August has always been the perfect month to celebrate the lazy days of summer. The weather is often at its balmiest, camp and assorted activities are all wrapped up, and nothing seems more fitting than to curl up on a beach chair or hammock and read a good book. So I applaud you if you choose to take a day, a week, or even the whole long month just to lounge (and please, bring your latest issue of Hudson Valley magazine with you).
But I do have to warn you that once you start flipping through this month’s issue, you’ll quickly realize that there are a lot of great reasons to pull yourself off that chair and to explore our region at this time of year. Take our cover story on our local wineries. Apparently, 2008 ended up being an excellent growing season, so this summer is the ideal time to stop by and taste the top-notch results. We outline more than 20 wineries and let you know what you can expect at each one: which wines are worth your while, which vineyard has picnic facilities, what the tours entail — and of course, loads of special events. For several years I have been promising myself that I will go grape stomping. Lucille Ball jumping around in a tub of grapes in Italy on I Love Lucy might just be one of the seminal TV moments of my childhood, so it tickles me to know that I can shed my shoes and do the same (more or less) about 30 minutes from my house.
While wandering around a vineyard is certainly an excellent way to spend a summer day, you’ll also want to read our feature on local farms. Author Joanne Michaels (a former Hudson Valley magazine editor in chief) has penned a beautiful book focusing on the people and history behind more than 40 farms. We profile 10 of them, so get ready to learn about everything from growing onions in Orange County’s famous black dirt, to computer-monitored greenhouses to organic farming, to taking care of baby lambs.
Then, after all this back-to-the-land stuff, it might just be time to go and see how the other half lives. Hop in your car (or in one case, a boat) and take yourself on a tour of some of the region’s local castles. No, you won’t find any royalty here, but you will find majestic edifices with equally impressive histories. So, go on — indulge your inner prince or princess.
Here’s to the last balmy days of summer.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor in Chief