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, June 14, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: A Blacksmithing Demonstration

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™

The Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne will be showcasing its new pavilion and blacksmith forge this weekend with free blacksmithing demonstrations on June 18th.

The school is located at the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building.  Classes in traditional Adirondack arts such as basketry and twig/rustic furniture building are available as well as other folk art traditions such as weaving, ceramics, quilting and fly tying.

For families, one popular course is the “stick and hike” workshop. Parents and children can come create a walking stick and then go take their stick for a hike around the beautiful 6.8-acre Adirondack Folk School property that borders the Hudson River.

Adirondack Folk School Founder and Acting Director Jim Mandle says, “We recently had a group of high schoolers use the same techniques for the ‘stick and hike’ but instead of a walking stick created a memory stick with markings and carvings to highlight events that have influenced their lives.”

Mandle explains that a true “folk school” is based on a Danish principle in which people learn for the sake of learning, not to earn course credit. Some classes are set over a specific time frame but most classes are for a day to appeal to locals as well as visitors.

“The property is located on one of the most beautiful spots on the Hudson,” says Mandle. “It is the last free-flowing spot where the Hudson is untouched. Rockwell Falls is where we hold some of our painting classes.”

“The core idea of the Adirondack Folk School is to keep the Adirondack crafts alive,” says Mandle. “We just celebrated our one year anniversary on June 5th. We have a course catalog available. In the beginning I made a list of ideas for classes and sought out those instructors. Other people have since come to us and asked if they could teach a class. I am amazed what has happened in the past year.”

Mandle encourages people to just drop by and see the new blacksmith forge and maybe even get an opportunity to become a blacksmith for the day. With the addition of the outdoor pavilion the event will happen rain or shine.

The Adirondack Folk School is located on Main Street in Lake Luzerne. Offering over a hundred classes in traditional Adirondack folk art, there is bound to be something for everyone.
Make sure to check their schedule of events for free summer events such as Saturday Evening Campfire-Sing-Along and July 2nd Anniversary Party.

photo: students participating in Adirondack Folk School blacksmithing class
photo credit: Jim Mandle, Adirondack Folk School



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, June 7, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: North Creek Reader’s Theatre

The Our Town Theatre Group (OTTG) in North Creek has started a new outreach program to continue their focus to provide live performance to people around the Adirondack Park and beyond. Known as The Penny Readers, the group has chosen classic short stories for its upcoming staged reading June 11, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the Chestertown Town Hall. With the exception of a chapter from the Roald Dahl children story, “The BFG,” all stories will be read in full. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Elvis is in Lake George

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

With an opportunity to bypass a trip to Vegas and be married by the King of Rock n’ Roll at the Lake George.com Elvis Festival, I feel it may be time to renew our wedding vows. My husband hates the idea but only slightly less than my Halloween wedding plan of dressing up as the bride and groom and being married by Beetlejuice.

In Lake George this weekend the Elvis Festival opens this Thursday, June 2 with a free tribute concert at Shepard’s Park starting at 7:30 p.m. According to Festival Director Jason Sherry the concert is family-friendly and gives a sampling of what the weekend festivities hold.

“Not only will people be able to see tributes to Elvis, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson but also Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. The musicians are all tributes,” says Sherry. “Friday night is about Rock and Roll History, which is where all the other tribute artists come in. Saturday is Elvis all day long. Elvis will be on a boat, playing in restaurants and seen all around Lake George.”

Another activity families can look forward to is the Elvis Classic Car Parade. The parade starts at 9:00 a.m. on June 4th. The parade route starts at the high school and continues to the Lake George Forum. All the performers will be showing their stuff.

“We have set up the Forum to seat 2,100 people for our event,” says Sherry. “Some of the events are only $15 so there is a lot of variety for families. We also hold the Elvis Gospel Music Contest on June 5th. The event is free but we are asking for donations for United Way. We have always held one event for charity in the eight years that we have held this event. The past four years we have raised funds for the United Way.”

