A Southern Girl Wakes Up in The City That Never Sleeps…

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…as well as the little town of Sharon Springs, which was experiencing its own bout of festive insomnia.

I departed Nashville last Thursday, landing four score and several milligrams of Xanax later in the poorly-aged concourses and listless luggage carousels of LaGuardia Airport. My apprehensions at this arrival quickly waned as my shuttle whisked me past blocks brownstone and canyons of concrete, finally depositing me in the midst of sensory overload, courtesy of the neon-fed fervency of Times Square!

I stayed at the nearby Hilton thanks to my father’s wise recommendation, and savored every moment of the posh and pampered atmosphere they provided. Two days of deco skyscrapers, decadent dinners and Dita Von Teese and it was time for Penn Station and the final leg of my odyssey: boarding the Empire Service to Albany! Business Class on rails!

Once there, the PHWW team was reunited and Beth and I were on our way to Sharon Springs and the Harvest Festival! It was a weekend of new friends, new experiences, and new beginnings…and I thought you’d all like to see a few samples of the Northern hospitality this Southern girl got to enjoy!

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View of the Chrysler Building

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New York Public Library

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Radiator Building

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Sharon Springs Harvest Festival

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American Hotel

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Black Cat Cafe

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Beekman 1802 Mercantile

Sharon Springs, NY Harvest Festival 2014 – by Beth

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This is my “sign selfie” out at the corner of Routes 20 and 10 in Sharon Springs before the festival. Jen has one too, and you’ll probably see a pic of it on her festival post.

As many of you know, Jen and I attended Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs, NY for the first time this past weekend.  This festival is sponsored by Beekman 1802, and this year they had a special co-sponser, Etsy!  Needless to say, this was an event we were not going to miss, and we are so glad we went.  Many, many thanks to Josh & Brent of Beekman 1802, Etsy and its staff, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer, and the scores of others involved in making this a truly outstanding festival.

When I first arrived at the festival, I was very interested in meeting the Etsy folks.  I was not disappointed. Although the Etsy canopy was in danger of flying away on this windy fall morning, the Etsy staff was immediately engaging as I approached the table. We met Katie and Amy, who were extremely encouraging of us in our business and who were genuinely loving what they do.  It turns out Amy is a rug hooker!  We had a great conversation with her about the craft, and how to promote it to a new generation.  Etsy had an entire street of Etsy sellers, mostly from NY state, I believe at least some from the Hudson Valley Etsy Team.  The variety and quality of the craftsmanship on display was mind boggling, and made me very proud to be a fellow Etsy seller.

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The Etsy booth early in the morning on the first day. It was very windy and when I arrived the staff was making sure the canopy stayed in place. The second photo is Etsy row.

There was so much to see around the village.  I am not sure how many vendors were there, but it was many.  Every open village space up and down main street had artisans, farmers, artists, and makers set up selling their wares. At the end of the first day I realized we had still not seen them all. We hope to have a table of our own next year, but are kind of glad that this year we were able to just browse and take it all in.

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Top row: 1) Jen buying seeds at Landreth Seed Company on the second day. Barbara, who was manning the booth was extremely knowledgeable and encouraging about the kind of gardening season I’d had! 2) This old building housed a fantastic antique shop. 3) These alpacas were very adorable. Second row: 1) A view of one of the village greens. 2) This is the owner of Cherry Valley Tinsel Company showing us how the tin icicles are made. Third row: 1) The spectacular pastries at the Black Cat Cafe on Main Street. 2) Animals and artisans on the lawn of the Roseboro Hotel.

One of the highlights of the festival is the swearing in of Honorary Sharon Springs Citizens.  Mayor Doug Plummer (co-owner of the American Hotel) arrives in full regalia to preside over the ceremony.  It’s not to be missed. Josh Kilmer-Purcell wrote the solemn (ok, not…) text for the ceremony and I am now a Sharon Springs citizen! I couldn’t be prouder. Jen was sworn in on Sunday.  If you go to the Sharon Springs Wikipedia entry you will see the number of honorary citizens is carefully counted!

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After I was sworn in as an Honorary Citizen, I had to leave to pick up Jen at the Rensselaer Train Station.  She had spent a little time in NYC (which she will tell you about on her post), and had come by train from there.  The building was kind of interesting so I took some photos of it as well. I’m a bit of an architecture geek and particularly like the vaulted ceiling.

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Having retrieved Jen, we both went back to the Festival to party on for the next day and a half…

This is the first year that there has been a main stage at the festival.  This is a brand new pavilion in Sharon Springs, and will be finished out with a cupola, copper roof cladding, and gingerbread to look historically correct in the village.  There were programs going on all day both Saturday and Sunday, but we did not make all of them.  Here are some of the ones I saw, and thoroughly enjoyed.

I am going to do the captioning in text below the photo, so that I can put the appropriate hyperlinks on for you to click for more information.

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Clockwise:  1) Chris Stout-Hazard gave an incredible presentation on interior design and color.  Check out the business he and his husband, Roger Stout-Hazard, have at RogerandChris.com.  2) Josh and Brent of Beekman 1802 demonstrated their Bloody Mary Soup recipe – with vodka!  It was delicious.  Their latest vegetable cookbook can be found at Beekman1802.com.  3) This is Cynthia Falk of SUNY Oneanta giving a fascinating talk about New York barns.  Her book on this subject is called Barns of New York and is published by Cornell Press.  4) This is Rose Marie Trapani and her daughter demonstrating Sicilian cooking.  Rose Marie has a wonderful Facebook page called “Our Sicilian Table.”  Check it out!

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Josh and Brent used some yellow tomatoes in the recipe this time, which gives the Bloody Mary Soup a lighter color. This recipe can be found on page 91 of their Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook.

This is the spectacular American Hotel.  Jen and I stayed there in April, when we first met with Josh and Brent to talk about doing hooked items for Beekman 1802.  Owners Doug Plummer (Mayor) and his husband Garth were so incredibly warm and kind to us, and it’s apparent that everyone who visits gets the same great hospitality. In our case, they were responsible for soothing our frazzled nerves just prior to our meeting with Josh at Beekman 1802 to present our wares. Doug kept us laughing so hard for the twenty minutes we spent in the lobby prior to the meeting, that we realized as we walked out the door that our nervousness was greatly diminished.  They also run a beautiful restaurant in the hotel, which is on our list of places to eat when we return to Sharon Springs.

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The Roseboro Hotel is a very large building on one of the corners in the village of Sharon Springs.  It has recently been purchased and will be undergoing a full renovation.  The new owner had a champagne reception for everyone, which was pretty sweet. I’m not sure how many champagne glasses that is in the photo, but it made quite an impressive display. There were two fewer by the time we left.

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Of course, it was very nice to see Josh and Brent again, although extremely briefly given their weekend schedule, and to shop in the Beekman 1802 Mercantile. We purchased the new Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, which Josh and Brent kindly autographed for us, and will for you too, should you purchase one through the Beekman 1802 Mercantile.

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For those who would like to see these photos and a few more in larger format, here is a little gallery.  You can hover over the gallery to click through at your own pace as well.

We had a magnificent time in Sharon Springs! If you go to the Sharon Springs town website, you can keep up to date on all of the events there and in the area. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and we are so grateful to have made the associations we have there.