The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced the route for Cycle Adirondacks — a week-long road bike tour through the Adirondack Park scheduled to take place August 20–27, 2016. This will be the tour’s second year; registration is now open.
The 2016 route starts and ends in Hadley-Lake Luzerne, NY, and includes overnight stops in Ticonderoga, Keeseville, Saranac Lake, Indian Lake and Northville. There will be a “layover day” in Saranac Lake where riders can pedal an optional route that tours Lake Placid or take a day off the bike to enjoy the amenities available in the Olympic Region. » Continue Reading.
One of the real pleasures in researching and writing When Men and Mountain Meet was exploring the actual sites of the historic places mentioned in my book: the little town of Castorland on the Black River, the LeRay Mansion at Fort Drum, Gouverneur Morris’ Mansion at Natural Dam and David Parish’s house, now the Remington Art Museum, in Ogdensburg. And then there was finding Zephaniah Platt’s grave in the Riverside Cemetery in Plattsburgh, in Lake Placid the site of the 1813 Elba Iron and Steel Manufacturing works , Charles Herreshoff’s flooded iron ore mine in Old Forge and the complex of building foundations that made up John Thurman’s 1790 development at Elm Hill.
There was one site, however, that was a little harder to locate than the others; Sir William Johnson’s fishing camp “Fish House”. » Continue Reading.
This summer and fall, by land and by water, I was on the lookout for invasive insects at the Sacandaga Campground and invasive plants in Lake Algonquin. Surveys are one component of a suite of tools that help protect the Adirondacks’ natural resources. When infestations are detected in their early stages, fast action can be taken for management or even eradication.
Invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars each year. Without the checks and balances found on their home turf, they can rapidly reproduce to outcompete native species. Invasive insects can threaten maple syrup and baseball bat production, nurseries, agriculture, and forest health. Infested trees are costly to remove and limbs may fall on power lines, homes, or cars. Aquatic invasive plants can degrade water quality, inhibit boating, and overrun fish habitat. » Continue Reading.
National Trails Day was on Saturday and I had the pleasure of helping crews on the new section of the Northville-Placid Trail. We stayed at Northampton Beach campground on Great Sacandaga Lake. It was a fun weekend and the trails are looking great.
The voice of the woman on the other end of the phone was laden with concern. She called to report a possible infestation of Eurasian watermilfoil in the outlet of Sacandaga Lake, just past the Route 8 bridge in Lake Pleasant. I took down her contact information and told her I would check it out.
That evening, my husband and I loaded up his Carolina Skiff with a glass jar full of water to collect a plant sample, a cooler to keep the sample cold, and an aquatic plant identification book. The sky was streaked with ominous clouds against a low, red sun, and the boat ride would have been enjoyable if I were not so anxious to get to the plant bed. Images of benthic mats and hand harvesting SCUBA divers flashed before my eyes, and my thoughts turned to the expensive cost of milfoil management that could take years to successfully eradicate. According to a 2003 study, New York State spends an estimated $500,000 to control Eurasian watermilfoil each year. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is preparing a recreation management plan (RMP) for the 3,200-acre Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands in Fulton County.
Public involvement is sought in the development of the recreation management plan. DEC is seeking information and ideas that will lead to clearly stated goals and objectives for the care and stewardship of these lands. Everyone with an interest in the area is encouraged to participate in the planning process by providing information and suggestions for its management. » Continue Reading.
Beneath the ice that covers our many lakes during winter, there exists an arena in which fish prowl their surroundings for something to eat and attempt to avoid being eaten by a larger predator. One species, when fully grown, that never has to worry about being attacked and gulped down by another creature of the deep is the northern pike. This sizeable, torpedo-shaped beast reigns at the top of the food chain in most lakes and larger ponds scattered throughout the Park. » Continue Reading.
