Mariaville Lake Bed & Breakfast

176 Batter Street, Mariaville, New York 12137
Innkeeper(s): Rick and Lorrie Runnels

My SCOBY is growing so big, I may need to find a larger apartment. 21 Jul 2016, 9:58 am

Kombucha (gazoontite)! Have you tried it? You’re totally going to love it – or hate it. Kombucha is a fermented tea, chock full of probiotics. Like yogurt, sort of … only with tea, and stranger (mostly because it is not as widely known or produced). This “Immortal Health Elixer”, as the ancient Chinese referred to it, boasts benefits such as liver detox, immune support, aids in digestion as well as some possibly less substantiated claims such as weight loss and cancer prevention.

Several options of store-bought kombucha

I only recently decided to try it. I’ve known of it for a while now, but it always seemed a little gross to me. I had been suffering from a lingering cold that I couldn’t quite kick (despite massive amounts of fruits and vegetables, ginger, local honey, tea concoctions, etc.), and my brother had been talking about it, so I said okay, lets do this. I found a bottle in a grocery store, opened it on the spot and took a big swig, expecting to want to throw up. But oh my god, it was Good! Full disclosure, store bought brands may not be as strong, and often have fruit or other flavors added to appeal to a wider audience. The one I tried was ginger – but you could still taste the vinegary-ness in the lightly carbonated liquid. I happen to enjoy vinegar very much, and that bodes well for someone trying out kombucha. Anyway, I’m hooked now! The drawback is that this stuff is kind of expensive. The cheapest I’ve found locally is $3 for a 16 oz bottle, which is basically one serving. So, I thought I’d investigate making it myself.



It isn’t too hard to make and its very cheap too. You need a gallon glass jar (thanks Mom), a wooden spoon (thanks Mom), some tea, sugar, water, and time. You also need a SCOBY. A weird, jiggly, SCOBY. Just to the left is a picture of the baby SCOBY the day I got it. It is stored in glass with sweetened tea. It should be covered with a light tight knit fabric or paper towel, secured with a rubber band.

SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It is the thing that turns the tea into this nutrient dense drink. It’s also referred to as the mushroom, or the mother (like apple cider vinegar). It’s pretty gross looking. Even when you know what it is, and how good for you it is, it’s still kinda gross – and weirdly fascinating.

Day 3

Day 3








You can buy them online, or grow one from the bits in store bought kombucha, which can be very difficult from what I’ve read. If you are lucky enough, as I was, to know several people who may potentially have one, you might score a baby SCOBY which you can then grow. And, boy, does it grow! Once transferred from its little jar to the gallon one, the thing grows every day! It’s been 7 days now, and the tea isn’t quite ready, but it’s getting there. It still tastes a little sugary and not vinegary enough. Once it tastes right, you bottle it (I’m reusing the glass bottles I bought the store bought kombucha in. I’m saving money all over the place!), and you wait some more while it carbonates.

Day 6

Day 6












I’m very excited to continue the process, watch it grow, and have some amazing kombucha for a fraction of the cost! Mariaville Lake B&B doesn’t serve you fermented tea at breakfast, not yet anyways, but we do have plenty of coffee and normal tea to consume with your meal! Stay tuned for some updates!

Just a Little History of Mariaville 14 Jul 2016, 2:33 pm

The town of Duanesburg, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Mariaville, was settled as early as 1736. James Duane was a mayor of NYC, and a friend of George Washington (…here, you dropped this). He imagined that Duanesburg would one day become the capital of New York – which didn’t exactly happen. Mariaville is a hamlet of Duanesburg, and was named for James’s daughter.

Old Mariaville Lake Side Store

Mariaville was nothing to shake a stick at in its day. There was a handle shop (huh!), a couple gristmills, several sawmills and a wagon shop as well as a paint shop, which painted the wagons! Oh, and a cider mill that also made hard cider! What a industrious town! A gristmill just west of Mariaville became known for making pancake batter, and some surmise that is where “Batter Street” got its name. Makes sense right? Mariaville Lake B&B is situated on Batter Street, close to the (locally) famous Mariaville Lakeside Store. Two of the first owners of the B&B also owned the store.

The B&B!This photo inspired Rick to put in a circular driveway in the front of the house.

