Simply Saratoga Holiday

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The Holiday Edition

Covering Saratoga County

Compliments of

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Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty General Manager Robin Mitchell Production Director Richard Hale

Advertising Chris Bushee, Jim Daley, Cindy Durfey Graphic Designers Eric Havens, Jessica Kane Writers Chelsea DiSchiano Helen Susan Edelman Arthur Gonick Meghan Lemery Trina Lucas Andrew Marshall Hollis Palmer

Photographers StockStudios

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 (c) 2012, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

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Simply Saratoga


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Contents r November / December 2012

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Recipes

Holiday Fashion Photos

Holiday Save the Date

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The Story Behind Saratoga’s Santa


Holiday Gift Guide


Holiday Recipes


The Alpine Sport Shop: Saratoga’s Original Ski Shop


Holiday Fashion Photos


Home Made Theater


Olde Bryan Inn: The Go-To Place for Relaxed Dining


Tom Roohan—Rainmaker


The Bracketts


Orange Bikini’s, Night Vision Goggles and Smelling Salts, OH MY!


Dave Dowling: Every Word Counts


Holiday Save the Date


Climbing to New Heights


The lovely display on this month’s front cover could not have been possible without the help of some great local people. We’d like to thank the Flaherty family of Saratoga Springs for the use of their door, Dehn’s Flowers for the beautifully crafted snowman wreath and the Alpine Sport Shop for the snowman’s winter apparel. Cover photo by StockStudios.

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The Story Behind Saratoga’s Santa Story by Chelsea DiSchiano Photos provided Santa Claus’s home looks just how one would imagine it: A quaint little home filled with Christmas trinkets, toy elves and, of course, Santa’s workshop. It just so happens that Santa lives in a home only blocks away from the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs. Sitting behind his large wooden desk, Fred Clark is the perfect picture of an off-duty Santa Claus. Wearing his usual red suspenders with “I Love Saratoga” inscribed on them, he sits back in his chair with his baby granddaughter

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resting on his hip, and his long, curly white beard and sparkling eyes perfectly encompass the universal image of what Santa Claus should look like. Plenty of people dress up as Santa Claus during the holiday season year after year, making appearances in malls as children line up for hours waiting to tell St. Nick their Christmas wishes. The difference between those Santas and the Saratoga Santa is that he plays the part every day of his life, no matter what the season.

Clark first got involved in the Santa role when his wife, Carol, encouraged him to play Santa at the Hewitt Garden Center in 1998. “I had a fake beard back then,” Clark joked. Before resembling Santa Claus, Clark was told by friends and coworkers that he looked just like country singer Kenny Rogers—before the plastic surgery, Clark said. continued on page 24

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Clark is somewhat of a celebrity in the little town of Saratoga Springs, known for his red PT Cruiser with a license plate reading “HoHoHoMC” and wearing red suspenders daily. Saratoga Winery even created a red wine for the holidays that pictures Clark’s face on every bottle, and his appearances at the Saratoga Racetrack in the summertime always intrigue children who are stunned to see Santa Claus in their very own town. “Some kids are pretty shocked when they see me,” Clark said. “Their wheels are always turning—some kids will ask me outright, ‘Why are you here?’ and I tell them, ‘Santa loves to come to Saratoga because he likes to watch the horses run. This is where I vacation.’ Sometimes if they’re really sharp, they’ll ask me where I live, and so I tell them we own a little house here in Saratoga because we come visit so much.” Clark said that each summer, he

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brings a red and white lawn chair that says “Santa” on the back of it to the racetrack so he can provide more opportunities for the kids to take pictures with him, though he doesn’t wear the full Santa suit—just shorts and his “I Love Saratoga” suspenders. He also hands out business cards for the children that read “You have just met the real Santa.” Clark is already planning ahead for his appearances at the track next season. “Next year, the racetrack will be celebrating its 150 year anniversary, and my wheels are always spinning,” Clark said. “So I’m trying to offer an idea to the track, I was thinking they could have a little tent set up outside for me and I could take pictures with the children for $5 and the track could donate the money to the Jockeys’ Guild, or something like that.” Clark had to work several different

jobs before finding his true calling as Santa Claus. His jobs over the years included being a police officer, a barber, and a prison guard and correction officer before becoming a custodian in Saratoga Springs schools for 31 years. Clark worked in the school district until his retirement in 2004. Now that he is working as Santa, Clark makes appearances for paid gigs, as well as doing plenty of charity work, volunteering in places such as hospitals, schools and nursing homes. His experiences have brought him both happy and sad experiences with children. “There was one little boy in the hospital who had two brain tumor operations,” Clark remembered. “I visited him, and he loved Santa. But he died about four days before Christmas that year.” Clark also told a story about a young boy whose only Christmas wish was for his parents to get back together.

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Though there are plenty of sad or bittersweet stories, being Santa has also provided Clark with funny stories and experiences. “When I worked at Maple Avenue, there was a kid who had Down syndrome and he was my little buddy,” Clark said, smiling. “During Christmas I would wear my ho-ho-ho suspenders, and he would see me in the hall

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and grab his belly and yell out “Ho, ho, ho,” Clark laughed. “I loved that kid.” Clark even gets noticed when he is out to eat with his family. Once, after eating at a restaurant with his wife, he got a funny note on the back of his check: “Dear Santa, I want a shiny red car like yours for Christmas,” his waitress wrote. “It’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Wherever we go, people want to take pictures with us,” Clark said. “It’s not just when Christmas season rolls around—I do Santa every day of my life.” Clark added that he was recently in Connecticut with his wife when an older woman saw him and asked him if he plays Santa. “I don’t play Santa, honey,” he told her. “I am Santa.” •

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Your Holiday


Vintage Golf Club Bottle Openers


For the perfect, unique gift, try these Authentic Vintage Golf Club Bottle Openers. ($65 - $75) Available at: Homessence 439 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-306-6445

Frenza Votive Holder “Maitre-De” Wine & Beverage Center

Keep your favorite wines cooled and on hand this Holiday season with this convenient digital LED, temperature controlled wine showcase. Stainless Steel design/holds up to 6 bottles. Earl B. Feiden Inc. 785 New Loudon Rd, Latham NY, 12110 518-785-8555

Signature Melomel Wines Spice up your Holidays with one of our Signature Melomel Wines along with other unique gifts for everyone on your list! Saratoga Winery 426 Rt. 29 W. Saratoga Springs NY 12866 518-584-WINE     16 Simply Saratoga

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Light up any room this holiday season with a spectacular Firenza votive holder. Makes a great center piece…and a great gift. $48 all included Available at: Next Summer 516 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-886-8212

Unique Glass Decanters

Store your favorite beverages in style! Beautiful and unique Wine and Liquor decanters starting at $99. 23rd and Fourth, One Franklin Square Saratoga Springs NY, 12866 518-584-3700.

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Your Holiday



Chair and Ottoman “Bear After the Honey” Lamp Let light into your holidays with this rustic themed lamp. Available at: Furniture Theatre 2789 Rt. 9, Malta NY 12020 - 518-587-9420

Add comfort & style for the Holidays! Our Best selling Chair & Ottoman available in over 300 different fabrics. Only at Saratoga Signature Interiors, 82 Church St., Saratoga Springs NY, 12866 Heirloom Quality 518-581-0023 BEATRIZ BALL handmade metal ware makes the perfect serving ware for that special holiday party. And the best part… it will not tarnish or lose its shine! Available at: Compliments to the Chef 488 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 - 518-226-4477

Amish Leather Rocker

Handmade Leather rocker with Secretary Desk. Available in multiple woods and finishes. Available at: The Furniture House 1254 Rt. 9P Saratoga Springs NY 12866 - 518-587-9455

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Your Holiday



Blessed Birth Pitcher Hand Painted Raised Ceramic Pitcher expresses the true meaning of Christmas. One of two designs available from a whole line of The Art of Him giftware collection. The Giver of Life Gift Shoppe 658 Rt. 9 Gansevoort NY 12831 518-583-3323

Saratoga - The places and Its People

One of the Many beautiful books on Saratoga Springs history available at: Lyrical Ballad Bookstore 7 Phila Street Saratoga Springs NY 12866 518-584-8779

Boxwood Trees

Good things come in small packages! Each one is unique - available all season - long lasting, perfect for small places - stop in to view all our designs - each one is hand made. Available at: Dehn’s Flowers and Gifts 178 Beekman St. Saratoga Springs NY 12866 518-584-1880

Amish made rocking motorcycle

Made of solid oak with faux leather seat. Guaranteed to bring joy to little cyclists! $199.95 More genuine Amish made toys and furniture available at: The Wood Carte, Rt 9 Queensbury NY or visit

Votive Candles on a Rope

Nine different aromas and an assortment of colors available only at: Crafters Gallery 427 Broadway Saratoga Springs NY 12866 518-583-2435

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Your Holiday



Equestrian Pendant & Pin

Jewelry artist Dennis deJonghe has added this new pendant and pin to his “Equestrian Collection� to honor the Saratoga racetrack in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver. Exclusively available at deJonghe Jewelry, 470 Broadway, Saratoga Springs NY 518-587-6422

Bangle Bracelets

Gold Cup Bangles, Belmonte Bracelet Collection, Derby Bracelet Collection & Bit Bangles. Prices range between $25-$35 Available at: Impressions of Saratoga 368 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-587-0666

Tacori Jewelry

A bold fusion of sophisticated, edgy glamour. Available at: N. Fox Jewelers 404 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY - 518 587-7777

Swarovski Crystal & Leather Bracelet

For the perfect addition to almost any holiday outfit try this cuff made with vintage leather and Swarovski crystals by Rebel. $138 Available at: Silverwood 24 Caroline St. Saratoga Springs NY 12866 - 518-583-3600

Moon Boots for Kids!

The Original Moon Boot for Kids - starting at $79.95 Alpine Sport Shop 399 Clinton Street Saratoga Springs, NY 12866(518) 584-6290

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Your Holiday



Radio Flyer My 1St Scooter

(ages 2-5) Other Radio Flyer products available. Allerdice Building Supply –

Essentials Pink Tool Kit

Pink 7-piece Tool Kit with bag Allerdice Building Supply –

Organic Wool Pillow

Breathe easy with our Organic customizable wool pillow. Available at: Green Conscience Home & Garden. 33 Church Street Saratoga Springs. 518-306 5169

Fein Multimaster Start Q Tool Kit

The most important accessories for grinding, sawing and scraping. Allerdice Building Supply –

Clayton Floor Lamp Bronze finish with marble accent. Available at: Wolberg Lighting Design & Electric Supply. 60 West Ave, Saratoga Springs. 518-886-0446     20 Simply Saratoga

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Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast) Donna Talley Serves 8 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 2 cups beef stock (preferably homemade) Salt & pepper 4 pound beef eye of round 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons chopped pancetta 1 finely chopped onion 1 finely chopped carrot 1 finely chopped celery stalk 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary ¼ cup tightly packed chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves (no stems) 3 tablespoons tomato paste 5 cups Italian red wine (I like a nice Montepulciano) 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of hot beef stock until softened, about 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter or sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Trim any hard bits from the mushrooms. Set aside the mushrooms and liquid separately. Season the beef with salt & pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the beef on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the beef to a plate. Pour off browning fat. Add pancetta, onions, carrots and celery,

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stirring, until they are golden (about 10-12 minutes). Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in bay leaves, rosemary, parsley and tomato paste. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half (about 20 minutes). Add the beef, tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, mushroom liquid, and enough beef stock to come ⅔ up the side of the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 2½ to 3 hours, until the meat is tender. Turn the roast every 30 minutes or so. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off any fat from the surface of the liquid. Strain the liquid, pressing on the solids with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the strained sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil and let cook, uncovered, for a few minutes to further reduce and thicken the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slice the roast and serve with the sauce and soft polenta.

