In early June, my husband and I packed up the kids and traveled back to the Hudson Valley. It was the first time we’d been back since we left for Birmingham in 2004. Life has changed just a bit since then: jobs, kids, house. I’ve always been sentimental about the places I’ve lived in my lifetime, and have longed to go back and revisit them under different circumstances, perhaps seeing them with fresh eyes. Each stop on life’s journey holds a special place in our hearts, regardless of how many challenges it brought.
When we first moved to the Hudson Valley, the slower pace was an adjustment. Getting stuck behind a Sunday driver on a two-lane country road, having to travel to the next town over to get to a grocery store, or driving two hours to get the dealership to service my car … well, it was culture shock for this Type A personality. And then, a funny thing happened. Over time, I slowed down, opened my eyes, and started to enjoy the sights along the way. And that’s when this place stole my heart.
Besides, it’s hard not to love a place where simplicity tastes so good: a fresh strawberry, a cucumber, asparagus or other goodie just picked. They’re a world away from the lacquered produce sitting under the fluorescent lights at the grocery store.
The single biggest lesson I learned during my brush with farm life was that there’s little need to gussy up fresh fruits and vegetables. They speak for themselves – beautifully. And I love the simplicity of that.
Our trip in June was an opportunity to enjoy the Hudson Valley with a tourist’s eyes. There was no pressure of culinary school, no stressed-out husband working two jobs in an effort to make our frazzled ends meet. It was just us, meandering and reminiscing, pulling some sweet memories out of a year that tested us on every level, but brought us to where we now stood, with a bit more character and two children by our sides.