Going to the New York Sheep and Wool festival has always been a treat for me. Even when we lived in the northeast, I did not attend the festival every year. The first year I knew about it (mid-1990s), David and I flew over the festival on a Saturday afternoon adventure in our small plane, but I didn't get to explore on the ground. David and I made a trip or two when he was in school. I drove up with friends from DC in 2009. Three years ago, I ran away from the chaos of getting our house ready to sell to bid farewell to fall in the Hudson River Valley and many friends.
This year, the stars aligned me to to to Rhinebeck. My vacation time balance has been hovering near the maximum all year thanks to no SOAR. I have a big bank of frequent flier miles thanks to too much business travel. Most important, friends invited me to stay with them in Red Hook for the weekend. I worked until 2 hours before a red eye flight to New York Thursday night. I took the train from NYC to Rhinebeck and savored the beauty of the Hudson River and the bare hint of red at the top of the cliffs across the river in New Jersey on Friday.
This year, I focused on spending time with friends. I spent a lot of time at a picnic table catching up with my Ravelry tribe. I wandered the barns with the friends I stayed with and saw everything through 9 year old eyes. I soaked up the riot of color in the barns, on the fair-goers, and in the trees. I looked at yarn and almost always thought I have something just like it at home. I fondled fleeces without buying; it's easy to resist when faced with stuffing 8 pounds of raw wool into a tiny suitcase and hauling it back across the country. I admired sweaters but cannot recall any in detail. I probably missed seeing and talking to more friends than those I bumped into. I took surprisingly few pictures. I unwound and played in the leaves. I ate all the treats: apple crisp, cannoli, bratwurst, lamb stew, artichokes French, maple cotton candy, and apple cider donuts.
After Rhinebeck, I spent three days in New York City. I saw a few colleagues, ate well, went to the Cooper-Hewitt, and walked all over the place. It's been a long time since I spent any non-work time in New York.
In the end, I did buy one bump of fiber, the festival tote bag, some soap, and an irresistible curly maple Travel Kate. More importantly, I came home full of hugs and joy and inspiration.