Simply Saratoga Home & Garden 2020

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Simply... Simply



May/June 2020

The Digital Edition!


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Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty General Manager Robin Mitchell Creative Director/ Managing Editor Chris Vallone Bushee Graphic Designer Marisa Scirocco Advertising Designer Christian Apicella Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey Contributing Writers

Samantha Bosshart Peter Bowden Colleen Coleman Nicolina Foti Meghan Lemery Fritz Carol Godette John R. Greenwood Wendy Hobday Haugh Charlie Kuenzel Barbara Lombardo Lily Neher Megin Potter John Reardon Theresa St. John Jordana Turcotte Ralph Vincent Timothy Wales Maureen Werther


Samantha Bosshart Susan Blackburn Photography Bruce Brownell Alice Corey Photography Colleen Coleman The George S. Bolster Collection Lindsay Fish John R. Greenwood Wendy Hobday Haugh Brian Hoffman Randall Perry Megin Potter Adam Potter Theresa St. John Brian V Photography

Published by

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

Photo by Susan Blackburn Photography, story on page 19


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 © 2020, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

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

Welcome Back Saratoga! So many times, over the past few weeks, I have thought about writing this. There was so much emotion and feeling over every press conference I’d listen to, every drive I took through town, seeing the empty streets, shops and restaurants, hearing about people doing their best during this unprecedented time, but I expected the world we would be in when this edition came out to be – well - normal, back to the way it was, before COVID 19. Obviously, this is taking longer than any of us would like and is our new-normal, at least for a while. So, my goal with this issue is to be that breath of fresh air we all need… To see life as it usually is, as it should be, as it will be again. I have faith, I hope you do too! I love how my contributors wove in their personal reflections on life as we currently know it. The H&G issue has always been one of my favorites as it marks the anniversary of my position as Creative Director / Managing Editor, but this one (the start of my 8th year) is almost like a commemorative piece, a moment in time. This digital edition has gardens, artists, heroes, recipes, history, shopping tips while social distancing, thoughts on dining out, remedies for sleep disturbance, and stress relief… and the smallest house we have ever featured! I hope you enjoy every page! And now, I’d like to thank you for checking us out - ONLINE - your support means the world to us! And Thank You to all our advertisers for helping us provide this beautiful magazine to you – free of charge – as always! Please mention us by name when supporting them during this time… Simply Saratoga, the Saratoga TODAY magazine. May God Bless us all.

Love, Chris

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

Cover Credit: Photo by Susan Blackburn Photography, story on page 22. MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 7



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.

















A S T. J Theresa is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Saratoga Springs. Even though history was not on her radar while in high school,






Maureen Werther is the owner of WriteForYou, a professional freelance N WE service specializing in business writing, web and blog content, R writing 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. She is the author of a soon to be published book, “Them That Has, Gets,” the story of historical 1790’s estate in Schroon Lake and the colorful history of its owners. Currently, she is working on a memoir detailing her roller-coaster adventures as owner of Pie ala Moe, a gourmet pie and tart company she started in 2008, in the midst of the recession.



Ralph Vincent is a lifestyle writer enamored with the Spa City. As an enthusiastic contributor to Simply Saratoga Magazine, he enjoys writing about a variety of topics including home entertaining, cooking, and cocktail crafting. His body of work also includes articles on subjects of special significance to him such as his experiences as a pet parent, gardening, and Yaddo. He resides locally with his partner Steven and their adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.






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.













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.

John Reardon purchased Compliments to the Chef in July of 2004 and has enjoyed selling over 6,000 high quality cookware and cutlery items to his Foodie Friends ever since. His wife Paula - as well as being a college professor - helps out along with their son John and daughter Aubrey … and they fit right in to his Foodie Team! If you ask John or Aubrey to cook up a special dish, you’ll see a gleam in their eyes! John reminds us... “Life Happens in the Kitchen” and yes… “Anyone can cook!”







A native of Burnt Hills, freelancer Wendy Hobday Haugh’s short stories, articles, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications, including Woman’s World Weekly, Highlights for Children, and Fourteen of her stories have appeared in 12 different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. To learn more, visit




John Greenwood is a leftover Saratoga Springs milkman who loves capturing stories about the people and places that surround him. John and his wife Patricia have been holding hands since high school. The couple recently retired and are looking forward to having more time to enjoy the nooks and crannies of the surrounding area. You can explore more of John’s writing at, where you will find the glass half full and the weather mostly sunny.

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.




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:





Nicolina Foti is the Farm to School grant coordinator and agriculture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County. She has a B.S. in Agriculture and Sustainability from SUNY Empire. She lives with her husband in Galway, NY where she grew up on the family farm. There she developed a love of horses and other farm animals. She says it’s extremely fulfilling to work in agriculture, helping farmers in this important Saratoga County industry.

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 grounded in peace and emotional well-being. She is an author and writer for various publications in Upstate NY and State College, PA. She is also the co-host for a monthly radio segment focused on how to improve relationships. She currently resides in State College, PA where she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.






Colleen Coleman is the owner of CMC Design Studio LLC and is well noted by her clients for bringing high energy, attention to detail, organization and more to each project. Her collaborative efforts with clients, as well as others in the industry, translates to a comprehensive design to completion for her clients. Her unique approach to defining each space matured into what she has coined as “Creating Environments for Life” reach her at









=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.



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.


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12 18 24 30 33 40 47 52 58 64 68 70 86 80 88 92 125 161 192

TODAY in Saratoga Stronger Together 23rd [and Fourth] is Inside Out Meet our Hospital Heroes! Beauty, Blossoms & Hope An English Garden in the City A Story Book Garden in the Country It’s a Porch Party! Porch-Traits with Brian V Photography Meet Artist: Michelle O’Hare Home Sweet Home Illustrations Preserving Saratoga; The Surrey-Williamson Inn Dreaming in the Age of COVID Barre …From Afar Meet Artist: Justin Francis Kane Head East… to Schuylerville Meghan Lemery Need to Get Away? John Greenwood



Lucia, Saratoga Trunk, Spoken and Violet’s

HOME & GARDEN 95 112 116 121 128 130 132 138 142 144 146 148 150 152 153 158 160

Architecturally Speaking with a TINY HOME Shades of Green Garden Therapy Colleen’s Picks A New Way to look at TV Meet Bruce Brownell Stay Safe Meet Artist: Ashley Chandler Grampy’s House It’s Time to Remodel… and Capital Kitchens and Baths Helps Us Get Started! Drinking Water? In the Kitchen with John Reardon Entertaining with Ralph Vincent Jordana Turcotte Keeps us Organized! Saratoga Signature Interiors Helps Us Entertain – Outside! Homesteading 101 Peter Bowden


Great options for your children (or grandchildren!) to think about!

HISTORY 185 190

Charlie Kuenzel Carol Godette


A message from SPAC


Photo by Susan Blackburn Photography, story on page 22 10  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

H&G 2 0 2 0





don’t know anyone in the world who wanted to close their doors amid this horrific pandemic. It’s a terrifying thought – to lose connections in the face-to-face retail setting when doors are locked, and ‘closed’ signs are all around you. Customers are the lifeline of businesses here in town – the warm and welcoming faces when we enter a store to shop an item are tantamount to a great experience that brings us back again and again. This pandemic is relentless in upending our brick-and-mortar landscape, while state-mandated warnings of in-person interactions abound. And, as we all know, Saratoga is all about close, personal contact with visitors and residents alike. We love to get to know people – shake a hand, touch an arm, hug a stranger who’s quickly become a friend. Unfortunately, none of us knows when things will calm down and return to any sort of normalcy again. Changing habits during this pandemic is hard – I, for one, love to walk into my favorite shops, pick up a book, taste a sample, try on a dress, handle a crystal, then pull out my wallet. On the next page you’ll learn about a few of my go-to local places. The various ways shopkeepers are keeping in touch with visitors and loyal customers are pretty creative. I’m impressed.


“Thinking on your feet is good, but thinking when you’re not on your feet is even better.”

~Author unknown~


IMPRESSIONS OF SARATOGA . I love, love, love their unique idea of porch packages! A creative way to keep their business going – porch packages are delivered in reusable Saratoga totes, filled with locally made food products and Saratoga-specific items. Impressions of Saratoga offers pre-assembled packages with $25 or $50 price-points, or specialty packages you create yourself.

NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE . Located on Broadway, is a favorite retail shop of many. The store has already started (or upped their game) with online virtual events featuring various authors. They also offer free shipping countrywide, as well as curbside pickup at their Vermont location.

SARATOGA TEA AND HONEY. This tea and honey shop just hit their five-year mark here in the Spa City. They celebrated with buy one-get one iced tea. Even though they’re not open to inside business right now, Saratoga Tea & Honey takes orders over the phone, with curbside pickup. They have an online event this weekend.


SARATOGA PAINT & SIP. A wildly popular night out with a date, sister, children, or bunch of girlfriends, the shop in Saratoga has come up with a neat way to paint & sip during this time of uncertainty. Take’N Paint Kits include everything you need to create masterpieces at home. They’re paid for online and picked up curbside.

SARATOGA CANDY CO. This locally owned candy store is a Saratoga favorite. They’re still selling fine chocolates online and offer free shipping. I love that the shop just featured a Candy Co. Car Hop for Mother’s Day, which was a huge hit. Let’s hope they can do this more often – who doesn’t need chocolate, especially now!

VIOLET’S OF SARATOGA. Whoever thought that social media marketing would be so helpful in times like these? Violet’s of Saratoga has taken advantage of Instagram and Facebook, promoting virtual sidewalk sales. The specialty shop lists items, and customers get in touch when they see something they’d like to buy, picking their purchase up curbside.


TOGA HERITAGE. Another downtown creator of unique marketing ideas, Deborah has the most wonderful things happening – all the time! – not just during Social Distancing. Check them out online for curbside or delivery.

SPOKEN SARATOGA. We all look forward to the Pammy Post (to know Pam is to love Pam!) We see the cutest items – and their sizes - and then she offers them at greatly reduced prices! It’s (almost) as fun as shopping the store (but we miss the hugs!) Check her out on Instagram and facebook for curbside or delivery.

TUSHITA HEAVEN. One of my favorite shops on Broadway. What do you do when you have to close a shop like this, though? Thinking outside the box, Tushita Heaven hosts events like live shows on Facebook, Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., where they feature and sell various crystals.


LIFESTYLES OF SARATOGA , CAROLINE + MAIN AND UNION HALL. Heidi is a force and her three shops downtown are destinations in themselves, (and her window displays are epic!) As of press time, she was prepping for a Virtual Sidewalk Sale… Check them out on facebook and Instagram!,

You might know these shops well. Or you might have your personal favorites to frequent. Today, this very minute, is the time local shops need us most – and we can help make certain brick-and-mortar stores are still in business when the Corona Virus is a distant nightmare by spending locally. Saratoga has always been about caring for the community where we live. We’ve always cheered on the underdogs, celebrated the victories, savored the rich history and culture of our city. When the time comes, and it will, for our commercial doors to open again, I think the emotion of 2020 is going to catch us off-guard. I’m voting for tears of joy – gratefulness in knowing there were ways we all jumped in to help flatten the curve and keep our town, our home, alive. SS


Now More Than Ever


Walking downtown seems so different now. Retail shops and favorite restaurants are shuttered, with signs about the Governor’s mandate posted on doors and windows every which way you turn. No one expected this pandemic. And no one could have predicted the havoc it would play on lives, businesses, everyday joys in life – now on pause for the foreseeable future. No one ever would have guessed we’d have to wear masks out in public, staying six feet away from others. At first, we thought it would be a week or two of inconveniences – we were sure things would return to normal quickly, and we could get on with our lives. Of course, that, and more, proved untrue. People lost jobs; businesses closed, folks of all ages passed away from Covid-19 alone in hospitals, away from family and friends. Only essential jobs with essential workers remained. Travel ceased, seemingly overnight. State borders closed – or discouraged visitors for the time being. All of us wondered how long this could go on – when would we re-open – what would we do in the meantime? If we weren’t in The Twilight Zone, it sure felt like it. It still does.


Saratoga has always been a strong community. One of the things I love most about living here is that we’re a city full of people who rally together to help in times of need. So, the moment restaurants began to think outside the box, determined to do everything they could to stay afloat-we were open to the idea-excited to help out. Though some might have wondered if buying one or two meals curbside could even make a difference, there were more of us that said, “Our favorite place has a to-go menu, let’s order dinner.” And the act of patronizing local places ignited hope for recovery – in me, at least. Below are a few of my favorite places to eat in Saratoga. I’ve always loved the restaurant staff, the building’s atmosphere, the freshest food, and imaginative recipes out there. Besides that, I’m a hugger – a big fan of greeting with a warm smile and handshake, leaving with a doggy bag and tight embrace. I’ve made friends in these places. I care about their livelihood. And they care about me. Hugs will have to wait, for sure. But I can still smile behind my mask, ask how everyone’s holding up during this pandemic, offer a warm greeting, and say thanks as I leave.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

MAY/JUNE 2020~Henry | SIMPLY Ford~ SARATOGA  | 19

OLDE BRYAN INN. An old stone house with Revolutionary-era ties, this restaurant serves sandwiches, steaks, and hearty American fare. They have the best French onion soup.

EDDIE F’S. I was never so excited to discover this place. I’m from Boston, and seafood is a must there. I love their whole-belly clams, scallops, and super-thin battered onion rings. eddiefseatery



Here, it’s all about crepes – savory and sweet. Don’t even get me started on their French fries and poutine! I miss going in to sit by the window. I’m grateful they offer their full menu, even though it’s a curbside pick-up.


A boutique bakery that’s still open. (Thank God!) The seats are put away for now, but they sell pastries, sandwiches, loaves of bread, soups, and more. The last time I was there, you could buy discounted wine and spirits with a purchase. They also ship. Pretty cool.

HAMLET AND GHOST. Bottled cocktails to go? Packed with delicious food from the kitchen? Ummm, yes, please. Their take-out menu is pretty extensive, and their signature touches of imagination and originality are written all over it.


TAQUERO. Whoever said serving tacos, rice bowls, salads, and doughnuts was a good idea? Yes, I said doughnuts. Personally, I think they should be one of the four food groups. At Taquero, it’s all about ‘fresh and delicious.’ You need to try this place out if you haven’t already.

DUO. This is a pretty neat restaurant, serving Japanese cuisine and Hibachi. When they re-open, I suggest you make it a date-night. Dine on the freshest sushi, sashimi, steak, chicken, and seafood dishes. For now, no cash or in-person orders. Curbside only.


FLATBREAD SOCIAL. I miss the atmosphere here. I miss playing shuffleboard with friends while our pizza is baking. Their take-out menu is pretty extensive, and they even have a drink menu - craft cocktails, bottles of wine, and growlers to-go. Love that!

BWP. While Wheatfields and 2 West are both closed, the WOW Restaurant Group offers up BWP for all my barfood faves… Wings, Pizza, Apps… yup!

These are only a handful of fantastic restaurants that have risen to the occasion in this unprecedented time – I’m sure you could add many to my list. I could, too. Here’s the thing – they all need our help. Not just in a monetary way, either. Seeing our faces, knowing that we haven’t forgotten they’re an integral part of our community means a lot. I’m sure of it.





hile life has been turning upside-down, 23rd [and Fourth] has been turning inside out.

“We’ve been doing design work and continuing to focus on clients’ needs; working on the main website and focusing on getting our ducks in a row. We’re rearranging, tighteningup loose ends, and asking, ‘What is the new normal?’,” said Jamie Davies, co-owner of 23rd [and Fourth].


Finding a New Normal

Finding Joy

For many, their new normal involves taking walks – a calming, socially-distant way to get out and about.

Window shopping taps into our sheer pleasure for perusing. It brings joy.

Until taking a stroll around the inside of your favorite stores is a normal, fun thing to do again, an old favorite is coming back into style – window shopping.

A well-liked pastime for ages, leisurely browsing a physical store is so much more impressive than experiencing it online.

Recognizing how perfect the walls of windows and covered patio (at the corner of the Empire Run apartment building, 130 Excelsior Avenue in Saratoga Springs) were for window shopping, they have now turned all their furniture displays to face out. “We want people to know - you can still shop us,” said Davies.

For a nice day out, combine window-shopping at 23rd [and Fourth], with an excursion on the nearby Spring Run Trail, a handicapped-accessible pedestrian and bicycle loop. “Everyone needs a project right now. When you’re at your home more, you notice more. You want to feel good about your home. It’s an opportunity for people to do something for themselves.” MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 25

…and a Rainbow At the front of the store, displays of brightlycolored contemporary furnishings, home décor, accessories and gifts bring out all the good vibes. Affordable favorites from the Gus Modern collection join innovative window treatments, area rugs and throw pillow selections.


See the durability of neat items ideal for the spring and summer, like their Cape Cod inspired doormats woven with lobster nets from The Rope Co. Details and prices for some of what you see is now available on their website, email for more info on others.



All Hands On Deck Thoroughly rearranging things at 23rd [and Fourth] has involved a lot of brainstorming. “It’s been an all-hands-on-deck type of thing,” said Davies. They keep asking themselves the same question. “What else can we do to bring a little bit of joy to people?” On their list: • A Pop-Up Shop offering home décor and a discount on samples launched at the beginning of May on their website, • Virtually answering questions about measurements, styles, color selections and more. • Posting drool-worthy designs to their Instagram page @23rdandFourth

Coming Soon!! An interactive walk-through scavenger hunt in their widow displays… Search for and scan the codes with your phone for a chance to win gift certificates and other prizes. Rearranging for the new windows created a lot more space inside 23rd [and Fourth], so once gathering restrictions are loosened for retailers, small gatherings can be held here and still adhere to social distancing guidelines, such as a Girl’s Night Out; a Q&A session where you can pick the designer’s brain. SS






here are too many heroes to name at Saratoga Hospital. Everyone on the staff is going beyond the call of duty to fight this pandemic.

Physicians, advanced practice providers, and nurses on the front lines providing direct patient care. Environmental Services, scrubbing everything clean. Engineering, reconfiguring rooms and equipment to provide the safest levels of quarantine. Information Services, finding technological answers to data tracking and connecting isolated patients with their families. These are but a few of the multiple departments tirelessly giving their all. Today, we are recognizing four of Saratoga Hospital’s many front-line and behind-the-scenes heroes who are making sure those on the front lines of COVID-19 have everything they need to provide life-saving medical care and keep patients, staff, and our community safe. Learn more at

NICHOLE MELLO, MS, RN COVID-19 Navigator and Manager of Population Health & Engagement, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group I was born and raised here in the Saratoga Springs area. My husband and I enjoy summertime at our camp with our two daughters, who are 5 and 10 years old. I’m a bit of a workout enthusiast. We hike, ride bikes, and walk our dogs. I love my job, which touches on several areas, including chronic care management, quality and safety, public health, and health policy. Since February, I have taken on an additional role, COVID-19 Navigator. I manage the testing tent next to the Emergency Department. It is a complex task with many moving parts, such as making sure the tent is staffed and supplied, collecting data to help track the spread of the virus, and being the hospital’s liaison 30  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

with county public health departments, our urgent and emergent care facilities, first responders, our medical group members, and other local providers. As of April 21, we have conducted 195 inpatient tests and collected another 2,124 specimens through the tent that were sent to Wadsworth, the test lab. On a single day, our tent team handled as many as 115 tests. We contact all patients with their results. I personally reach out to patients who have tested positive. I help them understand their symptoms, go over quarantine requirements, and connect them with a primary care physician if they don’t already have one. I have a great team doing vital work. I am proud to be able to do what I can for our community during this crisis.

MARISSA BROADLEY, BSN, MPH, MSED, RN, CIC, CPHQ Manager, Infection Prevention at Saratoga Hospital Originally from Rockland County, I relocated to Saratoga Springs four years ago. My golden retriever, Jakey, and I love to get outside and spend time in Downtown Saratoga walking along Broadway and visiting its shops and restaurants, looking forward to when they reopen. I also like to relax with my knitting needles or read on my balcony, over-looking the Saratoga landscape. As a registered, board-certified nurse in Infection Control and Epidemiology, now more than ever, Infection Prevention is a job I find extremely rewarding and essential. As we learn more about the COVID-19 virus, new data and best practices are being identified minute-to-minute around the world. During the course of a day, I am investigating evidence-based guidelines and in constant communication with the NYS Department of Health and regional Public Health Offices. One of my most important roles is to serve as a resource to every department within Saratoga Hospital and our numerous off-site locations. At the on-set of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saratoga Hospital implemented stringent visitation restrictions and patient isolation precautions. Collaborating with Hospital Leadership, all department plans have been continually evolving and re-evaluated as updated information is received. Working with the Environmental Services Department, specific cleaning protocols have been implemented throughout the organization. Personal protective equipment (PPE) alternatives were discussed with our Materials Management and Occupational Health Departments, and Nursing triage processes were also augmented to include COVID-19 risk factors. I am amazed at the impressive level of expertise and professionalism of the Saratoga Hospital staff during this challenging time. We will all get through this together.



