Susan’s Caffeine Tour June 2019 – Franklin

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Bea’s in Franklin

Could there possibly be better news than when a great new coffee shop opens in your own home town?

No. There really couldn’t.

Bea’s opened its doors in Franklin right after Memorial Day and it’s already hard to imagine how we got along with it until now.

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Bea’s has another location in Bovina, but the opening of two new shops in Franklin also brought along a Franklin version of that well-loved cafe, and Franklin has become even more wonderful because of it.

No longer need we drive to Delhi for a great cup of coffee and a scone. We’ve got ’em right here at Bea’s. I’d have taken a picture of the scone when it was all pretty and stuff, but it looked too good. I ate it.  Scones are irresistible.

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Scones….ahhhhh.

KB, who likes scones but not to the level of addiction, had an egg sandwich. Freshly baked ciabatta bread, a buttery egg, your choice of add-ons. He was very, very happy.

Who else is new in town? Sean Scherer’s Kabinett & Kammer  for one. It’s a very hip, very cool curiosity shop – vintage items displayed in unexpected combinations. Think antique meets artistic sensibility. This isn’t your mom’s antique shop.

And right beside them all at 422 Main is Gary Graham at 422, a place you have to explore and investigate to really begin to understand. Graham is a fashion designer, I suppose, but in reality he tells stories with clothes. And they’re my kind of stories. A bit macabre, a little melancholy. He combines historical fact with fictional characters, uses vintage fabric patterns  and fabrics, or newly woven copies of vintage fabrics, to create clothes that evoke an event or a mood. That sheer overdress made out of what looked, to my untrained eye, like organza, had a price tag on it that seemed out of place away from Graham’s former Tribeca location. But then I read what inspired it….a double suicide in the Delaware River known as the Ophelia drownings…two young men persuaded to dress up in diaphanous gowns and drown themselves by a charismatic madman. Graham has another collection inspired by the Bedheads…a group of young locals who terrorized their neighbors and may have committed a murder.

I admit it — I have a macabre streak. So I’m loving this stuff.

If you have a macabre streak, too, come visit Franklin. Check out Gary Graham at 422.

And after you grab coffee at Bea’s go next door to Franklin Durable Goods at 438 Main Street. Neil and Tom currently have a truly disturbing collection of wax death masks for sale. Disturbing in the best way possible. Or perhaps you’d like a collection of porcelain baby doll faces. I have twelve, and I have not yet decided what to do with them. They creep me out in a very good way.

And then you can explore racks and racks of vintage clothes to create your own slightly dark fashion statement.

When you’re done, it’s a short walk back down Main St. to Blue Farm Antiques and Letterpress Printing. Whatever you find there won’t be there long. Phil has an amazing eye and things fly out of his shop.

And if it’s time for a serious meal, never forget The Tulip & The Rose, Franklin’s creative and welcoming food hub. The menu is varied and delicious and if you want to meet this town’s artists, here’s where you’ll find them at meal time.

Franklin – come for the New England-y charm, stay for the weirdness.

 

Susan’s Upstate Caffeine Tour – Stop Three – Schenevus

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It’s pronounced skin-EE-vuhs. It’s nobody’s idea of a hot spot…a town laid out like many small upstate towns – a few businesses on one street, and not much else. And like many similar towns, the highway which passed it by is just a mile away.  It’s between Cobleskill and Oneonta on I-88 and there’s a whole lot of not much around it. But with a gas station and the Chief Schenevus diner, Schenevus is still alive and kicking.

It’s handy to the highway (as I mentioned), it’s not far from Cooperstown, and there are some beautiful places hidden in the hills off the main street.

I stopped by the Chief Schenevus on a cold, wet early spring day when I was chilled to the bone. I got a warm welcome, a hot cup of soup, and a thrilling surprise – a homemade scone.

I really like scones. They give me a sense that maybe we’re not all as different as we sometimes seem to be. I’ve had scones in Scotland (the best ones, I’ll admit), scones in England, scones in Canada, scones in New York and scones in random spots all over the US. If scones can be everywhere, we must all have at least a little in common, right?

But I was a bit worried when the door shut behind me. There was a TV. And it was set to Fox News.

Here’s the thing about this part of New York: it’s Fox News country. Not exclusively so, of course. But there are a lot of viewers here. If you don’t like Fox News, it can also make you feel a bit worried about your welcome. After all, you’re not a local.  And you tend to have more confidence in what Fox calls “fake news.”

But here’s the other thing about rural New York: people are really, sincerely nice. So I’ve had a lot of experiences with Fox News people that demonstrated that they may watch the nonsense they see there, they may even believe some of it, but they take their people on an individual basis, at face value. If you’re nice, they’ll give that back to you tenfold. If you’re not, whatever you get is on you.

That seems fair to me.

So when I walked in the Chief Schenevus and saw scones, I immediately began to relax. A good homemade scone, for me, is a sign that there’s still hope for this country.

The Chief Schenevus had three people working on the day I was there. There was a fellow cooking in the back, and two women behind the counter in the front. There was hot potato soup, good solid ceramic mugs and plenty of coffee.

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The women were friendly but not nosy. The food was delicious and they seemed to get a kick out of how excited the stranger was about the scones.

