Mountain Home, June 2022

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HOME Pennsylvania & the New York Finger Lakes

The Butchers, the Bakers, the Legacy Makers The Hillstone Farms Human Herd Mooooves from Green Fields to Main Street Wellsboro

E FasRtheEwind

By David O’Reilly

(Milk)shaking Things Up in Troy, Roseville, and Salladasburg Racing Time in Potter County A Plum Venue on Seneca Lake

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JUNE 20221

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Volume 17 Issue 6


And the Winner Is...

By Michael Capuzzo

The Butchers, the Bakers, the Legacy Makers

14 2022 PA State Laurel

Queen Candidates

20 From Cows to Cones By Linda Roller

By David O’Reilly

It’s all fresh and family at the Waltz Creamery & Farmhouse Café in Salladasburg.

22 New Life for an Old



The Hillstone Farms human herd moooves from green fields to Main Street Wellsboro.

By Gayle Morrow

Roseville Market—a community cornerstone thrives once more.

WEDDING SECTION 30 Livestock, Live Bands,

Skyr—It’s Not Just for Vikings Anymore

and Love

By Carolyn Straniere

The new old Troy Sale Barn celebrates 100 years.

By Karin Knaus

34 Neither Flood nor Fire nor

Covid Lockdown

By Beth Williams

Three Corning business families weather the worst.


Painterland Sisters bring Icelandic style yogurt to Westfield.

36 Over the Hill

By Phillip Hesser

Running the God’s Country race twenty years after.

Yurt Gonna Love This Venue

42 Back of the Mountain By Linda Stager

Nature’s View-Master. Cover design by Gwen Button. Cover photo: Danna Darrow, Jessica and Todd Webster, (bottom left to right) Lillian and Evelynn Webster, by Lilace Mellin Guignard; (top) Reese Charles by Lilace Mellin Guignard; (middle) Stephanie (left) and Hayley Painter, by Still Blooming Photography; (bottom) courtesy Plum Point Lodge.

By Karey Solomon


Plum Point Lodge offers great views, food, and lodging for days big and small.


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 Publishers Lilace Mellin Guignard George Bochetto, Esq. D i r e c t o r o f O pe r a t i o n s Gwen Button Managing Editor Gayle Morrow S a l e s R ep r e s e n t a t i v e Shelly Moore Circulation Director Michael Banik Accounting Amy Packard Cover Design Gwen Button Contributing Writers Maggie Barnes, Carrie Hagen, Phillip Hesser, Roger Kingsley, Don Knaus, Karin Knaus, Dave Milano, Brendan O’Meara, David O’Reilly, Linda Roller, Karey Solomon, Carolyn Straniere, Beth Williams C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s Bridget Reed Photography, Helen Barrett, Bernadette Chiaramonte, Bruce Dart, Michael Johnston, Linda Stager, Mary Sweely, Still Blooming Photography, Sherri Stager

D i s t r i b u t i o n T eam Brian Button, Grapevine Distribution, Linda Roller T h e B ea g l e Nano Cosmo (1996-2014) • Yogi (2004-2018)


Whether you’re opening your doors or opening your 4th location, C&N has the products and expertise you need. You & Us. That’s C&N.

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, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, 16901, and online at Copyright © 2022 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 over 100 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, 39 Water Street, Wellsboro, PA 16901 or visit www.

Pat Kelly

Don Knaus

Michael Kulbacki

Linda Stager

Bruce Dart

Maggie Barnes

Carol Myers Cacchione

Sometimes Good Sh!t Happens By Michael Capuzzo


aggie Barnes, Mountain Home’s humor columnist, was looking for a good laugh in the fall of 2021, when the sky and the news were bleak, and found it in a bottle of wine. It was a fine cab-merlot blend with the label: “Sh!tshow, A Fine Wine for the Times.” Maggie won a prestigious Keystone Media Award from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for her hilarious story about how Grovedale Winery in Wyalusing came up with a popular “line of wines that spoke to the times,” giving people “a way to laugh, when you really want to cry.” Sh!tshow’s “trio of red, white, and rosé wines, all dry,” are “a perfect consolation for the next time something in your life falls apart,” Maggie wrote. The wine came out of the bottle in 2020, but the label applied equally to 2021, and 2022 looks promising for the blend. The old chestnut “laughter is the best medicine” comes from the Bible. (Actually, it’s “A merry heart does good, like medicine,” Proverbs 17:22). Even Nietzsche, who said God was dead, agreed. So take it from me and read “Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut,” along with Maggie’s other musings, which won first place for columns in the state. Prove to yourself you can grin like a fool without drinking. New York poet Frank O’Hara once wrote: “In times of crises, we must all decide again and again whom we love. And give credit where it’s due.” And that’s what Mountain Home did last year. Gayle Morrow cherished the natural rhythms of the end of summer—“September will soon concede to October, which in turn gives way to November… The mullein stalks are dry and brown, the bee balm’s flowers are just a memory, and the goldenrod has gone to seed. See you all next year, with or without a calendar”—and won second place for outdoor columns. Photographer Linda Stager was struck by the cold, snowy

November dusk of Main Street in Wellsboro “and the warm, lighted, inviting businesses we were passing, reminding us of holidays and gatherings ahead.” Her picture won first place for feature photos, one of two prizes for Linda. Outdoor writer Pat Kelly, his trout fishing interrupted by two homeless men, traveled from annoyance and fear to bringing food to one man along the creek shortly before Christmas, showing his children what was really important in life and love. He won first place for sports feature. Don Knaus’s parents met on the factory floor of the Corning glass plant in Wellsboro during World War II, when the plant turned out most of America’s Christmas bulbs. Don won a feature story prize for his recounting of how one of those machines that lit the world has gloriously returned to town. Carol Myers Cacchione, whose mother, the late Mary Myers, also wrote for this magazine, took first place for a stirring personality profile of Brian Stahler, her Shakespeare-quoting English teacher at Wellsboro Area High School who shaped so many lives, including that of my wife, Teresa Banik Capuzzo, Mountain Home’s publisher. Michael Kulbacki took a remarkable New Year’s Eve photograph, which won a news event photo award, of his family standing outside a Buffalo area hospital praying toward a window where his grandmother Judy Smentkiewicz lay dying of covid—until a judge ordered the ivermectin that saved her life. Teresa and I, who co-founded this magazine seventeen years and some 200 journalism prizes ago, toast these talented creators and our thousands of readers. Instead of Grovedale’s “Sh!tshow,” we’ll raise a glass of their popular new fine dry red “for the times” called “Grat!tude.” 5

The Butchers, the Legacy The Hillstone Farms Human Herd Mooooves from Green Fields to Main Street Wellsboro By David O’Reilly


t’s a five-and-a-half-mile drive from Hillstone Farms to Hillstone Farms. But ask Todd and Jessica Webster how long it took to get from the first one— their family’s beef farm on the outskirts of Wellsboro—to opening their Hillstone Farms store six months ago on Main Street, and they’ll look at each other. Three years? Ten? Since before they got married? Longer, even. It depends on where you start counting. See Legacy on page 8


David O’Reilly

the Bakers, Makers

Where’s the beef? Todd Webster stands among his herd on the family’s four-generation farm. 7

