Posts Tagged ‘Saratoga Springs’

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hague’s Rick Bolton: A Life in Music

“As a young man, I was chasing a dream. As I got older, I realized the ultimate gig was a mile down the road, playing with and for my friends and then going home to my wife and kids. That’s really making it.”

That’s local legend Rick Bolton’s idea of a successful career in music, and by that definition, he’s made it.

From playing in garage bands on northern Lake George, where he traveled to gigs by boat because he was too young to drive, to touring out west, only to return home and help launch a thriving music scene in Saratoga, Rick Bolton has led a life in music and found the music that reflects his life.

“I grew up in Hague,” he recounts. “When summer hit, we got some culture, but not not enough to hurt us. I buried myself in my room in winters and learned to play guitar. I listened to the Beatles and the Stones, and I worked backward toward the music’s roots. I got lucky. I was exposed to old time guitar players, banjo players and fiddlers, here and in northeastern Vermont where I went to college. That’s the music that makes sense to me.”

Those traditions have found their way into the music he’s been playing for the last forty years, with bands like the T-Bones, northern Lake George’s favorite dance band, Rick Bolton and the Dwyer Sisters (which includes his wife Sharon and her sister Molly) and Big Medicine, which will perform in Lake George Village’s Shepard Park on July 28.

“I’m a tavern singer, I make no bones about that, but I love playing town concert series,” said Bolton. “You have a chance to mix it up with towns people and tourists; they’re better venues than taverns for playing original tunes and trying different takes on cover material. They’re always a lot of fun.”

Bolton characterizes Big Medicine, which consists of Jeff and Becky Walton, Tim Wechgelaer, Arlin Greene, Mike Lomaestro and Bolton on guitar, as “classic Americana; we cover a lot of bases – swing, rhythm and blues, rock, folk.”

Musicians younger than Bolton and from such unlikely places as Brooklyn and Somerville have re-discovered the acoustic roots music that Bolton has been playing for most of his life. In fact, they’re popular draws at the concert series in Shepard Park.

Rather than disparaging the young bands’ grasp of the traditions or resenting their intrusion upon fields he’s tilled for decades, Bolton welcomes their enthusiasm.

“It’s awesome, they’re bringing they’re own influences to bear on the music, just as we did, and they’re taking the music back to the garage, where it started,” says Bolton.

Although Bolton still has his day job with Warren County, he’s performing nearly every night with one band or another.

“We had 27 or 28 gigs scheduled for July, and June was just as busy,” he said. Bolton has lived in Saratoga for the past twenty years. In the last six years, he says, “the music scene has just taken off.”

“Sooner or later, a place just gets touched,” he says. “It happened to Austin, Texas, it happened to San Francisco. I can envision the same thing happening to Saratoga. Within blocks, you can hear jazz, acoustic folk, blues or rock. There are a lot of influences, conducive to vibrant original music. There’s a definitive Saratoga style, and there’s an audience for it.”

A sampling of that Saratoga style can be heard soon on “Saratoga Pie,” a compilation of Saratoga bands that Bolton has helped produce as a benefit for the Saratoga Center for the Family.

“There’s a lot of money for the arts in Saratoga, but often places that serve people don’t get the attention they need. There are battered women and abused children in every town in the Adirondack Park, but people never talk about that,” he says, explaining the purpose of the album. “They need our help.”

As Bolton describes it, Saratoga’s music scene is not that different from Hague, where, he says, everyone knew everyone else’s business, but everyone looked out for one another.

That’s probably why Bolton’s happier there than if he had stayed out west. He may be “only in it for the beer,” as the title of a recent CD puts it, but he’s made a full, rich life out of it.

Photo: Rick Bolton (left) with Big Medicine.

For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror


Thursday, March 4, 2010

ADK Music Scene: Legends On Friday Night

Friday March 5 brings the musical legends to the Capital District. Dave Mason and Leon Russell are playing a show together at the Hart Theater at The Egg in downtown Albany. Dave Mason was a founding member of Traffic and recorded with other legends such as Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Leon Russell has been touring since the 60’s and has been featured on more studio albums by major artists than you can shake a stick at. The same night, Richie Havens is at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady. Richie is of course most famous for his performance at Woodstock in 1969. If you’ve never been to Proctor’s, this would be a good night to go. The theater is absolutely beautiful and luckily has been saved from the wrecking ball more than once.

