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Category Archives: Herkimer

A Stroll But Not a Shop

I think Saturday Pedestrian Post is going to be a thing, till the return of Saturday Running Commentary, of which I do not despair.

It is raining in the Mohawk Valley today (Saturday, as I said). My schnoodle, Tabby, does not like to walk in the rain. She will go a few feet, then stop and give me a look that says, “What are we doing out here?” She won’t even go into the backyard to do her business till she’s desperate. She will stand on the porch and look out at the wet landscape speculatively.

When it looked as if the rain had stopped for the moment, so we gave it a try. Of course it had started again by the time I had found a proper jacket (damn weather that changes every five minutes), got Tabby’s harness on and made sure I had poop bags. However, Tabby seemed to want to go, so we started out.

It was not raining very hard. We headed down Bellinger Street towards Church. I had an idea to walk to Main Street, so see if anything was going on with Herkimer Now’s Shopper’s Stroll. This was to be a Christmas event featuring specials at participating businesses, strolling carolers, horse and buggy rides, a live nativity and more. I figured a cute little dog with wet paws would not be welcome in a business, but I figured we could see some sights.

Tabby wanted to go a different way, but I convinced her and we made it to Main Street. The live nativity was to be later (preview of coming attractions), so things were quiet at Herkimer Reformed Church. It started to rain a little harder as we started down Main, but I didn’t get the Look from Tabby, so I hoped for the best.

There was the horse and buggy! Two beautiful Clydesdales pulled the covered wagon, first at a walk then at a trot. Tabby seemed very interested. Perhaps she wanted to make friends with the horses. Or she thought all the people getting a ride would probably like to pet her.

The rain tapered off but did not stop. We crossed the street to the old Glory Days, where some people were putting up murals. I had read about these in the paper. They were painted by local high school and elementary students. They are beautiful and certainly improve the appearance of that sad building. I complimented the people putting them up, and thanked them for doing it.

I would have liked to stop in a Weisser’s Jewelers. Steven got me a lovely ring there for an anniversary. I wonder if I could find a nice ring there for him. However, I kept my wet-pawed doggy out of there and kept walking. Likewise we stayed out of Mary Anne Mothers Designs. We greeted Santa Claus in front of Brian’s Roast Beef Deli. Some people were taking pictures with him.

We did not walk by all the businesses that participated, and I apologize for not giving a shout-out to everyone. However, if any of my lovely readers would like to know more about the Herkimer Shopper’s Stroll or about Herkimer Now, you can visit their website at www.herkimernow.com. You can also Like Herkimer Now on Facebook.

Superhero Tabby

When we last left our heroine… usually that’s me, but this time it’s my schnoodle, Tabby (when we last left me, I had my wrist to my forehead, but let’s not dwell on that). I was saying, when we last left our heroine, Tabby, the superhero dog, she was on her way to the Superhero Sprint, accompanied by her arch-nemesis, the Evil Woman CinCin (do I need to tell you that’s me?).

For anyone just tuning in, The Superhero Sprint is an event sponsored by Herkimer Now, a committee whose aim is to revitalize Herkimer, NY, starting with Main Street.

I talked on Saturday about getting on my Evil Woman CinCin outfit (arrow back if you’re curious; I’m too lazy to do one of those ping back things). Registration for the Sprint was at ten by Basloe Library. We left our house between quarter and ten of. I always get nervous about being late for these things.

As I walked down the sidewalk, it occurred to me that I was a middle-aged lady wearing a homemade super-villain costume, walking with my little dog. It might be appropriate or at least understandable, I thought, to feel just a little self-conscious. Then I thought, if anybody gives me a funny look, I’ll just say, “What? You never saw a super villainess out for a stroll with her arch nemesis?” Alas, I did not get the opportunity to say that line, but I could not resist sharing the thought.

A nice little crowd had already gathered at the library, mostly families. Now I felt a little self-conscious, attending such an event on my own. I knew I should have borrowed a small child for the occasion. Well, Tabby would have to do. I chatted up a few people and enjoyed looking at all the costumes. Quite a few people petted Tabby, so she was a happy dog.

Eventually a DJ started playing some tunes. I would have liked to dance but felt it would be making myself undesirably conspicuous. An adult Joker was dancing with a very young SuperGirl, and two other super girls danced together. I don’t think Tabby wanted to dance; she was looking around for more people to pet her (she found some).

