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, March 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Sleigh Rides

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

The groundhog may not have seen its shadow but I’m still hoping to get a bit more winter activities in before all the snow melts away. One treat we seem to do each winter is an Adirondack sleigh ride. From the beautiful outdoor setting to the old-fashioned activity, it is something that lets us enjoy the mountains together without motors, phones or other media blaring. Each of the location below offers a different sleigh riding experience while sharing an opportunity for us to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

In the southern part of the Adirondacks is Circle B Ranch (518-494-4888) owned and operated by Chris Boggia. The former science teacher wears many hats in the day to day management of the Circle B. From farrier to trail guide, Chris provides a hands on approach to each experience.

Chris even helped construct one of the three traditional sleigh with wood harvested from the ranch. Chris Circle B offers three options; two small sleighs for a more intimate setting or a larger sleigh for groups. Each ride is 30-40 minutes and travels through wooded trails and open fields on the Circle B’s 40-acre ranch. The Circle B has access to neighboring property and utilizes 850-acres for its sleigh and winter trail rides. Reservations are required.

Country Dream Farm (518-561-8941( operates their sleigh rides out of Hohmeyer’s Lake Clear Lodge (888-818-2701). According to owner Melissa Monty-Provost there are many options available.

“Visitors can take a sleigh ride through the wooded trails at the Lake Clear Lodge and then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by the fire or people can stay for dinner or just have an appetizer,” Melissa says. “Recently a group came and did a wine tasting and then out for a sleigh ride.”

Each 30-minute sleigh ride is available on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The team pulls an old-fashioned sleigh through a lantern lit trail through the woods of the Lake Clear Lodge property. They also offer private sleigh rides by appointment and travel off site, depending on the distance.

Once the Lake Placid Club’s golf course is covered with snow, The Equine Center (518-834-9933) moves in to operate its Adirondack sleigh rides. Located right on Route 86 in Lake Placid. Sleigh rides with The Equine Center are from afternoon to early evening.

Owner Travis DeValinger says he does extend hours for those special moments. Each 40-minute ride glides over snow-covered hills with a panoramic view of the High Peaks, Sentinel Range and even glimpses of the Olympic Ski Jump in the background.

Prices vary for each operation so please check each website or call to ask about any discounts.

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, February 22, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Random Acts of Shakespeare

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Random Acts of Shakespeare is a newly formed theatre group with the hope of making Shakespeare accessible through the popular form of “flash mobs.”

Founder and Director April Iovino wants to draw attention to the fact that Shakespeare is not stuffy or boring, that the plays of Shakespeare are as relevant today as they were 400 years ago.

Iovino and the fledging group of 12 or so actors thought that one way to appeal to people would be to perform “flash mob” Shakespeare in various places. Armed with the more mainstream quotes, passages and soliloquies, Random Acts of Shakespeare made its debut during the Lake George Winter Carnival.

Iovino says, “ We decided to start performing scenes and monologues from the passages of Shakespeare that people would recognize. We wanted to demonstrate how popular Shakepeare still is, how Shakespearean plays have gotten into our popular culture without people even knowing it.”

She begins to rattle off well-known pieces in general pop culture, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”, from the play Julius Caesar or Hamlet’s, “To be our not to be: that is the question.” The list goes on.

“Romeo and Juliet is once again being remade and currently in the theatres as a cartoon,” reminds Iovino. “ This was an experiment to see if people were interested. We want to entertain the general public in an unconventional way.

“We are all involved in theatre in some capacity,” Iovino speaks about the other troupe members. “I have a Bachelor’s in Theatre from SUNY Plattsburgh and have worked with Schuylerville Community Theatre and the Hudson River Shakespeare Company. I then asked my theatre friends if they were interested in performing.”

“The idea to start at the Lake George Winter Carnival came quickly and everything fell into place,” says Iovino. “We needed to get dates and times. We needed to get the piece to memorize. We then went to Shepard’s Park by the beach and just started spewing out Shakespeare. I hope it is something we can do in other areas. We hope that other venues will open up to us. We hope to get the information out there, outside of a traditional theatre setting.”

The whole purpose of performing in a “flash mob” format was to expose Shakespeare’s works to the general public in a similar vein as a street performer or performance artist and, judging from the feedback they’ve received, it worked.