Thursday, March 4

Classic Rock / Reggae influenced Fingerdiddle is at Trapper’s Tavern in North Creek from 7-10pm. This is a fun two-piece band with a guitar and drummer. Look for them sometime Whitewater Derby weekend as well.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Finger-Diddle/185969906157
http://www.copperfieldinn.com/events.asp

Friday, March 5

Another duo with guitar and drums – Sirsy is at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 9pm. There is an opener.
http://www.sirsy.com/
http://www.putnamden.com/

Red Molly will be playing two shows at Caffe Lena in Saratoga, one at 7pm and one at 9:30pm. Caffe Lena’s website says they are “Called “a cross between the Dixie Chicks and O’ Brother, Where Art Thou’” this hot NYC trio blends their voices on irresistible songs by Gillian Welch, Iris DeMent and Hank Williams, adding in bluegrass standards, old-time southern gospel, and classic American tunes. You simply can’t hear them without falling in love.”
Tickets are $20 at the door.
http://www.redmolly.com
http://www.caffelena.com

Eat, Sleep, Funk plays at 20 Main in AuSable Forks at 10pm.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eat-Sleep-Funk/162026102287?v=info
http://www.myspace.com/20main

Dave Mason & Leon Russell at The Hart Theater at The Egg in Albany 7pm.
http://www.leonrussellrecords.com/
http://www.theegg.org/

Richie Havens at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady at 7pm.
http://www.theegg.org/
http://www.eighthstep.org/8thstep/Home.html

Tim Herron Corporation at Slicker’s in Old Forge at 9pm.
http://www.timherroncorporation.com/fr_index.cfm
http://www.myspace.com/slickers_tavern

Saturday, March 6

Tim Herron Corporation at the Monopole in Plattsburgh at 9pm.
http://www.timherroncorporation.com/fr_index.cfm
http://www.monopole.org/

Jimkata at The Putnam Den in Saratoga at 9pm.
http://www.myspace.com/jimkatamusic
http://www.putnamden.com

Jen Gadway is a solo singer/guitar player who will be playing at Laura’s Tavern in North Creek at 9pm.
http://www.laurastavern.com

Wednesday, March 10

Vinnie Leddick at barVino in North Creek at 7pm.
http://www.barvino.net

Photo: Courtesy of Leon Russell


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adirondack Music Scene:Open Mic, Fiddle and Guitar Tunes, Thumping Bass Lines

I wouldn’t miss the Open Minded Mic Night at BluSeed Studios tonight. Always an interesting and fun night out. The performances are kept to a two-song or seven-minute maximum so the night moves along at a comfortable pace. It’s a great way to support local musicians and poets, and this one has the lovely Celia Evans hosting.

Staying inside the park Saturday night, I’d see Lissa Scheckenburger and Bethany Waickman, also at BluSeed. I know Bethany. She plays the guitar the way I’d like to.

Even though it’s a drive, if I were in the mood to really move my body (and because I missed the 20 Main gig) I’d check out Capital Zen in Saratoga Springs. The energy that comes through on their recorded stuff must be even better live — I love a hot bass line.

Thursday, February 25th:

In Saranac Lake, Open Minded Mic Night at BluSeed Studios. Sign up at 7 pm and the show starts at 7 :30 pm. Celia Evans is hosting.

In Ellenburg Depot, ALASH, Throat Singers from Tuva will be giving a performance at The Northern Adirondack High School Auditorium. This is located at 5572 Route 11. The doors open at 6:30 pm and he show goes from 7 – 9 pm.

In Saratoga Springs, Roots of Creation will be playing at the Putnam Den starting at 9 pm.

Friday, February 26th:

In Plattsburgh, Viennese Romance , Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival will be held at 7:30 pm at SUNY.
For more information call: (802) 846-217 or email: info@lccmf.org.

In Canton, Urban Verbs: Where Hip Hop Meets Life will be performed at St. Lawrence University. Held from 7:30 – 9:30 pm this show explores the blur between music, poetry and daily life. For more information call: (315) 229-5659.

In Saratoga Springs, Hot Day at the Zoo will be playing at Putnam Den starting at 9 pm.

In Peru, Seussical, The Musical will be performed at the Peru Central School at 7:30 pm. For more information call: 518-572-2020.

Saturday, February 27th:

In Saranac Lake, Lissa Scheckenburger and Bethany Waickman will be performing at BluSeed Studios. This concert of traditional ballads and fiddle tunes will held 7:30 – 10 pm.

