Not the Central Intelligence Agency, not at all, but something much more fun and happy! The Culinary Institute of America, widely recognized as the world’s premier culinary college. This was the day I had eagerly anticipated since the early planning stages.

The Culinary Institute began as the New Haven Restaurant Institute in downtown New Haven, CT  as the first and only school of its kind in the United States in 1946. Frances Roth and Katharine Angela created the school to train World War II veterans in the culinary arts.  Fifty students were enrolled and the a faculty consisted of a chef, a baker, and a dietitian.

In 1951 the name was changed to the Culinary Institute of America. The school grew and grew to more than 1,000 students. Needing a larger and better facility, the CIA purchased the St. Andrew-on-Hudson Jesuit novitiate in Hyde Park, NY for its new campus and opened the doors in 1972, right on the banks of the Hudson River.

Roth Hall is a gorgeous building. you can see the architectural roots of a religious order in its style and grandeur.

Al is relaxing on the terrace in front of Roth Hall.

We booked a one-hour tour hosted by a student on Monday morning. Arriving early, we first had a snack and coffee in the Apple Pie Bakery inside Roth Hall.

Inside Roth Hall is the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe where we enjoyed shared pastries and coffee.

Students hustling behind the counter in the cafe. They spend three weeks “in the back” and then 3 weeks “in the front.”

Enjoying my coffee. The white plates decorating the wall behind me are sketches of famous chefs like Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsey.

Speaking of famous CIA alumni/celebrity chefs, there are some names I recognized –Anne Burrell, Cat Cora, Duff Goldman, Michael Symon, Michael Chiarello,  Sara Moulton, Todd English, Marcus Samuelsson, and sadly, Anthony Bourdain.

Natalie, our guide, led us through the school of baking and pastry arts. Although she told us about the School of Culinary Arts we really didn’t get to see any of that. I would happily gone on a 2-hour tour to see more.

Natalie shows us the display case of the books used in their studies.

The tour was fascinating and definitely worth it. We were told not to take photos, but after the tour I managed to sneak one little picture, much to Al’s dismay. I was discreet and no one noticed. 😉

The tour does not take you inside the kitchens or classes, you only look through special windows.

A wine studies class in progress. If you are a student under 21 you have legal permission taste but you must spit the wine out.

The student dining hall. The food is cooked by students and eaten by students. And it looked delicious, not at all like most campus food. Not only is the food exceptional, the setting is, too.

Sculptor, John F. Sendelbach, was asked to create a sculpture for the campus. He chose the Atlantic sturgeon, a migrating fish in the Hudson River region.

“Old Diamondsides”, the nickname for Atlantic sturgeon, is a 12-foot long and  360 pound ingenious sculpture created from  700 knives, 600 spoons, and 400 forks.

A closer look so you can see the knives, forks and spoons.

Chef on a rooftop? Cute.

Overlooking the Hudson River

Lunch time! After walking around the campus following our tour, we headed over to one of the CIA’s restaurants, the Caterina d’Medici.

Caterina d’Medici, with a menu of regional Italian cuisine, surrounded by gardens.

Our server, Cameron, pours an Italian white wine for us. This was his first week waiting on tables.

Since we were eating at a restaurant on the campus of a premier culinary institute, I think food photos are definitely in order.

My lunch: Roasted Beets (aged ricotta, dill, pickled calabrese pepper) Grilled Salmon (snap peas, radishes, mushrooms, creamy potatoes) Ligurian Olive Oil Cake (strawberries, mint, aged balsamic, whipped crème fraiche)

Al’s lunch – Pizzetta (asparagus, ricotta, crispy bacon) Braised Veal (spring vegetables, polenta) Gelati (chocolate, hazelnut, and vanilla) Closest he could get to ice cream!

Lunch at Caterina d’Medici (I have blatantly stolen this photo of us from Anthony’s blog post because I like it.)

What a wonderful day! If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Culinary Institute of America, I have two words for you – DO. IT.





