Simply Saratoga Home & Garden 2018

Page 1




Home &


May/June 2018

















CONTRIBUTORS DENNIS G. HOGAN SAMANTHA BOSSHART Samantha Bosshart joined the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation in 2008. As Executive Director, she advocates for the preservation of the unique architecture and rich heritage of Saratoga Springs. Samantha previously worked at Historic Albany Foundation and Galveston Historical Foundation. Samantha completed her coursework for a Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Indiana University.

PETER BOWDEN Peter has been the region's go-to garden guy for over 35 years. His knack for practical and concise explanations has served him well during his 20-year tenure as WRGB’s garden guy. He is an artist and avid photographer whose images have appeared in textbooks, magazines and travel guides. Peter lives with his wife, Sharon and their pets in an old house in the country.

COLIN COWIE For more than two decades, Colin Cowie has created parties and events around the world. With his finger on the pulse of the latest trends in food, décor and design, he is always focusing on the unique DNA of each of his clients. Cowie is the author of 10 books on lifestyle, hospitality and entertaining. Most recently, Colin has brought his five-senses approach to scenic Saratoga Springs. Contact Maureen Baringer at

JODIE FITZ Jodie Fitz is a wife, working mother of three and the creator of the Price Chopper Kids Cooking Club. She released two cookbooks in 2015; The Chaotic Kitchen; a collection of recipes to help make the lives of busy families just a little bit easier when it comes to mealtime & Cooking Up Fun; designed to get kids taste testing & experimenting with foods.

GERALDINE FREEDMAN Geraldine Freedman is a freelance writer and a former freelance flutist, who worked for several years in New York City. She's been in the area for almost twenty years first moving to Saratoga Springs, which reminded her of NYC's West Village. These days she lives in Ballston Spa with her two cats.

JOHN GREENWOOD John Greenwood is a leftover Saratoga milkman who loves to write, laugh and share stories. John and his wife Patricia have been holding hands since high school. By day he’s a Transportation Manager for Stewart’s Shops. On his off hours he’s an observer/writer/blogger who is quite content taking a walk or painting the side of his garage. Learn more at

CAROL GODETTE Born and raised in Saratoga Springs, Carol Godette’s fascination with neighborhood stores began at age 11 when she frequented Rowland’s. A passionate educator, Godette taught elementary school in the Saratoga School District for 31 years. Carol is a co-owner of the local Ben & Jerry’s franchise. Godette and her husband live in her childhood home where they raised their two children. She welcomes your comments and stories/photos on neighborhood stores via email:

HIMANEE GUPTA-CARLSON Empire State College professor Himanee Gupta-Carlson grows vegetables and raises chickens, ducks and goats with her husband Jim at Squashville Farm in Greenfield Center. She writes and edits articles on the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for Saratoga Today, and coordinates a community garden and farm-to-pantry food donation program for the Franklin Community Center. Her book Muncie, India(na), on growing up as the child of immigrant Indians will be released next year.


Dennis G. Hogan was born in New York City and his story is a common one: his dad took him to Saratoga Race Course as a boy and he’s returned every year since. He is a writer and photographer with an appreciation for Thoroughbreds. He has previously written for ThoroFan and is a regular contributor to Equicurean Magazine. He lives in Westchester County, NY.

CHARLIE KUENZEL Charlie Kuenzel is a native Saratogian who spent 36 years as a Science educator in the Saratoga School District before retiring 6 years ago. Charlie, along with Dave Patterson are the co-owners of Saratoga Tours LLC who for the past 16 years have educated and entertained thousands of visitors to the city with stories to tell the exciting history of our great city.

MEGHAN LEMERY FRITZ Meghan is a native of the Glens Falls/Saratoga region. Her passion is to provide her clients and readers with the tools necessary to live a life full of love, acceptance, truth, peace and balance. She is an author and writer for various publications in Upstate NY and State College, PA.She currently resides in State College, PA where she enjoys spending time with her husband and family. To contact Meghan directly email

MEGIN POTTER Megin is an expressive writer and artist with work published in books, newspapers, corporate communications and online. A resident of the region for over 20 years, she continues to discover anew the interesting people, places and products it has to offer. As a mother to her active young son, she is inspired to explore even more.

JORDANA TURCOTTE Jordana Turcotte is a lifelong New Yorker and a Saratoga County resident since graduating from RPI. After staying at home for a bit with her children (now 10 and 8), she decided on the “rest of her life job” as Professional Organizer. Starting Simply You in 2008 fulfills a passion for organizing. When she isn’t organizing, you’ll find her volunteering at her kids’ school, being Mommy chauffeur or hanging out with her two rescue dogs.

THERESA ST. JOHN Theresa is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Saratoga Springs. Even though history was not on her radar while in high school, she has a deep interest in all things historical now. She has been on assignment for several magazines and is published in both print and online venues. Last year she traveled to Ireland on assignment, which, she states " was a trip of a lifetime." She is the proud mom to two young men and Nonnie to six rescued dogs, two chinchillas, and a bird. Life is good, she says.

RALPH VINCENT Ralph Vincent is a frequent guest contributor to, and devoted fan of Simply Saratoga Magazine. His writing embraces a variety of topics including home entertaining, cooking, and cocktail crafting. Ralph’s body of work also includes articles about subjects of special interest to him such as gardening with roses, and his experiences as a pet parent. He resides locally with his partner Steven and their three adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

MAUREEN WERTHER Maureen Werther is the owner of WriteForYou, a professional freelance writing service specializing in business writing, web and blog content, and creative non-fiction. Her articles, essays and white papers appear on the pages of businesses on the web and around the globe. She is also a regular contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and journals throughout the Capital Region.


From The Editor Welcome Spring… we’ve been waiting for you! This issue marks my 5th Anniversary as Managing Editor of Simply Saratoga Magazine and I hope those of you that read this letter with each issue, can feel my love for this job (calling?!) ...I truly am blessed! WOW - this was my first cover / letter! But more importantly… This is our Home & Garden issue!! …one of my favorites to put together (who am I kidding – you know I love them all!!) In addition to bringing back some of my favorite “H&G” artists from past issues (Jennifer Lanne and Betsy Olmsted!!), I’ve got my newest obsession in here… the Inn at Five Points! Their “dollhouse” was the first home spotlighted by Samantha Bosshart in our Preserving Saratoga feature and I’ve been in love with them ever since! They just renovated (installed?!) their new kitchen and we have photos! (page 88) Speaking of renovations…

I wanted this H&G issue to have a “Town & Country” feel and I hope you enjoy the farms (and the farmers!!), the artists and the beautiful gardens in this issue… Saratoga Springs is truly the “City in the Country” and I love to be able to show that whenever possible! Speaking of farmers… Happy 40th to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market! (page 47) For those of you that remember the days of the parking lot… you’ll love these old B&W photos! I must close with a THANK YOU to our readers … and advertisers! Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide these beautiful publications - free of charge - to our tens of thousands of readers. Please, mention us by name when visiting them… Simply Saratoga - the Saratoga TODAY magazine. And keep those comments coming, I LOVE hearing from you PS… Thanks to my contractor Michael Darling, of Darling & Son Construction for putting up with me - and all my delays!! (But honestly… it’s Chad’s fault… if he’d stop offering to build all these commemorative anniversary publications I wouldn’t be so busy!!)

Last fall at the Showcase of Homes tour, I was blown away by the color combo that Nancy Smith of Saratoga Signature Interiors used in the RJ Taylor Showcase entry – I’m not sure why that color combo hit me so hard, as every home in the tour is to-die-for, but I just knew I had to repaint Every. Room. In. My. House.

How does one decide when you have all these great cover options?! See story on page 37.

So… with my upcoming 5th Anniversary issue looming and some personal issues that I needed a distraction from (mainly my divorce and my mother’s health issues), I set out to do a “whole-house makeover” on my charming little, circa-1950, Ivy covered Cape Cod. Wow, what an experience this has been! (If I ever finish it… only kidding, it will be done, just not in time for this issue as I had planned.) Actually… I do believe that will be lesson one in the article – “Schedule more time – for – everything!” Cover photo by Blackburn Portrait Design. See story on page 108.

In Print & Online. Sign up TODAY for FREE email delivery of our publications!

Luckily one of my advertisers had told me about her recent closet reno and I knew I had to do that too… I mean my daughter had just moved upstairs, and her bedroom was empty now!! Even though my closet is no where near as luxurious as the two you will see in this issue, I feel the same way… How did I ever live without this?! (page 94). While my basement is done and perfect (loving that area too!) wait till you see what Jaysie Walts and her husband Matthew did – talk about an epic DIY project!! (page 100)

Sam, our time together has been WAY too short, but I know you and your husband will love living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming… I’ll miss you - you were a great mag designer!!


Chris Vallone Bushee Creative Director/ Managing Editor (518) 581-2480 ext.201





A Good Read

Save the Date

p. 47


Braeburn Tavern


Preserving Saratoga

Celebrating 150 years at 150 Phila!

37 40

for when your gardens need more butterflies!

Artist Spotlight:


p. 57

57 Save the Date...

Meet... Jennifer Lanne Make-A-Wish Northeast New York ...comes to Saratoga!

Saratoga PLAN...


Meghan Lemery


p. 145

Things are heating up around here!

Rebekkah Ziel




…it feels like going home

33 Jessecology 34

Summer Camps


Who they are and what they do Gives great advice

Happy 40th Saratoga Farmers' Market! Meet... Betsy Olmsted


Home & Garden 57 pages of Home & Garden inspiration!

132 Post Time Memories

With Dennis G. Hogan

134 Charlie Kuenzel looks back on... The summer of 1874

136 Rarely Seen Photos…

From The George S. Bolster Collection

138 Third in Carol Godette's series on

Dining Out in 20th Century Saratoga Mother Goldsmith's & Lou's Luncheonette

144 John Greenwood asks

...Do you remember Clem?

Gives great advice






Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty General Manager Robin Mitchell Creative Director/ Managing Editor Chris Vallone Bushee Graphic Designer Samantha Nock Advertising Designer Morgan Rook Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey Contributing Writers

Cecily Bailey Samantha Bosshart Peter Bowden Colleen Coleman Colin Cowie Geraldine Freedman Carol Godette John R. Greenwood Himanee Gupta-Carlson Dennis G. Hogan John Kettlewell Agnes King Charlie Kuenzel Meghan Lemery Fritz Barbara Lombardo Julie Malesky Putzel Samantha Nass Jim Petrosino Megin Potter Theresa St. John Jordana Turcotte Ralph Vincent Maureen Werther


Blackburn Portrait Design Brian E. Hoffman Dawn Honsky Photography Elizabeth Pedinotti Haynes The George S. Bolster Collection Kiera Lemonis Photography Nancy Giard Randall Perry Photography Rebekkah Ziel Stockwell Media

Published by

Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: (518) 581-2480 | fax: (518) 581-2487

Simply Saratoga is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2018, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper



390 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866


Buffalo Cauliflower

Tuna Tartar

When love for horses, apples & family draws you back home Walking into Braeburn Tavern is pretty impressive. Several high-top tables curve their merry way along the length of one wall, inviting patrons to sit down for an intimate dinner. Pretty lamps hang overhead and throw off just enough light, making it feel cozy-as if lit by candles rather than electricity.

Crispy Cod Tacos

Grilled Scallops, Risotto MAY/JUNE 2018 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 23

Bartender Becky Tassinari

Braeburn Mule

Mount Marcy Cocktail The center bar is a dark, polished wood that’s served many a drink over the years. From an extensive wine list sold by the glass or bottle to signature cocktails and craft beers, there’s sure to be a thirst quencher for everyone on the drink menu. Further down, toward the very back of the restaurant, is a room they refer to as ‘The Library.’ Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves cover the walls. Several cookbooks draw attention to the fact that a talented chef is present. Private parties are easily accommodated here, as well as book clubs, holiday celebrations, bridal and baby showers.

was exciting, but it was mixed with sadness as well. Marblehead and its close-knit community had become their home. And their employees were like family. When the couple decided to offer Becky Tassinari, Becca Hanson, and Amber Hubbard an opportunity to ‘come along for the ride,’ it took the young women less than an hour to answer with an emphatic “Yes!” Located at 390 Broadway, Braeburn Tavern took over the spot once occupied by Crown Grill, May 16, 2017. And as their one-year anniversary approaches, the couple states they’re pleased with how things are going.

Tokoeka Sauvignon Blanc quick to reply that much of their family lives in the Upstate area and the timing was right to move closer. The couple met while working summer jobs at the Westport Country Club, where they later married. He was a line-cook, she was a waitress. They chose Boston’s city life to gain experience in their craft. They were also very young and excited to see opportunities that might be out there. Scott attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales. Emily went to school in Ithaca. They were both passionate about working in the food industry. Besides living in Boston, the couple lived and worked in LA for a few years. Scott spent a few years himself in Virginia and Colorado.

Chef-owner Scott Brankman, alongside wife “Saratoga welcomed the idea of another and co-owner Emily Farnsworth-Brankman, new downtown restaurant. We’ve been busy brought quite a bit with them when they left building a base of steady customers. When Marblehead, Massachusetts. Not only did they bring their friends in to enjoy dinner “We’ve worked in sports bars, chain half the menu from their popular restaurant with us, it’s great for business. Saratoga’s restaurants, and fine dining establishments,” The Jack Tar Tavern follow, so did three a lot like the city - high energy and great Emily explains. “We’ve been together for members of their loyal staff. vibes. And because it’s so close to Boston, 23 years and learned at a young age that we The decision to close their thriving business, Manhattan, and the Adirondacks, people work well together. We make a great team.” a labor of love, was hard for the couple. For find our location attractive. We love being At the Braeburn Tavern, you can try out nine years they’d worked tirelessly, making a back here.” some of their best sellers and staff favorites. name for themselves in the seafaring town. When asked why they chose Saratoga to You won’t be disappointed. The buffalo Moving to Saratoga to start all over again open their new restaurant, the couple were fried cauliflower florets are rolled around



in a sauce that’s a perfect blend of sweet and tangy, finished off with blue cheese crumbles. You’ve never tasted anything like it. If you get a kick out of spicy, try the Mount Marcy cocktail. A mango-tequila concoction with jalapenos and a chipotle rim, it’s a sipping drink, for sure.

Memphis Style Ribs

The tuna tartar is tender, made with a blend of sesame, soy, avocado, cucumber, red onion, and wonton. Taking a bite of grilled scallops cooked to perfection, set on top of mushroom risotto, wilted greens, and a drizzle of basil oil will make your mouth water. It’s easy to see why this dish is a best-seller. And when it comes to their ribs, well, it’s no wonder they bring over so many hand wipes. The meat falls off the bone. Literally. And the flavor is ridiculous. When we ask Emily how Scott cooks them she smiles. “He has a way with sauces, doesn’t he?” She explains how they took them off the menu at one time, but customers complained. “That didn’t last long,” she laughs. “We had to bring them back again.” Try a Braeburn Mule with this dish. The Springbrook apple cinnamon moonshine is from a local distillery. It’s mixed with vodka, ginger beer, and lime. Oh, yes, I know you want one. If you prefer eating fish, the crispy cod taco blends flavors of the freshest fish, mango salsa, Asian slaw, and spicy mayo.Tucked into warm flour tortillas, they might just fit the bill. The mix of flavors will explode in your mouth, leave you wanting more.

Scott Brankman, Emily Farnsworth-Brankman and Amber Hubbard

I suggest you try the Tokoeka Sauvignon Blanc with this dish. Named after the brown kiwi, an endangered bird species found on the West coast of New Zealand’s South Island, this wine is simply… delicious. The palate is fresh and full, combining flavors of passion fruit, melon, and grapefruit. An excellent pairing. Emily and Scott explain how Saratoga inspires them. They love horses and apples – The Braeburn is their favorite. Scott says his cooking is always evolving. He incorporates apples into many of his dishes, more so in the cool months of Fall. Pictures of apples hang on the walls of the dining room. A sign, fashioned in the shape of an apple using their initials, is one of the first things you see when you walk through the front door. “Hopefully Braeburn Tavern will be a household name for restaurant-goers in Saratoga Springs. We want to see the community thrive and we’d love to be a contributing part of that.” More information about Braeburn Tavern can be found at or on their Facebook page. To contact the restaurant, or to make your reservation, call (518) 430-2002. SS



I am very impressed and 100% satisfied with the quality craftsmanship and work ethic of all the men who came to work on my house. I love it!” -JLea

December 21, 2017 |


The west façade of 150 Phila Street, which shows the kitchen addition and the stairs that lead to the side yard from the porch.




Carriage House



THERESA AND JOHN BEHRENDT had been following their horses to the Saratoga Race Course for years, always renting a home for their stay. In 2000, they found that they enjoyed it so much that they decided to leave their historic home in Tuxedo Park, New York and purchase a home in Saratoga Springs. Before they could start looking for the perfect home, they needed to determine what each one wanted.While having a cocktail, John folded a napkin in half and said that each one should write down what they wanted in their new home. John wanted to be within walking distance of the track and a carriage house, while Theresa wanted a home that would have the space to entertain, yet would feel comfortable when it was only the two of them. They were both in agreement that the house needed to be “quintessential Saratoga” – character and history – and a porch on which to spend their summer evenings. The Behrendts reached out to Carole Tarantino, a wellrespected realtor with Roohan Realty, to help with their search. Carole being the dynamo that she was quickly knew the right the house for John and Theresa, 150 Phila Street. “I immediately fell in love with the house the moment I saw it,” said Theresa bashfully with a twinkle in her eye, as if she was talking about someone she had a crush on. Thankfully, John did too and they purchased the house.


The living room that features the decoratively carved heads and the mounted caribou, which was placed there by the Towne family.

The Behrendts incorporated the names of two of the first winning horses into their home.


Their love for the house is still readily apparent today when they talk about the home, so it is no surprise that they want to celebrate its 150th birthday. The Second Empire style house was built in 1868 for Benjamin F. Judson and his wife Elizabeth. Judson, born in Rensselaer County in 1827, came to Saratoga Springs in 1855. He was a printer who acquired the failing weekly newspaper based in Ballston Spa that espoused the cause of prohibition, “The Temperance Helper.” A month after acquiring the paper, he moved the press and equipment by sleigh to Saratoga Springs and then shortly thereafter renamed the paper “The Saratogian,” a daily newspaper. In 1875, the Judsons acquired the eastern adjacent lot. It was

then that the front porch was extended to wrap-around the east side of the house and the carriage house was built. The Judson family owned the house until 1891. For a period of time it was either vacant or rented to others, until 1902 when the Towne family acquired the property. Frances, the widow of Orwell Towne, lived in the house until 1911 when she transferred the property to her son, G. Scott Towne for one dollar. Scott, a general surgeon and physician who also served as the village health officer, resided in the home with his wife Mary and maintained his office in the basement of the house. The Townes resided in the house until 1954. Since then there have been several different owners over the years – Frank and Madeline Reynolds, Willard E. and Eileen Grande, Rolfe Lawson and Garrett Smith, and Vassar and Mary Faith Curtis – until the Behrendts purchased the property in 2000. “We were so very fortunate that so many of the original features were retained,” commented John. Those unique original features include: the

living room coffered ceiling with decoratively carved heads, the delicate plasterwork of the dining room that features Adam style urns, fireplaces, interior shutters, light fixtures, and the butler’s pantry just to name a few. The Behrendts have taken great care to maintain and restore many of the features of the house and carriage house. The woven tassel of the dining room chandelier was sent to Paris to be rewoven; the damaged plaster was repaired by a local craftsman; a new plumbing technology was used to allow for the delicate plaster work in the dining room to be retained; and much more. The carriage house required extensive work, including discretely incorporating additional tension rods to support the suspended ceiling. While no longer needed, the Behrendts chose to retain the original coal burning stove, horse stall doors, and the horse washing equipment in the carriage house. The Behrendts have made their own mark on the house as well. They hired Tom Frost, local architect and husband

of their friend and realtor, Carole Tarrantino, to design a significant addition that was in keeping with the original style of the house. They expanded the kitchen, created a remarkable wine cellar in the basement, and most notably opened the west side porch with a doorway to the expansive arborvitae lined side yard. Whether it be maintenance, restoration, or new construction, the Behrendts have found many of those who worked on the house shared their passion for 150 Phila Street and it shows as one looks around the house and carriage house. The Behrendts have taken their stewardship of their historic home seriously as they value preservation and its importance in the community. “By preserving the past, we can savor the present and prepare for the future,” said Theresa. To celebrate, 150 years of 150 Phila Street, Theresa, working with archivist Katherine Federiconi, is publishing a book about the house, “Sesquicentennial Preservation Celebration.” The book will be


The dining room with the delicate plasterwork with the Adam’s style urns, the rewoven chandelier tassel, and the furniture that was made specifically for the room and has been passed on by several previous owners.

available for purchase this summer and the proceeds will benefit the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. In addition to the book, the Behrendts are commissioning Tom Frost to design a pergola in memory of Carole who assisted the Behrendts with finding the home they love so much as a gift to the house. The Behrendts graciously opened their home for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s annual Historic Homes Tour, providing a rare opportunity for the public to learn about the 32  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

architecture and heritage of the home. To learn more about the Historic Homes Tour and save the date for next year’s event, please or call (518) 587-5030. Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-forprofit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs. To learn more or to become a member, please visit SS

Three-season dining room of the carriage house which is perfect for entertaining guests.

Pollinator Garden and Monarch WayStation in the parking area of Healthy Living Market



Jesse with Giant Iron weed

first noticed a planting by Jesse Elwert Peters a few years ago outside our local bakery in Round Lake. It was a beautiful collection of native plants that seemed to produce color throughout the season and included beautiful tall milkweed that attracts butterflies and birds.

Jesse is the founder and owner of Jessecology, an eco-friendly landscape design service. I was immediately curious because at the time I was struggling to grow vegetables, a lawn, flowers and some shrubs without chemicals. Last summer I became more obsessed as I was trying to help establish a habitat for the endangered Monarch Butterfly. Desperate to get more milkweed in the ground before fall, I looked Jesse up, and planned to meet her to discuss more about the benefits of native planting.

