Simply Saratoga Spring 2024

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Chad Beatty


Chris Vallone Bushee


Kacie Cotter-Harrigan


Kelly Schoonbeck


Jim Daley

Cindy Durfey


Samantha Bosshart

Colleen Coleman

Cindy Conaway

John Greenwood

Carol Godette

George Hanstein

Wendy Hobday Haugh

Robert C. Lawrence

Charlie Kuenzel

Bill Orzell

Megin Potter

John Reardon

Theresa St. John

Nicolina Venice Foti

Ralph Vincent


Susan Blackburn Photography

George S. Bolster Collection

George Hanstein

Wendy Hobday Haugh

Randall Perry Photography

Theresa St. John


2254 Route 50 South

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-581-2480

Simply Saratoga is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY, 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 © 2024. Saratoga TODAY Newspaper. Simply SARATOGA THE PEOPLE • THE PLACES • THE LIFESTYLE


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


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


John Greenwood is a leftover Saratoga Springs milkman who loves capturing stories about the people and places that surround him.

John and his wife Patricia have been holding hands since high school. The couple recently retired and are looking forward to having more time to enjoy the nooks and crannies of the surrounding area.

You can explore more of John’s writing at, where you will find the glass half full and the weather mostly sunny.


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


George Hanstein was a photographer in New York City and New Jersey for 20 years. He decided that he had enough of city life and built a small house in the Adirondacks near The Great Sacandaga Lake, in pursuit of a quieter life. He worked in a local school district there, teaching photography to High School Seniors. Since retiring, he has filled his days spending time with his Golden Retrievers, doing photography, taking road trips and writing about things that spark his interest.


Northville freelancer Wendy Hobday Haugh’s short stories, articles, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications, including Woman’s World Weekly, Highlights for Children, and Her stories have appeared in 15 different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies. To learn more, visit


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


Robert Lawrence, a retired elementary, middle, and college educator, authored What's With Those Adirondack Mountain Names? (The Troy Book Makers), which describes over one hundred mountain place name origins. Bob, a Saratoga County resident, enjoys many outdoor activities with his wife, Carol Ann, and their wire-haired Dachshund, Adi (Adirondack). Contact:


Bill Orzell is a retired Geographic Field Analyst and Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic. A fervent sportsman, who resides in DeRuyter, New York, he has a lifelong appreciation of the economic, political, social, and sports history of the Empire State, with a special appreciation of the unique equine, human and geographic narrative which defines the Spa as the place to be.


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


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


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


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


Ralph Vincent is a lifestyle writer enamored with the Spa City. As an enthusiastic contributor to Simply Saratoga Magazine, he enjoys writing about a variety of topics including home entertaining, cooking, and cocktail crafting. His body of work also includes articles on subjects of special significance to him such as his experiences as a pet parent, gardening, and Yaddo. He resides locally with his partner Steven and their adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 11
for them on!
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from the editor

518-581-2480 ext. 201




Simply Saratoga

Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

Saratoga Bride

Saratoga Family

Saratoga Home & Lifestyle

Welcome Home


Saratoga Christmas

Happy spring, Saratoga!

Our SPRING issue is always about people, and how appropriate that one of my contributors chose this issue to say goodbye.

I think of Charlie Kuenzel as the rock that built this magazine. I still remember the first day I met him and Dave (probably 10 years ago!!) about their desire to use Simply Saratoga as the platform to get Saratoga’s history out to the masses (I was thrilled, as I had big hopes for this publication!).

I couldn’t be happier with Charlie’s involvement over the years. Our historical section has continued to grow and now that Charlie needs more personal time in his life, I can only say “Thank You Charlie, I hope you know how much I love and appreciate all that you’ve done for me and how much you will be missed.”

Artwork by:

This SPRING issue is our first Simply Saratoga of the year (but our third magazine since January!) and is filled with informative content, beautiful photos and events and trips you should plan on attending (The Historic House Tour, the Secret Garden Tour, Road trips near and far!!) Yes, get that calendar out, things are warming up around here!

As always… I must close with a big THANK YOU! to our advertisers, without them, Saratoga TODAY couldn’t continue to offer these beautiful publications free of charge to the thousands that read them. Please mention us by name when visiting these businesses… Simply Saratoga, the Saratoga TODAY magazine!

I wish everyone a blessed year filled with good health, great times, and purpose!


PS… Look for our next issue, Simply Saratoga H&G and Equicurean – The Belmont Stakes Edition, out in May!

See this Feature on Page 26!

14 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | SPRING 2024 Simply SARATOGA Spring 2024 FASHION 49 (14 pages of Inspiration for Your SPRING Wardrobe!) Caroline & Main, Lifestyles, Pink Paddock, Saratoga Outdoors Spoken, Union Hall Supply Co. and Violets! OUT + ABOUT 65 An Immersive Experience with Yayoi Kusama 68 Local Travel to North Creek’s Mosaic Wall 72 Road Trip to York, Maine SUMMER CAMP DIRECTORY 75 Fun Starts Here… The Summer Camp Directory H&G 84 Architecturally Speaking 100 Colleen’s Picks 102 Choosing a Home 106 In the Kitchen with John 108 Entertaining with Ralph Vincent 110 Homesteading 101 HISTORY 113 Charlie Kuenzel 118 Carol Godette 124 Bill Orzell 128 John Greenwood THE LAST PAGE 130 George Hanstein Artwork by: George Van Hook See this Feature on Page 26! A GOOD READ 16 Preserving Saratoga 18 Restaurant Feature… 9 East 20 Remembering National Vietnam War Veterans Day with Garth Lloyd ARTIST SPOTLIGHT 26 George Van Hook 30 Nancy and Lisa Cupolo 34 Mountain Names 48 New Feature on Little Places… The Sweetish Chef MEET... 36 John McPherson 40 Jeanne Eddy 42 Matt Witten 44 Alison Wilcox 46 Lisa Vollendorf SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 15



To everyone else, it just looks like an old garage today, but when Carol Godette was growing up it was the center of action, Rowland’s, a neighborhood grocery store where people could get necessities, local gossip, and, more importantly, she and her friends could buy penny candy. Walking by many years after Rowland’s had closed, Carol felt a sense of sadness. The place of so many fond memories had returned to a garage without any evidence of how important Rowland’s was to the neighborhood. That sense of lost history inspired her to start researching not only Rowland’s, but many other momand-pop businesses that she recalled from her childhood that no longer exist, and to begin writing. Today, Carol’s articles, featured in this magazine, have become important to preserving the history of Saratoga Springs.

Carol was born and raised in Saratoga Springs. Her parents, Richard and Barbara Stone, moved from Glens Falls to Saratoga in 1947 when her father began to work for the Burke family who operated a funeral home. Together, they raised three daughters: Carol; her older sister, Pam; and her younger

sister, Janet. Photo by Susan Blackburn Photography Carol’s childhood home on Nelson Avenue, where she still lives today.

Some of Carol’s first memories of growing up in Saratoga Springs were where her family initially lived, 45 Mitchell Street. The neighborhood came alive each summer with the arrival of the racing season. She recalls the action of the horse sales at Fasig-Tipton and din of the music each night from the Spuyten Duyvil, a Black-owned bar/ restaurant located at 157 George Street, attracting some of Saratoga’s racing elites, the Whitneys and Vanderbilts, and celebrities such as Fred Astaire. In 1964, at the age of nine, her family moved to 308 Nelson Avenue, not far from Rowland’s on North Street.

Carol’s initial appreciation of Saratoga Springs’ past came from her experience as editor of her high school yearbook. Her class was the 100th graduating class, which she chose as the yearbook theme. George Bolster, the official yearbook photographer, invited Carol to search through his now famous exhaustive collection of historical photographs of Saratoga Springs to include in the yearbook. Her frequent visits to his Phila Street studio transported her back to the heyday of the grand hotels, giving Carol her first appreciation of another era that had been lost. Following high school, Carol graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a BA in education and French. She met her husband, David Godette, in 1976 at Desperate Annie’s on Caroline Street, one of the few bars that has remained exactly the same over the years. The following year, they were married outside the Gideon Putnam Hotel. They left Saratoga Springs to attend the University of Georgia, where they received their graduate degrees. Not long after graduating, they returned to Saratoga Springs. When Carol’s parents moved to 628 North Broadway to live above William J. Burke & Sons Funeral Home, she and David moved into her former family home, where they raised their two children, Kristy and Brad. In 1996, through a series of unusual circumstances, Carol and David became co-owners of the local Ben & Jerry’s ice cream store with Patrick Pipino.

In 2010, Carol retired after 31 years as an elementary school teacher at Greenfield and Lake Avenue schools. Not wanting to retire from life, she began her research on Rowland’s and worked for Pearson, a textbook publisher, training teachers in Common Core throughout the northeast. While Carol enjoyed seeing different cities, she often compared them to home and gained a new appreciation of how unique and special Saratoga Springs is.

During the five years she worked with Pearson, Carol continued researching other neighborhood grocery stores, writing only for herself. With each business she researched, she found each one had its own special story. In 2016, Carol saw her first article published in the winter edition of Simply Saratoga. She was surprised by how excited people were to have their businesses featured. Their appreciation was her reward and motivation to expand her research to other lost mom-and-pop businesses – restaurants and entertainment venues. She also highlighted businesses that continue to serve our community today, The Adirondack Trust Company and William J. Burke and Sons Funeral Home.

In 2018, Carol gave her first presentation for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, “Penny Candy in Paper Sacks: Saratoga Springs’ Mom & Pop Stores.” Carol doubted that anyone would come. Much to her surprise, the event sold out. That first presentation was particularly special for her because Mr. Rowland attended. Carol regularly presents, virtually and in-person, for the Foundation.

More recently, Carol shifted her focus to “On This Spot” articles, researching how a specific location has changed over time. She realized that every spot has an amazing story, including her house. She learned through research that at one time, it was home to Saratoga’s first burial ground. Carol is incredibly grateful to those who help her with her research and writing – too many to list in this article. Often all that remains are the memories and the buildings without any evidence of what they once were that stand as a reminder. Carol brings each business back to life by sharing the stories about those who owned them, and the memories created by those who frequented them. In some cases, such as Pepper’s Market, Spuyten Duyvil, and The Hub, the buildings no longer exist, making her articles ever more important to ensuring that those stories are not lost forever. In 2022, she was deservedly recognized with a Saratoga County History Award for her role in preserving local history.

On Thursday, April 18, Carol will present “On This Spot: 69 Caroline Street” and on Saturday, May 11 she will present “628 North Broadway” at the Lunch & Learn program, which is part of the Foundation’s annual Historic Homes Tour event. To learn more about these upcoming events, visit To watch Carol’s past presentations, such as the extremely popular “Classic Bars of Yesterday,” featuring D’Andrea’s, The Hub, and The Rafters, visit the Foundation’s YouTube channel. Stay tunedshe is compiling many of her favorite articles into a book.

Thank you, Carol, for your time and effort preserving Saratoga Springs’ cultural history!

Search Carol Godette on SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 17
SS different store in each issue Simply Saratoga Magazine Enjoy! Ask almost anyone lightsupwiththat”firstkissglaze” they andsense belongingthatmadecustomers return them theywere theirheyday? Growing up as baby boomer, was used one-car garage that had housed my that had once existed there and lamenting Saratoga Springs 1960. this time, exception two, every family lived stores peaked 1911 when 53 grocers “Markets- Meat, Fish, Poultry and Nationwide several things contributed regulations making hard produce large grocery chains increasing their hours now know Stewart’s Shops. (Today these And for at least few local neighborhood The Original "MOM & POPS" For many years The family’s five children helped out making subs, selling girls and an aunt ran the store from a.m. pm. the crack gather entertained by his stories. He loved to talk and during the day. Marion not only watched the kids and worked Let's start with... Grasso's Exterior Grasso’s known Scan the QR code to view Carol's first article published in Simply SarartogaWinter 2016 issue: "The Original Mom and Pops: Grasso's"
Carol with Mr. Rowland and his son Steve Rowland and the garage on North Street that used to be his store.

9 Miles EAST

Making it Easy for Busy People to Enjoy Healthy Local Food

For the Simply Saratoga SPRING feature, we have decided to visit 9 Miles East at 64 Excelsior Ave. So many friends and co-workers rave about this place, but I’ve only had their pizza, (made with award-winning sourdough bread and the freshest ingredients!!) —so, I’m excited to try other items on their extensive menu.

We really loved the casual vibe of the place and tables were already set up outside, with the promise of better weather coming soon! It reminded me of a neighborhood restaurant where folks could relax and converse over a great dish. And, speaking of a neighborhood café, I ran into three different parties I knew while there – it was great to say hello and chat for a few minutes before turning my attention to the menu. When our appetizer was placed in front of us, we were delighted to see what was on the platter. We learned from our server that this dish could be built to serve several people or just a couple. It had hummus, baba ghanoush, lemon rosemary whipped ricotta, roasted veggies, and a savory coleslaw chopped salad. She also told us that the menu changes often, so we were delighted the winter salad was still available… offering a fantastic fusion of flavor, with organic baby greens topped with roasted beets (my favorite vegetable when done right!), feta cheese, red cabbage, toasted walnuts, and herbed vinaigrette that knew how to bring the flavor out of everything. The salad was so delicious and even better the next day when I broke it out of the doggie bag at lunchtime! SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 19

We tried vegan cornbread with apple jalapeno butter. Seriously, if we hadn’t been told it was vegan – and healthy - we wouldn’t have guessed.

The chef, Shane, was kind enough to come out from the kitchen to talk with us. We peppered him with questions (poor guy!), and he was happy to answer them all. Some were about the food we were eating, and others were a bit more personal. He’s been working in the café for three years and began his love affair with cooking, working in a restaurant his dad owned when he was 12. He told us he’s been in the business for 28 years now, which was impressive. He's very adamant about his food philosophy: “We don’t use canned goods in the kitchen—food should be made from scratch.” And Gordon Sacks, owner of 9 Miles East, tells us they’re committed to Saratoga and want to continue making it easy for busy people to eat healthy foods made with the freshest ingredients. “You shouldn’t have to choose between healthy and delicious. At 9 Miles East, you can have both.”


With our meal, we tried three local beers: one from Artisanal Brew Works in Saratoga, another from Northway Brewing Company in Queensbury, and another from Common Roots out of Glens Falls.

Who knew they served a grilled lemon rosemary chicken dinner to die for? This was made from bone-in pieces of chicken with an herb pesto. When the dish arrived at the table, it was presented on a bed of piping hot mashed red potato, sweet potato, carrot, heavy cream, butter, and garlic mix. Talk about a taste of heaven! It was a dish of creamy bliss!

We noticed a few colorful number 9s around the restaurant's interior, which piqued our interest. Gordon told us that the restaurant’s name came from their vegetable farm, which is 9 Miles East of Saratoga. Café guests gifted the decorations of 9s over the last few years, and the three of us smiled at this charming detail. We visited the restaurant during Montreal Month and were thrilled to try one of its specialties: the Montreal Steak Au Poivre. This grass-fed strip steak was ridiculously tender, with a pepper-crust cider demiglace, served on roasted root vegetables. “Why did you bring a knife over?” I joked with Shane. It was that tender.

One of the best dishes we tried— because it was so different—was butternut squash risotto, made with barley instead of the typical starch you’d find in this recipe. The sauteed squash and fresh parmesan cheese made the barley so creamy, a nice change when you want to pack your day with fiber and not compromise on taste.

Near the register, we noticed various items for sale: butter, beeswax candles, loaves of sourdough bread cooling on racks, local eggs, nut-free and gluten-free farm pesto, 9 Miles East green hot sauce, local honey, and more.

We tried three different cookies for dessert. My favorite was the Gluten-free almond cookie. It had a soft center with a crunchy contrast of nuts and seeds. Sometimes, Gluten-free tastes like, well, Gluten-free, but this cookie was way above par.

