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The Best-Kept Secret in Windham, New York

The Best-Kept Secret in Windham, New York

Nestled in the heart of Greene County's ski country is one of the most delightful venues, the Catskill Mountain Country Store in Windham, N.Y.

The store is owned by Drew and Natasha Shuster, who have lived in the area since 1995; Natasha was drawn to the area because she was a world-class competitive skier. They opened in the store's present location on Aug. 1, 2000.

In addition to her skiing career, Natasha also holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont and a degree in pastry arts from the Culinary Institute of America. In fact, the Shusters started out baking pies, cookies, and breads from recipes handed down to Natasha from her grandfather. Natasha taught everything she knew about baking to her husband, Drew, who now is responsible for all the store's baked goods.

The Shuster's children, son Augustus (Gus) and daughter Sydney, also have a stake here. Sydney is responsible for their popular fudge operation and Gus does their fabulous donuts. In fact, Drew says that when Gus was only 3 years old, he had definite ideas on how to run the business. He insisted on adding donuts to their line of baked goods because not only did he like them, but all his friends did, too!

The store offers hearty breakfasts and lunches. Natasha pointed out that that breakfasts have been an important part of her life since early childhood. Her family raised chickens and hogs, so substantial breakfasts were always modeled around what they raised. And the burgers at the spot are absolutely fabulous. The store uses grass-fed Angus beef for their burgers, a 81/19 combination that Natasha says makes the perfect burger. One taste will tell you she's absolutely correct on this! These are not your usual burgers, either. Each platter is an international taste treat born out of Natasha's world travel when skiing. And the surprise here is that the servings are large, everything is cooked to your order, and hardly anything on the menu that costs more than $10!

Supporting local farms and artisans is part of the Shuster's credo. The majority of products sold in the store are from local artisans and farms. Just recently, the Shusters added a line of their own jams, jellies, sauces, crackers, and dip mixes to the store's offerings. Again, these are all made from old family recipes. And for the kids, and yes, even grown-up ones, don't overlook their toy room, which is filled to the brim with unusual toys, dolls, and games. Most non-perishable items are available through their website.

The store is open daily year round. Click through our slideshow to get a sneak-peek into the store.

A Good Golf Game? It's All in the Wrist

WHEN L. Kraig Steffen, a chemistry professor, arrived in Connecticut to join the faculty of Fairfield University in 1993, he beheld what he could only describe as 'ɺ wasteland.'' Yes, there were libraries, schools and cultural centers, but when it came to disk-golf courses, the state was bereft.

''You had some rudimentary object courses, but nothing like out West,'' said Dr. Steffen, who previously lived in Arizona. ''If you wanted to play real disk golf, you had to go up to Mount Kisco or Massachusetts.''

Today the situation is changing. Dr. Steffen has set up a permanent nine-hole course on the Fairfield University campus. An 18-hole course in Norwalk's Cranbury Park attracts dozens of disk golfers every weekend.

Operating under the same concept as regular golf, which Dr. Steffen and others term '➺ll golf,'' disk golf uses a flying disk in place of a ball. Also known as Frisbees, the brand name of one flying-disk model, disks are tossed toward a stationary object such as a post or tree. Hitting the object with the disk is like holing out in golf. In Pole Hole disk golf an iron pole is planted in the ground, a basket the width of a pizza pan stanchioned near its top. The golfer tries to sail a disk into the basket. Chains wound around the basket's mouth lead the disk into the basket if it flies near the pole.

There are common features between disk golf and regular golf. Both feature par scoring, and disk golfers use terms like 'ɳ-putt'' and ''good out'' just as regular golfers do. Wherever the disk lands is where the next shot is played. The disk golfer even carries a bag with a wide assortment of disks, or 'ɼlubs,'' each of which serves a unique function.

''It's what Iɽ call a niche sport, perhaps the best-kept secret of recreational sport,'' said Davis Johnson, president of the New England Flying Disc Association. ''It's run under the radar of public knowledge and comprehension.''

But it is growing, said Jim Challas, commissioner of the Professional Disc Golf Association. He said there are more than 1,000 dedicated disk-golf courses across the country. There are 13 in the Greater Houston area alone, and a disk-golf resort, Sandy Point, in Lac Du Flambeau, Wis.

''It took us from 1976 to 1980 just to get 100 courses out,'' said Jim Challas, commissioner of the California-based Professional Disc Golf Association. ''Then, boom, last year alone we had 187 new ones come in.''

Edward Headrick, who invented the most popular model of the Frisbee in the late 1960's, and also the Pole Hole, estimated there are 15,000 recognized disk-golf professionals in the country, and as many as 2 million casual players.

''It's pretty hard to nail down, because it's such an unorganized sport,'' Mr. Headrick said. ''You can just go and play a game in the park, without any superstructure or rules.''

For many, it doesn't get more complicated than that. David Wollner, owner of the Willimantic Brewing Company brewery and restaurant in Windham, discovered disk golf 20 years ago while an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut.

''I played that course at midnight, under a full moon,'' Mr. Wollner said. ''It was fun. Youɽ visualize a perfect shot, like getting it through a tiny opening between a tree and a lamppost. When you threw it through, nothing else gave you that same kind of gratification.''

The once-popular UConn course has been savaged by new construction. These days Mr. Wollner gratifies his disk-golf urges by playing at Mansfield Hollow State Park in Mansfield and Bushnell Park in Hartford. At Bushnell he plays against fellow brewer and pub owner Les Sinnock of the Hartford Brewery in Hartford. ''I find it relaxing,'' Mr. Sinnock said. ''It's a little competitive, but not so competitive you get on people about things.''

