Enjoying a Little Halloween Fun at the Pumpkin Glow & Light Show at Ellms Family Farm

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

 Pumpkins and ghouls and ghosts, oh my!  We may be in our seventh month of Covid but not even a pandemic can discourage little goblins from loving everything having to do with Halloween.  With so much of life restricted these days, so many traditions difficult to uphold, the Ellms Family Farm found a way to let kids, big and small, savor a little Halloween delight.

I'll confess right now, I am not a fan of Halloween, at all....never was, never will be.  Call me a party pooper but part of me is just a little happy that there may be fewer little draculas and ninja's ringing my doorbell this year.  That being said, I have three little goblin grandchildren who delight in everything spooky and ghostly.  So, for their sake I put my personal opinion aside and embrace tradition which this year, included the Pumpkin Glow & Light Show at the Ellms Family Farm in Charlton, NY.  

From October 1st through November 1st, families can visit the farm after dark and enjoy a mile and a half drive through a collection of ghoulish scenes, colorful pumpkin displays and surprise non-human creatures hiding in bushes - all arranged to delight even the littlest members of the family.  Just to clarify, the carved pumpkins aren't real pumpkins - they are carved foam pumpkins carved by talented artists in a medium able to withstand a month of display without shriveling into a mushy mess.  Kids will hardly notice the difference.  Note:  Originally the glow was advertised through November 8th but plentiful rainfall combined with heavy traffic might make the roadways too messy.

Tickets for the Pumpkin Glow cost $29.99 for a carload, $39.99 if you add a dozen donuts and $59.99 for a carload, a dozen donuts, a gallon of apple cider and kettle corn. We visited last evening when the weekday price was $24.99 and since we opted for the 6:30 time slot right after dinner, we decided to forego the snacks. The Glow happens rain or shine and although it was sprinkling, it didn't diminish the beauty or fun at all. I was really impressed with the organization of this event. Tickets are purchased online through their Facebook Page and website. The day of the event I got a text with detailed information and instructions about when to arrive, and other helpful information. We were instructed not to arrive more than 10 minutes prior to our assigned time and that was perfect because there was a long line ahead of us which elicited groans from our backseat.  Luckily the line moved very quickly and we were on our way through within a minute or two.  I can see though how not honoring your assigned time could result in traffic backups on Charlton Road. All I had to do was show the scanner symbol on my phone to the ticket gal (who was drenched from the rain but so pleasant) and we were on our way to Halloween Heaven. The 1 1/2 mile ride at about 3 mph took about 30 minutes - a perfect time for kids (and their accompanying adults).  The windy, gravel road was dimly lit by colored lights along the ground and cars were asked to operate with just their running lights.  The line when we were leaving was even longer than when we arrived. It's obvious this entertainment from the safety of your car was just what the doctor ordered after months of Covid restrictions.

I don't want to ruin the fun and surprises, so here's a small peek at some of the characters awaiting you on this colorful, Pumpkin Glow & Light Show.  From dinosaurs to dragons, Big Foot to bees, there's something for everyone along this innocently creepy journey.

This is just a very tiny sampling of the creative Halloween fun waiting for you at the Ellms Family Farm's Pumpkin Glow and Light Show.  To enhance the Halloween spirit, the Ellms has put together a playlist of Halloween-themed music on Spotify that will be sure to fill your car with everything you need to create a spooky mood with songs from Monster Mash to Thriller to the Halloween Theme Song (which my six year old granddaughter said was too creepy) and many more.  If you're looking for some Covid-safe Halloween fun with the family, go online and get your tickets tonight.  Here's the link to Ellms Family Farm which has loads more daytime family fun for the whole family.  
It's always a pleasure to give some unsolicited publicity to local small businesses and this is no exception.  Thank you Ellms Family for what was surely an enormous amount of work to set up and supply with more generators than are probably in stock at Home Depot.  I can tell you it was worth all of it.   

Some Autumn Splendor Among the Grandeur of Saratoga Springs

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

 From the humble farmsteads of the New York Amish to the opulent, expansive mansions of Saratoga Springs....autumn looks just as breathtaking.  Most of you know my heart is in the country where I swoon over worn buildings and barns on gravel and dirt roads, but that doesn't mean I don't have an appreciation for the beautiful architecture found on so many streets in Saratoga Springs.  

I grew up on Saratoga Lake, just a few miles from downtown Saratoga Springs.  My first job was in the Admission Office of Skidmore College so I'm no stranger to the architectural majesty that graces the streets around town.  Normally I don't photograph it because photographer, Gail Stein, captures all the best of every nook and cranny in and around Saratoga and shares it every morning on her Frozen Moments In and Around Saratoga Facebook page.  Her over 4,500 followers look forward to her daily shares where she never fails to capture the essence of everything Saratoga throughout the year.  No one could do it better so typically I leave that up to her, but when we took a drive around town last week I couldn't help but snap some photos of some of the homes in their autumn glory.  Come along as I take you on a mini tour of residential Saratoga Springs.

