Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park, New York ( welcomes visitors to tour its campus, and dine in its restaurants!  Visiting this place has been on my "TO DO" list for decades, since I first heard about it, back in the 1970's.   One reason is that in my career as a Registered Dietitian, the trade publications that I received, often wrote about the CIA, as well as the students and chefs that attended school there.  So naturally, I was absolutely DELIGHTED to get the opportunity to tour the campus, when I was taking a Road Scholar ( ) program in the Hudson River Valley of New York State.    Since a trip to the CIA was not included in the Road Scholar itinerary, I wanted to make sure I knew how to get to the campus in my own vehicle.  Therefore, in advance of my pre-scheduled CIA tour, I had done a "trial run" from my Road Scholar program (headquartered in Newburgh, New York)  to the campus at Hyde Park, which is located up the Hudson River about an hour's drive north.  It was obvious as soon as I drove on the campus, that the students who attend college here, do not dress in the same manner as college students on most other campuses. In the photo above, notice the matching white chef's jackets, matching black checked pants, and black close-toed shoes.  Projecting a professional image at all times is one of the hallmarks of students and graduates at the CIA.
The beautiful Italianate building in this photo contains classrooms, sensory testing rooms, as well as an elegant Italian restaurant.  In addition

 to educating traditionally enrolled students, the CIA offers continuing education for Food Service Professionals, as well as non-professionals.  You can go to their website for more detailed information about the dozens of courses offered throughout the year, and on their various campuses in other parts of the world.
At the Apple Pie Bakery in Hyde Park, you can watch the various baked items being prepared, under the close supervision of the chef instructor.

The main building, called Roth Hall, also has culinary teaching theaters, equipped with overhead cameras, that can be used if the students need a close up look at what is being prepared on the stove top.

Most folks know that the name of Conrad Hilton is legendary in the hospitality industry, so it is not surprising that the college library building bears his name.  It has exhibits inside which related to the food service industry.  When I went inside the library,
I found it affirming that I was not the only person in the world who collected and framed menus!  The Conrad N. Hilton Library has a collection of menus as well!  The ones they had on display were from meals served on trains to USA Presidents!
Since my parents said I used to go around saying "I LIKE IKE!", when I was a toddler, I felt compelled to photograph the menu used by President Eisenhower when touring Missouri on the Union Pacific Railroad.  For those too young to remember, "I LIKE IKE" was the campaign slogan when Eisenhower was running for President of the United States.  Besides the menu shown in this photograph, there were numerous other menus related to presidents-dining-on-trains in their exhibit.

A feature I have never seen in a library before, was a special area where student chefs could practice their knife skills!

There is also an herb garden on the campus, so the chefs can have the freshest flavors available for the recipes they create.
Likewise, a vegetable garden on site grows an extensive variety of plants that thrive in the Hudson Valley Region.

I was very fortunate to have a recent graduate of the CIA as my tour guide! 

A representative of the communications department, along with my chef tour guide, are shown in this photo on our way to the newest addition to the CIA campus.  This
trail leads down to a newly-opened facility for students, called "The Egg":
When I asked why the name "The Egg" was chosen for the facility, they told me that, just as an egg is extremely versatile in all the ways it can be used, so "The Egg" building will be versatile in its use by the students and faculty.

It is appropriate that this stainless steel sculpture sits near the entrance to "The Egg", because so many surfaces in professional kitchens are covered with stainless steel.  Stopping to take a photo of our reflection in the egg, reminded me of the shiny "bean" sculpture, in Chicago, that is famous for its reflective images ( see my blog posts dated September 28, 2014 and April 12, 2013 for more info and photos on the Chicago "bean" sculpture). 
In addition to this sparkling egg sculpture, there is a shiny
fish sculpture, made of knives, forks, and spoons!  It is called Diamondsides, and is a reminder of the history of commercial  sturgeon fishing, that occurred in this part of the Hudson River.

