It's been about a year since I attended the ribbon-cutting and grand opening of Tara Gates'  store, Mathilda Jean Threads & Finishing Touches located at 5375, Rt. 7, in Oneonta's east end. It's in a small plaza with other businesses: Edison Computers, Neighbors Insurance Agency, State Farm Insurance Bill Ellis, and The Tax Professionals. Have you noticed it yet?

I know what you're thinking. Many gift shops in Oneonta have come and gone over the years. Two stores from my childhood and shopping in Oneonta stay with me. I used to love "Love of Pete" and "The Golden Rooster", both in Downtown Oneonta. The closing of those stores really saddened me. We all know that retail giants and internet shopping have been big contributors to the low number of Oneonta gift shops, just like they have everywhere else but with new businesses popping up and people making different choices during the COVID-19 pandemic, I think there's hope for Oneonta to see gift shops with many people supporting local business more and more so that businesses like this can stick around. This can be exampled by Mathilda Jean Threads & Finishing Touches.

It's rather modest from the outside but once you walk inside the store, you feel like you've been transported into a wonderful gift shop with a wide array of items. Mathilda Jean has everything from clothing to jewelry, bath and body items, candles to gourmet foods, and more. It's been open for a year and is still alive and well in Oneonta! The nice thing is, that you can either visit the store in person or support this local business by shopping in the Mathilda Jean online store. It's the best of both worlds so if you forgot about Mathilda Jean Threads & Finishing Touches or didn't even know it existed, make sure you check it out because dollars spent locally support our local economy and growth for us all to enjoy. Happy shopping!

Upstate Road Trip! For Your Consideration: Chenango County!

This article begins a series of county spotlights which we will revisit in the months ahead. We hope to feature all of Upstate's 50 counties in this series. These articles are not meant to be exhaustive, in-depth looks at everything about a certain county. But rather a postcard post-it note album of a few of the highlights that each county has.

We start today in Central New York with beautiful Chenango County!

"Fifteen Favorites" To Put On Your Upstate New York Summer Bucket List

As a long time Upstate New York travel writer, with ten books published, I have always kept a journal of many things I have seen or visited over my 12-years of writing. Here is a random selection of "15 Faves" of mine that I suggest you visit this summer. You won't be disappointed.

These 15 Upstate New York Lakeside Hotels Offer the Ultimate in Relaxation (and History!)

Upstate New York is replete with beautiful lakes, both big and small. And with these lakes comes fantastic lakefront hotel and resort properties. Here are 15 of the best Upstate lakefront hotels waiting to help you unwind. Some are quite old and rustic. Others are as new as only two years old. All are wonderful.