Showing posts with label Saratoga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saratoga. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Respite or interlude, call it what you will

Goodwin Creek Gray Lavender
Barbara Pierson with a rosemary plant.
Streptocarpus "Grape Ice"
Rosemary Prostratus
Convallaria (Lily-of-the-Valley) pips
Convallaria pip, close up

Convallaria pips after five days

I am a tad late in writing this post about last weekend, but there you are.

I don't know about you, but I was badly in need of a break, a respite, an interlude. From what? From the contentious internet, from the string of worrying news, from being indoors too much.  I had read about a workshop to be held last Saturday at the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and thought that might be just the antidote I needed.

The two-hour program, "Growing Fragrant Plants Indoors" was offered by Barbara Pierson of White Flower Farm and it didn't disappoint. I confess, I already know a fair amount about growing plants, so I didn't have to go, but there are always things to learn anew, to be reminded about.

Barbara Pierson turned out to be a charming instructor, chatting about growing jasmine, citrus, lavender, culinary herbs, and forced bulbs indoors in winter. She shared her expertise for keeping these plants looking their best from fertilization and winter care to pest control and trade secrets for keeping plants healthy. She also brought along a selection of specimen plants and offered some for purchase from White Flower Farm.

I sat among eighteen or so folks of a very similar demographic and enjoyed the talk. At the end, I bought a reasonably priced pot of Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria) pips, nicely pre-chilled by White Flower Farm. The pot looked dry and unpromising but I knew it wouldn't disappoint. The last photo above shows the plants' progress after only five days and one watering. It won't be long before we will have blossoms and a lovely scent to enjoy before "real" spring arrives.

And, quelle surprise, this turned out to be my lucky day. Guess who won the door prize? Why, c'est moi! And a rather nice one, it was: a $50 gift certificate from White Flower Farm. What fun.

After the talk, I zipped down Interstate 90 to Schenectady for their Second Annual Soup Stroll and by pre-arrangement, met my Handsome Husband there. We enjoyed sampling some delicious soups and ended up in Schenectady's Little Italy neighborhood. Continuing my lucky streak, I was able to nab the very last loaf of bread for sale at Perreca's. Gotta love that old world bread. Just four ingredients and absolute heaven. Unfortunately, it went home in the HH's car and you can see what was left of it after his drive home. Well, I did get my share in the end.

Now, I could insert a heart-felt diatribe here about how the legacy of humble immigrants greatly enriches life here in America. I mean, that wonderful Perreca's bread! The amazing lemony lentil soup we had at the Indian place!

Oh, dear. So much for the respite from politics. It's a good thing that Saratoga's Chowderfest is coming up this weekend. I feel the need for another midwinter antidote.

Saratoga Chowderfest runs from 11 to 4, this Saturday, February 4,  throughout Saratoga Springs with a few stops on the outskirts. 


Friday, July 10, 2015

The Train to North Creek

Our friend Val had a coupon.

 So she rounded up some of the usual suspects and off we went.
 We boarded the train at the Saratoga station around 10:00 am. Our conductor was suitably "on". He might have a future with Southwest if this gig doesn't work out for him.
 Heading north, the train slows at Hadley for those who wish to take photos.
 It is here that the Sacandaga River meets the Hudson.
 The tracks continue to follow the Hudson northward.
 Passengers are allowed to hang out in the vestibules between the cars. The windows there are left down, for both awesome views and photo ops.

The station in Thurman.
 Around 12:30, we arrived in North Creek. There were free shuttles for those who wished to visit sights further from town, such as the Gore Mountain gondola ride or the Barton Garnet mine.
But we chose to stay in town, find a spot for lunch, then stroll around and check out the shops. We enjoyed seeing the North Creek Mosaic Project in progress, a huge community mural being created with the guidance of artist Kate Hartley.
 By 3:30, we were back at the station, where there is a small museum.
 By 3:45 we were back on board, following the Hudson south toward home..

We arrived back at the Saratoga station just before 6:00 pm, happily tired from our day away.

The Saratoga and North Creek Railway offers lots of options for trips, depending on the season and the day of the week. There is food and beverage service available on the train. Passengers may leave their extra belongings on board while they are exploring North Creek, because you take the same train home. Check out the railway and its trip options here. We really enjoyed our day on the railway with their friendly, helpful staff. The folks in North Creek were very welcoming, too. I wouldn't mind going again.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saratoga's own "souper" bowl: a thumbs up for Chowderfest!

