The Book Nook - Welcoming Book Lovers To Come and Set a Spell

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Book Nook has been sold and has moved to 772 Route 50, Suite 5, Burnt Hills NY.  For more information: The Burnt Hills Book Nook Facebook Page

Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks. -Dr. Seuss

There's something magical about books and bookstores. I'm not an avid reader, but I have a thing about books. I remember visiting the library as a child and feeling an enchantment surrounded by shelves of books. I still love bookstores and today I'm excited to be able to share the newest bookstore in the area....the Book Nook.

Sue Hart Rainka remembers her mom taking her to the library and reading to her as a child.  Sue says she always wanted to be a librarian.  Funny how life's ambitions play out, sometimes not exactly in the timing we imagine.  Sue's worked for her family's home security business until January 2023 but after Sue's mom passed away Easter Saturday of 2022, she began to reimagine her dream of owning a bookstore. Together with her husband, Phil Patnode, they made that dream become a reality opening the doors of The Book Nook on March 1st, 2023.  

Located at 146 Raylinsky Road, Suite 4A in Ballston Lake (in the new plaza behind the brand new Stewart's shop), the Book Nook is a small, independent, secondhand book store.  Sue not only loves books, she loves being surrounded by books and loves meeting people.  She says that those who come into the shop, booklovers, tend to be kindred spirits.  The goal at the Book Nook was to create a cozy, welcoming environment where people can come in, browse and relax.  That is exactly the environment they have created!  Several couches provide comfortable seating throughout the store.  Artwork, some handed down from Sue's mom, adorn the walls and a wall fountain (from Sue's parent's home) creates a relaxing water symphony in the shop's kitchenette where patrons can enjoy coffee, tea or hot chocolate.  The store features a children's nook complete with a couch, toys and books of all interests for kids of all ages, arranged by subject and age.  The entire store is impeccably organized and labeled by subject matter and the books are all in pristine condition, some looking more new than used.  In addition to books, the store offers dvd's, puzzles, and even large print books.

Sue's husband, Phil, is retired.  That doesn't mean he's sitting on the leather sofa, nose in a book.  Nope, Phil drives a school bus and between runs he keeps busy arranging books, hanging pictures and being the brawn who helped make Sue's dream a reality.  Aside from his smile and hospitality, Phil moved from one task to another, efficiently completing a number of tasks in the short time we were taking photos.  It was evident what great teamwork was involved in bringing this dream to reality.

Something very magical can happen when you read a good book

- JK Rowling

The Children's Nook.............

The shop accepts book donations and in some cases issues 'trade credit' for folks looking to use the credit for future purchases in the store.  More information about that process can be found on their website:  You can follow the Book Nook on Instagram at: @booknook2023_  To visit the shop, just off Exit 11 of the Northway, the shop is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm.  Stay tuned for news and events about possible happenings at the shop - book clubs, children's story times, local author events and more.  Check it out soon and tell all your book-loving friends.  Tell Sue I sent you.  

Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.

-David Quammen

To read more posts like this one:

Remembering and Paying Tribute To A Special Man - Ronald D. Dixson

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

 A life that touches others goes on forever.

-Author Unknown

Next month my blog will be nine years old.  I've been thinking about that fact for the past few days, the circumstances surrounding its inception, the 557 posts I've written since April of 2014, and mostly the people I've met through the stories I've written.  I've been feeling particularly blessed this week as I remembered that group of people, people whose paths I'd never have crossed had it not been for the exact purpose of sharing their business, their farms, their history here on the blog.  Along with the joy and privilege it is to make these friendships comes the deep sense of loss I experience when I lose them.  I experienced that heart-piercing pain today when I learned of the passing of Ron Dixson.

I met Ron back in December of 2022.  I wrote about him on the blog back then: "Through the years I've met several of Easton's fine residents and this trip was no exception.  Our last task on this particular ride was to find a barn that we discovered for the first time last summer.  After three 'wrong roads', we finally found the 'right road'.  As we turned the car around to put me on the right side of the road to capture the back of the barn, we noticed a gentleman standing at his mailbox.  Embarrassed to be caught red-handed photographing his barn, we pulled up the hill and stopped alongside him to say hello and express how beautiful his barn is, something I wish we were able to do more often when out taking photos.  Well, despite the leftover snow and slush covering the road in the shade where the mailbox stood, Mr. Barn Owner, cane in hand, came across the road and with the warmest and friendliest demeanor leaned against our car as we humbly shared how much we loved his barn.  Not bothered by the winter chill or precarious conditions underfoot, this wonderful man, Mr. Dixson, chatted for about 15 minutes sharing history - his and his barn's.  It didn't matter that we were total strangers.  Maybe it was our mutual love for the majestic red structure that was at this moment cast in the most glorious golden sunlight, but the friendly conversation offered by this perfect stranger was a reminder that there is still so much good in this otherwise crazy world."