(2) David O’Reilly

Legacy continued from page 6

Start when Todd’s dad, Tim, sold his dairy herd out on Dutch Hill Road and took up raising beef, and it’s thirty-five years. Reach back two more generations, to when Todd’s greatgrandfather began assembling the farm’s six hundred acres, and you’re talking nearer to a century. In short, it took generations to fully realize this pasture-tobutcher shop, kitchen-to-bake shop dream called Hillstone Farms. And it takes a whole family to keep it going. At about 850 square feet, the storefront is just one thirtythousandth the size of the farm. But it is to here, 76 Main Street, that their black Angus heifers and steers reappear (after a brief detour) as choice rib eyes, sirloins, briskets, hamburger—along with cuts you might never have heard of. Whole chickens, hams, pork chops, and sausages are also in the freezer case. Beside it, a cooler holds local milk and cheese—both pasteurized and raw—as well as butter and whatever pies need refrigeration. Here, too, are the family’s chocolate chip cookies, sourdough loaves, blueberry muffins, maple syrup, sour cream cakes, jams, and canned goods—many from secret recipes that The farmer doesn’t fall start life every week in Jessica’s self-described “liiiiitle” far from the farm: Todd home oven. and Jessica Webster “The idea of opening a store was always there,” (top) work alongside says Jessica, thirty-eight. She manages the store with Todd’s brother, Garrett, her mom, Danna Darrow, who’s also her cookie and father Tim Webster baker. “But we’d say no, we’re not ready, and push (bottom) to keep the it aside.” Not only are she and Todd raising children cows happy, pastures ages eleven, eight, and six; she’s also the full-time healthy, and tractors running. biology teacher at Wellsboro High School. “Some nights I’m up to one in the morning, waiting for the sourdough to rise,” she says. “Then I wake up at four or five to shape loaves and get everybody up for school.” Throw in the music lessons, soccer games, tummy aches, tooth fairy duties, homework, baseball practice, church, trips to the dentist…and “it’s controlled chaos,” she says. “The children are feral,” says Todd, forty-three. Yes, he’s a wise guy. In truth, it’s a family held together, well, by family. On a visit to the farm you find Todd’s mom, Karen, lugging recycling into her car before heading off to fetch grandkids from school. Another afternoon, Todd passes his sister Lauren as she’s walking her three young children down Dutch Hill Road from her house, once great-grandfather Jesse Webster’s, who started the farm, to her parents’ to play with cousins. All four of Tim and Karen’s children, and all of their eight grandchildren, live on the farm. Asked how they managed to keep all their kids so close, Karen—for thirty-six years the health and physical education teacher at Wellsboro High School—fills with emotion, dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex. “I don’t know,” she says, then laughs. “I hope it’s more than just the free babysitting.” It was her idea to build the giant, sunny rec room above the garage/workshop, with its tables, tumbling mats, coloring books, and space to do homework. It’s the scene, too, of birthday parties and multifamily dinners on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. Then you visit the store on a weekday afternoon and find Danna—she’s spent the last two days baking cookies—wrapping her arms around eight-year-old Lily, tearful from a sibling’s teasing, or taking all three kids and a cousin to the nearby 8

playground. “They need to blow off some steam,” she confides, “and Jessica needs a break.” The Websters have been raising beef since 1988, the year Tim and Karen sold off their struggling dairy herd to the federal government. A nationwide overabundance of milk had so suppressed prices that dairying was unsustainable for most farmers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture intervened to radically reduce the number of farms. But it was never Tim’s dream to be a dairy or beef farmer. He was studying forestry, with plans for a career out West, when his father, Jerome, developed a brain tumor. With his mother, Mary, facing widowhood, and three younger sisters still at home, he returned to Hillstone at age nineteen, took over after his father died, and never left. “You do what you have to do,” he says. Still, milking twice every day and struggling to pay bills was a “tough way to raise a family.” They got a good price from the USDA for their herd, and, with barns, silos, pastures, and feed already in place, the transition to beef looked easy. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” Tim says. “I bought a couple of herds that were disasters, [with cows that] ended up calving in the middle of snow storms,” or

delivering oversized calves that did not always survive birthing. He can laugh now, gray-bearded and seventy-one. Beef husbandry has become far more predictable, he says, thanks in part to Penn State University’s breeding programs and carefully screened auctions. Here a farmer can see the metrics for each bull on the block, from his scrotal circumference to his offsprings’ average birth weight, pelvic circumference at birth, and average daily weight gain. Tim points out a window to five big bulls lounging in the bullpen. He bought three of them at auction in late March, and opens the catalogue to show the listing for one. Costing three thousand dollars, JAR Emerald 4920 is described as a “calving ease bull,” meaning the “dams” bred to him should deliver wellproportioned calves without much difficulty. JAR Emerald and his buddies will start mating in late summer so that calving begins next May, when the weather is warming. While Tim remains active—he was fixing a tractor on a recent visit—much of the hard physical labor falls to Todd and his twenty-eight year-old brother, Garrett. “I do this side of the farm and Todd does

that,” says Garrett, who points to a broad pasture where half the herd is grazing. “But if one of us mows hay, the other will rake,” if one shovels up the manure with a frontloader the other spreads it, and if one is away the other will move his cows across a pasture to taller grass and reset the electric fences. The two rarely disagree, they say, on what needs to be done. Don’t Name the Cows… It’s a sunlit afternoon late in April, and Todd hops into a small flatbed called a side-by-side to inspect the first calf of the season. Turning off Dutch Hill Road, he’s soon bouncing up a steep path to the pasture they call “the orchard” for the gnarly old apple trees nearby. “There it is,” he says, and points to a black, spindly-legged male nursing happily. Mama is protective, however, and turns repeatedly to keep herself between Todd and the calf. The calf is nursing properly, so Todd glances around to see how the fifty other cows are doing. “Whoa. She’s ready to pop,” he says, pointing to the swollen belly and udder on one. But they all look okay, and so he heads See Legacy on page 10

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Cosplay / Costume Contest Panels & Speakers Creator Workshops Kids & Family Activities





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Legacy continued from page 9

home, chased and raced by his gleeful Australian shepherd, Tucker. The Websters used to give names to their dairy cows, but the lives of beef cows are so short and purposeful that even the children learn early not to form sentimental attachments. “It makes it easier to let go,” Todd explains. And he tells the story of a visiting cousin who once grew fond of an affectionate heifer and announced he’d named her “Doris.” “I said, ‘No, no: don’t do that!’ but it was too late.” With a name, Doris had attained bovine personhood—and was spared the fateful “one-way trip.” For fifteen years she loped around the fields, nosing everyone for pats and ear-scratches. “Yeah, she was sweet,” Todd recalls. Nowadays their beef cows are identified by four-digit numbers: a green tag in the left ear for females, blue in the right for males. Their cows are mostly black Angus, with a few red Angus and Herefords. They’ll spend fourteen to twenty months grazing in pastures and chomping down on the dried alfalfa the Websters grow on the farm, fertilized only with manure. Then, in their final weeks, with steers approaching 1,400 pounds and heifers 1,200, most get a mixture of alfalfa, corn silage, and a small amount of grain. The finishing diet helps to produce the marbled fat that turns beef more tender and flavorful, earning it a USDA grade of “choice” or “prime.” (Both are measures of fat content, with prime the priciest.) The Websters aim for “choice,” which, they say, can be as tender and flavorful as prime. About twenty percent of the herd feeds entirely on grass. While their beef, by choice, is not organic, which allows them, for example, to use pressure-treated fence posts and to spray their crop fields, the Websters use no antibiotics, animal-based feed, or added hormones. They send about 130 cows a year to slaughter, with seventy percent going to Meyers Local Harvest. It’s a Coloradobased beef marketer that requires suppliers to raise healthy animals humanely, and Meyers oversees their slaughter at the Cargill processing plant in Wyalusing. For the beef they sell to area restaurants, such as The Roost and Beck’s Bistro (formerly The Red Skillet, which also served Hillstone beef) both in Wellsboro, and out of their store, the Websters use Bryan’s, a family-operated meat processor in Milan, Bradford County. Their new store is not Jessica’s and Todd’s first foray into retailing their own meats. Soon after their marriage in 2011 (they met snowboarding), they set up tents and tables at the weekly farmer’s markets in Mansfield and Wellsboro. Alas, “just the threat of rain would scare customers away,” recalls Todd, and leave them with coolers full of unsold product. Or they’d sell out of sirloins and blueberry muffins one week, bring lots more the next, only to discover everybody today wanted rib-eyes and oatmeal cookies. He “always wanted a brick and mortar” storefront, but it took the covid pandemic to “resurrect the idea.” Early in 2020, friends and neighbors nervous about entering supermarkets began descending on the farm looking to buy meats from the family’s modest on-site freezer case. “We understood,” says Todd. “But it got to be too much. My phone would ring, and I’d have to come in off my tractor to sell someone three bags of hot dogs.” And so, last summer, they started searching for a shop in Wellsboro’s business district. Problem was, “you couldn’t rent See Legacy on page 12


welcome to UPCOMING EVENTS June 3 - July 3

The Grand Canyon Photography Club’s “Through the Years” Main Gallery Sarah Wagaman’s Rock Art Atrium Gallery

June 3 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Opening Reception for Exhibits

May 31 - June 11

Gail Jones’ Fiber Artist residency

Open Tuesday through Sunday 12-6PM Free Admission 134 Main Street, Wellsboro (570) 724-1917

June 15 - 19

Friends of the Green Free Library Book Sale

June 22 at 12:00 p.m. Author Vicki Locey book reading


Summmer Shows LIVE Entertainment at the Deane Center!