Mariaville Lake is man made. It was originally a marshy area and they dammed it off (excuse my French). Mariaville has typically been a summer vacation spot over the last 50 years or so, with lots of camp style houses around the lake, but over the last two decades, most of the camps have been converted into year-round residences, or torn down and new structures been built. Mariaville Lake also has a several large, beautiful, older houses of historical and architectural significance. Mariaville Lake B&B, and the Frost house, both within eye-sight of the store to name just two. There are others, and also two more interesting houses (that are old, but maybe not 1800’s old), but I won’t tell you about the those last two … they’re sort of hidden and I’m not even sure anyone lives there. Secrets!

Map from 1866 – note how the lake is labeled “pond”!

Mariaville has grown quite a bit since the drawing of this 1866 map, but it is still small, quiet and serene. The Presbyterian Church and the Post Office buildings are still there, but are now private residences, and the church has no steeple.  As you can see from the map, there were actually three “hotels” in Mariaville at the time. Of course, they were not the type of hotels as we know today (I doubt they had indoor swimming pools and a fitness center – or even an elevator). I guess that means that Mariaville Lake B&B is not only historic, but following a historic endeavor in the town!

Camp Creek 2016 | Mariaville Lake B&B 7 Jul 2016, 8:00 am

Are you ready? It’s that time again. Camp Creek time!

Everyone in Mariaville knows what Camp Creek is.  Indian Lookout Country Club has hosted Camp Creek for many years (although it has also been at other venues). It’s a three day music festival, but not a crazy large one, or one with electronic music and lots of early to mid twenties ravers. That’s not to say that age group doesn’t go to Creek, but it does seem to attract more of the holistic recycling type, over the ravers in tutus and furry boots (not that you won’t see any). There’s something more organic about it… not as harsh. One thing that has always struck me about Camp Creek is how family friendly it is, and in a way that no other festival I’ve been to is. From what I’ve seen and experienced, people make life-long friends at Creek.

The first Camp Creek was in 1983, and has since continued, though with a few years off now and then. Max Creek  enjoys a very loyal fan base, mostly North-Easterners. Camp was held at several other locations before coming to Indian Lookout Country Club, where it has been many, many times since. Growing up across the street from ILCC was pretty cool. Ben and I  have gone sledding down the hill to the “Camp Creek Stage”, as we called it, in the winters. It’s a different look in the winter there for sure! But during the summer because of the festivals, we got the opportunity to see so many amazing bands and artists.

Dancing with Dad – always a highlight!

I don’t remember exactly what year it came to ILCC, but I think I was about 11 or 12. I do remember what I wore:  a blue tie-dye T-shirt and jean shorts. It was the only tie-dye shirt I owned at the time, and I remember thinking it was pretty cool and how I probably blended in with everyone. Our parents would bring us over and we loved it. Year by year, and also with additions of other festivals, my brother and I would be allowed to venture off for an hour or two by ourselves. We had to report back, and then after a bit we could wander off again for a while (I didn’t mind reporting back though, because they had the food). As I got older, my friends would come with me, we spent less time with Mom and Dad, and camped out. As I got older still, we spent MORE time with Mom and Dad and slept at the B&B. All of those festivals, Camp Creek and others, were some of the best memories I have. Boy do I have stories. I just can’t tell them here. I also remember Ben and I walking up and down the road after a festival looking for “ground scores”: little lost glass beads,  other artifacts and sometimes money! By the way, a tent in the camping area on Sunday before the festival is officially over does NOT count as a ground score. So, if you have our small camouflage tent from about a decade ago, please return it :-).


Ben and I developed a real love for Max Creek, and saw them at plenty of shows elsewhere too. Boy, do I have stories. But, well –  you know. Ben got into tape trading Creek and Dead shows. He can probably still recite a Max Creek set-list from any show during that time period. We also got the opportunity to see a lot of other great bands at Camp Creek, including Ryan Montbleau Band, Steve Kimock, The Breakfast, not to mention some really cool guest stars. It’s always a great party with lots of glow-sticks and neat toys, hulu hoopers and costumes – and the whole time you feel like you’re with extended family.

Ben and Dad, just before sunset

Wow, I miss it! Neither Ben nor I can make it this year –  so everyone go, have a great time … and as the brilliant sunset comes along, with Creek playing, look to the sky and think of my brother and me!

