Continued from 1925 and Father is back in the picture
Leisurely trips to the high country to escape the blistering summer heat of the city became routine. These road trips were nothing like our mile-eating, climate-controlled, media-bedecked, cross-country journeys. Rather than whizzing down razor-straight freeways with carefully engineered curves that invite maximum speed, and dashing off the road for quick pit stops at gas station chains spaced to appear as the gas gauge dips toward E and the munchies ping, road trips of the 1920s were leisurely and refined. The roads were often dusty and rutted and required cautious negotiation.
Yry described one such trip in her diary. The first stop for tea and fuel was at a little place called “The Oakes” in Fishkill, New York. It was a small house with a large veranda and comfortable tables and chairs for plein air dining. An hour later they drove onto the ferry at Newburgh and crossed the Hudson River to Highland. In the village of Kingston they stopped again for tea and toast and filled the tank. The first day’s journey ended at a small inn outside of Selkirk, not even 150 miles from home. In the morning they settled around a large pedestal oak table in the dining room and nibbled at toast with creamery butter and homemade blackberry jam, accompanied by eggs, scrambled with fresh shallots and herbs. Norah nursed a cup of English tea while the men downed strong black coffee. Hermann and Adolph shared a morning paper while Norah and Yry visited with a pair of lovebirds celebrating their first married holiday.
After breakfast and a casual stroll around the grounds, they loaded up again and headed for Albany, where they stopped to gawk at the Gothic architecture of the Hudson Terminal building as well as the State House, the Capitol, and the Governor’s residence. Then, on to Schenectady and Saratoga Springs. Rolling hills and fresh water springs dotted the landscape. Occasionally they’d detour from the main road, lured by the vista promised by a mountaintop. One of these side trips took them to a place called Grant’s Cottage. Yry was disappointed to find a plain old house instead of what she pictured as a quaint little stone cottage.
They traveled at this pace for several days, stopping at unadvertised but inviting little places along the way. Yry never failed to gawp at the occasional stable that advertised horseback rides. Her pleas to stop, though, passed through the car as if she were in a parallel universe. At St. Hubert, Adolph at last consented to hire a horse and buggy to carry them to Upper Ausable Lakes, which lay nestled in a dense private forest. There, Adolph proudly rowed them out into the lake while Norah worried. They picnicked and swam in the lakes and rested in the shade of the magnificent hardwood trees. Later they explored Hurricane Lodge in the Hurricane Mountains. They marveled at the 450-year-old elm called Caesar, famous for being the oldest tree in New York State. Then, on through Lake Placid and to a place in Blue Ridge called The White House. Mrs. May, the proprietor, was friendly and kind, but not the best cook. Her whole wheat griddle cakes hit the belly like sack of flour dropped from the top of old Caesar.
Blue Ridge was quiet and peaceful. Few tourists came to this spot; it felt like their own private resort. They swam and rowed on the pristine lakes nearby and played badminton on the lawn. After spending two or three nights at the White House they packed up once more and headed home, vowing to return again the next year. Their tour took fifteen days.