Monday, December 15, 2008

On this "Spring-like" day...

Went hiking over the weekend thought I'd share some winter-"Christmasy" scenes I took...


Friday, December 12, 2008

On this Wintery Day...

Thought I'd share some summer with you on this blustery-wintery day! Enjoy!!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Utica, NY Skyline Photos

Love to walk around downtown Utica. Taking photos is much easier (if you don't want a lot of cars or pedestrians) on Sat. or Sunday early AM. Utica is virtually a ghost town then so it is a great time to photograph, sketch or just study interesting architecture.

UC Hockey For A Change of Pace

The die hard hockey enthusiasts have followed and loyally supported the Utica College Hockey team the last few years, because they play hard and fast hockey, and do it pretty well. Unlike, their professional predecessors they play and love hockey for no pay, so it is easier to keep a college team on the ice in Utica then the high overhead professional teams that gave it a go in the past.
The team was "in pink" as a boost for National Breast Cancer Awareness. Another example of how supportive the community is as over 3,800 fans showed up to support Breast Cancer Awareness and to see this duel with 5th ranked Elmira. Go check out a game and support Coach Heenan and Utica College hockey. You'll have a great time too!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Seeing the Mohawk Valley in Less than 24 Hours

I've had several requests from people coming from out of town on my recommendations of things to do and see in the area-specifically Utica. Below I pasted a copy of my e-mail with my 10 recommendations if you have only a day to sightsee. This is a winter list. If it was summer the list would be very different and I would always recommend you come back in the summer when there is much more to do outdoors, which is this areas strongpoint. The road into Roscoe Conkling Park is a seasonal road so I suggested to Dylan M., that if he wanted to see the view from "The Eagle" that he be in fairly good shape, and dressed warmly to make the ascent preferably from Master Garden Road on Oneida Street in Utica. If you are a jogger or x-country skier the ascent should be a fair to moderate difficulty run or ski. If you are in good to excellent condition, you can make the ascent by parking at the chalet parking lot and hiking up the ski hill if they are not open yet, or park at the entrance on the Parkway about a 1/2 mile up and hike up from there.

Hi Lori,
Thank you for your nice comments regarding my blog.
If you come back in summer (best time to sightsee) I'll point you to some of the well kept secrets you can only see on foot or bicycle.
I have a great bicycling map of historic sights/attractions in Utica if you would like a copy all I ask is you send a check for $2, or $2 worth of postage stamps for postage and handling to me at 4340 Middle Settlement Road, New Hartford, NY 13413 -no calls please. I also have mapped out trails of R. Conkling and New Hartford Town Park, Whitestown Town Park if anyone is interested...once again all I ask is the $2ea for the maps. Also, please allow several weeks to get any maps to you as this is not a business for me, just a love and a hobby.

1) Munson Williams Museum-Designed by Philip Johnson
2) Fountain Elms (right next door to Munson Williams) A late 1800's period home w/walking tours and decorated seasonally.
3) Take the brewery tour on Varick Street in Utica.
4) Have lunch at Fianchetto's (Italian) Varick Street or Gabriels Trattoria in New Hartford or Ancorra on Genesee St., Utica... Utica has some of the best Italian Restaurants, Pizzerias in the country.Grab a cannoli on Bleecker Street in Utica at Caruso's. Don't like Italian? let me know and I'll send you some other restaurant ideas- we have some very good small Viet, Thai, Polish, Bosnian and Japaneserestaurants.
5) Siesta?
6) Take a drive down Genesee Street until you hit New Hartford if you want to see a lot of interesting architecture without getting out of the car. When you hit Uptown (Uptown Theatre area) grab a cup of joe or tea at Cafe Domenico or drive 5 minutes further to New Hartford and get your brew at Angelica's Cup in downtown New Hartford. Get your GPS out if you want to see some of the more historic buildings like "Old Main" in West Utica, Union Station in Utica, the Stanley in Utica, St Johns Church in Utica, Presbyterian Church in Utica, Rutger Street historic mansions. Blink and you might drive by most of these.
7) Head out to the village of Clinton (10 minutes) and enjoy the charm of Christmas in a village where things look like they did 50 years ago and do some shopping in the little shops and boutiques there.If you have some daylight, drive up to Hamilton College (2 minutes from Village) and check out this historic and architecturally interesting ivy league campus.
8) If you want to explore some local history and have some extra time left, go to the Ft Stanwix Museum in Rome (20 minutes from Utica) there is a period fort w/ actors in period dress. Check the schedule for events through the holiday. There is an indoor museum that covers a lot of the Revolutionary War History of this area and the part it's people (including native Americans) played.
9) If you are in Rome go to the Savoy Restaurant for dinner.
10) Feel like a kid again...go sledding at the Parkway and bring the camera!!!

