Wino weekend

by Christine on December 12th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

This weekend I went with a friend on a wine tour in the Mid-Hudson River valley area.  We were sort-of, kind-of following the Shawangunk Wine Trail, but with a few additions thrown in. A few wineries are not on the official Shawngunk Wine Trail, but are worth visiting nonetheless, such as Robibero Winery & Demorest Hill Vineyards. This weekend was the Wreath Fineries wine tour — which means for a big whopping lump sum you get free tastings at all the Shawangunk Wine Trail wineries, plus a little food at each place. Plus they give you a little wreath at the start of the tour, and each winery has a little ornament to put on your wreath. And oh yeah, you get to keep a souvenir glass too.  Well, we had intended on signing up for the tour this Saturday, but tickets were sold out. No big deal–we would still do the tour, except pass on the wreath and pay for tastings at each winery, like normal.

Well, we were at our first winery (Adair Winery) when we chatted with a very nice couple. Turns out his brother-in-law and wife couldn’t make the tour, so they gave us their wine tour ticket. Furthermore, it was a 2-day ticket, which was even more expensive!  THANK YOU VITO! It was a really unexpected, lovely gift! (They wouldn’t take any money for the tickets, either.) What nice people you run into on the wine trail!

My favorite winery is Demorest Hill, which is not on the official route. The cutest little old Italian man runs the place, and he makes something ridiculous like 60 or 70 types of wines, spirits, vinegars, etc.  Delicious! I love that place.

We stayed at the Thayer Hotel at West Point Military Academy, which is a wonderful hotel that looks a little bit like a midevil castle. Very pretty location.

I did a great job packing snacks for the trail. In addition to the little snacks they had at each place (I do believe Applewood Winery would win the award for best snack…a spicy cheesecake that was really fantastic!) I had packed some cheese, pepperoni and crackers, some carrots and grapes, bottles of water, packages of almonds, etc.  I didn’t overdo it during the trail or afterwards at dinner….I was holding steady at my maintenance range of 126.0 this morning.

Showing off my new hands-free wine cozy! hahahaha! So tacky but so much fun! (And holy crap when did I get SKINNY, people?? That’s a padded ski jacket I’m wearing there….and I don’t look like that kid from A Christmas Carol. Freaky!!!)


Chickens!! Omg, one winery had chickens. I hopped out of the car and tried to chase one down to pet him, but he wouldn’t let me get close. What a chicken chicken! Bawk bawk!  See, you might find exercise at the oddest times when you’re on a wine trail. You better be prepared!


Some wine tour pictures

by Christine on May 22nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I had a fun time on our little wine tour yesterday. We hit about 11 wineries, distilleries, and breweries. We used the list I created (you can find it on the left hand side of this page) but I have a few amendments to make to the list. All in all, we had a very good time. I consumed too many freaking calories between the alcohol and the munchies, so I will need to cut back the next few days.


Maintaining, Spring Parties, and Other Stuff

by Christine on May 2nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Good morning Revolutionists, and it’s a good morning, too, with one less terrorist out there plaguing the world. Congrats to our servicemen for getting Bin Laden, and my thanks for keeping us all safe.

It’s been a busy weekend for me, but kind of relaxing as well. Friday I woke up at 3:30 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding. I know…the whole Royal Wedding thing is silly and trite, especially since they are not my monarchs! When I was a little girl, I remember my mom letting me stay awake all night long so I could watch Princess Diana marry Prince Charles. It is a very strong memory for me. My mom is a big fan of the British Royalty, and watching that wedding was like watching a fairy tale come true.  I wanted to watch the wedding because of that memory with my mom and to let a little modern-day fairy tale enter into my life.

Plus, London is one of my most favorite places in the world. I love to broadcast showing London landmarks that I love so well–Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, etc. Those places bring back a lot of memories for me.

Friday I went home after work, read my book a little bit, and went to sleep early.

Saturday I went out with a friend to the Museum of Firefighting in Hudson, NY. There were a lot of fire trucks there, which were pretty cool. However, there was disappointing little on the design of fire stations, which is what we were looking to learn about.  It was a beautiful day for a drive, and on the way we stopped at the Chatham Brewery in beautiful Chatham, NY, Huds0n-Chatham Winery in Ghent, NY (a really lovely place, with some great cheeses too!), and Harvest Spirits Distillery in Valatie, NY.  All three of these places we visited had great wines/vodkas and had a picturesque drive to get there. It was a great trip!  For lunch we stopped at Four Brothers Pizza. They have a few locations in the Upstate NY region. I used to absolutely LOVE their garlicy pizza, but unfortunately I can’t eat pizza anymore.  Instead I ordered a side salad (which was huge, and the salad dressing was delicious) and the veal parm sandwich (minus the bread). Unfortunately the veal was thin, dry, and deep fried. Not tasty or healthy. The salad was a much better value.

