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Category Archives: area attractions

Yay! Halloween!

I had been wanting to return to Pumpkin Junction in Sauquoit ever since I wrote about it for the October issue of Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  I decided Sunday was the day.

I made the decision as I drove to church, over Higby and down Graffenburg roads.  The views were incredible.  I had to remind myself to keep my eyes on the road.  I thought, “Steven has GOT  to see this!”

When Steven got home from work, he readily agreed, so, after doing a couple of chores we didn’t want to put off, we set out. I brought our Tablet, to take some pictures.

“Maybe I’ll finally learn how to put them in my blog,” I said.

I did not take any pictures of the views as we drove but right away saw things to snap photos of at the Junction.  After clicking outside for a while, we went into the barn and spent some good time looking at ALL kinds of decorations.

After acquiring some great new stuff for our Halloween decor, we went out and wandered through the Cornfusion Corn Maze.  We were delighted with our trip.

And now I am typing my words into WordPress.  I see how to add a photo, but am not sure how to… position it.  I wanted to put a photo up top, then words, then another photo, then more words.  Oh dear, let’s see what I can do…

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ALL sorts of pumpkins, gourds and squashes!

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We did not try to guess the weight of this pumpkin, although they had a contest for those wishing to try.

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Just one of the excellent displays

And now I see that I must learn more about this adding photos business. However, for today, here was my text and here are a few pics.  Local readers will like to check out Pumpkin Junction; it is a most wonderful Halloween place.  They are located at 2188 Graffenburg Rd., Sauquoit, and are open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.  You can Like them on Facebook.

Pre-Spree Post

I did not shop on Thanksgiving Day nor yet on Black Friday.  However, Small Business Saturday, that’s is right up Mohawk Valley Girl’s alley!  My wonderful husband, Steven, only works till two today, so we are planning a spree.  I want to get my blog post written pre-spree, so this is in the nature of a Preview of Coming Attractions.

Our destination is Little Falls, NY, because we want to go to the Black Box Theatre in Stone Mill.  I read in the paper that it is New Play November, and LiFT Theatre Company is presenting three plays written by director Matthew Powers.  I certainly hope to write more about this.  In the meantime, if you’re interested, you can Like LiFT Theater Company on Facebook.

There are several retail establishments we hope to visit this afternoon.  At the top of my list is the Selective Eye, the gift shop at Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts (MVCA).  No doubt I will wander into the gallery to check out the artwork while we’re there.  MVCA is located right across from Little Falls Antiques Center, where in addition to the Black Box, we intend to visit the Mustard Seed and Stone Mill Antiques as well as the Shops at 25 West.

If we have time we may visit Fall Hill Bead and Gem.  We may be early enough for a snack at That Little Place on Main, which is right nearby.  However, we mustn’t snack too heartily, because we are also meeting friends at Copper Moose Ale House for dinner.

We have a lot of stops planned.  However, before we leave Herkimer, I’m hoping we have time for a quick stop at Vintage Spirits.  They are celebrating their 10th anniversary by offering tastings all day and giving away canvas totes that say “Shop Small.”  Now wouldn’t that be a good place to put today’s purchases?

In all, it promises to be a fun day, and I can enjoy it with a clear conscience now that my blog post is written.  I wonder if I can make enough stops to keep me in “real” posts for the entire week. Well, maybe not on Wrist to Forehead Sunday.  I hope you’re all having a lovely holiday weekend.

 

Me at the Museum

Sometimes people are our best resources.  See: yesterday I ended on a profound statement; today I begin on one.

Twice now I have been to Richfield springs Historic Association Museum and Exhibit Hall, and both times I have been greeted by friendly, knowledgeable individuals who made sure I enjoyed the visit.  I foolishly did not get the name of the gentleman who was there last Saturday, but he showed us and told us a lot.

I think I mentioned in Sunday’s post how the volunteer motioned me in to get warm when I was on Main Street looking for Cheryl and Penny and how we had a nice visit once inside.  I’d just like to mention a couple of specifics.

The Association recently acquired a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings from a library that is going digital. Our guide said, and I agreed, that it’s good to keep the paper, because computers can crash.  I pointed out that it was also good to have the computers, because paper turns yellow and eventually falls apart.  That’s one reason I find history so fascinating: eventually everything seems to disappear.

One artifact I especially liked was a very old pair of glasses, the kind with no temple pieces.  They were rimless with only a nose piece and a hole in the side for a ribbon.  The original case showed that the glasses came from the jewelry shop that used to be in the very building which houses the museum.  The jewelry story sign, which is in the shape of a clock, is also on display.

