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Ring Finger

A New Generation Marries (Here, in Wellsboro), and in the Finger Lakes, the Hot New Wedding Destination

By Brendan O’Meara

Wedding Wares Champagne Toasts Baying Beagles

JANUARY 2016 1

Volume 11 Issue 1


Ring Finger

Something Old, Something New

By Brendan O’Meara A new generation marries in the Finger Lakes, the hot new wedding destination.

By Holly Howell

It’s a new year, and a whole new world in drinking Champagne.


Winter Music

By Don Knaus

Of baying bealges and white tails in the snow.

6 The Flame of Love


By Maggie Barnes There’s nothing like marrying a firefighter to give that special day a special glow.

Back of the Mountain

By Bernadette ChiaramonteBrown A perfect team.

16 Walking Down the (Housewares) Aisle By Cornelius O’Donnell Shopping for that perfect couple’s perfect kitchen.

Cover by Tucker Worthington; cover photo by Betsy Snyder. This page (from top): By Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry; Courtesy of Maggie Barnes; and by Kristin Ausk.

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w w w. m o u n ta i n h o m e m ag . co m Editors & Publishers Teresa Banik Capuzzo Michael Capuzzo Associate Publisher George Bochetto, Esq. Advertising Director Ryan Oswald D e s i g n & P h o t o g r ap h y Elizabeth Young, Editor Tucker Worthington, Cover Design Contributing Writers Maggie Barnes, Melissa Bravo, Patricia Brown Davis, Alison Fromme, Carrie Hagen, Holly Howell, Roger Kingsley, Don Knaus, Cindy Davis Meixel, Fred Metarko, David Milano, Gayle Morrow, Cornelius O’Donnell, Brendan O’Meara, Roger Neumann, Gregg Rinkus, Linda Roller, Diane Seymour, Kathleen Thompson, Joyce M. Tice C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Mia Lisa Anderson, Melissa Bravo, Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown, Bill Crowell, Bruce Dart, Ann Kamzelski, Jan Keck, Nigel P. Kent, Roger Kingsley, Heather Mee, Ken Meyer, Suzan Richar, Tina Tolins, Sarah Wagaman, Curt Weinhold, Terry Wild S a l e s R ep r e s e n t a t i v e s Michael Banik, Alicia Blunk, Curt Fuhrman, Linda Roller, Alyssa Strausser Administrative Assistant Amy Packard T h e B ea g l e Cosmo (1996-2014) Yogi (Assistant) ABOUT US: Mountain Home is the award-winning regional magazine of PA and NY with more than 100,000 readers. The magazine has been published monthly, since 2005, by Beagle Media, LLC, 25 Main St., 2nd Floor, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at Copyright © 2010 Beagle Media, LLC. All rights reserved. E-mail story ideas to editorial@mountainhomemag. com, or call (570) 724-3838. TO ADVERTISE: E-mail, or call us at (570) 724-3838. AWARDS: Mountain Home has won 66 international and statewide journalism awards from the International Regional Magazine Association and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for excellence in writing, photography, and design. DISTRIBUTION: Mountain Home is available “Free as the Wind” at hundreds of locations in Tioga, Potter, Bradford, Lycoming, Union, and Clinton counties in PA and Steuben, Chemung, Schuyler, Yates, Seneca, Tioga, and Ontario counties in NY. SUBSCRIPTIONS: For a one-year subscription (12 issues), send $24.95, payable to Beagle Media LLC, 25 Main St., 2nd Floor, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit




SALES • SERVICE • PARTS w w w. s i m m o n s - r o c k w e l l . c o m


© Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry

© Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry

© Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry

Ring Finger A New Generation Marries in the Finger Lakes, the Hot New Wedding Destination

That perfect day: Jenn Shoemaker and Kurt Bastian (right), of Owego, New York, married at the Esperanza Mansion in Penn Yan in April 2014, and took advantage of gusty winds above a still-frozen Keuka Lake to fly a kite. (Top) Atlanta residents Ann Evangelista and David Bowers began the day of their nuptials with a swim across Seneca Lake and a 5K run. Ann arrived by boat at the wedding ceremony, held on a private dock where her groom awaited. 6

© Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry

By Brendan O’Meara


very landscape, every picture, seems bound for postcard-dom. The clouds look happy. Even when it rains in the Finger Lakes it doesn’t rain the same because some photographer has figured a way to make the descending water a prop in the grand drama that is Wedding Day. The trees let down their long limbs like wedding trains sweeping along the grass. Way out atop the hill, the vineyards give way to the trees, which give way to the shores slapped by the cold, glacial water running fathoms deep. Across the lake, the view runs on to infinity, so it’s fitting that when the music cues and Father walks Daughter down the aisle that nobody, not for a second, sees the lake, feels the wind’s gentle brushstrokes, or catches the botanical fragrances perfuming from the freshly cut grass. All eyes fix on the kinetic beauty growing ever closer to her partner in what we can only hope is their own infinity, however long that may be, to the end of their days. • Therese and Ryan Fessenden met at Cornell University, both in the ROTC program, he a junior, she a sophomore. He had family from King Ferry, New York; hers hailed from Jersey City, New Jersey. Therese loved how good a listener Ryan was, how considerate he was, not to mention he was “just really cute,” she says. In her words, she thinks that he thinks she’s funny and “I guess he finds me cute,” a wink in her voice. Soon after college, Ryan’s military career took him to Georgia and Therese’s took hers to Washington, as in Washington, a diagonal rope across the country. “Skype was our best friend,” Therese says. We made trips as much as we could, maybe once a month or every other month. A lot of money went to plane tickets.” Soon Ryan would be stationed in Hawaii at the Schofield Barracks, about the same distance as a Boeing 747 flies from Washington. More distance. It became apparent, though not a guarantee, that they would be spending

