A Summer Visit to Amish New York

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Roads were made for journeys, not for destinations.
Stone Arabia Road
Each one of us has a place that gives us comfort and solace.  For some it's the ocean, for some it's the mountains, for some it's the forest, for some........it's the mall.   You know who you are!   For me, it's the country and for a while now it's been the Amish countryside not far from home.  John and I took a drive there last week and while we were not in particular need of 'rural therapy', we couldn't help but be lulled into tranquility driving along these back roads with the blue skies and white puffy clouds overhead, farms to our left and to our right, fields of corn waving in the breeze and Amish buggies sharing our path.  
Sharing the Road with an Amish Buggy
Stone Arabia

Even driving along, snapping this photo while cruising at 45 mph, the scene below feels exactly what God might have envisioned when he created earth.

Amish Community

Amish Farm in Stone Arabia

And then there were these hay bales......
Stone Arabia
Stone Arabia
Amish Farm

 and clouds.....
Fulton County NY

Amish Homestead

Mohawk NY
Amish Homestead
The long road home....
Mohawk NY
Upstate NY
Fulton County NY
Mohawk NY
Amish Schoolhouse
Amish Community in Upstate NY
I may not have made it to Lancaster , but I find it hard to believe that when I do I'll find it any more beautiful than the landscape we found right here in our home state.  Each time we drive the roads in this community, I'm so curious with so many questions about the Amish and their life.  This ride we saw this young girl walking barefoot down the road carrying a bowlful of fresh picked produce.  Just over the hill was this stand......
New York Amish

Homegrown Veggies and Baked Goods

We decided to stop and purchase some goodies (a delicious pumpkin roll).  A woman carrying a baby on her hip and a teen girl came out, the teen standing shyly alongside the tree.  I told the woman how much we loved the Amish farms and that we noticed that most of the homes had beautiful pink flowers (wave petunias).  I asked why and she replied with a shy smile, "we just love pink".  I then asked what the meaning was behind all their blue doors and again she responded, "blue is our color, we love blue."  Not surprising since the main wardrobe color for this Amish community is blue.  It would seem that the gorgeous sky today must have definitely made her heart happy.

The one thing that was a small disappointment today.......the fields that we found last year to be planted with miles and miles of sunflowers, dried and ready for harvest, were not filled with bright and cheery sunflowers we hoped to see this year.  Instead they were filled with corn.
On a day like this, even corn is picturesque!
Road trips are a pretty common pastime for John and I, but road trips to these parts might just be my favorite destination.  Next time you come to a crossroad and you're deciding whether to go right or left, remember it's about the journey.  Once in a while, forget your planned destination and take time to enjoy the journey!   If you missed my earlier posts featuring this beautiful Amish Community, you can check 'em out using these links:

Thanks for reading.  Come back soon for the last two parts of my Rockport/Gloucester series.
It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.

Sailing the Seas on the Thomas E. Lannon

Saturday, July 23, 2016
Sailing on the Schooner Thomas E.Lannon
"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau

Monsieur Cousteau knew the truth in these words, and anyone who feels drawn to the sea agrees. There's something unexplainable about one's love for the sea, yet those of us who feel it understand it and succumb to its call whenever possible.  That's exactly what today's post is about - our reunion with the sea aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner in Gloucester, MA.  Before I go any further, I have a secret to share.  I couldn't wait to share this post with you.....from the second we set foot on the boat...to the moment I uploaded my photos.  I was pumped....mostly because I always love photos of schooners and I had tons of great photos from this trip.  But.....when I began my research as I always do before beginning to write, I was blown away and absolutely fascinated with the story behind this stunning schooner and I couldn't wait to share her story with you.  I hope you'll not just look at the photos, but take time to read her stats and watch the video I've included!
Gloucester MA

It was during a mini-getaway last week in Rockport, MA that we decided to embark on an evening sail on the Thomas E. Lannon, a 65 foot schooner built by Thomas Ellis and his son Heath, along with a team of skilled craftsman, and an army of locals who invested their time, their sweat and their enthusiasm in crafting one of the prettiest ships I've ever seen.  The ship was built in Essex, MA in 1997. Since it's difficult to get such a shot while on the ship, I've borrowed this one from the Thomas E. Lannon website to show you just how spectacular she is!!
Photo Credit - Thomas E. Lannon Schooner
Photo courtesy of the Thomas E. Lannon website

Here's a few fun facts about the Thomas E. Lannon (taken from their website):

