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, October 4, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Oktober Pet Fest in Long Lake

This Saturday, October 8, two fall festivals have combined forces for what is shaping up to be a fun family event. The Long Lake Harvest Fest and The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Pet Fest will be held at the ball field in Long Lake from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..

“We have been working with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts to make this an event for everyone,” says Long Lake Event Coordinator Denise Gagnier. “It is the third year for the Pet Fest and we wanted to work with our neighbors at The Center to provide an active event for the Columbus weekend.”

According to Gagnier, the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest will host a variety of unique activities geared toward pet owners. There will be a pet agility course with everything from seesaw to hurdles. Owners can register their pets for a maze and the pet show. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pet Trick, Most Unique Pet, Look Like Your Pet and Best Stuffed Pet.

The stuffed pet can be anything from toy to taxidermy. Don’t worry there is plenty to do in addition to the pet activities. One unusual event will be the “Punkin’ Chunkin’. In years past the Harvest Fest held a pumpkin drop but this year “pumpkins will be flying.”

“We have made the event, in many ways, like a carnival,” says Alexandra Verner Roalsvig, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Long Lake. “There are various activities that will require a $1 ticket. Other events are free. The Punkin Chunkin is new this year. We are asking that people design their own catapult and we provide the pumpkins. That activity is free and we are hoping to see some real originally being shown while participants see who can launch their pumpkin the farthest.”

There are rules for the Punkin’ Chunkin‘ Each participant will receive three pumpkins with a misfire being treated as a foul. Each pumpkin will weigh approximately 8-10 lbs. so plan accordingly. No cannons, ignitables or explosives, if that is where your mind is running. Eye protection and hard hat is provided.

Roalsvig is hoping the combined festivals will appeal to visitors and local residents. By keeping the ticket price for various activities at the one-dollar mark, people can pick and choose where to spend their money.

“The Kids’ Zone is going to have Magician Bob Shelley, pumpkin painting, bounce house and T-shirt painting. Each activity will require a ticket but it will be well worth the price,” says Roalsvig.

“The craft fair will be held under the tent and that is free. This year we invited the Long Lake Artisans to be part of the craft fair,” says Roalsvig. “We have wonderful handmade crafts like fishing flies, table runners, Christmas decorations, rustic furniture, fabric arts and a variety of candles. We insist that the products are homemade crafts. Boat builder Bunny Austin just refurbished a guideboat and will have it on display. It has an historic reference so people are encouraged to stop and talk to him about the guideboat and its story.”

Traditional German fare as well as maple cotton candy, Kettle Corn, gourmet desserts and a Saranac Root Beer tasting can be enjoyed while listening to the acoustic music of Adam Reynolds and John Hill.

Parking for the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest can be found at the St. Henry’s Parking Long and the Long Lake Central School Parking Lot off Route 30. Call 518-624-3077 for additional information.

Photo: Chandler Seaman with his Prized Pumpkin at Harvest Fest in Long Lake. (Photo provided).

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, September 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Goodsell Museum’s Floating Letters Exhibit

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Through the end of October, the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge will continue its tribute to the region’s unusual means of receiving mail. The exhibit entitled, “Floating Letters, A Tribute to the Mailboats and Their Crews” will end October 31, 2011.

Director Gail Murray says, “We talked over different ideas and first thought of including all commerce but quickly realized the topic was too large. We focused on the mailboats to discover it is the 110 -year anniversary”

According to Murray there were mailboats on Twitchell Lake, Silver Lake and Rondaxe and boats still delivering mail on Big Moose Lake and Fulton Chain. Murray wanted the exhibit to tie in the tradition of the residents receiving mail by water with summer fun as children and grandchildren still anxiously wait for the mail to arrive by boat.

