Monthly Archives: September 2013

Some Old and Some New

selfHello! My name is Leela Stalzer. As a native to Ulster County and as a frequent visitor to Dutchess, I was feeling as if everything in our class was going to be at least mostly familiar. I attended high school in Kingston, which is one of only six cities in what we are calling the Hudson Valley, and I’ve been to Montgomery Place, the Mohonk Mountain House (I think my parents had their wedding reception there), the Bread Alone Bakery, Woodstock, Fishkill (my grandmother lives there), DIA Beacon, the Clearwater Festival, the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, Upstate Films, FDR’s house, the Vanderbilt Mansions, and many of the other places mentioned in class and in the articles we have been reading.


However, the trip to Amenia made me realize that although I’ve had all these experiences in the Hudson Valley, living there has made me taken both its apparently uncommon beauty and its attractive culture for granted. I am also sure I will continue being surprised by how much I don’t know and how much I just didn’t realize about the place I consider home.

Please ignore the terrible selfie, and direct your attention instead to the other pictures, which evoke Amenia’s sense of beautiful simplicity. It seems to me that those who run the farmers’ markets, the vintage shops, and the drive-in theaters in the towns of the Hudson Valley hope to enjoy this simplicity, along with feelings of leisure, in their everyday lives. This is also, I think, part of what draws so many people to areas like Amenia.





What a Wonderful…Thrift Shop

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Hola Dudes and Dudettes,

To the my fellow classmates, I would like to say: Welcome to the blogosphhere! We are very delighted that you have moved over to the tech side of things. You are no longer an average citizen, but a media HERO. Which is a fairly big deal, in my opinion. And to those interested in the Hudson Valley, thank you for stopping by our page to read about the wonderful sights and wonders that are in the Hudson Valley. I am very certain it will be fantastic viewing all that the Hudson Valley has to offer.


I am typically referred to by my given name, Yasani (pronounced Ja-sani). However, I prefer to be called by my more modest name, Alien Technical Drama Savior. I feel this name captures the essence of my being, putting all of my wonderful abilities and characteristics into one fantastic phrase.

I am pretty well-rounded in the technical side of things. I guess you can say I know my way around a computer, well more like media software. I also am infatuated with the theatre. I love acting as well as watching, which is way less stressful. I consider myself an alien, as I am apart of the physics loving, science devoted species. I am an intended physics major, hoping to be apart of the engineering program. Lastly, I love clothes, the environment and FOOOD. Like this wonderful spread of sauces below! pic2

Our first stop in our Hudson Valley Experience was the quaint town of Amenia. Here we stopped at a wonderfully small farmer’s market. Above is an assortment of products that one vendor was selling that come straight from Greece. He had a superb variety of flavored olive oils, as well as fresh feta cheese and different sauces, all of which made my mouth jump for joy.

pic3Other vendors had a plethora of other items, such as locally produced milk, yogurt, and ice cream, fresh vegetables, and baked goods made from local products.

The farmer’s market of Amenia reflects the kind of town it is: small, quaint, and non-commercial. The two main streets in Amenia stop at “a light” in the center of the town. Unlike most towns, these main roads were not busy at all and neither were the little shops surrounding them. With a small antique store that is open “less than more” and a drive-in movie that hasn’t even begun showing any films, it is safe to say that this town isn’t a tourist destination in the Hudson Valley. It is, however, a great, quiet place to stop through and do some great antique or thrift shopping.


Hello from Emily!


My name is Emily Denn and I am a senior Environmental Studies major/Chinese minor. I am from Newtonville, Massachusetts. In my free time I enjoy running, cooking, and reading (not usually at the same time).

I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you – and everyone else on the internet! Below is a selfie that perfectly displays my enthusiasm towards this class.


Grace and Colin seem fairly excited as well.

Now, a few things about the lovely town of Amenia, NY.

Below is the farmer’s market ENST 291 visited in Amenia. Although it was small it had some great variety! Vegetables, eggs, dairy, and other products like pickled garlic were found underneath the tents.


In the background of the photo above is an extremely photogenic church. Here is a close-up of it:


The minuscule town center of Amenia is sleepy but well-manicured. I am a fan of the Black-Eyed Susan, so I very much enjoyed the planters in the main intersection of town:


Overall, our class expedition to Amenia was a good introduction to the Amenity Economy of the Hudson Valley.


An Introduction

In my high school, our teachers would talk about our “Sandton bubble” and then I applied to Vassar College, and I started hearing about the “Vassar bubble”. With a beautiful campus, almost anything you could ever need within a mile radius and a lack of public transport, it’s pretty easy to stay in the vicinity of Vassar College for all four years of your education here – but I didn’t want to. When I found Field Experiences in the Hudson Valley, it was the perfect way to get out of the “bubble” before I eveMy dumb selfier got too comfortable in it.