The building in the photo above is called Roth Hall, and the structure was originally called St. Andrew of Hudson Jesuit novitiate.  That history explains the initials in the floor mosaic as you enter Roth Hall:
initials AMDG stand for the Latin motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a religious order of the Catholic Church.  The Latin phrase Ad majorem Dei gloriam means "For the greater glory of God."  It is a summary of the idea that any work that is not evil, even one that would normally be considered inconsequential to the spiritual life, can be spiritually meritorious, if it is performed to give glory to God. 
The letters stand for the phrase "To God Be The Glory".  Likewise, that is my prayer for this blog---even though it is inconsequential to the world in general, it is written to give glory to God!   When I asked the CIA Communications Manager what one thing she would like for readers of my blog to know, she said it was this:  PLEASE COME VISIT THE CIA!!!  You can come for a tour, dine in the restaurants, enroll as a traditional student, come for professional continuing education, or come as a non-professional to explore your "inner chef"!  These options are available at three different locations in the USA:  I have had the opportunity to visit the CIA campus in St. Helena, California, and even take a cooking class there!  There is also a campus in San Antonio, Texas.  Although I have toured that building, it was BEFORE the CIA had converted the space from the Pearl beer brewery, to a culinary school.  There is also now a branch of the CIA in Singapore!  To start planning your visit, click on or phone 1-800-CULINARY.   A visit to the Culinary Institute of America will give you "MILES OF SMILES"!  Tricia

Saturday, July 4, 2015


I have to be honest and tell you that I had never heard of Historic Huguenot Street, until I started researching activities to do in conjunction with an automobile trip I was taking to the Hudson River Valley, to attend a week-long Road Scholar ( ) program at Mount Saint Mary's College in Newburgh, New York.  Since I was going to be in the area on the Fourth of July, I googled "Hudson River Valley Fourth of July activities", and Historic Huguenot Street ( ) came up, because they were having special, FREE historical demonstrations/re-enactments that day.  Being a frugal traveler, I put it on my list of possible activities for that day. 

I read on the event listing that this National Historic Landmark was located in the town of New Paltz, which I also had never heard of!  (However, after returning from my trip, I re-watched the movie Dirty Dancing---which was written to reflect this Catskill Mountain area of New York---and the town of New Paltz is mentioned as the location to take a resort staff member to the doctor.  Needless to say, I did not catch the reference, the first time I saw the movie, back in the 1980's!)

The first stop for any visitor to Historic Huguenot Street is the DuBois Fort, which serves as the Visitor Center, exhibit area, gift shop, and ticket sales office.  (They also have a second-story restroom with an old-fashioned claw-foot bathtub in it!)

As part of the Independence Day festivities, a staff member was giving a demonstration inside the Visitor Center, on how to churn butter, using the kitchen implements available during colonial days. 

On the grounds outside the visitor center, the demonstrations had been set up as promised, and were attracting several visitors, in spite of the fine mist of precipitation that was falling. 

The re-enactors in this area were giving a demonstration of Dutch-oven cooking, with promises of samples to taste, as the day progressed!

A black-smith was getting his hot coals ready for a demonstration on how knives were made by the colonists.

These younger-looking re-enactors look different, not only because of their clothing suitable to the colonial days, but also because they are not staring down at a cell phone, the way their peer in the burgundy shirt is doing!

The powerful-looking stance of this blacksmith, as he hammered away on the hot metal, show one reason the colonists burned lots more calories in their work, than we do in present-day activities.  If we want a new knife, all it takes is a few clicks on the Internet, and one will arrive at our door within hours!

New Paltz has been a college town for 150 years, and is now the location of SUNY/New Paltz ( State University of New York ).  An option of ANY college student who is beyond their freshman year, is to apply for an internship at Historic Huguenot Street.  The internships are part-time work, and the intern has the opportunity to earn college credits for the experience they will gain. 

The 10-acre National Landmark Historic District was built in the 1700's and consists of seven stone houses.  The Bevier House shown in this photo has a unique stone cellar, that was used to house African slaves.  The historical record of slavery in New Paltz begins in 1674, 3 years before its founding, when Louis DuBois purchased two African slaves at public auction held in Kingston, New York.  By 1790, 77 slave holders owned 302 slaves, or 13% of the population. 