Sherry recommends people to stop by the Lake George Forum and pick up the $3.00 program which includes a complete schedule and all the free events.

With the hum of gospel music in the background you can set your own stage to be married by Elvis. Perhaps you can have your own themed wedding but I will only be able to watch from the stage as Pricilla Presley beehive hairdos fill the Lake George Forum.

Call 518-681-7452 for Elvis Festival tickets and more information.

Photo: An Elvis tribute performer courtesy LakeGeorge.com Elvis Festival.


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, May 24, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Farmers’ Markets Start to Open

Like most gardeners my little plot of earth was mud until recently and now has just become the holding place for the dismal looking storm windows the insulators found hidden in the crawl space. (I am curious if whether the windows were placed there as a substitute for the lack of any insulation or for some other nefarious reason.) Thankfully struggles with the weather does not stop professional farmers and craftspeople from showcasing locally produced items at Farmers’ Markets around the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adirondack Family Time: Adirondack Museum Opens May 27

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities
One of our favorite spots, rain or shine, is the Adirondack Museum. This summer there is plenty of new as well as the familiar when opening day comes on May 27.

According to Marketing Associate Kate Moore, the Adirondack Museum will once again have plenty to entertain family and friends. One activity my family will look forward to is the “Camp Out for Families: An Overnight at the Museum.” From July 7-8 children (with adult chaperone) will explore exhibits by lantern, have dinner, participate in songs and stories by the campfire and sleep in the Woods and Waters exhibit.

“We have two new exhibits this season, The Adirondack World of A.F. Tait and Night Vision: The Wildlife Photography of Hobart V. Roberts that really showcase the region,” says Moore. “The ‘Adirondack World’ shows the region’s beauty as it pertains to the sportsman and wildlife. The second exhibit showcases the work of Hobart Roberts and his use of technology and science in the early 20th century. These early photographs made him one of the premier amateur wildlife photographers during that time.”

Moore says, “Familypalooza is one way we hope to introduce the to families and get them excited. There will be all sorts of activities like a bounce house, music show with Radio Disney, kayaking demonstrations, costumed animal characters, food vendors, face painting, and lots of arts and crafts.”

Moore also wants people to know there will be a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. How does the bounce house tie into the Adirondacks? It is a nod to the theme parks of the Adirondacks as well as a place to let the kids blow off steam. Moore reminds people that the Adirondack Museum is not a passive experience at all.

“We will have an exhibit that will include looking at art with children as well as labels targeted to children. We will also have artists-in-residence doing demonstrations and anyone can contribute to our collaborative landscape canvas. Please check out the website and click on events.”

Regular children’s program like feeding the fish, gazebo games, the Adirondack playground will continue all season as well as rustic games and crafts and The Reising Schoolhouse.

For year-round residents the pot just gets sweeter as the Adirondack Museum is opening its doors for free each Sunday during the months of June, July and August as well as any open days in May and October. There are requirements like proof of residency (driver’s license, passport or voter registration) required.

The museum is open 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays, from May 27 through October 17, 2011. There will be an early closing on August 12, and adjusted hours on August 13; the museum will close for the day on September 9.

Adirondack Family Time tip: Don’t forget your ticket is good for a return trip if used within a week. Save your receipt and sign in at the admissions desk.

Wing Power” By Hobart V. Roberts, Courtesy of Adirondack Museum


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, May 10, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Diane Chase: Bluebird Education Day

“Putting a bluebird nesting box near a school or house brings wildlife closer to you,” says NYS DEC Wildlife Biologist John O’Connor, “ Children can then become interested in wildlife and that knowledge will stay with them for life.”

O’Connor says, “The New York State Bluebird Society is a good starting place. Bluebirds look like robins except the males are blue instead of grey on the back.”

The Eastern bluebird is a medium-sized thrush related to the robin and can be found in farmlands, orchards and fields. You will not find this bird at your feeder because it eats grubs (yippee), insects and berries.

