Tucked away in a cozy room overlooking the skyline of Philadelphia, I can now take time to reflect upon the first day of our trip. The morning promised a bleak start to our trip as A. Paul & I headed off from Saratoga Springs, NY.
Jan 18, 2011- leaving Saratoga Springs, NY
Snow and ice laced the roads, cars strewn along the way reminded us of the casualties of traveling on days such as this; for awhile travel slowed to a paltry crawl. The frigid cloak of gray threatened to eliminate any glimmer of glee of our departure but we refused to give heed to it. Instead we took in the otherworldy beauty of winter, such as the tall fronds along the highway gracefully bowing under the weight of their snow capped foliage as if in reverence to Mother Nature.
As we made our way past the the outerskirts of suburbia, diffused light pushed its way through the dimness and snow changed to rain. As if on cue with the change of climate, the terrain became serene scenes of rural landscapes where remnants of the last harvests stood frozen in time, broken up only by groves of silhouetted trees standing guard. As we reached the Catskills, the flat roads turned to subtle undulating hills sandwiched between snow capped ridges with frozen cascades reaching to to the road.
One hour outside of Beacon, NY
Eventually, and in safety, we crossed the Newburgh Beacon Bridge into the town of Beacon.
I am not sure what exactly we expected this bridge to look like but it would be an understatement to say that the expanse and beauty of it spanning across a vast frozen sheet of ice, was breathtaking. It more than made up for our inability to visit the several venues we had hoped to visit in Beacon. We knew at the start of this tour that given the weather, time of year, and day of the week, we would run into towns, especially smaller ones, where some venues would be closed. This was true about Beacon, NY. We did, however, locate the galleries, studio, and Dia:Beacon and were able to speak with Dia:Art in NY and Todd Spire of Spire Studios, who have agreed to later interviews about the art movement in Beacon. Though our visit was reduced to a visual tour and a quick lunch in a retro-styled diner, the Yankee Clipper, Beacon was still worthy of the stop along our way. Not unlike other struggling, post manufacturing towns, storefronts along its Main Street are still struggling to fill space, but the structure is in place and the town shows signs of recovery. I look forward to my later conversations with Nikki and Todd.
By 1:30 we were back on the road towards our next stop, Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. Unfortunately, it's late and tomorrow is yet another day of great discovery so insights into these two towns will have to wait until tomorrow's posts. For now, sleep well whereever you may be reading this blog.
It's 7:00 am in the morning the first official road day of the Art Tour Across America. Excitement is building so is a bit of anxiety as I hear the snow plows scraping the roads outside my window. Mother Nature is offering her first challenge of undoubtedly many on a road trip of this magnitude. I have confidence, however, that A. Paul and I are up to the challenge. First stop will be Beacon, NY, as stated in the previous post, given we manage our way through the winter storm that is intent on traveling with us. Our final day's end destination is Philadelphia, via brief stops in Lambertville, NJ and New Hope, PA. We will spend 3 nights in Philly, then onward to Milleville, NJ, a small glass art community, Cape May, NJ to explore its Victorian architecture, cross the Delaware (make way George), finally landing in Easton, MD, a small historic theater town outside of Washington, DC.
Please check back on the blog to read about our days findings and to view photo images. Feel free to join the tour and add your suggestions of venues we should include in our travels in areas that you have previously visited or have lived.