Enjoying Old Fashioned Sunday at the Pruyn House

Sunday, September 9, 2018
Did anyone notice that summer took a break this weekend? I don't know about you, but I wasn't sad to feel chilly, or turn on the fireplace or switch to long pants....even if it's only temporary.  The timing couldn't have been better since today was the 35th annual Old Fashioned Sunday at the Pruyn House in Latham, NY.  If you've never been, I hope my blog post will encourage you to check it out next year.  This was our second time at Old Fashioned Sunday, although we are regular visitors and have featured the Pruyn House here on the blog a few times.  Today's event was jam-packed with all sorts of fun things, including many things to show the kids what things were like in the 'old days' and plenty of fun stuff for the adults to enjoy too.
We went with our granddaughters, daughter and son-in-law.  When I tell you there was a lot of fun stuff to do, I'm not kidding.  We arrived at 12:40 and never left till the very end....4:00pm.  Even then, we didn't see/participate in everything. 
Always a favorite for us is the sheep shearing!  We are always amazed at how docile and cooperative the sheep are during this process....probably because they're over this hot weather too!

Before and After Sheep

Helderberg Blacksmiths were on hand demonstrating their trade....

And then there was the very fascinating Grondahl's Wizard Workskop where children could assist in the making of their very own wish wand!  Mommies can help too!  I've never been inside of a wizard's shop, but I'm pretty sure this one was as authentic and cool as they get!

 Of course any day.....old fashioned or not, is a good day for animals.  What kid do you know who doesn't beg for a pony ride?

A real crowd pleaser was Jim Snack, Magician Extraordinaire!  Jim had the crowd riveted as he did one trick after another, delighting kids and adults all afternoon. 

There was an artist doing caricatures...
 And Jennifer Sweeney doing face painting.....also a big crowd collector.  We attempted that line about 4 different times before we finally stayed long enough to get through to the end, but it was worth it!  I give Jennifer the medal of patience and I'd give a nickel to know how many faces she painted today.  I know it was a lot....single handedly, patiently, elaborately and never once looking or acting tired.

 There were three different musical groups providing entertainment - The Centennial Brass Choir, the Town of Colonie Band and the South Colonie Friends of Music Band.  All three were wonderful and  the music was at precisely the right volume - loud enough to hear all throughout the grounds, but quiet enough to converse - all throughout the grounds.  There were many vendors too.  I was busy doing kid stuff, so I'm sorry I didn't get pictures of them all.  Here are just a few!

There was delicious food...sorry no photos, you'll have to trust me. The Kiwanis folks were grilling delicious hot dogs and burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, and there was ice cream from Emack & Bolio's.  I never made it to the schoolhouse for the storytelling but we did see Pete the Cat strolling through the crowd at one point.  Whether you were looking to pick up some fresh cut floral bouquets, some gourds and pumpkins, some jam or honey, a mum or two or three, framed art by local artists or goat milk soap (by Sweet Rama), there was no shortage of things to buy and do at the Pruyn House.  And the best part.....admission was free!  So were the pony rides and face painting, caricatures and entertainment!  How many times do you find family activities like that?  Add on some cool autumn weather and the day is perfect.  Thank you Pruyn House for such a wonderful family activity...for 35 years.  If you aren't familiar with the Pruyn House, you really must check it out.  Even when there is no activity going on, you can tour the beautiful historic estate, come for their summer concert series, visit during the holidays for the greens sale and to see the house decorated for Christmas.  I promise you'll wonder how you've missed it till now.  For more information:
Thanks for coming along on our adventures at Life As I See It.  We don't get fancy, and we don't get exotic or travel far, but we sure enjoy life in our little neck of the woods.  I hope this blog encourages you to do a little exploring of your own!  
My favorite sidekick!

