After two days of Walt spending time with his buddies and me with my parents, we are ready to start playing tourist.
We meet in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and sightsee our way up the Hudson River to Rhinebeck, our home for three days during my brother’s wedding. Although I grew up just a couple hours north of here, I’ve never spent much time visiting this area, so I’m a tourist as much as Walt is.
Our first stop probably seems like an odd, morbid choice: Sleepy Hollow cemetery.
But we’re both fascinated by gravestones – how the artistry of the markers change, by what people write on them, etc. So our self-guided tour includes an obligatory viewing of the grave of Washington Irving (author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) as well as Elizabeth Arden’s, William Rockefeller’s (brother of John D.), famed labor leader Samuel Gompers. In this cemetery, there are a lot of huge mausoleums, including the Helmsleys’ (of hotel fame) with stained glass windows depicting the New York skyline and John Archbold, who was a high-ranking Standard Oil employee and whose elaborate granite crypt stands near William Rockefeller’s. I have just finished reading a biography of John D. Rockefeller, so I’m kind of interested in their graves.
We were both captivated (if such a word can be used in this instance) by a crypt that was a huge rock that had been sawn in two horizontally and must have been hollowed out to contain a casket before the top/lid was replaced. We’d never seen anything like it.
Headed up the Hudson River, through various little towns, we head for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. We forgo a tour of the school grounds in favor of a late lunch in the Tavern at American Bounty, figuring we’ll learn all we need to know about the school after sampling its food. (I should say right now that food is an important part this trip. I am never without snacks in the car and spend a good deal of my travel time googling “best restaurant in…”)
I was starving so, despite the 80-degree weather, I order the cauliflower soup because I know it will arrive quickly to be followed by a roasted beet salad. Walt orders the Parker House rolls and mussels. Before leaving, we stop in the bakery for coffee, a mudslide cookie and a salted caramel coconut donut for the road. No sense in taking any chances that we might get hungry on the rest of the trip up to Rhinebeck.