When I think of Essex, NY, the first thing that comes to mind is the ferry to Vermont. Next, the National Historic Register. I have often suggested that our summer guests take a ride through Essex, where every house is on the National Historic Register. And third, the Masonic Lodge and the Essex Theatre Company (I have performed on the stage more than once).

This evening I am headed to Essex for an art opening at the Adirondack Art Association Gallery. I have good friends who are members of Essex Farms, one of the first CSAs (community supported agriculture) in the North Country, so we decide to carpool and combine our goals.

My friend drops his wife and me off on Main Street while he goes on to the farm. It is an incredible summer evening and we head straight for the Gallery which beckons us with wide open doors facing the street. Folks are casually milling around inside and out.

The featured artists tonight are Wendy Miller and Helen Goetz who produce unique pieces with ceramics and glass (respectively). But there are watercolors, acrylics, quilted wall hangings, oil paintings, photographs, and other innovative pieces.

I marvel at how vibrant the hues are in the watercolors by Judy Guglielmo and at the sharpness of the sails in Sue Robinson's "The Spinnakers". The greens and yellows in Julie Warren's "View of Whallonsburgh" vie for my attention as well.

As I am jotting down the name of the artist of "None of the Above" a gentleman moves close by me and stares. I am a bit startled and he  explains that he is Jeff Moredock, the creator of the work. He points out his favorite part of the piece—Bored of Elections. I giggle and he smiles and tells me that's what he does it for, to make people laugh. It's not just about the art here but the people who create and their distinct personalities.

The Lake Champlain setting doesn't get much better than this. The back deck (where the reception goodies are) faces the lake and the view is breathtaking. When we exit the Gallery, we find there is much more to explore in Essex. We receive a card that reads: VISIT EACH SHOP AND GET PUNCHED! Not knowing the ultimate reward, we begin to visit the shops and end up buying a few birthday presents as well as some costume pieces.

We make a stop at the Essex Ice Cream Café but don't have time to dine at The Essex Inn or The Old Dock House. While we are indulging in our cones, we listen to the music wafting from Town Hall where several musicians have set up a performance space.

It is a delightful way to spend a sunny summer evening and I think everyone should experience it at least once. The current art exhibit is on display until July 31--for Gallery hours and more information on the Adirondack Art Association click through to the web site.

I have a feeling this coming Friday will be another great evening to explore Essex, when the Essex Theatre Company presents Godspell. For other summer art events in the Adirondacks check the Lake Placid events web site.


Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondacks for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.