Final hint...if it's real cold when you come here, wear lots of layers-peel off as necessary

Have a great stay-tell your friends-come back again!


Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:34 PM Subject: Utica, NY

I found your blog just by doing a search on the internet.I'm going to Utica, NY for just a day over Xmas break to see a relative.I love your blog! If in Utica for only a day (one full day) what would you suggest doing? From the blog, the city looks so beautiful and totally my style. I'm going with my father and sister and my Dad is very into architecture and old industrial things. I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have.

Thank you for your time!
Lori, California

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Our Beautiful Valley

Our valley covers 5,882 square miles and stretches along the Mohawk River for almost a hundred miles connecting Utica and Rome to the west, Schenectady and Rotterdam to the East. It is a beautiful valley carved out by a melting glacier as it headed down towards the ocean.

My favorite photo shoots and places to visit of the valley, are in Roscoe Conkling Park in Utica. The proximity of the city, the park and the clear view it affords, expansive open green areas, and the closeness of the northern and southern rims of the valley make for most exceptional views. Having traveled around much of the US, I can say with much enthusiasm that this is truly a gem and a blessing to those fortunate enough to live here and enjoy its beauty.

If you've never been up there, go and go often, because it changes so dramatically from season to season, from morning to night. Sit on that strange chair next to the eagle some twilight and take a deep breath of crisp clean air and watch the sun come down. Be amazed at the colors and hues, be intrigued by the shadows and the lights of the city below turning on one by one. Check out the cars as they snake their way down the north side of the valley on Rt12, then walk out onto the open span of grass and watch as the stars and planets put on their own show. Cross country ski on freshly fallen snow, walk-bike or jog through the park and the new Switchback. Any time of the year, it's truly an amazing place!

Monday, December 01, 2008

TURKEY TROT...Another Example Of How Our People- Are Our Greatest Resource!

It was 23 degrees out but "partly cloudy" as I looked at the thermometer in my kitchen window early on Thanksgiving morning. There was still time to settle in with a nice hot cup of coffee and the OD, and talk myself out of gearing up and running in the ice cold annual "Turkey Trot", at the Parkway in Utica. I needed an emotional push if I was going to go, so I needed to find a running partner. My wife had just arose, and when I asked her she said matter of factly; "no way". My daughter still in bed just groaned and pulled the covers over her head when I asked her. As I considered whether to even ask my 11 year old son Nolan, I quietly tapped on his bedroom door. I was quickly and pleasantly shocked and jolted into running mode, when my son still half asleep in bed, answered my plea to go by jumping out of bed saying nothing but "sure!".

Nolan and I check-in at the Parkway chalet where they cheerfully accept our canned food donation, and then moved on to register and donate our $10 for the run for hunger. It's nice to see many friendly and familiar faces as we head out to the starting line on the Parkway. Some are runners you see in the Development Runs (another great event in the MV), some are business associates, neighbors, or people I have seen in passing through the years. As tough as times are lately it's exciting to see hundreds of people including my own son come out willing to help those in need. Thats what makes this area so special. People willing to come out to help those who are less fortunate early on a chilly holiday morning. The "Turkey Trot' is one of the less publicized examples of how giving this community is.

It turns out to be a tough first "turkey trot" run for Nolan, but Dad gets the opportunity to enjoy the comraderie with my son and other runners, the scenery, and even take a few pictures. All along the way many runners and volunteers urge us on and tell us what a great job we were doing! This seems to help chill Nolan out a little, as he gets a little grumpy and tired as we make the final ascent to the midway point (the Eagle). After making the loop at the Eagle, the course is all downhill and the run becomes a little easier for Nolan. As we move down the hill, Nolan moves at a steady pace and even saves a little for the last 20-30 yards and makes a fast dash to beat Dad.

