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.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Giving Tuesday Can Happen Anytime

Now that we’ve survived Black Friday and supported local businesses with Small Business Saturday, it is time to look at the really big picture and make sure that giving remains a major part of the holiday season. Since 2012, #GivingTuesday has celebrated the importance of generosity and giving back.

Giving Tuesday was conceived in cooperation with the New York’s 92 Street Young Men and Young Women’s Hebrew Association (92Y), the United Nations Foundation and a team of founding partners that understood the importance of fostering kindness.

The concept is simple. We have numerous days for getting, now we have a international day for giving. If you are sitting at your computer or visiting a favorite Adirondack location, please take a moment and search for a way that is important to you to give back. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Supporting Food Pantries: The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

IMG_7718We have taken our family to the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train since my children were little tykes. Not only is the event a fun way to dance off that Thanksgiving meal, it is a community-wide opportunity to give back.

It is always important for my kids to remember while making that second turkey sandwich; some families may not have had enough food for firsts.

Since 1999 the Holiday Train has offered free concerts and a festively decorated train to help raise food and cash donations to local food banks. This year Tracey Brown, formerly of award winning country bank The Family Brown, has taken on the US section of the tour. Each stop is about 45-minutes where communities can put on their own unique twist. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Black Friday: Christmas On Main Street

OldForgeChristmas_newPersonally I feel that all decorations have their time and place. Just because chain stores decided on Christmas merchandising before my kids had even pulled together Halloween costumes, does not mean I have to succumb. I need some distance between my holiday celebrations. Christmas won’t happen in our house until the turkey is considered a leftover.

Around the Adirondacks local stores and businesses aren’t feeling the pressure to celebrate early. They are saving their energy and pulling out all the stops for a Black Friday weekend that is uniquely Adirondack. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lake Champlain Inaugural International Film Festival

filmfestivalbannerThis isn’t the first time that Plattsburgh has held an international film fest, but after an 11-year absence, the city by the lake is bringing back the Lake Champlain International Film Festival November 15-16 to the recently renovated Strand Theatre.

According to The Strand Center for the Arts Executive Director Jessica Dulle, the festival producers were pleasantly surprised by the number of countries responding to the film festival as well as the quality of the films received. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Lake Placid Film Forum Series Continues with ‘Red Army’

RED_ARMY_-_5_Line_©_2014_Polsky_Films,_Courtesy_of_Sony_Pictures_ClassicsIt is poignant that the Adirondack Film Society and Lake Placid Film Forum have chosen “Red Army” as part of its inaugural monthly film series. Directed by Gabe Polsky, “Red Army” goes behind the Iron Curtain and tracks the Soviet Union’s hockey team domination to its unraveling at the Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic Games to its ultimate demise.

Executive Producers Werner Herzog and Jerry Weintraub helped bring Polsky’s vision to life in this documentary that has received rave reviews from the Cannes, New York, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. In “Red Army,” Polsky tracks the Russian hockey dynasty through the eyes of its captain Slava Fetisov. The film reveals how Fetisov fell from the pedestal of Russian national hero to national enemy during the Cold War when hockey wasn’t just a game, but political propaganda and its players were pawns. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Donate That Excess Halloween Candy

IMG_4472Right now I have three oversized bags of candy hidden on a shelf in my kitchen, waiting to be opened on Halloween. I’m sure my children are thinking that they will be eating everything that remains after I pass out most of it to the waves of tiny princesses, goblins and super heroes on Friday night. My kids don’t get a lot of candy, but they aren’t feeling neglected either. I’ve always asked my kids to divide their candy into a pile to keep and a pile to give away.

I understand the logic that there is no such thing as “leftover candy.” I do think there is something as too much. I also understand that Halloween candy seems to have an infinite shelf life. Even though every event doesn’t have to be a lesson, I feel that when my children are faced with an obscene amount of treats, it is exactly the time to make sure something is given back. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning About Bones In Newcomb

skeleton_anatomy__deer_by_omgshira-d3gfz9jHalloween is ripe for haunting, ghosts and ghouls. My son is weighing his options between being a zombie groom or part of a ghostly orchestra for his art club’s Haunted High School in Saranac Lake this Friday. He knows that I am not the person to ask whether a fake severed arm looks real or if he should go with a gaping head wound.

I am not the family thrill seeker when it comes Halloween. If I were to look at bones I’d rather it be part of Mark Lawler’s program “Bones I Have Known” at Newcomb’s Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC). An instructor in anthropology, geology and environmental science, Lawler is leading an interactive program on Oct 25 from 1-2 pm to show how bones, scat and tracks of animals can be used for identification as well as to demonstrate survival. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

North Country Junior Iron Chef Competition Planned

Super Chefs-ActionMy daughter has brought the same sandwich to school everyday since the 1st grade: turkey on 12-grain, with an occasional side salad. My son not only brings his lunch, but sometimes manages to eat a second school lunch. His school food isn’t the stereotypical cafeteria lunch however, but part of the Adirondack Farm to School Initiative that is making quality food while supporting local farms and local food.