What Mr. Wollner and Mr. Sinnock play is called ''object golf,'' where the disk is thrown at a particular landmark players agree on beforehand as a target. There is also throwing at simple posts stuck in the ground. Two of Connecticut's four permanent courses, at Southington's Camp Sloper and Woodstock's Roseland Park, use posts.

Carl Emerson, a signmaker from Woodstock, designed the course at Roseland Park in 1989, planting the posts himself. It is the oldest course in the state, recreational in character. ''It's fun to play,'' Mr. Emerson said. ''It doesn't dominate you.''

If Mr. Emerson could, he would install baskets at Roseland Park, but the private organization that owns the land is wary of the strange-looking metal contraptions. ''I've stopped asking,'' he said.

For most disk golfers, Pole Holes are preferable to posts. A disk will either land in a basket or not. Mr. Headrick calls object golf ''subjective'' because players must agree on whether one has hit a target or not, no easy thing when targets can be 300 feet away or more.

Roseland Park attracts around a dozen players a month, while Cranbury Park, the only public Pole Hole course in the state, draws 40 to 50 on a warm-weather weekend.

''With the sport growing, a lot of younger people are showing up, people from Norwalk who never experienced Cranbury Park,'' said Michael Moccaie, the Norwalk parks director. The Cranbury Park course was designed by Adam Fasciolo, a securities dealer at UBS Warburg in Stamford and a Norwalk resident. Mr. Fasciolo spent months trying to unsuccessfully persuade Norwalk civic leaders to spring for the $7,000 needed to purchase Pole Holes. In early 1998, after an anonymous donor in Ridgefield offered to buy the city some used Pole Holes, permission for the course was granted.

Mr. Moccaie, who said he now sees entire families going to Cranbury Park with disks in hand, compared Mr. Fasciolo to ''the first mother who ever dropped a soccer ball on a field.''

Already there has been a domino effect with Dr. Steffen's course taking shape just months after Mr. Fasciolo finished work at Cranbury Park. Since the course at Fairfield University opened, Dr. Steffen has taken to mentoring campus students like Paul Bulakowski, a sophomore from Naugatuck majoring in neuroscience.

''Renovations have put a little damper on the fun,'' Mr. Bulakowski said. ''Holes 1, 2, and 3 had to be moved with the library expansion.''

There are human obstacles, too. . When Mr. Bulakowski plays with friends, one will usually run ahead to guard against a disk hitting a sunbather unaware of an ongoing game. Across hole No. 7 is another hazard, a pond favored by Canada geese.

Cranbury Park has its own hazard: dogs. During a casual game with the Connecticut amateur disk-golf champion, Sunil Mehta of Greenwich, one of Dr. Steffen's better drives was immediately set upon by a pack of German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. One dog picked up the disk and started to run with it in its mouth. Dr. Steffen chased after, yelling for help getting the disk free.

''There's going to be some teeth marks on that one,'' Mr. Mehta said.

Because of the use Cranbury Park gets from non-disk golfers, which also includes bikers, horseback riders, and picnickers, Mr. Fasciolo is reluctant to promote it as a disk-golf course. ''If there were five times the land, I would say it should get more use,'' he said.

There is talk about new disk-golf courses. Mr. Fasciolo said he has been approached by a Fairfield County-based Y.M.C.A. about building a course, as well as by a recreational center in Ridgefield. Meanwhile, the Bridgeport Community Historical Society is planning to set up a temporary course at Beardsley Park for a one-day tournament on June 18 as part of wider festivities honoring Bridgeport's claim of being the birthplace of the Frisbee. (The Frisbie Pie Company, based in Bridgeport, used tin plates for its pies that eventually evolved into the Frisbee.)

Mr. Mehta, who owns the Paper Mill printing business in Greenwich and regularly travels to New York and Massachusetts for tournaments, chafes at the image of the sport as a haven for laid-back '�heads'' not serious about competition.

''They think of the beach, of relaxing,'' he said. ''It's not given the same credit as other sports. That sort of bothers me.''

Disk golf will get a boost next year when it becomes an official event in the 2001 World Games in Akita, Japan. Mr. Fasciolo, who envisions a day when disk-golf tournaments are carried on ESPN, claimed the sport already enjoys broad appeal.

''You have people who don't play on Sundays because they go to church,'' he said. ''Others will have a beer after a round. Most are liberal enough to embrace the sport, but it's really for everyone.''

The USA’s Top 10 Fine Dining Experiences In Small Towns

Big cities like New York and San Francisco are well-known for abounding fine dining options. But small towns across the country have their own claim to excellent restaurants and high-end cuisine. Many seemingly sleepy country spots are home to respected chefs and revered dining halls. We look at ten fine dining experiences in small towns that are surprising visitors and delighting locals.


Nestled in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley lies Bethlehem, and Bolete Restaurant. Bolete is the creation of a husband and wife duo that both have a life-long passion for good food. The couple has created the restaurant with the intent of slowing life down a bit and offering an experience where guests can really savor their food and enjoy the craftsmanship that goes into it. The menu changes often to reflect what is seasonally available, and everything, including stocks, sauces, and pastas, is made and prepared in-house. Beyond the excellent food, Bolete also offers artisan cocktails that have visitors and locals swooning.

