Los Angeles— travel tips and a few of our favorite spots to visit

By Sandra Hutchinson

With our older son living in, dare I say it — Hollywood —we have been making regular trips out to Los Angeles from northern New York state to visit him since he moved there in the fall of 2014. A city that initially seemed to us overwhelming in its sprawl and sheer unmanageability now feels more familiar. We’ve found neighborhoods, restaurants and spots we particularly like, and my husband and I have grown to look forward to our periodic trips to La La Land.


Seen from the air —flying west into LAX, downtown Los Angeles rises above a sprawling expanse. In the distance are the Hollywood Hills, part of the Santa Monica Mountains (that white horizontal blur near the left side at the top of the first range is the famed Hollywood sign), and the San Gabriel mountains beyond.

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Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus

By Sandra Hutchinson

I’d bet that nearly everyone reading this can recite, item by item, every single dish served at their family’s Thanksgiving table while growing up. The Thanksgiving menu is pretty much inviolate. Even the slightest change is noticed by all. I think I still remember the year my mother started adding apples to her stuffing.

Getting the place cards ready—Pilgrims ready to be labeled, along with their flock! The turkey cards are from Caspari. (See my post from 8/16/16 about Caspari.)

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A weekend in Old Montreal

By Sandra Hutchinson

During one of the unseasonably warm weekends we experienced this October, we headed north to Montreal with friends to enjoy some old world ambience and great food. Montreal is less than 180 miles north of our home in the Glens Falls/Lake George region of New York, and it’s an easy and scenic drive up the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87).


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Santa Monica and Santa Barbara Farmers Market — feasts for the senses

By Sandra Hutchinson

It’s a long winter here in northern New York State. Now that it’s warming up, we look forward to our local outdoors farmers markets that will spring to life in May.

We were lucky to get an early taste of some outstanding California farmers markets during a visit to Los Angeles (including Santa Monica) and Santa Barbara in March. No visit to southern California is complete, in my opinion, without a visit to one of the region’s fantastic farmers markets. (N.B. Per the AP Stylebook, I’m not using an apostrophe in “farmers markets” because it’s a descriptive, not possessive, phrase.)

I’m sharing some of my photos from two of those markets — one, in Santa Monica (said to be the largest farmers market in the state), and the other, in Santa Barbara.


Quintessential southern California— blue sky, palm trees and luscious produce available at the many farmers markets. Here, Santa Monica’s Wednesday downtown market.

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Fun at Sagamore’s Glacier Ice Bar on Lake George

By Sandra Hutchinson

Having heard a lot of buzz about the “Glacier Ice Bar” and all the associated wintertime activities at the Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing on Lake George, a few of my best friends from childhood joined me in an overnight at the iconic hotel in January, during one of the two “Ice Bar” weekends. Turns out, there’s a whole lot more going on than just chilling out with a cocktail while standing around some blocks of ice.


Front view of Sagamore Hotel, on a wintry January morning

Although the Sagamore’s foray into the “ice bar” only began several years ago, it has turned into a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds to the hotel on two weekends in January, a time when the hotel has in the past been closed. A number of other bars and restaurants in the region have followed suit, creating their own happening spots and events with the idea that people will stand outside in the cold to drink cocktails and beer if the mood and music is good, the fires are burning, and your friends show up. Continue reading

27 hours in Manhattan — Hamilton!, holiday windows, Pooh bear, Bemelmans Bar and more!

By Sandra Hutchinson

Ten months after finally securing much-coveted tickets to the Broadway smash hit Hamilton, my husband and I finally got to see it last Wednesday evening. We tried to make the most of our short time in the city. Here’s an overview:

1. Hamilton! Does the hip hop historical musical live up to its hype? Yes it does. It’s a work of genius by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of Alexander Hamilton (based on Ron Chernow’s biography). Hamilton, of course, was one of the founding fathers, and was General George Washington’s chief aide during the American Revolution. Hamilton was key in the development of the Constitution, principal author of the Federalist papers that helped it win ratification, and the first U. S. Secretary of the Treasury.


Hamilton cast after final bows. In front, with arm extended, is Javier Munoz, as Alexander Hamilton.

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Turkey talk—heritage Narragansett Red or modern Jaindl?

We decided to try something new this year for Thanksgiving dinner. We ordered a locally-raised “heritage” turkey— a Narragansett Red, to be exact, raised in southern Washington County.

The heritage turkey after roasting

The heritage Narragansett turkey after roasting

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