Ben, Erin, Lorrie

Mariaville Lake B&B ~ Before & After! 30 Jun 2016, 12:53 pm

It’s hard to believe that the gorgeous Federal style building that houses Mariaville Lake B&B was not always a bed and breakfast. In fact, since it was built, it has always been a single family home. Rick & Lorrie purchased it in November 2003 from a family with six children. Over the next 9 months, six workers (and 2 slave labor workers, my brother and I) installed bathrooms, knocked down walls/put up walls, and gave everything a fresh coat of paint.
One thing I remember specifically from this time is how when work would be finished, Rick would come to inspect it, and pretty often re-do it himself! I also learned how to paint with meticulous attention to detail, using only Rick-sanctioned techniques.

Lake View Room Before

Lake View Room After








The suite was one of the later additions to the house. It sits over a two car garage and didn’t even have a floor! I remember going up there, and walking on the single board that stretched across its length. You had to be careful not to step off it into the insulation for fear of falling straight through to the garage below. Now, it has been carefully sheet rocked, painted, carpeted (oh, they put a floor in first) and a private bathroom put in.

Suite Before

Suite After








Rick and Lorrie are constantly doing upgrades. They never stop. The Lake Cottage, an entire house I’d be more than happy to call home, sits just next to the main house and has recently been redone. They had done some work in it years ago, but saved a major renovation until more recently, bringing it to a whole new level.

Lake Cottage Kitchen Before

Lake Cottage Kitchen After

Lake Cottage Living Room Before

Lake Cottage Living Room After













As with many things, nothing is as easy as you think it will be. When you are doing that kind of construction on an old house, it really is opening up a can of worms. For example, Rick needed to put in a door at the back of the garage. Lorrie left for work as they got started. She returned hours later, thinking it would be finished – it was anything but! The entire wall of the garage was gone! Turns out, once he opened up  a part of the wall he discovered the wood was so rotted it all needed to be replaced.

Ah, such is life – am I right?





~Berry Season’s Pickins ~ 24 Jun 2016, 6:33 am

It’s strawberry season! You should go pick some! And I don’t mean pick them out at a grocery store, because that’s boring.


We used to go to various “pick your own” spots when we were kids. I still remember the smell of the sun baked straw that lined the paths between strawberry plants. The slight crunch of it as you would kneel down having spotted the biggest, ripest berry. The straw would leave crosshatch indents on your knees and shins, and bits of it would stick to the sweat on your legs. I also don’t think I ever managed to get out of a strawberry patch without a new stain on my “play clothes”.


Somehow my mother always managed to fill her containers twice as quickly as us. This may have been because we ate half of them before they made it into those green cardboard-y baskets. As you may know, fresh strawberries taste better than packaged ones, but did you know they taste even better when you have dirt on your hands and straw stuck on your legs? They do – it’s  fact.


There are some great spots in the area to pick your own berries. Its a wonderful way to spend the day outside, and you end up with plenty of berries to either put in a recipe, or eat alone (as in, by themselves. Not like in a dark room crying. But you could do that too – no judgement here).


Bowman Orchards has close to 100 acres of not just strawberries, but blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries (as well as pumpkins and apples when Autumn comes). Their website lets you know what season to expect the different berries in, which will help you avoid arriving at the wrong time and disappointing your kids They also have some sheep, goats and alpacas to check out!

Indian Ladder Farms unfortunately is not doing strawberries this year, but raspberries are about to be in full force! The page on their website for pick your own raspberries has some really cool information on it like what the different parts of the raspberry are called and the best containers to use when picking. They also have animals and do quite a bit when Autumn comes in regards to apples and pumpkins. This year marks their 100th year and their “About Us” page has some great photographs and history. Fruit growing is no small deal!


Those are two of the big ones – but do some research and ask around. There’s something really special about finding small, roadside places to pick berries or buy produce. It makes it feel like a little treasure you’ve just found – kinda like when you’ve spotted the biggest ripest berry !

