Mountain Home, November 2022

Page 1

FREE asthewind HOME MOUNTAIN Pennsylvania & the New York Finger Lakes Our Staff Hunter Searches for Another Woman Who Shoots the Breeze and More, and Finds the Remarkable Janice By
NOVEMBER 2022 The Quiet Hunter Wine Shopping Secrets Uncorked Still Grousing in Tioga County For Vets, Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Wellsboro’s38 th Dickens of a Christmas


All Day: Merchant Sales & Discounts

All Day: Department 56 Dickens Village Display, Deane Center Window

10 am – 4 pm: Indoor Book Sale, Green Free Library

12 – 6 pm: Wellsboro Glass Historical Association Exhibit, Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center

2 – 4 pm: Riedel Wine Glass Class , Preregistration required, Deane Center

3 – 8 pm: Indoor Craft Show, United Methodist Church

4 – 7 pm: Indoor Craft Show, Food, Tioga County Active Living Center, Wellsboro Sr. Center

6:30 pm: Wellsboro Parks & Rec. STEPS OF EXPRESSION “The Nutcracker” all jazzed up, Wellsboro High School Auditorium $

7:30 pm: Dickens of a Concert, St. Peter’s Catholic Church $


All Day: Area Merchants Sales & Discounts

All Day: Department 56 Dickens Village Display, Deane Center Window

9 am – 11:30 pm: Camhats/Home Page Network, The Best Dressed Showcase Registration, Deane Center Lobby

9 am – 3 pm: Open House, Tioga County Historical Society

9 am – 4 pm: Model Train Show, Cookie Sale, Church Tours, Lunch, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

9 am – 4 pm: Street Vendors, Street Musicians, Street Performers

9:am – 4 pm: Indoor Craft Show, United Methodist Church

9 am – 4 pm: Craft Show, Food, Firemen’s Annex

9 am – 5 pm: Indoor Craft Show, Food, Tioga County Active Living Center, Wellsboro Sr. Center

9:30 am: Wellsboro High School Dickens Choir, Arcadia Theatre

10 am: Victorian Stroll – Meet at Deane Center Outdoor Stage

10 am – 2 pm: Alternative Christmas Fair, Refreshments, Music, First Presbyterian Church

10 am – 2 pm: Open House w/Refreshments, Tussey-Mosher Funeral Home

10 am until sold out: Dickens Chef Demonstrations (Free) & Tastings $, Rookie Cooks Academy

10 am – 4 pm: Indoor Book Sale/Basket Raffle, Friends of Green Free Library

10:30 am: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Deane Center $

10:30 am, 12:30 & 2:30 pm: “The Man Who Invented Christmas” Movie, Arcadia Theatre $

11 am: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Warehouse Theatre $

12 – 6 pm: Wellsboro Glass Historical Association Exhibit, Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center

12 – 6 pm: Shutter Homestead Wine Tastings, Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center

12:30 pm: “The Man Who Invented Christmas” Movie, Arcadia Theatre

1 pm: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Warehouse Theatre $

1 pm: Camhats/Home Page Network, The Best Dressed Showcase, Deane Center Outdoor Stage

1:30 pm: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Coolidge Theatre, $, Deane Center

2 pm: Victorian Stroll – Meet at Deane Center Outdoor Stage

2 pm: Wellsboro Parks & Rec. STEPS OF EXPRESSION “The Nutcracker” all jazzed up, Wellsboro High School Auditorium $

2:30 pm: “The Man Who Invented Christmas” Movie, Arcadia Theatre

3 pm: Wellsboro Men’s Chorus, Arcadia Theatre

3:20 pm: Wellsboro Women’s Chorus, Arcadia Theater

3:30 pm: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Coolidge Theatre, $, Deane Center

3:40 pm: Combined Chorus Sing-a-long, Arcadia Theater

4 pm: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Warehouse Theatre $

4 pm: Choral Evensong Service, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

5 pm: Candlelight Walk for Peace, Packer Park to the Green

5:30 pm: Tree Lighting Ceremony, The Green


All Day: Department 56 Dickens Village Display, Deane Center Window

10 am: A Dickens of a Brunch Class, Rookie Cooks Academy

10 am – 3 pm: Indoor Book Sale/Basket

Raffle, Friends of Green Free Library

12 – 6 pm: Wellsboro Glass Historical Association Exhibit, Gmeiner Art & Cultural Center

12:30 pm: A Dickens of a Brunch Class, Rookie Cooks Academy

2:15 pm: “The Man Who Invented Christmas” Movie, Arcadia Theatre

2:30 pm: HG Productions, “A Christmas Carol,” Warehouse Theatre, $, Deane Center


A finalized schedule & map of events, parking, ATM’s, and restroom facilities will be available online at and at local restaurants, motels, and shops.

This advertising page brought to you in part by:

14 A Big Heart in Tioga

You can get (almost) anything you want at Rosie’s Restaurant.

16 Wheel In to the Wheel Inn

...the iconic Roaring Branch eatery that’s served food and fun for 75 years.

20 Mother Earth

Terms of endeerment.

28 Home Improvement

Remaking a place for grouse in Penn’s Woods.

34 Back of the Mountain

Cover by Gwen Button. Cover photo of Janice Cavanaugh, by Wade Spencer. This page (top) Janice Cavanaugh, by Wade Spencer; (middle) courtesy Wounded Warriors In Action.

The Quiet Hunter

Our staff hunter searches for another woman who shoots the breeze and more, and finds the remarkable Janice.

Hunting for Healing

Helping wounded warriors comes naturally in the Finger Lakes.

Planet of the Grapes

An ode to wine shopping.

3 Volume 17 Issue 11
30 24 6

With our mobile app, online bill pay, 24-hour ATMs and more, banking hours are whenever you need them to be. You & Us. That’s C&N.

E ditors & P ublish E rs

Teresa Banik Capuzzo

Michael Capuzzo

A ssoci A t E P ublish E rs

Lilace Mellin Guignard George Bochetto, Esq.

d ir E ctor of o PE r A tions

Gwen Button

M A n A ging E ditor

Gayle Morrow

s A l E s r EP r E s E nt A tiv E

Shelly Moore

c ircul A tion d ir E ctor Michael Banik

A ccounting Amy Packard

c ov E r d E sign

Gwen Button

c ontributing W rit E rs

Maggie Barnes, Carrie Hagen, Roger Kingsley, Don Knaus, Terence Lane, Dave Milano, Brendan O’Meara, David O’Reilly, Linda Roller, Karey Solomon, Carolyn Straniere

c ontributing P hotogr AP h E rs

Paul Bozzo, Ileta Calcote, Bernadette Chiaramonte, Diane Cobourn, Tasha Ferris, Donna Forrest, Mary Harvey, Michael Johnston, Nigel P. Kent, Wade Spencer, Linda Stager, Sherri Stager, Matthew Stevens, Kelly Sweet, Curt Weinhold

istribution t EAM

Brian Button, Grapevine Distribution, Linda Roller

h E b EA gl E

(1996-2014) • Yogi (2004-2018)

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.

