Saturday, April 29, 2006

Broad Vistas Broad Vistas

One of the things that I love about driving to Cambridge from the west is the frequent vistas I see from the winding hilltops --- magnificent vistas of the Green Mountains and the Berkshire Mountains to the east. And the road follows a route through beautiful, hilly farm fields, such as this one with grazing horses. The views of the mountains to the east from the hilltops make it seem as though I am viewing across wide distances, under a canopy of sky. And yet Cambridge is really quite close to Vermont and and the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. It's a great central point for traveling to Tanglewood, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Albany, and quite a few other interesting destinations.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Jack's Outback Rendezvous #8 Jack's Outback Rendezvous #8

Indian Clubs, circa 1920. Everyone thinks these clubs have something to do with Native Americans, but similar implements were used in India as fighting clubs. They also look like some kind of bowling pin. Jack has heard (and is not sure of the validity of the statement), that these clubs were used in an Olympic sport at one time. They were used in sort of a gymnastic/dance that was judged for form and accuracy of movement as the participant would do a “program” of swirling the clubs in an artistic expression. Spaulding produced this particular club. These clubs have become a folk art collectable and sometimes are even painted with country scenes or symbols like the American Flag.
Visit Jack’s Outback, 30 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY 518-677-2929.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Treasures of Cambridge #8 Treasures of Cambridge #8

George Forss in front of the vault at former Bean Heads Coffee House, has lived in the Cambridge, NY area since 1989 when he opened a storefront Gallery (Ginafor) right here on Main Street. Living in New York City all his life, he wanted to move someplace "oppisite the city". At first he wanted to live out in the country, but found town life more reflected his style and capabilities.

He saw a Jerome Wright flyer for properties in a bank in hometown Brooklyn and got in the car and drove up here in a snowstorm! "As soon as I saw the property on Main Street, something went click in my head. I knew I was going to buy it and make Cambridge my new home".

Geroge started his professional career by selling his work on Manhattan streets, a photographer who, NYTimes reporter Margaret Loke writes, "dared the elements, critics, doubters and, occasionally, thieves. But he also knows that the street can have its rewards." George was given a lot of media attention after David Douglas Duncan, the noted war photojournalist and former Life magazine notable, "discovered" his awesome talent and helped him get his work published in a series of books. George has made some of the most memorable photographs of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and has had his work in Europe and all over the US. Today his Main Street, Ginafor Gallery, is home for his own work and shows 44 other artists as well.

George’s props are his antique camera, he has a love of good optics and this camera gives some of the most beatiful flat field view (he had a collection of over 300 optics), and a collection of his published books.

George wants to be remembered as someone that did not "jump for the blossom", someone who did not get caught up in the rat race. He believes Cambridge is a haven for people who want to be themselves and do what they do, and not be judged or feel the need to be false.

Art Reflects Life Art Reflects Life

emergence, the latest work from collaborative artists, Katy Schonbeck and John Carlson, was presented at the General Films Incubator, Varak Industrial Park, 15 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY over the past two weekends. This piece uses video, music, dance and contemporary mathematics to tell Schonbeck’s story of the loss of her father. Katy offers beautiful reflections on the transcendent power of love to navigate unavoidable personal change.

(PhotoMontage copyright: John Carlson 2006)

Writer, Emery Forest reviews emergence:

Death is Grace

"A lot of my grieving process went on during the development of this piece,” Katy Schonbeck tells me as we sip tea together with her husband/collaborator, John Carlson. “Both John and I were very privileged to participate deeply in my father’s dying last summer, spending a lot of time with him in his final weeks."

The confusion which follows in death’s wake is vividly present early in emergence as overlapping recorded monologues try to make sense of the apparent contradiction between the form of an individual tree and the pattern of a forest, code perhaps for the disconnect between death as the loss of one’s own parent and death as the foundation of all life. "I love the feeling in my head in the clash between these orders of magnitude," Katy’s voice intones through the speakers as she moves in white before me like a little girl or a spirit.

My sense of disorientation increases as I listen to the overlapping, often simultaneously spoken monologues coming from the speakers, as I watch Katy unrolling great sheets of paper on the floor, sheets I am also shown on film, but where the pacing is so quick I cannot clearly connect the written words with the ones spoken. It’s as if Katy’s experience of her father’s death cannot be brought into focus and I am being invited to enter this realm of overload. I am just beginning to experience where Katy’s love of "the feeling" will take me.