a life together, but these are never certain until they are certain. Therese would move to Hawaii, but it would cause some upheaval. Honolulu to her hometown of Jersey City crosses, like, six hundred time zones. “I would really have to make some serious life changes to go there,” she told Ryan. The writing, as it were, was spray painted on the wall. Ryan and Therese, both on Hawaii, took a short flight to the island of Kauai for the day, since flights were cheap. They toured the island and found one of those can-this-scenery-be-even-more-stunning? locations on the rim of the Waimea Canyon. Ryan had the ring in his pocket. They had been dating for three years. It was time. He felt for it, but…what the hell is that sound? Dirt bikers flew over the ridge, unmuffled engines belching exhaust, spitting on this moment, this perfect moment at the Waimea Canyon. The ring, for a time, stayed in Ryan’s pocket. Later that night, the moon was out, laying down a carpet of white light along the Pacific Ocean. The moon, the water, the beach, no dirt bikes. This was it. “I was little off guard,” says Therese. “I knew it would happen, but not then.” While filling out the multiple choice of where to get married, one would think they would take their No. 2 pencils and bubble in either A) Hawaii B) Hawaii C) Hawaii or D) Hawaii. Maybe E) None of the Above. Maybe the Finger Lakes, where they went to school, where their family could have better access to them. Maybe that. Ryan always loved wine, harbors dreams of one day owning his own vineyard. Maybe flying from Honolulu and from the region that spawns countless dream weddings to a place of greater sentiment would be “More about us and where we came from,” as Therese puts it. So while others would always fly west for their solemn vows, Ryan and Therese flew east, to where they met. “I thought it was fun and exciting,” says Therese. “Usually couples are going the other way. We were coming into the arms of family.”

And on September 6, 2015, more stunning than the grape-hewn vistas, more calming than the water, more pretty than the coming autumn, was Therese looking out her window at all the chairs that would soon be full, all those people symbolizing, “support and happiness coming out for us,” Therese says. Closer to home. • It’s easy to imagine why this time of year, this window from Thanksgivingish to the Ball Drop drama into the New Year, is Engagement Season. notes that forty-three percent of all couples give the affirmative to a life together at this time. Many drop to a knee at the standingroom-only dining table with a captive audience. The suspense could break the gravy into its component parts, dry out the dark meat, unspiral the ham, re-cant the wine. S/he says “yes,”—pardon—YES! And then the Wedding Planning (WP) starts. That last week of December and the weeks of January are hot ones. Soon the phases shift from bright-eyed dreams of rainbows and dewdrops to the youcan’t-invite-them-if-you-don’t-them phase. Then the eye-roll-to-mom chapter comes. At least there’s the workweek. Sixty-three percent of brides do their planning from Monday to Thursday, WP mainly at noon or when new episodes of Modern Family air, which is to say, nine o’clock post meridiem. Looking at the calendar, looking at all those days to stick a pin, thirty-three percent opt for spring while twenty-eight percent choose summer. Fall, with all its deciduous-ness, earns the bronze with 20 percent of wedding dates. Over twothirds of all weddings fall on Saturday. But where? Where will couples choose to host their wedding? Where will they inevitably disappoint picky relatives who are apt to say, “Well, that was different,” and not mean it in a good way? If said couple, in the midst of WP, See Ring Finger on page 8 7

Grand finale: Ann Evangelista arranged a surprise fireworks display for husband David Bowers at their dockside wedding on Seneca Lake.

Ring Finger continued from page 7

lives in Washington D.C., NYC, or even Hawaii (as in Hawaii), they put a pin right in the heart of the Finger Lakes, one of the hottest sites for a destination this side of, well, a certain dreamy Pacific archipelago. • “It’s something exclusive. They like that it’s unique, beautiful, and private.” That’s Jeff Hall, who handles the marketing for the Estate at Glenora Falls. The year 2015 marked the first year where his family’s estate offered weddings to the public. Hall, as well as other family members, had been married on the site in prior years, but with the demand so high for people looking for that perfect backdrop, something they can call their own, something a little different, it made sense to open their doors. “We’ve heard people call the Finger Lakes the eighth wonder of the world,” 8

says Hall. Their waterfall cuts a perfect swath through the shale. It looks like one of those calming water fountains only on a 100x scale. The water running down and through provides a superior soundtrack, but it’s also visually stunning. Hall and the people involved at the estate recently booked a couple from California. “They have some family in the area from what I’ve heard,” says Hall. “Having the beautiful backdrop of the falls and the isolation are reasons for choosing Glenora Falls.” Just up the hill, Glenora Wine Cellars, a resort, has been perfectly positioned for this recent wedding boom. • Kathy Marchenese, the event manager at The Inn at Glenora (aka Glenora Winery, aka Glenora Wine Cellars) since 2011, has been in the game for twelve years.

