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March / April 2011





Lake Ridge Restaurant

Big cuisine magic in a very small town

32 The

Frozen Rabbi Steve Stern’s most recent novel




Things to Do

Things to Know

12 Maple Weekends Too sweet to miss

14 Bottle Notes Organic, but not green

16 Save the Date For these great events

22 Protecting Your

Reviews 8


Cover Photo by Samu Studios



Something not to lose site of 30 Women: Take

this Warning to Heart Heart Health


Home & Garden 36 Unique Places &

Creative Spaces

A place in the countryin Saratoga Springs? 42 The Right

Approach to Interior Design Blairhouse Interiors Group

50 Spring Do’s

and Don’ts

For the gardener 34 Simple Truths How is your 58 Exterior and mental state? Stonework



19 Prom Style


24 Summer Camps

"flip through" the pages of this magazine and link to the advertisers' websites at

Enjoy your space 66 Playhouses Make a child’s dream come true 74 Not your

Grandma’s Kitchen

Adirondack Applicance talks kitchens Simply Saratoga | 5

Photo by

Owner/Publisher Chad Beatty General Manager Robin Mitchell Creative Director Chris Bushee Art Director Tiffany Garland Editor Arthur Gonick Writers Yael Goldman Daniel Schechtman Helen Edelman Michael Okby Patty Novo Andrij O. Baran Kerry Mendez Meghan Lemery Advertising Cindy Durfey Jim Daley Pre-Press Coordinator Sam Bolles Copy Proofreader Anne Proulx Contributing Photographers Creative Photo & Graphic Stock Studios Photography Printing Fry Communications

Published by Saratoga Publishing, LLC Five Case Street Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: 518.581.2480 fax: 518.581.2487 Simply Saratoga is brought to you by Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright (c) 2010, Saratoga Publishing, LLC 6 | Simply Saratoga

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Foodfor Thought

big cuisine magic in a very small town Story By Helen Susan Edelman Photos by © Making a new friend when you least expect it is a surprising pleasure – and that’s the good feeling we came away with after dining at Lake Ridge restaurant. Tucked into historic, picture-perfect Round Lake – about 15 minutes from Saratoga Springs off Northway exit 11 – Lake Ridge is the gracious, good-looking, reliable, insightful host you’ll want to sit down for a meal with again and again. Saratoga Lake resident Bob McKenna is co-owner of the eatery with Chef Scott Ringwood of Malta. Ringwood is formerly of The Old Dater Tavern in Halfmoon. Also coowner and general manager of New Country Toyota, McKenna underlines the philosophy that has propelled the restaurant through its first decade of success and accolades: “We love to please people and to create a great event, whether it’s a special evening out for a couple, an office gathering, a rehearsal dinner, date night or a business lunch. We want our customers to have a comfortable, rewarding experience.” A squarish building constructed in the 1870s, the structure previously housed a general store and a bakery. Vastly

updated by McKenna and Ringwood - without compromising the aesthetic of the community - Lake Ridge is an asset to the unique village of just over 600 neighbors. Founded in the latter half of the 19th century as a prosperous and naturally beautiful outpost of the Troy Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Round Lake is an oasis off the beaten path. The business supports community preservation by improving the property; is a taxpayer and employer; and is a good neighbor, sponsoring a softball team and donating food to various community events and organizations. Long-time Round Lake resident Susan Stratton is enthusiastic about the presence of Lake Ridge, which she can walk to easily. “Besides, the obvious – the food is yummy! – we welcome having such a cooperative, flourishing business in our community,” she says. The restaurant thrives in the summer, catering to seasonal visitors, but tables are set for lunch and dinner every day, except Monday, year-round. Burgeoning business in Malta has driven a noon crowd to Lake Ridge for unhurried salads, soups, burgers, pasta and sandwiches; while in the evening, some people make reservations for

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their next dinner on the way out — especially wise for Saturdays, when all 80 seats are often occupied. Informal and genial as it is, Lake Ridge is definitely a “fine dining” destination, complete with tablecloths and elegant touches such as silverware changed between courses. Worth noting is the physical comfort afforded by commodious furniture, eye-pleasing décor, and an intelligent floor plan that affords privacy and mellow lighting. The restaurant features three lovely and distinctive dining rooms: a former deck enclosed with large windows; a warm center room that can accommodate couples or groups, and a small dining area up front, ideal for an intimate tête-a-tête. A few years ago, the restaurant added a glistening mahogany bar with high stools and a TV. The handcrafted showcase - designed, milled and constructed by McKenna’s high school buddy Judd Storm and his partner Bill Tedesco of Marketplace Millwork in Troy - boasts an exceptional selection of red, white and sparkling wines; and scotches, bourbons and beers, in which the owners take special pride. Key to smooth operations is manager Diana Murphy of Wilton who has been part of the business since its inception, six days a week. She is clear about her mission: “Think about the guests, whether you are adding a menu item, putting flowers on the table, suggesting a wine or choosing wall art.” McKenna emphasizes Murphy’s critical input. “She’s been there since the beginning and we couldn’t do it as well without her,” he says. “She’s smart and she pulls it together, whatever it takes.” The team commitment shows in every aspect of the restaurant, from the imaginative menu to special events like wine dinners that keep Lake Ridge exciting. On center stage is the generous, scrumptious food, something for every palate – light appetizer-size portions with sophisticated flavors or hearty, soul-satisfying repasts. Appetizers are taken seriously (shrimp and avocado, artichoke soufflé, eggplant Napoleon and a 4ounce filet mignon), but that’s just the beginning. McKenna points particularly to the exceptional entrees: herb-crusted swordfish, veal Jacqueline (with mushrooms and crabmeat) and the enormous pecan pork chop as customer favorites, but the menu extends far beyond these top picks with sea bass (delicious!), salmon, rack of lamb, rosemary chicken, steak, duck and a roster of pastas

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(Companion had a fabulous linguini tossed with ample seafood). There are four crispy salads that incorporate local ingredients, when possible; and a lineup of irresistible desserts. Sneak a peek at for the complete menu and prices. It’s no surprise that Lake Ridge was voted Best American Cuisine in the Capital Region by Metroland readers in 2006, and that McKenna and Ringwood were named Entrepreneurs of the Year by Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce in 2005. But the highest praise of all comes in the form of a loyal following, and I can see that Companion is joining the fold. Succinct by nature, he declares, “I’ll go back for more.” And I’ll go with him.


Lake Ridge Restaurant 35 Burlington Ave., Round Lake (Northway exit 11) Open: Tuesday-Saturday, lunch, 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, dinner, 4:30-8:45 pm; Sunday, dinner, 3-8 pm. (518)-899-6000

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March 19 - 20 and March 26 - 27

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ired of being ‘cooped up’ with all the cold weather and snow this winter? Why not go visit a maple production facility to see first-hand how this yummy syrup is made and sample some sweet delights. The Annual Maple Weekend(s) are the last two weekends in March and there are numerous producers participating this year. Maple syrup is the first crop and harvest of the year and of course, one of the sweetest. Unlike most farming, the crop, or maple trees, doesn’t have to be re-planted every year. Maple producers literally ‘tap’ into the sap that starts moving up the tree in the spring to nourish the branches to produce buds. When the weather gets warmer into the 40’s during the day, that is the signal that the sap is running. Hard freezes at night are also an important factor as that causes the sap to flow back down to the roots at night. This movement of sap can occur for upwards of six weeks depending upon the weather. Tapping into the sap doesn’t harm the trees, it’s like giving blood. But tapping trees that are too small can stunt their growth. It takes forty gallons of the sap to make only one gallon of maple syrup. As harvests go, that’s a very small ratio of raw material to

finished product. It may surprise you to learn that the only place in the world where maple syrup is made is here in the northeastern United States and in eastern Canada. Take a quick trip this maple season to sample some pure delight here in the surrounding Capital District area and celebrate this sweet harvest. For Maple Weekend information, contact New York State Maple Producer’s Association website at or for a complete list of maple producers participating in Maple Weekend, visit


Submitted by Caroline Foote, Co-owner Maple Hill Farm, Cobleskill, NY (518) 234-4858