Sunday morning I took about 20 bags of top soil and tried to fill in a sand pit in our back yard, where our above-ground swimming pool used to stand. I put down grass seed. It was a lot of lifting and raking, and today my back in aching so I know I got a workout in. I also went for a short walk to enjoy the beautiful weather!

In the afternoon the hubby and I went to his boss’s beautiful 2nd home to celebrate his wife’s (and the company’s Office Manager)’s 40th birthday.  For her birthday he got her an awesome limited edition Porche convertible. It’s totally sweet! I hope she can take me for a ride in it sometime!

In the evening we had a few friends come over to watch Game of Thrones, the new HBO series with us.  Hubby and I have been fans of the Game of Thrones book series by George RR Martin for years. It’s our favorite book, and my cat Arya is named after one of the main characters! The HBO series is really well done and is in keeping with the book. We’re loving it…check it out if you like that kind of thing.

I ate a little more than my calorie alotment on Saturday (thanks to the alcohol + fried veal, boo!) but I ate under my calories yesterday. Therefore, it was no surprise that I was at the same weight this morning…127.0.  I’m still in maintenance range.

I’m only one month away from my port surgery.  I’m nervous about it and I’m unsure of how much the surgery to replace my port will hurt. Will it hurt as much as the original surgery? Will it be easier on me? Will they need to inflate my tummy with that awful gas? Will I need to be knocked out? I’m stressing out about these details!  I will be glad when it’s done though. The other day I was wearing a skirt with an elastic band, and it was riding on my protruding port site. Boy, it really hurt, and I was really sore for hours that day. I can’t wait to get that fixed.


Upstate New York Brewery and Wine Tour

by Christine on March 22nd, 2011

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Upstate New York Brewery & Wine Tour

This is a perfect tour for anyone that is visiting the Upstate NY area, or who is spending a weekend in the Lake George or Saratoga areas. I personally recommend doing this list in order, so that you end up in Saratoga Springs at the end of the day. You have a lot of great restaurants and bars to choose from in downtown Saratoga Springs to wrap up the day. Remember if you are going to do the tour, please drink responsibly and either hire transportation or get a designated driver.

1. Coopers Cave Ale Company (microbrewery)
2 Sagamore Street
Glens Falls, NY
(518) 792-0007
Opens at 11:30 a.m. every day and “open late.”
When we went, they had 12 beers on tap. For a sampling or a flight of beers, you can choose six beers for something like $8 or so. If you go with a group, I recommend that you get a flight of six, and have a friend get the other flight of six, then share all 12. They have some fruity beers—a blueberry and a raspberry—that are very sweet. The Red had a great holiday smell to it. Coopers Cave also has a full menu so you can eat while you’re there or grab some homemade ice cream.

2. Davidson Brothers Brewing Company (microbrewery)

184 Glens Street
Glens Falls, NY
(518) 743-9026
Opens at 11:30 daily, noon Saturday-Sunday.
This brewery is located in the heart of downtown Glens Falls in a fantastic old brick building. I could have stayed here all day, laughing with the bartender (Rick Farmer), who was an absolute hoot! Eventually one of the owners stopped by and chatted with us. We ended up talking to other people at the bar, too—everyone was really friendly! The bar had a few tvs to watch sports. The place has a full restaurant, and I recommend taking a moment to have a quick lunch here. (Don’t dilly dally too long if you want to make Saratoga Winery later!)  When we went, they had a lot of IPAs and bitter beers on tap and no wheat beers, which are my favorites. A sampling of six 6-ounce samples cost something like $9. However, I suspect that the brews differ quite often. Davidson Brothers brews their beers on location, and if you want a tour (which they do), call ahead to schedule a time.

3. Adirondack Pub and Brewery (microbrewery)

33 Canada Street
Lake George, NY
(518) 668-0002
Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Noon.
This is a typical brew pub, but with a great sampling of Adirondack “rustic” architecture. A sampling of six beers cost about $6 or so. When we went, they were out of two of their beers, so they gave us something else, but didn’t write it down for us, so we weren’t entirely sure what they were. Their Dirty Blonde wheat beer was quite good, and their Coffee Stout was a great after-dinner beer. They offer tours on Saturdays “in season” (I think that means during the summertime) or by appointment, so give a call. This should be a quick stop, so keep on going with the tour! The next winery is just a little ways up the street.

