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.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Adirondack Paddlefest and Kayak Demos

With springtime finally here in the Adirondacks, it is time to think about water sports. My family is in the market for a few kayaks, but our pocketbook doesn’t always match our expectations. I do what research I can, test friends’ kayaks and ask question upon question.

This past weekend I was fortunate to be able to go to Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters Kayak and Canoe Free Demo Days at the Lake Flower boat launch in Saranac Lake. Though most of the kayaks were out of our budget, it was with welcome relief when a representative started by asking very specific questions regarding my family’s supposed usage and what my expectations are. This mini survey helped narrow down my options and helped me focus on my quest. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Third Annual Newcomb Loon Race

DSC_0105One of the first programs my family attended at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) was a Leopold Bench workshop. The day was devoted to learning  about Aldo Leopold, listening to a reading from A Sand County Almanac and walking the AIC trails. It was a full day of activity that my children still speak about fondly.

Though the agenda for the 3rd annual Loons and Logs Day on May 24th doesn’t include making a Leopold Bench, there is a full schedule of events that includes an  Adirondack chair workshop. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adirondack Adventure Festival in North Creek

 Adirondack Adventure Festival 2011 562There are so many times that I wish I could be in two places at the same time. Though my family is committed and looking forward to hiking The Grand Hike from Westport to Essex on May 3rd, the Adirondack Adventure Festival in North Creek is taking place around the same time.

 

According to Director of Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce Lisa Salamon this year’s Adirondack Adventure Festival will be hosting even more family-friendly activities on May 3-4, 2014. The event is bringing back its popular children’s trout fishing tournament along with more games, face painting and Adirondack crafts.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Champlain Area Trails’ Grand Hike May 3

steven_hike_map_lowThough both my children are enthusiastic hikers, not much can easily pry my teenager out of bed for an early start. Nothing that is, except the promise of a second breakfast that doesn’t require him to cook or clean up. He compares the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) 14-mile Westport Inn to Essex Inn hike to a sandwich. I’m guessing that the bread is breakfast at the beginning of the walk and the block party dinner at the end, while the meat in the middle is hiking with our puppy.

According to CATS Board Chairperson Katharine Preston leashed dogs are always welcome on CAT trails. The May 3rd Inn to Inn event will be no different. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail conditions are agreeable. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dewey Mountain’s New Lodge Funraising Campaign

photo-3My daughter recently turned eleven and in lieu of gifts, once again asked her friends to give money to the organization of her choice. We have always encouraged our children to choose ways to give back to our community whether it’s volunteering or raising funds. This year the non-profit of her choice was the Dewey Mountain Lodge campaign.

Oddly enough my daughter isn’t our child that skis as part of the Dewey program. We tried her in the Nordic program, but she just enjoyed skiing the trails at her own pace. (I think it is more likely that the racing and games cut into her time on the nearby playground.) I do know she really enjoys warming up at Pisgah’s Ski Lodge so it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe she has visions of watching her brother race next winter from the inside of the new Dewey Lodge. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Double H Ranch’s Annual Eggstravaganza

DoubleHRanchEggsThis Sunday Lake Luzerne’s Double H Ranch will be attempting to gesture in spring with its 7th annual Eggstravaganza on April 6.

A day at the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark may not seem like true spring, but with 5 ft. of snow still covering my yard and the promise of a springtime theme, this may be the closest I get to swimming for awhile, without developing hypothermia. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raising Local Food: Ward Lumber’s Poultry Day

2014 poultry dayI’ve considered raising chickens for many reasons, and not just because of the recent popularity of the backyard chicken movement. Raising my own chickens would be more than the bucolic setting where my children skip (they must skip) out the backdoor to the chicken coop to collect eggs. (If the scene is to be complete, my daughter is most likely wearing gingham and some sort of bonnet.)

The reality is less picturesque. The fewer miles my food needs to travel, the better off my family is.  With constant food recalls and salmonella poisoning as just a few reasons to be wary, finding a local source for eggs, dairy and meat is one step, in my opinion, toward good health. So for those that haven’t jumped on the chicken-raising bandwagon, attending a seminar is the perfect opportunity to find out if this is the way to bring your own food source closer to home. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Diane Chase: On The Prowl For Owls

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.19.54 PMMy children seem to attract wildlife like iron to a magnet. It is not because they are good trackers or particularly quiet, as neither attribute is consistently true. It seems that they are observant and often at the right place at the right time.

