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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pure Americana

Friday, July 4th, at 11 a.m., be there or be square.  Take a time journey back to a simpler time and enjoy the historic Berlin 4th of July Parade.  This year's theme is "Imagine This!"  Click here for more parade information.

A quality parade like this doesn't just happen.  A lot of people put a tremendous amount of work into it.  Plus, there are considerable expenses.  Donations are needed.  Make your contribution payable to the Berlin July 4th Parade Committee and mail to July 4th Parade Committee, P.O. Box 66, Berlin, NY, 12022.

Video of the Red Caps marching band in the 2013 Berlin July 4th parade

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Garage by Amish Road Crew

Look familiar?  A sight not unlike the delivery, covered last November, in the post The Shed Man Delivers.  Only this time it was the Amish Road Crew, from New Holland, PA,  installing our new garage.  That's a serious flat-bed truck, not a buggy, and serious power tools were utilized (in addition to traditional hammers) throughout the project.

They arrived around 5:30 pm on Tuesday and the four crew members immediately went to work in an attempt to beat the forecast deluge on Wednesday afternoon.  Watching them in action is amazing -- they all know their roles.
Video of Amish Road Crew unloading
These guys weren't that big, but they were lean and strong.

 Video of the guys in action -- they move fast!

Yes, I asked if they were okay in my photographing this project.  The reply: "No problem!"  The fellow behind the window in this video, however, was a tad shy.

I struggled with the Pennsylvania Dutch English. I could handle "Oooh yaah, shay Jake, hey howa doo dee gables looook?" 

After several hours of evening work, this is how it looked and their off to the Grafton Inn Bed & Breakfast, which the guys later gave high grades for lodging and breakfast. They also gave two thumbs up to the Man of Kent for the burgers they feasted on for dinner and to Grafton's Town Store for the scruptious turkey foot-long subs I treated them to for lunch.

I spec'd the exact same Chateau Green roof shingles we had put on our house roof about a year ago.  They go well with the surrounding hemlocks.  I didn't intend to make this guy the star, but he was clearly the least shy of the four crew members.  I think he actually enjoyed being photographed.   He was also a good conversationalist over lunch and the only guy who correctly identified the junco who lives, along with her babies, in a nest in a hanging flower basket on our deck.


Unafraid of heights.  Slaps that automatic nailers around with conviction.

We elected to upgrade to permanent/rigid stairs versus the pull-down type. 

I'm six feet tall and I can stand up in the center of the the loft.  There's a window on each end for cross ventilation (ditto on the first floor).

The Amish Road crew did a nice job matching the forest green on the windows and doors to the door of our house, the gray walls to our gray deck.  Our house is sided with hand-split cedar shakes, so I had the Amish Road Crew leave the "triangle" section over the front overhead door with uncovered Tyvek.  To architecturally blend the garage in with our house, I will be putting up the cedar shakes myself.  Up until a year ago, Curtis Lumber carried them in stock.  Unfortunately, such is no longer the case.  They aren't locally available in Curtis, Lowes, or Home Depot.  I had to scour the Web and place an online order.  They ship from British Columba in a month.  I'll cover that in a post when completed.  I learned a lot about cedar shakes this week. I will also be lining up a local contractor for the electrical wiring.

The garage design is Behm "Craftsman Style 1-Car" (Behm Design 384-6).  I purchased this 384-6 design via Amazon because I could get it cheaper that way.  The siding on the garage is LP SmartSide Lap which is resistant to termite damage and fungal delay -- helpful here being on lake.

A job well done by the Amish Road Crew at a very affordable price.  A great bunch of extraordinarily polite and competent guys.  It took them a total of about 14 hours  (the last two in pouring rain) over two days to install the garage. They left the site cleaner than they found it -- not a single nail to be found on the ground!  I sent them each home to Pennsyvlania with a jug of local maple syrup,

Rolling back the camera....  The Amish Road Crew doesn't do the foundations for sites as far away as Grafton.

The foundation had been installed by D'Agostino Concrete (Troy/Brunswick) several weeks ago. The base beneath the foundation had been excavated and built up by Duane Goodermote Construction (Berlin).  Duane put the base down last November, so it had time to settle, though I noticed no settling whatsoever.  He did our mound septic system several years ago.  He also did the base for our shed and put down stone on our driveway.  Duane and Jarod, his able assistant, are definitely the "go to" guys for this kind of work.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hike to Berlin Mountain

Berlin Mountain, at 2,818 feet above sea level,  is the highest peak in the Taconic Mountain range and is the highest mountain in New York State not in the Catskills or Adirondacks.

From the intersection of Route 22 and Route 2 in Petersburgh, drive 5-1/2 miles east over the Taconic Trail to the large parking area on the right.  This is the same parking area used for the Hike to the Snow Hole.  The trail head is at the southwest corner of the parking area. -- see above.  There are other, unmarked trails with entrances off this parking area so be sure to go to this spot with the sign-in log and the blue Taconic Crest trail markers.

The trail is fairly well marked.  There's a somewhat steep climb right near the beginning.  The rest is moderate. The total distance, out and back, is 5.5 miles -- about a 3-1/2 hour hike.

Not too far in, you'll hit this "Y" that isn't marked well.  Bear left, else you head down to the west.

Much of the trail looks like this.

When you come to this "T," turn left.  

En route, a beautiful fern meadow.


