Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Alasa Farms

In an earlier post I explained how I sometimes wish I could use the subtle knife from Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy to travel between my worlds as easily as Will was able to move between his. But with the wonder of technology this blog can take us from the Gulf Coast to the shores of Lake Ontario with the click of a mouse. I don't think moving my stuff will be that easy but that is a subject for another day.

I found this description of Alasa Farms at the Cracker Box Palace web site. This is another group which makes its home at the farm. The article actually makes me a little homesick.

Cracker Box Palace � Farm animal sanctuary offering rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and sanctuary for abandoned, abused and neglected farm animals

Alasa Farms, a historic treasure waiting for you...

High on the rolling hills overlooking Great Sodus Bay, Alasa Farms has been an integral part of the area’s history since the early 1800’s. In 1826, a group called The United Society for the Believers of Christ’s Second Coming, more commonly known as the Shakers, purchased the almost 1400 acre property. Their community grew to a population of 148 and prospered, remaining at the site until 1836 when the property was purchased by the Sodus Canal Company. The Shakers rehabilitated many of the existing buildings and erected new ones and cleared hundreds of acres of land for farming. The property changed hands several times, and finally was purchased by Alvah Griffin Strong in 1924 and it remains in his family today. Mr. Strong, the grandson of Eastman Kodak’s first president, named the estate Alasa Farms; the name is the combination of the first two letters of the name Alvah and the first name of Asa McBride, a friend and partner

The stately Manor House, or Church Family Dwelling House as it was known within the Shaker community is a focal point of the farm. It was built in 1833 and housed as many as 60 people. It is now the residence of Mr. Griff Mangan and his wife Joni.** Mr. Mangan is a descendent of Mr. Alvah Strong. The three story home features nine bedrooms, a large meeting room that was used for prayer services, comfortable sitting rooms with open fireplaces, an enviable colonial-style kitchen, and even a bell tower. Breezy, shaded screened in porches invite you sit down and relax on hot summer days. Tours of the Manor House can be arranged with advance reservations.

The farm once featured 50 buildings, including specialty buildings like the Poultry House, Creamery and Aviary. Most notable, though, is the incredible, panoramic view of Great Sodus Bay, which has been an important part of the farm throughout its history. A writer of the 1920’s observed, "Here in his own front yard, so to speak, Mr. Strong has a water frontage of four miles and in the summer, sleek yachts, fast motor boats and other water craft dot the farm harbor. And as if this were not enough, Mr. Strong has built a large outdoor swimming pool adjoining the Manor House." The pool is still in use today, and its water supply is refreshed from the waters of Second Creek, as are the water hydrants that provide a water supply to the barns.

In 2004 the Mangan family invited the Cracker Box Palace Farm Animal Haven rescue and rehabilitation organization to move their facility to Alasa Farms and lease the barns and pastures. Once again, the farm is bustling with activity and is now a home for over 200 farm animals.

Alasa Farms won the 1999 New York State Agri-Tourism Award, and when you visit, you’ll see why! Farm tours are available for groups large and small. Special events are scheduled throughout the year (Calendar of Events) and the fall season’s Apple Pick and Picnic days are a family favorite. We invite you to visit this historic jewel in Wayne County. We’re only a 25 minute drive from Rochester. Pack a picnic, put on your hiking shoes, and enjoy an unforgettable day in the country.

**emphasis mine

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