As I was leaving, a young couple came in with their new baby and both women lit up like a sunny day. They clearly knew the parents and were thrilled to see the new neighbor.

It felt friendly. Even with Fox News on behind them.

Four stars, Chief Schenevus. Five if you turn off the TV.

 

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Susan’s Upstate Caffeine Tour: Stop Two: Coffee and a Bookstore

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

We all like a good view. This is one of my favorites. Books. Lots and lots of books.

There aren’t many things I like as well. But the city of Oneonta has a place that has two of my all time favorite things with a connecting door between them.  That’s right. Coffee and books. Can it possibly be any better than that?

 

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Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

This magical place is called the Latte Lounge. It’s on Main Street in Oneonta, right next to The Green Toad Bookstore. They’re brick storefronts with massive, high ceilings and a big old door that opens between the two. You don’t even have to step outside.

Beyond the obvious (books and coffee, people!), there are other charms to the Latte Lounge. First, the brick walls. There’s something really wonderful about an old brick industrial building. And though I’m not enamored of every color choice made by the Lounge, who am I to complain? Coffee and books!

In fact, if you look on the Local Authors shelf in The Green Toad, you’ll see a familiar name. (I admit to a bit of shameless self-promotion.)

Plus, there are some absolutely WONDERFUL design elements in this coffee shop. They’ve got massive old industrial thingies that I, honestly, cannot identify. They have a huge curved window placed inside, creating a private little tabletop within the larger space. And they’ve got some great old Formica tables and chairs in the back, items that harken back to the days when Mom wore pearls and Father Knew Best.

There’s food at the Latte Lounge. All kinds of food.

I haven’t had any of it. What can I tell you? I’m there for the coffee. And the books.

But the baked goods look pretty good and the menu items look like they’d satisfy anyone who wasn’t just about the coffee.

How does the Latte Lounge rate on my brand new coffee spot ratings system?

I give it a four. And a half. It looks great, coffee is delicious. But they serve in paper cups, not ceramic mugs. It’s sensible; it’s a college town, people often wander into the bookstore.

But ceramic mugs are a very important part of my coffee experience. So I’ve gotta ding ’em a little for that. But that’s my only gripe.

So — you’re not from around these parts. Maybe you’re from Brooklyn. Where, you ask, is Oneonta? Isn’t that somewhere in the Adirondacks?

No, intrepid adventurer. Oneonta is arguably the threshold of central New York, if you’re traveling west from Albany. If you only travel on the Thruway, you’ll never see it. It’s off I-88, the least crowded four-to-eight lane toll-free highway I’ve ever driven on.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t mention the wonders of Delaware and Otsego Counties too loudly. I know from experience that can lead to a rather overwhelming tidal wave of Air BnBers and ZipCars.

But I trust you. If you like it here, you’ll like it because you get it. The charm, in part, is how surprising it is to find something kind of hip and urban surrounded by breathtaking hills and farmland. And, like me, you’ll want to share it.

You won’t spoil it. You’ll cherish it.

And don’t forget to visit the bookstore. Put a lid on your coffee, please.

Want to see more, or sign up for a newsletter with a lot more community info as well as some real estate news, go to my website.  www.upstatecountryrealty.com

 

 

Susan’s Upstate Caffeine Tour- Stop One

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This is Hoppie’s. It’s in the little town of Oxford, overlooking the village square. It’s a cafe/diner/community gathering spot.

It’s great. Let me explain why:

First, let’s talk about colors.

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Hoppie’s gets colors. They have got the most glorious selection of blue and red and etched glass I’ve seen in a long time. And they augment with some very cool blue light bulbs. So right off the bat, you know these people have a personality.

Next, let’s talk about pies.

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I really like pie. A lot. I don’t eat a ton of it, because I’m always trying to be conscious of what I’m eating (and is that ever tiresome!) but I never fail to delight in a place that has an assortment of pies.  Look at that picture. Hoppie’s does pies.

And then let’s talk about the setting. Oxford, NY.

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This is Chenango County, between Binghamton and Albany, northwest of Delhi, for you Hudson Valley types. It’s not booming. But this town square is something really special, the setting for the Oxford Academy, their town school, is glorious, and there are little parks and boulevards scattered all over town. It has charm.

Yes, reader, I am smitten. If I wasn’t already madly in love with my own town (Franklin) and my childhood crush (Cherry Valley) I’d be wondering why we didn’t live there.

Prices are incredibly good, too. Good news for buyers, even if it’s a bit sad for sellers. But we know where we are, here in central New York. Brooklyn, for the most part, hasn’t found us yet. They’re going to be wild about us when they do.

Now — on to the coffee and the food. Breakfast all day, people. Need I say more? My sweetie ordered a pancake and was warned that it was as big as a plate. “Bring it on,” said he, and proceeded to polish it off along with eggs and home fries.

The coffee comes in a mug that the waitress dubbed “too small”, so she visited frequently for free refills. And we sat at a table by the window and played peek a boo with a toddler who found us pretty intriguing.

Hoppie’s rates a five out of five on the Caffeine Tour rating system I just invented. Hey, it’s my tour, I get to set the system and do the scoring.

Ambience, friendly folks, great setting, great coffee and good food. The stained glass put them over the top. I admit it.