A Picturesque Road Trip Through the Past and Present of Carlisle NY

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Some say three's a charm, but when it comes to keeping track of visiting a favorite destination, I say the more times the better and that's the case when it comes to Carlisle NY.

To be perfectly frank, natives of Carlisle will probably look at the photos in today's post and point out that not every one of them is precisely in Carlisle.  Some are in Seward, or Sharon or surrounding towns, all in Schoharie county.  While we may not all agree on what road is in which town, I'm pretty sure we'd all agree this is some pretty beautiful countryside, made even more beautiful by the fact on this particular day the weather conditions were optimal for photos.
 Although we almost always drive past the Carlisle Rural Cemetery, this day was the first time we've ever driven in.  There were some really interesting headstones, and some very, very old ones too.

 And then there's the buffalo............ let's just admit it now.....I go for the buffalo.

 Sometimes when it comes to road trips, it's just the view ahead of me that makes me breathless.

So maybe it was the clouds that day, or maybe it was the old, worn and ragged barns, and maybe it was the windy country roads or the lazy buffalo....I really can't say why I love Carlisle and its neighboring towns.  But I can say (and I think you can tell) that I love everything about it.  So far we've explored it in the winter and summer....I'm looking forward to going back soon to see it in all its autumn splendor.  You can be sure when I do, I'll share it with you here at Life As I See It.  Thanks for stopping by.  Come back soon!  Don't forget you can subscribe to receive each new post in your email.  Keep your eyes and ears open....there's so much to see in  your own corner of the world too!

What We Could All Learn From Mr. Rogers

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Were you a Mr. Rogers fan?  I remember when our girls were small, they'd often watch Mr. Rogers after watching Sesame Street.  I don't know if it was the contrast between the upbeat and colorful Sesame Street with the calm and laid back demeanor of Fred Rogers, but Mr. Rogers might have had a fairly high snooze factor for adults.  Not all adults, but some.  While I saw my fair share of his show I didn't really get to know the man behind the cardigan until recently when we watched his documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor", a theater released bio-doc.  It featured his wife, and two sons, some of the cast of neighbors, as well as the producers and such. We were mesmerized and inspired, and sad.  We were sad because a legend, a mentor, a truly good and genuine man is gone.  If you haven't seen the movie, I won't spoil it but Mr. Rogers was full of wisdom and advice, advice we adults could learn from, not just about interacting with kids, but about taking care of each other.  I think the world could use a little of that today, don't you?
Much of Mr. Roger's neighborhood was born from Fred's own life experience.  Fred had vivid recollections of his childhood feelings, his fears and his anxieties.  Thus the birth of Daniel Kitty.  Daniel Kitty was Fred Rogers.  Daniel was able to articulate fears and anxieties because Fred never forgot how vulnerable it was to be a kid.  He remembers he was afraid people would laugh at him when he tried new things.  Fred says the greatest evil are those who would try to make you feel less than you are.  I think we can all relate to childhood fears and anxieties.  I wasn't a particularly confident child, or very adventurous.  In fact some might say I was pretty wimpy when it came to trying new things.  I and many could have used our own Daniel kitty to help express those fears.

Mr. Rogers and his wife, Joanne, both came from childhoods that didn't allow them to show anger.  Fred was afraid to use his words because he was afraid he'd be viewed as a 'bad boy'.  I can certainly relate to that one.  I grew up in a home that lived by the adage, 'children are to be seen and not heard'.  That's probably why as an adult I can't stop talking, or writing to express myself.  HaHa.  Eye rolling was very high on the list of mortal sins and punishable offenses in my house as well.  Fred eventually figured out that although he couldn't verbalize his anger, he could express it in other ways like in the way he plucked his piano keys....loudly and boldly.  He even wrote a song about anger.  It went something like this...."What do you do with the mad that you feel when you feel so mad you could bite."  Who of  you has never been that angry?
An ordained Methodist minister, Mr. Rogers felt strongly that children have deep feelings, like adults, and the feelings of a child are as real as the feelings of an adult.  He said we must respond to them and the most important thing is to listen to them.  Fred thought that the greatest gifts we have is to listen.  Silence was his delight.  That is why when Fred would ask a child a question, he didn't immediately jump right back with a response after the child's answer.  He waited and given more time, the child would go on with more.  Listening is definitely on the decline today with the reliance on social media and electronics for communication.  In fact I wrote a post about the "Lost Art of Listening" talking about just that. (https://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/2015/01/the-lost-art-of-listening.html)  Fred got it.  He understood, and he remembered what it was like to be a kid.
Fred recognized and emphasized that children should be taught to expect and accept mistakes and must learn how to deal with the disappointments they bring.  He also understood deeper evil and wondered at times if he were a mistake.  He assured kids they were NO mistake and that you don't have to do anything sensational for people to love you.  If only that were always true!  Fred wanted kids to know that feelings are manageable and mentionable. We adults are to be there to help children through the modulations of life.

