Mariaville Lake Bed & Breakfast

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

Thatcher Park – Helderberg Escarpment 23 Sep 2016, 6:23 am

One of my favorite places in the area to visit and hike  is Thacher Park. The stunning Helderberg Escarpment is one of the most fossil rich formations in the US (can you believe that?). You can see the Green Mountains in Vermont from the top, as well as panoramic views of the lower lands.

 

 

The main trail is the Indian Ladder Trail. The name came into use because the Iroquois used this path to reach Henry Hudson’s trading post. As you can see from this picture, there were rudimentary ladders put into place to get up the cliff face. I think that would be awfully exciting, especially in those dresses and probably slippery shoes! It would be really cool if they still used that, but there are man-made metal steps now – which I guess is both safer and makes it more accessible. Sigh.

 

 

 

 

Another notable site at the escarpment is the “Tory Cave”.  It is a limestone cave near the top of the escarpment. Legend has it that a Tory (someone loyal to the English monarchy) named Jacob Salsbury hid out from the patriot troops there. He was rumored to be a spy, informing the British on the Patriots. In between the American Revolution and the Native Americans, there is a lot of history to be learned about here!

 

 

Oh, another site not to be missed! The waterfall! You can stand beside it, behind or even under it if you are more daring. Depending on the rainfall, it can be pretty forceful and big, or more of a skinny stream plunging off the rocks. Either way is wonderful, due to its sheer height.

There are several orchards in the area, including the aptly named Indian Ladder Farms. There you can check out apple picking, farm animals, a market and a gift shop. Stay tuned for more about that though – Next week we will talk about  Fall and all the reasons it the best! For now – go hike at Thacher’s!

Take advantage of our Autumn Package with a Taste of NY artisnal basket, maps, and brochures, goodies from Indian Ladder Farms, and 10% off the room rate for a 2 night stay. Our online reservation system will lead you on!

A Taste of New York basket. Selections may vary due to availability.

 

 

Autumn Package With a Taste of New York 19 Sep 2016, 5:58 pm

Fall is better in Upstate New York.

It’s Fall in Upstate New York. That means apple picking, hikes with scenic views, and a glass of wine by the fire. Trust us, the fall foliage colors in upstate NY are not to be missed!

Take some time off and enjoy a couple of stress free days. We’ve done all the planning for you!

Join us for Fall Foliage Two night stays.

Book any two consecutive nights and receive:

10% off the room rate.

Taste of New York artisanal basket on arrival.

1/2 dozen apple cider donuts and two individual cold ciders when you visit Indian Ladder Farms.

Brochures and directions for your self-guided tour to area orchards, wineries, scenic views, and more.

Click on Availability and choose Autumn Package.

 

A Taste of New York basket. Selections may vary due to availability

 

 

 

An example of a self-guided trip includes a colorful walk on the Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher Park, a visit to the orchards at Indian Ladder Farms, and a romantic dinner at Mio Vino. Come back to the B&B to enjoy the peaceful lake in the firelight.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy a romantic dinner at Mio Vino. Photo credit: www.MioVino186.com

Apples for sale or pick your own at Indian Ladder Farms.

Autumn morning on Mariaville Lake.

Indian Summer | Maraville Lake B&B 8 Sep 2016, 6:28 am

The transition between Summer and Autumn is always an interesting one. Part of you is still up for the long days of summer with hot hikes and cool pools, and part of you is craving the days when you cozy up on the couch in a big sweater with a good book. The greenery on hikes is gorgeous – but fall foliage can be so striking! This time of year, the cool misty mornings that give away to still hot sunny afternoons can cause what-to-wear problems for fashionistas, farmers and hikers alike (the answer of course is layering).