Schooner Statistics
  • Length on Deck: 64.5 ft
  • Length Overall: 90 ft 
  • Beam: 18 ft
  • Main Top Mast Height: 73 ft
  • Fore Top Mast Height: 70 ft.
  • Tonnage: 48 
  • Draft 9ft. (that's how far it goes down in the water).
The Thomas E. Lannon is named for owner Tom Ellis’ maternal grandfather, who fished out of Gloucester from 1901-1943.
  • She is framed with white oak and black locust, from trees grown locally and donated by the Essex County Greenbelt Association and private landowners.
  • She is held together with 2000 black locust treenails (pronounced trunnels) and with silicon bronze fasteners.
  • She is planked with white oak below the waterline, mahogany above the waterline, has white pine bulwarks and white oak rail caps.
  • The white spruce used for the original masts, gaffs, and booms came from trees grown on Hog Island, Essex that were donated by the Trustees of Reservations. The mainmast, foremast, and bowsprit have since been replaced with new sticks that Tom made out of laminated Douglas fir. The gaffs and booms were replaced in 2011 with new ones that Tom and Heath made out of spruce.
  • The first trees to be used for the Lannon were felled in October, 1996.The Lannon was launched a few minutes before midnight on June 21, 1997 and received her Coast Guard certification on July 18, 1997.
  • She is licensed to carry 49 passengers.
  • The Lannon was designed by Capt. Harold A. Burnham, whose family has been building boats in Essex since 1650.

If you find all this fascinating, like I do, I strongly urge you to check out the video about the building of the Thomas E. Lannon which takes you from Thomas Ellis's dream of building a schooner, to the woods where they felled the trees, to the launch in 1997.  It's a wonderful and inspiring story of what can happen when many hands work together.  Click the link below to watch:

Back to our cruise.......Our sail was from 6:00-8:00 pm from the Seven Seas Wharf in Gloucester. The sky was clear blue, not a cloud in sight and the temperature had settled to the comfortable 70's.  On this particular weeknight, the boat was not filled to capacity which made it quite lovely and easy to move about to enjoy different perspectives. Unlike most cruises, this is not a narrated cruise and this is deliberate so that passengers can just sit back, relax and really take in the whole experience.  The crew - a delightful and skilled bunch - mingled among the passengers answering questions about the boat, Gloucester and local landmarks as we passed.  They also did a very competent job of making sure the passengers had a nice cold beverage of choice!

When it came time to raise the sails, passengers were invited to help - it takes a lot of muscle to raise these beauties after all!  John was one of the many volunteers to help, and eventually all the sails were raised and we were gliding smoothly on the sea.
Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

Captain Heath at the helm.

Gloucester MA

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

I'm not sure why it is, but I find the parts of a ship so artistically beautiful, especially on this handcrafted Thomas E. Lannon.  Everything was so clean and sparkling....absolutely pristine!
Schooner on Gloucester Bay MA

Gloucester MA

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner
Aside from the beautiful workmanship of the Thomas E. Lannon, the view along our cruise was pretty spectacular too!

Gloucester MA
Eastern Point Lighthouse

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon
Ten Pound Island Lighthouse

Gloucester MA
Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner

Gloucester MA

And all too soon, it was time to lower the sails and say goodnight to the sea till next time.

Thomas E. Lannon Schooner in Gloucester MA

Aboard the Thomas E. Lannon

If you every find yourself any where near Gloucester, don't miss the opportunity to take a sail on the Thomas E. Lannon.  One ride on this schooner and you'll be hooked.   For more information about the Thomas E. Lannon, check out their website at: The Thomas E. Lannon and their Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/schoonerlannon/?fref=ts.    During July & August on Tuesdays, buy one ticket and your second ticket is 1/2 price!   Thanks Captain Heath and your crew for a fabulous sail!

Thanks for reading.  Come back soon my my next installment in my Rockport series!!  To share this post or any others here on the blog, use the social media links at the bottom of this post.  

Bringing Back Saratoga Lake's History with the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. Cruises

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When something holds a special place in your heart, especially when it comes to pieces of your past, those things never lose their luster.  Such is the case with me and my love for Saratoga Lake. Although I grew up on Saratoga Lake, it's been a good many years since I've had the chance to enjoy the lake from 'the lake' and not the shore.  So last night when I happened upon something on Facebook advertising a sunset cruise on Saratoga Lake, I leaped at the opportunity.  I'm pretty sure that after you read today's post, you'll be jumping on board too!

