Written by C.Kowalczik on 02 Jul, 2007
One Day Motor Coach Get-A-Ways: Who knew that your AAA Motor Club offered such great opportunities to travel as part of your club membership? With my thirty fifth birthday and Father’s Day falling on the same day this year, my wife Carol thought that spending…Read More
One Day Motor Coach Get-A-Ways: Who knew that your AAA Motor Club offered such great opportunities to travel as part of your club membership?
With my thirty fifth birthday and Father’s Day falling on the same day this year, my wife Carol thought that spending a day together in New York’s beautiful Hudson River Valley would be a nice gift for me, especially since one of the featured destinations would be one of America’s premier culinary institutions: The Culinary Institute of America .
This school has a special meaning in my life. I was a culinary student in the late 1980s, studied contemporary American cuisine and obtained my secondary degree in Culinary Arts. I had the opportunity in 1989 to tour the Culinary Institute as well as Johnson and Whales University in Providence Rhode Island before making a decision as to which school I wished to continue my education with. Although both schools had challenging programs I preferred the more passionate, career driven curriculum at C.I.A. In 1990 the top graduate of my class was offered a scholarship to attend the school in Hyde Park New York; however she turned it down having changed her mind and set her sights on attending Johnson and Whales. So the scholarship was then offered to me who in turn declined the invitation and volunteered for Operation Desert Storm by joining the U.S. Marines.
So this day trip could be a glance into where my life path could have lead me. Would lunch at the school bring back memories of a dream of owning my very own restaurant or would it make me appreciate where I am today?
I really didn’t get excited about this trip until the day before we are going but that excitement grew as we got closer and closer to the main entrance. I was hoping the picturesque grounds would materialize memories of my prior trip of nearly twenty years, however nothing looked familiar as we continued up the entrance on our way to Roth Hall, and the location of the Escoffier Restaurant.
We exited the Dattco deluxe motor coach at the bottom of a small hill giving restaurant patrons just a short, scenic walk to the main building. Roth Hall is located in the center of the campus and houses the American Bounty Restaurant, the Escoffier Restaurant, the Apple Pie Bakery Café and the Craig Claiborne Bookstore. The main building is surrounded by Anton Plaza, a charming courtyard comprised of beautiful potted plants and flowers, two gazebos, a stunning water jet fountain and a breathtaking view overlooking the Hudson River.
From the right side of Anton Plaza you can see the one building that looks a little out of place on campus: the Colavita Center for Italian Food and Wine. This building is designed to resemble an old world Italian style villa and in the home of Ristorante Caterina de' Medici; schools Ivy Award winning Italian restaurant.
The Culinary Institute of America was home to more than 37,000 successful alumni. Culinary entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, and media personalities alike attended the world’s premier culinary college. People like: Larry Forgione – Class of ’74 – Owner and Chef of An American Place Restaurant in St. Louis, MO. Todd English – Class of ’82 – Executive chef and restaurateur. Cat Cora – Class of ’95 – You know her from the Food Network.
Those wonderful and talented chefs once learned and worked within the Hyde Park campus, working at one of any of the five on site restaurants.
As a AAA member I knew that I have towing and auto services available to me when necessary. What I didn’t realize until recently was that there is a multitude of other discounts, conveniences, and services that accompany the towing service. Did you know that…Read More
As a AAA member I knew that I have towing and auto services available to me when necessary. What I didn’t realize until recently was that there is a multitude of other discounts, conveniences, and services that accompany the towing service. Did you know that AAA has a full service Travel Agency? Did you know that the travel agency offers Motor Coach Get-A-Ways?
I am a member of the The Connecticut Motor Club and they offer (as part of their travel services) both one day and overnight, affordable motor coach trips to a number of different destinations.
The club offers day trips on board deluxe motor coaches and there is always going to be a AAA employee to accompany you as the tour escort. Some of the One Days Get-A-Ways include lunch, while others may include entrance fees or just transportation to your destination. Some of the One Day Get-A-Way destinations include: The New England Flower Show , Ellis Island , Tanglewood and Salem, Massachusetts at Halloween .
The overnight trips are a little more than I would expect from a motor coach trip. Of course there is deluxe motor coach transportation provided with a tour escort but the cost of the trip also includes hotel accommodations, taxes, attraction admission, baggage handling, and often many of the meals are also included. Some of the Overnight Get-A-Way destinations include: The Preakness Stakes & Annapolis , Mackinac Island featuring The Grand Hotel, Brandywine Valley Christmas and the International Fireworks Festival in Quebec. A list of the different trips can be found on their website, by phone at (203) 765-4222 or they have a reference guide called the Travel Planner that will outline all the destinations available.