When it was time for the race to start, Concerned Citizens went and stood in the middle of the blocked off street. Some of them had signs that said things like “Biff!” and “Yikes!” The Villain, who was rocking an awesome fake mustache, ran the course first, a simple down and back on the one block. The heroes were to pursue him, stopping at tables along the way. From the American Legion they got a flag, from the police department a D.A.R.E. sticker, and from the fire department a water balloon with which to ultimately vanquish the Villain.

Tabby had pulled me across the street to sniff a promising tree near the fire department guys. I had seen the box of water balloons and gotten a little nervous. I was in a villain costume, after all.

When the runners took off, I asked Tabby if she wanted to run with them. She declined. We retreated to a safe distance from the water balloons and watched the fun. I don’t know who played the Villain, but he certainly had a good sense of humor.

After the Sprint, the kids got gift bags, and prizes were awarded for the best costumes and by drawings. Granola bars, apples and bottled water were available. Tabby and I had some water. I had foresightedly put a small bowl for Tabby in my fanny pack. She drank a little, mostly to be polite, I think. I offered some to the only other dog there, who seemed happy to take a drink too. We did not win a prize, appropriately enough because, costume notwithstanding, I was there as a spectator.

It looked as if everybody had a good time. I’m glad to see the Superhero Sprint become an annual event. Perhaps next year I will participate as a volunteer. Maybe they’ll let me hold the sign that says, “Yikes!”

A Walk with Herkimer Now

Tuesday night, Steven, Tabby and I took a walk with Herkimer Now.

Herkimer Now is a committee whose aim is to revitalize downtown Herkimer, NY. I read in the newspaper about the North Main Street Walk. Steven was off work that day, I was home for work by that time, and Tabby is always ready to take a walk.

We walked from our house to the park by Basloe Library, where the walk began. A number of people had already gathered and were standing around chatting. I was reminded that Basloe is open till seven Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I told Steven we’d have to come down one evening soon (preview of coming attractions). He agreed.

A lady from WUTR was there talking to some of the committee members. They were discussing who might talk on camera. Mayor Mark Ainsworth was there as well as a gentleman on the village board (sorry, didn’t get his name). The WUTR lady would also want to talk to a member of the general public. I told Steven he should do it. He is photogenic and articulate, and he had just gotten a hair cut. He was not enthused.

Kathy Penree (I thought to ask her name) extended a welcome to everyone present and said a few words about the purpose of the walk: to rebuild a presence on Main Street. We set out, heading south. There were over 20 present, and we spread out as we walked. It was a beautiful evening for it, the sun still shining, not too much breeze. I was glad I had worn a sweatshirt but did not need to put the hood up.

Long-time residents reminisced about what used to be in various places. There have been many changes even since Steven and I arrived in the area in 2003 (good grief, ten years ago!). Everybody lamented the empty storefronts and praised remaining businesses who were doing their best to look spiffy. One lady was making notes of code violations to pass on to the village. I’ve read where the village is anxious to crack down on these things but needs people to report them.

We walked almost the State Street (State Route 5) then crossed the street and went back up the other side. Work was in progress in one place that used to hold a club. Somebody said a restaurant was going in there. We saw people currently working in the old Pizza Boys place. A committee member knocked on the door and asked: it is going to be another pizzeria.

“You can’t have too many pizzerias in a college town,” I opined. Others agreed. I admitted to eating pizza myself, even if not a college student.

The WUTR lady was still looking for a member of the public to talk on camera. When nobody stepped forward, I finally said I would do it. Oh, I know some of you readers are shaking your heads with a smug, superior look, thinking I LEAPED at the chance to be on camera and am merely pretending modesty (you know who you are) (even if you deny the smug look). Well, it isn’t true. I haven’t watched the newscast yet (Steven DVR’d it), but I am quite certain I look ridiculously dorky and only hope nobody I know happened to catch the news.

The group adjourned to Christ Episcopal Church for coffee and donuts. Steven and I were happy about this, because we knew it would be OK if Tabby went inside. She has been in that church’s social hall before. Anybody who heard I was on the South Beach Diet will be pleased to know I did not eat a donut.

It was a very pleasant walk. Another one is planned for Oct. 8. For more information on Herkimer Now, you can Like their Facebook page.

Garlic for the Blog

Steven and I did a very little running around on Sunday, and already I was tired of it. I did NOT want to also stop at the grocery store. What did we REALLY REALLY need? Milk. Oh, they must have that at the drug store.

