This week, we talked with Carol Ann Conover, who you might recognize from The Queensbury Hotel! We loved hearing how she found her way to Glens Falls having grown up in New Jersey, how she’s made her house a home, and how she’d spend her perfect day in our little city.
Tell us about yourself!
Hello! I'm Carol Ann Conover…you might know me as one of several Star-tender bartenders at The Queensbury Hotel (The #QCrew as we are otherwise known, mainly in the newly renovated Fenimore's Neighborhood Pub, but sometimes you can find me in Park 26 or keeping the party going at an event in one of our many banquet rooms). Working at The Q is just my super-hero secret undercover identity, though.... in my secret life, I'm a writer and social media & marketing specialist which I've been doing for over a decade. In fact, I've had to pleasure to work with many small businesses in town here over the years and it's helped me really forge some lasting friendships with some wonderful people.
On Life in Glens Falls
I was born and raised in New Jersey...South Jersey to be exact, and believe me, the distinction is important! There is a diagonal line from right around Trenton across to the shore near Toms River that separates North Jersey and South Jersey where, north of that line, you call it Taylor Ham and are a Giants fan (incredulous!), while in South Jersey, we call it by it's proper name 'Pork Roll' and are bleeding-green EAGLES FANS!
My hometown is all woods and beaches and farmland and quite a nice place to grow up. I used to shred these Upstate NY mountains on my hot pink on black Rossignol 165's with my high school Ski Team, so I had a connection to the area before I moved here 6 years ago.
From Jersey, I moved to Fort Lauderdale in the spring of 2001. One of the first friends I made in Florida (Hi Jimmy!) grew up in Clifton Park and his family had a camp in Brant Lake. When I was melting from the oppressive heat of summer, he invited me up to stay with his family so I started making visits once or twice a summer and fell in love with the area all over again as an adult. I found such peace in the mountains and by the lake. Once, I decided to make one of my trips in September for my birthday and I got a taste of Autumn that I hadn't had in 12 years and I realized how much I missed it. Then, that Christmas, I found out my sister was having another baby and it was so hard to get on a plane and leave the first one, there was no way I'd be able to bear leaving two of them, so I started to make plans to return to the northeast. I mentioned it to a Brant Lake friend (Hi Jess!) who lovingly offered me use of her cabin as a place to land to help navigate all the job and apartment finding stuff that can be so difficult to do from 1500 miles away, and it was life-changing. As with all the big decisions of my life, all I did was set my heart toward what I wanted to do and the path just suddenly cleared, the next swinging vine to grab presented itself, and so I had no doubt it's where I belonged. I couldn't be happier to have chosen Glens Falls as my home.
I just bought a house in Glens Falls, a sweet little two-story built in 1896 on the north side of town. The house had been updated a lot by the previous owner (who also happens to be one of my closest friends and former manager at The Queensbury) who put a lot of time and love into making improvements to the house, many of which were to my specifications once we worked out the deal to buy, so it was really very move-in ready as far as older homes go. I've spent a lot of time in the yard, tending and planting and I had a lovely summer with buckets of blackberries that grow on bushes right out back that everyone told me were roses! Next year, the perennials that I put in will really take off and I have the layout all finished for the straw-bale garden I'll be planting next spring. I made and hung a cute little red swing from the tree out back and my bird feeders are very popular with tons of birds, so I've made a lovely little nature retreat right in my own back yard!
The best thing about my neighborhood really has to be my neighbors on BOTH sides! I really lucked out. They've all been so wonderful and welcoming since I moved in. There have been barbecue invites and afternoons by the pool, dog-sitting and lots of nights chatting on one of our porches with cocktails...oh...and we are all always cooking and baking for each other, and as a true foodie, there couldn't be anything better!
One of the first things I bought for my new home was a salvaged farmhouse plank that reads "It's so good to be home" and it is so very true. I feel that every day living here.
