We’re in a fiscal mess. State officials have talked about closing parks and campgrounds, Forest Preserve roads, and the Visitor Interpretive Centers in Paul Smiths and Newcomb.
But I haven’t heard them talking about shutting down the tourist train that runs between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.
The state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to keep the Adirondack Scenic Railroad in operation. The railroad operates two tourist trains: one out of Lake Placid and one near Old Forge. The latter accounts for the bulk of the railroad’s revenue. » Continue Reading.
I’m happy to announce that local journalist and WNBZ news director Chris Morris will be the newest contributor here at Adirondack Almanack.
Chris was born and raised in Saranac Lake and got his start in journalism as a stringer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise’s sports department. He graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2006 with a degree in English writing and religious studies and covered the Malone beat for the Malone Telegram.
Chris then moved to Vermont and took the editor’s position at the Vermont Times Sentinel, a weekly paper distributed throughout Chittenden County. From there, he went on to take the news editor position at Denton Publications and later joined Chris Knight at Mountain Communications as assistant news director of WNBZ radio. When Chris Knight left WNBZ to join the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Chris took over as news director – a position he currently holds. At WNBZ, Chris reports on Tri-Lakes and Adirondack region news and occasionally contributes at North Country Public Radio and for other upstate publications.
If the Morris name sounds familiar to regular readers, it should. Chris’s dad Don Morris has been a contributor on Adirondack paddling here at the Almanack for some time.
Saranac Lake has more art galleries than bars now, with the opening of the Upstairs Gallery, at 80 Main Street, and The Fringe, at 63 Main.
Peter Seward, of Lake Placid, in May opened Upstairs Gallery as a display space and painting studio; if he’s there working, it will be open. The Fringe is the creation of Saranac Lake High School art program graduates Jessica Jeffery (Class of 2001) and Eric Ackerson (Class of 2002). It features their work as well as that of other local artists. There are now seven galleries in the village. The downtown anchor is the Adirondack Artists’ Guild, representing 14 regional artists at 52 Main, next to the local art supply store, Borealis Color. Tim Fortune’s Small Fortune Studio, and Georgeanne Gaffney’s studio, both displaying paintings, are up the street. Across the street the Blue Moon Café usually has an exhibit, as does the Cantwell Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, at 109 Main Street.
Walkers can follow the tracks back to Union Depot, or drive to the depot (near Stewart’s) to visit 7444 Gallery. On the other side of town, Pendragon Theatre not only brings year-round drama to the Adirondacks but displays art in its lobby.
Third Thursday ArtWalks feature visual arts as well as performances all over town, 5–7:30 pm. There will be a Plein Air Festival in August, and the 4th annual Artist at Work Studio Tour the last weekend in September, including 17 studio locations inside Saranac Lake.
This week you can check out some bluegrass, Beartracks and the Gibson Brothers are gigging. Mecca Bodega is a fun band to dance to – I really enjoyed them the last time the passed through the area. There’s also a good open mic to remember in Canton and if you didn’t get the chance Armida is being shown once again in Lake Placid. I’m also curious about the JUNO award winner playing in Lowville. Please let me know if you find out anything about the bands where there is no information to be found online. Thursday, May 6th:
In Canton, Open Mic at the Blackbird Cafe with host Geoff Hayton. Sign up is at 6:30 and show starts at 7, it runs until 9 pm. Best performances are picked to be part of a CD released later this year. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
In Plattsburgh, Beartracks, which consists of Junior Barber, Tom Venne and Julie Venne Hogan will perform at the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship of Plattsburgh. The doors open at 7 pm and admission is $10. For more information, email:email@example.com .
Friday, May 7th:
In Ellenburg, the Gibson Brothers are in concert at The Northern Adirondack HIgh School. Doors open at 6 pm. For more information email:firstname.lastname@example.org or call (518) 497-6962.
