Almanack Contributor Diane Chase

Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dewey Mountain’s New Lodge Funraising Campaign

photo-3My daughter recently turned eleven and in lieu of gifts, once again asked her friends to give money to the organization of her choice. We have always encouraged our children to choose ways to give back to our community whether it’s volunteering or raising funds. This year the non-profit of her choice was the Dewey Mountain Lodge campaign.

Oddly enough my daughter isn’t our child that skis as part of the Dewey program. We tried her in the Nordic program, but she just enjoyed skiing the trails at her own pace. (I think it is more likely that the racing and games cut into her time on the nearby playground.) I do know » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Double H Ranch’s Annual Eggstravaganza

DoubleHRanchEggsThis Sunday Lake Luzerne’s Double H Ranch will be attempting to gesture in spring with its 7th annual Eggstravaganza on April 6.

A day at the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark may not seem like true spring, but with 5 ft. of snow still covering my yard and the promise of a springtime theme, this may be the closest I get to swimming for awhile, without developing hypothermia.



Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raising Local Food: Ward Lumber’s Poultry Day

2014 poultry dayI’ve considered raising chickens for many reasons, and not just because of the recent popularity of the backyard chicken movement. Raising my own chickens would be more than the bucolic setting where my children skip (they must skip) out the backdoor to the chicken coop to collect eggs. (If the scene is to be complete, my daughter is most likely wearing gingham and some sort of bonnet.)

The reality is less picturesque. The fewer miles my food needs to travel, the better off my family is.  With constant food recalls and salmonella poisoning as just a few reasons to be wary, finding a local source for eggs, dairy and meat is one step, in » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Diane Chase: On The Prowl For Owls

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.19.54 PMMy children seem to attract wildlife like iron to a magnet. It is not because they are good trackers or particularly quiet, as neither attribute is consistently true. It seems that they are observant and often at the right place at the right time.

Quite consistently when they accompany me on a hike we seem to view more wildlife, though eagles and snowy owls have evaded me to date. Opportunities to come across such majestic creatures come down to timing, organization and just luck.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Puppet People to Perform The Firebird in Long Lake

 woods2There is something so hypnotic about watching a puppet show. The simplicity and artistry combined, as an avenue for storytelling, is timeless. The variety of puppets seem to be endless from shadow or hand to a more complex marionette. I enjoy how the stage designs spark the imagination where a scrap of fabric becomes a dress, body of water or backdrop. It is all about where your mind can take you. Around our house a simple sock with some buttons sewn on provided hours of entertainment when my children were young. Now, of course, more complex puppets are in the works.

For the second time Long Lake Public Library is bringing the talents of » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reason2Smile World Music Fest in Lake Placid

R2S-28For the second year the not-for-profit organization Reason2Smileis hosting an all day music festival with workshops and children’s camp on March 8 at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.  The festival focus is to introduce the Lake Placid and surrounding areas to an eclectic group of artisans sharing their love of music, art and movement.

According to Reason2Smile Founder and Executive Director Keela Grimmette the event has grown since its first year, with groups coming to hold classes and perform from as far afield as Plattsburgh and Watertown. She would like workshop participants to walk away from the Reason2Smile World Festival with an understanding of all the diverse groups » Continue Reading.



Friday, February 28, 2014

Plattsburgh’s Food from the Farm Day

 Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 3.41.03 PMLike most Adirondack gardeners, my family is just starting to think about starting seeds and planning our summer garden. At Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), they want to make sure that we are all aware that local farmers are not just thinking about what to plant, but have actually never stop growing and making local food available for our tables.

The annual  Food from the Farm event, in cooperation with Adirondack Harvest and CCE Clinton County, is just one way local farmers are making themselves available to let us meet the people that grow our food.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learn About Maple Sugaring at Wild Center This Weekend

Maple BucketThis last weekend of midwinter school break merits a stop at Tupper Lake’s Wild Center. Along with its natural playground, animal encounters and naturalist-led excursions, there is a wide range of organized events to fill the days.

February 22 is all about animal tracking. We have gone on many of these guided trips and are always excited to learn more about the telltale signs of Adirondack animals. Even though my children may have a better grasp than most children their age regarding animal signs, there is always something they learn from a visit to the Wild Center.

On February 23, the Wild Center, in cooperation with the Adirondack Museum, will be demonstrating » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ski Discounts in the Tri-Lakes Area

Skiing Whiteface (ORDA Photo)Downhill skiing around the Tri-Lakes of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake without a season pass can put a dent in a parent’s pocketbook. So here are a few tips and discounts available if you plan on skiing Whiteface, Titus and Big Tupper.

Though Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington has been making snow since November, there is finally some fresh power on the trails. My family was there this past weekend working the Empire State Games and was thankful for each run that was squeezed in between races.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some Of The Best Adirondack Winter Carnivals

2014 Ice Palace (Mark Kurtz Photo)Though my family and I have not attended the entire top ten winter carnival venues touted in National Geographic Traveler, I can say we have attended all the winter carnivals in the Adirondack Park listed below. Each festival holds its own special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy those unique corners of the Adirondack Park.