4. Adirondack Winery (winery)
285 Canada Street
Lake George, NY
(518) 668-WINE
Thursday-Saturday 11-6; Sundays 11-4. These hours will change in the summertime, so double-check the website.
This winery left me pleasantly surprised for two reasons. First of all, I always expect northcountry wines to be on the sugary side, but these wines were actually well-developed and well refined. This is because they purchase their grapes from California at mature wineries. Secondly, they had an enormous selection of wines! They actually have more than 30 wines to choose from. Cost is $5 to try 5 wines, and they are pretty stingy in the amount they pour. You do get to keep the souvenir glass. I highly recommend the Barbara and the Merlot (the regular Merlot, not the Reserve) They were delicious! They also have a variety of fruit wines and dessert wines as well as traditional whites and reds. No appointment is necessary to taste the wines.

5. Saratoga Winery and Tasting Room (winery)
462 Route 29
Saratoga Springs, NY
(518) 584-WINE
Weds, Thurs, Sat, and Sun, 12-6 p.m.; Friday 12-9 p.m.
Like Adirondack Winery, this place left me pleasantly surprised. This is a new winery (opened in 2009 I think) with surprisingly sophisticated wines. Like Adirondack Winery, this place purchases their grapes offsite; Saratoga Winery gets theirs from one of the oldest and most well-established vineyards in the Finger Lakes region. They feature Melomel wines, which are sweetened with honey (and boy, they are sweet!). Saratoga Winery features music and food (for an extra price) on Friday nights. Cost is $5 to try 5 wines (they are more generous with their pours than Adirondack Winery) and if you ask and they aren’t too busy, you can probably try an extra one. The wines from this winery will be featured at the Saratoga Race Track this year (2011).

6. Olde Saratoga Brewing Company (microbrewery)
131 Excelsior Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY
(518) 581-0492
Monday-Friday 5-10 p.m.; Saturday 12-10 p.m.
In a lot of ways, I’m saving the best for last. For starters, the tasting room is open late, so kick back and relax after your day of beer and wine tasting! Let me tell you a little secret: the beers here are free, all day, every day. No kidding. They give you about 6 ounces of one beer you want to try. When you’re done, you just ask for another beer. And another. And another. And it’s free, for as much as you want to drink. Sound crazy? Yeah, I thought so too. If you prefer wine, bring your own bottle of wine and drink it on site; they’re fine with that. The beers here were my personal favorites, but I’m not a bitter-beer kind of lady. Their Kingfisher Lager and Saratoga Lager were my two personal favorites. I believe they have a partnership of some kind with the Mendocino Brewing Company.  The tasting room has tvs to watch your sports games, and has free Wi-Fi as well. The room is pretty small, and often tour buses stop by, during which time it gets pretty crowded. They have live music on Thursday Nights, and they often have free food to sample, too. They offer tours of their brewery, but you need to call to book a tour.

Extra Items of Note:

This is a pretty short brew/wine tour for me. It’s not unusual for us to get 10 or more wineries into one visit when we hit the road for a tour. Since the first microbrewery doesn’t open until 10:30 or 11 a.m., that gives you ample time to check out some other local places if you have time. Let me make a few recommendations:

Saratoga Apple, Inc.
1174 Route 29
Schuylerville, NY
(518) 695-3131
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
This is an apple orchard located in Schuylerville, just outside of Saratoga Springs. They have some fantastic apples (including pick-your-own, for a fee), fresh vegetables, and really delicious cider donuts. Stop by here for donuts and apples before hitting the beer and wine trail. While you’re here, venture across the street and check out the Schuylerville Monument (it’s very close, within walking distance really) to enjoy your donuts. Or, venture to downtown Schuylerville to the little park on the Champlain Canal. If you’ve never seen a canal lock in operation, this is a good place to watch it work, and the park is cute.

Mapleland Farms
550 Bunker Hill Road
Argyle, NY
9 a.m. – 1 pm
This place is in the middle of nowhere and will take a good 40 minutes to get to the first microbrewery. It’s open early though, but it is only open during March, which is maple syrup season. Stop by to watch the syrup-master make some fresh maple syrup and pay $7 for an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast that is, trust me, well worth the wait.

Angel’s Share Society
9 Maple Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY
(518) 583-CLUB

There’s a sampling society that samples single malts, bourbons, martinis, and Irish whiskeys. They meet the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. This is a teeny-tiny bar (seats 40 people) that often has live jazz music. I personally love their martini menu, which has over 250 choices. Add this place to the end of your beer & wine tour and sample some of their specialty whiskeys.

