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 26, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Last Chance for Maple Weekends

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Being able to successfully make maple syrup can reveal a lot about your personality. For our family, the credit for making our one-gallon of maple syrup goes largely to my husband. I collected the sap but he tended the fire and tested the product until we canned 4 quart jars of sticky-sweet liquid gold.

My husband and I discovered that we work well together. The tasks he willingly takes on are those that I do not care for and vice versa. Working together shows our children that the process makes the end result taste so much the better.

I enjoy hearing my children discuss with their friends how they were able to help make the syrup. It was definitely a family affair. Now they attend maple festivals and maple celebrations around the Adirondacks. Making maple was time consuming so with each taste of pancake soaked in syrup, my children have learned that some things are worth the wait.

For those that want to extend the maple season, Pok-O-MacCready in Willsboro will hold its “Last Drop” Pancake Breakfast ($6/adults, $5 (kids 12 and under) $6/seniors) from 8:00 a.m. – noon on April 30th. This event features homemade maple syrup collected and made right at the Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center.

Further south in the Hadley/Lake Luzerne area the whole community is coming together for the 7th annual Maple in April Festival. On Friday, April 29th the event will kick off with a cooking contest in which all entries have to contain maple in the recipe.

Maple in April organizer Sue Wilder says, “People should drop off their entry at 4:00 p.m. at the Rockwell-Harmon House in Lake Luzerne and then enjoy live music, stories and roasting marshmallows from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the new Adirondack Folk School Amphitheater, right next door.”

The Maple in April Festival started out as a scholarship fundraising breakfast by the Hadley Business Association to support local high school students interested in pursuing a degree in business. Now the event is three days packed with activities.

Sue and Ernie Wilder will be demonstrating sugaring techniques at their Wilder’s Sugar Shack, 4088 Rockwell Street in Hadley. The breakfast (8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.) featuring homemade French Toast, Oscar’s Smokehouse maple sausage and Wilder maple syrup will kick off a day of festivities.

“The breakfast proceeds still benefit the Hadley-Luzerne Scholarship Fund,” says Wilder. “In addition we have a record number of vendors coming to sell their crafts on Saturday. The Saga City Exchange Group is putting on a children carnival with all sorts of games and there will be an inflatable Bounce House.”

There are plenty of family-friendly events happening. The town of Hadley has closed off Circular Street to create a “big truck” area where children can explore local fire trucks, dump trucks and logging trucks. The Upstate Model Railroaders will set up a display at the Hadley Town Hall and allow children (young and old) to work their scaled train models. Clarke Dunham, Tony award nominated Broadway set designer, is using this weekend to show highlights from his Railroad on Parade Museum, which is scheduled to open in Pottersville this July.

There are a lot of activities for people to do,” says Wilder, “ We also have an antique car show on Saturday and a historic walking tour on Sunday. This is the seventh year for the Maple in April Festival. We will have a lot of maple goodies and just fun for everyone.”


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Celebrating Earth Day 2011

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Earth Day is every day, I get that and I do hope I live that way. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need a few nudges. Having an Earth Day celebration is like giving your own mother a card for your birthday and letting her know that you really appreciate the 22 hours of labor she went through. (So far my children only hear white noise when I mention that.)

So here are a few ideas to help make Mother Nature’s job just a bit easier.

For anyone in Essex County that wishes to “dump the pump” on Earth Day, the Essex County Transportation Bureau is offering free bus rides for everyone on April 22nd.

On April 23rd, Judy’s Computer Support will be at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise‘s parking lot from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. as part of a Community Computer Recycling Day to collect used computers, printers, laptops, monitors, faxes and computer cords.

You can spend a few hours before going on a hike and clean up a trailhead parking lot. Sadly, I am always surprised by the amount of garbage we pick up. Remember to bring gloves and a bag because some of the stuff we’ve found is just plain nasty. This activity has made such an impact on my children that they are more mindful of their own wrappers. It has even sometimes altered their purchasing decisions when they now recognize excess packaging.