To date, Random Acts of Shakespeare’ troupe consists of April Iovio, SaraBeth Oddy, Molly Oddy, Jenelle Hammond, Jeremy Hammond, David Lundgren, Sereh Lundgren, Lisa Grabbe, Jeremy Grebbe, Andy Haag, Nik Korobovsky, Kate LeBoeuf and Sara Lestage

Iovino and the rest of Random Acts of Shakespeare are looking to broaden their scope to include school groups and other venues. Anyone can email or find them on Facebook to set up performances. As Iovino and Shakespeare remind us, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” As You Like It.

Photo used with permission of Random Acts of Shakespeare


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, February 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities on the Jackrabbit Trail

We plan just a jaunt to stretch our legs on the Lake Clear section of the Jackrabbit Trail. We are only going a small part of the nine-mile trail that starts near the Lake Clear junction and ends at the Paul Smith College Visitor’s Interpretive Center (VIC).

We struggle over the steep snow banks that line Route 30, throwing our snowshoes and skis ahead of us. With the recent dumping of snow we have to knock our feet into the snow to make steps up the embankment. We sit on the edge of the snow bank and quickly strap on our skis.

When we reach the Jackrabbit trailhead sign my son notes that we are standing about four feet above the ground. Cars rush past but the tree cover soon muffles the sound. Even on skis we sink into the fresh snow. There are more popular sections to the 33-mile trail but this one fits our needs.

The conditions are perfect. We follow the corridor of telephone poles. Snowmobile and ski tracks are on either side of us. We skirt around the poles trying to avoid the heavy ice that hangs from the lines above.

The Jackrabbit Trail was modeled after the European tradition of cross-country ski journeying. In certain European countries towns are linked with trails allowing skiers to travel smoothly between villages, eating and sleeping along the way.

I’m sure there are people that have completed the whole Jack Rabbit trail in day. We will not be one of them. For families the Jack Rabbit Trail is a perfect opportunity to get out on skis and enjoy the Adirondack backcountry.

Named in memory of Herman (Jackrabbit) Johannsen, the Jackrabbit Trail is constructed and maintained by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. The 33-mile, multi-sectioned cross-country ski trail connects the towns of Paul Smiths, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Keene. The Lake Clear section is accessed about a half mile north on Route 30 from the Route 30/186 junction. There is a small sign across from the old Lake Clear Elementary School.

For more information on the Jackrabbit Trail please contact the Adirondack Ski Touring Council at 518-523-1365.

Photo ©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.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Winter Carnivals

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

When the weather hits the negative digits and my kids are stuck inside for any length of time we, like so many other people living here, look forward to opportunities for getting outside. Though with winter storms, weather warning and family time spent shoveling snow, it may be difficult to remember all the reason why we love the snow.

Festivals, carnivals and celebrations of winter are here to remind us why we choose to visit, live and be a part of the snow. Plus a little competition never hurt anyone. Lake George, Old Forge and Saranac Lake are embracing their winter spirit and inviting people to step outside and enjoy the Adirondack weather.

The Coronation of Carnival Royalty kicks off the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival on February 4th.In its 114 year, Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival’s 2011 theme is Medieval Times. People have been donning their costumes and preparing their serfs (in our case our children) to decide which of the over 80 events to attend.

On Saturday, February 5, watch fireworks over Lake Flower and the lighting of the Ice Palace. From February 4-13, the town of Saranac Lake turns into a medieval fortress of family-friendly activities from a carnival for kids, ski races to treasure hunt. The downtown parade on the 12th doesn’t even finish the array of activities. Sunday brings on cross-country ski races and opportunities to play volleyball or softball in the snow.

McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a weekend packed with winter activity that will remind us why we love the snow. Twelve-dollar lift tickets at the mountain and a parade to celebrate the 10th Mountain Division and other military branches are reason enough to brave the cold and cheer on the troops. Spend some family time ice-skating at the outdoor Joy Tract Road rink or just relax and watch while sipping hot chocolate by the bonfire.

On Saturday, February 5, the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondack will sponsor their 11th Winter Sports Challenge benefiting the Old Forge Community Youth and Activity Center. These snowshoe and cross-country ski activities are held at McCauley Mountain.

Lastly, Lake George celebrates 50 years of Winter Carnival with a month packed with activities. Some weekend events such as face painting and petting zoo are reoccurring while other activities like kite flying, dog sled races and hot air balloon rides are just on specific weekends.

However you choose to celebrate winter, there are so many opportunities to get outside, meet new people and enjoy the Adirondacks.