312 Union Avenue
Saratoga Springs, NY
This artist’s community is on a private 400 acre wooded site. This is a private mansion where famous artists come to stay to get some work done. Some of the famous people that have graced these halls have included Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Langston Hughes, and 64 Pulizer Prize winners, etc. You can’t get close to the mansion itself (you can see it though), but the beautiful gardens are open free to the public from 8 a.m. to dusk. If you’re setting off on your tour on a beautiful summer morning, stop by Yaddo with some fresh mimosas to enjoy the scenery. You can’t get a tour, so don’t bother calling.

Saratoga Springs Congress Park
Broadway; downtown Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs, NY
Congress Park is located right in the heart of Saratoga Springs and is commonly known as the “City Park.” (This helps to differentiate it from the State Park and the National Park that are nearby.)  Congress Park features the Canfield Casino on the grounds, but has immaculate gardens, fountains, statues, and a beautiful working carousel. The park is free and is always open. Bring a picnic breakfast to enjoy before you start your day.

Click on map for larger image

(click on the map for a larger image)


Disappointing day

by Christine on December 12th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Today was my big weigh-in, and the title of this blog post may have tipped you off: I didn’t make my goal weight. My goal is 125, but this morning I weighed in at 126.4. I was very close, but didn’t make it. I am very disappointed because I really hoped that today would be the day, but it wasn’t meant to be. I will continue to work towards my goal, though, eating well and exercising, trying to make healthy choices for myself. Eventually I’ll get there…right?

This weekend we went down south of Albany, to New Paltz, New York. New Paltz is a quaint, small town that has fun boutique stores, several bars, and a decent college population to give the town a little atmosphere. On Friday night we found our way to a little restaurant where we had dinner (fish) and a bottle of beer.

Holy crow’s feet, batman! When did I start looking so old?

The next day we woke up and decided to hit a few wineries. We saw a link to the Shawangunk Wine Trail and noticed that there were a few wineries on the list that I had never been to before. Well, before we knew it, we were doing the entire wine trail! We didn’t even intend to. Plus, apparently there was “An Event” going  on along the wine trail…people pay one flat fee for tastings, then get food, wreathes, ornaments, and goodies at the wineries. We didn’t sign up for “The Event” (and they wouldn’t sell us the tickets the day of) but we did the wine trail with a group of total strangers.  The vineyards we ended up at included:

  • Robiero Family Vineyards (A beautiful venue & overlook, but very “young” wines.)
  • Adair Vineyard (their peach wine was yummy if not sugary)
  • Applewood Vineyard (this vineyard was my favorite of all of them. They had a delicious selection of wines, some great reds, some not-too-sweet desert wines. My favorite was the International Red.)
  • Baldwin Vineyard (The merlot was fantastic)
  • Benmarl Winery (I want to say the Traminette was my favorite here.)
  • Brimstone Hill Vineyard (The Cabernet Franc was the best.)
  • Brotherhood Winery (America’s oldest winery! It’s a fantastic venue to visit, well worth the trip. Their mulled wine blew me away!)
  • Glorie Farm Winery (Funny names of their wines. The Leon Millet was my favorite here.)
  • Palaia Vineyard (This place was in a fun location, on the top floor of an old barn. They have live music here often, worth checking out!)
  • Stoutridge Winery (Great new building. The elderly gentleman that gave us a tour of the cask room had me laughing so hard I almost peed myself. He was freaking adorable.)
  • Warwick Valley Winery (The guy at the front desk was kind of a jerk, but the girl pouring the wine was nice. The wines were only so-so. I’m sad that we didn’t have time to sample the beer.)
  • Whitecliff Winery (Another great merlot!)

That’s 12 wineries in one day! That’s quite a feat. I don’t recommend doing a big, grand tour like that if you’ve never gone wine tasting before. At each place you get to sample five or more wines. By the end of the day…that’s a lot.

At the end of the day, we were joking around with that group of strangers that we kept following all day long. We decided we would all grab dinner together, which was fantastic!  We ended up at the Crystal Inn in Warwick, NY. I had some baked fish dish that was yummy, but I tasted someone’s crab cakes and they were really delicious.  I would definitely go back there again if I end up in the area. The unexpected company was a bright spot in the day, and I’m very grateful for the fun new friends we made that day!

Today we raced home so I could do my weigh-in, which was disappointing. I’m sure the vast sums of alcohol yesterday did not help my weigh-in at all.  Then two girlfriends came over and we scrapbooked for a few hours. Now, I feel so tired, drained, bug-eyed, and exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open. I can’t believe it’s only 5:30 pm!!!

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