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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Glorious February Saturday morning

Today is the start of both the Presidents' Day three-day holiday weekend and of the mid-winter school break in our neck of the woods. The city of Saratoga Springs gets happily busy during holidays and today was no exception.  

I got out and about with greater alacrity than usual this morning and headed to the indoor farmers' market at the Lincoln Baths in Saratoga Spa State Park. Into my shopping bag went some honey crisp apples and the makings for an easy dinner for tonight: fresh crab cakes, local sweet potatoes, a rustic loaf of whole wheat bread, and in honor of  George Washington, a small cherry pie. 

I had planned to go for a walk while I was already in the park, so I stowed my purchases and set off on my favorite two-mile loop.

I love a winter day like this one. The sun was shining brightly on still-clean snow. The temperature was climbing above freezing and there were no frigid wind gusts. Lots of people were already out, walking dogs, jogging, pushing strollers, cross country skiing. Although I had only intended to walk, the pavement on the path was mostly clear of snow so I thought, why not jog a bit? And off I trotted. 

I wasn't really dressed right for a run, but I managed to jog nearly the whole two miles. I did slow down to pick my way across occasional icy patches, but I still made pretty good time (for an out-of-practice lady approaching 67, that is.) After a too sedentary January, to be outdoors, breathing in good clean air, rediscovering  the joy of running all over again felt wonderful. It's time to get back on a regular fitness schedule, for certain.

There are also many indoor pleasures in February. I am knitting a second pink "resist" hat at the request of a friend. Dreamily, I look at plant catalogs and think about what I'd like to change in my garden this spring. I have the pot of lilies of the valley that I bought recently from White Flower Farm to inspire me. From tiny pips, the plants have shot up and the blossoms are giving off that lovely Muguet de Bois scent. 

I've just finished reading Purity, by Jonathan Franzen, an author I usually enjoy. Didn't like this one so much. 500-plus pages of a slightly creepy dysfunctional cast of characters. Deciding I needed to cleanse my literary palate, so to speak, I've picked up a collection of Marilynne Robinson essays to read next: When I Was a Child I Read Books. And also on the night table is Convictions, by Marcus Borg. This last one I am reading along with the "theology book group" at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs. Ridiculously long name but an active, stimulating church that is involved in a lot of good stuff. This weekend, for example, they are hosting a public forum: Uniting Communities Against the Politics of Hate.  It will take place on Sunday, February 19, from 4pm-6pm. Check out the calender on their web page here for more information.

Enjoy this lovely winter weekend!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Evening in Saratoga with Sonny and Perley

The weather was absolutely perfect Sunday evening for enjoying an outdoor concert. And what could be better than Sonny and Perley in Saratoga's Congress Park. Playing string bass with them last night was Bobby Kendall, from Troy, NY. They sounded great together.

An unofficial bonus last night was a group of young swing dancers. What fun they were to watch, moving so skillfully with their partners.

We happened to know one of the young ladies, a bright and talented local high school student. Such graceful energy!
There was a good-sized crowd there for the concert. (A few should NOT have brought their dogs with them, but that's a grumble for another time.)
At the break, pianist Sonny Daye introduced his beautiful granddaughter to some friends in the crowd. (Is that a proud grandpa or what?)
Last night's concert was the kick-off for Jazz in July, a month of free Sunday night concerts in Saratoga's Congress Park. Next week, the Peg Delaney Trio will be performing. Bring chairs or a blanket and a picnic, breathe in the soft evening air, and just feel the tension seep away. The concerts start at 7:00 pm.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

It made me smile

Oh, how I smiled when I saw the fall garden at Spa State Park this weekend! All of that color!
I have written here before about the gardens at the entrance to the park in Saratoga Springs (NY).  Gardener Dan Urkevich does so much with so little.
 With a limited budget and only one assistant, Dan pools his resources to make one big KA-POW! where the Avenue of the Pines meets Route 9.

 You sure can't miss all of that color when you drive by.

But park your car and stroll around this border-on-steroids and you also get the sense of a gardener who wants to make flowers fun.

Everything is so marvelously over-the-top. There is color, texture, massive blooms and enormous leaves.

For this season, Dan has blended in mums and pumpkins among the annuals and perennials that are still putting on a heck of a show.

There are New York natives, too, and the border is alive with pollinators.

In fact, what was that flicker of orange?

Could it be? YES, it's a monarch!

Sadly, this is only the second monarch butterfly I have spotted this fall. In years past, monarchs would have been flying through this area by the hundreds.

Since summer, news outlets from around the northern United States and Canada have been reporting that monarchs are very scarce. Just this week, the Ottawa Citizen wrote that a popular tourist event, an annual monarch butterfly count at Point Pelee, Ontario, has been cancelled. The monarchs are missing.

But for this weekend, I was happy to see even this one specimen dining at Dan Urkevich's brilliant butterfly buffet.

Thanks, Dan, for an amazing seasonal show. It made me smile.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Highfalutin evening for a good cause

We aren't exactly high society folks but last night we had a pleasant taste of  Saratoga Springs in the gilded age.

The Handsome Husband and I attended a fundraiser for the Friends of Grant Cottage, a place dear to the HH's heart.

General Grant himself was at the party (as portrayed by Steve Trimm.) The general asked me to note that his drink was non-alcoholic.

Also in attendance last night were Grant's daughter, Nellie (as portrayed by the lovely Trinity) and Nellie's husband, Algernon Sartoris ( as portrayed by Joe.)


