Thano Schoppel's Blog Posts

Are Historic Districts Necessary

  There are always disagreements concerning whether or not historic districts are good for a community.  As in most things, there are no hard and fast rules.   Each

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Palisades Eagles Fly High

   One of the great pleasures of rowing on the Hudson River is that you never know what you're going to see.  In addition to the many striped bass I've seen jumping out of the water,

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Upcoming Colonial Day In Tappan

     On Saturday, September 25, the Tappantown Historical Society will hold its annual Colonial Day.  From noon to 5 PM, the event will take place on the grounds of the historic

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Storm Over The Tappan Zee

  This past Tuesday, I was touring the broker open houses, and found myself a a gorgeous place on Tweed Boulevard.  While I was there, a rain storm passed overhead, and headed across the

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The Library Is Open In Historic Tappan

After ten years of  planning and hard work, the newly renovated and expanded Tappan Library is open and running.  What started ten yeas ago as the purchase of the adjacent stable for

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Sparkill Historic Tree Memorial

  A memorial service was held today in Sparkill on the grounds of the Sparkill Steakhouse on Route 340.  This was an unusual event, but this was an unusual tree.  Most white ash trees

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The Great Tappan Eggnog Disaster Of 2014

  On Saturday, my wife and I held our forty eighth annual holiday party.  We invite the usual gang of friends, relatives, neighbors, business associates and general hangers on,  

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Classical Music Event In Sparkill

   As part of the celebration of the 150th year of Christ Episcopal Church in Sparkill, there will be an evening of classical music performed by the Memling Ensemble string quartet.

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Sparkill Creek Cleanup Tomorrow

  Sorry for the short notice, but tomorrow is a Cleanup Rockland Day, and the Sparkill Watershed Alliance is going to do its bit by removing trash from the Sparkill Creek and its banks.  

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And Then There Was One In Tappan

  Last year I blogged about seeing four cattails among a sea of phragmites while jogging on the trail between Tappan and Sparkill.  This year, there is only one lonely cattail at that same

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The Andre Monument In Tappan

  On October 2, this coming Thursday, I will be conducting a short walking tour for a local elementary school.  Meeting at the Old 76 House on Main Street in Tappan,  I will lead the

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Major Andre In Tappan

     Arguably, the most important event in the long history of the hamlet of Tappan was the trial and execution of Major John Andre.  He was hanged as a spy on October 2, 1780 on

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A Small Mystery In Tappan

          A few days ago, I was walking across my lawn when I saw something small and round on the ground.  Picking it up, I saw that it was an old brass button.  

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Trip West Confirms Tappan As Best For Me

   My wife and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  We flew into and out of Salt Lake City, and drove a rented Mustang convertible

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An Awww Moment In Tappan

Okay, so seeing deer in our area is no big deal.  Last week, I was running on the trail between Tappan and Sparkill, and a young buck stepped out of the reeds onto the trail, stood there for a

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Bald Eagles Soar In Palisades

    My last two Sunday morning rows with the Piermont Rowing Club have turned into bird watching expeditions.  When the wind blows from the north, the calmest water is to the south of

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Messy Bird Returns To Tappan House

   Last spring, I blogged about a robin the made a rather messy nest over our front door.  For whatever reason, no eggs were ever laid there, and I finally removed it.  This

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Tappan Library Progress Report

  One of the nice perks of being on the Tappan Library board of directors is that the board gets to see how the work on the addition is progressing.  We had a walk-through last week, and

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End Of Winter In Tappan

  Ou sont les neiges d'antan?  Where are the snows of yesteryear asked the French poet Verlaine.  Well, I know where the snow of yesterday was: on my lawn.  At least until late

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Cleanup In Sparkill

  Yesterday was Rockland County cleanup Day, and yours truly spent a rewarding morning in Sparkill, helping to clean up the Sparkill Creek watershed area.  This was done under the

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Goldfish Sleeping With The Fish In Tappan

  One sign that it's been a long and hard winter- the four goldfish that have been in my small fish pond did not make it.  Some years ago, I started with koi, and after several false-

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Sparkill Cemetery Coulda Been A Contender

  One of my favorite roads in Rockland County is Kings Highway, which in part runs between Orangeburg, Sparkill and Tappan.  Originally known as the King's Highway, it lost the "the" and

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Back On Track In Historic Tappan

  It's been a long winter.   For some weeks now, I have not been able to do my cardio routine outside, and as much as I enjoy going to the Diplomat gym, walking and jogging in the fresh

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Getting Through The Winter In Tappan

  We live in one of the first "modern " houses in the area.  Built by a Blauvelt in 1860, it has high ceilings, central heating with big cast iron radiators, high windows, and originally,