As a Skidmore educated ecologist, consultant, garden coach and writer, Jesse has a lifelong passion for nature. This was cemented when she lived in Yosemite National Park for four years. Her work, which seems more like an art, provides extensive landscape renovations

and original custom design work, always utilizing eco-friendly landscape design strategy and sustainable methods. Speaking with her, I learned the benefits of indigenous plants. Also, I realized she is very much about education and is not an all-or-nothing person. Everyone must take the approach that fits. Eco-friendly gardening is about working with nature, not against it. The design can take on many looks depending on the site you have in mind. Jesse encourages transforming a portion of lawn to native plants, “If you’re ready to reduce even one patch of lawn this year call me,” she said. Sometimes just adding an island of native species or extending foundation plantings can help. “In the summer there are butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, bumblebees and other pollinators all day to visit the gardens and landscaping, and the homeowner never has to mow that area,” Jesse explained. While lawns may perform limited ecosystem functions, they are often heavily-mowed, chemically-treated, water guzzling, lowdiversity areas that simply do not provide the habitat needed for supporting diverse

wildlife. Don’t get the idea that you must banish your lawn entirely. There are many ways to live in peaceful coexistence and Jesse even has ideas for no-mow lawn areas. By using native plants to restore a habitat, abundance will follow, Jesse says of a transformed area. The native planting needs less maintenance and is more ecologically valuable. One of Jesse’s most interesting jobs was recreating the landscaping amidst the pavement and parking at Wilton Mall for the eco-conscious Healthy Living Market. She installed edible gardens and a pollinator garden to support the vegetables. Along the way, she discovered the site easily qualified as an official designated Monarch Butterfly Waystation with the not-for-profit Monarch Watch. Jesse is dedicated to her work and is in more demand than ever. She is passionate about education so that people know how to work in a successful eco-friendly environment. She often brings plants to the Ballston Spa Farmers market. To see examples of native plants, go to SS


Artist Spotlight: Rebekkah Ziel



Rub away a spot of a foggy window and peer through it. What do you see?

All, except for the brightest colors, appear dim. It’s similar to the hazy filter that sickness and fatigue layers over the world. As someone who has suffered from autoimmune diseases for a large portion of her life, it’s a phenomenon that Rebekkah Ziel is very familiar with.

As a result, she has learned how to sharpen her focus. Her photography invites the viewer to see things a bit more clearly. Zooming in to draw attention to the details of her subject matter, she reveals the bright spots of light in an otherwise black and white world.

“I try to use photography to help other people wake up to appreciate things. They go through every day not noticing 90% of what I take pictures of,” she said.

From the Haze of Illness Living life with chronic illness showed Ziel that she had a choice. “You can either A.) give up – as mainstream modern medicine would have you do; or B.) do 10 times more with every day. I drink an excessive amount of coffee, don’t watch TV or play video games. It’s more important to pack every minute of life I can in, because you never know,” she said. Ziel has been diagnosed with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjögrens. These are diseases that cause constant pain and inflammation, but Ziel powers through these challenges to travel an average of 70,000 miles a year across the state as an Area Sales Manager for Wellborn Cabinetry. During those long road trips, she’ll often stop a few times when something catches her eye. Shooting as many as 100 photos with her IPhone 7S Plus at a time, in the evening, she’ll scroll through and find a couple of keepers, she said. “Part of the photography is about the adventure, which is what you can see if you look at my website – it screams Upstate New York,” said Ziel.


A Feel for the Fundamentals This is the side of the state that often goes overlooked. Living in the town of Gloversville and with a studio space opening up in nearby Amsterdam, Ziel’s work exhibits an area once fueled by an American dream of progress that is now filled with the shells of brick buildings left behind when the manufacturing industry moved on. “There’s a part of me that feels bad seeing these things that were once important to people left to rot. It makes it more beautiful sometimes and I try to capture that,” she said. Using Photoshop to add a black and white layer over the image, she then erases the spots she wants to emphasize and lets their natural color shine through. Printed on German etching paper, the finished photos are saturated with black ink. “I do focus on detail in the objects that mean something to me,” she said. Rebekkah Ziel’s photography has been displayed locally at the Saratoga Arts Center, Silverwood Home & Gallery and AMP Gallery. For more information, go to SS


Classic Design Perfected by Timeless Craftsmanship Together, Creating Environments for Life™

Photos by Stockwell Media

CMC Design Studio LLC 518.312.3443 36  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

Meunier Woodworks 518.260.8602



eauty fades, they say. Sometimes it is simply changed instead, with an added element of character incorporated into the story.

"I just love vintage and antique, and to work with that decor... there's a little more life to it, more texture, it has a little more story to it, said Jennifer Lanne.

An artist who strives to capture the fleeting beauty of flowers, Lanne’s distinctive old-world style pays homage to the past in a fresh new way.



IN A RURAL OASIS Lanne's studio is itself a piece of history. Originally built in 1782, she and her husband, Dick renovated their home and transformed the large barn into Lanne’s studio. From there she can look out onto their homestead oasis – watching the groundhogs scurrying through the lawn and the birds fly by. The walk to her studio is a lively and pleasant one. There is a pig pen, chickens and cats roaming around their backyard farm. "I'm an early riser. I like to get out and get going when the day feels fresh. That's when I am most excited to be in the studio," she said. This bucolic scene is the ideal setting to inspire Lanne’s paintings of the flowers she adores. "I worked in a floral shop for years. How can you not be happy looking at flowers?" she said.

A GARDEN OF COLOR Often working on a massive scale, on canvases as large as 10' x 12', Lanne’s flower paintings incorporate many different rich colors. "There's not a color I don't like. I gravitate toward color, there's something interesting about it." The depth of emotion is also explored in her work. Evoking an ephemeral mood full of romance, there is a light quality that exists within the darkness. It is a duality that makes these pieces feel relevant even within a sleek, modern space.


THE FEELING OF EXPLORATION Listening to how people responded to her paintings, Lanne began experimenting with the fast-drying versatility of acrylic paints on a variety of textured surfaces and how that influenced the final product. "Nothing is off-limits to me," she said. A few years ago Lanne decided to transition from decorative handpainted pillows to a more functional printed fabric design. Working with an American manufacturer, she developed a line of pillows, tuffets and eiderdown quilts. "It's a fun thing for me to see my art on different fabrics and things.” In 2000, Lanne partnered with Schuyler Pond to sell her Art at Home Collection. Amanda Crames helps with the design process, translating the art into tabletop and home decor items including placemats, stone tiles and soy candles. Made locally in Schuylerville, the candles come in luscious scents such as Forest Juniper, Gingered Quince and Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus.

TRANSCENDENT BEAUTY Once Lanne feels like a piece is finished, it can be weeks or months before you see it for sale in the shop. During that time, Lanne is already working on creating something new. "I have to be constantly evolving and growing. It feels stagnant if I do too much of one thing. I keep current with that. It's a natural progression and I have more to show," she said. It’s an age-old dilemma; finding the time to delve into and explore a plethora of ideas. "The wheels are always spinning and there's not enough time to work on them all. I just let it happen. An idea hits me out of the blue and I don't know what it's going to be like until I'm done painting it.” Jennifer Lanne will be showing her work at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, June 1st to 3rd, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. The Jennifer Lanne Art at Home Collection can be found at Schuyler Pond Home & Garden, 44 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs. Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (518) 581-8422 or find them online at Jennifer Lanne will be hosting an open studio tour in the fall. For more information, go to or visit SS


B95.5’s Chad O’Hara (left) with WNYT News Channel 13’s Benita Zahn, and Make-A-Wish CEO Dr. William C. Trigg, III.

Inaugural Wish Champion Award winner Joanne Porter, M.D., from Albany Medical Center (left) and Dr. William C. Trigg, III, Make-A-Wish Northeast New York CEO. Dr. Porter was recognized for her decades of service to the Make-A-Wish Northeast New York chapter.

Emily Ziegler poses with a vase of her own design. The Wish Ambassador and University of Buffalo art student raised $3,100 in the live auction through her artistic efforts.

The stars aligned for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York at the Hall of Springs, March 24th, as the crowd propelled the chapter to a record fundraising performance. In total, more than $360,000 was raised at the annual gala.


Grants Live Wish at Record-Breaking Event



ach and every moment of life is precious, and families of children with life-threatening illnesses know this better than most. On the evening of March 24, 2018, Make-A-Wish® Northeast New York helped one family create a very precious moment, making their son’s wish come true that very night, a rare sight for the


attendees at the 31st annual gala at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs. Typically, wishes involve travel, such as 4-year-old Katelyn’s trip to meet Disney princesses at Disney World; or 22-year-old Emily’s wish to explore Polynesian culture in Hawaii when she was 17; or 16-year-old Mitchell’s visit to Yellowstone National Park when he was 15. All three former recipients were present at the black-tie event, serving as Wish Ambassadors, sharing their stories, and

representing the nearly 1,800 children and teens who have had their wishes granted by the local Make-A-Wish chapter. But on this particular night, the biggest wish of 14-year-old Sebastian was wheeled into the ballroom for all to see. Witnessing the surprise and joy on his young face was priceless. “This is our second year as ‘a supporter’ of the event,” said David DeMarco, president and CEO of Saratoga National Bank. “One

of our branch managers, who is fighting leukemia, was actually a recipient ten years ago. It was an easy decision for us to do our part. I’m looking forward to encouraging other companies in Saratoga to lend their support to Make-A-Wish.” William C. Trigg, III, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, introduced the volunteer who worked with Sebastian on his wish, Nathan Pyne, who has been a Wish Granter for five years. “All our Wish Granters are specially trained to be very sensitive to families in crisis as they work to grant a child’s heartfelt wish,” said Trigg. “We are so grateful for the tremendous support of our donors and volunteers.” “This is something I’m extremely passionate about,” said Pyne. “I get to help kids like Sebastian, who is an incredibly intelligent child, smart beyond his years. He’s really an inspiration, and I’m glad to have done my part to make his wish come true.”

“One of the guys we worked with said Sebastian could run NASA with this,” joked Pyne. “I’m thinking if we can get a flux capacitor, we can really send this over the top!” Overcome, Sebastian put his hands up to his cheeks, and could hardly take his eyes off the gift. “Amazing,” Sebastian exclaimed. “This is the best laptop, ever! I love it; I can’t believe it’s mine! Thank you!” Sebastian had also dreamed of gaming in Hermitcraft, a very select group based in the United Kingdom, but Make-A-Wish was still working on that part of the wish at the time of the event. Pyne said to Sebastian, “It’s been awesome working with your family, and we are still going to try to get you hooked up with our buddies on the Hermitcraft server.”

Sebastian is a young man with a wonderful sense of humor. He attends Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), and doesn’t let his illness prevent him from using his agile mind to explore his deep love for science. For fun, his favorite game is Minecraft, and he even showed the gala attendees an image of himself in a Minecraft costume as part of a slide show presentation he put together for the event to tell his story.

Sebastian was diagnosed with acute metaplastic leukemia. He has been going through treatments for two years.

The whole room stood and cheered when Sebastian carefully rose up from his wheelchair and walked with the help of his mother and his sister to stand just in front of the stage to receive his wish. Sebastian was presented with a MSI Stealth Pro 4K 16” laptop gaming computer that Pyne described as fast and VR ready, superlight, with wireless remote keyboard and mouse as well as a custom backpack. The crowd oohed and ahhed over the Intel core I7 processer with GTX 1060x graphic adapter and other features.

Dr. Porter has served as Medical Advisor for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York since 1994, and currently serves on the foundation’s Medical Advisory Council. She provides healthcare to pediatric patients in Albany Medical Center’s Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, treating children with conditions such as hemophilia, platelet disorders, sickle cell disease, and bone marrow failure disorders, among others. Dr. Porter serves as the Director of the Albany Regional Hemophilia and von Willebrand’s Center and is also the director of Journeys Pediatric Palliative Care. Dr. Porter, elegant in a gown of MakeA-Wish blue, began her acceptance with emotion in her eyes and a smile on her lips, saying, “This is overwhelming… it’s like the academy awards, so I’m going to recommend to Bill [Trigg] to start the music in about three minutes.” She spoke about the challenges and fulfillment of her storied career, thanking her husband for his support along the way and sharing credit with her coworkers. “I’m humbled and honored to receive this award. Make-a-Wish is the premier organization. I’m honored to work with Bill Trigg and his team to help a child realize the magic of their imagination. It brings them hope, which brings respite and a renewed energy toward life, which is so important in their journeys of long medical treatments. It gives them courage to face what’s next. In the 25 years I’ve been associated with Make-A-Wish, my enthusiasm for it has grown stronger each year.”

“Two years ago, everything was fine,” said Sebastian in the presentation’s voiceover. “Then I woke up one morning with a super swollen face.”

“I really like to play Minecraft because, even on my worst days, the videos make me laugh. I can be playing alongside the best players out there. In Minecraft, I can run and jump and play, even though I can’t really do those things.”

of hope for ill children. You represent the epitome of the entire medical community.”

Wish Ambassadors Mitchell Corsi, Emily Ziegler, Sebastian Lasher, and Katelyn O’Rourke (clockwise) were among the “stars” of the evening.

There was another first that night, which occurred right before Sebastian’s wish was granted. The gala committee honored Joanne Porter, MD, a former Make-AWish Board of Trustee member, with its inaugural Wish Champion Award for her many years of service to the chapter, including developing key relationships with the medical community. “This has a twofold meaning,” said Brian V. Hannafin, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York as he presented the award. “First, the fire and passion of your advocacy and referrals; and second, you’re a shining light

The gala raised just over $360,000, a record for the organization. Wish Ambassador Emily, who has earned a bachelor’s of fine arts, donated a pottery vase she made for the live auction, which depicted a landscape and a panorama of images from her Make-A-Wish trip that has influenced her feelings of safety and home. It sold for a high bid of $3,100. Funds received through the silent auction were up by $14,773 over last year; sponsorships were up by $26,000; and the Fund-A-Wish donations (cash call) was up $5,000 with corporate matches still coming in at the time of this writing. The proceeds from the event will help fund nearly 20 of the 100 wishes to be granted by the chapter this year. For more information about Make-A-Wish® Northeast New York or to donate or become a volunteer, visit SS



Summertime, our delightful new mini-mule, is feeling right at home with her new family.

A Fairy Tail (Farm) kind of life



or Sallie Poltynski, horses have been a source of mental and emotional “sanctuary” throughout her life. Sallie moved here from Rotterdam 36 years ago with her young son, Bobby. A year later, she met and married her husband, John Poltynski, owner of JP Construction. They have lived at their “sanctuary” farm located at 115 Goode Road in Milton ever since. While it is indeed a sanctuary for the Poltynski’s as well as for the wonderful animals that are fortunate to have Fairy Tail Farm as their home, it is also a thriving business, serving as a private boarding facility complete with a 12-stall barn, large indoor and outdoor arenas and a network of trails. Sallie is an accomplished horse-woman, who has ridden rodeo and trained horses her entire adult life. She bought her first horse in her early 20’s and estimates that she has owned at least 30 horses, many of which she has trained and then sold to happy owners. Earlier this year, Sallie welcomed Jennifer Brewster as the newest member of what Sallie calls the “Goode Road family.” Jennifer is also the “owner in transition” of Sallie’s business. In January, they completed the transaction, with Jennifer buying

20 acres of the 50+ acre farm, including the barns and arenas. Sallie and John have retained ownership of the remaining acreage, as well as the trails. Her arrangement with Jennifer includes the use of the trails for Fairy Tail Farms’ customers, many of whom have been with the farm for years. “We’re a very close-knit community here, including our boarders, the people who work here, and our neighbors,” says Sallie, adding that she is very pleased to have Jennifer carry on the traditions of Fairy Tail Farm. As for Sallie, she plans to work a little less, ride a little more and enjoy her granddaughter and her great-grandchildren. She also plans to enjoy the benefits of living on a farm with good friends nearby. While Sallie says she has “slowed down a bit,” the 69-year old plans to continue traveling around the country with her husband and their horses. Together, they’ve taken their four-legged companions with them to Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire and across New York. But she says there is still nothing that compares to “riding through my trails on a summer morning or feeling the leaves on my face in the fall.” SS


saratogaPLAN connecting people to nature


RETIRED SCHOOL TEACHERS Dusty and Arlene Rhodes purchased 52 acres of forested land and an abandoned farmhouse in Galway in 1976. They spent years lovingly restoring the farmhouse and old barns on the property, and their love for the outdoors is apparent in the beautiful and natural gardens they’ve created. For many years Dusty and Arlene invited members of the Schenectady Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club to meet on the property, where everyone could hike or ski the wooded trails. Visitors enjoyed exploring the forests that have replaced abandoned farmland, still delineated by many stone walls crisscrossing the property. Large hemlock trees grace one area, and flocks of wild turkeys roam the forest. With a combination of higher, rolling ground, and lower wetlands along a tributary of the Glowegee Creek, the terrain is varied and peaceful. Watch out or you might step on the many red efts (little red newt salamanders) scurrying amongst the leaves! To share the beauty of their property and to make sure it is protected forever, Dusty and Arlene donated 23 acres to Saratoga PLAN in 2017. Eventually, with the help of many volunteers, PLAN will create new public trails to connect the Milton Preserve to the south and the recently conserved lands on the Carpenter Farm to the north. Together, these properties could provide a natural corridor for the proposed extension of the Long Path trail, eventually extending from the George Washington Bridge in New York City all the way to the Adirondacks. Arlene said that she wants their donation of land to allow others to hike and ski their beautiful forest. She would come home after a stressful day at work and head out into the woods for some natural recuperation. She said, “It was our dream to share this land with others.”


PLAN AND PROTECT Saratoga PLAN, which stands for Preserving Land and Nature, is an accredited Land Trust, focusing on Saratoga County where it works to protect productive farmland, woodlands and habitats, and other open space. Working in partnership with communities and landowners, PLAN protects properties through both conservation easements and property transfers. Easements conserve land by limiting its development or restricting its uses in order to protect the land’s conservation values for the future. Land can be conserved for agriculture, forestry, wildlife habitat, water resource protection, and scenic views. In some cases, landowners prefer to transfer the property directly to PLAN. Sometimes a conservation easement or a property is donated, and in other cases it is purchased, or a combination of the two. PLAN works closely with landowners to fulfill their wishes and desires for the property’s future. Funding from grants and fundraising is limited, and there are many tax, financial, and regulatory considerations. That’s why you need a PLAN!



Conservation keeps your farming neighbors working productive land that provides the delicious farm-fresh food you buy from local farm stands or eat in local restaurants. Fresh meats, fruits, dairy products, and vegetables are available from 18 PLAN-conserved farms encompassing nearly 1,800 acres.

After a day eating fresh-picked corn, soaking up clean air and sunshine, and enjoying one view after another, we all go home and get ready for work the next day. In Saratoga County many of us work within a pleasant drive of our homes that are near open spaces and conserved lands. This quality of life has helped make Saratoga County one of the fastest growing in New York State. Land conservation benefits the environment and the economy.

When you sit outside on a summer’s eve, enjoying fresh air while drinking cool well water, you can thank protected forestlands that act as a natural filtration system for both air and water. Approximately 66% of the nation’s freshwater resources originate on forest land. Maybe you run or walk on trails through natural lands in order to decompress from a hectic work day, while enjoying healthy exercise in the fresh air. Saratoga County has more than 200 miles of free public trails, and PLAN provides more than 22 miles of trails on 10 public preserves scattered around the county. Together with the Open Space Institute and other partners, PLAN is working on a trail network that will extend from Saratoga Springs to Moreau Lake State Park, crossing the Southern Palmertown region.

Land conservation is a win-win for the environment and the economy. Realtors know that property close to trails and parks commands higher prices—people want to live near places with conserved lands. Businesses find it easier to attract and keep great employees when they get to live in a wonderful place close to the office. And, the next generation keeps coming back to the places they loved as children, with the desire to start their own families in a place that has preserved the best of the past while embracing the best of the future.

Let’s go on a Sunday drive! Remember doing that with Mom and Dad? I bet you like taking your children on similar trips to see the beautiful backroads of Saratoga County, where around a bend you see the sweeping vistas of a dairy farm overlooking the Hudson River, or you enjoy driving down cool, tree-shaded roads where you open car windows to take in the perfumed forest air. Park the car and hear nothing but the ticking of the engine as it cools down, as you scan the sky for a glimpse of a bald eagle swooping on the updrafts. Open space, quiet places, and night skies where you can see the Milky Way are all benefits of land conservation.

Reserve Your Ad Space


LOOK AT THE VIEWS In early 2018, Saratoga PLAN finalized a conservation easement on 315 acres of farmland in the Town of West Charlton. Dawn Szurek, who grew up on the farm, said, “Driving the tractor, you’re looking at the views.” Her late father loved the land, and won an award for his farm stewardship. Dawn said, “It’s really to protect it for the future.” We all know that sinking feeling when we drive by another farm or forest being torn up by the bulldozers of development, but there is another way that has helped save close to 5,000 acres in Saratoga County. Look at the views…



*This issue deadlines on June 1, 2018


SPRING CLEANING MEGHAN LEMERY FRITZ LCSW-R Meghan Fritz is a psychotherapist practicing in State College, PA. Email


s we celebrate Spring, many of us will begin the task of doing yard work, cleaning out flower beds and preparing the soil for new growth. Likewise, we may go through our living spaces and clear out drawers and closets in the hopes of feeling more organized and prepared for a new season of sunnier days and warmer temperatures. Spring cleaning is a process that for some can be overwhelming and sometimes unpleasant, but the end result is always a feeling of relief, increased energy and a sense of accomplishment.

Just like we need to take time to clear out our physical spaces, we need to also make time to do some Spring Cleaning in our emotional closets. When we ignore or repress uncomfortable feelings for years on end, the result is a cluttered heart that begins to harden and have trouble connecting. The only way to keep our hearts free and clear of junk is to make time regularly to do an inventory of how we are feeling. If for example you are always tired no matter how much sleep you get (and you have ruled out a medical condition) this is a sign of avoidance. Perhaps you know you are in a career that is not what you were meant to do and rather than take the risk to create the career you were meant to have, you go to work day after day and come home feeling drained and detached. Are you avoiding being honest with a loved one because you fear their reaction? Are you avoiding ending a relationship that is 46  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

The Importance of Clearing out the Clutter toxic, but you are terrified of being alone? Sometimes what we are avoiding could be subtle day-to-day things that will help us feel better physically like diet, exercise, drinking enough water and cutting down on TV and social media. Emotional avoidance will always speak to us in the form of fatigue. If you feel like you are in a funk and have low energy, take some time to dig deeper and see if you can pin point what you are avoiding. Another way our bodies will let us know it’s time to Spring Clean is if we feel anxious all the time. Anxiety can take many forms, but if you experience an undercurrent of unease in everyday life, chances are you have difficulty processing feelings. For example, sometimes what you think may be an anxiety problem is really an avoidance of your true feelings. Perhaps deep down you are furious with a parent or friend for something that happened in the past–rather than process the feelings and acknowledge them, you bury them hoping you will “get over it.” The truth is you can never “get over” a difficult feeling by ignoring it, you have to get through it and work through it, one step at a time. This is the only way you can move forward with an unburdened heart. If you experience anxiety daily, stop and ask yourself what you are feeling. Are you sad, angry, disappointed, etc.? Simply stopping to explore the feelings will lessen the unease that you feel.

most of the time. Just like Spring Cleaning involves some new mulch, weeding and clearing out, there is a method you can use to clear the emotional clutter you carry around in your heart.


