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Series: Very Special Places

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The Crystal is a familiar landmark on Watertown's Public Square
The Crystal is a familiar landmark on Watertown's Public Square

Very Special Place: Crystal Restaurant in Watertown

You've got to feel sorry for NCPR's Joel Hurd and TAUNY's Varick Chittenden. Our look at very special places has forced them to sample great diner food from Lloyds of Lowville, sweets from Freeman's Taffy Stand, ice cream from Donnelly's in Lake Clear, Michigans from Clare and Carl's in Plattsburgh, and cider and donuts from the Burrville Cider Mill. Hard work...but they've struggled through it. Well it turns out they've saved the toughest assignment for last. Last year, just before Christmas, they paid a visit to the Crystal Restaurant in Watertown to learn more about this North Country landmark and sample a holiday favorite, a tasty and potent creation called the "Tom and Jerry."  Go to full article
Fall view of the bridge taken by Photo of the Day contributor Patricia Lincourt, Wanakena.
Fall view of the bridge taken by Photo of the Day contributor Patricia Lincourt, Wanakena.

Very Special Place: Wanakena Foot Bridge

The largest suspension footbridge in the United States is located in a tiny Adirondack hamlet with just a half dozen year-round families. Located in southern St. Lawrence County, Wanakena is probably best known as the home of the New York State ranger School. But for many people it just isn't summer until they've walked the 171 feet from one end of the bridge to the other and dipped their toe in the Oswegatchie River. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Varrick Chittenden made several trips to the footbridge this past summer and talked with folks who have a soft spot for the bridge and the town. Varrick and Joel Hurd recently talked about the bridge and its importance, past and present, in the northwestern Adirondacks.  Go to full article

Very Special Place: Burrville Cider Mill

There are few seasonal flavors that are as strong on the senses as apples and apple cider. For months and months we settle for fruit imported from who-knows-where, until late summer, when local apples are ready for picking and pressing. For many decades, people in Jefferson County have known that the first turning of the leaves means that Burrville Cider Mill is running at full capacity, producing some of the tastiest cider in the region. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. A few weeks ago, Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited Burrville to learn more about cider, donuts and why many people think this oldest building in the county is haunted.  Go to full article
Above: the restored marquis, below: Reg Clark with the restored Palace organ
Above: the restored marquis, below: Reg Clark with the restored Palace organ

Very Special Place: Palace Theatre

The old main street theatre marquee is a fading sight on the American landscape. Lake Placid not only has a beautifully restored marquee, but the inside of the theatre has been restored with the same care and attention to detail, thanks to its owner of 46 years, Reg Clark. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Varick Chittenden and Joel Hurd talk about the Palace Theatre in Lake Placid and learn more about its history and one-of -a-kind organ.  Go to full article

Very Special Place: Dick?s Country Store and Music Oasis

The northern edge of Franklin and Clinton Counties is a guitar fan's paradise. Not only is Malone home to one of the world's best-known inlay artists, Dave Nichols, but Orville Gibson, founder of the Gibson Guitar Company, was born in Chateauguay and is buried in Malone. And a few miles east of Chateauguay on a quiet stretch of Route 11, is a store that attracts guitar players, hunters and passers-by whose cars, and stomachs, are running on empty. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. In the shadows of some newly-constructed wind turbines is Dick's Country Store and Music Oasis in Churubusco. Earlier this summer Varick Chittenden and Joel Hurd visited the store and learned why musicians and hunters travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to this North Country landmark.  Go to full article

Very Special Place: Clare & Carl's Hot Dog Stand

Many communities define themselves, at least somewhat, by their food traditions. Clinton County is no exception to this with it's take on the classic american chili dog called the Michigan. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at very special places in the North Country. While michigans are easy to find in and around Plattsburgh, many of the original establishments that have served michigans since the 1940s have gone away. But one place, Clare and Carls, is still going strong, selling hundreds of hot dogs a day for the few months it's open each year. Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited the restaurant to find out why it's so popular.  Go to full article

Very Special Place: Lloyd's of Lowville

The classic American diner is such a revered symbol that it's common to see new restaurants designed to look like old diners. But the personal service, fair prices, great desserts and relaxed, friendly atmosphere usually let you know that you're in a diner that's been around a while, and is an important part of the community. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited Lloyd's of Lowville earlier this year to find out why it's such an important part of Lewis County's largest town.  Go to full article
The Birdsfoot barn, above, and a sample of the garlic crop
The Birdsfoot barn, above, and a sample of the garlic crop

Very Special Place: Birdsfoot Farm

Mention communal living and it's easy to imagine the back-to-the-land movement of the late sixties and early seventies, which brought many people to the North Country for the first time. While many of these people have continued to call the region their home, many of the shared communities in which they lived have gone away. But for nearly thirty-five years, one North Country farm has continued to carry on the ideas on which it was founded. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Last month Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited Birdsfoot Farm in Canton to find out what it means to live in a common space with shared values and shared responsibilities.  Go to full article