Last year we made a B’ Earth Day Cake for my daughter but there is no reason why Mother Nature can’t share in the calories plus it’s an exercise in geography. It was refreshing to hear my son say ”I think we need to move South America a bit more to the right.”

In Saranac Lake, The Adirondack Green Circle continues to sponsor their Wake-Up! Film Fest with a showing of Blue Gold tonight (April 19th) at Upstairs at the Waterhole on Main Street with the next film offering being the comedic documentary How to Boil A Frog on May 3rd (same time, same location). The other dates are set but films are being decided for May 17 and 31st. Please call 518-891-7230 for more information.

Recycling electronics, computers and your grandmother’s TV (that wouldn’t sell on eBay even though you listed it as “antique”) can now be taken away for free. On May 2nd from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Lake George residents and small businesses can recycle their old, used or broken electronics for free at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing.

On May 3rd Cornell Cooperative Extension in Hudson Falls will offer a free lecture on ways to reduce energy bills through no-cost/low-cost actions.

A wonderful inside activity, while waiting for the last of the Adirondack snow to melt, is planting seeds. Nothing connects children more to the earth than seeing the miracle of a tiny seed growing into something they can eat. Remember that some flowers are edible, too. It doesn’t always have to be about the vegetables.

Finally, the weekend of April 29 to May 1 is the “Build a Greener Adirondacks” Expo at the Wild Center with training workshops for everyone from contractors to home owners. The Wild Center will then reopen to the public on May 1st with GreenFest, a day packed with family activities, animal encounters and green crafts for kids.

I am sure I’ve missed a few and will gladly amend this post to make sure all favorite Earth Day options are listed.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Saranac Lake Daffest

There have been all sorts of numbers being bantered about regarding the number of daffodil bulbs planted for the 1st annual Daffest in Saranac Lake April 29- May 1, 2011. Organizer Cherrie Sayles knows for sure.

“Last fall volunteers and organizers planted 51,000 bulbs for the first Daffest,” says Sayles. ” There are a lot of numbers out there but we have a great start. Our goal is to plant a million bulbs.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Starting Seedlings with Kids

Strangely enough I found myself shoveling snow and walking the dog in a rainstorm all within hours of each other. The snow quickly disappeared and neither children nor dog seemed to mind the rain as much as I did. Seeing my children spin around in the rain and stomp through puddles reminds me why I love living in the Adirondacks. Each season brings change and a variety of things to do.

At our house we have started our seeds for the summer garden. During these shoulder season days the kids constantly check the progress of their favorite vegetables. Though some seeds are best sown directly into the garden, I am not one to stop my children from willingly planting beans. We can always throw more into the garden once the danger of frost has passed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities with Diane Chase: Whiteface, Gore Pond Skimming

NOTE: Pond Skimming Has Been Postponed Until Next Saturday, April 9

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
It certainly doesn’t seem like spring at my house. Snow is falling and my children are outside cutting ice blocks for a fort. We still have all the winter gear out and are still enjoying snow on the trails. Downhill skiing may not be for everyone, but there are ways to enjoy the fun even if you aren’t personally hitting the slopes.

This weekend Whiteface Mountain will celebrate its last Super Sunday Retro Day with $35 adult lift tickets ($30 teen/senior and $25/junior) for all.

Crazy outfits will abound and I fear I could outfit quite a few people in really bad neon style choices and some unflattering stirrup pants. There will be prizes for best costume and from the sound of things “best” is subjective. Ticket holders can also participate in an on-mountain scavenger hunt.

The annual pond skimming contest will take place at the base with no entry fee required. Skiers and snowboards will try to gain as much speed as possible to “skim” across a man made pond to win prizes for longest distance, biggest and best splash and best costume.

Pond skimming at Whiteface is not just for ticket holders. Spectators can access the event for free. For those in need of accessibility, the event will have a limited view from the sun deck. Pond skimming can be viewed from the gondola but tickets are required. Gondola tickets will be available for any riders and I am told that is wheelchair accessible. It is best to call ahead to make sure the gondola is running. It is closed to passengers in cases of high wind.

