Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pine Lake Takes a Courageous Stand

Congratulations, Pine Lake and thank you to Mayor Melanie Hammet and the city council for declaring the city a safe haven for refugees. I am so proud!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pine Lake Misses Nita Townes

We are all saddened by the recent passing of Juanita (Nita) Townes of Pine Lake. Nita was 89 years old and spent most of her years in Pine Lake. She was there from the earliest days.

Nita always had a smile on her face and had a wonderful sense of humor. She was proud of her garden and was happy to share its bounty.

The Importance of Street Edges

Street Edges-- the areas on either side of a motorway are important for community development. They have a positive effect on businesses and make an area desirable for shopping and strolling.

I would think a rework of the Rockbridge corridor through Pine Lake would be a priority for those wishing to improve the business district. There are, thankfully, sidewalks already, but more is needed.

I just came across this article by Dan Burden. It's comprehensive and well-written with all lingo described fully.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hogan's Grocery and Pine Lake Post Office

Tim Selby, who has lived in Atlanta for 20 years and had never heard about Pine Lake, chanced across this blog and sent me this great photo of Hogan's Grocery and the old post office building. It's from 1961. Since the post office is still standing, it's easy to tell exactly where Hogan's stood. I had always assumed the grocery was on the other side of Rockbridge Road.

I told Tim he should come visit the town some time. If you should see him and learn his name, please tell him hello and thank him for being so generous with his photograph.


Tim tells me

I believe the photo was taken by an urban planner as it was with a collection of other photos that were all taken of the commercial district in the Buckhead area mostly along Peachtree. There were a couple of maps from the City of Atlanta Planning Department dated 1960 that referenced where the photos were taken and many of the photographs were dated from 1960 and 1961. 
There were several that looked like they were taken in rural areas and I had always assumed that they were located farther out on Peachtree Rd.  I was recently looking at them with a magnifying glass and that is when I noticed the Pine Lake post office and looked for it on a map. Maybe the person who took the photo had a home at Pine Lake and was just finishing out the roll of film...or maybe Pine Lake was a planned community and would have been of interest to an urban planner? 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

About This Blog

Pine Lake, October, 1965. Photo by Claude Suttle

Since I no longer live in Pine Lake it makes little sense to continue this blog. I will, unless something unexpected which impels me to speak up, no longer be posting here. I will, however, leave the blog up and will be happy to publish any articles or photos people wish to send me.

I love Pine Lake and its people and always will. 

I invite readers to visit my new blog, NO GRITS FOR YOU, which will be about, you guessed it, being a transplant from the South in New Jersey. You won't find much there for a while, but I promise things will soon be zippy. 


I am now in residence in New Jersey.

I left Georgia wearing sandals and arrived in at my new house to six degree temperatures and a howling wind. I almost froze to death unloading my car. Fortunately, I had stopped in Pennsylvania and swapped my sandals for closed-toed shoes.

Heavy snows arrived soon afterward and I became acquainted with rock salt and snow shovels. Happily, the electric snow thrower we ordered from Amazon arrived a few days after the storm and helps us clear our parking pad.

I learned what an ice dam is when our poor gutters started looking like glaciers. They have not yet torn down the gutters or forced water inside the house, but the winter is still young.

The UPack trailer with my belongings was brought in after dark (which I had specifically asked NOT to happen) and knocked down a neighbor's cable line. Police were involved. Although the line was illegally low the police required the trailer to leave and said it would not be allowed in. This meant my goods had be transferred to a U-Haul truck; it took three trips before load-in was complete.

I now own a pair of snow boots and I located my father's Korean-war era floppy-eared field hat and a pair of heavy gloves in my newly-arrived household goods. I am prepared (I hope) for the remainder of the Jersey winter.

It's strange up here. Despite our location in a small town 35 miles from New York City, the people have been the most part impolite, superficial, and indifferent. Grits, cornbread, and hush puppies are not to be found. Movies cost about $15. Groceries are expensive. Property taxes are horrendous. Big box stores in nearby Bergen county are closed by law on Sundays. Gun laws are draconian (I would go to state prison for 30 years [mandatory sentence]  if I were to be found with a slingshot or BB gun in my car). There are a thousand other strangenesses, not all of which are pleasant. I am, however, here, and here I will remain, ice dams notwithstanding..

