Unchain your holiday season: Give the gifts of community craft, north country artisans

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As the holidays draw near, finding the perfect gift can be a stressful and daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Thinking outside of the box stores and looking locally can ease this stress and even produce a custom gift for each person on your holiday shopping list.

Buying locally not only allows for you to find the perfectly customized gift for your loved ones it also supports your area small businesses, keeping Northern New York communities bustling with business and economic growth.

“Every purchase made locally results in funds going back into our economy,” said Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber executive director Kylie Peck. “The more we shop locally the more effect we have on those that are supporting local programs, non-profits and causes that mean the most to us”

Throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, many small businesses thrive due to support from local residents.

While shops along the St. Lawrence River depend on tourism during the summer months, they still remain open during the off-season; for small businesses in development it is about their passion for the products which they strive to share with their neighbors and friends.

“Of course it is very gratifying when people use and buy my products,” said Laura Cerow, owner and creator of St. Larry’s organic oils, lotions and potions, “Then they share with me how much they love them. But the most rewarding part is when someone finds relief of some kind from a product, that they had not been able to find elsewhere.  I also formulate for individual needs and I really enjoy that aspect as well.”

It is that personal relationship with local business owners that makes shopping locally a benefit to the consumer.

“We always encourage people to shop locally when they can. We are so fortunate in the greater Watertown area to be surrounded by quaint towns that offer unique shopping experiences. During the holiday season, the chamber acts as a neighborhood champion for the Small Business Saturday movement. For many year’s we have assisted with increasing awareness of this great program,” Mrs. Peck said.

Not only does shopping for the holidays within your local communities benefit the economy, but it helps the consumer save money as well. By shopping locally, you are saving on the cost of shipping and handling. Many online shops claim to provide free shipping during the holidays, but you are paying a higher price for that retail item.

Shopping during the holidays also should be a fun experience shared with friends and family. While browsing the internet from the comfort of home can be relaxing, having personal experiences and laughs while finding the perfect holiday gift can be exciting and create lasting memories.

Remember, your family and friends are one of a kind. Shopping locally means you can choose unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that are as special as the recipient.

NNY Living encourages you to focus your holiday shopping at many of the region’s small businesses this holiday season by following our non-chain holiday shopping guide below Holly’s Holiday Pick.

Holly’s holiday pick

gift-box-image-1With the holidays just around the corner it’s easy to forget to care for your personal health and wellness. Becoming overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of shopping, hosting guests and family and preparing the big holiday meal can leave one feeling drained.

But you don’t have to let your personal well-being fall to the wayside by simply taking a few minutes to eat well and treat your body right. Three small business owners along the St. Lawrence River want to ensure that you do just that. Laura Cerow, owner of St. Larry’s, Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care, and Liz Price-Kellogg along with Kristen Taylor, creators of LIVE YUM, have developed the “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” to assist with wellness during the holiday season.

Each gift box includes gratitude-inspiring products handcrafted along the St. Lawrence River from the local businesswomen.

LIVE YUM

A signed copy of “For the Love of Food and Yoga: A Celebration of Mindful Eating and Being,” by Liz Price-Kellogg and  Kristen Taylor. Plus, three new LIVE Yum recipes.

LARRY’S

Two organic essential oils from St. Larry’s, helmed by the St. Lawrence River’s remarkable Laura Cerow, that may be used in recipes from the For the Love of Food and Yoga inspirational cookbook.

MODICUM SKIN CARE

A travel size of the coveted Essential Serum from Murray Isle’s Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care! A 2015 Beauty Nominee for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, Modicum Skin Care nutrient system combats a multitude of skin care issues from aging to acne.

Call 523-0627 to purchase your holiday “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” or to learn more. Each gift box is $50 to $65 value and includes sales tax. LIVE YUM will also mail your gift box to any mailing address with an enclosed LIVE YUM gift card (add $10 — flat rate for shipping). Give the gift of the river, health, wellness and gratitude this holiday season.

 

Jefferson County

Editor’s note: The following list of non-chain stores is not intended as an all-inclusive shopping directory.