"The whole scene in his studio we filmed the day he died." Katy is referring to a pivotal portion of emergence where she and a friend of her father’s are shown going through the dead man’s studio, touching and speaking of some of the instruments he created, including a nine foot banjo whose dirge-like chords create an eerie mood as Katy and her companion, wearing masks to protect themselves from toxic dust, reminisce about her father. It is as if such proximity to death requires protection, as if its power at this moment is so great that to breathe it directly is dangerous.

At the end of emergence, Katy picks up the cloth she has carried throughout her performance. “It’s a rag rug my grandmother made from old clothes her family, including my dad, had worn out.” I can feel things coming to a head as Katy carries this ancestral fabric around the stage and lays it down. After a moment, she picks it up again, rises, and, as she stands, lifts the final fold of the cloth above her head so that it now forms a rectangle around her, the same shape as a door, the same shape as her father’s coffin.

The energy rises on stage, in my own belly and chest, as if I am witnessing the ascension of her father’s spirit, Katy’s own ascent in middle-life through this initiation of a parent’s death, and as she steps through this door, she releases it in a heap behind her.

I can feel tears coming. I have been shown something here, been witness to an ancient secret that holds the power to set us all free, that will, in fact, set us free whether we want it or not. And then she turns to the crumpled pile of fabric and lifts it tenderly in her arms. This is what death holds, Katy tells me, if we stop trying so hard to do something about it.

You can contact Schonbeck at:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log

THE LADIES AT CHURCH-There is a nursery on Route 40 called “The Other Side of Paradise”. After many years of driving past it, I one day decided to drop in and look around. While there I discovered a wealth of subjects to photograph. This little plant is unknown to me but I found it to be so delicate and feathery it reminded me of the wonderful hats women used to wear in the late 1800's and early 1900's. This particular photograph looked like a close-up of women and their daughters lining the pews of church in days gone by. - June Mohan (Photograph: Copyright: Mohan 2005)

Cambridge Life #7 Cambridge Life #7

For one day last Saturday, three Cambridge, NY locations, a Main Street home, the former Bean Heads Coffee House and the General Films Incubator at Varak Industrial Park, were transformed into an improvised college campus. Seventeen educators from around the tri-state area (New York, Vermont and Massachusetts) converged in here in town to present their Master’s thesis projects to their thesis professor, Dana Rapp, of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA).

Students presenting work at General Films Incubator at Varak Industrial Park, Cambridge NY (Photo: John Carlson)

These presentations were the result of a cutting-edge Master’s in Education program being developed at MCLA that compels candidates to THINK outside the limitations of the traditional research paper-based thesis to challenge them to new realms of creative expression. In addition to the requisite reading and writing, students were encouraged to “take risks” in exploring inventive ways to communicate the information they gleaned from their research.

Projects included: a 7 minute commercial about teen-aged girl body image awareness and how advertising affected this test groups sense of themselves, an autobiography by a student who has had a life long struggle with being bi-polar, a four-sided pyramid sculpture depicting the connection between poverty and education, a documentary film made by a high school coach delving into the link between academics and athletics and how to motivate athletes to become better students, a multi-media performance consisting of video, spoken word and dance, using the mathematical concepts of complexity and chaos theories to help understand grieving and the formation of social organizations, a cookbook for high school students giving them new ways to look at the food they eat and how to prepare wholesome and good tasting meals, to name a few.

All these students took on projects that challenged not only their intellectual facilities, but opened them up to new and exciting ways of looking at themselves and their creative capacities which they can now add to their educational repertoires to enliven and inspire the students they teach.

As an observer of this amazing and transformative day, I was left with a huge dose of hope that these teachers will go on to foster THINKING and solid tools for creative problem solving in their students- and hope for the future of our country.

