Upstate of Mind


This past week we made our annual summer pilgrimage to upstate NY to visit my husband’s family. At the close of the 18th century his ancestors settled right on the border of the Adirondack Park in Gloversville. It truly is God’s country. Our days there are spent fishing, playing cards and eating way too much.

jumbo cookies

We’re talking huge roasts of pork and beef, tuna macaroni salad and of course, the requisite end to every meal, chocolate molasses cookies with icing aptly named “Jumbos.” Yes, I always return from these summer days feeling a little jumbo myself.


Down the road in Johnstown is home to our favorite breakfast spot — it’s probably also the smallest! Just six stools at the counter, three little booths and all the orders are made by Mike one at a time.


It’s called “Pete’s” but everyone I know calls it “Mike’s.”

Next time, I’ll get a photo of the inside, I promise! Charming, clean, family owned (by our Uncle Gus’ family, no less), great ingredients and the girls’ favorite pancakes. Our breakfast for four was $19.95! What more can you ask for?

pete's snack bar

That’s my cheesy fried egg and bacon breakfast sandwich on rye. Not a crumb was left on that plate!

Gloversville is the former glove manufacturing capitol of the world. True story —it took one of my dearest, smartest friends about three years to make the connection with gloves and Gloversville — and she’s a brunette!


Once a bustling metropolis, after the EPA’s stricter regulations came into play in the 1970’s the mills went belly up. The town never was the same; you can practically bowl down Main Street.


Still, some artisans honor the town’s heritage like my friend  Daniel Storto. Daniel has created a pinky size, gem of a shop right next to the old Glover theatre.  He makes the most incredible, beautiful custom gloves. If you don’t believe me, ask Hamish Bowles.



Glove tools.

gorgeous gloves

This town is also made famous by Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo’s his books are loosely based on this area. Bridge of SighsEmpire Falls and Nobody’s Fool show the highs and lows of old tannery towns. They are all amazing reads if you’re looking for a summer page turner. We also enjoyed his latest book, Elsewhere  a memoir about growing up in Gloversville. You can find them all at Amazon.

Richard Russo

You’ve heard of Adirondack chairs?  Well, this is our version of an Adirondack table.

upstate NY

Wine and worms.

luna moth

Luna moth.


Until next time…

Back in Santa Barbara we are doing our best to pick-up the pace again — with our calendar and on the elliptical. However, a plate of Jumbos on the counter wouldn’t be an entirely bad idea.

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11 thoughts on “Upstate of Mind”

Looks like a beautiful town, full of charm! So glad you included the recipe for the cookies! I’m definitely going to make them.

At least there’s loads of iron in the molasses:). I might give them a try as well:)! Thanks for sharing, as always! Welcome home!

Gloversvile is a run down town, there are crimes, run down streets, drugs and welfare. It is NOT a charming little place to visit. Those things mentioned in this post are the only things good about this place. Lived here for years. Adirondacks are beautiful but Gloversville is meant as a pit stop to finer destinations.

I was digging through Google Images to find these cookies…couldn’t remember the name of them…your picture of them is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you! I get very very home sick this time of year when I pulled up the site the image was attached to it I couldn’t believe it was Gloversville! I make my family ship me coffee from Stewart’s:)

Stumbled on your post as I was looking for a chocolate jumbo recipe. I grew up in a small town near Gloversville & Johnstown! Loved this post. Want to visit the Daniel Sorto shop next time I visit family. Growing up, the retired neighbors across the street cut gloves in their garage. Could hear the machines while waiting for the school bus. My best friends father worked in a leather tanning shop.

Even though I now live 3 hours away in the Western part of New York, they don’t make jumbos here! Need to get the recipe from my sister as I know the ones I made growing up had coffee in them.

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