Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ames, New York. "The Loveliest Town Of All."

In one of the loveliest sentences in the English language, E. B. White describes “the loveliest town of all.”

In the loveliest town of all, where the houses were white and high and the elm trees were green and higher than the houses, where the front yards were wide and pleasant and the back yards were bushy and worth finding out about, where the streets sloped down to the stream and the stream flowed quietly under the bridge, where the lawns ended in the orchards and the orchards ended in fields and the fields ended in pastures and the pastures climbed the hill and disappeared over the top toward the wonderful wide sky, in this loveliest of all towns Stuart stopped to get a drink of sarsaparilla.

The town that E. B. White is describing is Ames, New York, a small village located in the southwest corner of Montgomery County, where White often visited. The quote is taken from Chapter XIII of Stuart Little. Here Stuart Little meets Harriet Ames, a young girl, who is as small as he is.

Stuart Little and Harriet Ames might be Ames’s most famous fictional characters, but Alexander William Randall is its most famous native son.

18th Century House in Ames, NY.

My wife and I looked at this old house in Ames when it was up for sale. It came with 40 acres and was less than $100,000, but when we got inside we found that it had been redecorated in a style that here in Montgomery County we would refer to as “Fulton County.” It would have taken another $100,000 to put the house right.

Ames Museum, Formerly Ames Academy. Ames, NY.
Ames has its own museum, which was formerly the Ames Academy.

Sunset Corners Store in Ames, NY.

Parking his car in front of the general store, he stepped out and the sun felt so good that he sat down on the porch for a few minutes to enjoy the feeling of being in a new place on a fine day. This was the most peaceful and beautiful spot he had found in all his travels. It seemed to him a place he would gladly spend the rest of his life in, if it weren’t that he might get homesick for the sights of New York and for his family, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick C. Little and George, and if it weren’t for the fact that something deep inside him made him want to find Margalo.

View an old postcard of Ames, NY.


  • A very interesting post! I was amazed to learn that White was referring to a local town.

    By Blogger threecollie, at 1:42 PM  

  • How lovely your post, Dan, and how lovely the loveliest sentence.
    I'd not read that before; what wonderful images it conjures.

    You don't need to post this, Dan, because it's mostly an aside to you. You've been doing some great posting and not getting a bunch of comments. I hope you don't take that personally; it's just a function of summer sloth among your readers (including me).
    So, know that even though it may seem slow to you, your work does not go unread or unappreciated.
    Thanks for today's and many previous thoughtful posts.

    By the way, you did good on Tetrault's show. You pretty much looked and acted as I'd imagined you to be. That entire "Justice Now" concept is right-on. (My best friend's son recently graduated Emory Law School and has been making a name for himself in the "wrongfully convicted" arena, having initiated and participated in the exoneration of several wrongfully convicted inmates in Georgia and elsewhere.)

    Whatever happened to your son's and daughter's apprenticeship? I miss what had promised to be some mindful insight into films; and the commentary of a young woman's view of our world.

    Glad to see Albany Eye's back. That was an interesting episode.

    By the way, your link to the Ames, NY old postcard doesn't work. Try it yourself. Maybe you can fix it.

    Keep well

    By Anonymous Lake George Guy, at 7:29 PM  

  • Lake George Guy, I've missed your comments lately. Glad you are back. My son has left for SUNY Purchase to study film making some more, so we won't be hearing from him for awhile. Hopefully, my daughter will post some more. Thanks for letting me know about the broken link.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 12:50 PM  

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