Almanack Contributor Diane Chase

Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Titus Mountain’s New Trails

Titus_Lodge_newRecently acquired by the Monette family of Malone, Titus Mountain Family Ski Center has undergone a facelift that our family has met with welcoming arms. My kids have skied at most of the Adirondack and beyond ski mountains and have found Titus Mountain to be a perfect place to experience family-friendly trails and gain some ski lift independence.

The elevation is 2025-ft and the crumpled trail map I find in my ski jacket shows that Titus Mountain has six double chairlifts, two triple chairlifts, and two hand-tows serving 42 trails and two terrain parks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Amy’s Park in Bolton Landing

20121220_Amy-Park_019The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) is hosting free guided hikes/snowshoes on their latest acquired property, Amy’s Park in Bolton Landing on January 26 and March 2.

LGLC’s Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman says, “We officially opened Amy’s Park in July with a guided hike. It is a wonderful and rare property for this area. It is very family-friendly and a great place to explore with young kids.”

According to Hoffman though the 500-acre property does not have views of the lake, it is home to a beaver pond, natural plants, grasses and all the wildlife that comes with it. It is a beautiful addition to the other LGLC properties. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities:
Events At The New Land Trust, Newcomb AIC

AdirondackInterpretiveCenter_newThe recent warm front didn’t do the snowshoe/cross-country ski trails any favors, but it also didn’t completely wipe out the snow. Though some area ski centers around the Adirondack Park have taken a significant hit, most are grooming their trails for business. It has been tricky to find the places that are shielded enough to maintain a significant base for those of us looking to snowshoe or cross-country ski.

New Land Trust in Saranac, along with Dion Snowshoes, is hosting Cock-A-Doodle-Shoe as a Northeast regional qualifier for the 2013 USSSA National Snowshoe Championships on January 20. The 10K snowshoe race with cover a varied terrain from flat ground to rolling hills among the New Land Trust’s 287-acres. The competition is open to all levels and participants will compete for a $150 cash prize » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Long Lake Ice Carving

Ice Sculptor Stan Kolonko will be in Long Lake for the second year as part of the Long Lake/Raquette Lake Ice Fest January 11-12 and bringing a special brand of art to area businesses.

According to Long Lake Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Alexandra Roalsvig, Stan Kolonko is providing just one part to the many activities over the course of the two-day event. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities:
Schroon Lake’s Free Ski Center

We recently spent our New Year’s Eve with family and went exploring the Schroon Lake region of the Adirondack Park. The snow is here and my Adirondack family is going to enjoy every minute of it. My mother shares stories of my father’s early military career, which at some point involves a campground in Schroon Lake. Of course that means packing up the car and taking a ride along Route 9.

We ask at a local restaurant for campgrounds and are given the names of Scaroon Manor and Eagle Point. Though the road trip is inspired by my mother’s stories, we also want to find some fun trails to snowshoe or a pond to skate upon. We are surprised to find that most of Schroon Lake’s water in unfrozen. This rules out any lake ice-skating and we are not prepared to downhill ski at Gore. Continuing on Route 9 we pass a sign announcing that the free Schroon Lake skiing and sledding hill is open. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Oak Mountain’s Family Ski Events

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.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Conversation About Guns

I was going to write about ski centers and getting ready for Christmas, but this morning my nine-year-old didn’t want to go to school. She sat on the floor with her lunch box in her hand and started to cry. When I asked her what was wrong, she described a story she heard at school, about children escaping from Sandy Hook Elementary.

I know I am not the only parent that is struggling with a conversation to explain the unexplainable to our children. Sadly, my children are not strangers to death. They were given a dose of reality when they lost their eight-year-old cousin to cancer and both grandfathers in the course of a year. My daughter questions why some people die while others live. I am not able to provide her with answers. Thankfully she does not yet seem obsessed with her safety. She plays with her friends and wanders the woods around our house, but obviously somewhere buried deep the stories matter.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Public Ice Skating Indoor Arenas

Once the weather gets a bit more consistent outside it will be time to hit the many outdoor Adirondack skating rinks. Until that time my family makes time for ice-skating at the indoor arenas. That is fine, too. Inside we have the opportunity to take off our skates, warm up our toes and listen to the music piped in over the sound system. It’s a great way to work off the holiday desserts!

Most of the indoor rinks cater to the hockey and figure skating crowd. We’ve found that even if the schedule is posted online, it is best to call first just to make sure a make-up game hasn’t altered the free skate time. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
‘Zip Code Meets Date’ in Blue Mt Lake

I have been part of two recent Adirondack events where one of the most popular activities was the commemorative pictorial post office cancellation. During the Lake Clear Depot Centennial and Adirondack Kids Day, people were lined up to have a piece of mail with first class postage canceled by means of a special rubber stamp.  I’ve always been interested in stamp collecting, but had never heard about this phenomenon.