BYOB Concerts in the Coolidge Theatre THE JAMCRACKERS Friday, July 1st


Emerge Healing Arts & Spa SKIN THERAPY

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GREG PICCOLO Friday, June 10th SWEATS Friday, June 24th

CORRIE SACHS Tribute to Reba McEntire

Friday, July 15th

FREE Outdoor Summer Concerts

Canyon Country Fabrics HOURS: Tues, Tues, Wed. & Fri. 9-4; Thurs. 9-7; Sat. Sat. 9-3; CLOSED Sun. & Mon.

664 KELSEY ST., WELLSBORO, PA 16901 • 570-724-4163

• 108” Wide Backing • Batting • Fleece & Flannel • Crafts & Gifts

THE GABE RICHIE & STILLMAN BAND ROSIE th Friday, July 9 Friday, August 5th

• Lg. Selection of Cotton • NEW Home Décor



YARD SALE, CHICKEN BBQ & 10% DISCOUNT JUNE 4, 2022 • 8:00 AM-3:00 PM

ORGAN FAIRCHILD Friday, August 12th

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SOUTH PENN DIXIE Friday, Sept. 2nd

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STAGEFRIGHT Friday, August 19th LIKE A HURRICANE Friday, August 26th

For Tickets or More Information Call or Visit... 104 Main Street Wellsboro, PA 570-724-6220 11

welcome to

WELLSBORO Legacy continued from page 10

anything for less than $2,000 a month.” Then a friend urged them to “just buy a building; it’ll cost you the same.” When the former BonHoffie Skin Culture storefront became available in September, they took out a mortgage, and the building was theirs. Through the fall they spent afternoons and weekends knocking down walls with help from Jessica’s brother, Trent. They exposed the brick, sanded the floors, wrestled an impossibly huge freezer through their impossibly narrow door, built shelving, and set up the front counter. Things were still a bit rough in early December, but they opened their doors in time for the annual Dickens of a Christmas. …But Do Name the Sourdough

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Six months later it’s still a work in progress. There’s nothing high-concept about the décor. They’ve exposed an interior brick wall and some wooden beams to give it a rustic, country feel, but the back of the store is cluttered, and the glass-front freezer humming opposite the checkout counter is strictly functional. They have plans to bring in a refrigerated case for fresh meats and deli, but for now all the meats are sold frozen. Todd talks about getting a meat dehydrator to make jerky, they have a line on a lamb producer, the three-bay sink is working, and they just got the gas line hooked up to their giant ten-burner, twin-oven commercial stove so Jessica and Danna may bake and can during store hours. Until that’s functional, however, the solitary electric oven in Jessica’s home kitchen—state certified for commercial use—serves as their workhorse. It’s here that Danna, who lives with her husband Eric out by Hills Creek, labors Mondays and Tuesdays, often starting at 3 a.m. A late Tuesday morning finds her already hours into the work, pulling sheet pans of plump cookies out of the oven every twelve minutes and sliding in the next. These she shapes while the previous batch is baking, plucking and weighing each until it’s precisely two ounces. She makes nearly all the cookie doughs—oatmeal raisin, gingersnaps, lemon crinkles, to name a few—on Monday afternoons, then refrigerates them overnight. The exceptions are the chocolate chips, made with imported butter, sourdough, and dark and milk chocolate. Jessica makes those, and all their breads, from a blob of sourdough starter she calls “Harriet.” Baking, running a store, and raising kids “isn’t something you could do alone,” says Danna, sixty. “You have to have family.” She opens a large, black book—“our bible”—to a hand-lettered recipe for snickerdoodles, then flips the pages. They’re filled with generations of both family’s baking recipes. “Here’s my Aunt Jean’s sugar drop cookies,” she says. On another page is the recipe for Eric’s grandmother’s oatmeal raisin cookies, and here are Grandma Anne’s snowballs. “Cream butter and sugar well until light and fluffy,” it begins. “Add vanilla...” So, how many cakes and cookies does Danna bake each week? “You know,” she marvels, “I’ve never even thought of it.” Making Friends, Making Progress By mid-spring the shop the shop is doing even better than expected. “People have been very welcoming,” says Jessica. On a recent Saturday the store is enjoying a steady stream of customers. Tim Mosher, thirty-six, says he used to go to the farm to See Legacy on page 40


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Still Blooming Photography Don’t fence me in: sisters Hayley (left) and Stephanie Painter expand the range of the family’s organic dairy farm.

Skyr—It’s Not Just for Vikings Anymore Painterland Sisters Bring Icelandic Style Yogurt to Westfield By Karin Knaus


hen Stephanie and Hayley Painter were high school students growing up on Painterland Farms in the Northern Tier’s Cowanesque Valley, every day included not only farm chores and family time but also interactions with other farm families. According to Hayley, “We didn’t then realize how special our farm was.” Now in their mid-to-late twenties, the sisters are farm to table entrepreneurs, producing Painterland Sisters Organic Skyr Yogurt and spreading their family’s story of full circle farming— using regenerative and holistic agricultural practices. Painterland Sisters uses the milk from their family farm to produce five flavors— plain, blueberry lemon, strawberry, meadow berry, and vanilla bean—of organic Icelandic style skyr (“skeer”) yogurt. (Read on to find out how Viking yogurt came to be made in Tioga County.) Currently sold in five states, including locally at Home 16

Comfort in Westfield, the Stony Fork Store, Owlett’s Farm Store in Middlebury Center, and through Delivered Fresh, the sisters say the yogurt acts as a “conduit to our story and mission.” That story began in 1941 when their great-grandparents George and Myrtilla Painter started what is now Painterland Farms on a hill overlooking Westfield. It was the sisters’ grandparents, John and Lynda Painter, who made dairy the farm’s mainstay. Lynda still lives on the farm and still makes a five-course breakfast every Tuesday at 9 a.m. for the whole family, which includes her sons, Johnny, Clinton, and Brad, and the fourth generation of Painters on the farm: Stephanie and Hayley, their brothers Bryant and McGwire, and cousins Jacob and Courtney. This locally famous Lynda Painter breakfast is hearty, and features dessert, which Hayley admits is a little unusual for 9 a.m. But hey, it’s tradition. “Pride is one of the things that keeps

me going. It’s a pride thing to pass on the story of our ancestors,” says Hayley. That pride in the Painter family traditions led the sisters to seek higher degrees, hoping to have their own impact someday. Stephanie earned a business degree from Susquehanna University, and Hayley followed her there two years later. What the sisters quickly realized was that the other students there had no idea where their food came from. They weren’t connected to it in any way. Hayley finished her degree in animal science at Iowa State, where she studied with students who, like her, had grown up around farming. She says those students taught her quite a few things. A professor there led Hayley to an internship in cheesemaking in New Jersey. That’s when inspiration hit: “I want to make something out of our milk.” This idea has become both women’s passion. You can see it in their dreamy blue eyes and smiles when Hayley speaks of their See Skyr on page 18