System Director, Sourcing and Contracting, Saratoga Hospital I was born in Gloversville and live in Ballston Spa. I’m a runner and a mentor for a local Fleet Feet beginner 5k. I also volunteer for Saratoga Hospital Foundation. I had my first job at the hospital in 1990, when I was a senior in high school. I have worked in procurement for more than 20 years and have never seen anything like what we’re seeing today within the supply chain. The materials we have come to rely on are few and far between. We are experiencing the confiscation of supplies so that they can be redistributed to areas of highest need. So, we pivot and source similar materials from different vendors, being highly vigilant to avoid price gouging, counterfeiters, and products that aren’t up to our standards for safety. Everyone needs to be on their toes right now. We’ve also found creative alternatives and methods to extend the life of what we have. We are using UV lighting to sanitize medical N95 masks so staff can use them longer. Every department that could spare supplies has been very generous in conserving and redistributing items to areas in the hospital with the greatest need. We’ve been creatively sourcing isolation gowns, gloves, face shields, eye protection, hand sanitizer, procedure and surgical masks, and other items on short supply due to high demand, as countries all over the world are needing the exact same supplies at the same time. But, we’re lucky. Given what we were seeing in China, we began preparing for this back in January. We didn’t know the virus would come here, but we knew supply chains would be affected. With great effort from my sourcing team and the generous Saratoga community’s donations, we’ve been able to hold out much longer than expected. My purchasing and distribution teams have done a wonderful job of making sure departments are getting something, even if it’s not exactly what they were requesting. I can’t thank my teams and community enough for their incredible support, which has kept us able to continue to provide the high quality of care needed in this crisis. MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 31




DR. MICHAEL HOLLAND Medical Director, Employee Health Services and Occupational Medicine, Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga Hospital Medical Group I’ve lived here since ‘89 and all four of my kids went to Saratoga Springs schools. My wife and I now have three grandchildren. I’m a volunteer fitness instructor at Saratoga YMCA’s Wilton branch, which I enjoy very much. I’ve been working in Occupational Medicine for over 30 years, and with so many businesses closed and not hiring, that portion of my work has slowed considerably, but it has risen dramatically on the Employee Health side. As a hospital, it is critical for us to do everything we can to keep our employees safe and healthy, which also keeps our patients and community safe and healthy. Our team established a Sick Line call center, in record time, I might add, to provide a knowledgeable and compassionate resource for any questions employees may have about symptoms, possible exposures, or any health concern. For those who are home sick, we provide follow-up calls to continue to be a resource for them and their recovery. Given we have nearly 3,000 employees, we are quite grateful to the many nurses and staff from other departments, including Occupational Medicine, who have pitched in to help. Debbie Zaloga, RN, Taryn Woodard, RN, Marcy Dreimiller, MBA, SPHR, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, and everyone at Employee Health Services, Occupational Medicine, and Human Resources have been instrumental in establishing our protocols. Their work has been extraordinary. We authorize tests for every employee with any possible COVID-19 symptoms, quarantining them until we have results. Any who are positive or sick at all are also quarantined until, following very strict protocols, they can return. Currently, employees who have tested positive contracted the virus from out in the community, not from patients. I have to thank the Infection Prevention and Environmental Services teams for their tremendous efforts, as well. The staff here at Saratoga Hospital are real troopers. It’s hard to maintain social distancing in the cafeteria and breakrooms, especially in stressful times when you want to be with your friends and colleagues—but everyone is doing their part, all highly committed to keeping the hospital safe for all our patients and our staff. SS


This is the Season for



MOST YEARS, this story

would be about the fabulous gardens awaiting visitors on the Secret Gardens Tour planned for July. But this isn’t like most years.

The photos in this section are scenes from the 25th annual, 2019 Secret Gardens Tour.

With the status of the Covid-19 virus uncertain, the Saratoga Soroptimist club decided for safety’s sake to cancel what would have been its 26th consecutive annual tour.


Yet, even without a tour, the gardens will be fabulous. Gardening, after all, is a labor of love. It reflects individual creativity and appreciation for nature’s nourishment of our five senses -- and our soul. Just ask Heather Madigan. “I am a hospital physician actively caring for Covid patients,” she told Soroptimists in mid-April. “The gardening is my meditation.” Heather owns the middle of three adjacent city homes that would have been on the Secret Gardens


Tour. (All the gardeners have been invited to participate in 2021.) “We have been blessed with wonderful neighbors on both sides, and our backyards in many ways flow from one to the other,” Heather explained. A portion of her backyard is intended for urban farming, and, in addition to herbs and vegetables, there are organic free-range chickens, which sometimes wander next door. Social distancing doesn’t apply to fowl.



Sure, the tour is canceled this year, but the gardens still will be tended with their owners’ irrepressible passion, same as always. This is their pleasure. “The shade gardens on the north side of the house are a personal favorite, very textural and soothing with a babbling water feature and a winding pathway to draw you into the little sitting area,” wrote Barbara and Glenn LaGrone about the gardens they built from scratch at their Ballston Spa home. Down the road a bit, Chris Burghart’s backyard includes “Pollinator’s Playground at Mosaics Crossing,” a registered Monarch Way Station in a sunny area boasting a homemade totem pole and stepping-stones. Shady paths lead to a babbling stream with koi, goldfish, little green frogs – and a glass mushroom patch Chris has “grown” in her indoor art studio.

Not far from there, Liz Kormos and Sander Bonvell were excited to show visitors how their garden has matured and flourished since it was on the Secret Gardens Tour five years ago. Native grasses have been divided twice. Their arbor now supports three varieties of grapes and hardy kiwi. All these people garden for the joy it brings them, a sentiment Cathy and Neil Roberts understand perfectly. Their Fiddle-i-fee Farm, named for a Pete Seeger song, is a mélange of fields, woodlands, and wetlands in eastern Saratoga County’s Bacon Hill. “It rolls to a bluff above the Hudson, with vistas east to Vermont and north to the Adirondacks,” Cathy explained. They have enriched the hedgerows and swales with arborvitae, larch, bald cypress, sycamore, willow, magnolia, pawpaw and persimmon trees. They planted a tulip tree when their eldest son was three years old; it is, like him, now more than four decades old. MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 37

“A prairie reconstruction shares a field with an orchard and vegetable garden. An expansive informal garden billows around an Arts and Crafts-style house, borrowing views from surrounding nature,” Cathy wrote. The prairie was part of a hayfield she has turned into a meadow with grasses planted from seed. “By August the grasses are taller than your head,” she told me. Cathy experiments with plantings native to North America, though not common to upstate New York. “You know how designers plan a garden on paper? I cannot do that. I just have to walk around. I’m familiar enough with the plant materials, their height, their type of bloom, and I like when they seed themselves, or things pop up somewhere else. I’m naturalistic. I like things to blend with the woodlands,” Cathy said. “It’s not just gardens that surround a house. We sort of made our own park.” In early July, when the Secret Gardens tour typically occurs, they certainly have flowers in bloom, but, Cathy explained, “My garden is more about foliage. I am adding things all the time.” Come fall, their usual strategy is to fill their trailer with the bags people place curbside in nearby developments and use the leaves to mulch their flower beds and vegetable garden. Cathy and Neil have protected their entire 140 acres from ever being subdivided and developed through what’s called a conservation easement, accomplished with the guidance of Saratoga PLAN. “We love this land,” Cathy said. Part of their property is rented to an adjacent farmer for field crops. 38  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

The couple concentrate their most intense cultivation on about five acres surrounding their home. “We’re always outside. Even when I’m not working in the garden, in the evening, particularly, I like to walk around my paths and see what’s flowering. Gardens are never static. I’ll go away for the day and be gone maybe six hours, and the garden is different when I return. It really is a park to us, and lovely to live in. “To other people it would be, ‘Oh, groan, oh, work’,” Cathy said. Quite the contrary for gardeners on the Secret Gardens Tour. “This is what we like to do. We like to make things beautiful.”

ABOUT SOROPTIMISTS The Secret Gardens Tour is presented by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, the local branch of an international professional women’s service organization whose name means the best for women. The all-volunteer event raises thousands of dollars for projects and programs in keeping with the Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and girls locally and globally. The local club’s keynote project is a hands-on program conducted through Wellspring, consisting of a series of classes to help victims of domestic violence obtain their legal and financial independence. Another exciting new program involves workshops and mentoring for girls in secondary school, aimed at helping them overcome obstacles to their future success. Soroptimists at SS


an english garden




ardens are a place of respite and reflection. Especially during times such as these that we are living through, gardens serve several important functions: they’re a vehicle for natural artistic expression; they give us an excuse to use physical exertion to create something of beauty ; and they expand our living space, allowing us to dwell in the natural world. When Sean Walmsley moved from his 15-acre home with a one-acre kitchen garden on Middleline Road, he decided it was time to get back to his English gardening “roots.” He grew up in England surrounded by examples of British horticultural handiwork and he challenged himself to design a space of his own that would make the Queen mother proud. After spending months combing through books about English gardening and recalling the gardens of his youth, Sean began the design and construction in the backyard of their new home designed by John Witt. The spatial considerations informed much of the layout and construction, to a stunning effect. Visitors to Sean and Sherry Bishko's home are greeted by a small, well-manicured front lawn, punctuated by a dusky smoke tree surrounded by a riotous mix of perennials in yellows, pinks and blues, all standing guard by a stone path to the backyard. As with all well-planned and executed gardens, the path is a guide leading from one area to the next. The raised nursery beds are made of hemlock, with hand-crafted metal corner brackets. “It was a lot of physical labor,” said Sean, explaining how the 20-foot lengths of hemlock were delivered on the back of a trailer, hauled one by one into stacks. “It took a while and I lost ten pounds in the process,” says Sean. A graceful Japanese willow defines one corner of the garden, with the hand-built raised beds containing a blend of perennials and vegetables. As you wander the path, you will see fingerling potatoes, garlic and tomatoes, flourishing alongside Salvia, snapdragons and leeks.



Two varieties of clematis blanket the fencing, adding to the intimacy of the enclosed space. As soon as you begin your journey through Sean and Sherry’s “secret garden,” you are transported to a serene and tranquil hideaway. Last summer was the first time Sean and Sherry’s garden was included in the annual Secret Garden Tour sponsored by the Soroptomists. “One of the things we noticed on the Secret Garden Tours is that a lot of the gardens on the tour weren’t really secret. I mentioned this to one of the organizers and she asked if I had a truly “secret” garden. Sean clarifies their garden wasn’t just created for one garden tour. “I was thinking about how it would be ten years out.” In this regard, Suzanne of Balet Flowers & Design was an integral part of planning for the next decade. Another aspect of the garden that makes it stand out is the careful labeling of each plant – in both Latin and English. Sean says he was “delighted” to add the feature to his garden. “Only the Latin name tells you precisely what the plant is,” he explains, adding that it’s “jolly nice” to see the flowers and know what you are looking at. Visitors to the garden agreed. The angled patio overlooking the garden defines the entire design of the yard and the garden moves around it. As we stroll past hydrangeas, hostas and a host of other plants and trees, we come to what is probably the most wonderful feature of the garden. A 9' x11' Koi pond anchors the garden on the far side of the property. “We raised the back of the garden four feet. We left a hole and bermed around it,” Sean explains, adding that he had the help of Alan Decker from Pattersonville, whom Sean calls “amazing.” The two oldest fish in the pond are about 10 years old, with some of the other fish arriving to the ponds as eggs brought there attached to plants or were carried there by birds. In the cold weather, the fish stay beneath the ice. There is a small tunnel the fish go into as winter approaches, and their metabolisms slow down, allowing them to survive the harsh weather. SS

“As the ice melts, they woozily re-appear,” says Sean.


Sean Walmsley and Sherry Bishko 44  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

Sean prepares the garden for the winter months by mulching the plants with shredded maple leaves. In early November, he and Sherry gather leaves that have dropped from Sean’s “favorite maples trees” in and around Saratoga. “We only use maple leaves. Oak is too acidic,” he adds. Sitting in the sunroom that was an addition to the John Witt home, we are able to enjoy the tranquil vista from the comfort of a warm and cozy space. For Sean and Sherry, their secret English garden nurtures their creativity and offers solace and respite from the demands and challenges of daily living.




And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

They They loved the woodsy area in Upstate New York and spent hours imagining how to create a garden that would bring pleasure for years to come.

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I often tucked myself into our front porch swing, turning pages, wondering how on earth this spoiled little girl found her way into a hidden garden no one knew about – other than a smart little robin.

Luckily, they both enjoy gardening. “My mother had a beautiful garden at her home in Altamont,” Jim says. “I often worked in the yard with her. It was fun - getting my hands dirty, designing little areas of color with flowers and plants around the yard.”

I also imagined this overgrown and unkempt hide-away must be filled with possibility – if someone would only take the time to care for it, breathe life into it again. Jim and Meg Dalton have been happily married for 33 years. They bought their property in Middle Grove 20 years ago.

Meg is an artist at heart, Jim is an engineer – joining forces to work on the property makes sense. “We both have a say in the garden’s design,” Meg tells me. “I have garden beds that I’m in charge of, and Jim does too. We work on other beds together. Bouncing ideas off of each other works out well.”



Over the years, the couple added meandering paths throughout their 3-acre garden. There are impressive dragon statuaries, an enormous stone horse, and, when the weather permits, Meg’s hand-crafted quilts are displayed outside on a moveable wall her husband designed. Visitors can find benches for seating and modified Adirondack chairs that have Jim’s signature touch all over them. Some chairs are left in natural wood-tones, while others boast a bright, forest green. The couple loves roses. There are around 35 varieties of David Austin rose bushes in the garden. “We discovered them a few years ago,” Meg sighs contentedly. “Jim loves the red roses, while my favorite is Carding Mill.” I know nothing about roses – other than the fact they look and smell beautiful. Thankfully, she’s kind enough to explain these species are a beautiful blend of pink, apricot, and yellow. Parts of the garden thrive in shaded areas, and other components do well in full or dappled sunlight. “At one time, we had so many different hosta plants,” Jim states. “Over the years, we’ve added other plants for balance and height.” One of their most exciting finds on the property is a bleeding heart. “The most remarkable thing about this plant is its yellow leaves and white flowers,” the couple tells me in excited voices. “We’d never seen it before, and suspect it probably occurred as a cross-over between plants.”


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Jim searches for a magazine. I can see where Fine Gardening Magazine named it one of the best new plants for 2016. Impressive. The couple holds a patent on the bleeding heart plant – sharing that it sells well at Terra Nova Nurseries, located in Oregon. Hybridizing some of their 1,200 hosta plants has shown promise, too; they’ve registered a number of them with the American Hosta Society. “We have several garden clubs that come to spend a few hours on our property during the warmer months,” Meg tells me. “We’ll often start the tour as a group, and then one or two will wander off on their own, exploring the area, sitting on benches, just breathing in the beauty of it all.” “Sometimes they’ll bring a picnic lunch and just relax. When that happens, we might serve our lemon cookies, which is always a treat,” Jim interjects with a grin. “We were so excited to see Saratoga Secret Garden bring a group of children here to scout the gardens. We have a small pond with fish, frogs, and tadpoles they quickly discover on their visit. They love feeding the fish, and we love watching them have a great time.” “We’re happy to share the gardens with anyone who wants to visit,” Meg ends our interview with a grin. “ Who knows? We might even have a fresh batch of cookies…” I, for one, can’t wait for Summer to arrive so I can visit myself. To arrange a by-appointment-only time to see the gardens, you can reach Meg and Jim at


When I ask about her famous Lemon Thyme Cookies, Meg laughs, a welcome sound on a dreary Monday. “A good friend of mine, Wynne Trowbridge, got the recipe from a friend of hers. But, no matter how many times she made them, each batch turned out different. One day she decided to buy a package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough, adding her own inspiration, and the rest is history.”

Lemon Thyme Cookies 1 tube Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough 2 tsp. lemon extract 1 tbs. Dried and crushed lemon thyme • Mix the above in blender. • Use small scoop and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2” apart. • Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes until just lightly browned around edges. • Cool briefly on cookie sheet before removing to rack to finish cooling. SS



The 2016 Porch Party that took place at 48 Union Avenue. Photo Credit: The Harris Company


n Thursday, May 7th the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation was scheduled to host its Porch Party, the kick-off event to its annual Historic Homes Tour. Each year, the Historic Homes Tour provides the rare opportunity to see the private interiors of historic homes throughout Saratoga Springs. Sadly, like so many events, the Porch Party and the Tour had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus. The Porch Party always marks the start of spring and provides one of the first opportunities to reconnect with people after a long, cold winter. Warm weather and being with friends are two things that I think all of us are particularly longing for during this time of quarantine. With everyone moving to virtual meetings and happy hours, the Foundation thought that while the Porch Party could not take place in person, it could bring the Porch Party to everyone in their own home. A virtual event could serve not only as a reminder that this would have been time when we would have gathered together on


a beautiful historic porch to enjoy good food, drinks, and live music, but also as a way to encourage people to order take out to support local restaurants during these challenging times. The Virtual Porch Party was held on the evening of Saturday, May 9th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. via Facebook Live. Leading up to the event, the Foundation not only encouraged people to order take-out, but also offered Porch-traits by Brian V Photography for families to memorialize this moment in time for a donation, hosted a porch decorating contest to get people into the spirit, and encouraged people to post photos of themselves toasting preservation the night of the event and tag the Foundation to win giveaways of gift cards to local restaurants and businesses. These gift cards were donated by the Board of Directors as their way to give back to those who have supported the Foundation in the past. As the largest fundraiser of the year for the Foundation, the Board of Directors and staff were disappointed to have the Historic Homes Tour and Porch Party postponed, but after years of planning events

that are contingent on the weather, there was a sense of relief that this event was virtual when the forecast called for snow!

People enjoying the Virtual Porch Party at 748 North Broadway, the location of where the 2020 Porch Party is to take place in person.

At 5:30 p.m., I braved the cold temperatures to welcome everyone virtually from where the event was originally to take place, 748 North Broadway. Live from the lovely wrap-around porch beautifully decorated with the assistance of Deborah DePasquale of TOGA HERITAGE, I shared our mission of preserving the architectural, cultural, and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs and a bit of the Foundation’s history – its role in the rehabilitation of more than 25 buildings downtown; establishment of historic districts that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the intervention that prevented the demolition of the former United Methodist Church, which is now home to the beautiful UPH; helped owners of historic buildings secure tax credits to assist them with the cost of rehabilitating of their historic buildings – such as 15 Franklin Street; and restored, in partnership with the City of Saratoga Springs, the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial in Congress Park. Throughout the evening popular local musician Rich Ortiz played a great array of songs –James Taylor, Van Morrison, Dave Matthews Band, Beatles, and others, as well as some of his originals – from the comfort of his own home since it was too cold for him to play on the porch of 748 North Broadway as originally planned. In between sets, I shared about the history of 748 North Broadway and the sister house next door. The two houses were built by two friends – Edward Stevens and Charles Lester. While each has the same floor plan, one was built of brick and the other of wood. However, they no longer look similar because of alterations made over the years.

The porch of 748 North Broadway decorated by TOGA HERITAGE.

I also shared that porches of the grand hotels on Broadway like the large Grand Union, the United States, and the Grand Central Hotels and the smaller hotels such as the Adelphi – being the place to be and the place to be seen which along with the architectural significance of porches, served as the inspiration for hosting a Porch Party. MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 53

Circa 1910 Grand Union Hotel, photo credit: Library of Congress

Visitors enjoying the porches of the Grand Union Hotel, circa 1910, photo credit: New York Public Library.

Adam Favro, President of the Board of Directors, with his dog Sam on the porch of his circa 1900 Queen Anne on Nelson Avenue.

Carol Godette, a Simply Saratoga contributor, won the Saratoga theme Porch Party Contest, receiving a Porch Party gift from TOGA HERITAGE.


“Porch-trait” by Brian V Photography of Robert Davis and Denise McDonald, who won Porch Package from Impressions of Saratoga for their Moment in History Themed Porch .

Porches initially gained popularity in America because they provided shelter from the elements – rain, sun, and snow – as well as shade and breezes during the warmer times of the year. Porches allowed people to enjoy nature while being sheltered and created an outdoor living space – a place to gather family and friends to entertain and relax. Porches also provided an opportunity to demonstrate status as can be seen on the grand residences on North Broadway and Union Avenue. Much like the unique architecture that our city is known for, there is an enormous variety of porches in Saratoga Springs because of the endless combination of placement, shapes, sizes, columns, balustrades, and decorative details. A house may have more than one porch and a variety of types. Porches are either inset under the roof of the house or built as an extension to the house with a roof that is independent from the roof of the main house. They may or may not be the fullheight of the house and can be as wide as the entryway, the full-width of the house, or wrap-around the house. Porches feature support columns and often have balustrades and decorative details – such as brackets, friezes, and cornices. Columns can range from simple square posts to elaborate Corinthian columns. The balustrades, which provide safety, can either be open to allow for breezes or solid and also can be simple or elaborate. Columns and balustrades can be made of wood, stone, brick, or metal. I encourage you to take a

look at the many different types of porches in our historic neighborhoods the next time you are out walking. From the porch of 230 Nelson Avenue, Adam Favro, President of the Board of Directors, shared, “The resources that the Foundation provided me and my wife Kira while undertaking the rehabilitation of our circa 1900 Queen Anne home and my appreciation of the craftsmanship of our historic buildings was the motivation for why I became involved with the Foundation.” He also thanked our Historic Homes Tour Honorary Co-Chairs, Charles and Candace Wait, and our many Honorary Committee members as well as shared how grateful we are for the generous support of Ionic Level Sponsors – The Adirondack Trust Company, Bonacio Construction, Inc., Julie & Co. Realty, New York Racing Association, and Saratoga Builders Association; Doric Level Sponsors – Brand 21, DeCrescente Distributing Company, Miller Printing, and Saratoga TODAY; and Tuscan Level Sponsors – Allerdice Ace Hardware, The Alpine Sport Shop, Burns Management, Cudney’s Cleaners, D’Orazio Peterson, LLP, DeGraff, Foy & Kunz Attorneys at Law, Discover Saratoga, Hilltop Construction, Life & Love Events, Roohan Realty, Sensory Six, Springer Holdings LLC, Stewart’s Shops, Sterling Manor Financial LLC, Teakwood Builders, Witt Construction, and Zieker Eye Ophthalmology. We are particularly grateful for the support we have received for this event thus far, as it allows us to continue to fulfill our mission during these uncertain times.


Jennifer Betsworth and Matthew Shepherd’s son Alden enjoying listening to local musician Rich Ortiz.

Kelsey Killian with others Toasting Preservation in their winter coats and face masks.

Lesley and Heather Sommer Toasting Preservation from Galveston, Texas. 56  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

Foundation board member Cindy Spence Toasting Preservation.