The museum is located at 134 West Main St., Richfield Springs, NY.  Phone number is 315-858-0027. They are open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from May to mid-October, or by appointment. No admission is charged, but donations are gratefully accepted.  You can visit their website at www.richfieldspringsmuseum.org.

 

Sunday Story about Scattered Saturday

Instead of my usual Wrist to Forehead Sunday, I shall give a Preview of Coming Attractions in the form of a brief overview of my Saturday adventures.  I would like to write a full post about each stop, and I may yet do so.  For now, a brief summary will have to do.

I wanted to go to Finders Keepers, a second-hand store in Richfield Springs, NY, because I was writing about it for Mohawk Valley Living magazine.  My original plan had been to drive there on my own, feeling like an independent, take-charge kind of woman.  Then I talked to my sister Cheryl and asked if she and her friend Penny (Penny is my friend, too, I hope) would like to join me.  They would!

After our stop at Finders Keepers, on Main Street in Richfield Springs, I briefly lost Cheryl and Penny, because they had left the store while I was chatting up the owner.  They felt chilly, so walked down to the park to enjoy some sunshine and the Farmer’s Market.  I did not see them so walked down to the Richfield Springs Historic Association Museum and Exhibit Hall looking for them.  Then I thought to myself, “Silly, she has a cell phone and so do you!”  (I talk to myself in the second person sometimes.)

A volunteer in the museum motioned me into the building, telling me to come in and get warm.  Cheryl and Penny soon joined me, and we had a nice visit.  I did not get the volunteer’s name, which was too bad, because he shared a lot of stories with us.  He also knew that I had played Roxalana Druse recently in the play Roxy.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Next we went to The Mystical Dragonfly at 8531 St. Rt. 28.  This is a store of mystical and metaphysical things.  We purchased some stones which are supposed to have specific healing properties.  They also offer such services as tarot card readings, past life consults, paranormal clearing and psychic medium sessions.

I was quite hungry after this and hoping to stop at a winery, so I was very happy when we got to Jerry’s Place, where we have eaten before and enjoyed very much.  Feeling comfortably full, we headed out Goose Street in Fly Creek.

We bypassed the Fly Creek Cider Mill, which was having an event so was extremely crowded, and went to Pail Shop Vineyards, which I have also written about before.  From there it was a slightly longer drive to Rustic Ridge Winery in Burlington Flats, but well worth the trip.

We bypassed Dyn’s Cider Mill twice, which I am a little sad about, because I’m running out of their popcorn.  I would like to purchase some more before they close for the season.  Then again, why not take another drive out that way?  It is a beautiful area.  Even if we had not made any stops, I would have enjoyed the trip.

Today at church, Cheryl pointed out that I now had at least seven topics for blog posts. I count six stops.  Oh, wait, there’s also today.  No reason at all to have my wrist to my forehead!  Just another warning:  next Saturday, I might go adventuring with Cheryl again.

 

Return to Rustic Ridge

I thought I would give another shout-out (love that expression) to Rustic Ridge Winery, which Steven and I visited as part of our long adventure a few Saturdays ago (perhaps you read my blog post about that).

We had visited Rustic Ridge some time before, on a nice, quiet week day (I wrote a blog post about that, too).  I was a little worried that it would be too crowded on a Saturday afternoon, being as it is a popular spot.  On the other hand, a little crowd isn’t always a bad thing, and wine-tasting crowds are often nice.  both things were true this day.

As we walked up to the tasting building, it was starting to rain.  I did Shawshank Redemption for the entertainment of the folks sitting in the Adirondack chairs on the porch, enjoying a glass of wine (ever since I spent time in Arizona in army training, I have been a big fan of rain).

As I utilized the facilities, Steven got us a spot at the bar.  On joining him, I realized I had left my little notebook in the bathroom.  By that time somebody else was in the bathroom.  I expressed my dismay.

“I don’t think anybody will steal your notebook,” a man sitting at a nearby table said.

“I know, but I always make notes in it while I taste,” I said.  I went back over to the bar.  Soon the guy at the table brought my notebook over to me.  See what I mean about wine-tasters being nice?  I know, many people are nice without wine, and some people are not nice with or without wine. Right now, I am talking about nice people tasting wine.