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business: “It’s art and science together. It’s beautiful.” Initially, their dreams for production were as big as the valley itself, including a processing plant with hard and soft cheeses, yogurt, and ice cream. They soon realized that staying as connected as they’d like and sharing their family’s story—which has always been the most important piece of what they do—might mean starting smaller. Around the same time this realization came, the girls were put in touch with a tenth generation Icelandic skyr maker living in Carlisle. Stephanie, Hayley, and their father, Clinton, headed downstate to hear his story and see his operation. Skyr has been a staple of Icelandic food since the Norwegian Vikings first settled on the island in the late ninth century. Icelandic style skyr is low in sugar, boasts up to eighteen grams of protein in a serving, and is lactose-free. The three left with some samples of his product and his story ruminating in their heads. Soon Painterland Sisters Organic Yogurt was born, with production taking place in Carlisle. In addition to the dairy, for which they’re best known locally, Painterland Farms also raises crops to feed their cows. “We have the best milk because we feed them ourselves,” says Hayley. Their pride extends to that product, too. And why shouldn’t it? Being able to use their own milk and choose their own ingredients means they have a premium, nutrient-dense product. Theirs is the only skyr yogurt in the United States made using organic whole milk from a single source. Looking to the future, the girls may explore other flavors and sizes beyond single serving packages. They also hope that down the road they can use the yogurt to spur agrotourism, maybe set up a store, and develop events and education programs so more people can learn about where their food comes from. They see education as a key piece of their mission, with packaging that features a QR code that links to fun and games geared toward kids. Their experiences on the farm, in college, and as entrepreneurs have been an education for the sisters as well. They make a great team, as both are passionate and driven toward the same vision. “You know, we’re kind of competitive,” says Hayley. “We both played basketball and ran track, and we both had the same friend group, so we were always in a race with each other but on the same team. Now we’re using that to better our brand.” The farm they grew up on is still an integral part of what they’re doing every day. “We are doing it for the future of the farm. If [our family] weren’t here working the farm and cows, we wouldn’t have it,” says Hayley. As the sisters have transitioned into working full time at their business, neither has daily farm chores anymore. Both keep farm life close at heart. Hayley, who walks the farm daily and feeds the hobby farm animals at night, says these moments remind her why they do it and help anchor the sisters more tightly to their full circle story of family and farming. Painterland Sisters is available for local delivery through See all locations at and check them out on Facebook. Karin Knaus had the great pleasure of teaching Stephanie and Hayley Painter English at Cowanesque Valley High School, has always enjoyed their stories of the farm, and is still patiently waiting for an invitation to a Lynda Painter breakfast.

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Courtesy Waltz Creamery & Farmhouse Café Life’s a dance: Rebekah and Brian Waltz transform and renew the past while honoring farming traditions.

From Cows to Cones

It’s All Fresh and Family at the Waltz Creamery & Farmhouse Café in Salladasburg By Linda Roller


t’s only a few miles away from the bustling modern world, but the trip to the center of Salladasburg is also a step back in time. Never heard of Salladasburg? Well, Katherine Hepburn and other celebrities who summered there in the forties had. At the center of this small borough still sits a large building that was there then. A bright exterior of warm brick is flanked by a large parking lot. The sign out front says Waltz Creamery & Farm House Café, established 2015. Along the side of the building, another sign nods to this building’s former life and long tradition as the heartbeat of the community. Waltz’s Creamery reincarnates the old Cohick’s Trading Post—a fixture in these parts for ninety years. “We kept the pictures, and we kept


the sign. It’s important,” Rebekah Waltz explains. Even the sseats of the stools that Katherine Hepburn, James Cagney, and football great Red Grange sat on are mounted in the back room. The Waltz family has transformed the Cohick site, but they are as much a part of this area as the old trading post. The Waltz dairy farm, founded in 1837 and in the Waltz family for eight generations, is four miles up the road. Currently Kyle Waltz and Justice Hunsberger—a son and a future son-in-law—are the farm managers. The café feels as though Brian and Rebekah Waltz have brought the farmhouse kitchen and dining room down to town, made them just a little larger, but kept that homey, farm house feel—“a nice, happy place,” as Rebekah characterizes it.

That wasn’t easy. Initially, they thought it would take a couple of months to get the old trading post transformed into the café, but that time turned into almost a year. The building needed total renovation, and, as an older building, surprises awaited behind the walls. “I wanted a small café. It turned into a large restaurant,” says Rebekah. The facility seats eighty-four in the front and eighty in the rear. The tradition doesn’t end with the building or the renovations. The Waltz family is first and foremost a farming family, and from the start they chose to have everything as fresh and as close to the producers of the food as possible. In the beginning, they sold farm products. Now, all the pork, beef, bacon, and sausage

served in the café comes from the Waltz farm. The eggs are either from their own chickens or purchased from the neighbors. The potatoes come directly from the local Hunsinger farm fields, where good frying potatoes are a specialty. “We make everything from scratch—down to the croutons, all the pies, the baked goods, and all the sauces,” Rebekah continues. “The hamburgers here are made with an entire cow, so the meat is 89 percent lean. We use our fresh hams for our pulled pork, and they were raised on milk and corn. It costs more to do this, but it’s worth it.” Doing everything from scratch created the first hurdle that the café’s owners had to overcome. This type of preparation and cooking takes time. At first, the customers coming through the doors were used to getting food fast. The wait seemed too long, and folks complained. But the Waltz family found ways to do their version of “farm to table” a bit faster and learned how to explain to hungry customers that homemade meals take time to prepare. The fresh, local food speaks for itself. When Brian and Rebekah opened, they were doing thirty breakfasts a day. Now, the family makes almost 300 breakfasts on a Saturday. Another tradition from the Cohick Trading Post days was homemade ice cream, and who better to make it than dairy farmers? Choose from a dozen or more flavors, with half-gallon containers ready to take home. They rotate flavors and have a selection of seasonal specials. On Sunday, the café only serves ice cream in the afternoon, which is a perfect stop on a Sunday drive. “Right now, the cream for the ice cream is purchased from a regional farm,” Rebekah explains. “But we are looking to install the processing equipment at our own farm, so that our cream is used.” Starting in June, people with a yen for some great local ice cream will have another option. Waltz’s will be opening an ice cream shop in 220 Eatery Plaza (the former Harvest Moon location) on Route 220 near Linden. Levi Waltz, one of Brian and Rebekah’s sons, will manage the new location. The menu is soft serve, their famous hand-dipped ice cream, shakes, sundaes, banana splits, and blasts (ice cream with treats mixed in). “It will have everything to do with ice cream,” Rebekah adds. All of this can’t happen without a team. For the Waltzes, that team is family. Brian and Rebekah run the café, with the help of Levi, Jeanette, and Brian’s mother, Kathy. Marvin Waltz, Brian’s father, picks up the meat processed from Mark’s Custom Meats in Howard or at George Farms in Danville. Going from farm to table is hard work and the hours are long. But this family is doing their part to feed their corner of the world, a responsibility they carry out with serious and delicious intent. Waltz Creamery and Farm House Café is located at 324 Main Street, Salladasburg along Route 973, one mile east of the intersection with Route 287. Hours are Monday through Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for ice cream only. Find them on Facebook or call (570) 865-6557. Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.

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570.743.2727 21

Gayle Morrow Something old, something new: Jamie and Nick Bradford with daughters (from left) Martina, Allison, and Marissa.

New Life for an Old Building

Roseville Market—a Community Cornerstone Thrives Once More By Gayle Morrow


he question of what special flavor of milkshake to feature for June may not be the most pressing one for Roseville Market owners Nick and Jamie Bradford, but it is one requiring a decision, and soon. “We’re not sure what June will be,” Jamie muses. “We really need to think about that.” March, by the way, was a green, minty nod to St. Patrick’s Day, April was creamy maple, and May was peanut butter marshmallow. “Our milkshakes are really a specialty— at least we think they are,” Nick says. Roseville Market milkshakes, made with Hershey’s ice cream and created right before your eyes from any of the available flavors, are just one of the many offerings that are turning this store on Route 549 in the middle of Roseville into a destination. Customers come from across the border— places like Horseheads, Elmira Heights— and from all over Tioga County.