Stronger Together Porch.

Corporate Sponsor D’Orazio Peterson LLP post.

Saratoga County Chamber President Todd Shimkus in his winter coat enjoying the Virtual Porch Party. Life & Love Events photo.

Teri Armer DeSorbo’s Porch from Captiva, Florida.

Discover Saratoga President Darryl Leggieri.

Colleen McMahon and her daughter Daphne on their porch in the snow.

Life and Love Event Post.

Overall, the Virtual Porch Party was a success – more than 125 tuned in via Facebook Live, many sharing pictures and comments through the evening. Since then the video ( posted to the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s Facebook page has been viewed more than 5,000 times and over $4,000 was raised in response to the event. The Foundation hopes to host another Porch Party in the near future, so stayed tuned! Please visit our website,, to learn more about upcoming events, make a donation to support preserving the places that matter in Saratoga Springs, and to become a member. SS

Samantha Bosshart




One local photographer is giving his neighbors a reason to get dressed in the morning. Laid off from his job as a physical therapist, Brian Van Sise, like so many others, started spending more time on social media. “It was all pictures of doom and gloom – it was everything that had been closed and shutdown. There were too many of them and it was too depressing,” he said. That’s when he decided to do something about it.

STAYING CONNECTED WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING Across the country, photographers are offering at-home photography sessions for free. They are documenting this unique moment in time while also giving people something to look forward to. “These are nice, happy pictures of people smiling and making it through. For 15 minutes of their lives, they get to do something fun. Many of them haven’t had a family portrait in a while. There’s nothing else to do. This gives them a way to stay socially connected when they can’t see their family and friends in any other way,” said Van Sise.


Photo of Brian V by


Inspired by similar movements like the Front Steps Project, Van Sise, the photographer behind Brian V Photography, began taking both formal and more laid-back family pictures for his neighbors in Ballston Lake but now travels between Northway Exit 8 and Exit 11 for the shoots. “I’m just one guy with one camera trying to raise morale in his community,” he said.

CORONA CASUAL Part of the fun is finding unique ways to document and remember this exact time in people’s lives, said Van Sise. He calls it “Corona Casual.” Some families pose with their masks, pets, or digital devices while sitting on their stoops. Others have turned the session into a full-on socially-distanced lawn party. “A lot of people just want someone else to talk to. They’re trusting me to make it fun. That’s part of the exchange. What I learned from being a physical therapist is that if I’m funny and entertaining, that’s part of the therapy. It’s the same thing here. My job is to help them feel relaxed and engaged,” said Van Sise.



STAYING YOUNG AT HEART The designated man behind the camera at family functions and his son’s soccer games, Van Sise started a side-business, Stop Motion Sports Photography, three years ago. This experience taught him how to shoot outdoors, pay attention to the light, and catch the shot amid the action. Which is exactly how, at one session, he was able to perfectly capture a family playing Monkey in the Middle with a roll of toilet paper.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR Van Sise will continue to offer free porch-traits as long as there is a need, he said. He does request that you take the money you would’ve spent on the session and instead be a good neighbor and use it at a local business. Supporting local allows businesses to survive during this difficult time. For more information, find Brian V Photography on Facebook @brianvphotos



Meet the Artist: Michelle O'Hare A Bird in Hand By Megin Potter

A bird in hand 64  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020



comfort can be found in the small things. “Sitting on my back porch, listening to the sounds of the birds with a cup of tea – that’s my favorite moment of the day,” said Michelle O’Hare. For 20 years, she’s worked an essential job at the Target Distribution Center, but it has always been nature that has replenished her spirit. “There’s a peacefulness, a calm, a connection with the earth and my soundings that grounds me, settles me and centers me,” she said.

TIME’S SWEET VIRTUES O’Hare first experimented with ceramics as a student at Saratoga Springs High School. Thirty years later, she picked it up again.

Since 2015, she’s been exploring atmospheric-fired clay, working under the tutelage of Jill FishonKovachick, founder of the Saratoga Clay Arts Center in Schuylerville. “I’m completely hooked,” said O’Hare. Working from initial sketches of bluebirds and chickadees, last year, O’Hare created a series of 100 sweet minimalist birds, exquisitely-formed and shaped so they fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. She took the collection to an intensive 4-day wood-firing residency on the grounds of Salem Art Works.





The fire in the 18 cubic-foot kiln burned at a blistering 2,340 degrees while O’Hare, and others on her crew, dressed in gloves and safety goggles, worked feverishly through the night, throwing wood on the flames for 48 hours straight. “It’s a pretty down and dirty process,” she said.

O’Hare’s birds returned to where they were born – her back porch – so she could observe and acclimate herself to the results before she sold them at area fairs and gallery shows including the Saratoga Arts Art in the Park and Gallery Shop.

Fighting against physical exhaustion, the dangerous, unpredictable blazes shooting out from the kiln, and the fearful sounds of animals in the darkness finally led up to the moment she had been waiting for.

This year, she is experimenting with carving and the lower temperature Raku ware firing process. Joining her birds in her backyard pit barrel kiln will be hand-built vases.

“It’s a very exciting moment to take the door Scheduled to be included at several off and see what it looks like under just a ton events this year, including the June 14th of ash,” said O’Hare. Beekman Street Arts Fair, and the Taste of Wilton Sept. 20th, if these events are Pulling the birds from the ashes is a slow process. Each is unique; filled with shadows, canceled, you can still find her work by colored by hot and cool spots, and by the fly visiting, ash that settles in glassy lines on their surface. on Instagram: @michelle.ohare.pottery, and on Facebook: @michelleoharepottery SS “On each bird, you see the moments of what happened in the kiln,” she said.



Reality can be messy. Illustrations give us the gift of seeing things as we want them to be. Rarely, does a home look the way we imagine it does. Our memory of a place has a funny way of highlighting the parts we feel emotionally connected to and forgetting about the parts that we don’t. Until we see a photograph, we tend to forget that a tree in full bloom – as beautiful as it may be – hides most of the house from view. We may imagine our gardens as flourishing with flowers, when in reality, they’re a bit sparse. “That’s what I can do as an illustrator – switch seasons, add flowers, move trees – for the best picture. I can make it so you actually have a much prettier representation of the house,” said Marcie Slot.

FASHIONABLE & PERSONALIZED HOME PORTRAITS For more than 35 years, Marcie Slot has been creating home portraits, architectural renderings and illustrations. Although she has been interested in architecture since she was a child, she began her career as a fashion illustrator. One of Slot’s first commercial building illustrations was of fashion retailer, Peter Harris. At the time, she had two young children, so she began working from photographs and blueprints to create oneof-a-kind architectural illustrations at her in-home studio and selling them to real estate agents, builders, and homeowners across the country. Working in watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils and pen & ink, she creates detailed pictures of structures and their surroundings. Since 2008, she has been adding computer renderings into her repertoire, but still prefers the flexibility and intimacy of hand-drawn illustrations.


“You can personalize these pictures very much. I’ve added cars, pets looking out from kitchen windows, or on the front lawn, I’ve even done an airplane,” said Slot.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT Each of Slot’s illustrations takes an average of 5 to 15 hours to complete (depending on size). One of her biggest commissions however, was so large, that it measured five feet in length. Over the years, Slot has heard over and over again how her work is not only a conversation piece but a treasured family heirloom. Families have her illustrate their homes as they move from place to place and real estate agents present their clients with her work as a housewarming gift. One Dallas-based agent was pleasantly surprised when she returned to a recently sold home to see a dozen of Marcie Slot’s illustrations already hung along the wall. It turned out not only was the agent a long-time client of Slot’s, but the homeowners were, as well. In addition to a framed illustration of a structure, Slot offers notecards of her work, as well. At the Clifton Park Library, notecards are still available for purchase, of the series she did depicting the history of buildings at the site. For more information, go to


The Artist’s Touch

For this ivy-covered Cape-Cod home, illustrator Marcie Slot created a cozy storybook cottage feel by thinning out the greenery to expose more of the brick exterior and adjusting the color to add in more reddish hues. This home’s charm was further enhanced by eliminating an unwanted water feature, some of the greenery lining the walkway, and a large tree branch that obstructed the front view of the house. By slightly shifting the angle of the image and adding in a lot of light blue and white sky above the structure, it creates an open, balanced feel to the final piece.



SARATOGA SARATO GA From Summer Residence to Skidmore’s Jewel:




pring always brings flowers and the anticipation and excitement of the Historic Homes Tour, the largest fundraising event of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. On Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, May 9, Skidmore College was graciously going to open its doors of the historic Surrey-Williamson Inn to those on the tour and host our Buildings & Breakfast and Lunch & Learn events. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, the event was postponed. However, there is no reason to delay sharing the history of this stucco English style building until the tour can take place! Skidmore College made the decision to move to its current campus on North Broadway in 1961 when Board of Trustees


member Erik Jonsson and his wife Margaret donated the former Henry Hilton estate, Woodlawn. Prior to that, the Skidmore College campus was comprised of nearly 90 buildings located along Union Avenue and adjacent streets. The college was faced with the need to grow and the increased costs of maintaining and operating a variety of historic buildings that included former mansions and associated carriage houses, a sanitarium, small hotels, and a church. The 650 acres of Woodlawn gave the college the opportunity to build a new, larger campus. Construction started in October of 1963. The first buildings, a residential and dining complex and the Lucy Scribner Library, were completed in 1966. Building of the new campus and the transition from the downtown campus continued for several years.

Broadview Lodge, Surrey-Williamson Inn Photo provided by George S. Bolster Collection, Saratoga Springs History Museum

Photo provided by Skidmore College

It was the year following the opening of its first buildings that Skidmore College acquired what is today known as the Surrey-Williamson Inn. The building and associated annex were originally part of the estate of E. Clarence Jones. Jones was a prominent New York City banker and stockbroker who was known for his philanthropy. He acquired lands of the former Henry Hilton estate and built his summer estate immediately over the city limit of Saratoga Springs in the town of Greenfield between 1917 and 1919. The compound overlooked Woodlawn and included the Broadview Lodge, Overlook Cottage, Hill Crest Cottage, Pine Tree Cottage, and a stone stable as well as a garage with a chauffeur’s apartment. The Broadview Lodge, today the Surrey-Williamson Inn, was the main house of the compound that was built by prominent local

contractor William J. Case and Son. On June 23, 1918 the New York Herald wrote: “E. Clarence Jones has completed one of the most imposing villas on North Broadway. It is to be known as the Broadview Lodge and is on an eminence of a commanding and extensive view to the east. It is a copy of an old English villa and is very attractive. The cottage is well back from Broadway and to the east the land gently rolls. The gardens about the villa are very attractive.” The Broadview Lodge with its slate roof had twenty-one rooms, twelve of which were full baths. The first floor had an entrance hall with a double staircase, a living room, dining room, and two reception rooms. The ground level of the house contained a kitchen, butler’s pantry, refrigerator room, servants’ dining room, flower room, and a butler’s bedroom and bath.


In January 1921, Jones, who had been divorced for twenty years, married Marjorie Seely Blossom, an actress and widow of author and playwright Henry Martyn Blossom. At the time, Marjorie was considered one of the most beautiful women of New York City. Jones and his wife would typically spend from June through October at the estate and loved to entertain. In 1926, Jones passed away. His widow became the sole heir to Jones’ estate and retained ownership of the Broadview Lodge and the other buildings. In 1928, she married Robert Amcotts Wilson, a retired British naval officer. Over time the various buildings of the estate were subdivided. In 1945, the Broadview Lodge was sold to former State Senator Thomas Brown and his wife Hattie. However, the Wilsons continued to summer at the Hill Crest Cottage until 1949. In 1946, the husband of Senator Thomas Brown’s daughter Elinor, Roy Wright, opened the Brown School for Boys at the Broadview Lodge. It was a boarding and day school that offered one to two years of intensive preparation for college with small classes and much individual attention. Many of the students were World War II veterans in their early twenties who needed preparation to attend four-year colleges. Students, upon graduating, were admitted to prestigious schools including Yale, Colgate, Middlebury, Syracuse, William and Mary, RPI and others. The school was short-lived and closed in the fall of 1948. The following year, the Brown School for Boys was converted into a 21 room hotel, the Surrey Inn. A June 6, 1949 Saratogian article shared “extensive alterations in dining and room furnishings and decoration are being made. Twin-bed rooms and suites with private bath will be available. Accommodations for personal maids and chauffeurs will be maintained on the property. Dining service will be offered to non-guests by appointment only. While the hotel will be operated principally for guests wishing to spend a week or more in Saratoga, those staying for a shorter period will be accepted as vacancies permit.”

Photo provided by George S. Bolster Collection, Saratoga Springs History Museum

Later the hotel, an eight room annex with garage, and associated furnishings were offered for sale for $65,500. Photo provided by Skidmore College


On May 12, 1965, The Surrey Inn Corporation acquired the property and extensively renovated it. Less than two years later on January 18, 1967, Skidmore College President Joseph Palamountain announced that the college had received the controlling interest of The Surrey Inn Corporation in a gift-purchase transaction with Robert Ducas of New York City, the sole stockholder. “Skidmore is very grateful to Mr. Ducas. Not only for his generous gift, but also for his thoughtfulness in making available to the college an attractive property adjacent to the new campus,” said Palamountain, who intended to continue to operate it as a hotel.

Photo provided by George S. Bolster Collection, Saratoga Springs History Museum

Photo provided by Skidmore College

Brown School for Boys Circa 1947, photo provided by Skidmore College

The Surrey Inn – later renamed SurreyWilliamson Inn in honor of longtime trustee and benefactor Susan Kettering Williamson – became a popular location for members of the Skidmore community to gather for academic symposia, events, receptions, and meetings. With 10 newly renovated private guest rooms with private baths, onsite catering, beautiful gardens, and access to the college’s facilities, including its hiking trails, the space continues to be used for meetings, conferences, weddings, and other events. “It is one of those special places that sets it apart from anywhere else on campus. It feels as if you are in another era when you step inside and you imagine the splendor and charm that guests over the past century have enjoyed,” shared Wendy LeBlanc, Director of Conferences and Events. She is excited that this beautiful venue is now open to others outside the Skidmore community to experience. Over time, Skidmore College has acquired the other cottages that were once associated with the E. Clarence Jones Estate – Overlook Cottage (Colton Alumni Welcome Center, 860 North Broadway), Hill Crest Cottage (Waring Admissions Center, 950 North Broadway), Pine Tree Cottage (Van Patten House, 954 North Broadway) – to serve different administrative purposes, bringing back together much of the original estate. While it is uncertain when the Historic Homes Tour will be rescheduled, please take this time to walk North Broadway to see the former E. Clarence Jones estate and enjoy the peacefulness of the North Woods and campus while appreciating its architecture, history, and landscape. To learn when the Historic Homes Tour; Porch Party that kicks-off the event; Breakfast & Buildings, a presentation about the history of Woodlawn, the main campus of Skidmore College, by Emeritus Skidmore professor Robert Jones; and Lunch & Learn event with Charlie Kuenzel and Dave Patterson presenting “Saratoga’s Big Bang: The Post Civil War Building Boom,” will take place, please periodically visit the Foundation’s website SS MAY/JUNE 2020 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 73


Looking forward to sunny Summer days and shopping on Broadway! Alex is wearing the Pink Smocked Blouse by Cotton Candy, High Rise Mom Jeans by Daze Denim and the Devon White Booties by Matisse. Photo by The Content Saratoga



Left SPRING DREAM MINI DRESS This 100% self number is tiered with delicate ruffles in our spring dream print. Featuring adjustable spaghetti straps. Fully lined Right SPRING DREAM LONG SLEEVE RUFFLE DRESS This long sleeve ruffled dress is perfect for weddings and backyard BBQs alike. This pretty piece is fully lined with sheer sleeves and a front button closure. The waist is smocked for a flattering touch. Nicole Miller, exclusively at Saratoga Trunk



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You can’t control what happens in life, but you can control how you respond to it. “Fitness is important overall to your mental and physical health. With all the anxiety of this situation right now, doing everything you can (within your control) to be as healthy as you can be, is really key,” said Naomi Nicholson, owner of Staccato Barre & Bodyworks in Saratoga Springs.

BRING IT ON The day after Nicholson learned that fitness studios across the state would need to shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, she was making the Staccato Barre classes available online. “At the time, my concern was to keep everything going. What I didn’t realize was how many people would tell me, as time went on, ‘Thank you! This is giving us sanity, structure to our day, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. People are really, really craving that right now,” said Nicholson. Live Zoom classes, taught by four of the studio’s instructors (including Nicholson) are now available eight times a week, Monday through Saturday. If you can’t make the live class, digital recordings are available.

FIND YOUR STRONG Fitness has always been a big part of Naomi Nicholson’s life, but dance never was. Working as an office manager during the day, she taught high-intensity fitness classes, like kick-boxing, as part of Saratoga Springs City School District’s Continuing Education program. Then, in the summer of 2017, she saw an ad for Staccato Barre classes.




“It said, ‘Get the best tush in‘toga’. I thought, ‘That sounds fantastic! Who doesn’t want that?’ So, I went to a class and I loved it! I loved the instructors and the feel of the space. I just felt very much at home there,” she said. Even after twenty years as a fitness instructor, the dynamic and invigorating barre workouts gave her a more sculpted, leaner figure and better posture. It complimented her other activities so well that within a year, she had completed the 100-hour instructor certification course. Then, when the opportunity to buy the studio arose last May, Nicholson jumped at it. She never could’ve guessed what her first year as a business owner would bring.


THE ART OF THE DANCE Staccato Barre online classes are more than an instructor and a camera. Students can sign out sanitized exercise kits, with essentials including resistance bands and Pilates balls, to use at home. Workouts are modified so students can easily use whatever they have at home for balance - a chair, the back of the couch, a countertop. Individualized instruction cues ensure that all students, regardless of age, fitness level or with special health restrictions, maintain proper body placement and alignment. “Now, it doesn’t matter where you live, you can come to class,” said Nicholson. Every Wednesday, after class it’s time for “Coffee Barre,” where students are invited to stay on the call longer to ask questions and just chat with one another. “It’s been an awesome way to stay connected. We’ve even gotten closer, ironically, while being apart.” Staccato Barre online classes will continue even after the studio reopens. New students are welcome, and your first class is just $10. For more information, go to SS



The Night Walker- Hedi Jaouad as he contemplates dreams



ost in Shanghai; panic from not being able to locate notes for an important keynote address; vibrantly colored platters of sausage and peppers, -all a sampling of my friends’ nightly dreams. In a world where little happens to us during the day, our active imaginations have come alive each night with vivid and crazy thoughts. Having exhausted most other topics in our isolated world, we find ourselves sharing these dreams with friends. Of course, we must first remember our dreams. Hédi Jaouad, Skidmore professor of French and Francophone studies, states that,” neuroscientists feel we dream on the average five hours a night.” Many believe we underuse this creative resource. Hédi became interested in transcribing dreams when he discovered Surrealism in graduate school.

This is Hédi’s process: “As soon as I wake up while the dream or what remains of it is still fresh in my mind, I describe what I saw and heard freely without any concern for style or grammar. It’s like taking a dictation directly from your subconscious. I find it relaxing and balancing, a nice exercise to get started off on the right foot, so to speak, for the day.”


His interest in dreams led his daughter Suleika to invite him to be a guest contributor on her highly acclaimed Isolation Journals website. More than 80,000 people tune into Suleika’s daily email to hear her encouraging words. She introduces an artist who gives a writing prompt. Some people just read and think about the prompt. Others put pen to paper. “It’s a way to cultivate community and creativity during hard times,” she says. Popular writers such as Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Gilbert have contributed prompts, as well as her local parents Anne Francey and Hédi Jaouad. If you want to start working with your own dreams, try Hédi’s prompt from Day 38 of the Isolation Journals: Transcribe a recent dream, as it came to you—that is “raw,” without any processing, embellishing, or rationalizing. You can use words, images, or any other mode of expression. The point is to emulate the creative flow of the subconscious. In sum: Bring down the barrier between sleeping and waking. Unlock the untapped potential of your unconscious… and free surf on the waves of your dreams! For me, this was a fascinating exercise. I loved reading some of the 6000 plus members’ Facebook group entries. They stirred up memories of similar recent dreams. And helped me manage some of my strange nightly dreams. So how else can we manage our dreams? Hédi cautioned some of his gloomy dreams of late-such as that of a locust invasion-may have been spawned by a viewing of a famous Hitchcock movie. Just keep that in mind as you select your binge watching! During this time of Covid, explore topics you may never had time to think about by checking out the Isolation Journals, a 100 day project of creativity ( the-isolation-journals) developed by former native Saratogian Suleika Jaouad.

Hedi and Suleika Jaouad (seated) Anne Francey and Adam Jaouad at their Saratoga home.


MEET THE ARTIST: A Bird in Hand By Megin Potter

Justin Francis Kane 88  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020



ike so many others, Justin Francis Kane is looking forward to the day when he can make a beeline to the salon. In March, just two weeks after his new salon opened, The Beehive Saratoga, at 12 Lake Avenue, in Saratoga Springs, was ordered to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the modern space, filled with natural elements; including plants and exposed wood, sits empty, Kane escapes the anxiety of months of unemployment by tapping into his creative side.

“When I create art, I want to create something that is more whimsical, unique, and different than what’s in the real world. I want to escape from this world and travel to my own world,” he said.

THE BOY WITH THE BEE A bee’s job is to humbly travel from flower to flower, collecting its nectar the essence of its blossom. It’s an animal that Kane identifies with. Justin Kane’s artistic explorations began taking shape while he was studying illustration at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts. “I like focusing on faces and beauty in my work. I’m telling a story with the images I create,” he said. Kane’s fantastical, elven-like characters humorously, yet heroically, balance his darker figurative representations.

