Simply Saratoga Home & Garden 2017

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May/June 2017


Home & Garden










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

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

NANCY CASTILLO Nancy is a co-owner of our local Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop, located off Exit 15 of the Northway. She writes The Zen Birdfeeder blog and has had her writing and photography published in BirdWatcher’s Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. You can occasionally hear her answering questions about birds on the WAMC VoxPop call-in program. Nancy and her spouse enjoy watching birds at their feeders from their log home west of Saratoga.

DAVE DELOZIER Dave is known as the eco-local guy around town, as he published the "eco-Local Living mag from 2008-13. Dave and his wife Brenda "walk the walk" having converted their small suburban Saratoga Springs residence into a Permaculture homestead, integrating elements such as edible landscaping, PV solar power & micro-farming. Dave is now a certified Permaculture Design Consultant and looks to help others who are seeking a more healthy, grounded and resilient lifestyle.

ALLIE DOCKUM Life & Love Events is your premier event planning company right here in Saratoga Springs. We help you celebrate the moments that mean the most in a full service style. From your business celebrations, high-class private events, weddings or creative parties, we execute your momentous occasions with precision and attention to detail. Contact Allie today for a seamless buzz-worthy event your guests will be talking about for years to come.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


FROM THE EDITOR Chris Vallone Bushee Managing Editor I received the sweetest card from my mom a while back… It was made of pulp with seeds woven through and had the most charming little painting on the front. I think it originally came from my Aunt Georgie, who mailed them to mom, who had to share it with me! (I’m very lucky to have come from a long line of letter writers… well, maybe not so lucky… I tend to keep every letter I’ve ever received, but luckily Jordana is helping me part with things, more about that on page 120). Anyway… shortly after receiving the above-mentioned card, it came to my attention that we have a pulp artist, right here in Saratoga Springs. I was enchanted by the cards and “flower bombs” that she delivered to my office and I can’t wait till I have the time to sit down and send off letters to the women in my life. If you’ve been reading SS for a while now, you may know… I’m a bit of an architectural junkie! Fixer Upper, House Hunters, The Property Brothers – love them all! As you can imagine, this Home & Garden issue is one of my favorites to put together! I have readers’ projects that they wanted to share with you (page 17), a local furniture maker who blows me away (page 28), a farmer from Charlton that you must meet (page 86), and a woman builder who – I’ll admit – I want to be when I grow up (page 117). I’m sure you will fall in love with Hayley (page 18) from Saratoga Tea and Honey. Between that charming smile and her cozy, delightful shop, that photo by Susan Blackburn was the perfect choice for our cover!


Thank you for the story suggestions... From who you want to meet and which houses you want to see (just wait till you see the house we are featuring on page 63 … ooh la la… you’re going to love it!!) I try my best to bring you the people, the places and the lifestyle of the Saratoga region. Luckily, we have Saratoga TODAY to bring you the news of the area - I get to do the fun stuff! A special thank you goes out to our advertisers who continue to support us and allow us to distribute these beautiful magazines, free of charge, to you, our loyal readers! Please mention us by name when visiting their establishments. Keep those comments coming - I LOVE hearing from you,


Nancy Smith celebrates 25 years …and just in time for our H&G issue!


April March is the most charming, genuine person - you'll love her!

From the gardens of Yaddo to your neighbors’ backyards…we have beautiful gardens to inspire you!



Randall Perry Photography




18 22 24 26 28 32 34 39

Meet… Hayley Stevens of Saratoga Tea and Honey Meghan Lemery Fritz gives advice… on helping children through divorce Our Artist Spotlight is… The Pulp Art lady – Martha Starke Missing Mark Walsh from Mio Posto? Peter Harrison has an interesting way of looking at furniture Meet… Jon Dorflinger, the man behind the Saratoga Film Academy Saratoga Preservation Society presents… 779 North Broadway April March… The First Lady of Burlesque tells all in her new book

43 Jazz Fest 46 Fashion 54 Auto Passion 131 History 143 Summer Camps


63 – 129

Our Cover

Photo by Blackburn Portrait Design. Meet Hayley on page18.




Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty

General Manager Robin Mitchell

Creative Director/ Managing Editor Chris Vallone Bushee

Graphic Designer Samantha Simek

Advertising Designer Morgan Rook

Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey

Contributing Writers

Samantha Bosshart Peter Bowden Nancy Castillo David Delozier Allie Dockum Jodie Fitz Carol Godette Dennis G. Hogan Charlie Kuenzel Meghan Lemery Fritz Barbara Lombardo Patrice Mastrianni Megin Potter Jordana Turcotte Maureen Werther

Photographers Anthony Aquino Jamielynn & Tim Biello Dave Bigler Kelly Benvenuto Blackburn Portrait Design Peter Bowden Brian E. Hoffman Nancy Castillo The George Bolster Collection Randall Perry Photography John Seymour Tory Shelley

Published by

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

Simply Saratoga is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2017, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper



Our 90-year-old country farmhouse gets a fresh new mudroom for my daycare. We converted the garage into a large mudroom… everything was finished from walls to floor! 15 cabinet cubbies were made for the children to hang their belongings and are a focal point of the new space. A large bench goes across the opposite wall for parents’ seating. All walls were insulated and covered with tongue and groove. We refinished the bathroom with a cast iron double faucet sink. A protective removable cover was built to surround the hot water tank and a closet was made to completely enclose the sump hole and panel box. A small wall was built behind the sink to hide all the piping and we finished with a stone floor. All work done by Finishing Touches of Ballston Spa. Thanks for sharing this, I hope your readers like my garage redo idea! Sincerely, Ashley


Throughout the ages, the necktie has been the quintessential fashion statement for men. Like a knight strapping on his colors before a battle, these strips of fabric are banners that make a statement. Wally Estill, however, has come up with a creative way to reuse them. He collected unwanted ties from friends and family and commissioned his friend Peg to weave the tails onto the seat of a wooden chair as a special 50th Anniversary gift for his brother and sister-in-law. “I had ties coming out of my ears,” he said. The project resulted in lots of leftover tie fronts (called blades) that Estill wanted to repurpose, as well. That’s where his funky window valances came from. He collected a total of 200 blades. His brother-in-law thought of an easy, no-sew method to put them together.

After measuring a 1”x3” board to the length of the window, Estill stapled each 16 ½” strip to it, overlapping one over the other. He turned the board to hide the ends and screwed it into the frame. Now, every window, and even a window mirror in his home, has become a conversation piece.

“People come over and they say, ‘I recognize that tie’, or ‘Gee, I really like that Mickey Mouse one’. Everyone that’s seen them has said, ‘Wow, what an idea!’” said Estill. “I’m just so happy to have my apartment looking a little manly finally,” he added. One of his first creative endeavors, Estill, who volunteers at the Saratoga Hospital, is also writing a book and is planning an upcoming speech at Empire State College entitled, Surely, Shirley Lived about his rich life with Shirley, a paraplegic, and his wife of more than 53 years. SS





t has already been two years since Hayley Stevens opened Saratoga Tea and Honey on Broadway. During that time, Hayley and her team have managed to create a space that is both a retail mecca as well as a meeting and gathering place for tea lovers. In many ways, it feels as if Saratoga Tea and Honey has been an integral part of the downtown scene for far longer and, for aficionados of all things tea, they can’t imagine Broadway without it.


Hayley’s background and training is in the was while Hayley lived in the city that she culinary arts. She is a graduate of the Alma became so enamored with tea. International School of Italian Cooking in Italy, “In Italy, I was drinking 8 cups of espresso a where she was the only American student in day and when I got to NYC, it was hard to a class of 55. Following graduation, she spent find good espresso anywhere,” says Hayley. four years in Naples as chef for a two-star A friend suggested that she try tea. Hayley Michelin rated restaurant, calling it “intense.” discovered a tea shop in the city, “In Pursuit Following her sojourn in Europe, Hayley of Tea,” and quickly became a fan. had what she calls her “New York experience,” teaching French cooking at the “Each time I went there, I would try a different tea.” French Culinary School in Manhattan. It

As her love of tea expanded, so did her knowledge of it. Hayley says that tea shares a lot of the same characteristics of wine. “It is an agrarian product that follows similar rules of production as wines.” Hayley says that each time she tried a new tea, she would think, “What a beautiful thing this is! It suited my lifestyle and, unlike wine, you can’t overdo it!” For Hayley, tea equals happiness. When Hayley, who is originally from Rochester, relocated to Saratoga County, she fell in love with what she calls Saratoga Spring’s “potential,” adding that, in addition to its year-round appeal for residents and visitors alike, it is a very European city in many ways. “It has the parks, the restaurants, and the

walk-ability that you find in Europe,” she says. For Hayley, Saratoga also offered opportunities to learn the business side of owning a specialty shop from people like Michael London, of Max London’s and Clint and Barbara Braidwood, owners of Saratoga Olive Oil and Hayley’s business partners at Saratoga Tea and Honey. “Clint and Barbara wanted to open a honey shop,” explains Hayley. So their partnership was the perfect marriage of a love for tea and its natural counterpart – honey. Saratoga Tea and Honey offers teas from around the world in a vast assortment of varieties and blends. The teas at the front of the shop are what Hayley refers to as her “passions.” The black (oolong), green and white teas are the “fine wines” of the tea world. Hayley is proud



of the impressive list of importers she has assembled to provide only the best teas from China, Taiwan, Japan and India. Her honey assortment also comes from a variety of producers, both local and far-reaching. “We have a cranberry blossom honey from the cranberry bogs in Wisconsin, buckwheat honey from Washington State and a ghost pepper-infused honey that we produce right here,” says Hayley. Perhaps the best unintended consequence of opening Saratoga Tea and Honey on Broadway is the tea bar. Hayley’s vision for it originally was as a sampling area. But it rapidly grew into a place where people could gather for tea and socializing.

“The tea bar is much busier now then it was when we first opened. We have our ‘regulars’ who come in and there is an increased interaction between our customers and our staff. We like to say that it’s become a ‘communi-tea,’” says Hayley with an infectious laugh and bright smile that clearly shows her passion for Saratoga Tea and Honey. So, next time you’re strolling along Broadway, stop by Saratoga Tea and Honey for a “spot of tea” and some sociability. SS





MEGHAN LEMERY FRITZ LCSW-R Meghan Fritz is a psychotherapist practicing in State College, PA. for more information: Email


he biggest mistake I see parents make is when they are unable to communicate in a healthy way and keep peace in their family. In these situations, children often know way too much about the marriage and why the relationship is breaking down and this is when they begin to choose sides and act out at home and in school.

Obviously if you are getting a divorce you are not able to get along in a way that promotes a healthy living environment, but you do owe it to your children to get the help you need to have an amicable split. Work with a mediator or family therapist to help you co-parent and communicate in a way that helps your children see that although you won’t be living together, you will do your best to respect one another and co-parent. When children are involved in their parents split in an unhealthy way, this is a form of emotional incest. What this means is that the child is treated emotionally as a spouse resulting in blurred boundaries, over-sharing and an enmeshed relationship with the parent. The result is a child who feels over-responsible for the parent and is likely to experience debilitating anxiety and anger toward the other parent. In early adulthood, this situation creates a pattern where the child is more likely to seek out train wreck relationships where they have to “save” the person they are attracted to. If they can’t save the parent they will seek out romantic relationships that allow them to be the savior and hero. While you may be tempted to let your child know the details of your split, in the long run you are causing severe damage 22  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

One of the most difficult things in a family is when a split happens and the parents divorce. Even in an ideal situation when both parents are committed to getting along and co-parenting, the children can still have a tough time getting through that first year of a split. While there is never a pain free way to navigate the waters of a divorce, there are ways to make things easier for your children. emotionally. When your children grow up to an age where they can process their feelings and understand the complexities of adult realtionships, they will be able to know the truth of the split; do not over-burden them at a young age and steal their innocence. When parents are splitting it’s important to help your children process their feelings in a healthy way. I often see parents who glaze over the sadness and try to immediately fix the pain by giving things materially to the children or letting go of discipline and boundaries. Statements like, “But now you have two homes!” do not give your children the tools they need to process the pain and sadness they feel. Be present with their pain and let them know you understand and that you feel sad too. Talk about what you can do together to come up with ways to help everyone in the family unit adjust. If you can’t be present with their pain you are teaching them how to avoid feelings. This sets them up to compensate in other ways such as over-eating, restricting calories, abusing drugs and alcohol or becoming promiscuous at a young age to feel safety and comfort. The best thing you can do to help your child is to make sure you are as healthy as you can be emotionally and physically. When you provide your children with a safe place emotionally to process feelings and express pain, you are teaching them to be vulnerable and how to heal. This will give them the tools they need to communicate their feelings in a healthy productive way. If you are in a situation where healthy communication is not possible with your ex, enlist the help of a third party to help you

communicate and co-parent. Let your child know that at the present moment it’s difficult to get along well and you are getting the help you need to sort things out. It’s okay to be honest that things are difficult, but there is a balance between honesty and unhealthy over-sharing and parental alienation. During the first year of a separation refrain from bringing anyone else into the picture romantically. This causes major confusion for children and sets the stage for acting out behavior. While you may want to date, do not include your children in the process. Only introduce them to someone when you plan on having an exclusive, committed relationship. When possible, discuss dating with your ex so that you can both be on the same page and have rules that promote respect and healthy boundaries for your children. One of the best gifts you can give your children is to teach them how to resolve conflict in a healthy way. It’s okay for your children to see you process feelings of sadness or even be angry. Things get out of balance when you allow them to see you in a place of continued rage and blame. Don’t burden them emotionally with adult baggage. Work with a professional to help you work the emotions in a healthy safe way. The best thing you can do for your children when going through a divorce is to commit to being as healthy as you can and communicating with your ex in a healthy, safe, respectful way. When this is not possible, enlist the help you need to protect your children from the toxic situation.




I create art because I need to create. I love the process of making something with my hands – it’s joyful to me – especially when it involves plants and nature.”

Flower Bombs




ancing in the wind, turning toward the sun, plants are always moving and changing. Their movements can be so slight that it’s almost imperceptible, or it can be bold, as with the forsythia bush, that there’s no ignoring the explosion of golden yellow blossoms that pop out seemingly overnight. Martha Starke is capturing the plants’ vitality with her botanical art papers and cards.



Working in the high-stress environment as an editor in Boston, she was looking for a relaxing, creative outlet. That’s when she took a short class on making handmade paper. “I was hooked. I loved it. I just went crazy making paper. It got to the point where I had an absurd amount,” said Starke. At her first craft show in 1994, she said the papers flew out the door. Starke started circulating within the craft show circuit, and opened her Etsy shop, PulpArt, in 2008. Incorporating wildflower seeds into the papers, she created a product especially popular for weddings, that could be planted after the event. “Plantable paper is a really different wedding favor to have. Many couples loved the recyclable aspect of it, too,” said Starke. At her peak, Starke was making hundreds of sheets of paper each week. The process, which involves recycling bits of paper (without any dyes but still striving for consistent colors), combining it with water to make a pulp, and pressing it into a mold before flattening and drying, also resulted in a significant amount of leftover seeded slurry. This valuable byproduct she rolls into seed bombs, which, when thrown, enable seeds to be grown in hard-to-reach areas.

Petal People "Fringe"

Petal People "Ballerina"

“It’s called renegade gardening, but really, it’s a marketing twist on a tradition invented by Native Americans,” said Starke. As one of the first few people to be selling plantable papers on Etsy in a platform that is now flooded, Starke added her line of Petal People cards to expand her brand. “I create art because I need to create. I love the process of making something with my hands – it’s joyful to me – especially when it involves plants and nature. I’m really just experiencing the joy, and the fact that other people can feel that, and respond to that, is a bonus to me,” said Starke.

Petal People "Yay"

Preserving the flowers, leaves, and herbs she gathers from her Saratoga Springs garden (and elsewhere), Starke cleverly arranges these pressed botanicals into lovely little figures full of movement and emotion. The unique personalities of Starke’s adorable Petal People charm their way to inspiring the artist in us all.


Printed on a white background of 100# Cougar Natural Smooth card stock, Petal People cards are available locally at Four Seasons Natural Foods in Saratoga, and at the Valley Artisans Market in Cambridge. Sold in shops nationwide, you can find them on online at To read Martha Starke’s blog detailing her adventures in art and gardening, go to


A Phoenix Rises from the

Caroline Street




n the wee hours of Thanksgiving 2016, an electrical fire started in the back room of Mio Posto restaurant and quickly spread to adjoining buildings. By sunrise, a good portion of the Caroline and Putnam Street block was damaged. It was a miracle that no one was injured; however, the inferno left upstairs tenants homeless and businesses boarded up.

He was offered the sous chef position at Mio Posto in the spring of 2014. The boutique Napolitano restaurant had only eight tables and the open-kitchen floor plan gave Walsh the opportunity to speak directly to customers. “It was great to actually match faces with the names of regulars. I enjoyed having an espresso and biscotti before dinner service. It was a great community and a close family.”

Earlier that night Mark Walsh, Mio Posto’s Sous Chef, finished his shift and wished his coworkers a happy holiday, unaware that his life was about to change. Walsh remembers hearing of the fire soon after it was discovered. “I was getting text after text on my phone from friends who were out that night. I was in shock, hoping I still had a job.”

While Mio Posto regrouped, Walsh felt that it was important to stay active in the food industry. He quickly started a private chef and catering business called Made by Mark and used Facebook to let friends and fans know. It wasn’t long before he received requests for in-home cooking classes and dinner parties. “I am bringing what I love to do into the customers' homes for a unique dining experience.”

Firefighters tried desperately to save the historical structures but it was soon announced that Mio Posto and the adjoining building were a total loss. They were ultimately demolished. The fire left Walsh unemployed. The journey that brought him to this point began when he was the General Manager of Old Navy Clothing Company. After 14 years in retail, he decided to turn his love of cooking into a career.

In addition to private dinners, Walsh inquired about instructing at downtown Saratoga’s Serendipity Cooking Studio. Owner, Patrice Mastrianni was thrilled “Coincidentally I had tried to reach Mark when I heard about the fire. I thought he would be a CHEF MARK IS AN EXCELLENT great addition to our list of instructors. CULINARY INSTRUCTOR. HIS His background was contemporary and RECIPES ARE WELL DESIGNED eclectic.”

AND AUTHENTIC. INSTRUCTING His first class at Serendipity was fresh He was accepted into Schenectady pasta making with a social group of US STUDENTS AND COOKING AT THE County Community College’s Veterans. Mark really connected with the acclaimed culinary program SAME TIME IS NOT AS EASY AS IT class and brought a wealth of knowledge and took a full time position at LOOKS. MARK IS A NATURAL. as well. He soon added Moroccan Reel Seafood in Colonie. Walsh Cooking and Sushi to the Serendipity remembers how the owner, calendar. His classes usually sell out. LeGrande Serras influenced him, “I learned so much from LeGrande. I worked hard and he allowed me Mastrianni feels Walsh’s attention to detail is impressive. “Chef Mark to advance in his kitchen. He would tell me how important it was is an excellent culinary instructor. His recipes are well designed and to “zoom out” onto the restaurant floor to connect with your entire authentic. Instructing students and cooking at the same time is not as business, rather than just staying in the kitchen.” easy as it looks. Mark is a natural.”

Walsh looked for work closer to Saratoga where he lived. His reliability, attention to detail and passion for learning new cuisines prepared him for his next position at Sperry’s Restaurant. Walsh was hungry to grow his talents. “Sperry’s menu features a local farm-resourced seasonal menu, which I loved. I had the privilege of working with many talented chefs while on Caroline Street and absorbed as much as possible.” 26  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

At first Walsh was blindsided by news of the fire. But things happen for a reason. He has risen out of ashes with a different way to share his culinary gifts. Made by Mark is taking Walsh on an entirely new adventure. And the menu is delicious. Mark Walsh lives in Saratoga Springs with his wife, Dr. Jennifer White. He can be contacted at For a list of Walsh’s upcoming cooking classes visit SS


Flowers & Design • Annuals & Perennials • Flowering Shrubs • Hanging Baskets • Vegetables & Herbs

• Pick Your Own Flowers & Veggies • Wedding Flowers and Accents

• Gardenscaping Gardens Services • Handmade Pottery

5041 Nelson Avenue Extension, Malta, NY • 518. 584.8555 •




TUCKED AWAY DOWN THE HILL FROM THE SHELL OF AN OLD BARN, is Peter Harrison’s furniture workshop. Situated on an 11-acre property, the 2,300 sq. ft. building is packed with the mid-century wood and metal-working machinery that he’s accumulated throughout the last 20 years. Massive drawers are meticulously organized with the hardware and tools of his trade. A small table by the entrance is strewn with paintings — one features googly eyes.