“We’re trying to also be a local market, a grocery store for local people,” says Nick, who grew up on a dairy farm just a few miles away. So there are the regulars who come in for the “daily things,” and, as has been the case at country stores for as long as there have been country stores, to socialize. “It’s amazing when you have something like this—that people use it for a meeting place,” he adds. Part of that meeting place ambiance— okay, most of it—is a spill-over from the smiling family at the helm. Despite the long hours—Nick says they call the store their “seventy-hour-a-week side business”— they’re all here, looking like they’re having a pretty good time, working in and around other obligations and responsibilities: Nick, who has another full-time job; Jamie, who takes care of the voluminous bookwork; and, when they’re not in school or in after-school activities, their three daughters, Martina, Marissa, and Allison. Jamie’s mom helps out in the deli, and one of Nick’s cousins is also

an employee. “Everybody told us we were crazy,” Nick says, then backtracks a little. “Well, maybe not quite everybody.” Perhaps not the folks who, over the past dozen or so years, kept asking the family, “Are you ever going to do anything with this?” The couple explains that they bought the building “from the bank” with no clear idea how they might repurpose it. It had for years and years been one of Roseville’s cornerstones—one of those multi-purpose stores every little community used to have— but for the past two decades had, sadly, been nothing but empty. When the Bradfords bought it, Jamie says, they remodeled the upstairs apartment to provide some income via rent, and considered using the downstairs space as a warehouse for the food distribution business Nick and his brother own (they distribute Pennsylvania-based Utz and other products to regional stores), and for which Jamie does the bookkeeping. See Roseville on page 25

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Roseville continued from page 22

They did nothing with the space for a while, but, the creative wheels had begun turning. “Being in the distribution business, we kind of knew what might sell,” she says. As Nick notes, that distribution business was doing well, which gave them some time and resources to decide how and what to make of the building. They thought a deli would be a good anchor for a small store, and, in the year since they’ve been open (Memorial Day weekend was the anniversary), that has proven to be the case. “We’re kind of getting a reputation for having good subs,” Jamie says. Remodeling on what is now the store space began in earnest about two years ago, and, again, it was a family venture, or maybe an adventure. Perhaps a misadventure. “Do you still have nightmares about putting in the dropped ceiling with me?” Nick asks Martina, the couple’s oldest daughter. Martina kind of rolls her eyes at her dad. “Yes,” is all she says. At any rate, “everything you see, we did,” Nick continues, and while he acknowledges “there is no fancy Victorian trim” in here, there is some family history. In 2016, he helped tear down a barn in the Sabinsville area that had belonged to Jamie’s grandfather. He salvaged as much of the wood as he could, and some of it found its way into the Roseville Market’s refurbished interior. “It was sad to tear it down, but at least it’s here,” Jamie says. She’s right. You could look at the old barn boards and cross beams in their new location and think about endings and beginnings, about new life and new uses for old things and old ideas, about how what goes around comes around. Nick says he’s seeing that more and more lately in the retail world. “Covid was awful, but it really highlighted the need and benefit for local connections,” he says. “There is such a resurgence in small, independent markets. It’s almost a new, growing category.” That seems to be the case on this busy Thursday afternoon at the Roseville Market as customers come and go. One of the Bradford daughters is making peanut butter marshmallow milkshakes for a customer, who happens to be a former employee. “I still shop here!” Allison Hill says with a big grin. She’s the only former employee, actually, because all of the others—about eight, not counting the Bradfords—are still employed. One of those is on the phone taking a sub order, and another is slicing meat. “We were the first job for five or six local kids, and they’re still here,” Nick says. “We’re really proud of our staff.” They’re proud of their own kids, too. “Family comes first, but business is a close second, because you need the business to take care of the family,” he continues. “You take pride in building a business, and for the kids to be part of that. We’re proud to see them rise to the occasion.” Maybe that’s what makes everything at the Roseville Market so pleasant. Find the Roseville Market on Route 549, on Facebook, or call (570) 549-2090.

Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Little League Baseball ® World Series! This exhibition explores the evolution of the small-town baseball tournament established in 1947 to the international event held today and enjoyed by millions worldwide. It’s brought to life by photos, artifacts, and artwork that span each decade of the summertime classic. The works were selected from the archives of the World of Little League ® Museum. The collection of one-of-a-kind artifacts and images are sure to excite Little League ® fans of all ages!

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Bridget Reed Photography

othing says fourth generation farm wedding like this silver silo that Bryant and Shayna (Cornell) Painter climbed, captured by Bridget Reed Photography. The ceremony was held on one of Painterland Farms’s hay fields. Bryant is a farmer through and through. Shayna works at her family’s grind and roll feed mill, Cornell Bros. As Bryant’s sisters say, “So there yah go: the farmer’s son married the miller’s daughter.”


Courtesy Plum Point Lodge

Yurt Gonna Love This Venue

Plum Point Lodge Offers Great Views, Food, and Lodging for Days Big and Small By Karey Solomon


here are four ways to get to Plum Point Lodge in Himrod on the west shore of Seneca Lake. By car there are three roads, one of them conveniently named Plum Point Circle. By boat there is an expansive dock on the lodge’s waterfront for tie-up. However you get to Plum Point, you know you’ve arrived when you see the original, huge farmhouse painted the color of a juicy sapalta plum—more on that later—its many windows looking out over the lake above a series of broad terraces. A summery gazebo near the dock provides afternoon shade and a close-up lake view. Most weekends in season, the gazebo is busy with couples exchanging and renewing vows. The old main house, following its tenure as a farmhouse, was the core of the property known for more than sixty years


as the Rainbow Cove Motel and Resort. It now houses the Sapalta Restaurant (a farm to table eatery), along with offices, and a spacious “Farmhouse Suite” where members of the wedding party can commiserate as they prepare for the big event. Many newlyweds also reserve this retreat for their wedding night. In 2018, its new owners, a consortium of the Bunnell family and friends, treated the lodge to a “take it down to the studs” renovation. And though the twenty-four motel rooms were updated, revamped, and restyled, wedding parties, their guests, and vacationers (many of whom have returned regularly for decades) continue to enjoy the relaxed “time at the lake” vibes. Facility renovations included the addition of six “glamping” yurts at the rear of the property, with en-suite bathrooms,

‘fridges, and firepits. “I thought the yurts were a crazy idea,” Jason Bunnell admits, “but they’re one of our most highly demanded room type after the suite. A yurt stay in the fall as the leaves are changing is the best kept Finger Lakes secret out there.” Another addition is the Winston, a sleek and rustic banquet hall behind the main building, named after a winsome golden doodle belonging to Dave Bunnell, Jason’s dad. With fairy lights, a smooth floor for dancing, farmhouse-style tables, and two glass roll-up doors to let the celebration extend to a shaded patio, it’s a comfortable venue for up to 120 guests. “We have done more elopement and intimate weddings,” Jason notes. “We can do larger, but we get a ton of smaller, more intimate weddings. There are several options

on the property, but we have the Winston and we have a tent we can set up on the lakeside or next to the Winston. We have a lot of flexibility.” And it’s family-tested—last year Jason’s sister celebrated her covid-delayed wedding here. “The venue itself is tucked back, so you might not even know it’s there,” says events coordinator Amanda King. “There’s very little traffic on the road. If you have a big wedding and people book out all the rooms, it’s like your own private space. It feels like there’s no one here but you.” Last year a bridesmaid at a Plum Point wedding enjoyed it so much that she booked her own wedding here. Typically, those planning a large wedding reserve the space about a year in advance. Smaller, more intimate weddings might be booked with less lead time. Occasionally there’s an elopement with only the happy couple and a few witnesses. And sometimes, there’s no lead time at all. “I swear this happened!” says Jason. In August 2019, a young couple, both in the military, came to Plum Point for the weekend. Like most tourists, they were planning a relaxing weekend of wine tasting and enjoying the lake. But, Jason relates, “The young man proposed around 4 p.m. and they married that night. It was an impromptu decision. It is a magical place, as corny as that sounds. It is chill on a whole ‘nother level.” On Plum Point’s Facebook page you can watch the newlyweds dancing. The space is also used as a venue for milestone parties like engagements, anniversaries, retirements, and baby showers. “We have happy events here,” Amanda says. “I like watching their visions come to life.” She sees her role as offering another perspective on planning for one of life’s big days. If, say, in the throes of a wedding planning morass, you discover you don’t yet have a DJ, photographer, caterer, or florist, she can recommend a few good ones. A calming “Have you thought of…?” from Amanda can be the prelude to a possible solution for a potential problem. Plum Point’s on-site restaurant, Sapalta, has thrived under the creative direction of executive chef Brud Holland, formerly the executive chef of Red Newt Bistro. Using locally sourced ingredients, he continues to earn his nickname: the “mad scientist” of the Finger Lakes Culinary World. Originally, Sapalta handled all event catering, but in Brud’s hands the restaurant has become so popular that Amanda steers clients to other caterers. Of course, visitors can always come back for the amazing view of the sun rising over the lake as they enjoy their morning coffee, and have a celebratory meal at Sapalta for an anniversary. (Hint: on Thursday evenings, there’s music on the terrace.) About those sapaltas: they’re a cherry/plum cross currently being developed at Cornell AgriTech (the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station) in Geneva. In keeping with their local-food ethic, the Bunnells planted one of the world’s first and largest sapalta orchards a few years ago—a dozen trees. Jason says plums are part of the food served whenever possible, but concedes “we can’t get our hands on enough plums fast enough.” To help bridge the shortfall, Brud taught Jason to make plum jam. Find out more information at, on Facebook, or call (607) 243-7535. Karey Solomon is a freelance writer and needlework designer who teaches internationally.