BUZZ-WORTHY BEAUTY Deciding to use his creativity in a more industrious way, Kane began studying cosmetology at NYC’s Aveda Institute. He soon discovered however, the products he was using in school were irritating his skin. Turning to his grandmother, a Master Herbalist, for help, he created organic soaps and skincare products. Kane’s grandfather, a beekeeper and sculptor of wooden animals, was the initial inspiration behind the bee symbolism on Kane’s products. The bee icon that Kane created from intricately-cut paper is delicate and nuanced, inviting the viewer into the beauty of a friendlier world.



ARTFUL HAIR COLOR Doing hair for 12 years, including as a color specialist at Sassoon, Kane returned home and for the past five years, has worked as a stylist at The Strand Saratoga hair studio. There, he was practicing the art that would become his specialty; the Balayage method of hair coloring. Balayage is the hand-painting of color onto individual strands to create a softer, more natural look that requires less maintenance than other techniques.

EXPLORING CLAY Just three years ago, Kane began studying sculpture at the Saratoga Clay Arts Center and immediately got addicted. “Clay for me, is an exploration – like all of my art is. I’m finding out about myself and my identity through my style and I keep elaborating on it. I can’t just stick with one thing,” said Kane. Pulling functional pieces, like mugs, from the wheel and embellishing them with clusters of mushrooms evolved into melding organic shapes piped with repetitive textures that represent elemental forms. A display of Kane’s work is hung within the entrance of Saratoga’s Cantina Restaurant and his luminaries sit on their tables. At Old Saratoga Mercantile, his pieces flew off the shelves. “They immediately stood out to me. There’s a quality about it that looks like he’s been doing it for 100 years,” said owner Christina Myers. They were a natural fit for the store; reasonably-priced and with a beauty derived from nature. “His pieces are like him; they have a joy to them and I want to spread that joy all over.” Follow Kane’s adventures in painting, photography, cooking, gardening and more on Instagram @TheBoyWithTheBee SS


Schuylerville… Still worth the drive! drive!



t is crazy to think how quickly everything has changed since the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. The world is facing a rapidly changing situation that is altering the everyday lives of people everywhere. It’s easy to overlook the effects of these times on small towns, such as Schuylerville, but luckily the local village, just east of Saratoga Springs is continuing to power through. The central school located on Spring Street has been closed due to state regulations, but this is not stopping the administration from celebrating the senior class of 2020! Signs of congratulations were


posted outside each seniors’ doors personally by the school’s principal, James Ducharme. There is also a ceremony planned later in the month just for graduating seniors and the staff at Schuylerville. All social distancing guidelines will be followed! “We all get specific spots, six feet apart outside.” says high school senior Haleigh Eustis about her thoughts on the unusual graduation she is facing with her fellow members of the class of 2020. “It’s ok, I just miss the teachers.” she adds. Remember to thank the teachers and students in your life this graduation season!

Restaurants are still operating for pick-up and delivery, and places such as Revolution Café - great for takeout! – are helping the community during these hard times. The Cafe is supporting other local businesses every Friday since quarantine by donating 20% of the day’s sales to locations such as Schuylerville’s own Dog Spa as well as The Way, a thrift store dedicated to feeding families in need. It really does take a village.

their trails remain open for public use and they are a great way to get some fresh air and sun. Take a stroll along the calm Hudson River at Hudson Crossing Park or walk the Towpath for a view of Lock 5… a great change of pace from being stuck inside. If you really want to get active, I recommend a run from the park up to Stark’s Knob road. The dirt road meanders through serene farm views and rolling hills.

Of course, it’s hard to stay entertained during the self-quarantine, but know that Schuylerville’s beautiful parks are still open! While the picnic and play areas are closed to enforce social distancing rules,

Be sure to stay safe and keep a healthy distance but get out and enjoy the beautiful countryside that is Schuylerville. SS



H&G Randall Perry Photography

Step Inside...


Archite Randall Perry Photography


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


Many Hands



Randall Perry Photography



he history of architecture has often promoted the idea that bigger is better but today, the tiny house movement is challenging this notion. Offering the styling of larger houses with a lower price tag, minimalist living is an attractive option for environmentally-minded homeowners who want a simpler lifestyle. Building a tiny house, however, is no simple task. Randall Perry Photography


Randall Perry Photography

THE BEST LAID PLANS The 220 sq. ft. tiny house was a big project that involved a lot of work by many people. Even before the high school students in the WashingtonSaratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services (WSWHE BOCES) Residential Construction Course began the tiny house project, work-based learning coordinator, Bruce Hoffman, was helping to organize donations of materials, appliances and expertise from a long list of industry professionals. “At BOCES we thrive on that. We always want to show

the value of cooperation and building relationships with the community. That all comes together in this project. It showed, very clearly, what you can do in a BOCES program and what can be accomplished,” said BOCES Senior Public Information Specialist Maribeth Macica. In seven months students, led by instructor Ian Hamilton, redesigned architectural plans to make the tiny house mobile, built much of it, and worked on electrical and plumbing components within it at the F. Donald Myers Education Center campus in Saratoga. Welding class students modified the trailer deck, and conservation class students used heavy equipment to tow it once it was completed.

Randall Perry Photography


“Beautiful view.” That is the name the

owners chose for their modern 2,500 square-foot of main living level home overlooking Loughberry Lake, a small tranquil body of


Randall Perry Photography

SHOWCASING STUDENT OPPORTUNITIES The WSWHE BOCES programs provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning and gives them the experience to get well-paid jobs. “Each program has a consultant committee that annually reviews the curriculum and gives advice as to what’s happening on the cutting edge of that industry,” said Macica. BOCES students are learning things the average high school student is not. You may already know that WSWHE BOCES students build sheds, but did you know that last spring, they cleared a site in Moreau for the Harry J. Betar Recreational Park & Playground or that they design and create the “Tuff eNuff” obstacle course each year in Saratoga Springs?

These activities build a workforce and strengthen the community which is eager to hire skilled people. To help get the word out, the BOCES tiny house was on display at the Washington County Fair, and at three different locations in the fall Showcase of Homes, organized by the Saratoga Builders Association (SBA). “The Saratoga Builders Association has 160 members and our mission is very focused – we promote construction and make life in Saratoga County better,” said SBA Executive Director Barry Potoker. This year will mark the 25th annual Showcase of Homes tour. It attracts between 3,500 - 4,000 visitors each year and has helped to fund the $1.3 million that the SBA has donated to charitable causes.

Randall Perry Photography



Randall Perry Photography


DESIGNING THE TINY HOUSE The Showcase of Homes demonstrates what area builders can do. These homes show off the latest in building innovations and luxurious living. Interior designer Michele Ahl, of 2B Design, LLC. has served on the Showcase planning committee, as a judge, and won awards in 2016 and 2018 for her designs. She volunteered to help make the tiny house into a home. “The idea of promoting the youth in the trades got me very excited. They can make an amazing living. It’s a fantastic opportunity because now, if you want someone good, you have to wait a long time. If there were more people in the industry, we could do jobs faster and there would be more competition, which would bring prices down. It would help everything in every way,” said Ahl. SS


Randall Perry Photography


DESIGNING FOR THE SHOWCASE OF HOMES IS A UNIQUE CHALLENGE. “In a lot of ways, it wasn’t any different than any Showcase house; there are big plans at the beginning, as time goes on, it all changes, and at the very end, you have to scramble to get it done. It’s very long days and nights, redesigning, rethinking, refiguring, shopping and returning things to make it work,” said Ahl.

SIZING UP SMALL SPACES When it came to designing the tiny house, Ahl’s main concern was how to maximize livability in such a small space. Since the structure is also mobile, she had to consider the weight of materials and furnishings, as well as how to secure them during transport. “In each location, the tiny house garnered a lot of attention. There was a line down the sidewalk of people waiting to get in each weekend to see what we did. People would flock to it,” said Ahl.


Randall Perry Photography

Features of the tiny house include a small front porch, a 10’x8’ sleeping loft, electric heating and a composting toilet. Vinyl plank flooring stretch the length of the main level with natural pine floors used in the loft space. There is a built-in seating area for up to 7 people, a small workspace, and a kitchen with a 4-burner stove and a wine cooler. A pine sliding barn door divide the living area from the bathroom and a Precision Glass floral-printed glass door cover the utility closet, which had enough room for a stackable washer and dryer. After the Showcase, the tiny house was sold, fully-furnished, for $21,000 in an online auction.

Randall Perry Photography



LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES While your space may not be as small as the tiny house Michele Ahl decorated, you can use her designer tips to get the most life out of your home. Light Colors: Even when there isn’t sunlight flowing through the windows, small spaces feel bigger and more open when you pair neutrals, like whites and grays, with fresh eucalyptus and mint green colors. Clever Storage: Live well in anysized space with storage that fits your needs. Use your vertical space! Hanging baskets and toiletry holders save on precious surface area. By hanging a mirror over the bathroom window, you create privacy that serves a second function. Outside-the-Box Solutions: Create unique, inexpensive shelves by mounting books with brackets. Copper piping in the kitchen makes interesting, usable cabinet hardware, and a wall-mounted sink positioned sideways saves space in the bathroom. SS Randall Perry Photography


Randall Perry Photography


Shade Plants, Serenity & More




hether you’re looking for the perfect shade plant for your garden or the perfect place for a peaceful springtime stroll, you’ll find just what you’re looking for at Shades of Green in Charlton. Nestled beneath towering trees along rural Cook Road, this homebased outdoor plant shop reflects the artistic vision, gardening prowess, perseverance, and love of one amazing woman: Wynne Trowbridge. Hardworking, laidback, and personable, Wynne enjoys nothing more than getting to know her customers, learning about their interests and needs, and sharing her extensive gardening know-how. For the past 20 years, Wynne has worked tirelessly to transform her family’s 25-acre property into a lovely, tranquil setting where visitors can wander the gardens, listen to birdsong, relax and recharge. Wynne encourages folks to stroll

along the winding pathways or head down to the pond to see the water lilies and wildlife. You can even bring a picnic lunch and make yourself at home among the many cheery clusters of chairs, tables, and benches scattered around the property. When Wynne Trowbridge, her husband, and two children first moved from Colorado to Charlton in 1990, she had no idea she would ultimately be running a thriving little business. “We had 25 acres and a pond,” Wynne says, “and I knew I wanted to do some form of gardening. I come from an extended family of farmers in Minnesota,” she adds with a grin, “so I guess it’s in my blood.” Initially, Wynne considered growing and selling the usual mix of annual and perennial plants. But then a nephew, who’d majored in business, offered her some pivotal advice.


“Hugh suggested I narrow my focus and create a niche business that would set me apart from other gardening centers in the area,” Wynne recalls. “Since our property is loaded with shade trees, I decided to specialize in shade plants, hostas in particular. They’re America’s favorite perennial.” Thousands of different hosta varieties are grown worldwide, and Shades of Green carries hundreds of them. But, given the often minute differences between varieties, Wynne admits that keeping track of their different names and locations can be challenging. In addition to hostas, she also offers many other kinds of shade plants, including a striking array of astilbe, brunnera, ferns, heuchera, and pulmonaria. Over the years, Wynne has enjoyed decorating her grounds with vibrantly-painted potting sheds, whimsical statues, and quirky ornamental doodads. She does all the painting herself and laughs heartily when asked if she has an art background. “Not at all!” she says. “I just look at things, try to visualize different color combinations, and go from there.” Wynne admits that running Shades of Green is an all-consuming endeavor—and keeping the grass mowed and gardens weeded is impossible! “It’s just me working here most of the time,” she says, “although I do have a wonderful helper, Jen Evans, who works several hours each week.”



Despite the long hours and daunting workload, Wynne’s enthusiasm for gardening is unmistakable. Having previously worked many years in office settings, she is all too happy to be working outdoors now, doing what she loves. She especially enjoys the process of taking plants from plug or bare root form to maturity. But, as all seasoned gardeners know, dangers abound in the natural world. “In a very wet season, I might lose one-half to two-thirds of my plugs to rot,” she laments. “Meanwhile, chipmunks and other critters continually work to destroy the plants. And an unexpected hailstorm can be devastating!” But despite the many challenges, Wynne Trowbridge loves being her own boss, gardening in the great outdoors, and meeting all the wonderful people who stop by her idyllic homestead. For Wynne, Shades of Green is much more than a business. It’s a way of life and a labor of love. “I always tell people I’m just one good injury away from retiring,” she chuckles. Still, from the way her eyes sparkle and shine, it’s obvious that this dynamic 60-something woman has found her true calling. Whether you’re a hosta aficionado or a casual gardener, Shades of Green is an inspiring springtime ’must-see.’ Once you’ve experienced its gorgeous plants, peaceful surroundings, whimsical décor, and warm and welcoming host, you will surely return again and again. For Shades of Green’s spring schedule, visit or call (518) 882-5433. Guided tours and group visits are available by appointment. SS



Therapy he therapeutic affects of gardens have been known since ancient times but some of Saratoga’s most therapeutic gardens remain undiscovered. Many years ago, these gardens’ glorious colors, textures, and fragrances - that lift spirits and promote well-being – didn’t exist. It has been through the dedicated hands of Heritage Garden Club volunteers, that these beautiful spaces are now here for the public to enjoy.

THE VISITOR CENTER GARDEN The soothing scent of white alyssum loaded with bunches of small flowers, Bobo Hydrangea, and different varieties of Sedum, are the newest additions to the public garden located behind the Saratoga Springs Heritage Visitor Center. This serene garden is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Sit under the covered outdoor patio and take in the layers of blooming plants. Watch as dozens of butterflies dance and birds bathe beside a graceful statue of a woman with flowers in her hand known as “Victoria.” Beside the picnic tables, there are eight clay pots filled with seasonal beauties until November. Within the perimeter garden, labels and garden plaques memorialize the contributions of members as well as acknowledge the grant that helps fund them; the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust.




OTHER PEACEFUL SPACES The Garden of Hope at the Saratoga Hospital beside the Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center entrance is a quick way to perk up your day. This playful, sunny garden has bright begonias, coneflowers, and other delights lining a short strolling path. A pair of stone frogs are tucked in beside the garden’s daylilies, which were famously propagated by scientist Stanley Saxon. The Heritage Garden Club also brings comfort to those visiting the Gideon Putnam Burying Grounds. Their well-maintained planters highlight markers in this historic space.

A LABOR OF LOVE The Heritage Garden Club gardens are spaces to reflect and find peace, while also being places for learning. With the help of the Department of Public Works, volunteers are able to share the benefits of gardening with students, teach them about life cycles and the importance of compost. Even during stressful times, the caretakers of Saratoga’s gardens are still out there, hauling water and digging out weeds, so that the public can enjoy a bit of beauty during their day. The Heritage Garden Club regularly holds garden workshops, speaker programs and sells garden accents during the annual Secret Garden Tour presented by the Soroptimist International of Saratoga County. Their annual plant sale is planned for June 6th, 9 a.m. until 12 noon at the Italian American Center, 247 Grand Ave., Saratoga Springs. New members are most welcome. Feel free to contact them by emailing For more information, go to HeritageGardenclub org.




Colleen's Picks

Susan Blackburn Photography

A carefully curated selection of HOME DÉCOR ITEMS WRITTEN BY COLLEEN


Saratoga Springs… A town of Health, History and Horses! A town filled with amazing people

Colleen Coleman is the Principal of CMC Design Studio LLC located in Saratoga Springs. With certifications in Kitchen & Bath Design, Aging in Place and True Color Expert, her curated design extends into all areas of her field including new construction, historical and major renovations. Her passion is in designing & customizing hand-crafted cabinets for all areas of the residential market.

who have been working together to hold each other up in the last few months. We are Saratoga, we are courageous, we are stronger side-by-side and we are ready to be together again! So, grab your cup of Saratoga Mineral Water and come with me as I celebrate some of our extraordinary local shops and discover reveling in togetherness! From rejoicing with our graduates to remembering our loved ones. Let’s begin to live our life to the fullest! To appreciate the sweet lemonade made from our recent lemons and charge into the future with the fury of the Roaring 20s! I don’t know about you, but while I am home, I made a list of all the things I knew I had to change after truly living in my dwelling. From painting to updating window dressings, I have slowly managed to give my home a little boost over the past few months. It made me feel accomplished, renewed in fact! My outdoor gardens are ready to go and if you have been following my social media, you know I have already started my vegetable garden indoors. And I hope you had the opportunity to take advantage of the design tips I had posted; from selecting the right color & brightness for your light bulbs to new fabrics and wallpapers! I know many of you loved seeing the colorful new lines which are sure to bring a fresh beginning to any updated space.

To change your mood, you don’t need to go all out. 23rd [and Fourth] has several new items that will surely enhance your favorite room in the house. At the entry, handmade Door Mats crafted in Maine from lobster netting are sure to greet your guests with a smile! Sturdy enough to withstand any weather New York can dish out, the 1” thick mat is resistant to mold & mildew and will not fade! With colors ranging from Sage Green, Sand, Charcoal, Fog Gray with Sand and Sand with Charcoal, they are bound to offer the perfect welcome at any porch. Need to feel the sweet scent of summer? Pick up their Mimosa Candle with a signature champagne effervescence infused with a perfect blend of freshly squeezed oranges. It will leave you with a feeling of a morning brunch with friends! Made from premium soy wax, the candles are prepared in a repurposed wine bottle…now that is right up my alley! And who couldn’t use a collection of these adorable Cherry Print Paper Place Mats! Designed in collaboration with Vicki Sawyer, the 24-sheet pad is a generous size at 18.5” x 24.5”. Other scenes available are the Ice Cream Social and the Farmers Market with a playful chalkboard option to boot! Now that’s a great start to a family gathering with easy clean up!

23RD [AND FOURTH] 103 Excelsior Ave Saratoga Springs 518.584.3700


Colleen's Picks

At Accents at Allerdice, they are still featuring the ever-popular Water Wick Candle Fountains. They were such a hit at the Saratoga Home & Lifestyle Show, that the store owner just had to bring in more! Available in 5 pastel colors; pink, yellow, green, blue, and purple, these charmers can be set to operate with a timer or by remote control, adding a touch of summer fun to your indoor or outdoor entertaining spaces. Sit back and relax, with the touch of a button, the candles flicker while a gentle fountain bubbles like a liquid flame! And talk about a great feature for your home office or reading nook. Water’s soothing sound encourages a peaceful tempo for thought which leads to relaxation. And don’t we all need moments of repose these days!

ACCENTS AT ALLERDICE 2570 Route 9 Malta, (inside the Allerdice Ace Hardware) 518.899.6222

And where would we be without our loved ones? Celebrate your special bond by sharing the gift of DEMDACO Time Well Spent Wall Art by the Sharon Nowlan Collection. Inspired by the beauty of Nova Scotia, these timeless art pieces capture the joy of spending time with loved ones…something I know we all have come to appreciate more deeply. Themes range from Friends, Dreams, Special Moments (great for shower or wedding gifts!), A Place Called Home and more! You can’t go wrong giving these as a gift or adding to your own collection of heart-warming art! Now one of the things I have been missing is gathering with my friends at the pool over a shared feast of outdoor culinary delights! My hubby is a grill master and you would just love his seasoned chicken! I know my chef is in need of a new grill and Earl B. Feiden’s is my place to find the best outdoor cooking appliances. Yes, outdoor appliances! We so often refer to our hard-working outdoor kitchens as “the grill area” when in reality, they are an extension of our kitchen and should be treated as such. If you cook outside just as much as you do inside, then why compromise on the appliances you use? Made you think, didn’t I? Well here are three fabulous outdoor cooking appliances that will take your grilling expertise to a whole new level! The XO (XOGRIL36) Pro Grade Luxury Gas Grill offers three separate cooking zones powered by three 22,000 BTU burners offering the capabilities of your indoor range. With removeable steel dividers, it allows you to cook different foods side-by-side at different temperatures. I’m loving this model already! And the ceramic InfraRedTM burner will heat from 0-1000 degrees in under a minute…can you just taste the savory filet mignon?! The dual shell hood opens effortlessly with a spring assist mechanism revealing a cooking area of 1,235 sq. inches! I think my eyes just popped out of my head! There is so much more, but alas…I do need to tease you with two more options.


EARL B. FEIDAN 1771 Route 9, Clifton Park 518.383.2215

EARL B. FEIDAN 1771 Route 9, Clifton Park 518.383.2215

If you love wood-fired flavor in your cooking, the Traeger Pellet Grill (TF30LZB) is for you! This versatile cooking experience allows you to smoke, grill, bake, roast, or braise while maintaining a preset temperature within +/- 15 degrees Fahrenheit for precision cooking. The 18lb hopper moves your Traeger all-natural hardwood pellets to the fire pot which feeds the flames and adds delicious flavor to all your outdoor dishes. Imagine your beef enhanced with bold hickory, or sweet apple wood infused into your pork…I am licking my lips imagining my next BBQ! If that weren’t enough, the airflow inside of the grill allows for convection cooking… do you know what that means? …PIZZA! Yes, the possibilities are endless!... I must move on… And last but not least, the Lynx Professional Series Gas Grill (L54TR) which boasts one TridentTM Infrared burner and three Cast Ceramic Burners fashioned from red brass for producing and retaining heat, giving you a total of 98,000 BTUs! With an upper cooking tray that stores out of the way, a dual-position rotisserie with its own rear infrared burner...another 14,000 BTUs I may add... it collectively conjures a total cooking area of 1,555 sq. inches! And just in case you want to smoke your food, a premium smoker box is included! Yes…it has the easy lift hood with interior lights and LED blue knobs. An all-inone I’d say! So now it’s your turn to pick which one would be most pleasing to your chef! Sorry I made it so hard to choose!

