Hometown Haven at the Vischer Ferry General Store

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!  It sure was a hot one - fitting I suppose since Memorial Day usually (unofficially) represents the beginning of summer.  Let's hope the whole summer isn't that hot and humid.  Today, however, is just perfect.  We've been busy these last few weeks with some projects around the house and I don't know about you, but I'm always so glad when they're over.  I'm glad to have things back in order, construction dust cleaned up and life back to normal - quiet and organized.  Toward the end of Week Two of construction, we really needed a change of scenery so we headed out to lunch at our favorite neighborhood gathering place - the Vischer Ferry General Store!

Vischer Ferry General Store

You're probably familiar with it, since I've blogged about it a couple of times before, but I'm telling you - this place never gets old.  The General Store is the perfect place to enjoy great food, in a quiet and friendly atmosphere in the company of local neighbors.  Whether you've visited last month or last week, visitors are always greeted with a warm welcome.  Unlike the fast-paced chain restaurants, at the General Store there are only a handful of people behind the counter - faces that become familiar friends with each visit.  You won't be handed a menu with endless options.  Instead you'll choose from a short list on a chalkboard of today's options......a soup or two, quiche, a salad of the day and a few sandwich options.  The food is prepared fresh from fresh ingredients and delivered to your table.  If you're like us, while you wait to place your order you probably take a long and longing look at the baked goods of the day - mostly all made by Anouk that day.  This is one time willpower and discipline should be ignored.  Anything you consume is well worth the calories.
Vischer Ferry General Store

Vischer Ferry General Store
Photo from a previous visit.
 I knew before arriving that I wanted Anouk's famous egg sandwich.  John opted for the turkey, brie and apple sandwich.  Both were amaaazing!  I could only eat half of mine.  John valiantly polished off all of his and the other half of mine. What I love is that each day the Day's Specials are posted on Facebook so I knew before going that macaroons were among the day's baked offerings. When we arrived there were only 3 left, so I was sure to order two when I ordered our sandwiches. The thing about a small neighborhood restaurant - once it's gone, it's gone.   Anouk is too busy making sandwiches to do more baking throughout the day.  Lesson of the Day:  If you see a favorite posted on Facebook in the morning, don't wait till 2:00 to go!  There might not be any left by then.  I opted for the Iced Coffee with Lavender Honey and John had the Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, both delicious and refreshing.

Vischer Ferry General Store
















Vischer Ferry General Store

Vischer Ferry General Store
Here's a snippet of the offerings posted on Facebook one day recently to give you an idea of what you might find when you visit:

 "We will have a fruit salad today with grapes, mango, kiwi, orange and a little bit of ginger syrup. Pair it with one of our baked goods, an egg sandwich or a piece of quiche for a great start of your day.
Our soup will be chicken curry or red lentil. Our baked, gluten free doughnut is maple syrup flavored. We will also have a Dutch breakfast cake (ontbijtkoek) raspberry lime vegan muffin, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, meringues and lemon tea cakes besides our sandwiches and quiches. The salad will be an Italian garden salad topped with cheese or almonds or a Jerusalem couscous salad topped with avocado."
And another dayToday's soup is black bean and two kinds of quiche: Caramelized onion goat cheese and Alsacienne with cheddar, gruyere, and bacon.
We have two salads today. The first is a gluten-free quinoa salad with cucumbers, red onions, cilantro, and walnut dressing, topped with goat cheese. We also have a farro salad with bell peppers, onions, asparagus, and thyme dressing, topped with avocados.
Baked goods include our marzipan cake, scones, Dutch Boterkoek, apple muffins (V), coconut macaroons (GF), and chocolate chip cookies. 


Sound good?  Check their Facebook page for daily specials and hours (link provided below).  Aside from the delicious food and hospitality, the Vischer Ferry General Store is full of unique and beautiful merchandise, often from local artisans.

