Rhinebeck Recap


You know that feeling you get when you return to your daily life after a particularly good vacation? Like you feel it was all a dream maybe? I’m having a lot of that right now.

Last Wednesday morning, I got on a plane to Albany. Many hours after the first takeoff, I stepped off the plane in a much colder climate than the one I had boarded from. Not having planned my trip worth a damn, I went up to the Hertz counter next to the baggage claim and got myself a car that probably cost a couple hundred bucks more than it really needed to. Oh, well.

Let me compress the next 48 hours a bit: New York was gorgeous. Postcard gorgeous, Ansel Adams gorgeous, holy-crap-was-that-an-eagle gorgeous. The trees were a little past midway in their turning, so only a few were bare and many were still green. I drove from Albany down to Poughkeepsie in the fading sunlight of a clear day, and I had a spectacular view for the full two hours.

That was worth the price of admission, right there.

And then I got to my hotel after getting a bit lost coming off the Mid Hudson Bridge. I wrote about my dinner experiences in the last post.

The next morning – well, the next two mornings, actually – I got up, drove north to Hyde Park and had a luxurious breakfast at the Culinary Institute of America (yes, the CIA). Oh man, if you ever have the chance – it’s a world-class cooking school with several restaurants and a bakery run by the students. Great coffee, great pastries, soup to kill or die for. Oh, and the staff have cute butts. It’s true.

On Thursday I went up to Rhinebeck to scout out the lay of the land after I had breakfast. I also stopped in the Hyde Park cemetary to get some pictures. I lazed around on the benches at the F.D.R. Presidential Library to do some knitting, because the grounds are just beautiful and it’s got a great view of the Hudson River.

Friday was mostly spent at the CIA knitting furiously on the kilt hose. I swear, the more I knit on them, the more I had to do. I ignored several mistakes on the second sock just to try and get the pair done so I could wear them into the fair.

Friday evening, things just got better and better. I came back to my room to find a voice message on the phone from Stephanie, telling me that she and Juno had arrived and were looking to do some misbehaving. Then I went down to the lobby and discovered this . . . throng of knitters milling about. It was surreal and wonderful. At this point, I need to apologize once again for my pathetic inability to retain people’s names. I am horribly, horribly sorry for this. Everyone was friendly and open and just awesome, and I wish I could do them all the justice of at least being able to remember everyone’s name.

So, I suck at names. Moving on.

I went to dinner with a bunch of the ladies on Friday and stood around waiting for a table for about half an hour, still knitting on my sock. Did I mention it kept taking longer and longer to finish? I checked my watch and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to make dinner because I had a very important prior engagement – the lovely Lilith was coming in to town as well, and I had promised her I’d be there to greet her. We met online about a year ago, and a few months back we made a date to meet at Rhinebeck. So I regretfully parted company with the knitter swarm and went back to the hotel.

Later that evening, we both went back to the lobby and guess what? It was crawling with knitters. It was as if George Romero had decided to take a break from writing zombie movies and had decided to explore the world of contagious craft obsession. The knitters of Rhinebeck have a group mentality very similar to zombies, except we seek yarn and roving instead of human flesh. And we’re a hell of a lot louder. We mingled and sipped wine and knit and told tales of knitting adventures until the wee hours of the morn.

Oh, and that story that Stephanie’s telling about owning up to how complex knitting is right now? Don’t believe a word of it. When I commented on her shawl (while still knitting my damn socks), she said “Oh yeah, finished it a few days ago, blocked it the other night, I’m so over it.” :-)

The next morning was the fair. Lilith and I stopped for breakfast at a diner a few miles short of the fairground and she waited patiently while I poked at my omelette and kept knitting the socks. The bizarre space-time fluctuation began to stabilize as we neared the fairgrounds. By the time we were in the parking lot, it was actually possible for me to cast off the second sock. (There was not, tragically, enough time for me to weave in the ends, so I was walking around sporting a pair of what appeared to be finished kilt hose but were, in fact, one finished ho and one ho with a bunch of loose yarn curling around my toes.)

That evening, there was another aggregation of knitters in the lobby. By this point, I’m pretty sure the hotel staff was wondering what the hell was going on. It wasn’t like there were signs up saying “KNITTERS: GO APESHIT HERE”. It just kind of happened. By this time, I did not have a project to work on, but I waded into the knitter mosh pit and sat down and sure enough, Meg and her husband tossed an unfinished sock my way and said “here, weave in the ends”. Hey, why not? I had spent so much time furiously knitting in the past 72 hours that I just could not keep my hands still. It was therapeutic.

On Sunday, we went back to the fair and met my brother and his family. I got to give my nephew A.J. big hugs and show him all of the sheep and llamas and alpacas and assorted furry critters. The kid ate enough sugar to energize a small town and I’m sure he took it out on his parents on the ride home. We did more wandering about the fair, smiled and waved at the knitters we recognized from the previous day, and generally acted like happy, foolish people having a good time.

All too soon, it was over. Lilith went back home and I got on a plane to San Antonio. (The f***ing TSA confiscated my lobster bisque at the airport. They suck.) And many hours later, I collapsed into my bed and slept until it was time to go back to work.

I am, of course, glossing over a lot of things, most notably all the wonderful people I met this weekend. They are really what made this vacaiton so special for me.

Gratuituous photos may be found here.


No Responses to “Rhinebeck Recap”

  1. Lee Ann Says:

    The photos are fantastic–thank you for posting them. You’ve got the distinction of being the first place on the internet that my husband has allowed to publish a photo of him, and that includes my blog (he has never let me put a photo of him on it). He looks ecstatically happy for a husband being dragged around a sheep and wool festival.