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B ttle N tes Green…Green…Wine! By Patricia Novo Photos by Mark Bolles Nope….I’m not suggesting you dye your wine green in honor of St. Paddy’s (although that might be fun). I’m talking about ORGANIC wine! What exactly makes a wine organic? And…why should you try it? Strictly speaking, an “organic” wine is one crafted from organically grown grapes. This is to say, the grapes in the bottle have been grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers or synthetic chemicals of any kind. These chemical agents are not allowed on the grapes or the soil in which the grapes are grown. What used to be termed “organic wine” is now termed “wines made from organic grapes.” The distinction is confusing to most, including many of the winemakers! In addition, most consumers are led to believe that all wines made from organic grapes do not contain any sulfites. This is inaccurate. The fermenting yeasts, which are present on ALL grape skins, generate naturally-occurring sulfites in varying amounts. So, wines COMPLETELY devoid of sulfites are an anomaly and are not the wines you see on the shelf of your local wine shop. Wines LOW in sulfites or free of ADDED sulfites are what you will find instead. These wines will conform to the standards of organic practices and will not contain sulfites in an amount greater than allowed by the USDA. For those who are sensitive to sulfites or prefer to sip organic wines as a matter of philosophy, there are hundreds of organic wines that will satisfy! Okay, enough of the chemistry lesson. More and more winemakers are embracing the idea of conforming to organic practices when creating their wines. For these farmers and winemakers, maintaining a healthy and active soil for the grapes to grow in is the key. Farming and cultivating using these methods encourages biodiversity, which also aids in regulating the soil. In turn, these methods protect both the environment and the workers in the vineyards….certainly not a bad thing! So, while just a few years ago, your options were a bit limited if you wanted to “drink green,” now there are hundreds of options to choose from. At the forefront of this movement is a winery that’s located right in New York State! In fact, it is the first organic winery in North America and is located right on the western 14 | Simply Saratoga

shore of Seneca Lake…Four Chimneys Organic Winery. Established in 1980, Four Chimneys was green before being green was cool. In addition to crafting their wines in accordance with the standards for organic wine established by the NOFANY Certified Organic, they also do not utilize any animal products in their wines. For these reasons, many vegetarians embrace the Four Chimneys wines as well and have contributed to their enormous popularity. Four Chimneys offers several interesting wines, ranging from dry to sweet, and also features several fruit-based wines that are extremely popular. For those who love Pinot Grigio, their “Kingdom White” is worth sampling. This is Four Chimney’s driest white and is an ideal accompaniment to light seafood preparations. “Kingdom Red,” also a very dry wine, is similar in texture to a Merlot and will please Merlot drinkers, offering full and rich berry and plum flavors on the palate. For those who enjoy a touch of sweetness in their wines, their “Eye of the Dove” is a slightly sweet, Cabernet Franc based red, which is best served with a slight chill. This wine makes a lovely accompaniment to barbecue and other dishes with a bit of smoke and heat. Even sweeter on the scale are their “First Love” and “Eye of the Bee” wines. “First Love” is most reminiscent of Riesling, although it is based on the Vidal grape. This very fragrant wine is quite refreshing and offers up aromas of fresh white peach and honey. Their most popular wine is “Eye of the Bee,” a semi-sweet rose-colored wine, whose flavors and aromas mimic those of freshly picked grapes off the vine. Their offerings of fruit wines also are quite popular. These combine organically grown grapes with organically grown fruits from their farm. With names like “Honeydew Moon,” “Celestial Peach,” “Strawberry Meadows” and “Raspberry Sun,” these sweet fruit wines would make an interesting choice with your dessert and are also delightful served alongside some soft ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert and fresh fruit. This is just a small introduction to the world of organic wines. For additional information, or if you have specific questions about the differences among organic wines, please stop in and chat with me about this very popular subject! I am more than happy to answer any additional questions that you might have! Cheers!

Patricia Novo is the owner of Crush & Cask Wine and Spirits at 170 South Broadway in Saratoga Springs. She holds an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from SCCC and also serves on their Advisory Board. Patricia also has certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, as well as an Aficionado of Wine Certification from the Robert Parker and Kevin Zraly Wine Program. She is pursuing her Sommelier certification in Winter 2011.


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Maple Weekends

March 19- th 20 & 26-27 th See Pages 12-13

Homemade Theater Presents HARVEY Homemade Theater, Spa State Park, South Broadway, Saratoga Springs Elwood P. Dowd is a gentle soul – kind hearted and loving. He has only one flaw – his invisible six foottall rabbit companion, Harvey. His family convinces Elwood to commit himself to a sanitarium. Then the lunacy really begins. Multiple mistaken identities, lots of laughs and Harvey is on the loose! Does the world need more ‘normal people’? Will you see Harvey? April 22, 23, 29, 30, & May 6, 7 at 8 pm and May 1 and 8 at 2 pm. Tickets are $23 and $26. Visit for more information.

Celebrate Earth Week Recycled Art Show Saratoga National Historical Park, 648 Rte 32, Stillwater Weekend-long exhibit beginning on Friday, April 15 through Sunday April 17, with original works of “recycled art,” with each piece containing at least 50% reclaimed or recycled materials. For more information, please visit or phone (518) 6649821, ext. 224.

Easter Egg Hunt

Geocache Easter Egg Hunt

Malta Community Center, 1 Bayberry Dr. From 10 to 11 am on Saturday, April 16, please register by April 8 by calling (518) 899-4411. Residents of Malta $6, non-residents $7. Please bring your own Easter basket to collect your eggs.

Galway Preserve, 2519 Crane Rd. On Saturday April 30, find some eggs, find some caches, and find some friends (or make new ones) as you and your children search throughout the preserve. Prizes for found eggs will include candy, toys, geoitems, and more. Drinks and snacks will be available. This event will be led by Chris Parker, Preserve steward and geocacher extraordinare. For more information, call Saratoga PLAN at (518) 587-4555.

Washington County Farm and Fiber Tour On April 24 and 25, bring the family to this free tour to visit alpacas, bunnies, goats, sheep and lambs, llamas, and meet the farmers and their families. Watch spinning, knitting, weaving and felting demonstrations. Learn about raising the livestock and pets that we cherish. For more information, visit

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Hadley Maple Festival Held on Rockwell St. on Saturday, April 30, this event runs all day from 8 am to 4 pm. Bring the family for everything maple! Visit for more information.

Saratoga Springs Mardi Gras Festival Held at various locations downtown Saratoga on Saturday, April 30, this event benefits Saratoga EOC and the Giving Circle. For more information, visit

British Army Spring Training Day Saratoga National Historical Park, 648 Rte. 32, Stillwater On May 7 from 10 am to 4 pm. The cold winter has ended and a new campaign season begins. Soldiers drill, camp followers mend clothes and the army prepares to quell the American “rebellion.� See the troops and decide the outcome of a re-enacted court martial!

St. Clements Horse Show Yaddo grounds, next to Oklahoma Track Held May 3 to May 8 and May 11 to May 15. This is one of the largest horse shows on the east coast. For more information, visit

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Prom T h i s

Wa y

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Girls ... it’s Showtime!

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Wild and Classic Beauty Untamed



Grecian Goddess

See the pics that didn’t make it in the Magazine on

Web Extras...

Hollywood Glamour


Protecting Your Retirement Investments During a Job Transition Submitted by H. Michael Okby, Wealth Advisor The current economic and market environment has prompted many Americans to rethink their retirement strategies. If you are experiencing a job transition—particularly if the transition is unplanned and unexpected—such a reassessment may be particularly important for you. While it may be tempting to focus more on your immediate needs, you should not lose sight of long-term goals, especially your retirement strategy.

Some Basic Decisions Your employer-sponsored retirement plan is likely to be a key component of your retirement strategy. Because it represents a key source of future retirement income, it is important to carefully consider your alternatives for administering these assets. During a job transition, you will usually have three options: take a lump-sum distribution, leave your assets in the employer-sponsored plan or move your assets into a Rollover IRA. Taking a direct, lump-sum distribution—With this option, the assets in your plan are distributed directly to you in a lump sum, which provides you with immediate access to your funds. Depending on your short-term needs, that may appear to be an attractive alternative. However, a distribution will likely result in substantial federal and state income taxes and a 10 percent IRS penalty tax, which can significantly reduce the amount of the distribution. Because you will be receiving the distribution directly, the plan administrator must withhold up to 20 percent of the value of the distribution for federal income tax purposes. Moreover, you will lose the benefit of the tax-deferred status of these assets, which could reduce the amount ultimately available to you at retirement. The status quo option—You can decide to do nothing, leaving your assets in your former employer’s plan. That will protect the tax-deferred status of your assets and allow you to transfer the account assets at a later time to a new employer’s retirement plan that accepts rollovers. But you may be limiting your investment choices and control because employer plans typically have a restricted investment menu and require the consent of your spouse before you can name someone else as a beneficiary. Establishing a Rollover IRA—A Rollover IRA simultaneously addresses the issues of taxation, flexibility and control, and may hold significant benefits for you as a result: 22 | Simply Saratoga

If your distribution is transferred directly to a custodian, rather than to you, the Rollover IRA eliminates the withholding requirement and penalties that may result from a lump-sum distribution.

The entire rollover amount can be invested immediately, according to the strategy you specify. • Your assets and any earnings continue to have the potential to grow tax-deferred until you retire and begin taking withdrawals. • You may gain access to a wider range of investment options and more retirement planning and distribution flexibility. • You can name any beneficiary, including a trust, without needing the consent of your spouse (although special rules may apply in community property states). For example, investment products in an employer plan are usually limited to mutual funds and company stock. With a self-directed Rollover IRA, you can work with your financial professional to structure a portfolio using stocks, bonds, annuities and other investments utilizing an asset allocation1 that is customized to help you meet your retirement investment objectives. And your retirement strategy can be further tailored with a wider range of beneficiary selection and distribution choices.

