Sunday, September 09, 2007

Of Cereal and Snoots: a Return to the USA

After a week of resettling into my normal life--restocking my kitchen, washing heaps of laundry, and, most importantly, buying satisfying cereal:

I got out and about and into the serious work of reclaiming health and fitness after six weeks of living on a diet of beer, cheese and too little sleep. Luckily for me, a friend with a car decided she wanted to get out of the city and into nature...namely hiking to the top of something called "Overlook Mountain," which lies in the vicinity of Woodstock, New York. Woodstock is not unknown to me, of course--besides the obvious reason, I often take the bus through Woodstock while en route to the 607, otherwise known as the place I was born. Woodstock is a very noticeable stop on the bus route, mainly because all the people who look super rich and vaguely hippie-like get off there, leaving the rest of us hillbillies to venture to parts further inland and certainly much less glamorous.

Anyhow, Overlook Mountain was amazing. Despite my fears that I would collapse from overexertion and cheese poisoning, I made it to the top without much problem, and was rewarded with:

Ruins! Apparently this unfinished hotel, aptly named the Overlook, was never finished due to the untimely death of its originator. It has hence laid in a state of rapid deterioration, which is obviously sad, but also scenic and entertaining for legions of hikers, who at least get a visual reward after 40 minutes of sweat-inducing uphill climbing.

Just a few minutes beyond the Overlook, we found the ranger station where we were greeted by a jolly fellow (aren't they all? I don't know how forest rangers are so uniformly good-natured) who warned us of snakes before inviting us to climb hundreds of feet into the air to enjoy the nearby fire tower.

I forgot to take pictures of the tower itself--probably because I was so excited by the prospect of climbing it--but look at the amazing view it offered once one climbed all the way to the top:

Whoa! Unfortunately those are rain clouds, and we had to scramble for our lives when they were unexpectedly accompanied by very dramatic bolts of lightening.

Worried that we would be fried and electrified we packed up and headed back down the mountain, and into nearby Woodstock, expecting to find diners filled with colorful locals and multiple pies. Instead we found a reggae fest--complete with legions of sagging and shirtless former hippies pathetically shuffling around on the "village green," which was really a block of concrete with a tree stuck in the middle. Even worse, the only pie we could find cost $6.50 and was served a trio of laconic and vaguely rude waitresses who were too busy fighting with each other to really notice that a big seed of undisclosed origin was lodged in my pie, and almost cracked my tooth.

This experience--along with the stores stocked with $250 shirts from Gwen Stefani's LAMB line--convinced us that we were in the wrong place. At my suggestion (upstate pride and all!) we high-tailed it to nearby Kingston, where we found much more of what we were hoping for. Instead of snoots and sagging hippies, we found:

Historic buildings!

Dead Dutchmen!

And lots of local color. Shop owners greeted us enthusiastically, and laughed upon hearing of the six dollar and fifty cent pie. "Fuck Woodstock!" one said, before recommending a trip to the nearby taco shop, where I chowed down on something called the "Beanie Greenie," and mused about how just a week or so prior I had eaten Berlin burritos at the awesome Dolores . Then I got a little sad.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

I've wanted to check out Kingston more, but last time I went through I needed my tire fixed so all we could do was drive by all the enticing old crap I wanted to look at. I've also always wanted to do that hike but alas, still have never made it.