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, January 17, 2012

Adirondack Family Time: Aldo Leopold Film Screening

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
~ Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (1949)

This Saturday the Adirondack Interpretive Center will be hosting the only Adirondack screening of the documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and Land Ethic For Our Time. Leopold holds the honor of shaping and influencing the modern environmental conservation movement. Leopold is credited with inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.

The title Green Fire refers to a passage in Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac when he is a young forest ranger and self-described as “full of trigger-itch.” Leopold writes how he shoots a wolf believing that fewer predators would mean a hunters’ paradise. He comes upon the injured wolf and watches “a fierce green fire dying in her eyes,” an event that would change his view of the necessity of predators in the landscape.

According to Adirondack Interpretive Center Program Manager Rebecca Oyer the one-day event will be packed with activities from bench building to a panel discussion. Oyer wants people to know that they can come for one event or all of the day’s activities.

“Starting at 9:00 a.m. those that register will be able to make a Leopold bench. The cost of the materials ($30) is the only fee for this whole day. The screening, readings and panel discussions are all free,” says Oyer. “ There will be a break around 10:30 a.m. with refreshments and panelists will read passages from The Sand County Almanac. After a lunch break we will show the movie Green Fire at 1:30 p.m.”

After the film the four panelists will discuss how each apply and implement Leopold’s legacy in their own work. Panelists: Dave Gibson, partner in the not-for-profit Adirondack Wild, Lisa Eddy, a Michigan High School teacher developing curriculum based on Leopold’s philosophies, Peter Brinkley, Adirondack Wild Senior partner and Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, environmental philosopher. Both Gibson and Patinelli-Dubay are regular Almanack contributors.

A complete schedule can be found here. Registration is required by calling 518-582-2000 for the January 21, Saturday, event. Keep in mind that the trails at the Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center are open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

If you are bringing your own young people, know your family’s limitations. My children are excited to make the Leopold bench and see the rest of the hour-long film Green Fire. If they wish to listen to the readings and panel discussions, I am all for it. I will have snowshoes packed as a backup plan. We can discuss Leopold’s Legacy while enjoying the trails at the Adirondack Interpretive Center.

Illustration provided.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Long Lake Winter Carnival

With the snow finally here what better way to celebrate this cold season than Long Lake’s annual Winter Carnival. According to the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club President Jim Piraino, the Long Lake Winter Carnival is in its eighth year.

Piraino remembers the start of the Long Lake Winter Carnival as it began with the demise of the 100-Miler Snowmobile Race. He and other members of the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club looked for a way to continue to celebrate the winter season.

“The ice became unsafe on Long Lake with the weather changing over the years,” says Piraino. “We wanted to continue to have a fun event but needed to adapt for those changes. The Town of Long Lake became a co-sponsor with the Moonlighters and added the cardboard box races. All the events, food and activities are free with some events even having a cash prize and are sponsored by the Moonlighters, Town of Long Lake or the Fire Department. We want people to come and focus on this fun town event.”

Annually the one-day event takes place the Saturday of Martin Luther King weekend with a playlist full of activities. The event will kick off with a snowmobile parade to the Mt Sabattis Geiger Arena. With the coronation of the festival’s King and Queen, the fun begins. Don’t worry if it’s cold, according to Piraino the bonfire starts at 10:00 a.m. and will be contained near the Mt Sabattis sledding hill and behind Geiger Arena. People can warm up near by while they watch the cardboard box races or while waiting their turn for any of the other events.

“All the events are located at the old ski hill,” says Piraino. “We want parents to be able to have fun while able to watch their kids. The cardboard sled races are great. You can only use cardboard and duct tape. There are different age groups and prizes for each category.”

Not only is Piraino president of the Moonlighters Snowmobile Club as owner of the Long Lake Diner he sponsors one of the events.