Consider Consolidation This may also be an excellent time to deal with multiple IRAs you may have opened over the years, and with account balances you may have left in the plans of former employers. Together, these assets may represent a significant sum. There are good reasons to consider consolidating them all in a Rollover IRA: Comprehensive investment strategy—It can be difficult to maintain an effective investment strategy—one that accurately reflects your goals, timing and risk tolerance—when assets are spread among multiple financial institutions. When you consolidate, your financial professional can help you ensure that these assets are part of your overall asset allocation strategy that is reflective of your current financial situation and long-term retirement goals. Greater investment flexibility—A self-directed IRA generally offers you the ability to choose from a wide range of investment products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities and more. Simplified tracking—It is easier to monitor your progress and investment results when all your retirement savings are in one place, because you will receive one statement instead of several. That simplifies your life while protecting the environment. Lower costs—Reducing the number of accounts may also reduce your account fees and other investment-related charges. Dealing with one account rather than several also simplifies the distribution process—including complying with complex minimum distribution rules when you reach age 70?. And you avoid the risk of losing track of your retirement accounts or access to the account assets should your former employer merge with another company or go out of business. Your financial professional can help you assess your alternatives so you can make decisions based on what’s best for you. You may find that this time of transition holds benefits for your retirement assets. For more information, please contact H. Michael Okby at (518) 583-5601.


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Summer Camp Guide 2011 Summer camp is a place where lifelong memories are made. This is where our children learn to cultivate their interests and/or discover a world of new activities to help their young minds grow and for them to become physically fit. Even though there may be snow on the ground when you read this, it is never too early to think about your children’s summer fun. We are blessed in this region with a variety of destinations providing a wealth of activities. And while there is something for everyone, early planning is a must to assure your child has a spot in one of these great places. At the end of a long winter season, thoughts of summer camp are rejuvenating for adults as well!

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YMCA Camp Chingachgook

YMCA Camp Chingachgook, located on beautiful Lake George, has three camping options: sleepaway camp, day camp and adventure trips. Summer sleep-away camp is the experience of a lifetime. The camp is divided into junior and senior boys and girls units; junior campers between the ages of seven and 12 and senior campers are 13

Ndakinna Ndakinna Education Center, located in Greenfield Center, offers a wide variety of summer camp programs and activities that will provide campers with a greater respect and understanding for the natural world as well as the Northeast’s rich Native American history. Hosted by renowned author and wilderness and survival expert James Bruchac, these programs are ideal for children with a sense of adventure and natural wonder. Summer programs are divided into two groups, children ages three to eight and older campers ages nine to fourteen. Programs range in duration from one to two weeks,

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to 15 years old. All Chingachgook counselors go through extensive two-week training and preparation prior to the beginning of the first session. Campers will enjoy a full schedule of skill classes, which they can choose on their own, and special events and programs. Campers can choose from swimming, water skiing, canoeing, nature, arts, outdoor living skills, theater, newspaper, riflery, archery, dance, guitar, outdoor cooking, sports zone, water world, woodworking, softball, soccer, tennis, photography, sailing, high ropes, mountain biking and rock climbing. Each camper sets up their own daily schedule of four skill classes at the start of the session. Two-week camp sessions at Chingachgook also include a three-day hike, which allows campers to get out and experience the wilderness in a fun and safe atmosphere. Chingachgook also offers a variety of unique adventure camps for children looking to explore unique destinations and experience a whole new

each covering a different skill or activity such as animal tracking, basic wilderness survival skills and shelter building. Native American storytelling and games and nature-based arts and crafts projects will teach campers to have fun in the great outdoors. Each camp program promotes team building, natural awareness, patience and confidence. Ndakinna also offers family camp programs, which allow children and their parents to experience the outdoors together. Family programs can accommodate children ages one to 14. These programs offer the same skills training and teambuilding activities. To view the finalized calendar of programs and events, visit.

level of fun, options like sailing, kayaking, boat building, rock climbing, canoeing, community service, white-water rafting, hiking and backpacking, bicycle touring and mountain biking. Adventure campers will benefit from activities with smaller, coed groups of ten or less. Day Camp at Chingachgook is a fun option for children ages five to ten. Campers will enjoy a full day of fun activities from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The Day Camp program is divided into eight one-week segments with the first session starting on June 28 and the final session starting on August 16. Each session has a different theme. Spaces are limited at Chingachgook, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible! For more information, to sign up for a tour, or to register for camp, visit or call (518) 656-9462.

Cutting Edge Martial Arts Cutting Edge Martial Art’s A+ After School and Summer Camp Program is a yearround child care solution that provides a positive, structured environment for children after school and during the day in the summer. During the school year, we pick children up directly from the local elementary and middle schools, and provide an hour lesson that starts with our “Mat Chat,” a ten minute character education lesson for the day, followed by a full 50 minute martial arts class. Parents have a window between 5 and 5:45 pm to pick up their children while children have the opportunity after class to get their homework started. During the summer, children get all the benefits of our A+ Program, but on a grander scale. We offer nine weeks of full day camps

and have no minimum or maximum number of days per week or number of weeks that a student can attend. Each week of camp, we have a curriculum of character education lessons, fun games, and a one hour martial arts class every day. We watch a movie in the afternoons twice a week, have a video game morning on Fridays and take all our campers on an educational outing on Wednesdays and a fun and exciting outing every Friday. Our average camp size is 20-25 students, and we have three full time staff

working with our students. Our goal is to provide a family-friendly and fun environment that feels like a home away from home. Our students have fun learning skills that can be used every day of their lives, and we try to provide memories that will last a lifetime. For many, our summer camps are a wonderful introduction to martial arts. For more information visit or call (518) 587-5501

Saratoga Children’s Theatre

For kids who have a passion for performing arts, Saratoga Children’s Theatre summer camp is a dream come true. Saratoga Children’s Theatre offers performance camps which means each camper will be working on a full-fledged production throughout their session. Campers will learn all aspects of performance, and will have the opportunity to perform in two shows at the end of camp: a matinee and an evening show are both open to the public. Campers will perform on stage at St. Peters’ Auditorium, Saratoga Springs. Camp hours are 9am3pm. Performance camp is divided into two age groups. Ages 6-9 will participate in one week camps. These camps will include Disney’s Sleeping Beauty kids; Cinderella kids,

Aristocats kids, 101 Dalmatians kids and Lemonade. These camps will be directed by Megan O’Sullivan, a local elementary school music teacher and assisted by Karey Trimmings, also a local elementary school music teacher. Ages 10-18 will participate in two-week camps. Each camp will practice and perform a different show. These camps include Thoroughly Modern Mille Jr., Cinderella Jr., Fiddler on the Roof Jr., and Once on this Island Jr. These camps will be directed by Michael Lotano, local actor and elementary school music teacher and choreo-

graphed by Sarah Sutliff. Saratoga Children’s Theatre also offers a oneweek camp at the end of the summer “Master your Audition.” This camp will help your child get ready for fall and winter auditions. These audition workshops have been very popular and sell out quickly. Any child at any skill level with an interest in performing arts is welcome to join in on the fun. Saratoga Children’s Theatre Executive Director, Meg Kelly, aims to give each camper the most rewarding and enjoyable camp experience and every camper will get to perform. The Saratoga Children’s Theatre hires professionals to help your child gain the most from their summer camp experience. The cost for a two-week session is $450 and $250 for the one-week session. For more information, visit or call (518) 580-1782.

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Wilton Recreation Camp Wilton Recreation offers a full-day summer camp program for children in grades one through nine. With available pre-camp and post-camp care, working parents can ensure their children are having fun in a safe environment before and after the camp’s regular 9 am to 3 pm hours. Parents who register their children for before and after camp care can drop off their children prior to camp opening at 8:30 am and can pick them up at 5:30 pm Bussing is available for Wilton residents who register for regular camp hours (9 am to 3 pm). Wilton Recreation Camp offers a full schedule of daily onsite activities, themed events, and exciting trips for kids who register for off-site adventures. Daily on-site activities include arts and crafts, sports, playground fun, and other organized group games. This year’s scheduled field trips include: Million Dollar Beach in Lake

George, movie days at Proctors Theater, Saratoga County Fair, bowling, white water rafting, and at least two swimming days per week at Peerless Pool. The Summer 2011 camp will open on June 27 and run until August 12. Registration begins March 14 at Gavin Park and will close on June 3. As there are only 300 spaces available, be sure to mark your calendar! Camp registration forms are available online at, or can be picked up, weekdays, at Gavin Park 9 am to 5 pm. For any other questions, please call the park office at (518) 584-9455.