As we pulled into Rite Aid in Herkimer, NY, I noticed T & J Fruits and Vegetables next door. Of course I know T & J’s is right there. Last year I got some lovely purple flowers for my container garden, the one color I sorely lacked at the time (please don’t ask about my container garden this year) (I SAID DON’T ASK!).

“If we stop over there first,” I said. “I could write a blog post about it. Look, they have those hangy-uppy garlic things.” I meant the braids of garlic.

I usually buy supermarket garlic. At the Little Falls Garlic Festival last year an area grower expressed horror at the thought.

“It’s made in China!” he said. “Just buy what you need for the whole year right now.”

I did not. For one thing, the garlic braid I did buy didn’t stay good till I had used it all. I suppose I was supposed to dry it or freeze it or something. In any case, there is a sign right next to the Hannaford garlic that says, “Product of USA.” Perhaps not as local as it could be, but I make do. However, I was certain what they had at T & J’s would be more local.

T & J’s looks really cool on the inside, like one of those old grocery stores run by a little old Italian guy (there used to be at least a couple of those in Rome, NY). They have a great selection of produce. I almost got some tomatoes on the vine that looked divine, but since I had no plan for their immediate use, I refrained.

I asked if they had any shorter garlic braids than what I saw. They did not. I went out front and grabbed a long one. I will just have to use lots of garlic in the coming weeks. Shouldn’t be too difficult for me. Regular readers may recall I went right home and used some, for Wrist to Forehead Cooking (Sunday’s post).

T & J’s Fruits and Vegetables is located at 221 S. Caroline St., Herkimer, NY 13350. Phone number is 315-866-7272.

A Gem of a Band

Last Saturday my husband Steven had an early shift at work. When I mentioned to him a jazz band would be playing at Gems Along the Mohawk and it was free, our plans were made.

Gems Along the Mohawk is located at 800 Mohawk St. in Herkimer, NY. It boasts retail shops, a fancy restaurant (The Waterfront Grille) and Erie Canal cruises. Most recently they added a pavilion. This is where the band, Blues Maneuver, was playing.

We started to hear the band as we walked to the far side of the building, and we were immediately glad we came. They play a mix of music, including jazz, swing, Motown and Cajun (at least, I think it’s called Cajun; I recognized one of the songs from the soundtrack of The Big Easy, a movie that takes place in New Orleans) (yes, showing my musical ignorance; really I’m quite disgraceful).

The band is such fun to watch, because the members are so obviously enjoying what they do. The pavilion area is not too large; we were able to sit fairly close. We luckily found a tiny bit of shade. It was quite a sunny day.

Another improvement on Gems Along the Mohawk was renovations in a second building, located next to the shops and restaurant. We’ve noticed that building before, looking rather disreputable. Now it is in beautiful shape.

When the sunlight started to get to me too much, we went inside and looked at the retail shops. The sign says “Retail Shops,” but it is really one big room with a lot of little areas, representing many local and area attractions. I found some postcards of the Lil Diamond Cruises. Must go on one of those soon.

After that we were a little peckish so went into The Waterfront Grille for a snack. Sitting at the bar we could still hear the band, although we couldn’t see them any more. I made a note of their name and when we got home immediately Liked them on Facebook.

The Blues Maneuver Band (that’s how they’re listed on Facebook) also have a website, http://www.bluesmaneuverband.com/. I hope to hear them play again soon.

Jail Visit

I left the Herkimer County Historical Society and went to the opposite of the Historic Four Corners, the 1834 Jail. The Jail is not open for tours on a regular basis, so one must seize the opportunity when it is available.

I joined a tour already in progress, but I had not missed much. Jim Greiner was the guide. He wrote the book Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse, about one of the Jail’s most famous inmates. I’ve read the book and heard Greiner speak about it. It’s an excellent book, and he is a dynamic speaker. He is an entertaining tour guide as well, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

I toured the Jail last year on Museum Day (and wrote a blog post about it). There was not a huge difference in restoration from last year, although the Friends of the 1834 Jail have accomplished a lot since the time they started. Money, as always, is the problem. They are not eligible for many grants, because the Jail can never be fully handicap accessible.

I enjoyed seeing once again the cell which held Chester Gilette, the Jail’s other famous inmate. I was once again sorry we could not go up to the third floor, where Roxalana Druse was housed.