Sunset Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. Cruise

The Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. is the brainchild of Hal Raven, a licensed Captain who also pilots some of the larger cruise ships on Lake George.  Hal's dream is to restore the old tradition of public cruise boats on Saratoga Lake, beginning with this current vessel - a 22 foot Sweetwater Pontoon Boat.  Hal's dream doesn't end here though.  Hal envisions a larger, higher capacity vessel and someday, he even hopes to bring a steamboat back to the lake taking us back in history to the 1890's.   Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. celebrated their grand opening just this May and since then Hal has been dreaming up all sorts of fun excursions, like last night's Sunset Cruise.  Once that cruise ended, a Moonlight Cruise followed.
Cruise on Saratoga Lake
Our 'ride'  for the Sunset Cruise

Handbuilt Steamboat Pilot House by Hal Raven

Hal built this gorgeous replica of a 1900's steamboat pilot house this winter and for now uses it for his ticket booth.  If his dreams of having a steamboat on Saratoga Lake come true, you'll see the pilot house take its rightful place on the steamboat.

Saratoga Springs NY

Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. is based out of the Boatworks at 549 Union Avenue, just a short way from Exit 14 of the Northway and just across the street from the popular Lake Local.   That location gives passengers a chance to get a glimpse of Fish Creek before they pass under the Route 9P bridge out into the lake.

Saratoga Lake NY

On Saratoga Lake

Saratoga Lake
Captain Hal narrating along the way.

Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co.

Throughout the cruise, Hal narrated a thorough and fascinating history of life and times on Saratoga Lake and beyond.  We cruised the circumference of the lake at a leisurely and calm pace affording tonight's four passengers a relaxing view of the shoreline, much of which can only be seen by boat. Of course, this was a Sunset Cruise, so Mother Nature cooperated and provided a crystal clear blue sky and a most magnificent sunset, after which she out did herself by providing a giant, bright full moon!  A beautiful and comfy boat, pillows and blankets, good company, a friendly and competent Captain, the sunset on our left and the full moon on our right..............what more could we possibly ask for?!?!
Saratoga Lake

Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co

Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co.

Adirondack Cruise & Charter

Saratoga Lake

Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter

Sunset aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter

If you're a lake lover but don't own your own boat, not to worry.  Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. can provide you with the perfect, individually suited outing.  Captain Hal, or Captain Kevin Forgacs, will take you to a lakeside dinner, fishing, or just a cruise on the lake.  Looking for a special way to celebrate that birthday, anniversary or retirement?  How about a romantic night on the water to pop the question?  You bring the company, the beverages and Adirondack Cruise will see to it that you have a night to remember. Where else can you get a custom cruise for you, your family and your friends on one of the most beautiful lakes in New York State?

Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co.

Beginning Tuesday, July 26, Adirondack Cruise will be partnering with the Saratoga Winery and the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus for their Saratoga Sip 'n Sail Cruises.  Passengers will meet at the Saratoga Winery and enjoy a Sample Tree of five wines (of their own choosing), before boarding the Hoppy Trails Brew Bus to be chauffeured to the Adirondack Cruise dock, where they'll hop aboard for a cruise. Once back at the dock, your bus will take you back to the winery.  All this for an incredibly reasonable $45.00.  The Sip 'n Sail events will take place each Tuesday, beginning at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00p.m..  The total time for each sip 'n sail event will be approximately 2 hrs.   These tickets will go fast, so reserve your sip 'n sail today.

Also in the works, Hal has planned early morning Coffee Cruises, featuring Wired Coffee on board. Hal also hopes to have some "Learn the Lake" cruises, Regatta cruises, Fall cruises up Fish Creek and some others still in the planning phase.  Just tonight Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co. announced they'll be offering Sunset Cruises every Thursday and Friday night at 7:30 p.m. through July and August!!!   I highly recommend you jump at this affordable and unforgettable opportunity.  The vessel is comfortable, large, and safe, and cruises at a speed even those with boat jitters can be comfortable with. Where else can you get 90 minutes of uninterrupted bliss for $20 per person??  To make reservations, call 518-956-2626.  If you purchase 7 tickets, the eighth is free!  Honestly......what are you waiting for?

Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co.
Captain Hal with one of  his regular customers, Emily.
Aboard the Adirondack Cruise & Charter Co
Emily's mom, Diana, Emily and Captain Hal 
As someone who loves Saratoga Lake, I am happy to see public cruises available on the lake, especially knowing that this company loves and respects Saratoga Lake as much as the property and business owners do.  Welcome Adirondack Cruise & Charter Company to Saratoga Lake, otherwise known as Paradise!    For more information on any of the opportunities mentioned in this post, please use the links below for private charter information and prices, and don't forget to 'like' the Adirondack Cruise & Charter's Facebook page so you won't miss any events.  Thanks for reading and come back soon when I'll be back to my series on Rockport/Gloucester!  And don't forget to share this post with your lake-loving friends using the links at the very end of this post!

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