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Donna spends the majority of her time as the Regional Editor for Better Homes and Gardens, but she’s also an avid home cook, and shares this internationally inspired recipe for your holiday meal. “I first had this dish on a birthday trip to Florence, Italy. I was at this great hole-in-the-wall restaurant near the central market called Mario’s. I went there because they were known for their osso buco. They happened to be out of that particular dish that day, but they recommended their special of the day, which was the stracotto di manzo. It was absolutely incredible served over polenta and I decided I needed to recreate it. I tried different variations and it took about four different tries and this is a very, very close recipe to what I had while in Florence.”

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Poached Pears with Risotto Mark Bolles Serves 8 Poaching the pears: 2 quarts water 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon pickling spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth wrap 1 cup white wine (sweet variety not dry) 2 clementines 4 bosc pears, peeled and cored Pour water into a saucepot with pickling spice and clementines, halved and squeezed. Bring to a gentle boil, add pears and simmer for ½ hour then set aside. Risotto: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ⅓ cup finely diced carrot ⅓ cup finely diced celery ¼ cup finely chopped shallot ½ cup crushed walnuts ½ teaspoon salt 1½ cups risotto ½ cup zante currants 8 tablespoons bleu cheese (at finish) 1 apple sliced thinly (for garnish) Cooking liquid from poached pears, reserve 1 cup In a saucepot gently sautee in oil carrots, celery and shallot and nuts. When the veggies are soft add risotto to the mix, stirring gently until the risotto becomes translucent on the edged. Add 3 cups of pear liquid and gently simmer the risotto uncovered stirring occasionally. As the liquid is

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absorbed by the rice add more pear stock to the rice still stirring occasionally. The trick here is to stir often enough so the sticky rice does not burn but not to over mix so it looks like oatmeal while adding stock in ½ cup increments until the risotto is cooked. Also tricky is the gauging the amount of cooking liquid required. Risotto is a very thirsty grain and will absorb a lot. Add the currants about half way through the cooking process. Sample during the cooking process. You know it is done when the grain is soft with a bit of give. The cooking process should take about 45 min. and should be served within 15 minutes of completion. Sauce: 2 cups red wine (cabernet or zinfandel work fine) 1 cup pear liquid 1 tablespoon honey Zest and juice from 1 clementine Combine the ingredients in a sauce pot on medium heat and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Warm pears just prior to service and place a pear half onto the plate. Spoon risotto onto the pear allowing to spill over on one side. Pour the sauce around the edges. Top with 1 Tbs. bleu cheese and garnish with fresh apple.

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While you may know Mark better for his photography, he offers this tasty vegetarian-friendly dish as a reflection of another passion, cooking. “While transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, I was concerned that the home menu would become boring and bland – quite the contrary. The new culinary discipline inspired diversity in meal planning and expanded the flavor palate. New ideas are always happening. This recipe is a unique preparation from the most versatile of the short grains, risotto.”

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Holiday Blondies Jenn Savino 9 tablespoons (1⅛ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan (recommend Cabot) 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour (recommend King Arthur) 1 teaspoon baking powder ¾ teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup packed light-brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¾ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries (4 ounces) ¾ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (3¼ ounces) ¼ cup coarsely chopped candied ginger (1¼ ounces) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8x8 non stick pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl then set aside. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low, mix in flour mixture until combined. Mix in cranberries, pistachios, and candied ginger. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester (toothpick or butter knife) inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack then cut into squares and enjoy!

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Jenn balances her professional life with her popular web series – Bite Me! - and an accompanying food blog. She shares this easy-to-make Holiday Blondies recipe to bring to any festive occasion. “I like to make these for Christmas every year, since the cranberries add a little red and the pistachios add a little bit of green. The ginger also brings out a real nice flavor to encompass all the elements of the holiday. This is great for any level home cook. I had my own gormet cookie business for a few years, but now I focus on my writing and try to promote local businesses whenever I can.”

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Creamy Peppermint Patties Beth Walsh Beth Normandin These for those that want a little sweetness after a meal without having a full serving. 1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 9 cups of confectioners’ sugar ¾ cup milk chocolate chips ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips 3 tablespoons shortening In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and extract until smooth (with a fork). Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten into patties. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. In a microwave, melt chips and shortening, stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Dip patties in melted chocolate , place on waxed paper until firm. Store in the refrigerator. Yields 4 to 5 dozen.

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Beth Walsh knows no meal is complete without a little something sweet at the end. These were created for those who want a little treat after dinner, but maybe not a whole serving. “It’s a quick, easy recipe that doesn’t force you to spend all day in the kitchen. Mom’s these days don’t have time to do that anymore. My family loves them. Instead of having a big piece of pie or something similar after dinner, they’ll have some of these peppermint patties. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make it. The batter might take 10 minutes and after they cool for about an hour in the fridge before dipping them in chocolate. I make them for the holidays every year – it’s a staple in our home.”

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Saratoga’s Original Story by Andrew Marshall Photos by of If you’ve ever decided to venture down Clinton Street, beyond the Skidmore College campus and into the town of Greenfield, you’re likely to have encountered the Bavarian-style building identifying itself as the Alpine Sport Shop. Then again, if you’re a locallybased skier, you’re likely to know all about the Alpine Sport Shop. Cathy Hay is a second-generation owner and operator of the store, which has been her family’s business for 46 years. The store itself was opened in 1941, meaning Alpine Sport Shop has been serving local skiers for over 70 years.

Ski Shop

“My parents bought this store from Ed and Jo Taylor in 1966,” said Cathy. “At that time, the business was a rented store front on Spring Street near the old Skidmore campus. In 1968, the campus was in the process of moving over where it is now, and at that time the store was a big campus shop for ladies’ clothing. So my father decided to buy the property here and he designed and built this store.” The old Spring Street store actually sold women’s apparel on one floor with ski equipment inhabiting a second floor. The store would gradually shift away from primarily selling apparel to skis

after opening their new shop in 1969. Cathy’s father, the late Thurlow Woodcock, designed and built the store himself. Its unique appearance is in homage to the ski chalets of Austria, one of the world’s premier ski destinations. Skiing was a pastime of Thurlow’s, which he naturally passed on to his children as they grew up. “My dad got us into skiing. I have two older sisters and I was actually four-yearsold when I started skiing,” said Cathy. Skiing also happens to be how Cathy met her husband, Jack Hay, who along with their daughter, Julia Lee, makes up

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the core of the store’s current staff. Jack and Cathy were married in 1971. “We were in high school when we met on the ski team. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have met him if he was just another guy in the high school, because he was a year older. We had our own groups of friends. We met on ski team and became friends. He grew up in Saranac Lake an avid skier.” For a family so intrinsically linked to skiing, that knowledge carries over when it comes to their retail business. In an age where online supersites and big box sporting goods stores are fighting for your attention as well as your business, the Alpine Sport Shop remains unchallenged in providing quality service with a personal touch. “I think the customer service you get here sets us apart,” said Lee. “We’re entirely committed to making sure everyone has a good experience and feels welcome enough to come back.

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We’ve got so many families who have shopped with us over the years and I think anyone who comes in would have a great experience, even if they don’t find anything they want just based on the service they’d receive. We’re really committed to being both honest and thorough about what we do and we’re all really into what we do. That passion translates into the service we provide.” The first face you’re likely to encounter upon arriving is that of the store’s resident mascot, a Golden Retriever named Gilda. The store has a warm, rustic feel to it which is offset by the racks of this season’s latest ski apparel and cutting edge equipment. The shop offers equipment for both skiers and snowboarders, though they didn’t always mix the two clientele bases. “The building that’s outside used to be our snowboard shop because the snowboarders didn’t want to be associated with the skiers,” said Lee. “That

got to the point where that wasn’t really necessary anymore so we moved the snowboard shop back inside the main store about fifteen years ago.” The emergence of snowboarding as a winter sports alternative to downhill skiing would lead to a chance encounter with a pioneer of the snowboarding world who, at the time, was just trying to get by selling boards. “When snowboarding got popular in the late eighties, Jake Burton Carpenter arrived in our parking lot one summer in an old beat up station wagon and Jack and my father were out working in the yard and he wanted to know if they wanted to buy some snowboards.” Cathy remembers meeting Carpenter, a Vermont native who found work like so many others at Saratoga Race Course during the summer meet. “He used to work at the track in the summer as a young guy and went out on a limb trying to take snowboarding to the next

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The exterior of The Alpine Sport Shop was built to resemble a traditional Bavarian ski chalet.

level,” remembers Cathy. “It was about two or three years later that we started selling snowboards.” Burton would eventually grow to unimaginable heights and is considered one of, if not the biggest snowboard companies in the entire world. The Alpine Sport Shop keeps up with the current trends in both skiing and snowboarding, which Cathy says has changed quite dramatically over the years. “There’s quite a variety, you don’t just walk in and get a pair of skis and bindings. You have a lot of options. It’s really that the physics of skiing has evolved to become even easier. There’s integrated binding systems on a lot of skis. Some are flat with no binding on them and some are made with the binding already there.” The not only offers apparel and equipment, but services such as ski tuning and custom boot fitting. Cathy estimates they took in over 300 pairs of skis for their August tuning sale alone.     34 Simply Saratoga

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They offer clothing not just for carving down the mountain, but also for simply dealing with the brutal cold and snow of northeastern winters. “People think of us as just a ski shop, but we really offer a lot of things for non-skiers too,” adds Lee. This holiday season, Alpine Ski Shop has everything you might be looking for, and even some things you might not know you’re looking for until you realize they carry it. GoPro cameras, which are a hot commodity for the avid skier/amateur filmmaker crowd, were one of their most popular items last year. If you’ve ever been skiing and wished you could film your run, but can’t afford to have a camera crew follow you in a helicopter, a GoPro might be your next best option. “The GoPro cameras that people can wear on their helmets or on their chest are pretty big deals. Every one we ordered last year sold. Those will

be coming in again. You can even wear them underwater. It’s really trendy right now but also incredibly useful.” When they’re not running the shop, the staff at Alpine have been organizing ski trips to some of the Northeast’s finest mountains including Okemo, Gore and Stratton. One of their most popular trips is called “Chicks on Sticks,” which doubles as an all-female bus trip to Bromley Mountain and as a way to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research. While the store’s outward appearance itself is a unique feature that is sure to draw attention, the staff backs it up with the knowledge and passion that you could only get from a locallyowned and operated business. When considering a place to look for ski and snowboard equipment or general winter time apparel, just remember that the Alpine Sport Shop takes winter time fun as seriously as you do. •

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Fashion: aratoga tyle

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Light up any room this holiday with all the colors of the season. Available at:

Yellow Boutique 491 Broadway, Saratoga Springs (518) 581-1700

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Theia Couture Holiday Collection Designer, Don O’Neill Available at:

Saratoga Trunk 493 Broadway Saratoga Springs (518) 584-3543

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For the perfect Holiday outfit, including this Velvet Lulu Dress by For Love & Lemons, come and shop at:


