Taking a Look Back at your Top 5 Favorite Posts of 2019

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Here we are, six years down, as I enter my seventh year of Life As I See It.  I can't believe that in April of 2014 I began this little blog, not knowing where it would lead or how long it would last.  It was then simply a vehicle for my sanity, my creativity and a way to pass my time as I struggled with the void of having half of my family in Indiana.  Since then the family moved back, my number of grandchildren grew from one to three, and after 452 posts, I haven't run out of things to photograph or write about.  So as we enter a new year, I thought I'd take a look back at your five favorite posts of 2019.
  1. Brant Lake - One of 3000 Lakes in the Adirondacks (click to read full post)- They say beauty can be found in unexpected places and I'm pretty sure the Adirondacks are not among the unexpected places anyone refers to. Although not on our regular list of 'go-to' destinations, when we do head to the Adirondacks, we are always rewarded with spectacular sights. That is especially the case when visiting the Adirondacks in autumn.  Each post title is a link that will take you to the complete, original post.
  2. Marchaland Farms - Generations of Easton Tradition - In July, Sue Marchaland, one of my devoted Easton followers, emailed me offering a tour of the family farm.  Sue thought some of the views from the pastures might be 'picture worthy'.  Always excited about the prospect of new views, we enthusiastically accepted the offer and when Sue contacted me this past weekend to arrange a date for the tour, we jumped at the opportunity.  I had no idea what adventure Sue's husband, Lou, had in store for us!   One might imagine that sharing a family business with a stranger might have something to do with pride, but it was abundantly clear that what this farm is about is not just pride in having a successful business.  It's about heart and it's about the love of family and the dedication and hard work that goes into keeping a family business alive and successful generation after generation, even through hardships.  It's about a family that knows the value and rewards of hard work and the determination and drive to carry on what started before you.  It's about the accumulation of knowledge and expertise, and the application of years of experience.  It's about elbow grease and sweat, long days and short nights.  It's about commitment and it's about family.  And that is what pride is about on Marchaland Farm....pride in their family business and maybe a little in their spectacular views.
  3. A Magical Evening in a Storybook Setting at June Farms - They refer to themselves as a 'small, gentleman's farm located on 120 acres in New York's Hudson Valley', and while all of that is true, I refer to it as 'a perfect slice of country serenity....the type that storybooks are made of.  I'm talking about June Farms in West Sand Lake, NY. I'm pretty sure that everyone who visits leaves intoxicated with it's charm and smitten by the idyllic feel that June Farms provides.  It's a compilation of every perfect calendar photo you've seen and the most beautiful illustrations by storybook artists.  Every turn, every glance fills your senses with picture-perfect views that elicit sighs of wonder and a sense of instant relaxation beginning with the tree-lined drive.   Matt Baumgartner has put together a magical venue at June Farms, from the pristine pastures to the perfectly manicured grounds, immaculate facilities, fresh flowers, friendly animals and relaxed pace.  Visitors feel a palpable drop in blood pressure and quickly settle into the calming, serene atmosphere of June Farms. 
  4. Little Brook Farm - Making One Dying Man's Wish Come True -  This is a story of a man, a veteran.  It's a story of his life, his loves, his legacy and how it was all almost nearly lost had it not been for a handful of people who cared enough to make a difference.  This is the story of Richard Spencer....and the people who stepped in to write his final chapter and maybe his legacy.   
  5. Stepping Off the Roller Coaster of Life to Enjoy the Simpler Life of the Amish - Sometimes life feels a little like riding a roller coaster.  It flies too fast at times, out of control, then creeps along as we wait with impatient anticipation and then suddenly everything we feared, or dreaded or longed for comes to an abrupt halt.  We're reminded that life is often out of our control.  It speeds up and slows down and occasionally it is unresponsive to our attempts to control it's path.  Have you ever felt like that? When I feel overwhelmed by life, even just a little frazzled and in need of quiet solace, I take to the road to unwind and surround myself with nature, often to places where life is lived not on a roller coaster, but almost in slow motion.  I go to a place where time stands still and life is simple and the noise of the world comes from animals and insects, where cell phones are silenced and politics don't clutter the view.  I go to the Amish community of the Mohawk Valley and immerse my mind in the simple but hardworking life of the Amish.
So those were the five most read posts of 2019, but there were a couple other favorites of mine that slipped through the cracks but are well worth a read:

  1. City of Souls Find Eternal Rest in the Albany Rural Cemetery - Founded in April of 1841, the Albany Rural Cemetery is a National Historical Landmark.  Even bigger than Oakwood in Troy, ARC is 467 acres large.  It's hard not to be impressed and awed by the elaborate and ornate monuments, gravestones and mausoleums in a cemetery 175 years old.  Among the ordinary, everyday folk buried here, this cemetery is the burial ground for 34 members of Congress, 8 Presidential Cabinet members, 5 NYS Governors, 55 mayors of the city of Albany and most notably, Chester A. Arthur the 21st president of the United States.  Other notables include General Schuyler, Revolutionary War hero and father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, Stephen Van Rensselaer III, last Dutch patroon and founder of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Erastus Dow Palmer, world-renowned sculptor. 
  2. A Visit to Grant Cottage and A Personal Look at the Man Within - It's not often we get the chance to view the deathbed of a President, particularly when that President died in 1885, and rarely when that deathbed happens to be just 30 miles from home. Grant Cottage remains a historic landmark today.  Visitors to the cottage can see the first floor exactly as it was the day Grant died....the clock on the mantle stopped by Grant's son, Fred, at the time of his death....8:08am.   The jar of cocaine water used for pain relief still sits atop the bureau, the leather chairs still positioned facing each other where Grant would sleep, propped up when he could not lay flat in bed.
I could never pick a favorite post,  but I especially love the ones where I get to tell someone's story and two of those stories were in my top 5.  If I had to pick another it would have to be....

I took a little hiatus last January & February and only wrote 35 posts in all of  2019, compared to 73 in 2018, 75 in 2017, 81 in 2016, 102 in 2015 and 84 in 2014.  One might assumes that means I'm winding down but trust me, I've got lots more to share.  If you missed these or any other posts, you can find them all on the blog and in my blog Directory listed by category.  Thanks for supporting me and for giving me an outlet to share Life As I See It.  Don't forget, you can enter your email Here to receive each new post direct to your inbox.  Whether you're here for the photography or for ideas for your next road trip, I hope you'll stick around and I hope that you leave this page a little happier than when you arrived!

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