Birthday in Ulster County/Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

Birthday in Ulster County/Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

New York’s Ulster County is rich with worthy day trip destinations. And it is just far enough from the City’s hustle and bustle without being too much of a roundtrip drive. Because I have been visiting since I was in high school (My first serious boyfriend went to SUNY New Paltz), there are nostalgic spots. And because it is ever-evolving, there are also new stops to try. Like the relatively new Commissary!, which was open early for a few bites after our hot air balloon ride. I got a latte and a bialy with nut-based vegan cream cheese. 

The New York foliage map told me that Ulster County is at “near peak.” I always loved having a birthday in autumn, close to Halloween, within the leaves’ color changes, before the hustle and bustle of the impending Holiday season.  It makes celebratory day trips no-brainers. Of course, I want to go north. 

A nostalgic favorite: Garden Cafe in Woodstock. This was an early love of mine. I was happy to see that it expanded with a recent renovation. And that we were able to catch the breakfast menu. It is important to satisfy both sweet and savory cravings–so French Toast with a berry compote and… 

…Huevos Rancheros. The French toast was perfection. Thick-cut bread but soft with saturation. Of flavor, real maple syrup, berry compote. The Huevos Rancheros had the rest of everything I needed: savory flavor, bean and tofu protein, fatty avocado and sour cream, and a pile of spectacularly dressed greens.  In the distance, a side of cornbread. Perfect. This place always satisfies.

And because I made all of the choices today, we spent the gorgeous afternoon at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.  I hadn’t been to their new grounds in High Falls. There were so many special friends to learn about, so many stories to affirm my 21-year choice of veganism. 

Turkey ladies rescued from factory farm operations. Conditions are horrendous for all animals slaughtered for profit. It is painful to hear the details of these animals’ early lives but it is heartwarming to see these sentient beings running free. And taking a snip of The Electrician‘s hand.

This is a guinea hen. It is a rather kooky-looking fowl with a kooky temperament. Our tour guide described guinea hens as chickens with ADD.  It was an accurate description.

A moment with the pretty Maybelle who was used in a colonial times living exhibit. Impregnated to start her lactating for the milking exhibit, her three surviving calves were taken away from her.  Any entertainment outfit that uses animals as part of an exhibit or as entertainment are all unethical and regard animals as profit-makers only.   

Looking an animal in the eye (including humans) is the most clear and potent communication. Here I am flirting with tall, dark and handsome bovines. Charming Elvis, a rescued veal calf; Ralphie, their very first cow resident; and another black beauty whose name I don’t recall.  

Food fight! Ceasar, a rescue from a petting zoo with deplorable conditions, seems to be winning.

Lounging pigs, finally content after terrible former lives. Pigs are tremendously intelligent animals. Smarter than dogs, pigs are self-aware, communicate well and are able to learn new skills.  So… they are far smarter than many humans I know.  

That look says it all. 

The frolicking mischievous goats, including a three-legged goat. Worldwide, goats are the most slaughtered red meat.  

The Sanctuary’s Fainting Goat, Walter, was all smiles with his darling underbite.

Dolly Llama is your path to enlightenment. What a face!  She is another survivor of neglectful petting zoos, penned in a concrete enclosure and not able to roam.

The goats were the last group we met and I became very picture-happy as they seemed so ready to strike a pose. I missed many of their names. 

The handsome Prince (I think), one of over 120 animals rescued from a backyard butcher.

Another special buddy

The sheep, who we didn’t get to meet. 

Trident is the Sanctuary’s first horse. He was rescued from Amish farmers in Indiana who planned to kill him at 3 months old. His leg deformity deemed him useless in their eyes. 

After, another old favorite in New Paltz, Lagusta’s Luscious. We stopped in hoping to find some baked goods to make my birthday official. But they only had macarons and chocolates… so we got macarons and chocolates. 

Thank you, Ulster County, for a beautiful day!