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Monday, October 31, 2016

A Zombie Returns to Life.... in Rotterdam, New York

Unoccupied homes are a blight on neighborhoods.  Local governments have a hard time tracing the ownership of some empty homes.  These properties are called Zombie houses.  Without records of ownership, local governments can't hold anyone accountable to keep the properties' lawns trimmed and ensure that they are secured.

I call this Zombie the
 Ghost House because
of the shredded tarps
the cover its roof.

I walk past this house regularly to see if anyone will take up the challenge of "bringing it back to life."  So far... no takers.

A new roof has been

Because of the condition of the exterior of this house, I assume that the interior is being gutted.

So, this is what a house
looks like without

The new siding is tan.

The concrete steps have
been broken up with
a jack hammer.

The concrete & blocks
sit in a pile in front
of the house.

I like the new porch
& steps.

And, there's new

With all the work done on the exterior of the house, I expect that the interior is being refurbished, with updated kitchen and bathroom(s).

I'm happy to see this Zombie house "return to life."  I hope that its new occupants enjoy it and make lots of happy memories in their new home.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sampling Craft Beers & Hard Ciders at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont, New York

is a popular spot to
buy apples, pumpkins,
cider & now visitors can
sample Craft Beers

2016 is a year of new experiences.  Their Taproom opened this April.  

          Indian Ladder Farms is now growing Hops for beer, along with their regular crops.

The Taproom is on
the front porch.

Tables are set up on
the porch, with
propane heaters.

Beers from "Guest Breweries" are being featured.

The bartender is

The list of Beers &
Hard Ciders

Visitors purchase their
favorites to take home.

Eric carefully walks with
our Beer & Hard Cider
flights to our table.
 Let the sampling begin.....

The Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery Hard Ciders have mild, delicate flavors.  Their guest breweries, Interboro Spirits and Ales and Suarez Family Brewery, are introducing their best to a new audience in Upstate New York. Eric and I liked some.... Old Fangled  and Bushburg Pilsner. The LA-DEE-DA-DEE Session IPA, as usual, were not our favorites.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Ghostly Tour of Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs, New York

Yaddo, the Spencer &
  Katrina Trask Estate
 in Saratoga Springs
 has been an artists'
retreat for 90 years.

The Trasks bought this property in 1881 to use as a summer home after their five year old son, Alan, died of meningitis.  They created the gardens and entertained at Yaddo, named by their daughter, Christina. Tragedy struck the Trasks again when Katrina fell ill with diphtheria.  Christina and Spencer Jr. visited their very ill mother.  The doctor told Spencer that Katrina was no longer contagious and it was time to say goodbye.  Christina and Spencer Jr. died two weeks, of diphtheria. Katrina rallied and had a fourth child.  Baby Katrina when she was three days old.

Without heirs, the Trasks decided to support artists by establishing a retreat for them.  In 1909 Spencer was killed in a train wreck.  Since 1926, artists have lived at Yaddo while they write, paint, sculpt, etc.

Donna is our guide for
our late afternoon
Ghost Tour.

Donna tells our group that ghosts are the energy of people who have died.  People who are sensitive see and feel the energy.  Over time, hundreds of years, the energy left behind by a person does wane or dissipate.

A woman & child
enjoy sprays of
water in the pool.

Visitors to Yaddo report seeing auras, orbs of light and ghosts.  Some have taken pictures of the phenomena.

Statues representing
the four seasons look
out onto the gardens.

Autumn with her bounty.

Local lore states that the statues represent Spencer and Katrina's children.  Some visitors have seen orbs of energy hovering above the statues.

Christalan a memorial to
Alan, Christina, Spencer Jr.
& Baby Katrina.

He stands for youth, chivalry
& victory over mortality.

The 180 foot long
 pergola faces the
 garden, the four
 seasons  statues
& Christalan.

This is a copy of
the sundial that
disappeared in
the 1960s.
The company that cast the original sundial kept its form and was able to provide a replica.

The sundial's inscription:  "Time too slow for those who wait.  Too swift for those who fear.  Too long for those who grieve."

The moon has risen.

The Queen Anne
Revival mansion,
shrouded in shadow,
was built in 1891,
following the fire
that gutted the
original wood
framed house.

It's getting very dark....

Time to leave the
 ghosts to their
 nightly roaming.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Won BIG at Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York

is just up the road....

There's plenty of room
to park at the Casino
Hotel on a windy day
in October.

This is our first visit to Saratoga Casino Hotel.  Built with access to the Saratoga Harness Track's Grandstand, the casino with video slot machines and hotel, formerly known as Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, opened in 2004.  

Eric and I wonder what the casino experience in New York State is like.  The casinos in smaller cities in Nevada that we've visited were kind of tired, a bit shabby.  As a nonsmoker, I noticed the air exchange systems didn't keep up with gamblers' smoking habits.

New York State doesn't allow indoor smoking in businesses that serve the public...  That's good for us.  What will this twelve year old casino look like... Tired?  Dinghy?  We'll see.

Eric & me in front of the
Saratoga Casino Hotel

The Mums are gorgeous!  The horse statues remind us that Saratoga Springs
is the place to be for Horse Racing.

Eric enjoys gambling as an activity.  I have immediate "buyers remorse," as soon as a machine ingests my money.  I just want it back.  I am horribly distracted by the music, flashing lights and nearby gamblers.  After I push the button a few times, I want to leave, with most of the money I just put in the machine.