Quite consistently when they accompany me on a hike we seem to view more wildlife, though eagles and snowy owls have evaded me to date. Opportunities to come across such majestic creatures come down to timing, organization and just luck. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Puppet People to Perform The Firebird in Long Lake

 woods2There is something so hypnotic about watching a puppet show. The simplicity and artistry combined, as an avenue for storytelling, is timeless. The variety of puppets seem to be endless from shadow or hand to a more complex marionette. I enjoy how the stage designs spark the imagination where a scrap of fabric becomes a dress, body of water or backdrop. It is all about where your mind can take you. Around our house a simple sock with some buttons sewn on provided hours of entertainment when my children were young. Now, of course, more complex puppets are in the works.

For the second time Long Lake Public Library is bringing the talents of Schenectady’s The Puppet People to the area. This year’s March 15th performance of The Firebird is free and open to the public, though registration is requested. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reason2Smile World Music Fest in Lake Placid

R2S-28For the second year the not-for-profit organization Reason2Smileis hosting an all day music festival with workshops and children’s camp on March 8 at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.  The festival focus is to introduce the Lake Placid and surrounding areas to an eclectic group of artisans sharing their love of music, art and movement.

According to Reason2Smile Founder and Executive Director Keela Grimmette the event has grown since its first year, with groups coming to hold classes and perform from as far afield as Plattsburgh and Watertown. She would like workshop participants to walk away from the Reason2Smile World Festival with an understanding of all the diverse groups that are located near by and what each one has to share. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Plattsburgh’s Food from the Farm Day

 Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 3.41.03 PMLike most Adirondack gardeners, my family is just starting to think about starting seeds and planning our summer garden. At Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), they want to make sure that we are all aware that local farmers are not just thinking about what to plant, but have actually never stop growing and making local food available for our tables.

The annual  Food from the Farm event, in cooperation with Adirondack Harvest and CCE Clinton County, is just one way local farmers are making themselves available to let us meet the people that grow our food. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Learn About Maple Sugaring at Wild Center This Weekend

Maple BucketThis last weekend of midwinter school break merits a stop at Tupper Lake’s Wild Center. Along with its natural playground, animal encounters and naturalist-led excursions, there is a wide range of organized events to fill the days.

February 22 is all about animal tracking. We have gone on many of these guided trips and are always excited to learn more about the telltale signs of Adirondack animals. Even though my children may have a better grasp than most children their age regarding animal signs, there is always something they learn from a visit to the Wild Center.

On February 23, the Wild Center, in cooperation with the Adirondack Museum, will be demonstrating regional maple sugaring artifacts.  For local residents there is a free pancake breakfast and sugaring workshop that will focus on the Northern NY Maple Project. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ski Discounts in the Tri-Lakes Area

Skiing Whiteface (ORDA Photo)Downhill skiing around the Tri-Lakes of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake without a season pass can put a dent in a parent’s pocketbook. So here are a few tips and discounts available if you plan on skiing Whiteface, Titus and Big Tupper.

Though Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington has been making snow since November, there is finally some fresh power on the trails. My family was there this past weekend working the Empire State Games and was thankful for each run that was squeezed in between races. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some Of The Best Adirondack Winter Carnivals

2014 Ice Palace (Mark Kurtz Photo)Though my family and I have not attended the entire top ten winter carnival venues touted in National Geographic Traveler, I can say we have attended all the winter carnivals in the Adirondack Park listed below. Each festival holds its own special charm and each celebration is an opportunity to enjoy those unique corners of the Adirondack Park.

Saranac Lake may place second on the National Geographic Traveler’s list, but it tops the list for East Coast winter carnival fun. First held in  1897, the Saranac Lake’s winter carnival has a convoluted history. With over a century of experience to draw from, it has grown into a ten-day festival of sports, races, parades, live performances and fireworks. » Continue Reading.