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August is a bittersweet month as the “Short Season” comes to an end, but the quieter and cooler days are oh, here and, they were. I must say this season's Glimmerglass Festival got rave reviews from everyone! so sweet. Over the years I have come to feel a bit expectant wondering if the usual “Opera Birds” will be
SAYING GOOD-BYE ISN'T EASY
Putting The Chatter together every month has been an interesting adventure. It succeeded only because of the contributions of so many. Not only those who wrote articles but, also, those who volunteered their time to proofread, give ideas and in general support this little paper. Block that metaphor, but it is time to turn a new page in my life. Not only will this be the last Chatter under my reign (if someone is interested in continuing it – contact me) but it is also time to begin the process of stepping back from Village Hall Gallery. When we bought the building in 2008 it was with the attitude – to quote a Quaker expression, “Proceed as way opens” and open it did. The gallery has been successful beyond my wildest dreams. But, Main, but we will, hopefully, turn it over to new caretakers that will love and nurture the building, too. Of course, we will keep you all posted through Facebook, emails and in person. The gallery will remain open until a buyer appears and the fat lady sings. when one's soul is demanding attention we must listen. We aren't sure what the next story will be at 187
NOW WE KNOW !
Who knew that such a chatterious town could keep such a big secret. We knew Brent and Josh were incommunicado for awhile but not even a hint of their whereabouts. Some thought facelifts . . . some thought an exotic vacation and others assumed they were simply taking a rest. But, the news has broken that they were participating in, The Amazing Race. It airs on CBS, September 30 th. That's not all though, they are double dipping from the 15 minutes of fame bucket – The Fabulous Beekman Boys will be shown on The Cooking Channel beginning in September, too! What will they be up to next . . . ? Stay tuned!
WELCOME TO: Roger Stout-Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard! Roger was the producer/designer on the show, “Sell This House.” Chris is the founder of Decades, a furniture & design company. They packed up their mule train in Texas and headed off for the bright lights of Sharon Springs. To follow their progress as they renovate their new old Victorian house check them out on Facebook!
HER-STORIAN'S CORNER ~ THE AMERICAN HOTEL IN SHARON SPRINGS
Right in the middle of our little village sits a veritable GEM – the American Hotel, run by Doug Plummer people I’m Sharon’s Town Historian, I love hearing them say, “Oh! I’ve eaten at the American Hotel – what a fabulous place!”
and Garth Roberts with Heidi Meka as manager and Lee Wolver, chef extraordinaire! Often when I tell
The hotel was built between 1847 and 1851 to accommodate a growing number of people then coming to enjoy the village’s mineral baths and the pastoral beauty of Schoharie County. The American Hotel became the village’s second Greek Revival hotel, joining the grand Pavilion, where famous guests like the Vanderbilts, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens put Sharon Springs on the map. The American’s building and grounds today stand as a pleasant memorial to that genteel time. These lines from the 1904 Souvenir of Sharon Springs [published by Pierre Danforth, Middleburg] describe a vibrant hotel: “ The American is directly under the personal supervision of the proprietors, whose aim is to furnish superior accommodations at reasonable rates. The table is abundantly supplied with delicacies fresh and in season. The well-known experience of the proprietors affords a guarantee that every effort will be made to promote the comfort of all who patronize this house.” Much the same can be said today of the hotel. Historically we know that the two acres on which the hotel now sits were purchased in 1847 by Alonzo and Tiffany Walradt from Henry and Betsy Moyer for $475. In September 1851, Nicholas LaRue from Esperance [an early explorer of Howe Caverns] purchased the same 2 acres for $4,000, the substantial increase in price would indicate that some investment had been made, like a hotel! LaRue then purchased 7 more acres surrounding the hotel proper where he installed gardens and a fishpond. The LaRue family ran the hotel for 40 plus years. Several other less successful entrepreneurs owned and operated the hotel during the 20th century including a group of Hasidic Rabbis – I can well remember in the 1960’s walking past the hotel and seeing large numbers of Hasidic men arguing together on the porch in their long dark coats and fur hats.
Although the hotel had been standing vacant and neglected for several years, when Doug Plummer and Garth Roberts first drove through the Village in 1990 they were charmed [Doug describes it as “Love at first sight”]. Almost immediately after they had opened the Rockville Café [where Adelphi Paper Hangings now operates], the American hotel sold for back taxes. This was only a temporary set back and in 1996, Doug and Garth purchased the American for $18,000. Grim reality set in when they realized part of the roof had growing on the walls.
collapsed, there were trees growing in the kitchen, many floors were actually missing, and mold was Their first decision was to replace the roof and then start looking for grant money to complete the renovations because they were determined to save this piece of history!
