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Beauty is Springing Forth and There’s Much More to Come

IMG_2544By John T. Ryan

Most local residents know the Harkness to Clintonville Road as a short cut to AuSable Forks and the Adirondack Region. Many people think of it as a lonely highway known for the blueberries on the Clintonville Plains. But for past the few summers, passersby have noticed a thing of beauty about two miles west of the Harkness Methodist Church. Flowers of every sort are rising from a terraced rock garden overlooking a quiet pond. Some people can’t believe their eyes and reverse direction. If they do they’re likely to find Art Ford, a professional logger from Clintonville. IMG_2541

Ford was working in the garden yesterday May 18th.  He explained, “I own the property. About three or four years ago beavers built a large dam here and I had to come in and cut the trees. After I cut the trees it started to be something different.” Ford returned again and again after he finished his workday in the woods and on weekends. When people see him working they stop by and others stop when he’s not there. Ford says, “I hope people stop by and think about something other than what’s going on in the world today.” When people ask what he’s named this people place he says, “Sometimes I think “Serenity” would be a good name, but I really don’t have a name.” A Christian cross surrounded by beautiful tulips overlooks the peaceful pond. Ford said he hopes people to take time to think about God when they visit. He remarked, “I say I’m trying to get into heaven on a maintenance visa.” DSC_0029

Ford has hauled the hundreds of rocks from Au Sable Forks. Visitors have donated birdhouses and other items. His friend Denise Leiper plants and takes care of the flowers. Tulips and daffodils are in full bloom, but many more varieties will be planted though the summer. Ford remarked, “New people stop by every day. They’re very respectful of the property. Sometimes I forget tools here and they’re always here when I return.” DSC_0017




Comment from Joanne Kennedy
Time May 20, 2014 at 6:45 am

Nice article and photos.

Comment from Lois Seymour
Time May 20, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I went passed there on Sunday, had not been through that way in a couple of years. I wondered what it was and why! Beautiful! A labor of love!

Comment from Char Newman
Time May 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm

a magical, serene roadside garden of peace.
I’ve been watching it’s evolution from the beginning, and it’s a wonderful place for reflection and meditation or prayers. Thanks Art, for your inspiration and generosity.

Comment from Kelly Moody
Time May 17, 2016 at 7:17 pm

What a beautiful find in this unsettled world. Drove by today and had to turn around and go back. Walked along the paths and enjoyed the beauty all around! Thank you Art and Denise and those who contributed to this little piece of heaven!

Comment from Shirley Evans
Time May 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Just stopped today. The tulips are amazing. I couldn’t stop taking photos! What a lot of work, but so appreciated by my husband and myself and another lady who had just stopped for the first time on her drive back and forth from Jay to Peru. Thank you.

Comment from Ann Marie (Stewart) Alpert
Time May 26, 2016 at 8:47 am

Loved this article. The adirondack country roads are so pretty, but Art Ford has moved this area to a whole new level. Will have to see for myself on my next trip to the North Country!

Comment from Jo-Louise Baker
Time July 10, 2016 at 9:50 am

It’s a beautiful park. We lived in Peru for 14 years and my brother in law Steve used to live very close to serenity park. We lost Steve a few years ago and the park is a good place to feel close to him. We drive up from the Syracuse area every couple weeks now. My in laws live in Harkness and my mother in law has Alzheimer pretty bad right now. It’s also a good place for reflection on the things in life that are important to you.

Comment from shirley bourgeois
Time September 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm

the flowers are beautiful—your mother would be proud!

Comment from Ryanj
Time May 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Hi Debbie,

I’d love to publish your comment, but I must have your last name. That’s my long-held policy.

Thank you!

John Ryan

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