Biking Serendipity 

Here in Southeastern Pennsylvania it’s July in October. Record breaking hot and muggy days. Pretty nice weather for biking, tho. 

My friend Ginger told me about the Pomeroy bike trail near Newark, Delaware. I hiked some trails in White Clay Creek Preserve when my son Tyler was a student at University of Delaware, but I didn’t know there was a Rail Trail.

It’s just beautiful. Parts of the Trail are along the banks of the creek. 

Not all the Trail is cinder ballast, there are a few rough areas but nothing our hybrid bikes couldnt handle. I loved this flat meadow. 

Driving to White Clay Creek, I texted Ginger to ask where to park at the trailhead. We hadn’t planned to meet up, but she and her husband, Dave, were biking! Trail serendipity!

Gary had a big smile because, not only was there a beer at Klondike Kate’s waiting for him, but a nice lunch with friends.

If we hadn’t met Ginger and Dave, we could have had lunch at this great Farmers Market. (Gary did point out–no beer.) I wanted a big basket on my bike to carry some vegetables and breads and cupcakes and salsa and cheeses, pumpkins and mums…I love Farmers Markets.

I can’t figure out why the ride back is always faster than the ride out. Maybe I was just mellow after a rest and lunch and conversation. And a few sips of cold beer.

Thanks Ginger! Great introduction to the Pomeroy Rail Trail and riding with you and Dave was icing on the cake. Quilting friends that like to ride bikes. That’s pretty special. 

Two State Finish

Hiking south, the sign says, Welcome to Massachusetts. That means I have just finished all the Appalachian Trail in Vermont! Gary, Laura, Tim and I backpacked a long section in Vermont years ago, during Hurricane Rita. What a memorable and terrifying experience that was. Tree branches crashing down, wind driven walls of rain, little streams were raging torrents. We spent a night in a shelter that I thought was going to blow off the mountain. 

Nothing but blue sky today, thankfully. As the sign says, the Appalachian Trail follows the Long Trail in Vermont for 105 miles. Just east of Killington, the Long Trail turns a corner, leaving the Appalachian Trail, and continues north to Canada. Laura asks, “Want to hike the rest of the 168 miles of the Long Trail?” Ahh…not soon. 

I am always taking a photo of Gary ahead of me. I’m anticipating standing where he is, either up a climb or down something.

Getting down rock jumbles is worse than clambering up and over the rocks. 

Seriously? This is not what I meant by, let’s take a break, guys. Obviously they did get the khaki and blue memo.

The contrast between sunlight and shadow is dramatic. 

The Trail crosses into North Adams over the Hoosatonic River with a great view of the mountains to the south. Already done that part!

I’ve had such a fun time hiking Massachusetts with Laura. Except for a few measly miles, she has hiked the state twice. Amazing! 

Driving back home we stop at Joe’s Diner in Lee, Massachusetts for dinner. Gary and I order the Wednesday Night Special. Buy one spaghetti dinner for $6.95, get the second one free. Entree comes with salad and garlic bread. WHAT? Have I hiked back into a time warp?

Maybe! In 1958, Norman Rockwell used Joe’s Diner as inspiration in his famous painting, The Runaway, an illustration for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Well, the price is right, dinner delicious and milkshakes for desert. 

So now the maps from Vermont and Massachusetts are relegated to the “Finished” file. It feels great to have a huge section from the James River footbridge in Virginia to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire complete. Ok, ok– I do have 24 miles in Shenandoah National Park to do. But I’m not counting those. They’re my “safety miles.” I’m saving those in case I get crazy and just have to get out and hike. I could drive to Shenandoah in about 3 hours. The rest of my  AT miles are a long drive. 

County Road to Pattison Road   8.3 miles

593.4 miles remaining


It just doesn’t get any more beautiful than this. A perfect blue sky day with the fall colors blazing and just a touch of chill in the air. 

Our friends Laura and Tim have joined Gary and I to hike for a few days. 

Laura has already hiked this section of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont and remembers passing this wetland area and seeing a moose.  There used to be a huge beaver dam here but there is no sign of it now, and the wetland has drained. Darn, I would love to see a moose!