That’s where his 5-year-old son Mathias plays while Harrison conceives of, and constructs, unique modern furniture that

is sold nationwide.

“He can only be distracted for so long, but he loves being in the shop,” said Harrison, as he nudges away a curious chicken who is attempting to gain entrance. Harrison and his wife Lena Benvenuto, who works for Saratoga Bridges, balance the demands of making a living with raising Mathias and their 5-monthold daughter, Celia. Open by appointment only, Harrison’s workshop and upstairs showroom is a testament to his dedication to creating balance in all things.

Squaring Supply and Demand “I try to make great work and find clients that appreciate my work. I’m not going to make something that’s wildly popular if it doesn’t soothe my soul,” he said. After earning his BFA at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Harrison made furniture and art in the Hudson Valley before moving to Saratoga. His technique is founded in the careful research and purposeful use of materials, proportions, and the joinery that connects them. “There are periods of growth and periods of steadiness. Sometimes there are so many ideas I can’t keep up. I don’t know how it happens, but it does, and it keeps happening,” said Harrison. For instance, it took him six months to figure out how to seamlessly attach stainless steel cables in a way that he found visually pleasing, but once he did, he was able to replicate the process on subsequent pieces, alternating their flow and tension. “A table in your house is not that different than a painting – it’s a visual component for a space. I want it to be striking from across the room, something that wants you to walk over to it, and then (realize) there’s more to see when you get up to it,” said Harrison.

Harmonizing Inspiration with Execution In 2000-2001, Harrison’s trip to the Amish country inspired a series of thick wood sculptures. “I think I take long leaps because I want you to take long leaps and see things



DIVERGENCE for yourself,” he said. Harrison’s always been obsessed with the purity of circles, is attracted by items that were once used in manufacturing, or have an industrial quality to them. “There was a function — but you can’t see the function anymore — they transcend what they were,” he said. The otherworldly equilibrium that can be produced when materials come together is featured in the aptly-

named, best-selling, Jupiter bench. It is elegantly constructed from wood, aluminum, stainless steel, and concrete. A similar theme is also explored with tables with names such as the Callisto (Jupiter’s moon), the Neptune, and the Nebula, among others. Gradually, Harrison has also incorporated materials including acrylic and has moved away from the use of concrete. “Artistically, you move in the direction that

suits you – and… it’s so heavy,” he said. In 2004, Harrison began featuring exposed fasteners in many of his pieces. Precisely grinding the head of each component, he cuts in closely spaced rows that reflect rainbows of light, similar to those that appear on the face of a CD or DVD. It’s this kind of attention to detail that includes his specially constructed aluminum joints featured in tables including Divergence, that gives his

Photo by Kelly Benvenuto


work its signature look.

Weighing Design and Function The elemental forces of light also come into play with Harrison’s series of crystalline tables. When a client requested that Harrison design a table with both visual lightness (so as not to obstruct the ocean views from within his home), and also a physical lightness that makes it portable enough to be carried in airline luggage and be assembled in an 11th floor apartment, Harrison devised the Oahu table. “It set me off on a whole tangent, which was great,” said Harrison. Coming up with a table’s final design, however, sometimes means taking a mock-up and literally, flipping it upside down. “A lot of furniture making is so rigid. I try not to be so limited that I can’t make a left turn when I need to make it,” he said. Knowing how wood moves and how materials will work together, allows Harrison to use non-traditional methods to create graceful designs.


“I want people to see my work and recognize it as mine. For it to be unique, but well-proportioned; well-thought out, and in balance with itself,” said Harrison. Peter Harrison’s furniture will be exhibited at the Beekman Street Art Fair on June 11, 2017. For more information go to SS



Photo by Kelly Benvenuto




on Dorflinger’s love affair with film has been going on his entire life. At nine years old, using his parents’ vintage video camera, he and his brother’s cinematic output was prolific, ranging from productions of their own TV commercials to parodies of Saturday Night Live.

By his teens, Jon was producing films for Saratoga High School, and his talents made him somewhat of an anomaly. For John, films and film-making were his preferred form of communicating with others and for processing his world. Jon, who is now 39 years old, noted that there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the realm of film production in and around Saratoga. There also were no real educational opportunities for John to fine tune his craft. His sights were set on LA – the mecca of film making. However, his parents convinced him that a Journalism and Mass Communications degree from St. Michael’s College in Vermont might be the more practical path to follow. After graduation and a year of “soul-searching” travel around the world– which included doing some video production work in Thailand that changed his life in profound ways – Jon finally made his way to the summer program at USC, the best film school in the world. Jon made six short films that summer to strengthen his portfolio and apply to grad school back East. This time, the film “Seabiscuit,” which was shooting on location in Saratoga, took him on a different path, and he ended up traveling with the production company, something unheard of for a young film-maker just starting out in the industry.


His serendipitous good fortune took him back to LA, where he worked on films like “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Terminal,” and several short films. Fast forward several years. During the intervening years between living in LA and returning to Saratoga in 2012, Jon completed UCLA’s screenwriting program, got married, got his Masters in teaching, and became a dad for the first time. In 2012, the pull of family was strong and Jon returned to Saratoga Springs, where he is currently spreading his love for and knowledge of film-making and screen-writing to children from elementary school age all the way up to high school seniors. “As an artist, you need to balance the responsibilities of life with your passion,” says Jon. Jon seems to have achieved a really good balance in his role as teacher. His students love him, his programs are wildly popular, and he has started his own film-making school in conjunction with the Saratoga Independent School on Lake Avenue. What began as an after-school program for a few kids has mushroomed into the Saratoga Film Academy. “Our first summer program was in 2015 and we had about 40 students -total. In our second year, that number climbed to over 100 kids. And the parents are asking to take the class too,” says Jon with a smile. Jon is busy, happy and making a difference for kids who, until his arrival on the scene, didn’t have an outlet for their creative


aspirations. In the process, John helps them figure out their path and how to follow it. “That’s really important. I knew that my direction was ultimately screenwriting. So many people who get involved in this work don’t have the right path,” he says. Jon continues to follow his own path – and his personal passion of screenwriting. He is currently finishing a screenplay, with one of his students acting as his assistant. It’s such good experience for him,” says Jon, “And something I wish I’d had as a kid.” The Saratoga Film Academy gives kids an opportunity to learn at a very high level, and yet Jon allows his students free reign on their expression and what they want to convey. Particularly in today’s world, this form of communication is so native to young people and becomes a valuable tool for them to express themselves in a unique and creative manner. Jon accepts any student who is interested in learning about film-making and film production. For more information about Jon Dorflinger and the Saratoga Film Academy, visit their website or contact them at SS


779 North Broadway ∙ Original Appearance of the House



779 North Broadway

©Samantha Bosshart


WILLIAM B. GAGE built a one-of-a-kind hotel so it would only be fitting that he would build a one-of-a-kind home, 779 North Broadway. In 1873, William B. Gage joined the firm Tompkins, Gage and Perry in Saratoga Springs and the following year the firm built the United States Hotel, which replaced its predecessor that had burned in 1865. Gage would go on to own and operate this magnificent hotel for 43 years. The United States Hotel was a superbly appointed six-story Second Empire hotel with a grand piazza on Broadway. At the time the monumental hotel was built it was considered one of the most elegant in the world. It could accommodate 2,000 guests in its 917 rooms and 65 cottages; private suites with a parlor, one to seven bedrooms, and bathroom. The hotel had rich carpets, carved marble and walnut furnishings, stunning chandeliers, gilded decorative mirrors and frescoed ceilings.

One-of-a-Kind HOME:


Gage married Caroline Marvin in 1875, the year after the hotel was constructed. Caroline Marvin was the daughter of local resident US Congressman James Marvin. The couple resided with her family at 3 Franklin Square until he built their home on North Broadway. Gage purchased vacant land at 779 North Broadway on November 1, 1880. He retained J.C. Cade, an architect from New York City, to design the house. Construction of the remarkable home started in 1881 and was completed the following year. It was referred to as “Park Edge” due to its proximity to Woodlawn Park, the 1,500 acre estate of Judge Henry Hilton which today is the campus of Skidmore College. The Queen Anne style residence with Elizabethan and Jacobean elements has many unique details including the curved Flemish gable, the pedestal form that supports the gable window, open-square cornice, terracotta tile roof, and prominent patterned chimney. According to an April 29, 1882 Saratogian article, the house had commanding views of Saratoga Lake and surrounding country with Vermont hills in the distance. Much like the United States Hotel, it was richly appointed. A variety of woods – cherry, pine, red oak, black walnut, and butternut treated to resemble mahogany – were used throughout the house. The entry hall features a fireplace with tile designed by the architect, a seat in the chimney corner, magnificent stained glass and a cherry staircase that has a small balcony that looks from the landing down into the hall. MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 35

779 North Broadway ∙ Gable and Chimney

©Samantha Bosshart

Mrs. Gage and her children in a Floral Fete Wagonette

© Saratoga Room, Saratoga Springs Public Library

779 North Broadway ∙ Carriage House

©Samantha Bosshart

The article went on to describe the dining room as a “gem” with a beautiful fireplace, decorative woodwork, and delicate plaster ceilings as well as many of the other rooms throughout the house. Gage and his wife raised their four children in the home and lived there for 44 years. Mrs. Gage passed away in 1924 and Gage passed away the following year. In 1926, James A. Leary, a prominent attorney, purchased the property to reside with his wife F. Madeline. They were joined by Leary’s niece, Ruth Wallace, who was left an orphan following the death of her parents. In 1933, prior to the Leary’s divorce, they conveyed the property to Ruth. Leary never remarried and continued to live in the house until 1964. Ruth passed away three years later and the property was conveyed to well-known local physician and surgeon James Dorsey and his wife Patricia in 1968. The Dorseys resided in the home for nearly twenty years until they sold the property to Robert E. Brennan in 1987. Brennan was a businessman from New Jersey who owned Due Process Stables and summered in Saratoga Springs during the racing season. The home was renovated under Brennan’s ownership, including a significant addition with a gazebo-like open porch designed by architect Tom Frost. Brennan built an infamous penny stock brokerage firm, First Jersey Securities, which defrauded unsuspecting investors, many of whom were elderly and lost their entire savings when the stocks crashed. In 2001, Brennan was found guilty of 36  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

bankruptcy fraud, money laundering and obstructing justice and sentenced to nine years in prison. In 1999, the current owners Don and Donna Adams from Bryan, Texas purchased the house. They have lovingly cared for the home and last year received a Preservation Landscape Initiative Award from the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation for replanting elms along North Broadway and restoring the slate sidewalk. Come learn more about the mansions along North Broadway by attending the Foundation’s first Summer Sunday Stroll of the season on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. Each Sunday the Foundation hosts a walking tour of a different neighborhood in Saratoga Springs. The 90-minute tours take place rain or shine and require walking and standing on varied terrain. Tickets for SSPF members are $5 and $8 for non-members. For tour schedule and more information please visit or call (518) 587-5030. Samantha Bosshart is Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. Founded in 1977, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that promotes preservation and enhancement of the architectural, cultural and landscaped heritage of Saratoga Springs. To learn more or to become a member, please visit SS

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THE PERFECT GIFT! THE WILLOW BOX Housewarmings / Weddings The Recipe Experience Help them start their own heirloom recipe book… This experience box comes with a bonded leather recipe book for family favorites, a heavy cast iron book stand, a set of heavy duty stainless steel measuring spoons and a luxury kitchen towel – just perfect!

Graduations The Self Reflection Experience The benefits of keeping a journal are invaluable. Whether trying to reach new goals, heal emotionally, or simply remember things, journaling is a proven way to achieve these things. Spend quiet moments with the journal box and begin a new story or journey. The quill pen and ink provide a unique writing experience that offers a chance to practice writing in a way that is something of a lost art. This experience box also comes with an inspirational placard that may kick off some ideas for the recipient to begin their journey of self-discovery. The antique style trunk provides a safe and private place for the journal and pen when not in use. This gift experience will be cherished forever!

New Parents Blissful Bath Experience Give the new mom a quiet moment of serenity with the bath experience box. Each box comes with a Woodwick candle that crackles as it burns and adds an amazing aroma to the bathroom, a bar of aromatherapy Plantlife soap, and a wooden soap dish. A loofa pad, double sided wooden handled foot brush and a pumice stone rounds out the pampering experience! The Natural Spa aromatherapy bombs are made from 100% natural ingredients that will fizz and create a soothing, moisturizing bath. To finish the experience off, there is an inflatable Earth Therapeutics bath pillow. Trust us - she’ll thank you for this!

We fell in love with these boxes when they showed up at our office… Imaginative gift experiences, packaged within with the most awesome keepsake box! Check them out…




he was born Velma Fern Worden in a small town in Oklahoma and was raised by her grandparents because her mother, who was little more than a girl herself, had no interest in raising a young child. By the time she was 15, Velma was already married – and would be divorced a year later. Not only was Velma beautiful; she was also extremely bright. But she was very young when she first started working and she had no experience in a business environment. When she showed up for her first day as the new copy girl for the “Daily Oklahoman,” her first – and last – job there was to manage the ticker tapes for the stock market. “Let’s just say the stock market report didn’t make it into the paper that day,” she says, with the same dazzling smile she used for her audiences more than 65 years earlier.


Velma Fern Worden went on to become one of the highest paid and most well-known burlesque queens in the industry. Early in her career, she changed her name to the name she is most comfortable using today – April March. The name came from one of her early promoters – Barney Weinstein – who owned the club in Dallas where she got her start. “He said I should be called April March because I looked like a breath of spring!” After she left the “Daily Oklahoman,” Velma got a job as a cigarette girl at The Derby Club in Oklahoma City. “I was 16 years old and I said I was 21,” she says with a smile. “Nobody ever checked back then.”


“This was back in 1952, and the women were very elegant – nothing like it is today. I thought they were lovely and they acted very ladylike both on and off the stage,” she recalls. During one of her shifts, she bumped into Barney Weinstein, who was in town from Dallas. He asked her, “When do you go on?” “I don’t take my clothes off,” was her reply. “I’m going to be a movie star!” Weinstein told her he couldn’t promise that she’d become a movie star, but if she would come to his club in Dallas and do burlesque, it might open doors for her. “I know I’ll be seeing you soon,” were his parting words to the young cigarette girl. A few months later, Velma was on a Greyhound bus headed to Dallas. She told her grandparents she had gotten a job tapdancing at a nightclub there. “I figured that, if I didn’t have to take off too many clothes, it could be a gateway to Hollywood.” Weinstein had told her she’d be more covered up than if she was wearing a bathing suit, after all. Of course, that wasn’t exactly true. But April March went on to become one of the most sought after and well-known burlesque dancers of her time, in the same category with Gypsy Rose Lee. She ultimately became known as the “First Lady of Burlesque,” both for the ladylike way she disrobed onstage as well as for her remarkable resemblance to First Lady, Jackie Kennedy. During the course of her career, April March danced for the renowned Harold Minsky, she traveled to England where she performed for three months and she Her dream was to become a famous movie star. Velma had taken tap, dance, ballet and acrobatics growing up, and she hoped her talents and her good looks would land her in front of a big-name movie producer.

He said I should be called April March because I looked like a breath of spring!

The Derby Club was, of course a striptease club, but Velma didn’t know it when she was hired as cigarette girl. This was her first exposure to burlesque and she found herself fascinated by the women, whom she calls elegant and ladylike. 40  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

headlined with Anne Corio – who was even bigger than Gypsy – at a major show on Broadway, “This was Burlesque.” She even appeared in Jim Henson’s academy-award winning short film, “Timepiece,” and with an eight handicap in golf, she was the only woman in burlesque to appear in “Sports Illustrated.”

In 1985, April and Jeff came to Lake George one summer and fell in love with the area. She has been here ever since and she now travels around the country as a guest lecturer and performer. Although, these days, she doesn’t remove anything more than her elbow-length gloves. She has appeared in a documentary produced by Leslie Zemeckis titled “Behind the Burley-Q,” and a film about her career, “Becoming April March,” will make its debut sometime later this year or early in 2018.

In the meanwhile, at 81 years old, April March has lost none of her beauty, grace and style. Her book, “Reflections of My Life, April March, The First Lady of Burlesque,” was published in 2016 is available at Northshire Books. When she isn’t busy doing book signings and giving talks, April is traveling to appearances throughout the Northeast and in Las Vegas. And when she isn’t traveling or making appearances, she’s thinking about her second book. “After all,” she says with that dazzling smile of hers, “there’s still so many stories to tell!” SS

April’s personal life was a bit more tumultuous than her professional life. “I think I was just looking for love,” she says, adding that she didn’t have any role models. She was married to eight men, tying actress Elizabeth Taylor’s record. She was also engaged to several other men, some of whom were well-known – even famous – such as singer Mel Torme and Karl Ullman, a powerful figure in the Los Angeles Teamsters Union. She dated Joe DiMaggio and an Arab Sheik, before finally settling down for the past 39 years with husband, Jeff Edmiston.


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Each rustic, chunky bar has been handcrafted in small batches and open-air cured to create a long-lasting, mild, moisturizing soap. They are filled with oils and butters, that are not only beneficial to the skin, but smell delightful with a combination of mahogany, tobacco and a light cologne.

Handcrafted French blue shaving mug is made by local potter, Gregory Rudd.







One of America's longest-running music festivals celebrates its anniversary with

legends, rising stars and trailblazers Saturday June 24 & Sunday June 25, 2017

Chaka Kahn Photo by Timothy Fielding

THE FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL, one of the most renowned and longest-running jazz festivals in North America, marks its 40th anniversary this year. A jewel in Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s summer season, the two-day, two-stage festival is beloved by audiences for its dynamic lineup of international jazz talent and for its spectacular setting amid the towering pines, hiking trails and mineral springs of the idyllic Saratoga Spa State Park. This year’s festival is Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25; music begins at noon each day and continues into the evening. The festival, originally titled the ”Newport Jazz Festival – Saratoga,” was founded in 1978 by jazz impresario George Wein, the creator of the celebrated Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and several other nationally recognized music events. Today, the festival is produced by Wein protégé Danny Melnick, president of Absolutely Live Productions. “The 40th Anniversary of the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival is a milestone worth celebrating, not only for the longevity it represents, but for its contributions to this extraordinary, uniquely American art form, which marks its own 100th anniversary this year,” said Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s president. “In each of those 40 years, this festival has showcased the jazz giants, innovators and rising talents whose music has kept the genre thriving. At its most personal, this event has been, and continues to be, a meaningful and joyous part of the lives and memories of countless people, including many for whom it’s an annual tradition. It is an impressive legacy.” The milestone 2017 festival features an extraordinary lineup of musicians, ranging from emerging artists making their festival debuts, to the return of two legendary musicians who performed on the inaugural 1978 festival, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Jean Luc-Ponty. Headlining the weekend are Chaka Khan, “the queen of funk,” and the Gipsy Kings, who bring their irresistible rhythms to the festival for the first time. In addition, three boundary-breaking young musicians from the United Kingdom – Jacob Collier, Jack Broadbent and Shabaka Hutchings -- will showcase their inventive approaches to jazz performance. Furthermore, Jazz 100, led by Danilo Pérez, will pay homage to iconic musicians Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria, and Thelonious Monk in celebration of the 100th anniversary of their shared birth year. This year also marks the centennial of the first recorded jazz album and the first commercial use of the word “jazz,” when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded their New Orleans rooted music at Victor Talking Machine. The recording was an instantaneous success, ushering in a new era of popular music, the “Jazz Age.” MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 43

Chaka Kahn

Photo by Timothy Fielding

ARTIST LINEUP SATURDAY, JUNE 24: CHAKA KAHN, the “queen of funk” returns to SPAC for first time in 20 years;

JACOB COLLIER, recent Grammy winner, whose remarkable one-man, multi-instrumental, multi-visual performances are shaking up the music world, makes his festival debut;

JEAN-LUC PONTY, pioneering jazz, rock violinist who was part of the inaugural 1978 festival, returns;

CECILE MCLORIN SALVANT, is a 2016 Grammy winner

and 2010 Thelonious Monk winner, pianist and singer who draws connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues and folk music;

Cecile McLorin Salvant

Jacob Collier

Photo by Retts Wood

JAZZ 100: The Music of Dizzy, Mongo and Monk featuring Danilo

Cecile McLorin Salvant Photo by Mark Fitton

Perez, Joe Lovano, Avishai Cohen, Josh Roseman, Roman Diaz, Ben Street & Adam Cruz celebrates the 100th year of the birth of jazz icons, Dizzy Gillespie, Mongo Santamaria and Thelonious Monk;

THE SUFFERS, a Houston band known for their unique, selfcoined musical style “Gulf Coast Soul,” a blend of rock, country, Latin and Southern hip hop, makes their festival debut;

DAVE STRYKER ORGAN QUARTET makes their Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival debut. Stryker, a jazz guitarist, has recorded twenty-seven albums as a bandleader and has recorded and published over 150 of his own compositions;

BARBARA FASANO has been hailed as one of the nation’s most stunning and soulful singers, known for her emotive interpretations of the American Songbook;

JACK BROADBENT, recently hailed as the “new master of the slide guitar,” by Montreux Jazz Festival, makes his festival debut;

SHABAKA HUTCHINGS AND THE ANCESTORS. Shabaka Hutchings, making his festival debut, is a saxophonist, bandleader and composer and one of London’s most popular jazz artists;

Jazz 100

ARUAN ORTIZ, the Cuban-born and Brooklyn-based pianist, violinist and composer makes his festival debut. He has been lauded by Downbeat as “one of the most versatile & exciting pianists of his generation.”