One of several generic photos
of Slot Machines from

Visitors to Casinos are not allowed to take photos inside.

Saratoga Casino Hotel has
aisles that twist & turn with
many types of Slot Machines
available to play.

Thankfully, there's no second hand smoke to deal with.  The casino does have a slight musty smell.  The decor, walls and carpet look current.  Either the Casino very well kept up or has been rehabbed during its twelve year life span.

One of the many Electronic
Gaming Tables at Saratoga
Gaming Casino

Photo From The Boston Globe

Eric & I sat down at
 two "old style"
 slot machines.

There are just three "spools" to pay attention to.  We each inserted five dollar bills....  Eric hit his button six times.  I hit my button twice, and Beginner's Luck Struck!

The bells rang, lights

The cash counter
number on the
machine spun...

$18.76!  My $5.00 bet yielded a $13.76 payoff.  I want to cash out.  Eric's six button "hits" depleted his $5.00.  It's time to leave.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Last Howard Johnson's Restaurant in the World, at Lake George, New York

Howard Johnson's was once a thriving restaurant and hotel chain.  The Johnson family sold their business to Imperial Group PLC of England in 1979 and after several acquisitions, the company eventually became part of the Wyndham Hotel and Resorts chain.

During Marriott's ownership, company owned restaurants were closed and franchise owners negotiated rigthts to stay open as Howard Johnson Restaurants.  The newly established franchise group was unable to grow their business and the remaining restaurants closed, year by year.

In September, 2016, the Bangor Maine Howard Johnson's closed, leaving one restaurant serving its public, in Lake George, New York.  Eric and I must go there to have a meal at the last Howard Johnson's Restaurant in the world.

I called the phone number listed on the internet and was told that the restaurant opens at 8:00 am.

We enjoyed autumn's
 colors during our 58
 mile drive north to

The Howard Johnson's,
iconic orange roof &
its large OPEN sign.

Route 9, Lake George Village's main street, is being paved.

Our Jeep & the empty
Howard Johnson
parking lot.

This is not a good sign....

The sign on the front of
the building promises
Breakfast, Lunch
& Dinner.

The Sorry We're Closed Sign
beneath the restaurant's
listed hours.

I called the Caldwell-Lake George Library to find out what's going on at the last Howard Johnson's Restaurant.  The librarian told me that everyone in the village sees open sign and yet, the parking lot is empty day after day.  She has no official word as to what's going on at the last Howard Johnson's Restaurant in the world.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Something Fishy Aquarium Supply Sales Moved to Via Port Rotterdam Mall

Eric and I were walking in Via Port Rotterdam on a very windy Wednesday....  When we found Something Fishy Aquarium Sales, Scotia's well known tropical fish and aquarium shop, is now
at the mall.

Eric & Keith, Something
Fishy's owner, chat.

Keith updates me on
his company's move.

The curator of the Via Port Aquarium approached him and asked Keith to consider moving to the mall to provide the Aquarium's visitors an interactive sales outlet.  Something Fishy relocated to the mall on October 1st and is introducing its their specialty supplies to Via Port Rotterdam shoppers.

Keith and his staff are currently busy with their regular shoppers and are prepared to welcome visitors to the Aquarium when it opens on November 12th.  Something Fishy will be selling discounted tickets for the Aquarium.

Visitors who are wowed at the large scale Via Port Aquarium will want to recreate what they've seen, in miniature, in their homes.  Something Fishy staff is happy to guide new aquarium owners through set up and maintenance of their new aquatic ecosystems.

A tank, with Coral
displays, looks out
onto the mall.

Something Fishy's terrarium tank 
includes small scale "water lilies,"
small & broad-leafed plants.

Small Goldfish & tiny Shrimp
play hide & seek in the

Something Fishy sells fresh and saltwater fish.

Pacific Blue Tang

Brightly colored Tetra
fish add color to fresh
water tanks. 

Large Goldfish wait
for new homes.

Another coral tank is
actually a nursery.

Looking closely I
see small creatures
growing out from
the outcrops.

Get you Sea Anemones

Don't forget your

for upcoming developments & promotions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Lunch at Charlton Tavern in Charleton, New York

Friends, John & Carol, took
Eric & me to the Charlton 
Tavern for lunch.

William C. Maloney has run
the Tavern since 1969.

Built in the late 1700s, the Tavern has been a central meeting place in Charlton for over 200 years. Tragically, it burned to the ground in January, 2009.  The Maloney family promised to rebuild the Tavern and again make Charlton's place to meet and greet.

One of the rebuilt rough hewn
stone fireplaces

The Tavern has several smaller dining areas.

The Rose Room

Photos helped the Maloney family
resurrect the Charlton Tavern.

This fireplace is constructed
with brick.

The Bar

It's time to order some food....

Waffle Cut Sweet Potato
Fries are yummy!

Eric's Salad Plate has Chicken
Salad, Macaroni Salad & Fresh
Fruit with Bread.

I chose the Creamy Potato Soup
with a half a Roast Beef Sandwich,
served with Cole Slaw & a Pickle.

Lunch was great!  Our conversation was wonderful!  Thank you, John and Carol for introducing us to the Charlton Tavern.