There have been four sanctuaries built on Historic Huguenot Street.  French speaking Protestants who settled New Paltz built the first church in 1683, which was a simple log building; it was eventually replaced by a stone church.  Note that the language spoken in the church was French, until 1753.  At that point, due to the influx of Dutch settlers, the language spoken at the church changed to Dutch, which was used until 1800. 

The Adam Hasbrouck  House reflects the defining elements  of Dutch Architecture.  One of these is that the gable ends of the structure face the street, which conserves street frontage.  Another is a jambless fireplace.  (This means the fireplace does not have the side "jambs" or vertical supports, one normally sees in a fireplace).

The Freer House has been continuously occupied for 250 years.  That means someone had done continuous preventive maintenance on this abode for generations!  I salute them!

Notice the wooden shutters on the house are not just "for looks", as they actually open and close as needed, to protect the occupants from adverse weather conditions.  Also, notice the rain barrels positioned on the ends of the house to collect fresh water from the roof run-off. 

The fieldstone used to construct the houses, is often seen in the architecture of homes built in the prevailing style of the low countries of Northern Europe, that the early settlers would have been familiar with. 

  This reconstructed stone church built in 1717, reflected REFORM thinking, with the pulpit in the central location and pews  placed so everyone could see and hear more clearly.  This expressed the concept that each person had a direct relationship with God, rather than one mediated through a church hierarchy.
  The Jean Hasbrouck stone house serves as the headquarters for the Huguenot Historical Society, which was founded in 1894!  I find it amazing that these founding fathers had the foresight to preserve this significant religious heritage of our nation's history over 120 years ago!!  I am very thankful that they took it to heart, and put into action the advise given in the Bible in I Chronicles 6:5-9 that says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates."
The main topic of the Road Scholar program I was to start later that same week, was on the subject of the Roosevelt family.  Therefore, I was fascinated to learn that the Crispell Church is named after Antoine Crispell, one of 12 founders (patentees) of New Paltz, and a direct ancestor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Since he had ancestors from this region full of Dutch Christians, it is more understandable to me why FDR wanted his family's Bible to be used, each time he was sworn in as President of the United States of America.  The Bible was turned to I Corinthians 13, which is the chapter on Love.  However, unless the onlookers were fluent in foreign languages, they could not have read the chapter, because FDR's family Bible was written in the Dutch language, and had been passed down through the generations of his family!  I was thankful to get to see that Bible later in the week, when I visited the FDR library in Hyde Park, New York.

This ancient stone wall serves as a boundary marker for the gravestones that denote the lives of the early settlers of this region of New York State.  As an example of the on-going mission of this National Historic Landmark, they are offering a "Gravestone Preservation Workshop" on September 19-20, of this year.  There is a fee for the workshop, and you can check out their website for more information.  Another example of its mission to help the current generation learn about their religious heritage, is the fact that each college student enrolled at SUNY in New Paltz receive a free, one year membership to the Historic Huguenot Site!  Their student ID cards have an imprint on the back, reminding them to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity for free guided tours, free admission to special events, and member discounts.  I think if these students use that membership, they will learn about their history, and it will give them "MILES OF SMILES", as it did for me!  Tricia


This nautical scene is at a marina on the west side of the Hudson River in New York State, just 50 miles north of New York City.  I find it amazing that a skyline where tree-covered mountains are the tallest features, could be so close geographically, to the NYC skyline, dominated by skyscrapers.  Personally, I will choose mountains over skyscrapers any day! 

In fact, this business sign has an artist's rendering of the area's most famous geographic landmark---Storm King Mountain.  This mountain was a frequent backdrop in the artistic movement known as "Hudson River Art".

These Hudson River kayakers are probably more interested in "the art of paddling" the river, than in the "art of painting" the river!

