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September 21, 2014
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Building a new house is always an adventure, and for Paul Plumadore and Jim Tindell of Milanville, PA building their home on River Road has been the adventure of a lifetime.

Advent; The season of expectation

Outside the Christian Church, the word “advent” is associated with something that is on the brink of coming, such as, “the advent of the fiscal collapse” heard in the news recently. In the Church, though, Advent is a season of waiting, of expectation, hope and preparation.  Read more

Local artisans hold holiday market

HONESDALE, PA — As live music and the aroma of freshly baked holiday cookies and assorted confections and pastries fill the air, 30 local artists, artisans and food entrepreneurs will welcome holiday shoppers to the second annual Artisans’ Market at The Cooperage on Sunday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Displays of cards, jewelry, paintings, pottery, soaps, vases, lamps, picture frames, flowers and other gift items offer shoppers with the opportunity to purchase presents for their loved ones while supporting local artisans. This event is free and offers a warm holiday welcome to friends of all ages at 1030 Main St.  Read more

Handmade for the holidays

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — The Catskills and Upper Delaware River Valley have long been a Mecca for artistic expression. Painters, sculptors, photographers and writers have flocked to the region for decades, drawing inspiration from the clean air, stunning vistas and peaceful countryside that inspires. Visitors and tourists continue to explore the area and often seek unique gifts for themselves and loved ones as they scour the galleries, shops and studios of the artists who have settled here to practice their craft.  Read more

‘Here we come a-wassailing’

So what is wassailing really all about? For a bit of background (according to Readers Digest), “The Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune, if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth.  Read more

A holiday performance: 'The Nutcracker;’ Traveling to the Land of Sweets

Spanish hot chocolate, Arabian coffee, Chinese tea, candy cane, marzipan, dewdrop, flowers and sugar plum; these are not the contents of a bakery; this is the lineup of goodies in the Land of Sweets in the second act of “The Nutcracker.”  Read more

A fortnight of holiday festivities; Throwing open the doors of a grand old house in Milford

MILFORD, PA — One of the grandest old mansions of a bygone era in the Upper Delaware River Valley is Grey Towers, the former home of Gifford Pinchot, first chief of the U.S. Forest Service (1905-1910) and Pennsylvania governor (1923-1927, 1931-1935). One of the most beautiful times of year to visit Grey Towers is in December, when this national historic site is all decked out for Christmas, courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service and the Milford Garden Club.  Read more

The joy of sleeping in

Listed under the Special Skills section of my resume are ballet, cooking and sleeping in. Just kidding. But really, if sleeping in were an Olympic sport, I would get a gold medal. If you wanted to give me a present, you should give me a day where I can sleep in. As The Postal Service (the band, not the mail delivery system) said, “Don’t wake me; I plan on sleeping in.”  Read more

Alpaca: The new-age Golden Fleece

The Catskills and Upper Delaware River Valley are known for many things: hiking, river rafting, apple picking and the beauty and serenity that a visit to our region provides. Each season has something different to offer to visitors and residents alike, but since the 1970s, a warm and fuzzy attraction has caught on—alpacas. The gentle creatures have been domesticated for thousands of years and the Moche people of northern Peru often used alpaca images in their art. Too small to be used as pack animals, they have been bred exclusively for their fiber and meat, but it’s their fleece that has made the alpaca highly prized throughout the world. Today, alpaca can be found all across the United States, including right here at home, where their incredibly soft hair is made into scarves, hats, gloves and socks, along with stylish high-end garments that are sought after by folks from all walks of life.  Read more

Ten steps to a safe heating fire

Madonna Badger wasn’t awakened by her three daughters’ squeals of delight on Christmas morning 2011. Instead she awoke to smoke in a dark and silent house. Quickly the house was engulfed in flames, and all efforts to save her family failed. Ashes from the fire that had warmed her Connecticut house on Christmas Eve had been carelessly disposed of, and in the night, the embers caught fire. In addition, no smoke alarm sounded a warning. The resulting inferno robbed Badger of her children, her parents and her home.  Read more

Top tips for saving energy

Most, if not all, homeowners would fix a window broken by a wayward softball. What many people don’t know, though, is that there are often small air breaches in many different places of the home that, if combined, could easily be the size of a softball or bigger. As a result, much energy, and many dollars, can be lost.  Read more