Bored? Check Out These Podcasts 16 Jun 2016, 12:26 pm

When I was little riding in the car with mom, sometimes one of the worst things ever would happen.
She would put on what my brother and I always called, “Talk Radio”. It was brutal. BRUTAL. It was usually NPR, and it was usually booooooring. Of course, now, one of the most precious apps I have on my phone is NPR, and my car radio has a pre-set for the local broadcast station. The ONLY show my brother and I could possible handle when we were kids in the car was Car Talk. I’m pretty sure we didn’t get most of the jokes, and I remember sort of being aware that I didn’t know why it was funny, but boy would we laugh! Mostly because it’s practically impossible not to laugh when Click and Clack are laughing. Their laughs are just so silly and infectious.
I’ve developed a true love for “Talk Radio” and probably what should be categorized as an addiction to podcasts. Also, to this day, I find it impossible to be in a bad mood if I’m listening to Car Talk! One thing I really, really enjoy is to clean my place (I know, mental) while binging on podcasts (and coffee). So, maybe the weather is crappy, or you just don’t want to leave the house and there’s nothing good on TV, or (horrors of horrors) you’ve finished your book and don’t have another on deck – what do you do?! You pick one of these podcasts, that’s what you do. They are in no particular order, and I’ve excluded Car Talk because I’ve already mentioned it like 8 times.

Radio Lab
This show is not only interesting for its content, but for the way it is directed and produced. The hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, take a topic and delve into it so deeply, unraveling mysteries you never knew existed. While the production is smooth and seamless, it’s also comprised of startling audio interruptions and a sort of deconstructed method that keeps your mind from wandering.
There have been many times I’ve read the description of the newly released episode and thought “eeeh, that is not interesting to me at all”. In most cases I’d start it anyway to get my fix, and in all cases, about 10 minutes in I was thinking “This must be the most interesting thing I’ve ever heard in my life”. They have a way of building up these questions about a topic you barely even knew you had, but then are suddenly DYING to know the answer to.
Check it out Here (and never be sorry): Radio Lab

Reply All
If you want to know what this podcast is about and search it, the answer will be it is a “show about the internet”. I actually didn’t listen to it for awhile after knowing it existed. I have a smart phone, I use the internet, but I’m not all that interested in hacking and coding (though I have great respect for it). I really didn’t think it was up my alley. Wrong.
PJ Vojt and Alex Goldman via Gimlet Media (which produces some great podcasts, deliver a show not so much just about the internet, but our connection to the internet and the role it plays in our lives. They’ve done intriguing stories about love via dating sites, drugs, politics, regrets, and viral phenomenons that have some pretty mysterious things involved! Also, be sure to check out the info on their theme song – way cool.
Listen here (on the internet): Reply All

Snap Judgement
Glynn Washington, the host of this show, always does an introductory story and then sets the stage for the additional stories (usually about three per episode) but the majority is told by the people that the events happened to, with interjections for clarification and questions by various producers. The stories come from all over the country, and cover a wide variety of topics.
Released weekly, every episode has a theme. One of the things I love about this podcast is that sometimes it takes a few minutes of listening to a segment to figure out how it fits into the theme. So, while you’re getting stories that are incredibly compelling, you’re having to do a little detective work too (although some are much more obvious than others). There are so many times I’ve thought to myself “wow! I can’t believe this happened – and I never heard of it!”.
Seriously, get your Snap on: Snap Judgement

So put on a podcast and put your feet up, close your eyes, or drink copious amounts of espresso and clean your house. It won’t be wasted time – you’ll be entertained and intellectually stimulated!

*Special Thanks to both Lorrie Runnels (for getting me hooked on NPR) and Sarah D. (for introducing to me new podcasts).
** Also check out Selected Shorts, TED Radio Hour, Wait, Wait,Don’t Tell Me…, Serial or Sampler to get a smattering of a bunch of different podcats you may want to check out.

Mariaville Lake B&B – How the Innkeepers met 10 Jun 2016, 5:39 am

Rick and Lorrie have been running Mariaville Lake B&B for over a decade. They weren’t always Innkeepers though, and of course did not always know each other.

One of my favorite pictures of the two of them!

The year was 1980. Lorrie was working on her degree in education at Central Connecticut State College and Rick was flying for AirBorne Express. He had come from Ohio to begin a run out of Bradley International Airport, and therefore had taken up residence in Connecticut. He took a room in Norm (Lorrie’s older brother)’s house. So, the story begins.