In Elizabethtown this weekend (May 14) the Fish and Game Club will be hosting a Bluebird Education day at 10:00 a.m.. Kathy Linker of the NYS Bluebird Society will be on hand to lend her expertise as well as the opportunity for all registrants to build a nesting box.

O’Connor says, “It is not too late to build and put up a bluebird nesting box in the Adirondacks. The birds have most likely been in the nesting phase and are just starting to bring materials to the boxes.”

You do not need to attend this workshop to make a nesting box. Here are plans using only one plank of wood.

According to O’Connor there quite are a few places to view bluebird boxes if your own property doesn’t work out, the New Land Trust in Saranac, the Pauline Murdock Wildlife Management Area in Elizabethtown, the Route 11 Nest Trail and along the Northway.

“The bluebird is a cavity nesting bird and there are other birds out there that are more aggressive,” say O’Connor. “They nest in holes. The nesting boxes give the bluebirds a safe place to nest from urban sprawl, predators and other birds competing for the same space. House wrens and house sparrows compete with the bluebirds for nesting holes. The wrens will even go into the box and pull out the bluebird’s nest and destroy its eggs. ”

For children it is important to realize that these songbirds not only provide hours of entertainment but are a natural insect deterrent. Bluebirds are said to be tolerant of human interaction, if monitoring the nesting boxes, one can easily peek inside to check on the nest. Children can be part of the process in assuring the survival of these native songbirds.

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, May 3, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Stuart Little Free For Mothers

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

Once again commercials are doling out advice on what to get me for Mother’s Day. Well, not just me but any mother. Jewelry and flowers seem to have a stronghold of the market share of Mother’s Day ad dollars. If I were to dog-ear each magazine ad or keep the TV on during the commercials, clearly the hints would lead to some sort of diamond tiara coming my way. Though I have been bedazzling a few items with my daughter (because everything does look better with a bit of sparkle) I feel saddened by those commercials that only indicate that buying something expensive is the way to appreciate the one who labored through birth and probably wiped a few noses as well.

Saranac Lake’s Pendragon Theatre offers a win-win situation for families. Mothers get to see the family show on Mother’s Day for free (so it’s a bit of a savings) and it is a wonderful way to spend a few enjoyable hours together.

On May 8th, Pendragon Theatre will open with the E.B. White classic story of Stuart Little adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette. Personally I belief that seeing a family play isn’t just for people with kids. Sometimes in my hectic life I want to be reminded of magic and animals that talk and to be pulled along into a story that exercises my imagination. Stuart Little promises all of that.

Pendragon Theatre Managing Director and Co-Founder Bob Pettee says,” There will be no intermission during Stuart Little. It is a one act play. The basic story is of a couple who have an unusual son, a talking mouse. We follow the mouse on a series of adventures and meet a variety of characters along the way.”

“It is told in a story theatre where six actors play about 24-30 various characters,” says Pettee. “The actor playing Stuart Little will be altered throughout the season by two younger people (about 10 or 11) with stage experience. The play is done very simply with minimal costume and props.”

The 1:00 p.m. show is general seating only with the next performance happening on June 29. There will be a limited run of nine performances for this showing of the little mouse throughout the summer and into the fall. Admission is $10 for adults and seniors, $8 for those 6-15 and $5 for anyone 5 and under. For more information, please call the theatre at 518-891-1854.

“We are not doing our regular repertory theatre this season, that so many people have come to count on,” Pettee announces, “This season some of the shows will only be performed over a limited period of time so I urge people to not wait to the end.”

Pettee specifically mentions Sweeney Todd (opening July 13 with 12 performances) Mouse Trap (opening August 18 with nine performances) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (opening July 27 with ten performances). Pettee wants to make sure audience members know to check the schedule and not rely on each performance traveling to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.

I can not say what my family will do for me on Mother’s Day. I hope it has something to do with copious amounts of coffee and an activity we will all do together that includes a talking mouse.


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 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.