September in Franklin County.. grapes, apples, crab apples, pears, tomatoes, corn, peppers, plums and the changing of the leaves from soft greens to vivid golds. The rumbling of farm trucks loaded with potatoes and the milky smell of drying corn stalks that chatter in the wind. The mornings have just enough chill to make me ponder a little longer over my coffee, drawing in those dark roasted beans. I watch the morning waking up and feel nothing but sweet anticipation for the opening of our winery.
We processed and fermented a lot of different fruits this month. The processing room is almost complete. We will be working on the retail room next week. Furniture has been arriving and fabrics are ready to sew. Paul has been finishing up plans for the tasting counter and will be starting up in about a week. We are getting ready to announce our opening in the next week. We can’t wait!!
This time of year compels even the busiest of folks to stop and admire the newly painted landscapes. Spatters of yellows and crimsons are the perfect back drop for the Farmers Markets in Bernardston and Northfield. Apples and Homemade pies by the Chadwick’s, Coyote Farms peppers perfect for stuffing on a Saturday night are just a few of my favorite ways to spoil Paul and myself during this busy time. Octobers Hunters Moon will be rising soon enough. We will keep you posted on our progress and also tell you about our adventures picking fruits.
10-28-2015 Happy Halloween !!
When I was a kid, My Dad would get us going making pumpkin men as soon as there was enough leaves to rake up in the yard. We would stuff old shirts and britches. We would tie the ends with shoe laces to keep the leaves from falling out. My sister Kathy and I would walk down Fisher Street and up North Street to buy pumpkins at the Ellis’s Farm. Five cent, ten cent pumpkins were small but thirty five cents bought a pretty respectable head. By the time Halloween arrived, our yard had all kinds of pumpkin men hanging around peeking out from everywhere. Very Spooky Indeed!! Even now, I can’t imagine a better way to spend an autumn day than to be outside carving pumpkins and kicking up the autumn leaves.
One of the great things about Bernardston is the Kiwanis Annual Scarecrow in the Park. There is every kind of scarecrow you could imagine. There are marching bands scarecrows, grandma scarecrows reading stories, scarecrows riding snowmobiles and even dancing scarecrows. The Festival has grown a lot over the last few years. There are musicians playing every kind of music all during both days. There are foods, juried craftsman, a parade and many other events. This year we got to sell our wine by the glass in the beer and wine garden. With the Scarecrows hanging around all over the park it was Very Spooky Indeed!!
For the last 5 years, Paul and I have entered Scarecrow in the Park Contest. It takes several days to decide and design. It always uses up another few days to carve pumpkins, assemble and shape corn stalks. We always put our entry up on the Eve of the judging. It is usually brisk, sometimes stormy, always gusty and very, very dark. This year was an exceptional evening to visit Cushman Park. The rain had subsided about an hour before the daylight disappeared. There was a blanket of mist clinging low to the ground, crawling across the park to route 5 and the Seventh South Street Bakery. A yellow slice of moon dangled behind an old Maple tree with a bunch of stars spattered across a violet sky. The wind tossed the branches pulling the last of its leaves into the night. It was a fitting night to be erecting our Scarecrow. Very Spooky indeed!
Flashlights flickered across the park as other scarecrows ascended out of the mist. The sound of laughter, muffled debates and the smacking of hammers loomed from the darkness. The smell of nighttime, wet leaves and oregano from Antonio’s across the street made me inhale just a little deeper. Our scarecrow stood just under ten feet tall with a wicked smile, long reaching arms and small pumpkins dangling. My Dad would be impressed. Doing things that we enjoyed together celebrates him and keeps him close. I feel certain that he would enjoy Bernardston’s Kiwanis Scarecrow in the Park. I know beyond a doubt that he would enjoy building a scarecrow in Cushman Park the night before. Very Spooky Indeed!!
We wish everyone a very Happy Halloween! Cheers!
