Autumn of 1948 had been a particularly dry season. Forest Rangers of that era often remained at their headquarters awaiting a phone call reporting the location of a blaze. The radio system of that time was poor but most outposts and fire towers were connected via phone line.
Daniel McKenzie, a 27 year veteran, was the Forest Ranger for North Hudson at the time and he lived on the Blue Ridge Road. A Ranger’s work schedule was much different then. During dry periods they stayed available all the time and they worked until the work was done. Ranger McKenzie, by all accounts, wore his uniform almost all the time. The Northway was decades away from construction and North Hudson was a more isolated community. In fact, McKenzie first came to the area prior to becoming a ranger to help construct State Route 9. » Continue Reading.
Cardboard sled races will be held in conjunction with multiple winter festivals and carnivals throughout the Adirondacks during the Fourth Annual Great Adirondack Cardboard Sled Racing Circuit.
Cardboard Sled racing has grown in popularity in the last several years. The LaPorte Family of Eagle Bay has won the Circuit’s Grand Prize for the last two years, usurping Bob Lewin’s win in Daddy’s Folly in 2013. The LaPorte’s designs have included two army trucks and 2015 they introduced a classic Red Chevy with a functioning trunk allowing room for a hidden rider. The LaPorte’s have been a tough team to beat. » Continue Reading.
The 1.6-mile Watch Hill Trail has been newly designated, signed and marked. The trail is located in the Jessup River Wild Forest off State Route 30 between the Hamilton County communities of Speculator and Indian Lake.
The trailhead is located on the east side of State Route 30 near Griffin Brook approximately 1 mile south of the Snowy Mountain Trailhead. » Continue Reading.
After 10 years of planning, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved the Adirondack Park Trail Plan for the North Country National Scenic Trail (NC-NST), effective October 10.
The plan routes the projected 4,600-mile National Scenic Trail through the middle of the Adirondack Park. The NC-NST traverses the northern tier of the United States between Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain and Lake Sakakawea State Park on the Missouri River in North Dakota. About 2,700 miles of the trail have been completed so far. Within the Adirondack Park, the trail is expected to be about 158 miles long when complete, between Forestport in Oneida County and Crown Point. » Continue Reading.
Hamilton County is just one area in the Adirondacks making great strides in continuing to bring attention to the importance of water quality. Over 20 years ago Adirondack Waterfest was developed to provide water quality education by means of a fun, family-friendly event.
Adirondack Waterfest will be held in Speculator on Friday, July 31 at the Village Park, from 10 am to 4 pm. The event features activities, exhibits, and demonstrations in a daylong celebration of water. Admission is free.
Twenty years ago, Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s first Adirondack Waterfest was held in Speculator on July 19, 1996. Each year, the event is hosted at different locations around the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
The Herkimer County Legislature has named Friday “French Louie Day” in honor of the noted French-Canadian Adirondacker Louis Seymour. A celebration is planned for Saturday in the Town of Inlet.
Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Seymour, who made the wilderness between Inlet and Lake Pleasant his home from the 1860s until his death in Newton’s Corners (now Speculator) on February 27, 1915. Seymour’s name became legend after the 1952 biography Adirondack French Louie: Life in the North Woods by Utica author Harvey Dunham, which portrayed him as a man of hard work, determination and humor. » Continue Reading.
Long Lake is ready to celebrate the snowy season with its annual Winter Carnival this Saturday, January 17. The town will be flooded with royalty, bonfires and fireworks, with other events tucked in between. The Long Lake Winter Carnival also kicks off the first leg of the Adirondack Cardboard Sled Race.
According to Indian Lake’s Events Activities Coordinator Vonnie Liddle , the Adirondack Cardboard Sled Circuit is in its third year. Participates need to race in three out of the five local venues with a trophy going to the overall winner. The races are free to all and the sleds can be assembled ahead of time. Please check each venue for rules and regulations. » Continue Reading.
Since 2003, I have been battling purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that may be gorgeous but overruns wetlands, and outcompetes native plants that wildlife and waterfowl depend on for food, shelter, and nesting grounds. After 11 years of manual management, populations along the Route 8 and Route 30 corridors in Hamilton County have decreased. This is good news for native plants that fill in areas where invasive purple loosestrife used to grow.
This August I focused on rights-of-way along Routes 8 and 30 in the Town of Lake Pleasant and the Village of Speculator. I snipped each flower with garden clippers before plants went to seed for reproduction. All plant material was bagged and allowed to liquefy in the sun before being delivered to a transfer station.