The party was held at the historic Canfield Casino in Congress Park. We know that the real General Grant liked Saratoga Springs and its horse racing season, visiting the city at least three times beginning in 1865.

The Canfield Casino hasn't been used as a place for gambling since about 1907, but it remains a popular venue for parties and weddings. It's an elegant space. Behind the large chandelier, you can just glimpse the huge portrait of Napoleon III. Why Napoleon's portrait is there, I have no idea.

The guest of honor last night was Ulysses Grant Dietz, the real-life great- great-grandson of Ulysses S. Grant. That is Mr. Dietz, above on the left, standing with the Handsome Husband (AKA Bob Conner) on the right.

Mr. Dietz was the guest speaker, who was also promoting his book, Dream House: The White House as an American Home.

Musical entertainment last night was provided by two local favorites of ours, Sonny and Perley.

Through my husband's interest in General Grant over many years, I have absorbed bits and pieces of the real story of Grant's life. I am now convinced that Grant has been misrepresented and misunderstood by popular culture. Grant's real life story is both poignant and dramatic. He was a faithful and loving husband, albeit no good with money, but a great writer. Grant's memoirs are still in print and are still on the U.S. Army Chief of Staff's Professional Reading List.  

Do visit Grant Cottage if you've never been. It's just north of Saratoga Springs and the story of Grant's last days there is deeply moving.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ah, December!

On Thursday night, Saratoga Springs celebrated its 25th annual Victorian Streetwalk. The Handsome Husband and I joined thousands of others strolling Broadway, which was closed to traffic for the evening.
 There were folks in Victorian garb (not us, though) and lots of choirs and music groups both outdoors...
 and in.
 With the extra lights and decorated shops, it was a bright and cheerful event, despite the December chill.
 The HH* and I popped into a Saratoga restaurant we like and treated ourselves to a warming dinner.
 I took a photo of my salad, but was so hungry I forgot to photograph my entree before diving in. (Pasta and shrimp in a sage cream sauce. Definitely not the diet plate.) I like the northern Italian style food that Forno Bistro serves, including the shaved Grana Padano cheese laid over the top of the small dinner salads. (I looked it up and discovered that Grana Padano was created nearly 1,000 years ago by the monks of Chiaravalle Abbey. I add this with a wink to my friend Anita.)
 After dinner and a bit more strolling, we popped into the Saratoga City Center, recently remodeled, and checked out the festival of trees, benefiting Catholic Charities.
 I liked a tree decorated with snowy owls...
 ...which made me think of Mrs. Beck, whose daughter sometimes reads this blog ;-)
 Coneheads, anyone?
 This morning, I headed out to the Saratoga Farmers Market, which is held at the Division Street Elementary School during the winter months.
 This, too, is a cheerful, busy place, full of lots of good things to eat.
 People line up to buy Battenkill Valley Creamery milk in returnable glass bottles. This milk is also  available in local Hannaford markets. My son Thomas and I think this particular brand of milk is one of the best foods on earth. It's amazing how good it is: fresh, local, just awesome.
Tonight, the HH and I are off to a holiday get-together with some folks he works with in the summer.  And in a week, Nealie's neighborhood cookie swap is coming up.

I love this time of year. Christmas shouldn't be about just one day with a glut of presents. I like the idea of the season of Christmas, with special foods and spending time with friends and neighbors and family.

Tomorrow, on the second Sunday of Advent, we will light the second purple candle on our Advent wreath. That candle represents love. And then next week, on the third Sunday of Advent, the rose-colored candle is lit. The pink candle is customarily called the "Shepherds Candle" and it represents joy.

Here's hoping that your December is filled with love and joy, all month long.

* HH = Handsome Husband.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

A fox, a farmers' market, my favorite time of year

Our neighborhood red fox came calling again last evening. It was dusk and I had to photograph her through a screened window. Sadly, this means I can't show you her gorgeous color.

The HH* and I have mixed  feelings about Ms. Fox. It's wonderful to see this beautiful creature up close, but we worry about how our two small dogs would fare in a close encounter.

We watched Ms. Fox scarf up spilled bird seed for a few minutes, then the HH walked outside to shoo her away. I hope this doesn't mean I will have to stop putting out seed for the birds.

This morning, I headed for the Saratoga Farmers' Market again.
 It's such a lively, colorful place.
I bought potatoes, green beans, lettuce, but not tomatoes. I have a good-sized basket of those still from my own garden.
 I will make sauce tonight to serve with pasta and eggplant parm.
I bought apples (for apple crisp, maybe?) and farm-fresh Battenkill skimmed milk and some cream, both in returnable glass bottles. Oh, it's so good. How can skimmed milk be so good?
I bought ground beef from locally-raised Angus, free of hormones and all the other bad stuff some folks feed to cattle.
 The potluck picnic sounds like fun. Might jot that on the calendar, although the HH works on Sundays.
 I was temped by the asters, but they are definitely not perennial for me. Mums come back well, but never asters. I don't know what I do wrong.
 Zinnias. Must remember to plant those next year. They are easy and inexpensive to grow from seed. I just never think of them at the right time. 

Ah, next year. Gardening always gives one something to plan for and to look forward to. But if you like to be done with things, don't become a gardener. On the other hand, if you need an incentive to make it through a north country January, it's an excellent hobby.

But it's not winter yet and fall is truly my favorite time of year. Happy harvesting to you.

* HH = Handsome Husband