the freys

Elf’s: A Farm with Hope — And Lots of Wine

Covered in a Carhartt jacket, fading blue jeans and a thick beard, Sean Frey looks native to the Adirondacks. He sits at a mahogany bar propped up on two aging oak barrels and glances up to the final nails that complete the ceiling for a new building to process wine and hard cider. His sister, Erin, operates the cherry picker, which holds yet another Frey sibling, Kevin, who’s been hammering above. It is the very picture of a farm family working together. Nothing clues visitors that this family once lived Syosset, N.Y., a suburban hamlet fewer than four miles from…

Lake Champlain

Journey Across Frozen Lake Champlain

Two layers of pants, three coats, a knit hat and a pair of boots with crampons attached to the bottom are what I wore for the trek. The air was bitter and harsh, but that didn’t stop my colleague and me from making our way across Lake Champlain from Plattsburgh to Valcour Island, home of the Bluff Point Lighthouse. Three to 4 inches of snow crunched under our feet as we walked across a mile of ice. I had two different mindsets standing
in the middle of Lake Champlain: “Oh my goodness, this is beautiful,” and, “This can’t be safe.” The…

Visit Where One Direction Shot Their Music Video

North Country residents might not have noticed the U.K. boy band One Direction whizzing around the area September 2011. But residents and tourists alike can relive the band’s experiences and see the land through their eyes. One Direction is kind of a big deal. Their debut album, “Up All Night,” topped the U.S. Billboard 200 Charts, selling 176,000 copies its first week. But before the group gained more than 16 million Twitter followers, it stopped by the Adirondack Coast. Why would the self-proclaimed “new Beatles” visit the North Country? The band decided New York’s breathtaking mountains plus Plattsburgh State’s Victorian Gothic architecture…

Plattsburgh’s Strand Theatre Revives Classic Films and Performing Arts

Jonathan Ortloff places his fingers gently on the keys, hushing 958 eager onlookers. The air in the 90-year-old theater vibrates even before he begins to play. It’s been more than 50 years since the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh last sheltered an organ, and the Wurlitzer Opus 970 hardly needs the spotlight to hold the audience’s attention. Stops and switches surround Ortloff’s hands — certainly too many for 10 fingers to handle. This Wurlitzer is one of only 19 in the world and the locals who lined the streets and crammed the lobby know this is a special night. Ortloff begins,…

Battle of Plattsburgh Bicentennial Weekend

On a half-cloudy, chilly September morning, soldiers kiss and hug their loved ones goodbye. Troops chatter as they begin their march. Cannon shots roar unexpectedly. Men, both young and old, get into formation before disappearing in a mist of gun smoke. Red and orange flares shoot from their muskets and linger in the air for a split second in time. The battle re-enactment rages on. The First Bloody Encounter, as it is known by locals in Beekmantown, New York, just a few miles away from the festivities, is the kickoff event for the annual Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Weekend. This…