“The Fulton Chain mailboat is currently run by Old Forge Lake Cruises and holds about 20 people,” say Murray. “I believe it is one of the only mailboats that is allowed passengers. With delivering the mail the tour is able to get up close to the historic camps and homes from Old Forge to Fourth Lake. Our next exhibit will focus on early medicine in the area and will open right after Thanksgiving, ”

The mailboat exhibit celebrated the 110 -year anniversary of the Old Forge mail boat delivery system. Originally the only means to receive mail, the boat service began in 1901 due to the influence of President Benjamin Harrison and Dr. William Seward Webb. Harrison had purchased 10 acres of land from Webb and built Berkeley Lodge on Second Lake.

Using a boat to provide mail service is not unusual for the US Postal Service. In rural communities they continue to use anything from snowmobiles to mule train.

At the Goodsell Museum children are encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the various exhibits. On the ground floor there are glass cases of taxidermy animals but a pack basket set to the side is marked with a yellow circle, handprint and “OK.” Children know anything marked with that symbol is fair game. My children examine all the animal pelts gingerly and even try on a few fox collars. Upstairs they examine some medical equipment in a different “please touch box.”

The Goodsell Museum is free to the public and open all year. Visit the Floating Letters exhibit until October 31st or enjoy the other items that provide an historical blueprint of the Town of Webb. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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, September 20, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Free Museum Day Saturday

Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.

Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.

For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.

Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)

The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.

Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.

There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.

(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)

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, September 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Moose on the Loose in Indian Lake

There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in Newcomb

Teddy Roosevelt Weekend will take place September 10-11, 2011 throughout the township of Newcomb. There will be all the standard fare expected from an Adirondack festival: special food, bake sales and silent auctions. The town of Newcomb has joined together to host a full weekend of activity.

The 15th annual Adirondack Craft Fair will be held at the Newcomb Central School with artisans showcasing their goods from homemade quilts to hand-knitted items. In addition to that will be the chance to explore the area of Newcomb with Teddy Roosevelt (TR).

There will be wagon rides taking place at Great Camp Santanoni with a Great Lodge Open House. Keep in mind that you can walk or bike the 4.7 miles into the camp if you decide not to take the wagon ride. There is also a mini-museum in the Gate House. Teddy Roosevelt was a frequent visitor at this camp owned by the Pruyn family.

There will be float plane rides available but active folks may want to opt for the Goodnow Mountain Interpretation with SUNY-ESF Forester Mike Gooden. Gooden will be available from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Goodnow Fire tower on Saturday, September 10th. The two-mile trail is only 2,685′ but it’s the 60′ fire tower and beautiful views of the Santanoni and Seward Ranges that make it worth the walk.

Newcomb’s ties to Theodore Roosevelt are unique in that in September 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States while taking a stagecoach through the township of Newcomb. While in a receiving line during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, President McKinley was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz. McKinley lingered for a week but died when the bullet wounds became infected with gangrene. The Roosevelt Monument on Route 28N is located at the approximate site that Roosevelt learned he became President.

So this weekend TR will even make a showing along with Adirondack Interpretive Center’s Program Coordinator Paul Hai during an historical tour of the Adirondac Ghost Town and Iron Works Blast Furnace. According to Town Supervisor George Canon, Hai has been instrumental in gathering former residents of Adirondac together to tell their stories of living in this historic town.

“We started Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in 2001 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous ride from Mt Marcy to North Creek,” says Canon. “With the actual time of McKinley’s death we estimate that Roosevelt was right in the township of Newcomb when he became President. We take credit that he was in our community when that took place.”

So besides a bit of history, this weekend can offer some outings whether at Santanoni, Goodnow Mt. or along the Adirondack Interpretive Center’s trails.


Photo of the Teddy Roosevelt Weekend Brochure used with permission of the Town of Newcomb

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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diane Chase: Hurricane Irene High Peaks Closures

It is difficult to believe that a week ago my husband led two different groups over Marcy Dam bridge to climb into the Adirondack High Peaks backcountry. I joined him on a day hike up Marcy and lingered on the bridge to admire the view of Mt. Colden. Now the iconic bridge has been washed away by residual flooding from Hurricane Irene.

