That’s right ladies and gents, last weekend my Mom and I made the trip up to the Hudson River Valley for Rhinebeck for the first time ever.  As long time attendees of Maryland Sheep and Wool we had been talking about making the trip to Rhinebeck for years (8 years to be exact, we first discussed it when I was doing college tours and went to visit nearby Bard).  In the past the pieces never really came together, we were too busy, or we didn’t think to book far enough in advance, but last year when Rhinebeck rolled around, Mom & I made a promise that 2009 would be the year that the ladies of the clan made it to Rhinebeck!

We made a weekend of it, heading up on Friday to hang out in the area and staying until Sunday afternoon.  Friday we kept it low key, Mom had a long week at work and I had only finished midterms the day before.  We were both wiped, so we focused on relaxing on the beautiful property of our hotel near New Paltz.  Here’s just a taste of what we found there…

Truthfully the property was amazing.  On one side a mountain rose up behind the lake, while on the other it slowly descended into a valley towards New Paltz only to rise again to the next ridge in the distance.  No matter which way you looked the view was stunning.  I’m such a city girl that sometimes I forgot how wonderfully restorative it can be to surround oneself with natural beauty.  It was just what I needed.

We woke up early on Saturday to head to the festival.  As we were getting ready we could see the affects of the sunlight on the sky over the mountain above the lake.  We didn’t ever see the sun crest over the horizon because the mountain was too high, but the affects on the sky were beautiful.  I went outside on the balcony to watch for awhile.  I had to bundle because it was chilly.  I had on my coat over my PJs, as well as all the usual hand knit winter accoutrement plus I wrapped myself in the quilt.  Despite somewhat frozen fingers I managed to get a few shots to share just how lovely it was.  Like this one of the sky reflected in the lake…

After the sky turned lighter and the colors faded, I hopped back inside to shower and get dressed so we could head out.  We grabbed tea on the way out the door and we were off towards Rhinebeck.  We raced a few buses full of knitters and showed up at the gates at 8:50 and we were ushered in.  First stop was Apple Cider to ward off the chill, and then we headed towards the numbered barns.

We didn’t have a real plan of attack, neither one of us was trying to score anything highly coveted.  Since the forecast was looking ominous we decided to do things that were more outdoors first and then save more indoor areas for later in case the rain came and we had a repeat of MDSW on Sunday this year.  The shopping started fast.  We had to make a trip to the car to unload (mostly Mom’s fiber) after being there for less than 2 hours.  I have to admit I was a little slower to procure, but trust me I caught up.

Saturday was a great day.  There was much to see and buy.  The sun lasted for only a few hours, but the weather held out all day, not a raindrop in sight.  We ran into a old friends and a few new.  I met up with Lina for the first time, which was lovely.  We shopped around in the main buildings and then attempted to have some food.  We were some what thwarted by long lines, but we ate eventually.  We also ran into Andrea, which was awesome.  Always nice to know more knitters in my new town.  It’s so much fun to put real live faces to people you know through Ravelry and blogland.

We got tired relatively early in the afternoon, so with the knowledge that there was more time Sunday, we headed into town.  Downtown Rhinebeck is very cute and we found that Bread Alone had been invaded by knitters.  We decided to contribute and ordered more cider and plopped down to lay with yarn for an hour or so.  We spent the rest of the evening being very low key with dinner in our room and lots of knitting and reading.

Sunday way drizzly, but the weather still held out relatively well.  There was almost now real rain, and what there was kept the crowds down.  Plenty of room to move around on Sunday.  So we did the sheep barns we had missed the day before.  As lovers of wool it’s always nice to be reminded what beautiful and sweet creatures most sheep are.

And I always love a chance to witness the parts of the fiber process I get less exposure too in the day to day.  Somebody needs a trim…

Later we did more wandering.  I finally got to try the potpies that were virtually unattainable on Saturday.  It was delish.  I also picked out a wheel that has been ordered and will be coming my way around Christmas!  And I snagged some fiber, so I can get spinning once it is really mine.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend.  I never complain about a chance to buy yarn, but it’s always a joy to do so in a beautiful setting surrounded by other people knitters.  October is certainly a lovely time of year to be in that part of New York.  That alone is reason enough to travel, but you throw in all the fibery fun and you’ve pretty much nailed my ideal weekend.   Those of you who have been know just what I mean, and for those of you who haven’t, I really recommend it if you can make it happen.  Oh and I suppose you’ll be wanting to see the haul…

Here I am back home in my PJs in love with all the pretty things I picked up.  I’m sure you’re noticing lots of natural sheepy colors.  It’s what I like to buy at festivals and once the weather turns colder it’s what I crave.  I love beautiful hand dyed yarns as much as the next person, but when the air is crisp I just want to sit down with something super wooly.  And believe me, that’s just what I’ve been doing all week.