Country Designs

320 Dodge Ave., Sackets Harbor

778-5633

St. Lawrence Pottery

41468 state Route 12, Clayton

686-4252

stlawrencepottery.com

The Lake Ontario Gift Shop

12279 state Route 12E, Chaumont

(315) 300-4014

The Natural Basket

44144 state Route 3, Natural Bridge

644-4821

Agape Shoppe

136 Court St., Watertown

788-7470

The 1000 Islands Cruet

226 James St., Clayton

767-1064

1000 Islands River Rat Cheese

242 James St., Clayton

686-2480 or 1- (800) 752-1341

riverratcheese.net

Treasure Island Jewelers

40 James St., Alexandria Bay

482-2294

treasureislands.net

Karla’s Christmas Shoppe

500 Riverside Drive, Clayton

686-1906

Captain Spicer’s Gallery

40467 state Route 12, Clayton

686-3419

Freighters of Clayton

534 Riverside Drive, Clayton

703-0166

St. Larry’s

38234 Windward Cliffs, Clayton

408-1174

stlarrysriver@gmail.com

stlarrys.com

Live Yum

Liz Price-Kellogg and

Kristen Taylor, Clayton

775-7115 or 523-0627

namaste@liveyum.com

liveyum.com

Modicum

Clayton / 1000 Islands

modicumskincare@gmail.com

modicumskincare.com

St. Lawrence County

Phil and Jackie’s

69 Main St., Massena

philandjackies.com

Nature’s Storehouse

21 Main St., Canton

386-3740

natures-storehouse.com

Seasons Specialty Gifts

27 W. Orvis St., Massena

764-7671

seasons-gifts.com

Misty Hollow

22 Market St., Potsdam

265-1660

mistyhollowcraftsandhobbies.com

St. Lawrence County Arts Council

41 Elm St., Room 231, Potsdam

(Downtown Snell Hall, 2nd Floor)

265-6860

slcartscouncil.org

Brick & Mortar Music

15 Market St., Potsdam

274-9311

bandmm.com

Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm

1551 Highway 72, Potsdam

265-1776

adkfragrancefarm.com

Argent’s Jewelry and Coin Shop

32 Market St., Potsdam

265-6389

Canton-Potsdam Gift Shop

50 Leroy St., Canton

261-5415

Em Bears

P.O. Box 402, Hannawa Falls

268-1227

embears.com

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) store

53 E. Main St., Canton

386-4289

tauny,org

Maple Run Emporiums Inc.

49 Market St., Potsdam

274-0102

MapleRunEmporiums.com

Lewis County

Nolts Country Store

7189 state Route 812, Lowville

377-3077

Marguerite’s Cranberry Emporium

7614 N. State St., Lowville

376-4411

mcegifts.com

Cozy Country Corner

7608 North State St., Lowville

376-4004

cozycountrycorner.lightspeedwebstore.com

Bonaparte Candle & Gifts

7790 State Route 3, Harrisville

543-7535

The Blue Bird Country Store

8311 state Route 26, Lowville

376-2473

bluebirdcandle.com

Amish Connection

9882 state Route 12, Copenhagen

688-2569

amishconnectionllc.com

Croghan Candy Kitchen

9740 state Route 812, Croghan

346-1591

Holiday 2015 Cover Story: Keeping holiday traditions bright

Light displays, performances top north country’s seasonal offerings

This festive pirate ship won best display in 2012. The sixth annual Lights on the River is set for Dec. 12 to 22 at the Lisbon Beach Camping Grounds, Ogdensburg.

This festive pirate ship won best display in 2012. The sixth annual Lights on the River is set for Dec. 12 to 22 at the Lisbon Beach Camping Grounds, Ogdensburg.

By Norah Machia, NNY Living

Many traditions are celebrated by north country residents to mark the holidays, and this year is no exception. These events are often made possible by organizations or businesses whose members volunteer their time to help people commemorate the season. Some events are free, others have an admission charge, and many benefit the community as well. [Read more…]

Winter 2015 Cover Story: Snowmobiling

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Text by Lorna Oppedisano | Photos by Lauren Harrienger

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For many, snowmobile culture is a way of life to beat the blues during long north country winters.