In Queensbury, a Coffee House and Open Mic is held on the last Saturday of every month. It goes from 7:30 – 10 pm and is held at the UU’s church. For more information call: (518) 793-1468.

In Saratoga Springs, Capital Zen at the Putnam Den starting at 9 pm.

In Peru, Seussical, The Musical will be held at The Peru Central School at 7:30 pm. For more Information call:518-572-2020.

Sunday, February 28th:

In Saranac Lake, Bill Smith and Don Woodcock present, “Rosen and Rhyme”. This is to be held at Will Rogers at 2 pm. For more information call: (518) 352-7311.

In Potsdam, The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, Encore of “Carmen” will be held from 1 – 5 pm at the Roxy Theater. For more information call: (315) 267-2277.

In Peru, Seussical, The Musical last chance to see it at the Peru Central School at 7:30 pm. For more information call: 518-572-2020.

Photo: Capital Zen


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Gross Anatomy of Binoculars

Birdwatching is one-third knowledge, one-third patience, and one-third having the right equipment. Carpenters have all the right tools for their line of work, woodcarvers have the sharpest tools, and doctors, well they BETTER have the right tools! All said, they need these instruments to get a job done. In a similar way, birdwatching, whether it be from your home, car, or the trail, should be no different. You want the right equipment to see the best and clearest image. So I’m going to walk you through the specifics of binoculars and what features might be best suited for you. Hmmm, is Santa’s list still growing?

Once during a Christmas bird count along Lake Champlain we had to identify some ducks bobbing in between the waves way offshore. Binoculars of a lesser quality struggled w/the identification. A steady hand helped but it was clearly some top-notch binoculars that saved the day. My point here being the better quality binoculars showed us a clearer image and allowed us to figure out what we were looking at.

So lesson one-if you can afford better optics, then do so. But what are better optics? I can list all the brands that charge over $1,000 for binoculars(from here on known as “bins” or “binos”) but we don’t need to go that far. There’s plenty of good stuff on the market under $600.

First let’s look at some details. A most-common question asked is what are the numbers on bins(7×35, 8×42, 10×50)? The #7(or 8 or 10) refer to the magnification of the image you see w/the bins. My pair of 8’s magnify what I see 8 fold. Good but a 10x will be stronger(but will it be better remains to be seen).

The number after the “x” refers to the size(in mm) of the objective lens(that large lens at the end of the binos, opposite where you look through). So my 8×50’s have an objective lens size of 50mm. This is bigger than a 35 or 42 objective lens and it helps in allowing more light to come into the bins. It can also give me a much wider view of a tree, a line of ducks, or a group of hawks circling overhead.

Certain disadvantages come with owning a pair of bins with higher magnification. One factor is weight. More glass lenses in a binocular can really add up in weight. That’s OK if you want to weightlift and bird at the same time. Most of us don’t. So manufacturers came up w/lighter materials. This helps those of us w/coffee addiction and the inevitable “shakes”.

But one thing to consider is more is not always better. A 10x bino will magnify 10 times but if you’re a shaky hand, that shaky image is magnified! Many birders enjoy a middle-of-the-road size of 7x or 8x.

With advancing technology there are a number of things that bins manufacturers have put into their products. Many lenses are now “multi-” or “fully-coated” which means they are covered with something that decreases the amount of reflection inside the tubes holding the lenses. This in turn gives you a clearer and sharper image.

Waterproofing binos has also come a long way. Many companies have “nitrogen-purged” or “nitrogen-filled” products which prevent water from collecting inside the lenses. It also helps prevent that internal condensation on lenses that appears when you bring cold binos inside a warm car!

Looking at prices. I mentioned earlier if you can pay for more then do it. A very good pair of bins can run from $200-$500. Some lesser-priced bins can offer good quality but their life may not last as along as a $300 pair. They may also not have all the good features you should look for in binos.

Some names to consider(there are many out there) are Bushnell, Nikon, Vortex, Eagle Optics, Pentax, and Kowa. Higher priced bins are Swarovski, Leica, and Zeiss. Many birders have found the Nikon “Monarchs” model to suit their needs. You can find this brand priced around $275-$300, depending on the magnification. But if that’s too high I would look over all the Bushnell models out there. Some are very good at just over $100. Check out B and H Photo & Video

Finally I’ll mention the difference between a standard size pair of bins with that of a compact pair. Just like cars there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Standards are larger as well as heavier(but becoming quite light w/all the new tech advances). Compacts(great for hiking, canoeing, kayaking) are light and small and fit anywhere, but some lack in quality what they made up for in decreased size. Don’t buy the compact bins that have a 9x or 10x magnification. They loose quality as that number goes up. To have good magnification/clear image you need lots of glass which many compacts can’t offer you.