Saratoga Independent School Saratoga Independent School hosts a variety of summer programs split into two age groups: three to eight year-olds

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and seven to 14 year-olds. The weeklong programs run from July 5 to August 19. Saratoga Independent School summer programs are staffed largely by their own teachers, so parents can rest assured their kids are supervised in a safe environment with experienced teachers who are knowledgeable about child development and hands-on programming. For the younger group, weekly themed programs run from 9 a.m. to noon (early drop-off at 8:30 available). The staff-to-camper ratio is one to six for children ages three and four and one to ten for children ages five to eight. Themed programs include: “Cooking with Curiosity,” “Hawaiian Hullabaloo,” “Hands-On Science Fun!,” “Holiday-A-Day,” “Good Versus Evil: Imaginations Run Wild,” “Dinosaur Discovery,” “In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle!.” Activities take place both indoors and outdoors. The selection of enrichment programs for older children is even more extensive this year than in the past. Some programs will take place in the mornings; others in the afternoon. Age ranges will vary depending on the subject matter. These specialty programs give children an opportunity to develop new interests and expand on existing skills. Programs include: “Cartooning and More,” “Improvisation,” “Knitting,” “Open Art Studio,” “You Can Do Magic,” “Get Up and Dance,” “Roaring into Robots: What’s Next?,” “Art in the Ancient World,” “Mad Science,” “Computer Video Game Creation,” “Advanced Robot Challenges,” and “Art-Math Connection.” Registration has already begun and the programs fill up quickly so visit for more information and to secure a space for your child!

Saratoga YMCA

Are your kids looking for an adventure this summer? The Saratoga Regional YMCA has two exciting day camps available, Camp Starhitch, held at the Wilton Branch, which engages children with a multitude of fun activities and a trip each week and Travel Camp, where participants meet at the Saratoga Springs Branch and then travel off to fun and thrilling places each day. Camp Starhitch is for children having completed Kindergarten through entering fifth grade. Campers will participate in games, sports, crafts, nature activities, trips, swimming, archery and more! Each week is planned around a theme and includes a trip. For example, during “70’s Flashback” week, campers will go roller skating, during “The Wild Frontier” week, kids will have the opportunity to go horseback riding, and during “Tropical Paradise” week, participants may “catch a gnarly wave” at an outdoor water park. Travel Camp is definitely for the action seeker and for those who like to be on the go. This program, for youth entering fifth through tenth grade, provides campers an opportunity to travel each and every day to fun-filled locations. Participants explore different summer activities that include amusement and water parks, outdoor sports, fairs and horseback riding. This year the trips include a visit to Hunter Mountain, Six Flags New England, Tubing on the Battenkill, NY Mets game at Citi Field, the NY State Fair and more! Camp Starhitch and Travel Camp both run for nine one-week sessions. You may choose to attend camp for one week or any combination of weeks. Experienced counselors supervise children and a ratio of 1:10 ensures a safe, quality camping experience. CPR and First Aid certified camp staff will be present on all trips. At Travel Camp, campers will be grouped according to age and are supervised by experienced adult staff. Camp Starhitch has two day camp options for your child. Option A allows for your child to be dropped off at 9 am and picked up at 4 pm and Option B has a 7 am drop off time and a 6 pm pick up time. Travel Camp runs from 9 am to 4:30 pm and extended hours are available at no additional cost. This year transportation will be provided in both directions between the Saratoga Springs and Wilton branches. Pickups will be as early as 8:15 am and drop-offs will be

as late as 5 pm. Both camps try to cater to working parents. In addition, the Saratoga Regional YMCA is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all campers by incorporating the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility in daily activities. To promote safety and comfort for all, individuals are asked to act appropriately at all times when at the Y’s facilities or participating in Y programs. All campers are required to read and sign a contract of understanding in reference to the Code of Conduct. We expect persons using the YMCA to act maturely, to behave responsibly, and to respect the rights and dignity of all others—all while having a good time. The Y also has opportunities available for those who may not have the resources to send their children to camp. The Y provides scholarships for those who qualify. Scholarships are made possible due to the generous donations of Y members, the community and businesses to the “We Build People” scholarship campaign held by the Saratoga Regional YMCA each year. Scholarship applications are available at all Saratoga Regional YMCA branches and online at Registration is currently ongoing and fills up quickly. Registration forms are available at any of the Saratoga Regional YMCA Branches or at For more information about these day camps, please contact Ilene Leverence at (518) 583-9622, ext. 103 for Camp Starhitch, and Patti Laudicina at (518) 583-9622, ext. 110 or Paige Minear, ext. 116 for Travel Camp.

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Take this warning to heart

Story By Andrij O. Baran, MD Ask women about the greatest threat to their health, and most will respond incorrectly with the words “breast cancer.” While breast cancer certainly is of concern, the truth is that women are 10 times more likely to die from heart disease. Breast cancer kills 1 in 25 women; heart disease claims 1 in 2. The most recent statistics available indicate that cardiovascular disease causes the death of 500,000 women per year – more than ALL forms of cancer combined. This is a rate of epidemic proportion. Little or no warning... Two-thirds of women die suddenly from heart disease without experiencing any warning symptoms. The majority die before they even reach the hospital and before any attempt at treatment is possible. Early screening, and the detection that leads to prevention, offer the only hope of reducing these deaths. Women who do develop heart disease tend to fare worse than men. One reason is that, on average, heart disease peaks 10 years later in women than in men. At this older age, women are less able to withstand the stress of the disease. The proof can be found in a disturbing statistic: One year after their first heart attack, 44 percent of women are dead, compared with 27 percent of men. Clearly, for women, preventing that first heart attack would make an enormous difference. Know the risks... What can be done to prevent and detect heart disease in women? Of foremost importance is to reduce – or, if possible, eliminate – the conditions that cause or accelerate the growth of blockages in the arteries of the heart. These conditions, known as risk factors, include high

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blood pressure, diabetes, genetic high cholesterol, a high-fat diet, an inactive lifestyle, smoking and cocaine use. Some damage the lining of the heart’s arteries, speeding the buildup of cholesterol. Others raise blood cholesterol. Both smoking and cocaine use speed blood clotting. They also can cause sudden cramps or spasms in the coronary arteries, cutting off the entire blood supply to portions of the heart even without a cholesterol blockage. A woman who has one or more of these risk factors should ask her doctor how best to control them. She also should ask about further screening and testing, such as stress testing. The sooner the better... Lifestyle changes and medications can have a dramatic impact on reducing the incidence of heart attack, provided cholesterol blockages are detected early – before damage to the heart has occurred. In fact, drugs that lower cholesterol alone have been unequivocally shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and death by up to 50 percent. When added to a program of low-fat diet, exercise, control of high blood pressure and diabetes and, above all else, no smoking, the benefits are magnified many times over. Keep in mind, of course, that these drugs work only if they are taken and taken appropriately. By knowing and changing their risk factors, all women can ensure themselves of a longer and more vibrant life. Andrij O. Baran, MD, FACC, is the Medical Director of Cardiology Services at Saratoga Hospital.

Act Fast During Heart Attacks According to the American Heart Association, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. They work best given within one hour of when heart attack signs begin. That’s why it’s important to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and act right away. Warning Signs: • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back • Feeling weak, lightheaded or faint • Chest pain/discomfort • Pain/discomfort in the arms or shoulder • Shortness of breath If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

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B o o k m a r k

Steve Stern: A Lyrical Voice in the Ghetto

“Bernie scrunched his face in thought. Gone was his wary impulse to keep everything secret; and there were times of late when he felt almost reckless, almost ready to tell the world, while on the other hand he suspected he may have already confided too much. “I think,” he said after some consideration, “I’m starting to outgrow myself.” — Steve Stern, “The Frozen Rabbi” Photo by Josh Gerritsen Steve Stern Story By Helen Susan Edelman Who would believe that a rabbi from Eastern Europe, frozen for 150 years in a block of ice, could be transported across time and space to Memphis, where he thaws, then becomes a spiritual guru to baby boomers? Arguably, nobody. But, Steve Stern, the author of “The Frozen Rabbi,” his most recent novel, isn’t asking readers to believe it so much as to let the characters tell their story. Besides, the plot may be far-fetched, but he already has a buyer for the movie rights. Writer-in-residence at Skidmore College, Stern is a genius at creating human beings in fantastical circumstances who seem more like eccentric neighbors than artifacts of science fiction. Some fly, some inhabit other people’s dreams, some are resurrected and some travel through time. Whatever their superpowers or frailties, the heroes and villains, tricksters and innocents, and witnesses and bystanders in Stern’s short and long fiction deserve attention and evoke compassion in their quest for connection and redemption - or at least food and shelter. From within an inexhaustible vein of Jewish folklore and oral history, his characters emerge into a lucid fictional universe that embraces both magic and the mundane. Dialogue is ironic as often as it is mystical, and the most ordinary days serve as backdrops for incredible events. “Miracles are commonplace,” says Stern, a Ballston Spa resident. “I don’t write in metaphors and symbols deliberately. Writing is a visceral experience for me. I read with interest what reviewers say about my repetitive themes and ideas, but I am driven by images and characters. I’m a compulsive storyteller.”