454 Broadway Saratoga Springs (518) 587-7890

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Violet’s and Stella’s of Saratoga will help you look stunning this holiday season. Elegant and comfortable, Chantal is wearing a lovely stretch sequin tank dress by Velvet. A classic style with a smooth lining helps create the perfect feminine silhouette. Ruby patentleather pumps by Vince Camuto have a small platform to add height and beautiful lines while easy to wear and dance in. You’ll look smoking hot and glamorous wrapped in a rich faux mink jacket by Velvet. Handmade earrings by Jeweliany sparkle in smoky topaz and silver, yet come in an assortment of jewel tones to match any festive mood. Available at:

Violet’s and Stella’s 494 Broadway Saratoga Springs (518) 584-4838

Photo provided by Niki Rossi

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When you sparkle, you sparkle inside and out. Tasha Polizzi helps you shine in this gorgeous chamois and beaded top. Wear it now for the upcoming holidays with your velvet skirt and belt, then turn around and rock it with your favorite pair of jeans. Either way... be gorgeous...and “shine�! Happy Holidays! Available at:

Spoken Boutique 27 Church Street Saratoga Springs (518) 587-2772

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Home Made Theater 27 years of reasons to be thankful! Story by Arthur Gonick Photos by StockStudios as credited, others provided Home Made Theater (HMT) is in the midst of its 27th season, which means that it has long been one of those entities that contribute to the unique quality of cultural life in Saratoga Springs. It is one of those local institutions that completely outstrip our market size; that much larger communities drool over with envy. Yet our blessing that HMT is but one of many such entities means that

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it often gets taken for granted—at least a little. Make a mental list of unique Saratoga institutions—a top 10 if you will. Maybe HMT makes it, maybe not. With Saratoga Race Course, SPAC, Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Museum of Dance and festivals like Hats Off, it’s a crowded field competing for our attention. In fact, I’ll admit it. This story could, and should have been, written

years ago. As Entertainment Editor at Saratoga TODAY I have been pleased to chronicle HMT’s silver (25th) anniversary activities and it could have been done then. People like round numbers and big anniversaries. We don’t even assign a gem to a 27th anniversary. Well, there’s no need to wait to get to pearl (30). continued on page 45

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Home Made Theater founders Jonathan Foster, left, and Susan Miller, above.

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Perhaps we chose 27 because it’s an everyday number—one that represents the fact that HMT has risen to the ranks of a cornerstone, a building block of cultural life that provides programming, enjoyment and gives back to the community through its youth programming and in so many other ways. Maybe, it’s something else. I started thinking about this assignment and the number 27 when I was having dinner with friends recently at a music venue in a town with a historic downtown similar to Saratoga Springs called Franklin, Tennessee. I was walking through the place, checking out the playbills on the walls, when I saw it. It was a black and white poster with the title, “Forever 27.” Perhaps you’ve seen it. It shows the faces of music idols that passed on prematurely, all at age 27. Some of them are so iconic even today that only their first names are necessary: Jimi and Janis for instance. There’s also Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones. Also for historians, you can include bluesman Robert Johnson, and of course, the recently passed Amy Winehouse. All gone; and all gone too soon. Then I thought about Jonathan Foster. A founding member of HMT and a man who some of you know, but definitely one that all of you should. Jonathan is another who died too soon—at age 38 exactly, but that’s beside the point. It is no stretch to say that without Jonathan Foster there would be no HMT, and yet he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. Google his name and you’ll find a short obituary from the Schenectady Gazette, but that’s about it. I realized that this is the story. There’s no reason to wait another 11 years until the numbers align to tell it. You cannot tell the story of HMT without telling the Jonathan Foster story—for he is the one

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who assured early on that Home Made Theater would today be celebrated as an institution that we regard as ‘forever’ in this region—at age 27. * * * * I have to start by admitting that I never had the privilege of meeting Jonathan Foster. My knowledge stems solely from the experiences that his colleagues, protégés and friends have graciously shared. I first heard his name from a talented, accomplished actress/director

(and now writer and producer) named Eva Dolan when I was first getting to know her about a dozen years ago. “I moved back to Saratoga, my hometown, in 1984 from Boston, where I had been doing a lot of theatre,” said Dolan. “My husband and I bought a house locally, and at that time there was no theater to speak of in town. I did television and some film work, but really felt a loss at not being able to do theater.” “I heard about this fellow named

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Home Made Theater’s production of the rock musical Hair. Photo courtesy of StockStudios.

Jonathan Foster who had just come to town and was forming a theater company at Caffé Lena. But I didn’t have very high hopes, having been working professionally in Boston,” Eva said. “Well, one night as I was tending bar at the beautiful Adelphi hotel, Jonathan walked in. I knew instantly after talking with him, just one time on this very quiet night, that I was meant to work with him. Jonathan and I both knew we were meant to be. It was not a romantic relationship, but he changed my world. When I would get to the theatre each night for rehearsal or performance, on each dressing table would be pages of wonderful notes. I     46 Simply Saratoga

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had been an actress before but it was Jonathan who allowed me to excel,” said Dolan. “He was a demanding director and I was devoted to him and to fulfilling his vision. After years of working with him, he didn’t write me the long notes. He could just say one word and my entire performance would be enhanced and strengthened. Jonathan had been married in his younger days but never had any children, something he regretted. So, when Jonathan was terribly sick, I held a christening for my little son, Joe, and named Jonathan his Godfather. It made him so happy. That was the last time I saw him,” Eva noted.

“We were so very close. He was my Svengali and my dear, sweet friend. The things he taught me I am passing down as I have been writing my latest play (‘Gutmusik’). “He was brilliant and volatile and I will always keep his memory alive and help preserve his legacy.” Dolan continued. Dolan was there at the beginning of HMT. Susan Miller was there before the beginning, meeting with Jonathan at an apartment with a few other people. It was there that Jonathan laid out his vision for a Saratoga theater company. Susan, a local teacher, immediately bought in and brought the

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complimentary expertise to make a vision become reality. As Founding General Manager, Susan was the business side “yang” to Jonathan’s artistic “yin.” “There’s nobody that Jonathan could not direct and get more from,” Susan recalls, “from the novice to the credentialed. He had the gift of envisioning and communicating that vision. This extended to all areas of the performance, not just the actors. He was a productive mentor to lighting people; set designers, anything inside the theater. And nothing on the business side.” she notes, laughing. “I remember that after our first production (‘Wait Until Dark’ in 1985) we faced the big ‘now what?’ question. The answer clearly was “one more time” obviously, but we needed to think long-term. The first production was in the Caffé’s 55-seat black box theater, and to bring about what Jonathan wanted to do, that wasn’t even close to the capacity we needed.” Home Made Theater was nomadic in its first year as it searched for a home. But it managed to put together three productions during its first calendar year—quite an achievement for a fledgling company. They rented space in the Elks Club on Woodlawn from Michael Steele for HMT’s third offering- ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ’ in April, 1986 “It was during ‘Cat’ that it hit me,” Susan said, “We can make this work.” During ‘Cat’ that moment of clarity led the young thespians to reach out to Herb Chesbrough, Executive Director at SPAC while at the top of his game. “He came to see us perform.” Susan said. “This was a major deal.” Even more major, he offered to help—and at the time, an offer like that had megaweight behind it. In short order, negotiations with the NY State Parks Department led to a one-year lease at HMT’s current home, the 496-seat Spa Little Theater.

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Home Made Theater’s production of 9 to 5: The Musical. Photo courtesy of StockStudios.

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This was followed by a three-year, and then a series of five-year leases. Susan left the HMT team after 10 years, in 1995, just after Jonathan Foster died. Connection? “Some,” Susan said, “but mostly it was just time.” But one year ago, the lure of HMT was irresistible yet again. Now retired from teaching, she has been the box office manager, and is delighted to be “home” again. So is Jonathan Hefter, who is back in Saratoga where he lived from age six through his college years. Hefter first acted at HMT as a 15year old in “On Golden Pond” in 1987, where he first met Jonathan Foster. “I remember thinking—these are the pros,” he said. More to the point, as the only teen in the production’s adult cast. “Jonathan was one of the first adults who ever treated me as a peer. As the only youth in the cast or crew, I was fortunate to be surrounded by

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generous, talented colleagues who encouraged me to share my voice, literally—on stage and off.” “This (HMT) is why I moved to New York City, and why I came back,” Hefter said. “Jonathan modeled that culture of respect, kindness, and the responsibilities of choosing a professional path with a craft you love. He saw potential, and knew how to nurture it. He invited me to be my best, and held me accountable when I shrank back. He was one of the first to encourage me to pack my bags and give acting a shot in New York. I have fond memories of him, and am delighted to be back at HMT.” Since returning, Jonathan Hefter has acted in two HMT productions (Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ and Neil Simon’s ‘Rumours’) and joined the HMT Board of Directors last May. He is also a member of HMT’s Artistic Advisory

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Jonathan Whitton, right, starring in Home Made Theater’s production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, February 2005.

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Board, and plans to audition for “The 39 Steps,” which will be at the Spa Little Theater in February 2013. (I like his chances.) Building a legacy means affecting lives of people you never met. In the case of Jonathan Foster’s spirit, one relevant example but is Dawn Oesch— mega-marketer, businessperson and actress. She just recently performed in HMT’s production of ‘9 to 5’ and is responsible for the awesome promo video, which is a riff from the famous Saratoga ‘lip dub’ video. “[HMT] is my favorite place to work,” Dawn said. “It’s the whole atmosphere starting with the drive down the Avenue of the Pines, the Spa Little Theater, the space, the history and the people.” “I check their calendar before I plan anything else,” she said. Which

is saying something, considering that she runs The Candy Co. on Washington Street, and is a founding member of the Local Actors Guild. The two companies have a collegial relationship, borrowing props from each other among other favors. “I never knew Jonathan Foster, but it is impossible to not feel his spirit and see his influence from the first contact I had with HMT.” Dawn said. “Even though we never met, I feel that he is responsible for a lot of what I do today.” So does Jonathan Whitton. He comes from a slightly different direction, though. Whitton is a South Carolina native and member Skidmore, class of 2002. He is also a New York City Resident, where he hosts his own cabaret series at a great club called “Don’t Tell Mama,” and is coming back to HMT to

perform next month as the elf in David Sedaris’ ‘The Santaland Diaries’: “I got involved with HMT after Skidmore when Professor Alma Becker recommended me to Stacie and it was ‘bang zoom!’ I was struck by sense of community and the chance to do some fantastic projects that couldn’t be produced anywhere in the region,” he said. Dawn and Whitton are stars, plain and simple. They are representative, yet by no means exhaustive, of the quality HMT is putting out now. The current iteration of excellence built on a foundation 27 years ago: “I never met Jonathan Foster,” Whitton says. “It’s interesting that one of the founders shares my name.” But the actor/director/choreographer is seen as more than that by people in a position to know. “After we did ‘A Man of No Importance,’ the best comment I