It can also be a little tricky mentally and emotionally. When exactly do you choose to pack up your summer clothes, finally surrendering to the inevitable? You’re now having to adjust to getting up in the dark, feeling the quiet and cool, maybe even hearing the geese- as I did this morning – in the dark, and then sweating in the afternoon. How do you feel about this? Are you sad to see summer go but also sort of excited for fall and it’s events and activities? Who doesn’t love a good pumpkin patch and cider donuts? And how about those times you are ready and excited for fall, pack all your light clothes away and then – Indian Summer.

Ah. Indian Summer. I’ve always thought the phrase sounded so magical. Even as a child I would hope for an Indian summer, mainly just because it sounded so wonderful. So, what exactly is an Indian Summer? Where did the name come from? I can’t stand not knowing things, so here is what I found out.

Though  I did sort of know what an Indian Summer was, I wasn’t entirely positive on all the requirements. It is a time of dry, warm weather, unusual for mid – late Autumn. It also is characterized by being hazy, misty or smoky. It also needs to happen after a killing frost. As far as I’ve found it is a term mostly used in the North East. It should also be defined as when mothers have to go re-open the boxes where they packed their children’s summer clothes :-). Interestingly, it is also defined as a period of success and happiness occurring later in someone’s life. This of course only makes the phrase seem even more magical to me!

As for the name itself, the etymology isn’t completely know. There are some guesses, but no hard evidence of when it was first used. The earliest  recording of it is from a letter written in 1778, in which the writer refers to the current weather being what is called an Indian Summer, implying that local people were already using it. A popular theory is that it originates from settlers seeing the Native Americans using that time to hunt, taking advantage of the climate to stock up for winter. The mist and haze that is present gave good coverage for hunting, and animals were out more due to the increased temperatures. A less popular theory has to do with ships that would sail across the Indian Ocean in Autumn, and had marks on their hulls for how much they could carry during the period of unusually dry weather. The lines on the ships were marked I.S. – allegedly for Indian Summer – and showed how heavy the boat could sit in the water. That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Yet another theory is that New Englanders would leave their stockades less heavily armed when the weather turned cooler, because there were less attacks from Native Americans during colder months. Then, when it suddenly turned warm, there would be an ambush – and so they called it Indian Summer.

Wherever the name came from, it is still pretty neat. I’m not sure if we will have one this year, but if we do, I hope you find the magic in it and let it also be a period of success and happiness – at whatever point you are in your life!

Fall Car Show in Mariaville Lake 1 Sep 2016, 7:52 am

I bet the house has seen cars like this before…

One of the last car shows for the season in the Capital Region is right here in Mariaville. This year it is Saturday, October 1st, 9am-2pm and is not to be missed! You don’t have to be a car enthusiast, or know a lot about cars to enjoy this event. It’s fun just to see the variety, all the colors and designs, and especially, for me anyway, the vintage cars. I particularly enjoying peering into them, imagining what sort of person drove it, where they went, what they wore, how they felt. That is one of my favorite things about antiques, creating a past for them in my mind. Also, I listen to CarTalk on the NPR app every week, so, actually, I do know an awful lot about cars (of course)!

The B&B is photo bombing!

This event is free (score!) and besides exhibiting classic cars, will also have food and music. Last year we had about 50 cars from many different eras. A lot of towns have car shows, some places even have weekly ones during the summer. What makes this car show different? I’ll tell you what makes it different. It is in Mariaville! One of the most serene, magical lakeside villages around. While you are entertained with music, cars and shoving your face with food, you can gaze out on the lake. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day and welcome autumn!

 

Coooooome ooon 7s! Schenectady Casino 27 Aug 2016, 8:44 am

If you are a local, by now you’ve heard about the new Rivers Casino being built in Schenectady. It will be located at 301 Nott St, Schenectady, NY 12305,  less than 25 minutes from Mariaville Lke B&B. By the Mohawk River, the Casino is already accepting job applications. Fancy yourself a mean black jack dealer? Go for it! That is one positive impact the Casino will have on the area – the creation of jobs. Plus it’s another reason to choose Schenectady County as your vacation destination.

