New York Vacation 2017 – Barnum Pond

Barnum Pond (© F. P. Dorchak, August 10, 2017)

Barnum Pond (© F. P. Dorchak, August 10, 2017)

I love Barnum Pond!

Every time we go to upstate New York, I make it a point to stop and take in the beauty that is Barnum Pond. I always take shots of the pond. Barnum lies just a little north of Paul Smiths, on the way to Malone, New York, directly alongside Route 30. It’s a small, shallow pond (84 acres, 10 feet deep), wherein which I always recall this funny memory: my youngest brother, Greg, and I had had come home to see Dad…it might have actually been to attend the funeral service for my dad’s dad, back in 1992. My dad had lived in Dickinson Center, NY at the time. Anyway, Greg and I had decided to go canoeing, so we’d taken one of Dad’s canoes and had gone out on Barnum that June day. As we’re having a great time paddling out in the middle of Barnum and catching up, we look back to shore and see this red Forest Ranger truck pulled over to the side, and this ranger standing tall and purposeful at the water’s edge…staring at us through binoculars.

Dad.

Ha! We’d been caught!

Really? Of all the acreage in Region 5 of upstate New York (and, if I remember right, it’s the largest region in the state) that my Forest Ranger dad patrolled, he’d just happened upon us?

I’m not even sure if we’d left a note—I’d hoped we had, since that is what I always do—so, I’m sure he’d probably stopped back at the house and seen the note, then decided to come check us out. But it was so funny, seeing him there, all official and all, binocs to his eyes, staring at us as we paddled around Barnum Pond in one of his Department of Environmental Conservation canoes.

These pictures, below, were taken in the early evening of August 10, 2017. The second image is of a log poking up out of the water to our right. The very last one is of all the bugs that had been buzzing around us and skittering across the water. Yeah, that’s one of the things upstate NY is know for. Bugs.

 

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New York Vacation 2017 – Lake George and Bolton Landing

Boathouse B&B. (© F. P. Dorchak, August 10, 2017)

Boathouse B&B. (© F. P. Dorchak, August 10, 2017)

The next leg of our August 2017 vacation involved my wife and I driving up from Bennington, Vermont by way of Lake George, New York. We’d stopped in the town of Lake George to check out the bustling little town, which we’d both been to and I’d been to as a kid, and it was a hoppin’! I’d just wanted to swing through it to see it, since it’d been so long since we’d last been there. Then we went north, to Bolton Landing, where the Boathouse B&B is. I’d always wanted to go there, but, honestly, their rates are a bit much for our blood. However, I did finally get to check it out from afar! It’s actually a pretty busy location, with a marina and other lakeside businesses crammed around it, and a bridge that goes across to the Sagamore Resort, but the grounds to the place are quite nice! I’d found this place while doing research for another book, which has since gotten shelved (but might be resurrected in the future; as you know…most things just don’t stay dead around me…). The two shots of the wooden Riva boats are from the marina adjacent to the Boathouse B&B, as is the green water shot.

By the way, George Reis, a speedboat racer, lived at the B&B in 1930s. We then crossed the bridge on Sagamore Road and drove around the grounds of the historic Sagamore Resort. It’s quite the resort, taking up the entire island upon which it resides! We didn’t have time to actually go inside, but wove around parts of its grounds. It was gorgeous!

We then took 9N up and across I-87 (the last three pictures below are from somewhere north of Bolton Landing) and into Lake Placid, drove through Saranac Lake, Lake Clear (and stopped by the 1880s house I grew up in), Paul Smiths, Barnum Pond, then on up to Malone….

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Vermont Vacation 2017 – Covered Bridges

Silk Road Bridge (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

Silk Road Bridge (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

After my wife and I had checked out the Bennington Battle Monument, we checked out the three covered bridges nearby. There was a covered bridges museum we’d stopped by, but it closed in half an hour and we were told there was so much in there it would take far longer than 30 minutes to get through it all. They said we could come back the next day, but much like the Griswolds, in Vacation, we were on a mission to see a Pile of Mud rather than my cousin Eddie, and wouldn’t have time to come back the next day. Okay, I don’t have a cousin Eddie, and there was no Pile of Mud to see (but had there been, yes, I’d have wanted to see it, Vermont mud you know…).

Earlier bridges were made of wood, but they only lasted 10 – 20 years. Covering them extended their lives to about 80 years. And being covered these bridges now offered refuge in times of storms and other inclement weather. They not only protected people, but also helped keep horses from shying away from water.

I’ve always loved their look and architecture, and it had been so long since I’d seen any “in person” (if I ever did…my childhood memories are a leetle fuzzy on these…) so I had to see these! So, we drove through them all and I took a few shots of them.

The three bridges we visited were:

  • Silk Road Bridge
  • Paper Mill Bridge
  • Henry Bridge

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Do the Dead Dream?