With this backlash from Hurricane Irene Adirondack campgrounds are closed and extensive damage continues to be assessed throughout the High Peaks, Catskills and lower regions of the Adirondack Park.



DEC Region 5 Citizen Participation Specialist David Winchell says, “We closed down the trail systems for the Eastern High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain Wilderness regions and continue to evaluate other areas. We want people to understand that by willingly entering the forest preserve hikers may encounter massive blow-down, washed out foot bridges, and landslides.”

Winchell states that the first bridge on the Klondike trail is gone, the Duck Hole Dam has been breached and the trails along the shoreline at Lake Colden are under water. He admits that at this time the number of new slides are too numerous to count. He does list new slides at Wright, Colden-north, Trap Dike, Haystack, Wolfjaws, Dixes and Giant.

“When hikers encounter a bad situation we encourage people to turn around and not press on over treacherous terrain, says Witchell. “We don’t want to be searching for additional people. Our focus is on helping the communities and existing stranded hikers and backcountry campers.”

According to Winchell, the Western and Central Adirondacks have not been as severely impacted by ramifications of Hurricane Irene. Trail closure and campground information will be updated and posted on the DEC trail website.

Marcy Dam bridge has been a landing point for many backcountry hikers as well as a day hike destination for those just wanting an easy 2.4 mile walk from the Adirondack Loj. Phil Brown of The Adirondack Explorer, filed an extensive High Peaks area damage report, places to hike and pictures of the missing bridge.

Remember the first rule of thumb when venturing into the backcountry is safety. There is so much damage around the towns of Jay, Keene, Keene Valley and AuSable that emergency personnel is needed to pursue the necessary clean-up to aid those communities while the DEC continues to do what is necessary to be able to open Adirondack trails for all.

For those wishing to enjoy a family-friendly wilderness experience there are many smaller hikes not part of the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks that are open.

Photo of Marcy Dam bridge used with permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Donnelly’s Ice Cream

A choice is something we (as Americans) are used to getting but with Donnelly’s Ice Cream the one thing you don’t get to decide is the flavor of the day. As the Donnelly’s motto attests, “Please pick a size, the flavor has already been decided.”

Over the years that we’ve lived in the Adirondack Park, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream has been the only reason some groups we’ve led hiking in the High Peaks have made it down the mountain. A beacon to many a hiker, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is a social place as well as ice cream pit-stop at the four corners of Route 86 and 186, commonly known as Donnelly’s Corners, just minutes from Saranac Lake. It doesn’t seem to matter how weary we are on a hike off the mountain we can always manage to muster the energy for a cone of the flavor of the day. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: McCauley Mountain Chairlift

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

There are only 60 chairs on the double chairlift at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, down about 20 from its winter route. All the unused chairs are lined up, freshly painted and repaired waiting for the start of the winter season.

It is a smooth and steady 2,200’ ride to the top. It does seem odd to be riding a chairlift in summer. The children are lined up waiting their turn, pretending they are going to hit the moguls on the way down. We even encounter the prerequisite lost lift item request from a couple already lift bound. We retrieve the shoe and are thankful it’s just a kicked off flip-flop and not a ski buried in the snow.

It is a leisurely ride to the top so we are able to glance around at the view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge and Grey Lake. Our exit is uneventful without the cumbersome addition of ski gear. Cinderella is patiently waiting at top for her lost shoe. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about. The children run about finding playmates to explore the backside of the summit.

Though some people decide to hike the short trek down the mountain, we decide to take the lift back down this time seeing the beauty of the lakes and mountains around us. The leaves have not started to turn but there are occasional indicators that fall will be here soon.