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The Cattails Last Stand

    There's an interesting argument going on now in certain conservation circles in the Piermont-Sparkill-Tappan area concerning, of all things, swamp plants.  Namely, the

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A Sad Time For Tappan Christmas Trees

     It's always a little sad to see all the discarded Christmas trees lying on he side of the street.  It speaks of presents opened, good times had, and now they they are,

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First Snow Blankets Historic Tappan

  Just in time for the holiday season, the first significant snow came to our small share of the metropolitan area.  It gives enough cover to turn lawns wintry, but (so far) has left the

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Historic Tappan Glows For The Holidays

      Some years ago, the Tappantown Historical Society started a tradition in Tappan.  The Society suggested that homeowners in and around the historic district forego the usual

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A Holiday Stroll In Historic Tappan

  On Monday, December 16, the third annual Tappan holiday Stroll on Main Street will take place from 6 to 8 PM.  Last year's stroll was cancelled because of Superstorm Sandy, and this year

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Library Funding Reduced By Orangetown Board

  A big mistake was made by the Orangetown  town board last night.  It voted to reduce the budgets submitted by the town's libraries by ten percent across the board.  This comes

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Classical Guitar Concert At Christ Episcopal Church Sparkill

  David Temple, the acclaimed classical guitarist, will return to Christ Episcopal Church in Sparkill for an encore engagement.  The concert will be held on Saturday, November 2, at 7:30,

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New Old Library Rises In Historic Tappan

    The addition to and renovation of the Tappan Library goes on apace.  After raising the stable on the right, a new structure was built  connecting it to the existing

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Tappan Turtle To Get Blessed In Sparkill

  On Sunday, October 6, a nice annual event takes place in Sparkill: the blessing of the animals at Christ Episcopal Church on the corner of Union and Valentine Avenues.  Rain or shine,

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A Quiet Sunday In Nyack

     One of the things I enjoy about my work as a realtor is the element of serendipity. I usually take my "up time" on Sunday afternoon, and most Sunday afternoons in Nyack are

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Painting An Italianate Victorian House In Tappan

  I first painted our 1860 Italianate Victorian house in 1970.  It was painted army green, with only the front door a different color-black.  I painted the house white, and the

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Native Americans Coming To Nyack And Piermont

   A Native American delegation to the United Nations has been travelling down the Hudson River in a dugout canoe for several days now.  The event is called the Two Row Wampum

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Tappan Cyclist Goes Wireless

  What's that saying about old dogs?  Well, I learned how to sit up and beg a while ago, and now I have a new toy for my bike: the MapMyRide app for my Droid.  I've had a speedometer

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Tappan Vineyard Year Three Update

   Deer and insects notwithstanding, my two grape vines continue to grow apace.  I took down the protective chicken wire, and added a trellis for the vines to grow around.  

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Stable Gets Raised In Historic Tappan

   Usually, the word used in the above title would be "razed", not "raised."  In this case, however, the story is different.  The stable was the livery stable connected with

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Birds At Tappan House Part Three

   This afternoon, I went to look at our latest guest, the nesting mallard, and found that she had checked out with her brood.  I couldn't say that they flew the coop, because she

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Birds At Tappan House Part Two

  If a nesting robin over our front door wasn't enough, a mallard decided to nest in the back, just above our driveway.  I was pruning some shrubs last week, and nearly stepped on the,

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Messy Robins Make Tappan Home Their Own

  I stepped out onto my porch last week, and was greeted with grass strewn all about.  Not seeing anything, I swept it up, and threw it into the bushes.  The next day, there it was

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Goldfish Survive Tappan Winter News At Eleven

  I long ago gave up trying to keep koi in the small pond in front of our screened porch.  After the latest bunch died off one winter, I bought about a dozen goldfish for about two,

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Tappan Resident Sees Great Film

  A few nights ago, with nothing better to do (since our cable was down), my wife and I headed to the movies to see 42.  It was a great show, and the experience was made even better by

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PearlRiver Nyack Piermont Sparkill Blauvelt Tappan Cleanups

     The Keep Rockland Beautiful campaign rears its ugly head for yet another year!  Community-motivated volunteers spend a couple of hours each year at this time cleaning up

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Tappan Loss Is Sparkill Gain

   I've blogged about the Grape D'Vine- my favorite wine shop in the area.  Its owner, Joe Prinz, is an all-around great guy who really knows his stuff oenologically speaking (and who

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Tappan Zee Bridge Impact on South Nyack

  I just rented an apartment to a person connected with the Tappan Zee bridge project.  As we were going through the lease signing process, we talked about the impending construction, and