Although Fred never ministered in church, he carried out his ministries on the streets and on tv to the children whose lives he touched.  He had catch phrases, mantras, reassurances that he said over and over so that children would hear, know and believe they are valued.  Phrases like, "You've made my day special just by being you" and, "There's no other person in the world quite like you". "I like you just the way you are - exactly and precisely as you are".
Fred said the greatest thing we can do is to help people know they are loved and are capable of loving.  We are called to be the repairers of creation.  In crisis, we must look for the helpers. Helpers bring forth light, hope, faith and pardon - to your neighbor and to yourself.
While Fred's mission was aimed at and for children, think for a minute about his mantras.  Think about his reassurances.  What adult wouldn't love to feel valued, special, unique.  Who among us doesn't just want to be loved just the way we are?   Who doesn't long to be heard, understood and accepted?  Fred Rogers understood children, and he understood mankind.  He wasn't afraid to be uncool, to wear his heart on his cardigan sleeve, to expose himself for the sake of helping others.  We could all stand to be a little more like Mr. Rogers.  We need to slow down, to listen, to hear what our kids (and adults) say.  We need to allow people to feel - whether that's pain or anger or something more positive.  We need to embrace the people around us everyday - in our homes, our churches, our workplace, our community and begin to see people without judgement.  We need to give people acceptance and encouragement. We need to be the helpers and sometimes those helpers aren't necessarily helping with a crisis, sometimes those helpers are just helping someone out of a bad day.

So I have two challenges for you today.  The first is to rent 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' from your Redbox or pay-per-view and watch it.  Watch it even if you didn't like him, even if you didn't know him.  Everyone, parent or not, has so much to learn from Fred Rogers.  We loved it so much, we watched it twice.  And the second challenge is this.....as you go about your life this week, watch for the people who need reassurance.  Watch for the people who may not remember how special they are, the people you know who walk around feeling inadequate, uncool, not enough.  Find a way to share Mr. Rogers' positivity and reassurance with them.  That might just mean listening to them....without interrupting.  Be a helper, be that person who is so welcoming, so accepting, so loving everyone you meet will want to be your neighbor. Love is the root of all relationships - love or the lack of it.  Which will you bring to the people around you this week?
To watch the trailer and get a glimpse of the world as Fred saw it:
To watch Joanne Rogers and Nicholas Ma (son of Yo Yo Ma)producer of the movie on Megyn Kelly:
Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003 of stomach cancer.  He was 74.

Visiting Fort Klock, A 1750's Restored Fortified Homestead

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

 Sometimes some of the best treasures are found by accident and that can certainly be said about the subject of today's post.  A couple Sunday's ago, John and I set out for a drive headed to Fort Plain, NY to finally check out Fort Plain Antiques.  Quite a trip back in time and two floors of great antiques and salvage, we finished our exploration early and headed back east for a little more adventure.  Normally I'm the one directing the stops and detours but on this trip, John did a quick application to the brake pedal and turned into this gem known as Fort Klock Restoration.  Located on Route 5 in St. Johnsville, NY, ironically not far from our frequent destination - Stone Arabia (Amish country), and just a short drive from my planned dinner stop, Beardslee Castle.  Exploring Fort Klock was the perfect appetite-inducing afternoon excursion.
 According to their website - "Built in 1750 by Johannes Klock, a German Palatine who came to the area with the great Palatine migration, Fort Klock is a fortified home built from locally mined limestone and equipped with defensive musket loopholes in the outer walls to protect his family from two 18th century conflicts". 
Our tour guide was Tyler.....don't let his age fool you....he's 11.  He was a knowledgeable and sometimes comedic guide who knew how to add just the right amount of humor to his otherwise educational and fact-based story telling.  

