Mado Patissere

I had been looking forward to visiting Mado Patissere in Chatham for some time, and finally got a chance this weekend!

IMG_1231 The hours are elusive online, but there are raving reviews, making this joint quite intriguing to me. The owner declared that the shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I will take this as final truth! I got there around noon and she told me the tiny store had just been cleared out and only a few items were left. I was hungry for lunch so I was happy to see cauliflower pizza being taken out of the oven as we spoke.

IMG_1232 It was so beyond sinful, crispy and buttery, but I didn’t stop there. I ordered to pastries a caramelized walnut and a chocolate to split.

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They were both jam-packed with flavor soft and dense and delicious and I’m glad this place isn’t closer to Albany because I would have a problem. Fabulously wicked lunch!

http://www.madopatisserie.com/

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Borden’s Pond and fun in Chatham

Borden’s Pond is a beautiful Columbia county conservation area made up of 1.6 miles of trails. I wasn’t sure if the rain was going to hold out yesterday, so I decided to pick a shorter hike in proximity to other fun things just in case. It only drizzled as we walked around these trails dazzled by fall foliage. We looked out across what I believe used to be Borden’s pond, but now seems more like a meadow. This was a little bird paradise and it was a sight to silently take in.

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In the short amount of trails there is some decent up and down which will get your heart pumping, and you may come across a mysterious cabin in the woods. WHAT could be in there?! :).

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When you are finished with your hike the quaint town of Chatham is within walking distance! This is a perfect spot for lunch with really great options such as Our Daily Bread and Ralph’s Pretty Good Café. I have never written about Ralph’s, but they are more than pretty good. I’d venture to say they are great. I’ve had coffee and lunch here before which came out quickly and tasty. There are outdoor seats available in the sun or it is nice to score a window seat and look out on to the block. Jeff really enjoyed his cheese steak there yesterday, while I had lunch at Mado Patissere, another fabulous Chatham option right next door. Shopping on the main street is fun too, there are a few kitschy stores to pop in and out of.

http://clctrust.org/public-conservation-areas/bordens-pond/

http://www.yelp.com/biz/ralphs-pretty-good-cafe-chatham

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Mrs. London’s

Looking for lunch in Saratoga? Try Mrs. London’s, and make sure you have room for epic dessert. Their sandwiches are premade, some are heated up, some served cold, both I sampled were delish! The smoked chicken Panini was crispy and gooey while the chicken salad was dense and luxurious. While I did love the meal lets be real, I’m a person who is all about dessert. Splitting lunch allows you to have the best of both worlds, I got two different sandwiches and two desserts! I was told I must try the almond croissant here, and oh boy was it ever good. Flakey, buttery, superb-ness.

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There was only one Brittany left and though I have never tried one I took that for a good omen. Also delicious, similar to a croissant but with a caramelized twist.

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Loved what I got here, would love to try everything on the menu, and I heard their bread is divine as well. A great spot in Saratoga, and affordable as well!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mrs-Londons/108196862535252

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Roadtrip through Bennington, Brattleboro, and Chesterfield

If you’re looking to take a nice cruise and peep at the foliage through three states, look no further— I’ve got a plan for you. Take Route 7 from Troy towards Bennington, Vermont. Check out the moose and cougar statues along the way.

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Grab some breakfast at the Blue Benn Diner. This is a sweet little dining car with some great breakfast. I had their pumpkin pancakes which were pretty phenomenal. Head east on Route 9 towards Brattleboro, Vermont. This town has some quintessential New England charm.

1383148_10202230383739004_1548382665_n Grab a cup of something warm or a snack and enjoy shopping about the main street. Don’t forget to stop in Mystery on Main Street, an interesting independent bookstore that has a lot of mystery novels. Great to get in the Halloween spirit! Hop right over the state line into Chesterfield, New Hampshire. For a great hike visit Madame Sherri forest. This is a fascinating and stunning place. There is some interesting history here about Madame Sherri, a 1920s Parisian costume designer. The amazing ruins of her home are in the forest, and among them you can climb up a great stairway leading to nowhere.

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There is an enjoyable two mile trail leading to a summit with spectacular views.

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Take a leisurely drive to NY, maybe stop at Man of Kent for some great pub food.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Benn-Diner-Inc/197037143678982

http://mysteryonmain.com/

http://www.yankeemagazine.com/explore-new-england/madame-sherris-castle-ruins

http://manofkenttavern.com/

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The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze and the Keene Pumpkin Festival

October calls for a good pumpkin festival. It is important to be joyful this time of year and over indulge a bit for hard times are ahead in the north. This year I visited The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Croton-On-Hudson, Westchester. I really liked the set up of this festival. You purchase tickets for a specific time period so things don’t get out of hand. Parking was simple, and there is a store with pumpkin/Halloween items and a place to get simple refreshments such as cider donuts either before or after your experience. I would recommend getting a nice hot cup of apple cider to warm your hands as you walk. There is a path that winds through thousands of intricately carved pumpkins, and different areas had different themes. The whole experience took about an hour, and we enjoyed every minute of it!

IMG_1139 IMG_1157 IMG_1178 Last year I attended the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire. This was a very different experience, and also lots of fun! Parking was a bit of a hassle, you and get shuttled in to the festival on a bus. Lines were long, and the festival was crowded, but there were lots of interesting things going on, like pumpkin bowling! There were games, activities, food, and a ferris wheel accompanying the eclectically carved pumpkins. This festival is actually in the middle of the town, so there area lots of places to eat and stores to look in. You can spend a few hours wandering about.

1002479_10202230468941134_456696566_n 600329_10202230469981160_1860039857_n I loved both festivals and would recommend either them for some festive fall fun. The Blaze was more of a viewing station for beautifully arranged pumpkins with some gifts and refreshments. The Keene Pumpkin Festival was more of a festival vibe with a lot of pumpkins about. Choosing between them depends on what you’re into or where you’d like to travel!

 

http://www.hudsonvalley.org/events/blaze

http://pumpkinfestival2014.org/

 

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Hand Hollow Conservation Area

As the days grow shorter it is getting harder to visit new hiking trails, there are only so many near by! The weather we had this last was so phenomenal I couldn’t help but get in the car after work and drive the 30 minutes out to Hand Hollow conservation area in New Lebanon.

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The 3 miles of trails were silent and full of solitude, except for the chirping of birds and an occasional deer, bird, or squirrel. I didn’t see the beaver that lives in the lake, but I spotted his dam. The leaves are in full change and reflecting off the ponds magically.

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Columbia county conservation areas are well generally maintained, quiet, and beautiful. I

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http://clctrust.org/public-conservation-areas/hand-hollow/

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Crane Mountain

I hiked Crane Mountain in the Adirondacks on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

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A large portion of the hike has you scrambling up rocks; there are short areas of reprieve to catch your breath. Towards the very end of the way up you reach a tall ladder (so beware if you have dogs you will have to take the back way), and at the top you have to shimmy across a ledge to reach ground. Very invigorating, and I was shocked at how many brave parents brought their young kids.

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This was a short but strenuous hike with a gorgeous payoff at the summit. We were lucky to have the place to ourselves for some time and we cooled off in the mountain breeze and beautiful sights.

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We heard a rattler echo down below from the summit, and when the next group came atop they confirmed that they had seen it. We looped around the summit the back way and after some time made it to Crane Pond. A beautiful scene, and I wished that it was warm enough to swim in.

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Great challenging hike, great views, great day!

 

http://www.adirondack.net/business/crane-mountain-11204/

 

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