Widely celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks, Storm King Art Center has welcomed visitors from across the globe for fifty years. It is located only one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley, where its pristine 500-acre landscape of fields, hills, and woodlands provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time.
Now that Spring has sprung, we are going to plan another trip to Storm King. We went there for the first time in the Fall with Cam’s Dad and his wife Lynne – that is everyone under the sculpture! It was one of the best things we have done since moving to New York City, and I look forward to going there again. Storm King is amazing, just so beautiful. If you like Sculpture, and gardens, and a walk through a park with outstanding views, then you will love Storm King. We found it was a great extended family outing. Enjoyable for both the Grandparents, and the children. Especially great for energetic children, they get to run and run and run, as there are no waiting or lines in sight. They asked that you do not to climb on the sculptures (rocks are ok!) which at times is very tempting – even for grown ups!
We packed some hot tea and snacks and had a quick picnic before we set out walking the 500 acres. There is an open air cafe near the car parking lot that offers some yummy options – you know I like good quality, and I was impressed. We walked and walked and walked, all over the park. The girls were fantastic, literally walking for 4 hours. We made many seated stops to take in the scenery, and there were some pick-me-up moments and with a few shoulder rides here and there. So grateful they are good walkers.
We were treated to a rain storm while there, which had us all run for cover under various sculptures. It was very dramatic with dark grey clouds rolling in, dropping heavy rain and then parting as quickly as they came. It was all so moody and appropriate given the name…we were lucky that it did not cut our day short. The rain clouds lightened up and we continued on or way.
There is an open tour trolly ride available, which we jumped aboard at the end of our day to cover some distance quickly. Despite walking for hours we did not see everything. There are also push bikes for rent, and so you can pack a picnic for your love and the pair of you can bike around Storm King – sounds romantic right? When we were there we saw many hipsters doing just that. It made me want to be young and in love (and a hipster)…all is not lost…the love part I can do, and so this Spring we plan on doing the bike n’picnic combo…but of course we will have the children with us. Anyone else want to come too? Let me know and we can set the date!
It was hard for me to decide what my favorite sculpture was. I adore Andy Goldsworthy and it was a highlight to see “Storm King Wall” by him, but after much thought my favorite piece is “Storm King Wavefield” by Maya Lin. You can read about it in the NY Times. I grew up between rolling green paddocks and the ocean, these undulating hills feel so right to me. I love how the trodden people path is like the cow paths of my family farm. This work speaks to my soul on so many levels.
Like I said, we went in early Autumn. I have heard it is especially beautiful in late Autumn when the leaves are at their peak colour. Each season brings something unique to the experience. I look forward to visiting one day when the wildflowers are in bloom. Storm King is the perfect outing when you want to get away from the day to day of regular life, and need something restorative rather than stimulating. It is a Zen paradise that recharges the soul.
Storm King is open Wednesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from April through November. Opening hours are 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (grounds remain open until 8:00 pm on Saturdays, May 26–September 1, and on Sunday May 27 and Sunday September 2); until 5:00 pm in November. Storm King is open only on weekends after November 11 (November 17–18 and 24–25). The 2012 Storm King season closes on November 25.
Senior Citizens (65 and older) $10
College Students (with valid id) $8
Students (K-12) $8
Children under 5 Free
Wow, I have just had another long blog break. Couldn’t keep the momentum going after Christmas. This time of year when the days are short and grey, I have to use all of my positive life force to stay on top of it. It is amazing how weather can effect your whole being, and I feel really effected by the cold short days. After a few months of the frigid, grey, barren landscape I start to yearn for another life. Which is kind of silly you know, because I have a good life, right here, right now.
To combat the winter blues what is one to do? Eat well, exercise, visit with friends, go to art galleries and when things get really blue, well one must go shopping! Given we live 16 miles from one of the best shopping metropolis in the world, this thought comes to mind pretty quickly. The truth of the matter though, is that I am not a carefree shopper anymore. I am plagued with a consumer conscious. I try and tread lightly when it comes to purchases, and shopping for no reason (other than I can and want to) does not sit well with me. Yes, alright, I know, shopping can be fun, and it is thrilling to buy pretty new things, and part of me wishes I could be in that ignorant place, and be in denial about my role on earth…but I just can’t. I know it all counts…every little bit. So better I feel proud of the things I DON’T own and be able to say, I am really trying not to shop, and I chose not to buy that.
BUT – trying not to shop does not stop me. One of the ways I talk myself around this is that I am allowed to purchase art and craft supplies and handmade art and craft of others. Art and craft after all has lasted and evolved through the ages. It is known to increase moral, reduce stress and keep people occupied. People find peace, contentment, and reward in arts and crafts. The arts and crafts foster skills, and savors time. Enough said.
I allow myself the pleasure of shopping for supplies, and then I also have the pleasure of creating and the reward of making. This elongates the whole process of acquiring an object. It gives my possessions a greater journey and it eliminates some of the guilt I feel about suppressing others into factory work on my behalf. If you are in any doubt about what I am talking about, then you must, please watch this film. Cam and I have watched a few films lately, across various genres and topics, and a common thread I found in them is that they all portrayed richer more powerful people suppressing others into undesirable positions, intentionally, or inadvertently. I hate seeing a life led into an unpleasant existence because they feel they do not have any other choice – or because it is all too easy. Can you imagine being in the position of “I need money, I need a job, there is nothing else available, so I will work in the factory down the road gutting a pig”. Because people eat a lot of bacon, pork, pig, and they always need workers. I have this Utopian view, that If I do not want the things that are made in dismal soul destroying factories, then the jobs wont be available, and as is human nature to survive, the people would find something else to do. Hopefully. There is supply and demand and there is demand and supply. If people stop buying the item, then eventually, factories stop production of the item, and people do something else with their life. But what? What ever the demand calls for…and so join me friends, please make ethical demands. Demand things that come from a good place. Demand that workers be treated well. Demand that we have good options. There have always been poor people throughout civilization, and some of mankinds most remarkable achievments have been created by the poor, or slaves. I just wish that today, in this era, that more people were working towards something that at the end of the day, made them, feel good.
