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, November 27, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Nutcracker Ballet

One holiday tradition for our family is to see a production of the Nutcracker ballet. Throughout the Adirondacks and beyond, this is a tradition that many hold dear to their hearts as a family-friendly way to kick off the holiday season. With productions in Old Forge, Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Glens Falls, this ballet gathers professional and community dancers on stage for a limited performance.

“Seeing a performance of the Nutcracker is part of the theatre tradition that is wholesome and something the whole family can see,” says Old Forge Ballet Company Director Sue Ann Lorenz-Wallace.” If children are performing in the production, it is something that will stay with them the rest of their lives. If they watch it, it will always bring back fond memories of the holidays.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday

My children show more interest in the newspapers during the holiday season than any other time of year. They are the first two people in our household to get the newspaper and start drawing circles around toys and games that are suddenly on the “must have” list. They are driven by the constant marketing and inundated by advertising with items they truly feel they need. We also have many cousins to buy gifts for.

Though I am asked to get popular named brand clothing for some, I also make a point of giving something handmade or locally made. I don’t pick it out. I give each of my children the name of one cousin to shop for at a time. My kids are given a budget and walk through various stores to see what small item they can pick up that may complement the purchased sweater. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

If I wasn’t already being inundated by Christmas songs and flashing holiday decorations, I would find it difficult to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. I usually have all my holiday shopping finished by now. This year I will be hitting the stores with the masses, looking for those perfect gifts. Though my children are just as partial to video games as the next group of kids, I do try to encourage a handmade Christmas. Around various areas of the Adirondacks local stores and businesses have their own version of Black Friday with a handmade touch.

Indian Lake is celebrating their 15th annual Country Christmas Tour while Inlet and Old Forge hosts an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street. These local businesses support local artisans and make gift giving unique and easy. Each location is also hosting holiday workshops for children to be able to take time and make a homemade craft. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake George Polar Plunge

There are so many things happening around the East Coast today with many people homeless and suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I am in awe how people bonding together can make change. I realize that some needs are immediate; others are a long-term process. One constant is the ability to demonstrate to my own children how fortunate they truly are. There are places accepting donations, volunteers are needed to sort clothes.

Throughout all the chaos sometimes a moment of levity is needed. Watching 550 people rush into chilly Lake George on November 17 is one such annual event. There are 14 Special Olympic Polar Plunges around New York State. According to Development Specialist Michelle Iorizzo these events enable intellectually disabled children and adults to compete for free in 22 Olympic style sports in regional and state competitions throughout the year. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Weekend AIC Events

Without really knowing what sort of residual weather Hurricane Sandy may blow into the Adirondack Park, Assistant Program Manager Kaley Donavon at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb is confident that the weekend plans at the AIC will go uninterrupted.

Donavon says, “ We have 3.6 miles of trails with some sort of water feature for people to enjoy, at the Adirondack Interpretive Center. Trails lead to Rich Pond, cross Little Sucker Brook and continue to Belden Pond. This weekend we are also hosting a 2-mile hike around Arbutus Lake in the Huntington Wildlife Forest.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Running Colors Race

The VIEW in Old Forge is set to celebrate it’s own Festival of Colors on Saturday, October 27 with its first annual 5K Fun Running Colors race. According to Jody Pritchard, VIEW Media Manager, Running Colors is based on other charity running races that use an eco-friendly, fine-colored cornstarch to color bomb participants during the 5K run.

VIEW receives the food-grade safe colors from a church in Utah that also supplies colors for Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi, the Festival of Colors is a Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil and a welcoming of spring.

Color races are popular  nation-wide as a celebration of color with such foot races as Rainbow Race, Color Me Red and The Color Run. What better way to celebrate the change of seasons and benefit an arts organization like the Old Forge VIEW than with a huge splash of color! » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Haunted Halloween Fests

My family puts a lot of time into children’s Halloween costumes. It seems that my kids start planning the next year’s theme the moment they take off the previous year’s getup. They continue to use those costumes in an ever growing and more sophisticated dress-up bin.  Though most scary Halloween events may not be for the very young, we look for opportunities that entertain a wide variety of ages where we can showcase the new costumes.

In the Champlain Valley, the Lakeside School at Black Kettle Farm in Essex has a wonderful treat planned. Award winning author and illustrator Steven Kellogg will be onsite from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm on October 20th.  Adults and children alike will enjoy Kellogg’s storytelling as he draws on an oversized drawing pad, quickly sketching one of his stories through a series of vignettes. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Fall Fishing

This past weekend my son won a fishing derby and walked away with a new fishing pole from French Louie ADK Sports in Inlet. After catching and releasing 17 fish, the longest being an 8-inch pike, he walked away with the prize.