Chris preferred the sesame cookie, and Susan loved the chocolate. All of them were tasty; it came down to preference. For a restaurant that opened in June 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, 9 Miles East has done very well. “We are grateful for our customers; the local support has been wonderful, and we feel very fortunate,” Gordon says. “We are committed to continuing to offer healthy, fresh meals for busy people in the area. That is what we are all about. Period.”

We walk out of the café, full but not with the heavy feeling you sometimes have after eating a meal. We hugged goodbye, wondering when we’d return and who we’d bring along for the experience.

I have a feeling it will be sooner rather than later. SS



One of The Most Heartfelt Things We Can Say To Each Other

A Good Read
“National Viet Nam War Veterans Day (March 29th) is the heroes' welcome they never received. It underscores the need to heal their painful wounds and allows us the occasion each year to pause and give respect, admiration, and thanks to the patriotic men and women who sacrificed so much in service to their nation.” -PVA


Garth was 22 when he was drafted. He spent two years attending Rochester Business Institute and another two at Monroe Community College. But the draft hung over his head the entire time – like a heavy cloud he and so many others couldn’t escape. And when the letter came in April of ‘69, many emotions came with it. “At the end of the day,” he states, “I loved my country; it was my duty to go, so I went.”

I met Garth a few months ago when I visited the Military Museum here in Saratoga. There was a brand-new, extensive exhibit covering the Vietnam War. “Can I give you a tour?” he asked, getting up from his chair at the front desk before I could answer him – which made me smile. Garth walked me through each of the displays and talked to me about military uniforms, people who’d given their lives, how they all just wanted to get home and live to a ripe old age – not die in a foreign country, fighting a war that didn’t really make sense.

I wasn’t even born when the war started and was still attending High School when it ended. I really didn’t understand any of what was happening, but I remember the news broadcasts on our black-and-white TV and the harsh reactions people had to soldiers who’d given so much to defend democracy. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 23

Garth was part of the 25th Infantry Division –The Tropical Lightening Division. Their base was in CuChi, where a 75-mile complex of underground tunnels allowed the North Vietnamese Communists better control over where and when local battles would occur. VC soldiers lurking in the tunnels set numerous booby traps for both U.S. and South Vietnamese infantry soldiers. “In the three months before I was injured, two soldiers tripped these Chinese Grenades. They were hit in the chest and didn’t have a chance – the shrapnel obliterated vital organs, and, like that, they were gone.” Garth looked off for a second. Then, staring me straight in the eye, “Let me tell you why I call myself lucky.”

In his case, on February 12th, 1970, Garth heard the ominous ‘snap’ he’d been trained to listen for, and as he stepped forward on his left foot, toe down, a piece of shrapnel cut the bottom, causing him to sustain minor injuries. But he wasn’t as lucky with his right leg, which he lost to the booby trap. “No shrapnel hit my chest area, so my heart and lungs were fine. I was alive. That’s all I kept thinking – I was alive.” There was no time to wait for the Dust-off medical flight they’d summoned to help transport him – he never would have made it in this slower helicopter. Instead, they called on the Gunship to fly Garth out to safety, where medical help could tend to him at the hospital in Vietnam, and that decision saved his life. During his first few days in the hospital, at his bedside, Garth was awarded The Purple Heart.

Garth shared some poignant memories that made him smile – like when his mom sent a cake, and the soldiers had no silverware or plates out in the field. “We took handfuls of her chocolate cake with thick white frosting and ate it that way, licking our fingers afterward. It was the best cake any of us had ever tasted!”

He recalled shipments that included packs of cigarettes – which he loathed. “I loved fruit cocktail, though, and was happy to trade this-for-that with the guys. I had all the fruit cocktails I could handle.”

“You know,” he said, looking pensive. “I really liked popsicles – the grape ones. And my dad had them in the freezer for my two-week leave from Vietnam. When mom decided to defrost and clean the fridge and freezer, there was one left behind. So, my dad stopped her. He told her that if there were a popsicleeven one, I’d be coming home for it.” There was a lump in my throat with that memory, let me tell you. The things we do and say to hold onto hope.


In 2011, Garth tracked down one of the guys he’d been stationed with. They spoke briefly before the soldier told Garth he had something for him. “My dad was hard-working, stern, a proud Irishman who’d lived through the Depression,” Garth told me. “So, I never expected the following words from my friend: ‘I have a letter your dad wrote to us after you were injured. I’m going to send it to you.’” The sentiments were typed, the paper tattered and well-worn, but those words conveyed the pride of a father and the overwhelming worry he had for the soldiers still in Vietnam. Garth met his wife through his niece in the summer of ‘76. According to them, it was a whirlwind romance; they were engaged in the spring of ’77 and married in April ’78. “As soon as I laid eyes on her, I knew she was the one for me,” Garth announced, grinning ear to ear. And I thought it was charming –Diane was blushing when I turned to look at her. This year, they’ll celebrate 46 years together as husband and wife. They have one son, Adam, who is 43; they’re known as Pop Pop and Mimi to their grandchildren.

If you find the time and can visit the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, I hope you do. So many boys from our neck of the woods have stories displayed inside the walls of this grand building – stories that need to be heard and shared with the world outside. And if you run into Garth while there, tell him I said, “Welcome Home, soldier, Welcome Home.” SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 25
Diane, Garth and their son Adam, upon receiving the Veteran of the Year Award. Photo provided


george VAN HOOK



“A Country Lane” by George Van Hook

George Van Hook’s award-winning plein air pastoral landscapes’ loose brush strokes emerge from a bright palette to reflect his fascination with the natural world.

“Since oil paint was put into tubes in the 1830s, it’s been very well engineered to do that because of the synergy between chemists and engineers and the people who made brushes - they were all working naturally together.”


The 1790 family farmhouse in rural Bucks County, PA and the bucolic landscape George grew up in “touched something in my brain,” he said. George and his wife, Sue, essentially grew up together during the Baby Boom in post-war America, he added. Both his parents were scientists and initially, he was the one interested in science, while Sue studied French at Middlebury College. Through their travels together, however, she became enthralled with the natural world. A Skidmore Professor of Biology and Environmental Science for 18 years, Sue is a mycologist who has traveled the world developing biopolymers. Her work is much more interesting to investigate than anything he’s doing, said George, adding, “I’m the most boring person ever,” with an easy smile to his voice. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 27


Now, subdivisions and strip malls have replaced the pleasantly prosaic Pennsylvania landscapes George knew as a child. Like artists for hundreds of years before him, George was attracted to the Maine coast, but eventually found it too remote. He and Sue also spent a decade in California, watching it dry out. After a long search, they settled in the “Great Blue Northeast,” relishing its central location, cultural delights, and plentiful rainfall.

“We have very interesting educational colleges and art museums everywhere and the landscape is like Bucks County’s was – a beautiful, bucolic American landscape. Washington County is simply so beautiful and it’s in the middle of this wide cultural and aesthetic center. We’re very fortunate. The way the lands fold, the hills, how

the roads curve around, the forest, the 19th century architecture – these are things I love.”

Immersed in a disappearing landscape, his eyecatching plein air paintings feature wood barns of yesteryear, preserving the vanishing dynamic of their everyday subject matter.

Each day, George sticks to a regular routine; rising at 6:30am, having coffee, and “fussing around painting” until about 3:30pm, when he takes a short nap. Rising to workout, this winter, George is training for a triathlon. After a shower, he plays the piano (which he’s practiced since he was 5 years old), then has dinner and goes to bed. The summer takes him out of his comfortable craftsman style home studio, with its rich natural light, outdoors to paint. Activities like tennis and biking also keep him active.



Despite being well-known for his landscapes, George considers himself, first and foremost, a figurative artist. When he was starting out, during eight months of 40-hour weeks, George was at the Louvre Museum in Paris, copying figurative from art’s great masters.

“The figure is the fundamental basis of Western art and has been since before the Renaissance. It’s a very classic image,” he said. “There are a variety of surfaces, textures, spaces, and concepts to work with.”

In addition to oils, he also uses watercolors. He and his buddies “get their chops” painting still life, George said.

“It’s the most abstract thing I do. It’s not about the object but the space between the object and how you control your eye movement and field of depth. It’s much more peripheral. It’s a quiet contemplation of form in space and what that is. It’s about creating a much smaller world.”

Both George and Sue are also active progressive democrats, but to paint optimistically, George said he must put politics aside. “I’m not a Pollyanna. I’m very involved in politics and pray, ‘make me stupid so I can paint.’ To paint, you’ve got to let things go. Don’t overthink it.”

“Whether in the studio, painting still life, the figure, or outside in the landscape, it’s all just a continuation of the idea of painting being a celebration of the visual experience.”

Schuylerville’s Laffer Gallery reopened this spring with a show of George Van Hook’s paintings, running until April 7th. His pieces can also be found at Saratoga’s Silverwood Gallery, and Malta’s Morningside Gallery. He’ll be teaching Portrait Painting at the Monument Center for the Arts in Bennington on April 6th.

For more information, visit SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 29


nancy and lisa CUPOLO



to Spring”

Two years ago, Nancy and Lisa Cupolo of Ballston Spa released their first collaborative children’s book: A River’s Journey.

An imaginative and brilliantly illustrated story about the magic of nature from a river’s point of view, the book inspires children and adults alike to seek out and appreciate the beauty of the natural world. Written by Nancy, and illustrated by her eldest daughter Lisa, the Cupolos hope that their book will guide children’s innate curiosity about science and the environment.

Usually, the text of a story precedes the illustrations. But in this case, Lisa’s artwork not only came first but, unexpectedly, became the impetus for this joint project. Lisa’s artistic journey began on Christmas day 2021 when her father gave her an art set with a sampling of several different types of paints, including acrylics, watercolors, and oils. Up until then, art hadn’t played a significant part in Lisa’s life. But Frank Cupolo thought his daughter might enjoy painting as a creative outlet—and, as it turned out, his hunch was absolutely correct!

On the dedication page for A River’s Journey, Lisa Cupolo thanks her father “for gifting her a set of paints for Christmas in 2021, which unleashed a talent she didn’t know she had.”

Once Lisa began dabbling with mixing colors and creating different textures, she was hooked. “After experimenting with different media, I found I really enjoyed working with acrylics,” she says. “Over the next four months, I really became entrenched and created more than 200 paintings. I’d get up early, around 5 A.M., to paint before heading to work. Then, I’d come from work and paint some more.” SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 31
“Footprints in the Snow” by Lisa M. Cupolo Mother and daughter, Nancy and Lisa Cupolo, inspire one another to create.

From the start, Lisa—who has a B.A. in English Literature, works in sales, and has recently begun her own business, Intuitive Arts—demonstrated an instinctive flair for color and texture. “I liked art as a child,” she recalls, “but didn’t do much with it. In fact, a middle school art teacher told me I wasn’t good at it!”

But over the past two years, Lisa has come to realize that structured art classes simply aren’t her thing. “Self-taught has worked for me,” she says. “Art is supposed to be something you do for you. That’s why I started painting. I didn’t think I was any good at it. I just did it for fun.”

Pleasantly surprised by what she created, the artist now participates in craft shows and sells her canvas prints and notecards on her Intuitive Arts website.

Lisa masterfully mixes brilliant, eye-popping colors, and her fluid brushstrokes evoke a wide range of moods. As a result, her nature scenes come alive on the canvas. “Lisa’s paintings are vibrant in color, contrast, and texture,” Nancy Cupolo muses. “Each piece is unique, earthy, harmonious,

and free-flowing. There is a pervasive atmosphere of joy, happiness and hope to Lisa’s work, and children and adults, alike, sense that energy and excitement.”

Rather than beginning to paint with a set idea in mind, Lisa has learned to relax, trust her intuition, and see where her paintbrush takes her. “Kids don’t analyze or plan ahead. They just pick up a crayon and start drawing, and that way works for me. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t need to worry about a set plan or matching colors. It’s exciting to just use your intuition and see what develops.”

Awed by her daughter’s creations, Nancy Cupolo was inspired to write a rhyming story based on a series of Lisa’s nature paintings. “I began with the river because we’re all on a journey on the river of life. A river is always flowing, sometimes moving quickly, sometimes slowly. It can change course, but nothing can stop it from flowing. I begin my story by wondering: What does the river see? Children often see the world through the objects around them, so the river speaks in our book.”

“Seasons” by Lisa M. Cupolo

With over 45 years of experience in education, Nancy was well-equipped to write her first children’s book. Energized by the experience, she went on to release two books for adults in 2023: Lessons of Hope & Resilience: A Parent/ Teacher Guide for the story, A River’s Journey, and Through the Child’s Eyes: Looking at Life through the Lens of a Child (a parenting ‘cookbook’ for success). Both books include Lisa’s inspiring illustrations.

“Collaborating with my daughter has been a wonderful experience,” says Nancy, “and we are working on our fourth book now. Lisa sent me a beautiful painting of a tree that was so vibrant and full of life, I told her, ‘That tree is talking to me’—which led us to write a book about the importance of protecting our environment, especially the trees.”

Through their published works, the Cupolos hope to cultivate understanding, love, and a greater appreciation for the natural world and our responsibility to it. “More than anything,” Nancy says, “I would like our readers to know that each of us contributes to the world around us.

We have the power to bring beauty into this world in so many different ways. To renew our spirit, take frequent breaks from technology to focus on and enjoy the wonders of nature. It’s important to never give up—keep flowing, like the river!”

To see more of Lisa’s paintings and note cards, visit

Nancy may be reached at 518-424-8565 or SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 33
“Angel Falls” by Lisa M. Cupolo “The Sun Will Come Up” by Lisa M. Cupolo Books by Nancy T. Cupolo, writer and Lisa M. Cupolo, illustrator.

Name that Mountain


Mount Colvin

"Far above

While kayaking on beautiful Lake Durant near Blue Mountain Lake, New York, one June day, my wife Carol Ann asked, "Where does Blue Mountain get its name?" So we visited the nearby Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake to buy a place names book. But there was no such publication. So… I wrote What's With Those Adirondack Mountain Names?

"In Tribute to VERPLANCK COLVIN 1847-1920 Land Surveyor, Founder, and Champion of the New York State Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park, Remembered by his friends and admirers on the Centennial of the Adirondack ParkMay 20, 1992." These words appear on a plaque at Verplanck Colvin's gravesite in Coeymans, New York. However, these words do not tell the entire story of Verplanck Colvin.

Born in and living during his younger days at his family's Western Avenue home, known as the "Elms" by local intellectuals, he received a tutored education that fostered his love of science and mathematics.

Realizing that Verplanck needed to further his education, his parents sent him first to The Albany Academy. The Colvin family later moved to Nassau, New York, where Verplanck attended and received his secondary education at Nassau Academy. It was there in the surrounding Nassau countryside that Colvin developed his love for nature and the outdoors.

Colvin wanted to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, as he loved military tactics and maps, but his father denied his request. His father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. He clerked with his father, eventually being admitted to the bar. But Verplanck wanted more out of life than legal work.

During his first Adirondack Survey in 1872, Verplanck Colvin discovered the source of the Hudson River and named it Lake Tear of the Clouds. Colvin was a prolific and eloquent writer who wrote these words about his discovery of Hudson's source in his first legislative Report on the Topographical Survey of the Wilderness of New York. THE CHILLY WATERS OF LAKE AVALANCHE [1], AT AN ELEVATION OF 4,293 FEET ... IS A MINUTE, UNPRETENDING TEAR OF THE CLOUDS - AS IT WERE - A LONELY POOL SHIVERING IN THE BREEZES OF THE MOUNTAINS, AND SENDING ITS LIMPID SURPLUS THROUGH FELDSPAR BROOK TO THE OPALESCENT RIVER, THE WELL-SPRING OF THE HUDSON."
Verplanck Colvin: Lawyer, Topographical Engineer, Author, Illustrator, and so much more. Courtesy of the Adirondack Research Library of Union College, and Protect the Adirondacks! Inc.