August 11, 2015
The Summer Solstice is more than a month behind us. The daylight is running down the back hill earlier.
While In the midst of chasing after Franklin County’s “Growing Season” and getting the workshop ready, Paul and I took a little time to enjoy one of these dazzling afternoons under the clear blue. Some quiet time to plan the week ahead.
There is now cable and internet service connecting our shop to the rest of the earth, together with all of its countries and peoples. We have a new phone number which I have forgotten already. Contact lists have become my favorite feature on my phone, that and the small button on the upper right which turns the phone off.
There are also several documents that now must hang in the shop. One is our Federal Permit !! Yes indeed….We received it Friday at 4:31 PM. A toast with cold coffee to memorialize a moment in time that stands still. A piece of a dream.
As the daylight runs down the back hill and the Full Corn Moon is getting ready to ride September across the fields of Franklin County ....we get closer to opening. Lists get made then checked off and the shop gets closer to fruition. As Paul and I indulge ourselves in a Summer Afternoon, we can already envision the people, the tasting area, the lights and most deliciously..the wine !!
August 5, 2015
On my walk this morning, as I inhaled the peacefulness of our farm town, I thought about having a similar feeling in our new shop. High ceilings, wide open spaces, the brightness of daylight all simply add to its aura of tranquility. I could not articulate my feelings about it until this morning as I experienced the very same emotion while walking down Railroad Street.
Our first break, Paul and I dropped into a couple of chairs exhausted . The breezes pushed into the bay garage doors accompanied by only peace. We enjoyed a glass of Crazy J’s Red and a hunk of cheddar while taking measurements and making lists. I felt suddenly refreshed .My tiredness, aching bones and muscles seem to subside. Unloading Freddie early Sunday morning, I had this same experience. It was really nice.
I guess that when something makes you feel this good..you simply want to share it !
. We can’t wait to welcome you. We are certain that you will enjoy coming to escape to our world of wines
Sometimes you meet folks,, converse about things that you have in common and things that you don’t. Several months later you bump into them again and the conversation starts right back up as if there was no distance of time in between. A year goes by, then several more. The impromptu acquaintances become friendships. When one works in a winery, making friends is an occupational perk.
Two days ago, we gave our very last guests a sample of Lime in the Coconut. The shop was vacant. A mist of sunlight leaking in through the windows. A waft of coconut and the ambient buzz of a dragon fly filling in the crevices of memories in the making. A few bottles were the only evidence of our busy little winery. Watching the smiles of our guests, listening to their laughter and then watching them drive out of the parking lot filled me with unexpected sense of peace. I know that I will see them again. We met this couple on a snowy night in Fall Town years ago. . The back drop of our encounter was in a local tavern several blocks and a short walk from where we live. We talked about beer, wine and food, our favorite topics.
We have so many memories about getting to know our guests. We have the YeeeHaaa Folks, the Peachy People, the Lime in the Coconut People, the Juicy Beach People, , The Family Wine Lady(one of my very favorites), The Ruddy Red Girls, The Friday Morning Music Folks, The Chicken Soup Group, The purple elderberry ;), The Grandmothers Water and Kendall Jackson Group,, The Handy Handys…The Guacamole Girls, Pauls Red Brother Jeff and his Lady..The Traveling Hoss Lady, The Swanzey Lakers, The Hunters Moon Red Folks, The CranRazz Girls, The Forest Lake Ladies, The Red Hats, The Purple Girl, The Glamour Girl, The Baking Cake Lady and the Mr, Tom Bradys other wife, The Dancers, The Stompers, The One , The only The FallTown String Band, Maggie and Mayor Pat,The Mead Man with his Mrs and lil curly makes 3,, The Lively Corkie and Ken , The engaged ones, The Five Best Stories Ladies, Do and Sue, The family of Four with little red, MimianDan, Deniseingeorge, Pops Paco and Sistah Char ,The Hawkins Kelly Group and so many more.