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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.moun

4 24/7 ACCESS US.
Nano Cosmo



Christmas on Main Street

Thursday-Sunday December 8-11, 2022

WEllSboro, PENNSyl “The Town that Saved Christmas”

Stroll along our gaslit Main Street and enjoy a uN iqu E SH o PP i NG ExPEriEN cE you won’t soon forget!

It’s a festive weekend filled with shopping, activities, and history that will warm your heart and fill you with Christmas Spirit!


Extended Shopping Hours

Santa Brunch • Craft Show • Dollar Christmas Movie • Live Reindeer

Christmas Concerts & Caroling • Live Nativity • Holiday-Themed Game Night • Historic Tours • Historic Ornament Display & Reception

Swing Dancing • Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides Parade of Lights with Santa Vintage Ornament Displays will be on exhibit December 6th through Christmas!

This advertising page brought to you in part by:

event schedule


The Quiet Hunter

Our Staff Hunter Searches for Another Woman Who Shoots the Breeze and More, and Finds the Remarkable Janice

Janice Cavanaugh sets the old hunting roster on the picnic table. With it is a black and white square photo of a woman wearing a head scarf standing beside a buck hoisted to drain. Its head is above hers. She looks up at it, not at the camera. Her expression reveals no pride or surprise or weariness. The flash captures the trampled snow of the foreground but leaves her dark jacket to blend with the black behind her. This is Janice’s mother, Cleora Young, on December 3, 1951, in Bradford County. Janice’s father’s handwriting on the log documents: “Cleora shot a 6 point buck on Burnham’s Hill this year.

She went up alone after giving the kids their afternoon nap.”

Janice gives the impression of a woman who is grounded. There is nothing unnecessary about her, no extra words or gestures, no decoration. She probably doesn’t get flustered easily.

She inherited her mother’s matter-offactness and her father’s collection of hunting rosters, kept in a burgundy plastic book that covers half the picnic table when it’s spread open. The gold lettering declares “Elmer’s Giant Scrap Book.” She turns the pages, reading the logs that were faithfully filled out when the

bear or deer gangs congregated for the hunt. Names, addresses, hunting license numbers, make and caliber of firearm were all collected, often along with Elmer’s remarks. These were left on a windshield for the game warden. The cursive is faded now. They span from the forties through the late eighties when Elmer, born in 1918, stopped leading gangs. Janice, raised in a family of hunters, begins telling stories.

“Some of my greatest childhood memories came in November when I’d wake up at 5 a.m., hearing the local bearhunting gang assembling in my parents’

house in Bentley Creek to fill out the roster,” Janice says. They were mostly men but also a few women, in great spirits and kidding around. “Opinions were offered about whose gun was too big or too small for the job, or who had outgrown their coat since last year. Those were the red-plaid Woolrich days.” She’d sneak downstairs in her PJs to sit on her uncle’s lap to watch the fun. “Someone always had to run back home for their hunting license or ammo, but no one ever forgot their lunch,” she says. “Priorities!”

Tracking unsung traditions: Janice Cavanaugh shows the writer decades of family hunting rosters, sharing stories of generations of women in her family just doing what they do.
See Quiet on page 8
Wade Spencer

When you bring home the venison and fry it up in a pan: A photo of Janice’s mother (top) lies on an old hunting roster for the day she got her buck; over the years (center l to r) Linda Morgan (Janice’s sister), Janice, and her aunt Anne Harkness have enjoyed hunting together; Janice and Gary Cavanaugh’s love thrives in the woods (bottom).

Then they’d head south to the game lands, making their precarious way up Armenia Mountain on an icy road out of Troy (this without four-wheel-drive). It was even more frightening coming down at night. Many of the rosters are blank in the column for “Big Game Killed.” And when there is an entry, it’s often just one. But—“If you measured success by the good times,” she says, “these hunters were very successful.” Janice says that 1958 was a doubly successful year for her parents. “Dad finally got a bear and Mom gave birth to their fourth child. Their driveway was full of cars for two days. The men ran out to the shop to see Dad’s bear, and the women went in the house to see baby Linda.”

Stalking Tales

When I met Janice, I knew her stories were what I’d been seeking without realizing it. At the start of my fourth season of hunting, having begun at age fifty-one with no family connections to it except my teenage son, who had started hunting the year before I did, I envied the legacy others had. My son loves hunting, which is why I got involved. My time in the woods with him has been precious. I try to imagine hunting with my grandchildren but, having grown up in the suburbs and only now putting down roots here, it’s hard to see myself in the role of elder hunter.

Women are a demographic of hunters getting a lot of attention these days. There are stories in all the industry magazines, stories asking why women hunt. Outdoor writer and TV host Ron Spomer bristles at the sexism and writes, “Because she’s human…. Their maternal ancestors pursued everything from grass seeds and grasshoppers to gophers and giraffes for as long as men did. And often more effectively.”

According to data from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, in 2009 about 7 percent of hunters in the state were female. That has increased to a relatively steady 10 percent. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reports a similar percentage, with a small bump in 2020 and 2021. Where it used to be extremely rare to see images of women hunting, now they are all over social media. Important as these stories are, they are not the kind I’ve been searching for.

Paula Piatt, a long-time hunter from Sayre, says, “I know when I started in PA there weren’t many (if any) other women out there hunting. And from my time in New York, I don’t remember any women either. I just don’t think they were very public about their adventures. Too bad. I’m sure there are some great stories.”

These private stories from the quiet hunters are what I’m stalking.

Hunting: A Love Story

Janice began hunting in 1961 at sixteen, when her father taught three of his four daughters to hunt. She used her mom’s Savage 22 HP with iron sights. Her dad “was heavy on safety and ethics,” she recalls. “We all unloaded our guns exactly at closing time. More than once we met the buck of our dreams on the way back to the car, but Dad would smile and say it would be bigger yet tomorrow.” Now if she hears gunshots after hours, she thinks of her old joke: “Would a touchdown count if it’s made ten minutes after the game ends? No,

continued from page 6
(2) Courtesy Janice Cavanagh Wade Spencer

but you can’t eat a football.”