His new direction would come after meeting author Alfred Street (Street Mountain) and reading Street's book; Woods and Waters, or The Saranacs and Racket. As a result of this encounter, Verplanck became more obsessed with the outdoors, topography, hiking, writing, and exploring many areas, including the Helderberg and Adirondack Mountains.

This desire eventually led him, in 1872, at a very young age, to the Superintendent of the Adirondack Survey job. He chose Mills Blake (Blake Peak), whom he had met at the Nassau Academy and who was his best friend as his second in command. Using funds Colvin acquired from the New York State Legislature and mostly his own fortune, he spent twenty-eight years exploring and documenting the high peaks of the Adirondacks. He wrote reports for the legislature, drew maps, and illustrated his findings. His state work ended in 1900 when Theodore Roosevelt, then Governor of New York State relinquished Colvin's duties to the New York State Engineer.

Colvin was a pioneer in the field of Cartography. He aided cartographers by supplying them with basic information such as base, height, and distance to calculate the proportions between contour lines and plot them on maps. His observations also helped geologists study the scratches and curves in the rocks leading to and from valleys, thereby helping them interpret the direction of glacial movement.

Verplanck Colvin's 1873 Adirondack Survey Sketch. Courtesy of the Adirondack Research Library of Union College, and Protect the Adirondacks!

Colvin's Adirondack guides renamed Sabele Mountain Mount Colvin to honor their leader. Colvin was undoubtedly a Renaissance man, ahead of his time in his ideas and what he accomplished in the Adirondack Park. Colvin Pond and Colvin Avenue in Albany, New York, also bear his name.

What's With Those Adirondack Mountain Names?

(The Troy Book Makers) is available at the following retail locations: Market Block Books (Troy), The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza (Albany), Open Door Bookstore (Schenectady), Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Outdoors (Saratoga), Adirondack Country Store (Northville), St. Andrews Ace Hardware (Queensbury) in many retail establishments in the Adirondack Park and on



The Local Cartoonist Marking a Major Milestone Doing What He Loves and Doing It... CLOSE TO HOME!

Hot off the press, here’s some great news for all CLOSE TO HOME fans!

John McPherson’s latest book, THE CLOSE TO HOME 30th Anniversary Treasury, will be released by Andrews McMeel Publishing on April 16th. This milestone volume includes more than 800 comics chosen by the Saratoga cartoonist and his editors as well as an instructive glimpse at how McPherson actually creates his cartoons.

A Good Read | MEET...
McPherson's latest book celebrates his 30-year milestone.

Since the first CLOSE TO HOME panel debuted on October 7, 1992, its rise to fame has been nothing short of meteoric with readers of all ages enjoying McPherson’s quirky characters and offbeat, insightful humor. Today, this popular cartoon, syndicated by Universal Press, appears in roughly 750 newspapers.

Although McPherson’s keen sense of humor dates back to childhood, he never envisioned himself becoming a cartoonist. In fact, in 1985—after earning dual degrees in mechanical engineering and English—McPherson moved from Corning, NY, to Saratoga to work as a mechanical engineer at the Watervliet Arsenal.

“As an engineer, I mostly did math problems,” he says, “but I’d always wanted to do something with my sense of humor.” A longtime admirer of Mark Twain’s satirical works, McPherson briefly gave freelance writing a shot. Although he made some sales, he ultimately decided that, given the time invested and pay received, “it was a pretty tough road to hoe.”

A chronic doodler, McPherson began playing around with cartoons and quickly found himself hooked. “I’d never really drawn much, and I had no art background, but I was really inspired by Gary Larson of The Far Side as well as many of The New Yorker cartoons, Charles Addams’ work in particular.”

Initially, McPherson honed his drawing skills by imitating the styles of his favorite cartoonists. “If I had an idea about a couple riding in a car, for instance, I’d have to find that scene in someone else’s work first so I’d know how to draw it.” Over time, however, as McPherson’s own distinctive style and voice emerged, he began submitting his work to newspapers. Over an 18-month period, he sent out 160 batches of 8-10 cartoons and received 160 rejection letters in return. “But I actually didn’t become discouraged,” he recalls, “because I was passionate about drawing my cartoons and having a lot of fun with it.” SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 37
McPherson with host Pat Friesen at one of her many Literary Salons.

Mark Frost, of The Chronicle in Glens Falls, was the first editor not only to praise McPherson’s work but to offer him a steady gig: two cartoons per month for five bucks apiece. Earning $10 a month and achieving publication were groundbreaking events for McPherson; and over time, as his cartoons gained traction, they captured the attention of even larger publications. When Campus Life magazine—with its circulation of 2-300,000 teenaged viewers—started accepting his work, McPherson’s world expanded dramatically.

“Things really started to take off when I began getting phone calls from other magazine editors asking for cartoons. I got into Yankee magazine at $100 a cartoon, and soon afterwards I got into Saturday Evening Post. They published about 24-30 cartoons each issue, so it was a great resource for cartoonists.”

Within four years, McPherson was working for 30-40 magazines. As phone calls from editors began encroaching on his work days, he realized that he was making more money from cartooning than engineering. Finally, after receiving two lucrative book contracts—one about high school, the other about church—McPherson decided to quit his full-time job. “I was giving up a pretty solid income, health benefits, and retirement plan,” he says, “but for the freedom of doing my own thing, it was well worth it.”


By becoming a full-time cartoonist, John McPherson gained fame, financial security, and the personal satisfaction that comes of being able to do something he loves on a daily basis. “But the greatest perk of all,” he insists, “was the freedom to work from home and be there for my two sons. I ended up being a single parent, raising my kids on my own. Yet I could take them to school, pick them up at school, meet them for lunch, go to all their big events, and spend summers with them at Silver Bay, Lake George. Cartooning is a fun career, and I’m grateful that it has allowed me to spend more time with my family.”

If you’re wondering whether McPherson’s two now grown-up kids have followed in their father’s footsteps, the answer is, yes! His eldest son, Peter, is a board game designer. “Peter has published three board games,” his father proudly reports, “and his first one, a clever strategy game called TINY TOWN, was voted Game of the Year for 2020.” Meanwhile, McPherson’s younger son, Griffin—who currently does all of the coloring for his dad’s CLOSE TO HOME panels—is an aspiring children’s book illustrator and graphic novelist. Clearly, both young men have inherited their father’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Looking back, McPherson admits that his early drawings were “pretty crude. I’m stunned that people actually bought them back then. But humor is what people are looking for. As long as you can get the humor across, the artwork is secondary.”

Nevertheless, he advises all upcoming cartoonists to acquire strong drawing skills. “Draw all the time and learn basic drawing skills, like perspective. You must be able to draw with a high degree of realism. The character conveys most of the cartoon’s meaning, so the character can be a caricature with distorted figure or features. But the setting must be realistic. A distorted door, for example, will just distract the reader and draw attention away from the character.

“Above all, keep drawing—and do it because you love it! That will help get you through those early rejections. More than anything, you’ve got to love what you’re doing and be passionate about doing it.”

A really good cartoon can point out the funny side of a stressful situation, thereby diffusing it and helping readers to emerge smiling rather than frazzled. John McPherson’s endearingly chinless, shapeless, toothless characters truly level the social playing field. No prom queen or top dog escapes this artist’s insightful wit, and fans love him for it. High school agonies, wedding woes, marital mania, kid catastrophes, sports, aging, illness, church and state . . .

CLOSE TO HOME covers them all, one quirky and heartfelt panel at a time.

To see more of John’s work, visit SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 39
McPherson's cartoons shed a humorous light on stressful situations. SS



When Jeanne Eddy’s Irish Catholic parents, who were originally from New York City, moved to Saratoga in the 1950s, the meat-and-potatoes meals her mother made for their family of nine were simplistic and the desserts formulaic.

Bananas seeped in milk, Junket custard, and pre-packaged Freihofer desserts dominated the landscape, yet Jeanne was fascinated by baking. As a child, she hung out in neighbors’ kitchens, studying their secrets. Much to her mother’s chagrin, recipes clipped from Women’s Day, McCall’s, and Good Housekeeping magazines filled Jeanne’s recipe boxes (often before the articles printed on the reverse side had a chance to be read).

Jeanne’s first attempt at baking was at the age of nine, when she won a cooking competition with her white cakemix cake, store-bought white icing, and a sprinkling of chocolate chips on top.


By January 3rd, 1971, Jeanne was 16 years old and giving birth to her first child, who she named Patrick John O’Farrell, before putting him up for adoption.

“It wasn’t my decision in any way. It was a different time and, in those days, keeping the child just did not happen and it was not a topic you talked about.”

Unlike today’s open adoptions in which the birthmother can choose the adoptive parents and keep contact with the child, the era of secretive closed adoptions proved to be emotionally devastating for the mothers who loved their babies but had no input in the decision making, and the children who had no information about their history. “It was so painful and just torturous because it was kept completely private.”


Jeanne and Patrick’s father, Gene, were married at the age of 20 and went on to have four more children together, Joe, Katie, Meghan, and Tricia. Still haunted by the uncertainty of their first child’s fate, five years later (after Joe’s birth), Jeanne began baking a cake on Patrick’s birthday each year.

“Every year it was a different cake, but I couldn’t make a cake for my other children on their birthday without making one for him, too. He was still my child even if he wasn’t with me,” said Jeanne.

This private celebration of his life, the act of baking this cake, continued annually for 26 years, liberating Jeanne by transforming grief into an act of expression with a symbolic meaning that only she completely understood.

40 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | SPRING 2024 A Good Read | MEET...
Jeanne Eddy
Above: OFarrellGirls circa 1959 L-R Anne (& her superimposed baby picture) Ginny, Jeannie, Patsy Left: Jeff with Henry 2008


On Patrick’s 21st birthday, Jeanne registered with Catholic Charities, and other organizations, connecting adopted children with their birth mothers. After a handful of false leads, incredibly, in September 2001, Jeanne and her older sister met with Patrick’s two adopted aunts in East Greenbush. They discovered he’d been raised in an Italian/Polish household and renamed Jeffery.

In April 2002, after her mother’s passing, Jeanne reached out to Jeffery directly, attaching photos of the family, and asking if he wanted to connect. Two weeks later, he responded.

“He said, ‘It was the first time in my life that I saw faces that looked like mine,’ and that just hit me in the heart because I’d always imagined what he looked like, too.” In June, mother and son were finally reunited.


Despite being apart, and having different culinary traditions, Jeanne and Jeffery shared a mutual love of baking, and today often end up bringing the same dish to family gatherings. One year, they prepared a groom’s cake (shaped like an armadillo!) together.

“It was so joyful, a full-circle moment I felt like I’d never be able to experience,” said Jeanne.

From 2009-2021, Jeanne’s blog, Adirondack Baker, inspired by her Skidmore College thesis work on the Evolution of Food Traditions and the American Kitchen, chronicled her multifaceted baking adventures.

Grateful that her four grandchildren; Peter, Henry, Willow, and Leila, still want to cook with her, Jeanne said she hopes they come away with wonderful memories of more than just the food, because besides that, the time they spend together is the most precious thing she has to give them. SS





The author of four Saratoga-based whodunits and two thrillers as well as countless plays, TV episodes, and movie scripts, Witten combines analytical thinking, sensitivity, keen wit, and tight writing skills to create relevant plots that engage readers and viewers alike.

Witten lives in Los Angeles now, but his Saratoga/Lake Luzerne roots go deep. He and his educator wife, Nancy— Witten’s toughest editor and biggest fan—lived in Saratoga from 1990 until the late ‘90s when a call came through tapping him to write for Law & Order in LA. Nancy had just been appointed Head of the Adirondack Community College English Department, but she supported her husband’s big break. Together, they packed up their two young sons and headed west, where new opportunities arose for both of them. For decades, Witten wrote steadily for television while Nancy taught sixth grade in a

Set in Lake Luzerne, THE NECKLACE was Witten's first psychological thriller.

If you love cozy mysteries, gripping thrillers, or absorbing TV dramas like Law & Order, CSI: Miami, House, and Medium, you’re going to love Matt Witten.

prestigious private school for actors’ children. But every summer, they’d return to Lake Luzerne to visit family and enjoy the peaceful splendor of the Adirondacks. This past summer, for the first time in 25 years, Witten’s upstate NY stay was extended into October due to the Writers Guild of America strike which mired 11,500 screenwriters in a months-long labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. All communication between writers, agents, and movie personnel was suspended during the strike, so it was an unsettling time for writers. But the resulting professional vacuum actually freed Witten to pursue a personal passion: novel-writing! He began his third thriller when the May 2nd strike began, and by mid-October, two weeks after the strike ended, he’d submitted the finished product to his agent.

A Good Read | MEET...

Witten enjoys the diversity and unique challenges of writing for theater, television, and movies. “Writing for TV helps my dialogue because every single sentence needs to be good,” he muses. “I think my latest novels have fewer parts that people ‘word-skim’ because I’m so aware of the need to make every line count. But when I’m writing for TV, I’m writing someone else’s vision rather than my own, and what I enjoy the most is just sitting in a coffee shop writing novels. I like the pure simplicity of it. It’s something I really care about, and it comes from my heart.”

The clichéd image of a writer slaving away in solitude in a drafty garret doesn’t mesh with Matt Witten. Far from needing literary seclusion, he can become “cranky and lonely” when writing at home and works best in low-key social settings. In the ‘90s, Witten regularly worked on his locally-based amateur sleuth series while holed up in Madeline’s Espresso Bar in Saratoga (he even titled his first book Breakfast at Madeline’s). The habit stuck when he moved to California, where his LA workday mornings generally begin with a 45-minute bike ride to his favorite coffee shop for tea, hummus toast, and hours of productive wordsmithing.

Witten's 2nd thriller, KILLER STORY, was released in 2023 —with two more on the way!

Being part of a writing community is vitally important to Witten. “In TV, when you’re on a writing staff, you automatically have that sense of community. But as a novelist, you have to kind of work at it.” Witten belongs to multiple writers’ groups in LA. But one of his fondest memories involves Creative Bloc, a consortium of Saratogabased creatives that met regularly in the 1990s in a rented space at the corner of Broadway and Caroline Street.

“Writing is a very lonely business,” Witten says, “and I’d felt a bit disconnected from life in Saratoga for the first six or seven years I lived here because there weren’t many playwrights in the area, and I was a shy person—less shy now,” he adds. “Then I joined a weekly chess club, which helped a lot, and then I met cartoonist John McPherson and author Nancy Butcher. John had this idea that we should all have an apartment or suite that we would share, and we could hang out and create and be surrounded by one another, so we wouldn’t feel as lonely.

“After Creative Bloc was formed, instead of being home alone all day, we had a place to go—nine writers and six desks, and we had a blast! After seven years, I finally felt like I was part of the community. And then, just six months later, I got the Law & Order call. Since then, I’ve tried to find that sense of community wherever I am.”

A thoughtful and studied writer, Matt Witten cares deeply about social issues and seeks to understand the varied viewpoints that motivate people to act as they do. By delving into the psychology of each of his characters, Witten brings them to life on the page. His natural instinct for humor may ease the sharpness of certain societal truths but the grit remains as he draws us in, challenging us to unravel his intricate plots.

“I love the act of writing, and I’m learning things about human nature that I didn’t know before, so I feel like I’m writing the best now that I’ve ever written. To be a writer you have to enjoy the writing itself. You have to look forward to sitting down in the morning at a desk or a coffee shop. It has to be fun! And right now, I’m honestly having the time of my life.”

If you’re a fan of cozy whodunits with a Saratoga setting, check out Witten’s first four Jacob Burns novels. If psychological thrillers are more your thing, pick up The Necklace, set in Lake Luzerne, or Killer Story—and hold on tight! When it comes to writing, Matt Witten does it all and does it well. Better still, this widely acclaimed wordsmith with local roots is super-approachable and a really nice guy. To learn more, visit Matt at SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 43
Matt and Nancy Witten explore the haunts of historic Ghent, Belgium.
Author Matt Witten with his good friend, cartoonist John McPherson.


