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L I v I ng NN Y

M AY / JUNE 2012

North country blossoms

Gardeners delight as spring brings rebirth $2.95

/nnyliving @NNYLivingMag

WELLNESS Group aids families experiencing loss


Cut the salt, but don’t forget herbs

FEATURES A look inside NNY historic mansions


A weekend in Hudson Valley



>> Inside MAY / JUNE ’12





39 THEN & NOW | 39 MANSIONS OF NNY Take a tour of some of the most historical homes in the north country.


COVER | 34 GARDENING IN NNY Local garden professionals give their tips on attaining the perfect landscape.


DESTINATION | 22 HISTORICAL HEAVEN 36 hours in the Upper Hudson River Valley are packed with history lessons and antiques.


HEALTH | 16 ASK A HEALTH PRO Watertown internist Dr. Frank Rhode is in with questions from readers.


GARDENS | 26 JUST THE RIGHT SPOT Garden writer Brian Hallett offers tips for perfect planting.



THIS IS NNY | 28 SPRING AWAKENING Photographer Andrea Parisi captures fleeting moments.


ARTS | 39 HIT THE HIGH NOTES A Watertown teen heads to Manhatten to hone her passion for the opera.

48 A NEW FAVORITE Great American Grill Chef Matthew Hudson shares a recipe for succulent scallops.



18 JOINING TOGETHER Two women share their story of losing children and how they’re helping others.


FOOD | 46 COOKING WITH HERBS Fresh herbs add flavor to any dish. Include them in this zesty omelette recipe.


WELLNESS 17 GOLDEN OLDIES Keeping fit as you age will help ward off many problems. |

FEATURES | 42 ONE IN A THOUSAND Ian Coristine is all in for his latest book: his memoir.


CONTRIBUTORS Norah Machia is a veteran Watertown Daily Times reporter who lives in Watertown. She writes about two women who share their stories of bereavement through their work with Compassionate Friends support group. (p. 18)

Michelle Graham is the wellness director for the downtown YMCA. She lives in Watertown. She writes about staying fit even into your golden years and the benefits of exercise as you age. (p. 17)

Kyle R. Hayes is associate magazine editor for NNY Living. In our cover story, he writes about the ins and outs of gardening in the north country. He also looks at the Hudson-Catskill region as a destination and Ian Coristine’s new memoir. (pgs. 23, 34, 42)

Lenka P. Walldroff is curator of collections for the Jefferson County Historical Museum. She is a former museum specialist and conservator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She writes about a cultural ambassador to the West and to NNY. (p. 44)

Katie Stokes is a freelance writer living in Hounsfield. She writes about the hope for increased summer and winter activities for parents and their children now that Watertown has a new parks and rec director. (p. 20)

Varick Chittenden is founding director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and a SUNY Canton professor emeritus. In Modern Folklore he writes about Sunday Rock in South Colton that has become a cultural landmark. (p. 14)

Brian Hallett is an art teacher who lives in Adams and whose family owns Halletts’ Florist and Greenhouse. He writes about picking the perfect flowers and plants for your gardening space. (p. 26)

Andrea Parisi is a graphic designer for Timeless Frames in Watertown and an amateur photographer and blogger who manages www.iloveupstatenewyork. In this issue, she shares some of her best images of spring in the north country. (p. 28)



A New Attitude ................................................................... 11 Ameriprise Financial ....................................................... 25 Antique Boat Museum .....................................................… 5 Atkinson Real Estate ........................................................ 53 Black River Valley Woodworking .................................. 27 Cartier Place Suites .......................................................... 24 Center for Sight .............................................................….. 17 Cheney Tire ....................................................................…. 45 Clarence Henry Coach .................................................. 49 Clayton Opera House ....................................................... 6 Community Bank ............................................................... 2 Community Performance Series ................................... 32 Delines Auto Body ........................................................... 45 DANC ................................................................................ 10 Essenlohr Motors ............................................................... 45 Geico ................................................................................. 53 Gerald A. Nortz ................................................................. 52 Great Brook Solar ............................................................. 25 Hang Up Put Down .......................................................... 21 Jefferson Community College ....................................... 49 Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors .................................. 12 Johnson Lumber ............................................................... 27



Lacy Realty ......................................................................... 53 Macars ............................................................................... 50 Nikki Coates and Associates Realty ............................. 53 NNY Community Foundation ......................................... 15 ................................................................ 55 North Country Arts Council ............................................. 13 Party Rentals ................................................................... 21 Pat Collins Real Estate ....................................................... 2 Renue Spa and Skincare ................................................ 19 River Rat Cheese .............................................................. 19 Riverside Rustics ............................................................... 27 Spring Valley Gardening ................................................ 47 State Farm Insurance .....................................................… 47 T.F. Wright and Sons ......................................................... 27 Three C’s Limousine ......................................................... 56 Thousand Islands Winery ................................................ 32 Truesdell’s Furniture ............................................................ 7 Waterbury Fine Jewelers ................................................... 8 Watertown Savings Bank ..............................................…. 36 WWTI-ABC 50 .................................................................... 38 YesterYears Vintage Doors ............................................. 37


oes the north country represent a lost slice of Americana? In our July/August issue we explore this and much more. Also coming in the July/August issue:

n PLUS: Chef’s Table with the Ives Hill Country Club executive chef, Social Scene, Modern Folklore, Wellness, Ask a Health Pro, The NNY Life, History, This is NNY, Homes, My NNY and Women’s Wise.

n DESTINATION COOPERSTOWN: We make a pilgrimage to the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and the town that is ripe with the history of America’s pastime.

n VISIT US ONLINE at or follow us for daily updates at and on Twitter at


John B. Johnson Jr. Harold B. Johnson II

General Manager John B. Johnson

Executive Editor Bert Gault

Managing Editor Robert D. Gorman

Magazine Editor

Kenneth J. Eysaman

Associate Magazine Editor Kyle R. Hayes

Advertising Directors Karen Romeo Tammy Beaudin

Circulation Director Cindy Werner


Norm Johnston, Justin Sorensen, Jason Hunter, Melanie Kimbler-Lago, Amanda Morrison

Ad Graphics, Design

Rick Gaskin, Julia Keegan, Brian Mitchell, Heather O’Driscoll, Scott Smith, Todd Soules NNY Living (ISSN 2165-1159) is published six times a year by Northern New York Newspaper Corp., 260 Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601, a Johnson Newspaper Corp. company. © 2011-2012. All material submitted to NNY Living becomes property of Northern New York Newspaper Corp., publishers of the Watertown Daily Times, and will not be returned.

Subscription Rates Six issues are $10 a year for Watertown Daily Times and affiliate newspaper subscribers and $15 a year for non-subscribers. Call 315-782-1000 for delivery. Submissions Send all editorial correspondence to Advertising For advertising rates and information in Jefferson and Lewis counties, email, or call 661-2422 In St. Lawrence County, e-mail, or call 661-2512 Printed with pride in U.S.A. at Vanguard Printing LLC, Ithaca, N.Y. Please recycle this magazine.







50 AN ECLECTIC HIDEAWAY Alexandria Bay’s Captain Visger House is a charming bed and breakfast with a storied past. Owner Cathryn “Sam” Munna takes us inside. |






7 UPFRONT 8 9 10 11 16 17



22 36 HOURS IN ... 28 30 44 46 48 52


Photographers Justin Sorensen and Amanda Morrison staged this month’s cover photo, styled by associate editor Kyle Hayes, at Halletts’ Florist and Greenhouse in Adams. The grounds of the greenhouse were packed with spring colors as daffodils and tulips grew just outside of the greenhouse entrance.



EDITOR’S NOTE AT LONG LAST, THE SEASON OF renewal is upon us. Spring has sprung and folks already are well into the countdown to planting their backyard bounties of fresh fruits and vegetables while others are selecting flowers with just the right splash of colors to spruce up the landscape. Yes, after a north country winter that really wasn’t much on winter, most appear ready to see the goodness of the earth and sun nurture a few favorites. For me, it’s vine-ripened tomatoes. Nothing else compares to what has grown beside our house the past Ken Eysaman two summers. In our cover story, which begins on page 34, associate editor Kyle R. Hayes examines some of the challenges that Northern New Yorkers face when they till the soil with hopes of growing plants and flowers that will live to see the chills of fall. This issue of NNY Living is packed with features we hope you enjoy reading. From Kyle’s cover story to Brian Hallett’s debut column, “Today’s Gardener,” and the usual accompaniment of food, health and wellness, homes, columns and features, we sincerely hope to have delivered a slate of content that leaves you well informed of the finer points of life in Northern New York.






SOCIAL SCENE — This issue’s Social Scene section, which begins on page 11, features 36 faces from nearly three-dozen organizations across the north country. On March 24, we joined the North Country Arts Council as it hosted its second annual Muse multi-arts presentation at Arts on the Square, Watertown. The evening event celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of Arts on the Square. That same evening, we headed to the Commons at Fort Drum, where Samaritan Medical Center’s Samaritan Auxiliary hosted its 10th annual One NightOne Diamond gala. Nearly 300 people attended the black-tie optional event that raised money for the auxiliary to buy a radio frequency identification system to bolster the safety and security of at-risk

patients — especially pediatric, newborns and elderly patients — through wireless monitoring and tracking at Samaritan Medical Center. Mark Waterbury, owner of Watertown’s Waterbury Fine Jewelers, again donated a half-karat diamond for this annual signature event. Mark has been a staunch supporter of One Night-One Diamond, donating a cut stone since the event began in 2002. In April, we joined the Immaculate Heart Central Schools community as officials honored the Sisters of St. Joseph during the first Founders’ Day Dinner at Savory Downtown. One of only two remaining Catholic high schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, IHC traces its roots to January 1881 and a small house at 114 Main St., Watertown. There, three Sisters of St. Joseph came to teach the children of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish. The house stood as a convent and school until a new building was built in 1883. Fast-forward 131 years and IHC still offers a high-quality education to students in grades kindergarten through 12, thanks in no small part to the selfless dedication of the Sisters of St. Joseph. This I know personally, since June marks 20 years since I turned my tassel at IHC with 91 others. n



ONLINE — Visits to our companion website——continue to climb as more people head to Web to check out NNY Living on our site that went live early last month. Online you will find that Northern New York living doesn’t stop in print. We will continue to share updates about new Web features in this space and on our Facebook page, www.facebook. com/nnyliving. You also can follow us on Twitter at @ NNYLivingMag to stay informed. And, for those who want to catch an e-book version of the magazine on the go, download the Issuu app for your mobile device at Meanwhile, send me your feedback on what you like and what you’d like to see as we expand our online footprint. Warm regards,

[ NORTH COUNTRY NEWS & NOTES ] Frederic Remington Museum open for Museum Week

The Frederic Remington Art Museum will participate in the 2012 New York State Museum Week from Thursday, May 31, to Wednesday, June 6. The museum, 303 Washington St., Ogdensburg, will offer tours for children, a volunteer appreciation meet and greet, free reproduction prints, documentary film viewing, coloring contest, daily prize drawings and daily tours of the museum at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. The 2012 members’ juried art exhibit will also be on display and the museum is offering a 10 percent discount on gift shop merchandise and the chance to win a free family museum membership. Other local museums participating in this year’s Museum Week are: Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, Jefferson County Historical Society, Watertown, and the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. For information about museum week throughout the state, visit Visit www.fredericrem or call 393-2425 to learn more about the Frederic Remington Art Museum.

June and July art classes announced

The North Country Arts Council has released a list of new arts learning opportunities scheduled for June and July at Arts on the Square, 52 Public Square, Watertown. Classes include: Sensory Art for Preschoolers on Mondays in June, $55 for non-members, $45 for members with a $15 materials fee; “Draw It!” middle school after school program on Mondays in June , $60 for non-members, $50 for members; “Dinosaurs: A Musical Variety Show” from July 30-Aug. 3 with a performance at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3, $55 for non-members, $45 for members and $30 for a second family member, $5 materials fee; Teen A-Cappella from July 30-Aug. 3 with a 2 p.m. performance Friday, Aug. 3, $50 for non-members, $40 for members, $30 for additional family members, $5 materials fee; “Discovering Dragonflies and Damselflies,” 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, July 26,


$10 for non-members, $5 for members and siblings; “Architecture and the Urban Landscape” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, $20 for non-members, $15 for members, $10 for siblings. To register in person, visit the gallery from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays. For online registration, visit For questions regarding these classes email education@

Historical society launches fundraiser

The Jefferson County Historical Society has launched a fund raising campaign to raise money to help preserve the five historical buildings on its campus as well as the educational programs and exhibits patrons have become accustomed to. Beginning what it calls the Historical The Wladis Law Firm, Syracuse, recently donated $250 Society 500, to the Jefferson County Historical Society’s 500 camthe campaign paign. From left, Mark N. Wladis, attorney, Wladis Law is looking for Firm, William G. Wood, executive director, Jefferson 500 people to County Historical Society, and Leann I. West, governdonate $50 ment relations, Wladis Law Firm. each to help defer costs for new roofs and structural repairs that will preserve local history education and collection treasures housed at the museum. Donors will be invited to a private garden reception and a “behind the scenes” tour of the collection on Aug. 11. All donors will have their name published in the Watertown Daily Times as a thank you during the campaign. Donations should be made out to the Jefferson County Historical Society and can be sent to Jefferson County Historical Society, 228 Washington St., Watertown NY 13601 or to the Watertown Daily Times, 260 Washington St., Watertown.