LAKESIDE FARMS 336 Schauber Road, Ballston Lake 518.399.8359

I mentioned I started my garden…don’t you want to get your garden going as well? Lakeside Farms has a wide selection of Vegetable Plants to choose from. A great activity to do with your kids and a learning experience beyond the computer screen! While you’re there, don’t forget to select from their variety of Hanging Baskets and Annuals. A good entertainment space needs a pop of color from potted plants to garden beds! I've already purchased several of the hanging pots myself! And what would a trip to Lakeside Farms be without scoring a dozen of their Cider Donuts! A mouth-watering experience that is worth the trip from anywhere! If you love their homemade soups, be sure to follow them on Facebook for the Soup of the Day! Did I hear someone say dessert? Oh yeah…Their Pies are available in limited quantities. If you want to ensure your favorite variety is available, be sure to call and order in advance at (518)399-8359. All these goodies are available at their take-out window with hopes of the Gift Shoppe opening the first two weeks in June!


Colleen's Picks Moving inside…oh no, not there again! Yes, let’s have a little designer-to-reader chat about all the things we saw in our homes as we actually spent some time there. Lot’s of honey-do lists were written…I know…you can’t hide them from me! One of the rooms that needs to function at peak performance is our kitchen. These days, it’s a temporary office and a classroom for all ages while still needing to be the center of the home for functional purposes… like cooking! If you’ve worked on your culinary skills over the past few months and have decided a new kitchen or updated appliances are in order, then I have a treat for you! Marcella’s Appliance is working hard to create a cooking experience for you at a budget that is not out of reach for high performance appliances! Take for instance the 30” Wolf Gas Range (GR304). You’ll feel like a gourmet chef with its precision temperature control, from searing a filet to melting chocolates for your covered strawberries. The spacious convection oven cooks your dishes and desserts evenly, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labor with friends and family alike! And don’t miss the infrared broiler that sears quickly and crisps your crust to perfection! And who wouldn’t want a set of their iconic knobs in classic red, black or brushed stainless.

MARCELLA'S APPLIANCE 15 Park Ave., Clifton Park 518.952.7700

Pair your new range with a Wolf 30” Cooktop Wall Hood (VW30S). Beautifully welded seams and edges echo the mastery of Wolf’s craftmanship. Not just eye-candy…this heavy-duty stainless-steel hood will keep your cooking area well illuminated while a powerful, four speed blower draws any cooking odors and smoke out of your way! A marriage made in culinary heaven!


Now for refrigeration. Yes…YOU deserve a Subzero 36” Classic Refrigerator (Panel ready BI36RORH)! Why invest in a Subzero? It’s simple. The purpose of our refrigerator is to keep our food fresh, right? But how long it does that depends on how well it’s made. Let me explain. You see, this refrigerator is equipped with the BI-36R’s advanced food preservation feature…A NASA-inspired air purification that hastens food spoilage and reduces odors by removing bacteria, mold, and viruses. Between the magnetic door seal, micro-processor to precisely control temperatures, separate zoned crisper, and deli drawers, you won’t have to worry that your food will spoil any time soon! That means less trips to the grocery store. I’m all in for that! Did I mention this refrigerator can be monitored and controlled with Wi-Fi? Yes sir…even when you are on that long-awaited vacation, you don’t have to worry that your food will spoil. Truly an investment worth making! One last upgrade to consider. With all the home cooking lately, you realize your dishwasher is not up to par with your household needs. Well let’s get you suited with a Cove Dishwasher by Wolf (Panel Ready DW2450). With engineering that allows the dishwasher to adapt to what YOU clean the most, every dish, plastic container and saucepan will emerge spotless with near-silent operation! And if you chose to install it with a cabinet panel front, your guests will never even know it’s running! Dreamy! All of the Wolf and Subzero products are available with stainless-steel pro or tubular handles to coordinate your kitchen in style. Don’t compromise…we prepare food every day, several times a day! Your kitchen is the heart of your home… treat it and yourself to the appliances you deserve! And don’t forget to look on page 2 for Marcella’s coupon! Good until the end of 2020! Have fun shopping! I’m glad we had this little chat!


Colleen's Picks


Onto countertops, the gem of any space, especially the kitchen or bathroom! Take a look at some of the stunning selections offered at Granite & Marble Works. The Emerald Marinace Quartzite is a rich jewel-toned stone from Brazil with a wide range of colors including emerald, jade, and green teal. The slab offers a view of thousands of years of rocks forming together to create a single mass. Each slab is a section cut of these ornamental rocks; polished and ready to be on display as a stunning focal point in your next project. When I recently updated our half bath, I couldn’t resist the beauty of Granite & Marble Works’s Elysse Quartzite with its soft movement of grays, greens and lavender that is reminiscent of Monet’s Water Lilies. I’m a huge Monet lover so this stone spoke to my inner being! With a showroom filled with full slabs for your viewing pleasure, you are sure to be mesmerized by the beauty only nature can create. If you prefer something more subtle… The Maldive Quartzite is another Brazilian stone featuring a light gray background with gray and blue veins throughout, almost like a marble. The stone in its simplicity is quite dramatic, especially if you’re considering a waterfall edge! The linear veining would also be spectacular as a full backsplash, allowing the natural movement of the stone to continue from your countertop to the vertical wall surface. Breathtaking!

8 Commerce Park Drive, Wilton 518.584.2800

If you are not familiar with Quartzite, let me help you better understand its properties. First, man-made quartz is just that… man-made and not to be confused with quartzite which is a natural stone product quarried from the earth and made of mostly natural quartz…now that we have that out of the way…Quartzite is a very hard, metamorphic rock that is originated from sandstone. It is usually white or light-colored because quartz sand is light colored. Additional minerals carried by groundwater can impart hues of green, blue, and other colors, much like the Elysse I mentioned earlier. Quartzite is much harder than marble and only slightly harder than granite. Because quartz is completely non-porous, it is less prone to stains and bacterial growth while making clean up easy with mild soap and water…a great option for kitchen and baths. All-in-all, mother nature is one of the best designers. Be sure to visit Granite & Marble Works to discover your crowned jewel for any room! Oh, we are ALL so ready to celebrate the summer season TOGETHER! With careful planning and respect for each other, we can absolutely enjoy every moment. Don’t allow circumstances of the day to deprive you of your joy! We are all given 24 hours a day to spend wisely, we should make the most of every minute while we can. Whether Zoom picnics or sitting around a large wood plank table holding hands, be ever so grateful for just having one another!

I wish all of you a happy and healthy summer!


Be well my friends, Be well my friends,

Colleen Coleman of CMC Design Studio LLC AKBD, CAPS & True Color Expert “Creating Environments for Life” TM 126  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020



Meghan Fritz is a psychotherapist practicing in State College, PA. For more information email


s we navigate a new normal in the midst of these uncertain times, anxiety and depression levels are soaring. Worries about the future, health, finances, travelling to see family and friends, and plans in general can consume us, keeping us from peace of mind, healthy sleep and experiencing joy in every-day life. Anxiety can paralyze us emotionally and make it hard for us to focus on simple, concrete tasks. When this happens, one of the quickest ways to shift your energy from anxiety to peace is to physically move. This gets the nervous energy moving so it can exit your mind, body, and spirit. If you are having a day full of anxiety, take time to go for a short (or long) walk, get some fresh air, do an online exercise class, or lift some weights at home. This short but sweet time-out will help your body calm down and release some of the adrenaline that is making it hard for you to be present. The demands to keep up with the family/work balance has created a system overload emotionally and we need to stop daily to release this overload. When you are overwhelmed with all that needs to be done in a day, it can be hard to stop and pause to take care of yourself. Simple breaks to hydrate, move and breathe can help keep anxiety from becoming your new normal.

Avoid system overloads with simple daily goals. Even if you take a ten-minute walk you have released some stress and protected yourself from a major malfunction. In addition to physically moving to help combat anxiety and depression, it is important to treat your uncomfortable feelings with compassion and understanding. While it is tempting to eat and drink our feelings away, this too causes a system overload. With the ever-changing news updates our mood can go from having a pretty good day to feeling anxious and hopeless. Try in those tough moments to treat your feelings gently. If you are having difficulty sleeping over a prolonged period check in with your PCP and if you find yourself in a spiral of anxiety and depression reach out to a therapist for some help. Don’t try to get through this time with just a strong upper lip and chin up attitude. Recognize that all the uncertainty and isolation can take a toll on each one of us. Avoid a system overload by moving physically and allowing uncomfortable feelings to exist.




No matter what you’re watching, when you turn on that black box, you’re immersed into another world, experiencing another’s story as well as your own. Then, when you turn it off, it’s a black box again.

Now, it’s time to think…

Outside the


Reintroduce your eyes to the transformative power of great art.

“The Frame” by Samsung is for the common areas of your home because this television is a conversation piece - even when it isn’t on. Choose from a library of 1000+ masterworks or upload your own photography as a screensaver for your television. Its clear, vibrant image is created by using the high concentration of pixels available with the latest QLED technology. Its camouflage made even more convincing because it is matted and framed in your choice of colors. Equipped with features such as timed displays, motion and brightness sensors, and an energy saving mode, this television is a work of art – upgraded. “It makes you feel more immersed. Better quality equipment can give you a better picture and it can be better to listen to. You can see details you wouldn’t otherwise, and hear things you’re not used to being able to listen to. It enhances the overall experience for the viewer,” said Mike Timko, owner of Adirondack Audio and Video.

Art mode


As satellite systems and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and others, are adding more and more content that utilizes these higher-resolution capabilities, an easel studio stand and single connecting cord (that leads to a separate box for your wired devices) completes the illusion. Smart, wireless technology lets you control your home’s synced devices, as well.

Adirondack Audio and Video specializes in streamlining home automation. They invest in constant continuing education and training, to stay in the forefront of the latest advancements. Their in-house drawing service creates clearly organized wiring diagrams, and their multiple installation crews are diligent about being overly clean and cautious when in your home. Their remote service and database of encrypted information backs-up this service, creating the ultimate in ease for their customers. “Our goal is to make it super easy for you.”


TV mode


Bruce Brownell

SUN’ S and puts it to use!






hen it comes to passive solar energy, Bruce Brownell of Edinburg is nothing short of a local legend and time-honored pioneer. Passionate about the implementation of sustainable forms of energy, Brownell has spent the last 50 years designing passive solar buildings, studying their many monetary and health benefits, and sharing that information with others. Brownell earned a degree in Construction Management and Wood Products Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, in 1964. His interest in solar energy, however, began long before that. “As a kid, I was outside all the time,” Brownell recalls. “In winter, I noticed that on southerly slopes, under the lowhanging limbs of field pines, the ground was always bare of snow. I used to crawl in there, take off my jacket, and feel completely comfortable.” This indelible childhood experience led Brownell to begin imagining ways to harness solar energy to heat houses and other structures. “The term passive solar heating refers to an ancient and intuitive method of heating, dating back to ancient Rome,” Brownell explains. “Many people today hear the term ‘passive solar’ and immediately think of photovoltaics. But passive solar is something totally different. Thermal energy flows through the system by natural means of radiation, conduction, and convection. Unlike photovoltaics, the building design does not require separate collectors. Instead, a passive solar home’s many south-facing windows enable it to perform in cooperation with its immediate environment. A structure like this requires proper integration of the site, climate, building materials, and sun. The successful result—heat—comes from a never-ending, free supply of natural energy.” To date, Bruce Brownell—who owns and operates Adirondack Alternate Energy in Edinburg—has designed 383 homes. “I’ve got houses from north of Chicago to Nova Scotia,” the 81-yearold reports, “but most of them are in this area.” Despite his impressive engineering career, Brownell considers himself to be an educator, first and foremost. Whether explaining passive solar concepts to college students, prospective clients, or home show attendees, he enjoys nothing more than sharing his first-hand knowledge and taking on the inevitable skeptics.


“For years, I taught 12-week seminars at Union College to 30-40 people at a time, most of them engineers. I also offered weekend seminars attended by up to a thousand people. My students challenged me continually. But by the end of our time together, usually I had turned their thinking around and gained a lot of followers.” Overall, despite the fact that sunlight is free and abundantly available, “passive solar has been anything but an easy sell,” Brownell muses. “Solar heating’s heyday began when Jimmy Carter entered the White House in 1977. President Carter was a huge supporter of solar energy and had solar panels installed on the White House roof. When he instituted his solar initiatives and offered people $10,000 tax incentives, I was doing 40 houses a year. But, then, the next president came in, and everything changed. The solar panels were removed, Carter’s program was scrapped, and all those incentives ended. Immediately, I dropped down to eight houses per year as focus shifted from sustainable solar energy back to unsustainable fossil fuels.” People are often surprised to learn that a passive solar house can be built in any size, shape, and style. At first glance, it might even be mistaken for a more traditionally-built home. The construction differences, however, are significant and many. A Bruce Brownell house is always oriented solar south and insulated on all six sides. Two separate layers of 2” thick, foil-covered foam board—all joints staggered and seams foil-taped—cover the four exterior walls, above the roof, and beneath the first living level (usually the basement). Brownell is quick to point out, however, that his basements are anything but the damp, inhospitable living spaces frequently associated with more traditional homes. “A cement floor is porous,” he explains, “so if it isn’t properly insulated below the floor, the cement acts as a sieve that allows moisture from the ground below to pass freely into,

and out of, a typical basement. By insulating beneath the cement floor, we create another warm, comfortable, and completely moisture-free living space.” Although a small back-up source of heat is recommended in a passive solar home, the sun provides the lion’s share of the heat. An extensive duct system circulates energy entering via the windows through an elaborate grid of galvanized pipes. These pipes are embedded in 12 inches of a concrete mass system, or heat energy battery, located beneath the building’s lowest floor. A fan located in the central airshaft draws air from the home’s highest, warmest point down into the heat energy battery. From there, it is circulated throughout the living space. Brownell estimates that the initial building costs of his houses are 15-20% higher than conventional homes. “But, as a result of our six-sided, high-performance insulation envelope,” he adds, “our homes require less than one-seventh the energy of a typical new house. The cumulative savings in heating bills, coupled with the homeowners’ increased year-round physical comfort, more than make up for the difference. “Homeowners report an unparalleled level of human comfort. They are never cold, and their families have fewer sore throats and colds because the interior relative humidity stays at 40-45% all winter. In fact, if you shut up one of my houses and head south for the winter, your pipes won’t freeze. The temperature within the house will never drop below 40-41 degrees.” When it comes to passive solar energy, Bruce Brownell knows his stuff. And as long as the sun is out there, warming the earth free of charge in unlimited supply, this lifelong student and dedicated educator will be out there promoting solar energy’s smart use and myriad benefits. For more info, call (518) 863-4338 or visit




When we lose something, we cannot just step into a time machine to get it back. Instead, we can prepare now and protect our valuables before they are ever lost. “When I see things like the terrible California wildfires that destroyed so many homes and then not see one safe standing among the rubble, I ask myself, ‘Where are all the safes? Those people lost so much stuff and that stuff is hard to replace. I think if they’d just had a safe,” said Bob Neville.

PRIVATE EYES “Everyone has valuables, but most people don’t have safes,” said Neville. As co-owners of 3N Document Destruction, brothers Dave and Bob Neville have been trusted to keep sensitive information private for 26 years. Why do people trust them? It’s all in the eyes. Bob Neville says people feel comfortable with him because he is the type of guy who looks you in the eye when he’s talking to you. “You are your word. When you tell someone something, you have to follow-through. We seal a deal with a handshake. A deal’s a deal. We’re old-school like that,” he said. Building trust is a skill the brothers learned from their parents, who were married for 62 years.


SAFETY FIRST Uncertainty causes us all to pause and to reassess, but the tension of holding back naturally melts away once anxiety is eased, and a sense of security is restored. Since 1994, more than 6,000 customers (ranging from car washes, to hospitals, lawyers and C.P.A.s) have been trusting 3N Document Destruction’s services to handle and shred their private papers. Then, 15 years ago, they opened Capital District Records Management to archive and store documents. When Bob Neville wanted an Americanmade gun safe for his own home, he had to drive 90 miles away to find one. He bought a Liberty safe. His brother saw it and wanted one, too. Then, their dad did. That’s when, in 2012, they opened 3N Liberty Safe in Clifton Park. “There’s a safe for every budget. We’ve installed them in trailers, $8 million homes, and everywhere in-between,” said Neville.


SITTING PRETTY Whether you are installing a small handgun safe or a room vault, there’s a way to hide it. One homeowner used a rolling bookcase to hide a vault, another disguised a premium home safe as a cabinet that looked just like all the other cabinets surrounding it. “Most people tend to want to hide a safe, but you don’t have to. Don’t go hide it in the closet because no one’s going to get into it. These are high-end, with beautiful paint jobs and are so well designed, it’s like hiding away a Porsche,” said Neville. Moving one in can feel like moving a small car into the house, as well. Weighing as much as 1,600 lbs. and costing up to $7,500, this is a one-time purchase that holds its value. Liberty safes don’t just look like a high-performance sports car however, they are as innovative as one, too. “These are not the safes of yesteryear,” he said. They have interior LED lighting, accessory drawers and cooling document pockets. While about half of 3N Liberty Safe’s customers prefer the traditional dial lock, electronic locking systems are quickly becoming popular. When linked to your smart phone, you’ll be sitting pretty with features such as unlocking remotely, SecuRam to protect against electromagnetic pulses, and Safe Alert, a monitoring system that notifies you of an internet outage, movement, or if there is an increase in temperature.



BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY When Neville arrived at the scene of a customer’s still-smoldering house fire, he saw just how tough these safes are. “It just looked terrible. It was wet, had smoke damage and was covered in black ash but when he opened it up and saw that all his valuables were still there, untouched, he started crying, he just couldn’t believe it. Everything was fine,” said Neville. “You just never know what’s going to happen in life,” said Bob Neville. It’s nice to know there are some things you can count on – like 3N Liberty Safe’s durability, lifetime warranty and the people backing it. As a small, family-owned local company, the Nevilles’ ensure a smooth installation by going on every delivery in-person and arriving incognito (often in an unmarked truck) with their fully-screened and fully-insured staff. Their mission is to keep your important information confidential, which is why they’ll install any safe, (even if you bought it from someone else) and offer discounts to law enforcement and military personnel. “When you call, someone’s going to pick up the phone and you’re most likely going to get a Neville.” 3N Liberty Safe, 24 Corporate Drive, Clifton Park, is open by appointment only. Call them at 518-371-SAFE or visit them online at SS



Meet the Artist Ash Ashll ey Chandler


138  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020 494 Broadway | | 518.584.4838

WHEN THE ROAD GETS BUMPY, TAKE THE WHEEL AND STEER. When the Going Gets Tough Ashley Chandler has steered herself through emotional challenges while guiding others to do so, as well. As a teenager, she went from being homeless, to studying social work at Skidmore College, and then working with Saratoga’s at-risk populations. “I absolutely love it. It’s wonderful because it gives me a sense of purpose, to stay in touch with that aspect of myself by helping others through what is arguably one of the toughest experiences you can have” she said about working with homeless youth. Now, she uses pottery to get through the tough times and teaches others to do so, also.

Smashing It In addition to making pottery herself, Chandler began teaching pottery classes on Beekman Street. Working with clients individually and as a group, she sees what a transformative outlet pottery can be. She encourages mindfulness in children by teaching them that pottery is a process – a journey where, by the end, a piece evolves into something different than you might expect at the beginning.

“Contrast is such a fantastic and important part of life. Life is hard and wonderful. I put that in a physical form you can use every day,” said Ashley Chandler


With Chandler’s guidance, children’s creativity is encouraged, not stifled and her own children, her son, 8, and daughter, 7, have taken a natural interest in pottery. “I’ve found when I’ve worked with older kids, their willingness to do a novel activity is based on how they view themselves or how they believe other people view them,” said Chandler. At the end of her sessions, Chandler’s students get to do something extraordinary – they choose whether to keep or to smash their work. “It’s really cathartic. Their eyes light up. Kids need an outlet for that kind of energy.” The smashed pieces are kept in her basement “Pottery Graveyard” to be reused in jewelry, mosaics and more.


Moving Forward Chandler’s mission is to make experiences like these available to more people. “Because of my social work background, I really want art to be accessible (regardless of your socioeconomic status) because it is incredibly emotionally healing and therapeutic,” she said. There is a “Pay it Forward” fund and a “Pick & Paint” option where you paint-your-own-pottery at home guided by her video-based instruction. Choose your pieces and glazes, and she’ll drop off the supplies, then pick them back up, fire them in the kiln and deliver the finished pottery. Chandler is used to facing difficult times and experimenting with innovative options like these. Unlike some artists, she loves commissions of all sizes and working with clients to give them what they’ve envisioned. Her own work demonstrates a fearless approach - with spectacular results. Contrasting colors burst and pop to form bubbled, marbled surfaces full of life in her handle-less mugs, wide-brim pots and vases. A spider plant has even found a home in her two-tone chocolate ware pot at the Two Birds Marketplace in Ballston Spa. For more information, go to and follow her on Instagram





n 2004, Joan Taub and Bob English moved into the home at 266 Church Street in Saratoga Springs. They thought it was perfect. Fifteen years and many happy memories later, Joan and Bob have made the old Victorian their own while remaining true to the architectural integrity and aesthetic character and charm of the home. In the process the couple became interested in learning about the home’s history. Their interest turned into a passion and, while Joan began a search on for the family of the person who built the 1,700 square foot house situated on the corner of Church Street and Bensonhurst Avenue, Bob reached out to acquaintances at the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation to conduct a search of the property, with the goal of determining whether 266 Church Street was eligible to be part of its historic plaque program. As it turns out, the property was originally owned by Gideon Putnam, who was busy purchasing properties in the city. Church Street was a busy thoroughfare even back in


the 1800s and a main route between upstate New York and Canada. It stands to reason that Putnam – and the subsequent owners of the property considered it a good investment. According to Joan Walter, a volunteer for the Foundation, Putnam bought the property in the early 1800s and it passed hands through several owners before Franklin Lester Blanchard built a home there for his family. Blanchard was a carpenter and partner in the construction firm of Parmenter and Blanchard, located at 137 Division Street. He built the house on Church Street between 1908 and 1909. The census lists Blanchard and his wife, Anna L. Blanchard and their six-year old son, Frederick H. Blanchard and four-year old daughter Marion B. Blanchard as the residents in 1910. While Joan Walter was conducting her research on the house, Joan Taub was making headway of her own and had succeeded in locating Blanchard’s descendants, developing a collegial long-distance relationship with them in the process.