Life in Cambridge never ceases to amaze me… how such a small town can attract such a multitude of interesting happenings!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jack's Outback Rendezvous #7 Jack's Outback Rendezvous #7

Circa 1870 cast iron barrel lifters. The hooks were placed under the bottom lip of a wooden barrel, the upper points would "bite" into the wood on the side of the barrel giving enough purchase and stability to allow one person (a strong person) to lift the barrel with relative ease and safety.
Visit Jack’s Outback, 30 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY 518-677-2929.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Treasures of Cambridge #7 Treasures of Cambridge #7

Be a part of "Treasures of Cambridge". If you are a resident of the Cambridge, NY area, please contact me to have your portrait taken. I will be at Bean Heads Coffee House on Thursday 20th or schedule a time email. Bring a prop that you identify yourself with. Check out the posting "About Cambridge Treasures" on this blog for more about the project. Or email me at It is a lot of fun and takes on average about 15 minutes of your time.

Nancy Bariluk Smith in front of the vault at former Bean Heads Coffee House has lived in the Cambridge, NY area for over 5 years. Nancy was married in September, congratulations!

Nancy has done a lot of things around town including currently being the coordinator for the Village Coop, but her driving passion is her art. She has worked in fibers for over 20 years in a process that has evoluted from spinning, to dying, to felting; which is the material she likes the most because it “tends to have a life of its own, and is very freeing”.

She is pictured here with her props, the wearable art “humbugs” which is her new line of pins and a mini-me of Bill Creitz, former owner of Bean Heads Coffee House where she worked. Nancy makes all kinds of characters in fiber, wall pieces and scarves. She even made the doll prop for Hubbard Hall Theatre Company's production of “He Who Gets Slapped”.

She likes working in Cambridge, “it is a great community”, she has found a lot of friendly people here. “People work together, there is a great sense of community here. Even people who don’t live here come here to shop at the coop because they like the feel of this place.”

She wants to be remembered as being “joyful and fun loving. The most important part about life is to have fun and bring that to other people”, and that is what she wants to accomplish by making her artwork.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Artist Profile- Katy Schonbeck Artist Profile- Katy Schonbeck

Katy has been a dancer, choreographer and public school math teacher for over 20 years. In her work as a performance artist she has performed both original solo pieces and collaborative works in a variety of venues in the States and in Europe. She studied with and has been most influenced by the works of choreographers, Dana Reitz and Lisa Nelson and performance artists, Eiko and Koma.

Center Photo, Katy performing at Southern Vermont College, Left: with Jared Shapiro, the Alhambra, Spain, Right: at Gateway Arch, St Louis, MO.(Alhambra photo by Alexandra Eckhardt, all others by John Carlson)

Katy holds a BA in Mathematics and Dance from Bennington College. Her interest in exploring architecture through movement and film has its roots in a project she completed in 1999 with cellist, Jared Shapiro and visual artist, Alexandra Eckhardt. They created a series of short site works in Granada, Spain. Most of the locations were in and around the Alhambra grounds. There they were struck by the human sense of scale embodied in these magnificent palaces (very different from the overwhelming grandeur of the great European cathedrals). Katy found herself, “ ‘seeing’ with my body as much as with my eyes. Since then I have, developed this ‘body as kinesthetic camera’ approach to understanding places and the range of human experiences of those places.” Katy has created site works for outdoor arts festivals, for private gardens and is experimenting with ways to ‘translate’ these experiences into works for the black box theater.
In addition to creating new movement works, she is producing, along with her husband, filmmaker/photographer, John Carlson, experimental documentary films including, "The Movement in Architecture Series" and "Being Wayne Adams". She also leads workshops in “Exploring Emergent Uses for the Creative Process”, for high school, undergraduate and graduate level students.

Katy can be reached at:

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Deep Roots Deep Roots

Trees add such a wonderful element to our sense of place. When I saw this pine tree with its huge roots at the Saratoga Battlefield Park, I was struck by how the roots seemed to symbolize the deep sense of history in this area. Not only the historic battlefield, but just about every nook and cranny has significance. And trees like this have served as silent witnesses, sentinels who enrich our lives with shade, beauty, and a sense of place. All of this is especially noticable as the cycle of spring comes around again, and our world is transformed by the coming of green, and the deepening of our roots in this beautiful countryside.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log

