Glorious September! Have I written before, “The MOST beautiful month of the year!” Yes, I’m sure I have… there are so many beautiful months of the year in the Catskills when you just want to explore one area at a time, and each one is breathtaking.
In early September, my friend and I did just that. It was a Sunday and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown had an exhibit of the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, Whistler and Ansel Adams, along with their regular, excellent showing of American Indian Art. We decided to go and to include lunch at Origins Cafe, which we had heard was worth visiting. It’s a gorgeous gem of a restaurant, set in a greenhouse, the tables interspersed with tropical plants and wooden sculptures hanging from wires strung above. The tablecloths, napkins and pillows were all of fabrics from Thailand and all different. The sculptures were painted in bright colors and had a Mexican feeling. They were done by a local artist, and all were for sale. The food was from local farms and from their own gardens. The food, the ambiance, the waitstaff were all wonderful and we will surely go back on another of our exploration days.
The Fenimore Museum is always a treat; the exhibits as well as the architecture of the building itself, the landscaping and surroundings, the glistening Otsego Lake and the beautiful homes nearby. We could have had lunch in the museum but it would not have been as memorable as this whole day. The weather was perfect, the mountains velvety green, the sky clear and blue. No wonder so many artists have drawn inspiration from the area.
Taking advantage of the perfect Fall days, on the following Sunday we again went on one of our exploration days. Many years ago, my friend had been to Vesuvio, a restaurant in Hensonville, near Hunter and always remembered the special dish that she had that day. She wanted to go back to see if it was as good as she recalled. We made a reservation for an early dinner and first drove to Tannersville, where there are many tourist attractions, galleries and restaurants, all painted in bright colors, all with uniquely painted, wooden garbage containers in front. We wandered in and out of a clothing store that featured beautiful gowns and tuxedos from the ‘30s (reminding me of TCM and the stars of that era). We visited antique stores and galleries, then drove on through Hunter to our destination.
Leah ordered that dreamed-of dish that she remembered so well, a bouillabaisse with mussels and clams and other seafood in a sauce, over linguine. It was just as she remembered and made by the same charming chef, Joseph, who was still there and who came to our table to greet us. The dish I ordered was also superb: meatballs, pulled pork and sausage in a rich tomato sauce, served with rigatoni. The bread, which was crispy-crusted and warm from the oven, was so good that we couldn’t stop eating it, even though we knew it would spoil our appetite. By the time we ate our salad with freshly made blue cheese dressing and consumed all the bread, we were not very hungry. The waitress kindly boxed the leftovers which were enough for two more meals. I know we will return.
Driving back to the other side of the mountain, we both agreed that New York State is probably the best and most beautiful state in the world, especially in September.~