Everybody on the tour seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. One fellow mentioned a murderer from the 1960s who had probably stayed in the Jail. Apparently the guy shot a girl in the Frankfort Police Station. I hope somebody writes a book about that one, if nobody has already. I highly recommended Last Woman Hanged to a lady, but I did not see whether she purchased it.

I don’t know when the 1834 Jail will hold another event, but I certainly intend to watch for it. I may even join Friends of the 1834 Jail and try to help them raise funds. Maybe eventually I’ll get a look at that mysterious third floor.

Surrounded by History

The Herkimer County Historical Society held an Open House on Saturday in honor of Museum Day in New York State. I remember attending their open house last year (I believe I wrote a blog post about it). I was delighted at the chance to repeat the experience.

The museum is about a ten minute walk from my house, but my husband, Steven, was able to drop me off on North Main Street on his way back to work (he had an early lunch). When I walked in the front door a tour was in progress. I felt like wandering, so I sneaked upstairs.

I had seen the display of dollhouses before, but, goodness, that was a year ago. These things are often worth a second viewing. I also looked once again at the portraits on the wall, making special note of Margaret Tugor, a local educator of note. I would love to write a biography of Tugor, if only I had any idea how to research such a thing.

Back downstairs the tour had reached the Remington typewriter. I have a minor collection of typewriters myself, but nothing truly antique. I wandered over to the gift shop. I didn’t see any post cards I haven’t purchased previously, and I didn’t see anything good for a Father’s Day gift (for my father at least; I’m sure there were many things of interest to other fathers).

The third floor was open in honor of the day. This is where they house items not currently on display as well as archives. I walked along shelves of books and collections of papers. I felt surrounded by history. Some volunteers were around, but I did not have any questions.

I did chat up a volunteer and another patron about a bicycle on the second floor. It was one with the giant front wheel and tiny back wheel. A card said somebody local had ridden it all the way to the west coast. We marveled at the feat. Not only no chain and no gears on the bike. No highways. No Motel 6 or KOA Kampgrounds. What an adventure!

As always I enjoyed my visit to the museum. Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve always enjoyed checking out local history. I continued my Museum Day wanderings across the street (kitty corner, actually) at the 1834 Jail. That will form the topic of tomorrow’s post (barring accident). Stay tuned!

I Love a Parade

I may have used that headline before.

One reason we were happy Steven had Monday off was that we could attend the Herkimer, NY Memorial Day Parade. We went last year and enjoyed it very much. I do love a parade.

The parade was at one. I spent a short time doing yard work then the rest of the morning trying to get over my latest bout of lightheadedness (allergies? the last bit of my stomach bug? Who knows). I was feeling OK by 12:45 and we set out.

The parade was to end at Meyers Park, a mere ten minute walk from our house. That was where we caught it last year. It was a beautiful day, sunny and bright. Perhaps not as warm as one might like on Memorial Day (depending on who one is), but I thought it good parade weather.

We could hear the band warming up in the pavilion. The parade was to be followed by a ceremony in the park, but we did not plan to stay for that. For one thing, I had neglected to bring a bottle of water and I was thirsty.

At first we stood under the same tree we had stood under last year. The shade had been much appreciated then. This year not so much. Eventually we moved down to a sunny spot on Park Avenue.

A lot of people and a few dogs (including ours) had turned out to watch the parade. We especially admired a Great Dane-looking hound in a yard across the street. He was big.

At last the parade started. The American Legion and the Elks were represented, as were Herkimer Now and the Girl Scouts. Herkimer County Community College’s mascot, the General was there.

“We took a picture of him last year,” Steven remembered. I waved at him and got the two finger point in return.

My favorite part was the classic cars, most notably a Cadillac convertible. It was long and white and I said, “It’s not just sweet; it’s suh-weet.” My other favorite was a group of young men playing drums.

“Dig that rhythm section,” I said, quite unable to keep myself from dancing a little.

The parade was short but very fun. I love hometown stuff like that. Perhaps they’ll do another parade for the Herkimer Days later this summer. And there’s always Ilion’s Doodah Parade. All kinds of stuff to look forward to.

A Visit to Downtown Herkimer

I just gave Hummel’s Office Plus in Herkimer, NY a shout out last week, but I had occasion to go there last night (Tuesday), so I dare to mention them again.