Very Special Places: Donnelly?s Ice Cream Stand

The dairy farm-turned ice cream stand is a common sight in the Northeast. And for many people in the Adirondacks only one place will satisfy their ice cream cravings and that's Donnelly's. For over fifty years it has been a favorite summer gathering place in the tri-lakes region. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. For most of our features in this series Varick Chittenden and Joel Hurd visit a place, gather interviews and sound and head for home. But for Donnelly's they felt it was important to make several stops in the last few months just t make sure the ice cream is as good as everyone says it is. Here's what they found on this tough assignment.  Go to full article
Club members cook and serve traditional southern Italian meals. Below: Club members and their spouses pose for a group portrait at the Sons of Italy hall, ca. 1950s<br />Photos courtesy of TAUNY
Club members cook and serve traditional southern Italian meals. Below: Club members and their spouses pose for a group portrait at the Sons of Italy hall, ca. 1950s
Photos courtesy of TAUNY

Very Special Place: Italian American Club in Massena

There was a time when the industrial centers of the northeast were filled with social clubs for various communities. These were meeting places for men who flocked to these cities for the good-paying factory jobs that were available. There is no town in Northern New York where this was more true than in Massena, which used to have the most diverse population in the region. These days all of the social clubs that catered to these various communities have gone away, except for one. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. A few weeks ago, Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited the Italian American Club.  Go to full article

Very special place: Freeman?s Taffy Stand

The 187th Lewis County Fair starts today. There will be rides, concerts, a demolition derby, and of course, all types of food. Many of the food vendors will have portable facilities that set up for a few days and then move on to the next fair. But one local favorite has been selling its treats from the same building for over 100 years. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Last year, Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited the fair to learn more about Freeman's Taffy Stand.  Go to full article

Special Places Call-in

Host Martha Foley and Varick Chittenden of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York explore "Very Special Places," the cultural landmarks in the North Country. This summer during the Eight O'Clock Hour we've already visited a unique Lewis County church, an old department store in Croghan, a summer camp on Lake Champlain, a one-room school in Colton, an historic retreat cottage in the Thousand Islands, and a boatbuilder's shop Saranac Lake. We asked callers to tell us about their significant North Country places.  Go to full article

Very special place: Hanmer Boat Shop

The dying art of building a boat by hand is still being kept alive by a few talented craftsmen in the North Country. The Hanmer boat shop in Saranac Lake has changed hands twice in its nearly one-hundred-year history and is now called the Woodward Boat Shop, but it's mission remains the same: to build and restore the classic Adirondack guide boat. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Varick Chittenden has visited the boat shop on several occasions and he talked with Joel Hurd about the shop, and the importance of the Adirondack guide boat to the region's history.  Go to full article

Very Special Places: Vivekananda Cottage

Tucked away on Wellesley Island is the private community of Thousand Island Park with its collection of Victorian ginger-bread cottages. Originally a Methodist summer community, the colorful, well-maintained cottages, tabernacle and pavilion are a part of North Country history few people know about. One large cottage at the top of a hill has been associated with the Rama-Krishna sect of Hinduism since the celebrated Swami Vivekananda spent a summer here resting and lecturing a small group of followers in 1893. Since the 1940s it has been the site of an annual spiritual retreat. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited Vivekananda Cottage last year when the current swami was hosting over 100 devotees from around the world.  Go to full article
Photos: Martha Cooper. Below: "19th Century" students
Photos: Martha Cooper. Below: "19th Century" students

Very Special Place: Cooks Corners Schoolhouse

The one-room schoohouse used to be a common sight in the North Country. Before school centralization around 60 years ago, these schoolhouses could be seen every couple of miles, since most students had to walk to school. While many of these buildings are now gone or in disrepair, one schoolhouse in Pierrepont still serves the surrounding community. Today NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited the Cooks Corners Schoolhouse on a sunny June day when fourth graders from Colton-Pierrepont Central School were playing roles of students in the late 19th century.  Go to full article

Very Special Place: Marilley?s in Croghan

For many years in the small towns of the North Country, the general store was the center of activity. If you were looking for vinegar, horseshoe nails, a yard of gingham cloth of the latest news from around town, the general store was the place to go. Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in the North Country. Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visited E.M. Marilley's in Croghan, a place that endured long after the introduction of big box retailers, and claimed to be "dealers in nearly everything."  Go to full article
Camp Dudley waterfront. Photo: Martha Cooper.
Camp Dudley waterfront. Photo: Martha Cooper.

Registry of Very Special Places: Camp Dudley

Today, NCPR and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, continue our look at some very special places in Northern New York. It's the middle of June and the school year is about to end. And as kids begin to plan their summer activities, many will consider going to camp. The Adirondacks are full of camps for boys and girls that provide hiking, boating, swimming and new friendships that may last a lifetime. The oldest one in the U.S. is on the shores of Lake Champlain. Today, Joel Hurd and Varick Chittenden visit Camp Dudley in Westport.  Go to full article
Pine Grove Community Church, Watson NY. Below: interior
Pine Grove Community Church, Watson NY. Below: interior

Very Special Places: Lewis County

Every community in the North Country has places that local residents think of as landmarks. This morning, North Country Public Radio and TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, begin a series of features highlighting very special places in our region. Varick Chittenden and Joel Hurd have spent the last few months visiting these places and talking with members of the community who know them well. People have been visiting TAUNY's website to learn more about the project and to share their enthusiasm for a favorite site. Today we head to Lewis County to meet one such person who took us to several of her favorite places.  Go to full article

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Very Special Places: We partner with Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) to tour North Country landmarks whose historical, cultural and social significance help define North Country life. Joel Hurd and TAUNY's Varick Chittenden show us around.

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York

Slideshow of Very Special Places by photographer Martha Cooper from a 2002 TAUNY exhibit.