Monday, October 21, 2013

Rhinebeck Rules

Back from Rhinebeck, after a weekend of food, friends, and fun. This was my third trip there; and these are my rules for a perfect Rhinebeck experience:
1. Stay at the Beekman Arms, the oldest continuously running inn in America (since 1766 in case you're wondering). I always stay in room 33 and immediately re-book the room for the following year. I'm told that 70% of their Sheep and Wool Festival weekend visitors roll over their reservations in the same way. Why there? It's within walking distance of the fairgrounds, so you can avoid the gridlock in the village and the walk down Mulberry Street has to be one of the nicest in America (think Norman Rockwell). The colonial ambiance is classy, but not pretentious. And the wide-plank floors are just like the ones in my own 1842-built house.
2. Don't bring a backpack, or heaven forbid, a cart on wheels. The barns and exhibit halls are a serious crush. There's no room for a bulging pack on your back. I noticed that some large-size "busty" women were even having trouble negotiating the squeeze!
3. Wear comfy shoes. Seems obvious, but you'd be surprised what people show up in. There's a great shoe store, "Pegasus", in the village that seemed to be doing a good business fitting people out in last-minute shoes for the fair.
4. Wear layers. At this time of year, the day can go from drizzly to windy and chilly, to almost hot. In fact, Saturday was just like that. I wore my Buttonbox Waistcoat under an open corduroy jacket with my Fibonacci Neckerchief for maximum options. The evenings are chilly, so save your warmer knits for then. I wore Harriet around the first night, my Perth Cardi out to dinner on the second, and Wakefield Redux on day two. In the end, I didn't take my new Zora cardigan. I thought I might feel too hot in it. I realize I haven't posted a photo of the finished version, though, so here it is:

5. Have a plan. Check out the vendor list before you go. Know what you want to purchase ahead of time and have cash. Unless you are a person of extraordinary control, it's easy to overspend. The goodies are mind blowing.

Skeins of "Seacolors" wool from Maine.
Make sure you allow yourself an unplanned purchase, but set a firm limit on what you spend. Know that some popular vendors, such as Miss Babs and Jenny the Potter, will have long lines and may run out of some products early on.
6. Take time for a little shopping in the village. Apart from the shoe store, there's a good bookstore (with a fantastic cookbook section), several antique stores (Asher Antiques is my fave), and loads of high end clothing boutiques. Some shops stay open late to take advantage of the influx of festival attendees.
8. When you arrive on Friday, make a dinner reservation right away for Saturday. The best restaurants get fully booked. Don't worry if you don't. There's a really good pizza place and a diner-style eatery.
9. On Sunday morning, head to Bread Alone for coffee, knitting (of course), and the New York Times, until around 10:00 when the festival re-opens.
10. Keep an eye out for friends from home,

Glenna C.

Glenna's friend Gwen (am I spelling this right?)
as well as knitting celebs. I scored a copy of "The Rhinebeck Sweater", signed on the spot by Ysolda.
11. Don't forget to check out the sheep; they're what make it all possible!

12. Take time to enjoy some of the non-sheepy aspects of the location, like this.

and this,


Yes, those are the actual colours of the trees!