Almanack Contributor Kim and Pam Ladd

Kim and Pam Ladd


Sisters Kim and Pam Ladd recently self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they also conduct research for their next project, Happy Hour at the 19th Hole. With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack Park's "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her husband and daughter live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer whose sports images regularly appear in the Adirondack Journal. She has a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her family.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: BARRED!

IMG_9512“You’ve been Barred!” – the dread phrase contestants at the first ever BARRED! Bartender Challenge did not want to hear. Twelve bartenders from near and far showcased their talents at Basil & Wick’s in North Creek on November 15, hoping to bring trophy and bragging rights back to their bar.

The best ideas are often born when least expected. A casual Happy Hour in the High Peaks board meeting agenda listed the question: Can we do something interactive with an upcoming book reading gig? Whether through inspiration or by blatant theft, we were not surprised when the concept of a Chopped style competition materialized. Based on the Food Network’s popular reality series in » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: Trashed & Treasure

WLGS2014 sofaHappy Hour in the High Peaks was off the wagon (in a manner of speaking) as Warrensburg’s World’s Largest Garage Sale rolled into town. Rain or shine, good cheer follows wherever we go. This time it was in the form of a Radio Flyer Town & Country wagon, converted to a portable pub carrying a cargo of Garage Sale Punch. We will neither confirm nor deny its potency. Costermongers with innocent grins, we towed our little contraption from one end of town to the other and back again. Self-declared “Yard Sale Crashers”, we pursued the Garage Sale party. Despite our attempts to blend in, the three-gallon cooler jug and plastic » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: Paradox Brewery, Schroon Lake

Paradox_ExtFree beer – today! There’s no sign making that claim, but Paradox Brewery in Schroon Lake gives away beer samples all day long. Try one. Even better – try them all!

Located at 154 State Route 9, the Paradox Trail is well marked. A giant trail marker is tacked to the front of the log building and a roadside trailhead sign informs the distances to both the brewery and the tasting room. The brewery, a short hike of .015 miles from the edge of Route 9, occupies the ground floor. The “best climb in the Adirondacks” (the tasting room) is upstairs in the back, an additional .004 miles up, though no specialized gear is required » Continue Reading.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Garrison, Lake George

GarrisonLG_extShrouded in nostalgia from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, we reviewed the old Garrison for the Adirondack Almanack in 2011 as research for our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide.

In 2012, the Garrison closed and a “For Sale” sign went up. We weren’t surprised, but remained hopeful that someone would come along and resuscitate the iconic landmark before it was declared legally dead. When we prepared the epitaph for Adirondack bars dearly departed, we knew the Garrison would be back, so it was excluded from the RIP page in the book. Only a few short weeks ago, The Garrison on Beach Road in Lake George took a deep breath, » Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sticks & Stones, Schroon Lake

Sticks&Stones_extSticks & Stones Bistro & Bar in Schroon Lake was just a twinkle in the eyes of owners Steve Holmes and Gary Tromblee when we were wrapping up the selection of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park. The doors opened at the same time as our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, hit the market. We recently visited Sticks & Stones and walked away knowing they were a “High Peak” in our book. A Happy Hour MacNaughton.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

High Peaks Happy Hour: Rum Runners Weekend

RumRunners1Nearly a century ago, the bootleg trail from Canada to New York City ran smack through the Adirondacks. Bootleggers risked life and limb transporting locally distilled hooch and smugglers ran whiskey from Canada, eluding dry agents and spawning crime and corruption. Chestertown and its surrounding communities recently commemorated this period in history with related activities.