Sabor a Pasion

At first look, Sabor a Pasion seems to be just a charming bed and breakfast in the middle of Texas. But within this small-town gem is a restaurant that could stand alongside any big-city eatery. The resident chef is classically trained, and the menu is heavily influenced by Tuscan flavors and techniques and fresh, in-season produce. Ingredients are procured from local sources whenever possible to ensure freshness and utmost quality. The estate has its own vineyard and garden, and outdoor seating at the restaurant is sublime. To finish off a perfect meal guests recommend the fresh fruit pavlova: layers of smooth meringue, topped with fruit and powdered sugar.

Park City’s Stein Eriksen Lodge | © TopRank/Flickr

Glitretind at Stein Eriksen

Deep in the Rocky Mountains of Utah, Park City is a well-known town for world-class skiing. But this small town has a strong culinary scene, with the Glitretind at Stein Eriksen Lodgestanding out as an example of fine dining that could go head-to-head with restaurants in larger cities. The lodge does not cut any corners in ensuring a magical experience. Set in an alpine wonderland, Glitretind serves upscale American fare with local flavor and ingredient influences. Locals especially like the restaurant’s Sunday brunch, with dishes like pickled beets and heirloom carrot salad and poached salmon with watermelon, radish, and dill.


Asheville, North Carolina, is making a name for itself in the country’s culinary scene, andCúrate is right in the center of the action. This restaurant brings the vibrant flavors of Spain and the tradition of the tapas bar in a way that has people clamoring for more. Cúrate is located in a historic building near the center of town, lending a charm and nostalgia to the restaurant. Not only do they serve unforgettable dishes like chorizo wrapped in potato chips and lamb skewers marinated in Moorish spices, but the service is unmatched. The staff is friendly and precise, ensuring the absolute best experience, every time.

Restaurant Marche is on Bainbridge Island | © Ken Lund/Flickr

Restaurant Marché

A short ferry ride west of Seattle will take you to Bainbridge Island and a feeling that you are worlds away from the bustle of a big city. A short walk from the ferry terminal isRestaurant Marché, a fine dining establishment that celebrates local ingredients prepared in an artful and considerate way. Favorites for dinner include the mussels and fries and foie gras with vanilla-poached pear. The cuisine has a definitive French influence, but the mid-century modern design keeps the restaurant comfortable and unstuffy. The dining room is airy and bright with an open kitchen concept in which guests can view the masterful chefs at work.

An evening entrance at Blue Hill at Stone Barns | © City Foodsters/Flickr

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

The city of Pocantico Hills lies just 30 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Valley. This quaint town is a stark contrast to the trendy, high-end restaurants of the Big Apple but lays claim to its own culinary treasure. The Blue Hill at Stone Barns doesn’t just offer fine meals it offers a comprehensive fine dining experience. Jackets are preferred for men, and children are best left home with a sitter. The menu is never printed and changes daily with the inspiration of the chefs that create it, using ingredients from the surrounding fields and pastures. Blue Hill at Stone Barns is truly a farm-to-table restaurant with uncompromised quality and reverence for excellent food.

The Inn at Little Washington

The Inn at Little Washington is steeped in tradition and history dating back to the founding fathers. The inn is situated in a picturesque small town at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and seems to have changed little since the 18th century. Since opening in 1978, the inn’s restaurant has garnered multiple awards and accolades. The restaurant serves American cuisine with French influences and delivers inventive twists on classic dishes like huckleberry-marinated squab and Maine lobster salad with Hawaiian heart of palm. The Inn at Little Washington is an oasis of relaxation and luxury, just 75 miles outside of the nation’s capital.

Healdsburg’s historic Madrona Manor | © Sanfranman59/WikiCommons

Madrona Manor

California’s Sonoma County is a mecca for world-class wine and fine dining, and within it, the city of Healdsburg boasts a number of excellent restaurants. Madrona Manor is a Victorian estate built in 1881 and transformed to an inn 100 years later. Today, its renowned Michelin star-rated restaurant is considered one of the best in the San Francisco Bay area. Serving elegant French-American fare, the restaurant also boasts an expert sommelier that can pair your meal with a perfectly selected wine, likely from one of the many wineries in the area.

A pasta plate from Frasca Food & Wine | © Dave Dugdale/Flickr

Frasca Food and Wine

Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado, serves exquisite Italian fare in an unpretentious and warm setting. The name Frasca points to a charming tradition in Northern Italy of families and friends joining together to share a good meal and a bottle of wine. Don’t let the casual friendliness fool you this restaurant is deserving of the accolades and designation of fine dining. The chefs and sommeliers work diligently to create a menu that offers beautiful fare, full of flavor and prepared to perfection. Meals at Fresca follow a traditional Italian form of antipasti (salad or a light tasting plate) followed by a prima pasta selection and secondi, a meat or seafood dish.

Cafe Kandahar

The setting for Cafe Kandahar and the Kandahar Lodge couldn’t be more magnificent. The lodge is at the base of a mountain ski resort, just a short distance from Glacier National Park in Montana. For nearly 30 years, this restaurant has been bringing fine dining to this resort town, and locals love Whitefish’s best-kept secret. The menu has been called both eclectic and creative for its liberal use of fresh local ingredients and artistic combinations. Main course options include dishes like veal chop with lavender, pink peppercorns, cognac, and brie and caribou tenderloin with huckleberries, ice wine, and pancetta. Cafe Kandahar uses locally-sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.

Heather Hamblin is a freelance writer and student at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. When she’s not studying, you can find Heather cooking, reading, running, or doing yoga. She is passionate about her native state, Utah, and often takes advantage of its natural beauties by snowboarding, hiking, and camping. Follow her on Instagram.