We tasted five wines.  The Chardonnay had no oak, which I like in a Chardonnay.  The Untamed White was a blend of Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer.  The guy pouring (I foolishly did not get his name) said it was comparable to a Pinot Grigio.  I pronounced it tasty.  I thought there was a little more to it than to the Chardonnay.

The Traminette is a hybrid grape like a Gewurztraminer.  I caught floral notes, although the description did not mention that.  I was impressed by this, because I almost never catch notes of anything, but I wasn’t sure I liked the wine.  The Untamed Red, a blend,  was described as  an everyday table wine.  I found it tasty.

The Cabernet Franc was described as heavy-bodied.  I liked it but was not sure how to describe it.  Complex?  Well, we all know I’m not a real oenophile.

We purchased a bottle of the Untamed White to enjoy later.  Other tasters were purchasing bottles for immediate consumption.  I may do that sometime, when I can get a seat in one of those Adirondack chairs on the porch.

Rustic Ridge Winery is located at 2805 St. Hwy 80, Burlington Flats, NY.  Phone number 607-965-0626.  Their website is http://rusticridgewinery.com/.

Family, Fun and Forehead

Sometimes Mohawk Valley adventures render you too tired to write about them.  For me this is especially true when I spend any amount of time in direct, hot sunlight.  I have some sort of sun sensitivity.  And I’m a big, fat baby.  Don’t judge.

Speaking of big, fat babies, Steven and I saw our delightful great-nephew, Shepherd today.   Well,  he’s not exactly big and fat, and he is more toddler than baby, but he is nine months old and he has sweet, chubby feet.  Everybody loves him, with good reason.

We met him and his family at church, then met up with some other family members and drove to Fly Creek Cider Mill.  I have written numerous times about Fly Creek Cider Mill, but it is always worth another visit and shout-out.  My father and I made sure we tried every sample offered, although he eschewed the fudge and the alcoholic beverages (wine, hard cider and today there was gin and vodka).  In case anyone is shaking his or her head at my lushiness, I did not try ALL the alcoholic beverages offered.  Two wines, one cider and some gin, and it was eetsy-beetsy tastes of each.  Why am I justifying myself to you?  That’s a bad sign too, isn’t it?  Oh dear.

The highlight of the visit was showing Shepherd the ducks, geese and chickens.  He loved them.  He couldn’t get the hang of throwing them corn, but he enjoyed watching them gobble down the corn we threw them.  This was the part I spent out in direct sunlight. I even took off my crazy old lady hat for part of it, because I put it on Shepherd’s head.  Must protect the bambino, after all.

After our fun visit, we went for some food at Jerry’s Place, which I have also written about before.  I got one of the chocolate shakes in a mason jar this time.  Yum!  Perhaps tomorrow I can finally begin to do something about my big fat butt.

Before, after and during our adventures, we enjoyed beautiful drives through some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen.  Up hills where you can see for miles over farmland, forests and mountains.  Down into valleys near lovely lakes and rivers. I positively must get some kind of camera or device whereby I can post pictures.  In the meantime, I’m afraid you’ll just have to use your imagination.

In conclusion, this really is a Wrist to Forehead Sunday, because I feel some distress over the fact that I cannot do justice to today’s adventures.  Tomorrow I plunge back into the whirlpool of overtime, play rehearsals and my new diet and exercise program.  And a few other projects I have in mind.  Will I have the wherewithal to take my wrist off my forehead and write about them?  We’ll see.  Once again, a little suspense adds interest to the blog.

For more information about Fly Creek Cider Mill, visit their website at http://www.flycreekcidermill.com/.   For more information about Jerry’s Place visit http://www.jerrysplaceny.com/.

 

We Interrupt this Scattered Saturday to Make a Blog Post

I have been adventuring all afternoon after getting up at 3:30 a.m. and working overtime, with the result that I am too tired to compose a proper blog post (what a surprise, me not making a proper post.  Say it ain’t so!).  I will go with my usual Scattered Saturday method and give a brief overview of what we did.

We headed to Richfield Springs, NY to go to the Richfield Springs Historic Association Museum and Exhibit Hall.   We knew it was located at 134 W. Main St., but you know, Main Street in any town can be long.  We missed it the first time through but noticed a Farmer’s Market going on. We turned around and parked near that.  We figured it was a nice day for a stroll down Main Street in any case.

The Farmer’s Market had some interesting looking vendors.  I would have liked to purchase some cheese or produce, but since  I was not sure how long it would have to stay in my hot car, I refrained.  On down Main Street we went. Richfield Springs is a charming little village.  I pushed the button to get a Walk signal just about the time a fire engine was turning onto Main at that corner.

