Around this time of year, my music listening preferences move toward classical and mellow tunes. Maybe it’s because it’s cold, there’s less daylight, and it’s human nature to build a cozy winter’s nest accompanied by soft, comforting music. Maybe it’s because of the coming holiday season; I’ve always enjoyed the classic carols and hymns that pay tribute. Whatever the reason, that’s what I’m listening to now.
We are lucky to have on our magazine staff a harpist. Writer and editor Kari Anderson also plays the piano, organ and banjo, but this is harp season. I don’t know much about harps, except that they sound heavenly, but Kari does and so she has written “Harps Reach the Mainstream” featured in this issue. Go to LifeintheFingerlakes.com for a schedule of upcoming opportunities to hear the harp in the Finger Lakes region.
Changing the subject, I wanted to point out that local stops on the famous Underground Railroad are mentioned in three articles in this issue. One, by outdoor writer Cindy Ross, is a feature devoted to the routes through Syracuse, Auburn and Elmira that enabled slaves to get to freedom before and during the Civil War. Stories about Greek Revival houses in the area, and the H. Lee White Museum in Oswego, both reference places where slaves were hidden en route to freedom.
Underground Railroad sites in Central New York have not always been easy to identify. Until recently, communities did not realize their potential as historic treasures. Many were not preserved and few are marked. That is changing. New York State has provided grants to commemorate and preserve sites related to the Underground Railroad, and to open them to the public. Markers are being placed, old buildings are being rescued and researchers are scouring old archives and diaries to find more.
In this Winter Issue we are so happy to again present to readers the winners of our annual photo contest. As usual, the winning entries are truly awe inspiring, and for every one that did make it onto these pages, there are at least three or four excellent photographs that we couldn’t show because of limited space. I want to thank every person who submitted entries to the magazine. Enjoy the Winter Issue.
by Mark Stash