Anyway, with lifted spirits, and the notion of working towards somthing, that at the end of the day made me feel good… off I went to Manhattan for an art and craft supply forage. I had two places on my list to visit, Pearl Paint and Purl Soho, and by co-incidence located a few blocks from one another in lower Manhattan.
First stop was Pearl Paint, a famous art store that occupies all of the floors of two multi floor buildings. It is on Canal street, and is easy to spot for the uniquely painted white and red facade. I was looking to buy specific paper, and Maya wanted an orange pencil. We are collecting Caran d’ache Pablo coloured pencils and Maya wanted a dark orange. We buy a few now and then, and over time, have a gorgeous collection. What we like about them is that they are soft and sharpen well without the core snapping. Best of all though, is that they colour beautifully. We colour and sharpen, and colour and sharpen them down to a stubby pinch. These pencils are an investment to us, the children know that they are good quality, and look after them accordingly.
While at Pearl Paint I intended to buy some artist quality paper. I had it in mind to purchase some small sheets of cold pressed paper with a four sided deckle edge. I did not find what I was looking for, but in my pursuit of this I ended up having a highbrow ethical conversation with the arty dude behind the counter (not started by me, which was a first) about supply, quality and the mighty $. It was one of those art store moments, that makes shopping in an art store so much fun.
Next stop was Purl Soho, the most divine craft store in Manhattan. Totally a dream to visit and I know lots of you out there would agree! This was my first time going to Purl Soho, and I was surprised at just how busy it was. It is a colourful textural creative mecca. There must have been 20 people inside the store. With yarns, fabric, and notions across the colour spectrum I was in rainbow heaven, but more impressive was the quality of everything I touched. It was inspiration bonanza.
What makes Purl Soho so special is that they select the best and present it in such a pleasing way. All over the shop are exquisite hand made items, that make you want to make! Elle found a bunch of wool felt animals that she happily played with while I decided what to buy. Elle also found the yarn ball winding process very fascinating. This is a service Purl offers their customers – so handy to have skeins made into balls, and so cool to watch! This is reason enough for me to make the trip to the city to by yarn from Purl Soho (when I decide to start knitting that is!).
We left the store with a few items. I bought some neon embroidery floss, which sadly I do not recommend as It is a polyester viscose blend that frays and does not knot well. I was a bit disappointed to discover this. I purchased the packet of neon thread, sealed in a box and so actually did not handle it until I got home. Given that everything else I laid my hands on in the shop was natural fibers, I just assumed it would be cotton and did not stop to read the fiber content…my mistake. I also bought some pom pom trim and some cotton bias. I was very restrained with set intentions for what I bought, but more honestly, I think I was hungry.
After Pearl and Purl, Elle and I had enough shopping. My body burns through food at a crazy rate and I had worked up an appetite. While in Soho I like to go into Dean & Deluca. I love popping in to this gourmet market, even if I do not buy anything, it is a beautiful place. When we first moved to Manhattan and lived on the Lower East Side, Maya and I would walk there once a week for bread and the occasional specialty grocery. They sell some really yummy things. Sadly though, Dean & Deluca do not use, or offer organic milk in their hot beverages, so no hot chocolate or latte for me. I opted for some delicious mushroom empanade. One for me, one for Elle and one for Cam to to eat on the drive home.
Cam and I drive into the city now and then instead of taking the train, and each time we do, we marvel at the fact that from our front door to Manhattan takes as little as 25 minutes (if we leave after 10am). We breeze right in and it makes me wonder why we don’t do this every week? Cam had a date with The New Potato Girls, and it worked out perfectly for him to have a business meeting, and Elle and I to go craft shopping, and for us to drive home in time to collect Maya from school. All in all it was a great city outing. We don’t plan on living near New York City forever, but while we do, excuse my cheesy play on words, I am Soho grateful for these little opportunities, and for this life.
Our last days at Neponsit Beach. Goodbye beautiful beach, we had so much fun!
Yes – it has been a bit sparse here lately, my posts are few and far between, and for good reason, the sign on our door says “Gone to Beach”. We are soaking up the Summer rays, and enjoying these radiant days by the shore, before they are no more…yes I am feeling poetic about it all!
We have been having a wonderful time at our favorite beach spot – and being sure to share it with Friends. The Children play together, and swim together and the hours fly by. On this particular day we were very active and full of sunny energy. We had running races and relay races (both the Mothers ran too), we collected shells and played shell bocce, we built sand castles, we played paddle ball and of course we all swam swam swam in the warm Summer waters…thank you oh thank you Summer, you are so much fun!
We are blissing out on beach days while we can – Summer comes and goes so quickly in this part of the world, and soon we will be moving house and the beach will not be so close. We are enjoying the coast as a regular outing and are consciously making the most of it before we move to New Jersey in a month. The beach is one of my favorite spots, and in a few weeks I will be trading beach outings for strolls in the woods. We will be sad when we no longer frequent our special spot at Neponsit, but will look back at these and these and these memories fondly.
It was an unexpected surprise when we discovered this beautiful part of New York City. I had thought that when we left Byron Bay we were leaving the beach for good…little did I know that I would spend so many Summer days (and even a Winter day!) in New York on the beach. Our new home will be located the furthest from the coast I have ever lived and I have to say I am a little nervous about longing for the open water lapping the sandy shores…so bare with me as I continue to document our last days at the beach living in New York.