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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

That Reddish Glow in the Sky...

Sustainable Aquafarm Facilty (SAFE) - Berlin, NY 
Driving back from the Williams College hockey game Sunday, we noticed a reddish glow in the night sky off in the distance as we crossed the Petersburgh Pass. We tracked it down to the SAFE (Sustainable Aquafarm Facility) plant in Berlin. The LED (light emitting diodes) greenhouse grow lights focus on a spectrum that promotes optimum growth.
The facility, at the site of the former Seagroatt Roses property, just north of the village of Berlin, produces hydroponic lettuce and, I understand, eventually fish and caviar. The annual production of heads of lettuce at this plant is expected to be in the millions.
The following clip is from the Lemnis Oreon B.V. website page on case studies of their grow lights. Oreon is a Dutch company that manufactures the LED grow lights. I must say, until reading this, I didn't realize Berlin, New York was a "federal state.":
"In the federal state Berlin (New York, USA) a renewed greenhouse (where various types of lettuce is grown) is fully installed with a LED lighting system of Lemnis Oreon. In the last weeks of 2016 the lettuce was planted in the 1,5ha greenhouse. From the 2nd week of 2017 all LED lamps are fully operational, this means 16 hours per day. The cultivation system is provided by Dry Hydroponics, PB Techniek has taken the entire installation on its behalf.
The greenhouse in installed with 150 uMol/m2. With this lighting system, the grower can get in winter almost the same production as in the summer period. In addition, the selected spectrum contributes to a perfect quality of the crop with a beautiful color.

The growers have chosen the Oreon Grow Lights because of the efficient water cooling concept. This water cooling concept ensures that the LEDs remain optimally cooled, which is the best guarantee for trouble-free growing for many years. The high quality standard of the lamp also contributes to this. Additionally, the grower has full control over the thermal energy of the lamps, which ensures a more optimal growing climate with a energy conscious cultivation."

Click here for a February Eastwick Press article Aquafarm in Berlin is now in Production.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Williams College Division III Hockey

Williams College Ephs
We drove over the Petersburgh Pass yesterday to watch the Williams College Ephs (2-0) defeat the Colby College Mules (1-1) in men's Division III hockey. Great game and experience: 1) Good hockey, 2) No admission, 3) Non-commercial, 4) Cool retro uniforms, 5) Always fun to go to Williamstown. They made me a fan.
What are the "Ephs" (pronounced "Eefs")? Named after Ephraim Williams, "whose will and determination led to the founding of the college."
Last week, we went to the college and saw Blue Heron, a Boston-based professional vocal ensemble, perform 15th-century English and Franco-Flemish polyphony to a well-attended, 3/4 full Chapin Hall auditorium. Yesterday's hockey game at the Lansing Chapman Rink, as you can see from the photos, was sparsely attended. The College hosts many interesting events open to the community. I've bookmarked the Events page and now check it daily.

Click here to access the Williams College Events Webpage.
Click here to access the Williams College Men's Hockey Webpage.
Click here to access the Williams College Women's Hockey Webpage

Elphs vs Mules at Lansing Chapman Rink
Video Clip: Williams College Ephs vs Colby College Mules

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Merck Forest & Farmland Center

Several days ago, we drove 50 miles northeast to Merck Forest and Farmland Center in Rupert, Vermont. Merck is a non-profit organizaton encompassing 3,162 acres with 30+ miles of trails. A beautiful farm and forest on an A+ Fall day. We drove up New York's eastern border via Route 22 and returned via Vermont's western border through Dorset (really cool village!) and Manchester (home of Northshire Books, the best independent bookstore!) then down scenic Route 7A through Arlington and past the Robert Frost Stone House in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

Click here for a map of the trails.

Click here for a description of the trails.

Pixie in a tree

Stunning vistas

Those are American Chesnut seedlings -- bringing a threatened American treasure back from the brink.