Acknowledge the feelings. Say out loud to yourself, “I am so angry about this situation and I acknowledge my anger.”


Validation. Use compassion and understanding to validate the uncomfortable feeling. Say out loud, “I understand why you are so angry. You feel hurt because… and I want you to know I understand why you feel that way.”


Give Space. We are humans not robots, sometimes it takes time to work through uncomfortable feelings. Give yourself space to slowly work through the feeling. If you put pressure on yourself to get over the anger (or sadness, disappointment, etc.) you will only find yourself back in a cycle of exhaustion and anxiety. Be patient with yourself and use compassion to work through your feelings.

This process of continually processing your feelings in a healthy way will keep the flower beds of your heart free of weeds and pests. Don’t wait until you are in the ICU of emotional distress, get ready for a new season of light, new growth and hope.



When we avoid our emotions and feelings we will feel exhausted and or anxious

Anna Mae Clark and her husband Kenneth selling vegetables & flower boquets at the market's Spring Street location in the early 1980's

Marie Balet selling vegetables in the late 1970's Baker Joan Tallman helps a customer with a bread purchase in the early 1980's. Tallman's bread sales at the Saratoga Farmer's Market evolved into what is now The Bread Basket in downtown Saratoga Springs.

Anna Mae Clark at Market circa 1977

S TA R T I N G A R E V O L U T I O N f or



s you stroll through the High Rock Pavilion, look for a pair of plaques. One is affixed to a pavilion post; the other to the “shed” where staff and volunteers greet Saratoga Farmers’ Market goers. Both plaques pay homage to a set of founding fathers: • • • •

Albert Lounsbury Melvin Wrisley Donald Griffin William Stevens

A line underneath reads: “Their foresight in 1979 created a market for future generations.” Who were these men? What foresight did they possess? How has the market they created become an asset for “future generations”?



at the market



grew up with the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Her mother, Marie Balet, was a math teacher at the Ballston Spa Middle School in 1978, and both her mother and her father Peter as well as herself and brother John were active in 4-H. When Al Lounsbury began contacting 4-H families about the possibility of joining the new farmers’ markets in Saratoga County, the Balet family decided to give it a try. As Suzanne recalls, her parents began growing vegetables on a one-acre tract, which they brought to market once a week. She and her brother sold cookies and lemonade at a stand next to their parents. Gradually, vegetable production increased to three acres along with 15 acres of corn. This was the start of Balet Flowers and Design. Suzanne’s interests gravitated toward flowers as she got older. She began growing gladiolas while John took over the vegetables. She completed a degree in ornamental horticulture at SUNY Cobleskill and Cornell University. Suzanne now owns the business, which is known for its cut flower bouquets, hanging baskets, and flowering shrubs. Many home gardeners and small farmers visit Balet’s stall at the north end of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market in late spring and early summer, relying on its annual and perennial herb seedlings and vegetable starts to get their own gardens going. “I first saw the Saratoga Farmers’ Market as a place where farmers could sell their product to people in the community,” Suzanne said. “I still see the continued opportunities, but now I also see more than that. There is a strong sense of community within the market as people enjoy strolling through and purchasing the vibrant fresh products. It is a meeting place for buying, visiting, learning, partaking in seasonal activities and a place of belonging.” Back in 2000, Suzanne couldn’t help noticing that a certain customer kept returning to her stall, purchasing bouquet after bouquet of flowers and multiple plants… that customer turned out to be David Haigt, who she married two years later. (See more on Suzanne Balet Haigt on page 118) SS 48  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

Wrisley and Lounsbury were Cornell Cooperative Extension agents; Lounsbury also was a beekeeper. Griffin and Stevens were vegetable farmers. The four men, perhaps inspired by a 1976 act of Congress that supported direct marketing from farmers to customers, envisioned a collection of small public gathering spots throughout the county where farmers could show up with produce picked just hours earlier from their fields and sell it to townspeople for a fair price. They thought of the markets in Saratoga Springs, South Glens Falls, Clifton Park, Malta, and Ballston Spa as traveling enterprises, making farm fresh goods available six days a week. They began the planning for these markets in 1977, and the first Saratoga market opened a year later. “Our vision was to bring fresh local vegetables to the surrounding communities,” said Debbie Stevens, of Butternut Ridge Farm and daughter-in-law of William “Bill” Stevens. “We started with eight to 10 vendors mostly from Saratoga and Washington counties.” “We needed a place for our farmers to sell their goods to the people here,” added Anna Mae Clark, of Clark Dahlia Gardens & Greenhouses. “There were markets around Albany for the farmers and the people there but nothing for the farmers and our people here.” Today, as the Saratoga Farmers’ Market celebrates its 40th anniversary, one cannot underestimate the power the market has had in building community in Saratoga Springs. Among the many farmers’ markets in the area, it is the largest, producer-only venue. It operates year-round, Wednesdays 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. from May through October at High Rock Park, and Saturdays from November through April at the Saratoga Spa State Park. Up to 80 vegetable and fruit growers, seedling and plant nurseries, meat producers, dairies, bakers, pickle and peanut butter makers, chocolatiers and artisanal craftspeople offer their locally produced creations to shoppers. The market hosts weekly children’s activities, creates spaces for musicians to perform, offers special events, and donates a portion of its vendor goods to the hungry. As many as 600 customers fill the market at peak times.

This was not always the case. Flashback to the early 1970s. Farmers’ markets, which had flourished through the early 20th century, had nearly disappeared. Grocery stores supplied most communities with daily staples, including food that often traveled 1,500 miles from the fields in which it grew to the markets where it sold. One estimate found just 373 farmers’ markets still in existence nationwide as of 1970. “I think people were a bit surprised when the markets started up,” said Clark. “They weren’t aware that there were still so many farmers around.” That lack of awareness made the going slow at first. “It was very challenging to attract both customers and vendors,” said Steve Otrembiak, of Otrembiak Farms, in describing the market’s initial Spring Street parking lot location. “The parking lot was very limited for space, and the lot itself was not very hospitable. The pavement was very hot and when it rained it turned into a river.” Market enthusiasts began to talk up the market, and enthusiasm grew. News stories that Clark has stored in scrapbooks describe the market as the place “to sell a fat turnip” and a gathering spot for sampling tomatoes, apples, and pears.” Display signs proclaimed that “farmers, markets are blooming all over.” One 1979 letter to the Saratogian urged readers to “Come to the market” where “the vegetables are fresh and cheaper than in the stores” and “you meet all your friends and family.” The writer said she “can hardly wait for Wednesday to see what’s new.” Today, farmers’ markets remain a small part of community food systems, comprising just 3 percent of overall sales. Yet, they are growing, as the revolution started by Lounsberry, Wrisley, Griffin and Stevens continues. SS





What does it mean to farm like a girl? Leah Hennessy owns her farm. Kim Arnold, Lizbeth Gomez, and Gina Willis are daughters of farmers and run a significant share of their family’s businesses. Their experiences, and insights invite us to rethink what farming means. At a time when the average New York farmer is 57 years old and male, there are 422 female farm operators in Saratoga, Washington, Warren, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties – about 12 percent of the total. According to agriculture census figures, 381 of these women own their own farms. These women plant crops, manage employees, herd goats, and harvest honey, among other things. They operate chainsaws, drive tractors, and sell what their work creates. For them, farm life is about thriving in an environment that values equity, teamwork, a sharing of talent, and a disregard for hierarchy when it comes to getting the job done.

“Farming is not about physical strength. It is mental.” – Kim Arnold Arnold is the daughter of Pleasant Valley Farm owners Sandy and Paul Arnold. She began farming “as soon as I could walk,” helping to seed vegetable trays as a toddler. Now 22, she manages Pleasant Valley and will take over the farm when her parents retire. For Arnold, farming is freedom. “I like being outside, never having the same day twice, having your own kitchen, meaning that whatever you want to make is out there in your fields.” Arnold was home-schooled with her brother. This experience gave her an appreciation for a family-centered life with flexible hours. It also helped her appreciate common sense. As she puts it: “There’s so many things that you need to have knowledge of… marketing, business skills, growing things, equipment, electricity, carpentry. A little smattering of everything.”

“As a first-generation farmer, the learning curve for running a farm is steep. You’ve got to learn wherever you can and that means tossing ego.” – Leah Hennessy Hennessy came to farming in her thirties, out of “a drive to be connected to my world in a different way.” She purchased land in 2017 and started Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery. She raises chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, and goats. She also makes artisanal cheeses, which she sells at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market with eggs and poultry. Her favorite aspect of farming? “Herdsmanship,” she says. “With any herd of animals – goats especially – one’s ability to understand group and individual behavior and incorporate those elements into management choices is key to quality of life.” Even as Hennessy farms solo, her animals offer companionship and teaching: “Learning and listening to my animals has resulted in an evolving shorthand between us that is rewarding and humbling.” 50  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

“I think of agriculture as a talent that is a treasure at our hands.” – Lizbeth Gomez Gomez is the daughter of Efrain and Valentina Gomez. Valentina owns Gomez Veggie Ville, and Lizbeth, 23, manages farmers’ market sales and a CSA program. She also plants and harvests. “The love and passion for farming grew in me, from the way I was raised,” says Gomez, who recalls traveling to her ancestral country of Mexico at age 9 and being put to work staking tomatillos. “My mother taught me about learning about the production of earth, of being able to connect with God’s creation in seeing how from a little seedling we can grow bountiful fruits and vegetables.” She contemplated a career in cosmetology but found farming more fulfilling. Still, she enjoys the sparkle cosmetology taught her. “It’s about seeing the riches of nature and sharing it with others.”

“I have brothers. I have not yet found a farm task that they do, that I cannot do.” – Gina Willis Willis is the daughter of Slate Valley Farm owner Pat Imbimbo. She didn’t plan to stay on the farm. Then, at age 18, she became pregnant. She sought help from her family and received it. “It changed everything,” she said. “I saw what I had: land, a trade, a family, a place where I could raise two boys on my own.” Now 28, Willis coordinates sales for Slate Valley’s maple and honey products at six farmers’ markets as well as special events. She also shoulders much of the daily farm work: boiling sap to make maple syrup, harvesting honey from beehives, operating a chainsaw. She is training her sons to learn the farm by giving them such tasks as carrying buckets of water and attaching labels to products. When her parents retire, she is to inherit the farm. “That surprises people sometimes,” she says. “It seems to be assumed that a male will take over.” SS






perky forest floor is enlivened by animals jauntily scattered across the scene as if caught by surprise. A sunny string of colored feathers float back and forth. A vibrant close-up view of a moth’s wing is a sea of mystery as it unabashedly stares.

These are the images spread across Betsy Olmsted’s pillows. Her cheerful designs also brighten tea towels, tabletop fabrics and wallpapers, among others. They are a peek into an enchanted natural world made in the center of the city. Here, the reindeer are rose-colored, the owls and goats; touched by tints of green. “At heart, I’m an artist and that’s where this all came from,” said Olmsted.

WIDE OPEN SPACES The Betsy Olmsted Design Studio is located in a renovated horse stable attached to a carriage house in downtown Saratoga Springs. Built in the 1890s, the space was converted by the home’s previous owner and the interior design reinvention work completed by the Phinney Design Group. The open floor layout features bright white walls and rustic wooden beams as the backdrop to Olmsted’s mid-century furniture and radiant pops of color everywhere. “This color sense I have, came from when I studied in India. I like bright, crazy, fake


color. There, the landscape is very brown and the people wear very bright colors,” she said.


“It was a great way for me to share all the education I’ve had. It encourages people to In addition to creating a great product, taking loosen up,” she said. After studying fiber arts and ceramics at care of a million little things a day is what has Behind the scenes, the book’s stylized photo Skidmore College, Olmsted graduated in built up the Betsy Olmsted brand into one 2002 and worked for an architectural design shoot was completed in a chaotic mess of ink, that has been featured on HGTV, in Country firm before attending graduate school at piles of samples, and with a dog that insisted Living magazine and has resulted in multiple Philadelphia University. She moved back to on chewing up the block prints, she said. collaborations, wholesale and licensing deals. Saratoga Springs in 2016, where she lives with It was a process that mimics Olmsted’s her husband Peter, two sons; Emmett and “It’s a big, huge, time-consuming thing that overall design philosophy, based on the Wells, and two dogs, Winnie, 13 and Hank, 2. takes time away from being able to paint,” straightforward advice from her former said Olmsted. Some of her most fortuitous It’s a busy life where making art doesn’t wait Philadelphia University professor, Hitoshi business opportunities however, have for inspiration to strike. Ujiie: everything isn’t so precious, just paint happened by chance. and paint a lot, despite criticism, because “I have to do it whenever I can,” said Olmsted. within all that production, there just may Just after Olmsted moved back to Saratoga From her studio, she can keep an eye on be a gem to be found. Springs, she met Virginia Fretto, owner and what’s happening around her, invite her designer of Razimus Jewelry, at the school “I see things objectively and judge them boys in to color and create (without worry) where their children both attend. based on if they look good, not based on on the concrete floors, or duck behind the what I feel. I’m very thick-skinned about it. “She said to me, ‘I think I’m using your dividers to focus on production. A constant barrage of criticism is part of the fabric for my jewelry’. That was like instant The sliding barn doors and the original process to getting it right,” said Olmsted. friendship,” said Olmsted. iron lattice horse bay partitions separate Betsy Olmsted and Razimus Jewelry’s At trade fairs she met a representative of the work space into distinct sections. The Virginia Fretto will both be at the Country Windham Fabrics (a textile producer of fine dye kitchen is Olmsted’s chemistry lab, Living Fair in Rhinebeck, on the Dutchess quality quilting and sewing fabrics that she where she experiments with pigments and County Fairgrounds, June 1st to 3rd, from now designs for) and was approached by an inks. The second stall is where she paints 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Olmsted will also acquisitions editor to write her own book. her quirky watercolor designs and uses her be hosting a book signing and workshop computer to digitally prepare them for print. there at 3 p.m. on Sunday. In the final section, a wall of finished fabrics is stacked, ready for shipping. For more information about her work and an upcoming open studio tour of Olmsted’s book, Hand-printing Studio: “In the studio, things can get very messy. It The Betsy Olmsted Design Studio, go to 15 Projects to Color Your Life – a visual feels like this space was made for me in a or follow her on guide to printing on almost anything, way. It divides things up nicely. It’s all about SS Instagram @betsyolmsted was released in 2016. function and flow,” she said.






Things are starting to heat up around here… National Ballet of Cuba 41st Annual Jazz Fest Happenings Fashion

58 59 62 64



GISELLE - Anette Delgado and Dani Hernández

FOR MORE INFO or to purchase tickets, visit

1 of ONLY 4 U.S. Locations on its 70th Anniversary Tour


FOR MANY, Cuba conjures up images of white-sand beaches, hand-rolled cigars, 1950’s-era cars, Spanish-colonial architecture, and of course, Salsa music and dancing. And while there are countless qualities that make Cuba and Cuban culture unique, it isn’t just about tobacco and sugar. In fact, it has been said that the country’s most esteemed export is indeed, ballet. Ballet is a national treasure in Cuba, with the country producing some of the world’s most dynamic and charismatic artists. The dancers recruited into Alicia Alonso’s world-class company National Ballet of Cuba (BNC), reportedly earn more money than doctors and are revered with the same level of admiration that is typically reserved for pop stars in the United States. Known for its exuberant flair and uniquely Cuban, athletic training based in the Russian style, the company is instantly recognizable to aficionados for its blend of classical form and Latin sensuality. National Ballet of Cuba was founded in 58  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

1948, by the legendary ballerina Alicia Alonso who—at the age of 97—remains the Director of the company to this day. Nicknamed the "prima ballerina assoluta,” an honor traditionally reserved only for the most exceptional dancers of their generation, Alonso is best known for dancing the title role in Giselle. Despite battling an eye condition that left her partially blind from the age of nineteen, she quickly became an international star. And now, as one of just four U.S. locations and the only visit to the Empire State on its historic 70th Anniversary tour, the National Ballet of Cuba will take the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for three performances of Alicia Alonso’s Giselle on June 6, 7 and 8. “National Ballet of Cuba has never been to the Capital Region and after hearing that they would appear at the Kennedy Center for a Cuban festival, I leapt at the opportunity to join their limited 70th Anniversary tour. They won’t be performing

anywhere else in New York—not even New York City—only at SPAC,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president and CEO of SPAC. The exclusive Saratoga Springs engagement will feature Alonso's deeply humanistic choreography of Giselle—considered the epitome of the romantic ballet tradition and the most iconic part of Alonso’s artistic career. Her version earned her the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris in 1966, and saw the company of the Opera de Paris incorporate it into its repertoire in 1972. “I first visited Cuba in 1999 and was profoundly moved. The passion and dedication of the artists—despite tremendous adversity and deprivation - is unparalleled - and the high regard in which the country holds its National Ballet of Cuba and dance is unlike anything I have ever seen,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president & CEO of SPAC. “Bringing Cuba to Saratoga represents the power of art and performance to transcend politics, economics, and social strife.” SS


JAZZ FESTIVAL Celebrates the Start of Summer with

Legends, Rising Stars and Trailblazers Saturday June 23 & Sunday June 24, 2018

THE FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL returns on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, signaling the official start of summer in Saratoga Springs. The two-day, two-stage festival is beloved by audiences for its dynamic lineup of international jazz talent and for its spectacular setting amid the towering pines, hiking trails and mineral springs of the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park. The festival, originally titled the ”Newport Jazz Festival – Saratoga,” was founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, the creator of the celebrated Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and several other nationally recognized music events. In his 2002 memoir, Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, Wein credits his decision to start the Saratoga festival as “one of the smartest moves I ever made.” Today, the festival is produced by Wein protégé Danny Melnick, of Absolutely Live Productions. The 2018 festival features an extraordinary lineup of musicians, collectively boasting scores of GRAMMY® awards, nominations, and lifetime achievement awards. Ranging from jazz luminaries ­– Jon Batiste, Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock, Gregory Porter, Joey Alexander, and gospel and R&B legend Mavis Staples, who will headline this year’s legendary festival – the weekend will also feature emerging artists making their Saratoga debuts such as José James, Lakecia Benjamin and SoulSquad, Scott Sharrard & The Brickyard Band, Jazzmeia Horn and Keyon Harrold. Unique collaborations and ensembles never-before-seen at the festival will also take center stage including Saratoga debuts by TEN, which features Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding and Nicholas Payton; the newly formed all-star trio Mark Whitfield, Ben Allison and Billy Drummond; Alfredo Rodriguez & Pedrito Martinez Duo; and New Orleans @ 300 featuring Evan Christopher, Robin Barnes, Wendell Brunious, David Torkanowsky, Thaddeus Exposé & Shannon Powell. A fresh addition to the weekend’s events will be “Saratoga Jazz Fest Friday,” a new initiative in collaboration with the city of Saratoga Springs which will bring together local musicians performing in venues across Saratoga Springs to celebrate the rich history of jazz in the region. While two-days and two-stages of live, world class jazz is the centerpiece of the weekend, fans can also enjoy a host of amenities including a fine arts and crafts fair, CD signings by artists, southern style barbeque and other food vendors. Guests are welcome to bring in their own food and beverages, as well as blankets, tents and lawn umbrellas. For the first time in the festival’s history, performances will begin at 11 a.m. on both days on the newly built Charles R. Wood “Jazz Discovery” Stage, formerly known as the Gazebo Stage. Live music on SPAC’s Amphitheater Stage will begin at 3 p.m.


Herbie Hancock


Cecile McLorin Salvant

Lean On Me

Joey Alexander


Photo by Carol Friedman


Anat Cohen Tentet

TICKETS to the festival start at just $65 for adults. Children 15 and under are admitted free to the lawn. Back by popular demand is also a $20 jazz ticket for students and children over 15. Details are available at


Lakecia Benjamin and Soulsquad

Alfredo Rodriguez

Jon Batiste with the Dap-Kings




Mavis Staples

Photo by Chris Strong Photography

Sammy Miller & The Congregation



HAPPENINGS Compiled by Arthur Boyer

May — June

THURSDAY, MAY 31 8th Annual Music and Mingling

SUNDAY, JUNE 10 Saratoga Springs Tour de Cure

Saratoga Polo Field • 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. 2 Bloomfield Road, Greenfield Center

This exciting fundraiser for the Saratoga Senior Center features an open bar, gourmet foods by The Old Daley Inn, cigar tastings, live music by Grand Central Station, Tarot Card readings, a silent auction and more. This year’s event will also feature an elegant VIP cocktail hour sponsored by Moet and Hennessey for sponsors at the $1,000 level and above. For reservations and more information, visit

Saratoga County Fairgrounds • 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 162 Prospect Street Ballston Spa 10M, 30M, 50M, 62M, 100M ride, 5K run, 5K walk Over 2,500 cyclists and 350 volunteers come together to stop diabetes, with five scenic routes to choose from and participants at every skill level. This event provides crucial funding for diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the American Diabetes Foundation. This year is the 26th anniversary of the Tour de Cure, celebrating over $250 million in fundraising from Tour de Cure riders since 1991. To register or for more information, visit

SUNDAY, JUNE 3 Cantina Kids Fun Run

Congress Park, Saratoga Springs 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Music and Mingling 8 th Annual

May 31, 2018 7 - 10:30pm The Saratoga Polo Field

518.584.1621 Tickets available at


Bill and Gloria Lawrence

Held each year on the first Sunday in June, it’s the only run in Saratoga that’s designed especially for kids. Participants can choose the quarter-mile or one-mile course, and all kids receive a medal, with the top three boys and girls receiving trophies. Before and after the race, families can enjoy face painting, healthy snacks and live music. The run benefits pediatric care at Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department. To register for the run or for more information, visit events or cantina-kids-fun-run.