The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are still 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. There is also a large playground and plenty of benches. McCauley Mountain is located in Old Forge. The Scenic Chairlift is open daily (except Tuesdays) through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with shortened hours during autumn. Adults are $6, juniors (6-16) and seniors (+65) $5 and children 5 – under are free.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities with Diane Chase: Wilderness Swimming with Kids

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

One of the greatest privileges in visiting and living in the Adirondack Park is being able to swim in all the natural swimming holes, pools and ponds.

Swimming in ponds and streams can be tricky with small children but not impossible. Being able to go for a refreshing dip in a natural setting is worth a few precautions. Though it is a fun family activity there are a few things to remember before you go.

The first rule is to never swim in springtime when the water is at its swiftest from recent snow-melt and mountain runoff. Each year there are incidences where people of all ages believe that they can outwit Mother Nature and battle the strong currents. Even expert swimmers have been known to drown during these rough, unpredictable times.

Never swim alone and remind children we are never too old for the buddy system. It worked when we were all in summer camp for a reason. In a wilderness setting it is always a good idea for a friend to be there to help.

Depending on your comfort zone, you may want to wear water shoes. Stones can be sharp on tender feet or slippery from algae. We always encourage children to crawl like a crab when crossing a riverbed unless rocks are dry and close together. Keep your body weight low and take your time. Let children explore the area and develop a love for nature.

Bring a swim top. Adirondack lakes and streams can be cold so tuck in that swim top to ward off the chill.

Always have the strongest swimmer perform an underwater sweep of any swimming hole. Just because you jumped off a rock into a wilderness pool last week, doesn’t mean that a tree branch didn’t break off in the mean time. A sunken branch or log can cause serious injury.

If children and adults are used to the clear waters of a chlorinated pool, swimming in the tannin-tinged Adirondack waters can be frightening. One of the largest concerns I find when we guide families is “monsters under the water.” Bring a mask and let children explore underwater. It won’t be as clear as a pool but they will still be able to see enough to stymie the fear factor and be able to explore the underwater native life.

If your child is not a strong swimmer or the current is stronger than usual, bring out that lifejacket. You can always take it off once children are comfortable.

Never push this or any experience. There is certainly enough adventures to be found just exploring along any Adirondack shoreline. Of course, with any wilderness experience swim at your own risk, use common sense and please carry in what you carry out. Enjoy your wilderness experience.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Animal Land

By Diane Chase
Camels, lemars and bears, oh my! Nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Adirondack Animal Land is located near Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County about 10 miles north of Amsterdam on Route 30. Though the physical entrance is listed as Gloversville, the 80-acre zoo stretches across the Blue Line. Over 500 animals wander around, some freely, some not. The mix is from the common mallard to the more exotic lemur with Highlander cattle, Dromedary camel and Adax antelope rounding a list of animals that we are curious to see.

It is hard to know where to begin when we enter Adirondack Animal Land but I trust my children are going to make sure we see “everything there is to see.” Things to know: The 45-acre safari ride is included in your admission but hold onto your admission tickets because you can only go the one time for free. Only cash is accepted so bring your ATM card (there is a machine onsite).

Signs everywhere indicate that all the admission proceeds benefit the care and feeding of the animals, veterinary care, educational programs, special breeding programs and upkeep of this privately owned zoo.

While on the safari ride we are followed uncomfortably close by a camel. The large animal is chewing and looking ready to projectile spit. I move from the back sacrificing the children to any flying saliva.

There are many other animals mixing and mingling but the charmers of the group are the baby potbelly pigs. We learn that all zebras have different markings and see ostrich, buffalo and about 90 other animals I can’t begin to remember.

There are plenty of opportunities to feed the animals but do not bring your own food. There are rules and regulations regarding public feeding of animals to ensure that the zoo animals maintain an appropriate diet and nutritional needs.

There are other opportunities like gemstone mining or pony rides but we pass by to enter the 1800s western-style town. My children wander through each building while my husband and I rest at one of the picnic tables. Bringing a lunch is encouraged as long as you remember not to feed the animals.