Well, by now you’ve taken your Fathers WWII binos out of the case and as you look through them you suddenly feel dizzy or drunk! Chances are the big chunk of glass(called a prism) in those monsters has cracked or shifted and giving a blurred double-image view. That can be remedied by replacing the prism, but at that cost you may as well invest in a new pair!

So, invest in what you can afford; look for fully-coated lenses; make sure the bins are waterproof; and find a magnification to your liking. But the best advice to you is to handle the binos before purchasing. Shopping online may be cheaper but your hands are not wrapped around the bins, weighing them, feeling them, and your eyes are not looking at a crystal-clear image. Stop over to Wild Birds Unlimited in Saratoga Springs and handle some binos there!

By the way, it’s worth mentioning that the ducks, referred to earlier bobbing on Lake Champlain, where lesser scaup. Catching the differences between greater and lesser scaup can be tricky. Greater scaup is slightly larger and seems to show brighter white on their sides as opposed to a duller gray on the sides of the lesser. In flight look for more white in the wings of the greater.

Photo: Brian McAllister. Those compacts are great for kayaking/canoeing!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: Holiday Train

In a mad rush of holiday cheer, too many side dishes and the turkey/tofurkey debate, it is easy to forget that some people will not have an argument over the necessity to recreate meat-shaped products out of tofu. Those and many others will be wondering where their next meal will be coming from.

For the 11th year the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Holiday Train will be pulling into over one hundred towns in seven states and Quebec raising awareness for local food pantries.

The northeast sector of the tour starts Thursday, November 26 at Rouses Point at approximately 11:00 pm. Each stop is a little over a half hour. Crowds will be treated to live entertainment as well as a festively decorated train, free of charge. All that is asked is a donation to the local food pantry. In addition, to providing the gaily lit-up train and live bands CFR donates funds to each stop’s food bank.

The US portion of the tour is hosted by Prescott a brother (Kaylen) and sister (Kelly) duo hailing from the Canadian musical legacies Family Brown (award winning country band formed by their grandfather, uncle and mother) and later Prescott-Brown (their parents’ award winning band). Prescott’s own style has them performing at such venues at the Ottawa BluesFest and welcoming their first cd, “The Lakeside Sessions.”

Singer/songwriter Adam Puddington will take the stage with his own unique brand of music lightly influenced by Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and Blue Rodeo. Other musical guests will be Sean Verreault best known as part of the blues rock band Wide Mouth Mason and Milwaukee native Willy Porter’s blending of folk music rounds out the program.

Local food banks will be collecting non-perishable food items and donations at each location so all the audience has to do is stand back and enjoy.

Each event does take place outside so dress warmly. Some locations have vendors set up to sell hot refreshments but it is not something to count on. The focus is on the food pantries and making sure their shelves are stocked for winter.

So for whatever reason you are thankful, take an opportunity to kick off the holiday season with a lively concert and a contribution to a food pantry.

Northeast Schedule
Thursday, November 26

Rouses Point – 11:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Rouses Point Station

Saturday, November 28
Binghamton – 8:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m., CP East Binghamton Rail Yard, Conklin Ave.

Sunday, November 29
Oneonta – 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Gas Avenue Railroad Crossing

Cobleskill – 6:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Cobleskill Fire Department, 610 Main Street
Delanson – 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Main Street Railroad Crossing
Schenectady – 9:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Maxon Road
Monday, November 30
Saratoga Springs – 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Amtrak Station

Fort Edward – 1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Amtrak Station

Whitehall – 3:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Amtrak Station

Ticonderoga – 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pell’s Crossing, Amtrak Waiting Area, Route 74
Port Henry – 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Amtrak Station, West side stop
Plattsburgh – 9:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Amtrak Station

photograph: The Holiday Train in Montreal


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene:Folk Music, Early Music and Coffeehouses

For most of the musical events happening this week – besides JamCrackers at BluSeed tonight – one has to travel a bit. With a little effort you can listen to some interesting music just outside the park. Saratoga, Burlington and Potsdam all have performances this week. Of course, if you’ve been hoping for some down time this might be the weekend. I, for one, will probably be checking out the play Greater Tuna again, this time at LPCA, because the acting was so brilliant.

