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For my birthday, I planned a trip upstate to a little town by the name of High Falls, at the suggestion of a college friend who grew up a stone’s throw from there. With a lot of internet searches and help from this friend’s veg-head sister about veg-friendly restaurants, and the beauty of zipcar, we were off on our escape-New York-excursion! Despite the heavy traffic on a Friday afternoon, and a crampy leg and arm because of all the stop-starting and lack of driving in the past 11 months, we broke on through to land beyond the confines of these confining 5 boroughs. For once, I was thankful for the traffic, because it allowed us to cross the Hudson River, via the Tappan Zee Bridge, at sunset:

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And yes, I actually snapped those photos while driving, because traffic was heavy enough on the bridge that we were going at a snail’s pace. We stayed at a little yellow cottage, deep in the woods, and the discovery of these still vacant cottages 1 day before seemed truly meant to be.

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The owners were keeping the cottages open this extra weekend because of the mild temperatures. Not only that, one of them is vegetarian, she makes her own soap (for each cottage!), and they just got llamas on the property!

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In addition, they bring you homemade scones on Sunday morning, provide you with homemade cranberry pancake mix and all necessary ingredients and fresh orange juice. It was all spectacular.

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I bought tasty apple cider donuts from a place called The New York Store, a gourmet food shop and bakery. I even got one free because I said it was my birthday! I also bought a Peppermint Pig, a candy tale worth reading about.

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We had wonderful meals out at area restaurants, including New World Home Cooking, where I had eaten years ago and remember as being one of the best dinners I had ever had. This time around, I had my birthday dinner there, and we bonded with our waiter, Justin, over topics like local farms, Saugerties, vegan cake, and the like. We also had dinner at the Rosendale Cafe, a cute vegetarian restaurant with live music, and lunch at The Egg’s Nest.

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We took a long drive through the mountains and also picked about 70+ apples. I have already made 2 apple crisps, and 1 “double apple pie”, the latter of which was complicated, time-consuming, but tasty. It is a deep-dish pie, baked in a spring form pan. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup cheddar cheese in the pie crust, and I give 2 thumbs up to that addition!

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I highly recommend the area!