Gore Mountain will conduct its pond skimming tradition on April 10 at 11:00 a.m. at the base of the mountain.

“This event is very spectator-friendly,” says Gore Mountain Marketing Manager Emily Stanton. “There is a five dollar entry free and the event is accessible from the sun deck. The best viewing though is right near the pond so sturdy walking shoes are recommended for those not participating.”

According to Stanton in the past spectators may get wet so it is best to prepare for that as well. The pond is about half the size of a hotel pool and participants will race downhill to waterski across the pond spraying spectators along the way.

“Costumes are highly encouraged,” says Stanton, “We will be crowning a Pond King, Queen, Prince, Princess and Pond Frogs and Frogettes. We have great prizes this year from a variety of ski and snowboard gear, gift certificates at the Log Jam Restaurant in Lake George, and Gore mountain biking tickets.”

Though West Mountain and McCauley will be open this weekend, they celebrated their own version of pond skimming earlier in March.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adirondack Family Activity: Wild Center’s Otter Birthday Party

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
I have been having a great winter skiing and snowshoeing around the Adirondacks so much so that when I received my Otter birthday party reminder at the Wild Center it took me a bit by surprise. It is already that time of year when The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks (The Wild Center) closes for the month of April to rejuvenate and get ready for a busy summer season. That said, this weekend, March 25-27) will be the last opportunity until May 1st to see what the Wild Center has been up to this winter.

Now with the recent flurries of snow, mud season doesn’t seem to be approaching as fast as some may wish. Keep in mind that if you always wanted to attempt snowshoeing now is the time. The Wild Center offers free snowshoes with paid admission. So practice around the various trails and see how easy it is to go out an explore while the trails are still covered in snow. The added bonus for this weekend is the Otters’ birthday party celebration.

Interpretive Naturalist Kerri Ziemann says,”On Friday and Saturday we will have all our regular programming as well as one more chance for people to find the golden otter before the drawing on Sunday.”

For those not in the know, a tiny golden otter has been hiding in various places within the Wild Center for the past twelve weeks. Children and adults are welcome to search and use a list of clues to find the evasive creature. Once found, submit his/her name into a raffle for a chance to win a pack basket full of otter related goodies. Thankfully nothing that I saw relates to having to go home with a real otter though there is a huge plush toy right on top.

“For this weekend the otters’ birthday will be held on the 27th and we will have activities all day starting at 10:00 and ending around 3:30. There will be enrichment programs about otters and craft tables open for anyone to color an individual quilt square. We will then tie all the squares together to create a quilt,” continues Ziemann.

Additional events are face painting and storytelling sessions with author Hope Marston of “My Little book of River Otters” at noon and 1:00 p.m. Ollie the Otter, the Wild Center mascot, will also be around for picture taking. Currently the Wild Center as four otters: Squirt, Louie, Squeaker, and Remy. The raffle will be drawn at 1:30 p.m. with a celebration of cupcakes (for humans) and ice “cake” for the otters.

After a month of spring cleaning the Wild Center will reopen on May 1st with a green festival as part of “Build a Greener Adirondacks Expo.”

If that doesn’t fit into the schedule, the Adirondack Museum will hold two more Cabin Fever Sundays. Women and their role in early conservation is the March 27 topic where Museum Educator Jessica Rubin will highlight early female activism. On April 10, curator Laura Cotton will discuss artifacts from the museum’s collection that show chase Adirondack ingenuity. These events are at 1:30 p.m. in the auditorium and free to museum members or elementary-school-age children and younger. Otherwise it is $5 for nonmembers. Though to see the whole facility you will have to wait until its May 27th opening day.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Footy Film Fest in AuSable Forks

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
The Footy Film Festival isn’t just for the freestyle and snowboard culture, Director Mike Kirshner insists. The category was left ambiguous, snow-sport action footage from the current season with the only restriction being time. This first winter-sports amateur film contest has an under 5-minute and under 30-minute category that includes entries from all walks of life, not just the freestyle world.