Once again in my capacity as secretary for Ilion Little Theatre I was assigned to send a card, a sympathy card in this case. I really hesitate to mention somebody else’s bereavement in this space, although I believe I have done it once before (in a post about purchasing a sympathy card at Hummels’). It feels… intrusive, for want of a better word (I sat here crossing out words for a good three or four minutes before I came up with that one).

Oh, I hate picking out sympathy cards. I can never find the right one. I finally settled on the one that felt the least wrong.

Some comic relief was provided by one of the sales associates. She was wearing the silliest elf hat I have seen in a long time. It stuck straight up before curling to a point a good eight or ten inches over her head. Large pointy ears stuck out of the side. I told them they must take a picture to post on Facebook. They assured me it had already been done. I hope to return to Hummel’s soon and purchase just such a hat for myself.

I went downstairs where Steven and Tabby were waiting. After a joyous reunion with Tabby (I had been gone almost ten minutes), I addressed the card. I had foresightedly brought the address, a stamp and a pen. Then I couldn’t find the pen, but the downstairs clerk helpfully loaned me one of theirs.

Herkimer’s Post Office is in the same block as Hummel’s. Perfect! We could walk Tabby around the block and put the card (along with a couple of other cards I needed to send) right in the mail.

We walked by the Belly Up Pub, and I spoke longingly of their appetizer menu. Of course I’m off deep fried food for the foreseeable future (South Beach Diet), but I can dream. We speculated on Tabby’s possible reception in such a business, but we did not test the theory.

The post office was not closed yet, so we were able to walk right inside to mail our things. Tabby looked hopefully at people waiting in line. One lady said she was cute, but nobody offered to pet her.

We continued around the block. Burrito Jones still isn’t open. A wireless phone company is (Sorry I didn’t make note of which one it was. T Mobile?). A couple of closed businesses. Bummer. Somebody put two smallish blow up snowmen in one empty storefront. Nice. Pete’s Tavern. Well, if we didn’t take Tabby into Belly Up we probably shouldn’t take her into Pete’s.

After we turned back onto Albany Street we noted that Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner was closed for the night. Too bad. I could have gone for a Patty Platter. But, again, not a good place for Tabby. Some folks were still working in Castle Law Firm.

And then we were back to our own car and could happily go home. I don’t know if you’d call this much of a Mohawk Valley adventure, but we enjoyed it, so I thought it might be worth a post.

A Popular Spot

Tuesday Steven and I had planned to have dinner out with a visiting friend. We thought we would take her to PK’s Pub here in Herkimer, since she had never been there before. When circumstances kept her from joining us, we saw no reason not to enjoy a dinner out ourselves. For one thing, I had already put on my nice skirt and pantyhose.

As usual, we had to search for a parking space.

“On a Tuesday night,” I marveled. “This must be the most popular spot in town!”

I knew they had found us a table on busy nights before, so I wasn’t too worried. Pete, behind the bar, invited us to sit wherever we liked. I picked the tall table in the bar area. I do love a tall table.

“And I can hang my coat on the back of the chair without it being half on the floor,” I showed Steven. It was my long teal raincoat. I had gotten a little dressed up for the occasion.

After much debate Steven ordered hats and broccoli while I got ravioli. Italian dressing on my salad, ranch on Steven’s. Both dinners came with roll and butter and what yummy butter! Steven wanted to eat the rest of it with a spoon but refrained from such behavior.

“You can bring the leftovers in to feed the woodchucks,” Pete said.

“I think I’ll eat it all myself,” I said. I intended to. The food at PK’s is delicious.

I should perhaps explain about the woodchucks. Pete works at the same place I do. He works near a door to the outside that is often open. He likes to feed some woodchucks that live nearby. When work takes me near Pete’s area, I always look for his pets. I like to see a little nature while at work.

Steven and I were not able to finish our meals so asked for boxes.

“But don’t tell Pete,” I warned the waitress. “Because I’m not bringing them in to feed the woodchucks.”

“I think he heard you,” Steven said.

I told Pete I would bring in something else for his pets.

“They like chocolate chip cookies,” he suggested.

It was a very enjoyable dinner. I hope our friend is able to visit us soon, so we will have an unassailable excuse to return.

PK’s is located at 221 King St., Herkimer, NY. Phone 315-866-3494. They are open Monday though Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 4:30 to 10 p.m.

Note to self: buy chocolate chip cookies for the woodchucks. Then again, maybe I should bring them carrot sticks and not contribute to the woodchuck obesity problem.