Thursday October 8th:

In Saranac Lake at BluSeed Studios, Jamcrackers gets going at 7:30 pm. This is an evening of Adirondack folk music featuring Dan Duggan, Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren. Dan Duggan is a renown dulcimer player and composer you can even hear his work on Paul Simons CD, “You’re The One”. Peggy Lynn and Dan Berggren are both singer/ songwriters. These three have a wonderful time performing together and BluSeed loves them. For reservations call 891 -3799.

Also a reminder that in Jay at the Amos and Julie Ward Theatre every Thursday at 7 pm, the Acoustic Club, sponsored by JEMS, meets. For more information call, Janet Morton at 946-7420.

Friday October 9th:

In Colton -exciting just because they so rarely have any event for me to post – the Zion Episcopal Church is starting their Fall into Fall Coffee House series. This one will feature a Brian Nichols and Keith Galluchi a high school musical duo and Chase Simmons comedian from the 6th grade. Sounds like something wonderful to support. It’s free and you can call (315) 353 – 2427 for more information.

In Saratoga – if you must see professionals – The Gibson Brothers are pretty sweet. They’re playing Lillian’s Restaurant at 8 pm and tickets are $20. Advance sales only. Call (518) 581-1604 to reserve.

Saturday October 10th:

In Potsdam at 1 pm at The Roxy Theater, The Metropolitan Opera will Broadcast Live a performance of Tosca. You can call (315) 267-2277. Tickets prices range from $18 to $12.

In Canton at 2 pm at St. Lawrence University, there will be an Early Music Singers Concert : “Salve Regina”. Here is part of the description I was sent by the Director of Music Ensembles, Barry Torres: Four varied settings of the Salve Regina (Hail, Queen of mercy), the most popular, and arguably the most beautiful of the great anthems to the Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic liturgy. Each of the settings is based on the chant, which is believed by scholars to have been written by Hermann of Reichenau (1013-1054). Interspersed between these works will be songs by Antoine Busnoys (c. 1430-1492) and other instrumentals played by a recorder trio consisting of Laura Rediehs, Lynn Waickman and Barry Torres. For more information call: (315) 229 – 5184.

In Glens Falls at the Charles R. Woods Theater a Tribute to Bette Midler and Barry Manilow called “You Gotta Have Friends” will be performed. There are two shows one at 3 pm and one at 7:30 pm. For more information call (518) 798-9663.

Also in Potsdam at 8 pm, the New Hope Community Church holds it’s Second Saturday Coffeehouse. For more information call (315) 566 – 9413 or email: edandpatnoble@gmail.com.

Tuesday October 13th:

In Burlington, VT at the Fletcher Free Library, Robert Resnik is performing from 11 – 11:30 am. I’ve been reading up on this man and he sounds great. He’s the director of the library and hosts a weekly folk and world music show on VPR. This is for all ages, if I were in Burlington on Tuesday I’d go in a second. Call (802) 865 – 7211 for more information.

In Saranac Lake at 7:30 pm until 9:15 pm, The Adirondack Singers are holding rehearsals for their Holiday Concert on Dec. 4th. The rehearsals are open to anyone who wants to sing. No auditions and any ability is welcome. It’s happening at St. Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church every Tuesday night. Call 523 – 4213 for more information.

Photo: Dan Berggren, Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Seligman Scandal, Antisemitism in Saratoga Springs

Yesterday, I noted the newly released details of Fish Rock Camp, believed to be the first Great Camp built on Upper Saranac Lake. The camp was built for Isaac Newton Seligman, the son of banking giant Joseph Seligman. Today I’ll provide some background to the antisemitism that is believed to have inspired many Jewish Americans, like the Seligmans, to create their own camps and resorts in the Adirondacks.

The story includes one of Saratoga’s most prestigious hotels, the Grand Union, luminaries like Ulysses S. Grant, the robber baron Jay Gould, and Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall. But it starts with America’s first department store mogul – Alexander T. Stewart. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Upper Saranac Lake’s Fish Rock Camp and Jacob Riis

Marsha Stanley of the Upper Saranac Lake Sekon Association dropped me a note to say that she has spent the summer posting the history of Fish Rock Camp, believed to be the first of the great camps built on Upper Saranac in 1893. Marsha’s work included digitizing and placing online the camp’s guest register from 1905 to 1915. The guest book is replete with sketches of life at the camp, including the vignette at left from 1905, “Alfred in his Auto.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moose ‘n’ Bear Discuss a Recent Sighting in Saratoga