Photo of the Saranac Lake 2011 Ice Palace 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, January 25, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Sledding in Long Lake

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
We are traveling back home and the kids decide that a unified singing of “Are we there yet” will magically transport us to our destination. They then resort to singing it in the round. I’ve told them if they can just hold it together until we get to Long Lake we can sled down the old Sabattis Mountain Ski Area, named for the Abenaki Adirondack guide, Mitchell Sabattis.

We arrive at twilight and scramble over each other to put on snow pants, gloves and hats. It is a well-choreographed dance and I am grateful for our van’s tinted windows. We are initiating the new Flexible Flyer saucers and the first two people on the slopes get the honor. The town of Long Lake re-graded the old rope-tow ski area and built up a berm around the bottom of the sledding hill to keep any sliders from ending up near the road.

Though there some tire inner tubes available, we use our own sleds. The walk to the top is a bit steep but both children manage to do it without complaint. My daughter finds the perfect sledding technique. She crosses her legs on the saucer and shoots down the slope. She hits the bowl like a top, propels off the bottom onto the side and hugs the lip of the bowl as she spins the whole way down.

My husband and I scramble up the ridge yelling out strategies if she pops over the other side. Each child’s subsequent trip further carves a path into the bowl’s rim creating a mini luge-like run. The ski hill’s lights are still there and illuminate the old run as night approaches. The slick conditions just adds to the excitement. We are finally exhausted and ready for the next stanza of “Are we there yet?”

The sledding hill is just part of the Geiger Arena in Long Lake. Free ice-skating and skates are also available at the nearby rink. Rink hours are Mondays from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Fridays from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.,;Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sundays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. The rink is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

At the Route 30/28N junction (by Hoss’s General Store) continue on 30S for 0.1-mile. The Arena is on the left, on the corner of South Hill Road and Deerland Road, across from the Post Office. Call 518-624-3031 and ask ice attendant Caleb Davis any additional questions.


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, January 18, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities by Diane Chase: Long Lake’s Buttermilk Falls

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™
We are never in that big of a hurry that we can’t take a moment and spend some time on a trail or path. Sometimes the biggest hurdle for family time is to realize that the small moments are just as important. Every outing doesn’t have to be a huge event.

Sometimes the small walks lead to the most beautiful locations. We are beyond the need to plot our destinations based on bathroom breaks, snack or nap times. I hope we never outgrow the need to stretch our legs.

One quick family-friendly outing is Buttermilk Falls in Long Lake, N.Y.

This walk is about 100 yards off of North Point Road. Park the car and it is a short meander in following the wide pathway. In winter, after the first few steps the path turns into a labyrinth of freshly made footprints. The main path leads to the falls. Even in winter the water is being churned over the rocks and looking very much the color for which it is named, “buttermilk.”

This can be a very popular place in summer or winter. It is a lucky day when you have the place to yourself. Boot prints in the freshly fallen snow mark a variety of paths from the base of the falls to the wider river above. Please be careful. The edge of the riverbed is under snow and may look like land but can actually be the water running underneath, making it dangerous for all.

We gingerly step toward the edge, but backtrack quickly when we see the river spouting through a small hole at our feet. We follow the footprints that lead to the head of the falls. Picnic tables are cleared off so we sit for a bit and enjoy the granola bars I pull from my pocket. The Raquette River flows before us and we hear the rush of the falls below.

Though one of the smallest falls, Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful area with pathways fanning out to surround the area. It is a relaxing place where children and adults can sit for a few moments or spend hours just exploring the area. We finish our time with a snowball fight, using the massive roots of fallen trees as cover.

From Long Lake take Route 30/28 south for three miles. Turn right onto North Point Rd (there is a sign for Buttermilk Falls.) Follow North Point Road for two miles, the entrance and parking to the falls will be on your right.

photo of Buttermilk Falls 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, January 11, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Long Lake E-lumination

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

Long Lake native and artist Matt Burnett is bringing one element of his art back to his hometown with fellow artist Scott Fuller. Each has enjoy their own personal artistic successes within their favored medium but continue to stretch personal boundaries with the use of nature’s elements to mold snow and ice with light to create a temporary outdoor art exhibit.

“We like to find a way to represent the flow of nature. I like to do something that will stir up the pot and make people think about what is natural and what is artificial,” say Burnett. “The exhibit will be in two to three locations around Long Lake. It is nice to be able to bring something back to my hometown. They are supportive of new ideas in this small community.”