The fire truck was followed by roughly 8,764 motorcycles (no, I didn’t count them, but I thought that number was closer to the truth than “a bazillion,” which is what I started to type).  It must have been some official ride for something, although I never found out what.  Still, it was fun to see all the motorcycles.  I do love a parade.

When we finally found the museum, it still lacked ten minutes till it opened.  Luckily we had noticed a store a couple of doors down called “Finders Keepers.”  It was easy to kill some time wandering around looking at antiques, collectibles and, well, one man’s trash.  Then we were on to the museum.

I’ll write more about both Finders Keepers and the museum later.  For now I’ll just say we had a great time and both places are definitely worth another visit.  We walked back to the vehicle feeling that if that was all we did, it would not be a bad afternoon’s adventure.  As we reached our vehicle,  I noticed a lady walking down the sidewalk.

“Hey!  That’s Aunt Mary!”  I didn’t mention that my Aunt Mary and Uncle Ted live in Richfield Springs, but they do.  I had gotten their phone number from my mother thinking we might call and stop by at some point.  As it turned out, we would not have had a chance to do so, but Aunt Mary and I had a nice little chat on the sidewalk.

Our adventures continued and included Pail Shop Vineyards, Jerry’s Place, Dyn’s Cider Mill, Rustic Ridge Winery, and a whole lot of driving through windy, hilly country roads.   We had a wonderful afternoon.

And now I’m tired.  I’m having a cup of coffee, which may revive me somewhat.  One might think I could then write a better blog post, but I don’t think this one is contemptible. Or do I flatter myself?  No matter.  I’m over 500 words.  I’m going back to enjoying my weekend with my husband.  Happy Saturday, everyone.

 

Another Visit to the Historical Society

Last Saturday I got to introduce some friends to a couple of my favorite places, the Herkimer County Historical Society and the 1834 Jail in Herkimer, NY.  I know I have mentioned  both places before, but I think they rate numerous shout-outs.

My sister Cheryl and some friends had long been interested in visiting the jail, which is not open for tours on a regular basis. I suggested we watch for when the Historical Society holds its Open House in June, because the jail has been open that day at least for the last couple of years, when I have made it to the Open House.

We arrived at the Jail, on Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners on Main and Church streets,shortly after eleven, only to find out that the tours did not start as early as we had thought.  I suggested we check out the Historical Society, which is right across the way.

Of course I had to show off my knowledge and explain that the house had belonged to Dr. A Walter Suiter, although he had only used it for his office. Dr. Suiter provided medical testimony for two of Herkimer County’s most famous murder trials, of Chester Gilette and Roxalana Druse.

As we walked into the Queen Anne style brick mansion, we saw a display about the Gilette  case. We talked about the case and about how Hollywood did not get it right in A Place in the Sun (although that is a highly entertaining movie). I said that Chester Gilette was a player. I’ve read several books about the case.

As we walked around downstairs I pointed out the ornate Remington typewriter. I have a less fancy Remington typewriter myself.. We all admired the doctor’s study with its built-in bookcases and large fireplace. The woodwork throughout the house is beautiful.

Upstairs we noted the old bicycle with the huge front and tiny rear wheels. We marveled over the fact that a man rode it right across the country.

“And that was in the days before highways and Motel 6,” I said.

We also enjoyed looking at the dollhouses and the portraits of local people of note. I pointed out Margaret Tugor, because Cheryl had noticed a picture of the South Side School in a display about immigrants downstairs. Miss Tugor had been principal of that school, which was later named after her.

The third floor, which is not open on a regular basis, holds many artifacts and archives. We especially noted many typewriters, some chairs in need of repair, and a rather delightful baby carriage.

I suggested we go down the back staircase from the second back to the first floor, and that was another experience. The stairs are steep, narrow and curved. I think it is good to know what the servants put up with back in the day.

In the gift shop, I chatted up Caryl Hopson about the play Roxy, which the society is presenting at Ilion Little Theatre (I’ll be writing a lot about that as time goes on). I also ate a couple of cookies, which were from the Heidelberg Bakery. Who could resist?

Caryl suggested we walk a couple of doors down, where another archaeological dig was going on. I had pointed out in the society’s yard where a dig had been going on last year. A glass case in the gift shop displayed many of the artifacts that had been found. Included are a surprising number of intact glass pharmaceutical bottles.