This next photo is Palozza Riggi .... owned by Michele and Ron Riggi, Saratoga philanthropists.  This is the first year that Palazzo Riggi hasn't been decorated for Halloween, perhaps due to Covid or maybe it's because Michele and Ron have a brand new grandson, Lucien.  Still, the Riggi estate is looking stunning just the same.  
I happen to know the owner of the next stunning home (below): 

Beautiful, right?  If you enjoyed this mini tour, check out Gail's page (link above).  She definitely captures the heart and soul of Saratoga year round.  She also sells a calendar each year featuring her beautiful photography - perfect for anyone who can't get enough of Saratoga's charm.    
As for me, I'll keep on capturing the rural beauty found in old barns and farmhouses because.....well, because that's what speaks to me.  Thanks for stopping by!  Come back soon for more Life As I See It.


A Therapeutic Escape in Any Season - Road Trippin' To New York's Amish Communities

Friday, October 16, 2020

 Even before Covid invited itself into life as we knew it, I had found the local Amish communities a place of peaceful refuge from life's chaos.  I've never had a conversation with a member of the Amish, and all of my experience with them has been from the passenger seat of our moving car as we travel slowly past their farms.  Yet there's something about our road trips through these communities that grounds me and comforts me, sometimes even when I don't feel the chaos erupting in me, I still feel a sense of calm wash over me almost as soon as catch the first glimpse.  You can imagine that these past six months have given me plenty of reason for anxiousness as it probably has you too, so our visits have been fairly regular.  This post will be a photo essay with photos from June to October combined with some interesting Amish tradition.  I hope this road trip by proxy will give you the same peaceful calm it brings me.

It is well known that the Amish lead a simple life, one without modern conveniences like electricity, indoor plumbing, telephones, etc.....  They live their life according to their religious beliefs and therefore many of their customs stem from the Bible and the Commandments.  They believe Sundays are for worship so no work is carried out on Sunday, and their roadside stands are covered with signs that say, "no Sunday sales".  I was thrilled that one of our recent visits was on a Saturday because I found a great new source for pumpkins and root vegetables.  Small butternut and delicata squash were 2 for $1.00 at one stand and 3 for $1.00 at another.  

Vanity is frowned upon by the Amish.  Clothing is simple, often dark colored.  Women have 4 dresses...one for wear, one for wash, one for dress, one for spare.  Their heads are covered and considered sacred to the Lord. Married women wear black prayer caps (bonnets) symbolizing their marital status, single girls wear white bonnets.  Buttons are not used on clothing as they may be viewed as showy.  Velcro and zippers are also not permitted.   Men's trousers have a button fly and their suit coats have no buttons or collars because those are reminiscent of military uniforms which pacifist Amish reject. Women and children are often barefoot around the farm.
In keeping with the vanity, posed photos are frowned upon (described as graven images).  Dolls don't have faces.  The Amish men shave until they are married at which time they grow a beard but not a moustache because a moustache is also representative of the military.  A man who doesn't marry continues to shave until he turns 40 at which time he begins to grow a beard symbolizing his transition to manhood.  I could make a joke here about men and maturity, but I'll refrain.

Children attend school until they complete the 8th grade.  School is taught by single Amish women.  After the 8th grade, vocational training begins.  Women are never allowed to preach or hold any church positions.  Church is held in homes, not churches.  The above photo is a beautiful example of an Amish schoolhouse.  Amish are baptized when they are 16-25 when young adults can make their own decision about whether or not to be baptized or leave the religion.  During baptism, one hand is often covering the face as a symbol of humility.

Since farm life consumes so much time throughout the season, weddings often take place in November or December.  Amish do not wear wedding rings or any jewelry.  Having a big family is considered a blessing from God.  The larger the family, the more helpers there are to tend the farm and gardens.

Our local Amish communities seem to be growing and expanding.  My favorites are in Amsterdam, Glen, Mohawk, Palatine and Stone Arabia.  A couple of these photos (the more modest farms) are in the community in Whitehall.  I certainly don't aspire to be Amish, nor do I for a minute think I'd ever be able to sacrifice modern conveniences, work as hard, or even live without indoor plumbing, but there is something to be said for their commitment to simplicity and devotion to God.  Witnessing that is definitely an inspiration and a reminder to keep priorities in order and focus on what matters in life.  Living without social media must surely be beneficial in maintaining focus on right and wrong, truth vs  deception.  What I am sure of is being in the car with my spouse, insulated from reality and tv, even for a few hours is more and more what the doctor ordered.  It's also a 'no-mask required' activity and who doesn't love that?  I'd like to say that I won't need the escape as much after Election Day is over, but I'm old enough to know that controversy and chaos comes in many forms and will probably still be present long after #46 has been decided.  In the meantime, if you need an escape from whatever is weighing on your mind, try my brand of therapy and see if you don't feel better lickety split!  

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