Burnett and Fuller have collaborated in the past with using winter elements as with the Community Spiral in Saranac Lake in 2008, a large-scale public ice sculpture. This outdoor ice sculpture involved ice bricks and hundreds of lighted tea candles.

According to Burnett the Long Lake project has been over a year in the planning. Already many hours have gone into the concept of E-lumination from the molded geometric snow forms to testing equipment for the projected images. Now the two artists, with the help of volunteers will take the next three days on site to install the outdoor exhibit to create glowing multicolored orbs that will surprise and delight travelers and locals alike.

“I like to create something that appeals to anyone,” says Burnett. “Not everyone is going to ever see the same thing when looking at art. Art can sometimes be viewed as exclusive. I want to work on different levels and the challenge is to be able to relate to as many people as possible.”

Matt Burnett has garnered accolades for his paintings, multimedia studies and environmental events. He is also the co-director of the Graphic and Multimedia Design program at SUNY Canton where he teaches studio art, photography and design.

Scott Fuller continues to work in public installations and new media. Along with other awards, Fuller’s piece with Asherah Cinnamon, Reaching for Courage: Gateway to China was a finalist for the 2008 Bejjing Olympic Sculpture contest. Fuller is an Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

“There will be a game involved. We are tying in elements of history to the region of Long Lake,” says Burnett. “ We are projecting images, some between 70-100 years old, that we hope will be special to the people of the Long Lake and to people that are just passing through. There will be a puzzle for people to try to name all the people and places that are to be projected for the week the project is up.”

Burnett and Fuller will be doing a similar outdoor installation at St. Lawrence University in Canton in February. The sculpture will be seen at the center quad and focus more on the environmental issues of St. Lawrence Univerisity instead of the regional history. Burdett will also conduct a lecture on public and environmental art.

For more information regarding Matt Burdett and Scott Fuller’s art, check out their respective websites. E-lumination is slated to be working this weekend, weather permitting, in time for Long Lake Winter Carnival.

Thie E lumination project is made possible in part from support from the following organizations: The Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks, New York State Foundation for the Arts, The Adirondack Museum, The Town of Long Lake, and Gillis Reality.

Photo: The Saranac Lake Community Spiral, used with the permission of Matt Burnett.


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, December 28, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: First Night in Saranac Lake and Saratoga

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

First Night celebrations offer families an opportunity to bring in the New Year in a healthy fashion. Originating in Boston over 35 years ago, First Night originators wanted to provide non-alcohol related New Year’s Eve festivities. The arts centered event grew from a small community celebration to what now showcases Boston’s diverse culture and art. There are now 200 similarly modeled celebrations worldwide. In our part of the world, Saratoga Springs and Saranac Lake are two such sanctioned events.

For the fifteenth year the First Night Saratoga’s button gets the recipient into all 35 First Night venues and 70 First Night performances and happenings. Events start at 6:00 p.m. at a variety of locations and continue through midnight.

Jackie Marchand, Saratoga First Night coordinator says, “ This is the first year that Saratoga Arts is presenting First Night. The YMCA presented the event for fourteen years and wanted to continue to focus on their fitness programs. The Art Center’s Executive Director felt it was a good fit for an art institution to take over and continue to make art accessible to all.”

“There are new programs to look forward to this year, “ says Marchand.” The theme is ‘Live Creatively’ so we are presenting art in all its forms. There will be something for everyone from film, music, comedy, dance and even interactive visual art.”

Marchard gives one such example of interactive art. Ghost Train, a digital graffiti installation originally featured at Burning Man 2010, is a projected New York City subway train where participants can use an “aerosol can” to tag designs onto the train. Light is used rather than paint.

CDTA buses will run all night for free along the route. There are plenty of parking lots in the city as well as on street parking. The fireworks will bring in the New Year from Congress Park at midnight. A DJ will do the countdown and provide music onsite while people are waiting for the fireworks.

Saranac Lake will celebrate its fifth First Night that continues the tradition of providing non-alcoholic, family-friendly, visual arts oriented activities to all. The $12 button is available at a variety of locations while children (12 and under) are issued a special button allowing them access for free. Opening ceremonies are at the Harrietstown Town Hall at 5:45 p.m.