Michael and Stacie Arpey

SUNDAY, JUNE 10 Beekman Street Arts Fair

Ash and Beekman

A one-day family friendly event filled with local artisans, performances under the big tent, roaming street performers and specialty food trucks.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22 Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival

Saratoga County Fairgrounds 162 Prospect Street, Ballston Spa Friday, June 22 3:00 p.m. – Sunday, June 24 4:00 p.m. Kick-off the summer with a weekend that includes 30 hot-air balloons, the best balloon glow in the country, over 100 artists and crafters displaying and selling original works, live entertainment and music, ongoing craft demonstrations and tons of kids’ activities, including face painting, arts and crafts and games, sponsored by Stewarts. For more information and a full schedule of activities, visit

FRIDAY, JUNE 29 American Cancer Society’s Red, White and Blue Party

Saratoga National Golf Club • 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. 458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs This one-of-a-kind evening will feature an allAmerican BBQ, dancing and an exciting auction. Attendees will have fun with lawn games, a wine toss and live entertainment including s’mores and a firework show. Guests are invited to wear their favorite red, white and/or blue “Saratoga summer” attire. For reservations and more information, visit

SATURDAY, JUNE 23 41st Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival

Saratoga Performing Arts Center 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs Saturday, June 23 at 11:00 a.m. until Sunday, June 24 A weekend of world class jazz talent on two stages that draws thousands from across the country. This year’s festival includes headliner, Chris Botti, Joey Alexander, Keyon Harrold, Gregory Porter, Mavis Staples and many more. Founded in 1978, this festival is one of the world’s longest-running major jazz events. Since its inception, the festival has welcomed many jazz greats, including Miles Davis, B.B. King and Ray Charles. For tickets and more information, visit


FA SH ION Downtown Saratoga Springs



3 # 5



Floral Jenny Kraus Belt • $72

Patrizia Luca Geo Purse • $68




Embroidered Denim Jacket by Driftwood • $139

Cork Envelope Clutch by Sondra Roberts • $78

Layered Turquoise and Silver Necklace • $38 Wanderlust Turquoise Necklace • $41 27 Church Street | | 518.587.2772



Her Look: 100% cotton crinkled voile

in button front style with

contrast print trim, gross grain

ribbon, novelty buttons and

roll-up sleeve details.


FA SH ION Downtown Saratoga Springs





Rails "CHARLOTTE" dress in Grenadines $178



Morra Designs "EM TASSEL" earring in Hot Pink • $110



Louise et Cie "JULEA" handbag in Calamine • $178

Louise et Cie "KIZZY" heeled sandal in Natural/Pastel • $139

494 Broadway | | 518.584.4838


Her Look: Free People

"Honey Pie" Tank • $98.00 Hudson Jeans "Tally" • $185.00 Vince Camuto "CARRALEN" sandal

in Hot Berry Pink • $109.95


FA SH ION Downtown Saratoga Springs





Grey Braided Tassel Bag by Moda Luxe • $60


The Who Tie-Front Tank by Chaser • $60 Distressed High-Rise Cutoff Shorts by BlankNYC • $78



Kora Mid Rise Denim Skinny by Unpublished $68





Paisley Tie-Sleeve Blouse by Gentle Fawn • $92

Opal Northern Star Earrings by Five & Two • $40 Crystal Trio Star Necklace by Five & Two • $50 Semi-Precious White Rainbow Star & Moon Drop Necklace by AV Max • $68



Twisted Gold Hoop Earrings by Donna Si Brazil • $30

Navy & White Polkadot Mini Dress with a Sweetheart Neckline by Honey Belle • $58

454 Broadway | | 518.587.7890

Her Look: Step in to Summer in style with

the navy Scarlett Maxi from Sage the

Label. Featuring a plunging neckline and delicate, ivory embroidery

throughout. The perfect dress to

wear to your Summer events!


FA SH ION Downtown Saratoga Springs







Custom Silk Juliette Jacket designed by Lea Ann Belter Bridal

Earrings and headpiece by The House of Mac and Zoe



Faux Fur designed by Richard Designs made in London

The Tess Heel designed by Bella Belle Shoes


75 Woodlawn Ave. | | 518.584.0962

Her Look:


Our beautiful bride Katie styled by Something Bleu Bridal truly enjoying her special day at the amazing Wedding Barn at Lakota's Farm. Katie's floral arrangements were designed by The Petal Pusher. She is wearing a stunning Olvi's gown... with details of french stretch lace, unique bell sleeves and an illusion top made in Holland.



H&G Step inside...

Randall Perry Photography


Architec Randall Perry Photography


cturally SPEAKING

Follow us as we explore some of the area's unique spaces...



A Mansion of Memories


The stately mansion that rests on a nearly

two-acre parcel of land at 249 Clinton Street is a home that, in its time, has welcomed princes, titans of industry, writers, historians, intellectuals, and the elite of the thoroughbred racing world. It has also been a home – in every sense of the word – to generations of large and boisterous families. When the home’s most recent owners first saw the three-story mansion located across from the Skidmore soccer fields and minutes from the Polo Grounds, they realized they had found “a magical place.” Part of the “magic” of the circa 1886

Randall Perry Photography

Randall Perry Photography


Randall Perry Photography


Colonial Revival masterpiece is the perfectly proportioned rooms. With ceilings measuring 12 feet in height, original period chandeliers, ornate crown moldings and highly burnished hardwood floors, it is easy to imagine that the 7,500 square-foot home might feel a bit cavernous and perhaps intimidating. But just the opposite is true. Each room offers a level of comfort, whether there are two people or 20 people seated there. It is one of the features that makes this home so special. Over the years, the home has served as a comforting and welcoming haven for families of all sizes, and many Saratoga residents have fond memories of spending long summer afternoons as children, splashing and romping in the swimming pool guarded by towering pines overhead. The home’s current owner recalls that it was not unusual for people to come up to her and say, “I grew up in that house!” Many of those people were friends of the previous owners of the home – the Moore family – who raised six children there. Suffice it to say that the mansion at 249 Clinton Street has seen its fair share of noisy and joyous family gatherings, as well as grand soirees for the Thoroughbred racing elite.



Randall Perry Photography

Randall Perry Photography

One soiree in particular is a fondly cherished memory for the home’s current owners. It was Christmastime in the late 1990’s. They had decided on the spur of the moment to throw an impromptu party, celebrating the holiday season. About 100 people were invited and, as luck would have it, around 5 p.m. on the evening of the party the entire city of Saratoga suffered a power outage. The owner described it as a “moment of panic,” which was quickly replaced by a stroke of genius. Undaunted by the mere lack of electricity, family members and household staff set to work illuminating the front walkway with candles placed in paper bags and lighting fireplaces and candles throughout the house. The result was transformational, transporting the house back to the 19th century, with guests dancing in the foyer and enjoying the enchantment of the season. “The lights went back on by about 8 p.m., but we kept them turned off, except for the Christmas tree lights and the oven. That was all we needed.” The 7,500 square-foot home spans three floors with ten bedrooms, 5 ½ baths and six working fireplaces. The large-paned colonial windows offer views in all directions and add


Randall Perry Photography

to the expansive feel of the home. And the sprawling outdoor sitting and sleeping porches on two of the three floors allow guests to enjoy the lush outdoor surroundings from the comfort of cozy seating areas. The home’s façade harkens back to the gracious yet open charm reminiscent of a more genteel era. At the same time, the understated grandeur and history of the place are not lost on the visitor venturing up the portico and through the grand front door for the first time. The large Dutch door offers entry into the spacious foyer and a long rambling sequence of staircases that travel upward, offering glimpses of the floors above. Moving from the foyer into the living room, it is immediately obvious that the home’s dimensions, which easily accommodate sprawling cushioned sofas, finely crafted tables, and a remarkable assortment of decorative pieces, gilded mirrors and ornate chandeliers, do not detract from the inherent “homey” feel of the space. In some homes of this size and grandeur, one might feel inclined to tiptoe. But, not here. This is, indeed, a house that has seen generations of children grow into adults and return time and again with their own families. One can almost envision noisy frolicking children running through the rooms oblivious of the towering lamps and precious antiques that narrowly avoid being toppled. As we venture down the hall toward the rear of the house, we come upon the library. The caretaker, who is also my tour guide, 82  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

tells me that this is the most well-used room in the house, and it is a testament to its owners’ love of letters, literature and horses. An entire wall is devoted to books of various ages, with leather bindings that alert the inquisitive guest to the diversity of the family’s interests. The ladder that hangs suspended from the iron track allows access to books placed closest to the ceiling, and the small bar in the corner with its crystal and cut glass beckon visitors back to a time of ritual and tradition. Climbing the second and third floors along the hardwood stairs, well-polished from years of loving use, each bedroom affords yet another glimpse of family. From the whimsy of the tiny miniature Edwardian settees in a daughter’s room to the masculine charm of the boys’ rooms, the house continues to beckon with its spacious comfort and all the charms of a home well-loved and well lived in. Of course, the true test of any home as a place of welcome and warmth is the kitchen. As I sit enjoying a steaming cup of coffee with the caretaker, I’m drawn to the gracious comfort surrounding me. The breakfast nook is an elevated seating area, warmed by the large paned windows that bring the outdoors inside and the profusion of potted plants that add to the inviting feel of the room. I’m charmed. By the house, by its history and heritage, and – most of all – by how easy it is to feel like I am home. You can now become part of this wonderful home's history. It is listed for sale with Janet Besheer at Equitas Realty. SS


Etiquette is such an interesting story, particularly when it comes to the dining table. I find that people who entertain regularly are also great guests, but in case you’re wondering if you are one of those delightful guests, here are some things to consider… I feel that a good guest should always show up on time with a few interesting stories to share, ready to mingle and be prepared to have a conversation with every person in the room. It’s extraordinarily important to dress appropriately, and I always say when it comes to the dress code it’s much better to be overdressed than under.

Once you are seated at the dinner table, a polite guest would never dream of picking up their phone. Of course, exceptions do exist. If you have kids or if you are on call for work, for example, the polite thing to do is let everyone at the table know that you may need to excuse yourself to take a call during the meal. One of the things I like to do when dining with friends at a restaurant is to collect all the phones and place them in the breadbasket. Whoever touches their phone first - pays for dinner! By removing our cell phones, we are all present; the moment one person looks at their phone it gives permission for everyone else to do the same, and in the next minute - all the great conversation and energy that you had built - has dissipated and gone down the drain. It is not considered polite to get up from the table during the meal - you should always use the restroom before or after the food is served. Another piece of advice would be to never let yourself get intimidated by what is at your place setting. If you sit down and see three forks to the left and three knives and a spoon to the right, rule of thumb is to start from the outside and work your way in. If for some reason you’re still unsure of what to do, wait a second and follow the host’s lead. Whatever the host does, it is appropriate for you to do as well.

Colin Cowie tells us how to be... the

perfect guest!

Another point of confusion I’m often asked about is paying the bill at a restaurant. If you are out with a group, it’s not important who had the lobster or who ordered the chicken! What’s important is that we’ve all decided to come to dinner together. Take the bottom line, add a 20% gratuity and divide the bill evenly, clean and simple. When you go to thank the host for having you, a handwritten note the next day will get you 10 points. An email or thoughtful text will also do, but either of those would only score you five points, in my opinion. If you intend to send flowers, I recommend sending them either the day before or the day after. Do not arrive at someone’s dinner party with flowers or a baked good in hand. Otherwise, the host is going to have to put on their flower-arranging hat or worry about plating and refrigerating the food rather than enjoying the company of their guests. Finally, the most important reason to be a good guest (and be invited back!) is that when you are sitting around a table, breaking bread with each other, drinking wine and sharing stories together - those are the times when some of the most memorable moments happen and the reason why I love to host people in my home.

That’s why we entertain. SS


In the Kitchen with

John Reardon

Rösti Thyme


Serves 2


Hello my Foodie Friends For many of us, our children are out of the house and have begun their lives and careers in other parts of the country (or world). Global travel and exploring different cuisines are something that many young adults have made part of their lives. Millennials look to increase knowledge and experience everyday life by doing things like devouring exotic regional food and schmoozing with friendly locals. My children position this at the top of their to-do list when traveling in foreign countries. Our children have traveled to many areas of the world. One particular spot that my daughter loved is Switzerland. Swiss cuisine combines influences from the German, French and North Italian cuisine. However, it varies greatly from region to region with the language divisions constituting a rough boundary outline. Many recipes require the use of a vegetable peeler –especially since potatoes are in many recipes. One of our favorite and best-selling kitchen tools is the Kuhn Rikon Swiss peeler. The Kuhn Rikon vegetable peeler can be one of the mandatory items that a chef requires you to come to work with and as part of the everyday kitchen. The Kuhn Rikon peeler has a little hole at the end, and you just loop your index finger into it, gripping the peeler with your thumb and middle finger; all you have to do to peel a vegetable is… pull. You peel 100 percent faster with this than with any other peeler. The flexibility of this peeler is fantastic — it curves around whatever vegetable you are peeling. You can peel using the entire blade — other peelers don’t allow you to do that. It is super light. It is easy to clean because it has no nooks, and easy to store because it has the hole, so you can hang it on a hook. And this design provides the most comfortable way to peel, and you don’t have to worry about nicking the end of your fingers. Sometimes with kitchen tools you want complex, awesome technology, but sometimes you just want the simplest thing ever, and this is it—simplicity at its best. It’s the most efficient peeler that’s out there. Many of the Chefs in the area will buy 10 at a time. The Kuhn Rikon Peeler helps peel fruits and vegetables effortlessly. This little


powerhouse peels better than peelers that cost 3-4 times more. This tool provides ultra-sharp performance that professional chefs love. It has a carbon steel horizontal Y blade with a convenient potato eye remover. The blade starts sharper, stays sharper. The Kuhn Rikon peeler is made with an ergonomic design that works in either your right or left hand. Hand washing is recommended

• • •

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1½ lbs. yellow/ golden potatoes, boiled in salted water until just tender, peeled and grated

• • • • •

¾ tsp. dried thyme ½ tsp. salt ¹/3 tsp. ground white pepper ¹/8 cup grated Gruyère cheese 2 spring onions, whites and 1 inch of greens sliced

Directions 1.

2. 3. Upon my daughter’s travels to Switzerland, she was treated to Swiss Rosti (Swiss potato pancake) which is a very popular food served in Switzerland. It is a crispy potato pancake that is fit for any meal. Swiss Rosti is derived from the German word rösten, which means to roast or grill, rösti consists of fried, shredded potatoes. That’s it. That’s the main and often sole ingredient of this easy Swiss specialty. Crisp on the outside yet soft and velvety on the inside, the simple rösti possesses a rich, complex flavor and competing textures that make it a sheer delight to eat. Originally, rösti served as a filling breakfast for 19thcentury Bernese farmers. A shared offering, it was placed on a platter in the center of the breakfast table. Using their spoons, people would cut off a piece of the patty and dunk it into a cup of weak, milky coffee. It may seem like an unusual custom, but it was one that soon caught on in other parts of Switzerland.


5. 6.

In a large, nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat. As the butter is melting, toss together the shredded potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Spoon the potatoes into the frying pan and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure that all the potatoes have been coated with the oil.

Shape the potatoes into a pancake and fry on one side until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Place a flat plate over the top of the pan and invert the pan onto the plate. Return the pan to the heat, add a dab of butter if needed and then slide the rösti back into the pan, uncooked side down. Allow the potato pancake to cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until that side has also browned. A few minutes before removing the rösti, break off small pieces from the remaining butter and spread it around the edge of the potatoes.

To remove the rösti, place a serving platter over the top of the pan and invert it onto the platter. Spread the Gruyère cheese and spring onions over the top of the rösti. Serve immediately.

Of course my friends Manny Russrev and Dave Lowendahale are very jealous of Paula and I because we have visited 11 different countries! The cool thing is that we didn’t even have to leave Epcot’s World Showcase to visit them all! Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place. We are Saratoga Spring’s true kitchen essentials store, for your culinary needs. Trying out international food recipes and doing them in an easy and quick way is a fun way to learn about the different cultures of the world.

Remember my Foodie Friends; “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Take care, John and Paula SS


Flay, Martha Stewart and Anne Burrell among others, and the unforgettable Clarrisa Wright and Jennifer Paterson of “Two Fat Ladies” fame. Books devoted solely to cocktail fare and hors d’oeurvres are lined up there, along with numerous works on cake baking and decorating, pastry preparation, and other intricacies of dessert creation. The age and condition of my cookbooks can also be described as dissimilar. Many volumes are of recent vintage with intact spines and pristine dust jackets. Others are old and use weary, their dog-eared pages loosened and splotched with food stains.

For the Love of

Cookbooks Gaining so much more than just recipes!


When asked to describe myself, the moniker of cooking enthusiast quickly comes to mind. Cooking interesting and delicious food for my family and friends is one of my favorite pastimes, and I am always on the lookout for new recipes. My fondness for cookery is equaled in fervor only by my passion for cookbooks. Cookbooks pique my interest in a way few other forms of the written word do. In fact, I find reading about food preparation almost as gratifying as the act of cooking itself. My proclivity for acquiring cookbooks and interest in a diverse range of cuisines, has led me to accumulate a gastronomic library as dissimilar in content as it is large. Take a look at my book shelves and you will find volumes on la cuisine Francaise mingled with works that embrace Vegetarian and Italian cookery. Celebrity chefs are well represented too; Bobby


While I value every volume in my cooking library I do have some favorites, and with good reason, for my favored cookbooks provide me with much more than recipes and culinary knowhow. Within them I sense a special quality that emboldens me to cook with courage, and enjoy the experience too. I am uncertain as to the source of this confidence-boosting quality. Could it be recipes presented in an intuitive step-by-step sequence that offers me reassurance as well as information? Maybe well executed drawings or photographs cheer me on. Possibly prose expressed with such feeling, the writer’s fervor and encouragement seems to leap from each page? Or might it be a combination of these factors? Yet intangible as it may be, this particular attribute confers the same effect – I am engendered with culinary fortitude, and reassured of my potential success with each recipe. In my opinion “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking” by Lidia Bastianich, is a worthy example of a cookbook that can provide home cooks like me with courage and confidence. I am an enormous fan of Mrs. Bastianich’s P.B.S cooking series, and I find this book exudes all the appeal and empowerment Lidia gives forth on television. Within this heartening work are recipes penned in a welcoming, easy to follow style, such as “Pear Bread Pudding” and “Pasta and Bean Soup When in a Hurry.” Combine the delightful recipes with her warm, commonsensical commentary, and it is no wonder whenever I open this book it feels as though Lidia is in my kitchen, and eager to lead me through a new adventure in Italian cuisine. “Moosewood Restaurant Favorites” is another cookbook of special significance to me. Written by the Moosewood Collective, a group comprised of the famed restaurants’ owners, it features many of their most requested recipes. This friendly cookbook gently guides me through preparing such tempting Vegetarian fare as “Caramelized Onion Pie” and “Spinach Lasagna.” Down to earth advice on topics such as prepping vegetables and measuring ingredients make this book even more helpful. In addition, narratives that describe Moosewood history and a typical day at the restaurant make this cookbook a great read too. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by the legendary Julia Child with Louisette Bertholle

and Simone Beck, is a culinary treasure I return to again and again. For me this book makes cooking ala Francais an approachable and enjoyable venture. Recipe instructions and ingredients are presented in a step-bystep manner that effectively guides me from start to finish. Detailed drawings and useful information on ingredients, cooking techniques, and kitchen equipment are found here too. I always feel confident preparing the recipes this classic work offers, such as Soupe A L’oignon, and Quiche A’ La Tomate, Nicoise. The dessert recipes are splendid too, like Tarte aux Pommes, an exquisite apple tart as delightful to behold as it is to eat. It is easy to understand why this magnificent cookbook provided inspiration for the “The Julie and Julia Project.” Through this award-winning blog, Julie Powell shared her experiences preparing every recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” “The Julie and Julia Project” proved to be very popular, and came to be the subject of a bestselling book and successful movie. A cookbook does not have to be on the New York Times Bestseller List or written by a world renowned chef to be absolutely wonderful. In fact, superlative and inspiring cookbooks can originate close to home, as with another of my favorites, “Beverly’s Best, a Distinctive Saratoga Springs Cookbook” by Beverly Reedy. For years Beverly Reedy operated her popular namesake restaurant here in the Spa City, and after retirement wrote this delightful cookbook. I was quickly won over the first time I opened “Beverly’s Best” and read the Introduction in which she shares her inspiring life story. Then I discovered her superb recipes, which are delicious and never fail to impress my family and friends. I have never met Beverly but hope to someday, so I can express how much I appreciate her cookbook. In fact, if I were ever tempted to apply the “Julie and Julia” concept to a cookbook, “Beverly’s Best” would be my choice. I would start at the beginning with “A Perfect Poached Egg” and cook my way through the other 345 recipes. It would be fun to revisit recipes I previously enjoyed, like “Grilled Shrimp with Orange Marmalade Cocktail Sauce,” and prepare others I have longed to try, like a chocolate cake intriguingly named “Black Magic.” I can just imagine myself, happily cooking each recipe and sharing the experience with an immense and enthusiastic blogosphere audience. However I would need a name for my blog. Hmm… I wonder, maybe “The Ralph and Beverly Project”? My favorite cookbooks provide me with much more than recipes. They possess a quality that emboldens me to press forward, move past my self-imposed culinary boundaries and try something new. Perhaps a recipe I thought beyond my skill level, an unfamiliar cuisine or maybe even a blog - how does “Ralph and Mrs. Reedy Cook Saratoga” sound? SS


HI, I’M JODIE FITZ! I’m so excited to be sharing some of our family favorites with the readers of Simply Saratoga magazine! I have spent the last six years traveling in SIX (!) states cooking with kids & families…I can relate to the BUSY COOK J As my recipe collection continues to grow, I am starting to share some of the recipes that you will find at our house for meals… Enjoyed by both family… and friends! I am always experimenting & creating tasty bites, finding the simplest way to do it and love sharing great flavor and time-saving finds along the way.

SHRIMP AND VEGGIE COMBO Ingredients • • • • •

2 pounds fresh shrimp Asparagus 1 pint of tomatoes 1 pound of angel hair pasta 1 clove fresh garlic, minced

• • • • •

3 tablespoons Olive Oil 1 teaspoon onion Powder Shaved parmesan cheese Sea Salt Pepper

Directions 1. Boil the pasta as instructed; I always go al dente. Drain the water.

Toss it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a light sprinkle of sea salt.

2. Wash and prep your veggies while the pasta is cooking. Snap the tough end of the asparagus off and then I snap my asparagus in half again, it stretches the vegetable. Cut the tomatoes in half.

3. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of oil. You will be treating this

Looking for an easy meal to serve at your next impromptu porch gathering? I’m always looking for effortless ways to welcome guests and this Shrimp and Veggie combo (along with a bottle of Pinot Grigio!) is the perfect solution – and only takes about 30 minutes!

portion of the meal like a stir fry. Add in the asparagus and the garlic, stir as it cooks. Add in the shrimp and the onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. When the shrimp turns pink (and is almost done) add in the tomatoes; cook until they begin to soften.