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Courtesy Troy Sale Barn From bovine to divine: the Troy Sale Barn is now a great venue for events from Nutcracker ballet recitals to weddings.

Livestock, Live Bands, and Love The New Old Troy Sale Barn Celebrates 100 Years By Carolyn Straniere


eople said we were crazy when we said we wanted to save the barn,” says Bill. “The wood beams were rotting, and there was still dirt and manure in the pens. But this barn has been a vital part of Troy for 100 years, and we didn’t want to see it razed.” Bill is Bill Bower, a local historian and retired game warden. He’s one of ten people on a committee dedicated to saving the Troy Sale Barn. It’s been quite the undertaking, but the Troy Sale Barn Operating Corporation has not only managed to save the barn, but completely transform it into a beautiful space for public and private use. Events of all kinds are happening here, from weddings to yoga, archery to anniversary parties. Let’s back up. Just over a century ago, twenty farmers met at the Troy Hotel to discuss erecting a livestock sale pavilion in Troy. They formed the Bradford County Livestock Sales Association and oversaw construction of an amphitheater-style building. The first sale


was on June 4, 1922, and continued every Wednesday after that for decades, with the town benefiting economically from the influx of folks on sale day. “Wednesday was a big day for many families,” Bill explains. “It was their one day to come to town, do their errands, and meet up the other townspeople. It’s not like today where we run to town all the time. It was special back then. People would come from New York and Philadelphia by train to attend the sales.” But, over time, the barn saw fewer sales. Bill suggests Hurricane Agnes’s destruction of the railroad line in 1972, as well as the dwindling number of family farms, as possible explanations for the barn losing money. Leasing the facility to a livestock company didn’t improve the situation. February 21, 1996, was the last regular sale. The barn changed hands a few times in the years following. Sales and events were held occasionally, but by 2010 the property was

sitting vacant and unused. Structural decay was inevitable, and in 2014 talk of tearing down the sale barn circulated through town. “The Troy Historical Society wanted to put the barn on the National Registry so it wouldn’t be razed, and we had petitions to save the barn, which we presented at a town hall meeting,” Bill says. “The community really came out and supported us. They donated money to help replace and rebuild much of the building. Now there are steel beams where the rotten wood ones were.” Bill names another driving force in this community endeavor: Executive Director Nicole Harris. A Penn State graduate with a background in agriculture, Nicole spent quite a few years as the naturalist at nearby Mt. Pisgah State Park before jumping on board with the Troy Sale Barn Operating Corporation. “There are ten members and we built our policies from the ground up, with a vision See Old Troy on page 32


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(4) Courtesy Troy Sale Barn

Old Troy continued from page 30

for the sale barn,” says Nicole. That vision was for the facility to be a community center and an event venue. Since 2017, its use as a wedding venue has been increasing. And it’s easy to see why. “We wanted our venue to be affordable for newlyweds, so we’ve kept the cost down,” Nicole says. “When you rent the facilities, you have its use for three days so you can have your rehearsal dinner here as well. Our kitchen is brand new, and it’s stocked with wine glasses, mason jars, flatwear, serving pieces. There are mismatched antique dishes that look beautiful with the chargers when the tables are set. We also have a matching set of dishes for those who want a more cohesive look. We supply the tables and chairs. Plus there’s an outdoor patio for cocktail hour, flower pots filled to the brim, and the 100-year-old stone wall makes a pretty background for pictures. “What’s really nice about this entire space is we have the Frantz Arena, where they can have their ceremony, and then move into the hall for their reception.” The arena is named after project donors Jerry and Alice Frantz. It’s in the original part of the barn where the auctioneer would hold the sale. The benches where the buyers sat are now in the main hall, replaced by seats and chandeliers from the old Half Shire Court House. Downstairs, where those manure-filled pens used to be, is the Founder’s Lounge. It has a separate space tucked at one end for the bridal party to dress, do hair and make-up, or just chill together. But, it’s what’s in the middle of the room that commands A barn for all attention: an antique soda fountain and silver stools with seasons: from red cushions. There’s a story behind the soda fountain, former hay days to Nicole says. its new heyday, the “It’s from Pittsburgh and we contacted the owner and building is once again a centerpiece told him we couldn’t pay what he was asking for it but it of the Troy would really be a great addition to our barn renovation,” community. she relates. “He was happy to let it go for less, knowing it would be put to good use. Wouldn’t it be fun to have milkshakes at a wedding for the toast?” Back upstairs, Bill is helping take tape off the floor in the main hall, remnants from a recent pickleball game. “The community stepped up when we needed them, and that team effort brought us to where we are today,” he says, ticking off events that are pending—a Hometown Christmas with vendors, the seasonal farmer’s market, the first sale centennial celebration. Like a proud dad, he stops for a moment and looks around. There are the old mill sacks, a forty-six-star American flag, a wooden sign announcing commission for sellers, and a variety of vintage farm implements. “We tried to tie in some history, as well as honor the farmers who came before us,” he says. “We wanted to keep it looking like a barn but also make it reasonable for the community to use. I think we’ve achieved that.” Find the Troy Sale Barn at 50 Ballard Street. To schedule your wedding or other event, contact Nicole at (570) 337-0815. Check them out, too, at or on Facebook. Born in the Bronx, Carolyn Straniere grew up in northern New Jersey, and has called Wellsboro home for over twenty-four years, where she enjoys spending time with her grandkids and traveling. Carolyn lives with her four-legged wild child, Jersey, and daydreams of living on the beach in her old age.




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(2) Beth Williams

Courtesy Steuben County Historical Society

(2) Courtesy Corning-Painted Post Historical Society Courtesy Corning’s Gaffer District

River of pain: three Market Street businesses that were flooded by Hurricane Agnes are walking on sunshine again, having also survived covid shutdowns.

Neither Flood nor Fire nor Covid Lockdown Three Corning Business Families Weather the Worst By Beth Williams


ifty years ago, on June 23, 1972, what was arguably Corning’s biggest disaster struck. Her name was Agnes. Market Street, just south of the Chemung River, filled up with several feet of rushing floodwaters in the wee hours of that summer day. While Hurricane Agnes was “only” a Category 1 storm, the rainfall she spawned made her impact so widespread that she was the first Category 1 to have her name retired. While businesses went right to work cleaning things up and reopening in record time, only a handful of those are still around today. One of them, at 6 West Market Street, is the venerable Brown’s Cigar Store, a fixture here since 1889. The Smith family has owned the business for over seventy years, with siblings Terry, Sue Ellen, and Bejay Smith at the helm today. In addition to being tobacconists, Brown’s is also a newsstand where print newspapers—including the New York Times, New York Post, and New York