It is exciting to fight invasive plants for over a decade and see promising results like this. Manual management is tedious, but persistent efforts have helped stop the spread of purple loosestrife and remove these invaders from the environment. » Continue Reading.
Like most people living and visiting the Adirondacks, my family has been waiting for the snow to stay. Ski resorts all over the Adirondack Park are celebrating this most recent storm, cushioning their base layer with natural snow. Our family enjoys skiing on a variety of terrain, but there is something wonderful about returning to those family hills where many of us were first introduced to the excitement of downhill skiing.
One such family mountain is Speculator’s Oak Mountain Ski Center. Now under new ownership, the O’Brien family has filled the Oak Mountain schedule with all sorts of exciting family-friendly events. According to Laura O’Brien, owner and VP of Sales and Marketing, Oak Mountain has just been enhanced and is still the same family ski resort where many visitors and locals have grown up skiing. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, September 30, 2012, the Virginia Hosley Free Library in Wells, NY, will host a talk by Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, author of Terror in the Adirondacks. The chilling true story of Robert F. Garrow started in the summer of 1973 when Garrow went on a murder spree that spread alarm and fear through the Southern Adirondacks.
is crimes and much of the longest manhunt in Adirondack history took place in and around Wells and Speculator. Hear the true story of Robert F. Garrow, from his unfortunate childhood, his crimes and capture, his escape from prison, to his manipulation of legal, medical, and corrections professionals. Gooley’s authoritative book is based on official records, court transcripts, prison records, and more than 800 newspaper and magazine articles. » Continue Reading.
Oak Mountain for sale! That’s one of many things we learned from Patrick, the bartender at the Inn at Speculator. An enthusiastic purveyor of information about the Inn at Speculator and the community in general, he could easily be mistaken as owner.
Conversations and gossip, both political and personal in nature, volleyed around the room as we spoke with Patrick. In response to our “nearby attractions” question, we were surprised when he mentioned skiing. That led into the story about the Town of Speculator temporarily taking on the foreclosed ski area at Oak Mountain. The owners of the Inn at Speculator for the past 30 or so years, Neil and Linda McGovern, proudly sponsor community events and host fundraisers throughout the year, including Friends of Oak Mountain benefits, an ice fishing tournament in February, fish and game club events, and the local snowmobile club. In keeping with a building from the mid 1900s, several rooms adjoin the bar area, adding more dining space away from the bar. A glass case in the front room displays gourmet dressings made there and books for sale on the history of the Inn. It appears to have once been a place to pay your tab on the way out, to get change for games or the jukebox, and may once have offered candy or souvenirs for sale. The décor is fairly nondescript, with well-worn hardwood floors, pine-paneled walls covered with photos, certificates, memorabilia, and lingering St. Patrick’s Day trimmings.
Although no children were on hand that day, there was an atmosphere of family entertainment in the past. The Inn at Speculator now entertains the adults with a pool table, foosball, electronic darts, Quick Draw, and an occasional solo musician or DJ. For the sports fan, there are three TVs in the bar area for keeping up with your favorite sport. Football, Nascar and March Madness basketball pools may help get the staff and patrons through the long winter months.
Liquor basics, a handful of draft beers, and 18-20 mostly domestic bottles provide adequate thirst-quenching options. Seasonal drinks of coffee varieties in winter and refreshing coolers in the summer are subject to the creativity of the bartender. Happy Hour includes $2.00 domestic drafts, Monday through Friday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Open daily at 11:30 a.m., except Wednesdays, the pub room serves lunch and pub fare until the main dining area opens at 5:00 p.m. The inn is open year-round, but does occasionally close for a week in November and/or in April. Three rooms are available for lodging with special rate packages varying throughout the year. Dinner specials include the Friday Fish Fry, Prime Rib Saturdays, and a beef and burgundy buffet in the summer months.
The bar at the Inn at Speculator is patronized by locals, seasonal residents and tourists just passing through. Everyone seemed accepting of one another, whether known in the area or not. If you’re looking for a quaint, overpriced Adirondack country inn filled with antiques, bark furniture and faded sepia photographs, keep looking. Instead, you will discover a roadside rest more representative of today’s resident, the very essence of true Adirondackers, who struggle to make a living in an area that relies so heavily on tourism.
Here, icons of a playground for the affluent are replaced with countless images of friends and neighbors doing the things they enjoy like fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, skiing and participating in their customary events, in a town they love and care about. Sit at the bar with the locals as they debate park politics and banter about the everyday. And listen. Learn something, if only what it’s like to live here. Add the Inn to your list of “must visit” venues to get a real Adirondack experience and, if you’re in the market to buy a ski area, go see Patrick at the bar.
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.
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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