Vischer Ferry store

Vischer Ferry General Store

Vischer Ferry General Store

Vischer Ferry Store

Vischer Ferry General Store


Vischer Ferry General Store

I decided during this visit that if I were stranded on a desert island, I'd be just fine as long as I had a supply of Anouk's coconut macaroons!  If you love macaroons.....you have to try these!
Vischer Ferry General Store

On my previous visit to the General Store, I purchased the birdhouse above (the green one with the ladybug and daisies).  Well.....my birds loved it.....although how they used it was a little different from the creators idea.  

Vischer Ferry General Store

Piece by piece, bit by bit, the birds have plucked the fiber for their nests until now all that remains is the front of the wall of the house!  I'd love to see all the cozy nests lined with green fiber that my backyard baby birds are enjoying this spring!

If you haven't gotten there yet, make it a point to visit the Vischer Ferry General Store.  The store is open Wednesday-Sunday, 8:00-3:00.  Visit soon and tell them I sent you!


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My 10 Favorite Places to Get My 'Garden Addiction Fix'

Sunday, May 22, 2016

One of the things I look forward to each Spring is the opportunity to enjoy the growing season. Although I have quieted (more or less) my insatiable addiction for over buying for my own gardens , I still enjoy window shopping.  Since window shopping isn't really a safe activity for someone with an addiction - sometimes it's better to get my fix by visiting public gardens where I can admire and be inspired. Today's post is about some of my favorite public gardens and nurseries where I love to look - and buy.  Whether you're a gardener, used to be a gardener, wish to be a gardener, or just love gardens, I think you'll enjoy this post.  Here's my Top 10.

1) One of the first stops on my Spring 'list' is always Shades of Green in Charlton, NY.   If your yard is more shady than sunny or if you have a shady corner just begging for some sprucing up, Shades of Green is where you need to go.  Whether you're in need of shade plants for your garden, or just a little 'green therapy', Shades of Green will fill your cravings.

Shades of Green

Shades of Green

Shade Gardening

Shades of Green

With a bajillion different varieties of hosta, heuchera, astilbe, pulmonaria and more, you'll be hard-pressed to come home empty handed.  I know I never can.  Shades of Green is a stroll through paradise where surprises await you at every turn.

Where else can you shop while feeling you are in the most amazing botanical garden without paying admission?  I'll tell you.........scroll down..........

Rosewood Gardens

2.  Rosewood Gardens also in Charlton, NY.  Rosewood Gardens is the local home of the David Austin Rose.  A slightly higher maintenance variety of rose, but well worth the trouble, these roses are simply breathtaking.  Like Shades of Green, a visit to Rosewood Gardens will transport you to heaven on earth, where you'll be surrounded by deliciously sweet smelling roses and beautiful gardens.  I highly recommend a visit and I promise it won't be your last.

Rosewood Gardens, Charlton NY

Rosewood Gardens

3) Another favorite of mine, at any time of the year, is Faddegon's Nursery on the Troy Schenectady Road in Latham.  Followers of my blog know Faddegon's is a year-round obsession of mine, but I really go crazy in May.  We visited Faddegon's today.......remember my opening paragraph where I profess to have quieted by addiction.....scratch that!  My reason for visiting today was to buy plants for a fairy garden I plan on doing with my granddaughter, Elena, but I have to admit I may have brought home a few plants beyond those needed for the fairy garden.  Let's see, I may have bought 9 or 10 coleus, one large perennial, one Mouse Ear hosta, a couple caladiums, and a beautiful hanging plant.  Once an addict.....always an addict.  But really.....who could resist?  Here's just a glimpse of what inspired my temptation today:

Faddegon's Nursery

Faddegon's Nursery

Faddegon's Nursery

Faddegon's Nursery
My basket!  Notice the dragonfly thanks to Terri Littlefield, artist extraordinaire!
4)  I can't stop now.....this year I scored big at Lakeside Farm & Cider Mill, where flowers are just one of the many things you can score when you visit.  Besides a delicious breakfast or lunch, you can snag a great gift for anyone on your gift list in Ye Olde Farmhouse Gift Shoppe and.....bring home some beautiful flowers too!  
Lakeside Farm
This is one of the baskets I brought home!  Gorgeous, right?
Lakeside Farm

Lakeside Farm

Lakeside Farms and Cider Mill

I'm pretty sure that among these four, you can satisfy all of your garden desires and when you have and your wallet is empty....it's time for a little window shopping for inspiration.