Corned Beef And Cabbage

We went last night (Friday) and everything was excellent. Good music that wasn't overpowering even though we were seated right in front of the musicians. Great service, and the food was terrific. We had corned beef and cabbage and the shepherds pie, with Bailey's chocolate mousse for dessert.

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  • Kemo H.
  • Baltimore, MD
  • 83 friends
  • 19 reviews
  • 31 photos
  • Elite ’21

We went to Killarney House for Sunday Brunch. There was a sign outside that said to just seat yourselves. We picked a table on the outside which was closest to the road. The patio was very spacious and clean. There was some red flowery bushes between the road and our table that were very well kept and beautiful. Especially at 1:30 with the sun shining on them. We ordered 2 Black and Tans 10 $6.75 which were served at perfect temperature in Large Guinness Glasses. Perfect amount of creamy head! We ordered the Beat Salad 8.5for an appetizer which they split without asking (That's called great service?!). Served with an Apple cider vinaigrette. I was looking forward to candied walnuts. But they were not candied. But still delicious and fresh. I would definitely get this again! Irish Reuben 7.5 for Main Course. Rye was not overly saturated with butter. Perfectly Crisp. The Corn Beef texture was like it was taken from the corn beef and cabbage (not sliced or grilled). Very moist like pot roast. Sauerkraut was not overly coarse. Tasted bagged but hard to tell on a sandwich. Irish mustard was a change, but I was left craving the zing of the 1000 Island Dressing. Served with Steak Fries (pre frozen) like Red Robin but fried longer to get those crispy brown edges! Dessert 7.5 was served room temperature with A Vanilla Sauce. Coffee was fresh and served piping hot! Service 10 CARRIE was our server. Amazing how Incredible Service makes you want to come back! We played it safe and we received safe food and awesome service. I believe that if you cant get safe right, there is no sense wasting your money trying the challenging dishes. We will be back soon to try the Shepherd's Pie, Black & White Pudding, and the 584 Dexter Burger! It's been over 24 hours and we are still talking about our experience.

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  • Tim T.
  • Huntingtown, MD
  • 74 friends
  • 584 reviews
  • 3310 photos
  • Elite ’21

Came in the the family for my birthday. I got a Old Fashion w/Nobb Creek that was very good. Son said the beer was good also.

I ordered the Shepherds pie it came out looking very good nice and brown on top. It was a little too salty I think they should cut out some of the salt and it could use more gravy in the meat some of the grave looked like it was jelled.

Son had the roast beef it came out in a huge bowl the meat was very tender and falling apart

My Wife and his girlfriend had corn beef and cabbage with mashed carrots. They both aside it was tender and tasted good

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  • Brett W.
  • Odenton, MD
  • 65 friends
  • 25 reviews
  • 18 photos

It's the night before St. Patrick's day, and I have a horrible craving for corned beef and cabbage . My wife doesn't feel like going out (especially with the expected crowds), but is ok with carry-out. So we browse through Yelp, and find Killarney House, an Irish Pub in Davidsonville, Maryland.

This place is in the middle of nowhere. The food is to die for.

Some of the best potato leek soup I've ever eaten, with pieces of leek and chunks of potato in a thick soup. The corned beef was tender, lean and flavorful, and the Irish whole grain mustard served on the side was sinus-searing deliciousness. The cabbage was sweet and tender, and the carrot mash and potato's were wonderful.

The staff, on their second-busiest night of the year were jovial and friendly, and the bar intimate and comfortable as an old shoe.

Loved this place, and we will be going back (on a quieter night!)

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  • Kevin B.
  • Owings, MD
  • 0 friends
  • 9 reviews
  • 3 photos

Hands down the best corned beef and cabbage I've ever had! Great atmosphere and best kept secret in town. definitely my favorite place in MD!

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  • William H.
  • Harwood, MD
  • 52 friends
  • 17 reviews
  • 4 photos

The food is pretty good. The potato cakes app is delicious. The fish and chips, shepard's pie, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage are all good. I even like their liver and onions dish. Smithwick's and Guinness are on draught. Unfortunately the service has always been a little sub par. The Sunday brunch is not very good either. All in all it's a decent place and it's fairly close to home for me. If you like Irish food and are nearby, it's worth a visit.

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Such a gift to have nearby! We love stopping in on Friday evenings to enjoy local musical talent while noshing on delicious hearty Irish food, beer and spirits. The atmosphere is welcoming, relaxed and comfy. makes you feel at home. The corned beef and cabbage is amazing. Potroast was delightful. Corned beef quesadilla is a unique and delicious treat. Corned beef poppers are awesome. can you tell we love corned beef ?! Absolutely love this place.

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  • Mike O.
  • Waldorf, MD
  • 1 friend
  • 22 reviews
  • 1 photo

Excellent Irish Restaurant! I had the Corned Beef and Cabbage . Very good and hardly any fat. The house red ale was very good. We all had a good time.

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  • Goofy D.
  • Owings, MD
  • 0 friends
  • 80 reviews
  • 250 photos

Pretty good. We met some friends at Killarney's Pub for lunch. Prtety good. We got fried oysters and Miss Peggy's mini crab cakes for appetizers. I got shepards pie. P got the corned beef and cabbage . H got fish and chips and M got the roast beef . P got a Guiness and M and I were drinking Smithwicks. Not bad but I didn't know they had Harps. Service was good and lots of families.

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  • David H.
  • St Leonard, MD
  • 3 friends
  • 58 reviews
  • 1 photo

My wife is of Irish heritage and has been to Ireland many times. The food here is so good that she laughs out loud at any comparisons to the flavorless mush they serve over there. We absolutely adore the Jameson spicy tomato soup. We are creamy tomato soup afficionados and this is at the top of our list.