My name is Caitlin Munchick, and yes, I do have an accent – it’s from South Africa. I’m from Johannesburg, which has around four to ten million people, depending on how you define it. So, coming to Poughkeepsie, with a fraction (of a fraction) of the people living here, has definitely been a change for me. Then, we went to Armenia, which was a fraction of the size of Poughkeepsie, and surprisingly I kind of liked it.

With one traffic light dirDrive inecting “traffic”, empty plots of land, scenic stops along the way and quaint, wooden houses completed by the American flag, raised up high – it was completely dOpen?ifferent to what I’m used to. It was charming, especially after finding a drive-in theatre and a store named “Antiques, A Loose Interpretation” that was “Open (more or less)(less than more)”. I could see why tired New Yorkers would retreat to towns like Armenia.

Although the farmer’s market was probably half the size we would have expected (at least), it compensated with a friendly vendors and great produce. With a professor who loves the word “selfie”, a class outing every Friday, and a good group of students, I’d say I’m feeling pretty good about this class so far.



A Humungus Fungus is Amungus

My name is Colin Cederna and I am a Sophomore at Vassar College. I am from Saline, Michigan, a small farming town south of Ann Arbor (home of the University of Michigan). I am an environmental studies major with a political science correlate. I am interested in environmental lobbying, forest ecology, and energy. I strive to reshape the current self-destructing behaviors and decisions of our constantly growing society. A lofty task, but I am willing to take it on full throttle.

Cruising through a lush valley in the some-what rural New York county of Dutchess, our Vassar van screeched to a halt. A voice in the back questions, “Is this it?” saying exactly what everyone else was thinking, but were too afraid to ask. The farmer’s market of Amenia, New York was extremely small, so small that our class size of 10 almost outnumbered all of the vendors at the market. Despite it’s shocking size, the quality of the vendors was topnotch. I met a women who grew an assortment of mushrooms in a patch of woodland behind her home. In the past, I had heard of mushrooms being grown in climate controlled cases as well as on cow dung (how they grow naturally), but I had never heard of farming mushrooms on logs in the forest.

I then continued on my journey to the end of the block where a flash of blue caught my eye. Looking to my left a vibrant blue house stood proudly at the edge of the street. Remnants of a time when builders built unique homes, distinct from one another. It was a glimpse into the past, when things weren’t so complicated and a family could be happy living out their life in a beautiful blue home. A time when they would be content with not going to Vail or San Diego for Christmas, but rather sticking out the long winter of the Hudson Valley. The home was visually stunning and helped contribute to the overall great vibe of the town.

Turning back towards the vendors I spotted one of my favorite things, baked goods. Instinctually I plodded towards the fresh aroma of muffins and scones. The perfection of the desserts held my gaze until finally the baker questioned, “Do you need any help?”. Snapping out of my day dream I quickly apologized because truthfully, I didn’t even have a dollar. Sadly, I left the beautiful food for another hungry wanderer and went on my merry way.

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Storm King Art Center

IMG_3231On a fantastic late summer day, I took my family to the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville (Orange County). The museum is a sprawling, 500-acre estate showcasing massive outdoor works of sculpture and environmental art. IMG_3245 Storm King Art Center is nestled in a foothill of the western face of Storm King Mountain. A lot of people were visiting on this day, but aside from the museum building, the parking lots, and the cafe, you can have a real solitary experience wandering the grounds.  On the other side of this outdoor is the New York Thruway; the distant sound of cars whizzing by is the only thing that interrupts a total immersion into art and land.

IMG_3282First opened in 1960, the museum is perhaps one of the primary ways that the high art worlds of New York City and the world have come to know the Hudson Valley’s landscape. Some of the very top names in art have huge works on display here: Roy Liechtenstein, Richard Serra, Maya Lin, and so on.  One indication that the museum’s patrons come largely from the New York City area is the fact that a Storm King Art Center membership includes a discount on renting a Zip Car; NYC residents often don’t own cars, and this place is really only accessible via auto or bus.

IMG_3257The highlight of our visit was Maya Lin’s work, Storm King Wavefield. Whereas most of the works are metal sculptures that visitors are asked not to touch, this “piece” is made of the earth itself. Visitors can walk (or run, as my kids did) up and down, lie down, hide behid, and otherwise traverse the slopes that Lin designed.

IMG_3292Click here to learn more about Storm King Art Center.