An American Revolution Survivor

Monday, June 23, 2014
Of the many places I knew I wanted to share with  you in my blog, this was one of the first that came to mind.  It is one of the most beautiful places I've visited as well as perhaps the most spiritually moving.

Just off Route 5 between St. Johnsonville and Nelliston, sits the Old Palatine Church founded in 1749 and erected in 1770.  One of the oldest churches in the Mohawk Valley, Lutheran Palatine Germans built the church using limestone taken from a nearby creek on land donated by Hendrick (Henry) Nellison.  Four families donated money for the church and the cost if built in 2008 would have been $155,000.  Who knows what that would have translated to in 1770.  In 1780,  Loyalist John Johnson led a raid of 875 British troops across the Schoharie and Mohawk valleys and burned all the farms along this road. According to legend (and the church's website) Indians were about to burn the church as well, but a British officer stopped them.  He had promised his good friend, Nellison, he would protect the church.  Nellison served in the British army during the entire Revolution.  Although his church was spared, Nellison fled to Canada and never returned to the Mohawk Valley.  The pipe organ was built in 1978 by Robert S. Rowland.  It's the last organ built by Rowland in his career.

There's so much more to this church's history, but the photos are the real storyteller.  If you are interested in reading more about this beautiful church, its founders and its organ, use the link at the bottom of this blog.  For now, enjoy the beauty of this historical spiritual landmark.

When the church was restored for its centennial celebration, workers found this rare 13-star flag in the building.  It is now on display in the church.

View out the church window overlooking Route 5

Notice the pegs !

Across the road from the church sits the Palatine Church Farm.  The church does not have regular services, but does have some special events.  Check the website for upcoming organ performances, including one in July featuring the Yolanda Sharpe - daughter of the organ's builder.  If  you visit the church and it is locked, there is a list of phone numbers near the door of folks you can call for the church to be opened.  One of those numbers belongs to the lovely couple who run the farm across the street.  We were so fortunate that they (after haying all day) graciously let us in at 7:00 last evening.

This is a beautiful historic church and one you'll never forget.  Take a ride and see another gem along the Mohawk!

Up, Up and Away..........

Saturday, June 21, 2014
If you're looking for something fun to do this weekend, there's still time to get out and enjoy the Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival taking place at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.  
We went yesterday at 3:00 and purchased a Weekend Pass so that we could possibly go back today for the sunrise launch.  Although there were around 150 craft vendors and live music, the day dragged by.  We enjoyed listening to Studio Two, a Beatles Tribute Band and shared a grilled cheese sandwich from this food truck....

There weren't a large number of food vendors and there weren't many spectator most of the day until around 7:00 or so last evening when it seemed the majority of people were arriving for the Balloon Glow.   The wind was too brisk (over 8 mph) to even inflate the balloons and consequently the planned launch never happened - as we've learned is sometimes the case.  Naturally we were disappointed after hanging out for 5 hours.  By 8:00  after spending the morning doing yard work, we had both had enough and left before the Balloon Glow which wasn't taking place till 8:45 or so.

This was as inflated as they got - this one inflated this much, probably so the kids attending weren't totally disappoionted.

We set our alarm for 4:15a.m. this morning and knowing the weather was calm and conducive to a launch, we made our way to Ballston Spa, arriving at 5:15.   By 6:15 the balloons began inflating and launching in succession until about 14 (out of the advertised 20) had all launched.   It was a beautiful sight and worth our ungodly wake-up call.  The Festival continues today with another launch at 6:00 p.m. (weather permitting) and another launch again tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m.    If you care to, you can go up in a tethered balloon for $20 for adults and if money is no object, you can go for a balloon ride for about $225.   If you've been to the Queensbury Balloonfest in September, you'll be happy at the considerably less crowd - partly due I believe to the fact that this is a first for Ballston Spa and partly due to light advertising.   Admission is $10 for adults, children under 17 are free.  There's entertainment all day and a special "Kid Zone" with face painting, pony rides and games for the kids.    It's a perfect weekend - if you haven't been to the big ones with 80 balloons and if you don't like crowds, this would be the one to attend.  Here's just a few of the many photos I took this morning.  For more information, please use the link at the end of the photos. 

Notice the moon above this balloon!

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