See also
Berlin Mountain Hike
Fitch Trail Hike
Grafton Lakes State Park Hiking Trails
Grafton Lakes State Park Trails

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Earlier this year, I posted (click here) about the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail, an 11.2 mile, 10-foot wide beautifully paved bike trail that runs from Adams, Massachusetts to Lanesborough, Massachusetts. At that time, we had taken the trail from the norther tip in Adams down to Cheshire. Yesterday, we returned and rode from the southern tip in Lanesborough up to Cheshire. This is a beautiful bike trail, and I strongly recommend it.

Directions to the parking areas

Southern tip (Lanesborough): To reach the Berkshire Mall trailhead, take the Massachusetts Turnpike/Interstate 90 to Exit 2 in Lee, then follow US 20 west to US 7 north for 11 miles to downtown Pittsfield. From the Park Square rotary, follow East Street/Merrill Road for 3.25 miles to the intersection of State Routes 9 and 8. Continue straight through the intersection on SR 8 north for 1.5 miles to the Lanesborough–Pittsfield line. Turn left at the light for rail-trail parking at the Berkshire Mall.

Northeren tip (Adams): To reach the northern trailhead from North Adams, take SR 2 to SR 8 south for 5.5 miles to Adams. Follow the brown Ashuwillticook Rail-Trail signs. Take a left on Hoosac Street then an immediate right on Depot Street. Park at the Discover the Berkshires Visitor Center on the left. The trailhead is behind the visitor center.

Cheshire Reservoir

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site

Coolidge Homestead Visitor's Center
Last week, we visited the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. Coolidge, the 30th President, didn't knock the socks off the Presidency, but he was a good, humble man who never betrayed his rural Vermont roots. The site is less than a two-hour drive northeast of the Plateau.

Wilder Horse Barn
Plymouth Notch, Vermont, is the birthplace and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge. 

Inside the barn -- lots of interesting farm implements.

Always remember, to enlarge photos on this blog, simply click  on them.

Post Office and Country Store
The village is virtually unchanged since the early 20th century.

I learned somethere here: snow was rolled and compacted, not plowed, back then.

Wilder House, now a cafe.

Coolidge Homestead

Union Christian Church

The flag marks Cal's pew.

Coolidge's father started this cheeese company here. They still make cheese her and are open for business.

Birthplace of our Nation's 30th President

No, that's not Donald Trump -- it's the 30th President, Calvin Coolidge.

Coolidge loved Vermont.

Silent Cal's simple, yet elegant, gravestone in Plymouth Notch. We could use some of his humbleness and restraint in the Office of the Presidency today.

We then took a scenic 20-minute drive to Woodstock, Vermont. Like all of Vermont, take your pick of wonderful inns and Bed and Breakfasts.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Hildene - the front of the house.
We took the one hour drive north to Manchester on a beautiful afternoon to visit Hildene, the Georgian revival 24-room summer home of Abe's son, Robert Lincoln. While stately, I didn't find the house all that liveable. I felt just the opposite about Naumkeag, the Choate house in Stockbridge we had visited several days before. Yet, the grounds -- all 412 acres -- of Hildene are the most beautiful of any home like this I've ever seen, with mountains to the east and west and spectacular landscaping. It's certainly a visit worth taking.

The Library at Hildene -- always my favorite room.
Every Renaissance Man has their own observatory.

The Pullman car exhibit. In addition to serving as Secretary of War under two Presidents, Robert Lincoln served as President of the Pullman Corporation -- the largest manufacturing company in the country at the time.

Hildene - the back of the house.
Robert Lincoln died at the home in 1926 and his granddaughter Peggy was the last family member to live there up to 1975.

Friday, September 22, 2017


On one of this week's beautiful afternoons, we took the hour drive to Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Massachusetts -- fabulous 1885 house and gardens. Tours are provided on the half hour and are quite good.

Naumkeag was the summer retreat for New York City lawyer and diplomat Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917) .

The mansion has 44 rooms. My favorite, as usual, is the library. The interiors were left intact giving visitors the opportunity to experience the house as the Choates and their guests did.

Gardens everywhere on the property.

A masterpiece designed by McKim, Mead & White, one of the most prominent architectural firms of the time.

Naumkeag recently joined the North America Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association, so if you have a membership through your local museum, there is no admission charge. Click here for directions.