    He’s a knitter and he doesn’t know it yet. Dontcha think? :-)

  2. Cheryl Says:

    They took your Lobster Bisque!? Are you kidding? That’s just mean.

  3. sandy Says:

    This is my name. Don’t wear it out! :) Now, the challenge is to put the name to the face. I did a fair (huh, FAIR) amount of gushing over your wonderful socks, but I suspect many, many did. So, that does not set me apart from the crowd.
    I did, however, take a surreptitious picture of your kilt hose covered legs walking away. I will post it later this morning. When those cobwebs clear from my brain. I’m on vacation you know!
    I am amazed that you came so far for the wonder that is Rhinebeck. I’m glad you did!

  4. Martha Says:

    It was a lot easier for us–we just had to remember YOUR name, not 20 others! Although I’ll admit I met a lot of people this weekend whose names I have no recollection of. I was one of the ladies at dinner–glad we didn’t scare you off!

  5. Carole Says:

    I was so thrilled to see you wearing the socks on Saturday after watching you furiously knit them on Friday night at the Coyote Grill. Sorry you couldn’t stay for dinner with us but I completely understand the reason!

  6. Mindy Says:

    Sounds like you had an awesome time! The kilt hose looked great, no one would ever have guessed the ends weren’t woven in.

  7. Ninly Says:

    We had a great time, too, although we drove up from the south rather than down from Albany — that’s a beautiful drive, for sure! I’m glad you enjoyed Hyde Park; I grew up there, and it looks like you did most of the right things to make a brief visit worthwhile. Sorry to hear about the bisque, though! :(

  8. Susan (Plum Texan) Says:

    The theft of lobster bisque is a crime against humanity. Glad the rest of the trip was a joy, though!

    “KNITTERS: GO APE$HIT HERE” made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe, so either I’m easily amused or that was just a riot. In either case, I linked to you in my entry today because I had to share the mirth…I apologize for the flood of extra readers (all two of them) that may bring you.

  9. Jess, of the Bugs Says:

    Lobster bisque is considered a deadly weapon in some states…

    And you are going to post kilt hose pics, yes?

  10. janna Says:

    And you were going to share that lobster bisque with us, right?

  11. staceyjoy Says:

    I can’t believe you were in NY and didn’t come visit me! I have a pullout couch waiting for you!

  12. Cassie Says:

    Enjoyed your pictures of the blogger meet-up. We met (briefly) at the hoel, but not really – I’m in a bunch of the Cari pictures (in the brown sweater). Your kilt hose (among other things) were the talk of the festival. So glad you made it up from Tejas and enjoyed our little (ahem) S&W festival.

  13. Suzy Says:

    Glad you got to enjoy some of the color. That is about the only thing I miss about upstate NY!

  14. Rachel Says:

    So if I tell you that our humble fiber festival is in January, would that tempt you in my direction?

  15. Stephanie Says:

    Dude, you were the belle of the ball and it was lovely to see you again.
    Next time I’ll bring scotch.

  16. Jayme Says:

    I have the info from the Lobster Bisque people if you want to order more. I’d even send you a can of mine but we already ate it all. It was great meeting you this weekend.

    “KNITTERS: GO APE$HIT HERE” what was most shocking to me were the number of people that came who were actually staying at different hotels.

  17. Ellen-Mary Says:

    I’m so happy for you that you were able to finish your kilt hose in time. I was there Saturday and the only disappointment is that I didn’t get to see them in person. My sweater didn’t make it. Not even close. Thanks for sharing all those photos. I love the Hudson Valley at this time of year; it is so beautiful here. Glad you enjoyed your stay.

  18. Lyssa Says:

    I want to see the kilt hose! Do you have any pictures of them all done?

    -a California knitter who couldn’t make it to Rhinebeck

  19. rho1640 Says:

    Loved your pictures of the CIA and surrounding area – we were there on Tuesday before you and it was raining and hazy so we couldn’t see anything outside at all– did you eat at the Italian Restaurant-the Veal was incredible. And I brought home a Cinnamon Braid from the bakery – yummy…. And you snuck a picture inside — brave…

  20. rho1640 Says:

    well shoot – I forgot to mention you would have been right at home with our group of 8 – we were all knitting away on various projects.

  21. Michelle Says:

    Fantastic blog!

    For the record, great butts aren’t made by eating rice cakes, you know. If you see a nice butt you know someone can cook!

  22. Emily Says:

    Hey – a fellow Texas in a Utilikilt! In the wild, and everything? I am very impressed…also with the gorgeous knitting. I’ve ben trying to get the hubby to buy one at the North TX Irish Fest for the past couple of years. Thanks for the very entertaining Rhinebeck report…I am living vicariously through everyone’s blogs, sobbing into my Shiner Bock that I have never been. Dammit, next year. Great writing!

  23. JessaLu Says:

    I saw you on Saturday but couldn’t get near you for all the knitters fawning over your hose ;o) Didn’t you see me waving?

  24. pippy Says:

    Looks like a great time was had by all! I love the caterpillar and the butterfly/flower pics.
    And plus well, you can’t really blame the TSA because bisque terror incidents are a real possibility in this post- 9.11 world and we can’t be too careful. I know it makes me feel safer knowing they are keeping the bisque threat down.

  25. Christine Says:

    *swooning with Rhinebeck envy.*

    It is a lot closer to home – will you be at Kid & Ewe in Boerne, TX on Nov. 11th? I’m trying to round up everyone I can find!

  26. Stacey Says:

    WOW! Looks like you had a grand time. I am sorry I was not able to go. Sigh…maybe some day.