Okay, so we all know that Columbus didn't discover America. We all know that everyone and his dog knew that it was there and no one wanted to go. We know that there were people here before him. We all know that he studied their logs and charts before he left. My theory after all the things that I know about that trip is that he thought that the planet was smaller and that he didn't know how far south the continent extended. Aside from that, I agree with the people who are blowing up the internet with Indigenous People's Day, and the signs that say that Columbus would have remained lost at sea if it wasn't for the natives rescuing him. I get it. But, all of that nonsense is not why I love Columbus Day Weekend. I love it because it's the final hurrah for the season before the weather gets crappy and there's nothing fun to do if you don't ski in New England until spring. I love it because there are a lot of events going on that weekend, and the leaves are peaking and the weather tends to be really good. Add the part where the kids have a long weekend too, and you have a chance to have a lot of fun. So, no matter whether you want a little more outdoor adventure, an air show, a garlic festival, or some pre Halloween fun at a haunted graveyard. In addition to those lovely leaves, we have a lot to do out here.
First off, I did it! I got to ride in a vintage biplane at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, New York. I was over there a few weeks ago, as you may recall, and the wind was so strong that the weekly airshow and all the biplane rides were cancelled. So, I had to go back and see the whole show and ride in the plane. It was great. They make you wear the old style helmet and goggles for the ride. They put you into the Standard D25 Biplane and take you up for about 15 minutes. You'd be surprised how much fun you can have on such a short ride. They take you along the Hudson River, over the town and they do a few stunts to give you a thrill. It's a lot of fun to do.
The other great thing is the air show. I don't know about the rest of you, but I love planes and I really love old planes. These guys put on a show that goes on for a couple of hours every weekend all summer long. They fly ten to twelve planes of various styles and ages. They had an old time fashion show. They had a parade of antique cars. They had skits and stunts and contests and all kinds of stuff. It was a lot of fun, and ultimately we learned a lot about the vintage planes from the show's announcer who grew up around that very field which has been there since 1958, and knows all about all the planes. They even had a WWI tank that worked. It was great family fun, and the people at the Aerodrome allow volunteers to participate in the fashion show and car parade, so you can get involved and have a great time.
Stop number two on my busy weekend was the Bethlehem Garlic and Harvest Festival in Bethlehem, Connecticut. I went there expecting a small farmer's market type event themed in garlic. What I found was a full sized fair with rides, live music, and a whole lot of garlic related things. It was a beautiful day and the fairgrounds were swamped with people who wanted to get out and celebrate.
Garlic was not the only food at the festival either. We tried a plethora of fried stuff that I'd never tried before and it was pretty good. We also sampled a ton of sauces, jams, seasonings, dips and other stuff that was there for the buying. For anyone who loves to cook, this is a great festival for you.
Stop number three for me was Lake Compounce. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love amusement parks, and I dearly love our local one, Lake Compounce. I've talked about this place many times. It is the oldest continually operating theme park in the country and these days it's open during several seasons. This is the 15th year of the Haunted Graveyard, making them a pioneer in this area as well, and they have done it up right. Most of the rides in the park are open each weekend to keep people entertained as they wait their turn to go through the graveyard. Now, this probably isn't for small children. I'll tell you that. This year was the first time that I ever went through it, and I was glad that I waited until my son was older to go. There are a lot of strobe lights and a lot of ghoulies in that graveyard. It takes about 45 minutes to go through the entire thing. I loved it, and my son did too. The actors were great, the sets were great, and even an old woman like me was surprised a couple of times. It was well worth the money and I would happily do it all again. There are also other entertainments in the park, like the zombies who come out and dance amongst the tombstones to Michael Jackson's Thriller and the ghoulies who are running around the park and jumping out of the bushes at you. It's all about Halloween and it's a lot of fun. But, just remember that a lot of amusement parks have them, so check your local area.
Stop number four was Rosendale, New York to walk on an old railroad trestle. Along the Walkill Rail Trail in Rosendale is the Rosendale Trestle. This amazing place crosses a gorge along Rondout Creek and overlooks a main portion of the town. Once we found it, it didn't take long to see all the views and walk the bridge. But, once again we were in the Hudson Valley so it was quite a drive over there and we took advantage of the Northeast's best activity. Leaf Peeping. New England and the Northeast offer probably more tours to go and look at leaves than anywhere on Earth. Our leaves are gorgeous and we love to look at them too. So we spent pretty much an entire day doing just that. And after that, we had to go back home and go back to work and school and whatever. It's over, and I'm sad. It will be months before we do a whole lot here in New England. But, whether it's the fork in the road, the planes, the ghoulies, the rides, the bridges, or just the leaves; Columbus Day Weekend in New England and the Northeast is something that is to be savored just like the garlic at the festival.