Puppet shows, storytellers, live music and performers are just a few of the 42 activities at over 12 venues around Saranac Lake. All performances end near midnight so participants can make it to River Street to watch “the snowflake” drop for the New Year’s countdown and welcome fireworks over Lake Flower. There is a community bus available to various locations for $1.00/ride.

However you choose to spend your New Year’s Eve, I wish you a healthy and safe celebration. Happy New Year!


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, December 21, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities:A Christmas Carol at Pendragon Theatre

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
I am finished with my holiday shopping. I can actually hear choruses of angels singing in my head when I say that. I would like to be one of those people that shop early, who sits smugly back and watches the holiday madness. But without last minute consumers like myself, what would happen to the retail industry? I like to convince myself that I am personally causing shops to get “in the black.” I have cooked, wrapped, shopped and supported the local economy to the point where my wallet has cried, “Uncle.” Now it is time for me to take a step back and remember what Christmas is all about. Oh, who am I kidding?

Bah, humbug!

This week Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake will have its final performances of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol before the Christmas holiday. As part of its 30th year celebration, Pendragon Theatre once again returns to a holiday tradition that helps remind us that some gifts come from within.

Pendragon Theatre, the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, started with modest beginnings in 1980. In their 30 seasons, co-founders, a husband and wife team, Susan Neal and Bob Pettee have acted, directed and produced thousands of shows along with the support of friends, staff and community. In addition to productions at the Pendragon Theatre stage, the professional troupe takes performances on the road all around the Adirondack Park. They provide an Arts in Education program, making live theatre accessible to school children around the Adirondacks, as well as internships and classroom study guides.

For those unfamiliar with the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the story is of a resentful old man who has the opportunity to see how his life will turn out if he continues on a path of stingy bitterness. This Christmas classic continues to be retold and reinvented so much that Charles Dicken’s characters have integrated into our everyday language. That mean, greedy person who hates Christmas has become a Scrooge while we are all often visited by our ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.

This year’s production at Pendragon is directed by Kent Streed. The following are members of the cast: Josh Beaudion, Don Carlisto, Schuyler Crankler, Jessica Deeb, Emily DeLancette, Tom Delahant, Scott Eichholz, Matt Eick, Kody Gates, Holly Huber, Jim Kries, Katie Marcinko, Chris McGovern, Leonie Mohrs, Garth Olsen, Natalie Orman, Sean Orman, Bob Pettee, Kate Pettee, Kama Prellwitz , Noel Prellwitz, Barbara Touby, Abby Wolff, Steve Wolff, Arthur Volmrich with understudies Leslie Dame, Kent Streed and Laura Warden.

For me this holiday tradition grounds me to what is truly important, spending time with my family. It is easy to be caught up in the flurry of packages and onslaught of online bargains. When I am visited by my own ghosts I hope they show me a life full of family moments.

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, everyone!”

In a challenging economy people may forget that a gift of live performance is sometime less than the ticket to the latest film. For $10/adults and $8/under 17, performance times are December 21, 22, 23 at 7:00 p.m.

This Pendragon production moves to The Lake Placid Center for the Arts after Christmas (December 27 and 28 at 7:00 p.m.) For reservations at Pendragon Theatre call 518-891-1854 or reservations at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, call 518-523-2512. Merry Christmas!


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, December 14, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: Diane Chase: Author/Illustrator Steven Kellogg

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Children of all ages are most likely familiar with one of the over 100 children’s books illustrated by Steven Kellogg. If you are one of the few unfamiliar with his work the opportunity to right such a travesty is at hand.

Children’s book author/illustrator Steven Kellogg will be in Essex this Saturday along with University of Vermont history lecturer Andy Buchanan to celebrate the holidays with a narration of The Incredible History of Samuel de Champlain’s Cat and Kellogg’s book, The Island of Skog.

Starting at 4:00 p.m. on December 18th, this benefit for the North Country Society for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) will be held at Whallonsburg Grange Hall.

“Steven is a generous supporter of the shelter,” explains Margaret Reuther, President of the Board of Directors for the NCSPCA. “There will be a reading with Andy Buchanan loosely based on the history of Samuel de Champlain’s cat. Steven and Andy wrote it together. It is wonderful. Steven is glorious drawing on the spot. We had done a similar event in the summer and it turned out so well that we thought it would be wonderful to do another near Christmas. One of our goals for the organization is to gain positive feelings for our shelter. We also hope to raise some much needed money.”