In a field bordered by forested hills and rocky ridges, Dan Plumley unfurled a zoning map of the Adirondack Park. The color-coded map was a reminder of how much private land lay before him, and how potentially fleeting the natural views from Marcy Field could be.
He pointed to a bald patch on Corliss Point above the valley, where lights from a house inconspicuous by day blaze into a flying saucer at night, one of many signs that growth in the backcountry is creeping higher.
“Hundreds of thousands of people drive by on this road every year,” said Plumley, gesturing toward Route 73. “They see this view and think it will always be there. I’m here to say that the way this land-use plan is being implemented, the transcendental beauty and ecological integrity of this scene is in jeopardy.” » Continue Reading.
A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake George, the Saratoga Region & Great Sacandaga Lake (Blackdome Press, 2012) is the latest effort by Albany writer Russell Dunn, a licensed guide and author of 10 books on the great outdoors of eastern New York and western New England. The guide includes detailed directions, information on launch sites, maps, GPS coordinates, photographs, safety and comfort tips, a wealth of historical and geological information, and directories of paddling outfitters, organizations and clubs.
The 352-page book features 58 paddling adventures in the southeastern Adirondacks, including Lake Desolation, the upper Hudson River, Lake George, Lake Luzerne, Great Sacandaga Lake and the Sacandaga River, the Champlain Canal and Glens Falls Feeder Canal, Kayaderosseras Creek, Round Lake, Saratoga Lake, and Ballston Lake. » Continue Reading.
Late afternoon daylight waned as I rounded the meander of the Sacandaga River that entered Duck Bay and paddled up to a gentle rapid. Turning my kayak around for my home voyage, I took a couple strokes and just about had a heart attack. There on the shore grew a small clump of gorgeous, yellow flowers. I instantly knew it was invasive yellow iris. A series of fortunate events shows how early detection / rapid response works to nip invasive species infestations in the bud. » Continue Reading.
Looking to expand our research to the outer reaches of the Adirondack Park, we set the GPS for Northville and opted for the scenic route through Stony Creek to Sacandaga Lake. Low speed limits and even slower drivers allowed us a leisurely opportunity to observe the views around the Sacandaga and glimpse the lakefront homes. Sport Island Pub, our targeted destination, proved to be easy to find. Its lakefront location, barely off the beaten path, is surrounded by summer homes. Decks on two levels visible from the parking area, wood sided with three dormers poking through the roof, the textured cinder block building left us curious about what we would find inside. » Continue Reading.
Melba Mae’s was one of the few places we visited in the wee hours of the night (9 p.m.). Although the hand painted Melba Mae’s Riverview Inn sign is a bit difficult to read, the lighted message board in front touting the weekend’s band lineup is a beacon to passersby traveling along North Shore Road near the Conklingville Dam in Hadley.
Our visit to Melba Mae’s was prompted by recommendation from people we’d met at some of the Luzerne area bars we reviewed, as well as the fact that Kim’s husband is a member of the Ralph Kylloe Band, Melba Mae’s entertainment that night. The parking lot adjacent to the inn was full, but plenty of parking was available along North Shore Road. We wondered whether that was a good idea in the wintertime. We entered through a side door, greeted by pleasant cooking smells, quiet chatter and a friendly and cheerful bartender. Kim looked over the beer lineup while Pam checked out the cocktail specials. Plenty of draft and bottled beers are offered. A Davidson’s brown ale, named Aurora Borealis, caught Kim’s eye. She hadn’t heard of that one. Manette, the bartender, explained that it was Davidson’s generic brown ale, and the establishment is allowed to create its own name, this one after the owner’s daughter. Pam settled on a vanilla white Russian. When we asked Manette about the white Mexican, she explained that it was the result of an accidental switch of tequila for vodka. The customer liked it, so they decided to keep it.
