Since this blog was started in 2016, I’ve traveled to museums both close to home and halfway across the nation. I’ve completed a scavenger hunt of public art in my home town. I have seen sculptures made of marble, stone, steel, and recycled stereos. I’ve stood in awe of beautiful portraits and landscape paintings. I have witnessed the works of artists who preceded the founding of this nation, and others who have come to fame only in the past few years. Needless to say, I’m always up to check out an art installation! So on the last trip home from the Adirondacks, when my wife spotted metal sculptures in a field alongside the New York Thruway, we put our sleuthing skills to work to find out the story, and see if it was someplace we could visit!
Our destination for this weekend was the
Storm King Art Center in Cornwall, New York. Established in 1960, the museum and open-air art installation features one of the largest collections of outdoor sculptures in the United States. With artists from the United States, Europe, Japan, and China, Storm King has a truly international reach. On a beautiful, if chilly, Sunday afternoon in early March, we set off on yet another road trip to learn more about this fascinating place. Storm King Art Center
Our destination for the day: Storm King Art Center, located a little over an hour north of Manhattan.
Well, this is certainly feeling familiar! We’re accustomed to seeing these signs on I-287 northbound on our way to the Adirondacks. Today’s trip involved about four hours less driving than heading into the mountains of upstate New York, however.
After a little under an hour and a half of driving, we arrived at our destination. Originally, this drive was going to involve my Honda Accord, but an unexpected glitch (more about this in the Updates section below) meant that we took my wife’s Jeep Grand Cherokee instead.
Nestled below the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Storm King sits on almost 500 acres of land. The museum takes its name from nearby Storm King mountain, a local landmark.
With several miles of paved trails leading throughout the center, my wife and I set off to enjoy the fresh air and feast our eyes upon some art. I had a blast photographing the sculptures in the snowy field, with mountains in the background. Rather than editorializing any further, though, I thought I would simply post my favorite images from the trip.
Frog Legs, by American artist Mark di Suvero.
E=MC2, also by Mark di Suvero.
Figolu by Mark di Suvero.
This is a close-up from Outlooks by Martha Tuttle, a garden made of stone, glass, and and marble.
Three-Legged Buddha by Zhang Huan.
Mermaid by Roy Lichtenstein. This sailboat, painted by students at the Rhode Island School of Design according to Lichtenstein’s design, actually raced in the America’s Cup in the 1990s. It was donated to the museum after its racing career ended (via Storm King Art Center).
Pyramidian by Mark di Suvero.
She by Mark di Suvero.
Mother Peace by Mark di Suvero.
Mon Pere, Mon Pere by Mark di Suvero, with North, South East, West by Lynda Benglis above it on top of the hill leading toward the visitor center.
After exploring the South Fields area of Storm King, we decided to head back to the car. While the artwork was impressive, we were a bit underwhelmed by our experience. On the positive side, the large grounds meant an opportunity for outdoor recreation with plenty of space to physically distance from other guests. On the other hand, there was little in the way of signage to indicate what artwork you were looking at, meaning that you could either be staring at a map on your phone, or having printed out a map at home (neither of which we found to be ideal). And finally, it was expensive. After having visited galleries such as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN (which is free) and Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ (which is similarly expensive, but laid out in a way that led to a far more immersive experience), we were both a bit disappointed in our experience at Storm King. Although there was more to see, we decided to pack up the Jeep and head home.
“Want to try to see a castle?” my wife asked as we began our journey back to New Jersey. We headed to Donahue Park in Cornwall-on-Hudson, a town that sits on the banks of the Hudson River.
Built on an island in the Hudson River, Bannerman Castle is a former 19th-century military arsenal that has since fallen to ruin. Mostly obscured by an earthen mound on the western end of the island, my wife and I saw enough to decide that we would definitely make a return visit. The island is only accessible by boat, so we have this on the top of our places to see once we have received our vaccine. To quote The Terminator: “We’ll be back!”
No fancy dining out experience for this trip, but on our way home we did stop for takeout from our favorite local sushi restaurant, Midori. From left to right: Imperial Dragon Roll (Alaska crab, avocado, cucumber, smoked salmon, and eel), spicy salmon roll, eel and cucumber roll, Spider roll (soft shell crab), and the other half of the Imperial Dragon Roll on the right. So good!