Kirshner says, “We wanted the festival to be open to all though we did primarily get entries that are involved in the culture. We do have an ice fishing entry and even one with young kids competing in some of the disciplines. We want this event to continue to grow and have more entries outside the freestyle culture.”

The disciplines that Kirshner refers to are in two areas, ski and snowboard. In the ski category competitors compete in Moguls, Dual Moguls, Aerials, Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Skiercross. In the snowboard field, participants compete in Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Boardercross, Giant Slalom and Slalom.

Spectators are encouraged to attend the Footy Film Festival and all funds will be used to support the United States of America Snowboard Associations Adirondack (USASA ADK) athletes at Nationals at Copper Mountain.

“The idea of an amateur film festival felt like a natural fit. A lot of the first year boarders and younger kids in the snow and ski culture are already filming themselves on YouTube and Facebook,” says Kirshner. “For some kids the filming may even take priority over the primary activity. So out of this culture we decided to have a contest for the Adirondack region that would support the subculture while also acting as a fundraiser for those athletes trying to make Nationals, which are in Colorado this year.”

The film festival will take place at the Hollywood Theatre in AuSable Forks this Friday, March 18 at 6:30 p.m. All tickets are $5. Awards will be given to the top three in each category following the showing. First place for <5 minute edit will receive $100 cash prize and a GoPro camera while the first place winner for < 30 minute edit will receive $200 cash prize and a GoPro camera. Other prizes will be awarded from PlacidPlanet Bicycles and Hardway Apparel.

All in all it should be a fun first-time event that will continue to grow overtime. For some it may be an introduction to freestyle sports or just an interesting view at some up and coming talent.


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Thurman Maple Weekend

Two feet of new snow around the Adirondacks and I am ready to console myself in maple syrup. I am not sure if it will be in a celebration of spring or procrastination to shoveling. Either way the next three weeks are full of various maple-collecting Adirondack Family Activities  for all, starting with Thurman’s annual Maple Weekend March 12-13.

Sheryl Kenyon of Adirondack Gold Maple Farm recommends that people start right off with a pancake breakfast at neighboring Valley Road Maple Farm. As one of the founders of Thurman Maple Weekend, Kenyon knows there are plenty of ways to celebrate making maple syrup and wants families to come out and be active while doing it.

“It is a wonderful breakfast,” says Kenyon. “Then people can come to Adirondack Gold Maple Farm and see Tapper tap about 100 trees. We have about 650 taps going through tubing but people do still like that nostalgic fell of seeing sap buckets.”

Tapper, Kenyon’s husband is known by that moniker for all the maple taps he has put into trees. She admits that kids just love being around Tapper and will find recipes and other products available during the whole weekend at their old-fashioned wood burning sugarhouse. .

Kenyon says, “We expect there will still be a lot of snow this weekend. We have snowshoes if anyone wants to borrow them or feel free to bring your own. We encourage people to get out on our trails and make a full day of it. There will be maple donuts and maple chili as well as hot chocolate and coffee at Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. We will also have hotdogs with maple Michigan sauce in case people are looking for something different than the pancake breakfast.”

The breakfast she refers to will start at 9:00 a.m. on both days, March 12-13, at Valley Road Maple Farm. This local sugarhouse will demonstrate techniques from their state-of-the-art sugarhouse such as “taps on vacuum with reverse osmosis.” Valley Road Maple Farm won first prize for maple candy at the New York State Fair in 2008 and 2009.

Two additional spots are Toad Hill Maple Farm and Martin’s Lumber. Toad Hill Maple Farm is the largest maple producer in Warren County and will be giving tours of their new energy-efficient sugarhouse. Martin’s Lumber will have sawing demonstrations and stepping stones and paper jewelry crafts on hand. Kenyon informs me that Martin’s provides sustainable lumbering. One example is demonstrating the beautiful wood grain in nonproducing old sugar maple trees where the wood has changed from old maple taps.

A good time for all is the annual Maple Sugar Park at Thurman Town hall in Athol on Saturday, March 12 at 4:00 p.m.. This all-you-can eat buffet also serves as a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The $10/adults, $5/(kids 6-11), Free (5-under) goes toward fighting cancer while providing live music food and some jackwax.

