Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival
Sunday finally came. I'd been waiting for it since last month and day dreaming about getting out of the city and heading up to Rhinebeck, NY for the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival. All week I've been thinking of scrumptious hand-dyed wool, the smell of clover and hay, the small towns we'd be sure to drive through, the fall leaves, but move than anything I'd been thinking about the food. If it's one thing sheep and wool festivals always have it's great food, and Rhinebeck had the best.
But first let's start with our drive into upstate New York and the not-so-great pictures I snapped out the window. New York state is incredible. Our two-hour drive took us through picturesque farms, rolling hills and gold and red mountains. S kept staring out the window hoping to see a bear.
On the way to Rhinebeck we crossed over the Hudson River on the Mid-Hudson/FDR Bridge and drove right into Hyde Park, FDR's home town and home to his presidential library (as well as several lovely mansions including a Vanderbilt mansion). Hyde Park was so lovely I'd like to stay there for next year's sheep and wool festival.
The sheep and wool festival itself was amazing but a little overwhelming. We stayed for about 3-4 hours, and even in all that time I never saw all there was to see. I was very happy they had a huge section of the fairgrounds devoted to children, with a carousel, slide, bouncy castle and lots of lots of kids activities including a petting zoo, a science show, a frog and bug show and a man taking requests for animal balloons.
The highlight of S's day was petting a giant toad and this turtle:
He also loved his balloon snake....
...until it popped. We had to go back and request a dinosaur.
I left the boys to their own devices for a little while and walked around by myself. I knew S would only be able to stand about 2 minutes of yarn shoppping before he'd be bored. There was so many gorgeous fiber everywhere.
But I was specifically looking for an orange or mustard colored DK yarn for the hat I'm making. I found a lovely handspun, hand-dyed alpaca yarn that fit the bill and was just about the right shade of orange. When I saw that it was only $18 for 350 yards I had to have it. I was also looking for some handspun, un-dyed wool for soakers and I found plenty of it but everything was either too rough or too expensive. I did find some crazy self-patterning worsted weight yarn from Crystal Palace that I thought might make some cute baby pants.
I also walked away with a bunch of tiny bags of roving in bright primary colors. I'm planning on making these felted acorns for our Christmas tree this year. Maybe this is something I could do with my mother-in-law when she comes to visit for the month of December. (She's coming to help out with S while I'm in labor and afterwards. I love her!)
And I bought a lovely basket to hold all of my yarn. As part of the massive de-cluttering of our house, I've made it my goal to never exceed more yarn in my stash than this basket will hold. Right now it's filled to the brim, which means I better get to knitting so I can buy more yarn.
Before leaving we had to just pet some sheep.
This little guy took a liking to me and Seamus and was eating the hay right out of our hands and letting me pet behind his ears.
I can't end this post without mentioning and showing you the yummy food we had. I had Fried pickles and squash soup for lunch, both of which were the best of each I'd ever had.
Then after all the shopping was done I was hungry again and made a beeline for the apple cider doughnuts, which I had with hot apple cider.
And then we saw this...
When you see something like maple sugar cotton candy you just HAVE to eat it. I think I devoured most of the bag. Guess who was squirming in my belly all the way home? I think I made the baby very happy this day.
Can you spot the cotton candy among the roving?
Before we left, T purchased some local honey and bee pollen as well, and S has already made a pretty big dint in the honeypot, drizzling it over apples and slathering it on toast, eating it by the spoonful.
We had a lovely time, and upstate New York was so beautiful we'd like to vacation there sometime. But I have to say, as this was the second rather large sheep and wool festival I've been to, I still prefer the smaller festivals. I've had just as much fun at the Garden State Sheep and Wool Festival and the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, NC. Somehow the smaller ones are more my speed, but that won't stop me from going back to Rhinebeck next year.