Even though the sight of fiberglass and plastic kayaks is relatively new, the river was being paddled by the native Americans that first inhabited this area.  In 1685, they were followed by 25 Scottish families that settled around the mouth of Moodna Creek, which empties into the Hudson River.  Some of the Scottish settlers had the title of "laird", which is a generic name for the owner of a Scottish estate, and comes from the same root word as the English word, "lord".  (See notes at end of this article for more details about this word!)

The area was given the name "new Cornwall", because it reminded the European immigrants of its similarity to the County of Cornwall, England.  The gazebo is a reminder that the 1800's were the heyday of Cornwall's fame.  It became a summer resort because of the natural beauty of the river, its mountain vistas, scenic trails, fresh air, and convenience to NYC, by riverboat or rail. 

In the mid 1800's, Cornwall became known as a health retreat, as well as a summer resort.  Knickerbockers ( an old-fashioned term for Manhattan's aristocracy ) would come here to get rejuvenated from a variety of illnesses. 

Many historic structures have been preserved in the village, as evidenced by the old movie theater shown in this photo.  (Notice it also bears the name of their landmark "Storm King" mountain!)

This is the location I was directed to, for the purpose of arranging a guided kayak tour on a section of the Hudson River.  The ticket window that used to sell vistas to be seen on their indoor stage, is now selling tickets to vistas to be seen on the surrounding waterways!

The architecture of this building , with its center clock, and triangular shape, reminded me of something you would see on Disneyland's mainstreet!

Another old-fashioned gazebo on the village green, was decorated for the Fourth of July festivities that were scheduled for the following day!

I was amused that the weathervane on top of the gazebo was decorated with an old-fashioned bicycle design, which is a reminder that bicycling was, and continues to be, a very popular outdoor activity in this area. 

I saw several charming examples of Victorian architecture, and later read that many such edifices were built in this area, to serve as boarding houses to all the folks who came to Cornwall seeking a summer retreat from the city, as well as restoration to good health. 
Even though I was totally confused by the concepts of town vs. village ( e.g., the village of Cornwall-on-the-Hudson is in the town of Cornwall ), exploring Orange County gave me MILES OF SMILES!  Tricia                     (Author's confession: Doing research for this article was the first time I learned that "laird" was anything but the Surname of an acquaintance I have!  Finding out that it was from the same root word as "lord", sent me on a word search: Lord is a general title denoting deference applied to a male person of authority, religious, or political deity.  As a Bible reader, I had noticed the differences in the way the word was used, but did not fully understand .  My references said that the primary reason for the use of LORD in place of God's Hebrew name, is to follow the tradition of the Israelites in not pronouncing or spelling out God's name.  So when God's Hebrew name "YHWH" is used in the Old Testament, English translations usually use "LORD" in all caps.  In contrast, when "Lord" occurs in the Old Testament referring to God, it is usually a rendering of "Adonai", a name or title of God that refers to His lordship.  Now I understand that LORD/YHWH and Lord/Adonai are by far the two most consistent renderings throughout all the different English Bible translations.  I am thankful that these photos from Cornwall will now be a visual aid to help me remember the difference ! )

Friday, July 3, 2015


When I was driving through the Hudson River Valley last month on my way to attend a week-long Road Scholar program ( ) at Mount Saint Mary's College, a wrong turn on a traffic roundabout in Cornwall, pointed me in the direction of the Outdoor Discovery Center, operated by the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum.  Although I had no idea what it was, my morning was open and I like learning about nature, so I decided to check it out!   

After driving through a meandering entrance driveway through fields and meadows, I found myself at this charming farmhouse, which turned out to be the headquarters of the Outdoor Discovery Center.  An employee there showed me around the facility, which consisted of nature exhibits, the Nature Gift Store, classrooms, and clean restrooms!  The mission of the organization is to promote knowledge and appreciation of our natural world, and the unique ecology of the Hudson Highlands.  It is a non-profit, and this former farm property was made possible because the farm family who owned it, preferred to see its heritage preserved----rather than bulldozed over, to make yet another concrete-covered "bedroom community addition" for nearby New York City. 