We have never been on a motor coach trip before and though that we would start with something small; a One Day Get-A-Way to The Culinary Institute of America and the Brotherhood Winery. AAA provided a motor coach and a driver from Dattco, plus they sent their receptionist, Patty along as our escort. This was a trip to the world’s premier culinary college in Hyde Park, New York: The Culinary Institute of America. This stop included a luncheon dinner at Escoffier, one of the Restaurant Hall of Fame inductees. From there AAA will took us to the Brotherhood Winery; the nations oldest operating winery. A complimentary tour and tasting completed our trip.
Overall I would say that we were pleased with our trip. Patty did an excellent job of ensuring that we were where we were suppose to be when we were suppose to be there. She also made certain that we were comfortable during our drive to New York by passing out hard candy and keeping us informed of what we could expect once we got to our destination. Our driver on the other hand, well he didn’t crash into anything and he got us there safely. We did get a little "bus sick" on the way to New York but we got there in once piece, and in my opinion that is a good thing.
I am still not certain if an overnight trip is going to be a right fit for us to take, however we already have a small list of one day trips we are looking forward to attending. Maybe we will see you on o
Written by zabelle on 19 Aug, 2001
As I stated in my overview I really never expected to find a vineyard in the Hudson River Valley. Since I am not much of a wine drinker I would not have gone here on my own but since my friend Irene wanted to go…Read More
As I stated in my overview I really never expected to find a vineyard in the Hudson River Valley. Since I am not much of a wine drinker I would not have gone here on my own but since my friend Irene wanted to go after I had dragged her to the Vanderbilt Mansion and the Culinary Institute (believe me she didn't need much dragging on this one), I decided to be a good sport and go along. It was a lot of fun and very informative too.
We arrived a little early on Sunday morning. Tours begin at noon, so we walked around and talked to some of the other people who were waiting for the Vineyard to open. The tour itself is free; if you want to take part in the wine tasting after the tour the cost is $4 a person. It was a real bargain and you get to keep your wine glasses too. We started our tour with our guides Diane and Brook at the edge of the vineyard. We are given the history of this particular vineyard and we were told about the actual growing of grapes in New York state. Four man-made ponds have been constructed on the property to help create the type of environment where wine grapes thrive. The vines are grown on a goblet trellis which allows them to drape over both sides. This land was a former dairy farm which was purchased by John Dyson in 1981.
We then move into the room which houses the barrels where the wine is stored while it ages and we were told that the barrels are oak and that there are 2 types of oak French and American and they affect the taste of the wine. There are airlocks on top of the barrels that release carbon dioxide. Hard to believe there are 285 bottles of wine in a barrel.
The winery produces 15,000 bottles of wine a year and we saw the machinery that bottles and labels the wine. It is done in the evening when no one is around. Even Diane has never seen it in operation.
The grapes here are hand harvested; there are 56 acres of grapes and everyone, even the guides helps out. The grapes are placed in fermentation tanks where the sugar turns into alcohol. This takes 2-4 weeks. In red wine the skins and pits are left in this mix which is what gives the wine its rich red color.
After the tour we all headed upstairs to have our tasting. It was loads of fun. We tasted 4 white wines and 3 reds. We also tasted some olive oil and their Merlot and balsamic vinegar with fresh bread and crackers. We then headed down to the gift shop to pick up our favorite wine and, in my case, some of the Merlot balsamic vinegar for Christmas gifts. They even wrapped up our free glasses for us. Everyone here seemed to like their job and to enjoy helping us to understand the process of making wine.
You can even sign up to be on their email list for regular updates on whats happening.
Written by zabelle on 20 Aug, 2001
Normally I would have included this as part of the write up about the mansion, but the pictures I took were just too spectacular not to include. Frederick Vanderbilt was a botanist. It's what he got his college degree in. He used his gardens to…Read More
Normally I would have included this as part of the write up about the mansion, but the pictures I took were just too spectacular not to include. Frederick Vanderbilt was a botanist. It's what he got his college degree in. He used his gardens to express his love of nature. They are done in terraces and include a pond with lily pads, some beautiful fountains that no longer work, a pergola and several trellis'. The rose garden is large but at the time of year that we visited, most of the roses were not in bloom. What was in bloom were black eyed Susan's, lavender, delphinium and lots of others flowers whose names I don't know. The gardens include There both annuals and perennials. This was a relaxing and peaceful break in an otherwise hectic day. We visited the house then went to lunch and came back later in the afternoon. The gardens are open until sunset and are certainly worth a visit. Close