As we loaded up the last of our stuff, squishing them into our Three Quarter Ton Nissan Juke, I was filled with a sense of unexpected peace. I was already planning my next encounter with these impromptu acquaintances that have become our friends. Anyway, working in a winery, making friends is an occupational perk. I am very glad for that !
As a hobbyist painter, I enjoy the freedom that an empty canvas offers. Like pondering at the edge of a new day and somehow being lucky or wise enough to know that it could be directed into anything. The first colors pour over a brand new creation….. and potentially a masterpiece may soon exist.
Sunday as many of our friends came by, Randy, Sharon, Paul and I prepared the canvas for the new business coming in. The floors were buffed and windows left shining. This building will be ready for a whole new landscape of faces and fixtures. We know they will have a great community supporting them. We send them good wishes.
Meanwhile, we are very busy planning the design for our own new canvas. One of my Moms favorite sayings is “..a house is a home by the virtue of those who dwell there.” So Paul and I are at the edge of a brand new day. We are just getting ready to splash the first colors onto our fresh canvas. A large part of our design will include things that have worked well for us in the past. Some of our design will include things that we have never accomplished before. It will include folks that we have yet to meet...and those who have become part of our lives. While our outcome may not be a masterpiece, it will certainly host the warm tones of hospitality. It will celebrate the strong lines of friendship and the bold colors of adventure. It will be an extension of our home to all who visit.
Our Moving Blog Scroll down for the latest
It has been three years since the New Hampshire Liquor Commission approved us to make and retail wine. It has been a blur of squished fruit, gallons of wine, new friends, lots of music , art, cheese and even haunted campfires !! The production space has been shrinking by the day. The racks are sagging from wear and stress of the glass carboys filled with wine. Every weekend regardless of how much we bottle..the shelves sit close to empty by Monday. I guess that means it is time to move to a larger space.
I can only bring my heart to reflect on the wonderful folks that are now very much part of our lives. I can redirect my thoughts to consider the possibilities..the opportunities of a larger space. I do not allow myself to linger or tarry on the sadness of leaving this community of people, of lives that we have loved being part of. I can because in this last 3 years there has been so much happiness. I will keep those memories close by as we sell the last of our wine here. We are so grateful to the Swanzey Community for allowing us to be part of its home. We will always keep you in our hearts.
Press Release: Cameron’s Winery moves to Northfield Massachusetts
Friday November 20th at 5pm Paul and Leslie Cameron of Bernardston Ma will be opening their winery at their new location on 105 Main Street of Northfield Ma. The couple looked at many places over the past year and a half. Northfield is well known for its beauty, but it has other attractive features. It is a community that is economically moving in a very progressive direction. The business community is well established and stable. Some of the members include The Centennial House Bed and Breakfast, Humphries Woodworking Inc., The Northfield Drive In Theatre, Kidder Hardware Store, Northfield Auto Body and Collision Center, The Northfield Creamy, Northfield Auctions, Grace’s Reception Hall, Rock Ridge Farm and Market, several small well-appointed markets Mims and the IGA, several restaurants offering different fares, golfing, hiking trails,. Northfield hosts a full Farmers Market all summer into the autumn. The Historical Society, The Schell Bridge Association, Northfields Recreation Center, Senior Center and the Library always have an event going on for all ages. There are even several churches that routinely offer savory New England meals as fundraisers.. The greatest thing is that you can explore many of the businesses without a car. The sidewalks are set way back away from the road and shaded by big old maple trees. They wind all through town and act as a ribbon tying a community together. It is a perfect weekend destination for anyone wanting to get away and experience the true beauty and hospitality of New England. It is a great home for Cameron’s Winery.
