I’ve lived Upstate for 12 years, and am just now discovering our gorgeous rural towns, roads, businesses and arts organizations. I drive upwards of 1,000 miles a month with my job as ACE Project Director, and while much of that time is spent in our cities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Hudson, Glens Falls and Saratoga, I’m occasionally — and very happily! — heading out to more rural towns during a wonderful time of the year. Here’s some scenery from Washington County, where the farm stands like Hand Melon Farm are bursting with flowers, and Ice Cream Man — where they make all of our own ice cream onsite, using an old-fashioned batch method of production and cream from a local dairy — is beckoning!
by Thomas Dimopolous
Kristi Carrara opened Revibe in a 350-square foot space on Broad Street in October 2015, but always had her eye on a larger venue. Today, she has expanded into a two-floor, 3,000-square foot building where she provides a combination of traditional retail and consignment sales, and a space for others in the community to sell their own goods and services.
“I’m an accountant. That’s how I started. I’m best at putting businesses together – that’s where my creativity flourishes,” Carrara said.
Among the offerings at Revibe are singing bowls and dream catchers, handpainted buddhas and chakra candles, murals, and stones and minerals for healing purposes and natural beauty. “Everything I have focuses on nature,” she said.
Approximately a quarter of what she sells is on consignment. Carrara also rents out a large room upstairs to others in the community for events such as workshops, painting classes and meditation-themed events.
“It’s for people starting their own business, but who don’t have to worry about things like rent, bills and overhead. A big part of it is they come in and do their classes and I take care of the rest,” she said.
Carrara’s personal love are air plant holders, which are handmade. She allows customers the opportunity to build their own terrariums and fairy gardens, from base to fill, container and theme.
Revibe, 94 Broad Street, Schuylerville
(518) 507-6473 // Revibe Website
by Thomas Dimopolous
For much of the 20th century, the second floor space inside the brick building at the corner of Broad and Front streets housed the Ackshand Knitting Company, manufacturers of unique gloves. In October 2016, Carol Dimopoulos re-opened the space as the GypsYoga Center to promote health and wellness through movement, meditation and the arts.
“The goal is to provide a loving and welcoming environment and community for students of all levels, and to train teachers in the hatha yoga lineage with yoga masters who come from the yoga capital of the world,” said Dimopoulos, a certified yoga teacher and president of Perillo’s Learning Journeys, an educational travel company.
A handful of master teachers at GypsYoga provide regular classes in hatha, kundalini, and bhakti disciplines for kids, adults and families. Specialized workshops provide opportunities for a variety of freelancers – from master teachers providing gong meditations, to photographers, poets and musicians—who stage collaborative events focused on movement and the arts.
“Giving back is also at the core of what we do,” said Dimopoulos, referring to community yoga events centered on class donations which raise funds to support local and global NGO communities.
GypsYoga is the international teaching center of Yoga Vedenta in India – one of the most prestigious schools of yoga, and located in the ancient spiritual city of Rishikesh. The center promotes journeys and retreats to global destinations, and as an international teaching center offers Yoga Alliance Certified RYT 200 and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings with yoga masters brought to the center from Rishikesh.
“The mission is to bring people inside of themselves and explore their inner world through the holistic teachings of yoga and meditation, pranayama, lifestyle and the creative arts,” Dimopoulos said.
GypsYoga Center, 120 Broad Street, Schuylerville
(518) 260-9305 // GypsYogaWebsite
by Thomas Dimopolous
Hudson Crossing Park centers around Champlain Canal Lock 5 Island, just north of the village of Schuylerville. It is a bi-county park where history, geology and environmental conscience meet, and where partnerships and grants from both public and private channels have ushered in the development of public trails and structures.
Cindy Wian first became involved with Hudson Crossing Park – “this underutilized and neglected piece of state land,” she says — a decade ago. In 2016, she was named the park director.
The initial work on Hudson Crossing Park began around 2000 when a grassroots steering committee was formed by volunteers, planners, school leaders and elected officials from Saratoga and Washington counties. Professionals with experience in surveying and creating architectural concept drawings donated their talents, artists were brought in to create interpretive signage, and in 2006, the park was incorporated as an educational corporation in the state of New York. Subsequently it received recognition as a not-for-profit entity.
“A lot of what happened in the park only happened in the uniquely beautiful way it did because artists were involved in the way things were created,” Wian says. “Sometimes things were donated, but most of the time they were hired through grant funding, so there is an economic piece to it. Partnerships have always been what we do, and that is what makes us succeed.”
The park, open dawn to dusk daily, houses sculptures assembled from natural materials, found objects and recycled metals, designed to draw visitors deeper into the park. The park hosts two miles of trails, a play garden, a picnic pavilion and floating dock. A park ranger from Saratoga National Historical Park comes in to offer lessons about local and migrating birds, and interpretive signs and audio tour mates tell the story of the park and its environment all along the riverwalk sensory trail. These talks are so educational, especially for children who seem to just love them! They tend to interact very confidently with the ranger, even asking to wear his ranger hat sometimes! Plans are in the works for expansion into Washington County on the site of the former Adirondack School, which would provide east-of-the-Hudson River access to classrooms and administrative offices, as well as a year-round facility (itself benefiting the local economy through job creation).
“We’re building on history, the environment and the arts as components to be woven into – whether it’s with interpretive displays, or programming, whether it’s event-based, or with workshops and trainings,” Wian says. “All of these things have been in the mix and the consensus is creating the programming and the physical spaces to make this a destination.”
Hudson Crossing Park, Ct. Road 42, Schuylerville
(518) 350-7275 // Hudson Crossing Park Website
by Thomas Dimopolous
Inside the Revolution Caf?, a wall labeled “Dream” stands opposite a chalkboard that reads “Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe,” and a full bistro menu boasts titles like Federalist Salads, Patriot Sandwiches, and Constitution Wraps.
“I like the historical aspect of the name Revolution Cafe, because I feel everything in Schuylerville is a revolution,” said Cassandra Wilusz, who went through her own personal revolution when she walked away from her process analyst job in corporate America, to open the Revolution Cafe in summer 2016.
“This business I am passionate about: making food affordable and fresh and connecting with people here, every day,” she said. It has been a journey and there have been some struggles along the way, for example, it took me a while to find an equipment supplier I could rely on (I now use one a little like NellaOnline.com) but my enthusiasm has kept me going and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
The business employs three people during the winter months and eight during the summer. The space accommodates 20 patrons inside and seats nearly three times that amount outdoors, where the view overlooks the canal that adjoins the Hudson River.
Some of the people who have worked the space before have gone on to open their own coffee shops, with some finding franchises (HTTPS://JUSTLOVECOFFEEFRANCHISE.COM/RESEARCH/WHAT-IS-JUST-LOVE/) that match the ideology of the Dream Cafe in helping their local community.
Wilusz’s goal is to create a creative space for all to come together: from local musicians and singers, to high school students and workers from the nearby lumber store.
“The vision is to have an Open Mic night once a week where you can hang out and listen to live music, to add microbrews and a tapas menu,” Wilusz said. “I want to create a casual environment where you can come, hang out, have drinks and appetizers ? and not just for a certain demographic. I want this to be for everyone.”
Revolution Caf?, 31 Ferry Street, Schuylerville
(518) 695-3930 // Revolution Cafe on Facebook