Through them, Joan and Bob were able to gain access to old family photos and hear stories of family life in the old Victorian. As the Blanchard family grew, the home was always referred to as ‘Grampy’s house.’ Joan and Bob also encountered other residents of the city who recall parties and events at the home when they were very young children. Through conversations with them, the couple heard anecdotes of young teens climbing onto the roof to sneak a cigarette and one former owner who was head coach for the University of New Hampshire.

cozy enclosed porch in front. The kitchen has been modernized to include new sink, lighting and countertops, new cabinetry, a butcherblock countertop and a wine rack.

Today, 266 Church Street still stands watch over Church Street, just as busy a thoroughfare now as it was back in the 1800s and 1900s. Over the course of the last 15 years, Joan and Bob have refinished the original wide plank wooden floors, changed the home over from septic to sewer, switched from oil to gas heat, insulated and cemented the old dirt basement floor and added full drainage around the perimeter of the home.

An old home is always a work in progress, and Joan and Bob are the 21st century stewards of the historic property, caring for it as it has been cared for since Franklin and Anna Blanchard built it in 1909. The couple consider themselves truly fortunate to call 266 Church Street home and to carry on the vision of Gideon Putnam, Franklin Blanchard and the many other property owners who worked hard to give the city of Saratoga Springs its rich architectural character that we all continue to enjoy today.

They installed a new roof and chimney, repainted the clapboard and shingled exterior, improved a large and sprawling multi-level deck in the rear, and built a

“No one touched the original lathe and plaster walls or the radiators; we didn’t rip down any walls or change the original layout. We just like the original feel and style of the house,” said Bob. Joan agreed wholeheartedly, adding that the house has a palpable feeling of warmth and welcome. “It just has good bones,” said Joan.

As an added bonus, it turns out, says Bob, you actually can improve upon perfection.




To Remodel the Kitchen and Bath Do I need to do the whole room? I believe that it is important to clearly define terms first. A RENO or Renovation is typically the complete redesign and re-furnishing of a space. A Facelift is what’s achieved when you change out certain elements to get an altered look. A good and common example of this is installing new countertops and decorative hardware or painting your existing cabinets white. It depends on the situation but as an Interior Designer, I can tell you for a fact that Renovations are more highly requested and more valuable to the equity of your home.

My bathroom tile may be outdated, but it looks to be in good shape – should I keep it? Especially when we are talking about materials like old bathroom tile, the question is not “Is it in good shape?” The actual question is “Is it structurally sound?” Tile was installed very differently in decades past than now. Nowadays we use vetted waterproofing systems and products that ensure that water isn’t getting behind that tile and leaking down the inside of your walls causing structural damage and dangerous mold issues. Safety first! You can’t put a price on the health and wellbeing of your family nor the structural integrity of your home. My best advice is not to be “penny wise, pound foolish.” You will be prouder of the space you created and feel far safer in the knowledge that there aren’t lingering structural issues when you install new tile.



My kitchen cabinets don’t look too bad, can I just spruce them up? I get this question often and it comes down to these two main factors; practicality and cost versus benefit. FUN FACT: Replacing just the doors and drawer fronts is 75% of the overall cost of replacing whole cabinets. They are the most expensive part of the cabinet to make whether you buy from a national cabinet manufacturer or someone making them out in their garage. Consider the age of the cabinets and the original quality. Do they have soft close door hinges and drawer glides that are standard on cabinetry nowadays? What is the weight bearing limit to your drawer glides? What is the storage capacity of your current cabinets? Is your current layout functional to your lifestyle? These are the important questions to ask when considering replacing your cabinets. Replacing them adds equity to your home with new well-made products. Painting what you have gives you the same old cabinet, just in a new color.

How do I start? A good first step is deciding what your max budget for your project will be. Once you get that figured out, share it with your designer and your contractor. This information is a vital statistic and not meant to be kept a secret from the two people who are trying to help you keep your budget on track. If you do,


you will only be wasting your time and theirs on considerations that you may not be able to afford.

does not necessarily mean that you will get your money back if you stud your backsplash with diamonds. Use common sense on this one. Installing laminate DOES NOT build equity or value into your home. Installing granite or quartz countertops does. You could install the most expensive countertops possible and although you will see a slight return, you will not get your money back on a luxury purchase.

After you establish the budget, get inspired. Even if your budget doesn’t allow for the specific item on your Pinterest board, you could probably have something similar, in a different brand. Your designer is the most valuable resource you have in sourcing the right products for your style and budget.

Are there certain items that are just totally worth the splurge?

Schedule the initial consultation, this is where you sit down with your designer and discuss your project scope, your budget and the things that are most important to you. Your designer will then start introducing you to products within your style and budget, to get the design process running on all cylinders.

You are encouraged to love the products that you select during the design process. It is supposed to be a fun, interactive and beautiful experience. If you find something that is important to you then splurge on it. Just don’t give away your child’s entire college tuition fund to do it. This can look different for everyone, it could be a more expensive door style, decorative hardware, sink, faucet or even countertops. Your designer will help you navigate all these decisions and take your personal situation into account.

At the follow up meeting, everything that was discussed previously will be gone over again, final products will be selected, and the design will be presented and finalized.

Are there percentages to follow…… x for appliances, x for lighting, x for mechanicals?

Should I care more about resale value or just follow my dream?

Percentages can be helpful for some general guidelines but don’t get too wrapped up in them. They do not consider brand, details, quality or special features. The products that you will be exploring (and their subsequent pricing) will. Your designer will help you navigate these waters better than anyone else. Design professionals are immersed in the industry and know the products and the benefits best. After all, designing environments and lifestyles is their life’s work.

This is definitely a question that needs to be answered on an individual basis. Resale value (equity) will always plays a factor in renovations. Doing the renovation in the first place will increase equity. That







Closing words…



Are you ready to start your kitchen or bath remodel? Visit to schedule your free Virtual Design consultation and download our Planning Guide. SS



This process is not meant to be stressful or overwhelming – it’s meant to be fun! If you choose the designer that is the right fit for you, then you will be on your way to the most successful project possible, but please don’t try to do this without one!



If you live in the City of Saratoga Springs you might be interested in knowing



ave you ever turned on your faucet and wondered where the water flowing out comes from? The City of Saratoga Springs is not located near a major fresh water source, making provision of reliable and safe drinking water somewhat of a challenge. Presently, the City has four main sources of drinking water. These include Loughberry Lake, the Geyser Crest groundwater well field, and both a surface water impoundment and a groundwater well field at Bog Meadow. Development of a public water supply and delivering it safely to City residents has a long and storied history just like the City itself. Responsibility and control of a public water supply really began on April 17, 1826 when the NYS Legislature officially created the Village of Saratoga Springs. At that time, the Village was served by a series of public and private wells dug along Broadway, Church and Washington Streets, a small impoundment on Village Brook and a reservoir in the Town of Greenfield. Water was often delivered to homes by “water wagons.” Early water pipes consisted of hollowed out logs and later, barrel stave pipes with metal strapping. In the mid-1800s the growing Village needed a larger and more reliable water supply. From 1870 to 1871 the Village constructed an impoundment of the Loughberry stream to create the City’s first major water supply source, now called Loughberry Lake. An early water works with water turbines and steam driven pumps was also constructed to pressurize a new water distribution system for home delivery and firefighting. Cast Iron water mains were introduced replacing wooden pipes. Residential water meters began to be installed around 1900.


In the early 1900s filtration and disinfection processes were added at the City water works to make the water supply cleaner and protect it from bacterial contamination. The present-day water treatment plant on Marion Avenue was built in 1935, along with a 5-million-gallon water storage impoundment off North Broadway. Settling and filtration processes were added to the Marion Avenue water treatment plant in the 1960s and 1970s. Further upgrades in the last two decades have added modern process improvements such as UV disinfection and on-site emergency power, enabling the City to provide the safe and resilient drinking water supply that we have today. The other three water supply sources have a more recent origin. In 1965 a surface impoundment and pumping station at Bog Meadow was constructed as a supplemental water source to meet increasing water demand and to be more resilient to drought conditions. In 1979, the City purchased the Geyser Crest well field and pumping facility to further supplement the City’s water supply and to provide disinfection and pressurization to the distribution system, primarily serving the west side

of the City. In 2014 the City further supplemented the water supply capacity by installing a series of groundwater wells in Bog Meadow as well as upgrading the pumping station there with new pumps and modern controls. Fortunately, with our current water supply source capacity, the City should have plenty of water for the foreseeable future. However, proper planning and investment as well as water conservation efforts by everyone in the City are also needed to ensure this legacy. As the City continues to grow and prosper, so too will a safe and resilient public water supply infrastructure. Tim Wales is the Chief Water Resources Engineer in the Saratoga Springs Office of MRB Group, an Architecture, Engineering, Planning and Economic Development firm with offices across New York State and Texas. He is a NYS Licensed Professional Engineer with over 32 years of Experience with Municipal Infrastructure Planning, Engineering and Construction. He was the Saratoga Springs City Engineer from 2011 to 2019. He can be reached at 518-701-2973, ext. 246, or SS


In the Kitchen with

John Reardon

Hello my Foodie Friends! During these trying times, we have all been getting back to the basics when it comes to daily routines and self-care. Each household has been challenged in the past few months, throwing our lives into a different track and creating a new normal, leaving an enormous impact on how we consume, how we learn, how we work, and how we socialize and communicate. Sometimes just doing the simplest of things is so easily forgotten. We skip breakfast. We work too many hours. We forget to drink water. So, what should we remember to be doing every day? Ultimately there are many ways that we need to remember to take care of ourselves. But these basic things are what can help us feel better and cope better every day. Getting back to basics can include eating breakfast, not working long hours, drinking water, eating healthy, exercising (even just going for a walk), getting enough sleep, and trying to relax. Let’s get back to making smart choices, starting with food prep. Part of food preparation includes the use of good sharp knives. My two suggestions would be a quality Chef or Cooks and a Paring knife. These are the first knives I always suggest to customers looking to start a set of knives. The best Chef (Cooks) knife is a full-tang knife that is precision-forged from a single piece of an exclusive high-carbon stainless steel. The 8” Cook’s Knife is the work horse of the kitchen, or the essential kitchen knife. The cook’s knife is an indispensable all-purpose kitchen knife that can be used for chopping, mincing, slicing and dicing. Due to the weight and balance of the knife, it is also perfect for heavy duty work such as cutting thicker vegetables and meats. The most important knife in the kitchen! The 3 ½” clip point paring knife is used for paring, trimming, coring, peeling, dicing fruits and vegetables.


Our recommendations are the Wusthof knives. Both the Wusthof 8” Chef and the 3 ½” Clip Point Paring knife include these essential elements: • Precision-forged from a single blank of high carbon stainless steel • Full tang that is triple riveted to the handle for precise control • Precision Edge Technology (PEtec) yields a blade that is 20% sharper with twice the edge retention.

• Tempered to 58⁰ Rockwell (Hardness of the Steel) • Comfortable and highly durable polyoxymethylene (POM) handle with a traditional look and feel. • Full bolster and finger guard The knives highlighted are from the Wusthof Classic line. These are great knives, but you should always seek out the knife that works for your style of cooking. It should first feel good in your hand because you are the one using it. We carry other great lines of knives, however, this company has tough, well balanced work-horse knives. Whatever line you choose make sure you learn how to hold it so you can control the knife and it doesn’t control you. Keep it sharp and it will do its job every time. Dull knives are dangerous, not sharp knives if there’re used correctly. Did I mention that I sharpen knives at Compliments to the Chef? Cooking is empowering. It allows you to customize food to fit your lifestyle, taste buds, and even budget. The simple notion of what’s for dinner has suddenly taken on new meaning. Consider the foods your family likes, your food preparation methods, interests and skills, and the time and energy you will have for preparing meals. We can connect to our families through the food we make. Make an appointment to stop in at Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, or call to ask about these knives and other culinary tools you may need to get back to the basics in cooking. Stop by or call us at (518) 226-4477. Remember my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen!”

Take care, John and Paula Reardon Here is a delicious recipe to make together. Put some music on, dance and sing!!

Classic Ratatouille Ingredients 2 to 3 small or medium eggplants trimmed of the stem and diced into 1/2-inch cubes 6 tablespoons olive oil divided, plus more if needed 3 medium onions peeled, trimmed, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 8 to 10 cloves of garlic peeled, and sliced thinly 2 to 3 stems of fresh basil tied together with kitchen twine, plus 6 to 8 additional fresh basil leaves for adding at the end 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 3 bell peppers stemmed, seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 2 medium yellow squash trimmed of the stem and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 2 zucchinis trimmed of the stem and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 3 to 5 ripe tomatoes cored, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces 4 teaspoons salt divided, or more to taste Instructions • Toss the diced eggplant with 2 teaspoons of salt and let it rest in a colander for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of your vegetables. • Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Toss the eggplant into the pan and fry, stirring frequently, until golden. If you find the eggplant has absorbed all the oil and is sticking, you can add a bit more oil while you’re cooking. Scoop the eggplant onto a plate and return the pan to the heat. • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir in the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until the onions are translucent and softened. Add the garlic, the bouquet of basil, the crushed red pepper flakes, and another pinch of salt and allow it to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until very fragrant. Stir in the peppers and cook for 4 minutes before stirring in the squash and zucchini and cooking for 8 minutes. • Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes, then add in the eggplant and cook the whole mixture for 10 to 15 more minutes or until all the vegetables are quite soft. Remove and squeeze the basil to extract the flavors. Slice the remaining basil leaves into thin ribbons and stir into the ratatouille. You can serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if you like. Serve hot, warm, or cold! SS


And you will too! A TOGETHER AGAIN CELEBRATION I am writing this article during the Covid19 pandemic, a time when sheltering in place is critical to our welfare. I realize that in light of this reality entertaining does not seem like a timely subject to write about. Nevertheless I am filled with hope for our future. Eventually our current safeguards will be lifted and we can gather together again.

The Simplest Spinach and Arugula Salad Ingredients: 2 packages of ready to eat Spinach and Arugula blend salad greens 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

A relaxed dinner shared with family and friends will be a great way to celebrate our renewed freedom. To honor this occasion I have put together a special menu and some tips for an evening you can enjoy as much as your guests.

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or more to taste

I believe entertaining should be a pleasant, low stress experience. Keep your party preparations as uncomplicated as possible. Include a few “store bought” items in your menu to make things easier and save time. Set your table in advance and avoid stressing over things like proper silverware placement. Arrange your table in way that looks good and makes sense to you. Decorating your table should not be a burden either - some fresh flowers and a few candles are all you really need.


¼ teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper

• Just prior to serving place the vinegar and salt in the bottom of your salad bowl and slowly whisk in the olive oil. • Add the salad greens to the bowl and toss to combine with the dressing. • Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste

Now let’s talk about food. Start your gathering with Alternative Artichoke Dip - a deliciously different appetizer nosh your guests can enjoy with pre-dinner drinks. Unlike a traditional baked artichoke dip this version is cool and creamy. Serve it with an assortment of crackers and vegetables for dipping. I think snow pea pods are especially good with this dip. The main course is particularly fitting for this special occasion. Pasta Primavera is a dish associated with spring…a time of renewal and rebirth. Bursting with the flavors of fresh vegetables and herbs, this recipe is easy to prepare and a time saver as well. You can prep the ingredients in advance and make the sauce while the pasta cooks. And have your salad ingredients ready so you can assemble it in just a few minutes. For dessert, treat your guests to a selection of delectable Italian pastries from Mama Mia’s Bakery. Keep it simple and arrange the pastries on a large platter in the center of your table so everyone can help themselves. Serve small glasses of Limoncello, a sweet lemon flavored Italian liqueur for a delicious and spirited finale. 150 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

Alternative Artichoke Dip

Pasta Primavera Ingredients:


1 pound penne pasta

12 oz. cream cheese cut into large chunks -ok to use low fat

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

14 oz. can of artichoke hearts drained and coarsely chopped

1 small shallot minced

1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/2 pound fresh asparagus woody ends cut or snapped off and cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons freshly grated flat leaf parsley

2-3 carrots peeled and cut into thin strips with a vegetable peeler, then cut crosswise into bite size pieces

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 sweet red pepper thinly sliced ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley ¼ cup chopped fresh basil 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 teaspoon chopped garlic


1.5 cups vegetable stock

• Place all ingredients except salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and secure the lid. Pulse on high until ingredients are well blended.

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• Transfer to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and more to pass at the table

Directions: • Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. • Add the minced shallot and cook for one to two minutes or until beginning to soften. • At this point add the asparagus, sweet red pepper, and carrots to the skillet and cook for two to three minutes. • Carefully pour in the vegetable stock and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender and crisp and the stock reduces and thickens a little. • Stir in the basil, thyme and lemon juice and cook until warmed through. • While you prepare the sauce, cook the penne pasta according to package directions until al dente. • Carefully drain the cooked pasta, pour into a large serving bowl and top with the Primavera sauce. • Add the parmesan cheese and toss gently. Sprinkle on the parsley, toss gently once more and it is ready to serve

Wine Wisdom Choosing a wine that pairs nicely with the food you serve is an important consideration. So what wine is suitable to serve with Pasta Primavera? To answer this question I asked Paul Parker, wine consultant at Purdy’s Discount Wines. Paul shared that the wine you serve with Pasta Primavera should work well with asparagus. His suggestion is Grüner Veltliner, a white wine with Austrian roots. Berger Gruner Veltliner and Josef Fischer Gruner Veltliner are available at Purdy’s and priced at under $16 a bottle. SS



One thing COVID-19 gave us was time! Time to pare down. Time to clean. Time to put things in their place. When normalcy comes back around, how do we be mindful to maintain all that we have accomplished? A system or space is never done. Initially when we set it up – absolutely everything for that system or space is put in its “home” and all is in order. Life means we use that stuff or gain new stuff. A system is only as good as the maintenance to keep it up. If you don’t, chaos ensues. Maintenance means purposefully putting the used item BACK to where it is stored. It may not be immediately done but usually within a weeks’ span of time (during weekly cleaning), the item makes its way back to its home. Or, if the item is used, putting it in trash or recycling. It is a process. If we are talking about a paper system, new paper is always coming in. Every single paper needs not only a decision (keep, toss) but an action (do, file). If we are talking about clothing, it is either dirty (4 steps of maintenance of wash, dry, fold, put away) or it needs to be replaced (rehung or refolded). All these steps take time and energy. Our belongings do not magically get put back, cleaned, folded, etc. We need good habits and constant reminders to keep on top of it all. The first habit to adopt is to be mindful when the item is literally in your hands. Before putting it down, ask yourself if that is where it belongs. If not, decide and try to take the time (usually 20 seconds or less) to put it where it really belongs. This takes a step completely out – picking it up from the wrong location and putting in the right one. This habit alone can take care of most of the maintenance. That one is hard and won’t always happen. The next step is to standardize your maintenance. Routine cleaning (tidying up each system) should be done. Most systems require weekly sessions. Leaving systems such as mail/paper and clothing longer than a week usually means it gets out of hand. But systems such as the basement overflow or garage fill over time can be done 1-2x/year and most are satisfied with that. Only you can decide the frequency of maintenance on an area or system.


Create a weekly master list of maintenance tasks you want to do (these will be mainly cleaning tasks but some organizing related items like mail, filing, etc.) Other tasks that don’t need to be done weekly can be put on another list with their frequency noted. If you are one to not do it unless it is scheduled, create appointments for each and populate the appointments for a month or two to form the habit. Using your phone is pretty much the go-to now but you could write up a schedule and post it in the kitchen to check daily as well. Put a sheet protector over it and add a dry erase marker and you can use it as weekly checklist. There is great excitement in checking something off! Systems may also need to be reevaluated. Life, as we now know, can throw us major curveballs. A system that supported you a few months ago may not now. Hello home office that is now the classroom, zoom meet-up, and dance studio! Be mindful of what has changed and what you need now to support you. You may need to move systems or belongings to meet current demand/interests/healthy issues. A few tried and true tips to help you out with home maintenance is to have ample garbage bins. Having them in a lot of locations aids in getting trash to the trash can. I see it all the time – lack of accessible garbage bins. Another tip is to never leave a room empty handed. Leaving the living room – is there a cup that needs to go to the kitchen or a paper for recycling? Have an “out the door bin” for anything going out for return to someone or someplace. Lastly, always have a donation box – when you identify a usable item you no longer want, it goes there. When full, deal with the items. Clutter is a delayed decision – if you have decided you no longer want it, move it out of the mix of your regular stuff. Maintenance isn’t magic – it is habit and purposeful action. Finding tools that support you doing it is key; they keep you mindful of all that has to take place to maintain your space and belongings. SS


Choosing Your

Outdoor Furniture

WE HAVE ALL BEEN COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS to being able to entertain family and friends once again… Let us help you start planning for those much anticipated get togethers!

Our summer season is so limited here in upstate NY, and we all want to make the most of it. One easy way to do that is by getting the most out of your outdoor spaces. They should be an extension of your home. They should be stylish, comfortable, inviting, relaxing and above all else, they should reflect your unique personality.


One way to get the most out of your outdoor space, whether you have a big yard with a barbecue and a pool, or a small patio is to buy quality outdoor furniture pieces that will stand up to the elements. Huntington House Furniture just unveiled their new outdoor furniture line and it looks nothing like you’ve ever seen before (outside that is!). Their new line really brings the indoors out, using Sunbrella performance fabrics and revolutionary waterproofing techniques. Another great outdoor company worth mentioning is Watermark Living. Their motto is “Outdoor Made Easy” and they deliver on that by offering customizable seating arrangements, designer performance fabrics, and quick shipping collections. Their products range from more traditional wicker & rattan to more modern looking pieces with color coated aluminum frames made to stand up to the elements. Now is time to start focusing on getting your outdoor spaces ready for family barbecues, outdoor dining, or even just lounging in the sun with an ice-cold lemonade and your favorite pair of sunglasses.