[ EDITOR’S PICKS ] Shine: 8 to 9:30 p.m., tropical-inspired dinner by A Moveable Feast, live auction, wine by Swedish Hill Winery. Afterglow: 9:30 p.m. to midnight, live music and dancing in Gould Hall, outdoor island cocktail lounge. Cocktail attire, black tie optional. Cost: Individual seats, $250 per person; silver patron, table for eight with gift and recognition, $2,500; gold patron, table for 10 with prominent table, recognition, gift and personalized program message, $5,000. Reservations:

SACKETS HARBOR SATURDAY, JULY 14 & SUNDAY, JULY 15 n 44th Annual French Festival, official opening, 11 a.m. Saturday, Broadway Street. Sponsored by Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce. Crafters and exhibitors, children’s programming, live music and demonstrations. French pastry sale: 9 a.m. Saturday, Cape Vincent Fire Hall, Broadway Street. Fireworks: 9:30 p.m. Saturday, break wall along the waterfront. Information:



n Sailing Seaway Clayton, tall ship Fair Jeanne arrives Thursday evening at the Thousand Islands Regional Dock at Frink Park, remains in port through Sunday, with free deck tours. Presented by Caskinette’s Lofink Ford. Live music, farmers market, “Seaway Splash” DockDogs competition with free shuttle service between Frink Park, Cerow Arena’s Great New York State Food and Wine Festival and Antique Boat Museum’s Free Family Day on Saturday.


SATURDAY, JULY 7 n New York State Farm and Winery Market, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Madison Barracks. Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels of Greater Watertown. Tickets on sale at Nice N Easy and participating Jreck Subs. Featuring New York State farm products, produce, local grass-fed beef and free range poultry, wineries, breweries and live music. Information:




n The Manhattan String Quartet, 7:30 p.m., Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive. Sponsored by the Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund and Northern New York Community Foundation. This is TIPAF’s annual Sidney T. Cox Memorial Concert. Tickets: Side seats, $15; center seats, $25.

n Heritage Days 2012, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Jefferson County Historical Society, 228 Washington St. Live demonstrations, family-friendly activities, crafts, ice cream, maple syrup and butter-making demonstrations and entertainment, Highway Legends Car and Truck show with antique fire trucks, classic cars and historic road rally. Admission: $5; children ages 17 and younger, $2; family, $10; discounts for military personnel and senior citizens.

OLD FORGE FRIDAY, JULY 6 n “A Bright View” Annual Gala Benefit, 6:30 p.m. to midnight, the View Arts Center. Illuminate: 6:30 to 8 p.m., champagne greeting, open bar cocktail hour, silent auction and live music. Time to

TELL US ABOUT IT — Have an uncoming event you’d like us to include in our calendar? Email the information to or visit our website,

[ ARTS, MUSIC, THEATER, CULTURE ] ADAMS SATURDAY, JULY 14 n Adams Cheddar Cheese Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Adams. Information:

ALEXANDRIA BAY SUNDAY, MAY 27 n A Day with a Fishing Guide, 8 a.m. departure from Alexandria Bay village dock, noon arrival at the Bridge Authority Rift Camp for shore dinner. Cost: $140 per person. Information, tickets: River Hospital Foundation, 482-4976.

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, TO SUNDAY, JULY 1 n Sixth Annual Thousand Islands River Run Motorcycle Rally, downtown Alexandria Bay. Sponsored by Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce. Live musical performances, motorcycle stunt group and vendor shows. Information, vendor registration: Alexandria Bay Chamber, 482-9531 or

CANTON TUESDAY, JUNE 5 n Drop-in eReader Workshop, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Canton Free Library. Free and open workshop to introduce readers to the ins and outs of their new Kindle, Nook, iPad or other eReaders. Information: Lyn Swafford, executive director of the library, 3863712.

CLAYTON FRIDAY, JUNE 15 - SUNDAY, JUNE 17 n The Great New York State Food and Wine Festival, 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Cerow Recreation Park Arena. Admission: $5; military, $4; children, $3. Sponsored by Clayton Chamber of Commerce. Made in New York products from wine, candy, cheese, sauces, maple products, ice cream and apple cider. Contact: 686-3771 or

ing reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 22, Thousand Islands Arts Center, 314 John St. Information: or 686-4123.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 n “ARRIVAL: The music of ABBA,” 7:30 p.m., Clayton Opera House. Sponsored by the Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund. Cost: Center seats, $40; side seats, $35. Tickets: or 686-2200.

OGDENSBURG SATURDAY, JUNE 2 n Maple City Arts Festival, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center, 141 W. River St. Sponsored by the Ogdensburg Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce. Booths available to vendors for $30. Register: and return to Parks and Recreation Department, 100 Riverside Ave., Ogdensburg, NY 13669 by Friday, May 18.

OLD FORGE SUNDAY, JUNE 10 n Neighbor Day Open House and Chicken Barbecue, noon to 4 p.m., the View Arts Center. Free admission to the View’s exhibitions. Pottery and other arts and crafts demonstrations in the Meyda Tiffany and Lighting Creative Arts Wing. Information:

SATURDAY, JUNE 30 & SUNDAY, JULY 1 n Forge Festival of Arts and Crafts, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, North Street Recreation Center. Sponsored by the View Arts Center. Fine arts and crafts from more than 65 vendors. Beer, wine, soda and food available. Admission: $5. Information: Arts_Crafts_Fair.cfm.




n Blood, Sweat and Tears, 7:30 p.m., Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive. Sponsored by the Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund and Key Bank. Tickets: Side seats, $40; center seats: $45. Box office: 686-2200 or

n Potsdam Summer Festival, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Market Street. Live music, family activities, craft and vendor market. Sponsored by the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce. Information: Potsdam Chamber, 274-9000.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22 - MONDAY, JULY 30 n Along the River’s Edge Art Show and Sale, open-

SACKETS HARBOR FRIDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 28 n Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site

Opening Weekend, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and Monday, May 28, Battlefield State Historic Site and Navy Yard buildings. Admission: $3; senior citizens, $2; military and students with identification as well as children ages 12 and younger, free. For more information, visit

SATURDAY, MAY 26 - SUNDAY, JUNE 24 n Arts Association of Northern New York Annual Spring Art Show, noon to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Arts Association of Northern New York, 119 W. Main St. Competitive artwork from local and regional artists, including seven adult divisions and a youth division. Free admission. Information, rules and regulations:

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13 n Arts Association of Northern New York Members Picnic and Annual Meeting, 6 p.m., in the gallery, 119 W. Main St. Open to AANNY members and guests only. Information:

THERESA SUNDAY, MAY 27 n Theresa Memorial Day Parade, 3 p.m., downtown. Parade will be led by 10th Mountain Band, accompanied by the color guard and Wounded Warriors squadron. Parade includes four local high school bands and the Original Yanks Drum and Bugle Corps. Chicken barbecue begins at 11 a.m. on Main Street.

WATERTOWN SATURDAY, JUNE 16 & SUNDAY, JUNE 17 n Zoom! at the New York State Zoo, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, New York State Zoo at Thompson Park. Sponsored by Otis Technology and CarFreshner. Big trucks, fast cars, sleek limousines, sports cars, dump trucks and fire trucks, with raffles, giveaways and children’s games. Watertown Fire Department demonstrations. Admission: $2; dads, free. Information:

FRIDAY, JULY 6 n Blake Shelton with Justin Moore Concert, 7 p.m., Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, Coffeen Street. Sponsored by Disabled Persons Action Organization, Toyota and Car-Freshner Summer Concert Series. Limited seating still available. Cost: $75 reserved ground seating, chair provided; $49 general admission. Tickets: or 782-0044.

SATURDAY, JULY 28 n Bill Cosby, 7 p.m., Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds Arena, Coffeen Street. Part of the Disabled Persons Action Organization, Toyota and Car-Freshner Summer Concert Series. Tickets available at select Kinney Drugs locations throughout the area. Cost: Reserved, $56; general admission, $40. Tickets: or 782-0044.


n Family Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary St. Free admission, free boat rides and free activities geared toward the entire family. Free shuttle to the Great New York State Food and Wine Festival and Sailing Seaway Clayton Festival. Information: or 686-4104.

n Rebecca Kelly Ballet Onstage: Dance Day Camp and Performance, SUNY Potsdam’s Dunn Dance Theater. Sponsored by Community Performance Series’ Meet the Arts Series. Various workshops and classes throughout the week available to students of all ages. Week of workshops ends with a 7 p.m. performance on Friday in Dunn Dance Theater. Register: CPS Box Office, 267-2277. Information: Anna Marie Wilharm, 267-2612.




BOOKS Top titles by checkout at Flower Memorial Library

The current top five book titles by checkout at Watertown’s Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library are: 1. “Gideon’s Corpse” by Douglas J. Preston 2. “Sleepwalker” by Karen Robards 3. “Breakdown” by Sara Paretsky 4. “Death Benefit” by Robin Cook 5. “The Look of Love” by Mary Jane Clark

Top 5 eBooks at Flower:

1. “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett 2. “Weekends” by Lindy Hudis 3. “Deadly Secrets” by Leeann Burke 4. “The Eyes of Darkness” by Dean Koontz 5. “Endurance” by Jack Kilborn

Top books by checkout at Canton Free Library

1. “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” by Leonard Mlodinow 2. “Endurance” by Jack Kilborn 3.“Promisegivers” by Dorothy Garlock 4.“Heat Wave” by Donna Hill, Niobia Bryant and Zuri Day 5. “Kill You Last” by Todd Strasser

Books of local interest


Muriel DeBuque, St. Regis Falls, has self-published “The Estate in the Woods.” The novel concerns Sara and Sam, who move to the Adirondacks with their mother after their father’s death. “Upon arrival, the children learn that their uncle has been abusing his wife, trafficking drugs


[ MOST READ, LOCAL AUTHORS ] and seeking a gambling chip held by Sara and Sam’s father,” according to Xlibris. The books sells for $19.99 and $3.99 for eBook at and is also available through n n n Arcadia Publishing, in its Images of America series, has published “Henderson Harbor and Henderson” by Timothy W. Lake. The book contains 127 pages of photos with descriptions of the area’s history and attractions. The book’s eight chapters include: “Early Days and Cottages,” “Inns and Guesthouses,” “Fishing Guides and Families,” “Famous Residents,” “Big Sandy” and “Boats and Marinas.” Mr. Lake, an Ellisburg native, is a 30-year veteran of newspaper, radio and television reporting. He is a primary news anchor for the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia. Mr. Lake owns a cottage in Henderson Harbor. The book sells for $21.99 and is available at local retailers, at and at n



David C. Shampine, a history writer and reporter for the Watertown Daily Times, has penned a fourth book offered by History Press titled “New York’s North Country and the Civil War: Soldiers, Civilians and Legacies.” The book features a collection of Mr. Shampine’s “Times Gone By” columns with a Civil War theme. Mr. Shampine explores how north country soldiers fought in many major clashes, such as those of Jefferson Coun-

ty’s 35th New York Volunteer Regiment. He also notes how civilians struggled for the cause in their own way, with many active Underground Railroad stops across the region. The war’s legacy lived on decades beyond the conflict through the many members of the Grand Army of the Republic, Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn and John Brown’s burial place in North Elba. The book sells for $19.99 and is available at the Watertown Daily Times, 260 Washington St., or on the publisher’s website: n



Former Brockville, Ontario, resident James L. Dickerson has self-published “Love on the Rocks: Romance to the Rescue.” The novel concerns Katherine Summer, whose family lives in an island home on the St. Lawrence River. A boating accident kills her husband and daughter. “Her path to happiness,” according to the book’s description, “requires her to choose between two men - an American psychologist from Ogdensburg who may lose his license because of his love for her, and a millionaire ‘bad boy’ member of the Canadian Parliament.” The book is available on for $14.99 paperback and $2.99 for Kindle.

[ NCAC presents the Muse ] Arts on the Square, Watertown


Top, from left, Cecilia Thompson, Lance R. Stenfeldt and his wife, Cathy J. Stenfeldt. Above, from left, Angie J. Rich and Mandy L. Robinson. The North Country Arts Council hosted the second annual Muse multi-arts presentation on Saturday, March 24, at Arts on the Square, Watertown. The visual arts and written word component of Muse was on display until April 21. Muse celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of Arts on the Square.



Top, from left, David E. and Margaret M. Soderquist. Mr. Soderquist presented an art impact statement during the opening of Muse. Above, from left, Jeri W. Haldeman, Kathryn Sullivan and Bridget Barden. Throughout the evening there were dance and musical performances, spoken word performances and original storytelling and poetry presented.