It was a damp and drizzly Thursday night at Warrensburg’s Luck E Star Cafe where the Greater Warrensburg Business Alliance hosted a 1950s-era Car Hop. Among the vendors, we hawked books and passports as the drama unfolded. Those gathered were whisked from the 1950s to the roaring ‘20s when a carload of rumrunners screeched into the parking lot and piled out » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

High Peaks Happy Hour: Drinking is Popular Again

PopularWe’re back! Winter found us sequestered at Pammy’s Pub finalizing (and editing, editing, editing) bar reviews for Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide. Add to that the preparation, primping, and posing of 46 cocktails for their close-ups, and it’s easy to see why we’ve been absent. Spring coaxed our creativity with a marketing plan and promotion schedule. Summer put us on the road throughout the Adirondacks, selling and signing wherever we were welcome.

With all that attention to detail and embellishment, the realization hit. The current trend toward drink artistry, rather than guzzling gluttony, has led to a focus on flavor and presentation. Complicated preparations, the use of local and » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

High Peaks Happy Hour: 2012 Annual Report

Whether measured as 9,375 square miles or as 6.1 million acres, we can vouch for the fact that the Adirondack Park is huge. We covered most of the main roads in the park, visited nearly 120 bars and clocked over 5,600 miles since we began our project in January, 2011, to find the best 46 “High Peak” bars in the Adirondack Park. The farthest distance traveled one way was 110 miles to Cranberry Lake. Many others were very close to that distance in any direction. Pam, a self-proclaimed excellent driver, logged most of those miles while Kim served as navigator, photographer and chief note taker.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Think Local. Drink Local.

We’re hearing it more and more. Don’t just shop local, eat and drink local too. A prevailing theme in the Adirondacks is, “We need snow. If we don’t get any this winter, we might not be here next year!” With so many bars and restaurants supported by tourism in summer and winter, we need to help them stay afloat in between. Think of the number of times you’ve passed a restaurant or store and thought I really have to check that place out, only to find it closed for business on your last drive by.

Grace’s Restaurant in Warrensburg is one of the places we wish we had frequented more often, but we were » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes

After years of kitchen drudgery and dishpan hands, all of a sudden everyone wants us to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Provided, of course, WE BRING THE DRINKS! Pammy’s no Julia Child but she can do a throwdown cocktail that’ll make Bobby Flay take notice! Creativity is all you need to shake up the traditional feast. Just keep the menu in mind. Compatibility with the flavors of the meal is important. Compatibility with family members or other guests is something we’re not qualified to help you with, but a few tasty beverages might not hurt.

We’re not sure how it goes at your house, but we always have a plethora of snacks » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: JC Montana’s, Lake George

Though only a few tables remained on the Mediterranean style raised terrace at JC Montana’s in early November, it was obvious that this would be a great place to sit and relax on a summer day. Located in the center of Lake George on Canada Street, just across from Shepard Park, JC Montana’s affords an opportunity to enjoy food and drinks with friends, watch passersby or listen to music either on site or from the nearby park.

The sandwich board outside boasted a plentiful array of seafood specials and the smells from the kitchen as we entered the restaurant and bar made it difficult to pass up. Instantly greeted by the bartender, » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: What Makes A Good Bar

We’ve visited well over 100 bars in the Adirondack Park on our quest for the best 46 bars in the Adirondacks, what we have termed as the 46 “High” Peaks. When we began our search, we didn’t have any preconceived notions about what would make a bar a 46-er. We have since chosen most of those 46. No two are exactly alike, and none has fit any absolute standard. A major factor in our determination, however, was that most people would feel comfortable at this bar.

That criterion works both ways, in that some may be too haughty for most people, inasmuch as some may be too divey.  Honestly, there were very few too » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Baxter Mountain Tavern, Keene

We certainly felt like we’d covered every main route in our travels through the Adirondacks, but if it weren’t for several referrals to Baxter Mountain Tavern in Keene, we might have missed this one. Its location on Route 9N, between Elizabethtown and Keene, eluded us. We’ve traveled to Elizabethtown, then back, and have been through Keene numerous times on our way to Lake Placid and beyond, but never connected the dots. One more reason to abandon the GPS and find your own way.

