My Spring Break: Part I – Bees, Yarn, Family and Friends

April 12, 2009

A friend from high school (note that I did not say “old friend”) and I have gotten together last year and this for a long weekend on our own.  Last year we went to an eco-friendly Inn (Inn Serendipity in Southern Wisconsin – I recommend it highly).  This year we stayed at V’s weekend house which is near where we grew up in upstate NY.  That also gave me the chance to spend a very nice day with my parents. 

I will readily admit that the trip was not especially green.  I flew to NY.  But my children and husband suggest it is like carpooling – beats driving alone in a car – and besides, the plane was going to go there with me or without.  I’m not sure that is a good rationalization, but it works for them.  The trip and activities though did seem pretty earthy.

In NY, my mother and I visited a shop, Sweater Venture, that features products by third world artisans.  There we helped the world economy.  V and I spent a day in Greenwich and Saratoga Springs, NY.  In Greenwich our primary goal was to visit BetterBee, a bee supply store. 

V has two bee hives but a friend had stopped by the previous week and had indicated that neither colony had survived the winter.  When we got to her house it was still light so armed with a hive tool (the hive parts get glued together by the bees) we opened the first hive.  It was empty.  The food she’d given them was gone and there were just a handful of dead bees scattered about the hive – no dead cluster, no dead bees in front of the hive, nada. 

We went to the second hive.  Dead bees in front of the hive. In this hive the food was still plentiful.  V took off the feeder box and there they were bees – – many many live bees.  The feeder top went back on pronto.  But what happened?  How come one hive was empty and one seemed fine?  We wanted some input from more experienced bee people. 

The people at BetterBee were very friendly and informative – their best guess (because that is really all you can do at this point is guess) is that the empty hive swarmed late in the fall.  In other words, for whatever reason, they gorged on the free food and upped and left for a different, perhaps bigger, home.  This happens sometimes.  It’s not altogether clear why they did it this time, but that seems to be what happened.  Would have been nice if they’d stayed but it sure beats having them all die from a virus or infestation.

Our next stop in Greenwich was a yarn shop, Needleworks Fine Yarns.  Lovely, lovely yarns so I bought a skein of something inspiring and the owner gave me the instructions for a shawl using the dishcloth pattern.  I’d just heard of the dishcloth pattern from the flight attendant on one of my flights.  Now I have it.  Very simple, knit only, something I can do without paying attention.  I did knit the shawl by the time I got home, but I thought it was too small so yesterday I unraveled it and am waiting for new inspiration.  The pattern, however, is going to be put to good use – I have ideas I can’t mention here because some readers may be the recipients.

Lunch was at a wonderful little cafe’ recommended by the woman at the yarn shop and then on to Saratoga Springs.

Our primary reason for going to Saratoga Springs was to experience the Mineral Baths.  There are some options for baths in Saratoga, we opted for the Roosevelt Baths.  We opted out of other spa services but enjoyed private warm baths in effervescent mineral waters.  V followed it up with some time in the steam room.  Very relaxing, very pleasant, quite affordable.

Otherwise we spent our time making food, eating food, drinking wine and talking, talking, talking.  Usually when I’m away from home there comes a point where I’m ready to go back.  Not this time, I love my family and was happy to see them but this trip was too short.



  1. Interesting! Thanks for researching that. I really should check into train travel. It’s getting so I hate airline travel anyway with all the annoyances and delays..

  2. Sounds like a fun break! I do wonder, aside from a bicycle, what is the greenest way to travel?

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