If you ever wanted to plan a multi-day paddling trip on some of the Adirondack’s best water routes, the next few weeks are a prime time. Only fall-foliage season beats early spring for sheer perfection.
You’ve got long, sunny days. Even the most popular lakes around, such as Long and Lower Saranac lakes, are mostly free of power boats. And the bugs won’t come out in earnest for another two to three weeks.
After multiple canoe trips this time of year, I’ve found the only thing I miss are the leaves, which had not yet budded during an early-May trip to Long Lake. Having done a trip a few weeks later, where we had leaves but also black flies, I think I’d take the bare trees. However, know that even if it’s the heart of black-fly season, if temperatures are cool enough the bugs will not be a problem. » Continue Reading.
This weekend one has the opportunity to see Renee Fleming in the title role of “Armida” the Rossini opera now playing at the Met in NYC. Now, not only can you see this spectacular show in Potsdam but LPCA has jumped on the Live in HD experience and I, for one, can’t wait to check it out.
A calendar of upcoming events follows: Thursday, April 29th:
In Canton, Best of Open Mic CD Release Party at the Blackbird Cafe. The show runs from 7 – 9 pm.
Friday, April 30th:
In Lowville, Bruce Robison, a “Texas songwriter”, gives a concert at the Lewis County Historical Society. This is presented as part of the Black River Valley Concert Series and starts at 8 pm. Tickets are $18/22 at the door. For more information email: email@example.com .
In Blue Mountain Lake, a Student Recital and Art Exhibit will be given at the Adirondack Lakes Center For The Arts. The reception will begin at 6:30 pm. This is a family friendly event and tickets are $3.
In Tupper Lake, the Adirondack SingersSpring Concert is at the Holy Name Church. The concert runs from 7:30 – 9 pm for a suggested donation of $5/3. Please call (518) 523 – 2238 or 891 – 5008 for more information.
In Saranac Lake, the Adirondack SingersSpring Concert will be held from 2 – 4 pm at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church. Suggested donations are $5/3. Please call (518) 523 – 2238 or 891 – 5008 for more information.
In Queensbury, the Lake George Chamber Orchestra will be performing Beethoven’s 9th at 9 pm. This concert will be held at the Queensbury Campus of the Adirondack Community College. The theater is in the Humanities building.
Earth Day isn’t about weaving a hair shirt, though it would enable me to recycle all my golden retriever fur. It’s not about singing Kumbaya around the campfire and filling the neighborhood with air and noise pollution. To our family it is a day to remember that we are only guests here. Most people, we hope, treat everyday like it’s Earth Day.
My family’s Earth Day tradition is cleaning the trailhead of one our favorite hikes. We have found some crazy things tucked along the edges of the parking lot of Ampersand Mountain. Some have been personal items that I had difficulty explaining to my son, which only reinforced the importance of wearing gloves. The deer carcass would have been easy to justify in nature, except its remains were still wrapped in a plastic bag. Beer cans and cigarette butts are sadly a normal sight.
Making changes in our lifestyle can be daunting. Sometimes all we need to do is make a small step. The Adirondack Green Circle is trying to help people take those steps so that every day can be about the earth. It can be as seemingly insignificant as bringing a canvas bag to the store to limit the production of plastic bags or as simple as learning where food comes from.
Where food comes from? If a product’s label takes a biochemist to decipher then we need to question what we are putting in our mouths.
For the second year, Adirondack Green Circle is holding its Wake Up Film Festival, showcasing documentaries directed at tracing our food and garbage.
Founder Gail Brill says, “We have lined up different movies that explain where our commercial food comes from. The first film will be appropriately shown on Earth Day, Thursday, at Pendragon. Food, Inc. demonstrates how broken our food system is. We will also have copies of Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules as well. Part of our mission is to promote local food so Jen Perry of Farm to Family Food Network will be there to talk about where to get local food.”