Where moose returns from the track to a wise admonishment from bear. (click for larger image)


Monday, June 15, 2009

Moose On The Loose At Saratoga Race Course

Saratoga Race Course employees arrived at work Monday morning to find a cow moose wandering on the sidewalk outside track property, New York Racing Association officials said. After NYRA security worked in support of the Saratoga Springs police department to bring the moose to safety inside the gates to Saratoga Race Course, Environmental Conservation officials tranquilized the moose with the intention of delivering it unharmed back to its natural environment. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bud York Defeats Larry Cleveland, Val Keehn Beats Gordon Boyd

Primary election returns reported by Capital News 9 show that Nathan H. “Bud” York has defeated incumbent (and Glens Falls Post Star favorite) Larry Cleveland in the Warren County Sheriff Republican and Independence Party primaries. Since Cleveland will no longer be on the ballot in November as the candidate for either party it looks like Bud York will be the next Warren County Sheriff.

In Saratoga Springs Progressive Democrat Valerie Keehn has apparently fended off a primary challenge from conservative Gordon Boyd despite heavy and nearly relentless attacks from right-wing Saratoga area blogs and the conservative Saratogian. Keehen will no doubt still have a tough battle ahead against a Republican challenger in November.

Local primary results can be found here:

Warren, Washington, and Saratoga Counties (Capital News 9)
Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Plattsburgh Press Republican
Glens Falls Post Star


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

End of Summer: Adirondack Travel Edition

Now that the summer tourist season is mostly over, we’ll present what has become our annual list of some of the best travel blogging of the Adirondacks we’ve seen. If you have a post you find worth sharing let us know.

One of our favorite local blogs, Adirondack Musing, took their annual trip to Saratoga for a day at the flat track, the harness track, and the racino. The posts, with some nice photos, are in four parts (Saratoga, Backstreetch Tour Parts One and Two, and Race Day).

Another local, Rebbecca Leonard, has been travelling the highways and byways of the Adirondacks all summer trying to sell her first book, Adirondack Nightmare: A Spooky Tale in the North Country, which she self published in the spring. Her journeys are interesting slices of life in the region – good and bad.

Dave Schatsky just returned from an Adirondack vacation:

We didn’t see much wildlife–local experts say the park system is so large that the bobcats, martins, and other mid-sized mammals have no motive for straying closed to humans. Black bears are not hard to encounter there, but it’s better not to and we didn’t either. We did see a salamander–my favorite amphibian–frogs, wild turkeys and deer.

Dominique shared her experiences and suggestions of camping with her toddler at Cranberry Lake in Sophia In the Adirondacks:

Make sure that your child can be very involved….when my husband went fishing, we had a small toy fishing pole so that Sophia could emulate what he was doing. Also, a variety in the level of activity is beneficial. It was great to relax for the afternoon on the beach after a busy morning of hiking and campground activities.

A Woman Obsessed took a Mini Yarn Crawl through the Adirondacks with stops in Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

Our first stop on the yarn crawl was Lonesome Landing in Saranac Lake. Cute town, cute store, cute owner. Things were a little disorganized, but there was interesting yarn, out of print books, and a great deal on Opal sock yarn ($11!!!!) I brought home this darling, after Meg spotted me the cash to make the purchase- if you go to Lonesome Landing, be forewarned that they only accept cash and checks!

Warren D. Jorgensen left Tarrytown for An Adirondack Mountain Sojourn:

Anxious to put work-city-civilization-traffic behind, I put the hammer down on the five hour slab ride that put me off exit 30 and onto route 73 west and into the park. The weight of a thousand and one problems lifted off my shoulders with the sight of the High Peaks, and for some reason, I felt at home. I have been coming to these mountains since 1958, and the sight of mountains always warms my soul.

As the evening faded, a canoeist paddled across the lake off the rear deck of our cabin just outside Lake Placid, and we decided that in this nothingness, we would do nothing. No plans, no itinerary, but just follow the front wheel and see where it would take us on the roads that wound through this “Forever Wild” wilderness.

Kathleen at Be Still And Know spent some time at Chapel Island on Upper Saranac Lake:

The loons cry, campfires burn, birds sing, leaves begin to turn, fish jump, children splash with delight into the cold lake water, water skiers ride the wake, sailboats sail, pontoons party their way around the waters edge, eagles scream and soar, and the earth smells ever so sweet. I’m bundled up with all my sweatshirts, and strip down to my tankini, forgiving the drastic temperature change…just to be here basking in the glory of Mother Nature at her best.