AMERICAN HOTEL, CONTINUED . . . Success took several years to accomplish but by New Year’s Eve 2001, the renovations were nearly complete toast their endeavor. Opening day, May 23rd, 2001, they both described as their second scariest day ever – birthday! – Doug and Garth stopped by on their way home with a bottle of Dom Perignon on a 20 below zero night to the dining room was packed, so many things went wrong, but they survived – and it was Garth’s 40th
Today a warm welcome awaits guests who come to stay or for a meal in the charming dining room. Sitting on the porch in nice weather watching the world go by or gathering around the bar with friends, this has become a destination for so many. Their Thanksgiving Feast has many people returning every year as well as the yearly Harvest Festival 10-11]! I can honestly say, the American Hotel helped convince my husband and me to retire in Sharon!
Dinners. Stop in and ask how many weddings they have hosted, including their own last September 10 [9-
Now, in a completely differently vein (bad pun, I know) we have the . . .
THE BUCKET OF BLOOD
Believe it or not, once upon a time there was actually a saloon in Sharon Springs named The Bucket of and located on a lot across from the present day Library – if you look carefully the foundation can still be seen. In researching the family, I learned that in 1904 a big fight erupted in the Bucket of Blood saloon between a gang of imported Hop Pickers and some members of the local “hard cider quartet”! Beer bottles, glasses, stones, and razors were used with a commotion so loud the fight was heard a mile away. A few days later the body of one of the combatants was found along the railroad track between Sharon and Seward with his head “stove”in, presumably fleeing the fight! THE HISTORIANS ARE COMING, THE HISTORIANS . . . September 22nd, District 7 Association of Public Historians of New York State [comprising 7 counties] will Manko who will give the welcome and talk about “Sharon Springs at a Glance”. The other speakers are Dave Sharon Springs”, and Dick Williams who will discuss the historian’s role. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Nancy Pfau, Sharon Town Historian, and event organizer [284-2371 or firstname.lastname@example.org]. Let’s extend a real Sharon Springs welcome to this group! that was said! Thank you, Nancy Pfau – Town Historian ! NOTE: Unfortunately, the meeting isn't open to the public but, hopefully, Nancy will report back to us all Blood! This was owned and operated by the Finkenstein family during the late 19th/ early 20th Centuries
be meeting in Sharon Springs. President of APHNYS, Gerry Smith will open the meeting followed by Sandra Cornelius on “Indian Lifeways and European Influences in the 18th Century”, Emily Lang, “Jewish Era in
SONGS FROM A GLASS HALF FULL . . . A REVIEW
On Friday, July 27th and twice on Saturday the 28th, the residents and visitors of Sharon Springs were treated to the premiere of a new work by lyricist Drew Taylor and music by composer Robert Cioffi. The show was a benefit event to support the restoration of Sharon Springs Chalybeate Park. Performing this delightful revue at BANK, one of Sharon Springs' newest business, made for an intimate and personal experience for the audience. The work starring Broadway and Off-Broadway actors, Seth Danner, Nancy Johnstone, Lindsie VanWinkle and Fred Rose, consisted of 20 original songs about the joys, the people and mistakes we have universally experienced in our lives. The actors, playing a collection of strangers share the good, the bad and the ugly of their lives. Through song they realize that our behavior is seldom perfect, and that with all of life’s twists and turns, successes and disappointments, we can potentially re-open buried hurt, or re-live past perfect times that can refill us with joy. Even though four pessimistic characters start the evening focusing on lost love and life’s trials and tribulations, by evening’s end they are renewed. They come to understand that “you change your point of view, you may learn something new, and be reminded that somebody always loves you…” The performance was delightful – the space was perfect, like a cabaret, enabling a close and personal relationship between the performers and the audience. The songs were meaningful – some fun, some poignant, some soulful and romantic with each performer singing just the perfect song for their character! songs…this is: ‘SONGS FROM A GLASS HALF FULL’.” A huge applause and congratulations for a job well done to the cast, Seth, Nancy, Lindsie and Fred, the creators, Drew and Robert and the producers Gail Luna and 204 Main Bistro who were also the hosts for the evening. Through their generosity, each performance was followed by complimentary wine at the Bistro. This was truly a wonderful Sharon Springs community event and all the effort and hard work had by all! Thank you, Margi Neary. Margi is on the committee to restore Chalybeate Park as well as the proprietoress of My Sister's Cafe on Beechwood Road in Sharon Springs. resulted in over $1,000 in donations to the Chalybeate Park fund and most importantly a great time was To quote Drew Taylor, the lyricist, ‘…our strangers learn …life is a glass, the moments, the people are the
Producer's note: The show will have a life after Sharon Springs. There are two theaters who are interested in the piece as well as two cabaret clubs in New York. We will keep everyone updated as things move along.