There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when designing your perfect outdoor space: How will your space be used? Will you need an outdoor dining area? What kind of seating will work best for your family? How much space do you have to work with? Do you want to incorporate some outdoor lighting and/or an outdoor area rug? What is your budget? Your answers to these questions will help direct you to the style, seating configuration and manufacturer you should start with. It might seem like a lot to think about, especially when you just want to get out there and start relaxing in your new space, but it’s important to plan out your space. It should be as comfy and well planned as your interior. Be careful not to purchase furniture that is too large or too small for your space. Whether you are replacing old pieces or starting with a blank slate, scale is important, particularly when it comes to smaller spaces. Think about the right layout for traffic flow and the amount of seating you’ll need. Avoid using large-scale outdoor sectionals in small patios and resist the urge to shove too many chairs into a space. Measure your space! There is no substitute for exact measurements!

Don’t make the mistake of skimping on quality either! When you’re trying to create a patio that pops, it’s easy to get drawn in by a bright color or “as seen on TV” design. But if you don’t pay attention to the quality and construction you might be sorry later! Who wants to throw money down the drain? Not me! This is a very important aspect when you’re looking at furniture for your interior as well, but it might be even more important for your outdoor space. Think about the elements your furniture is going to have to battle outdoors. You want to choose something that is going to hold up. Another thing to make sure you think of is your family’s habits. How many children do you have and how will they be using your space? You want to make sure you plan out how your space is going to function. Are you the kind of person who likes to lie in the shade reading a good book, or do you entertain frequently? If you’re known for toting your famous peach margaritas outside to entertain, you’ll need to make sure you have enough side tables or bar seating to accommodate the extra glasses.


I could go on about what to look for in choosing your outdoor furniture and what to avoid, but the point is you want to be happy with your space. Choose fabrics that are bright and inviting and furniture that’s going to last. These days outdoor spaces are an extension of your interior. Have fun and shop smart! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we can help! Want to get a jump on outdoor furniture this year, and don’t know where to start? Maybe you have exactly what you want in mind, but you’re looking for shopping experience that can bring it all together.


Give us a call or stop by our store to set up a complimentary in-home design consultation with our designers. They will measure your space, get a feel for your design needs, and take the time to listen to what you want for the space. Saratoga Signature Interiors is a full-service furniture and design store. What makes us unique is our combination of amazing customer service, professional design assistance, and quality furniture selections. We are a family store and we truly believe in bending over backwards for our customers, but don’t take our word for it. Check out our customer reviews on Google! SS


Homesteaders and their





he hustle and bustle of a wet spring gives homesteaders those quiet rainy days to sit inside and plan for those summer endevours to come. For the homesteader, this is an ideal time to do some research and decide what new things they would like to incorporate into their homestead. Livestock is always a resourceful and fun addition, but this is a decision that cannot be taken lightly, as animals are not a seasonal responsibility. When it comes to livestock, one of the most popular and versatile choices are goats. These animals are compact, hardy, and have several uses. For the sake of time and space, let’s talk more specifically about Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Nigerian Dwarfs are known for their even tempers and gentle, playful personalities. Does (females) stand between 16 and 21 inches tall at the withers, and bucks (males) can grow to be 23.5 inches tall at the withers (highest point of their back). These goats weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. They also come in a variety of colors so they can make a homesteader’s barnyard speckled with individual color patterns. These Goats are compact and are winter hardy; an important trait for upstate NY. They are also a popular breed for milking. This is because even with their small stature, they can produce up to two quarts per day. It is with this goat milk you can create goat milk soap, goat cheese, and use it as a substitution in any way regular milk may be used. Goats have several useful products, and one we tend to throw aside literally and figuratively is their manure. One of the most common uses for goat manure is as a fertilizer. Goat manure can help produce healthier plants and crop yields with the nutrients it deposits. Goats not only produce neater pelletized droppings, but their manure doesn’t typically attract insects or burn plants like manure from cows or horses would—this allows goat manure to be added directly to soil among plants. Goat manure is virtually odorless, making it an ideal choice to have in a homesteader’s barnyard. Goat manure can also be an excellent additive to a compost pile. Goats are one of the least labor-intensive livestock choices, but they will still require daily tending. Having goats will require shelter and a fenced-in area. As important as a fenced-in area is to keep them from roaming around, it is just as important for their safety from predators. Their diet consists of fresh, clean water, and all sorts of plant materials: grasses, leaves, hay, twigs from trees, shrubs, and vines. There will also be times goats will need mineral supplements, but this is situation-based. Goats can provide a homesteader with numerous benefits. Whether it’s for your garden, cereal bowl, or dry skin, goats can be the answer. They will also bring joy and laughter to your daily barn chores. To learn more about goats or to decide whether including them in your homestead is the right choice, check out these resources: Dairy Goat Production - Penn State Extension. Breeds of Livestock - Nigerian Dwarf Goats — Breeds of..... SS






very spring, I deal with a lot of beginning vegetable gardeners. Among these well-meaning folks there seems to be a nearly universal fear of planting seeds.

Make a little trench 2” deep and place the seeds at the bottom. Cover them with 2” of soil and water them in. Now you just need to keep them lightly moist (not soggy wet) and they’ll sprout in a week or less. After a couple weeks, most of them will be up and growing. Often too well, so you’ll need to thin them out.

Some seeds like tomatoes and peppers must-be started inside in March, but the real value to be gained from vegetable gardening is from crops that we grow from seeds sown directly into the garden. It may seem very early, but peas and spinach seeds can and should have gone into the ground in early April to grow in the cool weather of early spring. Our vegetable growing season is actually much longer than Mother’s Day to fall’s first frost. There really isn’t anything at all difficult about starting seeds directly in the garden. Lettuce and all the other greens like chard, kale and spinach can go in right away. Later on in May, green beans, corn, cukes, and a host of other vegetable seeds can be planted. Radishes are also very rewarding since you can sow a row every two weeks and they grow and mature in less than a month providing a continuous supply once they get going. If you’re going to try your hand at vegetable gardening (and it seems like many are this year), drop by any Hewitt’s and pick up a copy of our “Vegetable Schedule.” It is a wonderful resource for the beginning gardener and even a seasoned veteran can use it to keep on track. It shows when the different transplants and seeds should be planted out in the garden. Take a look at greens beans for instance. They are one of the easiest and rewarding crops you can grow. According to the vegetable schedule, you can start sowing them in early May or anytime through the third week of July. As you can see, there’s plenty of time to start a crop or two of beans. Take a look at a bean seed pack. These are bush beans so no trellis is necessary. The front of the pack is pretty but the back has complete growing 108 Circular as it looks today. instructions. ThisStreet is pretty simple stuff; honest! Let’s go step by step. 160  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

Thinning is removing any that are closer together than 6” as the seed pack indicated. It is tempting to leave them all, but they’ll produce more beans if they have the proper space to grow without crowding each other. That’s pretty much it. With minor variations, all seeds work the same way... corn, carrots, beets, radishes and so on. All you need is a little patch of soil and the information provided on the back of the seed pack. Once you go through a season with well timed plantings, you’ll see that it is possible to get a great deal of food from even a small plot. Learn to read the information on the seed packs and trust the seeds. This is the way to really make your garden pay maximum dividends. Thanks for the read. SS

day trippin' with




Transforming an 1845 Nondescript Structure to Quirky Renovation


hen Kim Senay, a longtime resident of Chester, Connecticut, first purchased an overgrown property across the street from his residence on Spring Street, I’m not sure he had an inkling of what he was in for, breathing new life into the old homestead again. I’d never heard of Chester – but it’s a charming little town, just a few hours away from Saratoga. The weekend my friend and I travel there, excited about our overnight stay at an advertised glamping property, the main street is closed to foot traffic only.


We park the car and wander through various art shops, stopping for a bite to eat at a pub-like restaurant, sitting outside under umbrellas listening to local musicians, and trying some Chakra tonics from a nearby health store. Everyone is friendly this sunny afternoon, and we’re content walking through the center of Connecticut’s little hamlet. We buy some fresh food from the farmers market – ripe, juicy tomatoes, a loaf of bread, and a two-year-old block of cheese. They’ll be perfect items to enjoy later, alongside two or three bottles of wine we’d packed for our adventure. Soon, the vendors pack it in for the day. Once the street clears, we jump into the car, making our way to the place we’re staying for the night. The Recycle House sits on a hill, less than a minute from where we’ve spent the last few hours. A hand-carved sign on the side of the building announces our arrival. The color of the house is a deep, forest green – which helps it blend in with the lawn’s healthy green grass, tree branches covered with thick foliage, and flowering bushes surrounding the property. An old, weathered brick and stone walkway leads us down the hill, where a charming little gardening shed and two Adirondack chairs face this fantastic waterfall known as Pattaconk Brook. My friend and I sit for a while, not anxious to unpack yet. The sounds of nature – the absence of our busy lives back home is so calming we’re fine just sitting still for a few moments. I can tell there’s something different about this two-story home. Mostly, the fact that it isn’t picture-perfect calls to me. The mismatched lettering on the sign out front seems like a badge of courage – as if the home is proud to be constructed from recycled items. And, truthfully, it should be. Kim acquired most of the materials used in the house from dumpsters or contributions from people gifting items they were going to get rid of anyway. “Even if I thought there was no way I’d be able to use what folks offered, I accepted everything. In the beginning stages, I just didn’t know what would come in handy or fit a space perfectly.” He also decided he wouldn’t cash in on things that were donated. If Kim couldn’t use something in this monumental project, he’d find it a home someplace else. And although he did a great deal of the work himself, Mr. Senay had helpers along the way. We walk through each room of the house, impressed with its unique craftsmanship. There’s evidence of salvaged wood from an old barn he’d helped demolish, kitchen backsplash tiles that match the coffee cups and plates for dining. The recently remodeled kitchen.


The grand stairs.



Wood planks from an old schoolhouse cover the living room walls; some still have the initials of children carved in them. More wood from that same structure became floorboards in other rooms of the home. We’re surprised to find that an eye-catching bookcase in the bedroom opens up to a spacious deck. We later learn it was an old show prop Kim bought at a Goodspeed Opera House tag sale. Odd-shaped windows hang in nooks and crannies throughout the second floor, allowing natural light inside. Even the handmade basket by Chester’s artist Sosse Baker – discovered at the dump in perfect condition, sits on the dining room table, a warm welcome to overnight visitors. Double-paned windows, used as an outside wall in the living area, allow the downstairs to bask in sunshine throughout the day. Old glass-paned doors now serve as cupboards – storing games, blankets, and towels on shelves just outside the kitchen. Comfy red chairs arranged around a pot-belly stove are an open invitation for us to relax and unwind after our day of shopping. Everything about the house and yard is quirky. But it’s all come together in a message that sings of home and hearth. We only stayed one night. We slept like babies, woke refreshed, determined to make it back again – for a more extended stay next time. For more information on The Recycle House or another property, contact SS


day trippin'

When You Need a Fairytale Getaway With Old-World Charm



ave you ever walked into a place and felt an instant affinity, almost as if you’d been there before and everything is familiar? That’s how we felt during our overnight stay at Blueberry Brooke Bed & Breakfast, in Deansboro, New York. (about two hours west of Saratoga) The 1860’s farmhouse, located on an organic blueberry farm, inspired Virginia Palusky to give voice to her dream of Blueberry Brooke and the world-class bed & breakfast she wanted it to be. She teamed up with her father, Brooke, spending hours on the design. With his guidance, the structure was re-imagined from the ground up, offering guests a storybook charm I’ve never seen before and probably won’t again. We park the car and empty it, carrying our suitcases and camera bags towards the kitchen door, where a detailed email had instructed us to enter. Before we even got there, a slightly-built woman in a humongous, ornately decorated hat comes walking towards us. “Welcome to Blueberry Brooke,” she sings out. Her voice is melodious, like a songbird’s warble in the dusk that surrounds the three of us. She introduces herself, embracing us in a warm, inviting hug and thanks us for visiting. “There are so many wonderful places you could have chosen,” she tells us. “We’re happy to have you.” Virginia leads the way into her home. The first room we enter is the kitchen, where our mouths fall open in surprise. I’ve often heard people talk about how the kitchen is the ‘heart of the home.’ For me, this is true. A kitchen evokes childhood memories, a place where my family gathered for meals, to get homework done every afternoon, to sit and chat over a cup of coffee or tea.



At Blueberry Brooke, within the large, airy room, it is the same. Every inch of the space is appealing – from the countertops covered in freshly baked goods and bowls of just-picked blueberries to the hand-crafted wood shelves displaying all sorts of cookbooks to the dining table decorated with vases, more food, and family heirlooms, it all felt like ‘home.’ I’m traveling with a girlfriend for the weekend. I watch as she steps toward the bookcase, fingering the cookbook bindings cracked with age. “Oh my gosh!” she squeals, turning towards us with an old edition in her hands. “My grandmother had this cookbook. I remember it being out on the counter near the stove. She’d pour over the pages, figuring out what to make for dinner.” Her eyes become misty as she returns the volume to the shelf where it belongs. Virginia is an artist. In the living room, her colorful pottery has become part of the fireplace mantle. “ My mom was a potter,” I tell her, my voice cracking over the memory of her loss. “She had a potter’s wheel and kiln in the cellar of our house. We took a few classes together. Mom and I loved the feel of throwing clay, watching it come to life as we worked with it.” My eyes move around the area and find other sparks and explosions of her creativity – things that Virginia explains the meaning behind, later that evening. “Let me show you to your rooms,” she says. “I think you’ll like them.” 168  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

She leads me into an enchanting room Inspired by Shakespeare’s comedy of love, ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Featuring a queen and double bed, beautifully restored settee sofa, large private bathroom with jacuzzi tub and many other personal touches, the room feels like I’ve stumbled into the pages of his play and the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens and Hippolyta, the Amazonian queen who possessed a magical girdle. Other rooms included ‘Under the Tuscan sun,’ ‘Once in a Blue Moon,’ ‘The Artist’s Dream,’ and ‘Fleur de Provence.’ We set our bags down and drink a glass of wine outside under the starry night. When we fall into beds an hour later, our rooms next to each other, sleep comes easy. I wake to the smells of coffee and breakfast cooking. Wandering into the brightly lit kitchen I look towards the dining table and marvel at the spread Virginia’s been busy for hours preparing. Everything we could want – from lemon pound cake and crepes to egg-white omelets and fresh fruit, to pancakes, bacon, and sausage, bowls of fresh blueberries, and pats of butter decorated with pansies was there. Unreal. We meet Bob, her husband, and a glass and ceramic sculpture artist known all over the world. Sitting with both of them over our morning feast, we learn a little bit about their artistic style and how each piece portrays a moment in their life together.

We visit the workshop after helping clean up our dishes and talk about the inspiration for the bright and colorful pieces on display there. Virginia and Bob love working with their hands and documenting their unique love story with glass-blowing and ceramic creations. Their emotion shows. We pick blueberries to bring home. We wander the grounds again, the rooms of the bed & breakfast that are chock-full of history, culture, and living. It’s hard to pack our bags and get ready to leave. We get and give a warm bear-hug. Virginia and Bob walk us to the car. “Can you wait here just a minute?” Virginia asks. She turns to run inside the house. A minute or so later she runs out holding three hats, handing one to each of us. “Let’s take a selfie out here in the garden.” And that’s my favorite memory – making new friends in the best places, like the pages of a fairytale. As far as Bob and Virginia’s fairytale love story? You’ll have to go to Blueberry Brooke yourself and S see if they’ll tell you. I can’t do it justice. SS


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f you’re looking for a lovely spring ride, a picturesque picnic spot, and a bit of history to boot, why not visit the Copeland Covered Bridge? Located in Edinburg in the quaint community of Beecher Hollow, this one-lane, 35-foot long bridge has the distinction of being the last remaining covered bridge in Saratoga County. Situated at 46 North Shore Road (aka County Route 4, the road paralleling the northern rim of Great Sacandaga Lake), the Copeland Historic Site may seem small at first, little more than a roadside pull-off. But there’s something magical about the place, and no matter how long or short your stay, it makes an indelible impression. The rustic bridge and peaceful setting transport you back in time, offering a nostalgic glimpse of rural life in the 1800s, decades before a grand feat of engineering turned the peaceful Sacandaga River Valley into Great Sacandaga Lake. The Copeland Covered Bridge was built in 1879 by Arad Copeland, a wheelwright and woodworker who also farmed 35 acres of land across Beecher Creek from his home. For many years, an open bridge enabled the farmer to herd his cows to pasture. But after a fierce springtime snow and ice jam destroyed the footbridge, Arad decided to build a sturdier covered structure. Neighbors pitched in, skillfully laying dry-fitted stone support walls on either side of the creek, hewing timbers, and assembling the wooden frame.

Copeland Covered Bridge historical marker.

Take a look at the underside of the bridge today, and you can still see the carefully laid stones and bark-covered floor joists. Look up as you cross the bridge, and you’ll notice rustic wooden pegs protruding through the woodwork, effectively anchoring the massive beams. Queen post trusses were used to support the bridge’s roof. Adding to its distinction, the Copeland Covered Bridge is said to be the only covered bridge in New York State with this type of truss design. For illumination and beauty, Arad graced his bridge with two strategically placed windows. The upstream window offers a stunning view of Beecher Falls, the series of waterfalls which powered the sawmill and carriage shop owned jointly by Arad and his brother, Leonard. The bridge’s second, downstream window frames a picture-perfect view of the fine red brick home that Arad built for his bride, Anna, circa 1832. The Copelands’ stately homestead still stands today. 170  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

Used only for foot traffic, The Copeland Covered Bridge held up well and remained an integral part of the family for 118 years. In 1997, however, Arad’s great-great-grandson, Robert Tyrrell, and his wife, Betty, generously deeded their ancestral bridge to the Edinburg Historical Society, thereby ensuring its vigilant care for generations to come. Through the combined efforts of the Edinburg Historical Society and the Town of Edinburg, the Copeland Covered Bridge underwent numerous repairs and upgrades in the early 2000s. Rotted floorboards and sideboards were replaced, and an all new metal roof was installed. A lovely viewing platform was built at the far end of the bridge, overlooking a scenic picnic area, Beecher Creek, and the waterfalls. A wooden boardwalk was also erected upstream from the bridge. Running alongside the creek, it welcomes visitors to a second bench-lined viewing station directly beside the falls. Photo ops abound, so be sure to bring a camera. The Copeland Covered Bridge was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Sites in 1998. An informative marker greets you as you pull off North Shore Road and park. At the start of the wooden boardwalk, an illustrated exhibit provides further details about community life in Beecher Hollow during the 18th and 19th centuries. Without a doubt, the Copeland Covered Bridge is an enchanting destination in any season. But seeing it in springtime, when the falls are thundering with winter snowmelt and the creek is flowing full throttle, is nothing short of spectacular. So, pack a picnic lunch . . . and don’t forget your camera! Visit the Copeland Covered Bridge at 46 North Shore Road (County Route 4), Edinburg, NY; limited roadside parking available. SS Upstream window showcases Beecher Creek Falls.



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744 Sly Pond Road, Fort Ann, NY (518) 793-9700

Camp Little Notch (CLN) is an independent summer camp and outdoor center located within the Adirondack Park in Fort Ann, New York. We offer 4 weeks of summer programs for girls, 1 week of summer programs for boys, and year-round events like as open camping for the community. Situated on 443 acres of pristine wilderness with an 80-acre private lake, Camp Little Notch offers the perfect setting for outdoor adventure, personal growth, new friendships, and community building, and provides an authentic wilderness experience. What makes Camp Little Notch unique? CLN provides campers the freedom to create a self-determined experience. We offer the opportunity to live in harmony with nature, explore the woods and creeks, and practice low-impact camping in a beautiful wilderness setting. Camp Little Notch is a place where everyone can belong, offering an authentic, unplugged wilderness experience for anyone that steps foot on our grounds.

Camp Crafters: Campers learn useful and fun outdoor skills like how to build different types of fires and shelters, cook over the fire, lash a table, and so much more! Adventure Challenge: Adventure Challenge campers work as a team on a progression of ropes course elements to help develop confidence, build self-esteem, problem-solve with a team, and assist in understanding group dynamics while working toward a common goal. Wanderers: Wanderers go on a 3-day, 2-night backpacking trip in the Adirondack mountains. Campers work as a group to choose a route into the mountains and plan, pack, and carry everything needed for the adventure.

This year, summer camp runs from June 28 to July 31, 2020. Our first session is for boys 9-15 only, with 2 possible programs they can register for; Mash-Up and Wild About Outdoors.

Waterbugs: Waterbugs spend lots of time swimming, boating, and creek walking, in addition to participating in other traditional camp activities.

Mash-Up: The perfect session for boys who want to experience traditional Camp Little Notch activities like swimming, boating, camp crafting, hiking, studying ecology, archery, and making s’mores around the campfire. Wild About Outdoors: WAO is all about learning and practicing outdoor survival skills. Learn how to set up a tent, start a fire with one match, and catch a fish.

Outdoor Survival: Outdoor Survival campers work together to master fire building and outdoor cooking, and learning to build a shelter; they then put their skills to good use on an overnight challenge.

Sessions Two to Seven are for girls. Girls 7-17 can sign up for the following programs; Dabblers, Adventure Challenge, Camp Crafters, Wanderers, Ropes Extravaganza, Waterbugs, Eco Artists, Outdoor Survival, Kayak, Paddle & Sail. Different programs are offered for different weeks. Dabblers: Dabblers is perfect for girls who want to experience traditional Camp Little Notch activities like swimming, boating, camp crafting, hiking, studying ecology, and making s’mores around the campfire.