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received is that ‘It was the kind of work Jonathan Foster would have done.” “Oh, yes, when Jonathan Whitton came to us, we all knew he had the touch… he had that it factor,” Stacie Mayette Barnes said. Stacie Mayette Barnes was there since day one. From Stacie descends several levels of absolute genius, but my favorite is her ability to push others to the forefront. She, like Susan Miller, has probably hundreds of Jonathan Foster stories, but Stacie’s role today is to pull it together deftly. “I was stage manager for ‘Wait Until Dark’, our very first production,” Stacie says, “You know, in most shows, once it starts the director is pretty much done. Not Jonathan; he had too much energy, always pacing, popping into the tiny booth at Caffé Lena.” Think expectant father back in the day, complete with smoking in the waiting room (outside in this case). “I had to good-naturedly chase him out with this hammer I had, but it never lasted long,” she laughs. “Jonathan passed on June 12, which happens to be Anne Frank’s birthday.” Stacie said. “We had already planned to produce ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’ It was the first production of our 1995-1996 season, and the first without him.” Except they never were without him. I believe the point to all this is that a life well lived can be of any length. Gone at 38, Jonathan Foster’s impact has certainly out lived his temporal existence. By focusing on excellence, he built a lasting institution that we all enjoy. It was a life well lived. You now know one man’s story. Arthur Gonick is a contributing writer to Simply Saratoga Magazine. He currently makes his home and lives large in Nashville, Tennessee. •

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Olde Bryan Inn:

The Go-To Place for Relaxed Dining Story by Helen Susan Edelman Photos by StockStudios The Olde Bryan Inn is so well loved lively—we don’t always agree, and it whether the O.B.I. is really hauntby Saratogians, so familiar in our af- can get animated (but always respect- ed—a legend that is part of its charm. fection, that it has a nickname—“The ful). Between appetizers and entrée, The Olde Bryan Inn building on O.B.I.”—as in, “Meet you at the corner of Maple Avenue the O.B.I. for dinner…” The and Rock Street has been a restaurant has been a consisfixture in one form or anothtent favorite and a long-time er on the bluff overlooking best friend for the three dethe High Rock Spring since cades it has been open on the 1773. Originally a crude log edge of the walkable downcabin owned for a year by town of Saratoga Springs. Dirck Schoughten, of WaterThe O.B.I. has developed a ford, it passed in 1774 to the welcoming personality: relihands of John Arnold, who able, good-humored, a playoperated it as an inn for visier in important life occasions tors to the spring. In 1777, and always happy to see you Sam Norton purchased the for a meal. It’s where I graviproperty, but fled during tate to make a memory, like the Revolutionary War; his after my son’s graduation son returned and successfrom high school—“Let’s fully operated the inn for 10 have lunch at the O.B.I.,” I reyears. In 1787, Norton sold member saying to Jacob that the establishment to Gilbert morning. “Yes, yes!” he said. Morgan who, in turn, sold it And whenever I go in there, I to Revolutionary War hero relive that wonderful day. Alexander Bryan, who purThis crispy night, I am chased it to operate in his reLeft to right: Jason Lynch, Jamie Hamm, and John Capelli cozy in a booth with Simtirement. In 1825, John Bryply Saratoga publisher Chad an built a stone house on the Beatty and his effervescent site of his father’s tavern and wife, Kim. We dine together every we have taken on some big topics: it remained a single-family residence in eight weeks or so to check out a res- fundraising, complicated relation- the Bryan family until the 1900s. taurant and our conversation waxes ships, loyalty, faith and, inevitably, continued on page 55

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In 1925, the home was purchased by the LaMountain family. A brick addition was added and the famous Burnham’s hand laundry was founded and operated there until 1954. In 1954, the Veitch family bought the home and lived in it until 1979, when Dave Powers and Joe Wilkinson purchased it with the intent of restoring it to the old inn. In 1981, restaurateur and civic leader Steve Sullivan, a Skidmore graduate, joined Powers and Wilkinson and together they established the iconic Olde Bryan Inn. (For details on the fascinating history of the building, visit—click ‘restaurant’ and then ‘history.’ It provides context for the dining experience.) A landmark as well as an eatery, there is nothing quite like the present building—a very expanded log cabin

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wrapped in stone, now with additions to accommodate the many patrons of the restaurant, both locals and tourists who hear about the food, the ambiance and the service and want to try it for themselves. I’ve been eating at the O.B.I. for decades and have noticed that no matter how many are gathered, no matter what the size of the crowd, there is no “feeling crowded”—just surrounded by folks in a good mood made better by good company. From the bar area, to the main dining rooms, to the side rooms, the restaurant offers remarkably versatile seating: spacious sections to accommodate large parties, and booths and tables for small groups and couples. And, very lucky patrons might be placed near the fireplace, a prime location in winter when the crackle of wood and a bowl of soup is pure bliss. The atmosphere is further enhanced by period paintings, candles,

a weathered bar dominating an informal space designed for gathering before a meal or as casual sit-down seating and the pewter mugs on hooks for regulars who recognize each other and share greetings and news. It’s a neighborhood unto itself. Back to the possible haunting: According to a recounting of the history of the building by author David J. Pitkin, in his book “Saratoga County Ghosts,” “Somewhere, in those over two hundred years of history, the building acquired at least one ghost.” The story goes that the apparition of an elderly woman in a high-necked green Victorian gown wanders the building—not a mean and scary ghost, but spectral nonetheless. There are also accounts of water running in an unoccupied lavatory and a colonial soldier on a white horse. Intriguing as these stories are, I

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have to state for the record that dinner with Chad and Kim was without supernatural incident. Well, maybe I should take that back—there was something extraordinary about the experience: the food. We started off with three tiers of appetizers, including fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks in raspberry sauce and spicy chicken bites. I could have eaten those mushrooms all night. I literally willed myself to stop so I would have some to take home. Delectable! The mozzarella was just the right balance of crunchy and melted and the chicken bites definitely had a nip to them. For dinner, Chad and I both had steak, and the more adventurous Kim had chicken cordon bleu. We were all delighted. Mine was Gorgonzola and

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Horseradish Encrusted N.Y. Strip Steak. The hand-cut meat was grilled to a perfect pink, and the topping was mouth-melting. Chad chose Balsamic Blue Filet Mignon rubbed with a roasted garlic and black pepper blend, grilled to his preference, broiler-finished with blue cheese crumbles and garnished with sautéed balsamic Spanish onions. Kim’s Chicken Cordon Bleu featured fresh, twin boneless chicken breasts coated with seasoned flour, pan-seared in garlic butter and white wine with thinly sliced Prosciutto, then topped with Swiss cheese, presented in roasted garlic and black pepper cream sauce. And there were salads and veggies and potatoes—plenty. Life was good. The Olde Bryan Inn appeals to a broad base of diners, with creative

presentations of soups and salads, chicken variations, uncommonly good pasta, generous pork chops (a universally favored choice) and fabulous fish choices…. …and the appetizers! Whether you begin with Coconut Macadamia Mango Shrimp, Alexander Bryan’s Crab & Lobster Cake or Guinness Spiked Onion Rings, you’ve hit the culinary jackpot. I recommend ordering several for the table to share, so that everyone gets a taste of everything. If you’ve come for lunch, there will be some standards, such as the half-pound lean ground beef burger, but a Cran-apple Turkey Panini might be more what you’re looking for—the only way to find out is to try. Dinner is the real wonderland, with a variety of specials, as well as the unfailingly good Triple Citrus Salmon,

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Chicken & Pumpkin Walnut Sauté, Lobster, Crab & Shrimp Portobello, a full selection of steaks, pasta and a fish and chips meal that people report that they crave. If you eat vegetarian or gluten-free, ask about it—the O.B.I. accommodates. Room for dessert? You’ve come to the right place. Chocolate mousse, crème brule, chocolate chip pie, Saratoga cheese cake. Dessert is serious business. It’s a course. It’s a commitment. I want to add that there’s a full bar

and an extensive wine list. If you like to relax with a drink, you’ll like the generosity of the pour. And though this was not a focus of the evening, diners can belong to a rewards club. O.B.I. also caters, and prices are competitive with other fine dining in the city. The O.B.I. is an event—you want to savor, you want to linger. And you want to come back for the mushrooms. There’s another fact that’s important to point out, because it enhances the experience of being a customer—owner

Steve Sullivan is one of the most highly esteemed, generous citizens of Saratoga Springs; he sits on boards, caters charity events and, behind-the-scenes, is an advocate for organizations and efforts that ensure fair and ethical treatment of human beings in the arenas of housing, food and health care. Thank you, Steve, for the opportunity to patronize your restaurant and support your business the way you support the spirit of our community. •

Olde Bryan Inn

123 Maple Avenue, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 518.587.2990 • -Open 7 Days a WeekSunday through Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (bar until 11 p.m.) Friday through Saturday 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (bar until midnight)

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Tom Roohan— Rainmaker Story by Arthur Gonick Photos by StockStudios and provided To be a rainmaker, you have to be in the right place at the right time. But that’s not enough. You have to do the right thing. For generations, in Saratoga Springs, the family name Roohan has been synonymous with doing the right thing. And we all have benefitted from this fact. Tom Roohan runs the show now, but he’d be the first to say that he’s just a link in the chain, part of a continuum that spans back several generations, sideways in each, and most assuredly, even more to come in the future. So to begin, a little history is in order. The first Roohan generation that grew up on U.S. soil was headed by great-grandfather P.F. Roohan, who celebrated 50 years of working at New York Power and Light Company in 1928. “In those days,” Tom Roohan said, “people would have routes, like paper routes, where they lit the gas lights in the neighborhood each night, and extinguished them each morning. The next generation chose the dental profession. Tom’s grandfather was Dr. Leo W. Roohan, Sr., who begot Dr. Leo Jr.; daughter Loretta Roohan Towne, a dental hygienist and John Roohan—Tom’s father, who took it in (several) different directions. Coninued on page 64

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John sold advertising for the Yellow Pages, business equipment and worked for local real estate titans W.J. Grande and Son; acquiring his own broker’s license in 1969, and subsequently founded Roohan Realty later that year. When son J. Thomas “Tom” Roohan was born in 1955, the family lived in Menands and later moved to Loughberry Road, where the Roohan’s had two adjacent houses, each built by Tom Fitzpatrick. Young Tom’s academic resume includes St. Clements grade school and St. Peters Academy high school. How was the town back then? “I thought it was all great,” Tom recalls, “[I] walked to school, [I played] football; I did all the things that young boys do. I had a paper route and even sold eggs to people on my route. They were delivered to me each day- we didn’t have zoning to have chickens in our backyard,” he recalls. Tom

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also mowed lawns for that same W. J. Grande and Sons. Despite how bucolic this sounds, these were not the “Happy Days” of Saratoga Springs. Whatever you think about today’s development scenario, the fact is that by any measure things

were worse—a lot worse. Like, future rust-belt city worse. “I didn’t realize until I got older how much work the ‘elders’ of the city—my dad, the Waits, Grandes and Dakes- had worked to improve things.”

Tom said. John Roohan was part of the select group that sold shares to fund the Holiday Inn, anchoring downtown. Also, John chaired the building committee that was responsible for developing Saratoga Springs’ YMCA, which was first on Broadway (at the site where Park Place Condos now sits) and the revival of Saratoga Springs Catholic Central High School (the former St. Peters Academy). We’re talking fundraising and in several cases, construction. “This was a lot of sacrifice by many good people,” Tom said. This same group that John was a part of voted with their time, effort and wallets to help decide where an entity we enjoy frequently would be located. We call it “Saratoga Performing Arts Center.” John Roohan passed quickly. He was told that he had pancreatic cancer and 60 days to live. He went to Florida

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to tie up affairs there before coming home to Saratoga Springs. He didn’t need to spend his last days preparing his son to take over- that was done a long time ago and Tom was ready. Tom attended Norwich University where he studied civil engineering and went into the construction trade. “In 1981, on a winter Friday, Alan Cruickshank, my boss, did everyone a favor and laid the crew off.” Tom recalled. “The next day, I went to a basketball game with Mom and Dad, where my father asked me to stop by his office because he had something to discuss with me. I was at work at Roohan Realty the next Monday.” Today, Roohan Realty has 40 realtors; it’s very much a family affair as you might expect, with Sister Kate, Son Trey, and Cousins Stephen Towne, David Towne, Gail Anderson, and Michelle Torres on staff. Even mom (Peppie) comes in every Thursday to work.

