Wednesday, October 15, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: Trashed & Treasure

WLGS2014 sofaHappy Hour in the High Peaks was off the wagon (in a manner of speaking) as Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale rolled into town. Rain or shine, good cheer follows wherever we go. This time it was in the form of a Radio Flyer Town & Country wagon, converted to a portable pub carrying a cargo of Garage Sale Punch. We will neither confirm nor deny its potency. Costermongers with innocent grins, we towed our little contraption from one end of town to the other and back again. Self-declared “Yard Sale Crashers”, we pursued the Garage Sale party. Despite our attempts to blend in, the three-gallon cooler jug and plastic cups aroused suspicions.

We began our World’s Largest Garage Sale adventure on Friday morning with various wares for sale under a 20-foot canopy. Then out came the colossal white leather sectional designated “For Sale.” Perfectly positioned in the center of the lawn, it begged for attention. As the day went on, many rested and tested the elephant on the lawn while a theme of merriment and cocktails persisted, sans remote. Root beer and rum was served midday, so we sprawled on the sofa and took a break from the sale, hatching a plan to bring Happy Hour to the World’s Largest Garage Sale. Rumors of wine tastings in town prompted us to close up shop and head out to Main Street. “Trashed & Treasure” had begun.

WLGS2014 liquorsWe visited Jack’s Liquors, where Amanda poured samples, then wandered with our purchases in search of sustenance. A tempting whiff from the Smoke Shack BBQ Pit nearby elicited our Pavlovian responses and lured us in, resulting in a fine pairing of pork and Australian Pinot Grigio. Pam kept an eye on her watch as she pigged out on pulled pork. She was scheduled to serve as volunteer greeter, host, and coordinator for a local organization, so we left her at Tops and carried on to wine tasting number two at Ray’s Liquor Store where more sipping, swishing, and revelry ensued. We left with happy smiles and brown bags of bargains tucked under our arms.

Meanwhile, armed with a blue three-ring binder, Pam hurried down Main to manage incoming sellers in the Hudson Headwaters parking lot. She arrived to find chaos, and rolled up her sleeves. Several cars were abandoned in designated vendor spots. While Nancy from the Chamber of Commerce handled that problem, eight vendors arrived, eager to set up before dark in the limited alleyway marketplace space. Everyone vied for a spot to unload while canopies quickly sprouted on both sides of the alley. Then a pickup truck arrived, trailer in tow. These two young ladies needed to drive through to park their 7,000-pound “grilled cheese and soup kitchen” in the center of it all. Room was made for them to maneuver their trailer into a 12’ x 20’ space. In the midst of the mayhem, Pam answered questions as best she could, smiling enthusiastically and promising a memorable garage sale experience. “Dress warm.” she advised, “People will come.” Despite the forecasted rain. Before she could make her escape, Pam was pulled aside by one of the vendors.

“We’re under the dead tree,” the woman remarked, pointing vaguely upward.

Pam glanced up at the thinning treetops then slowly lowered her gaze to the ground, suppressing a smirk. “No,” she explained, “that happens every year, just around this time.” She flashed a quick grin and moved on to the next problem at hand. Soon the merchants were set up and Pam’s work here was done. She had helped bring order from chaos. She made some new friends and wished them good luck, vowing to check in on them on Saturday.

WLGS2014 TNgourdsSaturday dawned with a drizzle and a yawn. We got right to work mixing three gallons of liquid sunshine with a dash of high spirits as “Trashed and Treasure” hit day two. The rig was ready to roll as the sprinkles accelerated to a steady rain. We knew to start this mission where the trials of the night before were freshest on the minds of the alley marketplace. Pam felt compelled to share with her new friends from the previous night – those vendors she had promised a memorable weekend. The skeptical and curious looked on as the first cup was filled, flowing ceremoniously from the spigot, then refused to stop! Cups were feverishly positioned one after the other until Kim recalled the science of fluids and tipped the jug backwards. We finally plugged the leak and deferred to the ladle method, which also provided the added benefit of fruit. As they tasted our brew, the hawkers begged us to stay, but we had yard sales to crash. Onlookers needed only to ask, though only a handful did.

We made our way up Main Street, bringing cheer to friends and supporters. Marilyn, Sue, and Tom had provided prime Garage Sale real estate to Happy Hour in the High Peaks last year (and had enjoyed Bloody Marys and Mimosas on chilly mornings) so they were on the list, as were Karen and Bill, who had once brought us real Tennessee moonshine. Responding to a Happy Hour emergency message from Missy, we rushed north to Bill’s Diner to provide what aid we could. Repaying the favor from Friday’s wine tasting, Kim popped into Jack’s Liquors to offer a taste.

WLGS2014 grill cheezSoaked from head to toe but with more cheer to dispense, we circled around and revisited the marketplace alley. Refills were requested and we kindly obliged. Some shoppers nearby recognized us and stopped for a chat and a swig of punch, and even asked where to buy a book. We just happened to have some boxed in the wagon. The 7,000-pound kitchen was in full swing, so we offered the grilled cheese girls hearty refills as they fixed us up with a comforting lunch of grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches with tomato basil soup.

Wet and weary, we trudged up the firehouse hill toward home, tipping our hats to County Mounties as we basked in the warm satisfaction of a job well done. The potent dregs in the bottom of the jug swished whispered promises of our reward at the end of this soggy trail.

Like us on Facebook,” we told whomever we could, to get the recipe for our Garage Sale Punch and to follow our antics as we continue to explore drinking in the Adirondack Park.


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In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.

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