ATVs are prohibited

ATV damage - proof that the Plateau's literacy rate has yet to reach 100%.
Click here for one reason not to invest in an ATV.
Click here for another.

Wildflower meadow

Approaching the peak

The peak!

Jiminy Peak in Hancock, Mass. is visible

Other Hikes
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails
The Long Pond Environmental Education Center
Hopkins Forest
Mattison Hollow
Mattison Hollow
Park-McCullough House and Trails
Merck Forest & Farmland Center
Robert Frost Stone House and Museum and Trail
RRR Brooks Trail
SVC Hikes

See also

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fitch Trail Hike

Fitch Trail is a nice easy to medium difficulty hike on Bee Hill Road in the Town of Williamstown, Massachusetts.  From the intersection of Route 22 and Route 2 in Petersburgh, drive 2.6 miles east over the Pass to Bee Hive Road, which will be on your left as you come down the Massachusetts side of the Pass.  Another .6 miles on Bee Hill Road (drive slow -- it's a rather narrow two-way dirt road).
The trail head parking area swings off to the left of Bee Hill Road.

The trail sign is right at the end of the parking area.

The trail is well-maintained, well-marked and soft to the feet.  It zigs and zaps to the crest of the mountain -- a steady, but enjoyable walk.

Many very old trees.

Thank you Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Papa Charlie's Deli

Papa Charlie's Deli - 28 Spring St., Williamstown, Mass.
I don't usually get too excited about a deli, but I make an exception for Papa Charlie's in Williamstown.  We stopped by there for lunch today and I was truly impressed. 

One of Three Such Sandwich Menus at Papa Charlie's
I went with the Stephen Collins -- turkey, sprouts, lettuce, rye, cucumber, tomatoes and Russian dressing.  I didn't regret it.  The sandwiches are large.  The bread fabulous. 

Booths inside, cafe tables outside
 I don't need much of an excuse to take a drive over the Pass to Williamstown.  Now I have one more reason to go there more often.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Mattison Hollow Hike

Mattison Hollow Hike Trail Head

I'm on vacation!  According to my weather station, the temperature reached a high of 78 degrees.  A perfect day for a hike.  Mattison Hollow, in Cherry Plains, leads to the Taconic Crest so... down Toad Point Road to Route 22.  Head down Route 22 to Cherry Plains, just south of the Berlin High School, and turn left on to Old New York 22/Cherry Plain Square.  Continue for .2 miles, then take a sharp left (jacknife turn) on to Mattison Hollow Road (bear left at the fork; the road to the right is George Hollow Road).  Continue on Mattison Hollow Road for .9 miles until you come to the bridge over the Kronk Brook pictured above and the trail head to your right.  Park on the left as pictured. below.

Mattison Hollow Trail Head Parking

Mattison Hollow Trail Head
 The sign at the trail head reads "Taconic Crest Trail."  You'll see why.

The start of the hike is a wonderful pine-matted trail.  It's like this for the first half of the hike -- or the entire hike if you elect only to go to the waterfalls.  Very easy on the feet for this portion.

This sign was taped to the trail head sign-in logbook.  Somebody crossed out 3.65 miles and replaced with 2.65 miles.  I also found another reference on the Web that this hike was 2.65 miles.  I believe, like the sign reads, it is 3.65 miles to the junction with Taconic Crest Trail.  It's about 2.65 miles to a creek/fjord crossing before the trail narrows and the upward slope increases from about 30 degrees to about 45 degrees as you ascend to the crest of the Taconic Mountain ridge.

 The trail is very well maintained.  There are a number of recent tree blow-downs from the rainy and windy spring, but most of them have been cleared from the trail.  Occasionally, there are boards as pictured above to get over wet areas.

Like the Hike to the Snow Hole, many sightings of white quartz rocks and outcroppings.

Cool discovery #1: Roughly halfway to the Taconic Crest, the Kronk Brook sports this gorgeous falls with two swimming holes.  I waded through the creek enough to know I wasn't going to do the polar bear act.

Cool discovery #2!  One side read "NY."  One side read "1898."

And the other side reads "MASS!"  At this point the trail crosses into Massachusetts.  The trail shows parallel burrows and it's clear that many years ago there was a road going through this wildnersness over the Taconic Crest to Massachusetts.  If you prefer real easy hikes, this is a good turnaround spot.  The trails soon narrows, there's a fjord to cross and the angle increases upward to a rather constant 45 degrees to reach the peak of the Taconic Crest.  But you've already had an excellent hike!

The trail dips down to a creek, you'll need to bop across, and then an upward, moist slope for a bit, replete with "Goosh-Bombs."

Attention Mom: Your Mother's Day helium balloon didn't quite make it over the Taconic Crest.  (Yes, I did stick it in my back pocket and carry it out for my good deed for the day.)

When things level off, you've come to a tee in the trail and you've reached a beautiful fern meadow, and see the sign above, you're at the end of the Mattison Hollow Trail and at the crest of the Taocnic Mountain range.

The Taconic Crest Trail continues north and south.

The fern meadow is a nice place to enjoy lunch before embarking on the 3.65 mile return journey.

On your return trip, when you get to the falls, there's a fork in the trail.  Be sure to take the left, trail-marked, trail.  (Note the DEC sign on the tree in the center of this fork will point to the left.)

The total round-trip took us about 3-1/2 hours.  A much shorter hike to the Kronk Brook falls is an option.  I photographed a good number of wildflowers during the hike that I will feature in future posts.

Other Hikes