[ One Night, One Diamond ] The Commons, Fort Drum



Top, from left, John H. Hardy, Kathy Quencer, Col. Noel T. Nicolle, Fort Drum Garrison Commander, and wife, Tamara M. Above, from left, Robin M. Colello, Michele A. Victoria, Renee L. Long, and Ranel J. Bentley. Samaritan Auxiliary held its 10th annual One Night-One Diamond gala at the Commons at Fort Drum on March 24. Waterbury Fine Jewelers, Watertown, donated a half-karat diamond for the event. Tamara M. Nicolle was this year’s diamond winner.



Top, from left, Kristin M. Peterson, husband, Col. Erik C., Maryann M. Rondon and husband, R. Christopher. Above, from left, Col. Mark W. Thompson, M.D., commander, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, Fort Drum, and wife, Kathleen.

[ IHC Founder’s Day Dinner ] Savory Downtown, Watertown


Top, from left, Tricia Ledoux and Sara Freda. Above, from left, Ida Jane Alteri, Rose Missert, Diana Missert and Margaret Alteri. On April 21, Immaculate Heart Central Schools celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Sisters of St. Joseph during a Founders’ Day Dinner at Savory Downtown. Nearly 150 people attended the evening celebration, including Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg Bishop Terry R. LaValley.



Top, from left, Andrea Garrabrant, Dr. Grace Y. Burke and Scott Garrabrant. Above, from left, Beth Hornbarger, Milly Smith and Kathy Moran. During the evening celebration, school officials recognized James P. Scordo, executive director, Credo Community Center, with the Community Service Award, Dr. Noaman Sanni, Center for Sight, with the “Friend of Immaculate Heart Central Schools Award,” and Monsignor Paul E. Whitmore with the Foundation for Life Distinguished Alumni Award.




How a special rock became a landmark




“NORTH COUNTRY ON THE ROCKS!” That sounds like a tabloid headline for some kind of disaster set to befall us. Or maybe it’s a fancy new cocktail, created by a local bartender with a sense of humor. Not this time. This time it’s really about rocks — outcroppings, road cuts, boulders — that are a significant part of the local landscape north of Albany. Field guides tell us that the oldest bedrock formations in Upstate New York are from the Precambrian age — as old as 3,800 million years — but it may come as a relief to some that most of the state is blanketed with Ice Age sediments that are a mere few thousand years old. For those who have inhabited the north country in the last two centuries, rocks and minerals have been valuable resources. Like the virgin timber that provided easily accessible building materials, native stone was here in rich variety, as well. At first, settlers used fieldstone gathered nearby to build simple cottages and sturdy gristmills or blacksmith shops. With the Industrial Age came heavy, specialized equipment, capable of digging, cutting and moving raw materials for a golden age of extractive industries in the Adirondacks and the St. Lawrence Valley that lasted for nearly a century. There were quarries for sandstone in Potsdam and Burke, limestone in Jefferson County and the

Champlain Valley, Lake Placid granite, Gouverneur marble and Granville slate. Men with experience in cutting and building with stone came from places like Scotland, Italy, Poland and Wales to live and work. After the Civil War, grand buildings suddenly appeared in many of our small towns and villages — churches, town halls, factories, college dormitories and elegant mansions — in a plethora of Victorian architectural styles. Made of soft gray limestone, subtle yellow or pink or brilliant red sandstone, red or green slate, white or dark gray marble or creative combinations, they were built to last and to assert that the north country had arrived. One of my graduate school professors, folklorist Bruce Buckley, once declared that there are a higher percentage of stone structures in upstate New York than anywhere else in America. I’ve always been fascinated by another north country phenomenon — the roadside boulder. There are plenty of them and most, I’ve learned, are beloved and the subject of lots of local stories. For a long time, the locals have ignored geologists’ nomenclature in favor of popular talk. Most are given names that simply describe — Battleship Rock, Elephant Rock, Pig Rock, Haystack Rock, Pulpit Rock — and all have colorful

Sunday Rock Revival DETAILS n A 20th anniversary revival of “Sunday Rock: A Folk Musical”—created by Evelyn Dickey Riehl, a retired music teacher, of Colton—is planned for this summer. This musical is based on the lives of lumberjacks and communities along the Raquette River during the early years of the 20th century. Performances will be July 18 through July 22 at Colton-Pierrepont Central School.

has numerous examples of these on the national listing. With considerable community support and much work to create a convincing argument, Sunday Rock was named to the New York State register in 2009 and, alas, to the National Register last fall. In this land of lots of rocks, that is still a big deal. To our knowledge, it is the only boulder to receive such an honor. Congratulations! It may be time for that cocktail after all. VARICK CHITTENDEN is a folklorist, the founding director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and Professor Emeritus of Humanities at SUNY Canton. He lives in St. Lawrence County.


stories that make them special to the people who know them. My favorite of all these creations is Sunday Rock, outside of South Colton. Over the years, it survived demolition in roadwidening projects because local citizens rose in protest. It’s been the source of local legends for generations, lent its name to local restaurants, inspired a musical play, and been written about in magazines and newspapers and even featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not.” When nominated for state and national recognition recently, it was described this way: “Sunday Rock is a 64,000 pound, 11-foot tall, oblong, glacial erratic ... Originally deposited by a receding glacier, the mammoth boulder was set on its end atop a largely flat and open area in the foothills of the northern Adirondacks and in the middle of what was to become a main transportation corridor in and out of the Adirondacks from the St. Lawrence Valley. This prominent natural feature was used by the Native Americans as a traveler’s landmark prior to European settlement.” So what made it “Sunday” Rock? Like most legends, it depends on whom you talk to. By the 1920s, most local accounts suggested that it marked the point where the law and order of civilized communities to the north of it stopped, and there was no Sunday, because lumber camp life in the Adirondacks was the same every day of the week. Other versions suggest that religious services and men of the cloth weren’t a welcome distraction in the lumber woods. A more modern interpretation was related by Allan Posposil in a 1968 New York Times piece: “With the advent of motor cars early in the 20th century, Sunday Rock came to stand for something else to those living on the north side of it. . . . When people from the valley passed [it] on their way to the mountains, they now felt a sense of arrival, of having crossed a dividing line where the woods and mountains now represented freedom, sport, sanctuary, exploration, health, exhilaration.” Whatever the version, it now appears

that the oral traditions surrounding this landmark are not as frivolous as one might think. Several years ago, TAUNY recognized Sunday Rock as an important local cultural landmark in the north country, “a Very Special Place as the stuff of local legend for nearly 200 years.” That inspired a group of local folks in South Colton to nominate it for selection to the National Register of Historic Places. That would be quite a long shot, as the National Register has always favored good examples of “the built environment,” buildings of architectural or historical significance. The north country



Sunny season calls for sunscreen From healthy fluids to vitamins, Dr. Frank Rhode has answers to reader questions I have a hard time sleeping at night, even when I’m really tired. Is there an over-thecounter sleep aid that is safe and effective? Benadryl (diphenyramine) at 25 mg to 50 mg before bedtime can help to induce sleep, as can melatonin at a dose of 2 mg to 5 mg. Both are available over the counter. Regular use can either promote dependency or become ineffective if used daily over an extended period of time. Good sleep hygiene is really the key to getting to sleep more easily — check out the American Sleep Association website at and search on “sleep tips.”


It seems everyone is trying to find the easiest way to lower their cholesterol, but what is the most effective way to do so? Follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) Diet, which you can find on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute online at health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf. If this doesn’t get you to goal then a prescription statin drug is your best — most proven and effective — option. Some people are not tolerant of these medications, and further recommendations can be made by your health care provider.


tested for that. If your diet is not providing 1,000 Units of Vitamin D and 1,500 mg of calcium a day, you should supplement. I’ve never had any trouble being in the sun and I actually like a decent tan during the summer months. Is it something I should avoid now or is a little sun good for the soul? Sunlight exposure for about 15 minutes a day helps with Vitamin D supplementation. However, sunlight is a promoter of skin cancers, many quite dangerous, and causes the skin to lose elasticity over time — making your skin look old. You should use sunscreen freely when outside.


My doctor tells me that I am likely prediabetic. Is this or any form of diabetes reversible? Prediabetes reflects a deficiency in the amount of insulin one can produce, combined with a reduction in the effectiveness of the insulin one does produce because of a loss of insulin receptors. The latter is often seen in obesity and inactivity. A person cannot change the amount of insulin he is capable of producing, but insulin receptor numbers and activity can be increased with weight loss and exercise.

bining the aerobic exercise with resistance exercise (like weight lifting), ideally three days a week, will burn more calories. The reason for that is that resistance exercise causes mild muscle damage, and extra calories are needed for the rest of the day to rebuild those muscles — and the body’s metabolic rate increases. Other, less structured activities also will help burn calories — like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, pushing a lawn mower, gardening or parking your car in the lot further away from your destination. Count your calories so you burn off more than you take in.

I am about 50 pounds overweight and maintain a healthy, but hearty diet. What’s the best way to begin an exercise routine? Regular walking to tolerance — starting with 5 to 10 minutes daily, working up to 45 to 60 minutes daily — is a great way to start. But be aware that one only burns an extra quantity of calories above baseline with aerobic activity during the activity, not afterward. Therefore, com-

Are vitamin supplements helpful, or should I just try getting vitamins naturally through the food I eat? The only proven vitamin and mineral supplements possibly deficient in the average American diet and important for good health are Vitamin D and calcium. One can become Vitamin B12 deficient or folic acid deficient over time, given certain genetic or acquired factors, and a person would have to be

When my kids are sick, they often drink sports drinks like Gatorade so they don’t get dehydrated. Is it OK for them to have sugary drinks like that when they’re nursing an illness? Time for the soapbox. I see lots of kids and adults routinely drinking Gatorade and electrolyte replenishment drinks, which are only possibly needed when extreme physical activity is undertaken for prolonged periods of time (more than 2 to 3 hours). Otherwise, water is a fine fluid replenishment source; so are milk and fruit juices. There are enough electrolytes in the average American diet so that a deficiency of these electrolytes is very unlikely to occur during the relatively brief activity periods associated with school sports or daily exercise routines. The amount of sugar and sodium in these drinks is scary — read the labels — they are probably helping to contribute to the obesity and hypertension epidemic in this country. When an illness occurs that causes electrolyte loss, such as vomiting or diarrhea, these drinks can help to restore lost electrolytes, if they can be tolerated. I advise my patients to dilute them to one-half strength with water, as that is usually adequate. If significant dehydration or prolonged symptoms are present, seek medical attention. DR. FRANK RHODE is a Watertown resident who practices internal medicine in Watertown. He is a board-certified internist with Internal Medicine of Northern New York. This column is provided for informational use only and not intended as medical care. See a licensed medical provider to address any health concerns.


Exercise just as important for seniors BY MICHELLE GRAHAM

ACCORDING TO THE UNITEDSTATES Department of Health and Human Services’ most recent data, there are 39.6 million Americans over the age of 65. That is more than 12.9 percent of the current population in the United State. This number continues to increase each year and will most likely continue through the year 2030. With this everincreasing population, maintaining and enhancing quality of life is essential to those individuals 65 and older. Exercise plays a major role in healthy aging. Incorporating activities like endurance exercises, strength training, flexibility and

balance can truly improve how we age. Having good cardiovascular health and endurance can help with such things as walking longer and farther. Great strength, both upper and lower body, may help with stair climbing, getting up from a chair and carrying groceries. Maintaining flexibility through aging is essential in driving, reaching in cupboards and bending to tie your shoes. Balance is crucial in helping to decrease your risk of falls and improve body awareness. These are all things that you can work on around your home. A simple walk at a decent pace can improve endurance, using a stretch band can improve strength, a full body stretching routine can enhance flexibility and single leg balance exercises can improve body awareness. If you are looking for more structure, find a place that caters to your needs. Many insurance companies like United Health and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield will actually pay for a gym membership. Check with your insurance plan to see if you qualify. Other programs that can get you started on a healthier path are: Curves, which has an exercise program that welcomes older adults, specifically women. You can get a strength and cardio workout in just 30 minutes. The YMCA offers Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit classes. These classes specifically cater to an older adult population. Not only will you get a fabulous

Incorporate endurance exercises, strength training, flexibility and balance to truly improve how you age. workout that incorporates endurance, strength, flexibility and balance, but you may even make some friends along the way. Aqua classes are also wonderful for this population. Being in a pool environment can be excellent for those individuals suffering from such things as arthritis and those that have difficulty with ambulation. Both land activities and aqua activities can benefit you greatly. Through the end of June, at the downtown Watertown YMCA, aqua fitness classes include “Arthritic Aquafit,” “Healthy Seniors,” even “Aqua Zumba,” “Aqua Yoga” and “Aqua Pilates,” all offered for various skill levels. For information on class times, visit So, the question is: What are you waiting for? Get moving, get active and age gracefully. As with any new fitness plan, check with your physician to make sure an exercise program is right for you. MICHELLE L. GRAHAM, MS, is wellness director for Watertown’s Downtown YMCA. Contact her at




Donna S. Barber, left, and Beverly A. Shepard stand in front of Ms. Shepard’s family photos in her Watertown home. Both women operate the Compassionate Friends support group for those who have lost children.


