Laura Heffelfinger
Art Direction | Graphic Design | Photography
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Journal

Hudson River Valley

Upstate New York holds a romantic fascination. Growing up I obsessed over episodes of 'America's Castles,' an A&E show detailing the grand homes of the Gilded Age robber barons, and woke up early on Saturday mornings to watch it with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. In college I studied the Hudson River School, a collective of painters active in the mid-19th century, and fell in love with the way they captured light and depth; ethereal but rooted in the rustic.  On a recent trip to visit my sister in New York, we opted to skip a weekend in the city and head up the river instead, an especially enticing option given that it was early October, Sleepy Hollow is an hour's drive, and my family is a pack of creeps who love Halloween more than Christmas and Thanksgiving combined.

The impulse for the trip was Storm King Art Center; a private museum and sculpture park founded in 1960. My art history focus was 16th/17th century Northern European art, but in one seminar class we were assigned Andy Goldsworthy's 'Rivers and Tides' documentary and I fell in love. The park hosts his incredible 'Wall' installation – a snaking, winding masterpiece of form.

The unexpected highlight of the trip was a visit to the small but staggeringly idyllic Cold Spring, a town going through a cultural shift due in large part to the Manhattan expatriates opening storefronts along Main Street. My sister the food writer insisted we visit Blue Hill Farms in Tarrytown, Dan Barber's organic farm that services two restaurants, one on site and one in Greenwich Village. It was a perfect fall weekend – we ate, drank, browsed antiques, befriended farm animals, experienced art and peeped on some leaves. And Janine (mom) swears she saw a ghost.

Laura Heffelfinger