“The Long Lake Diner sponsors the ½ court basketball shot with a cash prize. Of course you have to make the shot with a snowball,” he laughs. “There are many other games such as a relay where we divide up the participants into teams and people have to put on fireman pants, jacket and hat and fill up a bucket with snow.”

Other events include an “adult golf shot” from the top of the sledding hill, ladies frying pan toss, kids’ balloon chase, the goalie’s day off puck shot (children shoot at half rink while adult shoot the whole ice rink distance) and a broomball tournament. Of course the sledding hill and ice rink will remain open throughout the day, when not being used for specific activities. After the broomball tournament, the Long Lake Winter Carnival will culminate with fireworks overhead. Click here for the complete schedule and times.

Piraino says, ”This is the third year we have the free transportation bus (5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.). Anyone can call (518-354-1510) and picked up or wave the bus down. It will be driven around the town, going from restaurant to bar right from your hotel or home. You can have dinner at one place and drinks at another. It has worked out great. People can relax and have fun and not worry about driving.”

With winter finally here this looks like a great way to celebrate the next months of winter!

Photo courtesy the Town of Long Lake.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Au Sable Bridge

Located near Au Sable Chasm, the Au Sable Bridge in itself is a child’s playground. After coming out of the woods from a hike we passed through Clinton County via Route 9 when both my children yelled for us to stop the car.

The water rushing over the falls is breathtaking so we pull over at the nearby parking area and go for a stroll. I watch my kids run across with snowball in hand to toss over the side.

I am leery of heights, to put it mildly. I can climb mountains and sit on the edge of a cliff but my brain is never at ease on a manmade object of any significant height.

This highway bridge that spans the gorge dates from 1934 so my children are quick to reassure me of their safety. (What about me?)

We find out this isn’t the first bridge near this spot. The earliest bridge was built in 1793 of logs and located about one mile downstream. Various other wooded bridges were built but consumed by flooding or rotted from the mist from the falls. In 1890 a one-lane iron bridge was erected and can still be seen upstream from the 1934 stone bridge.

The current bridge’s most distinguishing features are the 212’ steel arch span and the concrete arches faced in local granite and sandstone. My children’s eyes start glazing over with the history lesson. They always amaze me with their ability to retain information while acting disinterested only to parrot back information later to their friends.

For now they just want to watch snowballs drop and disappear into the rushing waters of the Au Sable River. According to the Au Sable Chasm website the Route 9 bridge was the main route that connected the northern communities such as Plattsburgh and Montreal to the southern sectors like Albany and New York City before in the Interstate was built in the mid 60s. It is said that remnants of the original railroad bed foundation is underneath the existing bridge but I wasn’t about to peer over the side to look for it.

Photo: Au Sable Bridge (Courtesy Diane Chase)

 Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Schroon Lake New Year’s Eve

For the first year Schroon Lake will be offering its own version of First Night full of family-friendly activities.

According to the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce the Schroon Lake First Night celebration started in 2003 as part of the Schroon Lake bicentennial. The event was then held again in 2004 to end the bicentennial year. It was resurrected in 2011 as an opportunity to provide a non-alcoholic event for families.

Committee Co-Chair Sharon Piper says, “This is a nice way for families to celebrate together. There will be fun crafts for kids. They can make a New Year’s hat when they aren’t listening to the band. We really tried to provide activities to keep everyone engaged. Our event will also wrap up after the fireworks so families can get home safely.”

Sylvia Fletcher and the Magic Trunk will host three performances, 5:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. There will be ongoing craft stations, face painting and refreshments.

The sock hop will be held at the Schroon Lake Central School gym and truly no shoes are allowed so wear your cutest socks and dance to the classic rock band, “Loose Connections.”

To join in the community spirit there will be a stroll from the school to the park at the conclusion of the sock hop. (It is only a few blocks walk to the park so dress appropriately for the weather.) At the Schroon Lake Town Park enjoy a luminary display, hot chocolate and a bonfire at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks will commence over the lake at 9:15 p.m.

