Friday, October 19, 2012

Reducing Weight of Backcountry Meals

Exploring the Adirondack backcountry is hard work. Vaulting over downed logs, crossing streams on beaver dams, pushing through dense vegetation and constantly swatting away hordes of biting flies requires a massive amount of energy. Since this energy derives from food carried into the backcountry, it is important to maximize calories while simultaneously reducing its weight in the backpack.

Food connoisseurs may insist on a fresh and/or extravagant menu, even in the backcountry. These food snobs go to outlandish lengths to carry the oddest foodstuffs regardless of weight or practicality. In my many years of backpacking, I witnessed numerous strange selections in the wilderness, such as pounds of sandwich meat, jars of spaghetti sauce, bags full of raw carrots, cans of oysters and even a square egg maker (although no square eggs ever emerged). Most backcountry adventurers are practical folk, and thus avoid carrying a heavy food load, if possible.
» 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 haughty. As we work toward our final reviews for our upcoming book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, we hope to be able to convey what can be expected at each of these Adirondack bars.  Each will offer varying atmosphere and amenities, but all have the potential for a good time.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Warren Co Master Gardener Training Program Set

Applications are being accepted for the training that will begin in January 2013. The program is open to anyone who has an interest in expanding their gardening experience and knowledge. Participants learn to improve their own gardens and landscapes, including scientifically-based gardening information in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Making Homemade Pastrami

This past spring I was making the rounds of some local garage sales when I stumbled on a great find- a barrel meat smoker in pristine condition for only 20 bucks. This particular smoker is a really basic, just a metal barrel with three racks, a pan for water to keep the meat tender, and an electric element at the bottom on top of which you place the wood chips.

Serious barbeque enthusiasts out there would probably scoff at my little smoker, but given the the dirt cheap price and the fact that I had never smoked anything in my life, I figured it was a good way to get started. I followed this purchase by buying a copy of The Joy of Smoking and Salt Curing by Monte Burch. If you have any interest in tackling the art of smoking meat and fish, I highly recommend this little book. The instructions are very clear and concise, and it covers all the most basic points of the science of meat preservation.
» 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, the bar, restaurant and deck filled with expectant diners. With at least eight people at the bar, our foursome filled it to capacity. Sarah the bartender was kept busy between serving the bar customers and preparing drinks for the diners, but always kept up the smile and attentiveness to all. As Baxter’s got busier, she referred our questions to the owner, Dave Deyo. Equally busy greeting and seating guests, he graciously managed to share information with us. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Local Foods: All Those Cherry Tomatoes

Last weekend I stopped in at a little roadside vegetable stand down the road. I was hoping to get a couple of end-of-season bushels of tomatoes to can for this winter’s tomato sauce. Unfortunately, I was a little too late for the larger saucing tomatoes.  Luckily, there were still a few long rows full of cherry tomatoes on their last legs – and free for the gleaning!

Thirty minutes later I walked away with a bushel of beautiful red cherry tomatoes. After the excitement of having acquired so many tomatoes for free wore off, I was suddenly struck with the cold, hard reality of a full bushel of cherries needing to be used quickly. » 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 a description of our intended impression. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fort Ticonderoga’s Chocolate Covered History Symposium

A weekend-long celebration of chocolate, wine, and spirits, will be held October 12-13 at Fort Ticonderoga’s “Chocolate Covered History” Symposium. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the origins of chocolate and its role in the 18th century military history of Fort Ticonderoga.

The weekend event combines wines, spirits, chocolate, and history and includes a Veuve Clicquot Champagne and dessert reception, full day symposium, and gala dinner. Breakout sessions will provide opportunities to taste various foods prepared using American Heritage Chocolate, an authentic colonial chocolate recipe made only from ingredients available in the 18th century, made by Mars Chocolate. » 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. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Oktoberfest Celebrates Foliage Season at Whiteface

The 21st Annual Whiteface Oktoberfest, in Wilmington, N.Y., is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29-30. During the two-day festival, includes family activities such as original vendors, arts and crafts, children’s amusement rides such as a hayride and inflatables, Bavarian food, drink and entertainment.

Whiteface Oktoberfest will offer traditional German music from Die Schlauberger, performing under the entertainment tent outside the base lodge each day and Ed Schenk on the accordion. The Cloudspin Lounge also features music from Schachtelgebirger Musikanten (Scha-Musi) and, performing at their forth Oktoberfest, will be Spitze and The Alpen Trio. » Continue Reading.


Friday, September 14, 2012

This Weekend: Inlet’s 19th Annual Fall Festival

The 19th Annual Inlet Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 15th from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday, September 16th from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at Fern Park on South Shore Road.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Dave Ruch on Saturday 11:45 AM-1:30 PM & 3:15-5:00 PM. Dave Ruch is a special musician and performer widely noted for his ability to engage audiences of all kinds. Gwen & Jim Tracy will perform on Sunday 11:15 AM-1:00 PM & 2:15-4:00 PM. Fifth generation Adirondack resident Gwen Tracy sings a blend of blues and folk music and has been performing in the region since 2000. She performs as a solo act and also with a variety of musicians. In 2004, along with her friend John Kribs, she formed the blues-rock band Delia. Gwen and her dad Jim often play as an acoustic duo. Her latest endeavor is a four piece acoustic band that includes her dad, mom Bonnie and her husband Chris Deuss. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Frost Advisory Issued For Adirondacks

The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for tonight (Monday, Sept 10) for the southern and western Adirondacks, including Northern Warren, Hamilton, Herkimer, and Fulton counties and Southeastern St. Lawrence, Southern Franklin, and Western Essex counties.  A frost advisory means that frost is possible. Temperatures are expected to be generally in the mid to lower 30s. Near freezing temperatures and areas of frost will damage unprotected crops and tender vegetation and sensitive outdoor plants may be killed if left uncovered.

Tom Kalinowski wrote about the impact of the first frost on Adirondack plants and wildlife last year.

Ellen Rathbone wrote about the impact on frost on garden plants in 2009.

The Almanack frequently posts the latest weather advisories on our Facebook Page.

Read more about Adirondack weather here.


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. » Continue Reading.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Adirondack Food Events: Harvest Time And Our Economy

It’s Harvest Time in the Adirondacks and events are planned across the region that feature locally-grown foods and local farms. The local food and farm economy is a growing part of Adirondack economic life as more residents and businesses choose local food first.

Over the past several years new farmers markets have sprung up in communities across the region. In Chestertown, a new weekly farmers market is bringing 500 people a week into the village. Local business people are praising the effort, the Grand Union has added staff for the Wednesday market, and local restaurants are seeing increased lunch business. “This is the biggest thing to hit Chestertown in 20 years,” one long-time businessman said at a recent town meeting. » Continue Reading.


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. » Continue Reading.


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