This past week I was happy to find myself on a sudden vacation, as I had a week off between the end of one job and the beginning of a new one. I spent the week back at home with my parents in Albany, where I spent several days relaxing with a good book and a couple seasons of Arrested Development. Despite my attempt to spend the entire week on the couch, I was dragged out of the house on several occasions to enjoy the warmly welcomed Spring sunshine. The Spring air and week off were exactly what I needed for the fresh start I’ve been craving.
On Friday, my good friend Sarah and I left Albany early (equipped with Stewart’s coffee -- the best in all the land) and drove an hour south and over the Rip Van Winkle bridge to Hudson, a small town at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. We were headed to Olana, a 19th century home designed and lived in by Frederic Church, a famous American landscape artist of the same time period. He is known for his masterpiece, The Heart of the Andes, which is now displayed at the Met in Manhattan. His Romantic paintings are classified as those of the Hudson River School, and he painted alongside his mentor, Thomas Cole. Olana includes not only the beautiful house where he raised his four children, but also a carefully landscaped 250-acres.