Friday, October 23, 2009

The Woodstock Inn on the Millstream

Unless you have been given a personal recommendation, making reservations to stay in new places can be hit or miss, despite the reviews, and I just hate missing. So this Inn was a lovely place to land.

Sure, it's a motel, with your car parked out front, and a road going by at the side, but it has exactly that American motel thing: the shared porch out front, and each room its own chair for sitting and putting your feet up on the rail while you swig your brewski (or Perrier Jouet?). One imagines. The rooms are small (a couple are larger but were booked) and very clean. Space for clothes in a mini walk-in closet and chest of drawers, Wifi from Somewhere, and...a TV (I don't have TV, and watched it to learn how to escape from a sinking car: wait for the car to fill with water before exiting through window!). A little heater that works (unlike the one at the Inn on 23rd...yeah, not a fan) warms you up, and today it got really cold.  Bathrooms are tiny and perfect, with girl-friendly lights over the mirror. They smell of the organic lavender hand-soap in them, and have fluffy white towels, washcloths and tissues. More lavender soap comes wrapped for shower use.

There's a communal fridge at the end, where we stored ice, wine and our all-important wine sleeve.  The sun was out yesterday, making it a bright green and yellow place and the air was filled with ladybirds. They swarmed over the fridge when I was there. Anyone know why? The whole of Woodstock was full of them. And winged ants were processing from the depths of the earth up a beautiful crabapple tree. Does that mean we're in for a heck of a winter?

Breakfast is rather ambitiously billed as gourmet, which is a bit of a stretch. Salmon does make an appearance, so I suppose that is at the root of the matter. But pepper comes as dust from a shaker, which is not what salmon wants or deserves. The bagels are fine in a chewy way, and the bread may have seen better days. Jam is Bonne Maman, so quite good, and coffee is the kind I never drink so I'm no judge: drip. I'm extremely opinionated about coffee and would like to travel with my stovetop espresso maker. Plates and bowls are paper. Milk's organic. There is fruit and granola, but that is not me. But I really wasn't unhappy, for some reason. Maybe because the breakfast room looks out over the garden, which is a great lawn running down to the beautiful stream, and there is a lot of squirrel action to observe.

The sound of water is a constant presence as it falls over some shallow shelves and provides the kind of white noise people pay for and put in machines.

The view up and down is really lovely, and though we've subsequently seen some jaw-dropping scenery, and are in danger of becoming jaded, it still measures up.

Bonnie, an opera singer turned organic farmer (very strange life-trajectory similar to mine), and friend of the owners helping out for the day, pointed us along the stream to a path that would take us to town.

Many leaves, and littering streams so that they looked like dark and embroidered carpets.

An old bridge in the middle of town, dating from the mid nineteenth century, and apparently in use till 1976, if I  remember correctly.

Because the season is so much more advanced up here, just two hours north of the city, I squealed at all the saturated crimson of the Euonymous alatus (burning bush, winged euonymous). I understand that they are invasive, and have now seen lots more in the woods, but wow, how red can you get?

Some very late Queen Anne's lace...

More invasion, and this one seems serious. Again, beautiful: Berberis, not sure which one. We've seen hundreds sprawling low and red in the woods that we drove through today, deep in the Catskills.

Tiny rosehips whose tiny roses must have been lovely in May.

Note to selves: Return!

 Note to friends:



  1. just returned from a long, dirty day at work. i took a bath and read your lyrical post, drank in the scenery and took a long breath. thanks. enjoy the rest of your time, now i'll enjoy the rest of my evening.

  2. I am going to have to go lay down with an ice pack....EVERTHING I LOVE ! Stuck out here in leaf-less California..I know I shouldn't complain..but come...where's mine?

    I drove through Woodstock once. I think my soul is still there...


  3. Lovely! and how nice that the motel includes some modern amenities like lavender soap!

    You've got a few alien invasions going on there...Japanese barberry, multiflora rose, and Asian lady beetles! At least the ladybeetles are harmless...they swarm at this time of year to find a protected place to overwinter, and apparently are attracted to light colored surfaces. They're looking for nooks and crannies to hide in...and lots of people with drafty houses end up with lots of lady beetles inside!

  4. Sounds like such a peaceful getaway.

  5. I planted a burning bush in the back beds and it gives me a little pang of guilt when I look at it. But it's SO RED right now, with those lovely orange berries...
    Funny you should mention the ladybugs, as they've been all over the house - marching around the kitchen tables, beating themselves against the light bulbs, getting tangled up in spider webs. It happens every fall, this invasion. They're just trying to escape the cold, like retiree's headed to Florida...

  6. I think you must have been watching Mythbusters.

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  8. "What are ya, nuts?" ... I think that was your comment to me when I said why didn't you move to Canada instead of Vince going there.... I hesitate to mention...but, you could enjoy scenery like this every day pretty much anywhere here...

  9. flwrjane - how nice that it had such a happy effect on you :-) Yay.

    Kary - its a lovely place, and found so late, in my case. But you have grassy hills, and pines, and...other things!

    Hi Paula - I really hadn't realized that the ladybugs swarmed every year...

    Thomas - yes, and I was thinking of you and your temperatures when we were first here: freezing. Hoop houses needed. cracked me up. Ladybug retirees scrambling for the south.

    Ellen...motel myths? Ladybug myths?

    BV - well, that was tongue in cheek. Yours is lovely country. But this is soooo close to home. Now I know.

  10. me too .. but, maybe I was mostly just cheeky... trying to get one up on ya...cuz you are so quick and so clever with the retorts...

    on a serious note.... what ever became of the Corgis? Did you say and I missed it somewhere along the way?


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