At this year’s dig, a guy was down a well on a safety harness, sending up buckets of dirt and stones. Four people were sifting through them. They explained that they were hoping to find the exact location of Fort Dayton. The house they were digging behind belongs to a member of the Historical Society. She invited them to dig in her back yard, because she knew it was a likely spot.

Making our way back to Main Street, we saw people in front of the jail. We discovered that they were waiting for Jim Greiner to come give the tours. I was pleased to hear that. Greiner wrote the book Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse. He is very knowledgeable about the jail and local history. I’ve taken the jail tour with him and enjoyed it very much.

While we waited we were allowed into the basement and on the first floor. I shared a few of the things I remembered. The lady who let us in told us more, particularly about a house-shaped clock made by a prisoner out of cigar boxes.

I left when Jim arrived, because I did not have time to take the tour. After the jail, my sister and friends were off to Utica to tour the Rutgers Mansions. That’s something I’d love to do next time.

 

Historical Presents

Now that it’s after Christmas I can write about purchasing some of the few Christmas presents I bought this year.

Regular readers know I love the Herkimer County Historical Society. I knew they were open Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it was not until the Saturday before Christmas I got a chance to stop by. I did not go into the museum part this time but confined my visit to the gift shop.

I saw a number of books I’d like to get for myself sometime, but of course that was not the purpose of the shopping trip. I did purchase a number of postcards for myself. I thought that was OK since I will ultimately send them to other people. I found a jigsaw puzzle of local historical places for my mother. She usually does puzzles of way more than 200 pieces, but I thought the local interest would outweigh that factor. I also got her a deck of Erie Canal playing cards. She likes playing cards from different places, as do I.

I got a coloring book about local history for my youngest niece. I think it would be fun if when she comes to visit, we go see some of the places she has colored. She has already seen Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners, but when she visits there is every chance we’ll walk our dogs that way again.

After I had completed that transaction I saw some postcards I had missed. After selecting some of those, I impulse bought a Herkimer Trivia game to put in Steven’s stocking.

The coloring book, puzzle and playing cards were successful gifts. Imagine my delight when I opened my own stocking and found that Steven had gotten me the very same deck of cards. He had also gotten me two books: Margaret Tugor: The Extraordinary Teacher, Principal, and Community Leader of Herkimer, New York by William Rosenfeld, which I had wanted, and Hidden History of the Mohawk Valley by Bob Cudmore. Steven told me he had taken the precaution of writing down the local history books I already own before making his own shopping expedition.

I’m very happy now. I can read my books and play solitaire with my cards till the next time I visit the historical society. To learn more about the Herkimer County Historical Society, you can visit their website at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyhchs/ and you can Like them on Facebook.

An Antique Adventure

One of the best things about discovering a fun place is introducing a friend to it. Saturday I introduced my friend Phyllis to Mohawk Antiques Mall. It is located in an old factory building just before Main Street in Mohawk crosses Route 5S and becomes Mohawk Street in Herkimer.

Phyllis and I were having a whole day of Mohawk Valley adventures, and this was our first stop. Full disclosure: I stopped there mainly because I want to write an article about it to submit to Mohawk Valley Living, my favorite magazine. I have not written the article yet but thought maybe I could warm up to it with a blog post.

It is a bright, airy place. You walk into a large room with an open stairway in the middle. We walked around checking out the different areas. In a hallway to the right I noticed some photographs by Gabe Oram, a Mohawk Valley photographer. Beyond that hung some more vintage prints and paintings. Later I noticed artwork by Vicki Ferrus, a local artist, hanging in the entryway.

Upstairs we looked at old toys, old books, musical instruments and more. Both Phyllis and I looked for things we remembered from our grandmothers’ houses, always a favorite thing to do in an antique shop. I saw some games I remembered from my own childhood. Oh well, I suppose everybody gets old sooner or later.

Back downstairs I showed Phyllis the vintage postcards in an old card catalog. She found a Christmas present for… I’ll never tell! Near the checkout there were a few tables with chairs. One table had signs on it reading, “Come sit for a spell.” CNN was playing on a TV, and one of the tables had newspapers on it.

The mall currently houses 47 dealers. A list can be found on their website, www.mohawkantiquesmall.com. You can also find out about upcoming events. 4PetSake, a food pantry for pets, often holds fundraisers there. The mall also has a Facebook page which regularly posts pictures of interesting pieceE. The mall is located at 100 e. Main St., Mohawk, NY. Phone number is 315-219-5044. They are open Mon. and Wed. through Sat. 10 a.m.to 5 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.