This is NNY: Music’s Healing Power

Always willing to lend a hand, community members in the north country come together around music for numerous concerts every month at venues ranging from backyards to the North Side Improvement League to the Paddock Club to the lawns of the wineries that dot the St. Lawrence River. Music has brought all walks of life together to benefit causes ranging from the Newtown Memorial Fund to scholarships in the names of fallen firefighters or youths lost too young at the hands of drunk drivers to neighbors confronting staggeringly high medical bills. Regardless of the cause, though, it’s the music that provides levity and enjoyment during otherwise grim remembrances and that unites the north country’s generous citizens around a common cause through a medium that resonates universally, bringing everyone out of their own sphere of existence into something greater and more meaningful than themselves.

Getting all dolled up: American Girl doll enthusiasts flood Sackets Harbor

Caroline Abbott isn’t just a fictional character in the American Girl book and doll series; she has put the village of Sackets Harbor on the map.

Young girls in fancy dresses and hats with accompanying Caroline or other American Girl dolls attended receptions in July at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site to celebrate the character.

While some of the 120 guests Sunday were locals, most were from outside the state, even as far away as Kansas, Iowa and Tennessee.

Kathleen Ernst, author of the American Girl Caroline series, said Caroline lived during the War of 1812 in Sackets Harbor.

“I think the War of 1812 allowed her to have a lot of adventures,” Ms. Ernst said. “The real-life history gave us a lot to work with. I think one of the real joys of Caroline stories is it’s a balance of history and fiction.”

Hailing from Baltimore, Ms. Ernst considered basing the Caroline series in her home state, but felt “what happened here in the Great Lakes wasn’t as well known.”

Now, young girls are excited to travel to the village, learn about the war and experience the character’s life. Those who attended the receptions received American Girl bookmarks, autographs from Ms. Ernst and village maps to explore places Caroline might have gone.

“I feel as if the whole village here has been celebrating Caroline,” Ms. Ernst said.

To see a video of the event, go to

— Rebecca Madden

Memorial moments: The north country honors its veterans, remembers their sacrifice for others

For many Northern New Yorkers, patriotism isn’t something to just express on the Fourth of July — it’s a sentiment that runs deep and is expressed year-round. With Flag Day in June and Independence Day around the corner, it seems that the summer months are rife with the patriotic feeling and its creative expression. We dug through the Watertown Daily Times archives to find some of the best examples of patriotism in action. The feeling is expressed by all walks of life, from children to veterans and from those deeply connected to the military to those with no ties other than a desire to support the troops.

They’re proof that as a region, regardless of political or religious beliefs, we’re united by something greater, more meaningful and more lasting — a sense of connection to our country and its promise of freedom.

Watertown Parks Department adding summer programs

Watertown Daily Times Archives

Looking for things for your kids to do over the summer? Do you want to learn to scuba dive or start a new activity?

The city of Watertown’s Parks and Recreation Department is expanding the kinds of programs and activities it will be offering this summer, for children and adults. [Read more...]

This is NNY: March madness

‘Fandamonium’ hits Beaver River community

It has been 34 years since the Beaver River community was as abuzz about high school boys basketball as it was this season.

The Beaver River boys basketball team took the Frontier League Class C-1 title in early March. That win was quickly followed by a chance at the state hoops title.
Along the seemingly unprecedented journey, a large following of fans trailed the Beavers. In a display not unlike that for other high school sports teams across the north country, Beaver River fans were loyal, loud and proud.

“Fandamonium” runs rampant during the late winter and early spring. High school basketball teams — girls and boys — advance to sectional and state tournaments, pulling along with them cars loaded with fanatics who don face paint and pom poms. [Read more...]

Editor’s Picks: Favorite photos from 2012

One of our favorite parts of putting together a new issue of NNY Living is sitting down with the photo staff to see what they’ve come up with for the pages of the magazine. We’ve gone back through some of the best photos from our first year in publication and compiled them here. Some have been seen in print, others haven’t, but they all offer a one-of-a-kind look at living in Northern New York.


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Highway nostalgia

On Game Farm Road near Brownville sits hundreds of vintage vehicles, most from the 1950s to early 1980s, at Eric Farr and Sons Used Auto Parts. Weathered highway relics line acres of property in columns and rows;  a display of metal and marsh at the now defunct salvage yard.
— Photos by Justin Sorensen

[Read more...]

Awakening from winter’s slumber

Photo by Andrea Parisi.

Flowers blossom. Birds welcome their young with song. The fog of winter lifts. Daylight stretches longer into the night. The grass goes green as dandelions invade yards. All are welcome signs of spring as Mother Nature closes the book on an unusually mild north country winter.

[Read more...]

A dentist’s sugary hobby

Rookie mistake marks beginning of new passion

The sign on the outside of Dr. Scott LaClair's sugar shack reads "Tapped Oak Sugar Shack." The name developed during their first year making maple syrup when they had accidentally tapped oak trees instead of maple trees. Photo by Justin Sorensen.

When Dr. Scott A. LaClair first began tapping trees on his property on Deer Run in the town of Watertown he made one small mistake: The hobby maple farmer tapped oak trees instead of maple trees.

From that, his “Tapped Oak Sugar Shack” was born.

Dr. LaClair spends most work days seeing patients at his dental firm, LaClair Family Dental, which has offices in Clayton and Carthage. During late winter and early spring, his evenings and weekends are centered on his sugar shack, spending time with friends and family tapping trees, testing and then boiling sap to turn into syrup. [Read more...]

Heavens above

The sky as seen atop a hill on Wright Street Road in Adams Center. Photo by Amanda Morrison.

The north country’s skies produce some of the most brilliant hues and formations in the Northeast. We asked our photographers to give us their best photos of the Northern New York sky. the result is a mix of reds, oranges, yellows, whites and blues that few places in the country can duplicate.

[Read more...]