Piper says, “We encourage everyone to come, people from out of town to the second home owner. We hope to provide an opportunity for families to enjoy some fun together.”

The cost for the event is $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children (4-18) with children under four admitted free. There is a family rate available. The goal for the admission is to help offset the cost of the event while still keeping it affordable for families.

The Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce hopes that this event will become an annual tradition for all. This year’s event will be hosted at two venues, the Schroon Lake Central School and the Town Park. The committee is working on light refreshments available for purchase during the event while all other activities are included with admission.

There will be a program to let participants know the schedule for all events. (Look for special offers and coupons from local businesses in the program.)

To the north will be an official First Night Celebration in Saranac Lake with a variety of activities geared toward families of all ages. To the south will be Saratoga Springs’ First Night. There will also be New Year’s Eve fireworks over Lake George at midnight.

Happy New Year! Be safe!

Photo: Fireworks (Courtesy Diane Chase)

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Adirondack Family Time: Movie Houses For The Holidays

This is a busy week for all. Schools will be closed for the holidays and some parents are wondering what to do with their kids.

Tonight is also the beginning of the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) and Christmas is right around the corner. We seem to be so busy cooking and preparing for the holidays that it takes a bit of reminding that the goal is to spend time with each other.

If you can’t get outside and enjoy the numerous Adirondack adventures perhaps stage a family bowling tournament or enjoy indoor ice-skating.

One thing we like to do, besides being outside skiing, skating or sledding in the winter is to enjoy a small intimate theatre experience. Not just live theatre, though that plays (no pun intended) a prominent role in our lives. No, it’s escaping for a few hours and going to “The Movies.”

At one time many towns in the Adirondacks had their own year-round movie houses. Sadly most have made way for the multiplex. Some theatres have retained their original architecture so the movie is not always the only thing to observe.

Take a moment and enjoy a small slice of history. Each theatre offers a unique experience that a larger cineplex may not. These theatres are independently owned and operated and can offer a less expensive ticket price. After a holiday spending spree, saving money is a pretty good gift, too.

Here are five year-round Adirondack movie theatres to get in a few laughs, enjoy a snack and leave any aspect of holiday stress behind.

Hollywood Theatre 14232 NYS Route 9N, Au Sable Forks, NY 12912
(518) 647-5953 (in the winters closed Monday and Tuesdays)

*Lake Placid Palace Theatre 2430 Main St, Lake Placid, NY 12946
(518) 523-9271
 *open every day including Christmas and New Year’s with a 2:15 p.m. matinee through the Christmas-New Year’s week.

Lake Theatre Main Street, Indian Lake, NY 12842
(518) 648-5950

The Strand Theatre in Old Forge 3093 Rte 28 Main St., Old Forge, NY 13420
(315) 369-6703

Tupper Lake State Theatre, 100 Park St, Tupper Lake, NY 12986
(518) 359-3593

Enjoy your time together!

Photo: Palace Theatre (Courtesy Diane Chase).

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 activities. Her second book of family activities will cover the Adirondack Lake Champlain coast and in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake Placid Peninsula Nature Trails

Though there are many places to enjoy throughout the Adirondack Park, the small village trails are often the sweetest treat for families with young kids or anyone just wanting to stretch his/her legs.

The Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails in Lake Placid are situated on a parcel of 133 acres of land purchased by New York State in 1960.

According to the self-guiding pamphlet produced by The Garden Club of Lake Placid (with help from the Adirondack Ski Touring Council and the NYS DEC, the Brewster Peninsula trails were heavily logged in the 1940s with the exclusion of a small 200′ strip of untouched lakeshore.

Our main purpose for being in Lake Placid is to shop but with all the holiday craziness we need to get outside so we are taking the snow pants, boots and coats for a stroll around one of the Brewster Peninsula trails. The ground is hard and not much snow but we just need some fresh air. When we arrive we diplomatically choose one of the three trails; Lakeshore (0.8 mile loop, Boundary (0.9 mile loop) or Ridge (rock, paper, scissors). We go the Ridge Trail.