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Above: Tom Roohan (right) with his father John Roohan. Below: A young Tom with parents.

And the rain keeps coming. Every garage built in Saratoga Springs, including the most recently dedicated one, has had a Roohan on the committee. There’s so much more. Try the Roohan Building, smack in the heart of Broadway, for starters. But Tom doesn’t mention that one, at least first on the list. He’ll mention St. Mary’s Haven on New Street— a two bedroom home that is managed by Catholic Charities and works with Hospice to help people in the last

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months of their life and their families find comfort. It was built on the Habitat for Humanity model—with several Roohan associates and friends pounding nails and providing foundation. What ties it all together is Tom and his enthusiasm for the area. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” he said. “Every other month Saratoga wins an award and with good reason. There’s a reason why Empire State College, with campuses all over the state, listened to my

father and chose to headquarter here. Look at what Skidmore is doing. The City Center was good, but not good enough for Saratoga.” (Note: Tom is currently a member of the City Center Authority). “Most of all, this is a community where people care,” he said. “I remember being part of the contingent that went down to Albany with Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing. They looked at us, like, ‘What are you guys doing here? We’d never fool around with Saratoga, it’s our jewel.’ Well, that’s because we do stuff like show up when it’s not necessary. How many Belmont or Aqueduct people do you think were there? Try zero.” You see the signs everywhere all across the land. Signs for agencies like Coldwell Banker, Realty USA, Merrill Lynch, etc. What you don’t see everywhere are the distinctive green and white Roohan Realty “For Sale” signs, and one prominently-placed moving truck. Except in one place. “I am proud of the commitment we make to the greater Saratoga Springs area. Our one and only office is at 519 Broadway.” Tom Roohan said. That’s the same commitment John made; like P.F. before him, and for generations to come. Roohan is a family name that keeps the flame lit in Saratoga Springs, a flame that burns brightly no matter how much rain they generate. •

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Left to right: Tom Roohan, Kevin Roohan, Peppie Roohan, Kathryn Johnson, Kristie Roohan, Kristina Cahill, Michael Cahill, Mark Johnson, Mary Hallquist, Derek Hallquist, Dan Roohan and Trey Roohan.

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Tom Roohan’s Top Five Favorite Projects 1

Mary’s Haven


Union Gables Bed & Breakfast


Van Raalte Mill


433 Broadway (The Roohan Building; Home to Putnam Market)


55 and 59 Warren Street

Mary’s Haven is a project of Catholic Family Charities that began in 2003 with support from community hospice and the community. It’s a home where they care for the terminally ill physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially, during their final days.

Union Gables was purchased in January of 1992 from transitional services. In June of that year, after a top to bottom renovation, it was opened as a Bed & Breakfast.

The Van Raalte Mill was the revitalization of a dormant property into a vibrant and award winning work place in 1999.

433 Broadway is a mix of retail, office and residential tenants that was built in 2002.

55 Warren Street was built in 1879 for John Carpenter, the superintendent of the Red Spring. It was renovated in 2001. 59 Warren is the adjoining pool house which was completed in 2007.

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The Bracketts One family—Two men with very different legacies: One reflected his city—one changed an industry Story by Hollis Palmer Photos by StockStudios There are many ways to measure a person’s impact on his or her community; one is the space the local newspaper devotes to his or her obituary. When Edgar Brackett died in 1924 his obituary took two pages in the local paper, and articles and editorials in the

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days that followed would occupy another four pages. The words used over and over to describe Brackett in his memorials are: statesman, an independent politician, philanthropist, brilliant, courageous, a mighty fighter, forceful, witty, loyal,

honest, and amiable. Though there was another side of him, one rarely seen by the public; he was also a sympathetic friend who enjoyed the simple pleasures that life offered. continued on page 73 Simply Saratoga 71

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The house at 605 Broadway allowed the Bracketts to live a lifestyle appropriate for an upper middle class family during the transition from Victorian to Edwardian society.

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Edgar Brackett was born in Wilton but moved when he was young to Iowa where he graduated from Cornell College, a Methodist college in Mount Vernon. He would be an active member of the Methodist Church and the Masonic Lodge for his entire adult life. Upon graduation, he moved to Saratoga to read for the law under Civil War General Winsor French and lawyer Alembert Pond. He would join their firm upon being accepted to the bar. Brackett’s first adventure in elected office was as state senator. Fiercely independent from the beginning, he took on the insurance industry, a major supporter of his party. It would take a decade but eventually the reforms he supported were enacted. In 1906, Brackett let it be known that he intended to run for governor. In an effort to embarrass Brackett and force him out of the race, the

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The doors separating the double parlors could be closed for intimate family evenings or opened for larger gatherings.

incumbent governor ordered the sheriff to close the casinos in Saratoga. To some extent, the move worked.

Brackett elected to throw his support to Charles Evans Hughes. In addition to his political and

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The grand foyer, which included a fireplace, was used by Mrs. Mary Brackett’s friends as a place to gather while calling and as a waiting room for Edgar’s clients, petitioners and political cronies. The suspended three-level staircase provided prestige that impressed all who entered the house and still does.

legal career, Brackett created and supported several local businesses. He was the founder and president of the Adirondack Trust Company. Even though he had never played golf, he decided Saratoga needed a modern course and purchased land and created McGregor links. He supported the move of Clark Mills (the clothing manufacturer) to Saratoga and the conversion of the ballroom of the former Congress Hotel into the Congress Theater. There are two delicate local issues

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in which it is not easy to determine Brackett’s position. One is the pumping of the springs; the second is gambling in the village. He defended the gas companies who were pumping the springs, causing a major industry of the city to go dry. Later, while serving as a state senator, he would push legislation that would require the state to purchase, by eminent domain, the land owned by those same gas companies; it is now part of the State Park. He did not oppose the big casinos that would

not allow locals inside, while he opposed the small gambling operations that would allow local children to place a bet. Edgar died in his house in 1924. In sharp contrast to her husband who cast a long shadow, Mary Corliss Brackett lived a quiet life. A member of the Presbyterian Church, she helped several local charities, including the Saratoga History Museum. Unlike most upper-class women of her time, she was active in only two groups. She died peacefully in 1931. Clearly a house is shaped by the people who had it built; however, it could also be argued that a house shapes the lives of those who are raised within its walls. If this is the case, the Brackett house did an outstanding job. Edgar and Mary Brackett had two sons. The elder and idolized son, Edgar Jr., died in 1899 as the result of a tragic accident involving fireworks. It was said that Edgar Sr. never fully recovered from the loss. The younger son, Charles, would have several careers, most notably making a major mark on the motion picture industry. Charles graduated from Saratoga Springs High School, Williams College and Harvard Law School. During World War I, he was with the American Expeditionary Forces serving as a lieutenant and the Vice-Counsel in St. Nazaire, France. A lawyer by training, wealthy by birth, dashing in appearance and vice president of the Adirondack Trust Company, Charles’ career as a novelist started in 1920 when the Saturday Evening Post published his first book, The Counsel of the Ungodly, which appeared in serial form. He also wrote Week-End (1925), The Last Infirmity (1926), American Colony (1929), and Entirely Surrounded (1934). It was for his work in the film industry that Brackett is most noted. He was the winner of three Academy

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Awards, and the Academy’s award for Life Time Achievement. Writer/producer Charles Brackett and writer/director Billy Wilder did a series of movies together starting with “Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife” (1938). The pair’s most famous collaboration was “Sunset Boulevard.” On one occasion Wilder described his relationship with Charles as “the happiest couple in Hollywood.” Outsiders saw them as the original odd couple with Wilder’s flamboyant personality tamed slightly by Charles’ scholarly nature. Even in marriage Charles was unique. In 1919, he married Elizabeth Fletcher, who died in 1948. They had two daughters, Alexandra and Elizabeth. In 1953, he married a second time, Lillian “Buff ” Fletcher, his first wife’s sister, which of course kept making connections with the in-laws to a minimum. The house is now used by Quad

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Graphics as a short-term residence for its executives. Interesting facts about Edgar: In 1897, Edgar spoke on the Senate floor, “Any government that is worthy of the name should protect the unwary against the wary. Any government that is worthy of the name looks after the interest of the people who are unable to financially look after themselves in their dealings with the stronger and wealthier.” In 1907, Edgar donated the money to have the Methodist parsonage in Gurn Springs rebuilt. This was the house where he was born. The main gateway to Congress Park is officially the Brackett Gateway. Edgar Brackett prided himself for being a man who only took one vacation, and had to return to Saratoga to rest. The New York Tribune obituary said of Edgar—that he was too

outspoken and unwilling to compromise, feeling instead that he cared more for “perfect freedom to speak his mind, even though this pleasure sometimes multiplied his enemies.” Edgar paid for the college of several promising young men in Saratoga, telling them that their repayment would be to do the same for others. Quotes from the New York Times March 10th 1969 about Charles: In remarking on making breakthroughs in movies Charles remarked, “…in finding what they want next, you have to fly by the seat of your pants.” A New York Times writer described Charles as having “a scholar’s zeal for tracking down basic human foibles.” This had to be a full time job. Charles abhorred “sunshine, vitamins and fresh air.” He did, however, enjoy “shuffling the cards for the only game worthy of a man’s dignity, cribbage.” •

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Orange Bikini’s, Night Vision Goggles and Smelling Salts, OH MY! The Gift of Self-Acceptance in Every Season Story by Meghan D. Lemery, LCSW-R Every year my family heads south to Del Boca Vista to enjoy some R&R for the holidays. This year in an effort to spice up my wardrobe, I decided I wanted to get some new bikinis for the trip so I set out for what I knew would be a delightful, relaxing afternoon of bathing suit shopping. Three days prior to “B” day, I drank nothing but lemon water and inserted bamboo shoots under my nails so that the severe pain would distract me from eating. Although I knew how bizarre my actions were, I was sure that these tactics would save me from any humiliation and trauma that bathing suit shopping can inflict on its victims. When the day to shop arrived, I was prepared. I packed my purse with smelling salts just in case I passed out from starvation. I also packed some tea light candles; after all, it’s no secret that everyone looks better in candlelight. I also threw in a pair of night vision goggles to protect     76 Simply Saratoga

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my eyes from the ultraviolet rays of the dressing room lights. They would also hopefully conceal the sight of the giant pores that had taken over my nose,

and chin hair that had recently grown so long you could use it for dental floss. This year I would, by the grace of God,

make bathing suit shopping a pleasant experience. I refused to look in the mirror and despise the reflection staring back at me. Ten hours, five hundred tea light candles and three Xanax later, I decided that I would purchase a floor length cover up that came with air vents to keep from suffering dehydration and overheating on the beach. When the entire day came to an end, I had to ask myself, why are we so hard on ourselves? Why can’t we just rock whatever body type we have whether it’s an apple, pear or watermelon? Every shape and size is unique, and like fruit, tasty in its own way! Perhaps the key to growing our confidence isn’t to transform are minds and bodies, but rather, to embrace what we have and learn to sparkle and shine even if we have some bulges, dimples or wrinkles. I saw this example first hand a few years ago on a trip to Mexico.

