Monday, May 18, 2015

New York's Secret Garden - Otsego and Schoharie County

I spent every summer as a kid at a sweet little cabin my parents had built on farmland outside of Cherry Valley. My kids spent their summers there, too. I wish it was still ours, but at least it's still there. When I need to whisk my mind to a favorite place, that's where I go.

It's been a long love affair with that area for me. I was back today and when I first caught sight of a rolling vista of farmland, I got teary. I do that.

I pulled myself together and headed into Cooperstown. It's the prettiest little lakeside town I know. It's got it all; pristine waterfront, Victorian and Colonial architecture, a bit of life thanks to the baseball fans. Oh, that Otsego Lake. Thanks to the wealthy family with the foresight to buy up one shore and keep it from turning into a collection of camps. Generations have enjoyed it because of them.
Then I went to Cherry Valley. Part of my heart is always there.  It's an adorable little village that sometimes almost wakes from its slumber, then dozes off again. It appears to be dozing right now. But the townsfolk got together and restored the Lithia Spring in the middle of town about ten years ago. It looks wonderful.

I stopped at the great old market that doesn't appear to have changed in the past forty years. The old fellow behind the counter snorted when I asked him what was new in town. "Nothing," he scoffed. But when I left I found he was wrong. There's a new art gallery in Mr. Lafler's old plumbing business building. Someone else has started a lovely business up the hill; a lilac farm.

Cherry Valley and Otsego County aren't undemanding sweethearts; it takes sturdier folk than I to hang in there when the long winter roars in. It's snow country.

But there's nowhere sweeter in the spring, I'm thinking.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Welcome to Upstate - bring your mittens.

I don't mind winter. Really, I don't. Usually. I'm going to make an exception for this one.

It's too cold. Way too cold.

It got above freezing yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks, then dropped to below zero again overnight. When I woke up it was nine below.


Violet Wiggins is permanently attached to her chair near the woodstove now. I will have to take the chair out for a walk when spring finally arrives so she can get some fresh air.

That hand on the left side of the pic? That's KB trying to thaw out. The woodstove has been cranking all day and all night since New Year's.

 Now don't get me wrong - I still prefer winter upstate to winter in the city. Winter upstate is easy on the eyes, anyway. Winter in the city is just several shades of gray and icy or slushy.

But I must admit, I'm looking longingly at pictures of warm places. Come on - a little hurricane now and again is a small price to pay for being warm, no? I want to go swim along after one of these guys...

The good news? Houses are selling. I'm busy. Really busy. Busier than I've been in two years. But I'm still cold.