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, November 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: 4 Adirondack Ski Swaps

* Please note the correct time for drop off to McCauley Mountain Ski Swap is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.! 

Being an active family, my kids seems to outgrown their sporting gear before I’ve finished tying up the laces. For other parents looking to outfit their children for the winter ski season, a ski swap is a nice starting place. A ski swap can also be a much-needed opportunity to clean house.

Generally the ski swaps are consignments where you drop off your gear, helmets, and winter clothing a day before the event. If the gear sells then you will receive 80% of the set sale price. Usually the funds generated benefit a special organization like ski clubs or ski patrols so the 20% commission goes to support the sport. It is best to ask what each ski swap’s arrangement is, as it varies with location. Keep in mind no “collector’s items” like wooden skis and only clothing in good condition. Ski Club Swaps

Lake Placid: November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
In Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Ski Club/NYSEF Ski Swap is asking for any winter gear from cross-country skis, boots, roller blades, helmets as well as current downhill ski equipment. Any winter clothing in good shape will be accepted. For questions please call Lake Placid Ski Club President Carol Hoffman at 524-6914. This is the first year that Lake Placid Ski Club and NYSEF are doing a combined Ski and Skate Swap at St. Agnes Gym in Lake Placid. 80/20 split, no rear entry boots or straight skis and no gear donations. Drop off equipment to consign on November 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Queensbury, November 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This annual event at West Mountain is touted as one of the largest ski swaps in the area. Drop off for consignments is Friday (11/4) from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday (11/5) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.. They are accepting any new and pre-owned ski or snowboard gear. No straight skis or rear entry boots. They are looking for any outerwear and accessories as well as skis, boots, helmets and snowboards. Proceeds benefit the West Mountain Ski Patrol and Race Team.

Old Forge, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
This annual Polar Bear Ski Club Ski Swap at McCauley Mountain will be the place to find deals on new/used ski and snowboard equipment. Drop off is Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. They are looking for any winter sporting gear and winter clothing in good condition. This event is not restricted to ski or snowboards but will accept helmets, ice skates, hockey equipment and cross-country ski gear. This event will benefit the Polar Bear Ski Club, which sponsors ski races for youth in cross-country skiing, downhill and biathlon.

Speculator, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
This is a new event for Oak Mountain and a bit different from the traditional ski swap. For a $20 “table” free (if reserved by the 16th or $25 after the 16th) the consignor can sell anything from boats, ATVs, snowmobiles as well as skis, gear and sport clothing. The only requirement is that it has to be sporting goods. The table fee will benefit the Friends of Oak Mountain, which continues to support upgrades to Oak Mountain. There will also be refreshments for sale.

I hope you find whatever you are looking for.

Diane Chase 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), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Family Activities: Easy Mountain Biking Trails for Kids

Matt McNamara, Founder and Chairman of the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA), has some great ideas for easy places to mountain bike. McNamara recommends that young mountain bikers start with simple trails such as the Hardy Road trail system in Wilmington. He recommends this coniferous trail because for the most part the trail is smooth with no significant climbing.

“In the Adirondacks it may be difficult for people to know where to start to begin mountain biking with children,” says McNamara. “It is always about having fun and finding your comfort level.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: A Mystical Forest in Burke

Located in the foothills of the Adirondacks, The Ekurb Players are pulling together the last minute details for their annual Mystical Forest at Sellers Park in Burke, N.Y.

Formed in 2007, The Ekrub Players (Ekrub is Burke spelled backwards) is a not-for-profit Children’s performance group focusing on creative ways to bring families together and get children outside. The Mystical Forest event is one of the first programs the group started when it opened its doors in 2007.

Co-Founder and President Gina Strachan says, “A lot of our inspiration comes from Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods. My husband and I moved from Vermont and found out that there weren’t a lot of child-related activities in the area. We are developing other children’s programs so check out the website. My family had participated in a variety of productions in other places as well in Vermont.”

The Mystical Forest will take place at Sellers Park in Burke. Over 500 carved pumpkins will light the trails as costumed “Spirit Guides” lead groups of up to 20 people through the woods. A tour leaves every 10 minutes and every tour lasts about an hour.

“This is not a gory, horror trail,” assures Strachan. “This is a story trail. People will be led through the forest for an hour tour to various skits led by costumed volunteers. We even received the rights from J K Rowling to do a Harry Potter skit based on The Tale of the Three Brothers. Snow White, Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood are a few of the other familiar characters families can look forward to seeing.”

According to Strachan a special addition is the group The Tales from Remikreh, sword -fighting re-enactors, that have performed in Alexandria Bay for the past 16 years. She recommends that people dress for a walk in the woods and appropriately for the weather. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and children under 5 are free.