In the second part of the evening’s activities, Kellogg will again be illustrating on the spot while retelling his popular book The Island of Skog. The drawings created onsite will be part of a Silent Auction. Kellogg is also donating 50% of the sale of two of his books, And I Love You and The Island of Skog to the animal shelter. Both of which can be personally autographed at the event. Cider and cookies will be served and all proceeds will benefit the NCSPCA.

“The North Country SPCA is the only animal shelter for all of Essex Country, one of the largest counties for New York State,” says Reuther. “Each year we care for over 400 homeless, abandoned and abused cats and dogs. We have an amazing staff that works extraordinarily hard to give loving care to these cats and dogs,” says Reuther. “We give medical care to the animals. We spay and neuter. Our goal is to find a loving family for each and every animal. We are also a no kill shelter. We welcome volunteers. We encourage everyone to come and visit.”

Reuther explains that some volunteers have a specific routine and spend a few hours a week walking dogs or cleaning cat cages. Other volunteers may show up sporadically and help out where they are needed.

“We love volunteers,” say Reuther. “We have people that will come and walk the dogs and foster the cats. Our shelter manager, Pam Rock, is truly extraordinary so anyone interested should call and talk with her. We even have teenage volunteers that will show up after school. It is a great way to help out.”

Reuther understands that not everyone is able to have a pet. Volunteering at the NCSPCA is an opportunity for families and young children to see the level of care necessary for keeping an animal. Allowing children to assist with these homeless animals will help them grow into responsible pet owners.

“I know one family that has been coming with their eight-year-old child every Sunday to walk dogs,” Reuther explains. “We also have an older couple that do not have a dog but they travel frequently so they come two or three times a week. It is a wide gamut of people. ”

The organization does there best to care for “surrendered” animals. Reuther admits the task seems endless. She briefly mentions how the NCSPCA is overflowing with cats. There are no New York State laws pertaining to cats. There are dog control officers but nothing for cats. She encourages people to contact Pam at the shelter whether they have to give up a family pet or have found a stray.

So perhaps all the holiday shopping isn’t yet complete or one more gift can be squeezed into that stocking. Adopting a pet isn’t the only option to help out animals in need this season. To enjoy the reading and watch Kellogg ply his craft live, the NCSPCA asks for a donation of $5.00 per adult while children under 12 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, December 7, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: Charles Dickert Wildlife Collection

Tucked in the lower level of the Saranac Lake Free Library is “the finest collection of Adirondack animals ever gathered in one place.” These animals are not wild anymore or even tame for that matter. The Charles Dickert Wildlife Collection is a one-room museum dedicated to the works of taxidermist, Charles Dickert.

My daughter stands in the entranceway with her jaw dangling open. She has seen mounts before but these are pristinely cared for and arranged and overwhelming in number. We quickly note that not all creatures are indigenous to the area. We ask our son to look for the elephant lamp in the display that we see in an old picture from the Guggenheim camp. He discovers that the black ducks flying in V formation above his head are also in old photos on display. He marvels at the colors of the wood ducks and is curious about the leopard rug. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Holiday Craft Shows

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

I can’t be the only person that hasn’t completed her holiday shopping. Otherwise there would be no need for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Right? I did not venture into the Black Friday madness. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted enough to camp in a parking lot or be part of a stampede. My nieces and nephews are of an age when only a gift card will do while my in-laws appreciate something a bit more edible.

My children pick apart the daily influx of catalogs, circling a wish list that would put the greediest to shame. Through out the gimme-gimmes of the holiday season, I weave in as many opportunities to remind my kids that it is not the price of the gift that makes it special.

I do my best to give them chances to make gifts for their grandparents or earn a bit of money to be able to go pick up something unique. Luckily there are many bazaars, craft fairs and town celebrations that allow just that.

This weekend, events are happening all over the Adirondack Park as towns start stringing twinkle lights and bows in anticipation of the holiday season. There are tree lightings and caroling, craft shows and ranging from Northern Lights Winter Faire (where children can hand-dip a candle or make a gift) to the 23rd annual Sparkle Village weekend craft fair at Saranac Lake’s Harrietstown Town Hall. Wilmington and Keene Valley and AuSable Forks presents “Christmas at the Forks.”

On Saturday, December 4, Long Lake will have various workshops and artist open houses along with a free holiday movie, candy cane hunt and story time. North Creek will have a weekend of events for their annual “Lights One Holiday Celebration.” Eagle Bay (near Old Forge) will host an old-fashioned tree lighting, caroling and gifts for kids on Sunday followed by refreshments at the Eagle Bay Fire Hall.

