Peder Piper Produced a Peck of Peder's
This year Tim and Dock volunteered to take on the extremely enjoyable task of commissioning the 2013 club pipe. Neerup had been on our list of makers for a couple of years now and it was agreed that we would contact Neerup pipe maker Peder Jeppesen to see if he would be interested in making this year's pipe. Tim and Dock had picked out a shape they liked and it was well received by the majority of our group. Peder embraced our offer and began work on a prototype of our pipe which he later sent to us for review and approval. The grain, finish and quality lived up to what we have become used to seeing in Neerup pipes and at $135 you can't go wrong. Everyone was happy with the prototype and Peder began production of our peck of pipes (in case you didn't know it, a peck of pipes equals 13, it's like a bakers dozen for pipe makers). Peder was planning to be in the States in February which gave him plenty of time to make our pipes and bring them with him, saving us the cost of shipping. Tim made plans to meet up with him at Cup O' Joes in Queensbury, NY to pick up our peck of pipes.
I told Tim I'd go along for the ride to help ease the
pain of a four hour drive and to visit one of the Internet's pipe and
tobacco icons Cup O' Joes. A week before we left Neil decided to join
us so it was now an official road trip (what... you mean you didn't know
it took three passengers to make a road trip official.... look it up on
The day of our excursion arrived and I picked Neil up in Boston on the way to our usual road trip meeting spot at an undisclosed location on Route 128. Tim was already there so we quickly deposited our reconstituted morning coffee in the nearest rest facility and headed on our way.
The roads were clear and we were making good time. Tim, who brought his handy printed directions with him became very intrigued, almost giddy, when Neil's Windows smart phone started telling him where to go without him having to look at the paper directions. He didn't want to believe what the woman on the phone was telling him to do but we assured him that people all over the world are doing this now and fining their way to almost anywhere with ease. Tim settled a little deeper into the driver's seat and for a moment I even think I saw him relax.
As we neared Clifton Park Tim called Paul to see if he would be able to meet up with at the shop but unfortunately he was unable to get away from a meeting at his regular job as a building contractor. We were sorry to have missed him.
I hadn't been to Park Lane Tobacconist since it's first year anniversary celebration in 2006 so I was looking forward this visit. The shop hasn't changed much but was still has good as I remember it. They have a decent selection of quality pipes and tobacco to choose from and a huge cigar humidor. We were treated very well by Bill, the tobacconist on duty and enjoyed talking to Bill, one of the Park Lane regulars (we kept getting their names mixed up, it was so embarrassing). We told them we were headed to Cup O' Joes to pick up our club pipe and they informed us of the big location move Cup O' Joes was in the process of. A better location and more room in the store. Hopefully it won't be 7 years before I get up this way again.
Before we left Bill gave us all a Bonacquisti churchill cigar. I had not yet had the opportunity to try one of Paul's cigars was looking forward to it. I got a chance to smoke it a couple of weekends ago and not being much of a churchill smoker I only expected to smoke about a corona's worth. But it turned out to be a pretty tasty cigar and I ended up smoking it all the way to the nub. I'll definitely have to get me a couple more of those.
We said our goodbyes and I left wishing that we had more shops like this in Massachusetts. They may have higher taxes and stricter legislation but they have nicer shops that make spending those extra tax dollars a little easier.
Cup O' Joes is located in the Lake George region of New York in the Adirondacks. Bill and Bill recommended that we have lunch at the Silo for some Adirondack atmosphere so we took them up on their suggestion. The Silo was a little like a Cracker Barrel with a woodsy feel and a huge country store that was located on two floors with tons for touristy stuff. The waitresses were all very friendly and the food was pretty good too.
Cup O' Joes was just a couple of miles away and the woman inside the GPS directed Tim right to the door.... almost. When we pulled into the parking lot of the small strip mall we had a hard time locating the store. This was the only real disappointment with the place. There was hardly no signage outside, it didn't look like a tobacco shop. Possibly they were getting ready for more NY regulations or maybe they had already brought their sign to the new store location. I never bothered to ask about it.
Once inside there was no doubt you were in the right place. Lots of people walking around taking a peep at Peder's pipes that were on display on much of the counter top area. Before we even got close to these pipes you couldn't help but notice the unbelievable finish on them. It stood out like sparkles in a diamond case. Up close they looked even better and you were almost afraid to touch them. But as nice as these pipes were, that's not what we were here for. Shortly a man walked toward us who did not look like a local, once we heard him speak, we new we were right. He introduced himself to us and then asked the manger to locate our pipes which were shipped to the store separately. After a few minutes we were presented with a bubble wrapped package that we make quick work to open. Inside were thirteen soft leather pods wrapped snugly around each our new briar babies. We pulled each one from it's warm home to find twelve beautiful specimens and one ugly duckling for Dock (he wanted his sandblasted, gotta be different). Tim gave Peder the money which he didn't bother to count, packed the pipes up again and brought them out to the car for safekeeping.
Having never seen his picture before Peder was younger than I expected. I guess I always tend to envision pipe makers to all be older guys. We talked to him about his visit to the states, about the tobacco laws both here and in Denmark and about other Danish pipe makers he knew. He was good friends with Bjarne Neilsen and used to work for Erik Nording.
We spent another hour or so checking out all that Cup O' Joes had to offer. The staff out on the floor were mostly in their twenties, well dressed and seemed to be fairly knowledgeable about pipes and tobacco. They do have a nice lounge area but you wouldn't know it, it's located in the back of the store through a maze of shelves that no doubt holds most of the products for their online store. We didn't spend any time there and were watching the clock in anticipation of our long ride home.
Time seemed to fly by and soon it was it was time to go. We made our purchases, thanked Peder again and all the staff for their hospitality and headed for home. The trip back was uneventful but filled with plenty of interesting conversation to help pass the time and although we made it back in good time, the final stop of this club pipe journey would not be for another week when we distribute the pipes at our March meeting.
Meetings are always fun but they're even more fun when you leave with a new pipe. We had a pretty good crew on hand even though we were missing three of the purchasers of Peder's pipe. We didn't waste much time getting started once everyone had settled in and fired up a bowl. Tim laid all the pipes out on the table and by lottery each member went up to claim their new pipe. Everyone seemed happy with their selection, a few started breaking them in right away while others put them away to wait for the perfect time to begin this new journey.
So another club pipe has been put in our racks and we are already looking at the empty slot that says 2014. Tim has graciously offered to take on the task and challenge of commissioning future club pipes for which those of us who have already participated in this process are extremely grateful. Our thanks go out to Tim and Dock for taking on this year's club pipe project, to Paul and Bill of Park Lane Tobacconist and the staff at Cup o Joes for taking good care of us during our visit and last but certainly not least, we'd like to thank Peder Jeppesen for an outstanding job of crafting a truly beautiful 2013 club pipe.
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