Across the parking lot from the farmhouse, was a gigantic, Dutch-style, four-story barn that had been beautifully restored.  From looking at their website ( ), I learned that the Discovery Center is available for special events such as birthday parties, and this barn would provide a great escape for party-goers in the event of rain!  Other programs offered include summer camps, adult/child outings, adult-only adventures, scouting activities, and afterschool programs.  

Another feature of the Outdoor Discovery Center is this "Grasshopper Grove".  Grasshopper Grove was designed for youngsters as a way to treat "Nature Deficit Disorder", as described in the book by Richard Louv called Last Child in the Woods.  It can serve as a bridge between a mowed lawn and the wild woods, that will encourage children to discover nature play spaces. 

I was intrigued by the Adirondack-inspired artistic design of the entrance gate, including the wooden grasshopper sculpture on top of the arch!

Adjacent to the Grasshopper Grove play area is a large pond, complete with a park bench for resting and gazing.

The Discovery Center has what it calls the "Discovery Quests Hiking Trails" that have guidesheet/puzzles for each quest, and are designed to get visitors of all ages, to interact along the trail to learn about the environment.  The goal of each quest is to find the "hidden message" of each hike.  The Pond Quest circles past ponds and cattails, with stops at viewing platforms that overlook the wetlands. 

My curiosity was aroused when I saw a mowed path to these 13 posts with numbers on top,  stuck in the ground, with a big rectangle in front of them, spelling out the 12 months of the year.  An explanatory placard told me I was looking at an installation which would allow for a person's shadow to tell time.  I have written about sundials previously in this blog (see March 13, 2009 article about Redding, California's Sundial Bridge), so I understood the basic principles and history of a sundial.  However, this one was different, in that the viewer was supposed to stand on the ground tile labeled with the month of their visit.  Their shadow would then fall on a post that would tell them the time of day.  When I stood on the "July" ground tile, sure enough, my shadow fell on the post labeled with a "10", and it really was ten o'clock in the morning!  Now that's what I call "interactive learning about nature"!  A "Nature Clock" such as this one is made possible by the majesty of God's creation, and the reliability of the sun.  Therefore, I am using it as a visual aid for the Bible verse that says, "So may all your enemies perish, LORD!  But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength."  Judges 5:31a NIV

It was nice to see a young mom there with her children, leading them on one of the Discovery Quest Hikes!  Besides philanthropic foundation grants, the Discovery Center is funded by individual and family memberships.  More information on this is available on their website.

As I approached the farmhouse from the side of the property, I fell in love with the architecture of this rounded sunroom addition.  I can only imagine how much pleasure it must provide to visitors inside, who can enjoy the beauty of nature in every direction, regardless of the weather outside.  I also was impressed by the numerous shag-bark hickory trees around the homestead.  They were not like anything I had ever seen in the Ozarks

After returning from my hike, it felt good to cool off on the farm porch, enjoying the comfortable wicker furniture.  As I sat there, I started to smile, remembering another time in my travels that I had been drawn to sit down and rest on some comfortable wicker furniture.  For more on that story, you can check out my November 5, 2008, blog post called "Wimbledon and the Royal Box"!

When I was at the Discovery Center, I found out that it is only one part of that "Hudson Highlands Nature Museum".  The other part is located in the village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, and is called the "Wildlife Education Center".  It too has a Nature Gift Shop, a fee-to-visit wildlife museum, and free hiking trails in the woods. 

There were several people on the trails, which start beside the entrance to the wildlife museum, so I decided to check them out.

The trails led through a picturesque area of the Hudson Highlands, with many hardwood tree species, and various forms of small wildlife .

Although it was dry the day I was hiking, bridges have been built to keep hikers from having to wade through streams that bring rainwater and snow down from the mountain tops, to eventually drain into the nearby Hudson River.

Discovering this place to explore the "back woods" of an area just a few miles north of the metropolis of New York City gave me "MILES OF SMILES", and I would highly recommend it!  Tricia