Notes from a Successful Rhinebeck Weekend

I attended the New York Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY for the first time this year and had an amazing time. The sheep and wool festival, known by most folks as “Rhinebeck,” is one of the oldest and most popular fiber festivals in the country. It’s got a lot of hype, and I’ve got to confess it lives up to it. Here’s a short list of the things that added up to a wonderful weekend.

The scenery is gorgeous

The view from our house

The view from our house

I ended up going on this trip quite by accident. Some friends had rented a house near Rhinebeck for the festival and one of their travelling companions had to back out. I selflessly stepped up to take the extra bedroom in this charming AirBnB overlooking a lake. Yes, I am quite the team player.

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Did I mention there’s a hot tub? The place was absolutely amazing and honestly even if we’d skipped the festival entirely I would have had a lovely weekend.

The company was excellent

If you’re planning a trip with a small group it’s important that everyone be on the same page about food, drink, and general plans. If one person wants to get up at 6am and wait in line for the gates to open, but everyone else wants to stay up late drinking wine and sleep it, you’re going to have a problem. Same goes for general dietary interests. On the second night there we all decided we were much too tired to cook and just ate our way through some cured meats and cheeses we’d purchased at the festival. Which is to say a vegan would have been very unhappy staying with us. I’m not saying vegans and carnivores should never stay together, just that if your friends have a different definition of delicious than you do make sure you plan accordingly.

The place we stayed had a fire pit for roasting things, so that was pretty great.

I didn’t intend to buy anything (but I did)

I’ve been doing a big stash knitdown so I didn’t have any much-purchase items. Which meant I didn’t really have to wait in any lines (except for food). There are so many things to see and buy that it can be really overwhelming, so going in with a “just looking” attitude helped a lot.

Of course on Sunday, once I knew the lay of the land, I found myself making a few purchases. For instance this sweater was calling to me:

image copyright bmoreknitty

image copyright bmoreknitty

So I may have accidentally purchased a sweater quantity of yarn from Neighborhood Fiber Company.

For the most part everything I’d eyed up on Saturday was still available. The only thing I didn’t manage to get my hands on was a specific colorway from Into the Whirled.

We left early

I know it sounds crazy, but we called it quits well before the end of the day both days. We were just too tired. And it ended up being a really good thing, because the traffic getting across the Rhinecliff bridge Saturday evening was crazy according to some friends who stuck it out. We hit maybe 10 minutes of extra traffic leaving in the afternoon, but my friend sat on that bridge for an hour and a half!

I went straight the cider donuts

The line is not going to get any shorter. If you want a cider donut just go for it. Get extras to much on later when you’re waiting for artichoke french (which is a bit overrated imho). It took a while, but we ended up standing in line next to Stephen West (wearing the loudest outfit I have ever seen in my life). I was really struck by just how gracious he is with everyone despite the fact that the man literally can not eat a donut without 20 people coming up to him and asking for photos.

Overall it was an excellent weekend. I relaxed, knit, caught up with friends, and even got to pet an angora goat! And I picked up a mini-skein of yarn for my daughter, who has asked me to make her a pair of mittens.

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