Monday, July 5, 2010

A discovery in NY State... Harrigan House

Saturday was the type of day that totally validates our belief in the serendipitous. We headed out to the New York State side at about 1015hrs. We really wanted to see something different this time around, though. The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny. We drove with the windows open and a cool breeze blasting through the SUV.Our first surprise came as we came off the Cornwall bridge and through US Customs. There were no cars lined up... It was pretty amazing. We breezed through customs and headed for the Mall in Massena first off.

I picked up 2 road maps (one for New York State and another for New England) and a new pair of shades.

As we made our way out of Massena, we decided to head Northeast to Malone along Hwy.37. It was a trip I hadn't made before and any new road is bound to be a good road, in my books. When I travel, I always try to take in as much as I can. The scenery, the smells, the architecture, the feel of an area... I use all these to gauge whether or not this would be a route worth retracing on a motorcycle. In this case it was a resounding 'Yes!'.

From Malone we figured we'd head to Potsdam via the 11 South. We toyed with the idea of striking out for the Adirondacks for a spell, but we had been errant children that morning and had left much too late to consider such far-ranging thoughts. Not to worry, we would tuck that idea away for future reference... As we left Malone and proceded down State Rte.11 South, about 4 miles into it, we drove through the little burgh of North Bangor. It was there that we spied the most charming bed & breakfast.

The Harrigan House as it was named, is the home and property of Daniel Benware and his wife Barb. I was so struck by it that after we had driven past the first time, I asked my wife to turn back, so that we might get a shot of it. She parked a short distance from the driveway, so that I might cross the street and get a clear shot of the building's front. It had a long and deep verandah along the front, on which Daniel and Barb just happened to be taking a well-deserved rest. We struck up a conversation and before you knew it, I was calling my wife over to meet these newfound friends of ours.

They invited us to join them in a tour of the property, of which they were justifiably proud. Daniel was also the groundskeeper and the front garden, along with the immense and beautifully planned back garden areas, were a testament to his abilities and creativity. The way their home presented itself to those passing by, was as a purely quintessential piece of Americana. It was absolutely iconic of the time and the area in which it was first built. An evergreen turned into a bonsai tree, archways skillfully crafted through hedges, a wonderful assortment of shade trees and decorative flowers and plants... all against the backdrop of a lush, green and well-manicured lawn.

Around back in their 'small garden', was where we were informed that breakfast was served in the morning. Breakfast prepared by the way, on an old wood stove which sat in an alcove just steps away. What a wonderful setting in which their guests could begin their day. I could definitely see myself here in my housecoat, pyjamas and slippers...

We were then invited to tour the inside of the house, if we so felt like it. I was quite taken with the house's exterior, I can tell you. I certainly wanted to get a look at the inside as well. Dan and Barb had been living in this house for the last 31 years. I believe they have only been running it as a B&B for the last few years now. The interior, both their personal quarters and the guests rooms, were absolutely exquisite. Many of the furnishings harken back to an earlier day and are well in step with the vintage of the house itself. The overall feeling is one of comfort, or permanence, of a home.

I could go on at length, but I will content myself with leaving the link for their fantastic abode. We will be going back there in the very near future, this time as overnighters.
From our stop in North Bangor, we carried on along Rte 11 South. It is such a lovely road and one I certainly intend returning to with 'Baby'. It was another 32 miles until we reached the outskirts of Potsdam. By this time, we were starting to feel peckish. We parked the SUV along their main drag and set out on foot for a local eatery. Lo and behold, we found ourselves entering the local Pizza Hut and being hustled to a booth.

I ordered some wings (which were delish, I gotta tell you...), while my better half ordered a 'personal veggie pan pizza'. The food was great and so was the service. My wife ordered a little (5oz) bottle of Barefoot Wine (a Chardonnay if I remember correctly...), which just about put her on her ass. It was the funniest thing. She handed me the keys to the SUV and drowned her shame in a plate of Chocolate Dunkers, complete with Hershey's chocolate dunking sauce. We made our way giggling to the SUV and headed out of town.

We embarked on State Rte. 56 North, which was another very pleasant road in the countryside. It took us all the way to Massena and the bridge back Cornwall. The remainder of the trip home was uneventful, other than spying the odd deer along the edge of the CR 138. We pulled into our driveway at 2 minutes past nine. It was still daylight outside. What a wonderful day we had had. New discoveries, new friends and plenty of fresh ideas for future travels. Life is just never, ever boring...

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