PARTY LINE: Love to upstate New York

DEBORAH WHEELER
A statue of Native Dancer was unveiled last week in Saratoga.

Sometimes in the heat of summer a girl just has to get away for a bit to some place cooler, such as upstate New York.

My son has lived there for almost four years and I had only been once, and that was for his wedding.

And, amazingly, someone close to me is from there and I had been told over and over that the area is "God's country."

I heard about the Saratoga race track and the popular stakes races of The Whitney, The Alabama, and The Travers.

I heard of socialite Marylou Whitney, and that she is the queen of Saratoga.

I heard of Saratoga's main street, Broadway, which is lined with mansions, all of which have iron jockeys in front, and of the cool shops.

I heard about the elegant Victoria pool, and all the lakes in the area, mainly Lake George, and the pure spring water.

I got to see all of those things last week, and more, and none disappointed.

Mornings were kicked off with early long walks down Broadway,  gawking at the homes and their jockeys, followed by eggs enjoyed outdoors in cool 57 degree temps.

Each day was an adventure. Three visits to the race track (I won three times), the Victoria pool, shopping, wine tasting, museums, enjoying New York pizza, seeing Bernadette Peters at SPAC, taking in a polo match, being pampered at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa, and an overnight trip to Lake George with lunch at the beautiful Sagamore resort hotel.

An unplanned thrill was being present at the unveiling of the town's statue of Native Dancer in its downtown park and meeting Marylou Whitney there. She is lovely, gracious, and speaks in a deep and velvety voice.

Visiting my son and daughter-in-law's home in Clifton Park was a joy, to see what they have done with it and how they have made it their own thrilled a mother's heart. Pictures just did not do it justice.

If asked to choose one highlight, I don't know that I could. It was a long anticipated and a longed-for experience that did not disappoint. I long to go back.  

TRAVELS

Michael J Thomas is headed to Atlanta to record a 10th cut for his "Driven" album, an original song titled "My Love" co-written with music producer Trammel Starks, which features Michael's vocals and saxophone. Michael said Trammel thinks it sounds like a Stevie Wonder song, but Michael believes it sounds like his biggest influence, Michael Jackson. He has arranged a performance at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Alpharetta for Aug. 15 from 6 - 9 p.m. If you're in the area, go!

Brad Droy is back home after five weeks in Michigan where he is opening a new office.

Nancy and Greg Smith, with daughter Ashley Jo, attended the annual Pageant of the Masters art festival in Laguna Beach last week, then on to Disneyland and Hollywood.

Jeff Margaretten went to NOLA.

Doug and Jane Anderson have returned from a trip to Shreveport to visit their son, Chris.

Ann and Tommy Melancon and daughter Natalie have returned from Munich where they celebrated Ann's birthday, and went sightseeing in Berlin and Prague.

Nan Jacobs went to Traverse City, Mich.

Ann and Duaine Kief went to Orlando.

Lisa Egstad enjoyed traveling the Pacific Coast Highway.

Judi Rutland is back from a jaunt to Chicago.

Jane Burns and Kris Johnson visited Italy.

Levin and Jessica Bracken returned to Vail to celebrate their first anniversary.

Nancy McCullen, Fred and Linda Buehler took a Sunset Club road trip to Hawks Nest Marathon in the Keys.

Patrick and Christi Ferry went NOLA.

Mark Pollaski is traveling again. He attended an engagement party last Friday at Villa Erba on Lake Como, Italy, then enjoyed lunch on Sunday at London's Bianco 43 in Trafalgar Square with friends. He then attended a surprise birthday party on Star Island off Miami Beach on Thursday before heading to a tennis tournament at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. Who knows what is next for this globe trotter.

Dale Dalbey and his son, Noah, visited historic Williamsburg and Jamestown, and enjoyed a day at Busch Gardens.

Allison Larson spent June and July with her dad and her daughter in California.

Tom Saffel went to Madison, Wisc.

Chris Scott has returned from her two-month sojourn to south Florida just in time to leave for a trip to St. Simon's Island.

John and Deah Hollan visited San Diego.

Joe and Kathy Perry went to Cincinnati.

Demetrius Fuller is vacaing in Barcelona.

Vickie and Ray Dollar visited St. Tropez, Provence, and Florence.

Charles and Robin Wiesneth saw Emmylou Harris in concert in Alaska.

Rebecca and Georgia Balkcom are back from Tennessee.

Byron Chism visited the Netherlands.

Laura and Chan Cox went to Baltimore to visit grandson Carter.

Dhiru Thadani visited Costa Rica.

I will miss Wendy Prentice Grantham when she moves to Fernandina Beach next month. She visited Amelia Island last week.

VISITS

Carrie Nelle Moye welcomed her youngest daughter, Ashley Claire Thompson, and her two grandangels, Anna and Eva Prenowitz from England for a visit. Ashley Claire occupies the Hiram W. Woodward Academic Chair at SOAS, a school in the University of London. Earlier this year, Carrie Nelle welcomed two visits from her son, F. Conyers Thompson III from Buenos Aires, and in April, she visited her daughter Moye Thompson and her family in Santa Monica to help celebrate granddaughter Claire's 16th birthday.

GATHERINGS

Blue Marlin Realty Group unveiled their new Seagrove branch office Aug. 4 with a ribbon cutting and reception. More than 100 guests gathered to celebrate and snip the ribbon with the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce. Guests were treated to margaritas, Coronas, and a fajita bar by La Paz Restaurant and Cantina. Local artist Robin Cannon of Red Bird Art presented the Blue Marlin Realty Group team a housewarming gift of crushed glass artwork in the shape of a wave. Jerry and Leslie Sullivan, Rhonda Murray, and Fred Leopold attended.

CONGRATS

Santa Rosa Beach came in at No. 10 on CNTRAVELER's 30 Best Small Cities in America list.

BIRTHDAYS

Wish a "happy birthday" today to Cinda Jones, Chris Scott, and Price Rainier.

Saturday to Darwin Davis, and Judy Heninger.

Sunday to Lori Karian, and Zach Billingsley.

Monday to Daniel Uhlfelder, and Steven Brooke.

Tuesday to Kathy Kemp.

Wednesday to Sue Parsonnet, Ron Green, Claire LaPlante, Wendy Morton, John Hemingway, and the illustrious Duke Bardwell.

And, Thursday to Darrell Barnhill, Michael McIntosh, Jr., Jami Ray, Lisa Egstad, and Nina Horn.

Deborah Wheeler is the arts and entertainment reporter for The Walton Sun. Her Party Line column appears weekly in The Sun and contributions are encouraged via email. She may be reached at 654-8443 or email dwheeler@waltonsun.com.