Changing lives forever Two women who lost children lead support group to help others




FOR MORE THAN 10YEARS,avideotape of a family wedding has sat on Beverly A. Shepard’s shelf collecting dust. “I just can’t bring myself to watch it,” she said, tears in her eyes. “It’s still too painful.” “Someday maybe I will,” said the Watertown woman. “But not right now.” The videotape includes footage of her son, Kevin M. Shepard, who committed suicide on Aug. 30, 2001. Mr. Shepard, a former Watertown City Police officer, had been battling depression. He was 28 years old at the time of his death. The videotape shows Mr. Shepard smiling and laughing at his brother’s wedding. “Three days after the funeral and it’s back to the real world,” Ms. Shepard said. “But the rest of the world goes on, and you’re stuck. It’s something you never get over.” There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of a child, experts say. Those who have experienced a parent’s worst night-


Three days after the funeral and it’s back to the real world. But you’re stuck. It’s something you never get over. — Beverly A. Shepard

mare know that their lives will have been changed forever. But there is a support group called Compassionate Friends that provides an opportunity for bereaved parents to share their grief with others who have lost a child. Compassionate Friends is a nationwide organization that was started in 1969 by the Rev. Simon Stephens, a hospital chaplain in Coventry, England, who had observed many times the support that parents whose

children had died would offer each other. In 1972, he introduced the program in the United States to a group of parents in Florida. There are now more than 400 chapters nationwide. The Watertown chapter of Compassionate Friends serves Jefferson, as well as Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, where no groups have yet been formed, said Ms. Shepard, who is a co-leader of the group along with Donna S. Barber, Carthage. The support group meets monthly at the Life Church of the Nazarene, Thompson Boulevard, providing a “place where we can talk about our children and nobody gets tired of listening,” Ms. Shepard said. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of every month. There is no need to call in advance, and if parents would rather listen than talk, that’s fine as well, she said. All information shared with the group remains confidential, she said. The group has no religious or political affiliation. Many people, who had good intentions,

Compassionate Friends DETAILS n WHEN: 7 p.m. fouth Tuesday of every month n WHERE: Life Church of the Nazarene, Thompson Boulevard, Watertown. n CONTACT: Beverly A. Shepard, 788-4592, or Donna S. Barber, 493-4448.

parents inviting them to the next support group meeting. For those parents who have lost children at a young age, “they don’t have the bank of memories that we do,” and as a result, their healing process may be differ-

ent, said Ms. Shepard. Compassionate Friends helps parents at any stage during the grieving process. Its credo also states “Some of us are far along in our grief, but others still feel a grief so fresh and so intensely painful that they feel helpless and see no hope.” The group also maintains a lending library of nearly 50 books that deal with topics such as grief and dying that can be shared with parents. NORAH MACHIA is a freelance writer who lives in Watertown. She is a 20-year veteran journalist. Contact her at


did not know how to talk to her after her son’s death, Ms. Shepard said. “If you started crying, they didn’t want to talk anymore,” she said. “But I was so happy they remembered him.” Part of the Compassionate Friends credo reads, “The children we mourn have died at all ages and from many different causes, but our love for them unites us. Your pain becomes my pain, just as your hope becomes my hope.” Ms. Barber joined the group a few months after her 29-year-old son Dennis S. Barber died in 1999. He had recently moved to Colorado, where he had been living with friends and working in residential construction. At her first meeting, she told the group her son had died from a gun accident. No questions were asked, there was only acceptance, she said. But it had been a different story with the law enforcement authorities in Colorado, who had investigated her son’s death. The Boulder County Coroner’s Office ruled that her son had committed suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ms. Barber said she understands that people may have thought she was in denial about the cause of her son’s death, but family and friends who knew her son “agreed with me that it was an accident, and he never intended to kill himself.” “He was cleaning his gun and he couldn’t wait to go hunting,” she said. One way she has coped with her grief has been to write down her thoughts to her son, and “talk to him,” Ms. Barber said. Shortly after his death, she had asked her other two sons to write down memories of their deceased brother as well. “The first year after your child dies, you’re just numb,” she said. “The second year the reality sets in that he’s not coming back.” But as time passes, “there comes a point where you can start to remember the fun times [spent together],” said Ms. Shepard. In addition to providing a place where people can share memories of their children, the Compassionate Friends group can help parents to learn new coping mechanisms to deal with their loss, Ms. Shepard said. “We understand each other,” Ms. Barber said. “We’ve all been through the same thing.” Parents who have lost children at any age, from infancy to adult, are welcome to attend. When an obituary of a child appears in the newspaper, a member of the group will send a letter to the bereaved



The winter that wasn’t and the year that could be




THIS YEAR’S HISTORICALLY MILD weather was a bizarre wake-up call. There was little snow or ice to contend with and for my little family that made it, crazy enough, a harder winter. Why? No snow in the depths of winter means fewer opportunities to enjoy outdoor recreation. Our cabin fever tipping point came in February during what I like to call “Worthless Winter Break.” This series of days off from school in the second-coldest month of the year seems like an inexplicably mean trick. There we were, like most middle-class American citizens, limping along, catching up from holiday frivolity and travel. We were finally getting back into our family routine. Then BAM! The crutch was kicked out from under us. As an aside: Wouldn’t a break in midOctober make more sense? Hayrides! Leaf peeping! Pumpkin carving! Heck, at least then it’s a bit of a relief to spend time inside after a summer of running from barbecue to barbecue. This wasn’t my first time around the winter break block. Diva went to a private pre-school two years before she started kindergarten. We’re not ones to lollygag around the house on weekdays, so, two weeks ahead of time, I tried to enroll Diva in a YMCA gymnastics class that turned out to be for older, more advanced gymnasts, then an art class, which never materialized. I bought a crazy plastic block-shaped contrivance from Amazon. com that makes snow bricks. I was determined to make an igloo sometime early in the week. Then we’d be able to play outside despite wind and frigid temps (it made sense at the time.) Santa even thought to bring us a little indoor trampo-

I fantasized about what we could have done if I hadn’t spent all that money on now-forgotten toys, which I shook repeatedly at the children — Look! line for those especially crazy afternoons when the open area between our kitchen and living room becomes the runway in a game called “Couch Crash Landing!?” I hoped for snow and sledding trips. I stocked up on hot cocoa, craft supplies and DVDs and hoped for the best. As you probably know if you, too, have small children, the sun stayed tucked neatly behind miles of gray and brown clouds that week. It was warmer than normal but it was windy and rainy. Not ideal playground weather. And zero igloo-making opportunities. I fantasized about what we could have done if I hadn’t spent all that money on now-forgotten holiday toys, which I shook repeatedly at the children – Look! Remember? Santa brought this and you love it! I even managed to excite them about the trampoline for approximately five minutes by nearly breaking my ankle with a wayward bounce while showing off my trampoline skills, apparently another youthful asset that has dissipated over the course of years. If we could have afforded another trip so soon after Christmas in Oklahoma, would we have gone to the beach? To a show in New York City? Disney World?

nesses or publicly-funded organizations have been able to organize in this area. Am I pinning all my hopes on Erin Gardner, the new Parks and Recreation Department director? Well, not all, but I do have high hopes that Ms. Gardner will be open to discussing the necessity of a more organized and comprehensive approach by the city, perhaps in collaboration with other organizations, to recreation in the darker months of winter. I have lots of ideas – too many to go into here. I went so far as to take a grant writing course to see if there is funding out

there for a few of them. There is. Lots. But before I jump into choosing what programs I’d be interested in helping this community work toward, I want to see what gaps will naturally be filled when Ms. Gardner gets through the crazy summer season and can turn her focus on the year ahead that will, inevitably, kick this winter’s butt. KATIE STOKES is an Oklahoma native who has called Northern New York home for more than a decade. She is a freelance writer and blogger and the mother of two children. Click on the “Welcome” tab on her blog,, to read more about why she lives in NNY.


I was scouring Google and interrogating my friends over Facebook, trying to find an indoor space that was open when we needed it to be open (Hunk still naps) and that was clean enough that it didn’t cause my children’s palms to break out in weird pustules a week later. It was around that time I learned the city of Watertown was looking for someone to lead their Parks and Recreation Department. The timing made me realize how strange it was that there wasn’t more for my kids to do in the winter – whether it was an event geared toward the thousands of kids at home that week, a community organization day camp − whatever. There were a few things here and there, but it took some calling around on my part, hence the fancy new NNY Family Calendar feature I have now on my blog. I’m not the only one around with small children; in fact I should keep my mouth shut about how much winter stunk because at least we have reliable heat and some extra spending money for craft supplies. This realization got the old hamster wheel turning in my head: n We live in a place where it can snow between five and eight months out of the entire year. n There are thousands and thousands of kids in the Greater Watertown-Fort Drum area. n There are thousands of military moms out there whose husbands are gone on long deployments, so they’re dealing with those desperate feelings of entrapment all alone – and for much longer than a week. n There is a large group of kids who live below the poverty line and can’t afford “wants” like DVDs, or even “needs” like heat or warm clothing. I’m not getting into the more specific statistical information that would surely get members of grant funding committees to raise their eyebrows – like rates of depression and mental health issues in certain local populations (mothers dealing with post-partum depression, adults with seasonal affective disorder, soldiers with post-traumatic stress), child abuse and domestic violence, teen drinking and drug use. To me, just the basics add up to something bigger than summer recreation programs and what the YMCA, the library, the zoo and other private busi-


Clockwise from top left, Hudson’s Warren Street is the center of downtown, where local shops and restaurants bustle with business throughout the year (photo by Daniel Case). Cupcakes on a cake stand at Cafe Le Perche (photo by Cafe Le Perche). Hudson is an antique-buyer’s heaven, with stores like 3FortySeven that offer warehouse-sized shopping spaces (photo by 3FortySeven/Facebook); The historic Croff House bed and breakfast (photo by the Croff House/ The Hudson-Athens lighthouse (photo by Creative Commons).


Valley’s historic downtown has serious personality Hudson-Catskill beckons with small town charm



FRIDAY, 11 A.M., CHECKING IN The Hudson-Catskill area has innumerable options for hotel stays. However, few give you the at-home feel of a quaint bed and breakfast on a quiet street. The Croff House is located on a cul-de-sac at 5 Willard Place. This historic home was converted into a bed and breakfast in 2008 but was originally built in 1875 by two of Hudson’s leading society figures, Herman Vedder Esselstyn and his wife, Marga-

ret. Willard Place was one of America’s original gated communities, as it was announced on April 1, 1872 in the Hudson Register that Willard Place would be a private community to be inaugurated April 10 of the same year. Croff House offers several options, and price points, for a short or extended stay. Each room has its own private bath and all the comforts of modern day, including iPod compatible radio and in-room DirecTV and AppleTV movie libraries. The Croff House is located in one of Hudson’s most historic neighborhoods, so the scenery outside is just as nice as the appointments inside. The innkeepers even leave the next day’s weather forecast on your pillow while you are out and each room is supplied with a small scented jar candle for guests to take with them. Best of all, morning breakfast is homemade with no detail too small to forget. The Croff House Bed and Breakfast, 5 Willard Place, 1 (518) 828-1688, FRIDAY, 1 P.M., HIT THE STREETS What better way to get to know a new town in a short amount of time than by

getting a walking tour from a bona fide local. Mary Ann Zimmerman offers walking tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the beginning of May through Labor Day. How do you get in on the tour? Meet at the flagpole on Parade Hill at the foot of Warren Street at either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. and Mary Ann will meet you there. For $12 per person, the tour encompasses much of downtown Hudson, where Ms. Zimmerman will show Hudson’s architectural variety along with history lessons from back in the day when Ella Fitzgerald was a Hudson regular and how the now bustling city got its start more than 200 years ago. Along the way dining recommendations will be given for a post-tour snack or lunch. For visitors interested in cemeteries, ghosts, graves and genealogy, Ms. Zimmerman also offers a special local cemetery tour. To check availability of a tour, call Ms. Zimmerman at 1 (917) 880-6732 or email at least 24 hours in advance.


THE NORTH COUNTRY IS PACKED with small towns, each with their own unique personalities and histories. For those accustomed to the slower pace of the north country, a quick jaunt or weekend away to a major metropolitan city isn’t always the most relaxing experience. The Hudson-Catskill region, called “Upper Hudson River Valley,” combines some of the north country’s small-town charm, with many big-city amenities. Less than four hours from Watertown, take the easy trip down I-81 to the New York State Thruway to Albany and head south. Across the Hudson River from Catskill is Hudson, a city with small-town charm.