© Rick Bacmanski PhotoArtistry

At her previous gig (c. 2003), she hosted sixteen weddings in the first year. In 2004 it jumped to twenty-five, then thirty-five the following season. By the fourth year, she hosted sixty-five weddings. When she accepted the job at Glenora, she noticed a similar rise in popularity for the down-home nature of the outdoor weddings set among the sweeping panorama of the vineyards and the lakes. “Millennial couples are opting for more casual weddings, more than half of them want their weddings to be more semiformal,” Marchenese says. “That’s why your religious institutions and banquet halls aren’t as popular. Historical buildings, vineyards, unique barns, and farms are on the rise from when I was married. They want a more down-to-earth experience, more organic and natural.” Marchenese sees the calendar fill

up with couples from Pennsylvania and New York City (about half of all bookings come from PA and NYC), Virginia, Connecticut, Washington D.C. and even Hawaii and London. The latter brought Agi Letkiewicz and Marines Piney across the Atlantic with about thirty people in tow (far more showed up on the domestic front). Letkiewicz grew up in Syracuse, but she and her wife settled on England because they love travel and saw London as a great hub to explore the whole of Europe. But when it came to their wedding, they shipped west to the Finger Lakes, specifically Glenora Winery. Letkiewicz writes via email, “When we decided we wanted to get married at a vineyard we researched many places. What we found is that the Finger Lakes offers the same stunning scenery, summer sunshine, daytime excursions, great food and delicious wine as say See Ring Finger on page 10 9

Ring Finger continued from page 9

France or Connecticut, but at a much more affordable price. It was also nice to be close to the comforts of home. Our UK guests were a little surprised by the long drive from the city, but once they arrived they were absolutely blown away by all the area had to offer and thanked us for showing them this part of the world. On Thursday we took about forty people on a hike of Watkins Glen State Park to see the falls and on Friday we had dinner on the lake. Everyone loved it!” With France, the United Kingdom, heck, all of Europe at their finger tips, they instead chose to experience their wedding—dressed in gowns, each holding bouquets, the two overlooking columns of vineyards and one long stretch of water—smack in the middle of the FLs. The Glenora Winery hosts no more than forty-five weddings a year, though it could, in theory, take on a number in the sixties. Marchenese prefers to focus on a smaller amount that she and her


team can handle with greater attention to detail instead of mass producing weddings at an impersonal, industrial clip. Just five years ago, Glenora Winery hosted about thirty-one to thirty-two weddings. That grew to the mid-forties, which doesn’t jump off the page, but that is still a growth of a little over thirty percent. And yet it’s not the sheer numbers, but the pace at which Marchenese’s calendar fills up that speaks to the popularity of the Finger Lakes as a premier destination. By mid-December 2015, Marchenese had already booked thirty-four, a rate that’s six to eight weddings faster over the same period in previous years. • Imagine, for an instant, waking up the morning of your wedding and swimming across a lake and then running a 5K. Rick Bacmanski, an Elmira-based wedding photographer, someone who has done this

for sixteen years, some six hundred fifty weddings, has shot a couple at the White House, as in the White House, fielded one of the more memorable requests in 2012. Ann Evangelista and David Bowers, an Atlanta-based couple in their forties with those cruelly athletic bodies vined in hemoglobin-dense Type II muscle, woke on their wedding morning, slipped into their sleeveless Orca wetsuits with the Team in Training logo stamped on the front, and plunged into the lake. They swam the crawl all the way across the lake and when they reached the other side, the sun doing its sun thing in the early morning, their smiles wrapping around their heads, like, so happy, took a few chugs from flutes of champagne. Bacmanski has seen a lot, but this! It’s part of what makes his work un-job-ish. Evangelista and Bowers weren’t through. Not yet. They laced up their running shoes and ran 5,000 kilometers, 3.2 miles, metric or English, it’s all the same. Bacmanski sat in the back of a Blazer and let his

Steve Schwarz © Schwarz ProFoto Technicolor dream: Stan and Malisa Nichols, of Athens, Pennsylvania, were married at the Ginny Lee Cafe at Wagner Vineyards.

Nikon D3S single-lens reflex rip through pixels, capturing the couple holding hands, running at a conversational clip, gastrocs, like, ripped as they ran past a banner saying “Wine a Bit, You’ll Feel Better.” Once done, Evangelista and Bowers parted, her to this key-lime gown, he to a double-vented tan linen suit. She rode not down the aisle, but upon the Emerald Cut, a beautifully lacquered boat just trying to steal the spotlight from Evangelista, but, you know, failing because she looked that perfect. The property they got married on was close to Evangelista’s aunt’s house on the lake. Evangelista always loved the views, how those clouds look painted up there up over the mountains. “It had a pretty side of a hill, trees, it would have Martha Stewart’s stamp of approval. This is the place,” Bacmanski says. Evangelista asked the couple who

owned the property if, one day, she could get married there. Michael and Elaine Jackubowski obliged. For Evangelista it was, in a way, a piece of her childhood. “[Elaine] was just like Martha Stewart,” Bacmanski says. “She made it so perfect, so nice. The bride was delivered by that boat. The groom was at the end of the dock.” Bowers and Evangelista sat at the end of the dock, the sun casting all kinds of psychedelics across the sky. Evangelista sat back in Bowers’ arms, a conspiratorial grin on her face. There was still more to the show, something different, a grand finale of sorts. She had made arrangements with the folks from a few docks down, made some important phone calls. Bowers sat in a white wicker chair. Evangelista slouched down to his left and put her arm around him. He reached across his chest with his right hand and held hers, or her arm, either way, they held each

other. Both looked over the water and… UP. Fireworks burst in the sky, these giant asterisks of flame burning magnesiumbright high above the trees. • Brittany Gibbs, tourism and marketing manager for the WatkinsGlen Chamber of Commerce, says, “There’s definitely been an explosion for people wanting to come here to get married. For so many people, they come here on trips as couples, with groups of friends, family, and it becomes such a little paradise, get-away for people that they love to come back and experience that again on a momentous day like their wedding.” Gibbs once worked in the wine industry and knows how special the vineyards can be to visiting couples. “I can’t tell you how many engagements I witnessed,” she says. “So I think when See Ring Finger on page 13