“The outdoors is why I liked her,” Janice’s husband, Gary, says. “We used to read Outdoor Life together on our first dates.” He bought her a fly-fishing rod before he ever bought her diamonds. Janice laughs, “It’s like I had to pass a test.” They met in high school when both played trumpet in the marching band. Their parents became good friends, hunting together. Janice was eighteen when she married and moved three miles away. For the first five years of their marriage, it was just the two of them, working and building their log cabin by themselves. Fifty-three years later, they still live on twenty acres in Bentley Creek. Bradford County has a long history of women and girls hunting, “and we’re doing okay,” she notes. “All the men I know are very helpful and respectful to women hunters. There were some problems back in the forties and fifties, but that was before microwave ovens. Men were understandably concerned about the lateness of their evening meal if women hunted.”

She got no deer the first five years but got five bucks over the next ten years. She thinks that had a lot to do with the Savage .284 Gary gave her early in their marriage. It had a scope.

Gary grew up with a mother who hunted and a father who appreciated it. His father, Bill, started the practice of flipping a coin to see if he or his wife, Virginia, would go out the next day. “He knew how much she liked hunting,” Gary says. Was his mom more likely to bring home a deer than his dad? “Probably,” he admits.

Janice got her first buck early in her pregnancy with Brian, their first child. Later in the pregnancy she went crawling around in the cornfields with her motherin-law. She says of her eldest son, “He went goose hunting before he was born. If a woman’s a hunter, being pregnant isn’t really going to stop her.” She took her second son, Bruce, hunting when he was twelve, and he got his first deer.

She says that many people don’t realize how well women hunters did in those days, considering the limitations they accepted as mothers and homemakers. But staying at home, rather than working for a paycheck, was an advantage if you

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had easy access to land you could hunt. For these mothers, she says, “their time in the woods doesn’t begin until the kids are fed, dressed, and off to school.”

“Likewise, they give up prime hunting hours to meet the school bus and prepare the evening meal. And many a buck has been taken behind the barn by women who couldn’t travel to more exotic locations.” Janice thinks many mothers don’t mount their bucks because the money could go to some family need.

When her sons were teens, hunting season became extra busy, and Janice stayed home more. “If you live on soup and hot dogs for months, you realize that something has to give. And I was what had to give.” As if to banish any Betty Crocker comparison, Janice continues, “The best thing you can say about my cooking is I didn’t kill anyone.” She pauses. “That I know of.” Though preparing meals has thwarted women from hunting, it has also been a motivation. Providing healthy, affordable meat, she emphasizes, is a strong incentive.

In addition to her mother and mother-in-law, she’s hunted with her younger sister, Linda, and her Aunt Anne, both lifelong hunters. She was with her mother when Cleora got her last deer at age sixty-five. The arthritis in Cleora’s arms and shoulders had gotten bad, so Janice went along in case she was needed, while Gary and Elmer drove doe her way. Gary was with his mother when she got her last deer at age seventy. At seventy-seven, Janice still goes out.

“I was born into a hunting family and married into another one,” she says, and has loved every minute of the bonding among three or more generations. “On some occasions my father was the only male with five women hunters in the gang. He was probably praying we didn’t all get a deer or bear for him to drag out.”

Who You Gonna Call?

“My advice to beginning hunters is to take your hunter education courses very seriously and learn all you can from your adult mentors,” Janice says. “Then it’s time to develop your own skills and interests.” She thinks this advice is especially important for women, who may be more apt to ask what they should do. “Do you enjoy the open woods with close-up shots? Or watching fields and hedgerows? Above all else, listen to your instincts. Many women have a shorter stride than men and it’s no fun to hunt on the run when you want to be sneaking along. If a watch feels totally lifeless, it might be time to move on. If you feel you should stay one more hour, do it.”

Some of Janice’s best hunting memories have nothing to do with a kill. She’s had a racoon growl at her from a hollow tree, wanting to steal her baloney and mustard sandwich. She’s seen bear (out of season) and a huge bobcat she first thought was a cougar. She watched a fox nursing. Her favorite: while near a small pond, a young buck ran circles around the water, then jumped in with a big splash, climbed out, and did it four more times. “That’s the kind of thing you won’t see watching Days of Our Lives,” she says. When sitting in the woods, her thoughts always turn to her Creator and the beauty around her. She calls it “storing up soul food for the busy week ahead.”

And since many women hunt alone—either to work it around their schedule or because they desire the peace and quiet away from other peoples’ needs—this is my favorite piece of advice: “At the end of the day,” Janice says, “call another hunter to share the special

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Quiet continued from page 9 See Quiet on page 12
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Bear-ly: After forty-four years of trying, Janice got one and, though she hasn’t named the mounted head, that hangs in their cabin, she says if she did she’d call it “Finally.”

moments: a gorgeous sunrise, a new wildflower, or that perfect log to sit on with a headrest, a footrest, and a place for your Pepsi. Memories are more valuable than meat.”

Janice describes herself as an old-school, low-tech hunter. This means no food plots, four-wheelers, or trail cams. “Give me a local woodlot with a couple apple or oak trees and I’m happy,” she says. The new gear, neat clothes, and pink camo are not what the women hunters she knows look like. Janice fully supports the young women out there because they love the woods and want to ethically provide healthy meat, no matter what they wear. But she says she wonders if some aren’t really hunting for a man. Then we shrug because we can’t blame them. We happen to believe the best men love the outdoors.

Janice’s daughter-in-law, Tricia, hunts too, usually with Brian.

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Courtesy Janice Cavanagh

But last year Brian went on the mountain and Tricia stayed home. “I wasn’t even planning on hunting that day,” she says, “but then I thought I’d take my bucket [with a padded seat for a lid] out back and hang out. I was taking pictures with my phone when a deer ran in the distance. A doe was following him and stopped.” She called Janice immediately to share her luck.

“When the call came,” Janice says, “I jumped in my hunting clothes and found her in the woods. She’d dropped a big doe with one shot.” In the past, Brian would always field dress Tricia’s deer. She’d watched him many times but since he was faster it made sense for him to do it. With this doe, Tricia enjoyed taking her time with Janice looking on, giving advice if needed. “I learn better by doing it myself,” Tricia says, giving the impression that this was the highlight of that hunt. “This year I’ll be ready to do it myself.” But she’ll still call Janice. “She gets so excited.”

