Summer Festival marks two significant anniversaries

July 17 event includes a celebration of Indian Ladder Farms,

return of Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy’s

popular Hike-A-Thon  

Altamont, NY—One hundred years ago, Peter G. Ten Eyck started Indian Ladder Farms, home to a blue ribbon herd of prize Gurnsey dairy cows producing high quality milk that the farm sold in bottles door to door.

On Sunday, July 17, at noon, Peter G. Ten Eyck II will join in the celebration to mark the centenary of the Farm, and announce the grand opening of the farm’s Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery. 

The afternoon-long Summer Festival, hosted by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC), will take place at Indian Ladder Farms, 342 Altamont Road, Altamont. At 1 p.m., hikers will leave for a Hike-A-Thon at one of six nature trails.  

The celebration also includes an aerial photo session to capture the faces of MHLC friends for the Conservancy’s upcoming 25th Anniversary in 2017.

Throughout the afternoon, there will be activities provided by close to 50 exhibitors, who range from musicians to artists to food trucks, providing fun for all ages.

The MHLC’s second Hike-A-Thon will also take place on Sunday, July 17. Hikers are meeting at 1 p.m. at the check-in table in front of the café at Indian Ladder Farms receive their gift bags and carpool to a guided hike at one of six nature trails.

Peter G. Ten Eyck had grown up on a farm estate in Albany called Whitehall, which burned when he was a child. He wanted to create a new farm to serve as home base for his family. An engineer by trade, he was very interested in agriculture and opened Indian Ladder Farms in 1916 as a dairy farm with an orchard.      

The Mohawk Hudson Land and the Open Space Institute permanently protected Indian Ladder Farms from real estate development in 2003 with an agricultural conservation easement — the first in Albany County and a first for MHLC.

A small group of individuals met in Dr. David Shern’s living room on a snowy evening in 1992, and founded the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. Their concern was for the disappearing natural areas of our region.  The organization was and is focused on regional conservation, and making a difference for those who live and work in the Capital Region.

For the past four years, MHLC has held its popular summer celebration on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, with more than 1000 in attendance.

“This has become a very popular annual tradition for the Conservancy, and we are thrilled to be able to expand the event this year in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Indian Ladder Farms and the grand opening of the Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery,” said Mark King, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. “The Summer Festival is appropriate for all ages - it’s a great community gathering.”

"My son and nieces are the fifth generation of our family on the farm. One of our proudest accomplishments is to have been able to protect this land as 'forever farmland' for future generations with help from the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, the Open Space Institute and funding from the State of New York,” said Indian Ladder Farms’ Laura Ten Eyck. “We are kicking off our next century with the planting of extensive new orchards and the opening of the Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery and Brewery, which is making hard cider and beer with ingredients we grow here on the farm. My brother and I are working together with Indian Ladder Farms' management team to facilitate my father's retirement, while continuing to grow the business."

Opening ceremonies during the Summer Festival will feature the unveiling of a historic marker commemorating the farm’s centennial and remarks by King, Indian Ladder Farms President Peter Ten Eyck II, and local dignitaries. 

The ceremonies will conclude with the aerial photography session.  The photo of MHLC friends and supporters will be displayed during MHLC’s 25th anniversary year in 2017 to show the broad community support for conservation in the Capital Region.  Aerial photo participants will receive a special 25th Anniversary commemorative gift (while supplies last) in thanks for their attendance. 

Following the opening ceremonies until 5 pm at Indian Ladder Farms, there will be hayrides, pony rides, pick-your-own berries, face painting and animals, including service dogs, farm animals, rehabilitated birds of prey, and reptiles.  There will be performances by groups including the Bethlehem Traditional Irish Dancers and the Squeeze Play Accordion Band. Of course, there will be sample offerings from the new Indian Ladder Farmstead Cidery & Brewery, and many other activities!

The second MHLC Hike-A-Thon will begin at 1 pm at the farm.  Participants this year can choose between six guided hikes: History Hike at Indian Ladder Farms; Agricultural Tour at Indian Ladder Farms; A Family Wildflower and Amphibian Hike at MHLC’s Craven Easement-- open to the public for this hike only; a wheelchair accessible hike on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail; a History Hike at MHLC’s Bennett Hill Preserve; or a self-guided tour and treasure hunt with preserve docents at MHLC’s Bozen Kill Preserve.

For information or to register for the aerial photo or hike-a-thon, visit mhlcsummerfest.org, or call 518.436.6346. Registration is not necessary to be part of the photo or hike-a-thon, though hikes will be capped at 25 hikers each.

The 2016 Summer Festival is made possible by generous support from many local businesses,  includingBethlehem Chamber of Commerce; Bryant Asset Management; Freihofer’s; Michael Jarus, DDS; Phillips Hardware; Serendipity Day Care Center LLC; Stewart’s Shops; The Spinney at Van Dyke; the Times Union; and Voorheesville Community & School Foundation.

About the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is the Capital Region’s local land trust, working to improve the quality of life by preserving natural areas in Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady counties.  Land conservation directly impacts the health of the region, improving air and water quality, as well as the region’s outstanding scenic landscapes. We have protected close to 4,000 acres of land including over 1,770 acres open to the public in the form of preserves – for hiking, cross-country skiing and other educational and recreational opportunities. Visit www.mohawkhudson.org for more information.