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Turkey Tracks: Black Kettle Farm Barn Dance, Essex, NY

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Turkey Tracks:  June 15, 2012

This is Part 4–and the final entry–of an ongoing entry, scroll down for the beginning…

Black Kettle Farm Barn Dance

After leaving Kristin Kimball and Essex Farm (read THE DIRTY LIFE by Kristin), we went back to the Essex Inn, regrouped, had tea on the porch, and set out for a local fundraiser for a local Waldorf School held at Black Kettle Farm–dinner and square dancing.

Wow!  Here was a whole community–people of all ages–all gathered together to have some fun and to raise some money for a good cause.

Dinner was served outside this amazing, gorgeous, wonderful barn–a barn with a wooden floor and a soaring roof–and it was all local food that people had made for this event.

Tables were set up inside the barn for eating.  Musicians were gathering at one end of the barn, and we could see at least two fiddlers–one of whom had an adoring dog with him who never left his side all night long.  A silent auction has some really amazing items–one a quilt from a local artist, another a HUGE basket of many Mason jars of homemade jams, pickles, and so forth

After eating, people rose to put away tables and chairs and the dancing began–starting with the children, who were patiently taught several dances by their parents and a square dance caller.

Then the real dancing began.  There were at least three sets of circles–and sometimes lines–depending on the dance being called–and as darkness fell, the energy in the barn reached whole new heights.  Dancers of all ages whirled and twirled and laughed and moved–sometimes so fast you could hardly see them.  Here’s a very tame picture of one dance.

A group of foreign students appeared and were immediately pulled into one of the rings.  The students caught on quickly and were soon laughing and…yes…sweating–for there is a lot of movement in this kind of dancing.

We called it a night about 9 p.m., but it was plain that the dancing would go on for some time to come.

We had breakfast with Tara on Sunday morning at the Essex Inn–before we went our separate ways.  We would drive home to Maine, and Tara would drive back to Accord, finishing packing, and on Tuesday, head to Charleston, SC, to start her own farm.  As I write, I know she and Leighton have arrived, the animals made the trip ok, the small barn is up, the fencing in place, and our son Mike’s family will take food to them tonight.

As we boarded the ferry,  here was our view:

The White Mountains beckoned, and Maine and home awaited us.

We need a year-round CSA in Maine!

Turkey Tracks: Going to Essex Farm, Essex, NY

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Turkey Tracks:  June 13, 2012

This is part 2, scroll down for part 1 of this story

Going to Essex Farm, Essex, NY

Essex Farm in Essex, NY, is due west of Camden, Maine–as I discovered when I got out our maps.  Essex is about 6 1/2 hours from Camden, which includes crossing Lake Champlain on the Charlotte-Essex ferry.

My original plan with Tara Derr Webb was to drive south to her place in Accord, NY, which is near Kingston, NY (about 90 minutes north of NY City), travel with her to Essex on Saturday morning, spend the night in Essex, travel back to Accord, and then head home.  The maps showed us both that Essex is waaaay closer to Camden than Accord.   Besides, Tara was in the midst of final packing and would be leaving Accord on Tuesday.

We agreed to meet at the Essex Inn on Saturday morning, June 9th.   I had invited John to come with me, as neither of us had ever been west in Maine, nevermind seeing northern New Hampshire and Vermont.  He and I would drive to Essex on Friday and stay at the Inn, which also had what looked like a nice restaurant.

Western Maine is beautiful, and one gradually drives up into the mountains which host some pretty amazing ski resorts.  In New Hampshire and Vermont, we drove through the White Mountains and across the northern part of the Green Mountains.  The scenery is breathtaking–filled with dense mountains, rushing rivers, and mountain farms.  Outside of Burlington, Vermont, we went south to get on the Charlotte-Essex Ferry.  Lake Champlain is bordered by lush farms and ringed by mountains–on the New York side, it’s the Adirondacks.   Here’s what we saw at the ferry:

If you’ve never been on a car ferry, here’s what one looks like:

John had loved the whole day–going through tiny mountain towns, stopping to eat in Goram and talking to local people.  But we were both blown away by the beauty of Lake Champlain, with its ring of mountains.  Here’s John on the ferry:

The town of Essex is tiny, but is visited, in summer, by folks escaping the city who want some cool lushness.  Here’s what the Essex Inn looks like:

We settled in, had tea on this beautiful porch, had a lovely dinner inside, and slept well–anticipating seeing Tara and Kristin and Mark and the farm the next morning.