4. Top the pasta with the shrimp and veggie combo, and some shaved parmesan.


1. Buy the shelled, deveined shrimp 2. For a lighter version… Serve this combo over a lightly sautéed zucchini noodles (mmmm - double yum!!)

You can always catch what’s going on in our lives at and, or check out my new cook books - available on my website!


Marriage + Renovation The owners of the Inn at Five Points show us how (simply) it can be done




A year before opening a bed and breakfast, Eilis Petrosino was already buying stuff to put in the house. She had a vision, but her husband, Jim couldn’t see it. He’s the one managing the budget however, so he and his wife had to find a way to make it all work. Thus began the bumpy ride of maneuvering a relationship during a renovation.

“I disagreed with most everything initially. It was hard to see the finished product but at the end of the day, nine times out of ten, it’s worked,” he said.

Embarking on the Journey

Jim and Eilis Petrosino have been together for 12 years and married for nine. No stranger to renovations, as they’ve done some light work at the traditional Cape Cod style home they own in Hyde Park. The Petrosinos enjoy traveling and have been vacationing in Saratoga Springs for years. They like going to the racetrack and seeing concerts at SPAC.


“We always had a really special place in our hearts for Saratoga Springs and when we decided to venture into opening a bed and breakfast, we knew this is where it needed to be,” said Eilis. In September 2015, they closed on the property. A stick-style Victorian home, built in 1886 on Lincoln Avenue by Almeron King, who had a medical office there. Formerly known as The Westchester House, it was also the home of John Clarke, the first man to bottle Saratoga’s now famous spring waters and it operated as a bed and breakfast for 30 years. Last revitalized in the 1980s, it was in rough shape when they bought it, said Eilis. 90  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

“We loved the potential the place had. We call it “The Dollhouse” because it reminds me of a dollhouse I had when I was a kid,” she said.

A Pretty State of Affairs

Never had the Petrosinos encountered such a challenging project as this 10-month restoration would turn out to be.

Living two hours away, they had to do a bulk of the work online, through phone calls, during late nights and through jampacked site visits. “This is the home built through Pinterest,” said Eilis, who did all of the designing.

Her goal was to banish the dark, dated elements within the structure, while giving it a fresh, new feel that maintained the building’s quintessential turn-of-thecentury architecture. Relying on their neighbor Joe Moore, owner of Moore Wood Works for much of the restoration, they sourced all their wood, including nice quality hickory flooring, from Hankle Lumber in East Nassau. They trusted Saratoga Plumbing and Heating with getting the old building’s old pipes working again and Brothers Two Electric with the outdated wiring.

on that. After going and showing him the difference in person, I finally got him on board,” said Eilis. Then the tables were turned. “In the home shows - I was forced to watch more often then I wanted to - I was drawn to the look of white cabinets,” said Jim. His wife did not agree. She wanted dark blue. “I was completely hell-bent on not having white cabinets. Quite frankly, it was one of the few, if only design elements he was adamant about,” said Eilis.

As you can see they came to a compromise. They opened up the space by tearing …More on the kitchen reno from Jim, down interior walls but kept the exterior’s on page 92. original carpentry details. The removal of a bookcase unearthed a second fireplace, both of which are now functional and frame in Jim’s favorite spot to spend a cozy afternoon. Staying on schedule has been the hardest part of the long renovation process. Other decisions weren’t so easy.

Third Time’s the Charm

Choosing cabinetry for the kitchen was a major stalemate for the couple. “I just felt the caliber of the home really needed the extra touch of an inlay cabinet. Jim didn’t see the value of spending money

“We didn’t have a fully functional kitchen when we opened. There was no working stove. We literally didn’t have countertops so we had to get creative with the breakfast options,” said Eilis.

Luckily, they have innkeeper Austin Bayliss to flow with the punches to keep things running smoothly. She served up avocado toast, scones, muffins and a fresh fruit bar until the six-burner Viking stove was installed. They use products from local makers including Saratoga Tea & Honey and soaps from Lather Bar. The walls and other decorations are left at a minimum for a reason. “We purposely tried to keep the place as uncluttered as possible,” said Jim. Instead, attention is focused on a single mantle centerpiece mirror or a framed piece of equestrian art by photographer Tracey Buyce. Renamed The Inn at Five Points because of its unique placement in a neighborhood at the intersection of five roadways, “Team Petrosino” (as they like to call themselves) brought this bed and breakfast back to life. “You always say to yourself, this is something I’m never going to do again. Then you see the end result and you’re ready for the next project,” said Jim.


Already getting rave reviews, they’ve created a great new place to stay. Featuring seven unique bedrooms and bathrooms, they are open to wedding parties and the dining room serves as a cute spot for intimate gatherings, events and showers. The Petrosinos are already making plans to continue restorations and open up a couple more bedrooms on the third floor. For reservations and more information: ...and our Managing Editor, Chris LOVES their Instagram feed @theinnatfivepoints J SS

from the husband The marriage minefield of starting a business together, combined with numerous renovation projects has tested our marriage time and time again.

Somehow, we have been able to get through two years of building a business - from the ground up - while doing 10 months of extensive renovations …with our relationship still intact. Now comes the biggest challenge to date… the dreaded kitchen renovation. A beast.

Expensive as all hell and the hub of our business.

Renovations for me have been much like my wedding.

My opinions about the events taking place during the planning of our wedding were not believed to be sought after or seriously considered… I was able to choose two appetizers and I was perfectly content with that. Just like the wedding planning… I was not going to argue over bathroom fixtures and paint colors during phase one of our reno. I mean how can I tell her that I wasn’t feeling the orange paint color? This is the woman - who is lovingly called Joanna Gaines by all her friends. The renovations were challenging enough, I wasn't going to rock the boat arguing about my opinion. With that being said… 92  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

The kitchen was mine.

That's kind of my domain, my little playground. I am certainly the cook in the family, so I am a lot more opinionated about the kitchen reno. We have spent hours, days, if not weeks debating (a very nice way of describing the process!) what type of flooring we are going to put in, color and style for the cabinets, stone or concrete counter tops? I have stood firm on some issues, and compromised on others, I think at the end of the day the finished product will be a good blend of both of our tastes and I am happy with the way we were able to both have a degree of input on the design of the kitchen. My goal budget + her aesthetic.

I guess renovations in general are kind of a microcosm of marriages. As men, we think our opinions matter when it comes to home decor and renovations, when in reality… they really don't. You need to pick your battles and when you feel strongly about something, speak up.

Work together as a team and compromise on a blended solution that works for both parties. Renovations, like marriages, are really rewarding to watch. Something that two people work hard at - transforming into something great - that you can take pride in. We take great pride in The Inn At Five Points and this new kitchen will be a wonderful extension.


Glam Closet



The Glam Closet started as an aside conversation with my client, as we were standing in her kitchen discussing a current project we were working on. Knowing the owner of California Closets, she wanted to work with their product and I instantly had a vision for how I saw the final space! The room in question was her oldest daughter’s childhood bedroom and needed a new purpose – we got right to work! This project started in September and needed to be completed by Thanksgiving, since that is when all the kids would be home from college. Measuring the room, creating a floor plan and closet layout


was the first step. I wanted my client to feel like she was royalty when in this room. We shared a special moment when I described how this will be the room her daughters will use to get ready for their weddings someday. We wanted an all-inclusive “Glam Dressing Room.” Completely girlie, sparkly, and (just) a bit over the top! I created a custom layout that took into account her gorgeous shoe collection, as well as various pocketbooks, hats, and personal accessories. The reflected ceiling plan included 13 recessed lights, and 3 chandeliers; a chaise and faux fur throw blankets. There are also

additional lights in some of the cabinetry itself and a wine fridge, (we must not forget the wine fridge!) Literally every vendor we worked with told us we had too much of this, too much of that. They would say “you don’t need a wine fridge”, or “you don’t need that many lights” and “the corner shelves for the shoes won’t work.” They didn’t understand my vision, yet I had a reason for every detail. In the end, the final result is HER perfect walk-in Glam Dressing Room. And yes, we did get the wine fridge, the shoe shelves, and all the lights! SS




an interior designer, I see women struggle with organization in all areas of their home. Hiring a professional to help you create a functional, organized, yet divine space to call your own is worth the investment for the peace of mind it delivers in your daily tasks, as one of my clients discovered in her journey for more closet space. The home Larissa Rosecrans shares with her husband, P.J. had an extra bedroom conveniently located near the master bedroom. Opening the wall between the spaces, where an existing full-length mirror existed, allowed them

to create a Master Suite while repurposing the unused bedroom as her closet. In working with Larissa, she had three goals in mind… retaining the striped wallcovering that she loved, while allowing it to be seen amongst all the cabinets, utilizing the custom drapes and incorporating a large island with multiple drawers for storage. Likewise, we faced a few challenges (all projects have challenges… I love it!), the room had two large windows and a large working radiator to contend with and a husband who is in real estate and was very focused on high quality cabinets. After measuring all her belongings, yes, every square inch, the newly organized bedroom - transformed into a walk-in closet - was revealed to Larissa in 3D. “It was amazing! I could literally see the room design and the functionality of the space was exactly what I wanted. I knew it was going to be perfect!”



Larissa’s surprise began with a secret entry door, double sided with mirrors for dressing convenience in either space. Upon entry, her new walk-in closet revealed her beloved wallcovering from behind the open-backed long-dress hanging area, detailed with a diamond motif which is reminiscent of the theme throughout the house. As she steps in, her island comes to life with a magnificent mirror top which reflects the antique chandelier left at the house from days gone by. The multitude of drawers were carefully sized to hold all her belongings - and then some - as well as incorporating two hampers and drawerin-drawers for double stacking jewelry, sunglasses and other small belongings. The perimeter of the space unfolded with a stack of small drawers for scarves and accessories, leaving the upper shelving open for displaying special items like photos, hats and special collectables. A valet rod allows Larissa to organize her outfits and accessories neatly before heading out to face another busy day. With plenty of room for hanging shorter items in the double-hang open closet area, Larissa realized it was easier to locate the items she was looking for. “My husband is also excited because I can get ready a lot faster, it’s easier to find things and we’re not tripping over one another.” Most women love their shoes and Larissa is no exception. With business trips to major cities throughout the world, her outfits must change in an instant with the climate and so must her shoes. Remember the challenges that had to be addressed in this space… the windows and the radiator? The area under one window became a bench with a pull-out drawer with angled dividers to house multiple pairs of sneakers and sandals. The radiator also succumbed to design as it was hidden below a pullout shoe cabinet with brass screens that coordinate with the other radiator covers throughout the house. Four individual pullouts in total, two with angled shelves for high heels and two with smaller openings for flats and sandals. But the pièce de ré·sis·tance is her 30" wide glass fronted cabinet for displaying her treasured purses just alongside the other window which welcomes a chair for reclining. “I love the lit display cabinet, it is the highlight of my life every time I walk in; it couldn’t have looked better! My girlfriends were blown away too! They commented that it’s like something from the ‘Real Housewives’ television series!!” And finally, a multitude of open shelves next to the door to store tall boots, oversized bags and anything else that needs a home… Maybe even more shopping?! The custom designed, hand-built cabinets even caught the trained eye of her husband, P.J. “He was so impressed with the construction, quality and craftsmanship of the cabinets.” It’s always good to keep the husband happy too! When I asked Larissa to sum up her space, all she had to say was “Glamourous…Makes me feel beautiful. I love it!” Her advice for other women toying with the idea to do the same… “Go for it! I just sit in the room and smile. It's my favorite room in the house.” SS



DIY Basement Makeover A Daddy's Gift to his Little Girl

The recipient of her dream play area, Charleigh Tru, helping out with the ombre wall colors she chose.


hat was supposed to be a little project to finish the basement and turn it into a family room quickly went down a different path when the handyman of the house added a little window under the stairs. From there, Pinterest inspirations in hand, the left brained lady and the handyman joined forces to turn their basement into a creative center with an imaginative playhouse.

This framed structure was Take 2 because we decided she would need enough room to "cook and dine" which meant framing



right up to the opposite wall. •

Cedar shingles helped to add texture, so we could keep the same paint color throughout most of the space. This creative art space has a stainless-steel table for easy clean-up, rug for added protection against science experiments and art projects and is surrounded by swoon worthy organization (the moms will understand!). Her "lounge" includes a reading

nook, chair that turns into a little bed, chandelier and of course that little window that started it all! •

We wanted the house to look realistic with a subtle "Alice in Wonderland" undertone. Mismatched patterns, eccentric custom shutters, flowers with eyes alongside a tiny mailbox and working doorbell and light seemed to do the trick.

She wants to be a writer when she grows up, so we knew her very own desk was an essential part to making this space complete!




Keep or Toss?




I recently picked up an organizing book “Keep This Toss That” by Readers Digest. It walked you through what you should keep and what you can let go of, so… if you’re asking… “What should I keep, what can I toss?” We’re here to help! Winter apparel culling is best done now, it makes no sense to pack things away that are worn beyond repair or you don’t like - for 6 months of storage! - when you can let it go now. You can remember with clarity what got used …and what didn’t. The key is to remember that you can’t wear more than one coat, one pair of gloves, one hat or scarf at a time! It is nice to have every day and fancy as well as sport - if you do winter sports - but having so many in each category is excess. Clutter is anything you don’t use or love. We all grab our favorites; the duplicates are worn so little that you should have no problem donating them to someone who needs them. So… let them go and free up some storage space. And hey, when guests come over, you’ll have room to hang up their coats too! SS

• • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

1 everyday Winter coat 1 dressy Winter coat 1 active Winter coat (for sports) 2 Winter hats that go with your everyday coat 1 Winter hat for your dressy coat 2 Winter hats for outdoor sports 2 pairs of everyday gloves that you can wash, keep you warm, dry quick, keep your wrists warm and are a color that goes with your everyday coat 1 dressy pair of gloves 2 pairs of active waterproof gloves 1 everyday scarf 1 dressy scarf 1 warm/sturdy scarf for outdoor sports 1 pair of everyday winter snow boots 1 pair of dressy winter snow boots At least one set of well fitting snow / ski clothes

Toss • •

• • •

Any coat that does not fit right, is damaged beyond repair or is a duplicate/ didn’t get worn this season. Any hat that itches, is too tight, too loose, damaged beyond repair, old style, not warm, hard to maintain, came with a set you no longer have. Any pair of gloves that itch or irritate your hands, are too tight or too loose, damaged beyond repair, old style, have no grip to drive with or fail to keep your hands warm and dry (if water repellent). Any scarf that is itchy or irritates your neck, fraying or damaged beyond repair, sheds, an old style, part of a set you let no longer have. Any boots that are damaged, no longer keep your feet warm or have a worn lining or let moisture in. Any snow/ski paints that are from previous sets, do not fit, damaged with tears, no longer keep you warm and/or let moisture in.


Gardening WITH



patch and divide them. I replanted the best plants and had so many left that I was able to share them with gardening friends. The replanted patch looks great, and I'm sure we'll be overwhelmed again this June. There isn't much to growing strawberries other than picking out a sunny area to plant them and feeding them in spring. I use Espoma Flower-Tone plant food for this since the formula for my perennials is just what the strawberries like as well... they are perennials too after all. Unfortunately slimy slugs also love my strawberries, but these days we have Bonide Slug Magic, an organic slug control which is simply iron phosphate. It works great, is totally safe around food crops, and doesn't harm anything other than slugs. Now I don't have to share my precious strawberries with mucousy mollusks.

Who doesn't love berries? I love all fruit but berries best of all. They sure are expensive to buy these days so why not grow your own? The good news is that strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all very easy to grow. Best of all, they come back year after year so you only need to plant them once. I love the little wild strawberries and have fond childhood memories of harvesting and bringing them home for mom to transform into strawberry shortcake. I can find some wild strawberries still, but never enough for more than a little taste. Instead, I have a patch of a larger domesticated variety growing in my vegetable garden, and they are available right now at the garden center. It all started a few years ago with just a few plants. Of course, strawberries spread by sending out runners so they soon grew into a large patch. Last year, I had to dig out the 104  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

Blackberries and raspberries also require full sun and take up far more space than strawberries. Some folks like to grow them on trellises or wire supports to make them easier to prune and harvest. Again, a little food in the spring is all they need. Go easy on the food though or you'll get more leaves and less berries. Again, I use just a little Flower-Tone.

Most of us have heard by now about the health benefits of blueberries. Blueberries are probably the easiest berries to grow. They are woody bushes that you plant in a sunny location... the more sun, the more and tastier berries you get. Like raspberries, blueberries produce berries on two year old stems so simply snip off the stems that made this year's berries. This is best done over winter when the plant is dormant. Blueberries like acid soil so you'll want to feed them with an evergreen food like Holly-Tone. Blueberries like their roots cool so mulching with acidic mulches like pine needles or pine bark mulch is also a good idea. Blueberry flowers remind me of lily-ofthe-valley. They are so attractive that you could tuck a blueberry bush into your landscape as a flowering shrub with benefits. What's not to love? If you have some room to spare, try out some easy and delicious berries. Your effort will be rewarded for many years to come. THANKS FOR THE READ. SS

Raspberries and blackberries need to be pruned each year. Pruning is simple. After you harvest the berries, cut off the canes (stems) that they were growing on. There will be other canes on the plant that didn't produce fruit this year... don't prune them off... they are the canes that will make berries next year. Pretty simple.


How do I control Bishop’s Weed and get rid of it?

It is so invasive in my gardens, I spend all my time digging it up and trying to get rid of it. It chocked out all my perennials L Thank you, Barbara R.


Bishop's Weed (also known as Snowon-the-mountain and Goutweed) is notorious for spreading quickly and being difficult to eradicate. In spring when new growth appears, you want to dig out any perennials you want to salvage and thoroughly remove any of the Bishop's Weed that has grown among the roots. If even one small root is left, the problem will start over when the perennial is replanted. You're now going to have to wipe out the entire area of plant growth, so you can start over without the Bishop's Weed. The first method is to wait until the Bishop's Weed is all leafed out in early May and then spray the entire area with Round-Up. Bear in mind that Round-up is non-selective - it will kill whatever the spray touches so be careful. Read and follow the directions on the package to-the-letter. It may take more than one application to eradicate the Bishop's Weed. For a more organic way to kill Bishop's Weed, you can try smothering it, by covering the area with several layers of plastic. If you can find an old pool cover that will work, or you can buy black plastic - the thicker the better. Cover the area, plus an extra 2' outside the area, with the plastic (3-4 layers thick) and then cover the plastic with stones or mulch to hold the plastic down. Leave it this way for two years (yes, two years.) This will smother the Bishop's Weed and kill it. Like I said, this is a difficult situation.



The Secret

to the



magine city gardens transformed into lush, secret oases. Picture yourself in the English countryside, wandering along shady paths, discovering vegetables and herbs blended with perennial gardens bursting with color. Visualize a getaway featuring distinctive water features, grape arbors, trellises, decorative stone sculptures, well-groomed designs in one garden, wildflowers in another. You can enjoy all that, and more, on the 24th annual Secret Gardens Tour, set for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 8. “We are excited to be offering a close look at both city and country gardens – including a farm,” said tour co-chair Sharon Finch. “I cannot stress enough the generosity of the 106  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

owners who open their gardens to hundreds of visitors.” The more than 10 gardens on the 2018 self-guided tour offer plenty to interest both experienced and casual gardeners. “There are takeaways from every garden,” Finch said. “For many people it’s an annual tradition, and we’re always happy to welcome new people to the tour.” The event is an all-volunteer fundraiser presented by Soroptimists of Saratoga County, the local branch of an international nonprofit public service organization of business and professional women working to improve the lives of women and girls locally and throughout the world. The local club grants thousands of dollars a year to organizations in

keeping with its mission as well as assistance to women who are heads of household continuing their education in the face of adversity. The owner of one of this year’s Saratoga Springs gardens is Tas Steiner, who strives for “a celebration and tribute to English countryside gardens.” “For as long as I can remember I have always had gardens in my life,” Steiner said. “I grew up in Loudonville and will never forget the smells of spring and summer from the gorgeous floral scents of trees, plants, and bushes. We are now up to 90 David Austen rose bushes that have the most amazing fragrances one can imagine in all shapes, sizes and colors. Our garden has every hydrangea imaginable” and an almost endless season of lilies in bloom.

questions. And volunteers from the Heritage Garden Club invite you to admire their lovely handiwork along the rear patio of the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor Center at 297 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. Advance tickets to the Secret Gardens Tour at $20 may be reserved at SoroptimistSaratoga. org or purchased beginning in late May at the Visitor Center, Northshire Books, all four Cudney’s Dry Cleaners retail locations and Faddegon’s Nursery in Latham. If still available, tickets may be purchased for $25 on the day of the tour at the Visitor Center beginning at 10:30 a.m. July 8.

You can also support the tour and enjoy these related events: •

June 16-17: Northshire Bookstore on Broadway will donate a portion of all purchases on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17, if patrons mention the garden tour.

July 8: 2 West Bar and Grille will donate 20% of food purchases on the day of the tour, July 8.

Questions? Email or call (518) 581-1201 ext. 4184. Learn more at SS

She and husband Sidney Martin also have incorporated features reflecting their love for the Adirondacks and, Steiner added, “as an homage to our time in Los Angeles, we planted wisteria over our trellis and southwestern succulents in one section of our garden that somehow blend in perfectly with our rose bushes.” Heading southwest of Saratoga Springs, gardens found at one Ballston Spa home on the tour reveal influences of trips to Japan, England and a love of flamingos. In the nearby garden of Larry and Meg Woolbright, visitors will find more than 50 species of native perennials and more than 50 species of native shrubs, including azaleas and viburnums. Much of the plant material there is started from seed or cuttings. “Larry is always picking up a pocket full of seeds or snipping a stem,” said Meg. Continuing west to the Charlton area, there are several sprawling gardens on the tour plus something different this year: Featherbed Lane Farm, where a team of draft horses do the heavy work of plowing the fields. The farm grows well over 70 different types of fruits, herbs and vegetables and includes a small “discovery garden” with pollinator-friendly flowers and herbs. Among the other nearby properties on the tour is the country home of Paul and Joanne Strevy, which boasts panoramic views of a pond and blueberry, rose and perennial gardens from under the shade of a majestic Pin Oak tree, a perennial garden of 10 symmetrical beds and a center path that leads to a gazebo, and a rose garden designed to look like a fan. In addition, people are encouraged to visit the beautiful public gardens at Yaddo, the world-renowned artists’ retreat, where docents will be on hand to answer




“tried-and-true” plants that can withstand the sometimes punishing conditions often inherent in a public space. New wave petunias, coleus and begonias work well here, she said. Dave, owner of Dave’s Painting, is the caretaker of their home gardens. “My job is much smaller than his,” said Carol. Dave has developed a layer of “permadirt” on his hands because they are always busy in the dirt, he said. In addition to rows of flowers and foliage, he also builds lush container plantings and cultivates 10 raised beds for vegetables. Growing everything from arugula to Brussels sprouts and eggplant, Dave said it feels a bit luxurious to be able to weed raised beds from the comfort of a stool. The greenhouse’s wall of sloping glass looks out over the in-ground pool positioned in the center of the small lawn. On one side of the pool, a large entertainment area is sheltered by a new pergola being built this year. A comfortable fireplace, outdoor kitchen and dining area serve to heighten the experience of family and friends in this backyard that has long functioned as a pleasurable place to relax. “We’re out here pretty much all day long,” said Dave. JUST AROUND THE BEND FROM High Rock Park, a homey garden tucked behind an unassuming family home provides an enjoyable outdoor retreat in the midst of the city. A stone retaining wall levels the front of the property while red and blue annual plantings line the walkway to the white door of Carol Godette’s childhood home. She now lives there with her husband, Dave whose diligence has molded their ¾ acre lot into a space that seems much larger. “When people see it, they say, ‘Oh, I had no idea!’ It’s like our own piece of the country back here,” said Carol.