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Lean, bespectacled and haloed in dark curls, Stern is a Memphis native who grew up in a home bereft of music, books and art in a city made famous by Elvis Presley (who used to drive through Stern’s neighborhood) and Martin Luther King’s assassination. He remembers himself as “a mediocre adolescent without confidence or spiritual antenna,” first stirred to write poetry in high school, which he read aloud for attention. “I was surprised people liked it,” he says. “And I liked writing it, even though it embarrassed me. But I was encouraged to go on, and, later, to try prose.” The allure of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s was not academic. After college, Stern wandered through Europe, then worked as a butcher on a hippie commune in the Ozarks, raising pigs and eating off the land. “I slept under five blankets and two dogs,” he recalls. (The incarnation has been memorialized in a comic strip by Stern’s girlfriend Sabrina, a cartoonist and set designer for Saturday Night Live.) The commune was not too far from the University of Arkansas, where Stern attended graduate school and played volleyball with Bill and Hillary Clinton. “I hoped he would mention me in his inaugural address,” Stern sighs. With an M.A., Stern found teaching gigs at various colleges, but the work dried up, forcing him to take a job at a folklore center in Memphis, first transcribing stories about the black community, then launching a life-changing project: to preserve the stories of the fading Jewish population in a desolate Memphis ghetto known as “The Pinch,” where many of his stories are set.

“It was intoxicating,” says Stern. “I became obsessed with it.” Indeed, his work is infused with the folklore, images, language, archetypes, settings, rituals and values embedded in the memories he recorded and in the vast Jewish and Yiddish literature he has studied since. A non-observant Jew, Stern had no relationship with his religion, so the introduction to his exotic legacy was both anchor and springboard for a prolific new consciousness. “The floodgates opened,” he says. “Suddenly, this world began to materialize for me. What had been barren neighborhoods, I could see vividly as tenements and shops, a town square, street traffic, merchants, pawnbrokers, rabbis, children…immigrants from Eastern Europe looking for a home.” Stern is comfortable writing about transcendent wisdom as long as it’s his character’s voice, and not his own, dispensing the insights. The frozen rabbi in the book of the same name, for example, “radiates within his zone of influence, and is a spiritual catalyst for anyone who encounters him,” says Stern, “whereas I am a cliché, a Jew who grew up without an identity.” A winner of both Guggenheim and Fulbright fellowships as well as the National Jewish Book Award, the Pushcart Prize, an O’Henry Prize and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, Stern is working on a new novel and rereading Faulkner, Tolstoy, Dickens and Joyce. He views each new writing project as “a risk.” Experience last summer also reminded him of the evanescence of popularity: he gave two readings, one in Memphis, which drew such a crowd that doors had to be locked, and one in St. Louis, where he commanded an audience of four. “Just like the characters in my stories,” Stern observes, “I encounter conflicts, look for a way to escape and face mixed consequences.”


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Simple Truths

Tending to the Garden of Your Mind Meghan D. Lemery, LCSW-R

Dealing with the Weeds in your Life

How is your mental state these days? Are you experiencing peace and joy in everyday life, or frustration and impatience? Are you living your life “on purpose” or going through the motions feeling numb and dead on the inside? How is the garden of your mind? Are you tending to your garden or letting the weeds take over? When I lived in Boston I lived next door to an elderly woman who had a beautiful garden. Every morning my neighbor was outside in her floral moo moo (circa Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company) tending carefully to each plant and flower. She would spend hours walking around her garden joyfully humming and making sure her flowers were strong and healthy. Many mornings I would sip my coffee and watch her peacefully pulling out the weeds and tending to her precious flowers. To this day I remember how tall and lovely her sunflowers were. I think our mental state can be compared to tending to a garden: do we have beautiful sunflowers of joy and peace or toxic weeds of bitterness and guilt? The weeds in your heart and mind are feelings of bitterness, anger, guilt, self-loathing and negativity. Do you spend your days reviewing the list of those that have offended you? Do you beat yourself up daily for past mistakes or regrets? These are the weeds that can take over your mind and lead to racing thoughts, a dark depression, constant anxiety or physical illness and chronic pain. If you are someone that is easily frustrated, impatient and critical, you can be sure you

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have some weeds to deal with. The only path to peace and joy in your everyday life is to pull your weeds out from the root and confront the issues. Holding on to your weeds only makes you ill and deadens your heart. Did you know that people who are full of bitterness and resentment appear older and are not as physically attractive as people who are full of peace and love? The weeds in your heart and mind can actually make you ugly! Likewise, a mind that is content and peaceful gives us a sparkle and light in our eyes that people are automatically attracted to. Forget the anti-wrinkle cream and Botox. Fill your heart and mind up with the best kept beauty secret around: love and forgiveness. Forgiveness is not about letting the person who hurt you off the hook. Forgiveness IS allowing light into our hearts so that we can heal and move forward. It takes the heavy burden of offense and resentment off of our hearts and minds, while preparing the “soil” for new growth and experiences. When possible, confront the people you need to forgive so that you can have closure and move on. If it is not possible to confront the person that is the weed in your life, write them a letter expressing your hurt and anger (not to send but in a private journal). This is a wonderful way to give yourself closure and put your feelings out on the table. More often than not the person we have to forgive or confront is ourselves. If you are constantly beating yourself up and feeling guilty about your past, make a choice to forgive yourself. Don’t be lazy about your weeds. Dig deep and pull out your weeds so that you can make room for peace and joy. We all desire to feel love and be accepted. That accept-

ance starts with you! Begin to focus on peaceful, loving joyful thoughts. Keep a gratitude journal of what you love about yourself or the loved ones in your life. Practice planting seeds of joy by giving acceptance and love to everyone around you. Take time to practice patience and kindness to your family, friends, colleagues and that slow cashier at the grocery store. Go out of your way to help others in any way that you can. All of these acts of kindness plant the seeds of peace, love, joy and abundance. As we approach the new season of spring, take some time to tend to the garden of your mind. Wishing you love, self-acceptance and peace this spring and always! Ms. Lemery is a psychotherapist practicing in Saratoga Springs and Queensbury. She can be reached at Her first novel will be published this Spring. Titled “Please Pass the Barbie Shoes,” it is a hilarious, heartwarming story that will have you feeling inspired and empowered.


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Living Room: The custom-designed leather couch, chair and ottoman come from Suttons. The stucco fireplace was inspired by the Collins’ travels through the Southwest and Colorado (“we wanted to avoid a traditional river rock fireplace”) and provides a heat source as well as beauty. The original structure was built for passive solar design; no air conditioning is needed in the summer. A wood stove is the primary heat source; radiant heat with natural gas was also added during the renovation. The front door, as well as all the interior doors, was custom-made, fitted and replaced by Tom Zanetti. Hickory wood floors were also installed during the addition. A hanging stained glass chandelier is a stock item obtained from a leading home supply retailer. “It captures the sunlight beautifully along with providing brilliant nighttime illumination,” Ted said. “It’s an eclectic mix.”

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Unique Places and Creative Spaces Inspired by travels; in balance with the land

If you would like to nominate a unique or creative place to be featured, email

Story By Arthur Gonick Photos by © Today we look at a creative space that is set into a special place. In 1993, Ted and Susan Collins purchased a seven-acre property with a 1986 Timberpeg designed home that has all the qualities of a place in the country – yet many would be surprised to learn that it is actually located on the border of Saratoga Springs near the Alpine Shop on Clinton Street. After a number of years living in apartments on Union Avenue and Franklin Square, enjoying the proximity to downtown and the track, they couldn’t resist a spot that was close to town but yet had lots of land. Their overall vision was for an interior space that was in accord with the outside – the wildlife, gardens and the sustainable philosophy embodied in the original building’s passive solar design. “Everything we do embraces the goals of staying true to the original structure, having an open welcoming interior, and being in harmony with the outdoors,” Ted said.

These principles guided a major transformation of the interior space in 2006. The key element was an addition to the home that enabled the living room, kitchen and upstairs bedroom to be expanded, allowing space for the installation of a downstairs bath as well. Susan and Ted led this transformation - visualizing an addition that incorporated equilibrium of size, location and overall proportion. They went through several iterations with Rick Deforest of Heritage Timberframes. Even though much of the interior decor came from travels in Africa, the South Pacific and Colorado, the building materials and craftsmen are all local. The timbers and wood flooring were milled in nearby Kingsbury. “We enjoyed working with professionals who are also friends like Rick Deforest, Tom Zanetti and Mike Roohan,” Ted said, “the house now feels complete, in balance.”


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Unique Places and Creative Spaces Kitchen: A wall was taken out that afforded space to add an eat-in island area and open up the space. Custom cabinets are by Tom Zanetti. Stonework and appliances were added. Both the kitchen and bathroom have granite tabletops (from Mike and Margaret Roohan of Granite and Marble Works). New appliances include a Bosch stove (with a built-in microwave drawer) and an Amana stainless refrigerator.