SHUTTER’S CLICK-This photograph was taken on the bank of the Hoosick River on
January 26, 2004. It wasn’t necessary to go out in search of this beautiful scene that day. All I did was look out my office window across the Hoosick River to the opposite bank. Recognizing the movement of deer I quickly grabbed my camera and eased open the window. The morning light was perfect on the new snow and I waited for the deer to emerge from the tree cover. In the absolute silence of that vivid moment the three deer heard my camera’s shutter clicking and began turning, searching out the source of the sound. In a moment they turned and bounded back into the brush. I managed to get a few more shots of these lovely creatures but this one of them standing magnificently out in the open sunshine on the river bank is my favorite. - June Mohan (Photograph: Copyright Mohan 2004)

Jack's Outback Rendezvous #6 Jack's Outback Rendezvous #6

Jack says that a lot of people who venture into the “Outback” think that these are tractor seats, but they are actually horse drawn implement seats, circa 1850-1890. By the time the tractor came into being the seats would become pressed tin, but these are beautifully cast iron. Jack tells me the reason they have all those holes in the seats was to “keep the farmer’s butts dry when they plowed in the rain.” He goes on to say that the seat revolutionized the agricultural industry. Original practices had farmers walk behind their implement, now seated their feet were freed up to utilize and control all kinds of other tools and gadgets. So they could both mow and rake at the same time, instead of making many passes. “The seat created a whole new ball game”.
Visit Jack’s Outback, 30 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY 518-677-2929.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cambridge, NY Life #6 Cambridge, NY Life #6

Historic Shushan Bridge, Shushan, NY, now The Shushan Covered Bridge Museum opened in 1975. Born with the idea that the old bridge, itself the main attraction, would house an ever-changing display of historic artifacts on loan from all over this rural region.

Cambridge, NY is surrounded by covered bridge country, and many of the bridges in the area are listed on the National Historic Register. Folks come from all over just to see the bridges of Bennington, VT and Washington, NY counties. But one bridge is unique above all the rest-- The historic covered footbridge in Cambridge, NY. One of only a handful of intact covered footbridges left in New York state, this beautiful bridge, built in 1890, crosses the Blair Creek and is the smallest and oldest covered pedestrian footbridge in the Northeast.

The bridge was built for the Rice Seed Company and was used as a shortcut by the factory’s employees to get to work. Today, it is still used by the many small businesses occupying Varak Industrial Park. The bridge spans more than the stream, it spans the history of Cambridge, NY. Recently, filmmaker, John Carlson, and performance artist, Katy Schonbeck, produced a documentary that tells the story of the bridge and our town. It's one of 12 documentaries in their Movement In Architecture Series which uses the language of cinema and dance to explore and interpret significant cultural and historic architectural sites around the world.

(Photo: John Carlson)

I love this little bridge and often enjoy sitting on one of its benches as I watch the light play off the stream. It’s a destination for a walk on a summer evening, a place to sit and picnic, or a quiet spot for reflection and contemplation.

But all that aside, the bridge is probably best known as a great place for young couples to “court and spark,” as they used to say. Ask any long-time Cambridge, NY resident about the bridge and you’re sure to get a story about first love.

The historic Covered Footbridge of Cambridge, NY is just another thing I like about Cambridge Life.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Treasures of Cambridge #6 Treasures of Cambridge #6

Be a part of "Treasures of Cambridge". If you are a resident of the Cambridge, NY area, please contact me to have your portrait taken. I will be at Bean Heads Coffee House on Thursdays April 13th & 20th or schedule a time by email. Bring a prop that you identify yourself with. Check out the posting "About Cambridge Treasures" on this blog for more about the project. Or email me at It is a lot of fun and takes on average about 15 minutes of your time.

Robert Kaye sitting in front of the vault at former Bean Heads Coffee House has lived in the Cambridge area for about 20 years.
Being a teacher, "and you know teachers are not paid much," the Kaye's for many years would travel to Vermont when the kids were young in their old Dodge and with a canvas tent to camp out in. They fell in love with the area and decided to try and buy a house, but properties were prohibitively expensive in the Green Mountain State, so a friend suggested Washington County. They bought the first home they looked at here in Shushan.

Now retired after teaching and being a dean in the high schools of New York City for 40 years and having a full life in local politics and social activism, he and his wife now enjoy a simpler, yet rich, life in Southern Washington County. Robert is pictured here with a bag of groceries he purchased from the Village Coop on Main Street here in Cambridge, NY, where his wife is a working member. Robert says, "The bag includes some basil, tomatoes (“all organic”) and coffee, I wish you could smell the great aromas!" This prop was the result of a mission his wife sent him out on this afternoon and he wants to be known as a “helpful husband.”