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Ring Finger continued from page 11

people get engaged in a romantic getaway destination like the Finger Lakes their natural desire is to follow up with a wedding.” The Knot, a much-perused nuptial website, has noted how popular the Finger Lakes are in drawing ever more people to the region. “So many people are learning about the Finger Lakes as a destination wine region,” Gibbs adds. “As more and more people are looking for affordable wedding options, even on the high end in the Finger Lakes, they’re still affordable relative to what your dollar gets you in other areas.” The Finger Lakes are this chooseyour-own-adventure region. Part Middle Earth, part Napa Valley. “Weddings are funny,” says Gibbs. “You can get married on the pier here for free. Will it necessarily be private? No, it’s a public area. Or you could go somewhere like the Harbor Hotel. You could have a $100,000 wedding here in the Finger Lakes. Is it necessary? Probably not, but the options are there.” The locals that Gibbs comes across don’t get it sometimes. Why would people come here? Why would they fly in from Hawaii (like Therese and Ryan Fessenden)? From London (like

Letkiewicz and Piney)? To, of all places, this region? “It’s easy for us to take it for granted and look around and say, ‘What is the big deal?’” Gibbs says. “I hear from people all the time, locals, saying, ‘Why do people come here?’ I have to reverse the question back to them and say, ‘Why not? Look around you. It’s gorgeous here.’” For some it’s as simple as nostalgia. Tambi Schweizer, the tasting hall and wine club manager at Heron Hill Winery, knew a bride and groom who had their first date at Heron Hill, got engaged a year later at Heron Hill, and were then married a year after that at Heron Hill. She also knew a couple from Hawaii (not the Fessenden’s) who had roots in the Finger Lakes and booked their wedding along Keuka Lake. “We’ve had many engagements here that turn into weddings,” Schweizer says. Mike Countrymman, wine maker and general manager at the Point of the Bluff Vineyards, will break ground in April 2016 on two new facilities along Keuka Lake, both over 4,000 square feet, one for wine production and events and the other solely for events. See Ring Finger on page 20 13

Š Betsy Snyder






very wedding is a new beginning, a new life. In this issue, Mountain Home brings you some of those stories and photos. And every wedding has its own rhythms and meanings. Photographer Betsy Snyder (of Simply Time Photography) creates Legacy Portraits tailored to capture those feelings on canvas for the couples she photographs. This one, titled “Lead Me,” features Marshall and Katie Hargrave, wed on the Hargrave family farm in Woodhull, New York, last September. Katie lost her first husband in the first year of their marriage in a tragic accident, so there is a special poignancy in the verse she and Marshall have included on their framed portrait of “Lead Me:” I once took a thousand moments for granted because I thought there would be a million more. But today, with God’s healing, I give my hand and heart for you to lead me and I promise I will cherish every moment. 15

Courtesy of Maggie Barnes

Shawn Carpenter

Mr. & Mrs.: the newlywed Barneses with their oh-so-custom wedding cake.

The Flame of Love

There’s Nothing Like Marrying a Firefighter to Give That Special Day a Special Glow By Maggie Barnes


ill you marry me?” A s i t w a s m y assumption that Bob was down on the floor because he had dropped his fork, the question caught me by surprise. They say you often don’t recognize the most important moments in your life while they are happening. But I knew that decision would set me on a path unlike anything I had known. For not only was I getting married, but

my betrothed was a career firefighter. When you are the baby of the family, there is a certain kind of joy that blesses your wedding day. You are the final line in the first chapter of your family book. I closed the door on the years when my parents and siblings resided together and it felt like each other was all we would ever need. I gave up the last holding on the family name and assumed a new one, along with a

new family. I think my sisters were bittersweet about their thirty-something sibling finally tying the knot. Though it was hard to sort the tears from the smiles. Especially when they exclaimed to my only-child fiancé, “We would be happy it was anyone, but we are really happy it’s you!” Ap p a re n t l y, t h e y h a d b e e n harboring the fear that I would end See Flame of Love on page 18



Courtesy of Maggie Barnes

Your chariot awaits: and who needs a limo if an aerial ladder fire truck is at your command? Flame of Love continued from page 16

up an old lady, eating TV dinners in an unheated third-floor walk-up and lusting after Alex Trebeck’s moustache, without a husband. So, with high hopes they awaited the details of the wedding. I found a dress I loved at a bridal shop in Elmira that promptly went out of business before our first anniversary. (My sister suggested that once I was hitched, they figured that was the end of the single market and it was time to fold their tents.) We were forgoing many of the bridal traditions that we didn’t like. No head table and formal introduction, no garter or bouquet toss, no force-feeding cake to each other. This was not Gidget marries Moondoggie. We were very grown-up people. Two days before doing the “I do”s, Terri, exercising her right as eldest sister, 18

asked if Bob had reserved a limo for the ride to the reception. “No, we’re just using the truck.” The mortification on my sister’s face could have dropped a crow out of the sky. “The truck” was a Dodge Ram, faded blue with cloth seats that had a stain from every condiment known to man and a few others upon which we were still awaiting DNA results. “Robert! You are not taking my sister—in her wedding gown—in that…thing!” “It’s all washed and waxed and ready to go!” I stayed out of it. My sisters and my future husband were going to have to work out their own relationship, and I knew to keep my head down until the ride came to a complete stop. Besides, I still couldn’t believe this guy wanted to marry me. If he

had suggested exchanging rocks in the forest and riding off on a tandem bike, I would have been in. The day itself was a dream. The dress would have made Peppermint Patty look elegant, and I could see the love shining in Robert, so handsome and proud at the altar. Everything went smoothly—until it was time to light the unity candle. Bob’s parents and my nieces had lit the two family candles. But, when we tried to share those two flames into one, there was nothing but sizzling and crackling. No flame. We tried again, raising our eyes slightly to each other in a silent moment of growing panic. Snap, crackle, pop. The half dozen firefighters in the church, guys you can always count on to do what everyone else is thinking, began to giggle. Finally, Father Mark could stand it