Jazz 100

TICKETS to the festival start at just $65 for adults. Children 15 and under are admitted free to the lawn. New this year is a $20 jazz ticket for students and children over 15. Details are available at


The Suffers

Photo by Greg Noire

Jack Broadbent Photo by Jon Ciotti

Gipsy Kings

Photo by Marie Claire Margossian


GIPSY KINGS, also celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2017,

make their festival debut. Known for their distinctive blend of traditional flamenco with Western pop and Latin rhythms, the band has enjoyed huge popular success;


makes their festival debut as an ensemble with a tribute to musical icon Ray Charles (who performed at the Jazz Festival six times during his life);

HUDSON featuring Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield, John Medeski & Larry Grenadier will come together at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in celebration of Jack DeJohnette’s 75th birthday; DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER recently named a 2017 NEA Jazz

Master, returns for her 6th festival appearance, including the 1978 inaugural year;

Quinn Sullivan

Photo by Chuck Lanza

QUINN SULLIVAN, 17-year-old blues phenom discovered by Buddy Guy;

JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE brings the rhythms

and culture of Cuba to Saratoga. An internationally renowned saxophonist and pianist, Bunnett has been nominated for two Grammy® Awards and received five Juno Awards;


Festival’s Gazebo Stage with a grand finale of hip, futuristic funk. Cory Henry is also the organist of the two-time Grammy® Award-winning band Snarky Puppy;

Dee Dee Bridgewater

ADAM O’FARRILL QUARTET led by brilliant trumpeter

Photo by Mark Higashino

Adam O’Farrill, performs in support of their acclaimed new album, Stranger Days, The ensemble includes Adam’s brother Zack on drums along with saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and bassist Walter Stinson;

Cory Henry

JERRON “BLIND BOY” PAXTON is an American multi-

instrumentalist blues musician and vocalist from Los Angeles. He plays banjo, piano and violin and his musical influences are rooted in the early blues of the 1920s and 1930s;


showcase two of the finest new voices in jazz, saxophonist Noah Preminger and trumpeter Jason Palmer.

Jason Palmer

Photo by Jimmy and Dena Katz

Photo by Katie Brockway

FASHION ... in Downtown Saratoga Springs WRITTEN BY ALLIE

DOCKUM of Life and Love Events


Get Her Look:

Sweater: BCBGMAXAZRIA Tresa cold-shoulder sweater Denim: Hudson Ciara high-rise ankle jeans in white




here does one for go for shoes in Saratoga?” - Is a question I first asked myself when moving to the area. Not only does Violet’s offer everyday casual wear as well as cocktail and day dresses, their shoe game is on point. Violet’s is approaching its eleventh year in business and owner, Laura Farrar-Pileckas feels as though they have found their niche in the retail landscape of downtown Saratoga Springs. They know who their customer is and caters to their lifestyle. They carry lines that appeal to different age groups. A college student can shop the store with her mother and both will leave with a new look in hand. Violet’s has positioned itself as a one-stop shop where you can purchase a complete outfit, including undergarments and footwear. Some of the lines they carry are Maggy London, French Connection, Susana Monaco, and Yumi Kim. As for shoes, you can always find high quality and comfortable lines such as Seychelles, Louise et Cie and Vince Camuto. When it comes to footwear Violet’s stays true to their brand by mirroring their clothing sector. They offer casual Frye slip-ons to pair with a tee and denim as well as strappy floral heels to rock with a cocktail dress.


Get Her Look:

Dress: BCBGMAXAZRIA striped cut-out midi dress

Sandals: Vince Camuto Kitten-heel laser-cut Kanara sandal

shoulder bag

We carry brands and styles that appeal to both mother and daughter, we love it when they spend time in our shop and both leave with a new look in hand.

Bag: Sam Edelman Hudson mini

Violets just celebrated their 10 year anniversary and owner Laura FarrarPileckas says that the employees and the customers are the reason for the store’s success. I got to chat with Laura about this year’s trends but also about knowing their customers. Laura said that over the years they have gotten to know their regulars so well that they are genuinely -thinking about them – when they’re on buying trips! Violets carries designers such as Free People, Frye, Louise Et Cie, and a couple seasonal designers such as Yumi Kim and Susana Monaco.

This year’s top trend for Violets is off the shoulder tops and dresses. No matter your style or age, you can find something trendy, that’s fun and looks great. Violets also has great bags and clutches with pops of color - perfect for spring!

Free People

Cloverpost Frye

Allie's Picks...

Sam Edelman


FASHION ... in Downtown Saratoga Springs WRITTEN BY ALLIE

DOCKUM of Life and Love Events





Get Her Look:

Dress: by Frank Lyman Silver Cuff, Bangles and Rings: by Uno de 50

Lifestyles is a Saratoga staple with Heidi West and her team bringing women’s fashion to the forefront of downtown Saratoga for over twenty-five years. Lifestyles boasts a curated collection of trends and styles the industry offers, not only in clothing, but accessories, jewelry and body products. Lifestyles carries over two hundred lines with some of their most popular brands being Eileen Fisher, Cut Loose and Clara Sun Woo. They have a conscious consumer who is looking for high quality pieces that are ethically produced while still being affordable. Michael Stars is one of their domestically produced lines. Lifestyles is unique in the fact they can offer these lines at reasonable price points making them available to a larger demographic. They strive for a good balance of quality and price. The shopping experience at Lifestyles is a very personal one, with an educated and friendly sales team who pride themselves on their customer service and ability to fit women of all body types. They work oneon-one to ensure the customer is satisfied with their overall experience. Heidi has recently created a customer rewards program called ‘The Loop’ where members receive such perks as advance notice of sales, VIP events and other special offers. You can sign up on their website.

Allie's Picks... Blowfish 48  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

Paisley Road


Get Her Look:

We pride ourselves on our customer service and ability to fiit women of all body types. We look to offer an enjoyable and relaxing shopping experience.

Tencil Denim Shirtdress: by Sidestitch Cropped White Denim: by Just Black Denim Classic White Sneakers: by Superga Tank: by Z Supply Bag: by Un Billion

CAROLINE AND MAIN…A casual coastal vibe... Last year Lifestyles owner Heidi West opened a sister store, Caroline and Main, located right on the corner of Caroline Street and Broadway. With Lifestyles being open for over 25 years, Caroline and Main was an opportunity to bring another level of shopping to Broadway. In addition to women’s fashion, Caroline and Main carries men’s fashion, gifts for your friends and items for your home. Caroline and Main carries brands such as Joules, Lilla P, Eliza J., Wooden Ships sweaters, in addition to a men’s capsule featuring Tailor Vintage, and a selection of whimsical gifts by Sugarboo & Fishs Eddy, to name a few.


Both stores are showcasing trends for spring like the cold shoulder top, dramatic sleeves, and feminine detailed tops and dresses.

Allie's Picks... Shiraleah

TOPS Malibu

Spirit Jersey MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 49

FASHION ... in Downtown Saratoga Springs WRITTEN BY ALLIE

DOCKUM of Life and Love Events


Get Her Look:

Kimono: by Staccato Tank Top: by Lucca Couture Jewelry: by Vanessa Mooney



s of this month Lucia is celebrating their 11 year anniversary of bringing fashion along with killer accessories to downtown Saratoga Springs. Lucy Moran is the founder and owner of Lucia. Lucia is located in The Marketplace and features an array of designers from Knot Sisters, to Chaser, and Blank denim. These lines are just a few that resonate with the boho chic vibe and feminine edge that Lucia’s clientele is drawn to. Lucia’s customer base spans from women of all ages and offers an equal mix of on-trend styles with everyday basics. They are known for their graphic tees, large selection of denim and their accessories. Lucia is passionate about showcasing emerging jewelry designers. I am currently crushing on LA-based designer, Vanessa Mooney’s handmade pieces.

Lucy feels the hands-on buying approach allows her to hone in on her customer base and find consistency throughout the seasons. Through this process she has built a highly recognizable and successful brand over her eleven years in business.


Get Her Look:

Dress: by Honey Punch Necklace: by AV Max

This month Lucia is celebrating a milestone... a decade of bringing fashion along with on trend accessories to downtown Saratoga Springs. Lucia offers their customers a variety of affordable fashionable looks. Whether you’re looking for a bo-ho inspired romper, a maxi dress or a rock tee, you’ll be able to find some unique pieces that will be perfect for spring and summer. Lucia’s owner Lucy Moran is excited to see looks that were popular in the 90s come back. Chokers, floral crop tops, and star prints are all 90’s must-haves that can be found at Lucia. The store has a bunch of pastels and blushy tones and also some pieces with an edge. Lucia carries designers such as For Love & Lemons, Chaser, Cleobella, Knot Sisters, and Vanessa Mooney. They will also be carrying a new line called Flynn Skye so be sure to check it out in the next few weeks.


Urban Expressions

Vanessa Mooney


Allie's Picks...

A.J. Morgan


FASHION ... in Downtown Saratoga Springs WRITTEN BY ALLIE

DOCKUM of Life and Love Events





ith Pam Worth at the helm of this colorful and warm boutique customers walk in to find themselves greeted with a huge smile along with unique pieces you can’t find anywhere else in Saratoga. Pam has been dressing women for over thirty years and her experience and innate sense of style has made Spoken boutique a staple in the downtown retail sector. Spoken has a strong local customer base as well seasonal clientele from NYC and Florida who frequent the store throughout the Summer. Spoken boutique services women in their forties through sixties who are looking for timeless pieces that offer an unique sense of style without sacrificing comfort. Pam’s mission is for her customer to feel comfortable in their own skin, know what a quality garment feels like and find timeless pieces that can be worn season after season. When buying for each season, Pam focuses more on her knowledge of her customer and less on the season’s trends. She follows trends loosely while staying true to their signature soft dressing and layering pieces. Dylan, Angel Rocks, Mystree, and Nally & Millie are a few of the lines available at Spoken.


Get Her Look:

Top: Dylan Jacket: Aratta Rust Denim: Principle Denim

Get Her Look:

Layering Tank: by M. Rena Novelty Sweater: by B&K Moda Embroidered Denim: by Driftwood

We follow trends loosely while staying true to our core customer and their unique sense of style. Spoken Boutique is a great place to go to add some color into your wardrobe this spring. You will be inspired to go bold with pops of color and cheerful details when you see what they have to offer. When I chatted with owner Pam Worth she explained how she likes to bring in lots of colorful clothing, scarves and accessories to get people out of their ‘winter funk’. One of her favorite looks for spring are pieces with small touches of embroidery on them. Spoken carries designers like Eva Varro, Desigual, Red Engine Jeans, Dylan, Nally and Millie and has recently added B&K Moda, Aratta, Driftwood Jeans, and Bo & Nic. Pam is always conscious of price and longevity of a garment and focuses on their client’s style of living. There are pieces in Spoken for all ages so if you haven’t gone yet, now is the time!



Allie's Picks...


Anne Koplik Designs



In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the nation to the Model T Ford, and America’s passion with automobiles was born. From that first model rolling off the assembly line to today’s modern marvels, automobiles have been an integral part of the country’s fiber. While todays cars are almost unrecognizable to those of the early 1900s, they still have the same core principles: They provide transportation, they reflect the driver’s personality, they can serve as a symbol of status and …well some of them are just plain fun. In 2016 vehicle sales in the United States set a record totaling 17.55 million units. That is a lot of cars, trucks and SUVs… and it is a driving force behind the U.S. economy. On a local level, we are lucky to have some of the best family owned dealerships in the nation. Whether you are looking for the prefect vehicle for work or play, stop in one of the following local dealerships, get behind the wheel, and take a test drive. Happy Driving! 54  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017



With the ability to persevere through snow, sleet, hail and rain, the redesigned 2017 Land Rover Discovery is the SUV to enjoy a new level of comfort and capability! The versatility of the cabin is highlighted by the easily configurable available sevenseat layout and plentiful storage. Life is full of choices. Choose Luxury. Choose Capital Luxury Cars. WWW.CAPLUXCARS.COM • 351 NEW KARNER RD, ALBANY, NY 12205 • (888) 721-3566


2017 Cadillac XT5 Crossover

Versatility, reinvented. The XT5 crossover was crafted to help you outsmart whatever task you have at hand. Its generously sized interior is filled with advanced features to help keep you safe and connected, while the chiseled exterior lines make a striking statement. A thoroughly progressive vehicle both inside and out, the XT5 was designed to accommodate your needs, while expressing your distinctive sense of style.

FAMILY OWNED... Otto Cadillac is a family owned and operated Cadillac dealer proudly serving the Capital Region and Saratoga area. We have a full selection of new and pre-owned Cadillacs.


Chris Otto

1769 CENTRAL AVENUE, ALBANY NY 12205 Sales & Service: 518.869.5000 OTTOCARS.COM


2017 Nissan Rogue

The 2017 Nissan Rogue SV Midnight Edition is the sleekest SUV in it's class. Choose from four exterior colors and enjoy Exclusive Midnight Edition black 17" alloy wheels, black roof rails and crossbars, black outside mirrors, and Charcoal cloth seats. The EZ Flex Seating System doesn't just let you fold the 2nd-row seats flat; they also recline, slide, and tilt forward for easy access to the optional 3rd-row. Rogue's Divide-n-Hide Cargo System helps keep your stuff organized, and out of sight. The competition can't compete with it's 18 different cargo configurations. Rogue Midnight Edition is raw, bold, and built to turn heads.


At our dealership, we have devoted ourselves to helping and serving our customers to the best of our ability. We believe the cars we offer are the highest quality and ideal for your life needs. We carry a comprehensive line of Nissan vehicles as both new and pre-owned, sure to fit the needs of our customers! Our services include trusted Nissan car repair, original Nissan parts, and financing to help our customers purchase the car of their dreams. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly to assist you with all of your automotive needs! 58  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

Johnna Kennedy

of Saratoga

Exit 13S off I-87

• Lia Nissan exclusive 3 Year Test Drive Including no charge maintenance

• Over 800 New Nissans to choose from • Complimentary shuttle service • Kids playroom, free wifi & refreshments

MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 59 2906 Route 9 • Malta, NY 12020

2017 Buick LaCrosse

The all-new 2017 Buick LaCrosse is designed to deliver a driving experience that is incredibly quiet - so you can escape everyday noise, everyday. Active Noise Cancellation detects unwanted sounds and helps cancel them out through the vehicle’s speaker system. So sit back, relax and hear the difference.


At Mangino Buick GMC we take an approach to customer service that is second to none. We are family owned and operated and have been serving the Saratoga County market for 39 years. Centrally located in Ballston Spa, we live in the community, do business in the community, and we are committed to the community. I personally invite you to stop in and check out our huge selection of new and used cars and truck.


Ralph Mangino Jr.



H&G Randall Perry Photography


Architec Randall Perry Photography


cturally SPEAKING

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



For twenty five years, Geo and Karen

C´est La Vie Saratoga native returns home to retire in a French Provincial masterpiece

Kuehn lived in an early America Colonial home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and all the while, Karen was obsessed with her French heritage. And while she loved her colonial, Karen had a vision of an old-world French Provincial style home that would be the perfect place for her and Geo to claim as their retirement abode. It would be a masterpiece of classic French Country that would showcase the couple’s furniture collection. While living in Pennsylvania, the couple began collecting furniture and antiques that had a resounding French flair – with the intent that their retirement home would be built around.

Randall Perry Photography


Randall Perry Photography


Randall Perry Photography


from whence ye came, ye must return Karen knew she would always return home to her beloved Saratoga Springs. She was born and raised in the Spa city, meeting Geo in 1963, they made their home in many different American cities before settling back in Saratoga in 2007. With their annual trips “back home,” Geo too became smitten by upstate New York’s city in the country. So when the discussion came up as to where to retire, it was a rather short one. It would be Saratoga Springs, of course. And this retirement home would be French Country -of course! There was just one problem…The French Country style is lacking in Saratoga. There are Victorians and Arts & Crafts aplenty. The French, apparently, we’ve run out of town. Blame Burgoyne’s failed attempt to claim upstate New York for France. Undeterred, the Kuehns went looking for a builder that would make their French Country home in Saratoga Springs. The couple settled on Witt Construction, having been impressed with their work in town. Witt happened to have some building lots in a cul-de-sac on the east side of town, set on the edge of a babbling brook. The site was enchanting; a wild setting yet a mere mile or so from downtown. It was perfect!



Randall Perry Photography

Randall Perry Photography

Bringing the Old World into the New The goal was to make the new house look old, as if it had been there for years. It took some strong persuasion to get Witt to accept the stucco exterior appliqué that was mandatory. He mentioned the potential of cracking; no problem, all the more character, said the Kuehns. For the interior, Karen insisted on Italian plaster. No paint. Hand troweled, seven layers thick. Just like it was done in the old country. Master plasterer Erin Lonergan spent four months working the walls throughout the house; each room a different color, each with a unique pattern. Curves allow some walls to flow from one to the next, with no hard edges. The woodwork and trim had an antiqued burnt umber finish to duplicate aging. Faux cracks embellish the patina, adding to the aged look and feel. Tall, arched windows bathe each room with daylight. On a sunny day, beams of light stream into the home, creating mood and drama upon the deep color palette in each room as the day progresses.


Randall Perry Photography


Finally, a place to showcase the furniture! The Kuehn’s antique furniture collection lends authentic personality to the “old” look of the walls and windows. Every piece of furniture complements the other, creating a visual feast. Karen’s taste and very French theme resounds from room to room, each an expression of comfort and class. In the living room, an ornate carved fireplace mantle is the focal point of the sitting area. Just like in the old days, the warm, intimate setting welcomes old friends to set a spell and catch up. The kitchen harkens back to a time before built-in cabinets became de rigueur. Instead of a row of wall cabinets, a full countertop-to-ceiling window above the sink provides a view of the terraced back patio and wild woodlands beyond. Antique cabinet furniture and marble topped center island create interest and delight. A classic golden Lacanche range with copper hood blends in perfectly with the rich yellow-tone plaster walls. There is an adjacent butler's pantry with floor and wall cabinets for additional storage and meal preparation.


Randall Perry Photography

The dining room is accessed via double French doors (of course!), where the broad cherry table welcomes the big banquet. Horizontal and rectangular molding lines accent the rose colored plaster walls to create interest and offer perfect framing for art and photos within. Randall Perry Photography



Randall Perry Photography

In accordance to the old world design, the bedrooms are upstairs, including the master suite. Here, another hand-carved ornate fireplace mantle sets the mood for warmth and comfort. Geo is quick to point out that this is a real wood fireplace, as it should be in such an “old” house. An old iron bed keeps the old world theme going. The master bath has a luxurious soaker tub with a unique curved glass shower at the front end.

Gardens galore The old world theme of the Kuehn home continues on the grounds as well. There really is no “yard” to speak of, so no grass to mow and maintain. Instead, the home is surrounded by hardscape and garden. A semi-circle cobble stone carriage path leads to the front door, with gardens and shrubs, and flowering trees on both sides. Ivy is working its way up the exterior walls, adding a green accent to the shell-colored stucco. The back patio is actually an elevated terrace that projects into the woods, giving the feeling of being in the trees. Iron café tables are set about, offering several options for seating and viewing nature. The Kuehns revel in the birds and mammals that share their creek-side home. The French are known to be a people of passion and obsession. Obviously for the Kuehns, these strong traits ring true, and they are now manifest in this maison d’extraordinaire. Their passion extends beyond the driveway and into the city that they are grateful to have to come home to.

La Vie C’est Bonne! Randall Perry Photography





A Slice of the

French Countryside


hen Karen and Geo Kuehn decided to retire in Saratoga, they had a few requirements.