Brill explains a few common sense rules from Pollan’s book like, “If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it is made in a plant, don’t.” Some of the movies are not for the very young so check out the website for age recommendations. Brill has screened the films and found them age appropriate for high school and beyond.
Brill and some other members of Adirondack Green Circle are carrying their garbage around with them all this week to start a garbage conversation. w
“People say they throw their garbage away,” Brill continues. “Where is away? Away is in our ground water, away is in our ground, away is in our children.”
This experiment will culminate at the North Country Community College Junk to Funk Show. She encourages others to take the challenge and see what happens when “throwing garbage away” gets close and personal.
So there are some simple ways to help the environment, limit our trash and maybe leave a trailhead a bit cleaner for the next person.
Members of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee have picked “Medieval Times” as their theme for the 2011 Winter Carnival. The decision was based on results from a recent online poll posed to readers of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise Web site in which two of the four suggested themes rose to the top of the results: Celtic Carnival and Renaissance Faire/Middle Ages. The other themes were Circus/Under the Big Top and Space Alien Invasion. More than 700 votes were tallied during the week of March 15. “There were a lot of great ideas suggested for the 2011 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, but, in the end, we could only choose one,” said Committee Chairman Jeff Dickson. “And we believe that the community will rally behind our centerpiece, the Ice Palace, and make the ‘Medieval’ Carnival fit for royalty – our king, queen, prince, princess, court, and maybe a few jesters.”
Committee members thanked the dozens of people who suggested themes for 2011, the hundreds of people who voted, and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for posting the question on its Web site.
The next meeting of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee will be in September. The 2011 Winter Carnival will be held February 4-13, 2011.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, Inc. is a not-for-profit group of volunteers dedicated to organizing an annual mid-winter festival during the first two weeks of February. This 10-day, communitywide event traces its roots to a one-day Carnival held in 1897 by the Pontiac Club. The Carnival honors its heritage every year by building an Ice Palace from blocks of ice harvested from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay, where Carnival events have been traditionally held for generations. For more information, visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival web site.
Photo: An early Saranac Lake Winter Carnival (Saranac Lake Free Library).
April is a quiet month around the Adirondacks and music events are harder to come by. Many folks use the school breaks and in between weather as an chance to get away. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the Blackbird Cafe which seems to be stepping it up in it’s musical offerings. It’s a bold move to make a CD of your best open mic talent. It is a very good bargaining chip to get talent out of the living rooms and onto a stage. Thursday, April 1st:
In Canton, First Thursday of the Month Open Mic at The Blackbird Cafe. Hosted by Geoff Hayton sign up is at 6:30 pm and it runs from 7 – 9 pm. The best performances will be collected for a CD to be released later this year.
In Schroon Lake, Mike Leddick will be at Witherbee’s Carriage House Restaurant. The address is 581 Route 9 and the guitarist singer starts at 6 pm.
Friday, April 2nd:
In Canton, A Fine Line will be at The Blackbird Cafe. Bill Vitek on piano and Dan Gagliardi on bass make up this jazz duo. They will be playing from 5 to 6:30 pm and admission is free.
Saturday, April 3rd:
In North Creek, Fingerdiddle will be at Laura’s Tavern. They start at 9 pm. This is a local band and unfortunately that’s all I can find on them. Has anyone seen them and can you give us a hint as to what they are about? They play quite a bit so someone must like them.
In Saranac Lake, Open Minded Mic Night at BluSeed Studios starts at 7:30 pm, sign up is at 7 pm. Admission is $3.
In Lake Placid, Anne of Green Gables the Musical will be performed at LPCA. It starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are $10 for adults $8 for students. Friday, March 19th:
In Tupper Lake, Annie will be performed by the high school musical club. Admission is $7.
In Lake Placid, Anne of Green Gables the Musical at LPCA.
Saturday, March 20th:
In Lake Placid, Anne of Green Gables the Musical at LPCA at 11 am.