The Ridge Trail is the longest trail at a 1.3-mile loop. We pass the entrance gate and watch for signs to the right. The main path is the old logging road. It is a wide, relatively smooth dirt road. The legs of my daughter’s snow pants are rubbing together reminiscent of corduroys squeaking. She informs me that they are talking to her. I ask what they say and she replies, “They want me to run.” We oblige.

My son sword-fights with tree branches that have the audacity to be in his path. The trees retaliate by dumping melting snow down his back. The path is a gentle incline and the new boots seem to up to the task.

One short, more popular path, is the Boundary Trail. This 0.9 loop trail intersects with the popular Jackrabbit Trail and leads directly to the west side of Lake Placid lake. This trail also leads to the Shore Owner’s Association (SOA) dam. Along that path are wooded footpaths, roots to explore and a beautiful view of the lake.

Look for interpretive signs along the way (designed by Adirondack artist, Sheri Amsel) as well as benches in case members of your party need a moment of solitude. Enjoy these trails all year long on foot, snowshoes or cross-country skies.

From Saranac Ave (Route 86) in Lake Placid, turn onto Peninsula Way, between Howard Johnson’s Restaurant and the Comfort Inn and drive about 0.4 mile. Follow signs for Brewster Peninsula. Parking and entrance gate is to the left. Trail maps are available at the trailhead.

Photo from the dam at Brewster Peninsula used with permission of Diane Chase, the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities(with GPS Coordinates), covering the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene/Keene Valley, Jay/Upper Jay and Wilmington. Diane next guidebook of Adirondack Family Activities in this four-book series will cover the Adirondack Coast from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Chili Full Moon Ski, Snowshoe

Though chances of snow in the Adirondacks for this weekend looks to be slim, the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb will still hold its first Full Moon Ski/Snowshoe and Chili party on Saturday, December 10 starting at 6:00 p.m.

According to Program Director Rebecca Oyer the focus of the event is to get people outside so if the snow isn’t available for this first event, the trails will be open to families and guests for a moonlit hike.

“This is the first year that the Adirondack Interpretive Center will be open for nighttime cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, says Oyer. “People can come and either bring their own skis and snowshoes or borrow the snowshoes we have here. We also have child sized snowshoes available.”

Oyer encourages families to try snowshoeing around the Newcomb facility when the snow does come because it is a free opportunity to try the sport. She wants to remind people that snowshoes or skis are required on the Newcomb trails when there is snow.

“This first event will most likely be a hike. Each full moon event will start with a chili and cornbread meal and a quick orientation. If anyone has any questions about the menu, just give me a call. People are going to have to sign in once they get here for safety reasons. We want to make sure we know who is out on the trail,” insists Oyer. “The focus is being outside and having fun.”

Oyer says after the quick orientation participants are encouraged to go out and enjoy the 3.6 miles of trails on their own. Then people will return by 7:00 p.m. for fireside hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. There will be full moon events each month through March. The cost for each event is $5.00 per person, which covers the cost of the food.

The other full moon Chili and Full Moon Ski/Snowshoe dates are January 7, February 4 and March 10 so mark your calendar. Rebecca Oyer at the Adirondack Interpretive Center can be reached at 518-582-2000.

Photo courtesy Diane Chase.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) available online or bookstores/museums. Diane’s second guidebook, Adirondack Family Time from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities will be stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: A Cold Fort Ticonderoga

For the first year Fort Ticonderoga is providing a unique experience with “Hot Chocolate at a Cold Fort.” On December 3, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Fort Ticonderoga will have a special opening allowing guests to witness how soldiers celebrated Christmas in 1776.

