 28th year, returns—bigger and more aww-inspiring—to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, this weekend. Dubbed “Little Albuquerque” by insiders (after the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the largest in the world), the Hudson Valley festival started out as a 10-balloon event with 3,000 spectators. Last year, 35,000 people came out to watch more than twice as many balloons. This year, with more than 100 morning and evening launches of 30 invitation-only balloons helmed by both national and international riders, attendance may tip the scale at closer to 50,000.

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Tail Winds Music Festival

The Greylock Glass gave away THREE PAIRS of tickets to this festival!

Thanks so much for taking part if you entered the contest! You’re the ones who made it fun!

 

Panther on the Prowl:
Katherine Bernhardt GOLD

Katherine Bernhardt, Love Online, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.
Katherine Bernhardt, Love Online, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas; photo by Sara Farrell Okamura.

While making your way through Hudson Valley’s pastoral countryside, it is easy to understand what inspired the Hudson River School of painters such as Thomas Cole and Federic Edwin Church. Your destination is Ghent, New York, a present day farming community about 20 or so miles north of the city of Hudson, and Olana, Church’s family estate, now a historic site. Passing halcyon landscapes, dotted with yellow dabs of color emanating from forsythia and daffodils, you arrive at Art Omi, a contemporary sculpture park, gallery, and international artists residency that rests on 120 + bucolic acres. After initially being greeted by Chicago artist, Tony Tasset’s giant sculpture of a fawn, you enter a contemporary edifice, the Beneson Center, housing the Newmark Gallery. BAM, to quote Roy Lichtenstein’s early pop painting, you have left the serene world of idealized romanticism and entered the universe of master painter, Katherine Bernhardt.

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What We Leave Behind

Dan Devine, Calf, plaster detail; Dan Devine, Calf, plaster; Giroux Gallery (photo: Sara Farrell Okamura).
Dan Devine, Calf, plaster detail; Dan Devine, Calf, plaster; Giroux Gallery (photo: Sara Farrell Okamura).

Impact, New Works by Dan Devine, Thompson Giroux Gallery

Enter Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, New York from now until May 5 and you are walking into Impact, the latest body of work by Dan Devine. Chalky white plaster sculptures cast from the metal remains from collisions and crashes are installed throughout the space. On the walls hang rubbings on creamy white paper, from ruined remains of motors, a melting icicle, a toy assault rifle, and the skeleton of a lamb. The immediate sensation is you have wandered into an anthropological museum, situated on some newly settled planet, circa 2100, dedicated to treasures recovered from the demise of Earth and the empire where we now reside.

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A View from the Tracks: Day Tripping in Chatham & Ghent, New York

A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County New York.
A lonesome balloon glides silently above field and forest near Tice Hill in the Ghent dawn; photo by Zach Neven Creative, Columbia County, New York.

The morning sun reflects off the remnants of a hard crust of snow with a luminous quality that makes the towns of Ghent and Chatham, New York, appear suffused by stage lights. It’s been a long winter—about six months’ worth, by most people’s accounts, though they use much more colorful language; like the Inuit and their multiple words for snow, residents of upstate New York have a remarkable array of vivid, sometimes profane, epithets for the season. On this 50-degree day in March, the first hint that winter is finally releasing its skeletal grip on the region, people are emerging from their woodstove-warmed saltboxes and Cape Cods, primed and ready to enjoy the landscape and a sun no longer obscured by clouds heavy with the promise of more white stuff.

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Plenty #14: Farming While Black

Good day to you, dear sustainable food enthusiasts! I am your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you for tuning in to Episode #14 of Plenty. On this week’s show, we hear from Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land.

Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
Every year, Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York trains over 100 predominantly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people to take leadership as farmers and food justice organizers in their communities.
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Play Ball!

About a year ago I bought myself a new flat screen tv to replace the old one. It was a treat for my birthday, which comes at the end of baseball season, beginning of football season. I hadn’t been watching or listening to much television for quite awhile. Mostly PBS and NPR and Spotify apps, and fast, young, athletic men in tight uniforms.

A cozy New England Patriots fleece throw—essential gear for Pats games in this weather; photo by Sheila Velazquez
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