The fee is not unreasonable for an all day activity ($13.75/adults and $10.75 for children) and there are online coupons to shave a few extra bucks off the entrance. We are always of the mentality that if we have to pay for an activity; we are going to make the most of it. So when the doors open at 10:00 a.m. we are there to greet the staff and if possible they are sweeping us out the door at closing.

Next week: wilderness swimming with children.
Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park comes to the Adirondacks in many forms this summer from the Adirondack Shakespeare Company’s five-week tour of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) to the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts traveling performance of Romeo and Juliet. The one theatre presentation set apart from the others is The Depot Theatre’s annual Shakespeare program for young people.

For the tenth year Westport’s The Depot Theatre has introduced Shakespeare to those children from 7th grade and older to the wonders of the Baird. Directed and instructed by theatre educators Lindsay Pontius and Scott Gibbs, The Depot Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park do not hold formal auditions but use word of mouth and The Depot website to let interested children know when rehearsals will start happening for the annual Ballard Park performance. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Diane Chase: Getting Kids Hiking

The most common thing I am asked is how do I get my children to go hiking without complaining. The easiest answer is to make the attention about being outside and in nature not having to finish things.

Recently we completed the trail-less Adirondack High Peaks of Street and Nye with my seven-year-old and eleven-year-old and other family members in tow. My elder child ran up the mountain leaving his sibling behind. My daughter dragged in the back, overwhelmed with the responsibility of climbing a much touted 46er.

Having a father as a 46er (10x over) and Adirondack guide specializing in family and young adult trips for over 25 years, our children have grown up climbing, hiking and exploring the Adirondack Park. That does not mean that they do not complain, drag their feet or would rather look for frogs instead of spending a day hiking over rocks and fallen logs.

One thing that families can do to introduce young children to the joys of being out in nature is to take a smaller nature walk.

Children and adults can be easily overwhelmed with the idea that miles of trail are before them. There are many opportunities in the Adirondacks to take a “mini-hike.” Mini-hikes can be any length but I usually think of it as being a hike or walk that is a mile or less one way. By the way, mini-hikes are a great way for any age hiker to stretch his/her legs.

Let children help with the planning. Our children help pack “The Travel Bag.” Each person in our family has his/her own bag or backpack and updates the contents according to the season. No matter how young the children are, if they can walk they can carry something even if it’s an old purse with a granola bar in it. It is just one way to make them about the process.

If they are too young to help make lunch have them help mix up some GORP. (I always learned the high-energy snack as “good old raisins and peanuts.”) Mix a box of raisins and tin of peanuts into one container and shake. Add a favorite cereal, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds for a unique twist. When you stop to have a snack they can proudly state how they helped make it. Perhaps have a competition to name your special mix as you take your walk.

Distract and take the focus off the end result. If the focus is only on the summit the child (or adult) may start self-defeating behavior and miss the point, which is spending time together, enjoying nature and being outside.

My daughter climbed Street and Nye but we took our time. Instead of turning back, forcing her on or feeding into her behavior, all I asked of her is if she could walk until lunchtime. She agreed she could do that. Once lunch passed I asked if she would hike until she crossed a stream and so on. She soon forgot about hiking an Adirondack High Peak and just enjoyed being outside in nature.

Photo: Daughter touching top of Nye © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

This post is an excerpt from Diane Chase’s new guidebook Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks (Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities) available for purchase online or bookstores/museums/sporting good stores July 2011. Diane is currently researching the next guidebooks in the four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities covering the Lake Champlain Region Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga and the Central Region from Long Lake to Old Forge.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Family Day at VIEW

By Diane Chase
The Art Center/Old Forge has transformed itself once again. This weekend the newly named VIEW will host its gala reception to welcome the public to their LEEDS certified green building. The VIEW originated with just one event, the Central Adirondack Art Show, where artists were presented on chicken wire displays on founder Miriam Kashiwas’s front lawn. Now in it’s 60th year it is only appropriate that the Central Adirondack Art Show will be on display for the gala opening of the new building.