“We had a very set idea of what we wanted,” said Geo. They wanted something new that would be easy to maintain, but looked as if it had been plucked from the French countryside and that is exactly what they have! A neighbor suggested we cover this house and garden, and we couldn’t have

been happier… “It’s like looking out into the meadows of France,” is how Geo describes his view! Behind the iron gate flanked with lavender, thick layers of pea gravel end in a front entrance paved with rose colored cobblestone. The hand-crafted shutters serve as a cheerful backdrop for pots of purple petunias and red and MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 79

white geraniums. This perfect pairing was done at the suggestion of Greg Greene, who still helps the couple with recommendations for deer-resistant plantings on the property. English Ivy, with its small suction cups, crawls up the structure’s exterior walls, giving it the feeling of an established European estate. “Iron benches are nestled at intervals along the footpath, which wraps around to a terra cotta fountain adorned with fruit and geese. Another symbol of a bountiful harvest, a five-foot statue of a woman holding grapes, also resides in the garden, as does a plaque from when it was included in the Soroptimist International of Saratoga County Secret Garden Tour in 2011. The back of the house features a 20’ by 100’ rounded stone wall encasing an outdoor dining area. This functional summer space has a grill, antique French furniture, and pots of kitchen herbs. Even with a combination of elements, this garden retains a romantic simplicity that lends it a distinctively French flair. As Geo states, “It’s very unique.”




Darling Gifts

FOR THE NEW BABY! Little Unicorn Hooded Towel Sets

Les Pachats Collection, by Moulin Roty

Kickee Pants Footies


Saratoga Signature Interiors

A Home Furnishings and Design Treasure Trove on Church Street WRITTEN BY MAUREEN WERTHER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN


t’s impossible to step inside Saratoga Signature Interiors at 82 Church Street without being charmed by a unique interior design and décor arrangement at every turn. Owner and designer Nancy Moultrie Smith has been creating beautiful and welcoming living spaces for clients throughout the Capital Region and beyond since she moved to the area with her husband in 1992.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Nancy still retains a soft southern lilt in her speech, which is every bit as charming and welcoming as the décor that exudes great taste and scrupulous attention to detail, while making you feel like you just arrived home. Nancy was educated in Savannah, where she received a degree in design. From there, she traveled with her husband, who was a naval flight officer, to San Jose, CA and then to Buffalo, NY.


She has managed multiple Ethan Allen showrooms, as well as the Stickley showroom in Albany, where she had 20 designers working under her direction. By the early 90s, Nancy was ready to do more of her own design work. “A friend told me about a space available in Saratoga. It was the building located at 260 Broadway and it was a reproduction of the House of Panza in Pompeii,” recalls Nancy.


“You can still see today what a beautiful space it is, even though it’s now used as an office.”

handles the office and administrative side of the business.”

Her original idea was to establish a store and design showroom that would serve as a resource for local interior designers.

Nancy moved to her current location on Church Street in 2004 and, during that time, she has been a resource for clients who want high quality furnishings and accessories that speak to their individual tastes and lifestyles. Saratoga Signature Interiors has become both a retail destination as well as a place to work with designers to create custom interiors.

“At the time, there weren’t that many interior designers around, though. So I changed gears and became a retail store. At first, it was just me and one other designer. Now, I have three designers and one person who

adorned with two enormous blue and white glazed ceramic tulipierres filled with a riotous cascade of multi-colored tulips. Dan explains that tulipierres were popular in the 16th century and were made specifically to hold – you guessed it – tulips! From 16th century French to 21st century contemporary, Saratoga Signature Interiors has designs that range from rustic to provincial to modern chic and “everything equine.” And in case you are one of the few people around town who do not know where you can purchase a hand-painted lawn jockey, your search is over. Dan Czech hand-paints the statues to order and clients can choose from classic registered jockey silks, or they can create their own color schemes.

Nancy credits the store’s diverse styles to having lived in various parts of the country and getting a feel for styles that are unique to each. “I think of it as having a mélange of influences from the places I’ve lived and the people with whom I’ve worked,” she adds. One of her long-time influences, Dan Czech, has been with Nancy for 15 years, and his influence on the store is palpable. A graduate of Parsons School of Design,

Nancy calls him “extremely talented.” “I’m a designer, not an artist,” says Nancy. But Dan Czech is both. As a student and designer in NYC, Dan created the window displays for Lord & Taylor’s on Fifth Avenue. And Nancy says that Dan is the one who decorates the store from “front to back.” Some of his personal furnishings and accessories are on display in the store – and they are brilliant. A large dining table is

Nancy and her staff are readying the store for their big anniversary sale, which will be held at the end of May. If you haven’t ventured off Broadway in a while, this would be the time to do it. Saratoga Signature Interiors is just a block west of Bow-Tie Cinema. So, take a stroll up the west side and be prepared to feast your eyes on fine furnishings, artwork, tableware, chandeliers, and many other home accessories. If you plan on taking advantage of the “buy one get one free” sale deals and leaving with shopping bags full of pillows, artwork and other accessories, you can just drive there. Parking is available at the store and along Church Street. Saratoga Signature Interiors will also assemble and deliver furnishings. So, what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to create your own Saratoga signature interior in your home? SS



A MAN and

HIS MISSION To Provide Food the C.S.A. Way


Tim Biello, Owner and Manager of the Featherbed Lane Farms Photo by Anthony Aquino


Photo by Jamielynn Biello

Free Choice Vegetables, ready for pick-up by CSA Members. Photo by Tory Shelley

Photo by Tim Biello TOP: Sunset and fall colors around the house and barn. ABOVE: Tim preparing a field for vegetables with Duke (left) and Bear (right).


isualize your weekly grocery shopping trip.

Does it begin by turning off the long stretches of highway and onto a dirt road that leads to a farm? One where you choose from an array of vibrantly colored vegetables, laugh and share stories with good friends, stroll down to the ponds, meander through the fields, and then picnic in the secret gardens? No? Well, a new Community Supported Agriculture Farm (CSA) is changing that.

“This was the hope: to provide really local year-round food and have the farm open, itself, for people to connect,” said Tim Biello, owner and manager of Featherbed Lane Farm CSA in Charlton. Biello and his wife, Jamielynn, first met while attending Saratoga Springs Senior High School in the 1990s. Life sent them in different directions; she became a stylist who has been working in the area for 14 years, while he worked at a variety of different jobs. They reconnected in 2013 and married in 2015. The same year, they moved into Featherbed Lane Farm’s 1800’s farmhouse. That’s where Jamielynn gave birth to their son, Finnegan, the following year.

A H E A LT H Y S TA R T The story of how Featherbed Lane Farm got started began much earlier, however. Biello has found farm artifacts dating from the 1700s on the property, and has seen evidence that it was used to raise horses several times throughout its long history - including Connemara show ponies during the mid-to-late twentieth century. This history makes the fact that he’s using a team of four draft horses to work his farm seem fitting. 88  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017


Finding the farm and reinvigorating it however, hasn’t been a quick and easy process. “I slowly pieced it together,” said Biello.

G R O W I N G A H E A LT H Y M I N D S E T Aside from the occasional trip to go get a Halloween pumpkin as a kid, Biello didn’t really spend much time on a farm until he was 26 years old. In college, he was introduced to the complex issues associated with food production, waste, and its impact on the public’s health. “If I think I care about it, how can I eat from this food system? I stopped eating meat for 10 years and had to really think hard about what I ate,” he said. Working on a variety of farms in New York, he was able to learn how to produce something that was tangibly needed, in a way that was mindful of responsible land stewardship farm practices, while gaining the health benefits of being outside, and becoming a conscientious consumer.

since 2014. As the NY Project Manager & Hudson Valley Farmlink Network Coordinator, he works to help develop resources and tools for beginning farmers to find access to land, and retiring farmers to transfer ownership, all while maintaining its farmland protections. This experience also gives him a first-hand look at the challenges associated with farming, while also earning him enough income to keep Featherbed Lane Farm in operation through its start-up. Biello has a lease to own agreement on the property with the Local Farms Fund, who purchased the farm on his behalf in 2015. Biello covers the carrying costs, such as taxes and insurance, as well as paying rent. He hopes to purchase the farm from them in 2020. Private and crowd-funding micro-loans have also contributed to make Featherbed Lane Farm a truly community-supported venture. “I’m trying to build a good system in the most efficient way possible, and be very careful of how I use the money,” said Biello. He’s approaching the farm’s operation costs in the same way, as well.

“It’s like how a teacher makes a lesson plan – the next year you don’t want to have to remake it. It allows you to do the same tasks in less “I saw the full cycle. I love meat. It tastes really good, and makes my body feel really good. We can do our best with it, and use everything time, when you build a good system,” said Biello. that comes off it,” said Biello. It was this desire to give others the healthy benefits that come with being on a farm, that got him started onto what would turn out to be a long journey.

B U I L D I N G A H E A LT H Y S Y S T E M It took Biello five years to acquire the right to farm the 63 acres that make up Featherbed Lane Farm. He began with a map; a 30-mile radius around Saratoga Springs circled, and spent hundreds of hours doing research in his spare time. If you’ve seen the “No Farms, No Food” bumper stickers, you know of the American Farmland Trust, an organization that he’s worked for


For a system to withstand the tests of time, it must be well-informed. Looking at Biello, with a small gold nose ring and tattoos peeking out from under his Carhartt apparel, he appears to be a bit of a contradiction. His dedication is palpable however, as is his hope to build a CSA with people that are open-minded, but like-minded. “I want people to give it a shot. There’s no pressure. Come out and talk to me. I want people to get over that first hurdle, and ask questions,” said Biello. It’s a farm for the community to benefit from, because it’s taken a community to build it.

Tory Shelley, CSA Manager, leading Clyde (left) and Lynn (right). Photo by Anthony Aquino


Tim throwing a bale of hay out of the hay barn, Each horse eats one full bale per day! Photo by Tory Shelley

“So many people have helped me – there’s been lots of them and they’ve all been important; teaching me about hoeing weeds, gentle horsemanship, livestock and vegetable system planning. One of my lifelines is a contractor that I can call up whenever I have a question. Without all of them, it would be incomplete. I feel like I’m on the steepest learning curve of my life,” he said.

M A I N TA I N I N G A H E A LT H Y E N V I R O N M E N T As much as the personal interactions have meant to the success of building Featherbed Lane Farm, its workhorses are also garnering much of the attention. The four impressive draft horses are beneficial in many ways, but it’s the relationship that Biello has with them that he values most. “I don’t love a machine like I love a horse,” he said. Even with their massive stature and giant hooves, they perform delicate jobs in the fields, moving with precision inbetween the rows of precious crops, only lightly compacting the soil, and leaving a beneficial by-product, valuable compost, behind. “When it works, it’s really beautiful. They can get a complex task done gently and nicely,” said Biello. He still must be very conscientious about how he uses them, he quickly adds. “You can do a really good job with a horse, or a really bad job, just like you can do a really good job with a tractor, or a really bad job. My goal is to do a really good job."

P R O V I D I N G H E A LT H Y F O O D It’s when Biello is talking about the food that he’s producing that delight can be seen spreading across his face. While building and protecting the soil through animal and crop rotation, targeted plantings and irrigation, he’s excited to be offering

year-round CSA memberships for the first time this year. A year-long CSA membership will include food distribution beginning the first weekend in June and continue through May of next year. “There’s going to be an abundance of food in the farm store. It’s free choice. You pick and choose what you want for fresh eating. Plus, you can go out and harvest. Members will have access to the fields from sunrise to sunset,” he said. Year-round access to the food and the farm is a major component to what makes a Featherbed Farm CSA membership so unique. Members are welcome to visit the Biellos and their CSA manager Tory Shelley, during farm events including wagon and sleigh rides, but are also welcome to enjoy the property at their leisure. In addition to the Red Floor Farm Store, which will have a multitude of fresh food ready for pick-up, the barnyard complex and the horses, there are “secret garden” fields that will soon be blooming with the milkweed and elderberry blossoms that offer the scent of summer, and nectar that attracts butterflies. The two ponds and ample wetland areas offer opportunities for wildlife viewing, as does the seclusion in the 30 acres of woodlands. “I want people to join who want this, and value these things; who think it’s really special and something they want to be a part of,” said Biello. Memberships are still available with incremental payment plans and can include vegetables, eggs, and meat from Mace Chasm Farm. “I think farmers’ markets are really great, and other places are really great, but the reason you’d want to come here is the connection to the community. Go for a walk around, bring the kids. If you really want to know where your food is coming from, and have a connection to it, this, to me, is a little bit more,” said Biello. SS For more information on Featherbed Lane Farm visit

Jamielynn laughing next to the horse barn. Photo by Tory Shelley

Baby spinach being watered in the greenhouse. Photo by Anthony Aquino

Farm fresh eggs from pasture raised hens. Photo by Tory Shelley


Gardening WITH



If you need to start a new lawn or repair the one you have, you should get started asap. It is finally warm enough for the grass seeds to sprout quickly and you want to have a root system well established before the hot, dry days of late June and July. Let me walk you through the process. First, I start preparing the area I want to seed. After raking off any surface debris, I'll rough up the soil an inch or two deep. Top dressing the area with a couple of inches of humus or dark topsoil is also a good idea especially if the area is very sandy. Once the lime is broadcast it is time for the grass seed. Avoid cheap blends that contain annual ryegrass. You'll also see seed blends available that claim to be 'for sun or shade'. There aren't too many grass types that thrive equally in sun or shade. These blends simply mix sunny types and shady types together in one bag. In sun, some of the seed thrives but the shady seed dies. In shade, the opposite happens. The best idea is to choose a blend that is specific to your need. The right seed blend is always a good investment. Broadcast the seed evenly over the area at the recommended rate. You can also scatter the seed by hand. The area I'm doing is just large enough that I opted for a hand-held broadcast spreader. I'm using a Shady Blend, since the area is in the shade all day long. One or two seeds per square inch is just right. Once established, most grass types form a small clump at least an inch across. Premium grass seed isn't cheap so there's no need to seed too heavily. Once the seed is down, I like to give the area a light scratching with the rake. Not too deep though. Grass seed wants to be near or on the surface of the soil, no more than 1/4" deep. After that, a final tamping will put the seed in good contact with the soil. For larger areas, you'll want to rent one of those water-filled rollers.


Now there are only a couple of steps left, but they are the most important steps of all. Remember, no matter how good your seed is it won’t germinate unless the area is kept moist CONSTANTLY. It can’t be allowed to dry out, even for an hour. If the area dries out completely, the seed dehydrates and dies and it won’t restart. If that happens, you’ll have to buy more seed and start all over again. To help keep the seeds moist, you’ll want to lightly cover the seed. For smaller areas there are mulch pellets. When the pellets get wet, they fluff up and fall apart, covering the area with moisture-retentive material. I've used these in the past and they work great. The most common material used is shredded straw. On sloping areas, a straw blanket will keep the seed from washing away. In either case, the straw should be left down when the grass sprouts through it. The straw will rot away and you’ll never know it was there. Even with these light mulching materials helping, you'll need to be vigilant...especially on any hot, breezy days. It might require light watering three or four times a day on some days. I'll just leave my sprinkler set up in the area for the month or so that it will take for the grass seed to sprout and grow some roots. Even after that, the area will need close monitoring during hot summer days ahead. After a couple of weeks when the grass is up and growing, I'll apply a starter lawn food to the area to get it well rooted before winter. A good starter food will be highest in the middle number. The middle number represents phosphorus... the nutrient in the food that stimulates root growth. If you need to start a new lawn from seed or just need to do some spot repairs, time is of the essence. Remember, it takes about 6-8 weeks to get a lawn to sprout and mature. THANKS FOR THE READ.



Photo by




Does love leave a footprint? There’s a place in Saratoga where many go to find the answer. Wandering among the roses at Yaddo gardens, you can start to see it. Run your hands along the marble and you can start to feel it. Learn its history, and you’ll start to love it. “When I was young, my mother would bring us here for picnics, and I said, ‘Someday, I’ll come back,’” said Pat Mangini. Not only did she come back, she’s been dedicated to Yaddo Gardens restoration and preservation. A volunteer for 15 years, she is on the

There is also a line from the poem To the Rose by Robert Herrick: Goe, happy rose, and interwove With other flowers, bind my love “To me, this says it all. Keep love alive,” said Mangini. There are roses in the garden that are more than 100 years old, Italian marble statues, and lovely water features. Stroll down to the balcony bathed in light for a grand view of the classical rose garden in front of you, and behind, the shaded rock garden, with its moss-covered fountain and perennial plantings.

The Marriage The Yaddo Garden Association was founded in 1991 by Jane Wait to ensure the gardens were given the care and attention necessary to thrive. The gardens, like the Trasks themselves, lived a life with both tremendous moments of joy, and those of almost unimaginable hardship. Many well-known artists have fueled their creative endeavors with the vitality found in this inspiring and supportive environment.

Mangini recalled feelings of surprise and amusement when, one hot summer day, she was mowing the grass and a videographer approached her. He was fascinated by the bugs springing up from the grass as she mowed, and proceeded to film it as she worked. Photo shoots, engagements, and wedding ceremonies are common occurrences in the garden. Mangini has an image of the garden’s impressive columned pergola hanging over her bed, and a photo of her granddaughter taken within the garden, that is among her favorites, she said. Once, after passing through the main entrance, Mangini saw rose petals sprinkled atop the shrubbery leading all the way through the gardens up to the fountain. “You just never know what’s going to happen around here,” she said.

The Resilience Cultivating love is like tending a garden. There are beautiful blooms, but also tragedies that must be accepted and adapted to. The Trasks endured the loss of their four children and a fire that ravaged the original

Photo by John Seymour

Photo by John Seymour

board, and serves as the Yaddo Garden Associations public relations representative. “This place sucks you in,” she said, smiling.

The Courtship The Yaddo Gardens were designed in 1899 as a gift of love from financier Spencer Trask to his wife Katrina. The date and their names are engraved, along with an inscription, on the columned entranceway to the garden from the main house, which has served as an artists’ retreat since 1926. “She had this vision; she wanted to keep this going for people to enjoy, and she has,” said Mangini.


residence. They rebuilt. Their example of resilience is a symbol of hope that the garden’s volunteers have seen revived here time and time again.

damage, and harsh weather, and had to be replaced. Summers passed by without blooms when deer ravaged the plants. Volunteers got inventive.

“What amazes me about this whole place is that it has kept going,” said Mangini.

“It’s like a buffet table for them . We try to confuse the deer and try to keep them off balance,” said volunteer Barbara Hefter, who is in charge of hanging the little green pouches of coyote urine deer repellent in the garden to deter them.

The gardens withstood when the Northway threatened its destruction. Some of the roses have persevered in the face of shadowy light and fallen branches from the surrounding pine trees; others have suffered disease,

Vandals have stolen the bird bath (which

is still missing), broken off the finger of the “Christalan” statue sculpted in 1900 by William Ordway Partridge (which has since been replaced), and covered the historical garden in paintball splatters (which were carefully cleaned off). Through the years, age deteriorated the garden’s stonework. Creative fundraising efforts allowed for the rejuvenation of the pergola, and the installation of a marble bench to commemorate Jane Wait’s

Photos by John Seymour



Photo by

commitment, but the crumbling deck and stairs are still in need of repair. New plexiglass coverings help protect the statues during the winter months, and new wooden gates were constructed. Still, there are leaks in the water features and exposed soaker hoses in need of inspired solutions. “When we have a problem, someone steps up to the plate and we get through it,” said the trusting and appreciative Mangini.

The Dedication Working through the pain of persistent knee


injuries, one volunteer pushes a lawnmower up the sloped hillside. Another, recovering from cancer, stoops to pick up fallen leaves. On the forearms of another, small drops of blood escape from the rose thorn scratches. Yet almost every one of the volunteers, which number 25-30 on a good day, has on a Yaddo Garden Association t-shirt, which is given to them after they’ve donated 15 hours of their time.

An English teacher at Glens Falls High School, Bates plans on bringing her class here for a lesson on place and culture this year. She volunteers to work in the garden and also serves as a docent who conducts tours sharing Yaddo’s history. “There’s so much to tell,” said Bates. She’s personally researched the garden’s history and also hosts their popular Ghost Tours from mid-September until Halloween.

“The Trasks gave so much to Saratoga “I get goose bumps every time I do the ghost because they really felt like you don’t just tours,” she said. keep it – you give it back,” said Donna Bates.

The Renewal The magical nature of love and loss continues to enthrall Yaddo Garden visitors and volunteers alike. Anthony and Heather Ragucci were married here on August 11, 2015. It rained all morning, but eased up long enough for them to say, “I do,” which they agree was a lucky omen. Now, visiting for the weekend from their home in New Jersey, they’ve brought their one-year-old son Anthony along. “It was recommended to us. It’s a nice, peaceful area,” said Heather.