Most often I get the corned beef and cabbage . It is perfect every single time. The corned beef is served with two types of mustard and comes in chunks of pure deliciousness. The cabbage is wonderful as well. Fish and chips is excellent, Turkey Reuben is awesome, Shepherds's Pie is off the charts with an exotic complex flavor. everything is always perfect. Smoked salmon appetizer is great, ahi tuna perfect, leek potato soup to die for.

This is an Irish pub with actual Irish people working there too. The bar has the holy trinity of Guiness, Harp and Jameson. The bartenders are confident and good natured. They know how to do a perfect pint of Guiness or a black and tan.

Its hard to imagine a better restaurant that does so many things well, let alone an Irish Pub neighborhood place. The parking lot is ALWAYS full with nice cars. The crowd is lively and adult. Something is always in the air at Killarney House. This is a must visit restaurant we consider to be the best in Annapolis.

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  • Art T.
  • Crofton, MD
  • 234 friends
  • 679 reviews
  • 317 photos
  • Elite ’21

My dad, who is very tough to please, and very rarely chooses to go out for dinner, will almost always decide to come here when he does go out. If that isn't enough of a five-star review, then I will continue, but he's one of the toughest critics I know.

This is a stand-by favorite of ours, a constant source of quality dining and a friendly atmosphere. We tend to avoid the noise and clatter of the bar area, though on occasion we have spent some time frequenting that space as well. Generally, though, we stick to the main dining area, where it is markedly quieter, and quite intimate, though it can get a trifle noisy on busier evenings.

Typically, we go there for dinner, and usually for a nicer night out. This isn't the most expensive place you can find, and you can also get away for dinner under $15 (heck, even under $12 depending on what you're looking for). They really shine on all courses, too, which isn't always easy to find.

One of my all-time favorites are their soups, which are consistently high-quality and delicious. They have daily rotating soups, but we generally stick to either of the two constant offerings: the potato and leek, or the Irish whiskey and tomato. The former is chock full of flavor, with plenty of potato and leek both to inundate the entire soup. This hearty offering could be a meal in and of itself! The latter is a tad spicy, with strong notes of black pepper and onion. I personally prefer the tomato, but both have won my heart over.

All of their first course options are pretty darn solid, though. The scallops are of particular interest, as they are a good example of how to perfectly cook this mollusk. The corned beef "sushi" (wraps or rolls or whatever they call them) are corned beef and mashed potato bites wrapped in cabbage and presented with an Irish mustard sauce. This dish could also stand on its own as an entree. We haven't been disappointed by an appetizer there yet.

As for entrees, they do an incredible job with the standard favorites, such as shepherd's pie, cottage pie, corned beef and cabbage , cockles and mussels, and fish and chips. My personal favorite and stand-by is the Irish Mixed Grill, which is basically a 'full Irish' breakfast essentially. It is served with two eggs, chips (fries), grilled tomato, black and white puddings, sausage, and a rasher of bacon. It is an incredible amount of food and is currently priced at an astounding $13.99 for the entire dish! It used to come with a lamb chop and was priced at $16.99, but I think I prefer the more scaled back version, as much as I miss the lamb.

This restaurant is part of a group run by two brothers from Ireland, who came to the Annpolis area to open up their first restaurant. At last check, they are up to four very successful and popular locations, three in the Annapolis region, and one up in Massachusetts. With consistent quality and passion witnessed by their existing locations, you can probably bank on them expanding further down the road. Did you know they import a lot of their ingredients themselves, including the flour used to bake their Irish soda bread in house? Yeah. that's dedication in my eyes.

We have had brunch there once, and it was definitely worth it. The omelets alone were worth the price, but the other offerings were equally as fantastic as one might expect. The time and energy they put into this place is evident all around. Most folks I know that have done brunch there rave about the epxerience, as well.

Overall, this is one of the best restaurants that we consistently go to. As affordable as it is, we can do so without feeling so guilty about it. As authentic and delicious as it is, we know we're getting a quality experience every time, as well. If you're in the neighborhood, stop on by and see what all the buzz is about!

Sil and Eliza Reynolds on the Best-Kept Countercultural Secret of Mothering and Daughtering

At a seder last month, a woman I had just met remarked that my seven-year-old daughter, all gussied up and minding her Ps and Qs, was lovely, and so well behaved. And, of course, I beamed with pride. And then she added, "Just wait until she's a teenager."

Images of my own Freddy Krueger-like teen years rose up through the little boost I felt in the moment, sitting there next to my decently mannered, connected, happy kid. Since my daughter was born, I have lived in fear of the time when she will morph into a version of myself&mdashthe anger the boys the death-defying acts of experimentation, rebellion, and addiction the brutal cut-off from my poor mom. Good God. I get it. And yet, Dear Reader, please remind me, when A. and I are in the thick of whatever her teenage years may bring, to keep my cautionary tales to myself and resist the urge to harsh on the mellow of happy moms of young girls. I, for one, am getting tired of the "Just you wait!" refrain.

So when a colleague showed me the book Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong through the Teen Years (2013 Sounds True) by Sil and Eliza Reynolds, a mother-daughter team from Stone Ridge, I was, frankly, a bit resistant. However, after opening the book, half written by Sil, the mom, and the other by Eliza, the (now) 22-year-old daughter, I was relieved to see that this was a book about hope, and not sappy hope, but real nuts-and-bolts hope that I trusted. As Eliza says, "The best-kept secret of teenage girls is that they actually really want to be close to their moms." Thinking back to my own sad teen years, this rang true for me, even amidst of all the contemporary noise about how teenage girls are biologically and culturally determined to leave the home front, and eviscerate their mothers on their way out. I mean, really? Has this always been so? Is it necessary? Lucky me, I got to ask Sil and Eliza face to face.