Rick had been invited to dinner at Norm’s family’s house. Lorrie was also there, and was not particularly interested in meeting this pilot. She imagined a clean shaven, crew cut man in slacks and shiny shoes. If you know Rick, you know that would not be the case. He showed up in his Sunday dinner best – flannel shirt, jeans, workboots, and the (in)famous beard. According to Rick, he didn’t really think too much about meeting Norm’s little sister, and therefore shook her hand and continued on with his evening. If you ask me, he was probably smitten and head-over-heels in love at first sight! Things didn’t really get cookin’ though until one of two things happened:

  • Rick wanted a glass of milk, and Lorrie shot up from the table so fast to get it, she hip checked the table spilling drinks everywhere and very nearly knocking it right over.


  • Rick wanted a glass of milk, and Lorrie, bred in a New England family and possessing the undeniable manners and grace that she does, took it upon herself to be polite to the guest, and went and got it.

Either way, that is the moment that Rick claims he thought “oooh. Wait a second…” They hung out for a few times as a trio with Norm. They discovered they had similar views on life and religion and both enjoyed the outdoors and music. They finally went on an official date: hiking, and a picnic.  Lorrie made “Beer Bread” for the picnic, which is one of the most delicious things you will ever taste. It’s also super easy to make! It is best just out of the oven with a generous amount of butter.

Recipe! Tip: Experimenting with different kinds of beer for different flavor profiles.

Stopping at a package store for a bottle of Black Kat wine, Lorrie was struck at how friendly Rick was. Living in New England her whole life, she had not known anyone who possessed that sort of mid-western friendliness. She might be sick of how much he talks now though They did get married, and have managed to not only live together all these years, but run a business together, which really is pretty amazing*!

Rick & Lorrie on their wedding day. Yup, Rick is wearing jeans (“They were brand new ones!”).

* As of the date of this post, no one has killed anyone yet.

Semi Staycation at Mariaville Lake B&B 3 Jun 2016, 12:10 pm

Summer is upon us! Of course, with summer comes heat. With that, pavement smolders, the air gets thick and the city seems claustrophobic. People are beginning to plan their vacations (read: escapes) to simple or extravagant locations. But what if you don’t have the money or that extremely valuable commodity: the time. Still, maybe you’ve had a hard week and need to get away for a bit to re-charge. Really, sometimes a weekend away is all you need. But you don’t want to fight traffic and spend most of that time driving to a location. At the same time, a “staycation” may not be enough. So consider this: a “semi staycation”.

You could drive just 30 minutes (or a couple hours if you can) and head up to the country and come see us! Swim, or just float in Mariaville Lake, breathe some fresh air and hang out where the temperature seems to always be about 10 degrees cooler. So what if you already have dinner plans with someone in town? The B&B is only 20 minutes from downtown Schenectady with great dining like The Van Dyke, Mexican Radio. But, wait, there’s more!

Also just a 20 minute drive away is Proctor’s Theatre and some great shopping. Proctor’s showcases everything from off-Broadway traveling companies, dance performances, music concerts and comedians. Don’t forget to check out Jay Street, a pedestrian only street with plenty of boutique stores, antique stores and great cafes.

However, since you may be wanting to get out of the city, there are plenty of outdoor activities too! The Plotter Kill Preserve is not even 10 minutes away. It boasts 632 acres with lots of trails and a great waterfall! It is a gem of the capital region, and not usually too crowded. Rick also can take you on an information filled walk to the beaver pond, located under a mile away from the B&B. He also does guided night-walks (but prepared for him to mess with you)!

So go ahead get away just for a little bit. Use those fresh towels and sheets and let somebody else worry about doing the laundry. Let someone else worry about making breakfast. Even the rigmarole of everyday simple tasks like having to make coffee in the morning, are things you don’t have to worry about when you stay at  Mariaville Lake Bed and Breakfast. Pack light, bring your swimsuit and your hiking shoes.

Ever Tried Acupuncture? 26 May 2016, 7:24 am

I’ve never been afraid of needles. I don’t particularly like them, but not the overwhelming and anxiety ridden fear that some people have. I have more of a distaste for doctors, which probably partially comes from growing up in a family where everything could be fixed by herbs, tinctures or in my dad’s case, masking tape. That being said, I still had some hesitation about my first acupuncture treatment. Everyone said that it wouldn’t hurt, but I was nervous anyway and to be honest, probably more apprehensive about answering all sorts of personal questions. I’ve heard so much about the benefits though, so I decided to rally and head in for an appointment. Yes, they did ask a lot of personal questions and you fill out a health questionnaire (much like you would at a doctor’s), but really it wasn’t so bad.

