CHESTERTOWN - For 31 years, the North Warren Chamber of Commerce has awarded community leaders, local activists and volunteers for their work on behalf of others in bestowing the organization's annual V.I.P. award.
This year, the chamber has continued the tradition by granting the V.I.P. award to Barbara Wilson of Chestertown.
The chamber also announced that they've given the 2011 Small Business of the Year award to Dan and Nancy Freebern, for their enterprise Adirondack Pines Bed & Breakfast.
Both Wilson and the Freeberns will be honored with a dinner and award ceremony from 6 to 9 p.m. May 12 at Jimbo's Club at the Point, Brant Lake.
Wilson was awarded in recognition of her outstanding public service, chamber publicist Nancy Austin said.
Tuesday, Wilson said she was totally surprised by the honor when the news was delivered late last week in person to her home - and she answered the door in her bathrobe.
"For a while, I was uncomprehending - I was 'gobsmacked,'" she said.
Wilson has been instrumental in bringing educational programs to the area, Austin said, that include such offerings as "History Alive," a 2005 event celebrating Veterans, the 2007 "Stitches in Time" quilt exhibit held at the North Warren High School, and a visit of Russian librarians to the area in 2008.
Wilson served as a Charter member of the History Through Voices committee which created a local history audio program that is part of the Chester Library's website. She also helps organize and promote Chester Library's annual wine tasting event, as well as other ongoing programs.
Wilson is past chair of the Friends of the Chester Library, and has been active with the Chester Historical Society, where she assisted with publicity and helped plan a Revolutionary War re-enactment at the Dynamite Hill Recreation Area.
Also, she has been active in promoting the Art in Chester gallery of the North Country Arts Center.
"I enjoy the work I've been doing," she said, noting she is dedicated to boosting the cultural offerings in the Chestertown area.
Wilson is a retired elementary teacher from Indian Lake Central School where she taught second and fourth grades. She and her husband, Dennis, spent ten years teaching and living abroad before moving to the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Pines Bed & Breakfast, situated in the hamlet of Adirondack and owned by Dan and Nancy Freebern, has been named North Warren's Small Business of the Year. This award recognizes a business that has grown and made significant contributions to the community over the past year. Those staying at the inn enjoy the atmosphere of an 1837 farm house, and can choose from updated rooms that offer a fireplace and jacuzzi, Austin said. Guests benefit from the owner's attention to detail, as well as homestyle menus and personal service. Because of excellence in the hospitality business, this local B&B is the recipient of North Warren Chamber's business recognition, Austin said. Nancy also currently serves as president of the Adirondack Bed & Breakfast Association, which represents over 60 B&B. from Saratoga Springs to Saranac Lake.
The Freeberns extensively redeveloped the property, which they bought in 2001, Nancy Freebern said.
"We were shocked but very pleased with the Chamber award," she said Tuesday.
Adirondack Pines' offerings include the bed and breakfast, plus two vacation rentals - including one in Johnsburg. No less than 95 acres of grounds surround their bed & breakfast and rental home in Adirondack, Freebern said.
"At first, Dan imagined we could relax on the porch and sip coffee," Freebern said. "But we have a lot to take care of year-round."
Reservations for the dinner and award ceremony at Jimbo's Club can be made by calling 494-4460.