Yesterday Gary and I hiked in Massachusetts. Today we are in Vermont. It is interesting to see different ways the clubs maintain the Trail. No wooden bog bridges, instead, stones have been placed for hikers to walk across. 

That is a very big rock. I should have realized it was a sign of things to come. Not good things. Rock things. I saw on the map that the very last mile of the hike was a very steep descent and I was a little worried about what the trail would be like. Normally, I’m a big fan of rock stairways. I appreciate the hard work it takes trail teams to construct them and I think they are beautiful. The trail dropped 800 feet in just over a half mile–all rock stairs. Well, some of the steps should have been called ledges. They were treacherous–covered with dry leaves, tilted at awful angles, super steep and hard to land a boot on solidly.  My hiking poles skittered over the granit surfaces as I slowly inched my way, sometimes having to sit down. The rocks were placed in steps in a wide shoot or steep channel of rocks, so there were no trees or roots to hold onto. It probably took me an hour and a half to get to the bottom. At least it sure seemed that long. 

County Road to Vermont Rt 9   11.2 miles

Greylock Redux

There is a saying hikers on the Appalachian Trail use frequently. Hike Your Own Hike. Or HYOH, for short. You could backpack with food and cook kit, sleeping bag, tent, and all necessities. I have hiked many miles, backpacking. Or you could call a taxi to drive you up to the top of Mt. Greylock! 

On this beautiful Columbus Day, I’m taking the easy way, taxi up, saunter down the mountain to our car in the valley in North Adams, Massachusetts.  Lots of people are at the summit memorial and Bascom Lodge, enjoying a picnic and the incredible view. 

The Appalachian Trail starts down very steeply. We see lots of families carrying babies, trailing kids. I followed a lady, dressed in a skirt, struggling in slip on flat-type shoes, carrying her purse. Heck! I’m seriously watching my step in good boots, using hiking poles. I wonder if she knows the parking lot is 3 miles down? Or will she turn around at some point and struggle back up…with her purse?

It’s pretty darn cold too. I have on a down jacket and just took off my gloves and stocking hat.

Sometimes the trail is covered with red leaves, sometimes it’s all bright yellow and gold. 

This viewpoint was a great spot for our lunch break but too cold to linger long. Back into the woods for the final descent which was really steep down without switchbacks and nothing but rocks of all sizes. Where were those lovely, gentle meadows? Like the other side of the mountain? My knees are screaming and I’ve twisted my ankles numerous times and it is very slow going. So much for that “just saunter down” concept. 

Greylock Summit to Pattison Road   5.2 miles 


Pumpkins! They’re everywhere. 

Especially at Longwood Gardens. Longwood doesn’t use holiday themed decorations any more. 

You won’t find any jack-o-lanterns or witches.

But there are mounds of pumpkins in all colors and sizes for children to pile up and play with. 

This time of year, you can find anything flavored with pumpkin. Pumpkin cakes, muffins, cookies, soups–pumpkin scrambled eggs, lasagna, chili– what?   

PSL.  Pumpkin Spiced Latte. The first day in fall that the PSL returns to Starbucks, people line up waiting for the doors to open. Ok, let’s think about this. Pumpkin is squash. Squash in my coffee? Yeck! I think pumpkin by itself has very little actual flavor. It’s mostly about the cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices and sugar. Ok, I admit, who doesn’t love that?

Since I am a crazy-loyal Starbucks fan, I am challenging myself to try a PSL. I went to Starbucks. I stood in line wth the order, “Tall PSL, please,” on my lips. Hey– the Tall size has 300 calories! My fav summer drink, the Cold Brewed Vanilla Sweet Cream in the Grande size only has 110 calories– less for me because I just get a tiny splash of the cream. So the PSL didn’t happen, but I have time yet. 

I’m in the spirit! I’m working on Halloween wool appliqué. Like Longwood, I don’t do holiday themed decorations. But two years ago I was seduced at a quilt show into buying a table runner pattern because all my quilt Bee buddies were buying it.  At Calico Cutters Guild meeting last month, a guest (non-quilter?) asked, “What’s a Bee?” At the podium, our witty President, Terry Seeley, quipped, “It’s a cult!”