More Than Peers Required
Grounded in the work of Gordon Neufield who wrote Hold on to Your Kids, the seminal text on attachment and the dangers of so-called "peer orientation," Sil and Eliza are convinced that teenagers and their parents belong together, and offer ways to foster that connection. This is a countercultural message, to be sure, when the rest of the world seems to be encouraging parents to just let "nature" take its course, and kiss our kids good-bye after puberty, trusting/hoping/praying they will come back later. Of course, Sil and Eliza recognize that the ever-shifting ground of adolescence is a challenging time for even the closest mothers and daughters, but they don't believe the hype that teenagers must shuffle off into the darkness with other teens. And these ladies know what they are talking about. Between the two of them, they have decades of experience talking to young girls and their moms, so they are deeply familiar with the many varieties of mom/daughter angst, including their own.

For over 30 years, Sil has been working with women and families in the Hudson Valley as a nurse practitioner and psychotherapist. Eliza is currently a junior at Brown University (Sil's alma mater). Her major is women's studies, with a focus on body image in young girls. Theirs is one of those one-thing-led-to-another success stories. Sil's workshop experience began under the tutelage of bestselling writer and speaker Geneen Roth, author of Women, Food, and God, as well as several other books on emotional eating. Once Eliza was born, Sil wanted to teach workshops locally. She began afternoon workshops for mothers and daughters during Family Week at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.

One weekend Sil's co-teacher couldn't make it, so Sil asked Eliza, who was then 15, to fill in. Eliza said, "Sure. I don't have any other plans." The participants loved it. And Eliza was hooked. "Is there anything so awesome?" she exclaimed over Earl Grey tea, "than being plugged into this pulse of energy&mdashemotion, sassiness, intensity, change-the-world, self-experimenting, tender fierceness?" Indeed. Teenage girls have a lot going on, which, when held and supported, and understood, can fuel a tremendous fire of positive growth (which, as in the case of Eliza, can lead to books co-written with their moms!). But when left untended, we know all too well who gets burned: everyone.

District heating: new-old energy saver lets city be your central heating

District heating. Hardly words to set the world on fire. Nevertheless, mayors and scientists across the country are warming to the idea of reigniting this 19th-century heating method as an answer to 20th-century energy demands.

Used since 1890 to heat several cities across the country by interconnecting steam pipes, district heating is currently enjoying a fresh boost of support as several European cities have successfully replaced the old steam technology with more efficient hot water systems.

By heating several acres of high-density dwellings with miles of underground piping connected to a few centralized heat generators, fuel efficiency is greatly improved over the traditional individual furnace method. The energy-saving system is proving particularly attractive to US cities in the frost belt.

In addition, the federal government is throwing in $1.5 million worth of research money to help 28 communities from New York City to Santa Anna Pueblo, N.M., develop hot water district heating systems to cut fuel costs.

The proposed benefits include:

* Cuts in energy costs for both the city and the individual -- up to 40 percent in some cases.

* The possibility of using many heating fuels -- coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear-power, even trash to warm the hot water pipes.

* The ability to capture waste heat from a city's electrical generators -- a jump from 40 percent efficiency to 80 percent in most instances. Although some cities, such as St. Paul, Minn., plan to use this cogenerational technology for district heating, others are considering building simpler heat-producing plants.

* Curtailment of pollution levels by gradually eliminating individual furnaces and chimneys.

* The increase of long-term, low-skill jobs required for installation and maintenance.

"District heating is the best kept secret I've seen in a long time," says Mayor Winfield Moses of Fort Wayne, Ind. "It provides a real opportunity for a cost-effective energy solution."

The great enthusiasm for district heat voiced by mayors and scientists is tempered by the reality that implementing such a system must be an evolutionary process. "This is not a solution that is going to develop rapidly," says Mayor Francis Duhey of Cambridge, Mass.

Although the US has used district heating since the turn of the century, the system currently supplies less than 1 percent of total US energy demands. And most of the systems in the 40 cities across the country that still rely on the old-fashioned steam pipes have fallen into disrepair.

"The old steam systems have atrophied," says Housing and Urban Development program officer Windham Clark. "They're giving district heating a bad name." Indeed, many observers admit the best markets for the new hot-water heating systems are those cities without previous district heat experience.

Another obstacle to mass conversion to district heating is the huge amounts of initial capital required to install piping and convert buildings and generators to the new system.

"The real problem is getting the institutions involved financially," says James powell, a senior nuclear engineer with the Brookhaven National Laboratory. "It's a capital-intensive program."

Not only must the cities appropriate large amounts of funding to install the piping, utility companies also must invest in the multimillion-dollar conversion of generators. In addition, city dwellers must finance their part of the conversion. Paybacks on the original investment, however, are said to be shortterm -- less than 10 years in most cases, after which the savings begin to accrue.

One way to surmount the huge financial investment is to start with a small system -- one or two heat sources and a limited number of users, and apply the first revenues toward enlarging and extending the heating network. Cities in West Germany, Denmark, and Sweden are operating efficient and effective district heating systems that started on such a limited basis.

Of all the US cities, St. Paul is most near to implementing the nation's first new district heating system. With some federal block grant funding, the city is embarking on converting its entire downtown area by fall of 1982. The local utility company has already appropriated $6 million for its generator conversion. And the city is busy finding the nearly $35 million it will need to buy and install the miles of piping.

