Monday, October 10, 2011

Greetings from the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest

Something about fall Sundays just calls one's spirit to hit the road for a day of adventure. Winter will be here in a wink of an eye, and cold brisk Sundays will mean mugs of cocoa, lounging around in flannel pajamas with a good book or film, making pots of soup, and going back to bed. In short, as my friend calls it, nesting. Still wanting to spread my wings, this past Sunday, I felt the call to Bear Mountain's Oktoberfest celebration. I did a light hike a few years ago in this New York state park with my sweetheart and went ice skating here as a child. My heart now has a new happy memory of my day here with my sweetie and my parents. With so much negative news on television, it was nice to see people enjoying nature, the Oktoberfest band and food and the overall merriment. We all need more merriment.

Many people picnicked, which I think is just fine and a great option if you are on a budget or minding your money. We did the same at the Governors Island Jazz Age Lawn Party when we just had drinks and a dessert. We did partake in the Oktoberfest fare.

Vegetarian fare: potato pancakes with applesauce, $5, cheese pierogies in onions with sour cream, $4, and pickled beets, $3.

Apple strudel (just okay, Trader Joe's apple strudel imported from Germany, better!) and German chocolate cake, $4 each. They also had baked apples for $4.

Although we ordered one anyway, think as I do when you see German chocolate cake on Oktoberfest menus. Fraud! I discovered this in a vegan cookbook, but found out more from Wikipedia:

"Contrary to popular belief, German chocolate cake did not originate in Germany. Its roots can be traced back to 1852 when American Sam German developed a brand of dark baking chocolate for the American Baker's Chocolate Company. The product, Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, was named in honor of him.

In 1957, the original recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake" was sent by a Dallas, Texas, homemaker to a local newspaper. This recipe used the baking chocolate introduced 105 years prior and became quite popular. General Foods, which owned the Baker's brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers in the country. Sales of Baker's Chocolate are said to have increased by as much as 73% and the cake would become a national staple. The possessive form (German's) was dropped in subsequent publications, forming the "German Chocolate Cake" identity we know today and giving the false impression of a German origin."

Beer! A stein was $23 for with $9 refills, or smaller cups were available for $5. This was not mine: I was the driver and drank a cup of chilled spiced cider, $2. I'm not a beer drinker anyway.

Afterward, we took a stroll around Hessian Lake. Traces of the American fight for independence are everywhere, including here.

Boaters in the distance. You can rent a paddle boat or row boat for $5 per person per hour. My photos do not do it justice how stunning this lake is.

An inviting bench calls passersby to have a seat and admire the beauty.

Because you're never too old, ever. The appropriately named Merry Go Round, which did leave me feeling quite merry. $1 a ride.

I love fall weekends. I love life.

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