Yarn pilgrimage part two: Saturday at Rhinebeck

November 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

After a whirlwind three hours in Manhattan it was time to head north. I really should’ve taken the train to Poughkeepsie right away, but M, C, and J weren’t quite sure where they were relative to Poughkeepsie and therefore I decided to mill around Grand Central for a bit. I visited the little museum about the history of Penn Terminal and Grand Central, and then sat down to relax and wait for the train. There weren’t any knitters in my car — I sat next to a guy reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and drinking two gigantic cans of beer — but I knew I was at the right station (well, besides the sign) when I got off the train and counted three Multnomahs in as many minutes.

I had to wait for M, C, and J to drive back down from the town where our hotel was, so I wandered over to the bar near the train station. I got a vodka martini with a twist of lemon because I was so addled from not having eaten all day (I was sick for the majority of the trip, unfortunately), and some really social guy decided to chat with me about the history of the area, Washington, DC, and lots of other things (his opener was that I was drinking a really classic drink…I guess so, I rarely drink in bars, preferring to spend my money on yarn!). After a while it got somewhat awkward, but eventually I managed to extract myself from the conversation, and waited under the eaves of the bar for the impressive rainstorm to end, which of course slowed traffic to a crawl and managed to turn the already soft ground into soup at the fairground parking lot.

Once my friends arrived, we drove to the restaurant run by someone from the Food Channel (or something like that) and enjoyed a really great meal. I also got to meet M’s other friends, who were all really nice. The food was delicious, of course, and seeing everyone and finally getting a chance to catch up was wonderful. The green beans we think had Sriracha on them, and for dinner I had some Thai curry with scallops.

The next morning I spent passed out in bed while my friends went to the fair — being sick while traveling is the worst. C was super-awesome and came back and picked me up that afternoon once I felt somewhat less blergh, and that’s when I got to FINALLY see the glories of Rhinebeck for myself.

New York Sheep and Wool is even bigger than I expected; it is way larger than Allegan in Michigan. They had rides for little kids, and loads of food vendors (I didn’t even make it to that area unfortunately), and even a mini zoo with kangaroos, sheep, goats, and apparently lemurs, though I missed those.

The first vendor I went to was on the way to the Sanguine Gryphon; I managed to find some Hog Island sheep fiber from the Fingerlakes Woolen Mill in western New York. Their Hog Island sheep are directly descended from the flock at Mount Vernon and therefore the sheep that used to live on Hog Island. At some point I plan on visiting Mt. Vernon to see the sheep and the redesigned gardens, and in the spring they do shearing demonstrations so hopefully I can go around then. Anyway, the mill owner said that the sheep do quite well in New York despite it being a bit colder than they’re used to in the winter, and not quite as hot as it gets in the Mid-Atlantic region. The wool is quite soft and I think will be lots of fun to spin.

After buying my roving, I hit up the Sanguine Gryphon, a yarn company based out of Baltimore, Maryland and Easton, Maryland. Unfortunately after the fair they announced the dissolution of their partnership, but fortunately on friendly terms. I bought two skeins of QED (a heavy worsted BFL yarn) and some laceweight Mithril. I was quite fortunate that the line wasn’t too long, though of course that meant a lot of their booth was quite picked-over. I really enjoyed meeting the owners of the Sanguine Gryphon, so much so that I am planning on going to the Easton studio for their open house day in December. I’ll talk more about that as the date draws nearer, though! I also met a Raveler wearing a beautiful worsted-weight Clockwork shawl, and I friended her on Ravelry when I got home.

The next item I purchased also on a whim, four skeins of Navajo-Churro sheep wool from some very lovely vendors. I plan on making ombre pillow covers with it. Another rare-ish sheep breed ticked off the list. I then wandered around admiring the breadth of the festival, saving the depth for the next day; I didn’t want to rush too much in purchasing on the first day; soaking up the atmosphere was enough.

After meandering around some more, we decided to take a break and enjoy some cider at the 4-H booth and to look at our purchases.

That night we went to dinner at A Fork in the Road, my first meal in a whole day. I enjoyed my appetizer, smoked fish with corn cakes, and then I enjoyed my first-ever risotto, with local mushrooms and nasturtium pesto. At some point I am determined to make some nasturtium pesto for myself. The restaurant was really charming, a food-lover’s (dare I say foodie? I hate that word!) delight without being snobbish, and it was really the perfect end to a great day, as there’s nothing quite like relaxing after a day at Rhinebeck with awesome friends.

And yet…Sunday was just as fun, so next up is part three!

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