Many of the posts have some outstanding photos, but be sure to check out the flickr Adirondacks photo pool for more great Adirondack vacation amateur photography.


Monday, March 6, 2006

Warren County Convention Center – Another Round of Corporate Welfare?

Last week the Warren County Board of Supervisors voted to establish a “public” Authority which would use occupancy tax money to purchase the former Gaslight Village (who can resist humming the tune… “Gaslight Village, yesterday’s gone today). The $5.4 million property, owned by the Charles R. Wood Foundation, would be used for another convention center. Back in the day it was a railroad yard up the line from the Lake George [ahem] Spanish Colonial style D & H Train Station:

Back to 1998, the Albany Business journal, bastion of the coporate press and ignoring the more than half million dollar annual shortfall of the Glens Falls Civic Center, reported dutifully in an article entitled ” ‘Tin Box’ is all that’s needed for some conventions” that:

“Economically, the only way our community is going to grow is by lengthening the [tourist] season,” said Robert Blais, mayor of the village of Lake George. “The only way to do that is to make a suitable building to house the organizations we presently have coming to Warren County, as well as others who may want to come here.”

At his urging, Blais said, Warren County recently allocated $100,000 to the project, and a new convention center committee was charged with hiring a firm to conduct a marketing study to determine whether a center is feasible anywhere in the county. The spot favored by many interested in the project is Lake George, which already has proven itself to be a draw for the county.

Then we had:

Delays mean not only lost time, but lost money, however. “Warren County is surely losing millions every year by not having some sort of tin box–a rudimentary, simple convention center,” said William Dutcher, president of Americade Inc., a week-long motorcycle touring rally held in Lake George each year.

Dutcher pointed out that car clubs, motor home clubs, sports-oriented groups and regional conventions all would be attracted to the area if a facility were built to accommodate them.

Well that all worked out well for Blais and now we have the entirely architecturally incongruant and almost utterly useless tin box that’s design draws on Lake George’s lengthy local history of Greco-Roman vernacular architecture – the Lake George Forum – well that’s useless except for the local news fluff pieces on Zambonis, and events like Hockey, Bounce-A-Palooza, Hockey Camp, the Teen Dance and Bounce-A-Palooza Party, Hockey, another Brewfest, another Adirondack Living Show, more Hockey.

And still the convention center cowboys ride on…even in the face of the facts. Metroland this week [get it while it last – they still don’t have permalinks] is featuring a report on the proposed Albany convention center (stand back Jim Coyne):

‘Few cities learn from their own mistakes or the mistakes of any others,” says Heywood Sanders, a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

In January 2005, Sanders became a focal point of frustration for many elected officials with their eyes on projects like the one in Albany, when he authored a highly critical report on the convention industry for the Brookings Institution, a public-policy think tank in Washington, D.C. Sanders found that various factors such as industry consolidation, telecommunication advances and rising energy costs have contributed to a nearly 50-percent drop in convention attendance since the late 1990s. But meanwhile, more than 100 U.S. cities completed or began construction of convention centers, increasing the supply of available exhibit space by more than 50 percent. This growing gap between supply and demand, concluded Sanders, “should give local leaders pause as they consider calls for ever more public investment into the convention business.

Pause be damned:

Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, who proposed the public authority operate
the Civic Center as well as the proposed convention center, said the county
could receive word from the state before legislative session wraps up in June.

Glens Falls Mayor Le Roy Akins Jr., Lake George Village Mayor Robert Blais and Town Supervisor Lou Tessier all expressed support for the idea Wednesday.

Blais, however, conditioned his support on the inclusion of the Lake George Forum on the list of venues the public authority could operate, saying he’s concerned the Forum could suffer from competition with the authority-run venues.

“The Forum could suffer from competition” – do you think so Mr. Blais? According to Metroland:

Recently built or expanded convention centers in major cities (and tourist destinations) including Baltimore, San Francisco, St. Louis and Portland, Ore., all have failed to approach the number of booked conventions proposed in their initial feasibility studies, while new facilities scheduled to open in Boston, Omaha, Neb., and various other cities across the nation have struggled to prebook enough events to fulfill expectations. Like gamblers who refuse to leave the table, many of these cities have found themselves locked in one expensive, risky convention-related investment after another as they try to make up for their earlier losses.