They are excited about the size and layout of the space. The Northfield space is more than 5 times larger than their entire first location of 400 square feet that they opened in November 2012 in Swanzey NH. The processing room is 10 times the size of their more current processing space. The business grew and became very busy a lot quicker than they had anticipated. The larger processing room will allow them to produce enough wine to keep up with the market. The larger retail space will provide more space to merchandise more wines. It will accommodate additional associated merchandise. Two of their favorite features about the retail space is that the guests will be able to create their own gift baskets at a shop table. They will have lots of choices to pair with their wine including a variety of cheeses, crackers, pastas, sauces, soups, dipping oils, chocolates and many other goodies. A variety of wine accessories will also be available. The other favorite features is upper tasting area. This space has table and chair seating area to allow guests to sit at tables instead of standing at the tasting counter. The couple will continue to host local musicians and artists for their Music, Art and Wine Project. This project creates a common ground for people to gather from all walks of life to meet and discuss the great creations that come from within our community.
The couple’s hobby became a passion fueled by the diverse and plentiful fruits, vegetables and maple syrup of Western Massachusetts and New England. Their Maple Apple Pancake wine which recently won a Bronze Medal at the Big E, is made of Maple Syrup from Severance Sugar Shack of Northfield and Cider from Pine Hill Orchard of Colrain Massachusetts. The Cameron’s were awarded 8 medals at the Big E’s Gold Wine Competition this year. They also won several Readers Choice Awards including a Silver for Best Winery and a Silver for Best Wine Shop in the Region. They make more than 100 different wines from sweet to dry and everything in between, including Marion’s Black Currant, Anna’s Elderberry, Margaret’s Strawberry, Pear and seasonal wines like Warm Apple Pie, Caramel Apple and a juicy Cranberry.
Paul and Leslie Cameron will be selling wine by the glass at the Kiwanis Scarecrow Festival in Bernardston on October 24th and 25th in the Beer and Wine Garden alongside Lefty’s. It will be the first time for the couple to be selling wine in Massachusetts. They are very excited to be starting out down the road from where they live and where they had their farm stand. Although, they have great memories and friendships from Swanzey New Hampshire, it certainly makes life a little easier without the 35 minute commute and well over an hour and a half for Paul driving back from his full time job at Ralphs Blacksmith/ SMJ Metals in Northampton. They are very excited about “bringing the winery home!” For more information www.fruitwinegifts.com or like them on Facebook...Camerons passion for wine making.
Exploring the businesses and enjoying the folks in your community is not only a pleasurable experience but a great way to support and be a part of your community. Every community has its own little treasures. Bernardston is no different. So for my blog today, I have decided to share my community with you. I have put together a slide show of what I consider one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning.How can you not have a wonderful Saturday when it starts like this ?? After checking out my slide show you may want take the time this weekend and explore your town. You will see folks you know and meet some new ones. Try some fresh foods, have some sandwiches made up. Grab a cold drink and have a picinic in your town common. Get a library card and borrow a movie for the night...or maybe you will come visit Bernardston !!
One of my favorite things about the summertime is the expansion of living space.
Opening doors onto patios or driveways and particularly front step sitting with a glass of Cameron’s Lime in the Coconut, has an uplifting appeal. Sunday was no different. We opened the huge bay garage doors at our new workshop. The space stretched out into the door yard inhaling the coolness of the summer rain and exhaling the heat from the previous day. Unfortunately, we could not relax and sip from frosted wine glasses. We were there to paint.
White paint on the walls, doors, trim, some of the ceiling, my clothes and my hair. Paul, of course did not have a speck on him. At the end of the day, although we were not quite finished, the space looked really nice. I could picture the rows of demi-johns filled with brilliant wines against the whiteness. I could imagine how bright it will still feel on the cloudiest of winter days.
After scrubbing up the brushes, rollers and pans we went home ( a five minute drive J ). It is nice having a short commute after a long day. After I “de-painted” myself in the shower, We grabbed our icy wine glasses and filled them with chilled libations from Cameron’s. Then we sat on our front steps and enjoyed our own little expansion of space..
Type your paragraph here.