Saranac Lake may place second on the National Geographic Traveler’s list, but it tops the list for East Coast winter carnival fun. First held in  1897, the Saranac Lake’s winter carnival has a convoluted history. With over a century of experience to draw from, it has grown into a ten-day festival » Continue Reading.



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ice Skating In The Wild

dellicechase2-600x388Skating off the beaten track brings a sense of freedom to my soul. No matter how cold it is outside, I will haul my family to frozen ponds to lash skates to their feet. I know the Adirondack chill will be driven out with a few swift glides on the ice.

I often go far afield from Saranac Lake in search of places to skate, such as along the shores of Lake Champlain and Lake George, and I always ask people to share their favorite skating spots. More often, though, I am drawn to a stretch of Route 73 between Lake Placid and Keene Valley known for its consistent ice.



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Real ‘Captain Phillips’ At Champlain Film Society

Captain PhillipsFebruary 2nd is going to be more than just the Broncos trying to best the Seahawks in the XLVIII Super Bowl, when the Champlain Valley Film Society (CVFS) brings Captain Richard Phillips to introduce the 2014 Oscar nominated film named in his honor, based on the harrowing experience of his capture and attempted ransom at the hands of Somali pirates.

It is easy for my family to get caught up in the animated version of pirates or the swash-buckling Johnny Depp characterization without realizing that real pirates do exist and there is nothing romantic and comedic about it. I remember reading the news stories when Phillips sacrificed himself to save his » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Annual Dome Island Winter Ice Expedition

Dome Island in Winter LGLC Annual Expeditin 2011Though the recent fluctuation in temperature has not been conducive to cross-country skiing, it has allowed my family to explore some frozen Adirondack lakes and ponds.

Being able to access those frozen waterways during the winter is one of my family’s greatest joys. When the ponds are safe to cross, the ability to reach normally inaccessible shorelines opens up a different avenue for exploration.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cock-A-Doodle Shoe Snowshoe Race Saturday

Cock A Doodle ShoeIt may be raining now, but it looks like we may be getting winter back on track this weekend with some colder temperatures and new snow. Some of my favorite trails have lost their base layer and the paths are better suited to crampons than skis. Despite the dreary sounding conditions there is still plenty to do to get outside and enjoy the Adirondack winter wonderland.

For the second year The New Land Trust in Saranac has teamed up with Dion snowshoes to host the annual Cock-A-Doodle Shoe on January 18 at 10 am.  This year race organizers added a 5K to the existing 10K snowshoe race format. According » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ADK Winterfest and Winter Trails Day

ADKLojski_newMy family spends a fair bit of time at the Adirondack Mountain Club’s (ADK) Adirondack Loj High Peaks Information Center. With Heart Lake being a popular gateway into the High Peaks, we hike their trails, drop off groups and introduce guests to its range of outdoor activities.

Since the Adirondack Park is a multi-season playground, the ADK Heart Lake Center is offering a free day full of winter opportunities to showcase that the 700-acre Heart Lake property is more than just a parking lot for the High Peaks. In conjunction with the 19th Winter Trails Day, ADK has gathered volunteers and staff to host its first Winterfest on January 11.



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Young Playwrights Festival at Pendragon Theatre

Pendragon Theatre CampPendragon Theatre has always been one of my family’s favorite places to see a theatre performance in the Adirondack Park. In addition to an intimate theatre experience, there are always opportunities for children to gain professional theatre skills.

Pendragon hosts kids’ camps, live productions and internships throughout the year. Their latest event is bringing not just the stage alive for young adults, but hopefully their words as well.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

First Night in Saratoga, Saranac Lake

FirstNIghtSaratoga_newBefore being introduced to First Night Boston years ago, New Year’s Eve celebrations were always a bit of a letdown for me. New Year’s Eve seemed to be a search for something better with enough alcohol to make waiting for the ball to drop remotely palatable. After experiencing First Night Boston, I knew if I were to leave the comfort of my home it would be to welcome in the next year surrounded by art, music and quality events. We have since gone to First Night events in Burlington and Binghamton and most consistently, Saranac Lake.

Last year was the first time my family attended a First Night celebration in Saratoga Springs. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Join the 2013 Christmas Bird Count

ChristmasBirdCount_newThis will be the first time that my family makes counting birds part of our holiday tradition, though the National Audubon Society has been conducting its Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for the past 114 years. This year we, along with numerous others, will be walking roads, peering at backyard feeders and looking to the skies to track birds.

Over the past few years we’ve taken steps to learn more about birds by participating in various bird counts organized by the National Audubon Society. Putting up a bird feeder is one of the things we manage to do no matter where we’ve lived. It is so peaceful watching our feathery friends come and » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding A Christmas Tree in the Southern Adirondacks

Christmastree_newI grew up getting a tree from a parking lot and yearned for a storybook experience of searching the woods for the ideal tree. Though getting any Christmas tree was exciting, I wanted to give my children a different family ritual.  I also wanted to stick to the legal version of obtaining a Christmas tree. A few of my friends may disagree (and shall remain nameless), but I believe that searching for a tree should not involve stealth, cloak of darkness and a get-away car.

How we obtain our Christmas tree varies year to year, but so far we have either been gifted a tree from a neighbor’s property or we’ve visited one a » Continue Reading.



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