Robert wishes to be remembered as he remembers his brother, who just passed away a few days ago, as someone who was a giver, not a taker, as someone who did community work and many acts of kindness and love for family, community and people in need. Robert hopes to be able to emulate these things in his live as well. Our condolences go out to you, Robert, for your loss.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Artist Profile - Jean S. Coffman Artist Profile - Jean S. Coffman

Jean Coffman, Proprietor of Chasing Silver Studio & Gallery, considers herself to be an accidental artist. While always expressing a flair for the creative, she did not find her true calling until, while working at Ed Levin Jewelry as a cleaning woman, she was encouraged by the management to try her hand as a craftsperson. As soon as Jean made her first clasp, she fell in love with metalwork. While there, she was taught the importance of craftsmanship, design and methodology. Since leaving, she worked with Mayfair Jewelers in Scotia before setting out to create and market her own jewelry designs. Jean’s inspiration has always been to create affordable, handcrafted designs that people want to wear daily and make them feel special. She is excited to be a part of the artistic revitalization of Cambridge and feels the region will continue to attract and foster the growth and support of new artists.

Along with nationally acclaimed Ed Levin Designs, Ann Kearney's, TEN (also on Main Street), and Jean’s, Chasing Silver, Cambridge, NY is surely becoming a destination for people interested in purchasing finely crafted and unique jewelry!

Visit Jean’s studio and gallery where you can purchase her work and watch her craft these elegant and affordable designs. Chasing Silver, 1 East Main Street, Cambridge, NY 12816 518-677-3415.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Hudson The Hudson

Recently I have been reading Tom Lewis' new book "The Hudson: A History." This is a fascinating book about the historical importance of the Hudson River, which flows along the western boundary of Washington County. Lewis explains:
This continent's great rivers have in large measure defined and shaped American history and culture...

The East belongs to the Hudson. Far more than a short river flowing through New York state, the Hudson is a thread that runs through the fabric of four centuries of American history, through the development of American civilization --- its culture, its community, and its consciousness.

For those living in the United States the Hudson is the river of firsts: the first great river that explorers came upon when they arrived in the New World, the first river that lead explorers into the continent's uncharted interior; the river that was the first line of defense in the American Revolution; the river of America's first writers, the river that inspired America's first great painters; the river millions of immigrants first encountered when they stepped off their boats onto their new land; the river whose deep-water port helped New York City become the nation's foremost financial center; the river that inspired America's first conservationists.

Here is a picture I took of the Hudson River at sunset, looking down from Dobb's Ferry toward New York City. I never cease to marvel at what a different sense of place one perceives of the Hudson River as it flows past Washington County, and the vastly different, expansive river that flows past New York City and into the sea. The Hudson River creates a much more intimate sense of place in this area, ideal for biking and other forms of recreation.

Photographer's Log Photographer's Log

Starting with this post we begin a new thread consisting of a photo essay depicting the natural beauty of the area. Enjoy.

BUSKIRK’S BRIDGE-BEFORE THE RESTORATION- I have spent quite a few years photographing the Buskirk’s Bridge and have a fairly complete record of its restoration process. This shot of the old Covered Bridge was taken on March 24, 2004 looking from the Washington County side at River Road towards the Rensselaer County side. My most favorite time of day to photograph this bridge is at sundown because the sun sets right behind the bridge into the Hoosick River. In this particular shot I delight in the way the last rays of the golden sun seem to give a final caress to the flat cement abutment supporting the Rensselaer side of the old bridge. It makes such an accurate statement of winter in the country where you find these interesting, beautiful splashes of color amidst the greys, browns and blacks of the landscapes.
This photo was digitally enhanced to better express my sense of the peace of the evening and the lone moment I shared with the bridge, river, sunset and landscape. -June Mohan (Photograph: copyright Mohan 2005)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cambridge, NY Life #5 Cambridge, NY Life #5

L to R: Judith Eissenberg, Lila Brown, Judith Gordon, Rhonda Rider
(photo (c) 2004 Jonathan Barber)

Last Friday was such a beautiful day I decided to treat myself to the first ice cream of spring. I stopped in at Stewarts and ran into my friend Laurie. We got to catching up on things and she reminded me that Saturday, April 8th, Music From Salem (MFS) would be opening up the new season at Hubbard Hall that evening. We're so fortunate to have such world class musicians just up the road. So here's a little more information on these wonderful musicians.