I couldn't get Ron Dixson out of my mind after that brief encounter.  Something about his demeanor, his gentle disposition, his hospitality, just drew me in and over the next several days he crossed my mind over and over again.  I decided to make him an Easton calendar, one that included a few photos of his barns along with other Easton locations.  I thought that being an Easton native, he'd enjoy having his family farm featured in print.  It was a few days after Christmas when John and I drove to Easton to deliver Ron's calendar.  I stayed in the car and sent John to the door, hoping Ron would be home willing to open the door to accept this small token of our friendship.  Sure enough, Ron was home but he insisted John fetch me from the car and come in for a visit.  

Of course I couldn't say 'no'.  Well, that visit lasted about an hour and during that time we learned so much about Ron.  He was one of 12 children raised on a dairy farm in Easton - the same farm I was photographing.  That farm that has been in his family for 200 years.  We learned about his beloved wife, Helen who he was married to for 63 years, his two daughters and so much more.  It was evident that his love for his wife was as strong as it was when they were high school sweethearts.  In fact, he was going to bring the calendar to her in the nursing home so she could enjoy seeing her hometown through the year.  There was just something about this man....his trusting hospitality to welcome strangers into his home, his generosity in sharing Easton history with us, his humble pride in sharing the story of his life.....I was just drawn to him and couldn't help but feel a strong admiration and respect, as well as regret fearing that our friendship may be short.

Today I got the sad news that Ron passed away yesterday.  So many emotions came over me when I heard the news.  Tears flowed and sadness rushed through me, so much grief over a man I barely knew.  But during that overwhelming grief, I was filled with gratitude for having had the privilege of our brief acquaintance.  However brief that time was, Mr. Dixson left a lasting impression on both John and I, especially for his open heart and hospitality.  I'm sure he touched many lives, especially in his tax and finance business, many who have had the pleasure of long friendships and relationships over the years, but I'll never forget the moments when our paths crossed and will always be grateful for that.  

We never know when life-changing events may happen in our lives, or when someone may step into our path and we might be forever changed. It's important that we take the time to savor and appreciate those magic moments and special people like Ron Dixson. He was one in a million - I could tell that in our short time together - and heaven is a little bit better for having him there.
To read more blog stories about special people I've shared here on the blog, check out my Directory under the category - Intriguing People


Old Man Winter and Mother Nature Saved The Best For Last - Washington County

Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Winter in upstate New York has been relatively uneventful this year, at least in the capital district.  But you know what they say, 'it ain't over till it's over' and that's exactly what Old Man Winter and Mother Nature had in mind last week when we got one of the biggest storms of the season.
Snow totals varied widely from town to town, some towns getting only 5" of snow while others hit the jackpot with over one or two feet.  The good thing about late season storms is that they don't stick around for long and the roads clean up pretty quickly enabling us to get out and about safely and still catch some pretty gorgeous views and photos.  Come along on our drive through Easton and Greenwich and see if you don't agree that winter in NY is pretty darn beautiful.

We started the day under a fair amount of cloud cover, but before long we were surrounded by glorious blue skies.  It reminded me that it's good not to jump to judgement in life.  Often we make decisions and assumptions based on first impressions or limited information.  Often, if we are patient and wait a bit, we find out that things aren't always as they seem.  That's often the case with weather and also the case with other situations in life and work.  Winter is probably finished for the season and I'm ok with that.  I'm glad we got to enjoy one last snowy hoorah in the country but I'll be just has excited to capture the first glimpses of green when it emerges too!  Happy Spring and thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.
To read more posts like this one, and so much more, check out my blog Directory:

Springtime Splendor Awaits You at the Speckled Hen

Friday, March 10, 2023

 Are you searching for spring?  Have you lost faith in Mother Nature? Are you ready to throw in the towel with the latest forecast?  Well, I have good news.  I found spring, but not just any spring.  I found Springtime Splendor at our favorite shop, the Speckled Hen. 

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Facebook, you're already familiar with the Speckled Hen.  Located at 14 Saratoga Road in Glenville, the Speckled Hen just reopened after their annual February hiatus and all I can say is, "WOW".  Maureen and her team have outdone themselves to offer fresh, colorful and welcoming merchandise this season.  This is the beginning of the Hen's twelfth season and I'm not sure I know of any other store with as loyal a following as the Hen.  It's a good thing prices are so reasonable because I'm pretty sure no one leaves without a giant shopping bag, or two or three.  You'll understand why by the end of this post.

If you're in need of a little pick-me-up, some fresh new spring decor accessories or the perfect little gift, The Speckled Hen is just the destination for anything on your list.  New this year are the gorgeous hand-painted quilt squares.  

See what I mean?  What a ray of sunshine to remind us that this white stuff isn't here to stay.  The Easter Bunny has already arrived at the Speckled Hen and if you're lucky, he'll be visiting you too so you better get to the Hen and stock up on a few things to help him feel welcome.  The Speckled Hen is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10:00-5:00 and Saturdays, 10:00-4:00.  For more information you can call 518-369-8771, or find them on Facebook: 
Thanks for reading.  Stop back soon for more Life As I See It.  Take a minute and scroll back and check out my last few posts.....a tour of downtown Albany and its rich history and a story about my Dad and how chasing the perfect photo is a little like his favorite hobby - fishing (Goin' Fishing, Channeling my Dad's Favorite Hobby).  Happy Spring!

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