Life by the Foot

In early March, Dave fires up the furnace in their backyard greenhouse. Originally built in 1984, it was remodeled approximately six years later. Shelving in the narrow space optimizes usable growing and storage areas for the nearly 3,000 plants that Dave raises there from cuttings and plugs each year.

In addition to visits from their daughter, they often host dinner parties and out-oftown guests poolside. A dense planting of brightly blooming perennials encircle the swimming area, enhancing the country feel of the space.

He also enjoys cooking up the bounty of his harvest. Comfort foods including eggplant parmesan and grilled zucchini are joined on his menu of options by a crisp kale and beet salad or a “mean” Swiss chard.

Small-Town Spirit

One of Dave’s favorite summertime staples is a simple tomato sandwich. “One year he had 36 tomato plants and I teased him that he should start up a farm stand,” said Carol. They came close the year they were overrun by hostas, inviting customers into the yard to point at the plant they wanted and then digging it up out of the ground for them to take home. Most of what the Godettes grow in their garden they use themselves or give to neighbors. The freshness and convenience of being able to go into the backyard for ingredients they run short on while making dinner outweighs even the plethora of farm goods available just around the bend at the Saratoga Springs Famers’ Market in High Rock Park during the summer months, agreed the Godettes.

A small strip of lawn separates the pool from the plantings along the entire perimeter fence. A bench sits in amongst the forgetme-nots in their memorial garden, built to honor their dog Ben, a golden retriever who died in 2000 when he was seven years old. His memorial marker is accompanied by “It’s just really nice,” said Carol. one for their golden retriever, Belle who was Interested in the community created by 14-years-old when she passed. The Godettes neighborhood stores since frequenting also hosted their son’s wedding ceremony Rowland’s as a child, these small businesses here when he returned from Prague, where are disappearing from the American he now lives with his family. landscape. You can look for a series of Carol’s articles chronicling these beloved mom-andpop shops in Simply Saratoga magazine. Carol, a retired Lake Avenue Elementary School teacher, is co-owner of Ben & Jerry's “In a way, this garden recreates what Saratoga used to be like. It has a smallon Putnam Street. Taking on the job of town feel that takes you back to a life maintaining their brick street-side beds, she that was simpler.” SS said the high-traffic area must be filled with

A Bountiful Feat


Freedom Garden



really well-behaved, she said. Because Lauri uses no chemical treatments in her garden, risks to his well-being are at a minimum. In addition to the standard selection of vegetables, Lauri also grows hops to make beer and herbs for cooking and medicinal uses. If she’s experiencing some sinus congestion, she’ll sip on a mug of hot water with a sprig of fresh mint floating in it, pick a bit of Echinacea or marshmallow.

Elemental Habitation

Supporting the ecosystem requires some building. In her garden, Lauri has constructed the raised beds, the fences and a 22’x 40’ deck. Away from home, she uses these skills to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity building houses. RETURNING TO LIVE in the United States after more than a decade overseas, Lauri got proactive about her health by getting out into her garden. “There was none of this GMO concern over there. Everything was organic. That just was the way things were done,” she said. At the grocery store, she began shopping the perimeter isles (where the freshest food is found) and at home she began a 12' x 12' backyard garden that has since expanded exponentially. “I can taste the difference and feel the energy difference in my body,” she said.

Wild and Free

When Lauri moved into a residential subdivision in Clifton Park five years ago, the first thing she did was clear out 150 dying trees from her large property – the size equivalent of three traditional lots. Putting in small bushes and cultivating grass, she was able to achieve a front lawn similar to others in the neighborhood. “My front yard is very, very suburban; my backyard is very hippie,” she said. By “hippie” she means casual and natural, more unruly perhaps (but also more selfsustaining) than the perfectly manicured, chemically laden images typically associated with suburban living. “I’m not a huge fan of weeding, but I do remove stuff when it’s encroaching on my food,” said Lauri. She sees the value of “beneficial weeds”;

the plants whose nectar attracts insects that help to pollenate the garden’s fruit trees. As a certified master gardener and master naturalist, she cultivates flowers and foods but is also excited by wild edibles. Wild leeks, also known as ramps, are one of her first finds of the spring season. They are adapted to the forest environment at her property’s edge, are resistant to pests and require very little care.

How Sweet It Is

“My husband doesn’t like gardening, he likes harvesting,” said Lauri. David, now retired from the Navy and working at Bechtel, will wander outdoors and pluck a few raspberries or blackberries to add to his bowl of cereal. Lauri too, often foregoes lunch, instead grazing in her backyard garden, nibbling on a bite here and there during the summer months. She finds the backyard yield and reduction of CO2 emissions created during food transportation satisfying. “It feels good that I can provide food for my family,” said Lauri. In her diverse garden she has enjoyed great success with foods more typical in warmer climates including grapes, peanuts and peaches. Last year, her six-year-old peach trees yielded a harvest of more than 1,000 peaches each. “Luckily, my friends like peaches – it’s wonderful,” she said. Her dog Iver, a 5-year-old LabradorWeimeraner rescue, also takes a bite here and there from the garden, but is generally

Building up the soil is also part of Lauri’s repertoire. In addition to compost piles, she has a spinning composter by the back door. Balancing the browns and greens (dry leaves and grass clippings with kitchen vegetable scraps) she is able to create a beneficial, odor-free fertilizer. Sprinkled around the garden is evidence of how her travels have inspired her to cook and think differently. There’s a small hedgehog that she acquired in England, a lantern statue and wind chimes from her time spent teaching English in Japan. A unique Japanese-inspired innovation is the inclusion of Bokashi composting. In Bokashi composting… meat, oils, eggs and dairy products (that are banned from standard composting systems) are broken down into a nutrient rich liquid which can be used around the garden. “I love it – it’s great,” said Lauri. Sharing these and other gardening tips at speaking events several times a month, one of the facts she particularly enjoys sharing with the community is that food stamps can be used at the farmers’ markets to buy edible plants. “It gives you 20 times the food dollars when you buy a plant with food stamps,” she said. Sitting in a canvas swing hung from a salvaged A-frame swing set, Lauri reflects on the backyard sanctuary she has created. Watching the birds and the honeybees, she envisions adding a small pond, fed by a shallow stream, lined with Japanese weed grass, and a short foot bridge to cross it. SS


Joanne provides gardeners with the information they need to successfully and confidently grow English Roses in their own gardens! David Austin’s Roses Tamora




Delphinium Guardian Blue

Jubilee Celebration

By replacing the soil in 2008, Paul and Joanne turned the worst part of their property into an English Rose garden. They expanded the garden in 2016 by adding roses in a fan light pattern.

decided to name the business venture Rosewood Gardens, she never planned on selling roses, she said. “Although it was an afterthought to add them to the perennials we were selling, they became the highlight of our business, and I became known as ‘the rose lady’ to many people,” said Strevy. Today, Strevy’s David Austin English Rose garden, contains more than a hundred roses, along with some New Millennium delphiniums, clematis ‘Pearl d’Azur’ and Japanese Anenome ‘Robustissima’ plants.

After a large and beautiful cherry tree split in 2016 in the front shade garden, it was redesigned to become the Fairy Garden.

With their seductive fragrance and rows of delicate petals, roses have long been a symbol of love and passion – a meaning partly attributed to the fact that growing them has taken on the reputation that they require a profound level of dedication. “I would never have expected I would be able to grow roses,” said Joanne Strevy. Now however, Strevy operates Rosewood Gardens, a “rose adoption center” that has the largest selection of David Austin roses in the northeast.

No Rose without the Thorn

In 1990, Strevy bought a house with a small 3’x5’ perennial garden full of what she thought were weeds. She started to learn about gardening and ended up loving it. When her family moved to their current home in West Charlton in 1998, she moved her garden with her.

The 10 ½ acre property had plenty of room for the rose-covered arbors she imagined, so she planted 10 roses. All but one promptly died. Then, a few years later, she was giving her son’s friend, David, then age 13, a tour of the gardens when he inquired about growing roses. Strevy told him they were too hard and to stick with perennials. “He didn’t listen and ordered David Austin roses. I watched and waited for them to die. They thrived. Each year they got better! I told him he had to teach me how to grow roses. I was taught how to grow roses by a teenage boy,” said Strevy. Seeing David’s success, Strevy ordered seven David Austin roses for herself then planted more and more in what, to all appearances, seemed to be an inhospitable area of her yard previously covered by river rock and weeds. In 2008, Strevy decided that she wanted to offer perennials for sale. Although she

In 2013, Strevy stopped selling perennials to focus her business on selling roses and teaching customers how to successfully grow them, as well as doing garden consultations and designing gardens for clients. For her, garden design inspiration is everywhere, including within the pressed tin ceiling or on the wallpaper of area restaurants. “Oh, I could make a garden out of that! I see designs all over the place,” said Strevy.

Taking Time to Stop & Smell the Roses

Nervous gardeners often come to Rosewood Gardens hesitant because of the tyrannical reputation that roses have earned over the years. This is in part, because of the hybrid tea rose, a long-stem variety cultivated in 1867 that strives for the perfect bloom – and is often not hardy in our growing zone. MAY/JUNE 2018 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 113

Fences, fountains, arbors and benches are the “bones” of a garden, and provide the structure needed in a well-designed garden.

David Austin’s Golden Celebration

Joanne’s favorite rose in the garden is her new granddaughter, Katie Rose!

David Austin has spent more than 70 years hybridizing roses and is the inventor of the English Rose. He has introduced hundreds of fragrant varieties.

Hot summer days bring on an explosion of color in the perennial garden. Joanne brings out the best from her perennials with an annual top dressing of wellcomposted manure.

Rosewood Garden currently has 40 varieties of David Austin roses for sale this year and strives to bring in new selections annually. Their newest varieties include the yellow Imogen, Royal Jubilee, Desdemona, Eglantyne, James Galway, Queen of Sweden and Windermere. Whether it’s a delicious raspberry or a succulent apricot scent, Strevy said she doesn’t sell a rose until she has experienced success with it herself. “They’re addictive. I have a license to sell a legally addictive substance!”


James Galway


Working in the garden relieves stress and brings her happiness, said Strevy. She loves running out in her pajamas to visit with her roses in the morning and when she’s away, her husband Paul sends her pictures of them. “I know my roses like I know my kids.”

Through RoseColored Glasses

Returning to her beloved treasures is like entering into a wonderland, said Strevy. She recommends English Roses, Clematis, and Delphiniums as plants that go well together and have similar needs. She also loves the purple and periwinkle annuals in her garden including the Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria Blue’, the Ageratum ‘Artist Blue’ and Supertunia ‘Royal Velvet’ by Proven Winners. Green Mountain and Green Velvet boxwood hedges and a nice garden bench provide a pretty place to sit. She favors fencing, arbors, gazebos and fountains for added height and structure in the garden. Strevy’s “Cottage Perennial Garden” is comprised of 10 symmetrical garden beds with a gazebo, picket fence border, arbors and pink peonies. There, the Green Mountain boxwood is accompanied by phlox, ‘Becky’ shasta daisies, ‘Walker’s Low’ nepeta, ‘Apricot Sparkles’ daylilies, tiger lilies, english roses, ‘New Millennium’ delphiniums, baptisia, ladies mantle, lilacs, peonies and columbine. Hostas, ostrich ferns, bleeding hearts, ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, spring phlox, foxgloves, and violas grace Strevy’s “Fairy Garden”. Her next project will be a Japanese garden, for which she has already acquired a large statue. For now though, she is planning to appear on the 24th Annual Secret Gardens Tour held by the Soroptimists International of Saratoga County. “If 800 people are going to be coming through my yard, I want the roses to be blooming. I’m very excited,” she said. The Secret Garden Tour will be held on July 8th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rosewood Gardens is located at 2309 Route 67, Amsterdam Road in West Charlton. They are open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., May 17th to August 18th and year-round by appointment. For more information, go to SS

The Poet’s Wife


Rose Growing Tips: • Take the time to plan out your garden. Position it in a sunny area close to a water source. The closer it is to your house, the more you will enjoy it! •

Start small. It is better to have a small, well-tended garden than a large messy one. You can always add on later when you are able to handle more. If you have limited time, try a potted rose placed nearby.

Define the edges of your garden with brick or stone to keep out invasive grass.

Plant three or more roses of the same variety in a triangle for greater impact. Spacing them 18” to 20” apart within the triangle allows room for Styrofoam rose cones (the best winter protection).

Dig a hole that is 2’x2’x2’ for each rose. Amend the soil in the hole with a mixture of well-composted manure, peat moss and 1 cup of bone meal.

Plant the bud union (graft) of the rose 3” to 4” below ground level.

Water daily right after planting and weekly throughout the growing season.

Mulch your rose garden with composted manure.

Feed roses monthly with Espoma Rose Tone (2 cups per rose scratched into the soil).

Curious critters including deer, rabbits and groundhogs can be deterred from munching with fencing and natural and commercially available repellents. MAY/JUNE 2018 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 115

Joy Woolworks creates...




oy Muller-McCoola wasn’t looking to start a business when she attended Robin Blakney-Carlson’s felting class at the Shirt Factory in Glens Falls. An art teacher for years at the Glens Falls High School, she liked working with new techniques, especially if they involved wool.

“It’s wonderful to feel the fiber rolls under your fingers,” Muller-McCoola said. But she wasn’t learning the usual method of felting, which is applying water to wool that has been carded (brushed) or knit and spun in a washing machine. This shrinks the fibers to form a strong material. Rather, Blakney-Carlson’s method, called nuno felting, has water applied to carded wool that is then wrapped around plastic swimming noodles and worked by hand through a process of stretching or pulling the product and then letting it rest. Olive oil soap is also applied because it “lets the fibers swim together” followed by a vinegar bath.

Beginning with a large oval shape about 33 inches by 29 inches of black carded wool, she then layered this with white silk in slender lines to mimic the seams in a real stone. She already knew that the thicker she layered the wool the denser and stronger would be the finished product. After a few hours of working through the entire process, MullerMcCoola had a black, fuzzy shape that had shrunk by almost 50 percent, which she stuffed. Not only did it look like the real thing, it was so comfortable to sit on.

“I started with a large one,” she said.


Muller-McCoola buys her fiber from local farms, including Crazy Legs Farm in Ft. Edward, Grand View Farm in Vermont, and Marsh Mallo Farm in Stone Arabia. One large pillow can take up to a pound of wool and because the process is time consuming, she frequently has two projects going at once. She also branched out into making bags and silly hats in the shape and colors of vegetables like eggplant or pepper. Meditation Stones can be found at the Deadwood Mountain Trading Company in Warrensburg, at the luxury interior design firm of 23rd [and Fourth] in Saratoga Springs, and at the Beekman Street Fair June 10. Muller McCoola is also happy to do custom orders. Contact her on Facebook and Instagram through her business name, Joy Woolworks. SS

“I started with a beret and then fell in love with the technique,” Muller-McCoola said. One day she was experimenting with shapes and noticed the bowls of stones around her house that she’d collected on her travels that had interesting markings like the gray or black stones with the white quartz seams from Lake Champlain or the pink and gray rocks from Lake Superior. What about making a wool “stone”?

“Tactically they feel beautiful,” she said. “People hug them or -because they’re good for the floor or couch - they lie on them to watch television or play games - or just sit on them. I’ve sold them as wedding presents. They fit into any décor.”

Meditation Stones were born. More stones in other sizes, colors, levels of firmness, textures and markings followed and Muller-McCoola began to find a market through showing them at street fairs and wool and crafts festivals.

Looking to create your own


swoon worthy gardens?

…start here! DEHN’S FLOWERS & GREENHOUSES 178 Beekman Street, Saratoga Springs 518.584.1880

This is Dehn’s 125th year in business and Charles “Dude” Dehn, the founder’s great grandson, said plants still hold his interest… “There’s something different every day.” Anyone who lives in Saratoga Springs or visits the Saratoga Race Course sees Dehn’s hanging baskets, which occupy every median and lamp post. “Years ago, we used to do Schenectady, Troy, and New London, Conn,” he said, but nowadays it’s only local.”

plants. “You can get too much phosphorus, so we give a plant just what it needs,” Mishoe said. Customers are always looking for something different and new – this year blues are big, Dehn said. There are also more requests for baskets and patio veggies. Dehn’s gets most of its cuttings and seedlings from Canada or other U.S. nurseries, including “Proven Winners” …the plants that are advertised to be healthier, disease-resistant and easy to grow! Dehn’s sells planters, garden ornaments, loose flowers and small gifts. Mishoe and his staff also work with several local landscape farms, provide horticultural support for local greenhouses and customers, and do estate work.

Dehn’s has two locations; one a gift store on Trieble Avenue that has mostly small gifts and some flowers, and the original location that is home to a gift store and twenty greenhouses all packed into a city block. Most of what goes on in those greenhouses is overseen by Dehn’s son-in-law John Mishoe, a former Navy man in nuclear reactors who 29 years ago “learned plants from the ground up.” While there are some greenhouses filled with nothing but ferns – all of which they’ll sell, he said, and others only with perennials and some veggies, Dehn’s also sells shrubs and trees for indoor landscaping like nine-foot tall banana trees, dwarf Norfolk Island pines or an eightfoot tall cactus. Keeping everything healthy is a big issue. “I’m a minimalist regarding spraying,” Mishoe said. “We’re trying more biologics, like nematodes.” He’s also cut back on fertilizing the



A main focus is how the plant looks.

Suzanne Balet Haight grew up helping her parents on their 15-acre farm where they grew veggies for the Saratoga Farmers Market… see page 48 for more on her history with the market. “There were also some flowers and by the time I was in high school I’d started my love of flowers,” Haight said.

“It’s like bringing art into the garden,” she said. “I’m always trying new varieties for at least one season and eliminate those that may take too long to harvest, or the flower is too tiny, or the plant has a substance that may cause a rash or blister. People want to know where their food and flowers are coming from and to buy locally, and I plant those plants hardy to the area. I also don’t spray but use ladybugs and other insects to eat the aphids or spider mites.” 5041 Nelson Ave. Extension, Malta 518.584.8555

When she returned with a horticulture degree in 1995 from SUNY Cobleskill, she expanded the business—which her parents had started in1978—to bedding plants, cut flowers and herbs. In 2001, after the single Quonset-style greenhouse collapsed from snow weight, she put up a Gothic-style model and now has three of these greenhouses and works only three acres for corn and vegetables. While customers at the Saratoga Springs market depend year after year on her veggie and herb seedlings, they may not know the amount of research Haight does to find the unique perennial, the sweetest heirloom tomato, or an unusual succulent, fern or petunia that has just the right color and texture. This season she planted up to 140 new plant varieties in addition to her usual selection of 200 varieties of perennials, 150 annuals and more than 80 veggies and herbs. 118  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

Haight also sells berry and flowering shrubs, lets customers cut their own bouquets on a limited basis, and has hanging baskets that come in various levels of care from those that require little watering or deadheading, to those that need different levels of light. Because this year the trends seem to be for foliage, texture and succulents, Haight created a succulent wreath and a succulent hanging ball with baby plants that eventually will fill in the complete wreath. “I like to make something different where a home owner can find the material and do it on their own,” she said. Twenty years ago, Haight became interested in making pottery and now her shop sells various size vessels that will hold plants, bouquets or even a cup of coffee. She also does wedding bouquets and will help anyone interested in designing their own garden.

SUNNYSIDE GARDENS 345 Church Street, Saratoga Springs 518.584.1034 Ned Chapman hadn’t planned on running a nursery but when he graduated college and couldn’t find a job in his chosen field, he took a summer job in a greenhouse and just stuck with it, he said. In 1982 he started a wholesale business to supply local florists. “Then people kept coming in wanting to buy the flowers,” he said. “After five years of rejecting them, I decided to move into retail.” These days he has two huge greenhouses each at 300 feet by 40 feet filled with flowers, seedlings in various stages and veggies. There are also 25 Quonset-style greenhouses for starter plants. Unless a customer asks, few realize that many of those exotic looking varieties actually come from exotic locales. “I get cuttings from Costa Rica, Guatamala, Brazil, Israel, Kenya and Ethiopia,” Chapman said. “For instance, there are no domestic producers for petunias. In those countries, working in a greenhouse is considered a good job, and they do a good job on the plants.” The cuttings are barely a few leaves when he gets them. After a bit of time in his warm greenhouse in early spring, he transplants them into sterile peat moss to root and then later puts them into a pot ready for customers. Chapman said he figures he has almost a million plants that include annuals, perennials, veggies and herbs.