5) If you didn't get your fill of roses at Rosewood Gardens, your next stop needs to be the Central Park Rose Garden in Schenectady.  Rows after rows of gorgeous roses of every color of the rainbow.  It's no wonder this is such a sought after venue for photo sessions.

Central Park

Schenectady Central Park

Central Park in Schenectady

6. A more recent discovery of ours is the Kings Garden at Fort Ticonderoga.  I have to admit that when John suggested we visit Fort Ticonderoga, I was sure the garden would be the only thing I enjoyed.  How wrong I was!!  The Fort is fascinating and fun.  But that's another post....today we're focusing on flowers.  And what amazing flowers there are!  We visited early in the growing season last year, before some of the flowers were in season, but the iris, poppies, peony and columbine were spectacular.  Summer brings many more varieties of perennials as well as a vegetable garden.
Fort Ticonderoga

King's Garden

Fort Ticonderoga

King's Garden

King's Garden

King's Garden

7. Had enough?  I didn't think so.  Drive to Manchester, VT and spend the afternoon at Hildene - home of Todd and Mary Lincoln (son of Abraham).  Their gardens, modeled after stained glass, will have you walking around too overcome for words.
Hildene, VT
These hedges are trimmed 'daily'!!!
Hildene VT

Hildene VT

Hildene VT

8. You want more???  Well, during Memorial Day weekend you can make your way to Sharon Springs, NY and attend the annual Sharon Springs Garden Party where you can have the chance to visit Beekman 1802.  If  you can't make that, maybe Josh and Brent (the Fabulous Beekman Boys) might just spontaneously decide to host a summer garden tour again this year.  If they do, don't hesitate - GO!!!!!   You'll get to see the beautiful Beekman Estate (the grounds), meet Farmer John and his goats, and see one of the most picturesque properties in Schoharie County.  You might even get lucky and meet Josh and Brent - we did!
Sharon Springs NY

Sharon Springs NY

Sharon Springs NY

Sharon Springs NY

Beekman 1802

9.  In Shelburne Falls, MA the Bridge of Flowers is a must-see for anyone that loves flowers.  We haven't made it during peak season, but even in the fall it's a sight to behold.  While you're there, don't forget to check out Historic Deerfield just down the road and Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, also down the road.  Links to individual posts about all of the places in this list will be included at the end of this post.
Shelburne Falls MA

Shelburne Falls MA

Bridge of Flowers

Bridge of Flowers

10.  Well, after all this shopping and spectating, it's only fitting that #10 on my list of favorite places to go for a flower fix would be my own backyard.  At the end of every good story, doesn't the main character always figure out that there's really no place like home?  I may love travelling to all of these destinations, but at the end of the day (and a few trunk loads of stash), my own yard is really the place where happiness begins.  I'm sure you can relate.  I don't have long hours of sun in my yard, so you'll see why Shades of Green is #1 on my list.  And yes.....I am obsessed with Hostas!






I hope you aren't suffering from an overdose by now.  If you liked any of the venues listed, I've blogged about most of them.  Below are links to those posts.  To learn more about any of these fun places, just click on the name to check out their website.  If you have any more great places you think I need to check out, leave a comment or send an email.   If you really LOVE gardens and haven't had enough, you can click on the "Garden" category at the top of my blog and scroll through each and every post I've written about gardens including these.  Or you can go to the Directory for a lislting. As always.....thanks so much for reading!  Come back soon to Life As I See It and if you know someone who needs a little green therapy, share this post with them using the links at the end of this blog.
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