Speaking of loopholes (I'd never heard that term, had you?), here's Tyler holding one of the wooden plugs and the 'loophole' it came out of. (photos below)

The stone walls are over two feet thick, with loopholes on every side for defense.  The fort was utilized during both the French and Indian War and the American war for independence.  It was not just for the Klock's safety, but also a place of refuge for family and neighbors.
Notice the 'loophole'?

 The tour also included the 1825 school house (restored and furnished), a 1790 Dutch Barn that was moved and resembled to the site in 1989, and a Blacksmith Shop.

The home remained in the Klock family through the 1950's.  After Lipe Klock passed away in the 1930's, the family moved to town.  Abandoned, it fell into disrepair.  In 1953, Willis "Skip" Barshied Jr. and his newly organized Tryon County Muzzleloaders (12 young men interested in collecting and shooting antique guns) were looking for a 'home base' to become their meeting place.  They found the property run down and in dire need of repair.  Skip arranged to meet with the current owner, Alexander Don, a descendant of Johannes Klock.  Alexander had dreamed of restoring the old fort for future generations.  He joined the group of muzzle loaders and once convinced they were sincere in their desire to restore the fort, he gave them a long-term lease.  The rent was $1.00 per year for 20 years with the option to renew for an additional 20 years.  In 1957 when Alexander Don passed away, his wife, Mabel, deeded the property to the muzzle loaders.  A long restoration process began and in 1961 the farmstead opened to the public for tours.  In 1973 the name of the organization was changed to the Fort Klock Historic Restoration and the property was designated a National Historic Landmark.  The Fort Klock Historic Restoration primarily relies on member volunteers, donations, fundraising events and gift shop sales.  They are actively accepting membership applications.

Fort Klok is open from May through mid-October.  Besides tours, the fort also hosts special events throughout the summer.  This weekend (September 29 and 30th) is their Interrupted Harvest, a 1778 War Event- Devasting Raids have begun and refugees, both Patriot and Loyalists, are impacting Valley Communities.  Come see re-enactments, living history demonstrations and meet authors Gavin Watt and Jennifer DeBruin and attend their presentations in the fort's Dutch barn.  The fort is open from 9-5.  Schedule of events is at the end of this post.
To read Don Bittner's blog post in the Times Union with lots of old, historical photos about Fort Klock: https://blog.timesunion.com/rittner/make-time-for-fort-klock/6189/

Whether you're a serious history buff or are just interested in local history, Fort Klock is a definite must-see for young and old alike.  Admission was a very reasonable $5 per person.  Our guided tour lasted about 60 minutes.  We were lucky to have an archaeology group from Oneonta on our tour.  Their members added a ton of historical tidbits to Tyler's narration.  While you're in the area, consider a stop at Fort Plain Antiques.
By the end of the day, you will have worked up quite an appetite.  I recommend you fill your belly at the magical Beardslee Castle.  Also located just down the road on Route 5 (set up and off Rt 5 on Old State Road), Beardslee is not like any dinner venue in your own hometown.  The site of weddings and mystery dinner theaters, it's also a great place for a fancy dinner in the main floor dining area or a more casual meal downstairs in the Dungeon Bar & Grill.  For more information, you can read about Beardslee Castle in my very first blog post...Beardslee Castle (click on link).

Thank you for reading today's post and thank you to Tyler (and his mom and golf cart driver extraordinaire) for a wonderful tour.  Montgomery County has so much to offer.  Check out my blog Directory for more rural beauty including my favorite Amish communities. For more information on Fort Klock Historic Restoration: http://www.fortklockrestoration.org/home.html and to follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FortKlock/

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