If those stumbling on the Brown farm just 10 miles north of Cambridge, NY are surprised to hear the sounds of chamber music and song echoing across the landscape, they must not know about Music From Salem .

In 1985, violist Lila Brown together with violinist Judith Eissenberg launched MFS, a festival that has become a fixture in the cultural life of Cambridge, NY and Washington County. From a single concert in 1986, the festival has expanded to a year-round schedule with not only concerts but workshops and master classes as well.

Concerts take place usually at Hubbard Hall, in the Village of Cambridge, NY. During the summer season, anyone may attend free open rehearsals at various area locations, where musicians work on the program for the weekend and then open the floor to questions concerning how chamber players signal through eye contact or how they resolve differences over tempi and dynamics. There are also free workshops for children at various area locations, enabling children to see and hear the instruments at close range and learn how music is composed and performed.

To learn more about Music From Salem and to see this season's schedule, visit their web site:

Just one of the many things that makes Cambridge, NY, Life so rich.

April Cambridge Happenings April Cambridge Happenings

It’s 9:25 a.m. on April 4 and it’s snowing in Cambridge. Last week I was out in my shorts blinding passers by with my glow in the dark white legs working in the garden. Wild truly wild.

Just finishd the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia – reading it to my 5 and 8 year old boys. A lot of fun as I like fantasy and well my husband Geoff can’t be bothered with it. I’m a little concerned though that the boys want to bury odd things to see if they will grow. However, the cool thing is they are going to bury a mini time capsule in the front yard so that in the future some little kids might find it and know what the Hoffer boys were doing 100 years ago.

Southern Washington County is full of stuff to do in April. Weather can be a little unpredictable so be prepared for wet and cold and warm and dry.

WEST VILLAGE MARKET IS OPEN FOR DINNER ON SATURDAY EVENINGS NOW. Live music is also playing at the restaurant

April 7 & 8: The final weekend of The Wizard of Oz at Cambridge Central School. Tickets can be purchased at the school or call them at 518-677-8427. Dominck Russo has done a tremendous job with the kids and token Toto. We are fortunate to have a program like this at our school. Show is Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m.

April 8: Gardenworks Spring Opening…oh so very exciting. Meg and her team, located 15 minutes north of Cambridge in Salem, open up the barn and the glory of growing and pure enjoyment begin. Jon Katz will be on hand with a dog or two I’m sure. Bring a dirt sample for testing. 518-854-3250

After visiting Gardenworks head into Salem to Steiningers. The chocolate bunnies and Easter treats are in and quiet frankly the best tasting and best deal on Bunnies and Eggs ever! Have lunch and ENJOY.

This evening marks the beginning of the 20th Anniversary of Music From Salem with a Spring Recital at Cambridge’s own Hubbard Hall at 8:00 p.m. Words can’t describe the feeling one gets when seeing and hearing these musicians in the 1878 Opera House of Hubbard Hall. Tickets are only $18 or better yet become a member support the organization and tickets are $15. for reservations and information contact Hubbard Hall at 518-677-2495 or

For dinner consider SARDO’s on route 22, or One One One in Greenwich – or join a community dinner at West Village Market to benefit Randy and Mark who lost their house New Years Eve weekend. Potluck dinner and silent auction.

April 11 : The Rice Mansion Inn and the Cambridge Diner are hosting the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department for their annual dinner. It’s not open to the public, but know that these guys work for FREE fighting fires in our area. Last week they responded to two brush fires caused by stupidity. Oh! I mean carelessness. Exactly what do you call it when you throw a cigarette out the window of a moving car. They are a not for profit and would appreciate your donations – just send to Cambridge Volunteer Fire Department – Cambridge NY 12816. Or just send a Thank you note!

April 15: Spring Break starts off with the Battenkill-Roubaix Cycling Race on Saturday, April 15. Dieter Drake has brought cycling to the Cambridge/Salem area with this race as well as the Balloon Festival Classic. To learn more about the race as a participant or spectator visit or call Dieter at 518-677-8423.