Putting a fishing rod in the hands of a child is one thing, stopping at every Adirondack pond and lake between Inlet and Saranac Lake is another. Since I am the only member of the family that doesn’t fish, my lack of fishing license means that it is illegal for me to untangle rods, bait hooks or take fish off of lines. Even though my children do not require a license, other fishing rules do apply to them. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Kids Day in Inlet

There are a lot of events and activities around the Adirondack Park, but The Adirondack Kids father and son co-authors Gary and Justin VanRiper wanted to make one event a family affair. Along with wife, mother and The Adirondack Kids’ book illustrator Carol VanRiper, the family worked together to plan the first annual Adirondack Kids Day for Saturday, October 6, 2012 as a celebration of children’s authors, illustrators and activities. This event will take place in Inlet from 10 am – 5 pm with over 20 authors and illustrators as well as workshops with a focus on family-friendly experiences.

“The idea for an Adirondack Kids Day evolved from conversations with Reggie Chambers at the Adirondack Reader, the Inlet Information Center, Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks   and many other area businesses,” says Gary. “We choose Inlet for the event because this is where the Adirondack Kids characters were born. We always receive so much feedback from readers that either want to visit the settings for our books or have followed the places in the books to create their own adventures. Having the event in Inlet seems a natural place to help children, parents or grandparents discover more about the Adirondack Park.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Warrensburg Garage Sale

Warrensburg hosts the 33rd annual “World’s Largest Garage Sale” this weekend where over 100,000 people will find treasures from toys to antiques. Held the last weekend before Columbus Day weekend, this year’s “World’s Largest Garage Sale” will be September 29-30, 2012.

Last year when my family attended the garage sale we were not prepared for the magnitude of the event. I’ve taken my kids to tag sales before where I’ve given them their own money, allowing each to search for treasures. Never in my mind did I imagine so many tents in one location. The tents start at the edge of town and continue along Route 9, crossing the Schroon River. The event is very well organized and the streets are monitored making it easy to cross the Main Street (Route 9). » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family Activities: Northern Adk Artists Studio Tour

As a parent I honor the art projects my children bring home from school. My kids take time to make special cards and spend hours sketching and drawing the world around them. Do I think they will become professional artists? I have no idea. My main goal is for them to be happy. The rest is up to them.

While I try to support any and all artistic endeavors, one annual event I encourage families to attend is the Northern Adirondack Artist At Work Studio Tour. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Balloon Festival

Sometimes my husband and I take turns doing something special with the children. We each need our own one-on-one time with our son and daughter. Each child also gets that special time with a parent where he/she doesn’t have to compete for attention.

Last year my son and I attended the Adirondack Balloon Festival. Since we live outside of Saranac Lake, making the 5:00 am Big Balloon Breakfast at the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport hanger in Queensbury was no mean feat. The biggest challenge wasn’t so much the early drive but getting my son out of bed. He agreed much later on that is was definitely worth the trip. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Piano By Nature

The summer season ends and brings a close to numerous outdoor entertainments. During the summer months, throughout the Adirondack Park, there is an abundance of outdoor concerts, musicians and entertainers. My family feels so fortunate to have such professional talent at our disposal. Come autumn, the leaves change and so do the musical entertainment opportunities.

In its fifth season, Piano by Nature in Elizabethtown is one musical organization that strives to bring live music to the Adirondacks during the other months of the year. Artistic Director Rose Chancier started Piano By Nature with the concept of giving back to her community. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Farm 2 Fork Festival

Eating locally and bringing attention to regional farmers is a passion of Gail Brill. As the Adirondack Green Circle Founding Director, Brill saw a disconnect between the produce farmers were bringing to local farmers’ markets and the consumer buying it. The idea for a festival to celebrate the local harvest came four years ago when Brill overhead someone ask how to use Celeriac, a celery-type root vegetable.

“The Adirondack Green Circle does a lot of bridging between the farmers and consumers,” says Brill. “We want to celebrate what the farmers are bringing to the table and educate the consumer on how to cook with it.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Rustic Riders at St Williams

My family has never gone to St. William’s on Long Point. I am aware of its special programming and always think that I have a full summer to attend just one of the free Thursday events. As we travel around hiking, swimming and eating our way through the Adirondack Park, suddenly the end of the summer looms and only one more special event is scheduled to take place on Long Point.

I get an e-mail reminder from Lisa Meissner of the acoustic group, Rustic Riders. Lisa and her husband Klauss will be performing at St. Williams on Long Point in Raquette Lake on August 23, 7:00 p.m. » Continue Reading.


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