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, April 16, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Asgaard Farm Kidding Season

AsgaardFarmsKids_newSigns of spring are finally starting to surround us with songbirds arriving and bulbs pushing their way through the ground. At Asgaard Farm and Dairy, owners Rhonda Butler and David Brunner, have a different barometer for measuring the change of seasons. Since mid March about 75 baby goats (kids) have been born with more due in the upcoming week.

When I visited last year I spoke with owner Rhonda Butler at length about the spring births and was delighted to find out there are many opportunities to visit the kids and even attend a birth. The goats at Asgaard are bred through their natural cycle. Though larger dairies use artificial light to manipulate the goats to breed off-season, Asgaard continues to follow the natural season. The doelings (mother goats) are bred in the fall and give birth in the spring with the kids drinking the doeling’s milk. After being weaned, Asgaard Farm uses the milk for their various cheeses and goat milk soaps. Some of the kids are culled after the season and harvested for their meat to produce Chevon or sold as pets or to other working farms. Asgaard maintains a milking herd of about 50 goats that are expected to produce about 100 kids. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities:
A Living-Able Performance of HONK in Long Lake

FrogandToadThere are many ways to celebrate spring in the Adirondacks. After boiling the last of our backyard maple sap my family looks for ways to relax and appreciate the change of seasons. One way is to catch a local art exhibit at one of the many arts organizations around the Adirondacks. Of course, there is still snow on the trails and even Gore and Whiteface will be open for the weekend to get that spring ski rush.

Part of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts (Arts Center) in Blue Mountain Lake Living-Able Series, regional actors, Long Lake Central School students and adults with disabilities from Sunmount DDSO present a musical performance of HONK this April 13-14. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Climbing at The Crux

6806_558363347541571_694676152_nThough we have spent most of our time getting out on the various Adirondack trails, my family needs to start working a different muscle group. Our legs are strong, but our arms are in need of a different workout. Though there is still plenty of snow around the Adirondacks, there are other activities that we are able to enjoy. One is getting into rock climbing shape at an indoor climbing wall.

The Crux, in Willsboro, offers the novice and expert a great place to burn off some steam while getting into climbing shape. Under the auspiciousness of Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center, The Crux is open from mid-October through mid-May. According to the Outdoor Education Center Director Brian DeGroat The Crux’s availability is tailored to accommodate everyone wanting to maintain or improve their skills without climbing outdoors. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Pendragon’s Summer Season

fleurdisliscoverMy family enjoys going to the theatre as much as we enjoy hitting the trails. Thankfully because of the many wonderful Adirondack seasonal theatre companies we never have too far to travel to get our summer theatre fix. There is no need to drive to the ends of the Park in the other months thanks to Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake. As the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, Pendragon has been bringing live theatre to the Adirondacks for over 30 years.  This year Pendragon Theatre has chosen the theme of “Saints and Sinners” for the upcoming 2013 season.

Pendragon’s new Executive/Artist Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham  says, “This is the first season that I’ve chosen the plays. The theme began with the fact that A Street Car Named Desire was the first play Pendragon produced. I wanted this to be a tribute to Bob and Susan. Everything else came together and followed the Saints and Sinners theme.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: NYS Maple Weekends

Sap-DripThere are a variety of places that a person can visit to see maple sap collected, especially this weekend (March 23-24) as maple producers join together for the second of two New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekends.

According to New York State Maple Producers Association President Dwayne Hill, the organization has grown to 575 members and helps to educate the public about the production of maple products. Hill stresses the importance of increasing the number of maple producers in New York State. He sees the world dependence on maple products rising, which he believes is partially due to maple being a natural sweetener. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Irish Road Bowling

100_0847Getting ready to go green takes on a new meaning as Indian Lake celebrates St Patrick’s Day with a weekend full of activities. With doggie struts and hat parades, there is a wide range of events to make celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a weekend to remember.