“I have names for all of them and talk to all of them at night,” he quipped. Because trends come and go, each year is dramatically different than the preceding year. He reads through all the trade magazines and noted that this year’s color forecast seemed to be in the brownish tints, whereas two years ago it was black. So far, his customers prefer seeing the 30 colors of impatiens or the wide selection of coleus he plants, he said. Container gardens are also in, Chapman said. “Twenty years ago it was to plant 20 tomato plants, now it’s ten in mixed containers on one’s deck,” he said. “I’m also not seeing lawn displays.” Hanging baskets are always big and he’ll sell all 500 baskets with ferns that he’s planted. Wave petunias also “revolutionized” the industry mainly because there’s no deadheading of spent flowers. “You just water and stand back.” Chapman also sells a wide variety of planters, soils, fertilizers, and garden ornaments, and holds festivals to celebrate the seasons or special days like Mother’s Day. But his frequent concern is that people put plants in the right environment for them to grow. After being nurtured in his greenhouses, he’s troubled when he hears that a customer has put a plant needing full sun in a dark alcove in their house. “People need to realize it’s a living thing, (with specific needs) not a piece of furniture.” …Luckily, he’s there to help us! SS




Terrariums -

an elegant way of bringing gardens indoors. The first terrarium was developed by Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, a London doctor who also happened to be a botany enthusiast. Dr. Ward’s plants, particularly his ferns, were having difficulty surviving the polluted air of 1820’s London. As a passionate plant collector, it became extremely frustrating to watch his plants succumb to the toxic Victorian air. Ward also happened to be an avid insect observer, and as such often kept collection jars for his specimens. One day, he accidentally left one of the jars uncovered which allowed a single fern spore to land in the jar, germinate and ultimately grow into a plant; the terrarium was born, or the Wardien Case, as it was originally known. Victorian botany combined a love of collecting, a respect for nature, and an interest in preserving plants. This, combined with their taste for lavish style, resulted in the beautiful glass vessels we have come to associate with that era and the terrarium becoming commonplace in Victorian homes. Recently, we see terrariums gaining popularity once again. These fascinating miniature ecosystems can complement virtually any existing decor, add a touch of green to your home or office, and offer a very low-maintenance alternative to traditional house plants.

Because of the different conditions within, terrariums can be classified into two types:

Closed Terrariums

Tropical plant varieties, such as mosses, orchids, ferns, and air plants, are generally kept within closed terrariums due to the conditions being like the humid and sheltered environment of the tropics. Keeping the terrarium sealed, allows for the circulation of water, but terrariums must be opened once a week to remove excess moisture from the air and walls of the container.

Open Terrarium

Open terrariums are better suited to dry plants such as succulents. Not all plants require—or are suited to—the moist environment of closed terrariums. They require natural light as well as adequate watering and drainage. There are many styles available and one’s preference is usually based on preferred level of effort involved in maintaining the terrarium. To have one made for you: SS MAY/JUNE 2018 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 121

Photo by Nancy Giard

Great Things are


On The Move

Goode Farm



here’s so much going on at Goode Farm these days. During the last three years, Robin Holland has made a name for the farm as a rich resource for locally grown organic produce, focusing on unique and exotic veggies. This year, she is adding flowers to the mix.

Located at 966 Goode Road, the farm is also known to locals as the old Armer family farm and it has been a presence on Goode Road for more than 150 years. When Robin Holland and her husband, Skidmore professor Benjamin Bogin, bought the place in 2014, Robin knew she had truly found her “dream home.”

An interior designer, Robin loved the old bones and the charm of the 1870’s home, But, instead of keeping her focus on interior design, she set about cultivating the land and establishing an organic farming operation. Four years later, Goode Farm has become a familiar name to frequenters of farmers’ markets, as well as to local chefs looking for high quality, locally grown organic produce. 122  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

This year, Robin has added a few twists to her business model, with a plan to focus on growing and selling flowers. The 200-plus varieties of flowers and foliage she is cultivating thrive in cooler climates and Robin is already seeing a demand for her product. Using the same business model she employed with her organic vegetables, Goode Farm will offer a $20 bunch of cut flowers. Her $20 box of veggies have been a big success and she is excited about adding flowers to the mix. Unlike many CSAs – community-supported agriculture – there is no expensive upfront annual subscription fee. People can order their boxes weekly or less frequently and pay as they go. In addition to mixed flower bouquets, Goode Farm also plans to offer a limited number of subscriptions to its brand new “Flower Club.” “Subscription holders will get six show-stopping flower arrangements, artfully composed in a simple clay vase that customers will keep,” says the website, adding that the arrangements are nothing like what people will find at a conventional florist. “My designs are full, fresh, and fragrant. They're sophisticated and a little bit wild, with carefully cultivated annuals and fresh, foraged foliage,” says Robin. She adds that she approaches floral design from her architecture and design background and she is excited to share this more personal and creative side of flower farming with her customers. Robin estimates the value of each arrangement is $50, but she plans to offer the group of six arrangements at her “introductory rate” of $200 for her first ten subscribers. Robin expects her flower club to appeal to individuals as well as restaurant owners looking to add something unique, beautiful and locally grown to their ambience during the busy summer season. The other clever twist that Robin has added is her new delivery van, which she will use to bring flowers and produce to customers. While residents of Ballston Spa, Milton and nearby Charlton were fine with coming to the farm weekly to pick up their orders, Robin said that it was “a drag” for some people, who lived a little farther away, in Saratoga, Wilton or beyond. She has also made the tough decision to forego the farmers markets this year. While it was a difficult decision, Robin feels that, by offering a delivery service, she will be able to reach more customers. Robin plans to make deliveries daily throughout the summer and people can order flowers and her specialty produce online through their website: and orders will be delivered the next day. Robin plans to offer free delivery within five miles of the farm and $5 within 5-12 miles. For those who enjoy visiting Goode Farm in person to pick up their $20 box or bunch, Robin plans to add yet another twist – Pétanque Club. “What’s this?” you ask. Pétanque is the French version of Bocce. Robin and Ben discovered the game on a trip to France, where they spent a week in a sleepy little countryside village in the south of France. “We ended up playing the game for an entire week and had a great time,” Robin recalls. She decided it would be a great reason for people to visit the farm and expand the “community” feel of the place. Membership in the Pétanque Club will include a one-time fee of $50 per person and more detailed information about the club and instructions on how to play are available on their website. Robin also plans to hold “farm to table dinners” following matches, with suggested donations “befitting the night’s menu.” Other plans include live music on Tuesday evenings during track season, featuring local musicians. Suffice it to say there will be no shortage of great things to do at Goode Farm this season. SS


The Heritage Garden Club of Saratoga Springs

A Shared Interest


Beautifying Saratoga Springs’ public spaces is a group effort.

The Heritage Garden Club of Saratoga Springs has been promoting and enriching the culture of gardening in the city since 1987.

“Working in the garden brings me a profound feeling of inner peace,” said club president Sharon Meyer.

A Community Centered Club

The club’s 41 members maintain three public gardens with the support of the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust; the memorial garden at the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center, the garden of hope at Saratoga Hospital’s radiation and oncology unit, and the Gideon Putnam burying ground on Franklin Street. It is difficult because the Gideon Putnam has no external water source and volunteers often water the plants with bottles they bring from home. Bringing in speakers on a variety of garden, environmental and horticultural topics, the clubs also host several events for The Wesley Community's Woodlawn Commons’ senior residents. These include a summer barb-que, fall harvest tea and garden therapy program (also funded by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust).

“We just enjoy each other’s company through the fellowship of gardening and that common thread goes through everything we do,” said Meyer. Their charitable contributions include youth scholarships to BOCES and sponsoring middle school camperships to Camp Colby, donations to the Franklin Community Center, the Empty Stocking Project, gifts to the Home of the Good Shepard and others. They raise funds through various activities including an annual plant sale and card party. 124  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018


Fears for the Future Useful tips are provided by their speakers, the club’s master gardeners and the personal experiences of its members. This year, of particular concern is the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle infestation that has harmed tens of thousands of ash trees. Also, Asian jumping worms are altering the soil composition and may be the next big threat to northern forests. The ability to pass along this valuable information and the future of gardening clubs like this one, is itself in jeopardy. “There’s fewer young women joining clubs because they’re busy working, so we just don’t have the next generation to carry it on,” said Meyer.

Save the Date!

The Heritage Garden Club of Saratoga Springs is holding a plant sale June 2nd starting at 9 a.m. on the corner of Bryan St. and East Ave. in Saratoga Springs. Included in the sale will be different shapes and colors of the distinctive daylilies developed by the late Stanley Saxton. The long-time Saratoga Springs resident and legendary daylily hybridizer developed and registered hundreds of varieties of lilies, which were rescued from his garden of approximately 250,000 daylilies.

Club members will be at The Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center, 297 Broadway, Saratoga Springs for the 24th Annual Secret Garden Tour on Sunday, July 8, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Come join the club! Meetings are held at Woodlawn Commons, 156 Lawrence Street, Saratoga Springs, the second Monday of each month at noon. Annual dues are $30. SS


LaRue Woodworking Another Generation of the LaRue Bi-Centennial Farm



Charlton Road, just 15 minutes southwest of downtown Saratoga Springs, has more than its share of pastoral beauty and scenic rural charm, not the least of which is LaRue National Bi-Centennial Farm. A working farm that produces hay and small grain, LaRue Farm is also home to LaRue Woodworking and LaRue Enterprises, owned and operated by seventh generation owner and master craftsman, Will LaRue. Will crafted and sold his first cutting boards to the ladies at his local church in 1982, when he was just eight-years old. From there, his love of woodworking and design blossomed, and he went from cutting boards to coffee tables, cabinetry and furniture. He now runs a bustling business that currently operates with 1 ½ shifts of one 8-hour shift and two 4-hour shifts. Over the years, Will’s artistry has forged his reputation for perfectionism and craftsmanship of the highest quality, with clients as far away as California and Florida, Canada to Maine – and everywhere in between.

Will’s “big break” came in 2000 when he displayed what he calls “The Bed” at the annual Woodworkers’ Showcase held at the Saratoga Springs Civic Center. “Everyone loved it,” says Will, and the orders began to flow into his small shop above the farm’s garage. Over the course of the next eight


years, LaRue Woodworking grew out of its original 900-square-foot space into the current 10,000 square-foot operation which includes the main shop, a lumber storage barn, two sawmills, a drying kiln and another smaller woodworking shop.

Currently, the wait-time for projects ranges from one month for smaller projects to as long as five months for medium to large items. “People who want something by next week aren’t my clients,” says Will. But he adds that, once people see his work, they are happy to wait a little longer. “When they come here with something for me to build, they usually don’t go elsewhere.”

When I ask Will to name some of his projects, he begins to pull up some amazing Will also designs and builds some of his photographs on his computer screen. Unlike own large equipment, such as surfacing a lot of woodworkers, Will’s artistry allows tables and flooring machines. him to design and build furniture, cabinetry, built-ins and other items that appeal to all One of the challenges of operating his rapidly tastes, from rustic to contemporary. Some expanding business is, of course, logistics. of his most memorable projects include While Will is comfortable using highly the restoration of a circa 1800 sleigh, a 100 technical and precision equipment in his work, percent duplication of a 1919 Model TT, and he also depends on a simple yet effective “flow – most impressive – a steeple for Charlton chart” in the form of a cork board and index Presbyterian Freehold Church. cards. He uses the board to keep him focused on the number and size of his projects, as well Will shows me photos of the work on the as projected completion times. steeple as it progressed “We called this

the witch’s hat,” he says, referring to the actual steeple that crowns the church. The surrounding foundation is a work of artistry, combining exacting precision and aesthetic beauty. Will is a true master craftsman. He also now employs three full-time and three part-time people, including his mother who does the bookkeeping and his 17-year old daughter, Crystal, who works on the company’s website. Two former marines who round out the employee roster, Bryce Tyrrell and Katia Uveges, have worked in the shop for about a year now, and they say that, while Will is a true perfectionist, he is also a wonderful boss. Katia loves the fact that they have a hand in turning a tree into something else that allows the tree to live on as a piece of beautifully custom-crafted furniture. To see the full portfolio of LaRue Woodworking’s designs and creations, visit their website at SS




Wondering if a loved one will be safe in the event of an emergency can be an unbearable burden. During the heat of a fire, for pets, getting out doesn't always mean escaping the danger.

When a 15-year-old Labrador mix was rescued from a burning building, he was suffering from smoke inhalation and needed to be resuscitated. Luckily, the fire department had just received a Project Breathe resuscitation kit made especially for animals. After receiving 15 minutes of oxygen through the small conical mask, he was able to again breathe on his own.

"I really do believe the dog wouldn't have made it without it. This is what it's for and I'm just grateful they had one," said Kim Bellizzi. The fire had occurred at her relative’s house and the reason the first responders had the life-saving kit was because she had personally delivered it to them just three weeks earlier. "Everybody got out, the house is salvageable and the dog is doing great," she said.

RISK MANAGEMENT For many, pets are like members of the family. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 pets die in fires each year mostly due to smoke inhalation. Luckily, smoke inhalation kits made especially for pets are now available to first responders. Distributed through the Invisible Fence Project Breathe program, these kits can mean the difference between life and death for pets.



Invisible Fence has been committed to saving the lives of our pets since 1973 by keeping them happy and safe in our yards. Bellizzi was a high school science teacher before she almost lost her golden doodle to an accident when he ran into the road. The incident encouraged her to help improve his safety and the security of other animals, which is why she became the owner of Invisible Fence of the Tri-Cities and Hudson Valley, New York six years ago. "I've loved animals since the day I was born. Life is so much easier when you come home and can de-stress with their unconditional love. I can't imagine life without them," she said.

PEACE OF MIND Each of the more than 12,000 pet oxygen masks distributed by the Invisible Fence brand helps to ensure peace of mind to pet owners nationwide. Locally, Bellizzi was recognized by the company as the 2017 Circle of Excellence Award winner for her efforts to keep animals safe. She has personally delivered 300 pet resuscitation kits in the past three years. Because they come with three different size oxygen masks, the kits can accommodate animals that range in size from small kittens, to rabbits up to large dogs. Getting out and getting everyone equipped is Bellizzi’s mission. The heartfelt stories that she hears along the way are proof that each one really can make a difference in the event of an emergency. Do your local first responders need a Project Breathe resuscitation kit? To find out more on how to get one, go to






Carelessness is what causes most fires. Being mindful with fire, while cooking and with electricity, can prevent many fires from ever getting their start. Last year, the Saratoga Springs Fire Department answered a total of 5,164 calls, up from 4,731 the previous year, and that number is expected to continue to grow.

“We just get busier, busier and busier,” said Captain Aaron Dyer, a firefighter for 20 years. In December, he became head of the City of Saratoga Springs Fire Prevention Office.

BUILDING SAFELY Experiencing year-round increases in summer tourists, causes Saratoga’s population to swell from 30,000 to 100,000 people. Capt. Dyer conducts building inspections to help establishments—including bars and restaurants—develop fire safety and evacuation plans. Employers are instructed to educate and document employee training about how to safely evacuate customers in the event of an emergency.

MODERN PREVENTION TIPS Teaching everyone about how a fire extinguisher is a tool, not a toy, will help take the mystery out of how to handle fire prevention and suppression in a responsible way. Another call to the station came as a result of a pile of laundry igniting when a local business using body oils had a number of towels piled together. Cloths with any organic base oil (body oil, stains, motor oils etc.) can heat up and spontaneously combust, which is why they should

“The best thing people can do is install a fire sprinkler system. It may not put the fire out, but it will hold the fire in check until the fire department gets there. Water damage is a lot easier to mitigate than fire damage,” said Capt. Dyer. Following the requirements put forth by the 2015 International Fire Safety Code, Capt. Dyer said there are ways to protect the character of a building while also protecting its tenants and your investment.

always be stored in a metal container with a lid, said Capt. Dyer. With the advancement of technology, comes the increase of electrical fires. To power our devices, we overload electrical sockets, run cords under rugs and use the wrong extension cord for the job. Cell phones and tablets should not be charged using cheap NEMA-1 three socket cords (commonly sold at discount stores) because they can overheat. Instead, look for cords and power strips with a “UL” or “GFCI” certified label. Cooking is the number one cause of residential fires. People don’t realize an electric stove is on and set something on it, when

cooking they get distracted and walk away, or try to put a grease fire out with water, said Capt. Dyer. Instead, pay attention to what you’re cooking, keep your area clean and always have a metal or other non-combustible lid nearby to smother fire. Here is another tip: Pulling out your camper for the summer? Avoid water damaging the electrical wiring by checking the roof, as well as opening all the vents and windows to evaporate condensation build-up. For more fire prevention tips, go to Fire-Safety-Tips



From the Saratoga Springs Fire Department WHY DO I NEED A HOME FIRE DRILL? Close to 50% of people who die in home fires were trying to escape when they died.

• •

A developed exit plan, and practice of a home fire drill, might have saved their lives. How fast is fire? FIRE IS FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. You only have two (just two!) minutes to get out of your home before you might get stuck in the flames. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. FIRE IS HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.

Replace the entire smoke alarm/CO unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure Carbon Monoxide Detectors are installed in your home in order to ensure that your home has maximum protection, it's important to have a CO detector on every floor and in every bedroom or in the hall near the bedrooms. • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is near impossible to identify without a proper detector. It is caused by fuels not burning completely, including wood, gasoline, coal, propane, natural gas, gasoline, and heating oil. This unburned fuel can come from anything from clothes dryers, water heaters, and ovens to ranges, a fire-burning fireplace, or a car left running in a closed garage.


• • •


FIRE IS DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.


FIRE IS DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.

Everyone in your household should take part in planning your escape.


Know what types of smoke alarms are available for your needs. Install smoke alarms on each level of your house including the basement. Put smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside all sleeping areas. Push the test button until the alarm sounds. Do this each month. Interconnected smoke alarms provide the best protection. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound. Test your smoke and CO alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.


• •

• •

• • • •

Think about how you will escape from every room, starting with bedrooms. If possible, plan two escape routes from each room. Your second route may be to go out a window or stand at a window where firefighters can see you. Decide where you will meet outside. Plan everyone’s role. Who will make sure children get out? Plan for special needs. Do you have: Young children? Older adults? People with temporary or permanent disabilities? Do you ever have overnight guests? Share your plan with babysitters and frequent visitors. Keep your floors, hallways and stairs clear of clutter. Fire extinguishers require planning too. Practice your home fire drill.

At least twice a year, push the smoke alarm button to start your home fire drill. Get out fast. Practice escaping from bedrooms when people are asleep. Make sure everyone in your household can open all doors and windows. Security bars on windows should have emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside. Go to your meeting place. In a real fire, get out and stay out. Call 9-1-1 from outside.

• •

Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling. Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out. If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present. If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located. If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away. If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight. If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.

PREVENT HOME FIRES Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.


• • •

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove. Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.


Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can. Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster. Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.


Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture. If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.


Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices. Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.


Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions. Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.


Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet. Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.


Never use stove range or oven to heat your home. Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources. Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

Don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.


Post Time Memories

with Dennis G. Hogan Clockwise from left: Gladys Mills Phipps with daughter Audrey; the mansion at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site; Gladys and husband Henry at Saratoga, 1939 © Acme; Bold Ruler © Claiborne Farm; the mansion’s dining room.

A Site to Behold The hamlet of Staatsburg adorns the eastern bank of the Hudson River, and reveals yet another pearl in the string of homes and properties that comprise New York’s Great Estates Region. There, set upon a grand hill, is the Staatsburgh State Historic Site. Formerly referred to as the Mills Mansion, it is the onetime home of Ruth Livingston, husband Ogden Mills, and their three children: twins Gladys and Beatrice, and son Ogden Livingston Mills. In the Livingston family for generations, the property saw a number of renovations though none as remarkable as the one procured for Ruth and husband Ogden, by New York-based architect Stanford White. In 1894 White took what was a stately 25-room Greek Revival manor and transformed it into a 79-room Beaux Arts/Neoclassical mansion. And it still stands today as a testament to the Gilded Age, the period in American history from just after the Civil War to the advent of War War I. It was a time noted by both abject poverty and extreme wealth; when the ‘one-percent’ applied their fortunes toward the building of grandiose monuments that were staffed and maintained by highly skilled though less flush servants, laborers and craftsmen. “The Millses were upper class and they needed something to identify with,” explained Marilyn Holst, who began her tenure at the site in 1986. “They looked around and said, ‘We’ve made something here but we don’t have a culture to relate to.’ “Stanford White came along and said, ‘Tell me what you want.’ And they replied, ‘Well, we’ve been to a certain castle in England, and rubbed elbows with the nobles. Make us feel that way.’ And Stanford White said, ‘I can do that for you.’ “The Millses passed away in the 1920s,” said Marilyn, “and ownership was passed down to their son Ogden, 132  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

though he died in 1937 and never had children of his own. So next in line was daughter Gladys. She does not take up residency, instead she offers the building and 192 acres of land to the State of New York. “It was to be known as the ‘Ruth Livingston and Ogden Mills Memorial Park and Museum.’ Gladys realized that this was a way of life that only an exclusive few enjoyed and she wanted to share it with others - that was the philanthropist in her. She also made the statement that ‘This house is my mom and dad, though it’s not me.’” And it wasn’t the only statement Gladys made, for years earlier she and brother Ogden began Wheatley Stables, whose yellow and purple silks left an indelible mark upon American racing in the twentieth century. Gladys Livingston Mills, along with twin sister Beatrice, was born in 1883. One would note that they both married well. In 1907 Gladys married Henry Carnegie Phipps, the son of steel magnate Henry Phipps, Jr. Two years later, sister Beatrice married Bernard Forbes to become the Countess of Granard; she too enjoyed great racing success although on the European turf. In 1925 Gladys purchased three horses at the Saratoga yearling sale. She also acquired several homebreds from Harry Payne Whitney. In short time Wheatley seemed to make all the right moves: they hired renowned trainer ‘Sunny Jim’ Fitzsimmons, and began a breeding operation at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. In the early ‘30s the partnership was joined by husband Henry. In 1933 they bred Seabiscuit, whose career never really took flight until his fourth year, by which time he’d been sold off to Charles S. Howard, of California. The ‘biscuit’ was named champion handicap male in both ‘37 and ’38, and was Horse of the Year in 1938. Wheatley gained notable success throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s, though they were no stranger to tragedy. In 1937 brother Ogden died of heart disease, and in 1953 husband Henry passed away after a long illness.

