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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
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)
SLU student Adam Falcon died after a night of drinking in 2004 (Source: SLU website)

North Country colleges confront "gray zone" between alcohol and adulthood

Paul Smiths College has drawn criticism in recent weeks, following the alcohol-related deaths of two students in May. But academic and law enforcement officials across the region say the problem of underage drinking is complicated, with few easy answers. In the final part of our series on alcohol and campus safety, Brian Mann reports that the debate often winds up in a legal and ethical gray zone.  Go to full article

Over-21 students can be pipeline for campus alcohol abuse

This week, we're looking at the issue of drinking and safety on college campuses. Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne announced last week that criminal charges are still possible following the alcohol-related deaths of two students at Paul Smiths College. Champagne says state police are still investigating the drownings of 20 year-old Sean Cornell and 18 year-old Lee Walker. The students died when their canoes overturned on Lower St. Regis Lake last month as they returned from a party. State police said drinking alcohol contributed to their deaths. Champagne said they're looking into how Cornell, Walker and other underage students at the party obtained alcohol. Yesterday, Brian Mann reported on the controversy surrounding Paul Smiths College, where five young people have died in the last three years. Brian spoke with Paul Smiths President John Mills, who says the school is working hard to keep older students from supplying liquor to friends who are underage.  Go to full article

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