Thanksgiving morning it was a pleasure to share the road with not only my son Nolan, but hundreds of fellow runners who got up early to run and share a cold Thanksgiving morning, and better yet, donated canned food and $5 each to the hungry and needy of the Mohawk Valley. If our leaders could learn to tap our most valuable resource (our people) our problems would be fewer I'm sure.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Root Glen In Spring

November is always a tough dreary month for Upstaters to get through. The first snows, the dead leaves and browning grasses, daylight savings time, brown and gray, anticipation of the holidays and on and on....that's why in November there is no better time to reflect on and relive those special moments and places we savor and enjoyed as residents of the Mohawk Valley in Upstate NY. That is most likely why the Thanksgiving holiday takes place when it does. So this Thanksgiving holiday reflect and be grateful for all that makes our home in the Mohawk Valley so special and good, and be thankful that God gives us this moment every year when we can take time to savor all of the bounty we have enjoyed. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Where it all started...Where it all begins again...

It is mid morning in Utica as I drive down Main Street past Union Station and the Children's Museum. I park my car in front of the wrought iron fence and gate that leads to Baggs Tavern.
There is absolutely no one around as I enter the grassy area in front of the tavern, there is no traffic either, because the road dead ends on the the other side of Genesee street which ramps over Main street and blocks from view this important historical site. As the cars overhead roar on the ramp above, I reflect on how cities like Utica and towns like New Hartford decided to erase the past through urban renewal programs in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Or in the case of Baggs Tavern, stick it and historic Union station on some backward forgotten road. A road that used to be Main Street. A busy Main Street that was the lifleblood of the city until a bridge was "gashed" over it, and numerous historic buildings and neighborhoods were destroyed in the process.
In 1798 "old Fort Schuyler" was incorporated as the village of Utica after Erastus Clark wrote the name "Utica" an ancient Carthaginian port on a piece of paper in a name selection process for the village. The village of Utica had roughly 50 homes then and would soon grow dramatically when the Erie Canal was started in 1817 and Utica became a port city to the development of the west.
This area I am standing in now was a hub and central point for well over a 150 years until the bridge was built.
In any proposal to try and bring back life to the Mohawk Valley, the place where it all started, should be part of any redevelopment. This area is rich in heritage and history, and residents, visitors and newcomers to the area, need to have access to learn about it. The effort to restore Rutger street is an example of the right kind of renewal this area needs to do to. Addressing this gash across Utica is an even more important one to address before more Mohawk Valley history and culture deteriorates even more, and important buildings are demolished. This area in a successful rebuilding of Utica, will be an important tie in with Harbor Point and downtown Utica.
Much thought needs to go into how to go about it including possible taking down the bridge/ramp and making Genesee Street level right into North Utica.
As I get in my car, I drive past Jeffrey Hardware. It is closed now, and becomes one more liability and hurdle for the City of Utica to overcome. Route 5S has a steady stream of traffic as I head back towards the turn-off for New Hartford. As I head up the arterial towards New Hartford, I think to myself that this area really has a lot to work with, it just needs a little common sense and planning, and maybe then people can get excited again about the area, and get behind efforts to intiate the change. Then politicians will have no choice but to come along for the ride or get off.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Root Glen

This is truly a garden get away. It is usually quiet, and I have seldom visited here when it was over run with visitors. It gets busy when there is an alumni or parents weekend at Hamilton College, but otherwise you generally have the run of the place. This is also an excellent spot for taking wedding photos if you are looking for a spot. There are some neat bridges at the bottom and beautiful 3 season flower gardens on the side of the Glen. Root Glen has many unusual species of flowers, plants and trees as well as a flowing brook at the bottom that you can sit on a bench next to, contemplate life, get back to nature and be back to the city in less than 10 minutes.

Your dog is welcome as long as they are leashed and my children have always enjoyed walking through the glen and posing next to unusual species of plant, or hiding in the recess of a tree.
It's worth a trip or two and who knows, you might find yourself a favorite spot at the Glen and become a frequent visitor.

There is a map on Hamiton College's website.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Takin in the "Cuse"

I know they're not in the good ol Mohawk Valley, but if you take in the games at the dome, it sure makes living here special. On a good day or night I can usually make it to the dome in less than an hour and see a great basketball, or a so-so football game. If you've never gone, try it! Bring some friends and family along and make it a real special outing.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Faxton Canal, Utica NY

I still love to walk around this area, because of the interesting people and buildings that have so much character, unlike my neighborhood in Whitesboro. If you're lucky you can even get a photo like this one (above) that shows how beautiful this area can be with it's historic buildings and beautiful color and scenery. It is there, you just have to get out of your car and walk around now and then to find it. Or better yet ride a bike. Be on the safe side though and be careful after dark, if you are not familiar with this area. Unfortunately, there are areas here, I would say are quite dangerous at night.

