A very pleasant Saturday
After a week of rain, I was ready for a change of pace. Every time I went outside, it would start to rain, if it wasn’t raining already. At one point, I even went so far as to wonder whether I should invest in an umbrella. But Friday cleared up nicely, and Saturday was actually very pleasant — warm, but not too warm, clear, blue skies, a light breeze.
To celebrate, a friend and I decided to go to Thacher Park and look at the waterfalls. These waterfalls can be viewed from Indian Ladder Trail, an easy hike that provides stunning views of the Helderberg escarpment’s limestone cliffs, stunning views of the Catskills and Hudson Valy, and the Albany skyline. As we suspected, the park’s biggest waterfall, Mine Lot Falls, was quite impressive — a roaring cascade of water crashing onto the rocks below. The Indian Ladder Trail takes hikers behind the falls, and the stronger-than-usual spray made me an unusually damp and muddy trip. But it was worth it. To me, the shallow cave and steep cliff that provide the backdrop to the falls are reminiscent of the sort of striking geographic formations you might find in another region of the country, such as the southwest. On Saturday, they were especially spectacular, and for a brief moment made me forget that I was only 15 minutes from Albany.
On the way back from Thacher, my friend and I stopped at the Jake Moon Restaurant and Cafe in Clarksville, a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. The Jake Moon makes a point of using local produce, dairy and meat, and is the sort of high-quality, slightly-out-of-the-way dining establishment that I tend to find intriguing. Anyway, we sat outside on the restaurant’s small patio, which was very nice, and I ordered the Bennett Hill Scramble, which contains wild mushrooms, fresh herbs and smoked gouda, and comes with hash browns and toast. All in all, it was pretty delicious. The key ingredient, of course, is the smoked gouda, which makes my mouth water just thinking about it. Anyway, if you have the time, the Jake Moon is a worthwhile breakfast destination, especially when combined with a morning walk at Thacher Park.
On our way back, we stopped at The Cheese Traveler, a specialty cheese, meat and fish shop that opened on Albany’s Delaware Avenue in 2012. This was my first trip to The Cheese Traveler, but I plan to go back. Not only are there tasty free samples throughout the store, you can ask for a sample of anything you like — it’s a bit like a winery, but with cheese. I sampled two different kinds of brie, and then purchased half a wheel of a tasty brie made in Vermont to take hiking with me on Sunday. The store sells organic meat from the Tilldale Farm in Hoosick, as well as seafood from Fin, the Guilderland-based fishmonger that brings sustainable seafood to the Capital Region. The prices on the seafood and meat at The Cheese Traveler are pretty reasonable, especially if you live alone, as I do, and I hope to swing by The Cheese Traveler sometime soon and grab some fresh, high-quality fish to prepare at home.
All in all, the waterfall, Jake Moon and The Cheese Traveler made me for a very fulfilling morning. Now it’s raining again, but I don’t feel quite as depressed about it as I otherwise might.
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