Sunday, July 7, 2024

Retirees Halsey Bagg and Deb Roberts fall in love with Cranberry Lake while house hunting

Adirondack Almanack contributor, Susan Sweeney Smith, who has written stories about Cranberry Lake, has shared a series of profiles highlighting Cranberry Lake/Clifton Fine-area community leaders who dedicate much of their time and energy to volunteer work. Please enjoy a profile on Halsey Bagg and Deb Roberts below.

What brought you to Cranberry Lake?
We were both planning to retire and trying to find the right place for both of us.

Deb: I love the Adirondacks and have been coming up here since 1975. In 2008, I found Tramp and Trail, the Utica Area hiking club. It was formed by the same guy who started the ADK Mountain Club. My love for the region deepened in January 2008 when I was introduced to the hiking opportunities here. The smell of balsam on a sunny day is heavenly.

Halsey: I wanted to retire to a lake house. My childhood memories are of spending summers at Arnold’s Lake near Cooperstown. I wanted a lake house and Deb wanted to be in the Adirondacks. When we started looking for homes, we had never even heard of or been to Cranberry Lake before. We searched on lakehouse.com and came to the Clifton Fine region in February 2017, when we looked at one
house in Star Lake and five or six in Cranberry Lake. We drove down Columbian Road and Lone Pine Road looking at houses. Halsey called Suzanne Liberty, from LaValley Real Estate. She told us about a home on Columbian Road. It was -30 degrees the day we came back to see it and decided this was the place.

These first trips to Cranberry Lake were in the winter and we had no idea how big the lake was. Boy, were we in for a surprise. The lake is magnificent. We do most of our own renovations with help from Brett Blackmer and Dean Kerr. We’ve done knotty pine in our great room, remodeled both bathrooms, built an access deck and we are now doing knotty pine in the basement bedroom. Next, we’re planning to do a screened-in porch.

Halsey Bagg

Halsey Bagg

We are making our home comfortably rustic, or as Debbie says, “Adirondacky.” This is our one and only home. This is it for us. We love where we are; Cranberry Lake and the people.

When you arrived, what were your first loves?

Deb:  Like many people, it’s sharing this place with family. My daughter’s wedding was here with 40 people from my family. Family time here is magic. Great place for the family in the summer and winter time.

What are your volunteer activities and why did you pick them?

Deb:
Fire Department Auxiliary Member
Vice Commodore for the Cranberry Lake Boat Club
Friends of the Library
Lions Club
ADK Action Pollinators Project
Love My Park Clean Up Day
Watering plants for Flower & Banner

As Commodores of the Boat Club, we are both involved in all the events. I like expanding the reach of each event, involving more volunteers and bringing more people to the community. I like to try to expand our events so they are more meaningful and reach more people. I’m the founder/director for Canoe Kayak Race and we’re in our 4th year.

Deb Roberts

Deb Roberts

I did the Adirondack Classic 90 Miler three times in a guide boat. This is how I got my racing experience. The Cranberry Lake Canoe/Kayak race has professionals who come back to our race year after year. It’s a growing race. I love projects and events that bring people out to enjoy our natural environment and I pick projects where my skills can help.

Halsey:
Smart Growth Committee
Clifton Fine Hospital Board
Cranberry Lake Boat Club Commodore

Lions Club
ADK Action Pollinators Project
Love My Park Clean Up Day
I do all the things Deb does – we like doing things together.

Couple volunteers at a race

Halsey Bagg and Deb Roberts volunteering at the Cranberry Lake Boat Club Firecracker Race.

What skills that you learned in your professional lives are relevant here? How do you apply them?

Deb:
Organizational skills are key. I had a 43 year nursing career and was in management for 23 of those years. This taught me how to work with diverse groups of people. I learned how to grow a program organically to be more meaningful and provide better service.

Halsey:
I got my education at Ga. Tech. to be an Industrial Engineer in Health Systems. I bring a strong systems management approach and strive to improve every project I’m involved in. For example, last summer it became clear the Firecracker Road Race had grown so much we couldn’t manage the finish line. With the support of the Firecracker Work Committee, I developed a results board to get racers’ times out quickly. I took a lot of organizational psychology and learned on the job how to work with people. When working with groups of volunteers, it’s important to be able to work with different skill sets, expectations, and aspirations.

What inspires you here?

Deb:
For me, it’s seeing how much others give. There are lots of great role models. The community commitment to each other is extraordinary. We all work together across groups to help Cranberry Lake thrive.

Halsey:
Nature and environment is inspiring – catching sight of an otter, feeding the birds – supporting community integration with nature. We came because it’s beautiful and wild here. We stay for nature and the people.

What do you hope for the future here?

We both hope for the same things: a stable economy, good jobs for year-round people, reopening local businesses, re-invigorating the community so young people want to stay. We want the wilderness preserved, but also recognize we need an economy here. It’s a delicate balance.

Photo at top: Halsey and Deb volunteering at the Cranberry Lake North Shore Hub. All photos provided by Susan Sweeney Smith.

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Susan Sweeney Smith grew up in Peru, NY and is a 28 year resident of Cranberry Lake. She raised kids and donkeys and dogs and cats in the hamlet. During her professional career she worked in philanthropy and community relations for North Country Public Radio, SUNY Potsdam and supported a host of smaller nfp’s in the region with their philanthropic projects. Today, she’s a community volunteer who believes in Cranberry Lake magic. You can find her writing at https://www.cranberryblog.org/




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