Photo was taken just after a wicked thunderstorm, and then the skies cleared just in time for a gorgeous sunset over the Presbyterian Church in Utica. The streetlights came on which added to the illusion of Faxton Street looking like a river or canal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What do the Alamo and Oriskany Have In Common?

When I was in San Antonio recently I could not help but wonder as I looked around at the hundreds of visitors and rooted around the gift stores, how different this historic battle site was from the Battle of Oriskany site I wrote about not too long ago in this blog. The difference was quite striking because at the Oriskany site there was no one there. Here thousands visited daily from all over the world, spending millions of dollars a year in the local economy. Nearby, the riverwalk hosted several conventions at the hotels there and thousands of tourists and locals enjoyed dining along the canal at dozens of small restaurants and shopping the little boutique stores, while others walked, jogged or rode small boats on the canal.

Not to downplay what happened at the Alamo as a few hundred men fought heroically and died here. It seems most of us know something about the history of the Alamo, yet ask even locals here about the Battle of Oriskany, and few can give any details. Ask someone say from San Antonio about Oriskany, and they will give you the most quizzical look you ever saw. One older man I spoke with who was a WW2 veteran, asked if that was what the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany was named after. He was the only one of a dozen people I spoke with that was even

close. I was able to get them on the right trackonly by mentioning the movie "Drums Along the Mohawk".

I won't go into the details of the battle only that the Americans and Oneidas suffered over 450 casualties and this was one of the bloodiest battles in the American Revolution and an important and significant battle in the Saratoga Campaign. Yet, very few Americans even know about the battle much less any details.

I went to school in Texas for four years, and there is a pride and community spirit there you don't find around here. They teach Texas history first and foremost, and the Alamo is the symbolic "brand" of Texas. When a Texan has to leave, they most always think that they are leaving temporarily, and will return as soon as possible. And when they talk about the the heroic exploits of Texans, including the fallen at the Alamo, they talk with pride and enthusiasm about the importance of what happened at the Alamo and it's impact on shaping Texas.

I guess what it comes down to is Texans are just better marketers than we are here in Upstate New York. They love their state and love to talk about the exploits of their heroes. New Yorkers need to learn to start doing the same. It's that simple. We have much to love and be proud of, and much to share with not only other Americans, but the whole world. So, learn and love local history, and then advertise and help brand the Mohawk Valley.
The Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of Oriskany were both horrific and terrible battles that were symbolic and important turning points in American history, and that much we have in common with our Texas counterparts. Last week I visited Oriskany and there was one car there.
I reflected on the striking contrast with the bustling Alamo and I decided like our forefathers did, that here lied the fate of our community, our state and our country.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Grace Church A Downtown Utica landmark, Utica, NY

Built around 1860 with money donated by prominent Utican Alfred Munson, Grace Church stands as a testament of the proud and prosperous past of Utica. Designed by architect
Richard Upjohn this building is a must see for those interested in historical architecture. The interior is a little dark but beautifully crafted. And if you can go when the organ and the music are playing it is really quite remarkable.
If you're hungry, nearby restaurants like the Court-Vue on Elizabeth Street,
Pho Mekong on John Street, Grimaldi's on Bleecker Street, Geisha 2 are a few of my favorite eateries nearby. Get a canoli at Caruso's Pastry Shop on Bleecker Street afterwards and you're good for another hour of hiking around downtown.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Local Jewel, Stanley Theater, Utica, NY

For those who haven't driven through downtown Utica recently, you'll notice the Stanley looks
quite different from the above photo I took a few years ago before the rennovations began.
We are indeed fortunate to have such dedicated people in this community who realized the value of this landmark building and lovingly restored not only the inside but the outside as well.
Most recently they finally installed a massive chandelier made by Utica company Meyda, and expanded the stage area to accomodate the full sets of Broadway shows. Although I am sentimental about the way the Stanley used to look, I am quite pleased with the work done
on this wonderful facility. Take a look next time, or better yet catch a show!
If you have an appetite after a show, there's not too much open after 7 or 8 in downtown Utica. If you head north on Genesee street you will probably find Babe's Macaroni Grill and Delmonico's Steakhouse open and serving pretty good fare. The 258 Steak house is supposed to reopen soon
which is right next door to the Stanley. I've only had lunch at the Hotel Utica and it was good but seemed a little pricey.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Utica Lunatic Asylum, Utica, NY