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As I basked in the sun in a post-food coma from my burrito and giant margarita with salt, I was able to observe a dance contest taking place at the pool’s lounge. As I watched all of the collegiate spring breakers with tiny waists and giant jugs line up for the contest, I could not take my eyes off of one woman who shined like a diamond in the rough. “Ms. Seasoned” had “cankles” you could swing from and a mid-section that screamed she too had gone through the same buffet line for lunch that I had. She was wearing a bright orange bikini and a smile so bright I was sure I would need higher SPF to protect myself from her bright shiny aura. When the music began to play she let go with such a joy and confidence that the entire place was captivated. By the end of her dance, every person in the joint was up on their chairs dancing, smiling from ear to ear and cheering Ms. Seasoned to victory. She won

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the contest by a landslide and was even asked for an encore! Her inner sparkle, shine and enthusiasm served as an airbrush for any flaws that she had physically. Perhaps it’s time we all take a lesson from Ms. Seasoned and pledge to honor our sparkle and shine over a low calorie meal. In a season that is about gifts, let’s give the gift of self-acceptance to ourselves and choose to get out the orange bikini and shake it like the divas we were meant to be!

It’s not about being perfect, but being perfectly you, dimples, wrinkles and all. Thank you, Ms. Seasoned, for teaching us all a valuable lesson. I hope you still have that orange bikini! Ms. Lemery is a psychotherapist practicing in Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs, N.Y. For more information, visit or email •

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Dave Dowling: Every Word Counts Story by Helen Susan Edelman Photo provided “By words the mind is excited and the spirit elated.” — Aristophanes Every word counts for Dave Dowling, a man who’s taken the correct use of language to new heights. The author of “The Wrong Word Dictionary” and “The Dictionary of Worthless Words,” both published by Marion Street Press, is a technical writer by trade, and so precision and accuracy are dear to him. “Words become a part of your life, every day, all day, when you’re a writer,” said the Saratoga Springs resident, relaxed in his neat-as-apin house overlooking a wooded yard. “My commitment is to brevity and clarity.” As tight as those parameters can be, Dowling communicates his message with lively good humor. “The climber piqued his interest by peeking through his telescope at the mountain peak,” is a sentence example Dowling spotlights to caution readers that words that sound alike can be both confused and confusing. “I reviewed many books on writing before starting my own book,” he said. “Most have a small section on problematic word pairs, but not one was comprehensive. So, with encouragement from my son, Tim, I wrote a book based solely on confused word pairs.” “The Wrong Word Dictionary” has

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2,500 entries and is heavily researched. Dowling can cite up to 10 references for each book entry. He doesn’t rely solely on standards like Associated Press (AP), the Chicago Manual, Modern Languages Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA) or GPO (Government Printing Office) styles in determining the

“right” use; instead, Dowling sought wide corroboration for his choices. “I didn’t put an entry into the book unless it was indisputable,” he emphasized. “This is not just based on my opinion but many opinions. Still, I realize it’s difficult to satisfy everyone when authoring a grammar reference and I expect some comment.

Our language is certainly subjective at times.” The idea for his book originated during Dowling’s long stint (more than 30 years) as a writer of technical manuals for IBM and Lockheed Martin, including subjects ranging from large mainframe computers, to aircraft, to submarines. Grasping technical concepts and translating them into a user-friendly language was his typical work routine. “During the 1990s, I worked in a defense plant with 4,000 people,” he said. “I started producing a Monday column about using the right word for the company’s internal newsletter. Reader interest was amazing. Soon employees were printing copies for their college kids and requesting answers to other confused-word problems. It actually wasn’t part of my job, but I couldn’t turn them down. A few years later, while on a hiatus between jobs, I decided to transfer my research into a book that is geared for middle-school students and up. That decision paid off.” He’s had to grow and change with the times, Dowling confessed, not that he always likes it. “At times language has become more lenient, more forgiving, and more colloquial. You can’t get to a point

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where language is so inhibited with rules such as the ending preposition, the split infinitive or verb tense. To that end it may sound unnatural, awkward, or forced. You want the message to be effective, so in some cases you need to stay current. Always remember whom you’re talking to and that the goal is to communicate information effectively, correctly, and accurately. In other words, one has to be prepared to adapt, depending on the audience.” Some of the mistakes people make in word use surprise him: ‘descent,’ ‘dissent’ and ‘decent’ are sometimes mismatched with their context, for example, as are ‘among’ and ‘between,’ ‘amount’ and ‘number,’ ‘its’ and ‘it’s’, and ‘irregardless’, which is not a word at all. Then, some words are misused for so long and so widely that the language czars give in and start making exceptions. Is it “champ at the bit” or “chomp at the bit”? Well, it’s supposed

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to be “champ,” and the phrase—which means eager or impatient—refers to an excited horse biting its bit. However, Dowling pointed out, “Because of constant misuse, ‘chomp at the bit’ is becoming more accepted.” Still another casualty of misuse is ‘titled’ and ‘entitled.’ Dowling has made excellent use of his obsession with words, even since his retirement from full-time work with Lockheed. Not only does he continue to write and consult for his former employer, he also speaks and trains in the field. In the past, he has been a corporate trainer for companies such as PepsiCo and Quaker Oats, among others. “I tell my classes about the P.O.W.E.R. principle when getting your writing off the ground,” he said. “That’s Plan, Organize, Write, Edit and Review.” He also preaches another guideline—“C.L.E.A.R.” “Try to make

your writing Clear. Logical. Effective. Accurate. Readable. These are a few tips from my writing bibles.” Dowling’s resume includes working years ago in radio syndication with TV talk show host Steve Allen and Casey Kasem, of the popular “American Top 40 Countdown” radio show. He also wrote a book on American bodybuilder and actor Steve Reeves, with whom he established a friendship in the 1990s. Now, when he’s not at his keyboard, reading or playing golf, he often serves as a substitute teacher in local school districts. While Dowling’s craft was honed for print, knowing how to create content for the Web is necessary for writers, he noted. “And Web copy is even briefer than what you create for print. But print isn’t going away—the printed page is still easier to read than a screen. Scrolling is tiring. And when people link to

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something they want, they go ahead and print it so they can carry it with them. I doubt if the screen is going to replace the page anytime soon. And they have been talking about that for years.” “I never imagined I would be a dictionary writer,” Dowling mused. “Ironically, when I attended Catholic school many years ago, the subject I disliked most was English, specifically grammar. We typically spent at least 75 minutes a day on that topic. Yes, back then it was 55 kids in one class with Sister Marie Bernadette going up and down the aisles quizzing students on every exercise the book offered—and I dreaded it.” Dowling remembers the pain that subject-verb agreement, pronoun antecedent, and predicate nominatives caused his young brain. “Why do we have to know this?” he wondered. And now, he admitted, “My career in writing depends on it.” He laughed recalling how his late

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wife Mary, a former teacher, reacted to his less-than-stellar report cards of yore: “She told me I was definitely a late bloomer, and I’m a good example of why students should never give up despite a few academic setbacks. She emphasized how all of us have hidden talents and bringing them to the surface can sometimes take time, patience and encouragement. I never forgot those inspiring words.” As far as his evolution as a professional technical writer, Dowling explained he was suited for it in part because, although he sometimes forgets common things, “I have course work in math and a respectable memory for dates and numbers, which aided my professional career. I learned it helps to have a solid English background to be a technical writer, but math also comes into play quite often on the job.” And he enjoys the different gig of writing dictionaries, which he views as

both vocation and avocation. “It’s a welcome change from being on the road or working from my home office as a technical writing consultant”, he noted. More broadly, he likes writing because, “You’re creating something that didn’t exist before, not 24 hours ago, not one hour ago, then ‘boom’ – it’s there. With writing you may not write a hit Broadway play, an Oscar-winning screenplay or a New York Times bestseller. But, you may write something one day that affects a person’s life in a positive way. That, too, is success.” Dowling said he has a real affection for many topics in writing, not just correct word use. “You grow to love everything related to words that needs closer examination: verbosity, redundancy, pomposity, clarity, etc.” That is, when you’re not questioning people who don’t use adverbs correctly. He lamented, “Drive safe?

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Drive slow? What happened to ‘safely’ and ‘slowly’? Even Elvis is in question. ‘Love Me Tender’? What happened to ‘tenderly’? And what about people who say, ‘You done good!’ It’s just wrong.” But Dowling was smiling when he said those things, because he realizes that unlike math and science, writing has very few absolutes. Though he admires Shakespeare, he knows a language cannot be ossified and still serve its purpose. He concluded, “Our language will always be changing, and our dictionaries will continue to grow as the language evolves.” Note: Signed copies of Dave Dowling’s “The Wrong Word Dictionary” are available for purchase from the gifts and home goods store Homessence on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. “The Wrong Word Dictionary” was also made available in India in its first printing and has been translated recently into Mandarin Chinese. •

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Try the Wrong Word Challenge Do you know all your words? Here is a short quiz that covers just a few of the common everyday word problems we sometimes encounter. Take this challenge and see how well you do. The answers immediately follow. 1. The (principal, principle) objective of this course is better writing. 2. The moderator in a labor dispute should be (disinterested, uninterested). 3. These (continuous, continual) interruptions may prevent the system from being available. 4. We found (fewer, less) coding errors this week than last week. 5. We feel (bad, badly) about their absence at today’s recognition event. 6. Our (bimonthly, semimonthly) reports are due the 15th and 30th of each month. 7. Two thousand books (compose, comprise) the college’s new computer library. 8. Their letter (inferred, implied) that there was no charge for the extra hardware. 9. Many sightings continue to fuel the UFO (phenomena, phenomenon). 10. The competition intentionally gave them (disinformation, misinformation) about their products. Answers: 1. principal, 2. disinterested, 3. continual, 4. fewer, 5. bad, 6. semimonthly, 7. compose, 8. implied, 9. phenomenon, 10. disinformation

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Date2012 the

Holiday Happenings

Saratoga Area The Nutcracker Tea Monday, November 19, 11:00 a.m. 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs A tea party to top them all: The Nutcracker Tea, presented by SPAC’s Action Council is a holiday tradition complete with Northeast Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker, Christmas cookies, and hot cocoa. Tickets For more information call 584-9330 Turkey Trot Saratoga Springs City Hall Thursday, November 22, 8:30 a.m. Each year, on Thanksgiving morning, thousands of runners (and walkers) congregate in Saratoga Springs NY to race in the annual 5K Turkey Trot race, which benefits the Christopher Dailey Foundation. Registration fee is $22 before Nov. 15 and $25 from Nov. 16 – Nov. 21. The Christopher Dailey Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that was founded with the goal of constructing a youth recreational facility within the Greater Saratoga Area …a place where local kids could play, learn, and engage in sports activities in a facility bearing Christopher’s name, regardless of their financial resources. For more information call 581-1328. Holiday Craft Sale Saturday, November 24 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs The 37th Annual Holiday Craft Fair will be packed with vendors selling handmade jewelry, specialty food items and other crafts perfect for the holiday gift giving. The event is held the day after     82 Simply Saratoga

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Black Friday, the date that marks the start of the holiday shopping season. $4.00 donation requested for admission. For more information call 587-7244 Downtown Saratoga Tree Lighting Wednesday, November 28, 7:00 p.m. Santa & Mrs. Claus, caroling, hot chocolate & cookies, fun for children of all ages.