In a good way.

Bee Challenge Reveal

Every once in a while, my quilt bee decides we need a challenge. How about we use the Quick Curve Ruler to make something? My quilt wasn’t much of a reveal because I started making it at one of our retreats, but I like the way it turned out and I had fun using the ruler to make the blocks. 

Sew Kind of Wonderful also makes a special ruler for use on a longarm quilting machine and I used it to stitch in the ditch and echo pretty accurately. 

Andra loved the Quick Curve Ruler so much she did two! I always love her fabric choices. 

Lucky me, I got to longarm quilt this top.

Love the texture on the back. 

Who could resist this cute pattern using the small QCR? Not Andra who loves Halloween! She has seasonal decorations, even dishes, for the scary holiday, not to mention numerous quilts. Hey Andra, how many pumpkin quilts do you have?

Sadly, I have no pumpkin quilts. But I did have fun quilting Andra’s tops.

I couldn’t resist adding a little jack-o-lantern.

Susie decided to go Modern. This quilt is going to look great in her house with the gray and pops of hot pink. She gets so busy quilting for her customers, her own tops are at the bottom of the stack. Check out Quilts on Wawaset

I love a challenge with One Rule. 1. Make something using the Quick Curve Ruler. Michele made this elegant bag and of course, we all wanted it. The Sometimes We Do Quilt Bee does not lack in creativity. 

Joan made a table runner. Even the back is beautiful but darn, I didn’t get a picture. That little red star just makes me smile.

Great minds think alike, Karen couldn’t resist the pumpkins either. She also made a quilt using the larger QCR, but didn’t bring it. I’m in love with the lime green binding. 

Look at Karen’s quilting! It’s hard to believe she’s only had her longarm machine for a few months.

Peggy told us she was making a mug rug. Hah! I’m hoping we’re all invited to tea.  I was betting on pumpkins or Christmas trees because Peggy and her husband Don, own Don’s Tree Farm, the best-ever place to get mums, pumpkins, Christmas trees– all kinds of seasonal fun. Hey Peggy, how many Christmas tree quilts do you have?

Ginger’s quilt has a Modern look to match her brand new kitchen. She was hostess so we could all see how gorgeous everything turned out. Oh, she also served us apple crisp to die for. Must be the new oven–delicious.

Want to see Jane’s quilt? You might have to go to her website because I might have been gobbeling the apple crisp…

We had such a blast at our Quick Curve Ruler Challenge reveal. We’re already planning a challenge for next year. It could have something to do with Kaffe Fasset fabrics. That would be colorful and fun. I’m in!

Mt. Greylock

Wow. I’ve been asking, where is fall? I guess we skipped it and went straight to winter. It is freezing this morning. This mist rising from the lake in Cheshire was beautiful. Gary and I are being driven up to the top of Mt. Greylock by the Cookie Lady so we can walk down. Pretty sweet, huh.

We are hiking pretty fast and I have a fleece and long sleeves on but it’s still cold and I am loving it. Gary is whining about cold fingers and needing gloves.

You never really know what it will be like, hiking the Appalachian Trail. Today the Trail is a lovely downhill run. There are bog bridges and a soft, pine needle carpeted path.  The steeper down sections have gentle switchbacks, some beautiful stone stairways and a few wooden steps. 

And meadows. I love meadows. Maybe even more than waterfalls. This type of hiking on a glorious, blue sky day, no sweat, no bugs, just bliss, makes me contemplative and greatful.

I wonder if hiking down the other side of Mt. Greylock into North Adams will be as pleasurable. I hope so. I won’t find out tomorrow because we have to drive home today. Just about 16 miles hiked on this quick trip.  618.1 left to go.

Dalton, Massachusetts

The way to start a day of hiking is with a latte. And grab some really good sandwiches for lunch at this coffe shop Laura and I discovered in Dalton last May. Gary and I are meeting the “Cookie Lady” at the Appalachian Trail parking lot. Her real name is Marilyn and she shuttles hikers to trail heads so they can hike back to their cars. She lives on top of the mountain just steps from the AT and leaves a basket of cookies on the porch for hikers. Laura and I hiked that section in May and I looked for the cookies, maybe she was still baking and we were too early, because I didn’t see any. 

