Last Saturday, my fiance and I decided it was time to take a break from our busy schedules and enjoy a night out. So we got dressed up and later found ourselves perusing antiques, checking out an art exhibition and eating a deliciously dynamic meal of Bhutanese food.
In the mood for more, we visited a coffee shop before going to hear some live music. The venue was packed with people who were drinking, laughing and casually dancing to the rockin’ blues blaring from the speakers.
The band didn’t miss a beat, and neither did we.
It sounds like a night out on the town, and it was. But the best part is, we didn’t have to leave town at all—this was a night out in Plattsburgh.
At the North Countryman, we certainly understand the need to leave town and visit other places—we do it all the time. Let’s be honest, who can resist the adventure of the Adirondacks, or the culture of Montreal, or the liveliness of Burlington?
More often than not, though, we are finding that a sampling of the things that draw people to those destinations, to which Plattsburgh is a central location, are springing up downtown. This is not by accident. There are some among us who can visit such places and, instead of asking why Plattsburgh doesn’t have those things, they instead wonder how those things can be brought to Plattsburgh.
It is a slight shift in perspective indeed, but it is important to acknowledge as it carries with it significant ramifications.
We have mentioned in previous editorials that it’s tempting to spin ideas that are intended to revitalize Plattsburgh as pipedreams. It’s also dangerously easy to look back on unfulfilled promises made 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 2 years ago, and see hopelessness for the future. Perhaps it is time to instead start being thankful that not everyone in the area is satisfied with the easy road, and to begin looking to how much has been accomplished in just the last few years.
But don’t take our word for it. This weekend, give Plattsburgh a chance. Grab your sweetheart, your children or your friends and spend some time downtown. Check out some of the unique, locally owned shops and have dinner at one of the many affordable and wonderfully diverse restaurants.
If you have money to spare, you can be part of the NCCCA’s Cabin Beach Party fundraiser at the Strand on Saturday night, but if you’re on a budget, no worries. You can see plenty of local art for free at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, ROTA Gallery or ROTA’s off-site gallery, the Champlain Wine Company. There are plenty of opportunities for live music, too.
The bottom line is, Plattsburgh needs the support of its people to continue growing. Every dollar spent downtown is an investment in the future of the city we call home. The need to argue the benefits of art in a community ceases to be necessary when people participate and experience it first hand. It is something to be a part of, something to get excited about and, at the end of the day, it is also something to be proud of.