Growing up with eight siblings in rural Canada was a joyful experience, said Alison Wilcox, but a challenging one. With two working parents and three children in the family with special needs, everyone was expected to pitch in to help.

“It was fun and there was a lot of energy in the house. It taught us how important it is for everyone be included in activities,” she said.

When Alison first saw videos of families enjoying Double H Ranch, a Serious Fun Camp in the Adirondacks that provides specialized programs and support for seriously ill children free of charge, she was moved to tears. Double H Ranch’s summer camps and community events; adaptive winter sports; swimming, boating, and fishing; archery, horseback riding, and high-ropes adventures; crafts, talent shows, family weekends and more, are created so every child can participate.

“I just imagined the impact being able to do these activities would’ve had on my family and what that could’ve been like for all of us. Everyone was smiling and I saw the love, inclusion, kindness, and joy. I thought, ‘Wow! I can’t believe this place exists!’”

Since August 2023, Alison has been Chief Executive Officer of Double H Ranch, and said the organization provides everything those videos promised. In May, when she visited for her interview, Alison was struck by how beautiful the Adirondacks are, and now, nearly a year later, each morning she still stops to appreciate how gorgeous the property is.

“I liked where I was living and was not expecting to move but there was just this really strong pull,” she said. “I had to follow my heart and pursue it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in an amazing organization in the best location.”

44 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | SPRING 2024 A Good Read | MEET...
Girl Scouts Nana and Gemma Alison Wilcox


In Canada, Alison had joined Girl Guides and other youth programs geared toward social action and developing leadership skills. She went on to earn a Master’s of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership and moved to Buffalo more than 20 years ago. She and husband, David, have now been married for 21 years, their son, Ben, is 21, and Alison is stepmother to David’s daughters, Sarah, and Hannah. They also have two sons-in-law, Liam and Jim, and a two-year-old granddaughter named Gemma.

“I’ve been a working mother and had challenges juggling work and caretaking so I understand the burnout women can feel,” said Alison, which is one of the reasons why she looks for opportunities to create equitable workplaces for women. Alison has more than 20 years in nonprofit experience and, for 11 years, held leadership positions at the Girl Scouts of Western New York.

“The entire idea of inclusion and ensuring every child grows up knowing they have a voice and can take the lead has a profound impact on an organization and the community. Ensuring diverse representation is critical to me. The more diverse a team and its leadership is, the better decisions we make and the more ethical a world we live in.”


Since her arrival, Alison has had a chance to sample Saratoga’s spring waters and found Saratoga to be an amazing city, she said.

“Saratoga is vibrant and beautiful and I’m just blown away by the support of the Saratoga community and others across the state.”

Feeling honored to have been selected for her current role, which had been held by Max Yurenda for 30 years (since Double H Ranch was founded by actor Paul Newman and philanthropist Charles Wood in 1993) Alison’s priorities include engaging new and existing donors, while also ensuring all potential campers and families know about the opportunities here, apply, and attend. “We have a compelling story,” she said.

Building on their reputation of excellence, Alison’s team is focusing on replenishing enrollment (which dropped during the pandemic) and safeguarding organizational sustainability. Already, enrollment increased 8% last year, she said, and their goal is to grow that to 15% this year. Since fall, programs and family weekend events have been filled to capacity. The $5.5 million Double H Ranch Capital Campaign is well underway, with a new adaptive playground opening this spring, construction on the staff residence lodge finishing this summer, and by Fall 2024, the outdoor amphitheater will break ground.

For more information: SS



Barriers facing the 63% of Americans without a college degree are substantial. Despite possessing in-demand skills and experience, career advancement for these millions of workers is blocked because they lack a college degree. Simultaneously, institutions of higher education across the country are struggling to remain relevant, plagued by increasing operating costs and crippling debt.

Empire State University’s new President is energetic, motivated, and focused on tearing down the country’s insidious paper ceilingone page at a time.

Empire State University’s responsive, high-quality, and affordable path to certificates, undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees is the magic formula for change, said President Lisa Vollendorf, Ph.D.

“As the state’s only public online university, we are in the unique position to lead regionally and nationally, and deploy change in response to what’s needed,” she said.

46 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | SPRING 2024 A Good Read | MEET...


Lisa Vollendorf, an educator, author, and leader with more than 28 years of experience, was inaugurated as the new President of Empire State College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) in 2022.

Since then, the college has rebranded and is now known as Empire State University, the state’s first public online university. During the pandemic, the country saw millions of students switch to online learning. Today, many are staying the course. Ninety percent of students enrolled in the University are transfer students, and their average age is getting younger every year. For the Spring 2024 term, the University experienced a 25.3% increase in new student enrollment.

“My favorite thing about the job is having the opportunity, every single day, to expand the impact higher education has for people who have historically been left behind,” said Lisa.


Starting her career as a professor of Spanish, Lisa has worked at public universities in Ohio, Michigan, and California, where she spent more than 15 years in the Cal State system. She is passionate when discussing what she refers to as “a narrow and elitist mindset” in American higher education.

“I believe education can be a driver for social mobility and speaks to the core of what public education can and should be in this country,” she said.

Before becoming enmeshed in the world of higher education, Lisa was captivated by the untold stories of women in Spain and Latin America during the 1500 –1700s. Inspired by accomplished baroque author, Maria de Zaya, a noblewoman and pioneer in literary feminism, Lisa spent many long days at the National Archives deciphering manuscripts. She unearthed these forgotten voices of antisemitism, gender violence, and exploitation in a series of published titles and said the experience gave her great insight into our collective history.

“Society changes but it doesn’t change very much. The lessons we can take away from it create empathy for other people’s stories and experiences. When we think deeply about their everyday suffering, it shapes our behavior,” she said.


Today, Lisa says students are her “North Star.” Leaving their six koi fish out west to enjoy the warm weather, Lisa and her husband of 22 years, Dr. Scott Votey, moved to Saratoga in June 2022 (their son practices law in Manhattan).

“I love the sense of community, the track, and the cultural opportunities we have in Saratoga,” said Lisa. “I feel very thankful and honored to be President of the University and to live in a beautiful, welcoming, and vibrant community.”


Maintaining a flexible approach to student needs outside of the classroom is a lesson Lisa has carried over into her current role.

“Empire State University builds out holistic student supports (by not just offering academic advising) but also mentoring, coaching, tutoring, mental health, and basic needs support,” she said.

By accepting up to 93 transfer credits, providing 63% of undergraduates with financial aid, awarding credit for prior learning and experience through Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), connecting students with community support services, and launching a new way to offer additional emergency funds, Empire State University students are achieving their goals, getting off the education turn-style, and moving on to new economic opportunities.

“They come to Empire State University because they want to finish what they started. I identify very deeply with the student population here because they’re looking for an opportunity that meets their needs and I’ve sought opportunities in my own life,” said Lisa.

“I believe, whole-heartedly, higher education can be the number one force for good in our country,” she continued. “If I can help one more person get a college degree, I know they will be wealthier, healthier, live longer, and live a better life. That will have a ripple effect in the community.” SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 47

Have Your Cake Eat it, Too and


Regaining health with chocolate, ice cream, and other too-good-to-be-true desserts

Britt Young gained 70lbs when she was pregnant with her first child. She’d remained strict with her diet and never experienced pregnancy cravings. Working with a personal trainer after the birth, she diligently chronicled her food intake, but nothing seemed to help her lose the weight. Then, Britt learned she had a gluten intolerance. By eliminating grains and sugars while adding more whole foods and vegetables to her diet, the weight began melting away. Her skin and stomach issues cleared up, her sleep and mood improved, and she had more mental clarity. “It made me feel fantastic and made me a better mom,” she said.


A picture of Britt with her two daughters (now ages 8 and 10) is centered behind the counter of The Sweetish Chef, the bakery she opened in 2021 at 76 Front Street in Ballston Spa as a tribute to her mother, Sandra, who was an excellent cook and baker who struggled with her weight. “Her portion control was out of control,” said Britt. Her lifestyle choices complicated an otherwise minor leg injury to the extent that it took her life in 2018.

“It made me very angry. I didn’t want that to happen to anybody else. In our society, we eat a lot and are not good at finding that happy balance. I wanted to make treats where people feel like they have a choice,” she said.

The Sweetish Chef started selling sugar free, gluten free and grain free desserts for Farmers’ Markets and for porch pick-up during the pandemic. Today, they are creating cupcakes, donuts, bread, bagels, cookies, bars, brownies and more using almond and coconut flour sweetened with monk fruit (natively grown in Southern China) blended with erythritol, a zero calorie type of carbohydrate called sugar alcohol that is used as a sweetener.

“I was trying to figure out – what would I want if I couldn’t have it?” said Britt.

The fudgy chocolate-topped Peanut Butter Bars and their Kitchen Sink Bars, made with coconut, walnuts, and milk chocolate are the shop’s best sellers. Their seasonal smallbatch items include to-go half-pints of dairy-free, sugar-free ice cream in vanilla, chocolate, and cookies & cream flavors.

“It’s all about balance. I have to eat this way in order to feel good. When you eat well, you do feel better. It completely changes your brain and your gut. You sleep better and wake up better, ready to have a great day.”


Using a small number of clean, recognizable ingredients, Britt has recreated her mother’s famous recipes including her barter-worthy apple pie, spritz cookies, and coffee cake. In February, The Sweetish Chef released a packaged DIY lowcarb brownie mix, and plans to add vanilla and chocolate cookies, as well as coffee cake mixes to the product line. This was The Sweetish Chef’s second year participating in Ballston Spa’s popular Chocolate Fest. Their tried-and-true recipe for Banging Stout Chili (made with stout beer and cocoa) took first place in the “Savory” category. Blending chocolate and chilis dates back to the Aztecs because of chocolate’s ability to coax flavor and perk up the spices, indulging the senses while enhancing the richness and depth of a dish.

The more than 600 chili samples (handed out at the nearby Boho Chic Boutique) and an equal number of Chocolate Truffle samples, were sold out within two hours. This kind of community event is one of the reasons Britt was attracted to the location. Antiques and memorabilia from her parent’s house create an inviting atmosphere in the space, which was previously a tack shop.

“I love being part of the village, and that’s part of the reason why I wanted this shop. It really is like you’re part of a village here,” said Britt, adding, “Orange was my mom’s favorite color and when my dad saw pictures of this place, it had orange walls. He said, ‘that’s your mom, telling you to do it.’” For more information and to order online, go to




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day trippin' with Just2FeetandaCamera

Yayoi Kusama

Counting Down One Minute to Infinity

Ihad no idea what I would find behind the heavy door ahead of me. A security guard stood there, stoic, with a stopwatch in his hand. A group of visitors chatted in front of me, waiting their turn in line to enter. When the time came, coats, hats, and bags were placed on top of a cabinet, and the man guarding the door spoke detailed instructions before allowing them inside to see the artist’s show. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 65 Out + About | IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE

I knew our tickets were timed, but I had no clue we could only view Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room – Let’s Survive Forever for one minute. Ummm, one minute? 60 seconds? When I asked about the timeframe, the gentleman explained it was standard for all her Mirrored Room experiences; it was how the visionary had designed each one.

Usually, when I visit a museum, it takes me a few hours to soak it all in. I like to sink my teeth into the history and culture of the place, especially if I’m going to write about it later. I have been to The Memorial Art Gallery – fondly known as MAG and located in Rochester, many times. The artwork and collection of artifacts are stunning, and there are several galleries that I favor. But, as this was my first opportunity to catch a glimpse into the world of Yayoi Kusama, I was excited.


Soon, it was my turn. I was ready! My camera and phone were already set so that I could make the most of my allotted time beyond the door. I was surprised at how peaceful, yet at the same time chaotic, I found it to be. There were spheres on the floor, hanging from the ceiling, mirrors all around me. I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was everywhere. There were so many reflections as I walked and turned round and round in the wide-open space. I had the strangest feeling that if one of ‘me’ couldn’t do something, go somewhere, discover a new path, another one of me would.

There was a tap on the door; it signaled I had 15 more seconds to gather myself before leaving. I stood still, thinking about how powerful I felt being in that room, also realizing how small I was in the grander scheme of things. When the door opened, I was waved outside. I collected my things and moved to walk away; turns out 60 seconds revealed enough.

Yayoi Kusama’s show runs through May 5th. I hope you find time to experience it yourself!

To read more about Yayoi Kusama, her life, her immersive experience, and the MAG, please visit SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 67

It Takes a Village & More to Create a Mosaic MASTERPIECE!


For people of all ages, the North Creek Mosaic Project is an extraordinary must-see! This stunning 220-foot long, 4-11-foot tall mosaic wall showcases the wonders of the Adirondack region, from its diverse flora and fauna to its countless fun, four-season recreational activities. Prominently located on Main Street in North Creek, a quaint hamlet in the Town of Johnsburg, the wall stands as a testament to what a community can accomplish when people work together for a common cause. Over the past 10+ years, a wondrous mix of more than 2,075 volunteers— including Johnsburg Fine Arts members, townspeople, and visitors—pitched in to transform an ugly concrete retaining wall into a spectacular mosaic canvas.

Spearheading this lengthy, incredibly complex project is award-winning North Creek artist, teacher, and gallery proprietor Kate Hartley, who not only envisioned the wall’s dramatic transformation but applied for numerous grants to get the endeavor underway, designed the thematic content, taught volunteers of all ages how to

work with mosaics, and oversaw the wall’s day-to-day and year-to-year progression. Hartley offered numerous workshops, summer camps, and school sessions to teach basic mosaic techniques and inspire people to take part in the adventure of a lifetime. Although the tiling is now completed, some of the grouting—a warm weather undertaking that insures the tiles remain securely in place— remains to be done.

The North Creek Mosaic Project consists of a variety of materials, including ceramic tiles, shells, beads, glass fragments, and pebbles. Residents, businesses, and visitors not only contributed financially to the cause but donated leftover home renovation materials, shell collections, and glass bottles of every variety. Local grant sources that generously supported the project include The Johnsburg Occupancy Tax Committee, Rivendell Foundation, Sandy Hill Foundation, Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region, LARAC and NYSCA Arts Education. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 69
WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY WENDY HOBDAY HAUGH This stunning retaining wall on Main Street, North Creek, captivates passersby of all ages.

“Town of Johnsburg seventh graders initially calculated there were about 160,000 pieces on the wall,” Hartley says, “but we later figured the number to be closer to 200,000. Johnsburg second-graders completed different elements each year, including making beautiful birch trees, a deer family, and various fish and butterfly species. Seventh and eighth graders made all the skiers and snowboarders, and high school and middle school students created trees from smashed and slumped wine bottles.”(Slumping is a process by which gravity and heat from a kiln are used to reshape glass.)

“High schoolers, together with groups of adults, created many challenging elements,” Hartley continues, “like a rustic campsite, a soaring osprey, and many of the larger animals like our almost fullsized moose! So many people contributed to this project in so many wonderful ways.”

Kate Hartley designed the wall to depict the nature and recreation of the North Creek area on an ideal spring day, when rafters are already on the river, and people are still skiing on Gore Mountain. “I consider the wall to be a mosaic of stories,” she explains. “Kids worked on it with their friends, parents, and grandparents, often multiple times at different ages over the years. And all of them will be able to visit the wall years from now, perhaps with their own children, and point out the pieces they did. This mosaic project is a source of pride for the Johnsburg/North Creek community and for everyone who contributed in any way. Everybody felt they were a part of something amazing.”


In 2021, Hartley transformed a former funeral home/restaurant down the street from the Mosaic Project into her own H’ART Studio & Gallery. In this bustling community gem, Hartley teaches a wide range of classes, including water colors, mosaics, needle felting, clay handbuilding and outdoor pit-firing. Additional workshops and classes are offered by guest artists. This vibrant gallery houses the fine art and crafts of more than 30 area artists, so be sure to stop in and browse after walking the wall!