No, I had to ask what jackwax was. It may be maple taffy to some or “sugar on snow” to others. Whatever you want to call it, the sugary, maple candy will be boiling away in celebration of all that is maple.

Don’t forget that the New York State Maple Producers’ Association Maple Weekend is March 19-20 and March 26-27. So if this weekend doesn’t fit your schedule there will be plenty of choices for families to get a real maple treat.

Photo: Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. Used with permission


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Sleigh Rides

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

The groundhog may not have seen its shadow but I’m still hoping to get a bit more winter activities in before all the snow melts away. One treat we seem to do each winter is an Adirondack sleigh ride. From the beautiful outdoor setting to the old-fashioned activity, it is something that lets us enjoy the mountains together without motors, phones or other media blaring. Each of the location below offers a different sleigh riding experience while sharing an opportunity for us to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

In the southern part of the Adirondacks is Circle B Ranch (518-494-4888) owned and operated by Chris Boggia. The former science teacher wears many hats in the day to day management of the Circle B. From farrier to trail guide, Chris provides a hands on approach to each experience.

Chris even helped construct one of the three traditional sleigh with wood harvested from the ranch. Chris Circle B offers three options; two small sleighs for a more intimate setting or a larger sleigh for groups. Each ride is 30-40 minutes and travels through wooded trails and open fields on the Circle B’s 40-acre ranch. The Circle B has access to neighboring property and utilizes 850-acres for its sleigh and winter trail rides. Reservations are required.

Country Dream Farm (518-561-8941( operates their sleigh rides out of Hohmeyer’s Lake Clear Lodge (888-818-2701). According to owner Melissa Monty-Provost there are many options available.

“Visitors can take a sleigh ride through the wooded trails at the Lake Clear Lodge and then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate by the fire or people can stay for dinner or just have an appetizer,” Melissa says. “Recently a group came and did a wine tasting and then out for a sleigh ride.”

Each 30-minute sleigh ride is available on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The team pulls an old-fashioned sleigh through a lantern lit trail through the woods of the Lake Clear Lodge property. They also offer private sleigh rides by appointment and travel off site, depending on the distance.

Once the Lake Placid Club’s golf course is covered with snow, The Equine Center (518-834-9933) moves in to operate its Adirondack sleigh rides. Located right on Route 86 in Lake Placid. Sleigh rides with The Equine Center are from afternoon to early evening.

Owner Travis DeValinger says he does extend hours for those special moments. Each 40-minute ride glides over snow-covered hills with a panoramic view of the High Peaks, Sentinel Range and even glimpses of the Olympic Ski Jump in the background.

Prices vary for each operation so please check each website or call to ask about any discounts.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Random Acts of Shakespeare

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
Random Acts of Shakespeare is a newly formed theatre group with the hope of making Shakespeare accessible through the popular form of “flash mobs.”

Founder and Director April Iovino wants to draw attention to the fact that Shakespeare is not stuffy or boring, that the plays of Shakespeare are as relevant today as they were 400 years ago.

Iovino and the fledging group of 12 or so actors thought that one way to appeal to people would be to perform “flash mob” Shakespeare in various places. Armed with the more mainstream quotes, passages and soliloquies, Random Acts of Shakespeare made its debut during the Lake George Winter Carnival.

Iovino says, “ We decided to start performing scenes and monologues from the passages of Shakespeare that people would recognize. We wanted to demonstrate how popular Shakepeare still is, how Shakespearean plays have gotten into our popular culture without people even knowing it.”

She begins to rattle off well-known pieces in general pop culture, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”, from the play Julius Caesar or Hamlet’s, “To be our not to be: that is the question.” The list goes on.

“Romeo and Juliet is once again being remade and currently in the theatres as a cartoon,” reminds Iovino. “ This was an experiment to see if people were interested. We want to entertain the general public in an unconventional way.