The dead of winter has the north country in its grips. Everything on the ground is some shade of gray or white. Any sign of life, save the occasional far-off bird call, has left the area. A bright, glaring sun shines down from the clear blue sky, a meek attempt at melting the heaps of snow, feet high in areas. But it’s no use. The burning ball in the sky is not a match for the crisp, almost biting, freezing winter air. It’ll be months before Northern New York breathes a gasp of warm, balmy air.

The conditions are perfect.

A machine roars to life in the distance. And then another. And another. Before long, a fleet of iron sleds races into view, caravanning across the gleaming paths carved into the snow, moving at speeds rivaling those of cars on a nearby county road. Perched atop the machines, the riders lean into the twists and turns of the trail. Each traveler is decked out from head to toe in layers of impenetrable snow gear. The sleds race in single file, and then, as suddenly as they appeared, they’re gone around the next bend, on to their destination.

Welcome to snowmobile season.

DSC_6335_Web

[Read more…]

Winter 2015 Feature: An adventure for a non-thrill-seeker

Writer, Lorna Oppedisano

Writer, Lorna Oppedisano

Thrills are not my forte. Adrenaline usually just makes me dizzy. I bit the bullet once and tried a rollercoaster; I can safely say that I never want to be upside-down again in my life. I’m a legs-planted-firmly-on-the-ground type of woman.

A little more than a month ago, my editor mentioned the idea of ‘beat the winter blues’ as the cover story topic. Would I write it? Of course. Would I investigate the culture of snowmobiling? Definitely. Would I get on the back of a snowmobile for the first-hand, in-depth perspective? Gulp… sure. [Read more…]

Customize your snow machine

Investments in gear, equipment can be costly, but worth it

By Lorna Oppedisano

Josh Roes, D&D Racing mechanic, works on a custom-built Arctic Cat XC 1100 turbo, turning it from a 177-horsepower sled to a 600-horsepower drag-racing sled, able to reach 140 mph in 500 feet. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Living.

Josh Roes, D&D Racing mechanic, works on a custom-built Arctic Cat XC 1100 turbo, turning it from a 177-horsepower sled to a 600-horsepower drag-racing sled, able to reach 140 mph in 500 feet. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Living.

Snowmobiling is a beautiful sport. It’s a fun sport. It’s a cold sport. It can be a dangerous sport. [Read more…]

Jump in the car & day trip

A view of Skaneateles Lake. Photo courtesy skaneatelestalk.com.

A view of Skaneateles Lake. Photo courtesy skaneatelestalk.com.

Beat the winter blues with 10 Empire State destinations each within a reasonable trek of the north country [Read more…]

Country star Alan Jackson donates 1955 Flat Top to Antique Boat Museum

The Chris-Craft vessel donated by Alan Jackson to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton is seen just before its transport from its storage facility in Tennessee to the north country last week. Courtesy Antique Boat Museum

The Chris-Craft vessel donated by Alan Jackson to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton is seen just before its transport from its storage facility in Tennessee to the north country last week. Courtesy Antique Boat Museum

CLAYTON — The visit country star Alan Jackson made in 2009 to the Antique Boat Museum must have pulled on his heartstrings. He has donated a 1955, 29-foot Chris-Craft semi-enclosed boat to the museum’s collection.

The boat, Flat Top, named after the type of steel-string guitar commonly used by Mr. Jackson, is one of 36 of the model ever built by Chris-Craft. Flat Top is the only one of its kind that has been restored to original condition.

“The museum is grateful for Mr. Jackson’s gift of this remarkable boat,” museum watercraft curator Emmett Smith said. “Boating and country music are both important parts of the American lifestyle, and Mr. Jackson is clearly someone who loves the history of both.”

Flat Top was used and stored on Lake Chautauqua in Western New York by its original owner. In 2002, Mr. Jackson purchased the boat in poor condition and transported it to Tennessee to undergo extensive restoration work at Hickman Boat Works. Under the craftsmanship of Travis Hickman, Flat Top was revived through a nearly three-year restoration project.

