William Joseph Reynolds, author of Ossining a Brief History, explains, “Early 17th century Dutch maps of the Hudson River Valley show an Indian village, whose inhabitants were part of the Mohegan Tribe, named “Sint Sinck.” That phrase, when translated, means “stone upon stone” and refers to the extensive beds of limestone found in the southern part of the village.” Frederick Philipse, in 1685 fell so in love with the land, which is bounded to the west by the Hudson River and to the north by the Croton River, that he bought the area from the Sint Sinck American Indians. The last lord of the manor, also named Frederick Philipse, was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War, so the State of New York confiscated the manor in 1779. As of 1901, the vast acreage has been incorporated as Westchester County, New York.
A local Indian authority suggested the town be named Ossinsing, a different form of the name Sing Sing. One year later the last “s” was removed for ease in pronunciation. However, today the district might be most famous as the fictional hometown of Don Draper and family – the main protagonist of Mad Men on AMC.
My friend and colleague, Max. The city mouse prepares to meet the country mouse.
The gang waits at the train station.
After the not-so-arduous journey we arrived at Sue’s humble abode!
Ossining, although seemingly light years away from the hubbub of NYC, is actually only a short jaunt of 45 minutes via the Hudson Line on Metro North. Yet, in those 45 minutes the concrete and alumnim dissipate into expansive canopies of foliage, unfiltered crisp air and a carpet of green grass. When we walked into Sue’s house, circa the 19th century, we were greeted with a spread that would put Martha Stewart to shame! Sue’s warm welcoming and hospitality instantly linked the several strangers in the group as “family-for-the-day”.
While everyone was enjoying the autumnal bounty of artichoke spreads on crostini, caramelized onion flat breads, crudités and other hors d’oeuvres, I took the small opportunity to sneak away before anyone noticed! I apologize to my magical hostess Sue, but her home was just so inviting and perfectly manicured. Beyond the dining room and kitchen, lay a world of antique accessories, pattern play and a gorgeous living room.
And I tiptoed down the hallway (on a Persian runner), to the backyard, to where everyone was eating outside on this unseasonably warm October afternoon. Nary 10 minutes later, no one seemed to notice I had disappeared into the world of Sue’s gorgeous home! Every detail is in it’s rightful place, every window letting in the light just so.
And so a beautiful day of book suggestions, conversation, food and friendship drew to a close. It certainlty did not hurt that Sue is practically a Michelin starred chef whose pièce de résistance of the night was a warm Spicy Tomato, Sriracha & Blue Cheese Soup. This is what the harvest season is brings.