In Saranac Lake Roy Hurd will perform for the benefit of the Northern Lights School at 7 pm. The benefit is at BluSeed Studios and includes a silent auction, tickets are $15. Call: 891 – 3206 for more information.
In Tupper Lake, Annie at the high school at 7 pm. Admission is $7.
Pendragon Theatre is once again offering its year-round subscriptions with some bonuses added in celebration of their 30th year anniversary. The line-up is expansive and for anyone who wants more live theatre in his/her life there are discounts available to make that possible.
Between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011, Pendragon will offer 11 productions. Productions that are set are an adaptation of Jungle Book, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Constance Cogdon’s adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff, a return engagement of Orson’s Welle’s Moby Dick Rehearsed, and a return engagement of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged). The annual holiday show and fall production are still in the process of being finalized. Another facet of the 30th anniversary, Adirondack only year-round professional theatre, is a “Pendragon Alumni” staged reading for one night only, July 17, 2010 with a reception. There will also be Cabaret Evenings – songs from past Pendragon productions and the New Directions Series – showcasing up-and-coming directors and playwrights.
“We wanted to offer these subscriptions as a celebration of our 30th year and as a thank you to the community, a payback for all the support over the last 30 years,” says Managing Director and Pendragon Co-Founder Bob Pettee. “We hope that people will also be able to come to more performances and understand the variety we have.”
“We feel like you don’t get the full effect of what we do unless you see a range of performances. Some people ask or want to know what the one ‘best’ show is to see. I want people to know that all the shows are well crafted and together offer the audience diversity.”
Pendragon is a repertory theatre, showcasing a range of musical, dramatic and comedic material with a professional resident cast. There will be six different performances happening continuously throughout this upcoming summer season along with various other special events.
“Being a repertory allows us to perform a variety of plays. A full-length play is just that full length [with different acts and usually an intermission] while something like Jungle Book is considered a one-act as New Directions is a series of one-act plays,” says Pettee. “We also have an alumni event and about five different cabarets throughout the season.”
“The 3 for $30 subscription is for three events so you can use it see whatever you want throughout the year. People are only allowed to purchase one of these so if they want to see that fourth play, it would be full price. The year-round subscriptions save people money. If someone wants to see all 11 productions the subscription ticket price is almost half price, about $10 a ticket from the regular $20 adult price. A subscription gives people an inexpensive way to experience all that we have to offer.”
“What we want most of all and the reason why we made the subscription price so reasonable is we really want people to come in and understand the breadth of the stuff that we do at Pendragon.” Pettee says. “Seeing more than one event is critical to that understanding and the cheapest way is to buy a subscription.”
Pettee acknowledges all the Pendragon supporters, “The only reason we are still here is because of our supporters and the community. People have shown us they want live theatre by coming to the theatre for all these years.”
Pendragon Theatre is located at 15 Brandy Brook Lane, Saranac Lake. 518-891-1854. Regular ticket prices are $20.00 for adults, $17.00 for seniors and $10.00 for those under 18 years of age. Other productions: Jungle Book, New Directions, The Holiday Show: ages 15 and up/$10.00, under 15/$8.00. All Full Length Matinees are $12.00 (also Cabarets and Alumni Readings)
Subscription only apply to Pendragon Productions at the Pendragon Theatre location, not tour locations or special events. Subscriptions are prepaid admissions, non-transferable and do not assure you a seat. Reservations are required. Year Round: All 11 events (including Moby Dick and Shakespeare) $120 Year Round: All 9 events $100 The 5 Show Summer Full-Length: $70 Special 30th year deal: “3 for $30” = 3 events for $30 (restrictions do apply. Only one/person/season) Good for any combination of full length, cabaret, alumni event, etc…but just three events.
*As a matter of full disclosure I am a board member of Pendragon Theatre but also a parent on a budget. If you have never attended Pendragon Theatre before the “3 for $30” would be a good opportunity to save some money and see three shows. If you attend or wish to start attending more frequently, a year-round subscription will benefit your pocketbook.