They tried to drag the deer out but ended up flagging a trail back to the house for Brian to follow when he returned—with a doe of his own. “She canned her deer to make healthful, easy-to-serve meals,” Janice says proudly.

Know Your Place

“I got lost in our own backyard once,” Janice tells me. “It was snowing and then it set in so thick with a fog. Everything looked the same.” I told her how I got lost very near my tree stand in snow and walked down to find the creek and re-orient. But she was on top of a hill. “The problem with being on top of a hill is every direction is down,” she points out. She ended up on the other side and walked the road the long way home.

Now when she’s hunting she stays close to a logging road, ridgeline, or fence line. “You don’t want to be the hunter that’s lost in the dark or fog or whiteout blizzard. You don’t want your companion to get lost either, especially if they have the car keys!”

Janice had her best year of hunting in 2009 when she got a 235-pound bear, hunting alone in her forty-fourth year of bear hunting. It was her first and she field dressed it herself. Gary was near enough to hear the shooting and got help to haul it out.

Janice will go out as usual this year, either on their property or on their neighbors’. She used to range all over the valley when Gary was at work, but, as she notes, “There’s a big difference between forty and seventy-seven. I’m more careful of falling because I don’t want to lay out by the creek all day.”

Why does she still hunt? “I want to stay in good physical/mental condition as long as I’m able,” she explains. “The level of exertion and alertness required leaves hunters prepared for many survival situations.” Another reason is that hunters have a strong connection to what she calls “reality, like God’s natural order. There’s a lot of reality just outside our doors.” She’s always preferred the natural world. She doesn’t need to be entertained, and she doesn’t need to make a fuss about her success when it comes.

“It’s not horseshoes, it’s hunting. I think God tends to bless those out here to see His handiwork. Not those who most want to beat somebody’s record.” So, if you stop to look out your window this hunting season at the gray branches or snow swirling, think of Janice and the other hunters who sit alone in the woods. And if you happen to be one of them, remember when you get home to call another hunter and share the little or big moments of your day.

As for me, I’ll be calling Janice.

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A Big Heart in Tioga You Can Get (Almost) Anything You Want at Rosie’s Restaurant

Herfather’s death broke Rosie’s heart. Wide open. Tom Knapp was seventy-five when he collapsed at his Lawrenceville home in April, 2019. “It was my fiftieth birthday,” Rosie Silvernail recalls. She’s sitting at a table at her homestyle restaurant, Rosie’s, in Tioga. “There was nothing he wouldn’t do for someone in need,” she says, and her eyes glisten.

Nowadays, folks across northern Tioga County say the same of Rosie. “We cannot thank you enough for your support and hard work and caring ways for Jeff and his family,” reads one of the many thank-you notes taped around the front door. “You are truly a blessing,” reads another.

But to fully understand Rosie’s reputation for kindness, check out that coffee canister on the counter.

Donation for Christmas reads the handlettered sign wrapped around it. 3rd Annual Thomas Knapp Free Thanksgiving Dinner.

“After my dad died, we wanted to honor his memory,” she explains. And so, after acquiring the restaurant at 6 Wellsboro Street

about a year after Tom’s death, (she’d been a waitress and cook for three decades) she came up with an extravagantly generous idea. Come Thanksgiving, her newly opened Rosie’s would serve turkey dinner—loaded with potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and dessert— to everyone who showed up.

For free.

Her mom, three sisters, and two brothers were all in. Nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws, too.

“We’re a close-knit family,” explains her sister, Virginia Gee, of Lawrenceville. “And Dad’s loss was particularly hard on Rosie.”

All through that November they watched for sale-priced turkeys. They started baking cakes and pies as the big day approached, and in the wee hours of Thanksgiving day they descended on Rosie’s restaurant to start roasting, mashing, seasoning, stirring—and packaging.

Why packaging? “Because we were still shut down on account of covid,” Virginia explains. “We figured we’d be handing out dinners at the door for people to take home.

Only they started coming inside, wanting to sit down. So, we said ‘OK. Have a seat. We don’t care if we get arrested.’”

“I think a lot [who came inside] were looking for company,” recalls Rosie. They included people from area homeless shelters, “but also people without family nearby, many of them elderly. They didn’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving alone.” Soon every table was filled, and strangers, masked and unmasked, were making friends. Then came the big surprise. Many grateful diners started making donations.

“We never expected that,” Rosie says, but by the time they locked the door they had about $1,200.

What to do?

Her sister, Brenda Nagy, proposed buying Christmas presents for children whose families couldn’t afford to do that. Rosie agreed, and they turned to the local Salvation Army’s Angel Tree for the wish lists of eight or nine families in the Northern Tioga School District, where the Knapps were schooled and where most of her customers hail from. Armed with each

Tioga’s counter culture: Rosie Silvernail holds a photo of her father, Tom Knapp—a man who wrote songs, inspired her to always help the needy, and liked her coconut cream pie the best. Lilace Mellin Guignard

child’s Christmas wish, they scoured stores and websites to buy presents for all.

“We’re bargain shoppers,” says Rosie’s sister, Joanne Knapp-Elvidge, down from Elmira this afternoon. Brenda, of Middlebury Center, who’s been in the kitchen making tomorrow’s macaroni and cheese, chimes in.

“All the money goes right to kids,” she says. And “every dime” dropped into that donation canister will subsidize this year’s Thanksgiving feast, says Rosie, with all proceeds then going for Christmas gifts and children’s needs.

“We do all this because, back in the day, we were the poor kids,” Rosie explains. Their father had health issues, and the family got by on his disability payments. “I was one of those little girls who didn’t have a lot, but every Christmas American Legion Post 235 would get us brand-new gifts. It kind of sticks with you.”

Last year’s free Thanksgiving dinner drew three hundred guests and raised $2,500. The sisters bought Christmas gifts for children in fifteen anonymous families, and the surplus still provides shoes and coats for needy youngsters.

Just then, a voice pipes up from an

adjacent table.

“Did Rosie tell you that during covid she was feeding children through the window?” asks Helen Brensinger, a registered nurse from Mansfield. Rosie’s embarrassed, but explains that in the early months of the pandemic she gave away hot dogs, fries, and mac and cheese to Tioga’s middle school kids.

“You deserve recognition,” says Helen. “They were lined up at the door. You’re a sweetheart—and a good cook.”

The kindnesses keep on coming. Breakfasts are free for dads on Father’s Day, for moms on Mother’s Day, and coffee is on the house every Tuesday.