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Where I'm Going: II: The Outside of the House

Our house doesn't look like much from the outside. It needs sprucing up and something-- we're not certain just what at this early date-- to add drama. A 15-foot tall 1950s-looking rocket? A trebuchet? Battlements? We'll figure it out.

Here's the back side of the house.

Here's the level portion of our yard. Word is Patty Duke once played tennis here.

There's no garage, but there's plenty of parking space. We hope to add a carport this summer.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Where I'm Going: Our New House. I: Inside

The first thing one sees when entering our new house in New Jersey is this beautiful freestanding wooden stair. It leads to two huge rooms-- one 14' x 17', which will be my office, and a huge 17' x 24' room which will  house the biggest television screen we can afford. We are already calling it the media room. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the upstairs.

The huge stone fireplace visible at left, above, opens to a stunning living room with log beams from 1940 (when the house was built) and a vaulted ceiling.

Double doors leading to a mudroom and then outside can be seen at center right, and at center left the back of the stairway can be seen. That's a wood-burning stove on the hearth.

Here's a portion of the mud room.

None of this shows our furniture. These photos are from the real estate listing which led us to the house. The furniture belongs to the previous owner.

The doorless opening on the left, above, leads to the kitchen, and the double-width opening just to the left of the fireplace leads to the dining area. The kitchen and dining areas comprise one big room.

Below is a second view of the kitchen, looking back at the living room.

To the right of the refrigerator is an honest-to-god pantry!

Shown below is about half of the dining area.The other half is visible at upper right in the first photo of the kitchen.

For the past six years Heather had to put up with a skinny side-by-side refrigerator that didn't keep food quite cold enough (and didn't have room enough for much in the first place), so I don't begrudge her choice of this huge Samsung french door fridge. I took the photo above with my cell phone.

My four-year-old much less fancy fridge will remain in my house.

I've been describing the newer portion of the house, which we call the public area. What you'll see next was once a 1940s cabin. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms (one with a tub and one with a shower), and a walk-in closet. We have appropriated the master bedroom for ourselves. The second largest will be the guest bedroom, and the smallest, which has hardwood floors, will be a music room.

Here's the master bedroom (again, this is not our furniture):

The bath is to the left and the walk-in closet is to the right. There's a second walk-in closet at the top of the stairway to the second floor.

Here's another view of the master bedroom:

Here's the master bath. That wallpaper is butt ugly, isn't it? We will soon be removing or painting over it.

Here's the second bathroom:

This bath looks better (aside from the shower curtain), but the enclosure around the sink is too big, making for a tight sit on the toilet; we will be replacing it with a pedestal sink. The cabinet on the wall (which is hung out of level) will probably also go.

Finally, here's the music room, As tiy cab seem it was once someone's office.

There are not yet photos of the basement or the ridiculously steep and narrow stairs which lead down to it. There are three large rooms with concrete floors and framed walls and a larger fourth area which, is begging for a cement floor. When the floor is in we'll have more storage than we will ever need. Thankfully, the basement is dry, with no evidence of having ever flooded. Most of it is above ground level, for the house is built on a hillside, so things should be safe in the basement. Still, I'll be laying down pallets for boxes and large objects.

The basement houses the gas furnace, water heater, electrical boxes, and the mitigation system that was put in when the house tested high for radioactive radon gas. There's a washer and dryer hookup, and a door leads to the outside.

The house has newly-installed central air, but that unit is outside. So, also, is a Generac standby generator; it comes on automatically when the power goes off. It runs on natural gas, so there will be no need to add fuel.

This concludes the tour of the inside of the house. Thank you for witholding your applause until the end of the presentation.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Where I'm Going: Ringwood, NJ

I'm moving to a community not unlike Pine Lake. The three big differences are 1) it snows there; 2) the people talk funny; and 3) there are no grits. In fact, I will be doing a blog about my experience there called, ta DAH! No Grits For You! Here's the link; I warn you, though, nothing is posted yet.

The photo above is Cupsaw Lake. It's a two to three minute walk from our house, and have a lovely view of it from the hill upon which our house rests. If we opt to join the lake association we can house my canoe there and use the lake and its facilities year round. Of course we will do so.

