We flew to Connecticut for the trip because it was about an hour and a half away from our hotel in Fishkill, same as the drive down from Albany. When I decided to go to Rhinebeck, it was so late in the game that most of the close hotels had been booked. We were able to get a pretty good rate at the Hyatt House Fishkill. The hotel was overrun, not with knitters, but with weddings! There were three different weddings and a few conferences at the hotel that weekend.
Our room, which was an "upgrade" thanks to a credit card thing we have, was comfortable but small. My photos weren't as nice as the hotel's, so here it is:
No big deal on the size, though. We knew we wouldn't spend much time there. They also allowed pets on site, which was great because we'd brought Roxy with us! She hung out in the hotel since Rhinebeck has a very clear, copiously repeated and advertised NO PET policy.
We checked in to the hotel on Friday evening, after spending the previous day in Rhode Island with my in-laws. Early to bed and ready to start the day!
Saturday morning, we got out of the hotel at around 7:30am. I was worried about getting to the fairgrounds on time, and I thought we were going to be late! The drive up was gorgeous, with tons of bright trees and a morning blanket of fog that dissipated as we drove further north. By the time we arrived at the fairgrounds, it was sunny and warm enough to leave our coats in the car.
We parked and someone pulled up next to us. She started waving, and after introducing herself, I realized it was my Ravelry/Twitter friend and blog reader, CicadaQueen! What luck to have a friend to stand in line with. It was 8:10 am when we reached the front gate, and CicadaQueen informed me that the fair started at 9... For some reason, I was convinced it began at 8! We hung around, as the line grew super long to get in:
We headed up the hill to Cephalopod Yarns. Their booth was at the back of the fairgrounds, in building 39.
Although we walked briskly, there was already a small crowd there! I hadn't seen their yarns in person before, so it was a special treat to me to be able to look at every base before choosing a few to purchase:
Afterward, I met up my good friend Athena! She lives near Rhinebeck, so it was a special treat to be able to not only visit but see the show with her. We spent the rest of the morning wandering all over- back and forth to the different areas. I think I had a hard time soaking it all in, so I kept moving on and realizing I'd missed something. We covered so much ground, and pretty soon it was noon, and time for the Ravelry meetup! I talked to a few people I knew from the site and grabbed a Ravelry button-- I also got to sneak in and grab a photo of the group while the real photographers took their photos:
After the meetup, it was time for lunch. I recorded a quick video while I waited for Andrew and Athena to grab their food:
1) Not as crowded as expected. It was fairly easy to get around, although some booths are designed better for traffic. It was kind of hard to find an open table at lunch, but it WAS 12:30. Eating earlier (or later) would have solved that easily.
2) There was way more than just yarn and fiber. I expected live animals, but was surprised to see clothing, housewares, doodads and jewelry there, too. And a whole building dedicated to food :)
3) Tons of people wore knitgoods, which was awesome. I haven't been with a HUGE mass of people that were wearing hand knitted things before, so that made me happy.
4) The fairgrounds, city of Rhinebeck, and the general surrounding area are INCREDIBLE. The weather was beautiful all day, and I caught myself just soaking in the views and colors many times during the day.
5) The show is doable in one day... if you're not a spinner. I looked at a lot of booths and passed by most of them. I stopped for yarns that caught my eye, but generally just peeked and moved on. This may be a product of my stash size, but I wasn't looking to amass anything major. I do think I'd look at more stuff next year, but this year was really a great opportunity to understand the scope of the thing.
Verdict: Worth going, especially if you have other fiber enthusiasts to go with. Staying in Fishkill made the drive and entry traffic SO easy. Most of the traffic comes in from the north, so coming from the south is the way to go!
More on the area and other things we saw, later. Wow, this was a huge post!