Proposed Fanciness

Ah, casinos. The whirl of the roulette wheel, the ringing bells, the flashing lights, the neon, the dizzying carpet. I’ve never been much for gambling. I’ve been to several casinos, including a bunch in Las Vegas, and will probably visit this one as well. I’m not so interested in gambling as I am the atmosphere. It’s fun to get lost (because seriously, those places are near impossible to get out of) among the lights and sounds for a while. There is something strangely calming for me about the overly stimulated space. There is so much to take in, that your mind seems to only concentrate on the environment, giving you a break from your internal analyzing. And probably making it tough to make sound decisions, which is more likely the point.

Actually, that is probably why people can sit and gamble for so long. You get in a rhythm – pull, whiiir, pull, whiiir – and the outside world ceases to exist. There’s also the thrill (or allure of the promise of the thrill) of winning.  It can be a fun time, and it is excellent people watching!

Erin in Las Vegas

From the just 21 year olds in cargo shorts, to men in tailored suits and women in cocktail dresses, to an array of older people (in everything from suit jackets and pocket squares to sweatpants and plastic visors), there is no shortage of entertainment. I’m curious to see what sort of crowd this casino attracts. It will, no doubt, be a mixture, but I wonder if it will be a lot of locals. I wonder if people will run into friends and acquaintances while there, like, will it be a hang-out? Certainly we’ll have the opportunity to meet all sorts of folks.

Well, I guess we will see. We will see what it adds to the community, what kind of money we all win (hahahaha) and what kind of people watching we get. If nothing else, it will be something new to check out!

White Water Rafting |Mariaville Lake B&B 19 Aug 2016, 4:20 am

If you like roller-coasters or water slides or nature or general fun, you should definitely think about going on a rafting trip. I went on my first one last weekend and I was definitely anxious about it but it was such a blast!


Depending on the river, you could go through some serious rapids or just have a couple of fun ones, and also some flat spots where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. It’s also a fantastic upper body workout and you could totally keep your abs tight to work on your six pack… but, yeah, I didn’t really do that.  Again, depending on where you’re going, and for how long, there may be spots along the river to swim and jump off rocks. Some guys in my group jumped off a bridge too, but I’m not necessarily recommending that (although, yes, I am encouraging it). Participate at your own risk.
I went with some friends who had a 6 person raft and were decently experienced. However, there are lots of places and companies that offer guided tours where you have some extra safety equipment like helmets (ppsssshhh). While we were waiting for a part of our group to come back from dropping off the car, I was able to see an official group get set up. They gave a pretty good safety lecture (which I tried to listen to, but got bored and figured ah, well…).
Rick and Lorrie did a trip with White Water Challengers, about an hour and half from the B&B. They even got fed lunch AND dinner (we had some granola bars and fruit in a dry pack on my trip haha). White Water Challengers has a bunch of different packages you can choose from. Lorrie says it was so much fun and that she “always felt safe, yet challenged and excited”. Sounds like a win-win to me! Except for the safety thing. Boooooring.

In short, with rafting you get excitement and also get to see some scenery that you otherwise might not be able to. Definitely wear sunscreen! It’s awesome being able to jump off the raft into the river when you get hot. It’s both exhilarating and relaxing! I absolutely guarantee you’ll be tired afterwards, but it’s a good kind of tired. Okay, go do it now!

Diatomaceous Earth! What is it good for? Absolutely Everything? 11 Aug 2016, 6:37 am

Diatomeceous earth. Just saying it is fun. But what the hell is it? And what do you do with it?

Diatomeceous earth is a white, crumbly substance that is made from some interesting material. It’s basically crushed up diatoms. Duh. Okay, uhm, what are diotams? They are a type of phytoplankton – algae to be more exact. So, they’re super tiny uni-cellular organisms. Their cell walls are made of silica and are believed to have originated in the Jurassic period. The crushed up fossilized remains of these guys is what makes up diatomaceous earth.

