I live in the valley right below the Shawangunk Ridge here in NY. To get here you go due north up the Hudson from Manhattan for about 70 miles then hang a left when you get in the New Paltz area. The top photo was taken one late autumn day on top of the Ridge up in Cragsmoor. Cragsmoor is this wonderful old hamlet (no store but they do have a quaint library) that wears its reputation of being an old artist's community well. There are these gorgeous old mansions in various states of repair and disrepair. Anyhow, this archway is on the land of an old stone church. The portal is looking out over the valley between the Ridge and the Catskill Mountains (see them in the distance?). Now the Catskills are famous for all those great Hudson River painters that go by the name of Cole, Church, Durant, etc....there was also a painter by the name of David Johnson. We are fortunate enough to own a 'nature study' by him of this cow. My husband believes his grandfather purchased it at an estate auction ages ago. This is the same grandfather who operated the still so he could bribe the local road crew (and probably an official or two). The photo doesn't capture the iridescence in this painting at all. It is amazing in person. Even more amazing is the fact that I found it safely tucked away in an old desk in our basement.