Nine Olympians from Lake Placid and Saranac Lake were welcomed home like heroes and friends in Saranac Lake this afternoon. Here are some of the photographs we took. It was a great event. Congratulations, all.
Here is a link to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise story, with wonderful photos. Super Nancie Battaglia photos are mixed with her Olympic shots on NCPR’s site.
Photograph of Ursula Trudeau of Saranac Lake carrying an Olympic boquet replica
The village of Saranac Lake will hold a parade for local Olympians at 4 p.m. this Friday. Nordic-combined skier and medalist Billy Demong of Vermontville, biathletes Lowell Bailey and Haley Johnson of Lake Placid and and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, ski jumper Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake, lugers Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake and Mark Grimmette of Lake Placid, and bobsledder John Napier of Lake Placid will be among honored guests.*
The parade begins at the Post Office on Broadway and winds down Main Street to the Harrietstown Hall, where a ceremony and autograph-signing session will be held. Local kids from Saranac Lake’s schools, Mount Pisgah downhill ski area, Dewey Mountain cross-country ski area and other organizations will also march. The event had originally been planned for March 13 but was changed to accommodate the schedules of the athletes, whose competition season is not over. The Saranac Lake Women’s Civic Chamber is the primary organizer. The Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce are partners. Contact the chamber if you would like more information (518-891-1990).
*Other Olympians may be in attendance—to be updated.
Photograph of the Harrietstown Hall with banners depicting Mazdzer, Demong, Burke and Frenette.
For the ninth year the Cabin Fever Film Festival will be hosting classic films in Saranac Lake each Wednesday in March. Organizer Tim Fortune says,“ We are now located at the John Black Room of the Saranac Lake Laboratory. It is a great venue. This is our third location since we started nine years ago. We started at the Hotel Saranac and had one season at Pendragon Theatre. With the setting of this historic building and showing these old classic movies gives the John Black Room the intimate feeling of a home movie theatre.”
For the first time the Cabin Fever Festival committee has chosen a slightly different format. In past years the Festival consisted of a short film or cartoon and a feature film. This year on Wednesdays, episodes of the 1932 serial Heroes of the West will be shown along with six cartoons and comedy shorts. Each evening will then be a continuation of the “cliffhanger” ending from the previous show of Heroes of the West.
“We are showing all shorts,” says Fortune. “W. C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, Our Gang, Buster Keaton as well as a classic cartoon each night.”
“We have always been fortunate in the past with local sponsors. Putting on Cabin Fever is very expensive. This year Cape Air has generously sponsored the whole festival with Compass Printing providing the posters and programs.”
Along with Fortune, four other volunteers meet to brainstorm about the Cabin Fever Film Festival schedule and provide multiply duties to pull off the event each year. Fortune credits Bruce Young, Chris Brescia, Danny Ryan and Charles Alexander with making the Festival happen.
“We are all volunteers and any profit goes toward supporting other arts endeavors like the Third Thursday Art Walks that run from June through September,” says Fortune.
Across the street from the Saranac Lake Laboratory, Executive Chef of the Robert Louis Stevenson Tea Room Les Hershhorn, is creating a special weekly buffet for those interested in “Dinner and a Movie.”
Hershhorn states, “There will be a new menu each week. We will feature various international buffets for $25 per person. This week we have a Spanish cuisine with a chicken and sausage paella, salad, vegetable dish, home baked breads and dessert. Last year during the Film Festival we did a Mexican buffet, Indian night and other international flavors. The buffet starts at 5:30 and reservations are required.”
Hershhorn wants everyone to know that children are welcome and to please ask for pricing when making the reservations. He expects more families to come this year because of the “shorts” format of this year’s Cabin Fever Film Festival.