Ticonderoga has its 5th annual Museum Christmas Store where all area museums gather a sampling of their goods at the Hancock House.

Warrensburg has a town-wide celebration on Saturday from tree lighting to church bazaars and plenty of children’s activities throughout. From 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Thurman Town Hall, help trim the community tree and catch a visiting Santa. If you are in Bolton Landing, Santa will be offering hay rides at Rogers’ Memorial Park at 2:00 p.m., though it will be up to you to explain the numerous Santa sightings around the park this weekend.

This hardly touches on the range of hand-crafted items or activities that will allow children of all ages to participate in a community kick-off to the holiday season.

All in all there are so many happenings that can continue to show all of us that the gift doesn’t have to be made in China or always be the “must have” toy of the year, it can be made by a neighbor or even by our own hands. Enjoy the start of the Adirondack Holiday Season.

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, November 23, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities:Diane Chase: Lake George’s Prospect Mountain

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™
Driving to and past Lake George on Route I-87 I’ve often wondered where the footbridge crossing over the Northway leads. There are always signs or flags hanging over or people waving as we pass underneath. After being able to spend a day in Lake George, we discover the footbridge is one start to Prospect Mountain.

We’ve been told the 1.5-mile trail is steep and can be difficult. We are only wearing sneakers but decide it is worth the attempt if to only cross the footbridge. I am terrified. My children skip across as if huge trucks were not speeding beneath their feet. They gesture to the drivers to beep their horns. They finally look back, realize I am not following and come back to retrieve me.
The path is relatively steep and follows the old Incline Railway that had been used for guests to reach the once thriving Prospect Mountain Inn. The Inn was destroyed by fire, twice. Now all that remains are pictures, a partial fireplace and the cable gears.

The hiking trail follows the railway lines. No remnants remain as any usable metals were removed and repurposed during World War I. The trench that remains is rocky and wet. The slightest rain can cause a washout so we end up skirting the gully for higher ground. We cross the toll road twice before reaching the summit.

Hiking in the fall can be tricky. Fallen leaves can hide ice making for a slippery path. Be cautious. Everyone should be familiar with his/her own comfort level. I had read reports that this trail is not suitable for children of all ages. My seven and ten-year-old had no difficulties. Their only complaint was a desperate need to grill hot dogs at the summit.

For those not wishing to walk, from May – October the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway is open for an $8 per car fee. There are three designated stops along the 5.5-mile drive to pull over and enjoy the view. Once on top picnic tables, grills and bathrooms (in season) are available.

For us, we climb to the summit arriving on a platform that used to house part of the Prospect Mountain Inn. My family does not wait for me to start exploring the various levels and sights.

A beautiful view of Lake George is to the east with Vermont visible in the distance. The Adirondack High Peaks are off toward the northwest. Some visitors say you can see New Hampshire on a clear day.

To get to Prospect Mountain from Route 9, turn west onto Montcalm Street and continue to the end. One entrance to the trail starts here. This short path has information regarding the funicular railway and other fun facts. Walk this brief path to Smith Street, turn south and walk on the street for about 200’ to a metal staircase that marks the highway overpass. There is some parking on Smith Street near the staircase. The trailhead register is on the west side of I-87.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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, November 16, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities:Lake George is taking the Special Olympic Plunge

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

Swimming in the heat of the summer can be a chilly affair in the Adirondacks. For the next few months, people across New York State will be cooling off by taking an icy plunge in support of Special Olympic athletes.

“Last weekend our first Polar Plunge in Plattsburgh was met with great success.” says New York Special Olympics Associate Director Kaila Horton. “ Between 200-220 people plunged raising over $22,600 dollars in support of the athletes. The Polar Plunge is one of our big fundraisers of the year for Special Olympics.”

Horton says that the cost of training and participating in the Special Olympics each year runs about $400 per athlete. All the coaches are volunteers and work through local Special Olympic Training Clubs, which allows other athletes and students to get involved on a local level. Horton wants to make sure that everyone knows that if there isn’t a local training club, the headquarters will help start one and recruit volunteers and local athletes.

The format for taking a plunge for Special Olympics is easy. Each individual is asked to set a fundraising goal. The suggestion is the $400 cost to send one athlete to the Special Olympics. Sometimes teams are formed but it’s individuals that raise money to enable the athlete for the upcoming games.