FRIDAY, 5 P.M., FAMISHED Not far from the Croff House is Cafe Le Perche. Described by Hudson Valley Magazine as one of the best restaurants in the area, Cafe Le Perche is “like a trip to France.” Nothing better than two vacations in one. The French cafe features a full-fledged boulangerie and patisserie, meaning fresh French baguettes, breads and pastries each and every day. After the walking tour, stop in for the cafe’s glorious selection of crostini, featuring caramelized apple, white bean and rosemary hummus and olive tapenade as just a sampling. Sandwiches offered during their lunch and weekend brunch include French ham with gruyere cheese and whole grain mustard and a brie sandwich with local pear, cranberry chutney organic baby greens on walnut sourdough bread. The restaurant is open until 10 p.m., so take as long as you like to sample the menu. Cafe Le Perche, 230 Warren St., 1 (518) 822-1850,


SATURDAY,11A.M.,RIVER EXPERIENCE The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse is one of several Hudson River lighthouses built in the late 1880s to guide commercial shipping boats up and down the river. In 1873, with a $35,000 appropriation from Congress, the Hudson-Athens


36 Hours TELL US WHERE TO GO n ‘36 Hours’ is a regular feature of NNY Living. To recommend a destination you’d like to learn more about, email Editor Ken Eysaman at or tell us on Facebook at

Lighthouse, then known as Hudson City Lighthouse, began construction. Just one year later the lighthouse was completed and put into operation. The lighthouse was a manned facility, housing a full-time crew to operate the beacon, until the 1950s, at which time the facility became automated. Today, the facility continues to aid in the navigation of the Middle Ground Flats along the river. The lighthouse was originally operated and maintained by the United States Coast Guard, but is today owned solely by the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society. Throughout the summer on Saturdays, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8 and Oct. 13 tours depart from Henry Hudson Riverfront Park at 11 a.m., noon, 1 and 2 p.m. and from Athens Village Riverfront Park at 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. and venture out to the lighthouse for a guided tour of the facility. The tour costs $20 for

adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Reservations are suggested by calling Hudson Cruises. For visitors with a little extra time in Hudson, a day-long cruise of the Hudson River is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22. “Tour d’Four” Cruise, as it is named, is a guided tour of four of the existing lighthouses along the Hudson River. Tickets are $150 per adult and limited to 80 passengers. The cost includes transportation, breakfast, lunch and lighthouse admissions. www.hudsonathenslighthouse. org, Hudson Cruises, 1 (518) 822-1014, www. SATURDAY, 3 P.M., EXPLORING UPSTATE’S DOWNTOWN The website notes that Hudson is the home to 300 historic building, 10 miles of historic streets, 51 antique shops, 24 restaurants, 10 live performance spaces and 18 art galleries. It would be a shame not to spend the time getting to know all that “Upstate’s Downtown” has to offer, especially after yesterday’s walking tour. Take the afternoon after a day on the river and walk Warren Street and its abundance of antique shops. The best part of antiquing in a new place is that you’re sure not to bring home the same souvenir as everyone else who has

visited a gift shop or tourist trap in the Hudson River Valley. On the “Go To Hudson” site there is a list of each business downtown and the offerings for antique shops is extensive, to say the least. Warren Street is packed to the brim with places like 3FortySeven (www.3fortyseven. com), which specializes in furniture and lighting in an old art deco-style service station. The Hudson Supermarket (www. at 310 Warren St. offers 7,000 square feet of space packed with art, lighting, furniture and home accessories from various eras and countries across the globe. SUNDAY, 10 A.M., A NEW VIEW Before getting back on the road, take a small trip down to the home of Frederic Church. Mr. Church was one of America’s premier landscape painters who lived in the 1800s. He was most recognized for his pieces painted throughout the Hudson Valley and for his work with the Hudson River School, an association of painters who worked closely in their paintings of the region. Between 1870 and 1891 Mr. Church built a magnificent home on a hill near Hudson, with the main house offering sweeping vistas of the Hudson River, Taconic Hills and Catskill Mountains. Frederic Church’s Olana sits on 250 acres of landscape, which Mr. Church decided to turn into a three-dimensional work of art. Much of the land is professionally groomed with master gardeners developing the various garden spaces. Olana grounds are open from 8 a.m. to sunset daily with house tours Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to the grounds, visitor center, Wagon House Educational Center and museum store is free. Admission to the house is by guided tour only. Make note that on weekends and holiday Mondays from April through Oct. 31 there is a $5 entry fee per vehicle from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Olana State Historic Site, 5720 Route 9G, 1 (518) 828-0125, www.

KYLE R. HAYES is associate magazine editor for NNY Living. Contact him at 661-2496 or


GETTING THERE: From most points in the north country, take Interstate 81 to Syracuse and merge onto I-90 East, the New York State Thruway. Continue on the thruway until you merge onto Interstate 87 South just outside of Albany. From Interstate 87 take exit 21, which is Route 23/Catskill/Hudson. Continue on Route 23 East until you reach Hudson.



Picking perfect plants means knowing the space




LOOK OUT ANY WINDOW AND IT’S hard to believe another gardening season has begun in Northern New York. We believe that no matter how our garden turned out last year this will be the year to have the garden of our dreams. As you head to your favorite local garden center, farmers market or road-side stand, think about the amount of sunlight that your intended planting site receives. This is the single most important factor to consider when choosing flowering annual or perennial plants. If full sun-loving species are planted in shade, the results are usually spindly, unhealthy plants that provide few blooms and color. In many cases they eventually starve and die due to insufficient sunlight. On the other hand, if shade-loving plants are placed in full sun, they often become stunted with small, thickened, burned leaves and produce few flowers. Matching plants with their light requirement is so important because the amount of light that an area receives is either permanent or is the most difficult condition to change in the landscape. If determined by a soil test, we can make changes in the soil texture by adding amendments. The fertility level can be changed by adding or withholding nutrients and the soil moisture can be adjusted to some degree by watering practices. Changing the amount of light on the other hand, generally requires major and sometimes impractical procedures such as tree planting or removal and the addition or removal of other shading structures, such as your neighbor’s house. I would encourage you to start your adventure in plant selection at a local garden center. Local garden centers are owned and operated by “plant people”


A red admiral butterfly lands atop a red durango trailing marigold in Halletts’ Florist and Greenhouse’s main greenhouse. Because of a mild winter, the red admiral butterfly had a high survival rate and winds carried many of them northward.

who know what grows well in your area and will be able to help you select plants for your planting site or containers. Many local garden centers will help you create a list of plants for your site and even draw you a planting map at no charge. As you choose flowering annuals and perennials for the spring and summer, look at and consider many different species including vines, as well as tall and low-growing annuals and perennials. There were two major considerations each time that a desired plant species is found: What is the mature size and does it need full sunlight or shade? I have found knowing the mature size of a plant is necessary when choosing a plant that will remain in scale with the container, window box and landscape surroundings. Each year my plant selection adventure (which is more fun when I bring along a gardening friend) reaffirms my belief

that it is much easier to select annuals, perennials and vines for a sunny area than to select for a shady one. With a few exceptions, the most colorful plants generally require lots of light and the list of shade-loving or shade-tolerant plants is much shorter.

Every gardener spends some time looking for something new. Plants that surprise are the new varieties of both coleus and begonias.

BRIAN HALLETT is an art teacher at South Jefferson Central School in Adams and his family owns Halletts’ Florist and Greenhouse in Adams, which has been in business for nearly 30 years.


Always ask your local garden center about each plant’s light requirement and size at maturity before making a purchase. When present, plant tags may provide this information, but it’s good to ask a local gardener what their experience with a plant has been. Some plants to consider for shady spots in the landscape include clematis, hops and black-eyed Susan vine which can be grown as vines. Some ground covers for use under low light conditions are English ivy, hosta, periwinkle and crepe myrtle. Areas that receive partial shade, roughly defined as filtered sunlight or sun for half of the day, allow for the successful use of many other flowering plants. These include begonias, coleus, dusty miller, impatiens, vinca, blue sage, daisy, daylily, phlox and verbena. Every gardener spends some time looking for something new. Plants that surprise are the new varieties of both coleus and begonias. The new coleus will grow in conditions of full sun to full shade. Some varieties trail and others will grow from 12 inches to 22 inches tall. My favorite begonias are the dragon wing or angel wing begonias. These begonias are wind tolerant and will grow in full sun to full shade. So, embrace the short growing season we enjoy in the north country and get the biggest bang for your buck by spending some time matching the light requirements of the plants you purchase to your site.







Signs of spring abound in north country after ‘thaw’


lowers blossom. Birds welcome their young with song. The fog of winter lifts. Daylight stretches longer into the night. The grass goes green as dandelions invade yards. All are welcome signs of spring as Mother Nature closes the book on an unusually mild north country winter. When we went searching for signs of spring for this issue of NNY Living, we stumbled upon Andrea Parisi, a graphic designer for Timeless Frames who lives in Sackets Harbor. Andrea is an amateur photographer and blogger whose passion for Northern New York and its natural splendor inspired her to create the blog We are pleased to feature some of her best images of spring. Clockwise from top, morning fog begins to move out over Sackets Harbor. A newborn bird chirps in its nest, waiting for its mother to return with food. The sun sets in spectacular fashion over an open meadow near Sandy Creek. A wood hyacinth comes to life in Sandy Creek. An old pickup truck sits idle in a Sackets Harbor field. To view more of shots of spring, visit us online at




Hitting all the right notes Teen aims for career in Opera, will study in Manhattan





“MADAME,WHO IS THE UNDERSTUDY for this role?” “There is no understudy, monsieur - the production is new.””Christine Daae could sing it, sir.” “The chorus girl?!” “She’s been taking lessons from a great teacher.”— “Think of Me,” from “The Phantom of the Opera” Alexandra T. Marilley wants to move you to tears. In the darkness of the Watertown High School auditorium they flowed in March as audience members witnessed the Select Choir’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” Alexandra, stepping out of the stage’s shadows as a senior, performed as Christine Daae, her biggest role in her high school career. It was also a matter of great timing. A few days after “Phantom” wrapped up, she was notified she had been accepted into one of the foremost opera training programs in the world. This fall, she will join only about 400 other undergraduates from around the world who attend the Manhattan School

of Music in New York City. Her career plan in opera, suddenly on the fast track, was a phantasm on her horizon less than a year ago. In the living room of her Hillside Drive home, Alexandra, daughter of Andrea T. and William D. Marilley, recalled how she discovered her passion for opera and how she was overwhelmed by compliments following the March “Phantom” production. “People were crying,” she said. But opera, she said, is all about emotion, and that’s why she plans to pursue it. “If you don’t move people — move people to tears — there’s no point,” she said as her mother, and the family’s golden retriever, Karma, sat nearby. “I want to move people,” Alexandra said. “That’s my goal.” In March, she moved a panel of instructors at her audition for the Manhattan School of Music. A few weeks later she was informed of her acceptance. It’s a musical journey that began last summer with another opera singer with local roots. “This is a huge, tremendous accomplishment,” said Craig P. Sirianni, her voice

teacher. “The competition is astronomical.” Times files show no local students being accepted to the Manhattan School of Music, at least for the past three decades. Mr. Sirianni, a 1979 graduate of Watertown High School, is a retired internationally acclaimed operatic tenor who now coaches voice students in Watertown. He began his classical vocal training as a music major at SUNY Fredonia. He noted Alexandra has a tremendous head start. “Most singers out of high school are completely underdeveloped, and many, after graduating from college, are still not that well developed,” he said. Alexandra said she fell in love with opera when Mr. Sirianni introduced her to it last July, shortly after she began lessons with him. “I fell in love with it at the moment Top right, Watertown High School senior Alexandra Marilley takes vocal instruction from Craig Sirianni at North Country Music, Watertown. Miss Marilley has been accepted into the opera studies program at the Manhattan School of Music. Below right, Miss. Marilley sings during her lesson.


If you don’t move people, move people to tears, there’s no point.

— Alexandra Marilley on opera singing





he gave me a piece,” she said. “I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’” She remembers that first piece: “Quando M’en Vo” from Puccini’s “La Boheme.” Her hunger grew. “I polished that off real quick, and we got into all of the other songs,” Alexandra said. “When she came to see me I was immediately impressed by how talented she was,” Mr. Sirianni said. “I have heard a lot of talented people singing at the high school. She is extraordinarily talented.” Mr. Sirianni said he just needed to nudge Alexandra’s voice in the right direction. “She didn’t have as good of an idea as she does now as to how to channel that talent and what direction to put it,” he said. Mr. Sirianni had Alexandria record a CD of difficult arias at Phillip DuMond’s studio on Pillar Point. It was sent to the Manhattan School of Music, and Alexandra was invited to auditions, held annually in March. She is a coloratura soprano, a voice distinguished by runs and trills. “Her voice moves very quickly, is very agile and has tremendous range,” Mr. Sirianni said. “She always had a great voice,” said her mother. “But Craig Sirianni was the one who pulled it out of her. I was shocked by the rapid growth. “Alexandra has grown up in a musical family. Her parents were involved in community theater in Carthage, where they used to live. Her mother is a music teacher at North Elementary School and a graduate of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. Mrs. Marilley noted that it was at Crane that Alexandra once met one of the world’s most renowned opera singers, Renee Fleming, a 1981 graduate of the school. It was in 2000, when Alexandra was 6. Mrs. Marilley had taken a master class from Ms. Fleming, who was at SUNY Potsdam’s Hosmer Hall to perform a recital. “I reintroduced myself,” Mrs. Marilley said, and she introduced her daughter to Ms. Fleming. “I think she asked Alex if she liked to sing, which she really did,” Mrs. Marilley said. Alexandra will have something in common with Ms. Fleming. Alexandra’s main instructor at the Manhattan School of Music will be renowned voice teacher Patricia Misslin, a former faculty member at Crane. She was one of the instructors who heard Alexandra’s March audition. In addition to Ms. Fleming, Patricia Misslin has also taught acclaimed mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, also a Crane alumna.

