Author Archives: camunchick

Opus 40

        IMG_1828After a flustering search for a ride to Rosendale’s Zombiefest, I had to concede the trip. But what could be better than people dressed up in corn syrup blood and ripped clothing? How would I ever redeem myself to my quirky professor? I was stressed. I went through the options for our field trips again, but nothing really stood out. I guessed that I could, maybe, if I had to, go to Opus 40 with my dad when he came for fall break.

Now, this might be a little bold, but I think that Opus 40 could have been better than the Zombiefest… but let me tell you more about what it it is. Opus 40 is an outdoor and “environmental” sculpture in Saugerties, about an hour away from campus (which made for excellent father and daughter bonding). It was built over 37 years by Harvey Fite, a professor at Bard (you win this one guys) who used leftover bluestone from the abandoned quarry.

We drove through areas saturated with corporations like Starbucks, wide open spaces, farms open for picking apples or pumpkins and a couple haunted houses ready for Halloween. Welcome back to America, dad.  

We bought our tickets at $10 for adults, and $7 for students. We started talking with the man who sold them to us, who told us some really interesting things about the site. A lot of concerts used to happen around the sculpture, and still do—last year they had over 2,000 people for one event. Hurricane Sandy and Irene damaged one side of the sculpture, so now people can’t walk on it but they can see all the layers underneath, which is almost cooler. He then handed us a map and showed us where we could watch a six minute video about the site. The video was pretty informative and made the sculpture even more impressive by explaining the process and exhausting work that went into it.

IMG_2038After the viewing in a musty, wooden room, we walked around their gift store, which sells Opus 40 branded merchandise, candy and some beautiful art pricing up to $1,500. Walk around the barn and there’s a quarrymen’s museum with tools hung up in interesting formations. The museum is as beautiful as it is creepy—those tools are scary. It’s a whole experience there.

IMG_2015When we ventured out to the main attraction, it was almost zen with perfect weather, fall foliage and beautiful mountains as a backdrop. You kinda feel like an adventurer walking on the uneven and sometimes wobbly stones, and every different angle that you find is unique and absolutely breathtaking. You have to take a moment, find some privacy, and sit down. Go admire the multiple pools, equipped with fountains; sculptures scattered around the property, carved out of bluestone; and the nine ton monolith in the center.


Harvey Fite and his wife had their ashes spread over Opus 40, and I can see why. The place is majestic. Besides the almost meditative environment, Opus 40 provides an experience for visitors with a friendly and passionate staff, museum and gift shop—catering to all the people looking for a good getaway.IMG_1827For more info check out their website!


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.