Genetti Wedding 3.75x5.pdf

no longer and leaned in with a classic stage whisper: “Turn them around. You have the wrong end!” The congregation roared. Correct ends applied, the new, combined candle for Maggie and Robert burst into color and warmth. Bobby gave me an apologetic shrug and said, “I can put them out. I can’t start them.” I laughed out loud. In the video of the receiving line, you can now see two things that were not evident to me on that magic day. While greeting our guests, Robert spent much time looking at two things: the train on my dress and his watch. Upon leaving the church in a hail of rice and well wishes, our chariot was at the curb, gleaming as Robert promised. The passenger door was open, a white cloth was across the seat, and a firefighter waited to help me into—the cab of a 1994 KME aerial ladder fire truck. Terri, her mouth unhinged, stared at the fire truck and then slugged her new brother-in-law in the shoulder. “You rat!” she said. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Yes, we did need to apologize to the mayor for boosting one of his fire trucks, and yes, the country club hosting our reception did start to evacuate when we pulled up, but it all worked out. We danced and sang and drank champagne and, as midnight transformed today into yesterday, we rode that faded Dodge Ram into our future. More than two decades later, we still know that all you need are the right ends and the means will take care of themselves. Maggie Barnes works in health care marketing and is a resident of Waverly, New York. She is a 2015 recipient of the Keystone Press Award for her columns in Mountain Home.



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Ring Finger continued from page 13

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Since 2012, after having his wines “out there,” people called him unsolicited asking if they could host their weddings there. It only made sense to start the process of building the facilities to have weddings year-round. “We’re getting the ball rolling now,” Countryman says. As they say, strike while the iron’s hot. And even Katharine Lemos Brown, owner and designing planner of Lovewell Celebration Design, got into the business of wedding planning five and a half years ago. Her eye is ever important since the venues, these vineyards, wineries, historical buildings, barns, don’t fit into the same mold as the classic banquet hall. “It’s really about how can we have a pretty celebration that reflects them as a couple,” she says. That, at its core, is why the Finger Lakes has grabbed ahold of so many. The connection is strong and people continue to come in droves, wine in hand, toasting to new lives. • New York City has its share of émigrés who seek marital refuge off the island. The Finger Lakes provide the destination without a Hannibal-ian trek to get there. Katie and Stefan Artz made the trip, but wrestled with the recent passing of Katie’s mother due to cancer shortly before the wedding. They did the next best thing to honor her at the wedding by putting out placards for American Cancer Society donations instead of party favors. Still, it was grim to look out over Seneca Lake and see the gray skies and the rain it implied. Rain. Ugh. Why? Valerie Romig, catering manager of the Harbor Hotel, and her team saw a break in the clouds and quickly ran out to wipe off the chairs. In a few moment’s time a friend of the soon-to-be Artz’ would sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in tribute to Katie’s mother. The singer began and the rain stopped, as if the words somehow had the power to turn off the faucet. You could picture Judy Garland, the Yellow Brick Road, the Emerald City when out there, out over the lake, a rainbow beamed across the sky. For real, like, a serious multi-colored laser shot out of the clouds. Stefan saw it before Katie. He practically dropped Katie’s hands before he faced down the aisle with a smile as much in awe of the refracted light through the sky’s moisture as what it would mean to his bride. Say what you will, but Katie’s mother was there, with all of them, around them, above them, in stunning clarity, high-def color. “I’m not a big baby,” says Romig. “I do weddings all the time. I’ve never cried at a wedding before, and rightfully so, I do so many of them. That’s one I actually cried for.” Award-winning writer Brendan O’Meara is the author of Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year.


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Something Old, Something New

It’s a New Year, and A Whole New World in Drinking Champagne By Holly Howell


elcome 2016! It is a brand new year, and an exciting new beginning in so many ways. You’ve just gotta love January— the one month that offers us this extraordinary opportunity to decide on which stuff (or habits) we are happy to keep, and which stuff we need to purge. In other words, what works, and what doesn’t? It is that simple. The wine world recently had a new beginning in the realm of glassware. Over the centuries, we have seen many developments in the shape and size of wine glasses. The design of each glass is scientifically determined so that the wine is delivered to your taste buds 22

in a way that maximizes the positive components of the wine (like fruit), and de-emphasizes the negative components (like high acid and bitter tannins). For example, wines that are very crisp like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are best served in glasses that taper inward at the top. This directs the wine to the center of our palate, missing the taste buds for acidity that are on the side of our tongue. The wine is not changed at all, but our “perception” of the wine becomes more balanced because we taste more fruit and less tartness. On the other hand, wines that are very sweet and fruity tend to do best in glasses that are wider at the top,

directing the wine toward the sides of our tongue in order to bring out the little bit of acidity that is there. This helps to balance the sweetness in the wine, and help it to taste less cloying. For Champagne and sparkling wines, the recommended shape of the glass has changed drastically over the years. One of the first glasses to be used was called the “coupe,” and was designed somewhere back in the eighteenth century. Legend has it that Marie Antoinette was quite fond of Champagne. When she heard that they were looking to design a Champagne glass that was modeled after a perfect woman’s breast, she immediately