Seven Years After Hurricane Irene Struck Schoharie County, There's A Silver Lining

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

If you were to read my Directory (and I wish you would) you'd see that I have some favorite places, places I visit and share here on the blog.  Most of them are right here in NYS within an hour from home.  Those places include, in no particular order, Easton, Chatham, Galway, Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie counties.  Aside from the fact they all appear a shameless number of times in the blog, they are all rural countrysides.  They all have miles and miles of open fields and farms, they're each quite photogenic and over the past four years, I've met some truly wonderful people who live in each of these locales. Most of these places were fairly new to me when I started the blog, that is except for Schoharie county.  I've been visiting Schoharie county for a good four decades.  My dad's job often took him to Schoharie county and when the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitor Center opened, we visited.  A very close family friend, Ruth LaPan, moved from Saratoga Lake to Blenheim where, in her 70's or so, she ran the Blenheim House until her death.  When our girls were little, we visited the Power Authority and Ruth, and we took my grandmother to Shaul's for her annual trunk-load harvest.  Oh how she loved food, especially fresh, local produce.  With such a long love affair for Schoharie, you can imagine how heartsick I was when John and I drove through the village of Schoharie seven years ago a couple days after Hurricane Irene unleashed her fury leaving everything covered in mud and debris.  Destroying homes, crops, belongings, livelihoods and lives, there was a time when things in Schoharie county looked pretty bleak.  Here's a glimpse of what we saw that day in 2011 that I'll never forget....

I have more, but they're just too sad.  A year later we took our granddaughter to the Pumpkin Patch and while things were looking more normal, there were definitely still signs of the flood that no one would forget.
Sign in the lower left corner indicates water levels from previous floods.

Blenheim-Gilboa Visitor Center

Schoharie isn't the only place to have lived through such a devastation of nature, not this year not other years. Seeing these photos reminds me that driving through the destruction of Hurricane Irene, seeing the chaos it brought, knowing the lives it changed....we spectators have no idea of just how much was lost in the course of one terrible storm.  We saw it on the news, we read about it online and in the papers, but just like any other form of tragedy and loss, we haven't a clue of the depth of loss that those affected had to overcome.  To drive through this area today, one would probably never know anything happened back in 2011.  They wouldn't know the struggles of the farmers whose crops were lost.  Houses along Main Street are mostly recovered, though not all.  To the uninformed tourist, one would never know.  But that doesn't erase the pain, it doesn't fix the broken, it doesn't ease the worry - worry that such a flood might happen again one day, even when things look like this....
This past weekend we visited some of our favorite spots in Schoharie county.  We had lunch at Schoharie Valley Farms, always a perfect stop for a delicious lunch, a baked dessert, fresh produce and beautiful things for your garden.  From there we went on to Middleburg to Under the Nose where we split one of Lin Quinn's delicious homemade ice cream sandwiches.  We made sure to bring home a 'Booger" for the grandkids too!  If you've never been or if you've never heard of a 'Booger', check out my post:
Then, with tummy's full and the weather perfect, we spent the next few hours driving the back roads of Schoharie county.  Some people may say there's no God, but the people in Schoharie county might beg to differ.  I don't know if it was the crystal blue sky or the puffy white clouds, or just God smiling down on the anniversary of the victims of Hurricane Irene, but I might say the photos I took that day are some of the prettiest I've ever captured.  For that one sunny day, the black cloud that was Hurricane Irene was a distant memory.  For those who read this that endured the Flood of 2011, know you are strong, you are resilient, you are survivors.  Your struggles may seem unnoticed but there are many who look up to you and remember your defeat that awful August day.  As in most dark clouds, there was a silver lining and in that lining exists one of the prettiest places on earth.  I know - I've seen it.  I've savored it, I've captured it and I share it.  Here's a small glimpse of the many photos from this weekend.  The rest will be featured in a short movie montage on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/GAWelter/

Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.  I hope you'll share today's post with people you know who love Schoharie county as much as I do.  This post is for all of them.  To read more posts about Schoharie, check out my Directory (https://www.lifeasiseeitphotography.net/p/directory.html) under Destinations-New York.  If you enjoyed this blog and want to read more, consider subscribing!  All you need to do is enter your email and every new post will be delivered right to your inbox.  No more waiting for Facebook to bring it to you.