Victorian Streetwalk Downtown Saratoga Springs Thursday, November 29, 6:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk is a holiday event that can’t be missed. As you walk the sidewalks of downtown Saratoga you will see carolers and entertainers in period costumes. Kids can visit Santa and adults can enjoy the decorations at The Festival of Trees. Saratoga Festival of Trees Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs Thursday, November 29 – Sunday, December 2. The Saratoga Springs Festival of Trees is a fun-filled event and craft fair that is great for kids and adults alike, putting the spirit of Christmas in everyone’s heart. Walk amid hundreds of beautifully twinkling trees, wreaths, centrepieces and other holiday items on display for visitors to purchase or simply admire. Santa himself will also be stopping by from time to time for pictures. For more information visit; www.

Restaurant Week November 30 – December 6 Get a 3-Course dinner for just $10, $20 or $30 at participating Saratoga County restaurants during Saratoga Restaurant Week! Start off with your choice of an appetizer or salad, then choose from a menu of sumptuous entrees, and top it off with a decadent dessert! Plus some participating restaurants are offering lunch specials for just $5 or $10. Saratoga Restaurant Week is the perfect time to get out and try new restaurants in the Spa City! For more information visit www. Gingerbread House Workshop Saratoga Springs Public Library Satruday, Dec1 – Saturday Dec 8, various times. Learn how to make a Gingerbread House. For children K-6 grade. Saratoga Springs District Residents ONLY may register in person in the Children’s Room beginning Nov. 3. For more information call 584-7860, option 3 or visit Candlelight House Tour Downtown Saratoga Springs, Various Locations Friday, December 7, 5:00 – 8:30 p.m. Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation rings in the holiday season and celebrates our city’s unique architecture with a tour of festively decorated buildings and homes in the historic Marion Place and Court Street neighborhood on Saratoga’s Eastside. Funds raised at this event support the Foundations ongoing educational programs and advocacy efforts to preserve the unique architectural, landscaped, and cultural heritage of Saratoga Springs. A reception follows the tour, and begins at 7:00 and ends at 10:30pm. Tour tickets are $40 for

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members, $50 for non members; Tour and reception tickets are $75 for members and $85 for non-members. For more information call 587-5030. Winter Dance Concert Dance Center Dance Theater Friday, December 7, 8:00 p.m. & Saturday December 8, 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. Skidmore Dance Department presents its winter dance concert titled “Wonderland?”. The program features original and classic works by the dance faculty and guest artists, performed by a cast of 35 students. Tickets (sold at the door) are $10 general admission and $5 students/senior citizens. For more information visit: A Saratoga Christmas Home Made Theater, At The Spa Little Theater Saturday, December 8, 7:00 p.m. Join us for an evening of Christmas favorites, Kevin McKrell’s trademark sound, and their popular rendition of “A Visit from St. Nick” (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.) For more information visit: First Night Saratoga Downtown Saratoga Springs Monday, December 31, 5:30 – 12:30 p.m. First Night is a New Year’s celebration of the arts and community. Each year, thousands of revelers come to Saratoga Springs to experience a wideranging variety of arts and music. It is a true showcase of the diverse and immense talent in the CapitalSaratoga region. Broadway and the surrounding streets of Saratoga Springs will be filled with music, art, comedy and family-friendly entertainment. There’s no better way to ring in the New Year! For more information call 584-4132.

Ballston Spa Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Downtown Ballston Spa December 7, 6:30 p.m. The parade steps off at 6:30 pm, proceeding on Milton Avenue and ending in Wiswall Park on

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Front Street with Santa lighting the Christmas tree. The parade has become a hometown-style holiday tradition, with fire trucks, floats, animals, kids and Santa parading down the main street of the village. Before and after the parade, there will be carolers and musicians on the street corners and many village shops and restaurants will be open with music, demonstrations and displays as part of First Friday, which also falls on this festive evening. If your organization would like to march that night, please contact Ellen at the BSBPA office 885-2772 or

Clifton Park Mother Teresa Academy: Super Saturday Vendor Show Mother Teresa Academy, 509 Moe Rd. Clifton Park Saturday, November 17, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Get a Head start on your Christmas and Holiday Shopping in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Many Vendors will come together in one location for you and your family to shop. There will be a Bake Sale & Concession Stand to keep up your energy! A Silent Auction to add to the Fun and get some great gifts for yourself or your loved one. For the Silent Auction Donations & to register as a vendor contact: marketing@motherteresaacademy. org. Mother Teresa Academy is a Non-profit, Private, Independent school teaching Catholic Christian Values. More information visit: http:// or call: (518) 280-4227

Fort Ann Christmas in the Country Friday, November 30 – Sunday, December 2, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Fifteen local artists invite you to our 22nd annual Christmas in the Country open artists studio tour. A get-away for a very special weekend in the country. Follow the Christmas tree signs to find handcrafted specialties at local countryside artists studios.

Refreshments, fun and music at each location. Call me at 518793-7925 for a brochure and more 793-7925.

Glens Falls 2012 LARAC Holiday Shop Lapham Gallery 7 Lapham Place, Glens Falls, NY Nov 16- Dec. 24 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. A festive showcase offering holiday shoppers beautiful, original, and unique gift items from over 50 local and regional artists and artisans. Application, samples and deposit are due by October 12, 2012. For information visit: www. Or Call: 518-798-1144 Tony DeSare “Home for the Holidays” Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen St., Glens Falls Friday, November 23, 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 24, 2:00 p.m. Tony DeSare returns to the Wood Theater after a triumphant year playing with Symphony Orchestras, at the Carlyle Hotel in NYC, opening for Don Rickles, dueting with Patti Austin, performing a Sinatra Tribute at SPAC with the Philadelphia Orchestra and much more. Tony brings his hometown fans a fresh show every year and also plays some favorites for this family and friends. For more information visit: North Country Festival of Trees Queensbury Hotel, 88 Ridge Street, Glens Falls, NY Friday, November 23 – Sunday, November 25, Kick-off the holiday season and start getting in the holiday spirit. See beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, stockings, gingerbread houses and more from local artisans. The Festival of Trees will be open to the public Friday 11am-8pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm. $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, and $3 for children 12 and under. Proceeds raised from the event will benefit the Prospect Child & Family Center, a non-profit agency for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

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Hometown Holidays Downtown Open House Downtown Glens Falls Friday, November 30 – December 1, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.The Hometown Holidays Downtown Open House stroll and enjoy music and refreshments. There will be trolley rides from 10am - 5pm and Santa arrives at 2pm. Glens Falls Tree Lighting Saturday, December 1, 5:00 p.m. The celebration kicks off with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Watch as the tree is lit for the first time and enjoy carols, hot chocolate, and fun! Judy Collins Holiday and Hits Charles R. Wood Theater, 207 Glen St., Glens Falls Monday, December 10, 7:30 p.m. This Grammy Awardwinning singer songwriter is drawn to music of hope that speaks to the heart. A modern day Renaissance woman who continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world. Judy Collins will perform her holiday show, mixing seasonal favorites with her greatest hits. For more information visit:

Lake George Lite up the Village Shepard Park, Lake George Village Friday, November 23 See Lake George Village come alive for the holidays! 3500+ holiday lights, Santa, hot chocolate, cookies & Lake George Community Band Concert. For more information call the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce at (518) 668-5755. Christmas in Bolton Landing Roger’s Park, Bolton Landing Sunday, December 2, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Hayrides with Santa, caroling, tree lighting, holiday entertainment & refreshments. Lake George Polar Bear Plunge Shepard Park Beach, Lake George Tuesday, January 1, 2:00 p.m. The annual Lake George Polar Bear Plunge has been a popular tradition for years where hundreds of human     84 Simply Saratoga

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polar bears take to the icy winter water of Lake George. For more information call 240-0809.

Albany Area Palace Theatre 19 Clinton Ave. Albany Visit for tickets and information on these events. Magic of Christmas Saturday, December 8, 7:30 - 10:00 p.m. The Capital Region’s favorite festive tradition! Kick off the Christmas Season with the Capital Region’s favorite festival tradition, The Magic of Christmas, at the beautiful Palace Theatre. This concert is bustling with hundreds of talented young performers, glorious musical favorites, and spectacular surprises. Make this concert a gift to your family this holiday season, and enjoy the beauty and splendor of this joyous event. $25-$40. For more information call 465-4755. Albany Symphony Presents Magic of Christmas Sunday, December 9, 3:00 p.m. The Capital Region’s favorite festive tradition! Kick off the Christmas Season with the Capital Region’s favorite festival tradition, The Magic of Christmas, at the beautiful Palace Theatre. This concert is bustling with hundreds of talented young performers, glorious musical favorites, and spectacular surprises. Make this concert a gift to your family this holiday season, and enjoy the beauty and splendor of this joyous event. Tickets $20-$60. For more information call 465-4755 Trans-Siberian Orchestra Times Union Center, 51 S. Pearl St., Albany Trans-Siberian Orchestra, “The Live Debut of The Lost Christmas Eve.” A Rock Holiday Tradition for a New Generation! Tickets $33-$73. For more information call 487-2000 Mountain Snow & Mistletoe The Egg, Lancaster St., Albany Saturday, December 15, 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 16, 2:00 p.m. An annual tradition! A down home

concert of holiday songs and stories with Christopher Shaw and Bridget Ball that features “The Mountain Snow Orchestra” – fiddler John Kirk, guitarist Kevin McKrell, and percussionist Brian Melick. Christian Brothers Academy 15th Annual Craft Fair Christian Brothers Academy, 12 Airline Dr., Albany, NY Saturday, November 17, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. This will be its biggest craft fair ever this year with over 130 quality vendors offering unique handmade items. Come shop for candles, spices, jewelry, clothing, pottery, art, wood carvings, and more! Win great prizes from our creative vendors, have a hot lunch or snack at our Crafter’s Cafe open all day, and bring home delicious goodies from the renowned CBA Mothers Association Bake Sale. Free admission and post-shopping shuttle. Holiday shopping made simple and fun! More information visit: craftfair or call: 518-452-9809 New York Vegetarian Expo Polish Community Center, 225 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY Saturday, November 17, 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m. The NY Vegetarian Expo brings together the global health benefits of green sustainable living, environmental awareness, and compassion for animals and all beings. For more information visit: http://www. or email: support@nyvegetarianexpo. Radio Disney – Colonie Center Welcomes Santa Colonie Center, Albany NY Saturday, November 17, 1:00 p.m.– 3:00 p.m. Kick off the Holiday Season with Radio Disney AM 1460 as Colonie Center Welcomes Santa to the mall on November 17th from 1pm-3pm in Center Court. Join us for Holiday music, dancing and games where you can win awesome prizes as we wait for Santa to arrive! It’s the perfect way to begin the Holiday Season as a family.

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Price Chopper Capital Holiday Lights Albany’s Washington Park Friday, November 23 through Friday, January 4, 6:00 p.m. nightly A glowing celebration – lighting the dark winter nights with more than 125 illuminated displays throughout the historic park. At the end of the drive through, the Washington Park Lakehouse features visits with Santa (through Dec. 23), refreshments, crafts, costumed characters and lots of surprises. Proceeds from the lights benefit the youth and programs of the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL) – brightening the lives of some 3,000 young people all year long. For more information call: 518-435-0392. Great Train Extravaganza Empire State Convention Center Sunday, December 2, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Following a highly successful trial run the last two years, the Roaming Railroad will be returning with train rides for kids and grandkids. The ideal place to do your holiday shopping, there will be more than 200 tables of model trains, train sets, parts & accessories, scenery items, books, videos, DVDs, prints, railroad memorabilia and related items for sale. For more information visit: or call 668-9892.

