July 5, 2010

At 15, my daughter doesn’t really want to be seen in public with me anymore. Unless, of course, I’m treating her to a meal or taking her shopping. So that’s what we did this morning. But with a twist…today, we made the sweetest little trip to Woodstock, N.Y. Visiting this historic hippie town was fun and refreshing.

As you know, I don’t use my daughter’s name because she wants her privacy. There’s no reason for her to go public and be a blogging nut job like her mother. That’s why I refer to her as The Princess. Anyway, I took Princess and her friend — who wants to be called Cool Girl — on a July 4th excursion that made us all happy.

By 8:20 this morning, I pulled out of our suburban driveway with two sleeping teens in the car’s backseat and headed for the country. Traffic was light; charging up the New York State Thruway, we made it to Woodstock in less than 90 minutes. Then, we explored on our own terms. Cool Girl is a vegan. Princess is a shopoholic. Mom (me) will do anything to get the kids to spend time with her.

The 1969 Woodstock Festival is the concert that made this arts-y community a special tourist destination. But these days, the feeling is upscale. Sort of haute holistic with zen highlights. The boutiques are filled with tie-dye tees, hand-crafted ceramics and price-y, vintage-inspired clothes. Yet protest still lives — there was a petition drive against a proposed 10:30 p.m. curfew to keep kids under 17 off the streets. (Ironic, considering that the word “Woodstock” is such a symbol for youthful rebellion.)

We began with a lovely breakfast at Garden Cafe, a vegan restaurant. It was a delight to be in an eatery where it was perfectly normal to chow on gluten-free french toast made from rice flour bread and “sausage” concocted out of tofu.

For shopping, we stopped by Castaways, a funky thrift shop. Cool Girl bought a long, $10 fringed skirt. Princess found an irresistible $18, chair-sized electric massage pad (hard to explain). I went for a $20 linen dress and an $8 rayon batik print men’s shirt that works as a baggy kimono.¬†Before we left, we wandered through the local flea market which carried everything from jewelry to organic blueberries.

After Woodstock, we drove another hour to my sister’s house. She lives deep in the misty heart of the Catskills. Even though this mountain range is far away from NYC, the two places are completely connected. The city gets its water from 19 reservoirs and three lakes sprawled over thousands of acres up here. Looking out at the mountains now makes me feel very complete.

Here are some photos from our day. Click on each one to enlarge.