volunteered for the job. I guess you could say that she left her imprint on the wine industry. The coupe is shaped like a wide-mouthed saucer that can double as a nice ice cream dish. It is sometimes still used at weddings, although it is not considered to be efficient because the large exposure of the sparkling wine to air allows all of those marvelous bubbles to dissipate too quickly. So, soon thereafter, the shape of the glass was once again reviewed. It was decided that the surface area of wine exposed needed to be diminished to save the bubbles. Voilà—the “flute.” (Contrary to what many people think, this was not modeled after a body part.) The flute was received wonderfully, and it worked! The carbonation stayed longer in the glass, and the tall, elongated shape allowed us to view the delightful stream of bubbles as they ascended to the opening above. Since Champagne is sometimes judged by the size and length of the bubbles, the flute was particularly admired by wine judges and critics. Plus, the glasses were so romantic. The flute still lives on in a big way. But the Riedel Company of Austria, one of the most respected wine glass producers in the world, has announced that there may be an even better vehicle for the sparklers. As they studied the flute, it was determined that the subtle aromas of great Champagne were not given enough room to develop in the glass, and therefore escaped detection by the human nose. Quelle horreur! By making the bowl of the glass slightly wider, and then narrowing it towards the top (sort of like an egg shape), you get the best of both worlds. There is plenty of room for those elegant aromas to develop, and still a limited surface area for the bubbles to escape. Not to mention, the glass holds more, and is less likely to overflow. It is a total win-win. So the flute is moot. The new glass is called the Riedel Veritas Champagne glass, and a set of two will cost you about $70. Interestingly enough, Riedel has also re-introduced the coupe, but it is specifically made for cocktails! After surveying many wine loving friends, I was surprised to hear how many people had given up the flute. Several restaurants and wine bars are now serving Champagne in white wine-style glasses, which also work well. This month at Mountain Home, we are all about weddings. And with weddings comes Champagne. So if you’re venturing into a new beginning this year in the form of a marriage, start your nuptials off right: treat yourself to a set of Riedel Veritas. They are sure to stay in style. Well, at least for another hundred years or so! Holly Howell is a Certified Specialist of Wine (by the Society of Wine Educators) and a Certified Sommelier (by the Master Court of Sommeliers in England). 23



Kristin Ausk


High style: the new cupcake trend has hit the wedding cake market, too.

Walking Down the (Housewares) Aisle Shopping for That Perfect Couple’s Perfect Kitchen By Cornelius O’Donnell


t used to be a no-brainer to snag a wedding present for a family member or friend. Both the soon-to-be bride and groom (again, I say “usually”) lived apart, either still at home or in a flat with 24

roommates of the same sex. The kitchen seldom featured much more than a can opener and some battered pots, maybe some chipped china, castoffs from home, and metal forks purloined from a cafeteria—all of

this hodgepodge was jointly owned. With a ring on the engagement finger, the bride-to-be sashayed to her favorite store—usually a department store or cookware shop—and listed her wants and



needs at the “Bridal Registry.” I speak from experience, having been an usher at more weddings—always a groomsman, never a groom, that’s me—than I can remember. At least I don’t have an attic full of taffeta dresses like so many of my women friends, who’ve been bridesmaids at countless nuptials. “This will look lovely on you,” was the big lie back then, the color and cut making the gal look as if she had jaundice and a seriously misplaced waist.

Easy as Pie So I’d take myself down to the appointed store. The clerk would pull out that wish list and I’d note the prices choosing items that fit my budget and then ticking off the items, usually a place setting of sterling silver (remember that?), or the English bone china dishes glittering with gold rims and bouquets (remember those?), all of which were then charged to my account, I wrote the little cards, and the store gift-wrapped these “objects d’cuisine” and delivered them to the BTB’s door. As Ina Garten would say of a recipe, “How easy is that?”

Fast-Forward to 2016 Now, the happy couple may have lived together for years, and the kitchen has his and hers food processors, not to mention drawers full of stainless and cupboards loaded with a variety of dishes, all of which are “dishwasher-safe.” Mummie’s treasured fancy tableware and crystal is in boxes in the basement. Still, I like the idea of a sort of “kitchen shower”—a popular pre-nup pastime even today. I’ve checked around, and my friends who are up on this tell me that there are still bridal registries. I’m not surprised that places like Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond offer this service, but I hear even discount stores such as Walmart have a registry. Check it out. It’s probably a time for the recipients to get more serious about cooking and upgrade the kitchen tools. I was reminded of this by an article in the oh-souseful food magazine Cook’s Illustrated. It’s the current issue, now on the stands. The two-page spread is headed “Essential Tools (and Ingenious Gadgets).” As someone inordinately attracted to useful things for cooks, I can attest that an example of each item resides in my batterie de cuisine, and I wouldn’t part with any one of them. See Down the Aisle on page 26 25

Down the Aisle continued from page 25

Favorite Things Department One example is the marvelous rasp grater that makes short work of removing just the good part of a citrus peel and a great (grate?) item for turning hard cheeses into ethereal flakes. And when I see a TV chef trying to ferry chopped herbs or vegetables from cutting board to pan with just their hands I scream “get a bench scraper, you wretched chef!” Thank goodness for thick walls or the boys in the white coats would descend. But I digress… How about a mandoline, and/or a little garlic slicer, some silicone scrapers, an Oxo salad spinner, and little oval measuring spoons that fit into jars? The list in Cook’s is a good one, and to make these look more gift-like, wrap them and place in a woven straw shopping basket they’ll recycle.

Where to Shop These days that’s a good question. Much of what I gab about can be found using an online source such as, although I like to buy local and actually inspect merchandise when I can, so take a notebook and check out prices. And manufacturers also sell direct-to-the consumer these days—Crock-Pots are one such. And for slow cookers, I love the one-pot convenience of an insert that you can use to brown the food then pop into the “home base” and add vegetables and liquid, cover, and let cook most of the day. When all else fails consider gift certificates for stores that sell culinary necessities. It isn’t as romantic as something wrapped in white or silver paper, but the recipients can acquire something they can use. (Unlike the his and hers heart-bedecked flannel pajamas I’ve seen advertised.) Ne

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You may know, dear reader, that I am a cookbookaholic, but there are two that I’d like to see in every kitchen. The first is self-explanatory: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. The second is Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, for the many who love to cook Italian. You need very few other books unless you are gifting a slow cooker and the twosome need ideas, or the future bride and groom are nuts about a specific food. Good examples

are Asian or Mexican (though Bittman has good stuff here in both categories). For Mexican, consider books by Diana Kennedy or Rick Bayless. And my vote for vegetarians goes to anything by Deborah Madison. My advice on the book issue: stay away from a restaurant chef ’s book. These are so often show-off ideas suitable for other restaurants to copy or adapt. They lure with great gastro-porn photography but are useless to the home cook.