Farm Fresh

Farm Fresh Restaurant Fare

Valley at the Garrison
From farm to table is just a matter of steps at this restaurant, where most of the vegetables and herbs on your plate are grown on the mini (two-acre) Garrison Farm right on the property. Brian Bergen is the mini-farmer (although he&rsquos of normal human size), tending salad greens in raised beds just beyond the dining deck vegetables in a large fenced garden nearby and 20-something varieties of heirloom tomatoes in a hoop house a couple of fields over. It&rsquos all organic &mdash and it just doesn&rsquot get any fresher.

Mid-Hudson Farmers&rsquo Market

Rhinebeck Farmers&rsquo Market
The Rhinebeck Farmers&rsquo Market, which has been providing fresh produce to the public for more than a decade, is becoming so popular that this year they added an evening market. Now, in addition to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., locals can browse through all the farm fresh goodies on Thursday nights, too. From Mother&rsquos Day through November, wander among the booths in this transformed parking lot and shop (they carry the ever-popular Popovich Provisions), watch cooking demonstrations, listen to live music, or catch a special event, like pumpkin decorating day on October 26.

Up and Coming Farmers&rsquo Market

Kingston Farmers&rsquo Market
With a mission to &ldquoconnect local people with local food,&rdquo the Kingston market&rsquos cheerful crowd grows every year. Veggies, flowers, meat, breads, pickles, cheeses (we love Mike Panzarella&rsquos homemade mozzarella), and chocolates are just some of the many choices at this bustling Wall Street market, which is open for business &mdash and fun events like musical performances &mdash on Saturdays in April through October. On October 4, check out delicious desserts that are good for you, too &mdash part of the market&rsquos healthy eating series.

You'll always leave with a handful of goodies at the Waterfront Farmers' Market in Troy


Ronnybrook Farms
Yogurt, ice cream, and milk, oh my! Whether it&rsquos frozen treats you fancy, the legendary egg nog, or just basic bottled milk, this famous Valley farm churns out the most delicious dairy products. And there&rsquos nary a trace of scary hormones, antibiotics, or additives.

Big-time Farmers&rsquo Market

Troy Waterfront Farmers&rsquo Market
No matter what the weather, you can get your helping of local items &mdash from jam to jewelry &mdash at this year-round market featuring more than 50 vendors. Every Saturday, downtown Troy turns into a festive affair of music, activities, and, of course, booths displaying the finest in local produce, crafts, and dry goods. From November to April, the market is held in the Uncle Sam Atrium, but when the temperature goes up the vendors and the massive crowds move down to the waterfront. So the next time you&rsquore in the Capital Region, be sure to stock up on fresh, locally grown vegetables, cheese, meat, soup, berries, honey, maple syrup, herbs, potted plants, pastries, and hand-crafted soaps and lotions.

You're reading about the è me of the Hudson Valley, as voted by your fellow Valleymen and loyal Hudson Valley magazine editors. Do you agree with us? Disagree? Tell us your top picks in the comments box below &mdash and be sure to check out our favorite places, shops, and people throughout the region that we call the best.

October 2015: Suffragist of the Month

During the month of October, the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association remembers suffragist Rose Schneiderman (b. April 6, 1882 – d. August 11, 1972) as our Suffragist of the Month. [Written by Annie Schneiderman Valliere, grandniece of Rose Schneiderman]:

Rose Schneiderman was born Rachel Schneiderman in Savin, Poland in 1882 and immigrated to the United States in 1890. Her father, Samuel, died of meningitis two years after their arrival in New York City leaving three children and a pregnant wife. Deborah Rothman Schneiderman did her best to support her children, Rose (eldest), Harry, Charles, and Jane (Jennie). She took in boarders, sewed and washed for neighbors, and even worked as a janitress. Still, for a time, she was forced to place her three children in an orphanage. When Rose returned home, her mother worked nights so that Rose could attend school. But in 1895, when her mother lost her job, thirteen-year-old Rose was forced to leave school and enter the paid workforce. For a short time Rose was a department store clerk and then worked sewing caps.

In 1903 Schneiderman helped organize a New York City local of the United Cloth and Cap Makers and took the lead in getting women elected to the union. The next year she was elected to the union’s executive board, the highest position yet held by a woman in any American labor organization. From 1905 through the 1950’s Schneiderman was one of the most active members of the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) rising to national president. Also an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union from 1914 to 1916, she is best known for her leadership in the Girls Shirtwaist Strike in 1909 and her landmark speech after the Triangle Fire in 1911.

Rose Schneiderman was a well -known suffrage speaker from 1907 through 1920. She was the head of the industrial section of the New York Women’s Suffrage Association in 1917 and a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She traveled the east coast and the mid-west speaking for suffrage on behalf of the NAWSA. Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant at four feet six inches tall with striking red hair was one of the few working-class, non-native born women traveling the country speaking on behalf of suffrage. She was a founding member of the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women in 1907 with Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Leonora O’Reilly, labor leader and dynamic suffrage speaker. Schneiderman, Blatch, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, well known writer and women’s activist, had spoken about suffrage together including at Cooper Union in 1907. In 1909 Schneiderman was one of a star-studded suffrage group who spoke in the graveyard across from Vassar College to about 50 students, professors and local citizens of Poughkeepsie, NY. Inez Milholland Boissevain organized the lecture banned from the Vassar campus by President Taylor.

In 1912 Rose was asked by the NAWSA to help rally support in Ohio. As a 1912 poster states, ”Gifted Young Lecturer Presents Woman’s Question from the Industrial Point of View.”