My very first review of Do The Dead Dream?, by Small Press Reviews! Thank you, Marc!

Small Press Reviews

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 10.37.25 AMFall is upon us and Halloween is nigh, so if you’re looking for a good scare (or several dozen good scares), then look no further than FP Dorchak’s anthology of short horror fiction Do the Dead Dream? Collected here are forty-five short stories spanning the entirety of Dorchak’s writing career, many of which originally appeared in such esteemed publications as Black Sheep, Apollo’s Lyre, and The Waking Muse. And in each story, Dorchak’s skills as a storyteller with a penchant for considering not just alternate realities but alternate ways of thinking about reality are on full display. In other words, Do the Dead Dream? isn’t just scary… It’s also deep.

Truth be told, things get deep pretty quickly (and literally) with a piece titled “The Wreck,” in which a diver is inexplicably and undeniably drawn to mysterious shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. In this story…

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Vermont Vacation 2017 – Bennington

Bennington Battle Monument (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

Bennington Battle Monument (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

After sailing on Lake Champlain on our Vermont/New York State vacation this past August, we drove due south to visit the Bennington Battle Monument and several functional covered bridges in the town of Bennington, Vermont. I love history, and found that there’s this Revolutionary War monument very similar in look to the Washington Monument, so I just had to go check it out. Added to that that there were also three beautiful Covered Bridges to visit and drive through!

I love me some covered bridges.

The monument is 306 feet 4 and 1/2 inches tall, and was completed and dedicated in 1891. It was built to commemorate the Battle of Bennington, which occurred on August 16, 1777 and was considered to be the turning point in the Revolutionary War.

Battle of Bennington (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

Battle of Bennington (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

It was kinda funny how we came upon it. As we drove into Bennington using our GPS, we were trying to find our hotel. I thought it odd that we were driving through lotsa trees and no “town”…but thought, huh, this motel must be in a really cozy location! As our GPS took us through all these obviously back roads—and one covered bridge!—it was just one winding road after another and trees, trees, and more trees…until we finally broke out into a small clearing—and there it was, the Bennington Battle Monument! Apparently, in my finessing of our GPS waypoints, the monument popped up first, instead of our hotel. In fact I’d looked at how I’d set up our trip here, and, indeed, we should have had the hotel pop up first, before the monument…but it didn’t. Technology. Go figger.

So here we were!

It was a beautiful day, so we got out and visited this beautiful stone structure and its beautifully manicured lawn! Here is a link to read more about the monument. You cannot go all the way up in it…just up to the barred area you see in the photo…but it’s pretty far up. Inside there (as well as in the base) are various plaques describing the view and history of the area and monument. At the base is the actual camp cooking kettle used by General Burgoyne, which was captured by us Americans, in Saratoga, on October 17, 1777. There is also a diorama of the battle on display. The stairs are blocked off, because of safety issues, once the elevator had been installed.

Bennington Monument Entrance (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

Bennington Monument Entrance (© F. P. Dorchak, August 9, 2017)

Of note, there was a moment when I was just looking around and looked to the entrance. For some reason, it struck me as a cool shot. Well, now, over a month later and after having written this other post on my Reality Check site, this shot seems to hold just a little more “weight,” as I look at it now. Perhaps there really was more to this shot than just the neat way the late afternoon sun hit the stone and metal….

The view from the top was incredible! You could stay up there as long as you wanted, well, until closing time anyway, and my wife and I hung out here for a spell, just looking at the gorgeous scenery and feeling the New England wind whipping through our hair (open “windows,” no glass).

Bennington Monument Hatchway (© August 9, 2017, F. P. Dorchak)

Bennington Monument Hatchway (© August 9, 2017, F. P. Dorchak)

There is this metal cylindrical entrance up there, which goes near to the top, but it’s off limits to the public.

Once we returned to the lobby, we took our time reading about the monument’s construction and the battle itself. Checked out that huge kettle.

Back outside, the grounds were meticulously kept, and there were some beautiful flowers. We also checked out the General John Stark. There was another individual on the other side, but I couldn’t take a shot of it because this family was camping out in front of it taking multiple shots of each and every one of them with the danged thing. Apparently they never saw me taking a nap there as I’d waited on them….

It was a pretty neat site to see! Our next stop were the three Covered Bridges, which will be in my next post….

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Vermont Vacation 2017 (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)

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Do The Dead Dream? Now Available!

Do The Dead Dream? (© 2017, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Do The Dead Dream? (© 2017, F. P. Dorchak and Lon Kirschner)

Well, after nearly 40 years, I have finally released my first anthology!

And I received the review copy last week—and it’s, well, somewhat mind-blowing holding the 500-page book in my hands! These stories are a mixture of fantasy, horror, paranormal, and the metaphysical. I’m certain there’s something in here for everyone!