“We’ve been hosting this event since 2006, making it our seventh year,” says Vonnie Liddle Indian Lake Events/Activities Coordinator. “The Hat Parade starts everything off. It is now tied into the PARP program (Parents as Reading Partners) so we have an unofficial theme this year of magic. The school children are given a hat and have to decorate it according to the theme.”

Liddle is quick to say that the parade is open to anyone with a hat and not everyone follows the PARP theme. It is really about getting people outside and having fun. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: NYSEF Lake Placid Kids Fest

SkiJumpKidFest_newThere is still plenty of snow left around the Adirondacks and plenty of places taking full advantage of it. For one, the New York Ski Education Foundation (NYSEF) will be celebrating its annual Kids’ Fest at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex March 16-17. This two-day event will allow participants a glimpse into the world of Biathlon, Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping.

If your child is interested in skate skiing, paintball and biathlon, this venue is a great place to be able to view the action. He/she can even participate for a $40 entry fee, though it is free to watch. Keep in mind that all the other Olympic activities such as riding the chair lift, tubing or going up the chairlift or visiting the observation tower requires admission. Registration will begin each day at 8:30 am with the individual skate races starting at 9:30 am. After lunch on Saturday the Ski Jumping segment begins with the day finishing with the Skate Sprint competition.  After the awards at the Olympic Ski Jump Base Lodge, there will be an ice cream social. Sunday will hold the season’s final Adirondack Paintball Biathlon.
» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Science Sundays at VIEW

monarch_butterfly_newScience on Sundays at  VIEW in Old Forge is continuing March 3 with “Migration of Monarch butterflies in and beyond New York” with Ernest Williams, co-author of The Stokes Butterfly Book, author of The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors, as well as other books, journals and numerous articles.

Recently quoted in New Scientist magazine regarding the monarch butterfly migration, the  Hamilton College Biology Professor stated that the Monarch butterfly species is not threatened, but rather its migration is endangered. Williams further states that if the climate alters, there are possibilities to consider such as a migratory shift further into Canada during summer or the monarchs may stop before reaching Mexico in the winter. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Lecture Series

2013_POMACLecture_Series_poster_2013Though our family always enjoys the numerous Adirondack trails, we also like to experience rich history through lectures available at a variety of wonderful venues. Not only are these lectures led by experts, it is an inexpensive way to entertain a crowd as well as a delightful way to learn more about a wide range of topics.

Those of us with young people can take advantage of the benevolence of the speaker or performer. Most people graciously answer questions or enjoy showing people of all ages the tricks of their trade. Whether it’s a fabulous round of storytelling by Chris Shaw or an historical retelling from Heaven Up-h’isted-ness!’s Sharp Swan, here is just a sampling of places to go and lectures to hear. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Old Forge’s Strand Theatre

StrandTheatre_newValentine’s Day may just be the time to have a small town film experience with old-fashioned appeal. The Strand Theatre in Old Forge offers a heady dose of nostalgia, not only with its beautiful Art Deco setting, but also with an eclectic collection of movie memorabilia. With four screens and seating of 708, the year-round Strand Theatre at Old Forge continues to bring new movies to the screen. Make sure to leave time to explore before choosing your seats.

For us, seeing a film isn’t what brought us inside the theatre doors, it was a window display of film reels and camera parts. After meeting co-owners Bob Card and Helen Zyma, my children and I were pleasantly surprised to turn the corner to find a mini-museum dedicated to film. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Lake George Winter Carnival

SnowTubing_newFebruary may have fewer days than any other month, but Lake George has made sure to pack it with as many activities as possible. This weekend kicks off the second weekend of a month-long celebration of winter at the Lake George Winter Carnival.

According to Lake George Winter Carnival Committee Volunteer Brenda Travis this is the 52nd year of the Carnival. She remembers coming to Lake George as a teen and looking forward to all the Winter Carnival events.

“Now I am helping to organize the activities,” says Travis. “The Carnival is so much fun and has so much going on. This weekend will be the Northeast Snow X series Carnival Cup. This is a new event. It is a snowmobile race with professionals going around a track and jumping moguls.  Sometimes they can get up to 12 ft. in the air.” » Continue Reading.


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.