Ropes Extravaganza: Continue building teamwork and problemsolving skills on exciting high ropes elements. Includes a trip to a neighboring ropes course. Prerequisite: Adventure Challenge. Eco Artists: Learn about Adirondack plants and wildlife while exploring the trails, creeks, and terrain of CLN. Get hands-on experience in STEM topics such as the water cycle, climate change, and forest management. Kayak, Paddle & Sail: Practice your skills and learn some new ones in our kayaks, paddleboards, sailboats, and canoes. After campers have mastered their skills, we will take a kayak trip offsite!




9 Stonebreak Road, Malta 518-289-5942

TRAIN LIKE A NINJA...WHERE FITNESS IS ALWAY FUN! Swing, Climb, Leap and Soar your way into summer while building selfconfidence and learning skills that will last a lifetime. As one of our Ninjas, your child can expect our skilled coaches to guide them through increasingly challenging obstacles, resulting in increased strength and stamina. Ninja Lab Summer Camps run Monday through Friday in one-week, halfday sessions. Ninja Campers can choose between the morning session (9:00am-12:00pm) or afternoon session (1:00pm-4:00pm) or choose a full day option.


Age-appropriate drills will always be used, with a heightened emphasis on skill and long-term athlete development. Class ratio is 8-1 (8 campers to 1 coach), and all our coaches at The Ninja Lab are CPR certified and background screened. Make sure your ninja gets a good night’s sleep, because every child will be engaged, moving, smiling and coming home tired! Register online at, or call the Lab with questions: 518-289-5942.


Greenfield Elementary School (518) 428-2267 •

GREENFIELD SUMMER CAMP OFFERS AFFORDABLE, ENRICHING MORNING SUMMER FUN GREENFIELD, NY – For more than 25 years, the Town of Greenfield has offered families a traditional summer camp experience reminiscent of the kind you remember as a child: one with lots of open space, room to play with peers and chock full of good, old fashioned summer camp fun. The camp runs for five weeks, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, and will provide children with summer memories and fresh air that is sure to make them sleep well at night. More than 200 children attended camp last year. Camp takes place at the beautiful Greenfield Elementary School, which is located just five miles north of Saratoga Springs in the foothills of the Adirondacks. Camp features an 8:1 camper/counselor ratio with more than 30 exuberant teenage camp counselors, most of whom live in Greenfield and once attended camp themselves. All counselors are American Red Cross certified. Students ages 5 through 14 are welcome and are grouped by age. Campers are provided with plenty of organized and free play on the popular Greenfield Elementary playground and beautiful rural property. Daily activities take place both in and outside the Greenfield Elementary School. Children enjoy daily art projects and organized gym time with dodge ball, parachute play, limbo, Tae Kwon Do and more. Camp also features themed events like “Super Hero Day” and “Hat Day,” as well as magicians and other special guests.

“Every kid dreams of summer camp,” said Rebecca Sewell, Town of Greenfield Recreation Director. “We pack as much fun as we can into a five-week program to offer our kids the chance to enjoy summer days with community friends without costing as much as a family vacation.” The Town of Greenfield is home to 8,000 residents and spans more than 41,000 acres of land, including Brookhaven Golf Course in Porter Corners. The Summer Recreation Camp is just one of many programs and events held throughout the year.

DATES: June 29 - July 31, 2020 TIMES: 9 a.m. to Noon, Monday - Friday (except for extended field trips) LOCATION: Greenfield Elementary School, 3180 Rte. 9N, Greenfield Center TRANSPORTATION: There will be transportation provided for field trips only. EASY DROP OFF! TO REGISTER: Registration begins March 2 for Greenfield residents and

April 1 for everyone else. It will end on May 31 or at capacity. Camp forms and fees can be found at or by calling 518-893-7432 x307. Town of Greenfield residents receive a discount, but camp is open to all surrounding communities.

Optional field trips are also part of the fun, often taking children to such places as area museums, the Saratoga County Fair, movie theaters, bowling alleys, baseball games and more.





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Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs NY 12866 (518) 581-2480 For free email

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ADELPHI HOTEL 1800s The Adelphi Hotel was built in 1877 on its present Broadway site. The famous builder and operator of the Saratoga Race Course and Canfield Casino, John Morrissey, passed away on the second floor of the hotel on May 1, 1878.




he history of Saratoga Springs contains many stories and accounts of the size, grandeur, and social importance of the Grand Hotels that defined the city of Saratoga Springs in the 19th century. The Saratoga Springs History Museum, located in the Canfield Casino, in Congress Park is pleased to announce a new exhibit of the Grand Hotels will open when recommendations on social distancing because of COVID-19 are relaxed. The Grand Hotels of the 1800s in Saratoga were the Grand Union, Congress Hall, United States and for a short time the Grand Central. Each of these “great ladies” had a large footprint as well as a comfortable and elegantly designed interior. These hotels also


were set-up to operate with the American Plan that provided over-night guests with three meals a day. This plan worked well to provide guests with an all-inclusive setting for food but eventually led the hotels to provide most of the needs of the guests in the area of leisure and entertainment. Although they were not in water, these hotels operated very much like the cruise ships of today. Each grand hotel began to define itself with unique offerings of different forms of music, performers, orators, dances and balls. Therefore, different groups of society began to favor staying at one hotel over another for a variety of reasons, but mostly social engagement.



The majority of the rooms in the grand hotels were rather small in size with about 150 square feet of living space, that contained a bed, dresser, double door wardrobe with a rocker and chair. The rooms were designed for sleeping and the changing of clothes. Social entertainment was found in the large public areas of the hotel. These hotels offered some rooms with private baths as well as many rooms with shared water closets. The Grand Union was the largest of them all and had about 1,000 rooms including the private cottages in the courtyard that rented at a very high daily rate. The United States Hotel had 768 rooms all plumbed with cold running water, Grand Central had about 500 rooms and a few suites while Congress Hall advertised about 600 rooms for guests. Each hotel had an elegant dining room in addition to a spacious ballroom for the many weekly social events and entertainment. The price per night for a stay in these grand hotels including three meals varied during the 19th century from a low in the early years at about $2.50/day to a more consistent $5.00-$8.00 in the post-Civil War years.

The grand hotels were the epicenter for many social events every week during the summers of the 1800s. It can be said that the social events began each day on the porches of these hotels. As an example, the Grand Union Hotel’s front porch held 500 rocking chairs that provided places for guests to rock away the heat of the day. The main “sport” on the porches was to view famous people walking by while rocking and gossiping about those members of high society.

FOOD The menus from these hotels provide a glimpse into the amount, elegance and variety of food served daily in these dining rooms. The large meal of the day was served during the majority of the 1800s at about 2:00 PM in the afternoon. Some hotels had only black waiters and others favored white men as servers, but all were dressed in formal attire. All dining rooms served numerous courses during each meal with military precision. The pageantry of the wait staff was as wonderful as the food. A newspaper account of August 1892 listed the amounts of food served in the United States Hotel that year. The partial list of food for one day’s consumptions was listed at: 700 quarts of milk, 400 dozen eggs, 500 pounds of butter, 340 chickens, 300 pounds of salmon,160 pounds of turtle for soup, 100 pounds of bluefish, 10 barrels of potatoes, 2000 ears of corn, 220 quarts of ice cream and unstated amounts of beef, pork and lamb. Dining was a daily social event at these hotels that was followed by walks, carriage rides, naps or cigars and drinks at the bar. It was the perfect place for America’s wealthy to congregate and discuss the problems of the day.

Music was an integral part of the hotel environment. To have the very best available for guests the Grand Union Hotel hired Victor Herbert as music director and the United States, not to be outdone, hired John Phillip Sousa as their director. Daily concerts in the morning and evening were the usual offering with large balls or galas offered weekly. The ballrooms were elegantly decorated with lavish carpeting, chandeliers, and artwork. Most dances began after 10:00 PM and were offered at an additional price of $1.50-$2.00 per person. The additional price helped to filter the participants to be mostly the wealthy. The dance card usually contained 12-15 songs that were played by top musicians. These dances allowed the freedom for young men and young ladies to mingle with the upper crust of society. As a result of these social events, many marriages could be traced back to an initial meeting of the couple at these events. Saratoga began to be the destination to marry-off your children to members of respectable society.

MUSEUM EXHIBIT The Saratoga Springs History Museum is adding a fantastic new exhibit on the Grand Hotels. This exhibit tells the story of the role played by the hotels in the city’s history. Designed by Museum Curator Michael Levinson, it is a wonderful collection of original furniture, china, clothing and essential items displayed with wall-size photos from some hotels to help you feel like you are “stepping back” into time. Through the generosity of the Adelphi Hotel, the exhibit also contains the rare and recently procured elevator from the hotel, removed during renovation. The exhibit’s opening date will be announced in the future and determined by the requirements of social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. When the outbreak is over come visit us at the Saratoga Springs History Museum to learn about the city’s history as well as to see the great new exhibit, “The Grand Hotels.” SS



ADELPHI LOBBY 1939 This image shows the lobby as it was in 1939. The newly renovated Adelphi is a gem and harkens back to the glory of the grand hotels that were a big part of the landscape in the city during the 19th century.


CONGRESS HALL PORCH The Congress Hall was located on the southeast corner of Spring Street and Broadway. This image shows the enormous social aspects of the porches on these large hotels. The porches provided space to rock away the hottest parts of the day.

COMMERCIAL DINER This diner was located on the site of the present Stewart’s Shop on the corner of Church Street and Woodlawn Avenue. Urban renewal removed many of the buildings to the east to make room for the parking garage and the County Building, which was once a dress manufacturer.


On This SPOT.


J. Bevan circa 1848


This series that peels back the layers of time at well-known Saratoga Springs’ locations to reveal the significant changes our city has undergone


f a camera was placed in front of what is now UnCommon Grounds 200 years ago, and programmed to take a photograph every few years of the SW corner of Broadway and Division Street, the images captured would be so varied viewers would be convinced the camera had been moved. Mid-1900’s time lapse images would show polar opposite structures-one of the grandest hotels in the world, then a barn styled restaurant, complete with neon sign.

Saratoga as a whole, and in particular, its buildings, are a true reflection of the culture, traditions and lifestyles of our society. Each structure at 395 Broadway represents our country’s cultural trends. An 1824 image would show the first United States Hotel, a four-story structure built to accommodate rich mercantile patrons visiting Saratoga for our famous waters. A devastating fire in June of 1865 burnt it to the ground. For the next seven years our camera would show a vacant lot. 190  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

1873- 1946 REBUILT UNITED STATES HOTEL For nearly 70 years a massive structure would fill the frame of the camera- a second & grander United States Hotel. In the age of opulence after the Civil War, grand hotels became the epicenter of social life for the rich. In this heyday of grand hotels, a rebuilt United States Hotel opened on June 1874. Millionaires gathered on the broad piazza to discuss secret business dealings of the day. The hotel flourished for nearly 70 years. World War 2 took its toll on America and the United States Hotel was one of its causalities. Destruction of the building began in May 1945 and was completed in March of 1946. For several years after 1946 our camera would show a nearly vacant space with a small concrete block building that housed a bar.

continued on page 130

1960S-1999 RED BARN RESTAURANT AND POPES PIZZA Fast food chains became the craze in the 1950s and 1960s. Myron Hunt bought the land at 395 Broadway and in 1968 opened a Red Barn Restaurant, a franchise of the fast food chain founded in 1961. Charlie Kuenzel and Bob Baker Jr. were just a couple of many local teens to work there as “swing managers.” Charlie reflects, “There were a lot of people my age working there, and a lot of friends stopped in to see me. Because the Red Barn came in before McDonald’s, it was a hangout for teens.” As a 16,17& 18-year-old, Charlie worked evenings until 2 am. The restaurant was

popular and to keep up with demand Charlie and Bob learned to cook 48 hamburgers at once. “By the time I put the last one on the grill it was time to flip them. Our job was to put out as much product as possible.” The franchise was relatively short lived. A 1980s photo would show the same barn-like structure with a different sign- Pope’s Pizza. Pope’s served pizza from this location until the building was razed in August 1999. The land and building at 395 Broadway were owned by Myron M. Hunt Inc, a family owned Buffalo based company that leased space to a variety of businesses. Myron hired local architect Tom Frost to design the two-story brick building.

Courtesy of Tom Frost, architect

2000-2011 BORDERS BOOKSTORE A wave of expansion by large booksellers such as Barnes and Noble and Borders swept our country in the late 1990s. Amazon and ebooks hadn’t taken off and Saratoga welcomed its first full-service bookstore in the heart of town. In 2010 ebook sales outnumbered printed book sales and our Borders, along with 200 others across the country was forced to close.

Tom Frost's April Fool's sketch of Borders being a barn as featured on the front page of the Saratogian on April 1, 1999

2013- PRESENT FINGERPAINT INC. Today the 25,000 square foot brick building is owned and occupied by Fingerpaint Inc., a full-service health and wellness marketing agency founded in 2008. Finding a solution to combat Covid-19 is central to our lives today and 395 Broadway is playing a role in this. Bill McEllen, partner in the company states, “Fingerpaint is solely dedicated to Healthcare Communications and a number of our clients are on the front-line researching ways to combat COVID-19 with treatments or vaccines”. Oh, the images of this corner really do tell the story of the times! SS




he last couple of months have been challenging for everyone. It’s an ideal time to express my gratitude and admiration for those on the front lines of the war on COVID-19. I’m fortunate to be retired and have little to complain about in comparison. My priority is in the next room, safe and sound. Although spurts of fear and uncertainty have caused some tears and a few nightmares, my wife and I are trying to remain positive and productive. In that light, I’ve begun making stuff. This week I made some stuff so I could make more stuff. Our garage is only large enough for a Toyota, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and a vast assortment of yard tools. A cellar is not the


ideal place to build stuff. I’m much happier building stuff out in the fresh air. The view is better, and a leaf-blower will make sawdust magically disappear. For the last forty years, my building projects have been squeezed in between work and other responsibilities. Now that I have more time to spend on projects, my impatience is more manageable, and the quality of my circular saw cuts are vastly improved. I started by building a worktable. I added casters for mobility. I didn’t use any specific set of plans, although I did watch hours and hours of workbench building videos on YouTube. I’m not sure if that made the end result any better, but it did kill a lot of time.

It’s also been scientifically proven that watching DIY videos on YouTube makes your morning coffee taste better. The worktable came out better than expected. It also used up a pile of scrap material that I’d collected from last year’s projects. The casters were a necessity because the table weighs more than a Buick. When the weather warms up, I’ll add some stain. The second project was building a new set of sawhorses. I dug out an old set of plans I’d used before. I would still be using the original ones if I’d maintained them better. This time I used pressure treated lumber and exterior-grade fasteners. This pair should outlast me. I’m planning to repaint the garage this summer. These beasts are strong enough to be used for scaffolding. These three items will help make my other building projects more enjoyable this summer. Having portable work surfaces makes any DIY project go smoother. It also gives you more work area and makes clean-up less of a chore. If we are going to be yard-bound this spring, we might as well be building, cleaning, or improving something while we’re at it. For all of you who still have to drive a truck, tend to the ill or injured, keep retail afloat, or protect us from fire and crime, I can’t thank you enough. To stay engaged, I will try to write and build more often. I will do my best to keep the stories light and the projects simple. We experience enough drama with the morning news to last all day. The best advice I can give right now is to keep moving. Building stuff is a pretty good place to start. Don’t forget to wear your safety glasses, earplugs, face mask, sunscreen, gloves, steel toes boots, and hard hat. Be sure to hydrate, wash your hands, slather sanitizer, eat all your vegetables, take your vitamins, and drink your juice. Get enough sleep. Warm-up and stretch before any strenuous activity. Keep smiling and have fun. Most importantly, listen to your mother!



The Last Word…



itchens are not just for cooking anymore. In this era of COVID-19, it seems as though every crevice in the house is serving multiple purposes from homework stations, offices, home gyms and even dance studios. And now, SPAC’s staff and more than 25 professional regional artists are letting you into their homes with the Center’s new Learning Library -- featuring, you guessed it, its own “Kitchen Floor Dance Class” series. “We have completely re-imagined how our educational programming can reach students, families and educators during these difficult times when in-person demonstrations and classes aren’t possible. Last year our programs served more than 49,000 students, however, with this new virtual platform, we have the opportunity to bring enriching, unique arts education content to even more students in the region and beyond,” said Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO.

As part of the Center’s mission to provide meaningful educational programming to the community while also supporting local artists, the videos and exercises feature more than 25 professional musicians and dancers who have been affected by the pandemic such as Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, professional stepping company Soul Steps and Caroga Arts Collective, as well as former Broadway performers, composers and local storytellers. “Heartbroken at the prospect of cancelling all of our arts education programming in schools for the spring season, SPAC’s education team was compelled to adapt quickly and focus all of our energy into creating these online opportunities for the 12,000+ students that we were scheduled to visit. We are thrilled that we can still reach our partnering schools’ and non-profit organizations’ students with resources that we hope they will find simultaneously 194  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2020

educational, entertaining, and uplifting,” said Dennis Moench, SPAC’s Senior Director of Education. Deborah Keough, District Music Supervisor for North Colonie Central School District agrees. “My teachers and I absolutely LOVE the dance videos that SPAC put together in its new Learning Library. They’re fabulous! I am so uncoordinated and klutzy and even I wanted to join in with Dennis and Eric. So much fun. The only sustainability that any arts organization has lies in its ability to connect with a young audience. SPAC shows us again that they know this well. Thank you for all you do, and for brightening our days!” Curated by SPAC with dedicated lessons for students of all ages, the video sessions include: “SPAC Breaks,” a variety of introductory lessons to exercise the creative mind; “Stories that Move,” featuring short stories with dance instruction by Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company; “Kitchen Floor Dance Class,” led by former Broadway performer and SPAC’s Senior Director of Education, Dennis Moench, and the “Virtual Dance Lab,” advanced choreography-teaching sessions in a variety of genres. In addition to the video lessons, SPAC has created “Printable SPAC-tivities,” featuring exercises and coloring pages that teach fundamental music and dance concepts. The SPAC Learning Library can be accessed at and is part of the Center’s new “Creative Connection” online campaign. SPAC believes in the transformative power of art and beauty to restore and enrich the human spirit. Creative Connection and the Learning Library were launched as part of SPAC’s expanded mission to provide online resources, community groups, and educational content to inspire and create a sense of community and hope. SS





Articles inside

TODAY in Saratoga article cover image

TODAY in Saratoga

pages 12-17
Meet our Hospital Heroes article cover image

Meet our Hospital Heroes

pages 30-32
23 [and Fourth] is Inside Out rd article cover image

23 [and Fourth] is Inside Out rd

pages 24-29
A Story Book Garden in the Country article cover image

A Story Book Garden in the Country

pages 47-51
Stronger Together article cover image

Stronger Together

pages 18-23
It’s a Porch Party article cover image

It’s a Porch Party

pages 52-57
Beauty, Blossoms & Hope article cover image

Beauty, Blossoms & Hope

pages 33-39
Meet Artist: Michelle O’Hare article cover image

Meet Artist: Michelle O’Hare

pages 64-67
Home Sweet Home Illustrations article cover image

Home Sweet Home Illustrations

pages 68-69
Lucia, Saratoga Trunk, Spoken and Violet’s article cover image

Lucia, Saratoga Trunk, Spoken and Violet’s

pages 75-79
Preserving Saratoga article cover image

Preserving Saratoga

pages 70-74
Dreaming in the Age of COVID article cover image

Dreaming in the Age of COVID

pages 86-87
Barre …From Afar article cover image

Barre …From Afar

pages 80-85
Porch-Traits with Brian V Photography article cover image

Porch-Traits with Brian V Photography

pages 58-63
Head East… to Schuylerville article cover image

Head East… to Schuylerville

pages 92-94
Meet Artist: Justin Francis Kane article cover image

Meet Artist: Justin Francis Kane

pages 88-91
Architecturally Speaking article cover image

Architecturally Speaking

pages 95-111
Shades of Green article cover image

Shades of Green

pages 112-115
Garden Therapy article cover image

Garden Therapy

pages 116-120
Colleen’s Picks article cover image

Colleen’s Picks

pages 121-124
Meghan Lemery article cover image

Meghan Lemery

pages 125-127
Meet Bruce Brownell article cover image

Meet Bruce Brownell

pages 130-131
A New Way to look at TV article cover image

A New Way to look at TV

pages 128-129
Meet Artist: Ashley Chandler article cover image

Meet Artist: Ashley Chandler

pages 138-141
Stay Safe article cover image

Stay Safe

pages 132-137
Grampy’s House article cover image

Grampy’s House

pages 142-143
It’s Time to Remodel article cover image

It’s Time to Remodel

pages 144-145
Drinking Water? article cover image

Drinking Water?

pages 146-147
Jordana Turcotte Keeps us Organized article cover image

Jordana Turcotte Keeps us Organized

page 152
In the Kitchen with John Reardon article cover image

In the Kitchen with John Reardon

pages 148-149
Entertaining with Ralph Vincent article cover image

Entertaining with Ralph Vincent

pages 150-151
Saratoga Signature Interiors article cover image

Saratoga Signature Interiors

pages 153-157
Homesteading 101 article cover image

Homesteading 101

pages 158-159
Peter Bowden article cover image

Peter Bowden

page 160
Need to Get Away? article cover image

Need to Get Away?

pages 161-172
John Greenwood article cover image

John Greenwood

pages 192-193
Great options for your children (or grandchildren!) to think about article cover image

Great options for your children (or grandchildren!) to think about

pages 173-184
A message from SPAC article cover image

A message from SPAC

pages 194-198
Charlie Kuenzel article cover image

Charlie Kuenzel

pages 185-189
Carol Godette article cover image

Carol Godette

pages 190-191