We leave our car in Dalton and Marilyn and Roy drive us up to the Trail head in Cheshire. Another hot day. At least the climb of the hike starts out first and it really isn’t a huge up. 

Looking down from The Cobbles viewpoint, we can see the parking lot in Cheshire where we started. My legs know they did some work to get up here. And there is more up to go yet.

There is no view but the cairns tell us we’ve reached the summit. I’m very grateful for a nice breeze. 

How about this perfect spot for a lunch break. It is amazing how good that sandwich you’ve been fantasizing about for 2 miles, tastes when it comes out of your daypack. I also bring a bottle of coke–I don’t drink soda, unless I’m hiking so it’s a treat. And did I mention Snicker bars? Hah! Yeah, it’s all about food.

Sitting here by this pond is so contemplative. I see a beaver lodge but have yet to see a beaver– anywhere. There is a hawk hunting and he hovers over the water before snatching his prey. Three different, beautiful dragonflies dart over the lily pads. One of them has a dark burgundy body with pink sparkeley wings. It was a beautiful hike over The Cobbles back to Dalton.

Ok, I’m just going to admit this. Gary found a four star restaurant a mile from our hotel in New Ashford for dinner. Mill on the Floss (yes, named after the book by George Elliot) is a French cuisine restaurant in a charming 17th century farmhouse with a restored grist mill. A glass of wine, dinner and desert was amazing. No freeze dried, reconstituted backpacker/hiker food for us. 

Wallkill 2

New Paltz has lots of interesting restaurants. The Inkeeper at the lovely Moondance Ridge Bed and Breakfast recommended her favorite, La Tavola. Dinner last night was delicious. I had a very different ravioli. House made pasta with goat cheese, charred fresh corn and blueberries. Sounds like a strange flavor combination but it was crazy good. Gary ordered bolognaise. If bolognaise is on the menu, guaranteed–Gary will order it. 

So riding the Northern section of the Wallkill Rail Trail was quite different. After a bountiful breakfast at our B and B, we got an early start, hot and humid again. Where is Fall?

An old bridge with new benches over the Wallkill River. 

I spotted this huge, stone structure from the Trail. Of course we investigated. Clearly some type of furnace but where are the signs to tell me all about this? After riding on,  we found the start of the Lime Kiln hiking trail in the Mohunk Preserve, with a sign explaining the area’s historic limestone mines and kilns were used over a century ago to produce natural cement.

The Wallkill Trail’s star attraction is the 940 foot Rosendale Trestle, 150 feet above Roundout Creek. It was originally built by the railroad in 1872 but has been restored with new steel and recycled composit decking after $1.5 million dollars was raised by Trail supporters. It was opened for public use in June, 2013.

The view is just awesome!

After the Trestle, caves are accessible from the Trail. I’m not going down in there– but the blast of cool air welling up is pretty amazing. We turned around and rode back to our car in record time. Next up, drive to Mt. Graylock in Massachusetts for some hiking on the Appalachian Trail. 

You can drive your car right up to the very top of the highest point in Massachusetts, Mount Graylock. You can even get a quick sandwich in the historic Bascom Lodge. 

Unfortunately you can’t go into the War Monument because it’s being renovated. But Gary and I have just enough time for a quick hike around the summit. 

Hiking down 1 mile on the Appalachian Trail and using the Overlook Trail, we can loop back to the parking lot. Wow. 2 and a half miles doesn’t sound like very much but it is really  steep, rocky and unbelievably hot. My hair is dripping wth sweat. Seriously, where is Fall? 

Bike Trail  15 miles 

Hiking       2.5 miles


On Thursday Gary and I drove up to New Paltz, New York to ride our bikes on the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. 

The trail is 22 miles long and New Paltz is just about in the center. Our plan was to ride the southern section to Gardiner and then ride back. We started at the Trailhead very near historic Huguenot Street.

A step back in time! I felt like I was in Colonial Williamsburg. I am so glad I don’t have to wear a period costume– it’s tough on a bike and it is 87 degrees and killer sunny. How did they stand it?

