Friday, October 2, 2009

Private Label Wine, America's Best idea Airs, Salem State College, and a Personal Note


Danvers Historical Society and Alfalfa Farm Establish Partnership

Two organizations that have strong ties to Essex Heritage recently entered into a new historic relationship that should benefit both organizations. Alfalfa Farm that was just featured in a story that appeared in a recent Boston Globe North article has created two private label wines that will help bring attention to the work being done by Danvers Historical Society. A percentage of the sales of the two wines created and then introduced at the recent Essex Heritage Trails and Sails event at Glen Magna Farms will certainly benefit the Society, and is also expected to boost sales at the Topsfield winery. The two wines produced with the Danvers Historical Society label are a blueberry and a Cabernet Franc and are priced at only $16.00 per bottle. The Trails and Sails event was a wonderful success and Glen Magna Farms in Danvers and its gardens never looked better. To add to the evening, event attendance exceeded expectations.

Sales of the private label stock can be purchased at Alfalfa Farm Winery at 276 Rowley Bridge Road, Topsfield, and as noted, a portion of the proceeds will benefit and support the work of Danvers Historical Society. Dick Adelman the owner of Alfalfa Farm also serves as a Commissioner and strong supporter of the work of Essex Heritage and he and his family have always been wonderful supporters of not for profit organizations in the region. The work being done by Dick and his family is a great way to help preserve some of the wonderful open space in this region, and that incentive is important to Essex Heritage. Alfalfa Farms will be holding its annual Harvest Festival Weekend on October 17 and 18, and that would be a great time to stop and sample their products and to purchase some Danvers Historical Society private label wine to support a local preservation based organization.

Ken Burns Documentary on the National Park Service Coming to an End

All this week the exceptional Ken Burns documentary on the history of the National Park Service has been airing on the local Public Broadcast station in Boston. If you have not seen any of the episodes tonight will be last time they will be shown in their first airings. I would expect however that this is not the last time that Public Broadcasting will show these exceptional films, so if you did not see these spectacular films, watch local TV listings in the future to see when they will be reprised. In my role with Essex Heritage, I have had an ongoing relationship with the National Park Service for over a decade, and as I watched parts of this series, I was enthralled with what I watched. The photography was sensational and as each segment unfolded, I learned more and more facts and information that I did not know about the National Park service and their history. The history of the Park service and the people who helped make the organization what it is today was an eye opener to me. The sights and sounds of the documentary as they showed the premier parks in the system made you want to pack your bags and leave for a visit to Yellow Stone, Rocky Mountain or Arcadia as soon as possible. As the series title notes, the creation and continuing operation of the National Park Service truly is America’s Best Idea.

Salem State College Continues its Journey to University Status

Earlier this week, Salem State College President, Patricia Meservey testified at the State House in Boston in support of a bill that would give University status to certain State Colleges including Salem. Clearly, this designation for Salem State College would be well deserved and would allow the college to better “reach out” for students in this very competitive time. The status if granted would likely encourage more students to stay here in Massachusetts for college, and then the likelihood of their residing here to start their careers would be better. That would ultimately produce more and better trained workers to support businesses in this region, and that would be a plus for this local economy. There is no timetable for a vote on this measure, but Salem State can certainly count on the support of the Essex National Heritage Commission when the vote is scheduled.

One Personal Note

October 2nd has always been a special day for me. When I was just a teenager, I left home in Salem to join the United States Air Force on this day 56 years ago. I spent four very productive years in that branch of the military service. I served during the cold war period and a fair amount of my time was spent in northern Maine at a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base and we wee regularly preparing for an attack of some kind that fortunately never came. I later served in the United Kingdom, and the four years of my life that I spent in the service of my country was well spent and I learned wonderful lessons, such as teamwork, discipline and order that were all part of our daily lives in those years. I have always thought that this country should have some form of national service, as I certainly came out of my experience older, wiser and better prepared to face life as a contributing adult.

As always is the case, your comments, questions and observations on this material and the work of Essex Heritage is appreciated. I can be reached at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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