The North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition is another resource that is bringing students and commercial cafeterias together in a fun, educational environment that mimics the television show “Iron Chef” with a local twist.

Inspired by Jr. Iron Chef VT, middle and high school students in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, create healthy recipes using a combination of local and USDA commodity foods that could be realistically prepared in a school cafeteria. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Essex County Cheese Tour Offers Local Dairy Treats

asgaardfarm_newI’ve made my own yogurt for years and recently started experimenting with fermented food. I’m now struggling to produce Kefir without a grainy taste.

I just can’t seem to get the balance right. With a cupboard full of sourdough starter and ginger beer plant grains, my pantry looks like a science experiment.

With everything else bubbling and brewing, the one product I have no desire to make is cheese. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Adirondack Kids Day in Inlet On Saturday

IMG_5773Inlet’s Adirondack Kids Day will be held this Saturday, October 4 from 10 am to 3 pm. Organized by the Adirondack Kids book series authors Gary and Justin VanRiper with the assistance of Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks, Adirondack Kids Day offers a chance for families to meet children’s authors and illustrators, learn new skills and enjoy a day of free activities.

The day kicks-off with a pancake breakfast at the Inlet Fire Hall benefiting the Inlet Common School Parents/Teacher Partnership. It’s a delicious way to start off a day full of activities. There are only a few activities that have a fee and food is one of them. Two other activities that require admission are playing mini-golf at Putterfingers and building a stuffed animal at the Inlet Youth Animal Workshop. Both are reasonably priced, but there are also enough free activities to fill the rest of they day. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Easy Ways To See This Year’s Brilliant Foliage

IMG_5684There are all sorts of festivals this time of year but as much as I love a good get-together, sometimes it’s the simple things my family appreciates the most. When we get bogged down with school openings and away games, we have to stop and take a moment to look around us.

My daughter’s favorite autumn color is pink. You may think that the trees don’t really become pink, but if you look at the blending of some of the yellows, oranges and brilliant red, the leaves do indeed have a pinkish cast to them. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Diane Chase: Learning About Tahawus

Adirodac_CottageUsually a trip to the Upper Works in Newcomb for my family doesn’t include an extended history lesson, but I always have a few interesting facts to tell our visitors while driving this seemingly endless stretch of County Route 25 to the southern entrance of the High Peaks. We are usually there to hike, though the area’s history is just as vast and interesting as its trails.

I share that the McNaughton Cottage is where Vice President Theodore Roosevelt and his family were staying in 1901 when he took his “midnight ride” after receiving word that President McKinley had taken a turn for the worst from an assassination attempt six days before. The Roosevelt family was climbing Mount Marcy when the official word of McKinley’s fate was received via telegram.

I could even give some vague references to the McIntyre Iron Works Blast Furnace and the dilapidated condition of an old mining town called Adirondac.

But now when we go to the Upper Works, we schedule a bit more time to explore this area with the addition of interpretive signs detailing the historical significance of these buildings, the mining operation and the blast furnace that would produce iron for only two years. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Climbing The 46 High Peaks For Suicide Prevention

1655411_937586852924816_1346376351805800120_oSuicide, depression and the effects of both are challenging and frightening subjects to discuss. I know. I was in my early 20s when I stumbled upon a friend during her attempted suicide. What transpired was tragic and emotional, but she eventually received the help she needed. Not everyone is so lucky.

This week, September 8-14, is National Suicide Prevention week and two Clarkson students are trying to do their part to raise awareness and funds by climbing all 46 High Peaks. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Kids Farm Festival In Peru

IMG_0457_newThere are numerous opportunities to continue to education children and families on the importance of local food. The success of the recent Farm2Fork Festival, farm tours and farmers’ markets as well as farm to school initiatives indicate that people are interested in what happens to their food. One place to visit that is continuing that farm to table education is the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum in Peru.

According to Babbie Museum Secretary Carol Rock this weekend’s 4th annual Kids Fair and Festival is a fun educational way to keep families interested in the importance of rural farming traditions. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 29, 2014

HoboFest And Farm2Fork: Fresh Food, Fresh Music in SL

HoboFestThe term hobo means different things to different people conjuring up images of the Depression, freight jumping, and an independent spirit. For my family it brings up my grandfather’s stories as an orphaned runaway immigrant living on the streets of Brooklyn. His stories were colorful and glossed over a hard street life. After spending a brief time on the rails, he lied about his age to join the military where he would recall the first time he ate a meal until he was full. Years later he was able help others and always fed anyone that passed by or knocked on the door.

With Farm2Fork and the HoboFest, Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake brings together three elements that my grandfather would love: fresh food, music and railroads. » Continue Reading.


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