One way to snap children out of their glassy-eyed “I wants” from the onslaught of daily catalog deliveries is to experience an 18th century Christmas celebration at Fort Ticonderoga.

There will be opportunities to learn of past traditions and the winter hardships of limited resources. Fort Ticonderoga is only open during the winter months on special occasions, so this will be an interesting treat.

Stuart Lilie, Fort Ticonderoga Director of Interpretation says, “We hope this event will demonstrate how people were celebrating Christmas in 1776. On a basic level the goal is to show what the solders’ lives were like during the American Revolution to how we celebrate Christmas now.”

“At that time people did not have all the traditions that we have now. I think that true comfort of Christmas at that time and the other saint’s holidays was the camaraderie with the people around them,” says Lilie. “It was enjoying a simple meal that was perhaps better than they were used to. It was something as simple as a nice cut of meat. There was more focus on those around them. The simplicity.”

The event starts with a tour of the historic fort and will make use of re-enactors portraying Colonel Anthony Wayne’s Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion. The English and Dutch Christmas traditions of these Pennsylvania soldiers will be demonstrated. Colonel Wayne’s soldiers will also work around the mess hall to make hot meals for the officers, the sick and to try to find ways to feed the rest of the battalion.

Museum Curator of Collections, Christopher Fox will be on hand for the tour of “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experience through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists” exhibit. This exhibits brings together 50 of the museum’s most important artworks with works including Thomas Cole’s “Gelyna.”

The fort tour will attempt to tackle such issues as shortage of clothing, medicine and how the long transportation from Albany, at the time, was an overwhelming challenge. Through it all the soldiers manage to make a festive gathering with very little.

Of course there will be a musket demonstration, as those soldiers need practice in case of a winter raid. There will be an opportunity to see how muskets work and learn how they were the main weapons during Colonel Wayne’s command.

So with a bit of history and a fun day at the fort we can witness how the Fort Ticonderoga soldiers appreciated what they had in a cold winter in 1776.

Throughout the weekend there will also be the 2nd annual Ticonderoga North Country Christmas with other children’s activities throughout the weekend.

Photo by Diane Chase.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next book Adirondack Family Time Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga will in stores summer 2012.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Alternatives to Black Friday

Thanksgiving is about tradition. Our family sits down to a huge meal that my mother-in-law cooks while the rest of us try to stay out of her way. She is an amazing force to be reckoned with. We overeat. We rest. We eat more. We attempt a family-against family touch football game to prepare us for leftovers. It all comes down to spending time with each other. We are extremely fortunate.

Every family has their own customs so for those looking for a time-honored ritual; North Country Ballet Ensemble continues a Thanksgiving tradition with performances of The Nutcracker in Plattsburgh on Friday and Saturday (November 25-26) at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. with a 2:00 matinee on Sunday. All performances will be held at the Hartman Theatre, Myers Fine Arts Building at SUNY Plattsburgh. Subsequent performances will be held at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on December 3 at 7:30 p.m. and December 4 at 1:00 p.m.

Just as family-friendly and with a different type of magic, the Adirondack Center for the Arts will open with Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic musical rendition of “Cinderella” in Indian Lake (November 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Indian Lake Theatre) as part of the annual Country Christmas Tour. (Don’t forget about all the events going on in Inlet and Old Forge

Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Director Stephen Svodboda says, “Our presentation of Cinderella is a classic ‘underdog’ holiday show filled with dancing, singing, and a little bit of magic. This timeless fairy tale is one that is close to the hearts of everyone and, illustrating a true sense of community, the actors in our show come from all over the Adirondacks ranging in age from 4 to 80 years old. The resulting production is an amazing performance that is sure to inspire. We hope you will join us this holiday season!”

To make the “slipper fit” with everyone’s busy schedule, performances of Cinderella run through mid December at various locations around the Central Adirondacks. Admission is $15/$10 members, children 12 and under/$5 accompanied by a parent.