A museum official said Flat Top features pristine woodwork and artistry, retains its original look and is considered to be boat-show quality. The six-cylinder boat with a maximum speed of 35 mph is made of mahogany, with white oak framing and decking. It has an oak keel.

Michael J. Folsom, the museum’s director of marketing and communications, said the boat holds a significant monetary value, but that figure is confidential.

“However, once a piece becomes a part of our collection, we recognize it as priceless,” he said.

Mr. Jackson has been a longtime wooden boat enthusiast and has a good relationship with the Antique Boat Museum. In 2009, he made a trip to Clayton for the museum’s annual antique boat show and auction, through ties with local boat broker Peter Mellon of Antique Boat America, which has listed a number of Mr. Jackson’s boats for sale over the years.

In 2009, Mr. Jackson provided five antique boats to be auctioned. During his time in the Thousand Islands region that year, he also cruised with friends aboard his yacht Neon Rainbow, which was docked at the museum.

Flat Top arrived in Clayton last weekend and will remain in storage through the winter. The boat is expected to be available for viewing “in some form” during the museum’s 2014 season. Details and information will be available before the museum’s May 2 reopening.

Mr. Jackson is one of the few top country artists who write most of their own material. Among his hits are “Chattahoochee,” “Livin’ on Love,” “Murder on Music Row,” “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” “Little Bitty,” “Drive,” “Remember When” and “Where I Come From.”

He performed in Watertown in 2010 as part of the DPAO/Toyota Summer Concert Series. His latest record is “The Bluegrass Album.”

-Chris Brock, Watertown Daily Times

Preserving a treasured place: Grindstone Island fills many hearts on the St. Lawrence River

Barns dot the rural landscape of Grindstone Island. Photo by Leah Buletti / NNY Living

Grindstone Island is a place that seems to straddle two worlds, stuck somewhere between a simple agricultural past in which children attended a one-room schoolhouse and the sole town consisted only of a post office, store and church and a modern world where summer residents occupy well-manicured farm houses and 300 eager boaters flood Potter’s Beach on a typical summer Sunday.

Driving through Grindstone’s bucolic countryside — 15-square-miles of forests, wetlands and farms interspersed with about 130 homesteads — on an ATV, the contrast is apparent, history peeking out from every orifice. The island has a private air strip, but no cars, and hard-packed, well-maintained dirt roads alternate with winding trails in various states of overgrown. But lining the road that leads up from the island’s only public dock are about 15 rusting trucks and cars, slowly becoming part of the landscape, used by some in colder times when the St. Lawrence River freezes enough make the 1.27 miles to Clayton passable. [Read more…]

A taste of the river

Clayton F. “Muskie Ferg Jr.” Ferguson of Ferguson Fishing Charters, Clayton, with his 1951 mahogany-plank Chris-Craft, is a longtime river guide who puts on shore dinners. Photo by Justin Sorensen/ NNY Living

Shore dinners a north country food tradition like no other [Read more…]

Lowville native returns to share passion, talent for tango: Tug Hill Vineyards hosts vibrant evening of dancing lessons

Lowville native Travis Widrick, right, a former high school football star turned tango instructor, returned to his hometown for a night of tango at Tug Hill Vineyards with partner Tiniko Natsvlichvili, of Ottawa. Leah Buletti/ NNY Living

At first glance, it’s a seemingly startling transformation: high school football star raised on a dairy farm in Lowville turned tango instructor.

But for Travis Widrick, who graduated from Lowville Academy and Central School in 1997 before going on to Hobart College in Geneva to study English, where he first started dancing 10 years ago, it was a relatively natural shift. Tango, the erotic and glamorous dance that originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in fact isn’t so different from the movement of a football player, Mr. Widrick says.

“I certainly never saw myself dancing,” Mr. Widrick told a group of about 10 couples at Tug Hill Vineyard’s first tango and wine night on Friday, July 19. “Tango chose me.”

“The movement is really similar to football if you slow down,” he added as he demonstrated slow footwork reminiscent of football drills that indeed looked similar to the movement of tango dancers’ feet. “The basis of Argentinian tango is walking—just being comfortable doing that and nothing more.” [Read more…]