Our town is Ringwood, New Jersey. Here's the Wikipedia entry and here's the town's website. Population is about 8,000 and there are at least four lakes. The area is sparsely populated because most of the land for miles around is state park, botanical gardens, and protected reservoir. There's a lot of wildlife, including an eagle reservation within the city limits, and brown bears abound; it's necessary to keep garbage inside or in a bear-proof enclosure. At night the stars are breathtaking.

Amazingly, Ringwood is only 25 miles or so from Manhattan. Distance by car is 37 miles (53 min.) and transport time via public transportation is an hour and a quarter. There's a free parking area at the town's library with a shelter,and that's where the bus stops. The library is about a mile-and-a-half from the house. The New York state line is just two to three miles away. So is the Appalachian trail. There's first-class hiking everywhere.

There are just enough business in town to make things convenient: the aforementioned library, a grocery, a branch of my bank (Wells Fargo), a drugstore, a dollar store, an animal hospital, medical and dentist offices, two liquor stores and a bar, and a car wash, assorted gas stations, and automobile repair places. Restaurants include a steak house, a couple of pizza/Italian restaurants, Thai and Chinese places. a deli, and a great luncheonette that's a town favorite. The only franchised restaurant is McDonald's. All this is just a little more than a mile from our house-- and there are a half-dozen larger towns within ten miles or so which offer far more. State Hwy 17, home to big malls, hundreds of big box stores, and franchised high-end eateries, is less than ten miles away. Gas prices are a little lower than they are in Atlanta, and by law attendants must fill fuel tanks. That's easy to get used to!

All is not rosy in Ringwood, however. In the 60s and 70s a nearby Ford plant hired truckers (reportedly via the Mafia ) to dump thousands of tons of heavy-metal bearing paint sludge in abandoned mine tunnels (before it became a resort community in the 1920s, Ringwood was home to many iron and zinc mines. The materials were dumped miles away from our house in a community that is comprised primarily of Ramapough Mountain Indians, a closely-knit mixed-race community of some antiquity that has been recognized by the state of New Jersey (but not yet by the Federal government), as a tribe. The far side of Ringwood has been a SuperFund site since 1980s and is still the EPA's largest . Fortunately, the tribe has had some success in court. Unfortunately, the tribe, which was once known as Jackson Whites, has a long history of being discriminated against and most of its members continue to live in a toxic environment and in poverty.

I'm looking forward to learning more about my new home town. The rest of the state? Not so much.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dallas Denny Day

Me, Performing at the Pine Lake Lounge
In December, Eva Sotus (who lives in he house just behind mine) asked if I would come to the Pine Lake Lounge event and sing my Pine Lake song. I said yes, of course.

So I arrived at the beach house at 7:30 pm with my guitar, suspecting nothing.

My turn came and I sang the song, then, by request, repeated it with everyone singing along from lyric sheets that had been printed up by Christine Slocomb.

After playing a second song of my own devising, I left the stage. Next up was mayor Kathie deNobriga, who had earlier that day told me I would not be allowed to leave Pine Lake because I had not turned in the proper paperwork. I half-way believed her.

So, Kathie started reading a proclamation. First, of course, came the whereases:
WHEREAS, the City of Pine Lake has been blessed with many talented residents; and
WHEREAS, each of these individuals contribute toward making Pine Lake the special place we call home; and  
Okay, I thought. Where is this going?
WHEREAS, one of our long-term residents who has tirelessly contributed their time and talents to the benefit of the City; and
I was starting to smell a rat.
WHEREAS, the works of this citizen are demonstrated by the beautiful pictures taken and posted for all to enjoy; and 
 Yes, I said to myself. I smell trouble coming.
WHEREAS, this citizen has served as the City Historian for many years.
Oh, good. I don't recall being appointed historian. For a minute there I thought...

Then came the therefore:
Now, therefore, in honor of the many contributions made, I, Kathie deNobriga, Mayor of Pine Lake, proclaim December 14th, 2014, as "Dallas Denny Day" in Pine Lake.
Dag! It was me after all!

To say I was astonished and gratified would be an understatement. A day named after little old me?

To top things off, my next door neighbor Barbara Whitlow produced a lovely departure cake. It was delicious and I ate three pieces. I hoped no one noticed the guest of honor pigging out.