Latham Christmas With Elvis Saturday, December 22, 6:00 – 11:00 p.m. Michael’s Banquet House Drew Polsun, Sweet Fascination and Patch It Up Band. $30.00 also includes wonderful Hors d’ oeuvres prepared by Chef Rick, a dessert buffet and drink specials all night. For more information call 785-8524.

Schenectady Annual Holiday Parade State Street, Downtown Schenectady November 17, 5:00 p.m. Join us for the 45th Annual Gazette Holiday Parade in downtown Schenectady. This is the largest nighttime parade in the Northeast Be ready to share in the magic of the Season as we kick off the holidays in style with this year’s theme – Magic and Myths. Over 100 entries including marching bands, floats, marchers and more will for thousands of spectators! Northeast Ballet “The Nutcracker” Procter’s Theater, Schenectady Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. and Sunday December 9, 2:00 p.m. It isn’t really Christmas at Proctors without our own Annual Nutcracker. The Sugarplum Fairiy, prancing mice, the Rat King, Clara and of course the handsome Nutcracker Prince himself, are all part of this entrancing holiday ballet. For more information visit: •

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Climbing to New Heights Story by Trina Lucas Photos provided I stopped an old man along the way Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies. He turned to me as if to say, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you.” (Africa, Toto) The lyrics blared from Ray O’Conor’s car radio as he set out to run errands one ordinary Saturday in the summer of 2011. It was a sign he didn’t even know he was looking for, and he     86 Simply Saratoga

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heeded the message in a most extraordinary way. Just the day before, O’Conor— Chairman, President and CEO of Saratoga National Bank—had been

invited to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. An avid hiker, he was already a 46er, having reached the summit of all the Adirondack high peaks, and planned to work on becoming a Winter 46er,

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mangaro climbing the same peaks between December 21 and March 21. But Mount Kilimanjaro? It was an intriguing challenge, and he had only the weekend to make his decision. Naturally, he brought the idea home to his wife, Mary, who asked the critical questions any spouse would, primarily about the risks involved when climbing more than 19,000 feet up a mountain with complete strangers, in a developing country on the other side of the world. She left the ultimate decision to him, and after his musical inspiration, O’Conor called her from the car to say he was going. Kilimanjaro was waiting. The journey to Africa’s tallest peak

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began almost immediately, despite the climb still being a year away. That weekend, O’Conor told his climbing buddy, Alison Darbee, that he would join her and her boyfriend, Jon Laurin, on the adventure. Two Queensbury teachers and a Saratoga banker were about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. Just a few days later, through a friend of Darbee’s who was coordinating the trip, the trio was introduced to their guide, Protus Mayunga. Mayunga had launched The Roof of Africa Adventures earlier that year from his home in the Catskills. A native of Tanzania, he had been a porter at age 19 for those climbing Kilimanjaro. On one excursion, fate paired him

with a 68-year old businessman from the United States. The two became close – conditions on the mountain have that effect – and after returning home, the gentleman brought Mayunga to the U.S., offering to pay for his college education. A grateful Mayunga studied hard, graduated and became a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in New Jersey. He met his wife there and the couple now has five children. Their tour would only be Mayunga’s second with the new adventure company, yet from the start, O’Conor was impressed. Over the twelve months that followed, the men connected Contiued on page 88

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All smiles on day one at the Machame Gate

through Facebook and email, becoming fast friends. “While Protus has benefited from his new life in America, he has never forgotten his roots,” says O’Conor. “Roof of Africa employs people Protus knew growing up. He is determined to share his good fortune by helping others in his homeland. And this benefits those on his excursions too, because they experience the true culture of Tanzania.” After a year of training through running, cycling and of course, climbing, O’Conor was as ready as he could be for the trek. On July 21, he, Darbee and Laurin flew from Albany to Washington, D.C., before their 18-hour     88 Simply Saratoga

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flight to Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines. Most wouldn’t rave about such a long flight, but O’Conor is quick to interject. “The crew and attendants were polished and professional,” comments O’Conor. “They did everything they could to make the flight comfortable and even enjoyable. The menu was varied, taking into consideration a wide range of dietary needs. It was all reminiscent of the iconic Pan Am days.” From Addis Ababa, it was a quick trip to Kilimanjaro, where the three joined the rest of their 22-person excursion, climbers from Buffalo to North Carolina. The agenda called for a full orientation day before starting

the mountain ascent. It was time designated to recover from the transcontinental flight and fully prepare for the climb – packing, checking equipment and reviewing plans for each step ahead. There are six paths to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, varying in length and degrees of ascent. Mayunga was guiding O’Conor’s excursion along the Machame Route, a seemingly longer trip on the map, but with more opportunities to ‘walk high and sleep low.’ This would allow hikers time to acclimate to the changes in altitude, which in turn, would assure a greater number successfully reached the summit. At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24, the

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Lava Tower

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More than halfway

Sunrise from the summit     90 Simply Saratoga

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group departed Arusha, making the one-and-a-half hour drive to the Machame Gate trailhead, where they met the cooks and porters who would accompany them on the trip. Day one on the mountain started with a climb through the rainforest and giant heathers for 5-6 hours before an overnight at the Machame Camp (5,950 feet). The hike on day two was shorter, but steeper. Mayunga and his three assistants took it slowly so the group could adjust to the altitude, but the more challenging aspect was the heat. Kilimanjaro is just 3-degrees south of the equator, and even though it is winter in July, the temperatures are still high. O’Conor’s climb to the Shira Camp at 12,600 feet was void of vegetation, so there was little shade. Though, he did see the first of many dedrosenecio kilimanjari, a large, distinctive shrub which is indigenous to the mountain. The species evolved more

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than a million years ago. Day three began with a climb over boulders, through high desert terrain toward Lava Tower at just shy of 15,000 feet. From there, however, the route dropped for two hours, ending at the Baranco Camp and 12,950 feet. This mid-point hike was a deliberate effort to encourage acclimatization, before a scramble up the steep Baranco wall on day four. O’Conor, Darbee and Laurin used their hands to pull themselves up for almost 2 hours, a task that felt more like rock-climbing than hiking. The green Karanga Valley was a welcome overnight spot at 13,200 feet. Anticipation was building as dawn arrived on day five. The group traveled to Barafu Camp with a short, uphill climb across barren landscape scattered with boulders. The Southern Iceland and Rebmann glaciers came into view before they crept along a steep ridge and scrambled hand over hand

again for one-and-a-half hours, arriving at camp around 1 p.m. Their tents pitched on large rocks, O’Conor and his fellow climbers were instructed to sleep, since the final ascent to Uhuru Peak would begin with an 11 p.m. wake-up call. But sleep did not come easily. So close to the summit, O’Conor was like a child on Christmas Eve. But he knew rest was important in order to recover from that morning’s climb and prepare him for the final steep steps. Before midnight, the group donned headlamps and set out to take in the most breathtaking sunrise of their lives 6 hours later. It wasn’t an easy climb. In sharp contrast to the earlier heat, winter on Kilimanjaro hit hard with wind chills of 20-30 degrees below zero. The mountain is the only place on earth to experience every climate, from tropical to arctic. Even without the wind, the temperature at

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Guide Protus Mayunga embraces the group’s motto, “IMARA KAMMA SIMBA” (Strong like a Lion)     92 Simply Saratoga

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O’Conor, with Laurin and Darbee at the peak, shows off the badge that proudly declares, “I have climbed Kilimanjaro”

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An ancient Baobab, Africa’s largest tree

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the Uhuru Peak was just 10 degrees. Most of the effort was in the dark; between that, the cold and the extreme change in altitude, it was a slow hike. But the reward waiting at 19,340 feet made it all bearable. They spent just one hour at the summit before starting the trip back down the mountain. The two-day descent was quicker than the climb up. The group camped at Mweka—almost halfway—the first night, and with song and celebration, reached the Mweka Gate at the base of Kilimanjaro for a picnic lunch the next day. O’Conor admits he actually ran down the final feet, racing one of the porters, a young man who struck him as being much like Mayunga must have been at that age. Having begun the journey with Darbee and Laurin, O’Conor ended the seven-day trek with more than two friends. “I was amazed how quickly a group of complete strangers could come together,” remarks O’Conor. “We were a team in every sense of the word, sharing supplies, food and most importantly, encouragement.” “There is an expression, ‘Share your courage with others, but keep your fears to yourself.’ That is exactly what we did.” After a welcome shower and relaxing evening upon their return to Arusha, the group spent three days on safari excursions, visiting the Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara National Parks. They saw ancient Baobabs, the Great Rift Valley and a lush acacia forest of giant fig and mahogany trees. Zebras, giraffes, warthogs and hippos were just feet from their vehicles. “It was a treat to witness all of these majestic animals against the Tanzanian landscape, to see them in their natural habitat,” says O’Conor, pointing to a

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Nocturnal lions sleep soundly as the safari rides by

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Nuzzling zebras in the Tarangire National Park

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O’Conor’s favorite photo of the more than 650 he snapped

Dancing at the Maasai huts

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Ready to start the day at Oldonyo-Sambu Primary School

sea of flamingos in one of his hundreds of photos, and monkeys in another. “I couldn’t have imagined being that close.” Another highlight was a stop at the Maasai Bomas (huts) near the crater of Ngorongoro. The crater itself is one of the best places in Africa to spot the ‘big five’ – elephants, leopards, lions, buffalo and the rare black rhinoceros. This Maasai village is a unique attraction because it represents the harmony of humans and wildlife living together without harm to each other. In traditional dress, the native people greeted O’Conor’s group with song and dance. And after asking if it was culturally permissible to join them, he jumped in, quite literally. But as they say, the best was saved for last. On his final day in Africa, O’Conor had the most remarkable experience of his trip. Mayunga took a small group to visit the Oldonyo-Sambu Primary School outside Arusha. “The beauty of Africa is reflected in the faces of these children,” declares O’Conor. “I was touched by their smiles and inspired by their     98 Simply Saratoga

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enthusiasm. 1,100 students, and many of them had nothing more than the uniforms on their backs. Several are infected with HIV, and numerous others have been orphaned because of the disease. They walk miles to school. But there is no self-pity, only tremendous appreciation for what they do have, for the chance to receive an education.” The students are familiar with white visitors, yet still wary of strangers. O’Conor won them over with his camera. “I snapped a photo and asked if they wanted to see it,” recalls O’Conor. “We take digital cameras for granted. It didn’t occur to me at first that they had probably never seen their own image, on a camera or otherwise.” “I can’t describe the looks on their faces when they saw themselves…pure awe. And then I was suddenly very popular!” “Standing at the peak of Kilimanjaro was a thrill,” continues O’Conor, “But these children affected me. Visiting with them was the best part of my trip.” Back home in Wilton, what does

one do after the journey of a lifetime? In June, O’Conor announced his plan to retire at the end of the year. He’s reached the pinnacle of his banking career. There are new mountains to climb now. He and Mary can enjoy life. Their children are grown, with children. The couple now has the freedom for their own adventures. With Darbee, Laurin and another local friend, Joe Murphy, O’Conor is also working on the Northeast 115— the 115 highest peaks in the northeastern United States—including Mt. Washington, which he’s hiked before. And he’s keeping in touch with Mayunga. O’Conor is a climber, but more, he’s a doer. Africa left a lasting impact on him. Maybe he will make an impact there in return. In fact, maybe he’ll move mountains. I know that I must do what’s right. As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, I seek to cure what’s deep inside… I bless the rains down in Africa. •

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