The train station in New Paltz has transformed into a restaurant. I love seeing how these small towns have reinvented themselves and communities revitalized by rail trails.

The trail is absolutely flat and a mix of woodsy shade and open meadow. We are riding along the Wallkill River with amazing views of the Shawangunk Mountains. Locals call them, the Gunks.

A group of riders stopped and were taking cell photos of something. I asked, “What do you see?” Bears!

We also saw people poaching red ripe apples from this orchard. Tempting, but Gary and I were looking forward to lunch (and a huge glass of ice water) in Gardiner.

Gardiner is an interesting village.

We saw some cool trail-side art and had a delicious Italian chicken pannini sandwich. 

We turned around in Gardiner for the ride back to New Paltz. I spotted this very fine brew pub, the Gilded Otter, where we could quench our thirst.

There is nothing better to clear trail dust from your throat than a cold beer. Gary opted for a Katzenjammer Kolsh. I had to have the Rail Trail Pale Ale. Totally chose it for the name. Delishous! 

Miles ridden  15

PNQE Wrap Up

I was thrilled to see that blue ribbon hanging next to Becket Mountain Trilliums. I won Best Interpretation of Theme. Interesting, because I had to look up what the theme was! The show book says the theme, “Evolving,” showcases the industry’s evolution into the 21st Century. Humm…Ok then!

I thought I would share the comments of the judges, Karen Boutte and Robbi Joy Eklow, .

+ Wonderful fusion of modern and art quilt techniques.

+ Beautiful complimentary color scheme.

I was especially interested to read the remarks about Bike Love, also hanging at the show, because I knew the quilt had issues and I wanted to see what the judges focused on. 

+ A successful example of the modern quilting aesthetic.

+ Pleasing composition.

+ Details enjoyable, especially the quilted spokes.

I’m surprised! I promise I didn’t leave out any “negative” remarks. Personally, I appreciate constructive critique but I think the judges really strive to give positive feedback. I was worried that the wheels looked like blank circles and the spokes needed more definition. I love the look of the multi-colored, pieced binding but it needs to be tighter. I used my Quilting In Layers technique, but I’ve never had such a large background area without additional appliqué and quilting. 

I am grateful to the judges, taking time to record evaluations of the quilts entered. There is always something to learn. Judging is subjective, of course, but it is valuable to see your quilt in the context of the other quilts in the same category. Now if I could just read everybody else’s comments, too!


Yesterday, Michele, Karen and I went to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Show. We got there at 10, when the doors opened and planned on leaveing just after lunch. Well, we barely had time for lunch and almost had the doors close on us at 6! It was a good show.

When you go to a quilt show with friends, you see things and buy things (I successfully RESISTED the fabulous cat fabric!) you wouldn’t notice on your own. We all agreed this quilt made by Melinda Bula is fantastic. Imagine the quilt, minus the strands of tiny white circles. Still a great quilt but those white dots add so much movement. (Design note to myself)

The white glove lady showed us the thread design on the quilt back. I always debate, should I use a plain backing and allow the quilting to show, or a busy backing and invisible thread to hide stitches? 

I took some photos of quilts that I especially liked from the competition and special exhibits. I should have recorded the maker but just didn’t have time. I think this quilt is wonderful and feels traditional and modern at the same time. I’d like to make a quilt using black, red, green and white. 

These “dingos” are scary! The thread painting was incredible– the fur on the dogs was so correctly directional. The Australian quilter chose to thread paint the entire background. I think this worked very well. I really don’t like it when the thread painting is done on the figure and then stuck on the background. 

I’m not so crazy about this quilt, but I have wanted to do a large piece using my Quilting In Layers technique with inset strips. Mine would look totally different. 

Ahhhh. The limitations of cameras. This quilt was stunning, seen in person. I stood in front of it for a long time, wondering what is going on with this woman in the orchard? I wanted to know more about her. It was a whole cloth quilt, not sure if it was painted or a photograph. The artist placed the figure in the center of the composition, within a very symmetrical design. She used bits of real gold paint to direct the eye through the dark gray landscape. I’m so intrigued with this piece of artwork. (note: If anyone is attending the show this weekend and could email me the title and maker of this quilt, I would really appreciate it.)