“It’s my way of giving back to my customers,” Rosie says. Stop by, and you’ll find Elmer Huel and his retired buddies lingering at a table. Their waitress cleared the breakfast dishes a while ago, but there’s no rush. It’s like family here.

“My wife passed away a year and three months ago,” recalls Elmer, ninety-one, “and Rosie would not let me pay for a meal for weeks after. Every time I went to pay my bill, the waitress would say ‘Rosie’s got this.’ Every time.”

Brian Fish lauds Rosie’s hiring of local

homeless and people with autism and developmental delays as dishwashers—one of whom has drawn an “I ♥ Rosie’s” that’s posted over the door. Gene Farman, whitebearded and stout, shows photos of himself playing Santa for the children’s Christmas party she hosted here last year. And Don Treat marvels at how “just last week the Masons were cooking a chicken dinner for a fundraiser, and she showed up with all this food she made. Wouldn’t take any money for it. She said ‘This is my donation.’”

Minutes later, a middle-aged woman steps inside and asks for Rosie. The two chat, Rosie nods, and the woman grasps Rosie’s hands in gratitude.

“My mother had a bleeding stroke,” Susan Plaza of Elkland explains, and Rosie just agreed to help raise funds for her travel expenses to Geisinger Medical Center.

“She’s got a big heart,” says Susan. “A very big one.”

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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Wheel In to the Wheel Inn

...The Iconic Roaring Branch Eatery That’s Served Food and Fun for 75 Years

At the Wheel Inn, a private club snug between the counties of Lycoming and Tioga, dining is done a little differently than at your traditional restaurant. You get a menu from the lounge, write down what you would like, and a member takes that slip to the kitchen. Once your table is ready, a server will escort you to your seats in the dining room and deliver your food. In the main dining room you’ll find crisp white tablecloths adorning the tables, which mixes nicely with the wood chairs and exposed beams, with a bit of hunting lodge coziness thrown in. A blue Marlin takes center stage between a pair of mounted turkeys on the wall. And, of course, bicycle décor dots the walls in pictures and metal art work.

It’s kind of formal in an old-fashioned sort of way.

“It’s become a fun tradition for the older crowd to bring their grandkids and help

them fill out their order,” says Glenn Shaffer, president of the board of directors. Dining members are also encouraged to linger at their tables for as long as they’d like. “We’re not your typical eatery where you need to turn your tables over in order to make money. We want people to relax and enjoy the experience while they’re here.” That’s been the story at the Wheel Inn, located at 14262 Route 14 in Roaring Branch. It’s the spot where friends and families have been meeting since it opened its doors seventy-five years ago.

Chartered on June 16, 1947, the club was founded by Michael J. Maggio and 100 other bicycle enthusiasts from the Wheel Club of Williamsport. Glenn doesn’t think there are any of the original family members still involved with the club these days, and he isn’t sure how enthusiastic those founding riders actually were about actually riding, but gives them credit for whatever pedal-turning

they did.

“In my mind, I think about the bicycle design of the 40’s, and cannot imagine riding from Williamsport to Roaring Branch and back in one day,” he says. “The roads at the time were nothing of the quality we have today, and to ride sixty to seventy miles would be a task of any wheelman.”

Bikes aside, he says the purpose of the club was to be a charitable, recreational, and educational facility, particularly for youth and their development. The club supports a variety of youth-focused organizations, including Little League. There are baseball fields on the property; in years past the club hosted a Little League picnic for the ball players and their families visiting Williamsport.

“It was a place for them to have fun and just be kids without the glare of cameras,” says Glenn. “We had games for them to play,

See Wheel Inn on page 18
Be a part of the inn crowd: It’s easy to become a member of the Wheel Inn private dinner and social club in Roaring Branch. Carolyn Straniere
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music, and, of course, food. The [pandemic] shutdown put a halt to these picnics the last few years, unfortunately.”

Scattered throughout the year are member-only events (good incentive to become a member!), including Easter dinner, Oktoberfest, Thanksgiving dinner, the Christmas party, and New Year’s Eve celebration.

“These are done by reservation only, with our Mother’s Day dinner being the most popular, because I don’t know any mom who wants to cook on their special day,” quips Glenn.

For those ready to really unwind, no special event is needed. Just step out onto the wrap-around deck, its construction made possible by a donation, pull up a chair, and take in the view.

“Everything from start to finish—the design, the materials, and the labor—was generously gifted to us by Blaise Alexander and his family,” Glenn says. As for that view—“We own about 500 acres of land, though most of it is hillside, making it hard to climb. A Billy goat would love it though.”

The Wheel Inn hosts a handful of open-to-the-public events throughout the year (the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board allows the club to have five public events, Glenn says), with its annual August clam bake being one of the biggest.

“Everyone looks forward to our clam bake,” Glenn says. “This year we had over 500 people enjoy themselves. There’s cornhole, horseshoes, a band, beer, a DJ, a wide array of food, and, of course, the star of the day—clams—all you can eat.” The Easter egg hunt and the Halloween-time trunk or treat are two of the other popular get-togethers open to the public.

As for food, hungry members can opt for selections including steak, chicken, pasta, or seafood. Wheel Inn haddock is hand-breaded with panko crumbs and then fried—the results are light and tasty, making it one of their biggest sellers. Daily specials might include honey Dijon pork chop, a Cajun shrimp and sausage pasta, or chicken pot pie.

The U-shaped bar, separate from the main dining room, has a beautiful knotty pine ceiling, and is a little more casual, but you can still get the same great food, along with domestic and imported bottled beer, wines, and cocktails.

Becoming a member is easy, Glenn says. There’s an application to fill out, and a member in good standing has to sponsor you. The initial fee, which includes first year membership, is $100, and $55 a year after that.

“Our members come from all over—California, Florida, Washington, Colorado, and of course right here in our area,” he says, adding that if you don’t know anybody who is already a member, contact the Inn for help. “This is a family-friendly environment and we just want you to take advantage of all we offer and enjoy yourself.”

The Wheel Inn is open for dinner Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. For more information, call (570) 673-8421, send an email to, or find them 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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Mother Earth

Terms of Endeerment

Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody feels the wind blow.