The British were getting ready to invade Congress Park in Saratoga this afternoon as the Handsome Husband and I cut through there on our way to Chowderfest. The soldiers said that they had returned to free us from this new tyranny. (I didn't ask which new tyranny they had in mind.)

 I don't know who originally dreamed up the idea for this event but it was a stroke of tourism genius.
This was Saratoga's sixteenth annual Chowderfest and the city was packed. 

I asked a staffer at The Irish Times how their bar business was today compared to other winter Saturdays.  Did they do more business? Or less? Or about the same?

"Are you kidding me?" he asked. "More, much more. We've got both bars open all day."

Their chowder (not pictured) had Jameson's Irish whiskey as an ingredient. Nice chunky vegetables, too.

The Handsome Husband and I liked the Hot and Sour soup at Phila Fusion, shown above. I'm not certain it qualifies as chowder, but the Chowder Police were not in evidence today. The soup was tasty and full of good stuff, with just the right zing to warm up a winter afternoon.

Across the street, Sweet Mimi's was offering a tasty chicken and white bean chowder, with  a wonderful bonus of a cheddar scone. Really good.

Truly, there were thousands of people in Saratoga sampling chowder this afternoon. The weather felt mild after all of that deep cold and everyone was enjoying being out of doors. Some lines were long but they moved quickly and folks were in good spirits.

Saratoga prides itself on being a dog-friendly city, so chowders just for dogs were also on offer at a half-dozen or so places. This fellow was getting ready to check those out.

In all, over 80 restaurants, pubs, and other food-related businesses participated in today's event. There was free music, contests, you name it. Check it out when Chowderfest rolls around next year.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mmmmm, Chowder!

Chowderfest 2014 Logo

This year,  Chowderfest will be held on Saturday, February 1st, 2014 from 11 am to 4 p.m.

Head to your favorite restaurants for a $1 cup of chowder.

Enjoy free entertainment.

Vote for your favorites.

But best of all, get out of the house and shake off those cabin fever blues!

Go here for more information.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekend randomness: a birthday, bee balm, butterflies, a bookstore, and ballet slippers

Sunday was our youngest son Tom's 26th birthday and my sister Mary drove up from New Jersey to help celebrate. Tom, she says, is her favorite nephew. (Of course, she says that about all of her nephews.)

I finally had a chance to check out Saratoga's newest bookstore. Northshire Bookstore is in a lovely new building on Broadway and it looks terrific.

There is a sense of humor here, starting as you approach the front door.

Also near the front door, they have wisely provided the Saratoga business must-have: a large bowl of water for visiting dogs.

Downstairs, the store is attractively arranged, with comfortable seating tucked into a few cozy spots.

Upstairs is all for kids, with more cozy nooks and a space for special programs. Northshire Bookstore is a great addition to Broadway. I look forward to going back soon when I have more time to browse.

 I can't make up my mind about Saratoga's fiberglass feet.

Earlier this year, the National Museum of Dance selected 24 artists for a project called Saratoga En Pointe! Each artist decorated a five-foot tall fiberglass ballet shoe sculpture. The ballet shoes are displayed throughout the city.

I guess they are okay, although the chopped off leg is slightly unsettling.

A few years ago, Saratoga did a similar thing with fiberglass horses, like this re-purposed one, below. The horses were very popular, so popular that a few were stolen. They were also popular with drunken tourists who often attempted to ride them.

I bet no one has tried to ride or steal the ballet shoes.

This particular surviving horse has been repainted in honor of the 150th anniversary of Saratoga's famous thoroughbred racetrack.

Back on the homefront, I set out to clean up my late summer garden a bit. The bee balm needs trimming back, as most of the blooms have gone by.
But when I got up close and was about to start snipping, I noticed that bees of all varieties were still finding nectar in the past-it flower heads. I decided to leave them be (so to speak) for a few more days. Cutting back the bee balm will now move to next week's To Do list.

The bees had company in the garden on the nearby phlox. Showy swallowtails were in a near frenzy this weekend.

While I was weeding, three butterflies kept zipping around the same fragrant blooms. It felt like being at a busy airport.

Oh, how lovely these August days can be. I should get back outside right now.