Across the nation, the cycle has followed a similar course: New facilities are built when consultants report that the existing facilities are outdated, existing facilities are expanded when consultants determine that the current facilities are no longer adequate (the standard life cycle of a convention center is only 15 to 20 years) and massive hotels are constructed when neither of the two former plans generate the predicted financial windfalls.

So folks… does Warren County join the bandwagon – again? Maybe this time it can have publicy funded classic Adirondack Egyptian architectural details.

UPDATE 4/5/06: Maury Thompson at The Glens Falls Post Star (get it while you can) reports, in one of the most blatant examples of advocacy journalism we’ve seen in a long time, that even though convention centers are in the works for Lake Placid, Plattsburgh, Glens Falls, Lake George, Saratoga Springs, Albany, and who knows where else, well, they are just a good idea. Thompson asked the opposition – well – nothing – they didn’t figure in his idea fair and balanced reporting.

UPDATE 4/24/06: Another entry from the folks at the Post Star – this time from a more balanced Madeline Farbman. The jist? Warren County is moving ahead despite long held desires from the local water quality folks to return the Gaslight Village site to a filtering wetland (get it while you can).


Monday, September 12, 2005

Glens Falls Mayoral Debate Tonight

In case you missed it, the Fairly Young Contrarian reports on the latest on the Glens Falls Post Star attempt to keep the right in power in the Southern Adirondacks. Enrolled Independents, Working Family Party members, Libertarians, Greens, and Democrats outnumber Republicans and Conservatives in Glens Falls [pdf]. Saratoga is on the verge of tipping to the left and the last two elections have only been won by right-wing operatives denying the vote to those in the traditionally left-leaning wards [second story down]. As more and more of the creative class move into Saratoga (and eventually Glens Falls only 15 minutes north) there will be a swing to the left – and there’s nothing those tight-asses at the Post Star and Saratogian can do about it. The question is – are they soul-less fools who will change their tune when the shift happens? Or do they have a backbone and will simply go out of business? Our guess – soul-less fools.


Friday, August 12, 2005

James Kunstler Speaks… A Few Adirondackers Listen

A quick (and belated) report on James Kunstler‘s appearance at the Rock Hill Bakery Cafe in Glens Falls.

The house was full, the coffee flowed; after some technical difficulties with the cafe’s new video projection system Kunstler showed some great photos, many from the area, that clearly demonstrated one of his primary points: Developers need to stop “dishonoring the public realm” with poor design that makes places like strip malls, blank walls with sidewalks in front, etc., and start “showing generosity to the public realm.” As Kunstler put it: It’s not that Queensbury and places like it are “like everywhere else in America” – Tuscan villages are all alike and no one complains about them – it’s that everything in Queensbury and places like it is “uniformly crappy.” It’s hard to disagree with that.

Part of it is the Big Lie that we’re living. The next time someone tells us they live in Queensbury or some place like it, we’ll be asking why? Have you no sense of aesthetic? Do you enjoy living in a place you won’t even hang out in? Kunstler believes that because of a number of factors their suburban hell is on its way out – as he put it in the understatement of the night “we’re going to have to make other arrangements.”

About 70 people were in attendance including at least one Lake George area developer (he was sleepy and left early, a victim of intellectual laziness) and Glens Falls Post Star Maury “I’m a nice guy, I just have no spine” Thompson (example), who was recently heard arguing that it’s proper that the Post Star is hosting a mayoral “debate” with only the two most conservative candidates allowed to attend. Independent mayoral candidate Esmond Lyons was there with plenty of intelligent things to say about the local situation – apparently none of the other candidates thought the opportunity to hear one of America’s foremost and insightful writers on development, a man who lives in Saratoga Springs and was using specific local examples, was even worth spending a few minutes hearing out.

Thankfully, Adirondack Progressives is engaging the Warren County community in serious intellectual and exploratory dialogue. Word has it, that Matt, the owner of Rock Hill and an active member of the Green Party and Adirondack Progressives, is about to accept a position on the National Green Party Committee.

More as we know more…

Also:

baloghblog had this to say this week about Americans with their heads in the Sand regarding another of Kunstler’s main point – the peak oil situation and the coming emergency.

CNY ecoBlog explored the sell-off of Exxon-Mobil’s upstate NY properties and what it means for us.

Glens Falls blogger Brian, the (Fairly) Young Contrarian also reported on Kunstler this week.

And just as a reminder that they lie, we have:

Hundreds of Truckers Protesting Gas Prices

US Trade Deficit Nears New High As Oil Imports Surge


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