Yaddo Gardens are open to the public free of charge. Guided tours are available for $10 per person on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. June 24th to September 3rd (excluding August 26th, Travers Day, but including Tuesdays during racing season) this year. Larger group tours are available upon request. Designated as a National Historical Landmark in 2013, volunteers are invited into the otherwise restricted Yaddo mansion for the Association’s volunteer reception, which is an added perk, said Mangini.

No experience is required and all tools are provided to volunteers. Yaddo is currently in need of more volunteers to work in the garden and docents to host tours to individuals and groups. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to simply show up at the gardens, located on 312 Union Ave. in Saratoga on either a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. For more information, you can also call (518) 584-0746 or visit SS

Photo by John Seymour

Photo by John Seymour



The Secret to the



bit of English country garden chaos, stunning bursts of color, meandering pathways, calming fountains, a cottage retreat, and herbs and vegetables sprouting among both unique and familiar perennials – that’s a small sampling of what visitors will find on this year’s Secret Gardens Tour.

The owners of 11 private homes in and around Saratoga Springs will generously open their gardens on Sunday, July 9, for this 23rd annual tour. This year’s gardens include spacious estates on North Broadway, creative compact city lots dotting downtown’s East Side, and remarkable suburban backyards. Many are truly secret gardens, invisible from the road, and all offer delightful surprises for visitors.

“The mix of designs and plantings promises variety and inspiration for all gardeners, regardless of the dimensions of your own property and whether it’s immersed in sun, shade or a combination,” said Stacie Barnes, co-chair of the Secret Gardens Tour Committee along with Barbara Lombardo.

In addition to the private gardens, docents at the public gardens of the artists’ retreat Yaddo will be there to greet visitors, as will members of the Heritage Garden Club at the Memorial Garden adjoining the rear of the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor Center downtown. All the money raised by the tour supports projects, programs and individuals who improve the lives of women and girls locally and around the world. The event is presented by Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, part of an international volunteer service organization for business and professional women. Soroptimist means “best for women,” and that’s what the organization strives to achieve. MAY/JUNE 2017 | SIMPLY SARATOGA  | 101

One of the themes that tie several of this year’s gardens togeter is family. One owner, Scot Trifilo, learned to garden from his grandfather, and among dozens of plantings at his home just outside downtown is a small patch of hosta preserved from his grandparents’ home. For owner Mark Haworth, a family love of gardening goes back generations. “My great-great-grandmother was a cottage gardener in Lancashire, England, and was known for having a garden both of much beauty and much practicality,” he said, confessing that at his North Broadway home he focuses “more on the beauty.”

Another theme is water. At one intimate city space, Susan Knapp and Harold Hagemann encourage visitors to look closely for the goldfish that have been raised from tiny fingerlings in a small pool along the patio, where a fountain provides the steady sound of falling water. Take note, too, of a fountain crafted from a vintage water pump. “My garden is full of solutions for those small everyday garden problems – from what to do in extra shady conditions to how to make a small water feature,” Susan said. “I hope folks say ‘oh, maybe I'll do that, or ‘I could try that.’”

At one of the suburban properties on the tour, Suburban gardeners Jean and Don Garrant a bench from the garden of the owner’s late have established fountains and last year mother offers respite along a shaded rock added a new stone waterfall. Jean hopes pathway. The chock-full in-town garden of that visitors will “want to try gardening after Nancy Roberts and John Schmidt includes seeing our gardens plus the water features.” hot pink roses grown by her late aunt since The Garrants separate plants and redo their the 1950s and a money plant and Russian gardens every year to keep them looking young sage from the garden of her late mother. “She and fresh. They are among the many gardeners taught me to appreciate the beauty of plants who enjoy touches of whimsy. In their case, a and nature in all seasons,” Nancy said. “She “gnome garden” of creeping jenny fits the bill. also reminded me often to stop and pick some of the beautiful blooms in the backyard “I was inspired to garden because my husband and I love to see plants grow. We decided to and bring them inside to savor.” purchase a greenhouse about 10-plus years


ago and it just took off from there,” Jean said. “We do all our own growing for our vegetable garden and most of our flowers as well.” The gardens represent the hard work of the owners, friends, and family, with the help of professional design and maintenance at some locations. One owner built his own rustic pergola, and while he was at it built a rustic shed that is now a functioning part of the garden. At one of the expansive gardens that experiences extremes of sun and shade, the main goal is to have as much of the year showing flowers as possible, using 200 different varieties of plants – a total of 400 when counting subspecies. Another owner’s goal is to make her shady backyard retreat as lowmaintenance as possible, to give her and her husband time to enjoy it. Who can blame them? Visitors to any of the gardens will be tempted to linger, to note the touches that add personality and charm, to enjoy the variety of blooms and admire the design, to duck into a gazebo set among sprawling flowers and veggies. “I am drawn to gardening because it makes our yard look amazing,” said Jean Garrant, adding, “I love it because it is therapy for the soul.”

The one-day event takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 9, the second Sunday of the month. The ticket includes descriptions of each garden along with a map and driving directions. It is a self-guided tour, so visitors can follow the suggested order or pick and choose as desired. Advance tickets at $20 can be ordered online at or purchased after May 24 at all four Cudney’s retail locations, Northshire Bookstore at 424 Broadway and the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor Center across from Congress Park. A printable order form is also available for downloading from and at many area locations. If still available, tickets can be purchased the day of the tour for $25 at the Visitor Center, 297 Broadway, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

and Other Pleasures” Wine and Cheese Party on Friday, May 12. This event is free, with advance registration requested at On June 3 and 4, Northshire Bookstore, 424 Broadway, will donate 20 percent of your purchases to Soroptimist if you mention the tour. Complementing the upcoming tour, author Ellen Herrick will sign copies of her new novel, “The Forbidden Garden,” at Northshire at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 3. All day on the day of the tour, the 2 West Bar and Grille at 2 West Ave. will donate 20 percent of food purchases of patrons who mention Soroptimists.

“We’re so grateful to the gardeners who are opening their homes, as well as to our many sponsors who underwrite the cost of presenting the tour,” said co-chair Stacie Barnes. A list of sponsors and other supporters can be found at and on the tour tickets. SS Soroptimist of Saratoga County is a 501(c)3 all-volunteer organization. You can learn more about the group and how to get involved at Questions about the tour may be answered at (518) 581-1201 ext. 4184 and

One longstanding beneficiary of money raised by the Secret Gardens Tour is Project Hope and Power, an eight-week educational workshop to guide victims of domestic violence in Saratoga County toward economic independence. This keystone project is presented by Soroptimist volunteers in collaboration with the nonprofit Wellspring. Additionally, the Saratoga County club grants thousands of dollars a year to local organizations in keeping with its mission. Awards also assist women heads of household continuing their education in the face of adversity, and support the work of women who have inspired, encouraged and improved the lives of others. The club also supports global projects initiated or operated by club members or others in the Saratoga community. Recently, this has included birthing kits for an African village, funds to repair obstetric fistulas in Tanzania, education for girls in Kenya and Lesotho, and assistance for a business that will sew and sell school uniforms in Zimbabwe. Ahead of the July 9 tour, Sunnyside Gardens will donate to Soroptimists 10 percent of all purchases from its “Garden Treasures


What Lies Beneath WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN Hidden underneath the lush garden foliage, a secret is buried. Carl and Pearl Strock have spent 20 years cultivating their garden. In 2010, they buried the remains of something that had been giving them some trouble. “One thing led to another and we kind of got carried away,” explained Carl. No hint of the swimming pool exists today. The space is now known as “The Pool Garden” and although he helped in the initial layout and construction, Carl said that it is Pearl who keeps the shady garden looking terrific. “It’s really, really a lot of work. If it were up to me, it’d be all overgrown. It’s almost a full-time job, and that’s what people don’t realize. It doesn’t happen by itself,” said Carl. Shiny pachysandra ground-cover spreads out beneath the small ornamental Japanese maple trees. Ferns are planted on the hillside under the pine trees and hundreds of hearty hostas help to fill the space. “We see the hillsides really as an opportunity. We see other really flat and level gardens and think, ‘How boring’ we’re really lucky to be on a hillside,” said Carl. The different levels were already terraced with railroad ties when they moved in, giving the Strocks the freedom to make improvements bit-by-bit. Pearl is Filipino and Carl spent many years in the Philippines, which is why the garden probably subconsciously takes on an Asian or Pacific Island flair, but it wasn’t planned that way. “It’s kind-of a small space that we’re working with, and everything has to be scaled down because of that,” he said. The garden’s curved freeform shape, small arched footbridge running between the two centrally-placed ponds, and potted succulents add to this impression. As does Miss Java, a statue from the Indonesian island of Java, that they found in Massachusetts. Frequenting markets, antique stores, and farm and garden centers for inspiration, they also attend the Soroptimist of Saratoga Secret Garden Tour to learn from and talk about the beautiful gardening ideas they see. They were featured on the tour in 2015 and regularly use the garden as a gathering spot - “It makes for a good excuse to have friends over in the summer – we use it as a meeting place and call it a garden party”. SS 104  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

Precious Pretties WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN There are up to 70 rose bushes in Cara Pabis’ garden. Ranging from the long stemmed hybrid tea rose to the abundant clusters of floribundas, she’s a hands-on gardener who gives them the tremendous amount of attention they need to look spectacular. “I love the end product. You get a huge sense of gratification because these are your babies. It’s really a trial and error thing and you have to be ok with that,” said Pabis. With help from Randy Countermine, owner of New Dimensions Outdoor Services, the overgrown yard was transformed into an infrastructure of outdoor rooms. Creating the ideal area for the high-maintenance rose garden took an extraordinary effort. A 30’ Bradford Pear tree was moved from the front yard into the back to give the rose garden the full sun exposure it would require, create a focal point, and serve as a natural privacy screen. Encircled by a tree seat, it is at the far end of the rose garden. In between it and the rose garden’s entrance, a white wooden arbor, is a tiered fountain. The fountain was another project that Countermine helped Pabis to rejuvenate. She found it, and other items including a trellis and a statue, at flea markets and fairs. “I’ve rescued a lot of things.” Her heat absorbent front walkway also needed extra attention. At Countermine’s suggestion, she watched which flowers were doing well in similar conditions, such as at mall parking lots and along sidewalks. She found verbena stayed colorful until fall. Talking with garden center professionals, like those at Sunnyside Gardens, is another way Pabis has been able to learn about what works. Pabis’ husband Bill enjoys spending time in their side patio under a pergola that they refer to as the “wheel in the sky.” Attracted by the interesting structure built by Andrew Hirschklau, it encourages people passing by to stop and chat. The back yard is a versatile gathering space where the outdoor furniture, fire table, and potted herbs can be easily moved for dancing and large get-togethers. We think Cara’s arduous work and attention to the details has paid off! SS


Free as a Bird

WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN Feeling free is magical. The diversity and creativity of permaculture in practice makes Maureen Nest’s garden a place that invites independence and interaction. By observing how the whole environment works together, she has created a space that incorporates a variety of flowers and edible plants without the burden of labor-intensive maintenance. This technique includes watching the rotation of the sun, and amending the existing soil (which was littered with debris) with good quality compost. “I wanted to get in as much of what I like as possible. I wanted a little bit of everything, so there’s no room for weeds,” said Nest. Among her favorite plantings are fragrant lilac bushes, fairytale-like foxgloves, and star-shaped columbine. “I don’t like it to be sculpted, I like it to be more free-spirited.” The garden is a welcome stopover for nature’s wanderers. An interesting array of wildlife including birds, butterflies, and honeybees congregate here. Attracted by plants such as the hydrangea, they have feeders, houses and a birdbath to enjoy, as well. “They keep the yard alive and draw in more activity,” said Nest. The plants themselves have come from a variety of sources including area nurseries, a plant exchange at the Community Hospice of Saratoga where Nest works, and heirloom vegetable seedlings that she started from her saved seeds. “It’s fun!” Her neighbors too, often stop to appreciate the garden as they’re passing by. “I’ll be out there and they’ll comment on how much enjoyment they get out of it, which is neat because it’s like I’m doing it for them, too,” said Nest. With its interconnected design and relaxed style, in Nest’s garden all sorts of visitors can feel the freedom of being among the familiar. “It’s like your haven – you get out in the garden and lose all sense of time, which is really nice.” SS



Garden environments are embedded with emotion. Placed in an enchanting garden blooming with pretty yellows, delicate purples, and sweet pinks, a sign reads, “Leave room in your garden for angels to dance.” Found in the garden of Ralph Vincent and his partner Steven Galime, this message is one of several remembrances to loved ones in the space. Harmoniously placed in a garden that experiences both sun and shade, an angel statue, ladybug, and engraved rocks contribute to the overall balance that they both work to create. “We're both out here a lot – we’ve been gardeners for years,” said Vincent. When they moved in four years ago, Galime skillfully prepared the space by cutting smooth, undulating beds for the approximately 100 established plants they brought with them. “He’s an artist at that. He edges so well, he just goes sailing along – it’s amazing,” said Vincent. A volunteer at Yaddo and a consulting rosarian, Vincent was especially dismayed when they had to replant many of the plants just a week later to make sure their three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; Rosey, Iris, and Carolee, could safely enjoy the garden. Today these fast and frisky rescue dogs play in a special rounded area filled with pea gravel to allow for good drainage and easy cleaning. Pea gravel stepping stones meander through the garden’s lush grass, offering ample opportunity to view the diverse fence line plantings. “We just buy whatever we like. We just take everything and put it together – everything just seems to work,” said Vincent. Their woodland garden under the pine trees offers a view of the pond, features a woodchip path, and is home to the heart-shaped frosted leaves of the Brunnera plant and the Pulmonaria’s (Lungwort) small flower clusters. “There’s peace and quiet, it smells great and is soft to walk on – it’s just pleasant,” said Vincent. This year, they plan on expanding their Zen garden on the side of the house. “It really appeals to us, it embraces nature with the challenge of making things symmetrical without using duplicates of things,” said Vincent. The dry stream, lined with Siberian and Japanese irises is another element that they enjoy during their daily evening stroll through the garden. Constantly evolving, the garden gives them room to experiment with creating physical and emotional balance. “We both love it – to sit back, unwind, decompress, and enjoy it.” SS


Garden in Motion WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN The changeable nature of water is reflected in Barbara Faraone’s lakeside garden. It has evolved as the property has. In case of flooding in the old house (which was torn down and replaced nine years ago), Faraone put in a curving dry creek bed to give any water that accumulated a place to drain. “You can plant very interesting plants along a dry creek bed,” she said. The unique variety of plants that exists in her garden today also includes common perennial favorites such as the approximately 50 hostas, tulips, and lilies, many of which have been gifts from friends. “Most of the yard is from others. It’s continuously changing. No matter where I look there’s something from somebody.” Mimicking the dry creek bed’s shape and running parallel to it, is a brick walkway leading to the gazebo where Faraone and her friends can sit around the fire table and enjoy the lake views. Nearby, complete with shovel and bucket, is her adult sandbox. “You know, when you go to the beach, one of the best feelings is putting your feet in the sand and wiggling your toes. Kids can play in it too, but you’d be surprised by the number of adults that do.” Bathed in sunlight, Faraone sought the advice of Suzanne Balet of Balet Flowers & Design to help her develop a shaded sitting area, build a new stone wall, improve the entranceway, and enjoy year-round color. “It’s really fun to have a new space in the shade with different and new plants,” said Balet. To maximize movement from the lake effect winds, she put in tall flowing ornamental grasses and gaura, which gives the impression of butterflies flitting in the breeze. “It’s important to create a garden that is what the homeowner wants – in their style. Barbara’s garden is more freeflowing, so it’s like, ‘oh, what’s next?’ which is really exciting,” said Balet. For more information on Balet’s design services, nursery, and pick-your-own cut flowers, go to SS


Quenched WRITTEN BY MEGIN POTTER PHOTOS BY BLACKBURN PORTRAIT DESIGN When Al and Nancy Dalpos moved from the water rich Finger Lakes region, to a dry parcel of land in Saratoga, one of the things they couldn’t bring with them was one of the things they couldn’t live without... the water. The Dalpos moved in the fall of 2006, and by the following spring they were building a backyard water feature that Al, who is an architect, designed himself. It includes a waterfall cascading into a fish pond. “I looked at the contour of the land and designed it to fit in very well with the topography of the land,” he said. Peter Gailor of Peter J. Gailor Landscaping Inc. made Al’s designs come to life. “It was amazing. The waterfall’s composition, with rocks that he selected of varying size, and the position of them, allows the flow to be correct,” said Dalpos. A pump keeps the water running in a loop when it’s turned on in the summer, and when the temperature drops below 50 degrees, a donut heater keeps the goldfish and koi happy. Many animals from the “forever wild” protected forested area behind the property have wandered into the yard, including a flock of two dozen turkeys. “They just had a parade all the way across the patio,” said Dalpos. The large inlaid brick patio also has room for lounge chairs and a covered dining table. Garden lights illuminate the garden at night and make for good viewing from the hot tub on the screened-in porch. A semi-circular retaining wall forms a nice nook for relaxing by the fire and provides a home for a 4’ concrete reproduction Frank Lloyd Wright statue. “It’s really a neat little area down there,” said Al. With so much to see, it’s what you can’t see that Al also likes. Evergreens hide an unsightly stump, rocks hide the water’s filters, and weed-reducing fabric is hidden under the mulch. “It really doesn’t take all that much maintenance, and in good weather, we take advantage of it - for sure!” SS


Garden Cocktails

In Saratoga, it is easy to find a celebration of some sort any time of the year, and especially so during our very social summer season. The warm months in the Spa City are filled with galas, cocktail parties and other forms of merriment. If you are planning to throw your own summer celebrations, we have some suggestions your guests will love!



Created by guest contributor, Ralph Vincent

Created by guest contributor, Ralph Vincent

Bubbly Champagne and elegant roses - two staples of the Saratoga summer season – are the inspiration for this sophisticated but very approachable cocktail. Rose water is used in many parts of the world to flavor candies and other sweets, and can be found locally in specialty food shops. Rose water gives an unusual yet appealing floral flavor to this drink. Pink sparkling wine provides sweetness and color while raspberry flavored vodka gives this libation a fruity kick.


I created this cocktail for my friend Shawn, A.K.A. “Doctor H” and the blissful effect the drink’s name implies. Vanilla flavored vodka and orange juice combine to create a flavor reminiscent of a Creamsicle ice cream treat. Maraschino liquor made from cherry pits adds refreshing herbal notes, and a splash of red grenadine syrup gives this summery cocktail its Flamingo pink hue.


1/4 oz. Rose water 4 oz. Pink Moscato Champagne or Prosecco .5 oz. Raspberry flavored vodka Fresh raspberries for garnish

1 oz. vanilla flavored Vodka 2 oz. pulp free orange juice 1/2 oz. Maraschino liqueur A splash of Grenadine syrup One orange slice and maraschino cherry for garnish.

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, add the rose water and raspberry flavored Vodka and shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain the mixture into a Champagne flute and pour in the Pink Moscato Champagne or Prosecco. Garnish with 2 to 3 fresh raspberries and enjoy!

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake vigorously until well chilled and strain into an ice filled “Rocks” glass. Garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry. Sip and get happy!


2oz Tom Cat Gin .5oz Sweet Vermouth .5oz Maple Syrup 1oz Warm Apple Cider Build in a coffee mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange twist.


2oz Barr Hill Gin 6 Blueberries .5oz Honey Simple Syrup .75oz Fresh Lime Juice One Egg White Alice & the Magician Blueberry Edible Fragrance Muddle blueberries and honey simple syrup. Add gin, lime juice, and egg white. Dry shake then add ice and shake again. Double strain into a coupe. Spritz with blueberry fragrance and garnish with a blueberry on a skewer.


1.5oz Barr Hill Vodka .5oz Perc Coffee Liqueur Fresh Local Milk

Available locally at Purdy’s 110  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

Build vodka and coffee liqueur on ice and top with fresh local milk.

