Nativities From Around the World - Remembering the Reason for the Season

Monday, December 18, 2023

 It's easy to get so caught up in Christmas, the twinkly lights, the presents, the festivities. There's so much to love about the holidays.  Sometimes it's easy to forget the real reason for the season, but last week we visited an exhibit that was the perfect reminder - a reminder that people all around the world celebrate the true reason for the season.

Thanks to Cassie Hudson, WTEN, we learned about the exhibit at the Parks-Bentley Place in South Glens Falls.  The Historical Society of Moreau and South Glens Falls became the caretaker of a massive collection of nativities, once owned by Stanley W. Malecki, a teacher and one of the historical societies most dedicated and generous volunteers.  Stan collected nativities from all over the world - over 300 of them.  He used to share his collection each year displayed at the Parks-Bentley home.  Stan passed away in 2020 but in order to ensure that the collection would be enjoyed for years to come, Stan gave the whole collection to the historical society.  Each year about 125 of the nativities get displayed throughout the home where visitors can enjoy them, just like Stan intended.  Last weekend was the last weekend of the exhibit, but there is one more opportunity to view it this season, and that is on December 30th.  

Each year, the collection is rotated and a different group is displayed.  This year the collection, “Forging Christmas: Nativities of Substance” is celebrating the medium in which each set was crafted.  Displayed in several rooms of the home, nativities were grouped by material, some made from wood, metal, paper,  banana leaves, ebony, and more.  Notice that even the animals varied depending on where the nativity was created.  

Nuts and Bolts


Can you imagine?  So many uniquely different representations of the Holy Family.  The exhibit at  Parks-Bentley Place is located at 53 Ferry Boulevard in South Glens Falls and will be open for one more day this season on December 30 from noon to 7:00 pm.  Admission is $5.00.    

Sugarbush Lane Mercantile in Historic Charlton NY

Friday, December 15, 2023

 It sounds like something out of a storybook and Sugarbush Lane Mercantile is filled with everything big girl fantasies are made of.

I've been seeing glimpses of Sugarbush Lane Mercantile on Instagram for a while now, but it wasn't until an impromptu visit this afternoon that I got to experience it for myself.  I wasn't even inside the door yet when I knew I had to share it on the blog.  It wasn't just because I love being able to spread the word about new local businesses, although I do enjoy that, it was because the glimpses I'd seen were only the tip of the wonderland.

Carrie Shea has done what all the best shop owners do - she managed to fill a one-room space with so much curated beauty, every one of your senses will perk up and come alive.  The entire space - what was once the formal living room in this 1790's home - is packed full with a perfect mix of vintage and new merchandise, all arranged so beautifully, so artfully, yet so down-to-earth homey that it feels like the pages of the best magazines.  Carrie and her husband bought this home a couple years ago, and while Carrie dreamt of one day owning a shop, she didn't plan on that shop being in her home.  As sometimes happens in life...opportunity came knocking, and Carrie's formal living room was transformed into a charming retail space.  As if it were always meant to be, a mercantile was born in the heart of Charlton, NY.  They opened their doors this past June.

In Carrie's own words,  "Our family-owned mercantile is built on a traditional foundation of living with intention and offering quality goods that will stand the test of time.  At Sugarbush Lane we honor the past through our heirloom antique and vintage pieces while incorporating everyday essentials inspired by our surroundings. Our small shop is a nod to the historic general farm store mercantile of days past that offered a variety of home goods to the community. Each carefully curated offering intends to bring beauty into everyday utility and functionality in the home. We are rooted in conscious and sustainable values and are devoted to making a positive impact for future generations."  I think when you see the photos, you'll agree Sugarbush Lane Mercantile is exactly all that!

This photo below, with a narrow ray of sun shining directly on the honeybee and honey, seemed to be the ideal illustration of the way everything in the Mercantile just feels perfectly curated, yet down-to-earth enough to fit into anyone's home - even if it isn't a 1790 farmhouse as beautiful as this one. On this sunny afternoon, even the rays of sunlight did their part in adding just the right warm glow to this already charming shop.
Speaking of the house....Can you even get over this entry?  This mural features Charlton in simpler times (the Mercantile to the left of the church below).  

If you haven't already, make a plan to visit Sugarbush Lane Mercantile soon.  It is located at 2022 Maple Avenue in Charlton NY, just north of the Charlton Historical Society Museum.  While you're there, have lunch at the beautiful Charlton Tavern, another great piece of Charlton history.  The Mercantile is open Fridays 3:00-6:00pm, Saturday 11:00-5:00 and Sunday 12:00-5:00.  For more information and to follow them on social media:  
Thank you, Carrie, for your time and hospitality and for sharing yourself and your shop with us!  It's a pleasure to be able to share the Mercantile with my readers.  I can't wait to come back!  But I know everyone must say that.  For those who are wondering, I did not leave empty handed.  You probably won't either ;)
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