April 18: Paula at West Village Market is having a Caribbean Dinner I guess it’s because it’s as close as we are going to get once we pay our taxes, spray on tan available at the door (just kidding). And if you have not met Vera and experienced her laughter – you don’t know what you are missing. My boys believe she is the happiest person in the world. P.S. I’ve already trademarked the sound!!

April 22: You can take a basic gardening class at Hubbard Hall and then get some good Southern Cookin’ at Pompanuck 518-677-5552 or Good Food, Good People, Great experience.

The Theater Company at Hubbard Hall is doing a Gala Fundraiser with hord’s, beverage and silent auction in the Beacon Feed building and dinner and Cabaret in the Hall following. Again, another magical evening in Cambridge. Space is VERY limited so call NOW 518-677-2495

Adirondack Sports and Fitness Show is at the Saratoga Spring Convention Center Fri, Sat and Sun the Rice Mansion Inn will be there along with Battenkill Valley Outdoors, Willard Mountain and Cambridge Unique supporting adventure tourism in Washington County. Should be great fun come over and visit us.

April 29: Perennial Sale at Hubbard Hall, great fundraiser and plant exchange get there early or dig some of your own and get an early admittance call for details 518-677-2495. That evening Hubbard Hall will present an Evening of Jazz – call for details.

As always, I’m sure there is more than what’s listed here happening in our area. So don’t take my word for it, come visit and experience Cambridge, New York and stay with us at The Rice Mansion Inn.

All the best everyone. Be happy.

Christine Hoffer
Rice Mansion Inn
16 West Main Street
Cambridge, NY 12816

Jack's Outback Rendezvous #5 Jack's Outback Rendezvous #5

Toolbox from one of the first horse drawn farm implements made by Dering Company. Dering later merged with McCormick and went on to become Case. This box is shown here with original paint and hand cut dovetailing. The implement would be behind the horse and there was a long pole up to the rider, which is where this field toolbox would be bolted.
Visit Jack’s Outback, 30 West Main Street, Cambridge, NY 518-677-2929.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Treasures of Cambridge #5 Treasures of Cambridge #5

Be a part of "Treasures of Cambridge". If you are a resident of the Cambridge, NY area, please contact me to have your portrait taken. I will be at Bean Heads Coffee House on Thursdays April 6th and 13th or schedule a time by email. Bring a prop that you identify yourself with. Check out the posting "About Cambridge Treasures" on this blog for more about the project. Or email me at

Bliss White McIntosh, sitting in front of the vault at former Bean Heads Coffee House, was born at Mary McClellan Hospital in 1963 and has always called Cambridge, NY, her home.

Bliss is a real Renaissance woman, doing many things- from hand made baskets, playing music and gardening, to being active at Cambridge Central School and our local arts organization, Hubbard Hall, to name a few. Bliss and her family live a “somewhat sustainable life,” tending a couple of cows, a big garden and having a love of doing things for themselves.

She is pictured here with a birch bark bowl she is in the process of binding with a black ash splint (all of these materials she harvests and processes herself). The basket has been sewn using spruce root in the traditional Native American style. You can see and purchase one of her beautifully and lovingly crafted baskets at the Valley Artisans Market where she is a member and shows her work. VAM is located at 25 E. Main Street, Cambridge NY 12816 518-677-2765.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cambridge, NY Life #4 Cambridge, NY Life #4

Spring peeked it's head up this past week. Town was a buzz with the sound of folks cleaning up yards, trimming trees and enjoying the official end of winter. Of course, around here winter can make one last statement in April.

I know that spring is here because my two cats, BW and Magillacutty, started bringing me "presents," people are walking, not driving, to the post office and bank, and the sidewalks are filling up with winter's debris. The Village will come by and pick-up piles of sticks, tree limbs, and leaves, but they need to be along the edge of the road. You never know when the truck is coming to your street so getting things raked and cleaned is something you want to get done soon. Now that my studio is not above Bean Heads, I have more time to look out on my lawn and realize the necessity of the clean-up. As some of my 100 spring bloomers begin to poke out of the soil, I feel good about last fall's work and excited about this spring's landscaping. Like everyone in this neck of the wood, it's time to get out the wheel barrow, clean off the rakes and hoes, and buy a new pair of garden gloves. Spring cleaning is about to begin!