While my Accord was at home under the weather, the Jeep responded to our call and comfortably took us to our destination and back. 65,000 is right around the corner! Updates
This week’s update section includes an unscheduled pit stop on the way to 200,000 miles, an unplanned new car review, and a fun anniversary celebration. Let’s begin:
For the past few weeks, my Accord was feeling a bit sluggish, and I was getting a droning noise on the highway. I passed it off as my car getting a bit older, and perhaps my tires starting to get noisier with higher mileage. However, I kept noticing my driver’s side rear wheel getting coated by brake dust, and when I was inspecting it on Saturday after a long drive, I could feel intense heat radiating from the wheel. Further inspection revealed that the brake pad had turned blue from constant heat, and the disc rotor had scorch marks. The brake caliper (the part that squeezes the pad onto the disc to slow the car) was dragging – it was making contact with the disc and not releasing. It was essentially like driving with the parking brake partially engaged – it’s bad for your braking system and your gas mileage. It can ultimately lead to premature brake wear, and in extreme cases, fire. Not wanting to risk a long drive to Burns Honda in southern New Jersey, I made an appointment with Autosport Honda, a dealer much closer to home.
When I arrived at Autosport, the service advisor concurred with my assessment of the problem, and offered a no-cost loaner vehicle for the day while my car was repaired. I immediately said yes (secretly hoping that my loaner would be the new Civic Type R – hey, a guy can dream!) and was handed the keys to this 2019 Honda HR-V. You may remember my previous loaner experience of a 2017 HR-V a few years ago. After spending a day with the vehicle, I stand by my initial assessment: it is a safe, fuel-efficient, reliable, all-weather vehicle for those who value economy and the security of four-wheel drive.
Jumping into the HR-V after driving my Accord, I did appreciate the higher seating position. The car definitely encourages you to drive efficiently – a ring around the speedometer will glow green when you are driving gently and maximizing fuel economy. And while it won’t win a drag race with the V6 in my Accord, the HR-V uses the R-series four-cylinder engine from the Honda Civic, giving it sufficient pep to keep up with traffic.
This HR-V was the fully-loaded Touring model, with leather trim, seat heaters, and an upgraded stereo. One huge improvement from the last HR-V I drove: Honda reintroduced a volume knob for the stereo, replacing the touch-slider that was nearly impossible to adjust while driving. Sometimes, simpler is better.
This was also my first in-depth experience with the Honda Sensing suite of safety features. Lane Keeping Assist (LKAS) was the most interesting system. Get the vehicle above 45 mph, and the car will use its sensors to gently nudge your car back into the center of your lane if you start to drift too far to one side. At first, it felt a bit too intrusive, the wheel moving slightly as the car corrected its course. Initially, I found myself fighting against the corrections, but once I loosened my grip on the wheel and allowed LKAS to assist me, its novelty faded into the background. By the end of the day, I wasn’t even aware of the car’s electronic intervention. Overall, I’d give the new HR-V an Open Road Ahead seal of approval!
By mid-afternoon, I received a call that my car was done, and I headed back to Autosport Honda to pick it up. I found it waiting for me at the front of the lot – in a sea of sedans, minivans, and SUVs, I’m happy to say that my car still stands out and holds its own with newer designs.
All fixed! I hadn’t realized what an impact the dragging brake caliper was having on my driving – the car felt peppier, it braked in a straight line, and the droning noise at highway speed was gone. It was a bit of a pricy repair, but worth every penny.
Okay, little Accord. Break time is over. Let’s get back on the road to 200,000 miles. Onward! An Anniversary
When I recently logged into WordPress (the site that hosts my blog), I received a very cool announcement – The Open Road Ahead is now five years old! In March of 2016, at the urging of auto bloggers Tyson Hugie of Drive to Five and Josh Clymer of TSX Travels, I decided to try writing up some of my automotive adventures. I had no idea that five years later, I would still be documenting these journeys to mountains and seasides, drives halfway across the country, and jaunts across my hometown. It has been a truly enjoyable endeavor, and as long as my readers continue to find these posts interesting, I’ll keep writing. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, liked, emailed, texted, and otherwise supported The Open Road Ahead! Wrapping Up
While we didn’t have the best experience at Storm King Art Center, I reserve final judgment until I can visit again in a post-pandemic world and see the museum in its entirety. If you plan to visit, advanced tickets are required, and can be purchased on their website. If you go, plant to spend 2-3 hours if you want to try to see everything. The Center is open daily, rain or shine (or snow) from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm.
And thank you for coming on yet another adventure down The Open Road Ahead!
‘Til next time.