News—are still available. During the disaster of the first covid pandemic shutdown, Brown’s was considered an essential business because they provided news and was allowed to stay open. How do you rate disasters? Terry Smith says that while Agnes and covid were both difficult, the flood was worse. Terry was fourteen at the time the hurricane came to town. He and his father came to the store the night before to stow some of their basementstored inventory up on pallets. “We had just received a large shipment of boxes with matches, and we put as much as we could on pallets, keeping them two feet above the dirt floor of the basement. We thought that would be sufficient,” Terry says. But Agnes had another idea. The entire basement flooded, and the water rose several feet into the store itself. Sue Ellen was a little too young to remember the flood, but she says the more

recent disaster, covid, provided its own trials for the business. “We had to curtail our hours severely for the first several months of the pandemic,” she says. They couldn’t hold their cigar events, which typically drew twenty to forty cigar aficionados to the store and provide an uptick in sales. “They both had their challenges,” Sue Ellen adds. • The building at 68 West Market Street survived the flood, covid, and a fire between the two. Sorge’s Restaurant, serving Italian/American cuisine, opened in 1951 with Renato Sorge, his wife, Loretta, and brother Remo at the helm. Today Renato and Loretta’s son, Michael, and his wife, Christina, own the family business. When Agnes arrived, Michael Sorge was home for the summer from SUNY Cobleskill, where he was enrolled in a

restaurant management program. “We were fortunate in that our location on Market Street is one of the highest on the street. The basement flooded, but we only had one or two feet in the restaurant,” Michael remembers. They spent two or three weeks cleaning up and, when they were done and the utilities were on, they re-opened in mid-July. “We were the only restaurant open at that time, and so we were very busy. I was glad to go back to school in August,” he adds. Then came covid. “I thought I had seen everything over the last thirty years of running the business, but the pandemic was a completely new experience,” Michael says. He did think that small businesses were fortunate in that they could get P2P (Peer-to-Peer) loans as well as federal loans and the employee retention tax credits. But even so, being limited to only takeout options from May to mid-June in 2020, and then being limited to 50 percent capacity, was difficult. Local attractions like the Corning Museum of Glass weren’t drawing the usual number of tourists because of the pandemic. But, as Michael points out, Sorge’s has something else going for it. “Summer tourists are only here for three or four months, but we are open year-round, and, fortunately, we have a great base of local customers,” Michael says. In between those two calamitous events, in December of 2008, a devastating fire destroyed much of the building. But, again, the community rallied. “We wouldn’t have been able to rebuild if we were located on any other street or in any other town in the country. The support we received from both local businesses and our local customers made it happen, and we were able to reopen,” he says. • Aniello’s Pizzeria (at the time located across the street from its current 68 East Market Street location) was actually poised to have its opening day on June 23, 1972. The owners, the Ruocco family, were not dissuaded, however. They persevered and opened in August, just two months after Agnes’s devastation. While a commemoration of the pandemic may be unlikely any time soon, there are events planned for the fiftieth anniversary of the Hurricane Agnes flood. The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed are sponsoring two days of activities, June 4 and 5, including a guided paddling on the river both days and a free concert on June 5. For more information visit The Heritage Village in Corning, located at 73 W. Pultney Street, is hosting an event on June 23 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. According to Sean Lukasik, president of the Heritage Village board and chair of the event committee, the evening’s activities will include food and beverage vendors, live music, a history exhibit about the flood (which runs through Labor Day), a poetry reading, and will conclude with a candlelight ceremony. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are always welcome.


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Beth Williams lives in the wilds of Steuben County, New York, works in the wonders of the library at Mansfield University, and is perpetually writing a novel. Special thanks go to the Steuben County Historical Society and its director Kirk House for their help in assembling material for this article.


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Sunken Branch Photography What goes up: although it looks like the half marathon runners are fleeing Denton Hill, they are in fact doing a “short out & back” for the correct 13.1 miles and will return to take on the green monster.

Over the Hill

Running the God’s Country Race Twenty Years After By Phillip Hesser


ee you in Coudersport,” I promised, pointing westward and skyward on Route 6 at the entrance to Denton Hill State Park. “Take your time with breakfast; I’ll be a while,” I observed to Nancy, who had gamely dropped me off before her first coffee. I was the first runner at the start of the 2021 God’s Country Half Marathon on June 5. Crouching above me in ambush was Denton Hill (perhaps named for H.H. Dent, who built his home Brookland nearby in the 1800s), which I had climbed running the God’s Country Marathons in 1998, 1999, and 2000. The behemoth inspired memories of those, and a lot more. Flashback to our shooting down Denton Hill in our car on the day before the race: As I studied the incline, Nancy interjected helpfully, “Don’t you say that hills look worse going down?” As the race personnel arrived, I rewound


my memory even more. I had fallen in love with “God’s Country” and its environs years before running, stopping at every crossroads: Austin Dam, Ole Bull State Park, Tom Mix Museum, Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, and the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, which is just across the highway from our start. And when you fall in love, you want to do things together. Having taken up jogging a few months earlier, I decided on God’s Country. (The Morris Rattlesnake Roundup was a close second.) As the other runners appeared, I chatted with a few who also looked ominously at the three-mile climb ahead of us. I tried to distract them by informing them that they would be crossing the Eastern Continental Divide, a feature that attracted many motorists here when this stretch was paved in 1926. This section of Route 6 (a.k.a. the Roosevelt Highway—named for Teddy,

mind you, as local people were quick to add) was, at 2,424 feet, the highest crossing of the “Lakes-to-Sea Highway” that connected Lake Erie with Cape Cod. I didn’t mention the elevation to the other runners, though, sensing that they wouldn’t derive any comfort from the numbers. As we lined up for the start, I had other things on my mind. In my marathoning days, I chugged hills as if they were samples from the Straub brewery. Having lived in the flatlands for decades since doing God’s Country, I asked myself if I were up to Denton Hill toying with me between its paws. I had barely begun to mull this over when we were off and running toward the looming monster. I looked for a distraction to take my mind away from the hill. I thought back to my visit to Headwaters Mountain in See Hill on page 38

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Gold Township—just ahead and to my right. The Susquehanna, Allegheny, and Genesee river systems all have headwaters on that hill. In fact, the Fuller family’s barn on the mountain made the papers in Ripley’s Believe It or Not in 1933 because its roof drained into all three watersheds. Mountains again!? I must think of something else, I thought to myself as I took a gulp from my canteen. As I forged ahead on the final mile of the climb, I speculated what would reappear from my past: my muscle memory as a distance runner or those Old Gold cigarettes I smoked in junior high. As that hazy smoke of past vices began to clear from my memory, I saw that I had made it to the top! I wasn’t fast, but I was sort of steady. And there, in the place where Roosevelt And there, in the place where Roosevelt Highway motorists would drink from hilltop springs, was a water station for the runners sponsored by the Susquehannock Trail Club. Volunteering there was a friend I knew from the Keystone Trails Association, a great group of folks committed equally to hiking and to maintaining the many miles of Pennsylvania’s trails. Recalling our adventures on the Donut Hole Trail, she reminded me that we were going to do the Susquehannock Trail, just to the left of the highway. I was about to lobby for the Bucktail Trail (which I had sampled on a thirty-onemile ultramarathon) but thought better of it and continued down to Coudersport. Yes, “down to Coudersport”! At least, for the next few miles, I could enjoy drifting downstream along the Allegheny after having climbed along Pine Creek’s “Nine-Mile” Run—an apt psychological description despite the lesser running distance. Within a mile, I found myself at what once was Potato City (also the CCC Camp Potato), where scientists (with help from the corpsmen) experimented with the tubers and disseminated their findings to growers in the state. I had gone to the Potato City Country Inn, established in 1949, for one of the “carb-loading,” pre-race dinners in my full marathon years. But where was the inn!? Demolished in 2018, it was now the site of the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop F, Coudersport Station. Seeing an officer watching the runners go by, I took a slight detour along the driveway and asked him if they were giving out potato soup to the runners. “No potato soup here anymore,” he replied with a smile, likely seeing me as giddy from the altitude—or worse. I hightailed it out of the driveway before he had second thoughts about my condition. The remaining miles through Sweden Valley and outer Coudersport flew quickly before I circled around to finish at the courthouse and a waiting Nancy. Where folks here once drove “over the hill” to visit or shop in Tioga County, this “over the hill” exmarathoner had run the other way. I made my peace again with Denton Hill and recalled many other good times in the area. I would be back again next year—potato soup or not. Want to run? Visit for more information. When he isn’t writing about the Chesapeake Bay watershed, Phil Hesser runs and rambles around the Delmarva Peninsula and north central Pennsylvania. He is the author of What a River Says: Exploring the Blackwater River and Refuge and co-author of A Guide to Harriet Tubman’s Eastern Shore: The Old Home Is Not There.