Bathroom: The bathroom ceiling is pine. The shower area was designed and built to the Collins’ specifications and features a bench, 4 shower heads PLUS an extra hand-held one (“It’s a human car wash.”) The stone tiles on the sides and floor in the shower were installed by Best Tile; the plumbing in the shower comes from Aird Dorrance, as does the sink – which sits on a granite top from Granite and Marble Works. The window leads out to the north side of the house, with privacy blinds inside the window panes. One thing you don’t see: “Since the room is on display in the center of the expanded first floor, we wanted the commode to be mostly hidden.” Ted said.

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Living Room: A reading nook sits upon the bathroom addition! “There was no full bathroom on the first floor, and with a post and beam construction we had to be creative. You get outstanding views of the property, pond and stream when viewed from the nook’s perspective.” The ladder can swing out on a track making it more like walking up a staircase – this was also designed and installed by Tom Zanetti. The table in the nook is actually a working African drum with a glass Simply Saratoga | 39 table top added.

Bedroom: In the second-floor master bedroom, moving the dormer brought in extra light and space, and also brought the roofline together with the original structure and first-floor additions. The floor and ceiling are made of rough-cut pine planking. The bed is also constructed of pine and comes from Suttons. The window in the upper left was cut during the addition. It faces west for extra daytime light.

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Story Written by Yael Goldman Photos by Samu Studios and Randall Perry Photography 42 | Simply Saratoga

Photo by Samu Studios

orking with the right interior designer turns listless decision making into an enjoyable and productive process that avoids costly mistakes and delivers exceptional results. Designing a room or an entire home is a big project no matter how strong your tastes are. The decisions are endless – what color should I paint the walls? What flooring is most aesthetically appealing and dog-friendly? Should I choose a furniture set or choose individual pieces? Do I want curtains or shades? Do I decorate with knick-knacks or artwork? But with all the unique self-questioning that surrounds an interior design project, most homeowners share angst in asking themselves one specific question: where do I start? It’s at this point – when stress level increases, enjoyment-driven projects turn deadly, and money has been wastefully spent on all the wrong things – that you long for the help of a professional, if only you could afford it. Well, the truth is you can. Creating the right space can be expensive, but is only more so if you make mistakes and have to go back and fix them. If you do it right the first time, there’s no cost associated with do-overs. With nearly 100 years of experience between them, all four members of Blairhouse Interiors Group have worked with more than enough unhappy do-it-yourselfers to tell you you’re not alone.

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he four-member design/project therapy team, which recently opened a studio in Saratoga Springs, has a long history of helping home and business owners create their ideal spaces and atmospheres the right way. Their exceptional work is celebrated across the Capital Region, including Saratoga Springs where the Blairhouse look is prominently featured in a handful of Park Place condominiums and the incredible Saratoga National Golf Club. Thomas R. Burns, Meghan Baltich, Dominic Carota and Patricia Richards, the highly skilled and charismatic force behind Blairhouse Interiors Group, promise an experience that is personal because it’s all about your needs – and that’s what is important. Blairhouse offers full-service interior design services, space planning, project management, hand-picked merchandise, patience and an uncanny ability to create a look that is always fresh, sophisticated and comfortable. “The style that we gravitate toward is unique, cutting-edge, and modern; not dictated by corporate,” said Meghan Baltich, pointing to a “very propitious” Keith Fritz table at the center of the studio. Photo by Randall Perry Photography

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Photo by Randall Perry Photography

If you do it right the first time, there’s no cost associated with do-overs.


ne glance at the Park Place showroom – of the selective furnishings carefully showcased along the periphery – and it becomes clear why Blairhouse, an award-winning team, gets the job done. Their creativity, focus and immaculate sense of direction bring objectivity to the scene, helping you narrow down all of the tedious and overwhelming choices that make do-it-yourself decorating an exercise in unclear thinking. “People are overwhelmed by all the choices; it can feel like they’re in a paralyzed blur,” said Thomas Burns, who finds that a great vision can be impossible to imagine and create without eliminating all of the distractions. A vital step in getting focused is creating a comprehensive plan based on individual needs, wants and style that addresses all aspects of lifestyle and taste, and suggests tactful solutions and fresh approaches to new and existing spaces. They help you identify what you like, forcing you to hone in on what you want and need to compliment and enhance your lifestyle. “We ascertain the client’s goal and lifestyle to convey their vision,” said Dominic Carota, explaining that the intended outcome of creating or reinventing a room is often strictly tied to how you want to live in it. “We have to know how they function,” he said. An interior designer is an asset in the function-meets-style equation. Dominic explained that a couple starting a family will have far different needs than empty-nesters looking for a change. They may have the same stylistic goals, but their execution will differ based on how their lifestyle exists within the space. When revamping a single room, the majority of your focus is dedicated to that individual space, making it easy to forget that the rest of the house is attached. Establishing connectivity between rooms is a challenge, but an important part of executing a project the right way. Sometimes one wrong detail, no matter how small, can be incredibly impactful and difficult to avoid on your own “If you’re working on a new addition or renovation, we ensure it flows; that there’s balance between the existing part of the living space and the new addition,” Meghan Baltich said, explaining that it just doesn’t make sense to put in a great new kitchen if it’s disjointed and out of place from its surroundings. Another common novice mistake is the trendy retail store fallacy: that you can order a full room from a catalog or pick a fabulous and unique design from a floor plan. Blairhouse clients learn the difference between “cookie-cutter” and “custom,” and they are never concerned with picking the wrong piece for the wrong room.

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ome customers will come to us after going into a Pottery Barn and buying stuff that just didn’t work,” Baltich said, giving the example of an individual who purchased an enormous sectional for a tiny room. “We scale into the client’s space, taking function and proportion into consideration.” Exceptional listening and observation skills are the designer’s unsung attributes and greatest assets. Blairhouse experts engage with their clients to gain a true understanding of what they want. In turn, the design process becomes an eye-opening experience; customers are introduced to colors and concepts they would never think to consider. “Each client trusts us to create their environment, and we enable them to make informed decisions,” Patricia Richards said. And sometimes that requires bold suggestions and collaboration, or looking at all of the possibilities, even the ones “you would never have been brave enough to do on your own.” In the end, the experience of working with the experts is enjoyable, stress-free and cost-effective. From concept to completion, the result is just what you want and need – a fabulous marriage of function and aesthetic that won’t have you coming back for more (because you did it right the first time).


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For a taste of Blairhouse Interiors Group’s distinctive work, stop into their Park Place studio, located at 262 Broadway, Suite # 204, in Saratoga Springs. For further details, visit or call (518) 786-7800. d a Richards, an altich, Patrici B n ). ha up eg ro M G riors arota, lairhouse Inte t: Dominic C B gh of ri am to te ft y le From /project therap ns. (The design ur B . R as m ho T

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Spring Do’s and Don’ts for your Gardens

Story Written by Kerry Ann Mendez, Perennially Yours • 50 | Simply Saratoga

Photos Provided


SPRING is right around the corner and gardeners are pawing at the ground ready to explode through the garden gate! As a passionate perennial gardener, I am right there with you. But before launching into another flower-filled season, let’s go through a spring checklist of do’’s and don’’ts to make sure we make the most of the race and have the best finish ever.

DO :

apply a granular fertilizer to your perennial beds while they are still ‘asleep.’ Depending on the winter we’ve had, this may be anytime from mid-March to mid-April. Don’t worry if there are already ‘early risers’ visible like spring blooming bulbs or woodland ephemerals. I recommend using 5-5-5, 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 2 pounds per 100 square feet. Cast the fertilizer just before it is about to rain to make sure fertilizer is watered into the ground and washed off any existing leaves. You can give other plants in your yard this treat as well including flowering shrubs, groundcovers, climbing vines and roses.

Photo by Gardener's Supply Company


put fertilizer on top of the snow or on ground that is still frozen. You want to make sure the fertilizer disappears into pliable soil and to waiting roots, otherwise runoff can occur. And don’t think more is better. You can stress or even kill plants by over-fertilizing, especially in spring when leaves are not fully developed to utilize nitrogen in the fertilizer. If you are going to err, less is better! Simply Saratoga | 51

DO :

prune most roses when Forsythia is in bloom. Prune shrub roses back by half to 2/3 their height. This is assuming you did not prune them last fall. If you did, then next year wait until late winter or early spring. Prune Teas and Grandifloras back to 18 - 24”. For climbing roses, prune branches emerging from the main canes back to within 3 - 4” of the cane.


prune onceblooming roses such as Heirloom or Old Garden Roses when the Forsythia is blooming. Any rose that blooms once, usually in late spring, for about three weeks is in this category. Many times these roses are quite fragrant. Wait to prune these roses until right after they flower.

apply a pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer to your lawn. A lush, healthy lawn makes a beautiful frame for gardens. My family walked away from lawn chemicals five years ago. And our lawn has never looked better! Corn gluten is a big part of this transformation. Corn gluten is a byproduct of milled corn. It will not harm children, pets or wildlife. Heck, you can eat it if you want (but it tastes yucky). Corn Gluten is high in nitrogen and commonly used as a lawn fertilizer. But it is also a pre-emergent, targeting seeds as they germinate. You can put corn gluten down at any point in the spring BUT if part of your mission is to eliminate crabgrass then there is a narrow window of attack. Apply it when Forsythia is in full bloom and before its leaves appear. The Forsythia is a soil temperature indicator that corresponds to when crabgrass seeds start to germinate. More garden centers are now carrying corn gluten products. You just need to ask and follow the application instructions on the bag. Make sure to water in the corn gluten after applying. It will remain effective for five to six weeks.