Some Glens Falls Favorites
During my apartment hunt, I looked at a lot of places all the way from Brant Lake down to Ballston Spa to find the place that felt most like home to me. I was lucky to find a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment in a quiet little house just a few blocks from Downtown. When I first made my way down Route 9 onto Glen Street, I noticed the big, beautiful Crandall Library...I'm a super book-nerd so that really grabbed me..then a few doors down, what's this? A THEATER? Love! Oh, look, there's the bank I just opened my accounts with....and all these restaurants and shops! I fell in love with it right away and everything just felt RIGHT....I have always sought out the village sort of lifestyle where everything is within a short walk and Glens Falls sure is a walkabout town. My first weekend living here was the LARAC Craft Festival, and after discovering the Farmer's Market in the pavillion, I felt like Glens Falls really rolled out the red carpet just for me. I was so in love with my new Upstate life and the affair continues 6 years later!
A Perfect Glens Falls Day
My ideal day in Glens Falls would be hitting the Farmer's Market early (which means I'd have a rare Saturday off!) and having a handmade crepe from my dear friends at Dickinson's Delights and saying hello to all my other market friends...I used to work the Farmer's Market circuit with Jon and Tamberlyn and I really love everything about Market life.
Then I'd make my way down to Spektor..my favorite spot for coffee and an occasional breakfast..the beans are roasted to perfection, the place is cozy, the pour-overs are prepared with great care and their chocolate croissants cannot be beat. I'd read and write for awhile and stroll down to Davidson's for a brew and a visit. Dbros was my first job when I moved to town and is really where I made most of my first connections. I had a wonderful experience there and am really thankful for the owners, coworkers and customers who have since become like family to me.
From there, I'd hit DTCT for a little snack to visit my friends who work there, probably breeze through the Bullpen too, since by then a mini-bar crawl would be the order of the day. A nap in my hammock would work it's way in there somewhere.
For night life, I tend to start at The Q (because I just can't stay away!) for a cocktail and some appetizers and move on to Farmacy.. my latest love for small plate dinners.
From there I'd let my ears guide me to some live music that suits my mood as the place to chill for the evening.
There really are just so many options and it's often the case that I'll bump into friends and the day can totally change direction...and I love that about living here! It's a great place to just float on the breeze and see where the day takes you.
On the Past
After living here two years, I almost left Glens Falls to move to Tennessee. Leaving here felt really bittersweet because I had only lived here for a short time and didn't feel like I had enough of it, like I hadn't done enough here yet, but my life was taking me in that direction and I had some connections down there so I was excited about the new opportunity. Then, when that plan abruptly fell through, amidst a lot of shock and heartache, I found myself here in Glens Falls, still, moving back into the apartment that I never left. It was then, in the midst of heartbreak and disappointment that the friends I had made in town really rallied around me...my landlord worked it out so I could stay in my same place, which was an enormous comfort and that's when many of my coworkers and customers crossed over into being something more... and it was then that I knew this place was very special and eventually, as my heart mended, I followed my life-plan to start my own writing business and keep my goals on track, and I've done it all in just a few short years...just, without the guy I thought I'd be with. It was really for the best and I feel thankful, really, that my life kept me here. The friendships and sense of community I've found here have made a tremendous impact on me as a person. I love it here. I love ME here. The town, the people, my job. It really is a wonderful life and I feel lucky to have landed here.
On the Future
A wave of my magic wand would bring my sister and my nephews up here to live. My oldest nephew, Robbie, spends a month every summer with me, which he's been doing for the last 3 years. I think lake-life and mountain living is such a profound and peaceful experience and I'm so happy to be able to share that kind of time with him and my sister and younger nephew when they come to visit. They all love the hotel and The Q is great about everything when family comes to visit...they feel very at home here already and I'd love to have them close enough to ride their bikes to my house and scoop them up for summer movies in the park or at the drive-in, seeing their school plays or concerts and games....and just all that day-to day stuff that I miss being so far away. Also, I'd love a little grocery or market within walking distance. I think it would really complete the wide variety of options this town has to offer.
I think Glens Falls is a great town...a little hidden gem nestled between the more-touristy Lake George and the pricier Saratoga Region. I feel like people who discover us are always really surprised at how beautifully the town is maintained with all our lovely hanging flowers and tended garden beds, and lit-up lamp posts in the winter months. It really is a wonderland in any season with so much to do..and it has a very Gilmore Girls-Stars Hollow type of feel since everybody does ALL the things. Every festival, benefit, craft fair, farmer's market, hockey game....whatever it is, you can be sure to run into friends and see a ton of familiar faces. It's really a unique and wonderful thing.
Check out more stories from our My Glens Falls series here.