Tooleing Around: Back on the Chain Gang Week 1

 

First day back to work, my office was Grand Central Station. I’d forgotten my desktop password and had to get the Help Desk to reset. Sweet. It was great to see everyone. I redecorated and then found out I was moving offices.

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Five work days , five lunches with six good friends. Great start.
Noble Tree still has the best Cappucino in thd country and I missed their PDQs, a small cheesy bread.
The obvious questions, most asked on my return, have been, were you always that full of shit and did your blog posts need to be so long?
Second most asked was my favorite places visited.
Because I had so much time, I didn’t always look for the prettiest, most tourist friendly locations. Those can be found anytime. There’s not a day of the trip I didn’t enjoy and learn a little something, even if that something was I never need to go there again (St. Louis/Charleston WV).
In no particular order , these are the places of natural beauty I most loved and want to revisit some day. Utah and Montana are two states I know whether there’s a lot more for me to see. Colorado, much as I had great experiences, I didn’t have the weather cooperate to see any of the great outdoors. To quote the Terminator, I’ll be back.
The Arches – Utah
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Canon Beach – Oregon 
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Avalanche Lake – Montana
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Devils Tower – Wyoming
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Badlands – South Dakota
Continuing my local travels, Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, NY is a favorite town of mind  in our upstate region, with a barrel load of history. In the not too distant past, Chelsea Clinton married here. The family presented a bottle of wine to every family in town as a thank you for their hospitality and apology for the presidential interruption.  The main streets, runnning off the cross roads , house a collection of eye pleasing small stores. It’s the picture perfect American town.
It’s a spectacular Autumn Sunday and the farmers market is in town so things are hopping. Lots of leaf blowers on the go.
Strategically placing someone else’s Sunday Times Styles Section by my plate, in an attempt to blend, I brunched at Bread Alone. They have very good bread and I sat alone. Also serving excellent breakfast sandwiches, coffee and pastries. Tried the feta herb scone – scrumptious. It’s one of my regulars for years now.
The Beekman Arms, at the crossroads in town, is the oldest inn in America, established in 1766. They have a street facing atrium, serves brunch, and original antique bar you can dine at in the back, a better dining atmosphere for dreary winter days.
The Culinary Institute Of America is close by Rhinebeck so there’s no shortage of Chefs. My favorite restaurant is Le Petit Bistro across from the Beckman, they do a really nice job at Christmas as does the whole town. It has that New England look and feel.
Terrapin , a converted church, is probably the most established and best know of the towns many restaurants. While I admire the space, I’ve never been a big fan of their pricey menu.
Rhinebeck has oodles of chocolatiers and candy stores (Ant Man himself Paul Rudd owns one) and quaint gift and clothing stores, lots of find restaurants and a couple of old school taverns.
Upstate Films, the towns three screen art house theatre, hosts an annual film festival. It’s a cute little venue that  thankfully will never show an Avengers movie.
Just a couple of doors down, I’ve had a lot of good luck gift shopping at Paper Trail. I’ve even bought a couple of things for other people there. They run the full range from cutlery to coloring books, fun store. I bought stuff !
What town would me complete without an excellent bookstore. Oblong is the sister store of my regular spending spot in Millerton. I bought a book.
For more gifting, Hamnerton next door is a favorite for bigger pieces. Christmas had started already. I bought more stuff.
When ever I need my knife sharpened I go to Warren’s. Not a metaphor. Brendan showed me the most expensive knife in the store , an $800 Kikuchi . I have a set of Globals, also Japanese and the knife of choice for Patrick Batemen in American Psycho. Warren’s is considered the premier knife store in the country . I never leave empty handed from their hardware section.
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I had a lovely long chat with Sara at the counter and bought a Straub red cast iron pot on sale and some whisk thing . Sara pointed me to No Need Bread recipes website. My dough days are about to begin.  Sara’s a native of Rhinebeck, currently residing across the bridge in close by Kingston.
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Drop in and talk Knives at Warren’s with the expert staff. It’s fascinating and the staff couldn’t be more knowledgeable of friendlier. This is one of my favorite stores on the planet!
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On the binging front:
Spoiler rant ahead. Binged Bodyguard, a six parter, from BBC, currently on Netflix. All fine until the ridiculous finale. So lets gather as many people around the suicide bomber as we can kiddies and really piss him off with criticisms and call him a liar as he struggles to hold it together with his thumb on the hair trigger and maybe bring his wife along for extra dumb. The ending devolved into silly, prolonged nonsense including some prize hammy dialogue and performances. One step shy of the butler with a candlestick in the library , everyone just rolls over and confesses everything at the drop of tapectecirding for a lovely clean resolution.
Better Call Saul, this years season , is my best show of the year with the closing scene of 2018. Emmys for the three principals please.
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On the book front:

For no good reason other than the fact he’s very popular, I had low expectations for Craig Johnson and his books. But having just traveled Wyoming and the West, and seeing his books everywhere and hearing what a great guy the writer is, I tried the first book. It’s everything I’d want in a mystery, firstly a great mystery and creduble yet surprising resolution, fully fleshed characters and a clear sense of place. The Cold Dish is my first Longmire book and I will be reading more. Highly recommended for mystery lovers in particular and fiction readers in general, the mans a beautiful writer.

 

One great band named after a town I remembered, Rio Speedwagon.

Until next week…

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