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYONE !
Also, Luna Cakes by Design is thrilled to announce they will be at the Harvest Festival! Hurrah!
NOTES FROM THE EDGE (FIELD)
I'm relaxing after another successful, enjoyable, Glimmerglass season. When I came to Sharon Springs in 1996. I knew nothing of Glimmerglass – but soon realized my livelihood depended on it. Each season brings many delightful returning guests (one couple from Connecticut has stayed all 16 seasons) who are now like family members, settling into the same rooms each year. New faces add to the liveliness of the breakfast salon; many are seen again as returning, “Opera- tors.” Guests are delighted with changes they note in Sharon Springs over the seasons, including new shops, the day spa and 204 Main Bistro as a new dining option. The Fabulous Beekman boys draw visitors from all over the country. A couple from Phoenix combined a visit to Sharon Springs with a side trip to NYC – the only way the wife could convince her husband to come East. Of course, they loved everything about the village. Sneak peeks of real estate fueled dreams of moving to our enchanted village. For a New Jersey girl soon to depart for college, a trip to Beekman land was impossible to resist. The mother dined well on Main Street. The mother will return with her husband for Harvest Festival to continue the immersion (indoctrination?) into all things Sharon Springs. The power blackout was taken in stride. David and I cooked pasta by candlelight and propane. One couple returned from dinner at the American and took candles to their room to read their Nooks – no blackout turning off the street lights. Only when they arrived at Edgefield with no welcoming porch lights did they figure out the scenario. Wildflowers are a wonderful seasonal bonus. Conditions were particularly favorable for my favorite Queen Anne's Lace. Huge arrangements of QAL on Edgefield's library table touched the ceiling, “holding it up,” one guest quipped. I call wildflowers “God's cutting garden,” and they graced the altar at Grace Episcopal Church in Cherry there! Guests returning from the opera merely thought the village really rolled up after 9 p.m. - including
and daughter duo spent two days shopping in every store, indulged in pampering at Spring House Spa and
Valley several Sundays. David and I made huge arrangements of goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace and several varieties of hydrangeas. They remained for the Bishop's visit the following Tuesday, but would have been equally suitable for a late-summer bride (and free). Autumn will bring more visitors to fall in love with Sharon Springs – as each of us did previously.
Thank you, Daniel Marshall Wood – proprietor of the Edgefield Bed & Breakfast. Editor's note: a guest of Edgefield's was in the gallery glowingly telling me about the flower arrangements Dan and David make for her (their) church. She said they were “breathtaking” (the flowers, but of course. . . Dan and David, too!)
Late August is one of my favorite times of year as it brings crisp, foggy mornings, a change in the light as days shorten, and an inexplicable excitement in the air. I use to think the excitement was about going back to school and perhaps some of it is a hangover from this. But mostly my excitement now has to do with nature’s wonders: the coming solstice with the reminders and practices of ancient rituals that celebrate this celestial miracle, the blaze of colors in trees and in the fields, as pumpkins and other squashes ripen and get stored away for the winter.