After reading about the historic homes in Rutger Park it got me thinking about the Utica Psychiatric Center Building aka NYS Lunatic Asylum, Utica State Hospital. If you are looking for an interesting way to spend a few moments, bring along a camera and be prepared to be
amazed at how magnificent this structure truly is as you walk around it. If you're into architecture Utica Psych. built in 1814 this is listed in the National Historic Register as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival Architecture. There is quite a bit of info out there if you do a Google search. Occasionally, they have walking tours in conjunction with Utica Monday Night.
Anyway, hopefully this site will be given some much needed attention, focus and dollars as it is such a wonderful opportunity for this area especially with the adjacent acreage that NYS owns
along with the property.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Poltergeist 3 in New Hartford, NY?

The skeletons not in the closet at least in New Hartford. Stop the next time your in New Hartford if you have a moment. In front of the high school on Oxford rd
you'll find markers on the spot
of one of the first graveyards in the Mohawk Valley with the remains of many of the original settlers. Many of the names you'll see on street signs in South Utica (originally part of New Hartford) and in New Hartford. The story goes that in 1953 the powers to be decided that
to build the school on the location of the former cemetery, they would dig up all the graves
and place the remains in the spot now marked by the 2nd monument above. The names above were taken from the grave stones and is probably not an accurate reflection of the number of
bodies that were removed and placed in the mass grave. It was not unusual back then to place graves one on top of another and there could have been several sets of bones in one grave site.
Further poor people or criminals were often buried without markers or buried on top of a freshly buried wealthier person. How many skeletons are buried there??? No one knows for sure.
Anyway, there is more information at the historical society in New Hartford if you're interested in additional details contact them at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Uptown Utica, NY "Change For Better or Worse"

White Tower, Utica, NY (torn down mid-late 90's)

Walking around the Uptown area recently, I couldn't help but notice the way new businesses like Price Chopper and the hodgepodge of drug/convenience stores have "shoe horned" themselves into their locations. Little thought is placed on trying to retain the character and quaintness of the community, unless the community has the foresight and stringent controls to maintain them. We moved to Emerson Ave when I was a kid in the the 70's , and remember many of the small businesses that were local institutions then. Few of these businesses survive today. This seems all too typical in not just Utica but surrounding communities as well. Local government seems to sell out and give in all too quickly to attract a tax paying business without concern for maintaining the character, history and charm of an area. Planning is an afterthought.
The things that make an area special are often the first things given up when things get tough and the lure of immediate tax revenue outweighs long term planning and development.
Although Uptown South Utica will probably never be remembered for its landmark historic buildings, it nevertheless is remembered for the businesses that shaped this area for many years, and became landmarks for area residents as Utica annexed this area from New Hartford and grew in the early 1900's. Businesses like Dan Dee Donuts, Hemstoughts, Dave Hayes, Brian Barr, Uptown Theatre, Jean's Beans, Uptown Grill, White Tower, Last Unicorn and so many more, are names that most Uticans over 30 easily remember and can recount their own favorable experiences there. I doubt that many people years from now will reminisce about going to the Chopper or Rite Aid. My own great grand father even had a butcher business in between where the China Wok and Uptown Liquors is now sometime around the 1920-30's (if any body has anything they can share w/me about him..would appreciate it) .
I walk past a quaint aromatic coffee shop with tables in front of it. This is where the Village Toy Shop used to be I think to myself as I look across Genesee Street and see that the Uptown Theatre across the street seems to be holding it's own. I jump into my car and as I drive off, I look at a couple sitting at one of the tables in front of the coffee shop, and I think that this is what Utica needs to plan around, and encourage more of.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Mohawk Valley Ghosts

Take a walk through the Cemeteries in Utica and you can see many of the final resting places of the people who built this community and the remembrances chosen to memorialize them.

In Old/New Forest you find military heros, politicians, business people who all helped to shape the Mohawk Valley in the first 100-150 years. Some of the statues are grandiose and inspiring

like the Justus Rathbone-Knights of Pythias Memorial . Others are simple and difficult to find like Mother Lavendar's site, which sits about a hundred yards or so to the left of the Rathbone statue. In Old Forest many of the ornate Victorian chairs and trappings are damaged or gone but you can still almost see the ducks and swans on the ponds as the women with hooped skirts escorted by their men strolled through the parks on Sunday after church to enjoy the scenery and reflect on the departed buried there. Back then I understand that was a common place to spend the an afternoon in the park-like beauty and serenity the cemetery offered visitors then. Walk around and feel like you've stepped back in time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Get up early some morning and watch the sunrise on the Utica Marsh and hopefully if your
careful and quiet you'll enjoy seeing lots of interesting (mostly ducks, birds) wildlife.
This blue heron was doing some early morning fishing as I hid nearby. To get there
turn off Oriskany Blvd onto Barnes Ave and go all the way to the end down a little hill to the right. After be sure to stop-by Holland farms to get the best jelly buns in town and a pretty good cup of coffee too. After you'll definitely have to do some more exploring to work off the calories!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Panther Mountain, Adirondack Park

