By Caitlin Kelly
Poor Jose hadn’t unchained himself from the computer in a year.
My last break, three solo days in Pennsylvania, was in October, but I unwittingly landed (!) in Trump country before the election and cut short my holiday to head home.
So we were overdue for a chance to flee our one-bedroom apartment where — like so many of you — we’ve been working for a year.
Although we are both full-time freelance, which means no one gives us paid time off, we know we need it every bit as much as those who have salaries and paid holidays and paid vacation. We have to self-fund every minute we’re not working but without it, burnout and resentment looms! In a non-pandemic year, we would normally have already visited my native Canada a few times (by car) and probably gone to Europe or planned a trip there.
So the easiest option was to stay in-state and go back to a place we tried for a few days last summer and enjoyed.
We drove 90 minutes north to the town of Woodstock, NY, pop. 6,000, something of a hippie haven, with lots of shops selling tie-dye T-shirts and esoteric books. But also nestled in the Catskill mountains and we have two good pals who live up there who each met us for an an overdue catch-up.
The tower of Woodstock Town Hall, reflected in early wavy glass of the apothecary across the street
We stayed at a funky 1950s era motel that’s since been renovated and this time splurged on a large room that backed onto a rushing creek. Such a soothing sound!
The sky was full of stars we could actually see and we woke to lots of birdsong.
We also splurged on our first massages in a year (everyone masked) and ohhhhhhh, such sore muscles!
I slept 12 hours one night and only made it up to 11:00 p.m. one night, watching a favorite old (1981) movie on my laptop, Time Bandits.
Built in 1860 for painter Frederick Church, Olana is amazing. The interior is closed for now so I walked the grounds with two local friends.
The Catskill Mountains, seen from Olana, facing west
I took my ice skates and made a reservation to use them but instead just enjoyed a long lazy morning reading and savoring the sunshine and silence and the very high cathedral ceiling of our room (our mid 1960s apartment has 8-foot ceilings.)
We had a couple of good meals.
We each bought a pair of Blunnies, Blundstone pull-on boots I had long coveted.
I bought a bright and pretty spring-like coverlet for the bed.
I read some magazines that have been sitting around for a few months for which I rarely seem to have attention.
We loved the croissants and muffins and breads from Bread Alone, a somewhat legendary New York bakery.
It was good to sit still and stare at the woods.
It was good to be out of the apartment and our town.
It was good to not watch TV for five nights, for a badly needed change.
It was good to come home, once more, with a large shopping bag full of new books.
It was good to take some photos at sunrise, wandering a quiet town.
We came home feeling gratefully re-charged.