“We are all involved in theatre in some capacity,” Iovino speaks about the other troupe members. “I have a Bachelor’s in Theatre from SUNY Plattsburgh and have worked with Schuylerville Community Theatre and the Hudson River Shakespeare Company. I then asked my theatre friends if they were interested in performing.”

“The idea to start at the Lake George Winter Carnival came quickly and everything fell into place,” says Iovino. “We needed to get dates and times. We needed to get the piece to memorize. We then went to Shepard’s Park by the beach and just started spewing out Shakespeare. I hope it is something we can do in other areas. We hope that other venues will open up to us. We hope to get the information out there, outside of a traditional theatre setting.”

The whole purpose of performing in a “flash mob” format was to expose Shakespeare’s works to the general public in a similar vein as a street performer or performance artist and, judging from the feedback they’ve received, it worked.

To date, Random Acts of Shakespeare’ troupe consists of April Iovio, SaraBeth Oddy, Molly Oddy, Jenelle Hammond, Jeremy Hammond, David Lundgren, Sereh Lundgren, Lisa Grabbe, Jeremy Grebbe, Andy Haag, Nik Korobovsky, Kate LeBoeuf and Sara Lestage

Iovino and the rest of Random Acts of Shakespeare are looking to broaden their scope to include school groups and other venues. Anyone can email or find them on Facebook to set up performances. As Iovino and Shakespeare remind us, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” As You Like It.

Photo used with permission of Random Acts of Shakespeare


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities on the Jackrabbit Trail

We plan just a jaunt to stretch our legs on the Lake Clear section of the Jackrabbit Trail. We are only going a small part of the nine-mile trail that starts near the Lake Clear junction and ends at the Paul Smith College Visitor’s Interpretive Center (VIC).

We struggle over the steep snow banks that line Route 30, throwing our snowshoes and skis ahead of us. With the recent dumping of snow we have to knock our feet into the snow to make steps up the embankment. We sit on the edge of the snow bank and quickly strap on our skis.

When we reach the Jackrabbit trailhead sign my son notes that we are standing about four feet above the ground. Cars rush past but the tree cover soon muffles the sound. Even on skis we sink into the fresh snow. There are more popular sections to the 33-mile trail but this one fits our needs.

The conditions are perfect. We follow the corridor of telephone poles. Snowmobile and ski tracks are on either side of us. We skirt around the poles trying to avoid the heavy ice that hangs from the lines above.

The Jackrabbit Trail was modeled after the European tradition of cross-country ski journeying. In certain European countries towns are linked with trails allowing skiers to travel smoothly between villages, eating and sleeping along the way.

I’m sure there are people that have completed the whole Jack Rabbit trail in day. We will not be one of them. For families the Jack Rabbit Trail is a perfect opportunity to get out on skis and enjoy the Adirondack backcountry.

Named in memory of Herman (Jackrabbit) Johannsen, the Jackrabbit Trail is constructed and maintained by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. The 33-mile, multi-sectioned cross-country ski trail connects the towns of Paul Smiths, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Keene. The Lake Clear section is accessed about a half mile north on Route 30 from the Route 30/186 junction. There is a small sign across from the old Lake Clear Elementary School.

For more information on the Jackrabbit Trail please contact the Adirondack Ski Touring Council at 518-523-1365.

Photo ©Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Winter Carnivals

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

When the weather hits the negative digits and my kids are stuck inside for any length of time we, like so many other people living here, look forward to opportunities for getting outside. Though with winter storms, weather warning and family time spent shoveling snow, it may be difficult to remember all the reason why we love the snow.

Festivals, carnivals and celebrations of winter are here to remind us why we choose to visit, live and be a part of the snow. Plus a little competition never hurt anyone. Lake George, Old Forge and Saranac Lake are embracing their winter spirit and inviting people to step outside and enjoy the Adirondack weather.

The Coronation of Carnival Royalty kicks off the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival on February 4th.In its 114 year, Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival’s 2011 theme is Medieval Times. People have been donning their costumes and preparing their serfs (in our case our children) to decide which of the over 80 events to attend.

