Published: May 10th 2012April 26th 2012
Quilts Repaired by Amish Woman
Montgomery has quite a population of Amish. When we went to pick up the quilts that an Amish woman had worked on for me, there was a "Hen Party" going on in her home. All of her daughters, daughters-in-law, and some friends and a dozen pre-school children had gathered to clean her home! No photos allowed; but an amazing experience for me, my sister, our aunt and our cousin's wife whose own farm neighbors several Amish family farms. It may be the Amish that preserve farming as an institution in Montgomery county.
We got as rural as it gets in nearby Montgomery County cruising the countryside that has become home for many Amish people. Then, we got about as urban as it gets at the Albany Symphony Vanguard Showhouse; this year a set of condos in the heart of New York’s capital city.
First the road trip with my sister and other relatives which took us to Fultonville in upstate New York's Town of Glenn in Montgomery County. It's about an hour's drive, westward from Ballston Lake. It's beautiful and rural. The day wasn't picture perfect; but I can just imagine the vistas on a clear day. We did see wildflowers, white and red trillium (commonly named "wake robin") in profusion and many Amish farms, distinct for their outdoor water pumps and that no wires lead to the barns and homes.
Our mission was to pick up two quilts that an Amish woman was finishing for me. Our cousin, Diane, lives in the neighborhood and gave us a tour. It seems that many long time upstate New York farm families are finding that their children have little interest in the agricultural way of life. Along come the Amish to purchase the
I didn't use my camera while we were visiting among the Amish; but this cool pix is from the Montgomery County Tourism site. Signs for eggs, wood, wooden sheds, and many seasonal farm stands invite a bit of friendly commerce.
land and literally preserve farming.
We happened upon a "hen party" at the home where we picked up the sewing. I wish I could have a hen party! Daughters, daughters-in-law, friends and extended family gather for spring cleaning including washing walls and windows. There were a dozen women and the same number of children under four years old all gathered to clean, prepare a common meal, and socialize. We asked about photos and were politely declined. That combined with the fact that I was driving mean that any Amish photos in this blog post came from Montgomery tourism. The children, who speak a Dutch/German dialect until they enter school, were precious and just as curious about us as we were about them.
Diane's tour took us pass two Amish schools in the neighborhood. We understand that there are tons of farm produce stands (one pays “on-your-honor”) during the picking season. Several farms have signs out for wood or eggs and our Amish courtesy consultant, Diane, said, “It's fine to drop in (never on Sunday) to buy whatever is on the sign.” We happily followed her advice and dropped in at the wood working shop and closet sized show
room of Elias Keim.
Ellen bought a wooden frame while Zita and I had our grandchildren in mind. For $3 each I picked up the very best action wooden yoyo I've ever played with. A miniature wooden rubber band loaded pin ball machine also landed in my shopping basket. Zita got a whirly, climbing toy and a wooden logger truck for Cooper. Eli with all of his wooden toys, clocks, cradles, shelves, cutting boards, etc. is located at 455 Argersinger Road, Fultonvill. His business card (Amish are industrious entrepreneurs) says "follow 30A through Fultonville, turn right on Van Epps, find Argersinger Rd. in 2 1/2 miles." Sorry, no phone, no web site! Eli is Amish after all!
On another day, our trip to the Vanguard Designer Showhouse, a benefit for the Albany Symphony, was also prompted by one of our cousins. This time we wanted to see the rooms that cousin, Patti Connors, an interior decorator who specializes in window treatments, upholstery and things fabric, did for the showhouse. She and her business partner at Custom Design Associates, decorative artist, Mary Korzinski didn't disappoint us.
Vanguard's 2012 downtown Albany location and decidedly contemporary tone is in sharp
Hand-crafted Wooden Toys
The Yo Yo's cost $3. Directions for getting to Eli's woodworking shop are in the text of this travel blog. Keep in mind, never on Sunday!
contrast to the norm. Previous years' traditionally decorated, suburban, single-family homes were replaced for 2012 by four shiny new condominium units in a historic restoration building at 17 Chapel Street, about equidistant from Cap Rep and the Palace Theatre, the home of the Albany Symphony. The virtues of in-town living – being able to walk to restaurants, plays, concerts, church (and maybe someday shopping) - are obvious and judging from construction sightings near Chapel Street they are trending. More housing units might just bring back really good retail - the holy grail of the Albany of our youth!
We started our tour on the rooftop terrace, a common area for condo owners with sweeping vistas of Albany including the Hudson River, the NYS Education Building, Capital Repertory Theatre, the Palace Theatre, the fairly new Encon Building and more! We hurried down to see the kitchen, living room and hallway that Patti and Mary did this year. It’s grand to see that Patti still taps DiSiena's in our hometown, Mechanicville, NY, for her show house furniture.
Photos were not allowed; so I can only show you a little slice of a room that Custom Design Associates did splendidly. Obedient
Cousin Patti's Show House Room
Patti and Mary outdid themselves in decorating this year's show house. Notice how Mary's paintings coordinate so well with the glaze on the fireplace wall! I may be prejudiced, but their rooms were the BEST. Get to the Vanguard Show House before it closes on May 20 and let me know what you think.
person that I am, I didn't dare sneak a photo in any of the other rooms but do think the ban on pix is a bit contrary to good marketing. In general the new condos are spacious with wonderful layouts, good views (a few units have balconies), beautiful, huge, wonderfully fixtured (maybe a little over the top) bathrooms, and large kitchens with high end appliances. We always enjoy the Vanguard event; 2012 was no exception.
There are more photos below