Walk the wall once, and you’ll quickly realize you need to walk it again and again. The scenes depicted are so cleverly detailed and actionpacked no way can you see everything in just one pass! You could spend hours, days even, studying this impressive mosaic mural. Images of critters abound, including bear, deer, fox, loons, cardinals, turtles and fish—and that’s just a partial list! Activities abound, too, from biking, whitewater rafting, tubing, and kayaking to flyfishing, hiking, and skiing.

One scene, requested by a homeowner living above the wall, shows three women tubing down the Hudson River. Since Kate Hartley couldn’t find a decent picture of this activity to work from, she and her good friends Debby and Wendy went tubing themselves, taking pictures of one another as they floated down the river. Afterwards, using their photos as templates, they recreated their experience in mosaics.

Dazzling with color and bursting with energy, the North Creek Mosaic Project reflects not only the diversity of the region but the commonality of its creators: thousands of different people of all ages who gave of their time, talent, and sweat equity to create a masterpiece. Without question, it will stand as a gift to people near and far for generations to come.

Visit The North Creek Mosaic Project yearround! Meet Kate Hartley at her H’ART Studio & Gallery, 276 Main Street, North Creek, NY 12853; 518-681-9921. SS

Artist & Gallery Owner Kate Hartley displays a bin of mosaic tiles. North Country fly-fishing Three friends enjoy a tubing adventure.

The Cutty Sark Delivers All That, And More! Rest, Relax, Recharge

Whenever I want to take time away from my apartment in New York, I tend to look towards Maine. And when I think of Maine, I need a view of the beach, with restaurants, shops, and attractions nearby.

It’s hard to think of a time when Maine didn’t call out to me – from when I was a young child through my teens and beyond – now somehowin my mid-60s. Besides the fact that it is only a few hours’ drive away, seeing the sign that welcomes me back to the Pine State makes me sigh in relief – I can (and do) leave my worries behind for a little while.


The Cutty Sark Motel is at the corner of York’s Long Sands Beach; you can see this ‘home away from home’ long before you arrive at the check-in desk, where the staff is always friendly and welcoming. One thing seems to delight the myriad of people I’ve met there –the fact that every room on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor has a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean, with sunrises and sunsets rivaling anywhere else in the country.

There are two buildings on the property; the Lower Building began as a private home for the owners and their young family. Eventually, the structure was enlarged to host visitors to the York, Maine area, and a third floor was added once the family moved into another home nearby.

Later, the Upper Building was built by 2ndgeneration owners, designed with the comforts any traveler might want and need in mind. Both sections boast large picture windows in rooms that overlook not only the expanse of sea and sky but spacious lawns that feature freshly mown grass, lounge chairs, Adirondack chairs, tables for eating, and a continental breakfast offered outside the office each morning during spring, summer, and fall.

If salty sea air is your thing, enjoy a walk along the beach in any weather – people find seashells, sand dollars, and beautiful shades of colored sea glass along the rocky shorelines. Surfers greet the morning on waxed boards that ride the waves or paddle into calm mornings, contemplating life and all its grand magic. Families get up early and walk or drive to Nubble Lighthouse, just over a mile away. You’ll see photographers, fishermen, and bird watchers there, ready to ooh and aah over the beauty of this ageless sentry during the golden hour.

The Cutty Sark is a beautiful place for families, girlfriend getaways, and the romance of handholding couples enjoying the ocean. And it is in the center of everything, which I find invigorating. Right down the road, there’s a great seafood restaurant called Stones Throw. And there’s another called Lobster Cove. And yet another known as Fox’s Lobster House. Those three are my favorites. Fresh seafood, great drinks, outdoor seating in the warmer weather, and ambiance galore.

You can find The Old Gaol in the town center, where people were imprisoned – sometimes for the littlest offenses! There are museums, art galleries, specialty shops, historic cemeteries, and Wiggly Bridge – the country’s smallest suspension bridge, to name a few things sure to keep you and your group busy during your time there. SPRING 2024 SIMPLY SARATOGA | 73
The Old Gaol Long Sands Stones Throw

On Short Sands Beach, just a mile or so in the other direction, you’ll find a smaller stretch of shoreline –another perfect place to spend the day with family and friends. People pack coolers, umbrellas, children’s toys, and books to read, spreading out and enjoying a few hours -or the entire day! There are all sorts of fantastic shops, restaurants, and the famed business known as The Goldenrod. If you love salt-water taffy, homemade candies, ice cream, and delicious meals, this is a place you can’t afford to miss while vacationing.

I love theater, and this past summer, I was thrilled to see both ‘Singing in the Rain’ and ‘The Davinci Code’ at the Ogunquit Playhouse, a few miles away from Cutty Sark. They have a roster worthy of any Broadway show, and I’m already poised to see a few more performances with my gal pals this season.

At the end of the day, visitors enjoy watching the tide and sunset out on the lawns at the hotel. We often sit outside well after dark, with wine and a blanket if it’s chilly. I bring my tripod and set up my Canon camera, attempting to take some long-exposure nighttime photos in the pitch black. It’s pretty nice to hear parents getting ready to put their children to bed for the night, talking about sandcastles, sun-kissed shoulders, and how fun it was to swim in the ocean.

And we aren’t the only ones who stay up late when we’re at the beach. Lounge chairs and tables are used long after the sun’s gone down. We all chat amongst ourselves or in a group about things we did and other things planned for tomorrow. Everyone is quick to offer suggestions over a beer, wine, or glass of local spirits… Did you see this? Have you been there?

The thing about Maine is this: spending time anywhere in this beautiful state is like filling a mental health prescription from your primary care physician. And staying at Cutty Sark Motel, with windows open to let the smell of salt air and sound of waves crashing on the beach below, is just what the doctor ordered—time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. God knows we all need it.

Our Saratoga
It’s time to start thinking about summer camps!
Summer Camp Guide
area options!

UNPLUG & GET DIRTY Kids&Clay Summer Fun



Summer 2024 brings an exciting series of clay programs for ages 6-16, taught by professional local artists/teachers and ranging in themes and techniques. Camps are open to all skill levels, beginning and up. Pinch pots, slab projects, wheel throwing, glazing, and ring techniques come together to provide each student with exciting new experiences, new skills and their clay creations to take home to use and share with friends and family. What could be better than playing with clay all summer?! Come unplug, make art, and make friends. Choose from several themed half-day week-long summer camps, with the option to put morning and afternoon camps together for a full-day experience! Classes run July 8 – August 30. Come for one week or all eight.

Visit Saratoga Clay Arts Center’s website at for more details on programs, registration dates, fee details, and while you are there, take some time to check out the rest of their site see all that is happening at the center.


Get ready for some messy, exhilarating, creative fun this summer!


167 Hayes Road, Schuylerville, NY 12871 518-581-CLAY (2529) •




Summer Day Camp Simply Focuses on Kids Just Being Kids in the Great Outdoors

In today’s over-structured world where kids spend a big part of their days looking at electronics, the one thing most grade school parents agree on is when school is out, they want their kids out… in the great outdoors. When summer comes, the pressure is on for parents to adequately entertain them without overscheduling or breaking the bank. The Town of Green eld’s summer day camp is a perfect solution, with its morning-only format and a full array of traditional activities that promise to leave children exhausted and happy.

Campers spend 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at the Maple Avenue Middle School, at 515 Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs. Activities include rotating stations of fun, featuring such things as obstacle courses, hiking, Taekwondo, arts and crafts, as well as many organized games and sports like soccer, ag football, kickball and more. Campers participate in themed days like “Super Hero” and “Hat” Day and painting, tie-dying and rock climbing. They receive weekly visits from Uncharted Wild LLC to encounter live wild animals, regularly scheduled “Water Days” for splashing around and even the chance to pal around with some local llamas. Rainy day activities bring the children inside to the school’s gymnasium and cafeteria. Fridays end each week on a sweet note with treats from ice cream trucks and Stewart’s Shops.

“Our ever-changing schedule will send kids home exhausted and dirty from an action-packed morning at camp with friends,” said Town of Green eld Recreation Director Jennifer Zeisler.

Students ages 5 to 14 are welcome and will be supervised with a 2:10 counselor/camper ratio. The camp features 25 trained camp counselors, most of whom once attended this camp themselves. Parents can choose early drop o for an additional cost and all students are eligible for the town’s Free Lunch Program, daily on-site.

More information can be found by calling Jennifer Zeisler at 518-893-7432 Ext. 307 or visiting www. green Scholarships are available.


Residents: March 1

Nonresidents: March 11 (518) 893-7432 EXT. 307


Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (early drop off and transportation available)


Maple Avenue Middle School 515 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs, NY SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 79
Register at:



As one of our Ninjas, your child can expect our skilled coaches to guide them through increasingly challenging obstacles, resulting in increased strength and stamina.

Ninja Lab Summer Camps run Monday through Friday in one-week, half day or full day sessions. Ninja Campers can choose between the morning session: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. or afternoon session: 1- 4 p.m, or full day session: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Campers will be put into groups of similar ability.

Age-appropriate drills will always be used, with a heightened emphasis on skill and long-term athlete development. Every child will be engaged and having fun, while building strength and self-con dence and nding their inner-ninja! All our coaches at The Ninja Lab are CPR certi ed and background screened. Age requirements: Incoming 1st-10th graders.

And don’t forget, we are home to the region’s BEST Birthday Parties!

Register online at or call the Lab with questions: 518-289-5942. 9 Stonebreak Road, Malta • 518-289-5942 SARATOGANINJALAB.COM SWING, CLIMB, LEAP & SOAR SWING, CLIMB, LEAP & SOAR your way into
while building self-confidence and learning skills that will last a lifetime. Sample Camp Day Schedule: 8:45-9 a.m. • Arrival and Registration 9-9:10 a.m. • Welcome and Warm-up 9:10-10:20 a.m. • Station-based Ninja Training 10:20-10:40 a.m. • Break 10:40-12 p.m. • Course Runs and Challenges 12 p.m. • Pick up Summer Camp Pricing: $60 for single half day | $260 for half day full week $90 for single full day | $385 for full day full week
summer SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 81
84 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | SPRING 2024 SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 85 Let Us Show You Around... H&G Randall Perry Photography




Perry Photography

Scenic Sophi

A sumptuously modern style embraces minimalistic elements zeroing in on a serenity that’s as good as gold.


Enamored with the property’s views, now showcased through massive floor-to-ceiling windows, this stylishly comfortable home affords its owners a special sense of seclusion while maintaining the luxury of having family just minutes away.

When Jimmy and Terri first looked at the hilltop property, in a desirable location, close to their three children and six grandchildren, it had already been sold.

Fate, however, was on their side, and after the initial buyers pulled out, the property was put back on the market. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 89
Randall Perry Photography

In 2021, they began the two-year construction of their 7,800 sq. ft., 4-bedroom, 6-bath contemporary stye home. The home, built by Witt Construction to accentuate the surrounding landscape, sits on 3.5 acres, and was meticulously designed to showcase the nearly panoramic views that stretch past the stonework patio (featuring a pool and firepit) to the grand expanse of the Saratoga County countryside all the way to the horizon.

“We had a dream vision and John Witt put it onto paper,” said Terri. Built as a vacation home that would save them the 5-hour drive from the Jersey shore, the couple is close to their kids and grandkids in a landscape that reminds them of the bucolic bliss of Buck’s County, PA (where they lived before relocating to their full-time residence in Florida).

Between Witt Construction and Studio K interior design, “What we got is really what we wanted,” said Jimmy. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 91
Randall Perry Photography

Fashionable & Formal

The study gets an upgrade with a striking gold wallpaper ceiling. In a monochromatic color palette that defies expectations, a viridescent border sits on the ceiling, spreads across the wall, and languishes on the built-in shelving.

Sunlight cuts dramatically across the room through the unadorned windows, introducing lavish light into the cozy, rich space.

In what is sure to become a future classic, open barrel chairs streamline style with their rounded silhouette while adding an airy look to the room. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 93
Randall Perry Photography

High Contrast Cohesion

In the kitchen, crisp, salty white countertops, backsplash, and ceiling contrast the sleek black cabinetry and hardwood flooring in sandy shades, bringing the breeziness of the beach upstate.

Pushing the perception that dark colors are weighty, the seamless surfaces, tonal hardware, and hidden appliances create a clutter-free and easy-to-clean workspace.

The neutral color scheme is broken by considerable metallic gold accent pendent lights (whose color connects them to other interior elements) that add a conspicuous, yet welcome, resting point for the eye.

saratogaTODAYnewspaper .com SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 95
Randall Perry Photography
Randall Perry Photography Randall Perry Photography

Buoyant Beauty

In the scintillating sunroom, a nearly unbroken view of the surrounding landscape through the screen windows, versatile seating arrangements, heated ceilings, and a monumental stone fireplace make this Jimmy and Terri’s favorite spot whenever the weather is nice.

Additional amenities in the home, including a butler’s pantry that serves as a second kitchen, a golf simulator, and gym (on the lower lever), make entertaining a breeze in every season.

Cultivating calm in the bedroom, a soaring vaulted ceiling, and marble surround for the fireplace, add a resplendent elegance that doesn’t feel too fussy. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 97
Randall Perry Photography

Sculptural Simplicity

Floor-to-ceiling panes of glass line the wall in the dining area below a thick coffered ceiling centered on cultivating an exceptional experience.

Everyone gets a seat at the table (it accommodates as many as 14!!) below a dangling necklace of glass pendant lights.

Off to the side, a sliding frosted glass door leads down to a sunken bar area where Jimmy and Terri like to entertain.

Here, artwork featuring bold colors and interesting shapes creates playful focal points in the multiple seating areas.

In a home like this one, with its architectural elegance and limited adornments, you feel like you’re immersed among the surrounding scenery while your attention stays centered around spending time together as a family.

Randall Perry Photography Randall Perry Photography SS SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 99

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

Colleen's Picks

A Carefully Curated Selection of HOME DÉCOR


I can’t complain, this winter season has been quite mild in comparison. I am so ready to open my pool early again this year and enjoy all the benefits of the warm weather starting early in upstate NY. So…you know what that means! Time to prepare for Spring!! Spruce Up, clean out the cobwebs, pack up that Christmas Tree (I know there’s some out there… I’ve seen them!) and let’s add some warm and fuzzy goodies to our interior environments!

For starters, EARL B. FEIDEN’S is featuring the new GE Profile UltraFast Combo with Ventless Heat Pump Technology Washer/Dryer. Yes, wash and dry your clothes without ever moving them from one machine to another. Talk about increasing your efficiency! For all my readers who leave home and work in an office, you can actually put your clothes in the machine before you leave and just give a quick fluff in the Dewrinkle cycle before folding when you get home. Where was this much needed washer and dryer combo when I was running around with 3 kids in sports! As a bonus, this machine boasts the Adaptive SmartDispense™, meaning, the soap dispenser will hold enough detergent for up to 36 loads. Plus, scan the barcode on the detergent bottle with the SmartHQ™ app and the washer will dispense the right amount based on the type of detergent. Blows my mind! How much easier can laundry get! Onto Cooking, especially as we enter the season of entertaining both inside and out! The Thermador 36” Pro Harmony Liberty Induction Range caught my eye after hearing it won the highly sought after CES 2024 Innovation Award for its overall engineering and functionality, as well as its features, aesthetics, and innovative design. The oven boasts modes such as Bake, Convection Bake, Convection Broil, Roast, Special baking setting, True Convection and includes 3, yes three, telescoping racks. The Liberty Induction cooktop offers 3 large, flexible cooking zones with the technology used in the Thermador induction cooktop introduced several years back. HeatShift® divides the cooktop surface into three preset heat zones which allows the user to change the power level simply by moving your pot or pan. For example, you can transition from sauté to simmer simply by shifting your pan. Conversely, MoveMode® allows you to move your pot across the surface and the heat setting moves with your pan. And PowerBoost® increases the power by up to 50%, saving time to heat up pots or boil water quicker. And not to worry, this marvel of a range is offered in four sizes, 30”, 36”, 48” and a grand 60”. What’s not to like?