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Be a Sherlock or Nancy Drew As far as major purchases for the couple, perhaps a joint present from a few friends, you have to be a sleuth and either check out the contents of the “towed” folks’ kitchen or ask subtle questions about their cooking habits and aims. But when you figure out what to get them, be sure to pick top brands, they’ll last longer and are worth the investment. Check the Cook’s magazine’s suggestions. Go for the really good stuff: Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and LeCreuset pans, along with the top-rated slow cooker. Chances are these will last as long as the marriage. Wait—maybe even much longer. Over the years I’ve also gone for the offbeat. I’ve found cast-iron skillets or Dutch ovens—both essentials in any kitchen—in antique shops and boxed them up (cleaned, of course), and I’ve included one of the cast-iron cookbooks you can find at Amazon. You have to know (guess) that the recipients will treasure these “broken-in and seasoned” pans. Or invest in new ones—they’re not that expensive. If you want to splurge, or if the bride or groom are related to you, do what I have done for those great-nephews (there are five in my gang at last count, and so far two have married): I send them one of the antique sterling cake servers I have hoarded for years. I have two left, well, one. I use one to elegantly serve cake, pie, and—more importantly in today’s world— pizza. These should become supremely useful and even beloved treasures.

Give a Gift with Class Full disclosure here: I am the director of 171 Cedar Art Center’s Culinary program in Corning. There are about nine classes beginning in January and running through May, all different, all intriguing. It’s a wonderful way to learn menus from a variety of See Down the Aisle on page 28

y or St


“Every week at least two people come in with the magazine in hand and say, ‘We found you in Mountain Home.’ It works for us!”

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Down the Aisle continued from page 27

local professional chefs. Yes, you can check out the many TV cooking shows, but there is nothing like learning from a “live” source—and these sessions are really live. You can actually have tastes of what the chef prepares, and you can mingle with like-minded participants. So think about giving the to-be-weds a gift certificate or two. Call 171 for more information.

Let Them Eat Cake If asked, my favorite wedding cake would have to be a spiced carrot cake. And I remember a fairly recent wedding I attended had carrot-cake cupcakes arrayed on tiers and looking like a de-constructed traditional gateau. I also saw a version with a layered cake on the top tier that the couple cut in the traditional his and hers slices. (No, they didn’t smash a piece into each other’s face. Sorry, but that’s a dumb idea to me and a waste of good food.) I tried to get a relevant cake recipe to showcase here, and my search yielded this offering from the vaunted Cook’s magazine (a subscription to this might be another kitchen shower add-on.) This sounded right to me, and it yields about twenty servings, so why not consider this for either a rehearsal dinner or the big event, using several cakes on a flower- and swag-bedecked round table? Dare I suggest that each member of the wedding party (guys and gals) bring a cake? I just might. Seems to me Italians just don’t have “cake” in their DNA, at least that’s my feeling after several wonderful visits to that country over the years. Desserts are mostly fruit, great cheese, and sometimes gelato. However, they do make cakes for very special occasions, and this is one of them. You could sprinkle those little silver dragées o’er the tops of the cakes or even spell out the initials of the happy couple with them. Yes, you could. Of course, a tiny glass vial with fresh cream-colored roses would be a super topping.

Italian Wedding Cake 28

1 stick butter (4 oz.) 2 c. granulated sugar 2 large egg yolks 1 c. vegetable oil (such as Wesson) 1 small can Angel Flake coconut 1 c. pecans or walnuts lightly toasted in a single layer in a 350-degree oven for about 7 minutes

2 c. all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 c. buttermilk 1 tsp. pure vanilla 1 tsp. bourbon or rum (I like dark), optional 5 egg whites stiffly beaten

Grease three 8-inch cake pans then set aside. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter and sugar until smooth (I use the paddle attachment). Add the yolks and oil and fold them in briefly. Combine the flour and baking soda and add to the bowl. Stir and then add the buttermilk, vanilla, coconut, and nuts. Mix and then fold in the egg whites. Make sure all ingredients are well combined by briefly and carefully mixing all without deflating the egg whites. Pour the batter, dividing it equally, into the three prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester (another essential gift) comes out clean. Let cool on a rack and then turn out onto three attractive plates or cake stands. Frost with the following cream cheese concoction.

Cream Cheese Frosting 8 oz. cream cheese (or my favorite Neufchatel—less fat), softened (keep at room temperature for about an hour) ½ stick (2 oz.) unsalted butter, softened 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1 package powdered sugar Beat the softened cream cheese and softened butter until combined and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Put sugar in a large fine sieve and sprinkle over the butter mixture. Combine until smooth and then spread on the cooled cakes. See the headnote for ideas about decorating your three cakes. Then, open a bottle of Prosecco and toast the happy couple and your handiwork. Chef, teacher, author, and award-winning columnist Cornelius O’Donnell lives in Elmira, New York.