An explosion of color! Lots of silks were used with stitching in different colored threads to add texture and more layers of color. 

Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. I’ve been there! This quilt was painted then stitched with amazing detail, outlining every window pane and tree leaf. The reflection of the scene on the water was painted and then layered with sparkeley organza and quilted. 

I want to own this quilt. (The woman in the orchard, too) It was made by a Canadian quilter and has such a strong sense of place– (and that’s all the snow I need to see for the coming winter.) After seeing lots of quilts with crazy, precision detailed, over the top, steroid enhanced quilting, the simplicity of the quilted line in this work is lovely. The quilt is constructed using fabric and stitching detail, no painting. 

Pretty eclectic group of quilt photos, huh! Soap Box Alert. Can I just say, I enjoyed the quilt show. I saw quilts, I saw art. Traditional, Modern, Innovative, painted, stitched, home machine, long arm machine, hand quilted. Such a wealth of fiber diversity and nary a gripe about categories and competition rules and copyright and commercial credit documentation.  I feel inspired and can’t wait to play with my new fabric (no cats) and quilt stuff.


Have we had the last of this year’s 90 plus degree days? It has been a hot summer and I am so ready for Fall. The meadow at Longwood Gardens was gorgeous yesterday. 

Butterflys were everywhere.

They clearly love these purple thistles. 

I still have tomatoes to process. And eat. But I am so over zucchini.

Except for zucchini bread. 

Well, maybe the cool weather is here to stay. It’s time to change out my fabric stash. Store away all my summer fabric and get the fall colors out of the moth balls. Um. I don’t really do that.

Cradled Wood Frames

Yup. That looks like a big mess. I’ve been invited to show my work at a fine arts show next February. The show has a “Mini Art” room and artists are requested to provide pieces 9 x 12 inches or smaller. The small pieces are very popular and sell quickly. The art is affordable and people might only have room for something small.

So I am sorting through my saved bits of fabric too beautiful to throw away, and stripping some backgrounds. Just for interest, I fused organza leaves and curled ferns and quilted with variegated and sparkly threads. 

I cut a window in a file folder to arrange the composition, otherwise I end up trimming off the design to fit the size. I hate that when that happens. Words are said, not good words.

You knew there would be trilliums! I can free-cut petals and leaves from fused fabric to arrange on my quilted backgrounds. 

Before stitching on the flowers.

After stitching, they really have dimension.

I bought cradled wood frames from Cheap Joe’s Art Supply and painted them flat black. My plan is to mount the little quilts on the frames. I’d like to have something a bit different in the Mini Art room and these quilts are tiny– only 6 x 8 inches. We all know what quilts that small are called– pot holders and mug coasters. 

I faced the edge on the quilt on the left.  Hate it. I tried a very narrow binding on the one on the right. I like it much better. Sigh. Darn, more work.

Nine little quilts finished. This took days! I didn’t plan on how labor-intensive these would be.

It’s hard to get a good photo of the finished product. I really like the way the wood frame adds presence to fiber art.

The cradled wood allows the artwork to project against the wall for a nice effect.

Signed, titled and numbered and ready for hanging. If, per chance, you would like to have one, email me, shipping included, anywhere in the U.S. for $95.

Labor Day Fun

I had a great Labor Day weekend. Gary and I met Tanner and two granddaughters at beautiful Stonewall Resort in West Virginia. We all went to Morgantown to cheer the West Virginia Mountaineer football team to victory.

I loved the half time tribute for WVU student, Ginny Thrasher. She won a gold medal in Rio for air rifle. 

Football makes fans do some strange things.

Back at Stonewall for dinner and marshmallow roasting.

S’mores are just the best desert ever. 

Lots of swimming was done. Avarie perfected the “PopPop Flip.”

Gary and Tanner played golf. Ball lost…Bambi found!

The weather was perfect for kayaking on the lakes.

I’ve never kayaked through a tunnel before.

Paddling is very hard work. 

Labor Day should always end with a great fireworks display. I completely agree with John Denver. West Virginia really is almost heaven when you have a fun time with family.