1771 U.S. 9, Clifton Park 518-383-2215

785 U.S. 9, Latham 518-785-8555


| 518-899-6222


ACCENTS AT ALLERDICE (Malta location only) is gushing with seasonal decorative items including baby clothes and accessories. Did I tell you I became a “Nani”? My beautiful granddaughter is one lucky girl... each time I head to Accents... seems they always have something she needs! Like this adorable Warmie Chick! You can heat it in the microwave, then place it in the baby’s bed to warm their sleeping spot. The interior fresh-dried lavender adds a natural soothing scent. When you lay your precious bundle down, it’s like they’ve never left your arms. And with many sizes available in the shop now, you can even keep a small one in the freezer at all times for those booboo moments that need a little extra fluffy lovin’. Another great find is Camilla the Caterpillar. This handcrafted, colorfully painted planter is made from repurposed materials. She holds up to three plants or flower pots and comes in a variety of colors. Camilla is great for adorning the interior as well as adding character to your favorite porch or patio area. With several different sculptures to choose from, there’s surely one that suites your size or fancy…Makes a great gift as well!

Just down the street at FINISHING TOUCHES, they have the best Garden in a Bag gift. These complete-to-grow kits come in a leak-proof bag and include seeds, soil, coconut husks for drainage and hand-tied ribbon directions to finish the package. The Mom collection comes with Dwarf Zinnias, some of my yearly favs, that are easy to grow with multiple, bold colored blossoms that last from Spring to Autumn. These are seasonal, so pick up your favorite before they’re all gone! And for the interior, what says Spring better than a sweet Lumbar Bird Pillow crowned with whistling robins and newly budding branches atop a soft cotton case with large wooden buttons. Great for a sofa accent or the covered front porch lounge chair. Finishing Touches has many sizes in stock to chose from… come take your pick before they all fly away!

Spring is just around the corner, be sure to head over to your local shops for all your décor needs. Put down that phone app and take a ride…Let’s make 2024 the best local shopping year ever!

Until next time my friends, SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 101
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Expert @cmcdesignstudiollc “Creating Environments for Life” TM
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2570 U.S.
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Follow along as Cindy Conaway and Chris Whann take us along on their quest to buy their first home. When we left off (Simply Saratoga HOLIDAY) they had decided that building their dream home was the best option and as Cindy says… “I may have never wanted a house but am excited to see the vision come to life.”

Choosing a HOME


After a quiet winter, Mike Pugh called us in May. It was time to start working with the vendors. Each time we paid a visit, more of the house was done. Between a house sale, some engagement gifts, and my promotion to Full Professor, we had money to do some upgrades--within reason.

I am confident in my taste and had fun choosing things. We didn’t want our house to be cookie-cutter despite the

houses in the development all being built by Cerrone. But there were many moving parts; we needed to avoid costly and ugly mistakes. Designers I liked used subtler palettes than my tendencies, and expensive, hard-to-take-care-of materials like marble. We stuck with the “mid-centurymodern meets world-traveler” concept, but at each choice I kept thinking “beach house.”

Cindy in the kitchen area just before moving day

First up, tile. For the guest bath, we stuck with the aquaticcolored “Waterfall” mosaic I first liked, white subway tile and “Pearl” floor tile. Although I had ordered vibrant mosaic samples, when I mocked them up in my Spoak software, they looked too much like YMCA showers, so I decided on more subtle “variations on a theme” in the primary bath. Marc at Queensbury Tile found us a black, white and gray mosaic and an anthracite floor. Although I wanted a kitchen backsplash, which TV designers always had, he recommended waiting a while and going subtle because “granite is the star.”

We took our samples to Adirondack Precision Cut Stone, the “Blue Pearl” granite I originally wanted for the island felt dated—Tina was clearly relieved. She found us a white quartz with blue veining for the island and “Absolute Black” on the back counters—an affordable way to get the look we wanted. Remnants were now available; for the guest bath, “Sparkling White” with flecks of sea glass matched the mosaic. Although zebra-striped “Tuxedo” quartzite for the primary bath was too expensive, there were just enough remnants of Livorno—black with white streaks—for a vanity top and shower bench. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 103
6 rows of Midnight mosaic tile from the same line as Waterfall contrasts with white subway tile in the primary bathroom

We then brought all the samples back to Best Kitchens, where Rick had already mocked up a kitchen design including drawers for heavy dishes, a “spices and oils” pull out cabinet, and a pop-up for our food processor. We asked to reorganize cabinets to allow for a cat-feeding area and to add glass doors to two cabinets to display wine glasses and what my dad calls “home decors” without the kittens—now larger but no less destructive -- being able to get at them. With two counter colors,

he suggested unifying cupboards and island color. Praline-stained maple matched our walnut furniture. For bathroom vanities, we choose a lighter gray to coordinate with the darker tiles and a darker gray for the lighter tiles. And we ordered a 1950’s-style Formica counter and sink for the mudroom. GE Profile appliances entitled us to multiple rebates. The internet was aflame (pun intended) with stories about prohibitions on gas, and I get frustrated with electric, so we went with an induction stove.

Chris looking at granite samples

Next destination for the samples was Floormaster. The dark “Longview” floor we had previously considered didn’t look right anymore. I’d also learned that lighter wood floors were easier to take care of. The blonde “Pelican Bay” from the builder’s choices gave a Danish modern beach house vibe. Larissa said that other neighborhood clients had liked it but been too scared to choose it, to which I said “sold!”

By the time it came to lights and bathroom mirrors, we had decision fatigue. Gianni and Corey helped us decide

where recessed lights and outlets should go. Mary and Angela at Askco Lighting and I sent wish lists back and forth a dozen times, plus multiple visits. I also ordered a dining area light I’d seen in Architectural Digest and outdoor lights from Barn Lights. The guest bath was small and the tub was big, and we had a lot of “design” going on already, so we had them cut plain mirrors to size. I went back to Spoak and mocked it up again. Everything seemed harmonious and like it would look more luxe than it was. It was almost time to move! SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 105
Quartz and tile samples helped us pick an "Urban Grey" vanity in the guest bath.
White Oak choices came with our package.


Hello my Foodie Friends!

How many of us still have our meals together with the family? It was a requirement when I grew up and I miss it. Although my children had to go and grow up, I still miss mealtimes with them. Our hectic lives often challenge us to slow down and savor these moments. Although getting your entire family together for mealtime may seem impossible, the benefits of this tradition are worth practicing. “Savor” is a word we sometimes use to describe taking time to enjoy the aromas and tastes of a delicious meal. It means to slow down and appreciate the moments we enjoy with foods that taste good. But savoring also can apply to the family moments that surround family meals. Family mealtime used to be the foundation of everybody’s day. When my mother ruled the kitchen, we relished all five senses to experience her greatness:

1. Smell - It didn’t matter what she made the aromas filled our house and brought smiles to me and my siblings.

2. Touch - Mom would let us help with many tasks, but shaping meatballs was our favorite.

3. Sight - To witness a meal from its beginning to the beautiful finish is a treat.

4. Hearing or sounds - Listening to mom give out the instructions and using the tools to create her meals has always stayed with me. The sounds of a grater, peeler, knife chopping and grinding her spices are still in my head.

5. Taste - I saved Taste for last because let’s face it, her food was sent from heaven. She would always have a secret spice that she would add to enhance what was already great. It was an honor for her to say, “John, taste this and tell me what you think?” …Me? Ahhh sure mom!

Using spices in preparing food has not only been for just nutritional value but for flavor enhancing. Two of the most used spices in the world are Salt and Pepper. Salt is considered the “King of Spices.” It is a natural mineral (sodium chloride) and is mined from underground. Pepper is the second most used spice. Black pepper is the fruit of the pepper plant harvested unripe but not far from ripening--called the peppercorn.

An essential culinary tool to have in your home is the pepper and salt grinder. Many customers have asked “Why grind salt and pepper?” There are many reasons to grind pepper or salt rather than grabbing for the pre-ground containers on your shelf. When you grind pepper, the fresh peppercorn releases volatile oils that flavor your food. These oils become dull and stale in preground pepper, providing much less flavor. While salt does not go stale, there are other reasons to use a mill to grind salt. Cracked salt can add a different texture to dishes. Additionally, gourmet or specialty salts typically come in very large crystals. If you wish to use these delicious and elegant salts in your food, you will need to purchase a salt mill.


Salt and pepper mills come in many different styles. There are three main types of salt and pepper mills that consist of the standard twist-top mills, lever operated mills, and electric salt and pepper mills. If you are going for a traditional style, the twist top mills are the way to go. This is the most common pepper or salt mill. Lever operated mills consist of two levers that you squeeze together, much like a pair of scissors. These mills are generally more modern looking. Finally, electric mills may be used if you wish to have a quick grind.

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a salt or pepper mill is the composition mechanism of the blade. While many cheaper mills come with plastic blades or gears, the grinding action will eventually wear away at this plastic. In addition to depositing plastic bits in your food, these mills will cease to function. A mill with metal blades is a good choice for grinding pepper “You lika the pepper don’t you?!” However, salt will eventually corrode metal. As such, it is important to purchase a salt mill with a ceramic blade. Ceramic will stay sharper much longer than metal, as well. So, although a pepper mill with metal blades will be effective, ceramic blades may be an even better choice.

At Compliments to the Chef, we carry Peugeot pepper and salt mills.

The Peugeot pepper mill has been reinventing itself for over 160 years. Peugeot has combined functionality and refinement in mechanisms designed to make every task a joy. Manufactured in steel, with the u'Select patented adjustable grinding system, wear-resistant and guaranteed for life, the Peugeot pepper mill benefits from a specific treatment that protects it from corrosion and preserves its cutting edge which chops the peppercorns rather than crushing them. It offers a grind that can be adjusted, from coarse to the finest, to bring out all the intensity and character of the aromas of pepper and reveal the subtlety of its flavors.

Because the pepper is ground at the last moment to obtain the full benefit of its aromas, the Peugeot Paris u’Select manual pepper mill is the ideal instrument. With its ingenious grinding adjustment system, you can very simply choose the pepper coarseness that is best suited to your culinary creations. When ground very finely, the pepper highlights its spice. Conversely, when ground more coarsely, unexpected aromas are highlighted. In the kitchen or at the table, this mill will create a sensation with your guests.

The Peugeot salt mill is a perfect embodiment of this generosity. It is equipped with a Peugeot steel mechanism, which comes with a lifetime guarantee, and incorporates into its base the u’Select patented grinding adjustment system allowing you to select the right coarseness for your food without any problem. They are simply beautiful to have in your kitchens and your dining tables.

4 Ingredient Cacio e Pepe


• ½ pound (8 ounces) linguine pasta

• 1-½ cups (4 ounces) Pecorino Romano, freshly grated

• 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns, cracked

• 1/3 cup pasta water

• Salt


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and generously add salt.

2. In the meantime, finely grate cheese, crush the peppercorns, and mix in a bowl.

3. Add pasta to boiling water and stir for the first couple minutes.

4. Taste the pasta water, make sure you taste the salt.

5. A minute before the pasta is perfectly al dente, use tongs to transfer pasta into a skillet.

6. Add 1/3 cup hot pasta water to the skillet.

7. Add finely grated cheese and cracked peppercorns and stir for about 1 minute until the cheese melts and clings to the pasta.

8. Serve & enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Erich Boenzli at

Stop by Compliments to the Chef located at 33 Railroad Place, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store to check out these wonderful mills. Explore food together with your family and friends. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 107
Take Care, John & Paula SS


Mom’s Salad Bar!

Spring has sprung and I am soooo looking forward to enjoying the first fresh vegetables of the season. Shopping for fresh produce at our awesome local farmers’ markets is so much fun, and I love creating new recipes that will dazzle my guests. But as much as like to be creative with food, at times I wax nostalgic for the recipes I grew up with. Those my family enjoyed on holidays and other special occasions are the most important to me, and many have sustained the test of time. So, in that spirit I’m sharing my mother’s simple way of serving salad to a crowd. Speaking of spirits, I haven’t forgotten to include my latest spring inspired cocktail recipe, but more on that later!

Ideas for relaxed entertaining your guests will love… and you will too!

My beautiful mom Esther Vincent was always ahead of the curve, especially when it came to our family’s comfort. For example, camping with my mother was much like what we think of today as Glamping, well maybe not as glitzy, but definitely over the top by 1970’s standards. She and my dad packed our ”pop up” trailer and station wagon with a long list of her “necessities” including a television, kitchen appliances (she never traveled without her electric skillet!), and the same pillows and bed linens we used at home.

Mom’s ingenuity and consideration of others influenced how she cooked and entertained as well. Traditionally she served a garden salad as the first course of any special occasion or holiday meal. However, it was a challenge to create a salad for a large group of family and friends with distinct food likes and dislikes. Mom’s solution to this conundrum foreshadowed another trend when she came up with her own version of the “salad bar.”

Mom would place a large bowl of salad greens at the center of her dining room table. On either side of the center bowl she would line up small bowls of salad fixings down the length of the table. Many of the bowls were filled with traditional salad ingredients like cucumber slices, tomato wedges, chopped radishes and sliced red onions. Other bowls held things from her pantry such as marinated artichokes, black olives, and chickpeas. Mom also included a variety of premium salad dressings (think "Marie's"), and her own Pesto and Olive Oil Vinaigrette. There’s really no specific recipe for Mom’s Salad Bar, just assemble ingredients you and your guests prefer. Here are a few suggestions to get you started. Maybe a bowl of butter lettuce with side bowls of seasonal berries, toasted chopped nuts and a balsamic dressing. Or chopped romaine lettuce with a side bowl of pepperoni (vegan at my table, there are some awesome brands like “Yves” you can find locally), green olives, chopped pepperoncini and mom’s Pesto and Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Now it’s time for my latest cocktail, the Saratoga Strawberry Pineapple Cooler! This refreshing tall drink has fruit forward flavor and is a little on the sweet side but not cloyingly so. It’s simple to make too, just mix it right in the glass and top it off with a splash of seltzer.

Mom and I hope you enjoy these recipes. As I always say, have fun in your kitchen cooking (and making drinks!) for the people you love, and remember… it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to taste good!


Saratoga Strawberry Pineapple Cooler

Ingredients are for one drink. You can mix this drink in batches ahead of time too. Just combine the first 3 ingredients for the number of drinks you will need and chill. Top each drink with the seltzer before serving.

• 2 ounces of strawberry flavor vodka

I prefer "Pick Six" Homemade Strawberry Jam Vodka

• 3 ounces of pineapple juice

• ½ ounce of Grenadine syrup or more if you like a sweeter drink

• Chilled seltzer

• Fresh sliced strawberries and pineapple chunks to garnish


Combine the first three ingredients in an ice filled “high ball” or “Collins” glass, stir and top off with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with a few strawberry slices and a pineapple chunk. Cheers!

Esther’s Pesto Olive Oil Vinaigrette

• ½ cup of prepared basil pesto

• ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

• ¼ cup of white wine vinegar

• A pinch of salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Or do what I do and dump everything in a small canning jar, secure the lid and shake till combined. Whichever method you choose be sure to whisk or shake right before serving.


The Homesteaders of Tomorrow

Homesteading is a popular hobby and lifestyle choice.

Whether you were born into the lifestyle, or it came to you later in life, if it is something you are passionate about, there are great ways to get involved in that community and help support the new and upcoming generation of homesteaders and farmers.

A great local way to do that is by purchasing a 4-H market animal at the Saratoga County 4-H Market Auction.

The 4-H youth who are raising animals for the market auction are learning firsthand what it takes to raise an animal for meat. They learn responsibility and care for these animals. Through the program, they learn about how to feed animals the best and most efficient feeds. They evaluate the cost of raising animals and then look at profit margins for them. They are setting goals for their animals and themselves and are recording and working towards those goals all year. In addition, these youth are getting out into their community, finding buyers, and advocating

for their hard work. As a buyer, you get great local, quality meat, and in the process, you are supporting a kid's goals and helping them establish skills that will follow them into adulthood. These kids will soon be community members who will be giving back with their time and skills or possibly with their homestead, where they can continue raising quality meat and farm products for all of us!