Recommended to us by numerous hikers, the Baxter Mountain Tavern was obviously well known to so many others – locals, seasonal residents and tourists. As afternoon turned to evening, » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Our First Recipe Trial

Fourteen volunteers bravely responded to the first drink tasting at Pammy’s Pub, official drink lab of Happy Hour in the High Peaks. Representing a broad age range, from 21 to 70, equal numbers of male and female participants* were asked to rate five different samples of beverages for possible inclusion in our book.

More primate than lab rat, these subjects, when let out of their cages, exhibited animated enthusiasm rather than fear and complacency. Male respondents were observed to be less inclined to consume fruity or complicated beverages, while females participated in all trials. We’re not quite willing to share the formulas for each trial, but will try to convey the overall theme with » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Charlie’s Inn, Lake Clear

Escape the great camp style so overdone in the Adirondack Park and step into a true Adirondack bar at Charlie’s Inn and Restaurant on Junction Road in Lake Clear. Dating back to 1891 when the Lake Clear Junction station was built, history of the common traveler permeates the pub. Walls cluttered with memorabilia from every decade of its existence represent those who have come before. Look past the lottery and snack vending machines and feel the echoes from the train station across the road. Imagine the rum runners making their way to and from Canada, stopping in to share stories, to eat, to rest, to engage in their commerce.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Ole Barn, Inlet

It’s so BIG. If that isn’t your first impression when you enter The Ole Barn on Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, then you must be from Texas or Montana. Bearing a ranch theme with wagon wheels, oversized ceiling fans and rough pine booths and walls, it feels like a bar that should on a dude ranch, not the stand-alone bar that it is.

Nearby Limekiln and Eighth Lake state campgrounds bring many patrons, but it is the snowmobilers in the winter that fill it to its capacity of 300. It reminded us of summer camp. Or what we imagine summer camp must be like.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Cowboy, Lake Placid

The Cowboy was one of the more interesting finds after a couple of disappointments during our second visit to Lake Placid. Though seemingly a restaurant with a bar, we were excited when presented with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant has an equally interesting dinner menu, but that’s just wasted on us.

Neil, the bartender, extremely knowledgeable in his trade, seemed to know a lot about the variety of liquors they carry, and is possibly responsible for the overall diversity behind the bar.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Liquids and Solids, Lake Placid

What was beginning to feel like a wasted (no pun intended) trip to Lake Placid finally began to take a turn for the better. Originally arriving too early, we returned to Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar on a recommendation. We had considered skipping it after two of the three previous bars proved to be disappointing, but we weren’t sorry we backpedaled to give Liquids and Solids a proper review.

The long bar stretched out a hand in greeting, which we accepted. Lights with bare bulbs, painted dark, hung over the bar, adding a mysterious light for early afternoon. Eggplant colored walls breathed calm as they showcased their quirky and intriguing artwork. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Thirsty Moose, Childwold

Where have all the young people gone? Having spent 19 months reviewing bars, taverns and dives in the Adirondacks, the thought had crossed our minds, but we never vocalized it. We just assumed they came out later. Like vampires. Not during the afternoon and evening. Not during Happy Hour. Or maybe they just restricted themselves to larger venues like Lake Placid and Lake George.

We found them one Wednesday afternoon in July, at the Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub in Childwold, somewhere between Cranberry Lake and Tupper Lake.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: P-2’s Irish Pub, Tupper Lake

The brick building, trim and neat, stands just feet from the sidewalk on Main Street in downtown Tupper Lake. P-2’s Irish Pub, illuminated in red and green neon, replaces its former moniker, Al’s Lounge. Inside, a suit of armor standing guard at the pool table silently observes our entrance.

Dimly lighted with amber pendants and recessed spotlights, the interior’s Irish pub characteristics gradually come to light. The curved bar a rich, dark wood with red padded front, shows signs of its age and character. Old cigarette burns mar the top, scars of forgotten conversations and decades of good times. Arrow back bar stools match the studded green faux leather walls, padded for » Continue Reading.



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