Mmmm….. Miso….

After Gua Sha

The first thing they did was Gua Sha which is sort of like a massage done with something that looks an awful lot like a miso soup spoon. I’m not going to lie – it did hurt a little bit, and actually was more uncomfortable than when the needles were inserted. The results (as you see in the picture), are pretty brutal looking! It doesn’t hurt once they’re done, and honestly the relief that you get from it is wonderful! In short, it breaks up collagen binding the muscles, and stimulates the area to encourage fresh blood and oxygen to the area.

After that, she went ahead with the needles. They really aren’t big, and while you do feel them going in, it’s just a teeny tiny pinch. The needles do vary in size for different treatments, but they aren’t that intimidating. Two were put on either side between my neck and shoulder. I was very tense and sore in that area, from sitting at a computer 8 hours a day (hence the Gua Sha as well). After inserting them she went back to the first one and started to massage the skin and muscle around the needle. She asked me if I felt anything. My answer was “Yeah, I feel like there’s a little needle stuck in there…”. After another few seconds of her fiddling, I suddenly felt an incredible release in the muscle. I’ve never felt anything that immediate and strong, not even with massages or Chiropractic work. I instantly felt better

Serene, like this sunrise at Mariaville Lake B&B :-)


After a treatment, at least for me, you sort of feel a little high. And calm and serene. That might be partially because they leave you by yourself with the needles in for maybe 10 or 15 minutes. So, you just lie there. You focus on your breathing and relaxing (and in my case, try not to think about being bored). If you’re like me and are busy enough, you don’t really get a chance to do that often. It was nice to just relax, be quiet and just, well, BE.

It often takes more than just one treatment to feel any significant difference so don’t give up if you’ve just tried it once! If nothing else, its a good time out and its great to lie there thinking “I am doing something good for myself!” I doubt anyone can convince you of this if you’re afraid of needles, but really, they don’t hurt! Consider a treatment, let them know up front you’re squeamish, and a good acupuncturist will talk you through it and use just a few of the most delicate needles they can. Want some more good news? Rick and Lorrie won’t be sticking you with needle anytime soon, but you can book an in room massage at the B&B!

The Pilot Innkeeper 19 May 2016, 9:22 am

Toasted Coconut Walnut French Toast

Think your day is busy? Try this: Wake up before the sun to start coffee and breakfast. That’s coffee and breakfast for 8 people (not including you). Serve breakfast, say goodbye to guests. Go through the rooms, gathering up piles of towels and sheets and empty the garbage. Make yourself lunch for later and clean up the kitchen from breakfast (and now lunch). Shower and get ready for work! Where’s my lunch? Where are my keys? And where is my flight bag?



Some of the fleet in 1988

Flight bag?! Yep! Because not only do you run a B&B, you’re also a pilot, on call for a charter company, flying a King Air to god-knows-where, god-knows-when. But, “that ain’t nothing” when you’re Rick Runnels. He’s only happy when he’s “going Mach 2 with [his] hair on fire”.


There’s that Pitts!

Speaking of Top Gun, Monday was the 30th anniversary of the day the movie was released. Top Gun was the go-to movie for us in the early to mid-nineties (side note: us kids got to watch an edited version – no sex scene!). Rick had already been flying for about 15 years when it came out and had started his own charter business– and that’s NOT because he’s old, it’s because he started flying really young! He bought a Pitts Special (a super duper fancy flying machine, in which you go upside down and up and over and around and probably backwards), in 1982, 4                                                                                              years before Top Gun, so basically Maverick’s got nothing                                                                                      on him.

Rick with the King Air 200

After several decades, Rick settled down – wait, let me rephrase that – retired from flying. However, this just in! He has taken back to the skies, as mentioned before, in a pretty swanky King Air. They won’t let him fly it upside down though, and don’t dare him to try. We may be playing a little guessing game in the future… where is the Pilot Innkeeper? Stay tuned!