Ihad no reason to believe that this hunting season was going to be different from any other. The hunter I lived with for over twenty years was going to go hunting, and I was going to roll my eyes at the amount of time he spent in the woods. I was going to laugh to myself, and maybe to him, at the ratty old orange wool shirt he dragged out of his collection of hunting gear and wore every fall. I was going to enjoy the stories he’d relay about the bears and the bobcats and the coyotes he’d see (and marvel that they didn’t see him) while he was bowhunting, and about the sightings over the past several years during rifle season of the piebald doe and her progeny. I was going to agree, as I always did

(because he asked and didn’t assume that a vegetarian would want to do this), to help him package venison for the freezer, and I’d get the jars and the canner ready so we could can some of the meat. I was going to be proud of him when, at the end of a cold day, just as he was starting to warm up, he’d put his outside gear back on and go out to help a buddy track a wounded deer.

I was going to have a little fun with this column. It was going to be about hunters— the kind I grew up with, a.k.a. my dad, and the smelly ones. The smelly ones are the guys who come to their camps in our neighborhood (“our” is a bit of a misnomer at this juncture, and I’ll get to that momentarily) from wherever it is they come from, driving their really clean trucks and wearing the latest Cabela’s has to offer. You know those guys—you can smell them a mile away, and certainly the deer can, too—they give off a

combination of fabric softener, Febreze, soap/ deodorant/shampoo/aftershave (Axe—yikes!), sometimes cigarette smoke, and the bacon they had for breakfast.

I was going to poke at them a little, be a bit derisive about their lack of scouting, their propensity for using four-wheelers, and their endless target practicing that seems to start, and I’m not exaggerating, about ten seconds after they pull into their driveway. You guys think the deer don’t know what’s going on?

I was looking forward to writing about my dad, about his deer hunting routine when I was a kid, and my speculations on why his hunts eventually stopped resulting in dead deer. I was going to maybe throw in some profundity about respecting the animals you kill, because that’s what he did, and note that he would never, ever, have worn anything in

~Paul Simon, from “Graceland”
See Endeerment on page 22
Gayle Morrow
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the woods that smelled like dryer sheets, and would not have dreamed of cutting the horns off a buck and throwing the rest of the animal over the nearest embankment.

But sometimes as you’re writing, as you’re planning what to write, shit happens. You get a cosmic whap and your life takes a turn you could not have fathomed a week ago, and so your writing must, also. The deer hunter I lived with for over twenty years won’t be out and about this season, and now I have to get that part into this story, too.

I have a theory about why my dad stopped hunting—rather, why he stopped killing deer—and it doesn’t have anything to do with the time he inadvertently (at least I assume it was) hit me in the head with the hatchet he was using on a hanging deer carcass. Someday I’ll tell you that story.

When my sisters and I were growing up in western New York, Thanksgiving at our house meant a mid-afternoon turkey dinner, and then Dad getting ready to leave for a week of deer hunting in Tioga County with his dad, my Grandpa Morrow.

Dad grew up here and hunted here, so he probably knew a lot of places where the deer hung out. He’d have a couple of days to scout, anyway, and I’m sure Grandpa had done his share of it on Dad’s behalf. I can imagine the conversation between them: you know where that trail comes out on such and such a road? Go up there a half a mile and where it forks off to the right there’s a nice buck rub…

I’m pretty sure there was no discussion about food plots, trail cams, big buck contests, the latest high-tech hunting clothing, or any of the bells and whistles that have become the norm for hunting these days. In fact, there probably wasn’t much of any conversation. Dad told me once that for the week of deer season he spent with his dad, they didn’t talk at all! Now that may have been a bit of a tall story, but for Dad, who was not an especially chatty guy, coming from a household of three daughters and a wife, a week of relative silence was probably a nice respite.

Years later, Dad stopped bringing home deer. He didn’t stop hunting, didn’t stop spending that week with his dad, but there was no more “harvesting” (he would not have used that euphemism), and I think it was because we didn’t need the meat. I’m assuming that was due to improvements in my parents’ financial situation, but I’ve also always wondered if my father, a World War II veteran, had simply had enough of killing.

As for my partner, the man with the old, tattered wool shirt, who loved this time of year in ways I didn’t and don’t (fall is not my favorite season), he won’t be filling his tags. “Our” neighborhood, complete with the smelly hunters, is now just “my” neighborhood, but many of those guys have said kindly and sincerely in recent weeks, “Hey, if you need something, let us know.” Everybody sees you’re blown apart.

My hunter was a traditionalist as well as pragmatic. He wasn’t opposed to shooting the big one, but “you can’t eat horns,” he’d say. He and my dad never got to meet, but they would probably have enjoyed each other’s company, and I can envision them spending a week of deer season together, not saying a word.

That silence is absolutely deafening.

In loving memory of: Charles A. Morrow, November, 9, 1924-April 3, 1992 Brian R. Kamin, June 7, 1957-September 12, 2022

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Hunting for Healing

Helping Wounded Warriors Comes Naturally in the Finger Lakes

Keith Tidball, Ph.D., is a unique combination of scientist, outdoorsman, and veteran. The Cornell University professor, who served in Afghanistan, has studied the link between time spent in nature and recovery from trauma—including the trauma associated with military combat. He believes deeply in the mission of the Wounded Warriors in Action organization as a way for veterans to tap into nature’s restorative powers.

“We come from nature. And modern life has pushed us away from that,” he says. “Reconnecting with the natural world has a physical effect on the body and the mind.”

For military veterans, the return to civilian life can be a painful and difficult transition. For Purple Heart recipients, who often served in Special Forces and bear a lifetime of wounds for that service, the switch can be nearly impossible. The statistics on

veteran suicides is heartbreaking evidence of that. To help veterans heal via that natural world reconnection, WWIA members provide hunting and fishing excursions in beautiful settings across America, Canada, and Mexico. These adventures are all guided by local experts and are provided without charge for the participants. Being away from technology and being in the company of others who understand their experiences proves a powerful combination that can help veterans find their footing again.

The chapter in the Finger Lakes region offers deer hunts and waterfowl hunts and fishing trips, thanks to volunteers who donate guide services and the use of property. One of the property owners featured in the introductory video for WWIA says, “This is the most important thing we have ever done with our land.” Each WWIA chapter is linked to a sportsman’s club, an American Legion, or

a VFW post that organizes the fundraising. It costs roughly $2,000 to bring a participant on these trips, with expenses including airfare and licenses. The outings are three to five days long, with four veterans going at a time. Keith works with a club in Seneca County that has been hosting WWIA events for nine years. The club raises funds throughout the year.

“Our community is so generous—we cover our costs and even send a donation to WWIA National,” says Keith.

The positive impact of these trips is evident when someone like Matt Brannon, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who was wounded in 2008, shares his story. He admits he wasn’t himself when he came home to Boaz, Alabama. Then a friend took him hunting for the weekend.