The Robert Louis Stevenson Tea Room, 78 Church Street, and the John Black Room of the Saranac Lake Laboratory are linked in history. The RLS Tea Room was the original home of Dr. Hugh Kinghorn one of the original founders of the RLS Society of America. The Stevenson Society’s goal was to preserve the Baker Cottage (where Stevenson spent time while attempting to recover from TB while in Saranac Lake), original manuscripts and a collection of his artifacts. Across the street the Cabin Fever Film Festival takes place in Dr. Trudeau’s laboratory, now the home to Historic Saranac Lake. Dr. Trudeau was not only a renowned physician but a pioneer in Tuberculosis research and a founding member of the Stevenson Society as well.
General admission is $6.00 per film or $25.00 for all five; Students and seniors are $5.00 or $20.00 for all five while children twelve and under are free. Subscriptions may be purchased up to the first day of the series, March 3. The film starts at 7:00 p.m. each Wednesday in March at the Saranac Lake Laboratory 89 Church Street. For more information call Tim Fortune at 891-1139.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee recently held its annual wrap-up meeting on this year’s “Adirondack Cowboys” Carnival, held Feb. 5-14, and began planning for the 114th Winter Carnival by discussing themes for 2011.
The Feb. 17 meeting at the North Country Community College Board Room began with a presentation of “Don’s Memorial Slide Show,” a digital slide show produced by Carnival photographer Mark Kurtz featuring photos of past Committee Chairman Don Duso, who died Jan. 10 at the age of 78. There were images of Duso cutting ice blocks for the Ice Palace, as Carnival king, and as chairman, a post he held from 1986 to 2009. Singer/songwriter Roy Hurd provided the program’s music bed with a song called “Wild Mountain Cowboys,” which he wrote specifically for this year’s event. The slide show was first presented during the Feb. 9 Grand Marshal Dinner; Duso was named grand marshal for the 2010 Winter Carnival.
Current Committee Chairman Jeff Dickson announced that photos from the 2010 Winter Carnival, taken by Mark Kurtz Photography, can now be purchased online through a Shutterfly account (saranaclakewintercarnival.shutterfly.com). People can also have their choice of photo put on a variety of objects, such as mugs, puzzles, magnets and mouse pads. All proceeds will benefit the Winter Carnival Committee. Photos uploaded to the web site will include dozens of images that never made it to the Winter Carnival Slide Show, and some of the 2009 photos are available.
Members of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee expressed their sadness that King Frank Camelo injured his ankle during the first weekend and was unable to attend many of the Carnival functions, including the Gala Parade. They also commended Queen Carol Reyell for toting around a “King on a Stick” (a wooden stick with a life-sized photograph of King Frank attached to the top) during the events he missed.
The Committee was particularly pleased by the community’s reception to the new web site, which was continually updated during the Carnival; the opening of the Winter Carnival Museum, temporarily located next to Lakeview Deli; the live broadcast (and rebroadcast) of the parade on Time Warner Cable Channel 2; the Ice Palace web cam, launched on Tim Baker’s web site (www.adksearch.com); and the fact that Carnival, once again, brought needed tourism dollars into Saranac Lake.
“Thanks for the No Vacancy,” said Edie Stanish, Committee member and owner/operator of Amanda’s Village Motel.
Several themes were suggested for 2011 and more will be considered. The public is invited to make their suggestions by contacting a committee member or submitting their thoughts through the contact mechanism on the web site. As was done last year, the committee will make a first cut and submit several options to the public in an informal survey through the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
The next meeting of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 at the NCCC Board Room.
The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Committee, Inc. is a not-for-profit group of volunteers dedicated to organizing an annual mid-winter festival during the first two weeks of February. This 10-day, communitywide event traces its roots to a one-day Carnival held in 1897 by the Pontiac Club. The Carnival honors its heritage every year by building an Ice Palace from blocks of ice harvested from Lake Flower’s Pontiac Bay, where Carnival events have been traditionally held for generations. For more information, visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival web site at www.saranaclakewintercarnival.com.
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