What does a retired cop from New Rochelle, NY, do after moving north to Saratoga County to start a new chapter of his life? Frank Manning of Edinburg had no shortage of ideas. A talented musician, this piano-playing, guitar-strumming singer immediately sought out opportunities to perform at weddings, parties, and assisted living facilities.
“I studied organ and piano growing up,” the 53-year-old says, “and I attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music prior to entering the police force. During my 20 years as a policeman, I played in different bands and did some solo work. I tend to gravitate toward soft rock and ballads like Billy Joel, Elton John, and James Taylor.”
Although Manning primarily accompanies himself on the piano, the spirited singer enjoys slipping five or six guitar pieces into every gig. “I’m basically a strummer,” he says with a megawatt smile, “but I’m always working on getting better at it. Switching between the two instruments offers variety, which people seem to enjoy.”
After putting in his time as a patrolman in New Rochelle’s business district, Manning was more than ready for a change. Having always enjoyed camping, hunting, and fishing, he eagerly headed north to find acreage in a more rural setting. His wife, Nicole, was very much onboard with this plan. Originally from Wisconsin, she, too, enjoyed the beauty, peace, and open space of country living.
Initially, the couple checked out property in the Catskills. Then, on a whim, they headed north to the Adirondacks. After living briefly in Lake Luzerne, they found their forever home on a 32-acre parcel of land in Edinburg, surrounded by the very best Mother Nature has to offer.
Since retiring in 2009, Manning has held a number of diverse jobs. “I enjoy the challenge of learning new things,” he says. “I’m naturally curious, and I’m not afraid to fail.”
A few years back, he signed on as a deck hand for the tugboat ‘Urger.’ Built around 1901 as part of the Erie Canal Corporation’s fleet, Manning enjoyed traversing the canal from the Hudson River to Buffalo, offering tugboat tours and history lessons to school children.
Manning has worked as a UPS warehouse stockman, gourmet food employee, laborer, and carpenter. No matter what his day job, however, he continues to nurture his artistic side. In addition to sharing his musical talents at private gatherings, community events, and senior facilities, Manning enjoys woodworking and freelance writing.
To date, he has written seven e-books for children. Available on Amazon, six of them comprise a nature series covering reptiles, fish and ocean creatures, mammals, birds, bugs, and baby animals. His seventh book, CALM, is a pictorial creation designed to help kids find peace and serenity in their lives. As a naturalist, at home in the wilds, the author was eager to share his appreciation for nature with the younger set.
An avid fan of crossword puzzles, Manning has recently begun creating his own. “I look forward to the New York Times weekend crossword puzzles all week. I’m not quite to the point of submitting yet, but I’m getting closer. I figure I’ll start at the top with the Times and work my
A few years back, at Nicole’s suggestion, the couple decided to give up carbs and starches for a week and see what happened. When the challenge ended, Nicole had dropped 10 pounds and Frank, nine. Ever since then, they’ve committed themselves to a Keto style of eating, with remarkable results.
“I’m down 80 pounds,” Manning says. “My wife and I both lost a lot of weight and feel great.”
Like countless other performing artists, Manning suffered a sharp drop in bookings over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he has put his down time to good use, practicing piano and guitar and working up new material, he looks forward to getting back out there again when the health crisis eases.
“I miss playing out,” he says. “Nothing beats performing to a live audience.”
So, what does a retired cop from New Rochelle do after moving north to Saratoga County? When it comes to Frank Manning, a more accurate question might be: “What doesn’t he do?” Hardly ‘done’ with his working career, this dynamic and talented man spends his time rekindling old interests, picking up new skills, taking long walks in the woods with his wife and their canine companion, Titan, and, of course, tickling the ivories and making music—all the while waiting and watching for his next great adventure to come along.
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