Family and community seem to be predominant themes at Melba Mae’s. Greeting cards, drawings, old email jokes, and handwritten menus on day-glow paper are posted all over the wall behind the bar. Melba Mae’s sponsors several community benefits and events throughout the year, hosting holiday parties and dinners; the St. Patrick’s Day party, featuring free corned beef and beer specials, is the biggest celebration of the year. During the summer months, Melba Mae’s is a popular charity bike run stop. Luzerne music camp counselors gather to let off steam and rafters make it an annual tradition.
Melba Mae’s is the kind of joint where you don’t feel like you have to take your shoes off at the door. It feels “lived in”, with low ceilings and hardwood floors. The walls are a combination of sheetrock, pine and blackboard. The L-shaped butcher block laminate bar comfortably seats 16 and several tables provide seating for 20 more along a windowed wall. A small patio provides an outdoor area to enjoy the view or escape the noise. An unusual feature is a separate smoking room, which, surprisingly, doesn’t leak tobacco smells into the main bar area.
Setting them apart from most establishments, the kitchen is open during all operating hours. If the bar’s open, the kitchen’s open. The menu consists of the usual bar fare – burgers, wings (accompanied by their homemade bleu cheese dressing), fried seafood, “Bands ‘n’ Beans” award-winning chili, sandwiches and salads.
Melba Mae’s has been owned by the current owners, Linda and Don for the past 19 years and is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday noon to midnight. Tuesday is Open Mike night, with live entertainment on Friday and Saturday. If you go, leave your credit and debit cards at home. Melba Mae’s is a cash only bar, though they anticipate adding an ATM in the near future.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.
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.
Northville is one of the few places that is not on our way to anywhere else in the Adirondack Park. With overnights planned in both Lake Placid and Old Forge in the next two weeks, most places are on the way to or beyond either one of them.
The drive through Hadley and the town of Day along the Great Sacandaga Lake was alone worth the hour and fifteen minutes. Pam was on a trip to Virginia, so I flew solo on this one. However, I did allow my husband to chauffeur. The Timeless Tavern sits on Main Street in Northville amid a row of storefronts in what appears to be a timeless town as well, reminiscent of a Look Magazine Hometown USA spread. Both village and tavern were pretty deserted, understandable at mid-afternoon, but the tavern was open, or almost open. Their hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday; closed Monday. The bartender seemed to be getting the bar set up so it may not have been quite 4:00 when we went in.
The bar area is spacious with lots of natural pine; neat, well lighted, and with simple decor. Several tables, simply and elegantly covered with matching linens, are positioned in the tavern, a few next to windows; the others far enough away from the bar to be able to enjoy dining but close enough to be in on the action. The bar menu features sandwiches, burgers, specialty salads and light entrees in the $10.00 to $12.00 range, while the restaurant entrees are all priced between $17.00 and $25.00. Flagrant Red Sox and New England Patriots fans, owner Tom’s New England accent betrayed his allegiance as we asked where the Yankees memorabilia was. We’ll overlook it.
I made an immediate trip to the ladies’ room. Contemporary and spotless but otherwise unremarkable. When I returned, my husband commented on the men’s room, uncharted territory for me. Displayed over the urinal is a glass case containing several jokes for a gentleman’s amusement, at the expense of we women, I’m sure. Doesn’t the task at hand (so to speak) require some sort of attention? How does one steady the stream while pee(r)ing around the room? Just saying.
An inspection of the beer cooler divulged at least thirty bottled brews, including six or seven Sam Adams choices alone, the usual domestics, and even Molson Golden, which we didn’t even think was still produced. Yuengling, Blue Moon, Sam Adams seasonal and a couple of others rounded out the beer list. The bar is well stocked with several flavored vodkas, Jack daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jeremiah Weed, Maker’s Mark and American Honey to name just a few.
The Great Sacandaga Lake region of the Adirondack Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and seasonal visitors, though not as commercial as other areas like Lake George and Lake Placid. The Timeless Tavern is open year round and is accessible by snowmobile in the winter. The beer is cold, the staff is friendly and the menu is varied, though a little pricey.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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