An Early Morning Cruise Aboard Adirondack Cruise & Charter's Kaydeross

Thursday, August 30, 2018
Keeping things on the water here on the blog...why...because we have so many amazing water possibilities in upstate NY, and because as you already know, I love the water.  If you've been around the blog for even a year of its four year run, you know that one of my favorite ways to enjoy Saratoga Lake is aboard one of the Adirondack Cruise & Charter vessels.  Since it's inception, John and I have been frequent passengers - first on the Kaydeross, a 22 ft. pontoon boat and then the General Schuyler, a 50 ft. replica fantail launch.  We've enjoyed the sunset cruises and the coffee cruises on both boats and I have to admit besides the sunset cruise, my favorite has always been a coffee cruise on the pontoon boat up Fish Creek.  Now that Adirondack Cruise and Charter is practically a household name in these parts, most of the cruises go out on the General Schuyler because that vessel holds a lot more passengers.  The downside of that is that it can't travel as far up Fish Creek as the pontoon boat.  I'm probably in the minority in that I'd prefer the serenity of the creek over the lake so in order to get my 'creek fix' this year, we decided to do a private charter coffee cruise on the creek. Let me say, it was worth every penny and was everything and more than I hoped it to be.

Hal Raven is the owner of Adirondack Cruise and Charter and while he has a few other capable and friendly Co-Captains helping him man his vessels, Hal has become a good friend over the years so we were thrilled to have him as our Coffee Captain.  Little disclaimer here.....while I longed for an early morning cruise on the creek, the 'coffee' part of it was never important so we just brought along our own donuts and pastry and beverages.  Most coffee cruises do include coffee and beautiful souvenir mugs which we've enjoyed on previous cruises.  In fact, I have a collection of 4.  Today's cruise included my husband, John, and our daughter Laura and husband, Eric and our two granddaughters.  My mom had planned to come along but a bout of sciatica caused her to cancel.  Katie, Mike and Alex (15 months old) didn't partake this time since Alex is a little too young and adventurous to let his mom and dad get the most out of the experience.  Alex's first adventure on the General Schuyler was Father's Day 2017 when he was only 6 weeks old!  We start 'em young.
Despite the less than perfect weather recently, this cruise landed on a perfect morning and let me say, this 90 minutes of peaceful, smooth glide along what I refer to as the New York everglades (you'll see why) was just what the doctor ordered.

Captain Hal

Green Heron waiting for a snack to happen by.

Great Blue Heron

Some early morning yoga...

 Looking for some creek-side real estate:

 And last but not least, the beautiful General Schuyler....

Whether you're in the market for one of Hal's regular cruises or are interested in a private charter of your own, the Adirondack Cruise and Charter can accommodate! Hal and his team have hosted bridal showers and bachelorette parties, corporate events and seasonal specials. Whether you have a party of 2 or 22, Adirondack Cruise and Charter can accommodate your sailing needs.  There's still time left this season to get out there and enjoy one of New York's finest attractions. In fact, the Adirondack Cruise and Charter was voted one of Saratoga's Fab 5 attractions.  Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Saratoga Lake, not just from the shoreline, but from the middle of the lake!  Hal has lake and sunset cruises running all Labor Day weekend as well as throughout September and October.  For more information and to see their schedule of cruises: http://www.adkcruise.com/   To follow Adirondack Cruise & Charter on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdkCruise/  If a coffee cruise sounds like just what the doctor ordered, those run every sunday morning at 11:00.  Check the website for reservations.  You won't be disappointed.  To read earlier posts about Adirondack Cruise & Charter:

And if you're wondering if I have some sort of financial stake in the company since I write about it so often...no I don't.  But I DO have a genuine passion for it having grown up on Saratoga Lake.  It's my only means to get out on the water to enjoy my old stomping ground and savor the memories of days gone by.  I promise you'll come away feeling relaxed and satisfied and longing for more too.  Get out there and check it out soon!  Thanks for stopping by Life As I See It.

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