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Tappan and Palisades Historic Districts

   I am constantly surprised at the number of people living in the area who say something like, "Oh, the Tappantown Historical Society- they're the ones who decide what can be built in

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Orangetown Historian to be Honored in Tappan

    Christ Episcopal Church in Sparkill is pleased to present the Horatio N. Powers Award to Mary Cardenas, Director of the Orangetown Museum and Historian of the town of Orangetown, for

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Interesting Commercial Property in Sparkill

   Usually I only get to see new residential listings when I go on Broker Open House tours every Tuesday.  Yesterday, however, I got to see a commercial listing in Sparkill.  I'm

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Flu Shot For Tappan Resident But No Lollipop

   I'm old enough to admit that I've had a lifelong abhorrence of injections, probably as a result of seeing my grandmother prepare her insulin shots.  At any rate this has led to a

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Old Sleigh in Tappan Part Two

   As I was reconstructing the sleigh damaged by superstorm Sandy, I couldn't help but notice the kind of craftsmanship that went into its making, so long ago.  This is true

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A Restored One Horse Open Sleigh in Tappan

   Many years ago, my neighbor gave us an old one horse open sleigh that had been stored in her barn for decades after the original owners had stopped using it.  It needed some

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Last of the Autumn Leaves in Tappan

  When a Marcel Proust character took a bite of a madeleine, the taste took him back to his childhood for the next three hundred pages.  For me, it's the smell of burning leaves.  

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Holiday Decorations in Historic Tappan

It's about that time when the holiday decorations come out.  I'm a bit old fashioned- I wait until the first weekend in December before bringing everything up from the basement.  Some of

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Tappan begins to emerge from the nineteenth century

   Two days in the 19th century were enough, even for a history enthusiast.  Hurricane Sandy left its mark here as it did all along the East Coast and far inland.  In Tappan,

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Ecology Day at Historic Sparkill Church

  This Saturday, October 13, Christ Episcopal Church in Sparkill will hold its annual Ecology Day, from 11 AM until 4 PM.  The event will start with a visit from Akta, the "ambassador",

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A Good Day in Tappan

  Well, another Colonial Day in Tappan is over, and I can hang up my musket until the next event.   Despite the threatening clouds overhead, it never rained, and hundreds of people came to

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Colonial Day in Historic Tappan

   On Saturday, September 29, the Tappantown Historical Society will host its annual Colonial Day from noon to 5 PM.  The event will take place on the grounds of the Dewint House, the

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Old Uncle Bill Makes the NY Times

  Compared to my wife's family, my family just got off the boat.  Hers goes back to early colonial days on her mother's side, and it seems that many of them were inveterate pack rats. ;

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Tappan Resident Has A New York Moment

Yesterday, my wife Jean and I took our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandkids to see The Lion King.  Now, this type of stage production isn't my favorite, but I figured I'd be happy seeing

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Summer Programs for Orangetown Kids

  I picked up my 7 year old grandson this morning at the Pearl River Middle School.  He is enrolled in a five day summer program called Secret Agent Lab for first through fifth graders.

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Tappan Vineyard Yearly Update

  The Chateau Schoppel vineyard continues to grow,albeit very slowly.  After last year's debacle when a deer ate most of the leaves of my two grape vines, the plants recovered, and leafed

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The Palisades Swim Club

     It is to the eternal shame of Orangetown that it does not have an outdoor municipal pool.  For those residents who do not want or cannot have a pool of their own, there is

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Wolf Appears in Historic Tappan

  For the first time in centuries, a wolf trotted down a pathway in the Tappan Memorial Park.  Over two hundred people, mostly kids, came to see Atka, a white wolf from the Wolf

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The New Piermont Historic District

  Piermont now contains Rockland's newest historic district.  It joins the two Orangetown historic areas in Tapppan and Palisades, and the Clarkstown Historic District in West Nyack.  

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Our Newest Tappan Resident

The world is divided into two different groups- dog lovers and cat lovers. I'm a dog lover, even though it's been years since my last mutt, Ben.  My wife, on the other hand is a cat person.

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Vines Invade Tappan Property and Owner Fights Back

    We were twenty four when we bought the house we now live in, and as they say in the city, we knew "nuttin from nuttin."  The property had, how can I put this nicely, been sorely

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Bald Eagles Spotted in Palisades

    I saw my first bald eagle on a raft trip down the Snake River in the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming in 1968.  It was a majestic sight, and one that I never thought I'd

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Trees Removed From Historic Tappan Village Green

After a couple of phone calls from concerned Tappan residents, I found out that the Orangetown highway department was indeed cutting down the large evergreen and deciduous trees that have graced the

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John Murphy to Receive Award in Tappan

      On Friday, April 13, Rockland County legislator and all-around good guy John A. Murphy will receive the first Horatio N. Powers Award, given by Christ Episcopal Church,.