The Great Pumpkin

Nature’s timing is flawless. As if on cue, the winter squash and pumpkins appear just as the onslaught of zucchini starts to ebb. And they’re here to stay, their stout curves and painterly colors a pleasure to behold throughout the winter. Every year I stock up on the many varieties grown by Alice and Neil Fitzgerald of River Brook Farm in Cochecton, NY including international heirlooms like the brilliant orange Hubbard, the voluptuous Musque de Provence and the charmingly bumpy Marina di Chioggia. These all have a dense, creamy flesh that is equally delicious roasted, fried (pumpkin tempura!) or stewed.  Read more

House plants; Prepare them for the journey back inside

After a summer vacation on your porch or deck, it’s time to prepare your house plants for the trip back to their winter home. For their survival and your enjoyment, they need to be prepared for the lower levels of light, temperature and humidity of the house. It’s really just a reversal of the process of hardening off plants or seedlings in the spring. When night temperatures cool to the 50s, the fall ritual can begin. These tips should help with the process:  Read more

The warmth of a cup of tea; Giving a tea party

Imagine yourself on a leisurely drive through the winding countryside of South Wales. You pass luscious green rolling hills speckled with woolly sheep and patches of lush woodland. This journey ends down in a deep valley, complete with a river running through it, at a stately home built somewhere around 1810. You make your way up to the beautiful home past the stables and horses, and find yourself sitting in the conservatory in the center of the large house. The conservatory is filled with beautiful plants, where the sunlight pours in through the many windows to warm your soul. This memory was one of many shared by Christine San Jose, who has “84 years’ experience in high tea.”  Read more

Kelly McMasters; Reader, writer, independent bookstore owner

Kelly McMasters owns a small, independent book store, Moody Road Studio, located in Maude Alley in the 1000 block of Main Street in Honesdale, PA. She writes about the experience in a monthly column for The Paris Review. She is the author of “Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town,” the personal story of growing up in her hometown on Long Island, NY where there were three nuclear reactors and all three leaked. A documentary based on the book was shown earlier this month at the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, PA.  Read more

Honoring traditions, fabricating new; Meet the divas of quilting

Some do it for the fellowship and conversation. Some do it for the satisfaction of having something to show for all their hard work. Some do it for the art. But they all have the same goal: to make a quilt.  Read more

Something old, something new; A country house lovingly restored

There’s a reason that people are obsessed with home makeover shows. There’s nothing like a good transformation story and the big reveal. We constantly tune in to “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Trading Spaces” to watch cringe-worthy spaces become homes you want to live in, all led by the skilled and snarky renovators who have become household names (Ty Pennignton, Genevieve Gorder). Not to be outdone by celebrity makeover artists, Ramona Jan of Country Home Restoration (Abrahamsville, PA) has recently completed a project to restore an 1800s farmhouse in Hortonville, NY, owned by Westchester resident Cheryl Greenberg.  Read more

The biker’s way; Motorcycling is a frame of mind

To readers of a certain generation—we who were born under the Truman or Eisenhower administrations—mere utterance of the word motorcycle could invoke no other image but that of a young Marlon Brando: shades, comb, black leather jacket (“The Wild One,” 1953). Teen boys gazed admiringly. Young girls giggled nervously. Shopkeepers cringed and police officers scowled whenever a biker rolled into town…  Read more

Preserving and reinventing tradition

Long considered the birthplace of fly fishing in America, the Catskills offer dynamic opportunities to discover, rediscover and renew one’s interest in the sport. A unique combination of natural resources, proximity to urban areas and history leads to a bounty of hidden treasures, often in plain sight.  Read more

View from the Top

On a perfect clear day in the very beginning of fall (the trees teasing with hints of reds, yellows and oranges), I gathered a group of friends to do something that we locals have probably done once before, if not multiple times—hike Jensen’s Ledges.  Read more

Hidden treasures in the mountains

Say the words “The Poconos” or “The Catskills” and your listeners will probably conjure up wonderful images of lush forests, sparkling lakes, exhilarating speedboat rides, fly fishing in mountain streams, challenging golf games or tubing and kayaking on the Delaware. Shopping would probably not be top on the list—but really, there is a certain kind of shopping, a treasure hunt of sorts, that can be one of the top things to do here. Hidden on the main streets in our towns are wonderful antique shops that will challenge anyone’s desire to find a special unique piece to bring home from their vacation.  Read more