Essex is Buzzing with Activity

Historic Essex on Lake Champlain has welcomed a number of new businesses, rebounding positively from record high water this spring. In fact, the community is not just ready to welcome visitors for the summer – it is veritably BUZZING with activity. via (Lake Placid, NY)

The good folks at Adirondack regional tourism revisited their Essex story now that summer in Essex is in full swing. In the weeks in between the new businesses, the buzzing activity and enthusiasm has ripened into nothing short of an Essex renaissance. I’ve heard this reference at least a half dozen times this weekend alone! There’s a zeitgeist, a collective optimism and vision of community revitalization that has buoyed our community ever since we triumphed over Lake Champlain’s flood waters.

Welcome one and all to Essex on Lake Champlain, our fair hamlet buzzing with activity. And thank you to the countless energies who are making this dream come true. Thank you to the business owners who’ve invested their treasure, time and dreams in the future of Essex. Thank you to the hard working employees hustle and smile and create the magical lifestyle that beguiles residents and visitors alike. Thank you to everyone who has enjoyed, encouraged and shared the bounty of gifts on offer in Essex. And thank you to all who have celebrated and broadcast the exciting story of an Essex renaissance.

Here’s to a spectacular August!

Saturday Morning Stencil

Saturday Morning Stencil, Essex, NY, July 23, 2011 (photo by virtualDavis)

Saturday Morning Stencil, Essex, NY, July 23, 2011 (photo by virtualDavis)

Almost twenty four hours later, Sunday morning, the heat wave has abated. Slightly. And yet looking at this snapshot I captured on my phone yesterday instantly summons the sweaty flush I felt riding my bike to breakfast at Essex Provisions.

These fellows were already up and hard at work. I suppose Saturday morning is as good a time as any to paint new lines and handicap parking designations onto the newly laid, still warm tarmac. Unless you’ve been sweating in the heat all week! But no complaints from this hardworking crew hustling to get the job done so that you can enjoy the Essex renaissance! ūüėČ

How would you describe Essex, NY?

How would you describe Essex, NY?

How would you describe Essex, NY? What words or images would you choose?

It’s the final countdown to one of the biggest days of the year in Essex, New York, and I’m wondering what words or images would you use to describe or characterize our fair village on Lake Champlain.

View of Essex, NY photographed by John Bingham

View of Main Street in Essex, New York (photo credit: John Bingham)

The Essex on Lake Champlain word cloud above was created with¬†Wordle, a free online “toy” that generates text graphics from websites or specific text that you provide. According to the creative folks at Wordle their program gives “greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.”

So what can we learn from this word cloud? Community is BIG in Essex! Parade and church are biggies too, though our upcoming 4th of July in Essex celebration is partly responsible for that. With about three dozen posts on our new site, this word cloud will certainly evolve in the months and years ahead. And season to season it will be fun to see what changes.

View of Essex, NY (photo credit: John Bingham)

View of Essex Town Hall in Essex, New York (photo credit: John Bingham)

But enough words. What about images? We all know how many words a picture is worth, right? So I would like to challenge you to “describe” Essex in photographs, drawings and any other sort of image which inspires you. Submit your images (and/or words, if you prefer) including your name to the Essex on Lake Champlain Facebook page.

The two evocative photographs in this post were submitted by Essex resident, John Bingham. (Thanks, John. Great photos!) Do they capture your Essex? What’s your perspective? Share the Essex you know and love!

Carol Williams Organ Concert, July 1

Carol Williams, Organist

Carol Williams, Organist

Carol Williams, Organ Concert
Friday, July 1 at 7:00pm
Essex Community Church

Carol’s performance of patriotic songs commemorating the founding of our nation will begin at 7:00 PM and be followed, after a brief reception, by the Town of Essex fireworks display that can be viewed from nearby Beggs Point Park, a short walk from the Community Church. The fireworks display, one of the best in the North Country, will begin at about 9:15 PM. (via Essex Community Concerts.)

Essex Community Church

Essex Community Church in Essex, NY

Essex Community Church in Essex, NY

Essex Community Church
2743 NYS Route 22
Essex,NY 12936-0125
Pastor: John Hunn
Services: 10:15 am
Sunday school: 10:30 AM
Phone: 518-963-7766

St. John’s Episcopal Church

St. John's Episcopal Church in Essex, NY

St. John's Episcopal Church in Essex, New York

“St. John’s began with occasional services in the home of Judge Ross (on the hill above the present church) led by a priest from Keeseville in 1849. Incorporated in 1853 as part of the diocese of New York, the congregation moved into its present building in 1881. The church was the remodeled private school house built by Judge Ross in 1835. It had been built with the idea it would eventually become an Episcopal church… Although occasional Episcopal services were held in Essex as early as 1800, it was not until 1849, when Essex’ population had risen to over 2,000, that there was worship here on a regular basis.” (via

St. John’s Episcopal Church
PO Box 262
4 Church Street
Essex, NY 12936

Forty Attend Live Well Yoga in First Week

Live Well in Essex, NYFirst week of Yoga at Live Well (the new Wellness Center in Essex offering Massage, Physical Therapy, Tai Chi, Yoga & More!) 40 people came to breathe, stretch and relax!  Hope to see you there this summer!

