A very dear friend of mine once referred to Port Henry as “the San Francisco of the Adirondacks.” Very amusing, huh? Well, this Village does sit on a hill and overlook the bridge and a bay. Also in common with its west coast cousin is that its “downtown” is developing a pretty hot art district and some unexpected and delightful public art displays. So, where the real San Francisco may be known as the “city for art” on the west coast; I’m predicting it won’t be long before Port Henry is about to become known as the “Village for Art” on the Adirondack Coast. There certainly is plenty of artistic talent in the immediate vicinity and thanks to some local spark plugs, you can appreciate some of the area’s art and talent in one convenient location.
Located on Broad Street in the hub of the Village of Port Henry, is an exclusive little retail shop called Made in the Mountains. A big sign out front says “Craft Gallery," but don’t be misled by the word gallery. This is a shop, not simply a place where you browse, daydream and drool over artistic creations with exorbitant price tags. Yes, you may be daydreaming and drooling, but the one-of-a-kind, creative items inside, though original and very distinctive, are also very affordable.
I talked to the owners, Sue McHone, Linda Smyth, and Jackie Viestenz about how this exceptional business began. All three are very bright and extremely talented themselves. I’m not sure which had the original inspiration, but together they recognized the remarkable talent in the immediate area along with the absence of an outlet to expose it to the public. Efforts, energies, and resources were pooled to create this extraordinary shop: Made in the Mountains.
It began about two years ago with an initial group of 14 artists, artisans, and crafters displaying their wares. Now the shop boasts and displays the talented works of 68 individuals. I stopped by recently to take a peek at what was new and exciting. The store is not large, but it is not the sort of place you can plan to breeze through. If you do you are certain to miss something significant. I found that just standing still in one place and letting my eyes wander was the best approach.
It’s rather like looking at a decorated Christmas tree. Certain things on the tree, like the lights or the angel on top, pop right out at you, but with further study extraordinary features are revealed. Such is the delightful display inside this amazing craft gallery. The artistic talents of the owners are evident with the presentation of this exceptional collection of rare finds, only to be acquired in the Adirondacks.
A Treasure Hunt
Let me merely scratch the surface of the “what,” but it will be up to you to do your own thorough exploration on your own treasure hunt. In the interim, here are some teasers:
What can I say? I’m a hat lover; so the work of Jeri Muhlhausen immediately caught my eye. Jeri uses a wool felting process to handcraft these beauties as well as colorful felted wool scarves. Many of the hats are embellished with a carefully placed decorative adornment. To die for! This close to the holidays I am not prepared to indulge myself. I would have had a difficult time choosing anyway. Let’s just say I made a mental note to tell Santa!
Gleaming copper also captured my attention as I admired the work of jewelry artist, Maria Carufe. Maria creates pendants and necklace slides, earrings, cuff bracelets, and rings with natural design and luminous detail.
Annie Destito’s creations will leave you wondering - how does she do that with glass?
Linda Smyth’s colorful and uplifting paintings adorn the walls along with the work of many others.
Eduard Sangadzhiev’s watercolors capture some of the fantastic Village views.
Jackie Viestenz is a quilter and her vibrant quilts, pillows, potholders, etc. often are full of Adirondack style and character.
Champ Seekers can don an official hat to acknowledge their quest while sipping a beverage from a Champ mug.
There is pottery and carved wooden bowls, handmade rustic signs, and books by local authors, and even naturally scented organic soaps - some of which are felted so you can toss the old loofa. Gift-givers will find beautifully crafted cards, gift bags, and tags that will be keepsakes in themselves.
I may be rambling, but I do get excited about finding something new with every visit. Don't think I've given it all away. This inventory can change in a blink of an eye. I also need to tell you that in an adjacent room, Made in the Mountains now operates Port Resale. This little consignment shop section is true serendipity. You never know what you will find in there making it a true and consistent treasure hunt experience. It’s a “must do” for collectors and bargain hunters. New, nearly new, or gently used household goods, clocks, lamps, furnishings and collectibles are waiting for new homes.
It won’t be long before many of us are scrambling to find the perfect gift for that special someone. It must be unique and relevant. If your special someone has any “Adirondack” in their soul, you need to make a visit to Made in the Mountains. You will find gifts with Adirondack flavor, an adornment for your lodge or cabin, or just a piece of the Adirondacks to remind you of a remarkable vacation here. Note: This craft gallery will be open from 10am until 2pm on Fridays and Saturdays through the end of November. December hours will be Saturdays from 10am until 2pm. Every attempt will be made to accommodate special requests for group shopping excursions or Cash Mobs. Simply contact Sue and ask: 617-504-2251
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