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.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Become Part of the Local Underground Railroad

Underground_Railroad_Experience_Poster1This Saturday my family and six of my son’s friends will be celebrating his birthday by becoming part of the Underground Railroad. It won’t be the typical birthday party, but it is the one that my son wants to share with his friends. Presented by the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center and the Underground Railroad Historical Association, the North County Underground Railroad Experience will be held rain, snow or shine at the Willsboro 1812 Homestead Museum on November 23 from 6-9 pm. This trip through local history is a mere $5 per person.

Participants will play the roles of escaped slaves while the Pok-O-MacCready staff plays the roles of bounty hunters, abolitionists and marshals. According to Brian DeGroat, Director of the Outdoor Education Center, the event is geared to children ages 10 and older due mainly to the serious issues regarding slavery and gearing the lecture to an older audience. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Polar Plunge: Supporting Special Olympians

cZ9QdLUrJust when you think its time to pack away the swim gear and pull out the skis, its time for the annual Polar Plunge benefiting the Special Olympics. I am not one to actually take the required dip, but hold vigorously to my role as spectator when it comes to braving any Adirondack water in November.

From the Finger Lakes to Lake Champlain and Lake George to Staten Island there are 14 Polar Plunge events scheduled with ones in Plattsburgh and Lake George on November 16. Lake George’s Polar Plunge will kick off from Shepard’s Park while the Plattsburgh participants will brave a chilly Lake Champlain from City Beach.

According to Special Olympics Development Specialist Erin McCartan this is the seventh year of their Lake George plunge and the fourth for their Plattsburgh event. Partnering with the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, the Polar Plunges are one their biggest fundraiser throughout the year. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Celebrating An Adirondack Veterans Day

St Lawrence County Flag RockSadly, Veterans Day doesn’t seem to get the press that Halloween does. Yes, I realize it doesn’t come with candy or ring the doorbell dressed up like a ninja. Instead it quietly rolls around each November 11th.

Celebrated first as Armistice Day to commemorate the November 11, 1918 truce ending World War I, the name was changed in 1954 after World War II and the Korean War to honor all American veterans of wars.  So besides the individual town celebrations to remember those veterans that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives as well as those that continue to serve, here are three ideas to say thank you. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Opportunities to Celebrate an Adirondack Halloween

Adirondack Halloween PumpkinPersonally, I prefer to celebrate Halloween passing out the candy while wearing a tiara and a pair of wings without getting any quizzical looks from the neighbors. The other members of my family prefer to look to the pagan holiday as a test of bravery. Haunted houses, corn maze Fright Nights or Zombie Runs aren’t the only means to look fear in eye.

For some Halloween-themed ideas around the Adirondacks try An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe stories at Pendragon Theatre on October 30 at 7 pm and November 1 at 9 pm. Costumes are encouraged for readings of selected works of Poe’s short stories including a Tell-Tale Heart.

On October 31st at 7 pm the Adirondack Film Society will have organist Jeff Barker accompany the 1920 silent film classic, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring John Barrymore and held at the Palace Theatre. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Family Fun Day at Camp Chingachgook Saturday

For over 100 years Camp Chingachgook has been offering children and families options for enjoying nature on Lake George. Off-season the camp has opened its facility to the public for site- specific activities, but for the first time Camp Chingachgook is hosting a free family fun day, October 26 from 10 am – 4 pm, utilizing the whole camp property.

According to Camp Director Billy Rankin they used to offer various specialty days like High Ropes Day or Climbing Day throughout the season. In an attempt to simplify things and create a more family-friendly atmosphere, they created three seasonal events: Winter Wonderland, Spring Fling and the Fall Family Fun Day. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Gabriels: The Great Adirondack Corn Maze

I am not one that searches out various ways to be frightened. I have to dial down my 10-year-old’s enthusiastic Halloween decorating, not for lack of creativity, but because I don’t want to be terrified entering my own house.

I’ll compromise with a few fake spider webs draped across the porch because we more often than not have the real thing hanging around anyway. As far as activities go, the Great Adirondack Corn Maze in Gabriels manages to thrill all ages and fear levels of my family. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Celebrate Loons at the Paul Smith’s VIC

There is something quite mystical about hearing a loon. Whether it’s the haunting wail that echoes across lakes or the territorial male yodel, the loon’s calls can silence everyone around it as people search for the source of the sound.

I was recently paddling a nearby Adirondack pond and was followed by a common loon.  It gave that shrill laughing sound called tremolo that is used to signal alarm. I can only assume that we were too close to its chicks. It seemed that no matter where we went, it didn’t want to share the waterway with us. We finally just sat and drifted and the loon dove underwater, reappearing on a far shore.