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A Real Bargain in Sparkill

   I see some truly beautiful houses when I go on broker open house tours every Tuesday.  There was one on River Road in grandview today- a gorgeous stunner for  two mil and

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A Crocus Rears Its Head in Tappan

   Where are the snows of yesteryear?  Last Friday, as I loaded the car for a ski trip to Vermont, I saw several crocus flowers in one of our plant beds.  This is just not right-

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Romantic Valentines Day Restaurant in Orangeburg

We have all been there: where do you go for a Valentine's Day Dinner where the food is great, the atmosphere suitably romantic, and where the bill at the end of the meal will not put a damper on

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Snow Storm Dining in Tappan

My wife and I have a tradition that dates back to the 1960's, when we lived in Manhattan.  Whenever there was a snow storm, we would eat at O'Henry's Steak House, a great restaurant in the

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Diplomat Gym in Piermont Aids New Years Resolution

I always end up the year weighing too much, and every year, I start with a diet to lose the holiday pounds.  Usually, I lose weight, and then gain it back by the end of the year.  This,

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Historic Tappan Holiday Stroll

  This Monday evening, December 12, will see the second annual Holiday Stroll on Main Street in historic Tappan.  From 7 to 9 PM, Main Street will be closed to trafffic, and

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Rocky Raccoon Visits Tappan Home

  Some weeks ago, I went up to my roof to clean the gutters.  There I came face to face with a rather large raccoon who somehow climbed up there without benefit of a ladder. He took one

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The Tappan Turkey Trot

     Our two cats are lifetime members of the Bird Watchers' Society.  Their usual perch is atop a love seat in the bay window, overlooking the bird feeders.  They can (and

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An A Liszt Event in Sparkill

     On Saturday, November 5th at 7PM, Christ Episcopal Church in Sparkill will present the internationally acclaimed pianist Christina Kiss in an all- Liszt program.  The event

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ECO Day in Sparkill

  On Saturday, October 15, Christ Church in Sparkill will hold its second annual ECO Day, celebrating the relationship between humanity and the environment.  The event will take place on

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Tappan celebrates Major Andre

     On Monday, October 3, I'll be in my Revolutionary War uniform, marching a group of fourth graders from Cottage Lane elementary school in Blauvelt up Andre Hill in Tappan.  

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Colonial Day in Tappan

On Saturday, September 24, the Tappantown Historical Society will hold its annual Colonial Day on the grounds of the DeWint House Masonic Shrine. Taking place from noon to four in the afternoon,

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Tappan emerges a little damper after Irene

After all the hoopla, Tappan awoke this morning to the sounds of Irene picking up her skirts and traipsing northward. She left behind a fair number of branches and leaves on the ground, as well

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Cycling from Tappan to Piermont

For some years now, I have only ridden my bike during our annual stay on Martha's Vineyard, where it's nice and flat. Now that I'm home again, I'm determined to keep going, and hope to get back

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History Day in Sparkill

The hamlet of Sparkill has always interested me. Only a mile or so from Piermont, Tappan, and Palisades, for many years it seemed to have resisted the pressure to change in any significant way.

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Nudes in Historic Tappan

Back at my favorite wine shop, the Grape D'Vine on Main Street in Tappan, the owner, Joe Prinz, uses his walls to feature the work of local artists. When I walked in yesterday, I was really

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A Vine Grows in Tappan

Well, actually, two vines. I went to Lowe's and came home the proud possessor of two grape vines, each about a foot tall. Right away, I began with a mistake- I didn't want Chardonnay grapes

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Trellis Envy in Tappan

There's this great wine shop in Tappan on Main Street- The Grape D'Vine. I know, the name's a little too cute for my taste, but the owner, Joe Prinz is wonderfully knowledgeable about his.

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Rowing on the Tappan Zee

For about ten years now, people have been seeing (and sometimes hearing) members of the Piermont Rowing Club as they row their shells on the Tappan Zee. I'm looking forward to the new season,

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Winter in Piermont

My wife forwarded an email to me with a link to YouTube. Winter in Piermont is a five minute feature on YouTube that reminded me that even in the depths of winter, Piermont is a special place.

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Its All Downhill From Here

One of the advantages of living in Rockland County is that getting to good skiing is pretty easy. There are several smaller areas within an hour's drive of the county. The best of these is Mountain

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