Thank you for the welcome. Sorry its taken a while to reply. Iím trying to figure out how to set this up so it lets me know there are messages to read. I am not a Capital District native. I grew up on Long Island and moved to Chatham in 1976. When I was a teenager I used to take a train into NYC with a friend to ďhang outĒ at our favorite pipe shop. This would have been in the late 1960ís. I canít remember itís name. It was a few blocks from Penn Station. Half the store was devoted to pipes and tobacco and the other half to coffee and tea. I learned most of what I know about briar and tobacco from them. Each time I went they would give me a bowl full of a different straight blending tobacco so I could learn its distinct qualities. 1978-1980 I went to school in Albany and used to frequent The Smoker, at that time on upper Madison Ave. By the late 70ís The Owl Shop in New Haven, CT became my tobacconist. I made frequent trips there through the 90s. I have many of their house label pipes. I bought my first Radice there in 1982 and began to discover Italian pipe makers. I always stop at L.J. Perretti in Boston when I am there and purchase several of their house blends regularly. I plan on attending the Christmas party on Sunday. I hope to meet you there. Unfortunately, my work schedule prevents me from making it to week night meetings.