I got some DE

One of the most well-known uses for diatomaceous earth is pest control. There are several different grades of diatomaceous earth. The one you’re going to want to use for any pests, whether it’s indoor or in your garden, is the food grade kind. Many farmers mix it right in their silos with corn to keep bugs at bay. I had some ants recently that just would not quit. I tried several different home remedies, including (but certainly not limited to) various essential oil concoctions and traps, all while keeping everything clean as a whistle. They kept coming back! I even resorted to a chemical spray. I thought that would really do them in –  but it didn’t! My brother recommended diatomaceous earth, and I  was able to procure some from a friend. You sprinkle it around where the wall and the floor meet, in crevices, and on the edges of your counter. The only down-side at first was it did look a little messy. If you decide to try it out, you might want to consider getting a cheap condiment bottle. The plastic kind with the nozzle on the top. You can fill that up and just sort of puff some diatomaceous earth in the areas you want it. It produces a very fine layer that is not as noticeable, but still does the trick.

Nooooooo…..

So low and behold diatomaceous earth did what even chemical-horrible-for-you-and-kinda-scary  Raid couldn’t. After the first day, no more ants. None. It had been months  that I could not seem to get rid of them, and just a little bit of this and they were gone.
The diatomaceous earth particles are so fine it mostly just looks like talcum powder to us, but it’s actually got some really sharp edges to small insects. It causes cuts in the exoskeleton of bugs, and also ruins their waxy coat, dehydrating them. Brutal. It can take a week to work, but I was so impressed with the immediate difference. It is also very long lasting, and highly effective on various insects, including fleas and bedbugs.

Under a microscope

There are other uses for DE as well. You can use it to deodorize shoes, carpets and kitty litter. Due to its abrasiveness, you can mix it with lemon and vinegar for an all natural cleaner. I also hear it absorbs oil stains on clothes and pavement. It works like a dream in the garden for any kind of bug or slug.
So, here’s something else. I’m going to tell you this and tell you to take it with a grain of salt because I haven’t found much solid scientific evidence for it, mainly just testimonials. Some people mix about a teaspoon of DE into water and drink it once, maybe twice a day. It’s supposed to really help your digestive system, and rid you of any weird bacteria or other little things in your system. People rave about it for it’s weight loss benefits, wrinkle reduction, and hair growth! There’s testimonials of people saying that after ingesting it for a while, they were no longer bald. I also hear that it gets rid of gray hair. That might be the most likely claim because of all the silica in DE (it’s about 85%). Gray hair is often a result of not having enough silica in your diet. Again, so I hear.

It cures everything. Just like coconut oil, and (yup) kombucha. I’m not saying all the claims for any of those things are true, but if you do a little research and deem it safe, why not give it a shot? Let me know … because I’m too scared to try it. I will tell you it has been the most successful ant deterrent I have ever encountered, and that alone is something.

Howe Caverns |Mariaville Lake B&B 4 Aug 2016, 3:38 pm

I would just LOVE to go spelunking. Or, even better, discover a cave and explore it by lantern light! That isn’t exactly on my agenda this week, but I did go and take a cavern tour. One of my favorite cavern tours (yeah, I’ve done a few) is just 30 minutes from Mariaville Lake B&B. Not only does it have stalagmites, stalactites, strange formations and different levels, but there’s also a section where you get on a boat and float along a river. I’ll admit, one of my favorite parts of the tours are the cheesy jokes the tour guides make. I don’t even think they’re that cheesy – I think they’re pretty good. This week, as they turned off all the lights to show us how dark it is, the tour guide said “Normally I’d make a joke here, but it’s a little dark”.

Howe Caverns has been in operation since 1842, and is the second largest natural attraction in New York State (do you know what the first is?). If you’ve got an adventurous spirit, and some extra cash, you can take the “Signature Rock Tour” and get to see a rock where people signed their names dating back to 1843, and the remains of an original tour boat. This tour goes beyond the traditional tour, and there isn’t lighting or modern walk ways – boots and head lamps people – sign me up! This tour section has only been open since 2015 (not counting the 1800 – early 1900s.