If you get bored with the Mohawk Valley, one of the great things about living here is our proximity to the Adirondack Park. It's a well kept secret it seems as on most of my hikes or canoe trips, I rarely see anyone else. This view on the top of the south side or the overlook( accessible on Piseco Lake Road off rt8) of Panther Mountain is stunning and worth the hike. Although logging cleared out most of the old growth forest here, you can still find a remnants of ancient hemlocks tucked away in some hard to get to areas. On one trip up, there were many trout in the stream, and overhead a couple of turkey vultures flew overhead.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Uticas Val Bialas Parkway Ski Hill

I've always thought they should open this ski lift in the summer so people (tourists and locals)
can enjoy this view. Plant tulips on the ski hill too to create a showy burst of color in the spring. And reopen the back entrance to the zoo so they could stop in if they wanted at the same time. Connect some running trails from the "Switchback" and you would see a whole
lot of good things start happening up there! Take this one step further and put concessions and small boutique type businesses in the chalet area. Really a lot of possibilities with this great asset!!! If nothing less show your stamina and hike up the hill ( take the 1st hill to the left-facing up as it is a less strenuous climb) the shorter hill to the right is climable if you are in good shape and the ground is dry. Enjoy the view!
Pat Huther

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

An Evening Ride Through East Utica

The daylight was waning as I pushed down hard on my ten speeds pedals and powered the bike up Bleecker Street towards the Parkway. The aroma of tomato sauce wafts out the windows and vents of the large two family homes and Italian restaurants that dot this area of Utica. I hear a loud conversation from an apartment above, I look up at the porch of one of these homes and meet the eyes of an elderly man with a white tank top t-shirt sitting there watching me go by. The talking fades, drowned out by a truck going by. Bleecker Street is busy with people and is vibrant because it is home to many colorful, mostly Italian-American small businesses. The many interesting people, smells, sounds, scenarios and landmarks always make this an interesting part of my bike rides. AsI look at the window of a furniture store with ornate satiny furniture in the window, I watch my blurry reflection as it passes quickly by and is cut-off by two middle aged Italian men who don't even look up as I pass. One is looking down with hands in his pockets as the other man animatedly talks with his hands and is consumed with making his point.
Driving by on my bike at 15 to 20 mph, much of what I see is a fragment and a blur. An abstraction of all my senses. As an outsider I can never know the intimacy of this special place
that was East Utica in 1975. Many of the special people, places and things that made Utica special then are gone, however the solidarity and sense of community that made Utica strong and
vibrant, lingers now through the families that lived and loved that intimacy, and still reside here or hope to return.
Pat Huther

Monday, March 17, 2008

Battle of Oriskany Monument - An American Jewel

We often take for granted all that was done by those before us, and especially those 800 men who took up arms, left their families and livelihoods to battle invaders and neighbors, to what end? The patriot force would suffer 450 casualties including the loss of General Herkimer, making it one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution. There were few families in the Mohawk Valley who had not lost a relative or two or three in this bloody civil battle (loyalist against patriots). It was an overwhelming loss for the small community of settlers in the Mohawk Valley.

As I was traveling to Rome one Saturday morning last autumn to make a delivery, I realized I was near the Oriskany Battlefield Monument and decided to take a moment to stop and maybe take a photo. The gate was closed, but I stepped onto the green as the sun was rising over the
eastern edge of the Mohawk Valley. The fall foliage was a magnificent backdrop to the monument which pays tribute to General Herkimer and the milita and Oneida Indians who answered the call of freedom. This is definitely one of those "jewels" of not only the Mohawk Valley, but the whole United States. One that more people in the Mohawk Valley need to know more about. Excuse me... all Americans should know about.

Sorry for the lapse in this blog, I've been kind of focusing on my graphics blog lately and

haven't done too many of my newsletters which are the basis of my blog posts for "Still Alive"

Thanks-Pat Huther