On Saturday, February 5, watch fireworks over Lake Flower and the lighting of the Ice Palace. From February 4-13, the town of Saranac Lake turns into a medieval fortress of family-friendly activities from a carnival for kids, ski races to treasure hunt. The downtown parade on the 12th doesn’t even finish the array of activities. Sunday brings on cross-country ski races and opportunities to play volleyball or softball in the snow.

McCauley Mountain in Old Forge has a weekend packed with winter activity that will remind us why we love the snow. Twelve-dollar lift tickets at the mountain and a parade to celebrate the 10th Mountain Division and other military branches are reason enough to brave the cold and cheer on the troops. Spend some family time ice-skating at the outdoor Joy Tract Road rink or just relax and watch while sipping hot chocolate by the bonfire.

On Saturday, February 5, the Kiwanis Club of the Central Adirondack will sponsor their 11th Winter Sports Challenge benefiting the Old Forge Community Youth and Activity Center. These snowshoe and cross-country ski activities are held at McCauley Mountain.

Lastly, Lake George celebrates 50 years of Winter Carnival with a month packed with activities. Some weekend events such as face painting and petting zoo are reoccurring while other activities like kite flying, dog sled races and hot air balloon rides are just on specific weekends.

However you choose to celebrate winter, there are so many opportunities to get outside, meet new people and enjoy the Adirondacks.

Photo of the Saranac Lake 2011 Ice Palace content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Sledding in Long Lake

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
We are traveling back home and the kids decide that a unified singing of “Are we there yet” will magically transport us to our destination. They then resort to singing it in the round. I’ve told them if they can just hold it together until we get to Long Lake we can sled down the old Sabattis Mountain Ski Area, named for the Abenaki Adirondack guide, Mitchell Sabattis.

We arrive at twilight and scramble over each other to put on snow pants, gloves and hats. It is a well-choreographed dance and I am grateful for our van’s tinted windows. We are initiating the new Flexible Flyer saucers and the first two people on the slopes get the honor. The town of Long Lake re-graded the old rope-tow ski area and built up a berm around the bottom of the sledding hill to keep any sliders from ending up near the road.

Though there some tire inner tubes available, we use our own sleds. The walk to the top is a bit steep but both children manage to do it without complaint. My daughter finds the perfect sledding technique. She crosses her legs on the saucer and shoots down the slope. She hits the bowl like a top, propels off the bottom onto the side and hugs the lip of the bowl as she spins the whole way down.

My husband and I scramble up the ridge yelling out strategies if she pops over the other side. Each child’s subsequent trip further carves a path into the bowl’s rim creating a mini luge-like run. The ski hill’s lights are still there and illuminate the old run as night approaches. The slick conditions just adds to the excitement. We are finally exhausted and ready for the next stanza of “Are we there yet?”

The sledding hill is just part of the Geiger Arena in Long Lake. Free ice-skating and skates are also available at the nearby rink. Rink hours are Mondays from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Fridays from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.,;Saturdays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sundays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. then 6:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. The rink is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

At the Route 30/28N junction (by Hoss’s General Store) continue on 30S for 0.1-mile. The Arena is on the left, on the corner of South Hill Road and Deerland Road, across from the Post Office. Call 518-624-3031 and ask ice attendant Caleb Davis any additional questions.


photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities by Diane Chase: Long Lake’s Buttermilk Falls

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™
We are never in that big of a hurry that we can’t take a moment and spend some time on a trail or path. Sometimes the biggest hurdle for family time is to realize that the small moments are just as important. Every outing doesn’t have to be a huge event.

Sometimes the small walks lead to the most beautiful locations. We are beyond the need to plot our destinations based on bathroom breaks, snack or nap times. I hope we never outgrow the need to stretch our legs.

One quick family-friendly outing is Buttermilk Falls in Long Lake, N.Y.

This walk is about 100 yards off of North Point Road. Park the car and it is a short meander in following the wide pathway. In winter, after the first few steps the path turns into a labyrinth of freshly made footprints. The main path leads to the falls. Even in winter the water is being churned over the rocks and looking very much the color for which it is named, “buttermilk.”

