Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I've hung up my dress-for-success clothes, and pulled my domestic "genes" out of storage.

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Home Tour!

I am so excited that Debbie at Debbiedoo's invited me to share a tour of my traditional home over at her blog today (Friday, August 30)!

Traditional Home Tour by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Every week, she features a different home. When Debbie first asked me to share mine, my first reaction was…

"What the WHAT?"  Me?????

After doing a little happy dance around the kitchen, I said,

OK, I'm in!

Please head on over to Debbiedoos Home Tours and check it out! 

And while you're there, take a look around at some of her inspiring posts!
Ms. Toody

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Secret Garden Full Of Treasures

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

What color is your thumb? Is it green?

Mine isn't, yet whenever I have to fill out one of those forms that ask for a list of my hobbies, I'm tempted to put down "gardening." I'm interested in it, yes.  I just don't have a knack for it. 

I am determined to change this.

My friend, B. has one of the greenest thumbs I've ever seen. For a "last hurrah" of summer, I'm going to show you around her beautiful garden...

…which has inspired me to create a little secret garden of my own.

If you've been following me, you know that we did some landscaping in our backyard this summer. 

There is one spot that's kind of empty, and I'm going to make that my gardening project for next spring. It's right behind this hammock. 


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Here are two shots of the space I'm talking about. 


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I'm envisioning it as a little garden nook. I'd like to have a chair or bench, some plants, rocks, and some interesting garden decor. I'm going to be pinning away on my "Garden Nook Inspiration" board between now and next spring. 

My inspiration to transform this space comes from my friend, B. She has the most amazing "secret" garden in her backyard.

Although, after today, I'm not so sure how much of a secret it will be.


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Over the past ten years, she and her husband have transformed the steep slope in their backyard in Westchester County, NY, into a terraced garden oasis


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

And it is constantly evolving, as she finds more garden art to add to her collection. 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

B. calls it her Secret Garden. 

I call it a Garden Full of Treasures. 

A Secret Garden Full of Treasures seems to cover it nicely. 

OK, that's settled.


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

B. and I met through our husbands, who, along with two other guys, have been friends since they were kids back in Brooklyn. Our families get together several times a year to hear them laugh and reminisce about the same stuff over and over again. All of those Brooklyn accents in one room is entertainment enough, if you ask me.

OK, about that garden…

My friend B. has always been enamored by the book, A Secret Garden, and has this dream/hope/fantasy that someday, as she's wandering around, she will happen upon a rusty garden gate, that leads her down old, stone steps, and through an arbor. With every step she takes, hidden treasures will be revealed to her...an old bench, a garden tool, maybe an old gardening glove left behind, and of course, flowers overflowing…weaving them all together to tell the story of this special secret garden.

But until that happens, she has her own lovely garden to enjoy.

Looking down from the upper deck of the house, this is what you see. It's a "secret" garden because the treasures below are not revealed until you get up close and personal. 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

In winter, when the trees are bare, I swear you can see clear across the Hudson River to my house in NJ. Well, not really, but the vistas from that high up are pretty spectacular all year round.

Unless you can fly, the best path down to the garden is around the side of the house, and through the arbor.


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Head down the steps…


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

…and pass by the dry creek bed, which was necessary because this spot was prone to flooding. The soil kept washing away.  Now, B. says, after heavy rains, the water rushes down the rocks, like a mini waterfall. Can't you just imagine water flowing over those stones? 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Most of the things in B.'s garden were found at estate or barn sales, or by chance. This pretty wheelbarrow waiting at the bottom of the steps, was from a house down the street, that had left it out for trash.  

Notice the little garden gate behind it…and the pitchfork on the left, which came from an old horse farm. 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Walk too quickly, and you'll miss all the details.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Everywhere you look, a treasure is waiting to be discovered…

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

…which to me, is the reason why this garden is so enchanting. You can't possibly take in everything at first glance. 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It begs you to visit again and again.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

B.'s first garden ornament purchase was this lovely lady, which she found in an old shop. She mounted her on a base from a birdfeeder, and put flowers in her hair.

"Flowers in her hair, Flowers everywhere…
I love the Flower Girl…"

Remember that song?

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I like how she watches over everything in the garden.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

B. says most times, she is drawn to things that no one else wants. What looks like "junk" often makes for the best garden accents.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Take, for instance, this kettle. As she and her husband were leaving an estate sale at a crumbling old mansion on the Hudson River, she tripped over it in the driveway, near the garbage cans. It was filthy, but she was already envisioning it as a planter.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This thing that looks like forceps? It's an antique tool that may have been used to grab blocks of ice from the ice truck, or to pick up bales of hay. Or maybe to extract a tooth from Gulliver…heh, heh.

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


I'd like to find something like this for my little secret garden space. I think it's called an armillary sphere. The rustier it is, the more at home it looks. 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

The scooter came from a farm sale, and B.'s brother made the flower box out of old barn wood. Would you ever have thought to turn a scooter into a planter? 

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I love the saying on this sundial: 

"Grow old along with me; The best is yet to be."

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

What bird wouldn't want to live in this neighborhood?

A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

B.'s goal was to make the garden look old…like it's been here for years and years.


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I really do think she succeeded, don't you? 