Afterward, with my guitar slung over my shoulder and a lovely greeting card signed by half the city, I floated home.. I went immediately upstairs and phoned my fiancee to tell her the 14th had been declared a holiday.

She was already amazed I had sold my house so easily. "Your social network is amazing!" she had said. "What do you think of my network now?" I asked smugly.

My thanks go out to Mayor deNobriga, Barbara and Christine, Eva, Tommy Conlon (who talked about me when he read his amazing poem about the "right" side of the lake) and the many Pine Lakers who have wished me well over the past month.

My belongings are now all packed. My departure is linked to the closing date for the sale of my house, which should be announced shortly. I will miss my house, the lake, the city, and most of all, the wonderful people. I'm about to cry.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Preparing to Move

Before I left New York for Georgia I put word out on this blog and on the various Pine Lake lists that my house was for sale. By the time I arrived home a number of people had expressed an interest in it. The first couple that looked at it bought it. We expect to close on 15 January.

In the interim, I'm packing. Here's a stack of boxes in my office on the second floor. There are similar stacks in the living room, den, dining nook, and in my bedroom.

I favor the shown 1.5 cubic foot boxes. They're made of 100% recycled paper and cost $0.74 each at Home Depot. Loaded, they're light enough for me to move, and they stack readily.

Everything is not yet packed, but I'm around the bend and expect to be finished with packing by the end of the year. The last things to be prepped will be my waterbed (which breaks down nicely) and the vintage 1996 32" Sony Triniton CRT television in the living room. The TV is far too heavy to move and I have found a new home for it right here in Pine Lake. I bought it 18 years ago and it has never missed a beat, so I'm happy it won't wind up at Goodwill.

The waterbed mattress is due for replacement and will go in the trash. I'll order a new one. The bed itself breaks down. I love my waterbed. Twenty years ago I put a thermal cover on it and threw away the heater. The cover makes it look and feel like any mattress, and baffles in the mattress make it practically waveless. Best of all, there are twelve drawers in the pedestal.

I have an airbed which has never been out of the box for use after the waterbed is disassembled.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lake House for Sale

In a couple of weeks my house at 522 Pine Drive in Pine Lake will be going up for sale.

It was built in 1936 and was expanded several times over the years. It sits on its original 20' x 100' lot. It is feet from the beach at the lake and the beach house. I can walk to the beach in thirty seconds!

I bought the house in 1998 and have lived in it since.  I love the house and is killing me to give it up, but necessity dictates.

I chose the house because of its charm, its proximity to the lake, its features, and its price. I also liked its solidity and reworked subfloors, plumbing and electrics.

I like its big rooms, open design, and roomy country kitchen. I lovingly renovated it, adding a large gazebo, back deck/landing, and fencing. Inside, I added a dishwasher, a lazy susan in a wasted cabinet in the kitchen, new appliances, and new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom and at the front door. I added a thousand other little touches.

The house is 1200 square feet in size. On the first floor is a living room, large kitchen with dining nook, bathroom, and a library/den. Upstairs there's a large room with a vaulted ceiling, a skylight, and large windows, and a large bedroom. I have the house set up as a single bedroom, but it could easily be converted to three bedrooms.

There's a large stone fireplace in the living room and a fireplace in the back room with gas logs.

I will be selling the house with a nearly new stove and refrigerator and washer and dryer.

When I bought the house I planned to install central heating and air, but it stays so warm in winter and so cool in the summer that I decided against it. I love the antique 73,000 BTU antique gas furnace, which I kept when the guy at the gas stove store told me the new stoves would be no cheaper to operate and would be a lot slower to heat the house when it was cold. A big 220 volt air conditioner at the top of the stairs keeps the house absolutely frigid. A 110-volt A/C unit in the dining nook serves as for backup cooling. I turn it on now and again to keep it working properly.

The house's immediate needs are flashing on the back side and a new roof for the stone lean-to tool shed at the back of the house. The roof is worn, but doesn't leak. The carpet is worn but serviceable, Otherwise the house is great. I have loved living in it and loved hearing people tell me how much they like it.

If you're interest in purchasing it, please let me know. The asking price is $85,000, going to increase a few thousand if I have to hire a realtor.