From these lectures in Ohio came Schneiderman’s well known statement, “What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist–the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art. You have nothing that the humblest worker has not a right to have also. The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too. Help, you women of privilege, give her the ballot to fight with.” (1912, Cleveland). There is much debate as to whether Schneiderman actually came up with the phrase “bread for all and roses too.” But she expanded on the short phrase in her classic rhetorical fashion. M. A. Sherwood wrote to H. Taylor Upton, treasurer of the NAWSA, regarding Schneiderman in Cincinnati, “…But no one has touched the hearts of the masses like Rose Schneiderman…Strong men sat with tears rolling down their cheeks.”

On April 22, 1912, New York senators debated the suffrage question with suffragists at Cooper Union. A New York senator stated, “Get women into the arena of politics with its alliances and distressing contests–the delicacy is gone, and you emasculize them.” Schneiderman’s response included the following, “Women in the laundries, for instance, stand for 13 or 14 hours in the terrible steam and heat with their hands in hot starch. Surely these women won’t lose any more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in a ballot box once a year than they are likely to lose standing in foundries or laundries all year round… We want to tell our senators that the working-women of our state demand the vote as an economic necessity. “

On February 2, 1914, Schneiderman, and four other activists, Glendower Evans, Margaret Hinchey, Rose Winslow and Melinda Scott lead 300 to 400 working class suffragists and their allies from a mass meeting of the NAWSA to the White House. Schneiderman and the four other activists spoke to Woodrow Wilson in his chambers, pleading with him to support women’s suffrage.

Schneiderman helped organize the first International Conference of Working Women in 1919. In 1920 she ran but lost the race for the US Senate on the New York Labor Party ticket. She began advising President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt on labor issues, and in 1933 FDR appointed her to the Labor Advisory Board for the National Industrial Recovery Administration, as the only woman member. Schneiderman was Secretary of the New York State Department of Labor from 1937 until 1943. Her memoir, All for One, was published in 1967. She lectured widely before diverse audiences and served on various boards, ending her long life as one of the most respected spokespersons and activists for improving the conditions of working people.

Although later a firm opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment along with other well known industrial feminists such as Frances Perkins, she contributed greatly to the passing of the women’s suffrage laws in New York and nationally.

Sources: Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-112772).

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6 Unique Ways to Explore the Great Northern Catskills This Summer

The Great Northern Catskills are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Check out some of the cool new adventures. A drive-in movie theater with a beer garden? Nighttime ziplining? It’s totally legal, and the wildest ride you’ll ever take.

Here are the top six ways to enjoy summer in the Great Northern Catskills .

1) Greenville Drive-In & Beer Garden

When was the last time you took your sweetheart to a drive-in movie? Hop in your hot rod and head to the Greenville Drive-In this summer to experience one of life’s simplest pleasures—drinking local brews outdoors while watching cinematic magic unfold. While classic movie fare is available to popcorn traditionalists, a new menu of locally sourced treats includes ice cream sandwiches from 2 Twisted Ladies, and gluten-free and GMO-free options.

2) Night Ziplining at Hunter Mountain

Drive up to Hunter Mountain during the next full moon for this can’t-miss nighttime zipline adventure. The tour includes six ziplines, four rope bridges, and a 65-foot rappel. Enjoy stargazing and some nocturnal wildlife viewing and listen for the sound of owls on the prowl. The tour can take up to three hours. Cost: $69 per person. Reservations required. Feel like you’re part of the night as you fly from illuminated tree platform to platform.

3) Hiking the Hudson River School of Art Trail

Hike in the Catskill Mountains and walk the paths that have inspired painters for centuries. Start at North-South Lake State Campground, where you can pitch a tent, or continue straight to the trailhead markers for Alligator Rock, Kaaterskill Falls, and the former site of the Catskill Mountain House, a grand hotel that once perched precariously close to a rocky ledge offering views of the Hudson Valley and winding river of the same name.

4) Craft Beer Tour: The Hoppy Heart of Greene County

Catskills’ microbreweries are one of Upstate New York’s best kept secrets. Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens won two silver medals at this year’s TAP NY Craft Beer and Food Festival at Hunter Mountain, and Cave Mountain Brewing Company in Windham has taken home “Best Brewery” from TAP. Now there are five microbreweries on the map, including: Honey Hollow Brewing Co. in Earlton, a farm brewery offering hand-crafted ales Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company in Catskill, home of Angela’s Pizza, a match made in heaven and Hammo’s Brew Pub & Lodge in Hensonville, offering a hearty, perfectly paired menu.

5) Learn a Skill at the Catskill Mountain Foundation

From Chinese Brush painting, to ceramics, to an evening at the theater, the Catskill Mountain Foundation’s Sugar Maples Center for Creative Arts exists to bring enrichment and culture to all ages. Throughout the summer, enjoy an array of arts and cultural activities, events, lectures, and special performances at The Orpheum Theatre, including lectures on Mozart and Beethoven, and exhibitions featuring local artists’ work.

6) Grab Your Putter & Play the Catskill Nine

The Catskill Nine is a series of Catskill golf courses also known as the Rip Van Winkle Golf Trail. For players who conquer all nine, there could be a big fat $10,000 pot of cash and prizes waiting at the end of the season. To participate, golfers need a Golf Trail Pass from the Greene County Golf Association for $199. It provides tee times at all courses.

Greene County Tourism
Exit 21 off NYS Thruway
700 Route 23B
Leeds NY 12451
[email protected]

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