DO :


apply corn gluten to lawn areas you’ve seeded (or overseeded) or to gardens where you want biennials, perennials or annuals to reseed and flower. Corn gluten does not distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ seeds. Simply Saratoga | 53

cut back Lavender, Russian Sage, Montauk Daisy, Butterfly Bush, Chrysanthemums and ornamental grasses. These are best left untouched in fall and whacked in spring. Many folks make the mistake of acting too gingerly with pruners. Let ‘em fly! The result will be more compact, neater plants that will bloom just fine. Trust me. If it helps, wait until you’ve had a bad day at work, with the kids or in traffic.

DO :

step on soil as you maneuver around the garden to cut back Lavender and the rest of the gang. For that matter, you should never be tromping through your gardens compacting soil. This breaks down air and water channels as well as making it tougher for roots to spread. Instead reach into beds from existing paths, or place stepping stones in discreet spots where only your eyes can see, or ‘walk the plank’ on a board to reach plants farther ‘adrift.’


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divide plants in spring. This is an optimum time to divide most perennials. Yes, even spring bloomers! Wait until these have flowered and then shear off the spent blooms and get to business. Most summer and fall blooming perennials can be divided prior to mid-June without disrupting their performance.

DO :

divide Peonies, German Bearded Iris or Oriental Poppies in spring. These are best done in late summer. Also tap-rooted plants (those with a carrot-looking root) cannot be divided. Think about it. These are usually propagated by seed, stem or root cuttings. Some perennials that fall into this category are Malva, Butterfly Weed, Balloon Flower, Oriental Poppies and Lupines.


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DO :

apply mulch on garden beds to reduce weeds, conserve moisture, reduce erosion, minimize soil temperature fluctuations and enhance the quality of the soil. Some mulching materials include aged manures, compost, shredded wood (not dyed), leaf mold, and cocoa hulls. Put the mulch down 2” to 3” thick around plants, including flowering shrubs.


build up mulch against plant stems. And please, please don’t create volcano mounds around trees. Please. This is awful for them. The only ones that benefit from this are the people selling the mulch. apply a timereleased fertilizer such as Plant-Tone (organic) or Osmocote to heavy feeding perennials five to six weeks after the earlier granular fertilizer application. Most plants do not need as much fertilizer as we are led in advertising to believe. I am stingy with my money and maintenance time so only a handful of plants get this bonus feed: Astilbe, Delphinium, Liliums (i.e., Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet), Clematis and roses. If I am feeling generous, I will put some on my Bigleaf Hydrangeas next to the roses. Call me heartless. Just scratch fertilizer into the top couple inches of soil around the plant’s base and water in well. They will enjoy a nutritious snack for three to four months.

DO :

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put time-released fertilizer on perennials that prefer lean diets. Richer soil just upsets their vascular systems. They will get leggy, flop, and not perform to snuff. Yarrow, Coneflower, Catmint, Russian Sage, Linum, Sea Holly and Silvermound are in the group.

DO :

cut off the spent blooms and stems on spring blooming bulbs after they have flowered so energy is redirected to the bulbs versus seed productions. Keep the leaves in place until they have browned and ideally can be pulled from the ground by hand. rubber band or braid the foliage of spring blooming bulbs after they finish flowering. You want as much leaf surface exposed to the sun as possible to increase photosynthesis. You can press the leaves down next to the soil so they are less noticeable.


And finally, DO have a great year in your gardens and DON’T forget to take time to smell the roses! § For more information, contact Perennially Yours at

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Exterior Stonework


Story Written by Arthur Gonick 58 | Simply Saratoga

Photos Provided

To develop and implement an exterior vista that maximizes your enjoyment To have a backyard landscape that is warm, inviting and uniquely yours

These are goals that many homeowners have when they first move onto their property. But unless you are trained in the variety of materials and options available, the task of getting past the point of comparing possibilities to completing and actually enjoying your backyard paradise can appear to be a long, daunting road. For Carl Trinkle, a landscape designer for ten years with the Gallivan Companies of Troy, one of the key elements in a successful transformation is utilizing a professional’s expertise to articulate goals and develop a plan. “The most important thing we do when we first meet with a client is to get them to discuss their basic needs and aims, and encourage them to formulate an overall vision for their property. An initial consultation sets the tone; we make an initial visit on-site to look over the property so we can have an idea as to where things might be placed.” “During this intake process, we actually encourage people to show us photos of their friend’s property that they like, or perhaps from a magazine. It helps most people to articulate the goals of what they would like to see as a finished project,” Trinkle said. “Even if they are looking to do things in phases, we find that it is most important to develop a comprehensive site plan.” This eliminates the need to revise original phases of work to accommodate those that come in the future.

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The latest trends

that Mr. Trinkle finds potential customers identifying with are designed to extend the outdoor season: “A few extra weeks outside is a lot,� he said.

Outdoor grill stations, fire pits and water enhancements such as ponds and waterfalls are the most frequently requested items that broaden the outdoor use season.

Exterior lighting

add-ons also extend outside activity each day. Low voltage lighting is still the most popular, but recently LED lighting, with longer-lasting bulbs that involve less maintenance and are cost-efficient, have become more fashionable.

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And of course,

swimming pool projects have always been a most-requested

item. Fifty percent of all the projects Mr. Trinkle works on involve a pool, either a completely new installation or enhancements to existing pools. Gallivan’s long-standing relationship with Concord Pools has been a hallmark in assuring that customers are satisfied when their pool is put in the ground.

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comprehensive plan

In most cases, a can be developed for any project in about a period of two weeks. Complete drawings and cost breakdowns are provided, as well as the projected phases that can be completed in just a few months or on larger projects can be scheduled in segments over a few years. These are reviewed in person with the customer again, the goal being to have a plan that everyone buys into.

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“We have had projects where the customer has wanted to have a lot of input and we welcome that. But we also had one where the client was out of town and we built a fire pit and slide for his wife and kids, and our only instructions were to

dazzle them.

I remember it as a most satisfying experience, and we ended up winning awards for that one.� - Carl Trinkle, Landscape Designer The Gallivan Companies

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“I get to work using my creativity, with talented people. Some of the most talented are those I meet as customers.” §

For more information or to schedule a consultation, phone Gallivan Companies at (518) 271-6100. Gallivan’s website is

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y a W t s e to buy a Smart playhouse for your kids Photos by Story by Yael Goldman Buying a playhouse for your child is an excellent investment. They promote imaginative play and spending time outdoors, and double as storage space when no longer used for recreation. Denise Woodcock, owner of Versatile Sheds in Wilton, has been helping parents and grandparents customize their child’s or grandchild’s dream playhouses for years. “They make great gifts, especially for grandparents who want their grandkids to have their own place to play when they visit,” she said. Playhouses are a great addition to a child’s outdoor world. They come in all shapes, sizes and designs, and can be custombuilt or finished if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for

in a catalog or on the lot. Every child is different and has their own preferences for color, size and function; boys and girls often have especially different requests for their play space, as do younger and more mature children, so there’s a lot to consider. Denise knows how even the finest detail can be all it takes to make an outdoor structure feel like a child’s own, personal space. While it may seem superfluous to address every minor demand, the truth is a playhouse is more than just an expensive toy, it’s an investment. The more your child connects with their space, the more use they’ll get out of it – and, according to Denise, that means your money is well spent.