This can be a very popular place in summer or winter. It is a lucky day when you have the place to yourself. Boot prints in the freshly fallen snow mark a variety of paths from the base of the falls to the wider river above. Please be careful. The edge of the riverbed is under snow and may look like land but can actually be the water running underneath, making it dangerous for all.

We gingerly step toward the edge, but backtrack quickly when we see the river spouting through a small hole at our feet. We follow the footprints that lead to the head of the falls. Picnic tables are cleared off so we sit for a bit and enjoy the granola bars I pull from my pocket. The Raquette River flows before us and we hear the rush of the falls below.

Though one of the smallest falls, Buttermilk Falls is a beautiful area with pathways fanning out to surround the area. It is a relaxing place where children and adults can sit for a few moments or spend hours just exploring the area. We finish our time with a snowball fight, using the massive roots of fallen trees as cover.

From Long Lake take Route 30/28 south for three miles. Turn right onto North Point Rd (there is a sign for Buttermilk Falls.) Follow North Point Road for two miles, the entrance and parking to the falls will be on your right.

photo of Buttermilk Falls and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Long Lake E-lumination

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

Long Lake native and artist Matt Burnett is bringing one element of his art back to his hometown with fellow artist Scott Fuller. Each has enjoy their own personal artistic successes within their favored medium but continue to stretch personal boundaries with the use of nature’s elements to mold snow and ice with light to create a temporary outdoor art exhibit.

“We like to find a way to represent the flow of nature. I like to do something that will stir up the pot and make people think about what is natural and what is artificial,” say Burnett. “The exhibit will be in two to three locations around Long Lake. It is nice to be able to bring something back to my hometown. They are supportive of new ideas in this small community.”

Burnett and Fuller have collaborated in the past with using winter elements as with the Community Spiral in Saranac Lake in 2008, a large-scale public ice sculpture. This outdoor ice sculpture involved ice bricks and hundreds of lighted tea candles.

According to Burnett the Long Lake project has been over a year in the planning. Already many hours have gone into the concept of E-lumination from the molded geometric snow forms to testing equipment for the projected images. Now the two artists, with the help of volunteers will take the next three days on site to install the outdoor exhibit to create glowing multicolored orbs that will surprise and delight travelers and locals alike.

“I like to create something that appeals to anyone,” says Burnett. “Not everyone is going to ever see the same thing when looking at art. Art can sometimes be viewed as exclusive. I want to work on different levels and the challenge is to be able to relate to as many people as possible.”

Matt Burnett has garnered accolades for his paintings, multimedia studies and environmental events. He is also the co-director of the Graphic and Multimedia Design program at SUNY Canton where he teaches studio art, photography and design.

Scott Fuller continues to work in public installations and new media. Along with other awards, Fuller’s piece with Asherah Cinnamon, Reaching for Courage: Gateway to China was a finalist for the 2008 Bejjing Olympic Sculpture contest. Fuller is an Assistant Professor of Fine Art at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

“There will be a game involved. We are tying in elements of history to the region of Long Lake,” says Burnett. “ We are projecting images, some between 70-100 years old, that we hope will be special to the people of the Long Lake and to people that are just passing through. There will be a puzzle for people to try to name all the people and places that are to be projected for the week the project is up.”

Burnett and Fuller will be doing a similar outdoor installation at St. Lawrence University in Canton in February. The sculpture will be seen at the center quad and focus more on the environmental issues of St. Lawrence Univerisity instead of the regional history. Burdett will also conduct a lecture on public and environmental art.

For more information regarding Matt Burdett and Scott Fuller’s art, check out their respective websites. E-lumination is slated to be working this weekend, weather permitting, in time for Long Lake Winter Carnival.

Thie E lumination project is made possible in part from support from the following organizations: The Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks, New York State Foundation for the Arts, The Adirondack Museum, The Town of Long Lake, and Gillis Reality.

Photo: The Saranac Lake Community Spiral, used with the permission of Matt Burnett.


content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


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