24 Jun 2009, 5:11pm

Comments Off on Weekend in Newburgh, NY

Weekend in Newburgh, NY


    We packed our van, topped the gas tank, and were ready to go as soon as the boys hopped off the school bus.  Excitement was running high with the anticipation of exploring castle ruins on a tiny abandoned island on the Hudson River near Newburgh, NY.  Two pit stops and 6-hours later, we entered the Stewart Hilton Garden Inn’s  hot tub, then swimming pool.  A perfect ending to a long drive.

    Saturday morning dawned over-cast and we headed to the hotel breakfast smorgasbord, omelets station, and juice bar.  After that, we were off to meet my long-time friends at the Stewart Airport Diner. Enroute, we swung passed the house my parents and I used to live in off Grand Avenue, Balmville, a section of Newburgh.  The lovely flag-stoned patio still looked inviting; however, a fountain had been installed between the house and the road – right in front of the house.  Tacky.  At least it wasn’t a plastic, pink flamingo.

    My friends arrived at the diner at the same time, so there was much hugging, kissing, and BS-ing.  We’d kept in touch via e-mail, but hadn’t actually been together in almost 23-years.  Flo is a retired Spanish high school teacher and Gary is a retired high school History teacher. As a matter of fact, I introduced them many long years ago.  Gary was going to be our tour guide of Bannerman’s Castle and Island.

    During breakfast, he kept stressing how rough the terrain would be; How many wooden steps to climb  (72 one-way); It would take 1-1/2 hours of hiking up steep rock and sliding down the other side; and we’d have to wear hard-hats in case the castle crumbled some more, not to mention there might still be unexploded shells from the arsenal and to stay on the paths.  He insisted he wasn’t trying to talk me out of going on the tour; only to let me know what we were in for.  Our young boys were even more keen on going and I certainly wasn’t going to be left behind.

    Gary and his co-workers took the work boat out to the island ahead of us to get things set up.  Eventually, we boarded the Pollepel and found our recycled airline seats near the windows of the enclosed flat-bottomed boat. During the ½-hour ride to Bannerman’s Island, we learned that only flat-bottomed boats could get to shore, due to the shallowness of the water surrounding the 6.5-acre granite island.

    I won’t go into the long and fascinating history of Bannerman’s Island Arsenal and Castle in hopes that you’ll visit the website and read www.Bannerman Island History– A Hudson River Jewel.Copyright © 2009 by Kate Chamberlin

For tour information, check out:  www.PrideoftheHudson.com.

    Suffice to say here that we had a great time on our tour, even if we did get caught in a rain shower.  Afterwards, we drove over the Beacon-Newburgh Bridge to donate three of Mom’s oil paintings to the Bannerman Castle Trust Fund.  www.BannermanCaastleTrust.org. 

    Back at our hotel, we had a leisurely soak in the hot tub and swim before heading to the Union Square Restaurant for dinner with Gary and Flo.  They are pals with the owner/chef, so needless to say, we had a great time with long-time friends, good food, and new memories.


17 Jun 2009, 5:43pm

Comments Off on Paintings Donated To Bannerman’s Castle Trust Fund

Paintings Donated To Bannerman’s Castle Trust Fund

On June 13, 2009, Kathryn Grace (Holmberg) Chamberlin, of Walworth, NY, donated three of her Mother’s oil renderings to the Bannerman Castle Trust Fund. The paintings depict scenes of the Hudson River from various Newburgh vantage points. Proceeds from the sale of these paintings will go toward the NY Matching Grant to stabilize, renovate, and reconstruct the unique Bannerman Castle and grounds on the historic, 6.5-acre Pollepel Island, located in the Hudson River , Mid-Hudson River Valley.
Short Biography of the artist: Grace Ritch (Deyo) Holmberg
Paul H. (b. June12-1912; m. Jan13-1940 ; d. Mar01-1974) and Grace Ritch (Deyo) Holmberg (b. Nov13-1917; m. Jan13-1940 ; d. May06-1976) moved to Grand Avenue, Balmville, Newburgh, NY early in 1967, when Dupont sold the Newburgh plant to Stauffer Chemical Company. Paul was part of the Management Package. While her husband spent long days at work, their grown children (son Paul, Jr. was a sales representative for Remington Arms living in C T, and their daughter Kathryn Grace was teaching at Gidney Avenue Memorial School), Grace , a feisty, fun-loving woman with dark naturally curly hair, filled her days with friends, Gardening and garden Clubs, St. Luke’s Auxiliary, and painting in oils. The family room of their Balmville home became Grace’s art studio.
Grace took painting lessons from John Gould in his Bethlehem Art Studio for several years. She was always surprised at how well her paintings emerged and delighted in each one. She never had the heart to sell any of her paintings, but she would give them to friends.
The stress of Paul’s work situation and commuting to NYC took its toll on him physically and emotionally. He died during his third heart attack on March 1, 1974. Grace continued to paint until her battle with cancer began in the Fall of 1975. Grace died peacefully in her Balmville home on May 6, 1976 at the age of 59.
The donated paintings are:
(1) Newburgh’s brick Tenement houses with Bannerman’s Island, 1971.
Canvas: 23” tall x 31” “ wide; framed: 29” tall x 37”wide. Est: $750/Paul Gould.
(2) loosestrife, Bannerman’s Island, Storm King Highway, 1968.
canvas: 18” tall x24” wide; framed: 22” tall x 28” wide. Est: $500/Paul Gould.
(3) Storm King Highway with fall colors, 1968.
Canvas: 18” tall x 24” wide; framed: 24” tall x 29” wide. Est: $500/Paul Gould.
For more information, please contact Neil Capland, www.BannermanCastleTrust.org.

Copyright (c) 2009 by Kate Chamberlin

10 Jun 2009, 6:19pm

Comments Off on Old Toad English Pub

Old Toad English Pub

The men’s group at our church often meet at the Old Toad Pub on Thursday evenings, so we were curious to know what it was like.          Late Saturday afternoon, we drove into Rochester to have dinner in the Old Toad English Pub. 

    There were few people in the pub at that hour, which is the way we like it.  We found a booth where my guide dog and we could fit comfortably and perused the brew list.  Dave chose a draft London Pilsner brew and I went with the draft heffavison.

    Dave said his fish fry and chips were good and I really enjoyed my roast beef on baguettes with horse radish sauce and chips.  I would warn you, though.  The horse radish sauce is plentiful and hot enough to bring tears to my eyes and clear my sinuses.

    The only thing that marred my dinner was the thought that we’d parked in a little lot off Gardner Street marked “Tow Away zone”.  I’m glad I didn’t dwell on the topic, as our car was right where we left it.

    I suspect the Old Toad got full of people and noisy later that evening, however, we enjoyed our early dinner, listening to the waitresses and waiters chatter in British English, as we soaked up the ambiance of an old English pub.

The Old Toad Pub – 277 Alexander Street 112 0 Rochester, NY 14607-1943; 585-232-2626


3 Jun 2009, 4:06pm

Comments Off on Boy Scout Picnic

Boy Scout Picnic

Boy Scout Picnic
Our youngun’ is now a Treesqueek. That is, he is in Boy Scouts, but hasn’t earned any rank yet. The troop had an end of the year picnic last evening.
The weather was perfect for this outdoor event. The location was someone’s park-like backyard. The turn out was very good. The food was excellent.
He received his official scarf and patch during a bonfire ceremony and is going to work on “Stamps” for his first merit badge with Dad as the registered mentor.

  • Recent Posts

  • Tag Cloud

  • Archived Posts

  • Log in