Saturday Getaway – Upstate New York


We set off late Saturday morning and planned to take a slightly scenic route through Brooklyn before crossing to Manhattan and going along the western side, up and off the island. Little did we know just how scenic our Brooklyn route would be…

Even if we had tried we could never again go through the Williamsberg/Crown Heights suburbs of Brooklyn at a more perfect time – We were driving through JUST as men and women of the Satmar movement of Hasidic Judaism were leaving their Synagogue. And my oh my they are a sight to behold – particularly if your not expecting it and like me, were previously unaware of their existence.

The Hasidim, or “pious ones” in Hebrew, belong to a special movement within Orthodox Judaism. Soon after its founding in the mid-eighteenth century by Jewish mystics, Hasidism rapidly gained popularity in all strata of society, especially among the less educated common people, who were drawn to its charismatic leaders and the emotional and spiritual appeal of their message, which stressed joy, faith, and ecstatic prayer, accompanied by song and dance. The movement survived a century of slow decline and then near-total destruction in the Holocaust. After World War II, Hasidism was transplanted by immigrants to America, Israel, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe. In these most modern of places, especially in New York, it is now thriving as an evolving creative minority that preserves the language–Yiddish–and many of the religious traditions of pre-Holocaust Eastern European Jewry. The Hasidic ideal is to live a hallowed life, in which even the most mundane action is sanctified.

The Hasidic way of life is visually and musically arresting, with rich textures, unusual customs, and strong traditions of music and dance. Hasidic tales, intriguing and memorable doorways into a complex world of Hasidic thought, religious themes, and humor, are fruits of a long and continuing oral tradition.

It might/does sound strange but from the car i almost felt like we were on a safari viewing rare creatures in an unknown land. I would cry out – theres some – theres some over there oh look! A whole family!

we then continued through the hip suburb of Williamsberg

along the west side of Manhattan with my informative hosts pointing out key locations and filling me with interesting facts left right and centre! Then off the island, through the bronx and another 1 1/2 of driving along the highway until we headed off along a dirt path through beautiful green forrests

and came to the charming get-away house in the area of Patterson, belonging to good friends of my hosts for a wonderful afternoon BBQ!

The beautiful property had a pool, a barn, a pond

and a great big fire pit

used to roast the 75 Pound lamb

That we later devoured with homemade mint sauce

We cooled off in the pool

and I had a great time,

standing around talking to and getting to know many wonderful and interesting people

Before leaving late in the afternoon, we had to get the obligatory snap shot next to the barn – Weeeee – really, who DOESNT have a plane in their backyard!

We then drove to the town of Rye for a quick stop as it’s the home-town of one of my hosts

as well the cleanest, best run fun park i’ve ever seen – Playland. Playland has the distinction of being America’s first totally planned amusement park and prototype for today’s successful theme parks. Dedicated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987, Playland has provided family fun since 1928.

We had a little walk around

My friend bought a Chillidog which honestly made me feel a little queasy just looking at it!

Then we walked along the waterfront promenade just as the sun was setting

before finally making our way back to Manhattan

and then looking towards the sparkling city from Brooklyn. It truly is an incredible sight to behold in person

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1 Comment

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One response to “Saturday Getaway – Upstate New York

  1. sally

    Amazing day. The jewish sect would have been facinating and then a lovely lamb roast at days end with perfect company. Doesnt get much better Love Mum

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