Two months ago, we made the drive from New York City up to the Catskill Mountains for a family wedding and were shocked to discover that such green tranquility was only a two-hour drive away. Keeping afloat as the grind grinds makes one oblivious to the fact that there is a world beyond the greater metropolitan New York web. Weeks after the wedding, I plotted our escape into the mountains, or I should say so-called mountains. They’re quite pretty, but after living in the shadow of Mount Rainier for three years, I have a hard time calling the Catskills “mountains.” Nevertheless, I booked a weekend at the Winter Clove Inn so that Team Martinez-Woznicki could mark the arrival of fall with a trip to the pastoral town of Round Top.
We did the things you do when you go to the country. We walked outside (which is very different than walking outside, say, in Fort Lee, New Jersey). We bought a homemade apple pie. We admired obese pumpkins. We saw Autumn poking its head out from behind Summer with the occasional red leaf among all the green ones. And we ate a lot of meat and potatoes. The weekend also included a sojourn to Hunter Mountain for a fall microbrew and wine tasting festival. Naturally, we took our two-year-old daughter along, and were pleased to see that other young parents who simply wanted to enjoy an afternoon of sampling microbrews and wine had also brought along small children.
To balance the trip, we took Anna to a local game farm, or zoo, or zoo farm, or a place where they keep penned up animals. Mike and I found this particular game-zoo-farm place depressing. The animals were penned up in very small enclosed areas that didn’t resemble anything like a natural habitat (unless rhinos are roaming the parking lots of Africa…I don’t know) and it was a dreary scene to watch fat, obnoxious kids with their fat, obnoxious parents pelt these animals with the animal food crackers sold at nearby stands. Anna got to feed some sheep and talk to some giraffes, but within less than an hour, her parents were ready to leave.
Depressing game-zoo-farms aside, the trip was a chance to unplug, figuratively and literally. There was no TV or phone in our room, forcing the family to engage on levels not tested since the last time we had a power failure during a summer thunderstorm. But we did engage. And we got in touch with Nature a bit (and plenty of annoying black flies). Would we do it again? In a New York minute.