OWL TEQUILA COCO MARGARITA: 2 oz Coconut purée 2 oz Pineapple juice squeeze of Lime juice 1.5 oz One With Life Tequila

CITY BY THE SEA Fresh lemons Fresh limes Fresh oranges tablespoon of Agave nectar 3 oz ginger ale or seltzer 1.5 oz One With Life Tequila Place in a pitcher with ice

INNER PEACE COCKTAIL 2 oz Cranberry juice 2 oz Pineapple Juice 1 oz Coconut water 1.5 oz One With Tequila

SANGRITA 1 oz Red wine 1.5 oz One With LifeTequila 2 oz orange juice .5 oz orange liqueur fresh slices of apples, blueberries and raspberries, place in pitcher with ice

MAYAN MULE 3 oz Ginger beer Mint Lime 1.5 oz One With Life Tequila One with Life Tequila available at: Purdy’s, East Side Wines, Kane’s Fine Wines, Grapevine Wine & Spirits, MidTown Wines in Ballston Spa



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

CHICKEN PARMESAN BURGERS • Traditional FlatOut® Fold-its®

• 1 teaspoon onion powder

• 1-pound ground chicken

• ¾ teaspoon sea salt

• ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

• ¾ teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 tablespoon Italian spice

• Marinara Sauce


• Fresh Mozzarella

1. Add the Parmesan cheese, Italian spice, onion powder, sea salt

& garlic powder to the uncooked ground chicken. Mix the spices into the ground chicken until they are evenly distributed. 2. Create burger patties to your desired size. Grill the patties on a grill or inside on a grill pan. Cook the burgers until they are thoroughly cooked. (165 degrees if testing with a meat thermometer) 3. Top the burgers with your favorite sauce and a slice of mozzarella. Melt the mozzarella on top before serving. Add the burger to the Fold-it® & enjoy!

KID FRIENDLY LEMONADE FUN • 2 cups lemonade • 2 cups ice

1. Put all the ingredients into the blender. Blend & serve.

Note: For a little fizzy fun, add • 1 oz. raspberry - cranberry 1 ounce of raspberry flavored 100% juice seltzer to a glass & pour the

lemonade mixture over the top.




• 2 cups lemonade • 1 cup ice • 2 oz. raspberry vodka • 1 oz. blackberry liqueur • 1 oz. triple sec

1. Add all the ingredients

into a large drink shaker. Shake & serve. 2. Or, add the ingredients into a blender with 1 - 2 additional cups of ice. Blend & serve.

HONEY WHEAT FLATBREAD CHIPS AND STRAWBERRIES • Honey Wheat FlatOut® Flatbread • Fresh Strawberries • 1 cup mini dark chocolate morsels • 2 tablespoons sugar


• 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1. Stir the cinnamon & sugar together. 2. Place the flatbread(s) on a cutting board and with a pizza cutter 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

cut it lengthwise into thirds & then the opposite way in thin strips to create chip sized pieces. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chip pieces on a nonstick baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Baste the chips with a light layer of canola oil. Season the chips with the cinnamon & sugar mixture. Bake the chips for 7-10 minutes; until toasted. Let them cool. Rinse the strawberries, remove the greens & cut them in half. Place one half strawberry on top of each cinnamon chip. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir to finish melting the chocolate morsels. Drizzle the melted chocolate over each strawberry covered chip. Let the chocolate set & serve.

QUINOA SALAD • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked • 1 – 14.5 oz. can black beans, drained • 1 – 1 1/2 cups diced golden grape tomatoes • 1 – 1 1/2 cups diced cucumber • 3 – 4 tablespoons cilantro, fresh

• 1/4 cup white vinegar • 1 oz. cold water • 1/2 cup light olive oil • 1 tablespoon lime juice • 1 teaspoon onion powder • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper • Pinch of red pepper

1. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water as directed on the package. Let it cool completely. 2. Add the golden grape tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans & cilantro to the cooled quinoa. 3. Whisk the vinegar, water, oil, lime juice, onion powder, sea salt, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper & red pepper together. 4. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture until coated. Stir all the ingredients together. Serve chilled.

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


Bald Eagle ©Nancy Castillo

Gray Catbirds enjoying a pear ©Nancy Castillo

Ruby-throated Hummingbird male ©Nancy Castillo

Birdwatching with Nancy Castillo

EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE A wonderful parade of sound and color is going on right now in your yard. It's a parade of birds, and May is the month with the greatest show! Back in late March, the Red-winged Blackbird kicked off this year’s migration parade with a rousing “konk-ler-eeee!” He's a fitting grand marshal in his sharp black uniform adorned with red and yellow epaulets. The native sparrows followed, with Fox Sparrows marching across open patches of yard. Their march is long - they'll continue until they reach a point well north of us to breed. White-throated Sparrows sing “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” while Song Sparrows and Chipping Sparrows bring up the end of the sparrow corps. They may pull out of the parade right here and stay to raise their young. A raspy “fee-bee” song announced the arrival of the Eastern Phoebe in April. He too might drop out of the parade to raise his flycatcher family in the area. And one of the acts we all look forward to the most has just arrived! Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are here! The males arrive all dapper and ready to stake out a territory before the females arrive about week later. As the parade goes on throughout May, watch for Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. The males' black, white, and red uniform is so showy, all the better to attract a female when they arrive a week or two later. Baltimore Orioles arrive in early to mid-May. If you put some orange halves, grape jelly, or live mealworms out in advance of their arrival, you might be able to lure them down from their treetop parade route. When you hear "mew, mew" calls coming from bushes and trees, you'll know the Gray Catbirds are in the parade. They may even stop by your feeders if you’re serving fruits or suet that has fruit or bugs in it.


All these birds may parade right through your yard. But just off the main route, in the trees and woods that surround it, you may also see or hear other migrants that march a different route. Warblers like the Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Pine Warblers and more join the migration parade in May, and are there to see and hear if we look and listen, sometimes just beyond our yards. The migratory bird parade marching through our yard brings a welcome blast of color and sound following a long, drab and quiet winter. And the best part is that the parade comes to you – all you need to do is open your eyes, ears, and heart to enjoy it!

BALD EAGLES TO THE BRINK AND BACK AGAIN I have never read a more concise explanation of the Bald Eagles' mid-twentieth century decline and recovery than in an essay in the beautiful book, The Living Bird, published by Mountaineers Books. Just four sentences of a photo caption encapsulate the eagles' precipitous decline, cause, and recovery in a manner that stays with the reader. The impact of each word and the conciseness and understandability help us comprehend this moment in the natural history of the Bald Eagle in such a way that it can and will stay with us, right under our skin, so that hopefully, we never let it happen again to any species we as humans share the earth with.

Here are those four sentences: •

"(Bald Eagle) numbers plummeted during the DDT era, when they ate fish and birds full of by-products of that pesticide, concentrating them in their own tissue.

These chemicals interfered with calcium metabolism, so eggshells became increasingly thin over time until the eggs were being crushed beneath the weight of the incubating bird.

With the banning of DDT in 1972, eagle populations initially rebounded slowly and then began to grow rapidly.

Reduced to about five hundred pairs in the Lower 48 in 1972, there are now more than ten thousand pairs."

Carry these words with you always. Remember them, refer to them, and advocate with them if actions are ever taken to weaken the Endangered Species Act, which was the tool that helped bring the magnificent Bald Eagle back from the brink. SS






hile she is the last one to toot her own horn, a lot of other people are talking about Lisa Breen lately. An experienced real estate professional, Breen is also an unassuming and unpretentious mother of two, who just happens to be following her dream. That dream has turned into a reality, ever since she began her new company, La Femme Homebuilders, in 2014.

Breen, who is a licensed real estate professional, enjoyed a successful career for more than 15 years, specializing in new construction. In fact, she still maintains her real estate license and occasionally works with buyers or sellers. But what really occupies her time, attention and imagination these days is the creative process involved in the design, planning and construction of a home.


“I worked with a lot of real estate developers and contractors while I was selling new construction, and I got to know many of them well. I also used to buy building lots for a local real estate developer,” said Lisa. With a knowledge of the new construction and development business and a keen awareness of who the best suppliers and contractors were, it seemed like a logical segue for Lisa’s career to shift from selling homes to imagining them, designing them – and building them. “In 2006 and 2007, when the housing market began to decline, I started buying and re-habbing foreclosures. I acted as the general contractor on some of those jobs.” Lisa knew the best sub-contractors to hire, so she was already ahead of the curve. She then began to build houses “on spec,” with one house selling even before it was completed. Lisa’s focus gradually shifted away from selling real estate toward homebuilding exclusively and, by 2014, new construction became her sole focus. For the past three years, her company, La Femme Homebuilders, has been making a name for itself and has even won awards in the annual Showcase of Homes, establishing her as an up and comer in the industry. But it hasn’t always been easy. There have been some skeptics along the way, as well as some who just plain old - don’t believe a woman can – or should – be a builder. Lisa, who grew up with a dad in the framing and carpentry business, considers herself a second-generation builder. But

Wow – what a view! Can't wait to see Lisa's 2017 entry at 64 Brown Road, Stillwater. not everyone was ready to embrace her in that role and she dealt with her share of biases and preconceived notions. “I got a lot of ‘Yeah, but who is the builder,’ type questions. The first two years I struggled to develop a list of suppliers and subcontractors I could trust. I even had an area builder who told my subcontractors he wouldn’t give them any more work if they did business with me.” Despite those struggles, Lisa persevered in her dream and today she is steadily gaining popularity in an industry dominated by men. “I don’t know if being a woman is what makes my homes stand out. I do believe that women are natural homemakers. Having been a real estate agent for more than 15 years, I’ve gained firsthand insight into knowing what buyers want. I design and build custom homes that are beautiful, functional and appealing to the consumer. And they sell. One of the things that sets Lisa apart from other builders is her accessibility. “I’m not a high-volume builder. I like to complete two or three custom homes per year, and my customers get to work one-on-one with me directly.” She also notes that, when it comes down to buying a home,


it’s the woman who usually makes the final decision – a factor that may benefit Lisa. But, in the long run, Lisa doesn’t consider that being a woman automatically gives her a special edge. “Being a woman home builder doesn’t make it easier. But maybe it makes me work harder and inspires me to be my best.” Apparently, a lot of other people agree. Lisa was recently selected as a 2017 Saratoga County Woman of Influence. The yearly event celebrates five of Saratoga County’s most influential women, who are making headlines in their fields. Winning awards and accolades are secondary for Lisa, who is modest about herself and her accomplishments. For her, this new direction in her life is all about the challenges and rewards of creativity. She brings a uniquely feminine perspective to the design and construction of a home. And her goal is to create a space that works. When women tour one of her homes, they see spaces and features that are clearly the result of a woman’s imagination. One observer at last year’s Showcase of Homes said that, after seeing Lisa’s home and her use of space, it was a lot different from going through the other houses. “When I walked through Lisa’s house, everything felt right! At no point did I ever think to myself, ‘Now why did he do this!’” Lisa loves sitting down with her architect

– she works with Bob Flansburg of Dreamscapes – and planning exactly how a house will look, how the rooms will be laid out and how the space will suit the homeowner’s lifestyle. I have so much fun doing this and it is so creative – very different from simply selling a home. It gives me a sense of purpose and a sense of accomplishment. I have something tangible to show for my efforts.” Lisa is already hard at work designing and building this year’s house for the Showcase of Homes. She has partnered on the project with local designer, Natalie Ansler, something she is really excited about. I’m building a true barn-style home and I’m going to use a lot of reclaimed wood for hardwood floors and other interior accents,” she says. Lisa doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty – or calloused – either. She does a lot of the finishing work on the homes herself, painting, installing crown moldings, and doing other carpentry work. Lisa is also involved with Habitat for Humanity and regularly participates in the ongoing “Women Build” initiative, even serving recently as crew leader for other women who want to wield a hammer. It may be that being a woman is what makes Lisa Breen’s homes stand out. It’s more likely that La Femme Home Builders homes stand apart because Lisa loves her work and wants to be the best. SS

Lisa's award-winning 2016 Showcase of Homes entry.




eople let go of things in vastly diverse ways. Some people peek in a box and say, the whole thing can be trashed. They know full well they can’t see everything in the box but know they just want it gone. Others must take each item out, analyze its usefulness and sentimentality before choosing if it should stay or go. For someone that has attachment issues, letting go can be extremely difficult. They want to hold onto the memory, to see and hold the item and really process what they are feeling before making the decision. It is important to remember that how important an item is – is up to us. The dialogue we use about items is our own. “These pictures are so happy together!” or “That pair of shoes walked me all over Europe.” Take away the statements and remember that with or without the memories or thoughts, the item is just an item. You won’t lose the memory if the item leaves. Over time, the importance of items can and will fade and the true importance of the winners emerges. Rather than 20 paintings from your 3-year-old (he is now 20), you may only need 3 to represent that period of his life. Or every card from a birthday from


many years ago, you may realize none of them are worth saving. Happy memories yes, sad or bad memories no. If seeing the items actually makes you nervous, take a picture! A picture of an item can last forever but the actual item may not. A wonderful balance is keeping the best of the best, then letting go of the rest and thanking each item for contributing to your memories. The best of the best should be stored for access or displayed for enjoyment. Limits on how much room you have to store is important to know before the purge. Those 3 paintings from your child? Why not frame them and display them in a hall rather than store in a box? Storage should keep items safe from moisture, extreme heat and cold if necessary. Good-sealing plastic containers labelled clearly are a safe bet. This is the mindset to be in when going through sentimental items. The process should be more than just this as well. Have a vision for your home or the space you are tackling so the goal is clear. Coming back to this vision during the process brings clarity and gives you the reason why lessening is important. A partner that is impartial to the memories (think a non-family member for family

related memorabilia) can help you process your thoughts, keep you going and add some lightness to some possible sad memories. For those that are crafty, looking at anything could be a potential project! This downsizing may be more difficult and even longer for you. There isn’t infinite time so some projects just can’t be done. Create a project list on a pad so you can be clear what to keep for each project and what can go. Lastly, we build up these projects to be so big, but yet when we finally start it, we realize that it wasn’t the difficulty holding us back, but just the fear of the know-how or unknown of what we will actually find. Umm, a pile of useless ribbon in a basket that takes 20 seconds to purge! Years of items can take a long time, but it also may go extremely quick and you won’t be able to believe that you put it off for so long. I’ve seen a room put off for years take less than 3 hours! 3 hours! Start with short intervals and if all is good, add some more time. Give yourself time and make actual decisions that match your feeling and goals; if you do that you will declutter successfully. SS



Bring the

Wow Factor

to your backyard with these great tips by Jim O’Keefe, of Pure Perfection Landscaping


Stimulate all the senses with fire, water and light in your outdoor areas.

Enjoy the comforts of a fire feature, which makes enjoying colder evenings effortless.

A modern look is made with large slab pavers arranged to create sleek lines, as seen in his photos.



Bar Shed


The folks at Versatile Sheds & Gazebos think this is a great idea and could be done easily to any existing shed, but they haven't sold one yet for this purpose ... will you be their first

Bar Shed customer?! Love these photos we found them on Pinterest!


Michele Erceg from Best Dressed Windows in Town tells us...

Photo by Samantha Simek

Blinds & Shades are Back!

Blinds and Shades have always provided light control and privacy, whereas the valances and draperies provided "the look" …well, not anymore! Blinds and shades are back!! ...and not just for utilitarian purposes! Silhouette® and Luminette® are the only window treatment you need, especially for rooms with atrium or sliding glass doors. The silhouette® window shade is the most versatile window shade available, with a wide selection of beautifully redesigned fabrics, including the new Clear View™. They function as a sheer drapery-style curtain would by providing modest privacy and UV light control, but have soft fabric Louvers that can tilt closed for complete privacy and maximum light control. The entire shade can be rolled up (like a roller shade) to be almost completely out of sight! The Luminette® privacy sheer is the companion shade designed to slide open and closed effortlessly on atrium and sliding glass doors. Silhouette® and Luminette® shades, by Hunter Douglas, together in rooms with windows and doors, offers the Whole House Solution™

Photos by Blackburn Portrait Design

...How cool is that?!



Power Windows In addition to Curtain & Carpet Concepts extensive collection of curtains and window treatments, carpets and rugs, their bedding, custom upholstery, and individualized design services help you develop a home that is uniquely… Well, quite simply…you! Designer Scott Drake says… Woven wood shades soften the window and add warmth to the room. Top treatments can be used in place of panels for a different look. Many people are using neutral colors and going for a very clean look. Accent pillows, rugs, or art work offer a pop of color.

Power Motorization

is huge. Almost everything can be powered remotely. The Hunter Douglas remote is available in many different colors to coordinate with each individual's lifestyle and decor. Take it a step further with the PowerView App available for your smartphone or tablet.

Direct control form your phone or tablet. For more precise individual shade control or group control, use the PowerView™ App to send shades to specific positions with just the swipe of a finger. 126  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

Paint of the Year 2017 Benjamin Moore's

When researching

Paint Trends

for this issue, Allerdice Ace Hardware & Building Supply directed us to their Benjamin Moore line and it was so nice to see color… rich deep color! Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year is Shadow and it doesn’t disappoint, I got totally lost in their website, and love the way the color is described by their team: “It ebbs and flows with its surroundings, and light brings it to life. Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilacgrey of distant mountains or morph into lustrous coal. Indulge your mysterious side. Let Shadow set the mood.” —Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director I’m pairing this with Chalk White and Ebony King …and you ?


Master Suite H&G TRENDS


Since 1980, The Furniture House has been providing items for your home at a great price that you won’t find elsewhere. Luckily for us when we were researching how to update your master suite, Emily DiSiena suggested going after that "open, airy feel" and to do that, you must…

start with the footboard!

Switch out a large, bulky piece for one with a clean, low-profile, or opt for wrap-around bed rails to lighten things up.


Mix up tones, sheens, and textures. Pair a soft metallic tone on an upholstered bed with a night stand that has a casual wet-paint finish and an antique mirror front.


Post Time Memories

with Dennis G. Hogan

Power Trio As a youngster growing up in Brooklyn during the 1980s, Dan Tordjman was faced with the most enviable dilemma a seven-year-old boy could have: who to root for - the Yankees or the Mets? A similar sense of competition attracted Dan to Thoroughbred racing, and the end of the decade did not disappoint as an east-west rivalry between two gifted colts, Easy Goer and Sunday Silence, had racing fans on the edge of their seats. “My dad favored Easy Goer, and tried to get me to root for him instead of Sunday Silence, but there was something about the way he looked, and watching him win made me feel like I was a part of it.” That feeling of being ‘a part of it’ still resonates with Tordjman, who along with partners Kathryn Sharp and Justin Nicholson, hope to attract both new fans and dedicated lifers to Saratoga Springs, for Equestricon: an international celebration of horse racing. Dan’s attraction to sports fueled his desire to become involved with broadcasting. He’s an ’04 graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and his ensuing career saw him touch down as a reporter in several markets from Missouri to the Carolinas. Savvy with social media and forever attracted to the ponies, he began the handicapping and blog site Its success led to a job offer with America’s Best Racing, a fan-development and lifestyle website. At ABR, he’s akin to an ambassador and uses his journalism and production 130  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017

skills to promote Thoroughbred racing and bring new fans into the game. “I also did events at the tracks, where I could give people a different experience; maybe let them hear from owners and trainers. At some point, I reached out to Justin Nicholson. He and his wife Kathryn Sharp are the owners of Pennsylvania-based Ninety North Racing. They were really enthusiastic about ABR, and getting racing out to people in a positive way, so there was an instant connection. “We finally met up and there were some really good vibes between us. It was a case of people meeting who should have met 25 years ago. “We were tossing ideas at each other when one day I said, ‘Hey guys - you know like Comicon - it’s a huge thing.’ And Katie, in particular, was like ‘Oh my God. I love this idea!’ So we started going back and forth and before we knew it we had what looked like a racing event that had some potential. “The mission of Equestricon is to bring the racing world together. We knew how cool it was from our own experience bringing people to the races and seeing them get excited to pet a pony or take a picture in front of the paddock. So, we agreed: let’s create more moments for people.” And there will be plenty of great moments packed into the convention’s three-day schedule. Equestricon kicks off Sunday, August 13, with multiple events planned throughout Saratoga Springs, though the convention proper will take place Monday and Tuesday, August 14-15, at Saratoga’s City Center. Some of racing’s most notable jockeys, trainers and

Equestricon founders Dan Tordjman, Kathryn Sharp and Justin Nicholson. ©Dave Bigler

personalities will be on hand to sign autographs and greet the fans. There will be seminars and panel discussions focusing on topics of interest for both the casual player and industry professional. And an international contingent of representatives from England, Dubai, Hong Kong and Australia will illustrate racing’s global perspective. Other attractions will include an arcade area for younger fans, a memorabilia appraisal area hosted by Lelands Auctions, and an opportunity to meet with representatives of some of Kentucky’s finest horse farms at the Horse Country exhibit. “On the website, there’s a ton of programming although it’s but a fraction of what you’ll see when you come out,” said Tordjman. “We want the tracks to be there, the farms to be there; everyone who is interested in the health of racing and its long-term viability. We’re also reaching outside the industry to companies within the lifestyle and entertainment realm just like Comicon has done.” You can learn more about the event by visiting; follow the run-up on Twitter at @EQconvention and the hashtag #EQcon17, and to receive updates on scheduling and additions to the program, text ‘EQCON’ to 66866. Asked whether Equestricon will find a permanent home in Saratoga, Tordjman admits the running joke has been, “Let’s just survive year one.” Though he adds, “Those at the City Center and the Saratoga Tourism Bureau have been very supportive and it means a lot that we have a true partner in the city of Saratoga Springs.” So come on out and ‘celebrate racing!’ August 13 -15, at Equestricon. SS






Convention Hall Interior




ne common theme of our city’s great history that continues today is that we have always been a magnet for many very important conventions and meetings. In the mid to late-1800s our city hosted many conventions and meetings in the grand ballrooms of the large hotels as well as space provided in City Hall after it was constructed in 1871. Since Saratoga had some of the most elaborate and largest hotels in the world at the time, there was no initial need for a convention center. The first time the NYS GOP Convention came to the city in the summer of 1870, they used the ballroom of the famous Grand Union Hotel. After that initial visit they loved the city so much they continued to come until 1916 - having left the facilities in Utica and Syracuse that hosted them previously. The United States Hotel with its wonderful dining room and ballroom were the site for many large conventions and gatherings. In 1860 Stephen Douglas was honored by a large reception, as well as NYS Fireman Convention (1880), and the Reunion of the Grand Army of the Potomac (1887). Our city was the site for many conventions including ones to honor Women’s Rights (1859), Newspaper Editors (1871), Bankers (1875), and the Teachers’ Association (1872). The NYS Democratic party hosted conventions here many times including 1878 and 1891.