The Roosevelts of Hyde Park – Springwood and Val-Kill Cottage

On Sunday, June 10th, the four of us drove to Hyde Park to visit Springwood, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s birthplace, family home, and burial site, and now a national historic site. There is no way I can describe how fascinating this tour was.  We all know FDR from our history classes, but with our guide Dimitri’s knowledge and obvious enthusiasm about the time period and FDR, the dry history of schoolbooks became personal with anecdotes and stories.

Our tour begins on the floor mosaic map with National Parks Guide Dimitri.

As we began our walk on the grounds, we passed this wind vane-like sculpture. The base is like the wheels on a wheel chair and the top is reminiscent of a sail.

This is a charming sculpture of Franklin and Eleanor. I hope no one minds that I sat down with them for a moment.

FDR, 1933


Franklin Delano Roosevelt grew up in a wealthy family, a privileged only child, but embraced public service. Elected as our 32nd President (1933-1945) his leadership through four terms covered two of our nation’s darkest times, the Great Depression and World War II.

Springwood -“All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River” FDR

Although FDR considered it his home and traveled there often, it was Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR’s mother, who was in charge of Springwood. The house is decorated in a very dark style and feels somewhat oppressive, but the stories that Dimitri told made it all come alive.

Living Room and library
Dining Room

The bedrooms upstairs.
Top left – FDR’s birth room and childhood bedroom
Bottom left to right – the “chintz bedroom and the Roosevelts’s bedroom.

FDR’s wheelchair in the lift

In the summer of 1921, at the age of 39, he was stricken with polio. Most people know this, but I was unaware of the background story. Although Roosevelt spent the next seven years working at his rehabilitation, he never fully regained the use of his legs. Usually confined to a wheelchair, but determined to hide his disability from the public, Roosevelt could simulate walking with the aid of braces, crutches, and the steady arm of one of his sons.

FDR personally designed his simple wheelchair of an armless chair seat and wheels. Smaller than standard wheelchairs of the day, it could negotiate more easily through narrow halls and doorways.

The first US Presidential Library was started by FDR here. With more time, we would have definitely visited it as well.

Both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried here at Springwood.

Yes, we had to do a group selfie.

This was an all-out Roosevelt day so we headed to Val-Kill Cottage after lunch. Eleanor Roosevelt with two friends established an experimental furniture factory at Val-Kill, Val-Kill Industries, to employ local farming families in handcraft traditions. A small year-round cottage was built on the grounds and the Roosevelts used that as a more casual setting for entertaining family, friends, political associates, and world leaders. After FDR’s death in 1945 Eleanor used Val-Kill Cottage as her primary residence.

Val-Kill  loosely translated as waterfall-streamfrom the Dutch language.                                          “Val-Kill is where I used to find myself and grow.  At Val-Kill I emerged as an individual.”                -Eleanor Roosevelt

Malvina “Tommy” Thompson was Mrs. Roosevelt’s personal assistant. This room is part of a suite at Val-Kill Cottage that Eleanor set aside for Tommy to live in and use.

The dining room at Val-Kill. Our guide told several interesting and funny stories about dinner parties held at Val-Kill.

Sometimes it’s the little things that add meaning. Eleanor’s favorite dishes were handpainted Franciscanware in their apple design. I have a creamer and sugar bowl and my daughter-in-law has a beautiful big bowl.

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933


The only National Historic Site dedicated to a first lady, not because she was first lady but because of her dedication and accomplishments for human rights, children’s causes and women’s issues. She served as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, from 1945 to 1953, the chair of the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission and helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—an effort that she considered to be her greatest achievement.


I was so taken with the human side of these two historical figures that I wanted to know more, especially against the backdrop of that time period. Dimitri recommended the book, No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin as a good place to start.









The name Poughkeepsie evolved from a word in the Wappinger language, roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, which means “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place.”  That little water place referred to a stream feeding into the Hudson River south of the present downtown Poughkeepsie area. You can almost hear the “Po-kip-si” in U-puku-ipi-sing, right?