There are many things to understand about the loon and the Biodiversity Research Institute’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) have joined forces for a full day of loon related activities to educate and inform all of us about this iconic bird. This free event will be held from 9 am – 5 pm on Sunday, October 13 at the VIC. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In Inlet Saturday is Adirondack Kids Day

ADKKidsDay_newFor the second year my family has been asked to join Adirondack Kids Day October 5 from 10 am – 3 pm in Inlet as a fun, interactive way to encourage other families to get outside and be creative.

Organized by the Adirondack Kids book series authors, Gary and Justin VanRiper, with the assistance of Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks, Adirondack Kids Day offers a chance for families to meet local children’s authors, learn new skills and enjoy a day of free activities.

According to Town of Inlet Department Head Adele Burnett this year’s Adirondack Kids Day will be bigger than the first with the addition of new activities such as the Word of Life Petting Zoo, a inflatable bounce house and Magician Jim Oakey. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Diane Chase: Visiting Long Lake’s Steamboat Buttercup

Steamboat ButtercupI have found that being a parent is akin to being a magician. I am always trying to keep one step ahead of my audience and want to keep the show as interesting as possible. Since history surrounds us in the Adirondacks, it isn’t always the traditional locations like museums where I am able to best demonstrate an issue. The stories behind the Great Camps, the people that built neighboring towns and the industries that help shape the Adirondacks are all various ways that I’ve tried to relate my children to a sense of place.

On a recent trip to Long Lake, I took my kids to the back lot behind the Long Lake Town Hall, near the Archives Building. Though from the road the wired cage looks like nothing special, on closer inspection it houses the remains of the steamboat Buttercup. Though the steamboat itself may not have special historic significance, its story indicates a time when average people took matters into their own hands in hopes of stopping the industrial revolution. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Indian Lake’s Adirondack Mountains Antique Show

Crisp nights and changing leaves means the beginning of the fall antique show circuit. Treasures are waiting to be discovered and no better place than the annual Adirondack Mountains Antique Show in Indian Lake. Always held the third weekend in September, this year’s rustic Adirondack antique show is scheduled for September 18-22.

Originally started by the Adirondack Museum the show altered locations between Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake. Now in its fourth year and constantly growing, this antique show is here to stay. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rockwell Kent Day Celebrates The Artist’s Adirondack Roots

Kent with WoodcutThough many famous artists have used the Adirondacks as the subject of their work, one artist stands out as a painter, activist and illustrator. Rockwell Kent was a prolific artist and through his seascapes and landscapes provided a window into the wilds of Alaska, Newfoundland, Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, the Adirondacks and beyond.

For the second year the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) is hosting a Rockwell Kent Day on September 21st from 10 am – 4 pm in Newcomb to celebrate this adventurer with strong ties to the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt Rides Again in North Creek

tedd-rides-again-450pxTeddy Roosevelt is not available to recreate his historic 1901 ride from the North Creek Train Depot, but nationally recognized Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand will be on hand to fill those famous shoes.

On September 14-15 the Saratoga/North Creek Railway (SNCRR) is providing historic train rides, recreations and special excursions surrounding the theme of Teddy Roosevelt’s famed ride from Tahawus to North Creek. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Adirondack Architectural Heritage Preservation Tours

castle13This year Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has offered 34 historic and notable destination tours that range from inside a maximum-security prison to horse-drawn wagon rides to an Adirondack Great Camp. Guided by field experts, the AARCH tours offer a diverse array of Adirondack architecture from the distant to recent past.

Our schedule this year starts in early June and ends in early September,” says Susan Arena, AARCH Program Director. “We offer second tours for places like Camp Santanoni and Dannemora because there is limited space. We balance that out by doing two tours.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adirondack Folk “Songs To Keep” Concert Tour Underway

Porter1The “Songs To Keep” documentary, album, book and concert tour are underway, raising awareness of rare Adirondack North Country folk songs. Collaborating with TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York), the Adirondack History Center Museum and SUNY Plattsburgh Feinberg Library’s Special Collection, Mountain Lake PBS is helping to bring the Majorie Lansing Porter Song Collection to light.

Along with an album recorded from the collection, a songbook, manuscript and traveling exhibit, the PBS documentary will bring all aspects of this previously unavailable historic assembly of regional folk songs to the public. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Third Year for Lake George Music Festival

LGMusicFestivalIn just three years The Lake George Music Festival has grown from a small grass-roots classical musical event with a handful of volunteers to a destination event with hundreds of helping hands providing free public access to award-winning classical musicians.

Executive Director Alexander Lombard says, “We have an amazing amount of support from individuals, businesses, sponsors and volunteers. The community has embraced having a classic musical festival in Lake George.” » Continue Reading.