A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
A Secret Garden of Treasures by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

And until B.'s dream of stumbling upon some secret garden comes to pass, she can take pride in the fact that her own garden provides that kind of magical feeling to everyone  who walks through her arbor. 


Linking with:  
                                                   Wow Us Wednesdays
Until next time,

Ms. Toody


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Woodstock, NY and The Catskill Mountains: A Tour

Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
Where were you when the famed Woodstock concert took place in 1969? 

I'm guessing that a lot of you weren't even born yet. 

I was, and we'll just leave it at that.  

The concert ran from August 15-19, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to post some pictures of our vacation in the Woodstock area this past July. You may recall that we rented an amazing house with its own waterfall, in Palenville, NY, about 20 minutes outside of Woodstock.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
The Waterfall House


If you're of a certain age, or you're just Woodstock-savvy, you know that the actual concert was not held in Woodstock. It was held on a farm about 68 miles away in Bethel, NY.  

So why does Woodstock get all the credit? 

Many of the organizers had homes in Woodstock.  The town of Woodstock wouldn't allow the concert to be held there, which is why the venue ended up so far away.

The little village of Woodstock is still a great place to get your inner hippie on.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

You can almost get a sense of what it was like back in the 60's.

It's tempting to buy lots of tye-dyed t-shirts and souvenirs with peace signs, which seems kind of groovy in while you're in Woodstock, but when you wear them back home, you might look like you're in a time warp. Who cares? We bought them anyway.  


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

We also bought authentic Woodstock chimes, for the backyard. They make the most beautiful sound. Ours is called "Chimes of Mozart".  You can listen to the different Woodstock chimes here

The town is quite small. It took us less then two hours to poke our heads into most of the shops.

Hey, remember these guys? They hang out out this shop all the time.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

As a tribute to Woodstock's musical heritage, there are guitar sculptures all over Tinker Street, the main drag. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes



Just off the main street, is Woodstock Waterfall Park. It was a nice surprise when we happened upon it right in the middle of town.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Every Wednesday afternoon, there is a Farmer's Market in town, with fresh produce and even some flea market finds. If we were heading home the next day, we would have loaded up on the awesome fruits and veggies.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes





Most people who come to the Catskill Mountains take advantage of all the outdoorsy activities. One thing that you have to understand about Mr. Goo Shoes and me, is that we are not the adventurous types.  As Mr. Goo Shoes says, there are people who like to go hiking, kayaking, mountain climbing, etc, and then there are people like us:

That's nice, we've seen enough…let's go eat. 

Lucky for us, the Woodstock area is a weekend destination to many New Yorkers (for those who aren't into the Hamptons scene), so we had our choice of many sophisticated restaurants.

Our favorite was Cucina.  Fantasic setting in a barn with excellent food and service.

The Bear Cafe is touted as the very best in the area. It's is definitely worthy of that claim. We were lucky to have a table next to the stream when we went. 

New World Home Cooking was also outstanding. I had a cold melon soup that I am still dreaming about. 

The Red Onion is another popular place. We weren't as impressed as others seem to be. 

Only a few miles from Woodstock is Saugerties, which had an antique car show while we were there. Mr. Goo Shoes was in his glory checking out all of the old cars. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


The best coffee west of Europe can be found in Saugerties at Love Bites, a teeny place with just a few tables. The carrot bread french toast was A-mazing!


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes
We had breakfast a few times at the Circle W in Palenville. It's a little general store that serves breakfast and lunch. We felt like we were in Mayberry, just waiting for Aunt Bea to come out of the kitchen. I loved the feel of this place, and the baked goods were delish. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Tannersville was a cute little village that we road through on the way to Hunter Mountain.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It was all decked out for July 4th celebrations. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Hunter Mountain is a popular ski resort in winter.  


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

In summer, the big draw is the Skyrider. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Riding the Skyrider 3200 feet to the summit of Hunter Mountain was the extent of our physical activity. Our white knuckles got a workout.  Somehow, it seems a lot steeper without the snow.

The payoff was the incredible view. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Everyone told us we had to drive to Sweet Sue's in Phoenecia, well-known in the Catskills for the best pancakes this side of the Hudson River.  Did either Mr. Goo Shoes or I order pancakes? 

Uh, no.  We both had the french toast. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It was good, but we were crabby, because we waited a LONG time for a table and our food, and we were literally afraid we were going to miss the boat...

...the boat that was taking us for a cruise down the Hudson River. We made it just in time.

We saw some nice estates, like the Vanderbilt Mansion, from the the river...and some cute lighthouses. 


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It was a nice day for a boat ride, but after one hour, I was ready to jump in the river and swim back.

Spending a week in the Woodstock area of the Catskill Mountains was like stepping back in time. It was very different from our vacation in Montauk, but it was fun to experience something other than a beach vacation. We had a great time, and will probably do it again.


Woodstock, NY Catskill Mountains by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

This was definitely a summer for road trips. We just came back from another one (man, I love not working!) We went to two places we've never been before, and I'll tell you about that in a few weeks from now. 

Here's are some hints… 


A body of water connects both places. 

One is south of the border; one is north of the border.

Any guesses?
Linking with:

Till next time...

Ms. Toody