Another substitution for Black Friday madness is the Wild Center Family Day on November 25. Packed with activities from book signings to live music, The Wild Center staff has made sure that you can work off your meal with nature walks and museum activities.

“We are going to have art and nature projects geared toward children but a lot of other activities such as a book signing with Carl Heilman. Children are going to love the maple syrup on snow demonstration, seeing it made and then being able to eat it right here at the Wild Center,” says Josh Pratt, Wild Center Store/Admissions Manager.

I know this barely covers all that is going on for Black Friday. I hope it offers a few choices for some Adirondack fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Cinderella (Colleen Pine) surrounded Stepsister (Kierstyn Natter), and Prince Charming (Lucas Greer) of the cast from the Adirondack Lakes Center for Arts production of Cinderella. Photo provided.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recently released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

For my family buying a huge amount of gifts is just not in the budget. We are being selective and trying to make the gift mean something a bit more than just ticking a master list of “I wants.” Part of what we love about living in the Adirondacks is the opportunity to meet artists, make crafts and participate in activities together. I’ve asked my children to think about what they really want to receive and want to give.

For those around the Central Adirondacks Inlet, Indian Lake and Old Forge are celebrating an early Adirondack Christmas. Inlet and Old Forge are once again co-hosting an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street allowing people to walk through the local stores and peruse locally made crafts, meet store owners and truly get in the holiday spirit.

The activities in Old Forge range from horse drawn wagon rides to meeting sled dogs. Perhaps free crafts at The View or seeing reindeer at Walt’s Diner is more to your liking. Throughout the weekend watch an unique performance of the “Cast of Bronze” carillon, a tower of 35 bells played using a keyboard.

On Sunday have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus or join in the Reindeer Run at 1:30 p.m. which starts at the Goodsell Museum (antlers are provided) After the race take a break at the Strand and watch a holiday film (If you wear your antlers get ½ price matinee admission and a free small popcorn.) Well worth wearing antlers.

In Inlet, browse the shops and then stop by the Inlet Town Hall to have gifts wrapped for free. Enjoy a candy cane hunt at Arrowhead Park and a Children’s Holiday Film Festival, dog parade and tree lighting with Santa. Of course, that barely covers all that is offered. Keep in mind there is a shuttle that runs between the Thendara Station and Inlet for those not wanting to drive.

“Made in the Adirondacks” is the theme for the 14th Annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour (CCT), which gives visitors an inside view of the lives and work of more than 45 local and regional artisans and crafters.

Annelies Taylor, Technical Supporter for the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour says, “We give out a map with all the various activities and crafts at the Chamber of Commerce as well as at any of the crafters’ homes. There are over 27 stops with some places hosting more than one artisan.”

According the Taylor each crafter strives to decorate his/her house in a festive manner. Guests are also greeted with hot cider and coffee when welcomed into various locations. People will have the opportunity to see how and where each craft and artwork is made. The Adirondack Center for the Arts will also be presenting Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella at the Indian Lake Theatre.

“There is also a children’s craft on Saturday from 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m. where children can have the opportunity to make a gift for someone else,” says Taylor. “Parents can stay or leave their children during that time. There will be someone in attendance during the craft so parents can use the time to do some shopping of their own.”

Adirondack Christmas on Main Street will take place throughout the weekend of November 25-27 in Inlet and Old Forge. The 14th annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour will take place November 25-26 at various times and locations.

Well, with these and more opportunities coming our way, it looks like everyone’s Christmas list can read, “Made in the Adirondacks.” Enjoy the holidays!

photo of Father Christmas used with permission of the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Underground RR at Pok-O-MacCready

Bounty hunters and escaped slaves may sound like a game for the Wii but this Friday, November 11 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. you can get your children off the couch and into living history. For a fiver, Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) in Willsboro’s is welcoming the public to experience what is would be like to be part of the Underground Railroad.