The 4-H Market Auction is where 4-H youth who are participating in market animal projects sell their animals. The proceeds of each sale go to the individual 4-H member. Many of these young people put their sale earnings toward college, in addition to using the money to offset the costs of raising their animal, and to purchase a new market animal for the next year. When purchasing a 4-H animal from the auction, you are getting a high-quality product. Market animals are raised by 4-H’ers who provide the utmost care. You are also supporting the Agricultural industry.

4-H youth in the 2023 Market Auction Program


The sale is held on Sunday, July 28th at the Saratoga County Fair in the Stewart’s Shops show ring, located next to the dairy barns.

The barn and sale arena open at 1:30pm. There will be a sign-in table located in the barn, this is where you will receive your bidder number/ card. You must have a bidder card to purchase an animal. The 4-H Market Auction will begin at 2pm. All animals will be sold starting at market price of the day. When you bid on animals you are bidding by the pound, except rabbits and poultry which are sold by live weight. If animals are in a pen of two, you are bidding on both animals.


If you want the whole animal... You are responsible for the costs of the purchasing and processing of your animal. Processing fees are an additional cost.


You may purchase the meat as a group, where the costs are shared among several buyers. Some ideas for partners are family, friends, employees, and social organizations. Meat purchased by a business makes an excellent thank you for employees!


You may sign your purchase back to 4-H for a resale. The proceeds from the original sale will benefit the 4-Her. The proceeds from the resale will benefit the 4-H Market Auction Committee. We will use these proceeds to purchase educational materials and supplies for the Livestock program.


All animals must be paid for, IN FULL, at the end of the auction. The animals will be delivered to a processor on Sunday, after the auction. You may contact the processor for a specific cut sheet. The processing costs are separate from your purchase at the auction. You will be billed by the processor after the animal is processed. The meat will be delivered personally from each 4-Her or you may arrange pick up.


You may purchase an animal as a goodwill gift or as a donation to charity.


If you are not buying an animal, but you are interested in supporting a 4-H member, you may add a fixed dollar amount (for example, $25) to the sale price of an animal.


A proxy buyer can help you. Work with your 4-H youth for information and they will arrange bidding in your name.

If you would like to know more about the 4-H Market Auction program or would like to know how you can show your support please contact Rylie Lear McLenithan 518-885-8995 / SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 111
4-H youth Carter Short his market Lamb and the buyer Andrei Wrench


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The Walworth Family: Pine Grove and Beyond

Saratoga Springs’ history has a long list of important and influential people who resided here and helped to shape the city’s future. The name Walworth was one that affected our city in many different ways.

Judge Reuben Hyde Walworth was a very prominent New York chancery judge who came to Saratoga Springs in 1823. Upon arrival to the village, he bought a house that had been built in 1815 by Henry Walton. Walton was a large landowner and early leader in the village. In the early 1800s the area we think of today as the business district of Saratoga Springs was unsettled and a primitive pine forest. Gideon and Doanda Putnam owned a sawmill and were harvesting those trees to be turned into dimensional lumber for buildings in this new village. Therefore, the house that was purchased by Walworth

from Walton had been named Pine Grove because of the original trees surrounding the house. Pine Grove was razed in the 1950s and was located on Broadway on the site of the present-day Stewarts that is across the street from the City Center. A sign marks that location, of this very important location in Saratoga history.

Judge Walworth’s prominent position made Pine Grove a regularly visited destination by many very important figures in America of the day. In 1823 not only was Walworth a judge but had just finished a term as a United States Congressman. Reuben Hyde Walworth was a very connected professional and therefore a very prominent citizen of Saratoga Springs. Judge Walworth is reported to have been visited by such prominent people as Marquis de Lafayette, Joseph Bonaparte, Madame Eliza Jumel, James Fenimore Cooper, Daniel Webster, Washington Irving and American Presidents, Buchanan, Filmore, and Van Buren.


Reuben Hyde Walworth was born in 1788 in Connecticut. In 1809 Walworth was admitted to the New York Bar and in 1810 he moved to Plattsburgh, New York. He married Maria Averill and was a prominent judge in the North Country before being elected to the Congress of the United States. When he moved to Saratoga Springs in 1823, he started as a chancery judge, that lasted for more than thirty years. Walworth was elevated to the position of Chancellor of the State of New York, the highest-ranking judge from 1828 to 1847. It was this judicial position that brought very prominent people to Saratoga and to the courtroom of Reuben Hyde Walworth. In 1848 Walworth ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York State. In the year 1848 Reuben’s wife Maria died, leaving him with six children. In about the year 1850 Reuben met Sarah Ellen Hardin of Kentucky. In 1851 after a brief courtship, Reuben married Sarah whose husband John Hardin had died while serving in the Mexican American War at the battle of Buena Vista. Sarah had three children from her marriage to John Hardin which made for a new family with Reuben that would have many children. Sarah moved her family to Saratoga and this large, combined family resided together at Pine Grove. Reuben died at age 79 in Saratoga in the year 1867.

As things sometimes happen, older son Mansfield Walworth was infatuated with his new stepsister Ellen Hardin and the two married in 1852. The marriage of Mansfield and Ellen produced eight children but also became a rocky marriage, that found Mansfield being abusive both physically and emotionally toward Ellen. Over the years this spousal abuse resulted in many trial separations. During these periods of separation, Mansfield wrote many letters to Ellen and threatened her with bodily harm if they didn’t end the separation. These letters were received over many years as the children grew into adulthood and son Frank became angry of the way his father continued to treat his mother, and as a young man he finally traveled to New York City to visit his father. Upon his arrival in New York City, he shot and killed him in an action to protect his mother from further harm. Frank was quickly arrested and tried for the murder of his father. Found guilty, Frank was sentenced to prison.

This tall memorial needed planning and fund raising to keep it on track for completion. Records show that much of the needed planning and work came from the efforts of Ellen Hardin Walworth. Ellen also -with the help of othersestablished the Women’s National War Relief Association during the Spanish- American War. Ellen continued to impress. By working with three other women she formed the DAR, the Daughters of the American Revolution and served as the first Secretary General for that organization.

Ellen was a good mother and an excellent role model for her children, many who served the community and nation during their lives. Daughter Reubena is one shining example of this service and dedication. As the Spanish-American War was approaching Reubena could see that a family tradition was about to be broken. The tradition was that since the beginning of the country a member of the Walworth family went off to fight in every war and represented the family. Not wanting to break the tradition, Reubena presented herself to the local Army recruiter for service. She was refused to be allowed to enlist as a soldier but was told she could serve as a nurse. After receiving nursing instruction, she entered the Army and served gallantly as an Army nurse at Camp Wikoff at Montauk Long Island, an Army hospital. Many soldiers in the hospital were not healing from battle wounds but rather from tropical diseases contracted while stationed in a tropical environment. Reubena’s dedication and caring regularly put her in an exposed position to possibly contract one of these tropical diseases. Eventually she contracted typhoid fever and died at age 31 years. She was honored as a true hero and was buried in Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs. On her grave marker is inscribed, “She served her flag, not as a man. But better still, as only a woman can.”

The Walworth family had so many members and did so many things to support the community, and the nation. It’s very impressive to think that this great family of Saratoga was but one of many families that helped to define our great city. When Pine Gove was razed in the 1950s the contents of the Pine Grove house was donated to the Saratoga Springs History Museum and housed on the third floor.

Ellen was devastated by the court decision and began to study law, in an effort to get her son released from prison. Through her and other people’s actions Frank was eventually released from prison but was remanded to a facility for the insane. Years later Frank was released from the facility and returned to Saratoga before his death. He had protected his mother from the abuse of his father and did what the courts could not do to protect Ellen from spousal abuse.

Ellen continued to grow as a very impressive strong woman and accomplished many wonderful things in her lifetime. As the year 1877 approached, the Centennial year of the battle of Saratoga, plans were made to build the Saratoga Battle Monument obelisk that is seen today near Schuylerville.

I invite you to visit the museum this spring to see new exhibits on the second and third floor that help to tell the story of the Walworth family and the story of Saratoga Springs. The museum is in the Canfield Casino in historic Congress Park and is a must see for those that love the history of our grand city. Make sure to put a visit to the museum on the list for the summer months.

NOTE TO READERS: After 12 years of being a contributor for Simply Saratoga, this will be my last article. Changes in my life will prevent me from writing future articles for this wonderful publication.This opportunity has been unimaginable, and you the reader were so kind to share with me your thoughts on my many articles. Thank you all, for your years of support and as always, “Go Saratoga”!!


Rarely Seen Photos of Old Saratoga Springs


The Grand Union hotel was the largest hotel in Saratoga history, occupying seven acres of land and offering 987 rooms and 26 cottages. The hotel was located on Broadway between Washington Street and Congress Street. It was truly a grand hotel with parlors and other common areas that represented the grand, Gilded period in Saratoga’s history.



Moon’s Lakehouse was a very popular Saratoga Lake restaurant owned by Carey Moon during the later part of the 1800s and was a popular spot for the wealthy and famous people that were summer visitors to Saratoga. In 1853 chef George Crum is credited with inventing the potato chip when a diner sent his fried potatoes back to the kitchen to be cooked more thoroughly. Crum was insulted, so he sliced the potatoes very thin, fried them crispy and then salted them in an effort to make a point. The diner loved the creation, and an American favorite was born.


The Congress Hall was located on Broadway between Spring Street and East Congress Street. Congress Hall was built on a relatively small piece of land and did not have a ballroom in the hotel. In order to compete with the other large hotels and their ballrooms, the Congress Hall owner bought land across Spring Street and built a wonderful ballroom. This bridge was constructed across Spring Street to allow hotel guests to easily travel to the ballroom. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 117

WHEN FACED WITH AN AGING BUILDING, MUCH LIKE A BELOVED GRANDPARENT IN DECLINE, WE OFTEN TURN A BLIND EYE TO THE SIGNS OF DETERIORATION — crumbling brick and mortar, uneven floors, leaky roofs, and peeling paint. Our emotional attachment leads us to believe things will persist as they always have, even as the structural integrity fades.

Such was the fate of 35 Church Street, known as The Hub, before its demolition on Nov. 15, 2004. Although this spot wasn’t known as The Hub until 1955, it was the center of Saratoga Springs’ activity in its early existence.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Saratoga Coal Companies' office and coal storage silo was directly next door. They supplied most residents with coal heat. Across the street, the bustling railroad depot station welcomed hundreds of visitors to the city each day.

In the early 1900s, rather than being a bar, the downstairs commercial front of 35 Church Street was McAllister and Remington’s Plumbing and Steamfitters shop. Legend has it that the back of the 137-foot building operated as a gin mill where laborers congregated after a hard day's work. Meanwhile, the upper floors accommodated tenants in its six narrow, shotgun-style apartments.

By the 1930s, the commercial front became a cigar and billiards room, known as the Recreation Association Inc., the beginnings of a series of many workingman’s taverns built around the train station. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 119
1931 PHOTO OF NEIGHBOR SARATOGA COAL COMPANY Courtesy of Minnie Bolster Hud Armstrong mural

Today, most native Saratogians fondly remember this spot as The Hub, a once thriving bar at the heart of many locals’ and Skidmore students’ coming of age.

In 1955, Helene Cogan Heinz and her husband, Charlie, returned to the area from Hollywood. Having frequented a bar called The Hub during their time in California, they purchased the 35 Church Street building, moved into the upstairs residence, and commenced operating the downstairs bar, renaming it The Hub after their favorite haunt. Thus began the Cogan family's 34-year tenure, during which they played an integral role in shaping The Hub into a cherished and enduring institution in Saratoga’s renowned bar scene. At that time, grandson Jack jokes, “It was an old man’s neighborhood bar.”

The Hub circa 1950s THE HUB Once surrounded by buildings on both sides, The Hub became “the last man standing.” Jack Cogan tending bar

The clientele changed when Helene sold the Hub to her son-in-law, Bill Eddy Sr., and her grandsons, Bill Eddy Jr. and Jack Cogan, in 1969. Jack became the sole owner in the mid-1970s and had it for nearly 20 years.

Skidmore female bartenders (Mara King, a wellknown local real estate agent, bartended for six months) and males from Union College began serving drinks to a young crowd packed ten-deep, there to connect with old friends and perhaps meet a new love interest.

The Cogan family all helped in some capacity, bartending or pitching in as needed.

Even though the drinking age was 18, minors tried to sneak in, and fines were hefty. Jack’s cousin Pam Talbot, the bouncer, was a force to be reckoned with. Pam, stationed at the front door, knew most locals, and few tried to sneak by her. She confiscated drawers full of fake IDs. Pam's keen eye knew that the last three numbers of an ID were the year you were born. In the pre-photo era, she knew an ID was counterfeit if the date of birth and the last three numbers didn’t match. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 121
Well known area bartender John Rockwell and cousin Tim Cogan tending bar. Cousin Pam Talbot, far right, was the bar’s bouncer. She lived upstairs in one of the six apartments. Photo courtesy of Jack Cogan Mara King (far right) was one of the many Skidmore student bartenders. Photo courtesy of Jack Cogan

Jack promoted camaraderie by engaging customers who became extended family. Regulars were painted into one of two murals commissioned by local artist Hud Armstrong. He lived upstairs rent-free for a year, wandering in daily to paint in a few regulars. The colorful mural of about 90 patrons, selected mainly by Hud, recreated the iconic bar and proudly hung in the back by the kitchen. The other mural was a sepia-tone 1919 historical scene set in front of the old railroad station, depicting the day Upset defeated Man O’War in Saratoga. Today, this mural hangs inside the Mabee Building, complete with a key identifying most of the 236 locals. Local history buffs could enjoy the mural for the better part of an afternoon. I smiled, seeing my favorite mailman, Pete Cahill, and city character; Johnny “Up n Down.”

Jack created magic by trying new things. Theme nights such as February’s “Tuxedo Night” or April’s “Beach Boy” day, where the floor was lined with sawdust, were favorite events that broke up a long winter.

Even a regular night playing table shuffleboard could turn into a lifelong memory. In the mid70s, “Some guys from Greenfield pulled into the parking lot with a pig for sale. For some crazy reason, I decided to jump on the pig and ride it through the bar crowd. The pig ended up under the shuffleboard table. Most impressive,” said Jack. The pig was returned to its owners in the lot.

Hud Armstrong mural Jack Cogan dressed for Tuxedo Night. Photo courtesy of Jack Cogan Hud Armstrong’s 16.5 foot by 5.5 foot framed mural from the Hub hangs in the first floor lobby of the Mabee Building as a nod to this spot’s past.

In 1989, after twenty extraordinary years of trying to keep things fresh, Jack decided to sell his bar to James Doyle. The building needed constant upkeep and Jack was not ready to tackle all the new code regulations needed. Jack misses the people he served every week but is still in contact with many of the lifelong friends he made.

Throughout the 1990s, the bar was renamed the Saratoga Clam and Oyster Bar, The Hub Club, and Dougans. In 1999, Serge Shishik bought the business and renamed it the Hub, perhaps to recreate the magic that once existed in this iconic establishment. The aging building, then exposed to the elements and devoid of neighbors on either side, had numerous structural issues.

In 2002, the Adirondack Trust Company acquired the building and applied to the Design Review Commission to demolish it. There was heated debate and discussion on the architectural and historical significance of the building. Since nothing within the building met current code standards, it was determined that renovation of the 1850 building would be cost prohibitive.

The building was demolished on November 15, 2004. Yet, while the physical structure may have disappeared, the spirit of The Hub lives on in the memories of those who knew and loved it.

The five-story office and retail Mabee Building now breathes new life into 35 Church Street while paying tribute to its past. The beautifully framed 15-foot-long mural from the Hub is a reminder of what once stood on this spot.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Mitch Cohen for his deed research and Jack Cogan for his extensive materials and first-hand accounts. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 123
A crowd gathers to watch the Steelers defeat the Cowboys on January 21, 1979. Photo courtesy of Jack Cogan The Saratogian news article on the demolition of 35 Church Street SS

From the Drawing Board of Charles Leavitt

Saratoga Springs has inspired many types of artistic creation, and has been graced by the science of design in much of its architecture, many examples of which have survived to our time.