From Kashiwas’s front yard, the Arts Guild of Old Forge, Inc. was incorporated in 1967 and eight years later purchased its first building, named Arts Center/Old Forge, to support year-round programming.

Jody Pritchard, graphic Design/media coordinator for the VIEW, says, “Our new name is VIEW. VIEW is reflective of the Adirondack vistas around us, and expresses the personal relationship that people can have with and through the creation of art. People come to the Adirondacks to view, when they come to VIEW arts they can observe the view of others, as well as express a view of their own. We have national exhibitions, performances and workshops that bring in visitors from other communities as opposed to only serving Old Forge, which our old name implied.”

According to Pritchard the move from the old building to the new graced them with an additional 20,000 square feet which allows for expanded workshop and classroom space, a commercial catering kitchen, a dedicated performance space with retractable seating for 200+, and the ability to stagger exhibits so there is always something fresh to see. All located within a green facility with geo-thermal heating, solar panels, recycled tire/metal roof and other energy efficient amenities.

There will be a variety of events happening throughout July 7-10, 2011 with dancing, silent auction, music, BBQ and ribbon cutting. A few highlights: for stamp collectors or those just interested there will be a special commemorative postal cancellation on Friday, July 8 from 10:30 a.m. – noon at the VIEW. On Saturday there is a nature walk hosted by Gary Lee.

Sunday is family day with a visit from the Utica Zoomobile, face painting, clown and the opportunity to tie-dye a T-shirt or pillowcase (provided) for a small fee. Each day there are ongoing workshop demonstrations but on Sunday, artist Joseph Montroy will hold an introduction to iron casting and spectators can watch his students melt iron and pour the molten ore into molds to create sculptures.

The VIEW is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Lake George Fun

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

Fireworks and BBQs are on the roster this weekend as our nation steps up to celebration its Independence Day. Around the Adirondack Park, there will be plenty to do this 4th of July, but in Lake George there’s a whole week’s worth of family activities.

Some activities are for a fee, like the tubing in Lake Luzerne. At Adirondack Tubing Adventures you can tube for $21.95 for adults and $18.95 for children (12 and under) “The Lazy Linx Float” is a guided tubing, rafting, or canoe trip. There are also options for a two-person inflatable kayak or the single person hard bottom kayak. There are three trips a day (10:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m) so reservations are recommended by calling 518-696-6133.

Adirondack Tubing Adventures is open seven days a week so don’t despair; there are plenty of opportunities to get onto the water.

Dane Morton, owner of Adirondack Tubing Adventures, says, “This is our third summer of operations. All the trips are guided but vary in distance. We take all ages from adults to young kids (one and up) accompanied by a parent.”

For a discount to Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom call 518-681-7452. If you prefer adventure, then try one of the ropes courses at Adirondack Extreme Adventure or perhaps a pleasant ice cream cruise on Lake George is more your speed where children 11 and under are free.

There are also FREE activities such as Lego Building and Sand Castle Building Contests.

Of course there are other activities around Lake George such as hiking Prospect Mountain, taking a scenic drive or just enjoying the beautiful Adirondack view!


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane 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) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Scenic RR Summer Events

There certainly is controversy about the Adirondack Scenic Railroad being a viable tourist attraction versus the tracks becoming an interconnecting bike path through the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.

Those that believe the expense, need and usage isn’t warranted are often pitted against nostalgic train riders who want to ride the rails. For now the Adirondack Scenic Railroad is running full steam ahead for the summer season. For parents wishing for a different type of experience, perhaps this is the way to go.

I have never been sure what made my son stop in his tracks when he heard a train’s whistle. Is it a taste of magic, new destinations or a promise of adventure? For us as we board the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and hear the conductor yell “Ready to button up,” it is a bit of each. With our busy lives this is one Adirondack family activity where we really do get to sit and watch clouds go by. » Continue Reading.


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