Though the Adirondacks has ties to the Underground Railroad, this particular experience, though historically accurate, is not placed true to the location. According to Stites McDaniel, Director of the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) to provide a more in-depth experience participants play the roles of slaves and attempt to avoid bounty hunters as they move from station to station.

“Bounty hunters wouldn’t have necessarily gone this far north,” says McDaniel. “It would have been more likely the common citizen turning in a runaway for the reward. We had to take a bit of creative license in order for the participants to get, what we felt, would be the entire experience from escape to freedom. There was still the danger throughout the Underground Railroad network as the slaves were shuttled north.”

Participants will play the roles of escaped slaves while staff and volunteers play the roles of bounty hunters, abolitionists and marshals. McDaniel encourages people to come with questions as the event always closes with a discussion. He asks that people take a moment to truly suspend belief and immerse themselves in the experience.

“We run this program with high school and lower middle school students,” says McDaniel. “We have had children as young as seven and are able to cater to the age of the participant. We do not over glamorize. We want families with younger children to feel included.”

This community event is a partnership with the 1812 Homestead, where the event takes place. According to McDaniel the “escaped slaves” will move to each station where there will be an historic discovery during the re-enactment. When a group is participating in a learning station they are off limits to the bounty hunters. As the group moves from station to station they are then running from bounty hunters or may be fortunate to find an abolitionist.

McDaniel says, “We try to incorporate as much historical reference as possible. People may meet a traveling abolitionist named Lucretia Mott. There will also be someone acting as a member of local Keese family. The whole re-enactment is about two hours. Within that timeframe participants will be doing their own learning. We do end with a debriefing. We don’t end the activity without a discussion.”

Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (OEC) in Willsboro, a not-for-profit organization comprised of 300 acres, focuses on an outdoor educational experience. The waterfront facilities provide opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and fishing while the property utilizes onsite skiing, mountain biking and nature trails. Catering primarily to school and youth groups, the Pok-O-MacCready OEC continues to add community events to their roster based on their popular school events.

photo of Underground Railroad re-enactment at Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center used with permission.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: 4 Adirondack Ski Swaps

* Please note the correct time for drop off to McCauley Mountain Ski Swap is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.! 

Being an active family, my kids seems to outgrown their sporting gear before I’ve finished tying up the laces. For other parents looking to outfit their children for the winter ski season, a ski swap is a nice starting place. A ski swap can also be a much-needed opportunity to clean house.

Generally the ski swaps are consignments where you drop off your gear, helmets, and winter clothing a day before the event. If the gear sells then you will receive 80% of the set sale price. Usually the funds generated benefit a special organization like ski clubs or ski patrols so the 20% commission goes to support the sport. It is best to ask what each ski swap’s arrangement is, as it varies with location. Keep in mind no “collector’s items” like wooden skis and only clothing in good condition. Ski Club Swaps

Lake Placid: November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
In Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Ski Club/NYSEF Ski Swap is asking for any winter gear from cross-country skis, boots, roller blades, helmets as well as current downhill ski equipment. Any winter clothing in good shape will be accepted. For questions please call Lake Placid Ski Club President Carol Hoffman at 524-6914. This is the first year that Lake Placid Ski Club and NYSEF are doing a combined Ski and Skate Swap at St. Agnes Gym in Lake Placid. 80/20 split, no rear entry boots or straight skis and no gear donations. Drop off equipment to consign on November 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Queensbury, November 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This annual event at West Mountain is touted as one of the largest ski swaps in the area. Drop off for consignments is Friday (11/4) from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday (11/5) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.. They are accepting any new and pre-owned ski or snowboard gear. No straight skis or rear entry boots. They are looking for any outerwear and accessories as well as skis, boots, helmets and snowboards. Proceeds benefit the West Mountain Ski Patrol and Race Team.