A view from the 1903 ARCHITECTURE (magazine), displaying Mr. Leavitt’s creation for the Saratoga Club of Richard Canfield. The unique sculptures are the work of Louis Potter, and set among a delightful parterre, have charmed visitors to Congress Park for generations.

Pride of place has been an American ideal since before the founding of the nation, and resident examples enrich the locale. An architect who sketched out so many functional arrangements at the Spa was Charles Wellford Leavitt, who was born in Riverton, New Jersey in 1871. He was a product of the Gilded Age and the Cheltenham Military Academy near Philadelphia, graduating as a Civil Engineer. His riding skills were doubtlessly improved at the Academy whose bridle paths intersected those of the adjoining Widener Mansion and training grounds. His first engineering tasks included railroads and water systems; in 1897 Mr. Leavitt founded a firm in New York specializing in Landscape Architecture. His equine connections established while at school led to his introduction to William C. Whitney, who was stepping away from a governmental and business career, and turning toward thoroughbred racing for relaxation. He decided to outfit his estate in Westbury, Long Island with a private training track, contracting with Charles Leavitt for the design. Subsequently the Leavitt firm was engaged to build the new Empire City racing facility near Yonkers for William H. Clark, an attorney and Corporate Council for the City of New York, reputed as the brightest mind in Tammany Hall and Wall Street. The 1899 opening of this track cemented Mr. Leavitt’s reputation for that type of work, which led to

additional contracts for polo fields in Cobalt, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island and a steeplechase course at Gladstone, New Jersey for Charles Pfizer. The Leavitt firm also began specializing in producing extraordinary garden settings for private homes and estates.

William C. Whitney led a group of investors who purchased the Saratoga Race Course in 1900, which for the preceding decade had been mismanaged into degradation. Gottfried Walbaum, although he improved the facility with a grandstand, betting ring and clubhouse designed by H. Langford Warren soon after his 1891 purchase of the track, diluted the quality of racing. The consortium led by Mr. Whitney sought to recapture the prestige of the plant, and brought in Charles W. Leavitt for their rebuild. The physical track itself was the first order of reconstruction; it was enlarged from a one mile oval to a mile and an eighth with two starting chutes, an inner turf course added and shifted to the position we are familiar with today. Mr. Leavitt supervised the enlargement and relocation of the grandstand, as well as the betting ring and clubhouse, which were newly aligned to serve the relocated track. He added an attractive trussed rafter elliptical paddock building for saddling the entries prior to the race, which in recent decades has been remodeled into racing offices and a pari-mutuel window pavilion. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 125
Portrait of Charles W. Leavitt Civil and Landscape Engineer from Empire State Notables by Hartwell Stafford, 1914. “For a landscape architect to take advantage of the opportunities open to him it is not enough to know something of design. Achievement in this field today demands far more…Vision and appreciation of beauty are of course essential, to be backed by a full understanding of architecture and of design…Yet with all of the knowledge that he can acquire he will be a success only when he works not as a creator, but as a guide in leading Nature to greater order and beauty.” Richard Canfield, gambler and collector of paintings, sculpture, furniture, porcelains, rare editions of books and rugs, improved the Casino Building and added the Italian Garden, depicted in the New York Herald May 17, 1903.

Mr. Leavitt’s design called for the planting of trees, shrubs and flowers, as he had done in the gardens of many private estates, where large trees were transplanted, creating an immediate desired effect which would have otherwise taken a lifetime if the usual nursery trees had been planted. The success Charles Leavitt achieved with the rebuilt Saratoga Track led to contracts to rebuild Bennings racetrack near Washington D.C. and to construct Belmont Park on Long Island. Subsequently he went on to plan race tracks at Rye, New York, for the Maryland Fair Circuit, across Canada in Toronto, Montreal, and Winnipeg, and in Havana, Cuba.

Charles W. Leavitt’s designs continued to be sought by those in Saratoga Springs, with one example being Richard Canfield, who wanted to complement the restaurant just added to his casino by architect Clarence Luce with al fresco dining. The New York Herald reported on May 17, 1903, "I want," said Mr. Canfield to the landscape engineer, "the finest park that money can make, complete to the last twig, in six months. The cost is immaterial. Go ahead."

His park design included an artificial stream, the outfall of numerous springs, and tons of soil were hauled in and fashioned on the steep terrain and plateau which had formerly been known as the seasonal Indian Encampment. Extensive flora was planted along pathways to create an Italian Garden, with fountain and imaginative statuary conceived by sculptor Louis Potter, and carved from Carrara marble. Many regarded Mr. Canfield’s investment to rival Monte Carlo in style and excitement. The November 15, 1903 issue of Architecture Magazine ran a feature on the formal gardens of the Saratoga Club, credited to Charles W. Leavitt as Landscape Architect. It seems surprising that Mr. Leavitt and Louis Potter have been so long overlooked as creators of this city hallmark, especially the “Spit & Spat”

Triton Fountain, until you consider the discrete nature required by Mr. Canfield’s private business.

The election of Governor Charles Evans Hughes in 1906 ushered in a reform movement which sought to abolish all forms of gaming, which he considered a disgraceful scandal. Richard Canfield, Prince of Gamblers, was the favorite target of reform prosecutors and shuttered his extensive operations in 1909, which allowed the Village of Saratoga Springs to acquire the magnificent casino and grounds in 1911 for a fraction of their value. The gambling ban which blocked horse racing during 1911-12 caused the Congress Hall Hotel to fail and default on village taxes. This longtime Saratoga hostelry was razed in 1913 and the property on which it stood was combined, along with the casino, into the expanded Congress Park. Senator Edgar T. Brackett had begun a movement to de-commercialize the numerous mineral springs which were noticeably depleted, and the cause for a New York State Reservation to achieve this end was championed by Spencer Trask. His unfortunate demise in a rail accident while travelling on behalf of the proposed Reservation led his widow Katrina Trask to memorialize his efforts with a public monument. Mrs. Trask selected Daniel Chester French to create the Spirit of Life sculpture, Henry Bacon to design the niche and reflecting pool, and Charles W. Leavitt as Landscape Architect, for the tribute to be placed at the former Congress Hall site. Mr. French told writer Selwyn Brinton,

“This was a wonderful opportunity, because they gave us this entirely unimproved plot of ground and permitted Mr. Bacon, the architect, and Mr. Charles W. Leavitt, the landscape gardener, and myself, to treat it as we saw fit. I flatter myself that the result is a sufficient indication of this way of doing things.”

Charles Leavitt designed the elliptical Paddock Building for the 1902 Saratoga season, and he also laid out the original Belmont Park, which opened in 1905 and had a very similar elliptical Paddock Building, only slightly larger. The Belmont Paddock was used until 1921, when the racing direction was revised from a clockwise direction (European or sometimes termed “Continental” style), to the present counter-clockwise direction. This made the Leavitt paddock superfluous, and it was used for parking before it was demolished. From the Official Souvenir Program Belmont Park May 4, 1905.

The Village of Saratoga Springs incorporated into a City in 1915, and the new municipality had a marvelous park at its urban center. A civic subscription drive, limited to a one-dollar contribution, was taken up. The fund managers contacted Charles Leavitt another time, asking him to design an entrance gate which would be a testimonial commemorating the efforts of Senator Brackett, who had launched the local preservation movement. Two principal granite piers, surmounted by decorative lamps, form the gateway with two subordinate piers, all of which are connected by ornamental iron fencing with tapered finials. The gate spans East Congress Street where it intersects Broadway, forming the main entrance to Congress Park, with a bronze plaque honoring Senator Brackett. An architectural work of which Mr. Leavitt was very proud was Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, which opened in 1909. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, also a thoroughbred owner and frequent visitor to Saratoga Springs in the early years of the twentieth century, developed a firsthand appreciation of the Saratoga Club gardens and the park-like setting of the race track. He contracted with Charles Levitt to design a modern ballpark. In the sylvan countryside of Oakland, rather than the smoky congestion of downtown Pittsburgh, Mr. Leavitt created what would become the Steelers first home, and arranged an attractive arcade which encircled and supported the concrete and steel stands and landscaped the bucolic setting. Forbes Field served professional sports until 1970.

Charles W. Leavitt and his creative design ideas in landscape and architecture had a major impact on many national and global projects. An unfortunate bout with pneumonia in 1928 proved fatal for Mr. Leavitt at the age of 57. Fortunately, much of Mr. Leavitt’s past efforts are still very visible in Saratoga Springs today, yet he factored into the community in another nebulous, but far reaching way. In early March 1900 Mr. Leavitt filed a mechanic’s lien against the Empire City Race Track for his unpaid work. The owner, William H. Clark, had died unexpectedly at age 47 the previous month, and Mr. Leavitt’s claim began foreclosure actions against the new track. Mr. Clark had also heavily nominated his stable into future races, and due to Jockey Club rules (Rule #61) none of his extensive nomination funds could be returned to his widow. This unhappy ruling caused extensive conversation and a plan of action among horsemen. A clarion call went out in late October of 1900, when the second meeting was scheduled for the new Empire City track. A gathering was conducted by the sportsmen of New York for the benefit of Mary Sexton Clark, the widow of Mr. Clark, and their three young children. It was at this rallied assembly where Richard T. Wilson pitched his plan for a syndicate to buy Saratoga Race Course to William C. Whitney, a dynamic figure in national politics, finance and racing, and other racing men. The idea received immediate agreement, with the requisite funds for the Saratoga Racing Association venture quickly and successfully assembled, and the Spa track and grounds were purchased from Gottfried Walbaum in November 1900. SPRING 2024 | SIMPLY SARATOGA | 127
The Italian Garden attributed to Landscape Architect Charles W. Leavitt in ARCHITECTURE (magazine) Vol. VIII, No. 47 November 15, 1903, an early twentieth century publication of Forbes & Company.

The Acme Thunderer

I was deep into an organizing episode recently when I found a small metal whistle in a box of family memorabilia. It was clearly not a toy. It took little "Googling" for the significance of my discovery to emerge. I began by searching for the name stamped into the face of the whistle — Acme Thunderer, Made in England. Within seconds, I was immersed in a whistle-history I had no clue existed. The first thing that popped up was an Amazon-sponsored ad with a photo of the same whistle, available for $20.99. The name and the font were identical to the small – no doubt an heirloom – item I was holding in my hand. Indeed… this beautiful whistle was most likely used by my grandfather. Wikipedia explained that J. Hudson & Co. was founded in the 1870s in Birmingham, England, by Joseph Hudson and his brother James. The company became the manufacturer of whistles and continues today as the world's largest and

most famous producer. In1884, the Acme Thunderer, the world's first pea whistle, was launched. Wikipedia tells us that "acme" is a Greek word meaning a high point, indicating that the whistle was a tool for producing a very high decibel level. The whistle I held had the Wilson sports equipment logo on one side and was fifty years old. If you were to place it beside an Acme Thunderer made today, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference. What I found interesting was the variety of things these whistles have been used for, from fire brigades, police officers, and the armed services to referees and coaches of every sport imaginable. I immediately pictured my grandfather, Elmer Greenwood, with the whistle around his neck, skating across the ice as a speed skating judge at Saratoga's Eastside Rec in the 1960s. Knowing one of his best friends was Bob Walton Sr., it would be a safe guess the former Walton Sports Shop was the whistle's purchase point.


With that vision in my head, the next thing I did was to open a genealogy notebook my grandfather had assembled in 1984-1985. He was 85 at the time and had lost his sight due to glaucoma. Here is an excerpt:

In the early thirties, my son Ralph joined the Saratoga Winter Club and eventually skated on the team. In 1935, I joined the S.W.C. and practiced with the team. I became manager of the team in 1938. I represented the S.W.C. at meetings of the Northern New York Skating Assoc. at the same time. I was president of the Northern N.Y. Skating Assoc., 1948-49-50. During this period, I officiated in different capacities; Clerk of Course, scorer, judge, assistant referee, National Referee from 1950-55, and National Chief Judge from 1956-1972. Around 1955, I was elected first chairman of the Eastern Scheduling Committee, composed of all the skating associations in the East. During all these years in skating, I helped the surveyors layout the tracks. Around 1976, I worked with the Spa State Park officials who were constructing a 400-meter speed skating outdoor rink. This is my 50th year as an active member of the Saratoga Winter Club. I gave up skating myself in 1982 because of my eye problem. I will be an honored guest on May 18, 1985, at the Amateur Skating Union Convention banquet at the Hilton Hotel in Albany. I was nominated and elected to the Skating Hall of Fame (Newburgh, NY) at the Amateur Skating Union of the United States convention held in Saratoga Springs, NY, May 19, 1979. — Elmer J. Greenwood

My grandfather's involvement with skating included an extensive collection of antique ice skates, and other speed skating memorabilia, which he proudly donated to multiple museums before his passing. Those include the Saratoga History Museum, The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, the Saratoga Springs Public Library, and the N.Y.S. Museum in Albany.

I share this portion of my grandfather's legacy because, in his most active years, I was too young to understand his contribution. In later years, I was too busy raising a young family of my own to pay attention. Which brings me back to the Acme Thunderer. Finding that whistle revived my interest in my grandfather’s history and in my family's genealogy. Re-reading the extensive research he'd assembled gave me a clearer focus on the generational layers spanning both sides of the family.

I hope this piece will remind others of the importance of family history and documentation. Had my grandfather not done such a thorough job putting all these facts on paper, not only would I have forgotten most of it, but what I recalled would probably have been inaccurate.

Thanks to the discovery of a high-decibel pea whistle with a long history, I was reunited with my grandfather once again. It also spurred memories of my grandfather's long history with the Van Raalte Knitting Mill. He was the superintendent of knitting operations when he retired in 1965. In his papers, he left a long and detailed biography of his years there, which leads me to believe there is more Saratoga history to discover and share. SS SPRING 2024 SIMPLY SARATOGA | 129

Old Blue

I admit it. I have way too many coats. I have dress coats, casual coats, and work coats. All materials and weights are represented in my closet. I have one coat, however, that is very special to me. It started out as a navy blue Carhartt winter work coat and it has served me well. I call it "Old Blue.”

She is my very favorite.

Old blue is over 10 years old, very faded, has frayed sleeves, and quite a few holes, and the lining is ripped in some places. Old Blue has clearly seen better days. When it's time to plow, cut or split firewood, work on my car, or any other project around the old homestead, however, I reach for "Old Blue.” Over the years that coat has formed to me and when I throw it on, it is like getting a good hug and it has never let me down.

The other day, the zipper-pull broke. Not in a way that I could MacGyver it either. This was a real break. I couldn't zip Old Blue at all.

I should mention that I am the kind of person that gets attached to certain objects. I have carried the same pocketknife, every single day, for over 40 years for example. I still have a Levi jacket that I bought in High School for $4.99 brand new. So, you can imagine that this zipper break made my stomach turn, just a little. I really don't understand why I form these connections with certain objects, but I do. My first thought was to take Old Blue to a tailor for repair. After a quick examination of Old Blue, I realized that was an absurd idea. I would be too embarrassed to carry a faded blue rag in and ask for a repair. The tailor would certainly think I was homeless. As I started towards the garbage can with a heavy heart, I decided to look online to see if I could repair the zipper. Sure enough, there are lots of videos showing how to replace zipper-pulls. I immediately went on Amazon and ordered the necessary parts. The parts arrived today for the very fair price of $12.00. Certainly, more than Old Blue is worth in dollars.

After about a half hour of cursing and grumbling, Old Blue was as good as new. Well, "good as new" may be a little stretch. Actually, a huge stretch, but she is wearable... as long as it isn't in public.

Well, I think I'll throw on Old Blue and go bring in some firewood now. I could use an Old Blue hug anyway.

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