“While I was hunting that weekend, it was the first time I had really taken a

See Warriors on page 26
Cornfield camouflage: There’s no hiding that heart’s at the heart of this duck hunt with (l to r) Keith Tidball, Tyler Chappelle, Steve Sandroni, and Bob Stuck.
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deep breath and relaxed in years,” Matt remembers. “I was able to be in the outdoors and connecting with nature and myself. I told myself this is what all veterans who are struggling need. They need to get into the outdoors and heal.”

He looked for an organization that championed this approach and found a connection with WWIA. Matt embraced the program and went on to become a volunteer, leading other veterans through the process. The founder of WWIA, John McDaniel, offers a guide school to train veterans for careers in outdoor recreation. Matt was selected for the program, and now continues his own recovery by helping others heal.

“WWIA is the real deal,” Matt says. “They love and care about combat wounded veterans and they back up what they say in every possible way.”

The group of four veterans on a hunting or fishing trip dine together with their hosts. Keith says this is an important activity and even the process of preparing and cooking the game they caught is part of connecting the veterans to nature.

“There is a sense of mastery and

accomplishment when you use your skill to present a meal you procured. And the conversations around that table are part of the therapeutic approach to helping vets feel valued and accepted.

“These are people who have been through what you’ve been through,” he continues. “And we’re talking vets from any conflict, any era. They bond almost immediately, and the sharing of their experiences is something only other vets can truly understand.”

The military has a Warrior Transition Service that bridges the change from service back to civilian life. Part of that transition process includes a questionnaire where vets can indicate that they have a love for the outdoors or have been hunting or fishing before. When WWIA is lining up a trip, those vets are contacted and offered the chance to apply.

“When we do a trip in the Finger Lakes region, 95 percent of these folks have never been here,” Keith comments. “They are blown away by the natural beauty and all there is to do. I often hear about them returning with their families for vacation. The house we have access to in Canandaigua serves up a sunset that’ll take your breath away. They

remember that.”

Regarding post-traumatic stress disorder and anger issues, Keith notes that WWIA provides a trained volunteer who watches for signs of any emotional struggles and helps the vet process what is happening.

“The men and women we take on these trips have demonstrated exceptional character, and we have never had a problem,” he says.

The excursions even accommodate disabled participants in wheelchairs and other assistive devices.

“You want to go, we will make it happen,” Keith says.

As for Matt Brannon, he believes in the mission of WWIA so strongly that he wants only one thing.

“I wish every combat wounded veteran could experience an event with us. It is truly the best experience they could ever hope for.”

Find out more about Wounded Warriors in Action at

Writer Maggie Barnes, IRMA and Keystone Press Awards winner, lives in Waverly, New York.

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Home Improvement Remaking a Place for Grouse in Penn’s Woods

Theavian stars of this show aren’t flashy, like bald eagles, or eye-catching, like a strutting turkey. They’re small birds, weighing about a pound, give or take a few ounces, and often invisible until they move, as they’re covered in a feather pattern that is the perfect camouflage for where they spend most of their time—the forest floor. This cousin to the domestic chicken is not only the state bird of Pennsylvania, but a joy for bird dogs and the people who hunt with them.

They are also part of a complex forest ecosystem, and their population is in a long decline, primarily due to a loss of habitat.

Morris area resident Joe Sulikoski hunts with bird dogs, and he was seeing that decline as he spent time in the woods. Instead of “grousing” about it, Joe sought out the reasons for the decline and became an advocate helping to develop habitat for the birds and for the sport of bird hunting.

In a perfect world, natural events like forest fires would have created a forest with patches of shrub and young trees just beginning to grow (known as early successional habitat, or ESH), along with areas of maturing and well-established trees. But, after the practice of clear-cutting more than a century ago, Pennsylvania’s re-grown woods have since been managed for a variety of purposes and it is, in many areas of the state, a mature forest. On public land, it is the forest that thousands love for hiking, camping, biking, and other outdoor activities. But it is not necessarily a diverse habitat for multiple species, including the ruffed grouse.

“People think grouse can live anywhere, but that’s just not so,” Joe says. They need a “disturbed” forest, a forest where there is a lot of light on the ground, where there is brush and small trees. That type of growth

provides cover from the hawks and owls that feed on these birds, and in the winter gives them shelter from the cold winds. The grouse’s range is throughout Canada and the northern United States, primarily, and they do not migrate.

“Grouse are fine until the temperature reaches thirty degrees,” Joe continues. “Below that, they are using body fat to stay warm. At twenty degrees, they must have thermal cover.” While they do use snow as an insulator, the little pockets formed in low brushy areas add to the snow’s effectiveness as a natural blanket.

For grouse and other brush dwellers, an ideal forest mix is 20 percent ESH, 50 percent middle-aged trees, and 30 percent mature forest. Currently, only 10 percent of Penn’s Woods is in ESH, and a pair of mating grouse needs ten acres. It’s a startling change from seventy years ago, when as much as 50

Grape-patch Grous e, acrylic on clayboard by Michael Kensinger

percent of the forest was ESH. The result of this change has been a 30 percent decline in grouse in the last twenty years. Part of this decline is driven by who owns the forest. In Pennsylvania, 75 percent of the forest is in private hands.

Other factors have contributed to the decrease in grouse population. In the last few years, the West Nile virus, a mosquitoborne disease that can infect birds as well as people, has lowered the hatch rate. But creating grouse-friendly habitat can offset some of the effects of this disease.

“Birds that contract West Nile can survive, with good habitat,” Joe points out. In 2016-2017, grouse in all areas of the state were at some of the lowest levels seen. But the recovery rate is better in areas where there is good habitat.

A couple of projects in the Tioga State Forest are providing the disturbed forest that these birds, and others like them, need. In the Landrus area, between Arnot and Morris, a process known as shelterwood cutting is in use. As its name suggests, shelterwood cutting means that some trees are cut, others are left standing to help reseed, and many of the cut trees are left on the forest floor to provide immediate and long-term shelter for wildlife. This work is done by hand, mimicking natural processes, without compacting the soil or making large ruts with heavy equipment. Erick Butters and Barry Koernig, both Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources employees involved in what is known as the Landrus Heights project, note that a grouse survey in this area in March of 2019 revealed forty-four drumming locations. Drumming, a sound made with rapid wing beats, is how male grouse proclaim their territory.