But, back to the history. Of course, Lester Howe, who made the cave famous, didn’t really discover it. The Native Americans knew it was there. After that, there is record that two white men knew about it, and it was supposed to be a secret in case a war broke out, they would hide there. This was in the early 1700’s and those two men “vanish quite suddenly from historical records, as did the Indians of the Schoharie Valley” according to the History section on the Howe Caverns Website. So, there’s that.

Lester Howe came into the picture in the early 1800’s. The entrance to the cave, and most knowledge about it had been forgotten. There was rumor of a “blowing rock”, a section of rock where even on thick, muggy days, a cool breeze would be felt. You know who felt that breeze? Lester’s cows. They always seemed to head to a similar area in the summer, and it wasn’t even on his property, but on his neighbors. Lester went up there and what do you suppose he found? He and his neighbor dug a bit and went in to explore. He opened it up to the public in 1843 and the tour was… 8 hours long. That’s, like, bring-two-meals-long. Now, the tours are 80 minutes, which is a bit more manageable. It’s probably partly due to walk-ways, lighting, and handrails which were put in between 1927 and 1929. It was probably slow going before then.

A hotel was built when things got popular, but Lester fell on hard times financially. He sold off some land above the caverns later on, and a quarry went in and destroyed some of the cave. The quarry also had the hillside with the natural entrance to the cave. The cave closed to the public, until 1927 when an organization was created to save it. They made improvements, including another entrance to the cave, and those safety measures mentioned above, including an elevator, all making it more accessible to the public.

Howe’s Cavern’s is exciting, beautiful, and a great place for both kids and adults. It’s cool because you get a history lesson, geology lessons and some truly stunning sights all in one trip. Also, it’s a great way to beat the heat. The cave is always 52 degrees, despite the outside temperature. If you need a break from the beating sun and shimmering heat waves, this is a fantastic way to escape (I think its better than going to the movies anyway).

Guests at Mariaville Lake B&B receive $2.00 off each paid admission.

 

And by the way, the first most visited natural attraction in NYS is Niagara Falls.

 

NYC Ballet at SPAC | Mariaville Lake B&B 28 Jul 2016, 1:13 pm

A summer schedule in the capital region always includes an event at SPAC. I wrote a blog recently about Saratoga Performing Arts and all the great music and performances they have. One of those is the time honored tradition of several New York City Ballet performances. Every year, they have a two week residency at SPAC. They are back again this year of course, but only through July 30th, so hurry up!

I loved going to see dance performances as a kid, and the NYC Ballet was the tops! I was very involved in dance as a kid, and loved reading books about the company, and taking VHSs of performances out of the library. Ballet is incredible – the strength, grace, emotion, not to mention the hard work behind each performance is breath-taking. One of the most stunning things about ballet is how effortless it all appears, while what it really is is endless training and physical maintenance, pain-staking costume making, meticulous sets and lighting – and a lot of sweat and bruised toes.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and don’t google “ballet feet”. This was one of the more tame ones.

NYCB will be performing some classics, as well as unveiling a few newly choreographed pieces, for a total of 16 ballets and 8 choreographers. Of course, there will be Balanchine choreography. They are also bringing out “Rhapsody in Blue” – who doesn’t love Gershwin (really? Who? They same people who don’t like ice cream I bet)?! You could be lucky enough to see the premier of a few new ballets they have lined up as well. They opened this season with A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream, the same ballet they opened with 50 years ago at SPAC!

I’m quite sure that all who attend the performances will enjoy the shows thoroughly. So, please go out to support these hard workers – both dancers and crew. Ballet makes life just a little bit more beautiful (except the toes. That’s pretty rough). Last but not least, I would like to show you my totally awesome vintage T-shirt.

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.

Materials!

Baby SCOBY

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!