The Polar Plunge on the schedule is this weekend in Lake George. For the fourth year Lake George is “Freezin’ for a Reason” November 20th at Shepard’s Cove. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m. with a noon start time to an icy dip into Lake George.

“This is the first time that I’ll be taking the plunge. We have a large team of about 25 people,” says Max’s Buddies Team Leader Lisa Jackoski. “We have a whole mish-mash of people ranging from the Lake George School Superintendent to my mother. There are even people I’ve never met that are on our team, friends of friends that said they would do it. I am astounded by how many people are willing to participate in this.”

Jackoski is not only team leader, but also mother to fifteen-year-old, Special Olympian Max Jackoski. She has a personal understanding of the importance participation has on these athletes. Max took part in the Track and Field event in Queensbury last year and now plans on branching out into either skiing or swimming.

Last year students and teachers from his school made Max a huge banner that read ‘LG [Lake George] Loves Max.’ When he arrived for his event the sign was hung on the fence for all to see.

“I think most people are unaware of how much the Special Olympics costs,” says Jackoski. “Surprisingly there are still people that don’t know the Special Olympics exist and that it is free for the athletes. I saw Max’s friendships blossom through being part of this program. I saw his self-confidence grow due to the Special Olympics.”

Max finished his event last year and asked if he won. “I was able to tell him yes,” says Jackoski. “The Special Olympics really embraces that philosophy that everyone is a winner. Before each event they say their motto, Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

She is already looking for ways to grow her group for next year. The Max’s Buddies Team has surpassed this year’s fundraising goals with $2,000 so far raised.

For those not willing to risk the chilly Adirondack waters of Lake George, spectators are encouraged for the Lake George Polar Plunge.

The Special Olympics Polar Plunge logo was used with permission


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, November 9, 2010

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Youth Summit at the Wild Center

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Thirty high schools, colleges and universities have gathered together for the 2nd Adirondack Youth Summit held at The Wild Center (Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks) in Tupper Lake. The two-daysummit has been a successful means for students, educators, administrators and staff to work together to build a realistic, achievable plan to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Through partnership schools learn, formulate and implement ideas regarding climate change.

“Jen Kretser, Director of Programs at The Wild Center invited members of my Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class to attend the Adirondack Climate Conference held at The Wild Center in 2008 which created ADKCAP (Adirondack Climate and Energy Action Plan),” says Tammy Morgan, Lake Placid High School teacher. “My students were the only young people there. The conference mostly consisted of business people in the area that were coming together with not-for-profits and legislators to figure out a way to make the Adirondack Park a carbon neutral model.”

Morgan enthusiastically talks about how her students branched out to attend the various panels and workshops to achieve a broad spectrum of information. Morgan got more than she wished for. Not only did her students actively participate with adults that may have been intimidating to some but one her students, Zachary Berger, addressed the conference by getting to the heart of an ongoing issue, how to engage youth in climate change.

“At the end of the two-day conference there was an open space for discussion and Zachary stood up and brought up the fact that all weekend people were trying to find ways to engage young people but weren’t giving students a venue to do just that. He felt that students needed a place to be able to discuss and implement change.”

From that stand, many hours and volunteers, the Adirondack Youth Summit was born. That initial year each school set goals to achieve change. Some goals worked while others didn’t but most schools reported a high success rate by keeping goals simple and attainable.

After attending the Summit, Clarkson University created its new Institute for a Sustainable Environment while North Country Community College students developed a campus-wide recycling program. Other schools created composting programs, school gardens, and carbon reduction plans.

This year Lake Placid is just one of the schools at the Wild Center for the next two days. The other schools are Canton High School, Clarkson University, Colgate University, CV-TECH, Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School, Green Tech Charter High School, Indian River High School, Keene Central School, Lake Placid High School, Little River Community School, Long Lake Central School, Malone Central School District, Massena Central High School, Minerva Central School, Newcomb Central School, North Country Community College, Northwood School, Ogdensburg Free Academy, Paul Smith’s College, Plattsburgh High School, Potsdam High School, Salem Central School, Saranac Lake High School, St. Lawrence University, St. Regis Falls Central School, SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Potsdam, Troy High School, and Tupper Lake High School.

The Summit will continue tomorrow, November 10th with all plenary sessions streamed live and available for future viewing.With an improved website, schools not in attendence are able to form action plans and given educational tools to start helping lower costs and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

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. 


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