Forest fires, of course, do create ESH, but the damage to other natural resources can be extreme. A controlled burn in a perimeter that can be secured, though, provides the benefits without the problems. At Shin Hollow, in Gaines Township, DCNR did a burn of 148 acres, followed with placement of a fence to keep the deer out and protect the saplings planted.

“It’s a lot of work to plan for a fire. It’s risky,” Erick says. But, in less than a month after the fire, Joe and volunteers from Susquehanna River Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society planted around 1,200 seedlings of hazelnut, crabapple, serviceberry and dogwood. A few months later, Barry saw grouse while hunting in the area. The fence, so important to protect this new habitat, cost over $20,000 for the materials alone, and was made possible with a grant and the help of private companies.

For Joe this is a passion, not only for his beloved grouse, but for wildlife in general.

“Over sixty different species of birds, mammals, and insects need ESH,” he notes.

Jim Hyland, district forester for Tioga State Forest, added that the work being done to create grouse habitat improves the health of the entire ecosystem.

“This scientific development of ESH is the biggest bang for the buck. And sportsmen like fly fishermen and hunters of ruffed grouse donate more and care more about the environment than most visitors to the state forests.”

Mountain Home contributor Linda Roller is a bookseller, appraiser, and writer in Avis, Pennsylvania.

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An Ode to Wine Shopping

Atrip to the wine store isn’t always planned, but can sparkle up in my prefrontal cortex while running errands for lesser necessities like car parts, clothing, and food. Wine shopping can always be looped in with something else. Occasionally that means a fifteen-minute detour into downtown Ithaca on a Friday afternoon to check out what’s new at the Cellar d’Or. Shopping for wine is something, like writing, that I really need to do alone in order to be effective. My girlfriend loves wine, drinks more of it than I do, but has no love for my shopping style. She claims it takes way too long, but I have no way of knowing for sure if that’s true, because when I’m in the aisles, making my internal calculations, I have no sense of time.

There is a methodology to my shopping. I always need to check out the French Burgundy section just to be sure there isn’t

anything good that I absolutely can’t afford. Loving Burgundy is a tragic, unrequited love for someone who doesn’t have money burning out of his shirt sleeves. It’s like falling in love with the weather girl. Five or six years ago, you could find good regional Burgundies priced between eighteen and twenty dollars, but not anymore. At any rate, I still enjoy the browsing. Checking in on wines I love and can’t afford is actually pretty fun, too.

Some wines are nostalgic, the way a song can transport you to a different time in life. At Northside Wines and Spirits in Ithaca, they carry an uncommon French sauvignon blanc by Goisot that I hadn’t seen in years, since working in Manhattan. At first sight, my hands balled up protectively, remembering how many times my colleagues and I used to cut ourselves on that aluminum capsule. When opened with a wine key, the thin,

unyielding metal was as sharp as concertina wire. Goisot foil was a sick joke among our team. During lulls in business, we’d make “would you rather” jokes like, “would you rather have to open two cases of Goisot, or drink two bottles of corked malbec?” On the train home after a long night of service, I’d often gaze wearily into the nest of hairline slices on my fingers and palms, considering all the ways we take our work home with us.

At wine merchants throughout the Finger Lakes, I have my “for later” bottles. These are bottles I know that I want to purchase, but not necessarily right away. Before I buy anything, I first need to check my apps to compare prices against my go-to online retailers like and Saratoga Wine Exchange. I will sometimes refer to Vivino for a general reaction to the wine and then consult for worldwide average price. also

See Ode on page 32
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provides valuable vintage information. In general, I prefer to buy wines from a brick-and-mortar retailer. It supports local business and eliminates the exorbitant cost of shipping.

My standby regions for great value and quality wine are found in New York, Italy, Austria, and Spain. If you can’t find something to suit your palate and price point in these places, then you’re probably a seltzer junkie. For a sultry and savory red, try wines made from Mencia in Spain’s northwestern Ribeira Sacra region. Comparable reds can be found in Austria made from blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and zweigelt grapes. Italy is so full of incredible value it’s hard to know where to start. For outstanding Italian whites, I always reach for trebbiano, falanghina, verdicchio, and arneis. Great examples can be found for under fifteen dollars. These whites are zesty, mineral, and lightly oaked (if at all); excellent on their own or with seafood, cheese, and herbed veggies. The ultimate quality-to-price red in Italy has to be Chianti Classico. The famed sangiovese-based wine always delivers the perfect punch for pizza, pasta, steak, and cured meats. For sparkling wines, Spanish Cava and Finger Lakes bubbles are the best way to stay within your budget. Cava is made in the bottle-fermented champagne method but at a fraction of the cost of champagne.

If you’re looking for locally made suds, Lakewood Vineyards in the Finger Lakes produces the wildly popular Bubbly Candeo, a fruity prosecco-inspired sparkler great for dry and sweet drinkers alike. If you enjoy a good wine cocktail, the Bubbly Candeo can be enhanced with a splash of orange juice or Campari. In addition to local wine, world-class cider has taken the Finger Lakes beverage scene by storm and restored the popularity of one of America’s oldest beverages. Eve’s Cidery and the Finger Lakes Cider House are two top producers making complex and thoughtful ciders perfect for all the sweet and savory flavors of Thanksgiving dinner. A far cry from so many childishly cloying commercial versions, these fine ciders drink like brut champagne made from uncommon heirloom apples.

Northside Wines, easily my favorite bottle shop in the Finger Lakes, offers a generous 20 percent discount on case purchases of wine. They have by far the best selection, volume, and knowledge in three counties. And if that wasn’t enough, they also have a “sales section.” A sales section in a wine store is a mercy. It creates an opportunity to try something new and unusual at a bargain, and there are gems waiting to be found.

Bear in mind, though, that many of the sales-section gems at Northside are no longer at Northside. Alas, I am incapable of passing up a great deal and have made my mark. Just know that what has been purchased has gone to a better place. Call it a bunker. A state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled storage facility beneath a forest of red pines. A home away from home that doubles as my parent’s well-appointed basement.

Terence Lane is a Certified Sommelier. His short fiction and wine writing has appeared in a number of magazines including Wine Enthusiast. Since leaving New York City after the closure of city dining in 2020, he now lives in the Finger Lakes and works at Lakewood Vineyards where he is the tasting room lead.

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Crisp Curves

By Bernadette Chiaramonte

Iam a daily wanderer, and I’m always on the lookout for unusual scenes. As I was driving over the crest of the road, this frosty view, just off Calkins Road between Wellsboro and Morris, reminded me that winter is right around the bend.


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