Provisions and Paparazzi in Essex, NY

Diane Purdy at Essex Provisions in Essex, NY

Diane Purdy at Essex Provisions in Essex, NY

“Essex is alive with both new and well-established businesses, opening up, dusting off and getting ready for the season…” So opens Sue Cameron’s “Provisions and Papparazzi” post on on June 14. Essex is alive! It’s incredible how much is going on in Essex these last couple of weeks. Essex businesses have proven that even a record breaking flood can’t drown the Essex spirit. Residents, businesses and friends of both are pulling together for what is shaping up to be the best summer in decades.

Stephanie Wilber at Essex Provisions

Stephanie Wilber at Essex Provisions

Cameron headed over to Essex for visit to the newly opened Essex Provisions.

We located Essex Provisions next to the Essex Marina entrance. It’s a great location overlooking the piers and the old tin roofs of the marina complex! It made me feel like I was at Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey! Upon entering the freshly painted and artfully decorated store, you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere with a beautiful display of provisions (of course) and more. Stephanie Wilber and Diane Purdy, proprietors, are well-known in the business, having owned Keene Valley Marketplace for a number of years prior to selling it a couple of years ago. A big ol’ soup kettle invites you to self serve, which we did. It was a good soup day. Phenomenal is the best word for the very hearty chicken and vegetable soup, so chock full it was almost like stew. We sat eating our soup on the back deck overlooking the lake, festooned with wind chimes made from old silver flatware and took in the view of the Green Mountains of Vermont far in the distance… (via

Cameron’s must-read review of Essex Provisions will trigger your belly rumbling, so best not to read it at the library. She tours the delectables and the colossal farm fresh eggs from Libby and George Pataki’s South Farm even make a cameo which inevitably leads to the paparazzi… Read the full review!

Longtime Residents Recall Essex Inn Years Ago

Karen and Rick Dalton at the Essex Inn with longtime Essex residents

Karen and Rick Dalton with longtime Essex residents (photo courtesy of The Press Republican)

Last Sunday Alvin Reiner at the Press-Republican ran a fascinating story about the Essex Inn and the fusion of past and future in this historic landmark recently renovated by the Daltons and now open to the public.

Early on, Rick and Karen Dalton took down the fence between the Essex Inn here and the senior center behind the historic property.

“We told them (the seniors) would be the first guests to have lunch here,” said Rick, who with his wife bought the inn last year and had it renovated.

At that lunch, senior citizens reminisced about their memories of the inn; high-school students from Willsboro caught those stories for a video production on the history of Essex and its inn.

“This is a place to learn about local history, and for the students to develop a bond with senior citizens,” Rick said. (via Press-Republican)

It is this interplay of historic Essex and evolving, revitalized Essex that makes the Daltons’ renovation so exciting. On the one hand, they’ve restored a significant historic landmark that dates back to the founding of Essex. On the other hand, they’ve resuscitated and modernized the facilities to ensure that even the most discerning clientele will feel pampered and eager to return.

In addition to charming inn accommodations, a delicious restaurant (where my appetite’s been spoiled twice¬†already and where I’ll be returning this evening), a handsome Adirondack rustic bar, and a garden oasis, the top-to-bottom renovation allowed the Daltons to include offices for College for Every Student (CFES). Their two decade old nonprofit “helps underserved students take steps to prepare for, gain access to, and succeed in college.” In short, CFES is an organization committed to the future of everyone they serve!

CFES currently works with 140 rural and urban schools and districts in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Each school works with more than 50 CFES Scholars (low-income youth), most of whom would be first in their family to pursue higher education, to help them get to college and succeed there. (via

Dakoda Latford, Taylor Strong, John Fine-Lease and John Pollack, Willsboro students who are currently enrolled in the CFES program, are creating a multi-media presentation from the stories that the seniors recounted about the history of the Essex Inn as part of a service leadership project. According to Karen Dalton, these CFES students are building their own college futures while preserving the past.

“We are reaching out to bridge the gap, as there is often a lot of knowledge that gets lost,” she said. (via Press-Republican.)

Essex has long represented an important bridge back into history, but the Dalton’s Essex Inn revitalization is one of many new bridges forward toward a bright and shiny future.

Old Dock Opening July 1

The Old Dock Restaurant in Essex, NY undergoing renovations for the summer of 2011

The Old Dock Restaurant in Essex, NY undergoing renovations for the summer of 2011.

I stopped by The Old Dock Restaurant on Thursday to catch up with Steve McKenna who was pruning hedges and getting the parking lot ready for their July 1 opening date. Really? Really!

Despite totally record breaking Lake Champlain flooding, McKenna has worked around the clock for weeks to revitalize this Essex, NY landmark. I can’t begin to guess how many times I’ve been asked about the Old Dock this spring. It’s one of the iconic Essex buildings on the waterfront, and for many the images of the entire restaurant, parking lot and pier submerged for almost two months seemed an insurmountable challenge. And yet, miraculously, the Old Dock is back on her feet and promises to be better than ever.

I look forward to a frosty libation and a perfect sunset soon… Who’s coming?