By the 1880s our city planners realized that there was a need to provide a large convention facility in our city, and Convention Hall was constructed. Convention Hall occupied the space on Broadway that today is the site of the Park Place Condominiums that overlook Congress Park. Convention Hall was a grand facility that opened on September 18, 1893 at a construction cost of $100,000 with an additional $15,000 spent on furnishings. With an initial published seating capacity of 5,000 people, it was a great asset when attracting conventions and groups to the city. The configuration of the hall was such that it could provide seating for concerts, opera, guest speakers and high school graduations as well as sporting events like basketball and wrestling. In 1936 due to changes in fire regulations, about 150 seats were removed and a more realistic seating capacity for a concert or convention was reduced to 4,150 and a capacity of only 3,450 when the floor was set for basketball. Originally designed and built with gas lamps, the last gas lamp was removed in 1936 by the WPA program and it was from that point on illuminated with twelve 1,000 watt electric bulbs. Convention Hall was the site of many great events. In 1910 Teddy Roosevelt chaired the State Republican Convention and in 1946 and 1950 Dewey was re-nominated for GOP Governor, all in that great facility. Everybody from Caruso to the Harlem Globe Trotters was at the great Convention Hall.

Convention Hall 1907 Convention Hall 1949

Street. In order to accommodate the building they suggested that Spring Street be removed from Henry Street to Putnam Place and the area be connected to Congress Park. This suggestion was never acted on and both Congress Park and Spring Street remain today as they did then.

In the early 1950s our city began to decline partly because of the closing of the lake houses and a decline in thoroughbred racing in the city. The large hotels that were a landmark of the city had been taken down and Saratoga Springs needed to re-invent itself. By the early 1960s Convention Hall was starting to show its age and the number of conventions and concerts began to drop off. In July of 1965 Mayor Art Kearney formed a committee to address the issue after a letter from the local Jaycees suggested replacing Convention Hall with a new facility in the Spring Valley (or Gut) area of the city at a projected cost of $1.3 million. The debate over a new facility quickly ended when on November 14, 1965 at 2:16 p.m. a fire was reported across Broadway from Convention Hall in the Columbian Hotel and that hotel was destroyed in about 40 minutes. Brisk winds quickly spread the embers across Broadway to ignite Convention Hall and by 3:30 p.m. the hall was completely engaged in flames resulting in a total loss. Clean-up of the fire site was completed in January of 1966 and the city received $338,000 from the insurance on the structure and the money was invested for a replacement structure in the future. In August of 1966 plans were revealed for construction of a new round shaped Civic Center at a cost of $1.5 million with a seating capacity for 5,000 people and options to support basketball and ice hockey as well as concerts and convention work. Those plans suggested the location of the proposed facility be in today’s parking lot area east of the Hathorn #1 Spring on Spring

In 1984 new construction allowed the city to open our current, Saratoga City Center. At a time when nearby malls were taking consumer dollars from Broadway businesses, the City Center was a spark that ignited a renewal in downtown business and provided some of the stability we see today in our great city. Our City Center today is a destination for thousands of visitors attending hundreds of conventions yearly in our great city. The leadership and staff of the City Center does a great job of setting up the facility and making our many convention guests feel welcome to the city. The difference between the historic view of conventions and our picture of today is the Saratoga Springs Convention and Tourism Bureau. The Convention Bureau aggressively attracts and educates groups to the assets of our city and how their needs are met when coming for that convention. The Convention Bureau staff works year-round to attract incredible amounts of commerce to our hotels, restaurants, attractions and Saratoga businesses with every convention that they bring to Saratoga. This infusion of convention business has been growing yearly and we are not just the “Summer Place to Be” but the year-round spot to go for conventions and meetings. Now thousands of conventioneers walk Broadway during convention breaks to eat, drink and shop in our local stores. On an average day in Saratoga Springs the City Center and area hotels might be hosting multiple convention groups that are not easily visible to most residents of the city. Unless you are connected to the services directly supporting those conventions or own a business on Broadway, this constant flow of visitors is sometimes missed by the general population. The City Center and the Convention Bureau have been a tremendous asset as they both help to continue the long history of conventions choosing to visit our great city. SS




Skidmore students await a train on Railroad Place, to take them home for the holidays in December of 1944. Back then, Skidmore College was an all-female school whose campus was around Union Avenue, Circular Street, and Regent Street. In 1971 Skidmore admitted their first male students and had moved to their new North Broadway Campus. 134  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017


This image shows the activities of people attending the Van Raalte factory picnic in September of 1966. The carousel in the background was saved by concerned citizens of Saratoga Springs in the 1980’s and after restoration is located today in Congress Park.

Larger version on page 131.


The Batcheller Mansion was built in 1873 at a cost of $100,000 by George Sherman Batcheller and his wife Catherine. Today this elegant structure operates as an Inn at the corner of Circular Street and Whitney Place.


This image was taken in 1935 and today is the corner location of the Saratoga Federal Community Credit Union. In the image Fina’s Garage and the area behind it is today the Woodlawn Parking Garage.



states Nelson Avenue resident Bill Finlay. With 22 vacant downtown storefronts in 1973, the odds of ever achieving an award-winning Main Street were slim. But Saratoga Springs, being a gambling town, doubled down on multiple fronts and eventually beat the odds.

Downtown Saratoga Springs faced many challenges. In fact Ken Jones’ loan application for local AM station WKAJ was turned down by Glens Falls National Bank. At the time, the bank felt “Saratoga was a dying city.” Newman Wait of the Adirondack Trust instead financed the operation. The second half of the 20th century brought three major fires to the central corridor of Broadway. In the center of Broadway, Starbucks Department store’s 1957 massive fire left a vacant lot. The new Washington Building only recently replaced this. At the south end of the main thoroughfare, the 1965 fire of historic Convention Hall was a major blow to downtown. Finally, at the north end of our main street, a January 1976 fire leveled the Presbyterian Church, leaving behind a still vacant lot and threatening the Collamer Building. The 1973 opening of Saratoga Pyramid Mall, advertised as the “1 Fun Place to be” generated a lot of excitement at the time. The 50 store complex opened October 18, 1973 with a ribbon cutting from Miss New York State and gave away a free trip to the Bahamas. Erlanger’s Fashions, once a staple on Broadway relocated to the complex. David Carr, owner of Starbuck’s Department store on Broadway was hopeful the mall would bring more people to Saratoga to shop. First they would go to the mall and then come downtown. His wish did not come true. “The negative impact was fairly drastic,” recalls David Carr Jr. “Fear is the greatest catalyst in the world,” believes Charles Wait, CEO and chairman of the board of The Adirondack Trust Company. Wait was referencing the October 1973 opening of Pyramid Mall as being

the catalyst that got Mom and Pop merchants to band together and fight against the competition. The Saratoga Downtown Merchant Association joined the Adirondack Trust Company and the Chamber of Commerce to create the 1974 “Plan of Action.” Led by Bob Bristol of Saratoga Associates, the plan had three stages. First was to rally public opinion to put money into downtown and build a political climate for infrastructure improvement. Skidmore students created a 6 by 18 foot scale model of downtown. Local residents were invited to a vacant downtown Broadway storefront to manipulate the model and create an ideal downtown. Nothing can be accomplished without funding. Three sources raised 1.2 million dollars: the creation of a special assessment district; a one percent increase in sales tax; and $400,000 in Federal Community Development funds. Two public parking lots were developed, and the Saratoga Preservation Foundation, led by Julie Stokes, was established. Buildings' facades were restored, trees planted and benches were installed.

“Mom and Pops” are the heart of small communities. Clearly our local “Mom and Pop” bank was integral to downtown’s revitalization. The Adirondack Trust Company bought and leveled a row of dilapidated brick buildings along Church Street and hired Bob Bristol of Saratoga Associates to design an addition to the back of the original marble structure. The three arched brick addition came at a time when several downtown banks such as Mechanics Exchange had moved to Pyramid Mall. The Adirondack Trust’s 1974 decision to invest in downtown gave merchants hope. Another overlooked factor in Saratoga’s success was Urban Renewal. “Even though it’s often criticized, Urban Renewal did a lot for Saratoga Springs. Pre-1974, Lee Roohan headed Urban Renewal. The money we got from the federal government helped clear out run down, dilapidated wooden buildings and created open space lots for Saratoga Springs future

development,” reflects Charles Wait. In addition, approximately 2.7 million dollars of Urban Renewal money was spent in widening several streets, including the section of Broadway from Lake Avenue running north to the arterial. A key factor in our success was the establishment of an anchor at the north end of Broadway. The parcel of land once occupied by the Brooklyn Hotel was closely examined and debated about. The Zoning Board considered several options – a large supermarket, a sports arena, and a convention center to replace our former Convention Hall, destroyed by fire in 1965. The goal was to attract people to our downtown to spend money at locally owned “Mom and Pops.” Twenty- five years later, many Broadway business owners appreciate the choice of a City/Convention Center. All of these efforts would have fallen short of today’s award winning downtown if we did not have something worth saving. Although numerous factors came together in a “perfect storm” to save downtown, it was the hardworking, innovative “Mom and Pop” retail owners such as Norman Fox, founder of N.Fox, the oldest surviving store on Broadway, David Carr (Starbucks Department store), Edward Lenz (Menges & Curtis), Harry Covkin (Covkin’s Little Folks Shop), Alfred Gardner (Globe Supply), E. W. Heckman (Saratoga Men’s Shop), Jerry and Charolotte Albert (Glickman’s), Jack Berkowitz (Mr. Jack’s), Nate Berkowitz (Berkowitz Jeweler’s), Bernie and Caroline Serotta (Farmers Hardware), Ray Watkins (Raymond’s Bootery and Mark Strauss (Mabou) who gambled their livelihood in the 1970’s. One could speculate that they are the heroes of Saratoga Springs downtown. Their hard work laid the groundwork for the many independent stores that thrive here today. In 2016, over 90 ribbon cuttings of independently owned businesses occurred in Saratoga Springs. SS

Panoramic representation of Broadway circa 1976 by Skidmore student Patti Croop.

West Side Broadway Panza's (395 Broadway) is the site of Starbuck's coffee shop today.


(454-438 Broadway and 436-430 Broadway) National Auto is now home to Downstreet MarketPlace, followed by Silverado. Wheatfield's Restaurant is in the former McGirr's, and Caroline and Main replaces Rowe Shoes. Lifestyles of Saratoga and Cantina now occupy the other side of Caroline Street.

East Side Broadway


Farmers Hardware 492 Broadway #




1954 Saratogian ad boasts, “Today Farmers Hardware is recognized as one of the most modern hardware stores in New York State.”

Farmers Hardware opened in 1901 and was a traditional hardware store until 1947 when Bernie Serotta, under his father George’s prodding, became the fifth owner of the operation. After being discharged from the Army in 1946, Bernie had studied for a year at New School in NYC. He met many sophisticated Europeans and fell in love with good design. His Russian immigrant father co-owned the Collamer Building. George felt his son Bernie needed to accomplish something more and summoned him home to run a hardware store housed in that building. Initially, Bernie was a reluctant and certainly an unlikely candidate for the job. He wasn’t handy, didn’t know how to use tools, had no interest in hardware, and came with limited business expertise. However, he had a keen interest in people, good conversation skills and Saratoga Springs.

An expansion of the existing Housewares Department followed. Brands like Dansk and Le Creuset are now easily accessible to us, but in the 1960s, Farmers Hardware was the only place between New York City and Montreal that sold high quality European cookware. Susan Bokan relays, “Each Christmas in the 60s my sister Peggy and I pooled our money to buy our parents a gift from Farmers Hardware. We knew it was our only option to get a great gift that had style and class from the big world out there. Our Mom died last year and one amazing moment was when we took home - 50 years later - the butter dish, salt and pepper shakers and the beautiful butcher block roast beef platter, all as good as the day we gifted them.”

Bernie in the downstairs stockroom.

“Bernie was larger than life,” comments daughter-in- law Marcie Serotta. “He was the draw. People came into Farmers Hardware to chat with Bernie.” “Bernie quickly learned that when he stocked interesting things in the store, interesting people would come in and that’s what he thrived on,” reminisces wife Caroline Serotta. In 1951, he completely remodeled the store. One day as he sat reading Dostoevsky, a 20-year-old Dutch Skidmore student/jewelry-making instructor entered the store. At that time, part of Caroline Rosse’s duties at Skidmore College was to display the latest traveling art exhibits. She entered the 492 Broadway store looking for advice and got much more. Two and a half years later, Caroline and Bernie married. Farmers Hardware is a Saratoga love story. In addition to Bernie and Caroline’s fateful meeting, it is a story of a love of fine design, a love of quality made products, a love of community, and in turn a large following of customers who loved the store. Caroline had a profound influence on the evolution of the store. In fact, the store was a reflection of the family’s evolving loves and fascinations. The first transformation occurred when Caroline added an Art Supply Department. A rainbow of colored tubes of acrylic paints were laid out in wooden chests of drawers, squirrel hair paintbrushes were ready for customers’ “thumb test” and reams of papers awaited customers just beyond the aisle of tools, nails and screws.


Check out the 50 year old wooden barrels full of nails.

Sue Clements Gagnon concurs, “(The store) carried some wonderful stainless casserole pans with metal handles that were made in Italy. My mom bought all 3 sizes… they still look as good as new.” This was a store that was quietly on the cutting edge. As Mary Pierce commented, “It was decades before its time.”

Currently Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company.


1954 remodel.4 49 ware before its Farmers Hardst purchased the store, thences. fir ia When Bernie rtion of the store sold appl tinued Broadway pothe store's focus and disconiances. d selling appl Bernie change

Each phase of the ever- evolving store attracted a new subset of customers. Caroline and Bernie’s children, Lisa and Ben, became ad hoc product researchers for a new toy department upstairs. Caroline created an aesthetically appealing entrance - two angels holding a hand painted sign announcing, “Seventh Heaven.”

Farmers Hardware “Seventh Heaven"toy department had to be moved downstairs after a few years as the upstairs floors became unsafe. This was one of the Swedish educational toys sold in the back of the store.

And what a heaven it was for local children! Complete with a cloud painted ceiling, the space displayed wooden dollhouses created in the store’s basement, Ginny dolls, German made Schuco friction cars, Steiff stuffed animals, Playskool wooden trains, and toy soldiers with changeable heads – all eager for a child to explore. Lisa Serotta delights in her childhood memory of helping unpack shipments of toys. “What joy I had of being in our dark storage area with the woody smell of Excelsior packing slivers as I counted and unwrapped wind up cars, checked them off invoices, and handwrote in pen $1.95 on a string and paper label.” In 1964 the family traveled to Europe. Part of the time they visited factories


This 1954 photo was taken shortly after the store was remodeled. Bernie was known for being very neat and orderly as seen in these neatly stacked shelves.

in France to investigate ceramic cookware and items like Sabatier knives. “My father’s love affair with France began after that trip,” chuckles son Ben. “He even began wearing a beret for a while.” The “French phase” spanned from the 60s into the early 70s. In 1969, 15-year-old Ben capitalized on his dad’s “love of all things French” and convinced his parents to begin carrying a small collection of Peugeot bikes in the front of the store. Ben loved bikes and wanted to be more deeply involved in bicycles than just riding them. He promised to assemble the bikes and do repairs in the store’s basement. The venture was shockingly successful. By early 1970, the Peugeots created a bottleneck in the front of the store and were moved to the third floor. By 1971, Ben moved the bike shop to a separate space in the back of the Collamer Building. Once the bicycles were relocated, the front of the L shaped shop was restored to a haven for tool and hardware enthusiasts. Ben had hung out in the front of the store with clerks Tom McMullen, Bud Rhodes, and Hank Dejnozka, whom he affectionately nicknamed the “three wise men.” These

well-versed tradesmen knew all about hardware and filled in for any of Bernie’s lack of expertise. Bernie was then free to once again hang out in the back of the store holding random civic meetings with “customers” who came by for the sole purpose of visiting with him. His love of Saratoga was evident in his involvement in several organizations. From being on the board of the Saratoga Springs Library, the founding board of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and even the board of the Saratoga Chapter of NAACP, Bernie touched the lives of many Saratogians. “The store worked until we had a lot of competition,” recalls Caroline. “Sadly, we were not unique anymore. Customers could easily buy items we carried in the 60s and 70s in Colonie Center’s Macy’s and a few other stores.” The Serottas sold Farmers Hardware to Ron and Eileen Rucker in 1980 who operated the location for 9 more years. In 1989, Saratoga’s daily love affair with a near century old institution ended. But like all good love affairs, it has not been forgotten. SS

Above: Bernie (left) and Joe Redding (right). Farmers Hardware began Joe's lifelong career as a clerk in hardware. At 70 years old he still works in hardware at Allerdice.

"Bernie was larger than life," notes daughter-in-law Marcie Serotta.



Save the


THURSDAY, JUNE 1 7th Annual Music and Mingle

Saratoga Polo Field, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. 2 Bloomfield Road, Greenfield Center This exciting fundraiser for the Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga features an open bar, gourmet foods by The Old Daley Inn, cigar tastings, live music by Grand Central Station, Tarot Card readings, a silent auction and more. This year’s event will also feature an elegant VIP cocktail hour sponsored by Moet and Hennessey for sponsors at the $1,000 level and above. For reservations and more information, visit

SUNDAY, JUNE 4 Saratoga Springs Tour de Cure

Saratoga Spa State Park, Peerless Pool Area, 6 a.m. - 4 p.m. Over 2,500 cyclists and 350 volunteers come together to stop diabetes, with five scenic routes to choose from and participants at every skill level. This event provides crucial funding for diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the American Diabetes Foundation. This year is the 26th anniversary of the Tour de Cure, celebrating over $250 million in fundraising from Tour de Cure riders since 1991. To register or for more information, visit

Cantina Kids Fun Run

Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Held each year on the first Sunday in June, it’s the only run in Saratoga that’s designed especially for kids. Participants can choose the quarter-mile or one-mile course, and all kids receive a medal, with the top three boys and girls receiving trophies. Before and after the race, families can enjoy face painting, healthy snacks and live music. The run benefits pediatric care at Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department. To register for the run or for more information, visit or

SUNDAY, JUNE 11 Beekman Street Arts Fair

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

FRIDAY, JUNE 16 Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival Saratoga County Fairgrounds 3 p.m. until Sunday, June 19 at 4 p.m 162 Prospect Street, Ballston Spa

Kick-off the summer with a weekend that includes over 20 hot air balloons, the best balloon glow in the country, over 100 artists and crafters displaying and selling original works, live entertainment and music, ongoing craft demonstrations and tons of kid’s activities, including face painting, arts and crafts and games, sponsored by Stewarts. For more information and a full schedule of activities, visit

FRIDAY, JUNE 23 American Cancer Society’s Red, White and Blue Party Saratoga National Golf Club, 7–11 p.m. 458 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs

This one-of-a-kind evening will feature an all-American BBQ, dancing and an exciting auction. Attendees will have fun with lawn games, a wine toss and live entertainment. Nick Colaneri will be honored with the Hero of Hope award for his courageous battle against cancer and his commitment to the community. Guests are invited to wear their favorite red, white and/or blue “Saratoga summer” attire. For reservations and more information, visit

SATURDAY, JUNE 25 40th Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 12 p.m. until Sunday, June 26 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs A weekend of world class jazz talent on two stages that draws thousands from across the country. This year’s festival includes headliner, Chaka Kahn, Jacob Collier, Gipsy Kings, To Ray, with love featuring Maceo Parker, The Ray Charles Orchestra & the Raelettes and many more. Founded in 1978, this festival is one of the world’s longestrunning major jazz events. Since its inception, the festival has welcomed many jazz greats, including Miles Davis, B.B. King and Ray Charles. For tickets and more information, visit 142  |  SIMPLY SARATOGA | MAY/JUNE 2017


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


Gavin Park, Wilton, NY (518) 584-9455

Wilton Recreation offers summer camp for children entering grades 1 through 9, for 7 weeks. It is a place where “kids can be kids,” as they learn and grow through social interaction with their peers, as well as with their counselors.

limited to movies, playground, game room, free play in the gym, simple crafts and may not be offered every day. Based on availability, only available for those in camp. (See registration form for details)



On Site Campers participating in our On-Site activities will remain at Gavin Park for the day except when campers participate in supervised walks to off-site activities. Daily activities include crafts, sports, playground activities, and much more. Creative minds keep our campers entertained throughout the day. On Site & Swimming Campers participating in On Site & Swimming will enjoy three days of On Site activities that include crafts, sports, playground activities, and much more. Swimming will be offered two days per week. Each age group will be assigned specific days of the week that they will swim. Swimming is offered at Peerless Pools, Million Dollar Beach, Shepard Park Beach, Moreau, and Haviland Cove. Based on availability. Trips Campers participating in Swimming & Trips will enjoy swimming at least two days per week and three off site activities per week, which may include bowling, skating, etc. Only one special trip per week is planned which will include visits to museums and other area attractions. Campers have the option to stay On Site for the day with parent authorization. Based on availability.