Old Forge, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
This annual Polar Bear Ski Club Ski Swap at McCauley Mountain will be the place to find deals on new/used ski and snowboard equipment. Drop off is Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. They are looking for any winter sporting gear and winter clothing in good condition. This event is not restricted to ski or snowboards but will accept helmets, ice skates, hockey equipment and cross-country ski gear. This event will benefit the Polar Bear Ski Club, which sponsors ski races for youth in cross-country skiing, downhill and biathlon.

Speculator, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
This is a new event for Oak Mountain and a bit different from the traditional ski swap. For a $20 “table” free (if reserved by the 16th or $25 after the 16th) the consignor can sell anything from boats, ATVs, snowmobiles as well as skis, gear and sport clothing. The only requirement is that it has to be sporting goods. The table fee will benefit the Friends of Oak Mountain, which continues to support upgrades to Oak Mountain. There will also be refreshments for sale.

I hope you find whatever you are looking for.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Activities: Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Kids

Matt McNamara, Founder and Chairman of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), has some great ideas for easy places to mountain bike. McNamara recommends that young mountain bikers start with simple trails such as the Hardy Road trail system in Wilmington. He recommends this coniferous trail because for the most part the trail is smooth with no significant climbing.

“In the Adirondacks it may be difficult for people to know where to start to begin mountain biking with children,” says McNamara. “It is always about having fun and finding your comfort level.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: A Mystical Forest in Burke

Located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, The Ekurb Players are pulling together the last minute details for their annual Mystical Forest at Sellers Park in Burke, N.Y.

Formed in 2007, The Ekrub Players (Ekrub is Burke spelled backwards) is a not-for-profit Children’s performance group focusing on creative ways to bring families together and get children outside. The Mystical Forest event is one of the first programs the group started when it opened its doors in 2007.

Co-Founder and President Gina Strachan says, “A lot of our inspiration comes from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods. My husband and I moved from Vermont and found out that there weren’t a lot of child-related activities in the area. We are developing other children’s programs so check out the website. My family had participated in a variety of productions in other places as well in Vermont.”

The Mystical Forest will take place at Sellers Park in Burke. Over 500 carved pumpkins will light the trails as costumed “Spirit Guides” lead groups of up to 20 people through the woods. A tour leaves every 10 minutes and every tour lasts about an hour.

“This is not a gory, horror trail,” assures Strachan. “This is a story trail. People will be led through the forest for an hour tour to various skits led by costumed volunteers. We even received the rights from J K Rowling to do a Harry Potter skit based on The Tale of the Three Brothers. Snow White, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood are a few of the other familiar characters families can look forward to seeing.”

According to Strachan a special addition is the group The Tales from Remikreh, sword -fighting re-enactors, that have performed in Alexandria Bay for the past 16 years. She recommends that people dress for a walk in the woods and appropriately for the weather. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and children under 5 are free.

There will be food available for purchase such as hamburgers and hotdogs, drinks as well as a sweet treat vendor. The tour schedule is as follows: Friday, October 21 from 6;30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22 from 6:30 -.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 3:30 p.m. No reservations are required. If you bring a canned good to benefit the local food pantry you can save $1 on admission. There is plenty of parking available.

Sellers Park is located on Route 11 in Burke. Strachan recommends you “just follow the ghost signs along Route 11 and you won’t miss it.”

Photo: The Ekrub Players’ Mystical Forest Ghost (Courtesy Diane Chase)

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take A Crown Point Historic Schooner Tour

This weekend the historic wooden schooner, Lois McClure will make her last stop for the season at another historic location, Crown Point Pier, located on the water just below the Champlain Lighthouse. Those visitors of history; rejoice, lovers of ships; unite and budget watchers; celebrate. This tour is free.

Part of the Farm, Forestry and Fishery Tour, the 88′ schooner Lois McClure and Urger tugboat will offer free tours from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 on October 15-16 at the Crown Point Pier. This tour has been raising awareness of the importance of “sustainable agriculture, responsbile foresty and clean, healthy waterways.” » Continue Reading.


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