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With this in mind, prospective buyers should first consider who will use the playhouse and for how long, as well as what happens when the structure is no longer used for recreation. Versatile Sheds can help even the most discerning parent or child find what they’re looking for. Every playhouse is handbuilt by Amish craftsmen who can accommodate almost any special request, at an additional cost, so the possibilities are endless, inside and out. Cedar shingle or vinyl siding, wood, stone or brick – if you can use it on the outside of your regular home, it can be integrated into your playhouse’s design. Playhouses can be built to look like a miniature version of your home, which is an excellent touch for parents that are particularly concerned with aesthetics. Porches, shutters, flowerboxes, unique doors, chimneys and exterior lighting are just a few of the touches that can brighten and personalize the exterior. Individualizing your child’s playhouse doesn’t stop at the front door. There are just as many interior features to choose from – you can let your imagination run wild. For starters, you have the option to order the playhouse with a finished or unfinished interior. The unfinished version looks a lot like the inside of a regular home before you move in, paint the walls and furnish the rooms. Buying an unfinished structure is a great way to cut costs, and even bring the family together over a weekend decorating project. The possibilities are endless depending on how handy you are; otherwise, a few coats of paint and a bit of carpeting will surely do the trick. Although a bit pricey, purchasing a playhouse with a finished interior ensures that your child gets exactly what they want right off the bat. They can pick everything from the paint color to the flooring so the playhouse is move-in ready on the day it arrives. Playhouses can also be insulated and wired for electricity. You can install lighting, electrical outlets, even heat or airconditioning to make your child’s outdoor space as comfortable as possible. And the options don’t end there. Traditional sheds also double as playhouses. For some parents, purchasing an adult-size shed for their children is an ideal way to get the best return on their investment. Once their children grow out of it, the structure can be used for outdoor storage. With just as many styles, sizes and materials to choose from, you can customize the interior and exterior of your shed just as you would a playhouse, but without all of the more frivolous features. “Any shed can be a playhouse,” Woodcock said, explaining how a custom paint job or flowerbox can transform a typical storage unit into child’s outdoor activity haven. For example, if purchasing a wood shed, the exterior can be easily painted and repainted when making the transition from playhouse to storage space. For Denise’s customers, getting their money’s worth should not have to mean making sacrifices.

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When Debby Trainor made the decision to buy her granddaughter Chezney’s dream house, she wanted it to have all the bells and whistles. She met with Denise to go over all the criteria; the goal was to buy the perfect gift for Chezney while staying within her budget. The eight-year-old Greenwich girl wanted her own pretty, pink palace where she could play and imagine; Debby wanted it to be a cozy and safe place for her to play year-round. Customization and interior decoration helped make Chezney’s playhouse feel like her own little kingdom. “We made it look like a cute little dollhouse,” she said. “We put furniture inside, and a little stove, fridge, heater and TV; it’s just perfect.” With the structure built to their liking, Chezney and Debby could enjoy decorating the inside to personalize the playhouse. For many customers, putting on the finishing touches means making the playhouse feel like home – you can add curtains, hang pictures, buy furniture and appliances, and landscape the perimeter to make the outdoor space feel like a home away from home. When the child grows out of their playhouse, these items can be easily removed to accommodate a secondary use for the space. “The best thing that Denise did for me was explain how we can use the playhouse for storage for stuff out in the yard after

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Chezney has grown out of it,” Debby explained. “Although she is only eight, and will be using it for quite a few more years, this really makes it a good investment, and looks great in the backyard.” Whether you choose a customized playhouse or a traditional shed, thinking toward the future also ensures the safety and longevity of the structure. Denise explained that placement is an important thing to consider, as you want to make sure the structure is in a safe place and on an appropriate surface. Most importantly, the playhouse must be built on a level, even surface that isn’t too high off of the ground. “You want it on a nice platform,” Denise explained. “Some people use concrete, but stone is better because it allows moisture to seep down into the ground and away from the structure.” Most parents prefer that their playhouse is in the backyard where it’s easy to see from a window. Placing the structure in a shaded area is also a good idea; it will be cooler in the summer and less susceptible to the elements if partially protected by trees. Debby had Chezney’s playhouse built right next to her swing set, where she can be easily supervised. One last thing to consider when purchasing a playhouse

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or shed for your child is how much effort you want to put into maintaining it. The more ornate the structure the more care it may need. Woodcock advises parents to preserve their investment, and treat the playhouse like a miniature home. Think of it as a miniature house – the structure requires regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure your child will be safe while enjoying years and years of imaginative fun. With so many features and styles to choose from, you’re sure to find the best for both you and your child. For more information about Versatile Sheds or to set up a time to meet with Denise Woodcock, call (518) 584-7924 or stop by 669 Route 9 in Wilton.


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Not Your

Grandma’s Kitchen

Story Written by Daniel Schechtman 74 | Simply Saratoga

Photos Provided


you walk into the kitchen of the future, LED light projections adjust to your mood - it will know if you have a hangover via sensors that will read your b r a i n w a v e s . Aromatherapy infused walls will be synched to your calendar, calming you before a big meeting or energizing you before a gym session. The fridge will have selected some breakfast options, identifying the essential vitamins for your day via sensors. When you get home, a hologram chef will be on hand for recipe inspiration.” * Alright, so maybe your kitchen can’t do all of these things quite yet – but believe it or not, we’re getting there. This is tomorrow’s kitchen, a kitchen where your appliances don’t just store your food or wash your dishes – they talk to you, providing you with integral information on how to best store your fruits and vegetables, letting you know if the refrigerator door is open for too long or when a part will soon need replacing.

“Science fiction!” I hear you say?

Guess again. * Quoted from a report released by The Future Laboratory, who was commissioned by IKEA to determine what a modern kitchen in the year 2040 could conceivably look like.

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ne technology that really stands out to me is the Miele Appliance Company. Right now they’re using a program called ‘remote vision.’ On select appliances… is a wireless card that clicks into a port on the back of the appliance. You synch it up with your home network and it basically emails the technician and the owner when it’s broken, when you need to clean your condenser, change your water filter or schedule a routine service,” said Tom Thibeault, owner of Adirondack Appliance Repair, Inc, located at 67 West Ave. in Saratoga Springs. “Maybe somebody’s been opening the [refrigerator] door for too long or the door was left open – it will email you and tell you that your door is left open.” This is not your grandma’s kitchen. This, my friends, is the kitchen of the future, and it’s available now. The 36 inch bottom-mount Miele refrigerator boasts a striking interior, featuring LED lighting running along the sides from top to bottom, stainless steel accents and exteriors with control systems that would be comfortable alongside the captain’s chair on the Starship Enterprise.

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he controls in the Miele really stand out. Looking at the controls, they’re just a glass piece, and then once you touch it you see a few options for the different compartments. Then you touch the compartment and the temperature is displayed, so it’s kind of like a Star Trek control,” Thibeault said. And that’s just the refrigerator. Adirondack Appliance has also seen brands such as Wolf (a company owned by the same people who own Sub-Zero) grow in popularity when it comes to their range stoves and ovens. The dual convection oven works to eliminate cold spotting and provides consistent, even temperatures, and even allows for unique options such as proofing – used best when baking homemade bread. “It also has a temperature probe you can plug into things like a turkey or roast so you can see the temperature while it’s still inside the machine. It has hydraulic hinges, halogen lit interiors; everything is composed of stainless steel and it’s by far one of the best lines on the market,” Thibeault said. A new line coming to Adirondack Appliance that features some amazing technology is a series of ProStyle Ranges, produced by industry giant Jenn-Air.

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hat actually has an LCD touch screen, like an IPAD, for the controls. The temperature is set by sliding your finger along the controls. It’s all color backlit, and absolutely amazing,” Thibeault said. “Another thing we have, to that same effect, are some of the hoods, which have really been getting pretty out there as far as design. We have one on our floor [by Miele] that has an LED bar on the front which changes in phases between 196,000 colors. It’s a very delicate change, very pretty and cool,” Thibeault said, adding “or you can set it to any color in that spectrum you’d like to accent your cabinetry.” When it comes to dishwashers, Thibeault can attest to the quality of both the Asko and Miele brands, both of which he uses in his own home. And good news for Saratoga Springs residents –

Asko and Miele are practically custom made to handle the area’s typically mineral rich water. “In our market in Saratoga, we have a very hard water base, whether you’re on a well system or city water,” Thibeault said. “So you get a lot of minerals in the machine. With the stainless steel interiors it eliminates a lot of problems generally seen with plastic interior tubs, and usually they are the best life expectancies.”

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The Asko brand dishwasher takes things one step further, including two pumps in the washer’s system. The first pump filters the water, cleansing it of potentially harmful minerals, while the second pump recirculates the water, ensuring that the machine is never blasting your dishes with food debris or dirty residue. With Miele, the design features a built-in water softener, perfect for dealing with the Saratoga water system. “Typically, the Miele is going to do a better job with tougher, baked in stains,” said Thibeault, “because it’s got the softener in it and a little bit longer pots and pans cycle.”

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Adirondack Appliance Repair, Inc., is a family-owned business since 1929, and the last independent appliance retailer of its kind in Saratoga Springs. With $6 billion of buying power behind their name (a benefit of being part of the Nation Wide Appliance Buying Group), Thibeault promised “we can actually price match the box stores and everybody else around, all while providing you with better service and better products.”


For more information on Adirondack Appliance or the products they sell, you may visit their showroom located at 67 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs for live demonstrations. They can also be reached by phone at (518) 587-6640, or you may visit them at their new website,, where customers can browse through the store’s entire catalogue of appliances.

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Simply Saratoga March 2011  

Simply put, the magazine is ‘Simply Saratoga’ which debuted with our holiday 2010 issue. Simply Saratoga Magazine You will find the regular...

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