Please see OPERA, page 53


Curtain rises in Gananoque n Across the river, a final season for director begins with ‘Nunsense II’ BY CHRIS BROCK


Clockwise from top left, Ramona Gilmour-Darling stars in ‘Nunsense II,’ which opened the Thousand Island Playhouse’s 31st season May 11. The production runs through June 16. June 28 to July 28: ‘Amelia, the Girl Who Wants To Fly.’ Sept. 7 to Oct. 6: ‘Henry and Alice: Into the Wild.’ Aug. 10 to Sept. 8: ‘The Clockmaker.’

tors such as a SARS scare, the war in Iraq beginning, the Canadian dollar rising and gas prices increasing. “We have a lot of people on your north shore who are supporters and come regularly, but not in the same level as they once did before 2004,” Mr. Wanless said. n



Shows at the Playhouse are presented in the 363-seat Springer Theatre and at the more intimate, 140-seat Firehall Theatre,

185 South St., where two productions are scheduled. The lineup for the 2012 season: Through June 16: “Nunsense II: The Second Coming.” This sequel features the sisters presenting a “thank-you” show for all who supported them previously. Songs in the comedy written by Dan Goggin include “What Would Elvis Do?” and “There’s Only One

Please see PLAYHOUSE, page 55


GREG WANLESS SAID HE WAS IN THE “right place at the right time” when he founded Thousand Islands Playhouse 30 years ago on the banks of the St. Lawrence River here. Mr. Wanless and a dedicated group of other actors and theater enthusiasts set out to transform the historic but dilapidated Gananoque Canoe Club at the foot of Charles Street into what has become one of southeastern Ontario’s premier summer entertainment destinations. Throughout the years, Mr. Wanless, who was a freelance professional actor for most of the 1970s, has done everything from being chief fundraiser to “architect” on projects. The playhouse presents productions in two theaters over summer seasons to a total audience of more than 40,000. Mr. Wanless, a Brockville native, Queen’s University graduate and a drama professor at that Kingston university, will step down as artistic director at the end of the company’s forthcoming 31st season, which began in May and runs through October with seven shows. His successor has been hired and will spend 13 weeks spread out over the season to create a smooth transition for next year. That successor, Ashlie Corcoran, is the co-founder and artistic producer for Theatre Smash, a Toronto-based independent theater company. The native of British Columbia directs both theater and opera, working across Canada and internationally. “I don’t think I’ll go quietly into the sunset,” Mr. Wanless said. “At some point, there will be something they will ask me to do.” One elusive goal of the past few years has been to bring the attendance of Americans up to levels seen before 2004, when a notable drop-off was recorded. Mr. Wanless attributed it to a variety of fac-


Timothy Widrick of Zehr’s Flowers and Landscaping pulls a shrub out of the ground to prepare for a project at a home in Lowville. Right, emerald blue creeping phlox waiting to be planted.



Growing a north country garden Local professionals offer tips for best results TEXT BY KYLE R. HAYES | PHOTOS BY AMANDA MORRISON this year, it is a difficult question to answer. I have seen it snow in June, so you never really know when it’s safe.” Mrs. Rhodes said that there are quite a few hardy plants that are safe to plant early. They include pansies and petunias, and many shrubs and trees are safe as long as they aren’t flowering nor have blossoms. “Evergreens are popular and you can plant those early, even if there is new

growth that is pretty and soft, if you get a frost you can always trim off those pieces,” she said. The advantage to planting trees and shrubs at the first signs of spring is the amount of moisture in the ground, Mrs.

Rhodes said. When planting shrubs and trees for landscaping, the most important tip is to keep the plant and its roots watered. In the spring, the ground is often very moist from the winter snow melt and rain, so planting early eliminates constant watering. Mrs. Rhodes said that planting in the early summer months means one would have to regularly water the new plant to keep it moist. Samantha Widrick, owner of Zehr’s Flowers and Landscaping in Castorland, said that ensuring a new tree or shrub’s roots are established before allowing it to be watered naturally will help the plant’s chances at survival. “Mulch actually can help the tree or shrub take root, and it will keep the soil underneath moist so you don’t have to water as frequently,” she said. Ms. Widrick said that the question she hears often is in regards to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. “We hear a lot of, ‘What zone are we in?’” she said. “Much of the area is in Zone 4, but I always suggest they look online to find their exact location and particular zone letter and number.”


P L AN T I N G A N D M A I N TA I N I N G A garden and keeping landscaping lush in the north country is always tricky. Various factors, including late frosts in May and blazing sun and dry soil as early as June, can mean a rocky start to any planting season. As signs of spring start sprouting, local greenhouses and nurseries become overrun with questioning patrons, wondering what bushes and trees thrive in a cold north country climate and what flowers can be planted in early spring for a summer’s worth of color. Who better to ask for advice when getting started this planting season than the professionals who own local garden centers? Jolene K. Rhodes and her husband, Gary L., own Rhodes Greenhouse on Route 3 in Henderson. Rhodes has been a gardening institution in the north country since 1962, each summer offering a greenhouse packed with shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials. “The question we get most often is asking when it’s safe to plant,” Mrs. Rhodes said. “But the way the weather has gone



The USDA’s Plant Hardiness Zones allow gardeners to use zones as indicators of whether plants rated for the temperature in their area will survive the winter. Zones are divided into 10-degree ranges, with lower numbers indicating colder regions. Zone 4 is divided into 4a, which is from minus 30 to minus 25 degrees, and 4b, which is from minus 25 to minus 20 degrees. Both Mrs. Rhodes and Ms. Widrick agreed that looking around at what plants and flowers are already established in an area is a great indicator as to what plant life will survive there.


“Any maple tree, or a crab apple tree, will do really well here,” Ms. Widrick said. Ms. Widrick has owned Zehr’s for nine years, taking over for her mother, who owned it for 15 years prior. “That’s another question we answer a lot,” Mrs. Rhodes said. “We hear, ‘What won’t the deer eat?’ and my reply is: Whatever’s in your neighbor’s yard. But that’s another way to know what survives well here, look around and see what everyone else has done well with.” One of the biggest drawbacks to maintaining a dream garden in the north

country is the short growing season and the unpredictable weather changes, Mrs. Rhodes said. Flowers like azaleas seem to have a tough time, and popular trees like ornamental maples might be safe for the first growing season, but will be sparse looking and disappointing if they come back the second year, Mrs. Rhodes said. “You will always see other flowers and plants somewhere else, even as close as Syracuse, that just won’t survive here,” she said. “I was on a trip in Nashville and saw the most beautiful trees, but I just know that they’d never last a second up here.”

Jeff Krokowski of Zehr’s Flowers and Landscaping arranges rocks for a wall at a project in Lowville

“If the tag says full sun, that plant wants afternoon sun,” she said. “You can get away with shade in the morning but in the afternoon it has to have full sun. The same is true for tags that recommend shade.” Both Rhodes Greenhouse and Zehr’s Flowers offer Proven Winners brand annuals, perennials and shrubs.

“Proven Winners are really nice plants and the selection they offer to local garden centers are tailored for this area,” Mrs. Rhodes said. “They are cold hardy and they have hybrids that really do well here.” KYLE R. HAYES is associate editor of NNY Living. Contact him at or 661-2381.


Flowers that do well, and last the longest, in Northern New York include geraniums, marigolds, begonias and fuchsia. “We sell a lot of geraniums, in any color from pink or purple to different reds and oranges,” Mrs. Rhodes said. She said that Rhodes Greenhouse only sells zonal geraniums, which have bigger, fuller blossoms and are more resistant to wind. In addition to zonal geraniums, they also offer scented and ivy geranium varieties. Both Mrs. Rhodes and Ms. Widrick noted the importance of fertilizer when beginning any planting for the season. The soil in the north country is naturally fertile, Ms. Widrick said, but being aware of the particular needs of your plants will help them grow better. “Investing in a good fertilizing program is an absolute must,” Mrs. Rhodes said. “Fertilizing a couple of times a week is really your best bet.” When asked what some of the best tips she has handed out throughout the years at the greenhouse, Mrs. Rhodes said to start small and utilize the resources that are available to all gardeners, new and old. “Sometimes it is easier to start small, start planting things in pots, whether inside or out,” she said. “That’s the way gardening is really going. People don’t have the time to have flower beds anymore. We are doing a million different things, taking the kids here and there, there’s just not enough time to maintain all of it.” Several local greenhouses throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties offer classes and workshops for container planting, where, for a set fee, a container or pot will be provided and various plants may be potted with the help of a garden center expert. Some greenhouses also offer the service of bringing in a container such as a large pot or hanging basket, and having a garden center expert fill it and design the basket for a customer. Mrs. Rhodes also suggests doing your homework, reading the tags that are placed on many of the plants within the greenhouse and checking light exposure. Having a watering regimen is also very important for any garden, small or large. Mrs. Rhodes does not recommend watering in the evening or at night, especially in early spring. During the spring months, days may be warm, but nights are cold. The added water on the roots and leaves of plants will only encourage frost to form if the nights are cold enough.





If walls could talk TEXT BY KYLE R. HAYES | PHOTOS BY JUSTIN SORENSEN F O R N E A R LY 15 Y E A R S , T H E Watertown Daily Times published a weekly feature titled “Old Houses of the North Country,” with photos and captions telling the story of stately homes of Northern New York. Each week Times staffer David F. Lane would travel the main roads and rural trails of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties as well as the Adiron-

dacks, to photograph and research historic stone homes, massive mansions and several unique properties in the region. For this issue of NNY Living, we traced Mr. Lane’s steps and visited three of those stately houses, including the first mansion featured, to bring these homes of grandeur to life in color, and bring much of their history into the modern day.

Left, a formal entertaining area inside 253 Clinton St. in Watertown, known as the Starbuck House. Above, the home as it stood in 1943.

‘The Starbuck House’


THE STARBUCK HOUSE, 253 Clinton St., Watertown, is number 67 in Mr. Lane’s series, first published in October of 1949. Mr. Lane described the home as “one of Watertown’s most imposing mansions.” The original two-story portico with tall, fluted columns still stands, and is flanked today by stone lions guarding the front entrance. The home’s name is derived from the late Senator James F. Starbuck, who built the structure in Southern colonial style. The home features more than a dozen rooms and was originally built with two fireplaces, one with a white marble mantle and the other of black marble, a long drawing room and a massive attic that incorporated the prominent cupola. The home was constructed by Clement Colburn, a local contractor, who took a


Above, the upstairs stairwell, lined with brocaded wallpaper. Right, the Starbuck House’s private parking area.

trip to Syracuse and Utica to gather ideas from the mansions of Central New York before building the Starbuck house. Mr. Starbuck was a prominent Democrat and it is said that he was a friend of Silas Wright, Samuel J. Tilden, Martin Van Buren, Stephen A. Douglass, Franklin Pierce and Gen. George B. McClellan, a major general during the American Civil War. Mr. Starbuck died Dec. 11, 1880. Today, the home has eight bedrooms with four bathrooms for a total of approximately 6,000 square feet. In the 1990s, the home was used as a bed and breakfast with its formal dining room, eat-in kitchen and indoor pool and hot tub. The large fireplaces and elegant crown moldings remain. The house is currently for sale and listed with Lori Gervera Real Estate’s Tara Marzano.

The LeRay mansion as it stands on Fort Drum. Center, an undated photo of the mansion.

‘The LeRay Mansion’

THE VERY FIRST HOME featured in Mr. Lane’s series on Nov. 25, 1941, was that of Northern New York landowner and colonizer, Jacques “James” Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont. The home was built between 1825 and 1827 and originally sat on 640 acres of land. LeRay mansion was built by David Granger of Champion for Mr. LeRay de Chaumont. When Mr. Le Ray de Chaumont died in 1840 the mansion, its contents and more than 2,000 acres of surrounding property were sold to Jules Rene Payen, a Frenchman, who moved with his wife, Annette, and daughter, Julia, to New York from France. The mansion stayed with the Payen family after Mr. Payen’s death in 1862 and his wife’s death in 1875, according to “The LeRay Mansion: Home of James LeRay de Chaumont, the ‘Father of the North Country,’” a publication in Fort Drum’s Cultural Resources Series. In 1913, their daughter, Julia’s son, Frederick, became the owner of the mansion and

Inside a bedroom named after a Le Ray de Chaumont family member

property. Frederick passed the property down to his daughter, Mabel Phelps Anderson and her husband, Fred, who ultimately lost the property during the Great Depression. The mansion was sold to Harold and Margaret Remington at auction. Mr. and Mrs. Remington did much of the restoration work before it was acquired by the federal government. LeRay mansion was originally built in what was known as Leraysville, one of the towns that were erased with the expansion of Pine Camp, now Fort Drum. The mansion and 640-acre grounds are now owned by the federal government at Fort Drum and are used for housing visitors to the installation. The home and its grounds were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Many of the original details, including dentil work on the roofline and columns on the exterior, door knobs and moldings, remain. The home is constructed of locally quarried limestone that is covered with white-washed stucco on the exterior.

