Charles Sloger, Oct. 2008.
The purpose of this Albany Hilltowns has been broadened from history and genealogy to include the following:
- Historic building preservation
- Farmland preservation
- Boost the hill towns economy
A primary means to accomplish these goals is to make people aware of the beauty of the Albany County hill towns, thus giving them reasons to visit the hill towns. Visitors spend money, thus supporting farmers and other local businessmen and their employees. This will encourage historic building and farmland preservation.
Giving visitors as many reasons as possible to "Head to the Hills - The Albany Hilltowns" is one way to make progress towards those goals.
HEAD FOR THE HILLS
Economic benefits from visitors
Not all visitors to the hill towns are hikers and leaf peepers; or at least they don't have to be.
The secret to separating visitors from their money painlessly, is to offer them something they want to buy. Head for the Hills - The Albany Hilltowns has suggestions for farm activities that could make visitors want to spend more of their time and more of their money in the hill towns.
One of the suggestions is to have a central Hilltowns Farmers Market every weekend at a different town park pavilion.
Let's imagine that a couple from below the hills decides to attend the Farmers Market on Saturday; then they decide since they are going, why not make in a mini-vacation weekend.
Saturday morning they go to the Farmers Market and stock up on a week's worth of fruits and vegetables. While there they buy some of Bob Rowe's alpaca head-wear and scarves for gifts. They also buy a couple of dozen fresh eggs and a free range chicken from the stand of Frantzen's Scenic Acres, some antiques, and crafts made by "Sister Sue."
Time for lunch at Jersey's in East Berne, then an afternoon's hike in the Burke Wildlife Management Area in Knox. They enjoy dinner at Maple Inn, (but then so does everyone who eats there!).
They spend the night at Ralph and Jan Miller's in one of their spare rooms. Since the Miller's are renting rooms by the night or week on an occasional basis in a bedroom in their own home, they meet the criteria to call their home a Guest House.
The next morning our couple eats breakfast at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. This is followed by a Sunday Drive in the Partridge Run WMA; then by lunch at the Palmer House.
They leave for home Sunday afternoon with full bellies, a trunk full of goodies bought in the hill towns, empty pockets, and smiles on their faces.
What have they left behind? Not pollution and litter!
They have left behind their money! And not just for sales tax at the MobilMart; rather they have transferred two or three hundred dollars from their pockets to the pockets of farmers and other business persons, the guest house owner, restaurants owners, and waitpersons in the hill towns.
They also took home lots of pictures and fond memories. They are anxious to tell their friends about the wonderful weekend they had, and suggest that the following weekend their friends "Head for the Hills."
And with a Hilltowns Farmers Market every weekend in a different town on a rotating basis, it would not be just one couple deciding to spend the weekend in the hill towns, it would be a dozen or two every weekend.
Where is the harm in that?