Upstate New York, you keep my heart, with your your dramatic fall skies, your apple orchards and your summer lake romances.
I missed you this August and your clam bakes, hot dogs, cotton candy and soft serve ice cream, your old fashioned merry go rounds that never tire, and the one thing that settles my soul when nothing else can, a canoe ride on one of your hundreds of lakes that make their way through the Adirondack and Catskill mountains, those rolling blue and green hues and haze on the horizon reminding me what pure perfection really is.
Your towns with their eerie mysteries from Sleepy Hollow’s cemeteries and ghosted past to the former glove making towns along the Mohawk River, a smoke stack remains as a remnant of the region’s historical background but stunted past.
The Hudson River and your capital city’s mystic skies after a rain shower. Those weekend escapes to the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, Saratoga Race Track and Lake Placid, where as its name suggests is the epitome of serenity.
Hats off to Long Island pizza, Montauk, and delicious Finger Lake Rieslings after a kayak ride on one of your many bodies of precious water. To late night board games in Cold Spring Harbor and fun youthful treks to Fire Island and Massapequa.
To my deepest heartstrings Gloversville, Johnstown & Schenectady and your closed down factories, Caroga Lake, your barbecues, evening swims and picnic lunches, and best of all, your early morning fog and blueberry farms. To the Great Sacandaga’s fishermen on an oh so early morn…ice fishing in the winter and off in the distance in a row boat as soon as it melts.
To a sweet bitter memory of the Minnie Ha-Ha paddlewheeling its way around Lake George and the “still” I have of it when I first did it now over 40 years ago.
Hats off to the Mohawk River I’ve swept through so many times in this life time and many others, the blissful walks in Seneca Falls, ice skating in Oswego, football games in Watertown and the Fonda County Fair where I took home countless blue and purple ribbons from the dozens of tapestries, pies, breads, cookies, dresses, quilts, plant holders and paintings I made.
There’s alluring Monticello, Cooperstown‘s Hall of Fame, Corning’s famous glass, trout in Tupper Lake, the familiar words of Richard Russo, heartwarming potters and artisans, mom and pop antique shops, small town diners, Niagara Falls just because, soup in Plattsburgh and giving a nod to Malone before you hit the Canadian border.
How I remember those cold breezes and winter ice storms, shoveling snow off rooves with the “boys” while hot apple cider and pie were waiting inside. Playing pool at dive bars, whiskey shots, house bands with poor sound systems, checked flannel shirts and deer along winding rural roads …. knowing that all this too is my heritage.
Hearth and late night campfire stories kept the child alive in me. Native American spirits reminded so often me of their presence during walks in the woods, in my dreams and through their whispering voices in the wind. Don’t forget your innocent beauty they’d sometimes say. Stay grounded they’d always say and still do.
My tastebuds too remember. Chili and homemade rice pudding at New York Lunch, Thanksgiving weekends at the Turkey Farm, kabasa, sauerkraut, homemade jams and jellies, local honey, and milkshakes at the penny and dime store. Blackberry bushes, homemade rhubarb pie, those black and white iced cookies of yesteryear, Italian bakeries with their cannolis & Jewish Delicatessens with their bagels, lox and cream cheese.
To the state that taught me it all. You made me a tennis player, a canoe teacher, a piano player, a square dance champion, a seamstress, a baker, a writer, a painter, a stamp collector, a waterskier, an entertainer, a traveler, a woodsman, a sailor, a swimmer, a lover, a reader, an archer, a marshmallow roaster, a snow skier, a hiker, a passionate but poor singer, an artist, a craftsman, a linguist and someone who honors dignity, loyalty, kindness and all that is real, authentic and true.
You taught me about contribution, the elderly and why caring for them matters, and how community is the breadth and depth of our heart center and what keeps us united. You taught me about serenity, trees, mountain peaks and the richness of garden soil. You taught me about the wonderment of being connected to a lake’s pulse at dawn and dusk, my best meditation in this lifetime.
Treasured magic are the best words to describe being in the middle of a quiet Adirondack lake with just a soft motor purring at dawn or better yet, none at all. What lies between you and land is nothing but a fish who jumps up to the surface for a mere few seconds and a loon with her beckoning calls, so hypnotic you fall asleep and forget about the world for awhile.
This is not a dream but my childhood reality, a reality that showed me how to appreciate and love nature, that honoring the soil and water beneath our feet matters so much more than we’ll ever truly comprehend and why gratitude must be the order of the day, every day.
Until this lifetime fades away into nothing but an imprint on my soul, you will always have me at hello upstate New York. Don’t forget that I am one of your fans, one of your spirits and most importantly, one of your children.
I, like those Native American echoes in the night, will teach the world about your magic, thanks to the dreams and visions of your beauty that never leave my memory.
Great Upstate New York Reads:
- Caroga Lake & the Adirondacks: How Nature Can Heal You
- A Vibrant Adirondack Park Loop in October
- Top 10 Travel Guide to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York
- Mirror Lake Inn in the Heart of the Adirondacks (upstate New York)
- 8 Family Fun Filled Family Travel Options in upstate New York
- Ageless Spa in the Finger Lakes for Pampering
- The Allure of an Adirondack Summer, from Corn & Canoes to Moose
- Hip Authentic New York State Hotels
- August Moon Spa in the Heart of the Finger Lakes
- The Adirondacks Mirror Lake in upstate New York, from dawn to dusk
- Waterski and Tube on Lake Place in the Heart of the Adirondacks
- Lake George, the Queen of American Lakes (see for the Minnie Ha-Ha)
- Mirror Lake Inn Spa for a whole lotta pampering
- Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, Upstate New York
- Where to Dine and Hang your hat in Lake Placid
- Bobsledding in Lake Placid in Summer (upstate New York)
- Breathtaking Lake Seneca Views in upstate New York
- Scrumptious Steak in upstate New York
- Taking a 4×4 Expedition up Whiteface Mountain Black Mountain Trails
- The Adirondack White Face Lodge in upstate New York
- Head up Upstate New York and taste at Wanwick Valley Winery