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JULY 22 - AUGUST 7, 2022 Friday, July 22

Thursday, July 28

“Celebrate the Children” at Mansfield University— Movie Night!—Narrated by Todd Ranney 7:00 p.m.—Steadman Theatre, Mansfield University Sponsored by C&N Benjamin Britten ....... “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” Luis Engelke ............. “Voces Lucis et Tenebrae (Voice of Light and Darkness)” (World Premiere) Florence Price........... “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America” Sergei Prokofiev ....... “Peter and the Wolf Op. 67”

“A Tribute to Count Basie” featuring the EMMF Little Big Band—A BYOB Event 7:00 p.m.—Deane Center, Coolidge Theatre, Wellsboro, PA Sponsored by Spencer, Gleason, Hebe & Rague, P.C.

Saturday, July 23 “Dvořák Meets the Blues” Featuring Corky Siegel, blues harmonica with orchestra 7:00 p.m.—Corning Museum of Glass Sponsored by Corning Incorporated Foundation Siegel ....................... “Concerto #2 for Blues Harmonica and Orchestra” Dvořák ...................... Symphony #4

Sponsored by the EMMF Board of Directors

7:00 p.m.—Steadman Theatre, Mansfield University Sponsored by Mansfield University, Guthrie, and Visit Potter-Tioga Balakirev ..“Overture on Three Russian Themes” Mozart ......“Concerto with Flute and Harp” A tribute to Irving Berlin ...................Conducted by Peggy Dettwiler with chorus and orchestra “Tribute to German Romantic Music” 7:00 p.m.—Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY Sponsored by Corning Incorporated Foundation Mozart ........ “Overture to Titus” Beethoven .. Symphony #5 Brahms.............................................. Double Concerto featuring Siwoo Kim, violin and Daniel Kaler, cello

“Bravo for America” “Airport POPS!” Featuring Corky Siegel, blues harmonica with orchestra In Memory of Robert N. Dunham 2:30 p.m.—PA Grand Canyon Regional Airport, Wellsboro, PA—FREE Sponsored by Dunham Family Trust, BHE GT&S, Seneca Resources & Wellsboro Electric Company

Sunday, July 31

Monday, July 25 “The Elegant Flute & The Beautiful Harp” Featuring Morgann Davis, flute and Melanie Mashner, harp 7:00 p.m. —Knoxville Yoked Church, Knoxville, PA—FREE Sponsored by Deerfield Charitable Trust

EMMF Brass Quintet “Through a Looking Glass” 7:00 p.m.—Cherry Springs State Park, Coudersport, PA —FREE Sponsored by William & L.R. Gale Community Foundation, The David G. Patterson Foundation, and SWN (For Park reservations, call 814-435-1037)

Monday, August 1 Bram Wijnands, stride jazz piano and Jackie Gillett, clarinet 7:00 p.m.—Penn Wells Hotel, Wellsboro, PA Sponsored by the Penn Wells Hotel (Dinner 5:00 to 6:45 p.m. Call for reservations 570-724-2111)

Tuesday, July 26 “The Royalty of the EMMF Brass Quintet” 7:00 p.m.—Williamson High School, Tioga, PA Sponsored by Deerfield Charitable Trust

Wednesday, July 27 7:00 p.m.—Deane Center Grand Community Room, Wellsboro, PA Sponsored by UPMC Susquehanna Ludwig Thuille .......... Sextet for Woodwinds and Piano featuring Greg Martin, piano Alfred Uhl.................. “Kleines Konzert (Little Concerto)” for clarinet, viola, and piano

“Queen of the Slide Guitar” featuring Abbie Gardner Sponsored by the Corning Incorporated Foundation (For the latest Health and Safety Guidelines, please visit https://

Friday, July 29

Saturday, July 30

Sunday, July 24

Wednesday, August 3

Thursday, August 4 A Taste of EMMF in Concert 7:00 p.m.—171 Cedar Arts Center, Corning, NY Sponsored by the Corning Incorporated Foundation

Friday, August 5 7:00 p.m.—Steadman Theatre, Mansfield University Sponsored by Ward Manufacturing Camille Saint-Saens ................ ...................Piano Concerto #2 featuring Sheng Cai, piano Tchaikovsky..................................“Francesca da Rimini”

Saturday, August 6 7:00 p.m.—Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY Sponsored by Corning Incorporated and Mountain Home Magazine Premiere performance featuring eight emerging Hollywood film composers, with accompanying video.

Sunday, August 7 “Two for the Road” “Corning POPS!” Featturing Anthony Nunziata, direct from Nashville and Broadway, with orchestra In Memory of Cornelius W. (Neal) O’Donnell, Jr. 2:30 p.m.—Nasser Ice Rink, Corning Civic Center Plaza, Corning, NY—FREE Sponsored by Corning Incorporated Foundation, C&N, Guthrie, The Rotary Club of Corning, Tyoga Container, and X-Gen Pharmaceuticals

Tuesday, August 2 String Trio, featuring Hua Jin, violin, Philip Palermo, violin, and Greg Martin, piano 7:00 p.m.—Deane Center Grand Community Room, Wellsboro, PA


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FINGER LAKES Legacy continued from page 12




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buy meats. He’s a registered nurse at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, and notes that “this is so much closer to where I work.” As Jessica rings up his purchases—he’s buying steaks, sausages, pork chops, maple syrup, and three dozen eggs today—he adds, “and it’s all local.” Four young people enter. “We’re from Vineland, New Jersey,” says Bethany. They so enjoyed their grass-fed Hillstone burgers at The Roost, she explains, that when they learned Hillstone had a store a block away, “we decided to check it out.” They study the cinnamon buns, the apple cinnamon tarts, the iced carrot cake, and oatmeal raisin cookies before settling on lemon crinkles and sugar cookies. A middle-aged couple stops in after visiting Highland Chocolates a few doors down. “We didn’t know you were here,” says the woman, Barbara. They inspect the baked goods and freezer contents, visibly pleased. They don’t buy, but “now I know where to get ground beef and hot dogs,” says Jeff. “Do you bake your own?” asks another walk-in. “From sunup to sundown,” jokes Danna. “Do you have any salami?” one man asks. “Not yet,” Jessica says, noting that a deli counter is “one of our long-range plans.” He nods, and heads out. But Ivan Smucker, twenty-three, of Lancaster, leaves as a happy customer. He and a friend are “staying in a cabin” outside town, he explains, and came into Wellsboro looking for steaks. On Main Street they asked a passerby where to buy some, “and she pointed right across the road.” He leaves bearing two New York strips. But the happiest customer of the day may be Robert LaPann, thirty-six. A barber, he moved his family from Boston to Wellsboro two years ago. “I researched it,” he explains, “and this area had the lowest crime, low taxes, good schools. We love it here.” And he’s already a regular at Hillstone because of his chronic eczema. He sets three gallon containers of raw milk (from Milky Way Farms in Troy) on the counter alongside two Delmonico steaks and two pounds of frozen beef liver. A diet of healthy meat, raw honey, raw liver, and unpasteurized milk has relieved his autoimmune disorders, he says, adding “all my ailments seem to have disappeared.” Todd and Jessica’s experiment appears to be paying off, although Tim admits he and Karen never dreamed of opening a store like it. Obliged to take over the farm when his dad became ill, “I didn’t have that flexibility,” he says. “But Todd is at a different state. We’re here, and Garrett’s here, and Danna. It’s a bigger family affair.” Yes indeed, says Jessica. Yet, big as the farm may be, it can’t expand enough to provide employment for all those grandchildren leaping and laughing today atop its hay bales. So, the Wellsboro store “opens a niche for the next generation,” she says, whether it’s their own kids or their nieces and nephews. “It’s a family farm,” she says. “You have to be creative to keep things going,” Award-winning journalist David O’Reilly was a writer and editor for thirty-five years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered religion for two decades—



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t Colton Point there is a quiet spot that is one of my favorite views of the Pine Creek Gorge. I sneak away from wellknown spots at the park and hike here to imagine all the days and years that have come before me. I imagine how it looked in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when as much lumber as could be reached was clearcut. We have come a long way in our stewardship of the forests. This view is more beautiful now than it was then, and I’m glad. 42

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