Tomatoes are so abundant that it is almost mandatory that they be made into sauces and catsup, canned and shelved. Canned pickled cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots as well as many different fruits end up on storage shelves too. And there is the special joy of finding local early apples in farm markets this last week in apple sausages, and fritters! The ritual of “putting food by” for the winter is not a necessity these days, as we can have relatively fresh August, with their promise of juicy pies, cider and donuts, applesauce with pork roast, apple dumplings,
food shipped to our area from anywhere in the world any time of year and at a reasonable cost. But nothing can be fresher or feel more natural to us than eating and preserving the foods that we have grown ourselves or that have been grown in our neighborhoods by people who we know. Eating a seasonal diet of foods grown in our natural, local environment is one of the healthiest things that we can do for ourselves. In doing so, we honor our environment and natural resources as well as the health of our own mind and body. fruits of our labors will sprout anew in the spring. Try putting some kind of food up for the winter, even if it is just a few jars of applesauce – the simplest thing to can. Then when the seed catalogues start to come in late January, go to your pantry and open one jar to remind yourself of the cycle of life that you are flowing through and how you have participated in that process. Enjoy this festival season by sharing the bounty from our beautiful fields with good friends and family. As this year’s growing season comes to an end, remember that the harvest of nuts, seeds and the
Finally, remember the wisdom of Hippocrates (~430 BC), whom many consider to be the father of modern medicine. He proposed that the body must be treated as a whole rather than as individual parts, and believed in the natural healing process of rest, good diet, fresh air and cleanliness. He is often quoted as time to consider how you might allow your own being to heal, and then practice, practice, practice. Linda H. Keller, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Nutrition Educator and Counselor saying, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. As we approach our “hibernation” season, take
A TRUE ROLE MODEL THEN AND NOW . . .
My husband and I took a day off to visit Val-Kill, the home of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is a little over 2 hours to drive there from Sharon Springs. I have admired her and read about her but visiting Val-Kill was to know her. The only home that was truly hers, is a very simple cottage that she was so proud of. The entrance is knew he couldn't win the election without her support. After a 2 ½ hour talk she agreed to support him only if he would do all he could to advance civil rights. I encourage you to make a daytrip to Eleanor's to library and the Roosevelt mansion. pay homage to a woman who changed the world for the better. Ten minutes away is Hyde Park, FDR's
through the backdoor – the same entrance for locals, workers and dignitaries such as John Kennedy who
HARVEST FEST THIS AND THAT . . . DOGGY REST AREA AT THE NEW YORK HOUSE
For those attending with their furry , four legged children, The New York House will be providing a Doggy Rest Area. Owners Bruce & Kelly Button have a great, shaded side yard that will be equipped with bowls of fresh water and complimentary, home-made doggy snacks. They are located on Center Street in the big yellow house with the white picket fence. Go one block north of the Roseboro to South Street. Center Street is the first street on the left. This is a nice quiet area for owners and their dogs to take a break. There will be Saturday and Sunday from 10AM till 4PM. COBBLER & CO. Will host Chris Ottman, maker of tincicles, stars and other ornaments. He will have his machine set-up to show you how he does it! Be sure to stop in, he will be there Sat. and Sun. VILLAGE HALL GALLERY lemonade and homemade cookies for the dog owners on the large front porch. This service will be available
Pictures from an Exhibition – a restrospective of Durkin's b&w photographs will be on exhibit throughout the month. The photographs span the last 20 years, some from previous exhibitions, some landscapes, favorite portraits and still lifes. Also, special prices on matted photographs – last chance!
Also, Mary Beach collages will be reduced. Editor's note – one of my projects, after leaving the gallery, will Google her name or stop in the gallery, I love talking about her! be to continue researching Mary's fascinating life and art. If you don't know her work take the time to
AND – USED ART BOOKS WILL BE 20% OFF except for the local historical books
There is also a smattering of cookbooks and gardening and other topics.
AS WELL AS SALES – CIDER – COOKIES AND CHATTERS – STOP BY, INTRODUCE YOURSELF !
OLDER WOMAN LOOKING FOR LOVE
Born in the 1840's, has been to the spa, is looking good ~ won the 2011 beauty queen award. She has so much to offer the right person(s) looking for respect, tenderness & pampering. Serious suitors only, please. XO You can see more of her at: www.vhgallery .com
www.sharonspringschamber.com Or just come to the village and it will all work out! We hope to see you there . . . or rather . . .here.
For schedules, events, shuttle bus information go to: www.beekman1802.com or
And, this is where I ride off into the sunset as I give thanks for all of the friends – old and new, who have supported, encouraged, understood and guided me time and time again . . . Thank you! SPECIAL THANKS TO: NANCY PFAU, LINDA KELLER, MARY ANN NELLIS WHO HAVE BEEN RELIABLE & TRUSTED CONTRIBUTORS MONTH AFTER MONTH AFTER MONTH!! XOXOX
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU . . . UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN . . .
CONTEMPORARY ART IN A HISTORIC SETTING
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