Pioneers (Grades 1-2) are our youngest campers who are entering grades 1-2. Pioneers are placed into groups with no more than six campers per counselor. Blazers (Grades 3-4) are those entering grades 3-4. Blazers are placed into groups with no more than seven campers per counselor. Trail Seekers (Grades 5-6) are those entering grades 5-6. Trail seekers are placed into groups with no more than eight campers per counselor. Trackers (Grades 7-9) are those campers entering grades 7-9. Trackers are placed into groups with no more than ten campers per counselor.


Extended care will be offered daily from 8:00 am - 9:00 am and 3 pm - 5:30 pm. Pre-registration is required. Busing is NOT available for those participating in extended care. Extended care activities are


Busing is available for Wilton Residents per household for an additional fee. Actual pick up/drop off points will be determined once all campers are registered. Pick up/drop off locations are not “home pick up & drop offs,” but will be within developments, etc. (unless there are no other pickup/drop offs within the area or a road is deemed unsafe by SSCS Transportation). Campers should be at their pick-up point at least 10 minutes prior to pick up. Those entering first grade will NOT be dropped off in the PM unless a parent/ guardian or other designated responsible person is at the pickup location to meet the child. Riding the bus is a privilege. All bus rules that apply during the school year will be adhered to during the summer program. • CAMPERS RIDING BUSES MUST RIDE BUSES DAILY. • NO REFUNDS IF BUS PRIVILEGES ARE REVOKED.


Camp registration is for Wilton Residents ONLY and begins on March 6th. Registration is open until May 26th, or when camp capacity is reached, whichever comes first. There are no refunds for fees or deposits related to summer camp. Space is limited and registration must be done in person at Gavin Park, 10 Lewis Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY. Camp registration forms, which include pricing, are available at or can be picked up at the park office weekdays 9am-5pm. Any questions, please call 518-584-9455.


• Registration MUST be done in person • Wilton Residents must show two proofs of residency (license, tax bill, phone bill, National Grid or water bill) • Shot records must be submitted each year (Health Department Regulations) and are due at registration • Payment options include check, money order, or MasterCard/Visa – no cash payments are accepted (518) 580-5596

Skidmore College offers a variety of programs for children of all ages during the summer months. CAMP NORTHWOODS, Skidmore’s day camp for children entering grades 1-6, offers an exciting program of sports, cultural arts, nature study and relaxed play. Our goal is to provide a variety of fun activities that happily challenge the imagination, intellect, and body. The camp’s home base is Falstaff’s Pavilion on the Skidmore College campus, but campers frequent the Williamson Sports Center, Schick Art Gallery, Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, and Zankel Music Center. The daily enrichment activities led by the experienced staff are supplemented by weekly field trips to recreational and historical sites, and visits by special guests. Children will also enjoy arts and crafts, ceramics, games, hiking, and daily swim time. One and two-week sessions are available from June 26-August 11.

from baseball, lacrosse, swimming, basketball, soccer, volleyball and field hockey. Children learn the concept of teamwork while acquiring the necessary skills for his or her sport of choice. Adults, novice or experienced, can participate in a rowing program offered throughout the spring, summer and fall at the Boat House located on beautiful Fish Creek. All other programs are held on the Skidmore Campus at the Sports and Recreation Center and/or the adjacent fields.

For more information: or call Camp Northwoods at 518-580-5596.

For more information, or to register: sports/ or call Skidmore Summer Sports Camps 518-580-8061.

Skidmore College also offers a wide array of SUMMER SPORTS CAMPS from June through August for children of all ages. Choose


F. Donald Myers Education Center, Southern Adirondack Education Center & SUNY Adirondack Wilton Campus

When school is out the fun begins! WSWHE BOCES Summer camps offer youngsters an opportunity to participate in a wide variety of fun and educational classes.


July 17-21 at BOCES Southern Adirondack Education Center in Hudson Falls July 24-28 at the BOCES F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga Springs August 7-11 at SUNY Adirondack Wilton • AM classes for grades 2-4 - Campers will dive into the exciting world of computer coding through Scratch. • PM classes for grades 5-8 - Minecraft Modding camp: Using Java, campers will learn to create Minecraft mods like “spawn a flying golden cow!”


Three weeks of summer camps include full or half day sessions: July 10 - 14; July 17 - 21; July 24 - 28, 2017 • Along with Code to the Future some fun STEM offerings include Simply Amazing Machine; NANO It’s Bigger than You Think, Paper Engineering and Geo Art • Our very popular Culinary Camp returns with “Appetizers & Party Food” and “Around the World Cuisine”. New: “Making Healthy Farm to Table Dishes” • Also returning, Chinese Language and Culture and Mad Science of the Capital District with Claws, Codes and Constellations or NASA!



July 17-21, 2017 • Learn how to speak the language of computers with our Code to the Future camps. • I can make that? Yes, you can! in Kids Can Cook!


Immerse the campers in all things STEM: August 7 -11, 2017 • Along with Code to the Future, our STEM Academy offerings include Forensic Science with Mr. Biss, Simply Amazing Machines, NANO It’s Bigger than You Think, Duck Tape Wars and Water Rockets, and 3 Minutes to Midnight and Holding • Become familiar with animation techniques and the process of stop motion animation in Animation Antics. Join in the fun! Register early to insure you don’t miss out! For more information: Call the WSWHE BOCES Enrichment Resource Center at (518) 581-3585 or email:giftedresources@ Visit summercamps for registration forms

29 Ironwood Dr, Saratoga Springs, NY (518) 581-1791

Saratoga Jazz Tap is dedicated to the promotion and prevalence of Tap Dance in the Capital Region through creation, education & presentation. The efforts of SJT honor the history and roots of Jazz Tap dance and pay tribute to the spirit of the fore-bearers of this innovative art form. SJT will be offering the following Summer Dance Sessions. For registration & contact information go to


What is the relationship between tap dance & jazz music? How does the jazz tap dancer converse with the jazz musician? Working with the music of the late, great Horace Silver, dancers will explore & discover the relationship between Silver’s illustrious music and the silver taps on their shoes. Camp will include tap technique, jazz technique, improvisation, music theory, jazz tap history & choreography.


In memory of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, the Copasetics, “a social, friendly benevolent club” of musicians & tap artists, was formed in order to “promote the fellowship and to strengthen the character within their ranks.” The club’s motto was “Everything’s Copsetic” which was Bojangles’ expression for everything will be okay. Dancers will learn about the rich & relevant history of the Copasetics, many of it’s members such as Peg-Leg Bates, Honi Coles, Cookie Cook, as well as the classic repertoire they handed down. Classes will include tap & jazz dance, improvisation, music theory, jazz tap history & choreography.

WOMEN IN TAP (JULY 24-28) AGES 11-18, 10AM-4PM

Women in Tap highlights exceptional female tap dancers for their artistry & pioneering efforts. Women who shaped the form with their accomplishments; from Ruby Keeler to Jeni LeGon & many of the unnamed African American women tap dancers from Philadelphia, to Ann Miller & Ginger Rogers, to the women of the tap dance Renaissance; Brenda Bufalino, Heather Cornell, Sarah Petronio to the current generation blazing a trail today including Sarah Reich & Michelle Dorrance. Dancers will learn of their many contributions and will have the opportunity to explore the artistic styles & theories of these female dancers in the studio. Classes will include tap & Jazz dance, improvisation, music theory, history & choreography.


Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was the most famous African American tap dancer of the twentieth century and Shirley Temple was America’s Little Darling. The two would make an unlikely pair but formed one of the most memorable relationships on the silver screen. This camp will introduce young dancers to these two happygo-lucky artists through storybooks & video footage, while exploring rhythmmaking through tap & jazz dance, rhythmic games & creative movement.

ELEMENTS FOR THE JAZZ TAP DANCER (AUGUST 7-11) AGES 12 - ADULT, 5:30-8:30PM This evening intensive is designed for the dancer that wants to develop their technical skill, musicianship and solo voice. Camp will include jazz movement/ physical expression of rhythm, tap dance rudiments, music theory, improvisation & original choreography.


St. Clements School, 231 Lake Ave. & Skidmore College, North Broadway • 518-580-1782

For children who have a passion for the performing arts or would like to try something new, Saratoga Children’s Theatre (SCT) summer camp is a dream come true. Saratoga Children’s Theatre offers performance camps for ages 4-18 years. At SCT we hire dedicated professionals that will enhance your child’s awareness for the arts while enjoying a great summer camp experience! For more information please visit Before and After Care are available for all camps. There will be NO Camp on July 4th.


These stars-to-be will learn to explore their creativity through music, storytelling, movement, and arts. Both fun and educational, we have created our Rising Stars program to provide a warm and nurturing environment, giving campers the opportunity to gain a wonderful introduction to the theatre arts. Camp hours 9am3pm; RISING STAR camps are full day (9am-3pm) and half day (9am-12pm). Full Day Camps: Dr. Seuss Christmas in July Pirates and Mermaids Frozen Disney Magic Doc McStuffins Can’t Stop the Feeling

July 3-July 7 July 10-July 14 July 17- July 21 July 24- July 28 July 31- August 4 August 7- August 11 August 14- August 18

Half Day Camps: Under the Sea July 3-July 7 Crazy Animal Fun July 10-July 14 Silly Tea Party July 17- July 21


Campers will learn all aspects of performance, and will have the opportunity to perform in a show at the end of camp and they are open to the public. Campers will perform on stage at St. Clements Auditorium, Saratoga Springs. Camp hours


are 9am-3pm; KIDS camps are 1 or 2 weeks. Aladdin Kids July 3-July 14; Performance July 14 at 11am & 4pm A Mixed-Up Fairytale (Play) July 17- July 28; Performance July 28 at 11am & 4pm A Year with Frog and Toad July 31 - August 11; Performance August 11 at 11am & 4pm On the Radio August 14- August 18; Performance August 18 at 11am & 4pm The above performances are at St. Clement’s School, 231 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs.


Campers will learn all aspects of performance, and will have the opportunity to perform in a show at the end of camp and they are open to the public. Campers will perform on stage at St. Clements Auditorium, Saratoga Springs. Camp hours are 9am-3pm; JUNIOR camps are 1 or 2 weeks. Into the Woods Jr July 3-July 14; Performance July 14 at 1pm & 6pm Glee Camp July 17-July 21; Performance July 21 at 11am & 4pm High School Musical 2 Jr July 24- August 4; Performance August 4 at 1pm & 6pm 3-2-1 Action August 7-August 18; Screening August 18 at 2pm The above performances are at St. Clement’s School, 231 Lake Avenue, Saratoga Springs.


Campers will learn all aspects of performance, and will have the opportunity to perform 4 performances per camp at Skidmore College JBK Theater. Camp hours are 9am-3pm. Camp will be held at St. Clements School for the first 2 weeks, the third week of camp is at Skidmore College. Oklahoma July 3 - July 22; Performances July 21 & July 22 at 1pm & 7pm Thoroughly Modern Millie July 31 - August 9; Performances August 18 & August 19 at 1pm & 7pm The above performances are at the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater on the Skidmore College Campus.

Saratoga Springs Recreation Center (518) 587-3550 ext. 2300

The Saratoga Springs Recreation Department offers two summer camp options for families to choose from: Camp Saradac and the Playground Program. Camp Saradac, located at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center, is a NYSDOH licensed full day summer camp for children ages 5-15. Our camp offers exciting weekly field trips, creative recreational and educational programs, arts & crafts, weekly swimming, and themed weeks. Camp activities are designed to promote fun and fitness while providing opportunities for campers to grow. This year’s field trips include: The Great Escape, Flight Trampoline Park, Saratoga County Fair, Saratoga Strike Zone, and many more. We will also take weekly trips to the Peerless Pool. The 2017 Summer Camp runs Monday through Friday from 8:45am to 4:45pm starting June 26th and goes to August 18th. Parents who register their children in our before and after care program can drop off their child after 7:30am and pick them up as

late as 6:00pm. Registration begins February 27th for City Residents and March 20th for Non City Residents at the Recreation Center, 15 Vanderbilt Ave, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866. Registration is on a first come, first served basis so please don’t wait. Camp registration forms are available at or can be picked up at the Recreation Center. If you have any questions, please call us at 518-587-3550 ext 2300 or email us at The best summer of your life awaits! The Playground Program, located at Veterans Memorial Park, is a 7 week program for ages 5-12 designed to promote physical and mental well being through daily recreational activities and socialization. Children will have the opportunity to participate in many new and familiar activities, cool off at the Interactive Spray Fountain, and explore the playground. Each day a new activity will keep children’s minds sharp and encourage creativity! This program will be held rain or shine. There are no field trips.


The Saratoga Film Academy


The Saratoga Film Academy provides a hands-on, project based learning experience in video and narrative film production for students 8-18 years old. This dynamic learning experience uses Hollywood insider knowledge on how to develop students’ technical skills to assist them in expressing their artistic voices.


Any child or teen who has an interest in stories, movies, media technologies, and performance art will find a new passion in filmmaking. The courses are designed to meet the students where they are at developmentally, learn through experience, and cater to all skill levels. Whether an individual is just beginning or on the verge of winning an oscar, students will find the classes exciting, challenging, and intellectually rewarding.


A combination of professional experiences informs the design of the classes to engage and enrich the student experience. All classes are helmed by SFA’s founder, filmmaker, writer, and teacher Jon Dorflinger who has six years of Hollywood experience and is a NYS certified English


Language Arts Teacher. He is currently employed by Proctor’s and is their Media Arts teacher at Ballston Spa High School. He combines his passion for teaching and his passion for filmmaking into SFA to develop a pedagogy that encourages student growth and independent learning of Hollywood standard skills and practices. SFA film students go through the process of producing their projects like the professionals. They engage in four phases of the production process; writing/ development, pre-production, production, and post production. Producing film projects promotes life-long skills such as project management, strategic planning, communication, and creative problem solving.


SFA is entering its third summer with a variety of classes suitable for all ages. All of the most popular classes from last summer are returning including Stop-Motion Animation, YouTube Video Production, Creative Filmmaking, and The Director’s Class.


Visit us at to check out previous films produced through the academy, and to learn more about SFA and the summer camps. All summer camp registrations can be completed online. For additional questions or inquiries please email or call (310) 801-5642. 800-968-4332


Gadget Alarm Boxes with light sensors and high-functioning circuitry that will keep tiny little hands out of their most valued treasures.

A program of the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, Camp Invention is an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering, and innovation. Children in kindergarten through 6th grade work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules.

Camp Invention connects children to inventors who changed the world, and enhances the scientific knowledge base of participants. The program hooks children and gives them high-energy, hands-on, innovative fun, while presenting them with challenges that emphasize STEM, collaboration, and entrepreneurship through innovation. Camp Invention positively impacts teacher attitudes toward science content while reinforcing their abilities to instruct children using educationally sound methods and creates effective strategies for developing challenges to prepare students for the future. Every year the fresh content inspires children to explore, have big ideas, and make new innovations.

Camp Invention’s new program, Launch, allows campers to experience real-world problem solving and creative thinking! From blasting off to the nearest exoplanet to launching the next, start-up business, children experience the power of their ideas being launched into reality. In Battle Blast™, children fling, fly, and float their way through high-energy air challenges and take home their own high-tech Bubble Blaster, complete with flashing lights! Children become DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Duct Tape dynamos in Duct Tape Billionaire™, as they design products, build their inventories, take risks, and launch start-up businesses that will put their products in high demand. In Mission Space Makers™, children receive challenges from mission control to locate and prepare a new planet for human habitation. They must design inventions to transform its atmosphere, terrain, and ecosystem, as well as set up a Space Lab to hatch animal eggs, sprout plants, and grow crystal trees. In Operation Keep Out™, children launch their design engineering skills as they build Spy

If your child still wants the Camp Invention experience, but has completed 6th grade, he or she can participate in our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program! Those entering the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades can join our CIT program, where they’ll gain real world experience on how to be a positive mentor and coach. Camp Invention locations are nationwide, including many throughout the Saratoga region. Register on or before March 20, 2017 using promo code Innovate25 to receive $25 off the base price. Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit www. or call 800-968-4332 to secure your child’s spot today!


Greenfield Elementary School (518) 428-2267

TOWN OF GREENFIELD SUMMER RECREATION PROGRAM Program Information for 2017 Dates: Wed. June 28th – Fri. July 28th Times: 9:00 to 12:00 Monday through Friday (except extended trips) Location: Greenfield Elementary School Cost: $30 for Town Residents Camp Phone: (518) 428-2267 $100 for Non-Residents $5 t-shirt fee Optional field trip fees SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE OPTIONAL FIELD TRIPS Guptills Arena: July 5 (9:30-2:00) Bowling (Grps 1 & 2): July 14 (9:30-12:00) Via Aquarium (Grps 3&4): July 14 (9:30-12:00) County Fair: July 19 (9:15- 3:00) Bowling (Grps 3 & 4): July 21 (9:30-12:00) Via Aquarium (Grps 1&2): July 21 (9:30-12:00) Liberty Ridge: July 26 (9:15-3:00) Youth Day: July 28 (9:00-12:00)


• Ages: 5 through 14 – Children must have completed Kindergarten • Organization: Our program is organized into four smaller groups by grade level. • Group I is for grades 1 & 2 • Group II is for grades 3 & 4 • Group III is for grades 5 & 6 • Group IV is for grades 7 (to age 14) • 15 year olds can apply to be CIT’s • Games, organized activities and arts and crafts are scheduled in these groups. Registration The following forms and fees need to be turned in to the Town Hall by 6/23/17: • Registration Form and Fees (non-refundable). Late registration allowed excluding field trips • Insurance/Emergency Information Form • Immunization Record (obtained from physician). We do not have access to school records. Previous campers need new immunization record • Field Trip Permission/Waiver Form and Fees No field trip registration after 6/23/17 FORMS ARE AVAILABLE AT www. and at the Town Hall


Flowers Great Balls of...


s Spring break approached, I searched for good garden-related activities to do with my eight-year old son.

“What makes plants interesting and maybe even exciting?” I wondered. Reading “Plants Can’t Sit Still” by Rebecca E. Hirsh. Planting Venus flytrap seeds were already on the agenda. Like many boys, he’s a fan of throwing things and seeing what kind of reaction

will result, so when I found a local artist, (Martha Starke, the Saratoga Springs gardener in this issue’s Artist Spotlight) was making seed bombs, I knew they were going to make it onto the to-do list! I first came across seed bombs - essentially pre-planted seed balls - years ago when they were being used by Guerilla gardeners determined to beautify vacant plots, but have since learned that they’ve been around since the times of the early Egyptians.

These green grenades can be catapulted in great renegade floral attacks, and open the door to bigger conversations about ecology and art. My son also enjoys playing as the Fireflower hero in Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, which makes Starke’s fanciful Petal People easy for him to relate to. Coincidence and good timing constantly reveal the fantastic possibilities surrounding us, and this Spring, we’re experiencing that by chucking some bombs and watching the flowers that sprout up in their wake.





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