Special hand-stamped postal cancellations are created about 60 days before a specific event. The original artwork varies and usually honors a specific event such as the Great Camp Sagamore Centennial in 1997.

According to Blue Mountain Lake Postmaster Liz Forsell the possibility of having a “Zip Code meets Date” pictorial cancellation is quite rare. She was able to create two events for her post office, January 28, 2012 and the upcoming December 8, 2012, where the two dates both match Blue Mountain Lake’s zip code of 12812.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Nutcracker Ballet

One holiday tradition for our family is to see a production of the Nutcracker ballet. Throughout the Adirondacks and beyond, this is a tradition that many hold dear to their hearts as a family-friendly way to kick off the holiday season. With productions in Old Forge, Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Glens Falls, this ballet gathers professional and community dancers on stage for a limited performance.

“Seeing a performance of the Nutcracker is part of the theatre tradition that is wholesome and something the whole family can see,” says Old Forge Ballet Company Director Sue Ann Lorenz-Wallace.” If children are performing in the production, it is something that will stay with them the rest of their lives. If they watch it, it will always bring back fond memories of the holidays.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Black Friday, Small Business Saturday

My children show more interest in the newspapers during the holiday season than any other time of year. They are the first two people in our household to get the newspaper and start drawing circles around toys and games that are suddenly on the “must have” list. They are driven by the constant marketing and inundated by advertising with items they truly feel they need. We also have many cousins to buy gifts for.

Though I am asked to get popular named brand clothing for some, I also make a point of giving something handmade or locally made. I don’t pick it out. I give each of my children the name of one cousin to shop for at a time. My kids are given a budget and walk through various stores to see what small item they can pick up that may complement the purchased sweater. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities:
Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

If I wasn’t already being inundated by Christmas songs and flashing holiday decorations, I would find it difficult to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. I usually have all my holiday shopping finished by now. This year I will be hitting the stores with the masses, looking for those perfect gifts. Though my children are just as partial to video games as the next group of kids, I do try to encourage a handmade Christmas. Around various areas of the Adirondacks local stores and businesses have their own version of Black Friday with a handmade touch.

Indian Lake is celebrating their 15th annual Country Christmas Tour while Inlet and Old Forge hosts an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street. These local businesses support local artisans and make gift giving unique and easy. Each location is also hosting holiday workshops for children to be able to take time and make a homemade craft. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake George Polar Plunge

There are so many things happening around the East Coast today with many people homeless and suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I am in awe how people bonding together can make change. I realize that some needs are immediate; others are a long-term process. One constant is the ability to demonstrate to my own children how fortunate they truly are. There are places accepting donations, volunteers are needed to sort clothes.

Throughout all the chaos sometimes a moment of levity is needed. Watching 550 people rush into chilly Lake George on November 17 is one such annual event. There are 14 Special Olympic Polar Plunges around New York State. According to Development Specialist Michelle Iorizzo these events enable intellectually disabled children and adults to compete for free in 22 Olympic style sports in regional and state competitions throughout the year. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Weekend AIC Events

Without really knowing what sort of residual weather Hurricane Sandy may blow into the Adirondack Park, Assistant Program Manager Kaley Donavon at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb is confident that the weekend plans at the AIC will go uninterrupted.

Donavon says, “ We have 3.6 miles of trails with some sort of water feature for people to enjoy, at the Adirondack Interpretive Center. Trails lead to Rich Pond, cross Little Sucker Brook and continue to Belden Pond. This weekend we are also hosting a 2-mile hike around Arbutus Lake in the Huntington Wildlife Forest.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Running Colors Race

The VIEW in Old Forge is set to celebrate it’s own Festival of Colors on Saturday, October 27 with its first annual 5K Fun Running Colors race. According to Jody Pritchard, VIEW Media Manager, Running Colors is based on other charity running races that use an eco-friendly, fine-colored cornstarch to color bomb participants during the 5K run.

VIEW receives the food-grade safe colors from a church in Utah that also supplies colors for Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi, the Festival of Colors is a Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil and a welcoming of spring.

Color races are popular  nation-wide as a celebration of color with such foot races as Rainbow Race, Color Me Red and The Color Run. What better way to celebrate the change of seasons and benefit an arts organization like the Old Forge VIEW than with a huge splash of color! » Continue Reading.


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