The Speckled Hen, Where Christmas Spirit Comes from the Heart

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I don't know how Santa is feeling right about now, but I'm ready for a little hot chocolate and a nice long nap!  Does this feel like a marathon to you?  It's beginning to feel like one to me but there is a method to my madness.  First of all, I can't believe how many people have already decorated for Christmas.  I mean, really, we haven't even eaten the turkey yet!!  Clearly you folks are excited to let the festivities begin!  Besides that, in most cases I've been rushing these posts in order to get them to you in time for shop open houses.  That is definitely the case with tonight's post about an all-time favorite - The Speckled Hen.  What would a Christmas series be without this reader favorite??  The Speckled Hen's Open House is being held this weekend, Friday-Sunday so I HAD to give you a preview of what awaits.  Personally, if I were to go anywhere on Black Friday (and I don't), this would definitely be the place I'd go.  I think once you get through this post, you'll agree.  I must confess - or brag - I've been really good this year and have managed to only come home with a few new acquisitions from the 10 shops I photographed.  And I came home with nothing from the Hen - make a note of that!!  May never happen again, but in all honesty it had nothing to do with self restraint.  I was coming down with a cold and could barely focus the camera.  Editing the photos I see plenty of things that might have tempted me on a good day.  What about you?

I think that as you browse through the photos of Maureen Culver's amazing shop, the one word that will keep coming to mind is 'cozy'.   Maureen has the ability to group items together in a way that makes you believe the various vendors had just that grouping in mind the whole time.  The other great thing about Maureen is that she'll help you put together your own perfect vignette.  Who couldn't use that help?  And this room above......take a close look at the walls.  One day, out of the blue, Maureen decided to dry brush the walls for a new look.  The last time I had such an impulse.....well, let's just say my impulses don't look anything near as beautiful as hers.

Penguins are Tammy Jias Originals





























Aside from how great I feel after spending time in the Speckled Hen - among this beautiful atmosphere and Maureen's company, I love how Maureen lives her life and how she gives back to others.  You may remember that a couple of years ago Maureen collected money to purchase a piece of equipment for Ainsley's Angels.   Last year was another cause and this year Maureen's huge heart has come through again.  In fact, if she had her way, this post would mostly be about this year's endeavor because as Maureen puts it, "Christmas is about giving."   So, this year Maureen is collecting money to help a family in need.

You see, Kathy Hastings, was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Kathy has been married to her husband Randy for 28 years.  They have a 10 year old daughter, Jamiee Lynn.  During a time when most shopkeepers might be focused on making record sales during the holiday rush, Maureen is focused on raising money to help Kathy Hastings and her family as they wage war on ovarian cancer.  Not only is Maureen collecting donations - she's matching them up to $500.  This is why I love this gal.
So, make it a point to visit the Speckled Hen - this weekend for their open house, or some time later and save a little money to drop in Maureen's donation jar.  Because, that's how Maureen wants it.  The Speckled Hen is located at 38 Saratoga Road (Route 50) in Scotia NY.  She's open this weekend from 10-6:00 on Friday, 10-4:00 on Small Business Saturday and 12:00-4:00 on Sunday.  Check her Facebook for normal hours after that.

Thanks for taking time during your Thanksgiving holiday to read this post.  When you bow your head at the Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, know that I'll be bowing mine in gratitude of all the blessings in my life - including all of you for helping make this blog what it is today so that I can have an audience to share stories like Kathy's with the world.  Keep Kathy in your prayers - and Maureen - and all the people like her in your life.  Then have a wonderful, and delicious Thanksgiving meal.  See you soon with three more shops!

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Refuel and Recharge, Then Shop Some More at the Vischer Ferry General Store

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I don't know about you, but all this shopping makes me tired...and hungry.   Not to worry, I've got just the place for you to recharge as you make your way through the pre-holiday craziness.  The bonus is that you'll be able to get some shopping done and enjoy a little nourishment and friendly conversation - all in one stop!  Oh......and you'll be supporting another hometown small business!  What's not to love about that?  I'm referring to the ever popular Vischer Ferry General Store.  Some of you may be familiar since I've written about them a few times before, but if you're not, I hope this post will urge you to check it out.


There's a lot of history behind this property, going way, way back to the days of the Erie Canal.  I'm not going to retell their story, but I urge you to read it here, in my first post about them: Where History Meets Present Day and Friends and Neighbors Come Together  That post was back in 2015 and since their opening, lots has happened at this friendly, neighborhood gathering spot.  If you stop in any morning or lunchtime, you'll probably find the long, communal table crowded with customers - some keeping to themselves, but most chatting it up with the local regulars.  It's become quite the neighborhood resting place.  Whether you're just looking for a warm beverage, a light lunch or a baked snack....Louise has a variety of yummy offerings that'll help you refuel and feel satisfied.  Menu changes daily with a handful of constant options.  The hardest (but also coolest) thing about eating there is not being distracted by the beautiful merchandise.  There's an easy fix for that - I shop a little before I eat and again afterwards!   In addition to lots of local history merchandise, you'll find a large variety of unique gifts for men, women and children.  Don't take my word for it....have a look!








 






Crystal Sloane Creations







Such cleverness by Crystal Sloane!

From local artists and authors, including Paul McCue (sketch artist), Alexandra Stafford (cookbook author and chef), vintage creations by Crystal Sloane....and so many more.....Vischer Ferry General Store is filled with treasures not found in any of your big box stores.  If you visit on a weekend, you might even get to enjoy some live music.  You might even want to check out their fun events like poetry readings, book clubs, art classes and lectures.  There's a lot to discover at this gem of a shop that has brought back the old fashioned gathering place that's haven to locals and visitors alike.  Before visiting, be sure to check out their website and Facebook pages for hours.  Links provided at the end of this post.  There's a lot to love about the Vischer Ferry General Store.  Check it out soon!
Come back soon for a few more installments of my annual Christmas series.  Yet to come:  The Speckled Hen, Crow Cottage, Schuyler Pond at Scallions and the Apple Barrel.

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