Author Archives: ssantaguida

Sarah and Zahra and everyone else go to New Paltz!

On this Friday, we went to New Paltz, a historic town and home to SUNY New Paltz. We were escorted by sociologist and deputy mayor of New Paltz, KT Tobin. New Paltz felt like a small college town trying to enter the small city game. KT talked extensively about the developing plans within New Paltz and the importance of setting up sustainable methods of transportation as New Paltz continues to grow.

We started at the Village hall, just down the street from the school. As we made our way across town, we came across many SUNY New Paltz students. They were hipster college students, but they had a wider range of style than Vassar students. We also couldn’t help but notice the vast difference in how the town of New Paltz and its students interact vs. how Vassar students interact with Poughkeepsie. The town was clearly geared to the SUNY student and students were clearly proud to spend time there. There were tons of boutiques and hiking stores as well as small restaurants.

This trendy vibe coincided with historical buildings and sights which demonstrated the presence of an older population alongside the young college student.

Our primary stop was an empty lot about a half mile from where we started. This may not sound like much, but Tobin was so excited by it. She talked extensively about the plans the town had to build a 4 story net-zero building there. While Tobin and many others were excited about the project, she also described the reaction of many long-term residents who believed that this presence of modern architecture would disrupt the otherwise historic feel that New Paltz holds. This seems symbolic of a common conflict between the contrasting citizens of the city.

We took the historic Wallkill rail trail back to where we started. The rail trail is a 22-mile long trail that runs through the Hudson Valley. Although things are modernizing and building around it, the trail remains intact and a popular tourist attraction. This demonstrates yet another collision of modern demand and preserving historic locations. One could argue this is the perfect point at which tourism can bloom- where people can be treated to the beauty of years past while enjoying all of the amenities expected in the modern world. 

Next on the agenda, we went to Mohonk Preserve a giant chunk of land publicly maintained but originally privately owned. It is home to many outdoor activities but what we prioritized was the rock scramble. The rock scramble was a large mountain of boulders that one could climb to access a beautiful view of the entire Hudson Valley. While Zahra ambitiously aimed for the top, Sarah took one look and decided to explore the surrounding area instead. Here are some fun pix:



As you can see, the view was incredible but so was the entire preserve. One could have easily spent an entire day just exploring the vast expanse of nature at Mohonk. New Paltz was a fun and versatile area with lots to do for all sorts of people with all sorts of interests! We can’t wait to visit again! See ya next time, #es291!


Zahra and Sarah


Sarah’s trip to Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn!

For my field trip I went to Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn in Lagrangeville, NY- about fifteen minutes from Vassar. I drove over with my friend Nina. When we first pulled up, I was a little disappointed- not because it was ugly or anything. This might sound dumb but I was low-key hoping based off the title that I was going to get to meet the very cows who’s ice cream I will be consuming… but apparently I hadn’t done my research yet.

A little background about Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn: It advertises “From cow to cone in three days” which is exactly how it sounds. They get milk delivered daily from local dairy farms and from the milk they make not only their own ice cream but ice cream cake(the superior of all cakes) and whipped cream. Naturally, upon hearing this, being a self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur, I had to check the place out.

So, there I was in the gravel lot behind a barn, right next door to another store, Kelly’s Steaks and Spirits( was there a reason these two businesses are next to each other? I wondered. Same cows?),


Surrounding Zoe’s Ice Cream barn’s exterior is a variety of fun kid-friendly entertainment, a “two- headed pig pen”, a tractor you could take pictures on as well as wooden stocks. on top of that they had plenty of picnic tables and bales of hay to give it a true farm feel. This is clearly a very photo friendly location and boy was I glad to oblige.

The inside continues playing up the farm theme. It was clearly very cultivated to fit the barn vibe. Each wooden table had cow-themed fun facts and the register aisle was lined with large milk cartons and twine. They were clearly appealing to the Hudson valley tourist. Their walls are lined with Hudson valley products- maple syrup, milk, mugs, other stuffs- all marketing the Hudson valley.

When we walked in there was only one uniformed girl in the front working. It functioned like your average ice cream shop. We waited in line behind what seemed like a dad and his two daughters clad in soccer-practice gear. Based on my own rec-league sports experiences growing up, I assume I was witnessing the classic on-our-way-home-from-practice treat. This struck me as especially interesting because despite Zoe’s barn theme and marketing clearly established for tourists, the family ahead of me would imply that it serves as a common spot for locals to get their ice cream as well. They even had buy 10 get 1 free stamp cards. And yes, of course I grabbed one.

I ordered the coconut almond vanilla sundae with hot fudge sauce, house-made whipped cream and the beloved cherry on top. The ice cream was oh, so creamy. Wow. Good stuff- nay, great stuff. Also reasonably priced. In fact all the goods were very fairly priced if not on the slightly higher side for typical ice cream. But you’re paying for freshness so I justify it. Even the ice cream cakes were reasonably priced even though  I cant imagine there are tons of ice cream cakes being sold in the area. The waitress was receptive and helpful and eager to offer suggestions, realizing that the somewhat extensive list of unique flavors and toppings can be overwhelming.

After getting my ice cream and loving every bite, the whipped cream being my favorite part- I ran around the grounds for a little and relived my childhood.

Let me tell ya, if I was 7-15 years younger, this would be the place I would want every single one of my birthdays.

Who am I kidding I’m about to turn 20 and coming back to this establishment is a must on my birthday to-do list.

So, even though I didn’t get to shake the hoof of the cow that made this all possible, it was a 10/10 experience. Zoe’s ice cream barn is not only a must for people visiting the area to get a (literal) taste of the freshness the Hudson valley can provide, but with fair prices and unbeatable freshness (did I mention cow oto cone in three days) it should be a regular in every local’s routine.




This is Sarah Santaguida, officially signing in to this blog for #es291 of Fall 2017. Enjoy these pix from our trip to Amenia, NY, a place I did not know existed before today. They had a Drive-In theater! Those still exist! I featured an awkward selfie and a fitting first photo for what I hope to be a funducational experience of the scenic Hudson Valley.