Above left, the 1818 Sackets Harbor House as it stood in 1943. Right, the home today.

THIS MODERN DAY bed and breakfast is located at 402 General Smith Drive in Sackets Harbor, which Mr. Lane first described as “next easterly toward Madison Barracks from the historic Col. Elisha Camp mansion.” This elaborate brick residence and its unique Georgian architecture was the residence of Elizabeth Anderson Wise. Mrs. Wise acquired the property on Nov. 10, 1930, from her mother, the late Ida L. Anderson. Mrs. Wise was responsible for extensively rebuilding and adding onto the home, which was part of the holdings of Col. Elisha Camp, brother-in-law of Judge Augustus Sacket, founder of Sackets Harbor. Col. Camp was an artillery officer in the War of 1812 and owned extensive amounts of land in Jefferson County and many of the Thousand Islands.

On Aug. 30, 1866, Col. Camp conveyed the site to Phebe Augusta Denison for one dollar, at which point Leonard Denison, Mrs. Denison’s husband, built the brick house, which was the main portion of the original mansion. The home is currently owned by Joni May and Rick Hubbard, who purchased the property on Dec. 7, 1994, and took on extensive restoration of the stately home and its grounds. One of its most magnificent architectural details is the two story veranda with arched entryway and circular brick cutouts. Formal dining and living rooms are accented by serene paintings above fireplaces. A trap door allows access to the basement. For more information about the bed and breakfast, visit


‘1818 Sackets Harbor House’



A life’s journey


Photographer Ian Coristine’s new book an ‘experience’




IAN CORISTINE HAS AN interesting relationship with serendipity. His name conjures a sense of celebrity along the St. Lawrence River, where his work resides in dozens of “cottages,” as their owners call them, on private islands that dot the seaway. Though none of this celebrity status would have been achieved without one fateful flight, an adventure driven by nothing but a few grown men looking for a day of fun in their airplanes. That flight is the opening chapter, titled “The Beginning,” in Mr. Coristine’s latest book, his memoir, “One in a Thousand.”

The title is one befitting of the content within its pages. The island that Mr. Coristine owns, called Raleigh, is one of the 1,000 islands in the St. Lawrence River, the flight he took in his discovery of the islands was one of many he’d flown before and the opportunity to publish his book was the result of a one in a thousand chance of meeting the right person at the right time. “The honest to God truth is this: I’m all in,” Mr. Coristine said in a phone interview from his island. “Everything I have ever done here is in this book. This book is the best it can be, there are 12 years of photography in it, the story of my life, the

story of my island.” “One in a Thousand” is a collaborative effort between Mr. Coristine, a former Formula race car driver and now award-winning book publisher, Donna Walsh Inglehart, an author and teacher, the band Great Lake Swimmers, and a team of app developers at the McLellan Group. The book, which is considered an eBook, is an interactive experience that combines the photography of Mr. Coristine and his story as told to and edited by Ms. Inglehart, with the music of the Great Lake Swimmers. Add in interactive maps, audio readings by Mr. Coristine at the beginning of each chap-

ter, and photo slide shows, and what has been developed is what Mr. Coristine calls a “ground breaking” introduction into the digital revolution. “I had a whole bunch of really interesting pieces, with video footage from the plane and a relationship with this amazing band, but I knew I didn’t want it just as a Kindle book or PDF reader like a normal eBook,” Mr. Coristine said. The problem was that there was no soft-


I’m all in. Everything I have ever done here is in this book. This book is the best it can be, there are 12 years of photography in it, the story of my life, the story of my island. — Ian Coristine on ‘One in a Thousand’

final, edited version to Apple Inc. for inclusion in the Apple App Store in April. “The entire experience was pretty collaborative between our team and Ian,” Mr. McLellan said. “We had as many as eight members of our team working on it for a good 12 weeks. Sometimes there’d only be one or two people working on it, but then these huge flurries of work and ideas started coming.” The final product came to fruition on May 1, when the book became available to the public in Apple’s App Store for iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3. The app costs $8.99. The day of its launch, the book ranked second on the top 10 list of Paid Book Apps, one below “Tips & Tricks iPad Secrets” In total, the app includes 300 pages of text that encompass Mr. Coristine’s life from the time he was a high-tech entrepreneur to his serendipitous flight down the St. Lawrence and ending with the tale of publishing his massively successful photography books. It also includes 450 images, some never before published, interactive maps of the Thousand Islands region, 20 minutes of video, two Great Lake Swimmers music videos and 18 exclusive Great Lake Swimmers instrumental tracks.

One in a Thousand DETAILS n Available in the Apple App store for iPad. Open the App Store and search for ‘Ian Coristine’ or ‘One in a Thousand.’ n Cost: $8.99 n Information or direct link to the book in the App Store:

When asked if there would be another book, Mr. Coristine never went back on his promise that this is it. “Every picture and video I’ve done is in that book,” Mr. Coristine said. “I sold my plane, so the plane is gone, the video is in, the music is in. This is it.” As for the platform in which his story is told, this is just the beginning. “We are already talking to a few other authors who expressed interest in what we were doing,” Mr. McLellan said. “We look at all projects that we do and assess their potential. It’s almost guaranteed to do more, it’s such an immersive storytelling and learning experience in which you give the reader control.” KYLE R. HAYES is associate editor of NNY Living. Contact him at or 661-2381.


ware available that suited Mr. Coristine’s vision. That’s when Douglas McLellan came into the picture. “I had seen this brilliant photo of stars over the river and it was one that Doug had taken for Thousand Islands Life magazine,” Mr. Coristine said. “So I phone this guy up, he also has an island on the river, and we had a long conversation about the future I saw in my book.” Mr. McLellan is the founder of the McLellan Group, a Toronto-based integrated communications firm. His business, as he said, is to be “strategic storytellers” for the brands he calls clients. “We tell stories, it’s what we do, and after I heard Ian’s story, we looked at the fact that there were skills we had [at McLellan Group] that were perfect to bring together this kind of project,” Mr. McLellan said. “We loved the idea of doing a book, but one didn’t leap out right away; one didn’t leap out that we could throw our hearts and souls into. Then we met Ian.” The process for developing the app began Jan. 5 and the team submitted the

The cover to Ian Coristine’s memoir ‘One in a Thousand’ features a photograph of his island, named Raleigh, taken from his plane. The photograph is one of dozens paired with the text of his book, which is available only on iPad. Left, Mr. Coristine sits with his camera on the edge of his plane.




Swami’s retreat

India’s first spiritual, cultural leader to the West had ties to NNY




“BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF America!” Thus began Swami Vivekananda’s speech to the Parliament of the World’s Religions on Sept. 11, 1893. As part of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Parliament of the World’s Religions met in Chicago to foster inter faith understanding and tolerance. Swami Vivekananda, then a still unknown monk-philosopher to the Western world, came to represent India and Hinduism. The term “swami” is a title of respect given to religious teachers − Mr. Vivekananda was just such a teacher. He was the chief disciple of the 19th century Hindu saint Ramakrishna who preached the harmony of all religions, the universality of truth and that service to man was the most effective worship of God. After Ramakrishna died in 1886, Swami

Vivekananda started a monastery in Ramakrishna’s honor and began teaching his former guru’s message of unity and service. The 2001 book, “Vivekananda” recounts a lecture he gave while he was in America, during which he said: “I do not come to convert you to a new belief. I want you to keep your own belief; I want to make the Methodist a better Methodist; the Presbyterian a better Presbyterian; the Unitarian a better Unitarian. I want to teach you to live the truth, to reveal the light within your own soul.” Vivekananda’s teachings attracted thousands of devoted students from all religions and backgrounds. He has been credited with being one of the major figures to introduce the Hindu philosophy of Yoga to the Western world, and with bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion. Swami Vivekananda was also a force behind the

Vivekananda’s 150th DETAILS n The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York is sponsoring four events at the Thousand Island Park Tabernacle on Wellesley Island to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birthday. The celebration is from Friday, July 27, to Sunday, July 29. For event details, visit our website, www.NNYLiving, and click on the Upfront tab.

revival of Hinduism in India and established the Vedanta Society, a group devoted to the study of the Hindu scripture, both in the United States and in England. All very impressive, but what does a Hindu monk-philosopher have to do with the Thousand Islands? Following his speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Swami Vivekananda embarked upon a two-year teaching and lecture tour throughout the eastern and mid-western United States.

While in New York City, an artist named Mary Dutcher attended one of his classes and was impressed by his strong sense of purpose. She invited him to stay at her cottage at Thousand Island Park, an invitation that he accepted. Swami Vivekananda arrived at T.I. Park on June 18, 1895. By this time, his speaking tour had concluded and he was in poor health — the two years that he spent traveling around the United States had exhausted him. He used his seven weeks on Wellesley Island to recuperate both physically and spiritually. In preparation for his visit, Ms. Dutcher


I do not come to convert you to a new belief. I want you to keep your own belief. I want to teach you to live the truth, to reveal the light within your soul. — Swami Vivekananda

LENKA P. WALLDROFF is curator of collections for the Jefferson County Historical Museum. She is a former museum specialist and conservator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.


had a separate wing built onto her cottage for Mr. Vivekananda’s use. Comprising three stories, the cottage addition had a classroom and two bedrooms. The Swami’s bedroom was located on the third floor and opened onto an attached porch with magnificent views of the river. During his seven weeks at the Park, Swami Vivekananda rested, but also taught a small group of a dozen students. He spent the rest of his time studying and writing. He often did his writing and teaching on a flat rock shaded by an oak tree located about a quarter mile from the cottage itself. That place is now called Vivekananda Rock and was dedicated in July 2009. The cottage itself still stands in Thousand Island Park but is closed to the public. It was sold to the RamakrishnaVivekananda Center of New York City in the 1940s and is maintained by that organization as a holy site and a spiritual retreat center.



Herbs add great natural f lavors to many dishes Need to cut salt or butter? Herbs make great sense




THOSE WHO KNOW ME MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT I really like salt. Not just any salt though. “Kosher salt is for cooking and iodinized salt is for cleaning” is my mantra. I collect salt, and treasure it like some people collect sand from the various beaches they have visited. My former JCC students liked to joke about my affinity for salt. If a student asked me to taste their creation, another would mutter that I would probably suggest more salt. They were almost always correct. It’s not that I especially like salty food or have some metabolic need for salt. Properly salted food just happens to taste better because salt enhances the food’s flavor. Then there is butter — Julia Child had it all figured out, “if you are afraid of butter, use cream.” A gift subscription to Cooking Light magazine appeared in my mailbox after Christmas. I have subscribed to the publication in the past and have found light cooking to be a real bummer. Less butter, less cream, less salt equals less flavor and a recipe that is less likely to be cooked in my kitchen. However, there was a message that was worth listening to: If you are going to remove the butter, the cream or the salt, you need to add flavor boosters in their place. I began to reflect on flavor and it

led my back to my mother’s kitchen. My mom was an amazing gardener. She was the president of the garden club, a member of the Herb Society of America, a professional herb garden designer and she could really cook. Since she specialized in herb gardens it was only natural that we had our fair share of herbs in the family garden. My mom did not cook with an abundance of butter or cream, but her food always had great depth of flavor. With her experience in the garden, she knew that herbs have the power to transform a dish from nondescript to fabulous. She may not have known, or cared, that in addition to being terrific flavor boosters, herbs are full of healthy antioxidants and a tremendous amount of Vitamin A. Using herbs in your cooking requires following a few simple guidelines. Fresh herbs that you have grown yourself — even if it’s just a patio container, will taste fresher and better than the prepackaged grocery store version. Herbs with soft leaves such as basil, chives, cilantro, dill, chervil and lovage, should be added at the end of the cooking process because they lose much of their flavor when exposed to heat. Herbs with tough leaves and stems such as thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and sage, can stand up to heat without losing their impact. Be sure to match the flavor intensity of the herb with that of your protein when pairing herbs and ingredients. The strong flavor of rosemary would overpower a mild piece of tilapia. The delicate nature of chervil or even lemon thyme would be a better choice. Leg of lamb, which has a strong and distinct flavor, combines beautifully with either fresh rosemary or sage. Try adding chopped soft leaf herbs like parsley, cilantro, tarragon or chervil to a simple tossed green salad with champagne vinaigrette and you will learn to love flavorful food all over again. While there is no chance that I am ever going to give up my treasured salt or flavorful butter, using them in moderation and training myself to rely more on fresh herbs makes great flavor sense. BOO WELLS is chef and owner of the Farm House Kitchen, a catering company and cooking school in Sackets Harbor. Contact her at sacketsfarm or

Omelette aux fines herbs INGREDIENTS 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon water 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh herbs* 1 tablespoon butter Freshly ground black pepper and salt INSTRUCTIONS Break the eggs into a small bowl. Add the water and fresh herbs. Whisk with a fork until the mixture is well combined. Set a 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and swirl to cover the sides and bottom of the pan. Once the pan is sufficiently coated with the melted butter, pour the eggs into the middle of the pan. Swirl the pan again to evenly distribute the egg mixture. Place the pan back on the heat and allow to rest. As the egg cooks it will begin to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Once the egg is nicely formed and the center is cooked through, use a spatula to fold the omelet in half. Slide your creation onto a warm plate garnish with a sprig of parsley and enjoy. *Fresh herbs with soft leaves, like parley, chives, cilantro, dill, tarragon and chervil make the best omelets.