Saturday, June 9 and another 18 nautical miles north to Poughkeepsie. These easy 2-3 hour days are nice!

Both Kindred Spirit and Magnolia anchored in Foundry Cove with West point in the background.

A last look at Cold Spring’s harbor and waterfront.

Looking ahead, up the river, mountains on both sides.

Storm King Mountain, on the west side, is more than 1,300 feet and the tallest peak in the region; an area known for summer thunderstorms.

About 4 miles into our day’s journey on the water, we came upon rocky Pollepel Island on the east side of the river, an island with an interesting history. The ruins of an old castle-like complex, known as Bannerman’s Castle, are visible on the little island.

Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island

Francis Bannerman became the world’s largest buyer of surplus military equipment, starting after the Civil War and then growing large enough to operate a storeroom and showroom in New York City that opened to the public in 1905. After purchasing 90 percent of captured Spanish American War goods, Frank needed a secure place to store the explosive black powder. The family purchased Pollopel Island in 1900 and Frank Bannerman designed and built this very eccentric castle over 17 years to store munitions. After we returned home Al saw this video posted in Trawler Living and Cruising from video the Science Channel’s FaceBook page. It’s worth a quick look – what a story!

Ruins of Bannerman Castle

The remains of bridge supports between Pollepel Island and the land.

A better view from the north side. The castle was eventually destroyed by fire and in 1967, and the family sold the ruins of Bannerman Castle to New York State. It is too dangerous to visit the island and castle now.

We planned to stay in Poughkeepsie for 3 days and made reservations for a slip at Shadows Marina and for a rental car. There is so much to see in this area, but we can only choose a few things to do.

Magnolia and Kindred Spirit shared the inner side of the long face dock. There were some major wakes and strong currents!

Shadows has a large restaurant and separate space for weddings. Keith,the dock manager, is very nice and helpful, but the marina seems to be an afterthought. No office, just Keith’s truck; and only a little white trailer for a bath house.

Annette wrestled this long floating log from under Magnolia, pulling it up on the dock.

Although we had just arrived that day, we already had plans for late afternoon. The “GlassBarge” from the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) was in Poughkeepsie this very weekend. The GlassBarge is a 30’ x 80’ canal barge equipped with CMoG’s patented all-electric glassmaking equipment. It began its summer journey in Brooklyn in mid-May and is traveling north on the Hudson through the Erie Canal to Watkins Glen, ending in Corning in September. Tickets are free for the 30-minute demonstration of glass blowing.

The GlassBarge was docked at Waryas Park on the Poughkeepsie waterfront.

Lower left – Mike provided the narration to the demonstration
Upper left -Tom did most of the glassblowing.
Right – Helen assisted.

Al and I enjoyed a glassblowing experience (under supervision) in Newport several years ago, so we were quite interested in this demonstration. I took many photos but here is a sampling of the process, without any technical explanation. Sorry!

A hot ball ball of glass from the furnace is gathered on the pipe.

Tom begins to work the glowing glass by rolling it on the marver.

After rolling it in colored crushed glass to give it color, Tom began the blowing process while continually twirling the pipe.

Helen is going to add an additional different colored glass for the stem..

Tom and Helen work together.

Tom looks pretty pleased so far.

He has flared the top rim outward.


To finish off our first day here, we ate dinner at the Mill House Brewing Company. What a find! Good job, Anthony!

The Mill House Brewing Company and “gastropub”

If you are at a brewery, shouldn’t you taste as many kinds as possible? That’s why we like to get a “flight” of little beers to share!                                                                                                                                       Al’s flight – Grocery Getter, Huber, NWT, Derailleur, CO2                                                               Michele’s flight – Kold, Cucumber, Zoe, Grocery Getter, Cuatro Cien                                                   Our favorite? We both liked Grocery Getter! Really. Such a mundane name, but so refreshing.

Enjoying life and good friends!

Our server, Nathan, was personable and knowledgeable. I enjoyed asking him about the beer and the food.

A good note to end our first day in U-puku-ipi-sing!