The book retails for $19.99, and is available through the Ingram distribution channels, and I only now just enabled it for “returns.” I’d waffled on doing that but decided…the main reason I went with IngramSpark was to get it into brick-and-mortar stores, and one of the little voices in my head kept telling me to take that chance. Unfortunately, I’m late for October, since the change won’t take effect until November 1st…but that still (I feel) favorably places it for the Holiday Season. Retailers are not into taking chances on an unknown unless they have the option to return unsold “product” to the publisher (in this case—me). So, I will receive any unsold books that I can handsell on my own.

So, help a fella out here, okay?

There you have it! You should currently be able to put in orders for it through bookstores (or at least some time in the near future…it takes about 4 – 6 weeks to totally work its way through all of the global Ingram distribution channels), and it is available through Amazon.com right now, though the cover image hasn’t yet percolated to the site (but I have it on authority that someone has ordered it through Amazon).

And retail outlets do get their 55% discount.

I will be releasing the eBook in the next month or two.

I can’t thank every single one of you who’ve helped me out in getting this work out there enough! To all of you who’ve provided endorsement blurbs, I do plan on getting you each a signed copy if you’re interested in having one. And for those who get their books elsewhere, if you enclose the proper RETURN postage, you may mail it to:

F. P. Dorchak, P. O. Box 49393, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80949

and I’ll happily autograph it for you or whomever you request!

NOTE: No return postage, no returned book.

As events currently stand, I will be doing my first book signing October 22 at The Bookman, on the West Side of Colorado Springs, from 2 – 4 p.m. I will also be at MileHiCon49, October 27 – 29th.

Again, thanks to all who’ve helped me get here, and I thank you all in advance for your continued support in reading my work, and in getting the word out by social media, doing book REVIEWS (Please do these! I need all the help I can get!), sending e-mails, or however it is you get the word out to your circles of influence. Thank you!

And, yes, I am available for readings, speaking engagements, and the like.

I really hope you enjoy this anthology of the Weird and the Peculiar!

Stay weird!

www.fpdorchak.com

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Vermont Vacation 2017

Let's Go Sailing! (© 2017 by F. P. Dorchak)

Let’s Go Sailing! (© 2017 by F. P. Dorchak)

Last month we’d gone back East on vacation. This time we spent a couple of days tooling around Vermont, and on the first day, went sailing on Lake Champlain. I’d looked around and found Let’s Go Sailing. It’s a two-person operation, run by Gideon Bavly, a US Coast Guard certified captain. He hires on another to actually helm the boat, a Hunter 29.5 cruising sailboat. The boat has a small kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, full shower, a sleeping cabin for a family of six. I didn’t end up going down in there, but had looked in, and it looked tight for six folks. But, on our sail, there were six of us, and we did fit nicely on the boat.

Captain Gideon Bavly (© 2017 by F. P. Dorchak)

Captain Gideon Bavly (© 2017 by F. P. Dorchak)

Gideon (click on the image at the right for a larger and more clearer version) grew up on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, and (as his website tells us) his first sailing lesson in the rough sea waters was his father’s advice to “be one with the water.” Years later, after windsurfing as a young adult, Gideon learned about the physics of sailing and fell in love with the water. In 1999, he was certified as a US Sailing Instructor at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, and became a lead instructor with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports, teaching people with disabilities the art of sailing. Now a captain, he runs his own operation out of Burlington, Vermont, with the help of whomever he hires to helm the Hunter.

We set sail with a family of four, who all initially went to the bow and hung out for a while, while Laura and I hung out where we were, at the stern. It was so nice to just sit back and enjoy the wind and water! When the family returned to the stern, Laura and I went to the bow.

It was so quiet!

Gorgeous!

Even with the muted fluttering of the sail above us! Just the sound of the wind and water as our boat sliced through both. Gideon never used the engine—either while leaving or returning to the dock! And let me tell you, that he is a skilled sailor who can dock a sailboat without using the engine. It takes a lot of maneuvering to do that, and not being in a hurry, and it was amazing to watch Gideon guide the boat in like he did. What’s even more amazing was that he wasn’t at the helm but was directing the helmsperson to do this! It’s one thing to do something yourself, quite another to direct another to do something as intricate as these maneuvers were! Of course, the helmslady also knew her stuff, or she wouldn’t be there, but Gideon was the captain, and he commanded that boat back and forth as the wind kept shifting…it was an amazing display of seamanship!

I highly recommend Let’s Go Sailing, if you ever get out to the Burlington, Vermont area! It’s a smaller boat, so it’s not as crowded with a larger group of people, like at least one other outfit I’d looked at. But, whichever company you do choose, just get out on Lake Champlain and enjoy some quiet sailing with the one that you love and a gentle wind in your face….

The images are a bit fuzzy in the mosaic and all, but just click on them to see a larger and more clearer version.

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