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Winter Music

Of Baying Beagles and White Tails in the Snow By Don Knaus


h the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” So says the song that we all hear around Christmas time…along with “Frosty the Snowman.” After the holidays, the

songs disappear. The irony is that we usually pray for snow for Christmas and get the white stuff dumped on us mostly during January and February. And when there’s snow on the ground, contrary to the song, I do have a place to go. I hunt rabbits. I love to hunt rabbits in the snow. Mind you,

I also love to hunt bunnies in the autumn leaves, but fall hunts are just pre-season workouts for me and my beagle. T he bu nni e s p re sent nice dark silhouettes against the white background of snow. From the time I was kid, I looked forward to hunting See Winter Music on page 32



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Winter Music continued from page 30

rabbits in the snow. Usually I hunted with a group of friends or close relatives. And usually we had baying beagles chasing B’rer Rabbit. There was nothing like it. Dogs make a difference. Snow makes all the difference. There were a few years when I had the dog that wouldn’t hunt. That forced me to hone my rabbit hunting skills. I quickly learned how to sneak hunt, silently shuffling through the snow, using the white background. I had trained my eye to spy sitting bunnies frozen stock-still in the snow, and I’d stalk them. I used a .22 rifle to dispatch them. That usually meant a clean kill and no meat wasted. That learned skill helped a great deal when I once again hunted with hounds. I love music. My tastes in tunes run an eclectic gambit. When I enjoy classical works, I close my eyes and relax, content in the beauty of the sound. I love a parade, and I fight the urge to march along with the bands. Country jamborees with the whines and twangs, and yodels, the plunking of banjos, strumming of guitars, and plinking of mandolins take me home. Whenever I hear an old time rock and roll tune, I dance…even in the kitchen. And I can’t hear an accordion play a polka without smiling. I like to sing, and I wish my instrumental ability was better than just tapping a


toe. I love music. But there are other kinds of music that I love…the hoot of a great horned owl, a coyote call dwindling to a mournful cry, ducks at dawn on a hidden pond, the deep gobble of a lovesick tom, drumming grouse. As the sun peeps over the mountain the crows, ravens, and blue jays begin disturbing the forest. Soon songbirds chime in and it’s a symphony. The sweetest music of all, though, is the bark and bay of a beagle on a bunny track. There’s a certain sense of music when beagles are barking in concert. To a beagle man, there is no sound more beautiful on earth. And I am a beagle man to the core. When my beagle was a puppy, I had the joy of hunting with her mom and dad and brother. The brother, Bandit by name, was just ten months old, and he is what’s known in the hound world as a “crackerjack” on rabbits. When Sadie, my pup’s mom, bayed in, I was amazed that her much older adult bark was just like the pup’s. I smiled. Our group included Tom, Bandit and Sadie’s owner, and Tom’s brother Mike. We hunted the dogs as a foursome, adding Beagle Annie’s aunt. We started on a long patch of brush, where I had taken my very first rabbit some fifty-five years ago, kicking up a bunny almost immediately. The

dogs were called to trail. In seconds there were excited, yapping hounds on the scent. Beautiful. The rabbit wanted to run, and it took ten minutes of barking before the bunny showed itself. Mike shot and missed, yelling, “He’s coming to you, Don!” The bunny appeared, outlined against the snow. I took aim, shot, and ended the run. The hunt was hard hunting in deep snow. Spotting a long-eared lapin was easy if the bunny broke from the tall weeds. I harvested the smallest rabbit I’ve ever taken and took a ribbing for it. But, hard as it was, the dogs barked steadily for five hours without a break. At one time there was a double split. A split is when dogs are running one rabbit and one or two pick up another track. I swear, at one time the beagles were running three different rabbits at the same time. Now that’s music. And, once, the dogs ran an old woods rabbit for more than two hours. The big bunny led the dogs into a small hollow and their barks echoed off the far hillside making it sound like a pack of a hundred hounds. I smiled and savored the moment. What a concert! Now that was some beautiful mountain music. As the snowbound hounds pushed the rabbit by, I shot and scored one for the pot. I love the snow; love the

music. Eating? I’ve got a great recipe that I use “for company” straight from my German heritage.

Retired teacher, principal, coach, and life-long sportsman Don Knaus is an award-winning outdoor writer and author of Of Woods and Wild Things, a collection of short stories on hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

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1 large or 2 small rabbit[s] ½ c. vinegar 1 ½ c. water 1 c. dry red wine 2 c. sliced onion 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. dry mustard 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper 1 Tbsp. pickling spice 8 cloves 3 bay leaves 1 c. flour, for dredging 1/3 c. butter 1 Tbsp. sugar 3 Tbsp. flour 1 c. sour cream Skin, clean and cut the rabbit[s] into pieces. Marinate 1-2 days in the next 10 ingredients. Remove the rabbit, drain, dry, dredge in flour and brown in butter in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Strain the marinade and add to the rabbit, cover and simmer 1 hour. Arrange the rabbit on a warm platter and set aside. Add the sugar to the broth. Blend 3 tablespoons flour with a little water and add to the broth. Just before serving stir in the sour cream. Pour over the rabbit and serve with noodles. Try it; you’ll like it.






Mountain Home



A Perfect Team

By Bernadette Chiaramonte-Brown


spotted these Amish logging horses working in Rutland Township, and asked the loggers if I could photograph their horses. They consented, with the stipulation that they not also be photographed. I reassured them that I would abide by their wishes, and they turned their backs to me so I wouldn’t see their faces. In the meantime, the horses stood perfectly still for their portrait!


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January 2016  

"Ring Finger" by Brendan O'Meara follows a new generation marrying (here, in Wellsboro), and in the Finger Lakes, the hot new wedding destin...

January 2016  

"Ring Finger" by Brendan O'Meara follows a new generation marrying (here, in Wellsboro), and in the Finger Lakes, the hot new wedding destin...