Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus

By Sandra Hutchinson

This post is a slightly edited version of a piece I published a year ago on this blog. 

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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Autumn day in and around Cold Spring, NY— Stonecrop Gardens; Buddhist monastery

By Sandra Hutchinson

During Columbus Day weekend, I spent a pleasant day with a friend in the Hudson Valley, in and around the historic and lively village of Cold Spring. Located on the east side of the Hudson River, directly across the river from West Point in the area known as the Hudson Highlands, much of the village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The central business district contains many nicely preserved 19th century buildings that house antique shops, restaurants and specialty shops. Cold Spring is about 50 miles north of Manhattan, and easily accessible by Metro North Railroad, and many urbanites make their way here for weekend getaways.

On Saturday, the village was bustling with autumn leaf peepers, Hoping for a leisurely lunch, we managed to grab a small table on the porch of Le Bouchon, a cute French bistro at 76 Main Street. The basket of French bread was ample, and I enjoyed a generous portion of perfectly seared salmon with haricots verts and sautéed fingerling potatoes, paired with a nice house Pinot Grigio on this unusually balmy October afternoon. My friend had a croque monsieur, which she pronounced “très bon!”

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Community Day at Hildene, in Manchester Vermont

Note from Sandra: I’m pleased to share with you a piece written by my husband, Mark Frost, which appeared in the June 1 issue of The Chronicle Newspaper. 

By Mark Frost; Photos by Sandra Hutchinson

Last year by chance, my wife Sandra and I happened on Community Day at Hildene in Manchester, Vermont. It was great, and it was free. The 2017 Hildene Community Day is Sunday, June 11, from 9:30 to 4:30.

The Hildene gardens are known for their spectacular display of peonies in June. They were in all their glory during last year’s Community Day.

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Inspiration: Charleston and Savannah window boxes

By Sandra Hutchinson

It’s getting to be that time of year when we start visiting garden centers and choosing annuals to fill our outdoor containers. (I say “start,” since in our neck of the woods, a frost is still a distinct possibility.) When I drive by my favorite nurseries, my car practically turns itself into the driveways!

I’ve been lucky to make a number of visits to both Charleston, South Carolina (where one of my best friends lives, fortunately for me) and Savannah, Georgia. Both cities have large historic districts, gas-lit street lights and house lanterns, and lovely gardens. One of the things that has struck me, particularly in Charleston, is the extensive use of beautifully planted window boxes.

Here’s a sampling of some of the window boxes I have spotted in both cities:

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Should your dog wear a winter coat?

By Sandra Hutchinson

When the mercury outside begins to drop, my thoughts turn to couture — canine couture, that is.

Some people may think it’s ridiculous to dress a dog in a coat or sweater, but as it turns out, there are sometimes very good reasons for doing so.

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Our two Wheaten Terriers don’t seem to mind wearing their L. L. Bean field coats with plaid flannel lining. There’s even a pouch on the back to hold treats! As a bonus, the human can wear a matching field coat.

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Fear of falling firs

By Sandra Hutchinson

By this time, less than a week before Christmas, most people who are going to have a Christmas tree in their home have already set it up and decorated it. But if you are one of those folks who follow the Old World tradition of not putting the tree up until Christmas Eve, or if you’ve had a disaster befall you similar to the one I’m about to describe, I would like to offer some hard-earned advice on the importance of an extra-sturdy, heavy-duty tree stand.

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2016 Christmas tree at New York Public Library’s main branch, Fifth Avenue, NYC—undoubtedly securely anchored!

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