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Essex on Lake Champlain: The community blog for Esssex, NY

Essex on Lake Champlain: Community blog for Essex, NY

We’ve moved! Did you miss the news?

Essex on Lake Champlain migrated many, many moons ago to its own domain: www.essexonlakechamplain.com. Come visit us and let us know you’ve found us with a comment on your favorite new post, or leave us a message on our Facebook page. Here are a few Essex, NY links to get you started.

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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!

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!

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
Email: hunnj@willex.com
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 www.stjohnsessexny.com.)

St. John’s Episcopal Church
PO Box 262
4 Church Street
Essex, NY 12936
stjohnschurch@willex.com
518-963-7775
www.stjohnsessexny.com

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 collegefes.org)

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?

Summer Arrives in Essex on Lake Champlain

Kim Rielly posted an enthusiastic blog post about summer in Essex celebrating flood recovery, exciting new businesses and the timeless charm that has drawn visitors and residents for decades. She asks,

“could it possibly be true that the recently-submerged businesses were planning to open THIS summer?

It’s true. In fact, the community is not only ready to welcome visitors for the summer – it is veritably BUZZING with activity.

A stroll through the tree-lined streets of this historic town is quite a treat. Bolstered by pedestrian traffic from the ferry from Vermont, the restaurants, shops, inns and art galleries complement the gorgeous 19th century architecture, (the entire village is on the National Historic Register, and includes the most intact collections of federal and Greek Revival architecture in the entire state!)

And you won’t find any empty storefronts; there are several new businesses, and twists on some of the classics. (via LakePlacid.com.)

Kim highlights some of the newest additions to the Essex allure including:

  • the newly renovated Essex Inn
  • the newly renovated Ice Cream Shop
  • the newly opened Live Well holistic health center
  • the newly relocated ReNew thrift shop
  • the newly opened Pink Pig
  • the better than ever Adirondack Art Association
  • and Champlain Area Trails.
Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast

Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast (photo credit LakePlacid.com.)

As  I indicated in my comments beneath Kim’s blog post, she captures the current energy and excitement in Essex. I wrote:

The number of new and renovated businesses alone is thrilling! And when you consider the record-breaking flooding and how much effort has been required to recover from the incumbent setbacks, it is truly astounding. What I see happening in Essex is a nothing short of a renaissance, a top-to-bottom revitalization of the community and the businesses and organizations which lend vitality to the charming landscape, geography and architecture. It’s an exciting time to live and work in Essex!

Essex friends, neighbors, businesses and recent visitors will understand what I mean. I hope that you will come to Essex to discover what all the buzz is about!

Pantouf’s Celebrates Summer with Beautiful Glassware

Pantouf's handcrafted glass jewelry and gifts in Essex, NY

Pantouf's handcrafted glass jewelry and gifts in Essex, NY

Yesterday I visited Helen Goetz at Pantouf’s in Essex. If you’ve never seen her beautiful glass work, now’s the perfect time to swing by before she gets swarmed with visitors. This charming boutique situated in an historic country doctor’s office is located just north of the Essex Post Office and Premises architectural offices.

Hand made glass work at Pantouf's in Essex, NY

Hand made glass work at Pantouf's in Essex, NY

In addition to showing me her colorful glass serving platters and pitchers, Helen graciously toured me through the home, explaining how it had been configured and functioned when occupied by the Essex town doctor. Summer after summer Helen’s gardens attract local and visiting photographers, so remember to bring your camera when you go shopping at Pantouf’s!

The Old Dock Restaurant

The Old Dock Restaurant

The Old Dock Restaurant is a seasonal restaurant and bar located in the Historic Hamlet of Essex, New York. Guests arrive by automobile, private boat or on the Charlotte-Essex… Slips are available for our guests who arrive by boat. Passengers on the Charlotte-Essex ferry have the option to leave their automobiles in the free parking lot at Charlotte and when they arrive in Essex stroll a few feet to the Old Dock. Parking is available on site for those guests who arrive by automobile. (via The Old Dock Restaurant)