Remarkably, Gladys continued on and Wheatley’s greatest successes were yet to come. They bred 1954 two-year-old champion High Voltage, and 1955 three-year-old champion Misty Morn. Then in 1957 a colt by Nasrullah, out of the mare Miss Disco, would be named three-year-old champion, and co-Horse of the Year. His name was Bold Ruler, and his reign was dominant, both on the track and in the breeding shed. Bold Ruler was Wheatley’s only Classic winner, taking the 1957 Preakness with jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard. He finished his career with an astounding record of 23 wins from 33 starts, with four place and two show appearances. Retired to Claiborne, he would go on to lead the North American sire list for seven consecutive years (1963-1969) and reclaim the honor in ’73. Bold Ruler sired 11 Champion horses and may best be remembered as the sire of 1973 Triple Crown Champion Secretariat. His line also produced five additional leading North American sires What A Pleasure, Raja Baba, Seattle Slew, A.P. Indy, and Tapit. Gladys Mills Phipps and husband Henry had four children. Their only son Ogden established the highly successful Phipps Stable in 1932. His more memorable charges include Buckpasser, Easy Goer and Personal Ensign. Their daughter Barbara Phipps married Stuart Janney, whose stable campaigned the brilliant and unforgettable Ruffian. Gladys passed away in 1970. During her time she kept homes on Long Island, and in Florida; she actually spent few days at Staatsburg’s mansion on the hill, though her legacy may still be found there. The Staatsburgh State Historic Site remains open to the public for tours, afternoon tea services and a host of special events. Thanks to Gladys’s generosity and the site’s dutiful staff, what Stanford White did for the Phipps, he did for us all. SS






Grand Union Hotel Shops


In Saratoga Springs



aratoga Springs was a wonderful destination in the summer of 1874. The city, and the country were flourishing in the years after the American Civil War. Industry and the development of the West had started to produce a new group of wealthy Americans who enjoyed the environment of a “Social Summer in Saratoga.” The new wealth of the country was interested in the timeless activity of “seeing and being seen” in the social circles of our village in the summer. The first step to enjoying the summer scene in Saratoga Springs in 1874 was to travel to this great location. Advertisements of 1874 tell us that the use of railroads and steam ships from major cities allowed for a relatively quick travel time to our city. In the very early part of the 1800s travel to Saratoga Springs was slow and involved sailing ships and horse drawn coaches. Prior to when the first rail line came to Saratoga Springs, in 1832, it took 8 hours by coach just to travel from Albany to Saratoga. Robert Fulton had added steam ship travel on the Hudson 134  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

from New York to Albany but mostly sailing ships brought you to New York City. The fact that rail service to Saratoga Springs was the second rail line in the State of New York by 1832 shows the importance of the city as a summer destination. Advertisements in 1874 show that there was daily steamship service from New York City to Troy to allow customers connecting rail transportation to Saratoga all for a cost of $2.50 per person. The return trip was also easy, as a train left Saratoga Springs every night at 6:45 PM to connect passengers to a steamship leaving Troy at 8:00 PM with arrival in NYC in the morning. When visitors arrived in the village they would be met at the rail station on Railroad Place by horse drawn carriages that would transport them to their preferred hotel. In 1874 there were more than 30 hotels in the village and countless boarding houses that could accommodate between 15,000-25,000 visitors. All the large hotels offered the best in accommodations with the finest food, music and entertainment of the

Congress Hall

Grand Union Hotel

day. Most of these large hotels offered an American Plan that included three meals and a room for about $2.50-$3.50 per day. Hotels with names like Congress Hall, United States, Grand Union, Grand Central, Columbian, American, Clarendon, Everett House, and Continental all welcomed guests for stays with durations of days if not weeks. The year 1874 was a very interesting year in that it was the last year that we as a city had the four largest hotels all operating at the same time. The big four hotels were the Grand Union, Congress Hall, United States, and the Grand Central. On October 1, 1874 the Grand Central caught fire and in a matter of a few hours was destroyed. The Grand Central was a wonderful hotel that had opened for the first time in the summer of 1872. The Grand Central had just closed for its third summer when the fire occurred. Located on the south-west corner of Broadway and Congress Street, the Grand Central had a frontage of 580 feet with 650 rooms and could accommodate 1,000 guests. The tables in the dining room were set with $15,000 worth of silverware and served daily by 150 waiters. In 1874 the largest hotel in the world was the Grand Union located on 7 acres of land that occupied the Broadway frontage from Washington Street to Congress Street and back to Federal Street. The Grand Union had 824 rooms with additional cottages and a dining room that could accommodate 1,200 people at one time with the best food available. The construction of the Grand Union used 12 acres of carpeting, 1 acre of marble tile and produced 2 miles of hallways in the hotel. In 1874 the Grand Union offered music daily on the courtyard lawn at 9:00 a.m. and at 3:30 p.m. and nightly hops featuring Prof. J.M. Landers’ orchestra. A travel guide from 1874 made the statement that they felt the “best” hotel was the Congress Hall. That guide stated “the gem of Saratoga was one of the finest if not the finest hotel in the country is the Congress Hall.” Congress Hall was originally built by Gideon Putnam in 181112 and was the site where he fell from scaffolding and later died from complications of that fall. The Congress Hall was rebuilt in 1868 by then owner H.H. Hathorn. The Congress Hall was located on the East side of Broadway from Spring Street to the entrance to Congress Park (East Congress Street). Congress Hall had 416 feet of frontage on Broadway and had two wings that went down Spring Street and East Congress Street 300 feet in length. The hallways of the hotel were 10 feet wide and the front piazza was 20 feet by 240 feet in size. In the summer of 1874 the Friday evening balls where described as… “they surpass all others in America with the music provided by the unrivaled Bernstein Orchestra.”

The hotels were the epicenter for daily entertainment but were not the only offerings in Saratoga Springs. John Morrissey had started the Saratoga Race Course in the summer of 1863 and followed with the opening of the “Club House” (Canfield Casino today) in 1870. Since gambling was thought to be a men’s only activity, it gave the wealthy men a place to lose their money both day and night in 1874. At the Saratoga Race Course in the summer of 1874 the Travers was won by Attila, a three-year-old colt owned by American tobacco manufacturer Pierre Lorillard IV. Carriage rides to Saratoga Lake after the daily 2:00 p.m. dinner, strolls and shopping on Broadway as well as rocking on the porches of the large hotels were all activities that visitors enjoyed. An 1874 brochure on Saratoga stated, “Saratoga is predominately a fashionable resort, and the city of vanity fair, it is nevertheless Cupid’s summer home.” Saratoga was the spot for couples to meet and marriage proposals made in this wonderful social environment. Many wealthy families arrived in Saratoga each summer with goals for their visit, and marriage to a person of status and respect for a son or daughter was usually one of those goals. The number one activity was taking the mineral waters daily. Many people probably didn’t care for the taste of the many mineral springs, but drank it daily because it was what you did when you traveled to the number one health resort in America in the 1800s. Many brochures were distributed to guide visitors to the proper use of the springs and the healing power of each. Saratoga Springs had Dr. Whitting who spent a considerable amount of time in his medical practice guiding and prescribing the use of the mineral waters. Most visitors started their day with a walk to the Congress Spring to consume 1-2 glasses before breakfast. It was socially acceptable to be seen “taking the waters.” During the summer of 1874, visitors came to a grand Saratoga Springs that had gas lighting and telegraph service but would need to wait for the telephone until it arrived in the village in 1877. Edison’s invention of the incandescent light was not demonstrated at the Grand Union Hotel until 1884 and was introduced to replace gas lighting in the village soon after. Saratoga Springs was continuing to grow with a population of 9,000 people in 1874. There had been a tremendous amount of construction of major buildings in the years prior to 1874, with some of the best residences of the day found on Lake Avenue and Franklin Street. North Broadway would soon explode in development but was not notable in 1874. In 1874 they referred to the “Fifth Avenue” of Saratoga Springs as Circular Street. Saratoga in the summer of 1874 was a great place, just like it is today, 144 years later. SS MAY/JUNE 2018 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 135



GRAND UNION FRONT PORCH A view of the famed front porch of the Grand Union Hotel in the off-season. At the height of the summer season this piazza, or porch, could hold 500 rocking chairs for the enjoyment of the guests.

The hotel on the left is Congress Hall Hotel. The bridge connects the hotel to the ballroom on the right. The ballroom was built in 1868 to meet the needs of the hotel. The Hathorn Spring was discovered when the foundation for the ballroom was constructed. Larger version on page 133.



The entrance to the ballroom was through the bridge that connected the hotel and the ballroom on the right of the image. This ballroom hosted many orators, actors and evening dances during the summer season.


This image shows a view of the hotel to reveal the courtyard that was in the protected rear of the hotel. The center section of the image is the back part of the hotel that faced Broadway.


The Country Gentleman Restaurant and Cocktail lounge located at current site of the Homewood Suites was Nate Goldsmith’s vision of a high end restaurant. If Madmen’s Don Draper visited Saratoga in 1960, he would have headed straight to the leather backed bar stools and sipped his cocktail while listening to the Vito Mimone Trio. Men were required to wear dinner jackets and were lent one if they arrived without one. Countless wedding receptions from John and Joy Conners (the first one) to Mary Carroll and Steve Assey’s (the last one) were enjoyed in the elegant restaurant. ©The George S. Bolster Collection, Saratoga History Museum


Dining Out 20 th




Take a tour with us through Saratoga's old eating establishments as Carol Godette features a different one in each issue of Simply Saratoga Magazine - Enjoy!


ining out or plating in? This option wasn't available for Saratogians of the '60s and '70s. Recently a friend boasted that although his wife didn't cook, she "plates a beautiful dinner" - referring to her ability to transform local take-out specials into artistic creations. The popularity of “Take out Tuesday” offerings has helped sustain year-round business and is a relatively new aspect of our local culinary scene. Although this particular phenomenon isn’t unique, Saratoga Springs’ mom-and-pop restaurants have had a rich history from the purported invention of both the potato chip and the club sandwich - to the famous and infamous clientele that have savored their cuisine. Perhaps due to zoning laws that limit fast foods chains with large footprints or the discerning tastes of the racing crowd and resident summer artists, local mom-and-pop restaurants have been the rule rather than exception within our city limits- a double edged sword for many mom and pop operators. Along with many choices comes stiff competition -within the last few months three once popular restaurants in the downtown area closed- One Caroline St, Park Side Eatery, and The Merry Monk.

Author’s note: “Restaurants” in this series are defined as full service, sit down meals with wait staff service.

Today, sidewalk cafes are essential elements of our local restaurant scene. This was not the case for the eateries listed in the Saratoga Springs 1963 Chamber of Commerce's

Centennial brochure. City Hall first approved an outdoor patio for Broadway's Triple Crown Restaurant in 1977. Permit laws loosened in the 1980s, paving the way for other restaurants to construct the patios we now associate with our local favorites. In the "pre-café" days of the 1960s, dining at a full-service restaurant was a rare treat for the average family. I remember what a special occasion it was every year when our family celebrated my parent's anniversary at The Trade Winds. Each of us dressed in our Sunday best. If a fellow patron neglected to wear a sport coat the Trade Winds staff was instructed to ask, "May I lend you a dinner jacket?" For many locals of 2018, dining out is no longer a yearly or even monthly event etched in our minds. This series will focus on some of the mainstays of our local mom-and-pop full service restaurants. Each issue this year will explore a beloved establishment of yesteryear- the Ash Grove Inn, Lillian's, Lou's Luncheonette, Ma Demartino's, Mother Goldsmiths - and will finish with two remaining veterans Pennell's and The Olde Bryan Inn. Settle in and be prepared to once again enter into the world of the sparkling French-paned windows of the Ashgrove Inn, the Sy Wallick lined caricatured walls of Mother Goldsmiths, and the stone covered, cave like walls of the Trade Winds' vestibule. SS


City natives Nate Goldsmith (left) and his younger brother Lou (right) pose in front of Nate's newly opened luncheonette in this 1939 photo.



the hangout “where everybody knows your name.” I like to imagine that James Burrow and week. Although each had a signature style, brothers Glen and Les Charles visited Saratoga both were an everyday kind of place where Springs’ brothers Lou and Nate Goldsmith at “everybody came and everybody ate,” says Stu their respective restaurants, Lou’s Luncheonette Goldsmith, Lou’s son and onetime helper. and Mother Goldsmith’s, and were inspired to Nate Goldsmith had the charm of Sam Malone create their hit TV show. and the warm heart of “Coach.” His legally Each mainstay restaurant could have supplied blind status barred him from entering the all the script material ever needed for Cheers’ military and even driving, but that didn’t 11 years on air. At the heart of it all were two dampen his passion for Broadway show tunes. hard working, restaurant visionaries who were Nate spent two years at the Brill Building in marvelous hosts with keen senses of humor. NYC trying to get his “little ditties” published. Nate and Lou loved routine and weren’t afraid of His unsuccessful attempts led him back to his long hours with little time off. In August, Lou’s hometown where he rented a small space in was open 24 hours a day. Mother Goldsmith’s Leo Tannebaum’s store at 39 Phila. He served served breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a pancakes from the front window.


Nate sits for a short break in front of his original luncheonette at 39 Phila St. Note the sign for "Dake's delicious ice cream."

Nate relocated his original luncheonette a few doors down to 43 Phila St. and renamed it "Mother Goldsmith's." August patrons would often remark that they remembered his mother well. Nate graciously smiled and didn't correct them. His mother died when Nate was 8 years old. © The

MAY/JUNE 2018Collection, | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 141 George Bolster Saratoga History Museum

In the 1940's restaurant patron and well-known NYC street artist Sy Wallick, famous for his ability to quickly pen caricatures, created the iconic drawings that Mother's was known for. "Regulars" paid $1.50 each for the honor to line the walls. Nate proudly poses under his likeness.

Nate's daughter Paula serves at the famous pastry table as hostess Jackie Stradone seats customers.

One morning as Nate’s friend Chinny Farone finished the delicious pancakes he declared, “God, you made these pancakes as good as Mother’s!” That inspired Nate to use the name “Mother Goldsmith’s” and soon he opened a larger restaurant a few doors down at 43 Phila Street. Mother’s quickly became the favorite spot of local businessmen, Skidmore students and the trainers, jockeys and owners of the Saratoga racing crowd. Sy Wallick, featured in a 1943 Life Magazine issue as a famous NYC street artist, was a 1940’s summer regular at Mother’s. For three summers he sketched his trademark caricatures of town luminaries and regulars that adorned the walls of Mother’s.

Nate before his 2012 passing.

Maureen Sweeney, daughter of Judge Michael Sweeney, loved going to Mother’s and says, “ I always wanted to sit in the booth where my dad’s picture hung.” But the real draw was Nate himself. He played the ever-gracious host and “made himself seen,” notes his wife Roslyn. Upon entering, customers were immediately served a bowl of coleslaw, pickles and beets for their table. They would be serenaded with Nate’s tunes. “People liked that. It made customers feel comfortable,” shared Nate’s daughter Paula Fishbein. Skidmore students of the 1950’s brought their homework to Mother’s and studied there for endless hours as they drank coffee. One class even honored Nate with an honorary award as “citizen of the year,” proudly recalls beloved wife Roslyn. Norm and Cliff sat at the Cheer’s bar discussing baseball at length, but at Mother’s, the daily race card was debated. Every August morning as trainers finished their workouts, they gathered at Mother’s to savor grits, coffee and the famous Danish table. Perhaps the Charles Brothers iconic call out of “Norm!” as George Wendt entered the bar was inspired from the time trainer Woody Stephens entered Mother’s after winning a Belmont. The entire restaurant cheered “Woody, Woody!” a fond memory of the Goldsmith family. The staff at Cheers became a family, but the Goldsmith family WAS the staff at both establishments. Wives, children and even brothers worked tirelessly at both operations with non-family staff members becoming an extension of the family. Roslyn was Nate’s right hand: going on 300 lb. ice runs to Stewarts; pouring coffee; and driving him wherever he needed to go. Son Larry vacuumed the floors at age 10; graduating to dishwasher and busboy at age 13; then onto waiter, host, bartender, baker’s apprentice and short order cook. Daughter Paula served customers. Lou’s wife Reah relieved him to cover half of the round-the-clock August shifts. 142  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018

Earling morning at Lou's Luncheonette on Broadway. The counter service was featured in the "Spirit of '76" edition of the Saratogian to highlight how typical locals began their day. The same tradition continues at Compton's today.

Original interior of Mother Goldsmith's at 43 Phila just after it first opened.

© The George Bolster Collection, Saratoga History Museum

Brother Lou Goldsmith first worked at Mother’s after returning from WWII as a B-17 belly gunner. He soon realized he didn’t like working for someone else and in 1951 opened his own restaurant at 457 Broadway. Lou’s was known for serving breakfast all day long -fresh squeezed orange juice, homemade blueberry muffins, omelets and the best home fries. But most of all it was a popular spot for the late night bar revelers. As the moon was setting and Lou’s was opening, late night restaurant workers made their way to 457 Broadway for homemade waffles and ice cream. Food aside, it was the staff and customers that made Lou’s iconic. The Burrows/Charles team would have completed their cast of Cheers by modeling their show after Lou’s. Carla, the sassy waitress who didn’t suffer fools gladly could have been fashioned after longtime Lou’s waitress Amy Van Wagner. Craig Wilson, former Saratogian employee and columnist for USA Today recalls, “Amy was our waitress, of course, all four-feet of her. Sassy as hell and efficient.” She ruled the front of the restaurant and was a favorite among all the regulars. Bill McKelvey, town character and often town crier, made regular daily swoops thru Lou’s. Like mailman Cliff Claven who gathered “little known facts” from his daily route to spew out at the bar, Bill too would bellow out local news to all who would listen over a coke at the counter. Lou’s was where many Broadway employees came to take a break from their work worries. Longtime Menges and Curtis employee Ellen

Ruhle’s obituary states, “she and her Broadway Buddies dominated the breakfast and lunch window at Lou’s Luncheonette.” Lou’s had it’s own “bar,” a counter on the north sidewall that was the focal point of the operation. In all but August, Lou and short order cook Pat Mangini opened just before 5 a.m., starting their day by giving free coffee to the police officers on duty. Occasionally Lou would oversleep, only to be woken by a phone call from the police reminding Lou that he needed to open up the restaurant. News, gossip and even a horse bet or two was the order of the day at Lou’s. And like at Cheers, a celebrity or two would drop in – Walter Winchell, dancer Edward Villella, jockey Ron Turcotte- alongside local prominent residents. Just like we never wanted Cheers to end, customers of both restaurants were thankful that their favorite haunts were sold to owners who kept the spirit of both restaurants alive. Lou sold to the Compton family in 1979. They have maintained much of the décor along with the tradition of serving “breakfast all day.” Nate sold his restaurant to Diane and Barry Hellwig in 1988. After 4 changes of ownership, current owners Ronnie Farber and Jodi Leuchten preserved Nate’s tradition of displaying sketches of well-known locals on the walls of R and R Kitchen and Bar. SS Author’s Note: Thanks to Stu Goldmith, son of Lou Goldsmith and Roslyn & Larry Goldsmith and Paula Fishbein, Nate Goldsmith’s family, for providing photos and information for this story.


Searching for a sign

from “Clem”


a mini scaffold. He measured meticulously and laid out the letters in a gentle arch. I found myself fascinated by the detail required to fit everything so perfectly. I recall it being a sunny, spring day. When Clem was well situated I jumped in one of my other milk trucks and left him to work his magic. I remember how pleased I was when I returned at the end of the day and saw the end result. The calligraphic letters brought the milk truck to life. It was now the pride of my aging three truck fleet. Clem painted the sides of my last milk truck around 1987. It may have been his last job too. That was three decades ago, but my curiosity surrounding Clem and his work has kept circling my mind ever since. When I first posted a cry for help finding “Clem Signs” from my Saratoga Facebook Community I received a tip from artist and Saratogian, Robert Wheaton. Robert told me that the four large A’s on the front doors of the Adelphi Hotel were painted and decorated in gold leaf by Clem. When I asked him recently if he had any other memories of Clem he paused for a moment then said, “I just picture this elderly man sitting on a cane chair painting and gilding each of those beautiful A’s.” Robert added, “Clem quietly took the time to explain in great depth the delicate process. I’ve carried a love of applying gold leaf to this day.” I’m sad to say those A’s have since been removed as part of the Adelphi’s extensive restoration. Robert also sent me a photo from the front window of Soave Faire where he manages the Art Department. In the photo is a framed sign that says, “Custom Framing ‘is our specialty.’” Owner Vito Soave confirmed that Clem painted it. I’m also told Clem painted wallpaper designs in a home somewhere in the city. That is a mystery and treasure I’ve yet to uncover or confirm.

My next discovery came in 2013 via another Facebook message. At the time Rhea Gorden Demory, a childhood friend, had been reading about my search for a sign from Clem. Rhea and fellow Saratogian Tom Brophy were standing in front of the Merle Norman Cosmetics store when it was on Broadway one day. Tom happened to look up at their sign and spotted a “Clem” Signs signature in the bottom righthand corner. I don’t know who was more excited about the discovery, Rhea, Tom, or me! Not long after, and before I could contact Merle Norman owner Terri Guerin, she removed the sign and moved her Can you see the "Clem" sighting? location to the Art District on Beekman St. After her move I got busy and forgot about my fleeting discovery. One day, several months later, I’m excited to share this story about I drove up Beekman St. to see if the sign had made the move too. I my Saratoga Springs search for signs painted by Walter L. “Clem” was heartbroken when a saw a new, more subdued Merle Norman Clements. Clem was born May 1, 1909 and was a well-known Cosmetics sign. It wasn’t until last fall that I took the time to call Terri Saratoga sign painter who lived and worked in and around the city and ask her what happen to her “Clem” sign. She explained that the through the majority of the 1900s. Clem passed away in 2001 but his original sign on Broadway was very old and in disrepair. I was sort of signature “Clem” Signs can still be uncovered if you dig deep enough. hoping to hear it was leaning alongside a garage somewhere and that This is part one of a two-part story about my journey so far. I was welcome to it. Instead, she explained that she had it repaired I can’t recall with certainty when and where I first met Clem, but as and repainted. My “Clem Sign” was still alive, even though it was now a young boy in the '60s I do remember his signature “Clem” Signs, covered in a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams’ Best. up and down Broadway. There was something about those, “Clem These initial discoveries were just the tip of the iceberg. Tune in Signs” signatures in the bottom right-hand corner that captured my to the Simply Saratoga Summer Edition due out June 29th to read imagination back then and has stuck with me to this day. They had about “Clem Sign” news and photographs arriving cross-country a simple mystique about them. I’ve always felt in my heart that Clem from Oakland, California. You’ll hear about a “Clem Sign” from the was a true artist who never found a venue to quench his creative thirst. Adelphi Hotel popping up in a New York City Restaurant, and better Clem was already in his seventies when I first asked him to paint the yet you’ll get to come along on my latest “Clem Sign” adventure when sides of my Price’s Dairy milk truck. I purchased the milk delivery I reunite with a 1980s Broadway Legend and we uncover the most business from a retiring Victor Price in 1979 and a few years later exciting and “genuine” barn find yet! I acquired a used step van which needed to be lettered. Clem and I My thanks to all those who have contributed to this wonderful agreed on a price of $100 per side—cash only, no contract necessary. experience so far. I have made new friends from California to NYC. Clem lived in an apartment and didn’t drive, so Ron Coleman, a well- I have reignited old friendships from my youth and from my days as known local plumber brought Clem out to my house where he set up a Saratoga Springs milkman. If you have any “Clem Sign” sightings I shop for the day. Clem used two ladders and a heavy plank to create would love to hear from you at SS 144  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2018


is creeping up and it’s time to start thinking about summer camps! Our Saratoga Summer Camp Guide highlights some excellent area options!