Clockwise from top left, chopped herbs ready for cooking. Mint garnishes a glass of iced tea. A finished omelette with herb-roasted new potatoes and asparagus.





Rich, sweet succulent sea scallops Pan-seared scallop and creamy Parmesan polenta with grilled tomato vinaigrette

n A dish from the sea with creamy Parmesan polenta livens tastebuds




T H E R E I S S U C H A N A R R AY O F flavors that can complement a scallop. It seems every time I visit my local market, it inspires me to create something new. Walking down the aisles slowly and looking up and down at the different ingredients that one could use to infuse the flavor of the scallops. Scallops have such a clean, crisp, sweet flavor that can be married to ingredients and cooking styles. The word scallop comes from the old French escalope meaning “shell,” which refers to the shell that houses the scallop. Scallops are mentioned in print as far back as the year 1280, when Marco Polo names them as being one of the seafoods sold in the marketplace in Hangchow, China. One recent morning when I was browsing through the local market I noticed a beautiful batch of jumbo scallops. I also came across some nice heirloom tomatoes and a bag of corn grits, also known as polenta. Seeing a variety of ingredients enables me to play with the different flavors and pairings. During my time on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to all of the great flavors that the ocean has to offer. This taught me how to properly cook seafood and appreciate its authenticity. I worked quite a bit with scallops, learning how to pair different flavors, some quite common and some a little more “risky.” When I was asked to contribute to NNY Living, I was inspired to create something new and fresh. The result is

GRILLED TOMATO VINAIGRETTE ½ cup oil 6 cups water 1 teaspoon honey 1 cup heavy cream 2 teaspoons olive oil 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 1 large red tomato 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Scallops are mentioned in print as far back as the year 1280, when Marco Polo named them as one of the seafoods sold in the marketplace in Hangchow, China. not too difficult to prepare and makes a nice dinner. Enjoy. MATTHEW HUDSON is the executive chef at the Great American Grill at Watertown’s Hilton Garden Inn, 1290 Arsenal St., 788-1234.

INSTRUCTIONS Slice tomato into 1-inch thick slices Grill tomatoes Add grilled tomatoes, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar and honey into a blender Blend until smooth Drizzle in oil Season with salt and pepper

PAN-SEARED SCALLOP Any size fresh sea scallops

INSTRUCTIONS Pat scallops dry with paper towel Season with salt and pepper to taste Place oil in non-stick pan and heat on high Place scallop in pan and turn only after side is caramelized (approximately 3 minutes) Turn scallop one time and take out of pan after 3 minutes and rest on plate

POLENTA 1 pound polenta ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese Chopped parsley (for color) INSTRUCTIONS Boil water Add polenta Cook until soft Add cream and Parmesan cheese Add chopped parsley Season with salt and pepper




Victorian charm in Alexandria Bay A quaint bed and breakfast with the classic touches of home BY PEGGY DeYOUNG


THE CAPTAIN VISGER House opened in June of 2007, providing Alexandria Bay with an upscale, intimate lodging and dining alternative. Today, the inn has three guest suites on the second floor as well as a gathering room. There is also a first floor suite that is handicapped accessible with common areas that include a parlor and dining room with breakfast nook. The home was built in grand Victorian style with 10-foot high ceilings, a circular staircase and elaborate moldings and woodwork. This renovation project was a labor of love conceptualized by Cathryn “Sam” Munna and executed by her husband and accomplice Tim Purcell, a master craftsman The search for a home suitable for her vision was no easy task. However, a tired purple and black Victorian on the hill called out to Sam. The home had been built by Capt. Harmonious Visger, who started the first boat line to offer river tours in the late 1800s. Sam knew she wanted to renovate the home to its former grandeur. The two-year renovation involved demolition of a rear addition to open up the backyard for her gardens. Bathrooms were added for each of the guest rooms, now named for Visger family members. A highlight of the renovation is the commercial kitchen in which Sam expresses her passion: slow cooking. Guests are treated to creative feasts always made of locally


Captain Visger House BUILDER: Tim Purcell, Alexandria Bay LIGHTING: Frances Taitt, Alexandria Bay BORDER AND COLOR CONSULTANT: Peggy DeYoung, Porch and Paddle, Clayton.

grown, organic food. When asked about her inspiration for the interiors, she explained that it started with a Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper of pomegranates and lemons. “The colors of the wallpaper pattern are so rich that I knew I had to use it in the dining room and the rest of the design evolved organically,” she said. It is no coincidence that the interior colors repeat the tones of the fall harvest: Pumpkin, ginger, mulling spice, pomegranates, lemons and chocolate. Pomegranates are one of Sam’s favorite ingredients, used in many of the inn’s recipes. When it came to lighting each room, local glass artist Frances Taitt refurbished antique lighting and created new pieces with unique glass shades. The dining room chandelier is her signature piece and it creates a special ambiance for dinner guests. Another favorite is the “sunset chandelier” from Rejuvenation Hardware, with its suspended bat. The chandelier hangs in the entry, greeting guests and letting them know there is something special going on here. A mosaic tile compass rose was installed by Tim for the entry floor. Life owning a bed and breakfast on the beautiful St. Lawrence River is rewarding. Sam’s favorite part is cooking for her guests and being their personal guide to each of the communities that make up the Thousand Islands. PEGGY DEYOUNG is a certified interior designer. She owns the Porch and Paddle Cottage Shop in Clayton. Contact her at


Clockwise from top: Captain Visger house owner Cathryn “Sam” Munna in the main stairwell. Clementine, a house cat, relaxes on the bed in the Harmonious Room. An ornate lantern hangs by the main entrance. A detail of a parrot on a door in the Captain’s Suite. An antique dresser in the Captain’s Suite. Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper of pomegranates and lemons.






DATE: July 2011 INFO: A lady bug with its unique white head was captured crawling across the petals of an echinacea, or purple cone flower, in the garden of Sandy Fowler off Route 37 in Watertown.


SHOT WITH: Nikon D60 with an 18-55mm lens. F-stop: F4.8. Shutter speed: 1/125. Give us your best shot. If you have captured a snippet of NNY through your lens, email it to Visit www.NNYLiving for submission details.

Opera, from page 32

CHRIS BROCK is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact him at or 6612409.


Mr. Sirianni said he’s certain Alexandra’s instructors will continue to be impressed. “She has the whole package,” he said. “She has an amazing instrument, she’s a beautiful girl, her musicality is second to none and the color of her voice is beautiful. I had a teacher who told me once that you need all of these things in place. If not, it becomes a multiplication by zero − the whole equation becomes zero and you don’t get hired.” In 10 years, Alexandra hopes to be deep into an opera career. “Hopefully, I’ll be performing at the Met or wherever, like all over the world,” she said. She has a determination that mixes well with her passion, which can literally be seen in her penchant for wearing red, whether in shoes, dress, a scarf or blazing red lipstick that contrasts sharply with her coal black hair. “The music, if you listen to the right singer, it takes your breath away,” she said. “In my eyes, there’s no other music that’s as passionate as opera. It’s at the highest level of difficulty, and when someone is really good at it, you are just floored by it.” People who were floored by Select Choir’s “Phantom” last month stopped by to congratulate Alexandra and others at the traditional gathering spot in a hallway off stage. It was there where Alexandra had a flashback. It involved her first role as a preschooler, as a Munchkin in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” presented in 2001 by Carthage High School. “I saw this one man and said, ‘Oh my God, you were on the audition committee when I auditioned as a Munchkin.’ I remember him smiling so big at me. And he said, ‘I was!’” The former Munchkin with the big voice hopes to continue to give people something to remember. She will continue with the attitude that got her this far, this fast. She recalled singing her two arias for the Manhattan School of Music panel. She approached the situation boldly, with passion. “I was just so excited and thought, there’s no point in being nervous,” she said. “They obviously liked my CD, so I said, I’m just going to go in there and give it my best. Apparently, they liked it.”



Hold on to good quotes, they can be life-changing




H AV E Y O U E V E R WA L K E D PA S T A colleague’s desk and there, taped on their monitor or cubicle wall is an inspirational quote from someone? Sometimes it’s an author you know. Other times the words are from an individual you’ve never heard of. But it’s not who said the quote that necessarily matters — it’s what they’ve said that strikes a chord. And often, that little nugget of information is all the fuel you need to make it through the next minute. Some of us can relate to what is commonly known as the “week from hell.” From an overflowing desk with work that seems boundless to friends or family who hurt us with their words or actions, cumulative issues like these can leave us feeling vulnerable, especially when the negative energies of others hurt you. When this happens, consider the following: “If others reject you, thank them and be grateful. You’ll attract others of a more kindred spirit.” — Ivan Kelly. If someone rejects you in any way, shape or form, do you really need their negative energy clogging up your space? Of course not. That space should be reserved for genuine people. Good people. People who care about you and who you care about in return. Do, however, keep those with negative energies in your prayers. That act alone can turn things around for you. Find your quote if you haven’t already. And after you do, find another. Live by them. Make them your mantras.

If it packs a punch, makes an impact or changes your position, write it down. Tape it up. Bring it home. And share it, too. You also could make a difference for someone else and not even realize it. Think about them when you need courage or strength. If you’re about to make a bold change where the outcome is as uncertain as uncertain can be, take this one with you: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” — Martin Luther King Jr. If it packs a punch, makes an impact or changes your position, write it down. Tape it up. Bring it home. And share it, too. You also could make a difference for someone else and not even realize it. DO YOU KNOW OR are you a Northern New York woman who has done something inspiring? If so, reach out to us. We want to share your story. Email us at JOLEENE DESROSIERS is a transformational speaker and freelance writer who lives in Pulaski. Contact her at Visit her at

Playhouse, from page 33 Way to End Your Prayers and That’s to Say Amen.” June 22 to July 21: “Somewhere Beyond the Sea.” This will be the premiere of the drama written by Douglas Bowie, who has written seven plays since 1991. “We’ve premiered all of them,” Mr. Wanless said. Five of the plays, Mr. Wanless said, have gone on to other theaters across Canada. “Somewhere Beyond the Sea” which will be directed by Mr. Wanless, concerns Celia, a recently retired librarian who escapes her stay-at-home husband for a pilgrimage to the Scottish Highlands for a food and wine tour. But she finds her world upended by cataclysmic forces. June 28 to July 28: “Amelia, the Girl Who Wants To Fly.” This acclaimed musical by John MacLachlan Gray will be staged in Firehall Theatre and is produced in association with Festival Players of Price Edward County. It re-imagines Amelia Earhart’s metoric rise from the “girl next door” to the iconic “first woman in flight.” July 27 to Sept. 1: “Little Shop of Horrors.” This legendary show with music by Alan Menken and book and lyrics by Howard

The details THOUSAND ISLANDS PLAYHOUSE WHAT: The 31st season of the Thousand Islands Playhouse, Gananoque, Ontario. WHEN: Now through October. The Playhouse operates two theaters: the 363-seat Springer Theatre, 690 Charles St. S., and the 140-seat Firehall Theatre, 185 South St. TICKETS: Single-ticket prices are $32, $30 for senior citizens and $16 for students. The theater offers special package deals and monthly “special savings days.” Information on the specials can be found on the playhouse website at HOW TO GET THERE: Gananoque is across the St. Lawrence River nearly opposite Clayton. Boaters can dock at the Playhouse. Drivers can take the bridges at Massena, Ogdensburg and Collins Landing and take Highway 401 west, then take exit 648 toward Gananoque.

Ashman, is celebrating its 30th birthday this summer. Mr. Wanless will direct the musical and did so the last time the Playhouse presented it in 1990. He also will play the hungry plant. “It’s one of my favorite experiences.” he said. Aug. 10 to Sept. 8: “The Clockmaker.” This romantic mystery in Firehall Theatre focuses on a race against time. It’s written by Stephen Massicotte.

“We did a play about four years ago called ‘Mary’s Wedding’ by Stephen,” Mr. Wanless said. “He plays with time and relationships between people who are in different eras.” Sept. 7 to Oct. 6: “Henry and Alice: Into the Wild.” Henry and Alice, the couple from “Sexy Laundry,” staged at the Playhouse in 2006, return. Both were written by Vancouverite Michele Riml. In the new adventure, the couple embarks on a economically imposed camping trip for their summer vacation. Oct. 10-27: “Tempting Providence” The season concludes with a limited run of this world-traveled production by Theatre Newfoundland Labrador. It’s a biographical tale of nurse Mrya Bennett, who in 1921 came from London to an isolated community in Newfoundland. “She came over to stay for two years, and she stayed 30,” Mr. Wanless said. “There were no doctors. She did everything. She became like the Mother Teresa for the people who lived in those communities.” The company tells the story with four people, a table, some chairs and a white sheet. “They create magnificent theatrical images,” Mr. Wanless said. “It’s quite amazing.” CHRIS BROCK is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact him at or 6612409.



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NNY Living May/June 2012  
NNY Living May/June 2012  

The Home & Garden Issue.