There will be food available for purchase such as hamburgers and hotdogs, drinks as well as a sweet treat vendor. The tour schedule is as follows: Friday, October 21 from 6;30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday, October 22 from 6:30 -.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23 from noon to 3:30 p.m. No reservations are required. If you bring a canned good to benefit the local food pantry you can save $1 on admission. There is plenty of parking available.

Sellers Park is located on Route 11 in Burke. Strachan recommends you “just follow the ghost signs along Route 11 and you won’t miss it.”

Photo: The Ekrub Players’ Mystical Forest Ghost (Courtesy Diane Chase)

Diane Chase 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), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take A Crown Point Historic Schooner Tour

This weekend the historic wooden schooner, Lois McClure will make her last stop for the season at another historic location, Crown Point Pier, located on the water just below the Champlain Lighthouse. Those visitors of history; rejoice, lovers of ships; unite and budget watchers; celebrate. This tour is free.

Part of the Farm, Forestry and Fishery Tour, the 88′ schooner Lois McClure and Urger tugboat will offer free tours from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 on October 15-16 at the Crown Point Pier. This tour has been raising awareness of the importance of “sustainable agriculture, responsbile foresty and clean, healthy waterways.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Oktober Pet Fest in Long Lake

This Saturday, October 8, two fall festivals have combined forces for what is shaping up to be a fun family event. The Long Lake Harvest Fest and The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts Pet Fest will be held at the ball field in Long Lake from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m..

“We have been working with the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts to make this an event for everyone,” says Long Lake Event Coordinator Denise Gagnier. “It is the third year for the Pet Fest and we wanted to work with our neighbors at The Center to provide an active event for the Columbus weekend.”

According to Gagnier, the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest will host a variety of unique activities geared toward pet owners. There will be a pet agility course with everything from seesaw to hurdles. Owners can register their pets for a maze and the pet show. Prizes will be awarded for Best Pet Trick, Most Unique Pet, Look Like Your Pet and Best Stuffed Pet.

The stuffed pet can be anything from toy to taxidermy. Don’t worry there is plenty to do in addition to the pet activities. One unusual event will be the “Punkin’ Chunkin’. In years past the Harvest Fest held a pumpkin drop but this year “pumpkins will be flying.”

“We have made the event, in many ways, like a carnival,” says Alexandra Verner Roalsvig, Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Long Lake. “There are various activities that will require a $1 ticket. Other events are free. The Punkin Chunkin is new this year. We are asking that people design their own catapult and we provide the pumpkins. That activity is free and we are hoping to see some real originally being shown while participants see who can launch their pumpkin the farthest.”

There are rules for the Punkin’ Chunkin‘ Each participant will receive three pumpkins with a misfire being treated as a foul. Each pumpkin will weigh approximately 8-10 lbs. so plan accordingly. No cannons, ignitables or explosives, if that is where your mind is running. Eye protection and hard hat is provided.

Roalsvig is hoping the combined festivals will appeal to visitors and local residents. By keeping the ticket price for various activities at the one-dollar mark, people can pick and choose where to spend their money.

“The Kids’ Zone is going to have Magician Bob Shelley, pumpkin painting, bounce house and T-shirt painting. Each activity will require a ticket but it will be well worth the price,” says Roalsvig.

“The craft fair will be held under the tent and that is free. This year we invited the Long Lake Artisans to be part of the craft fair,” says Roalsvig. “We have wonderful handmade crafts like fishing flies, table runners, Christmas decorations, rustic furniture, fabric arts and a variety of candles. We insist that the products are homemade crafts. Boat builder Bunny Austin just refurbished a guideboat and will have it on display. It has an historic reference so people are encouraged to stop and talk to him about the guideboat and its story.”

Traditional German fare as well as maple cotton candy, Kettle Corn, gourmet desserts and a Saranac Root Beer tasting can be enjoyed while listening to the acoustic music of Adam Reynolds and John Hill.

Parking for the Long Lake Oktober Pet Fest can be found at the St. Henry’s Parking Long and the Long Lake Central School Parking Lot off Route 30. Call 518-624-3077 for additional information.

Photo: Chandler Seaman with his Prized Pumpkin at Harvest Fest in Long Lake. (Photo provided).

Diane Chase 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), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Goodsell Museum’s Floating Letters Exhibit

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Through the end of October, the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge will continue its tribute to the region’s unusual means of receiving mail. The exhibit entitled, “Floating Letters, A Tribute to the Mailboats and Their Crews” will end October 31, 2011.

Director Gail Murray says, “We talked over different ideas and first thought of including all commerce but quickly realized the topic was too large. We focused on the mailboats to discover it is the 110 -year anniversary”

According to Murray there were mailboats on Twitchell Lake, Silver Lake and Rondaxe and boats still delivering mail on Big Moose Lake and Fulton Chain. Murray wanted the exhibit to tie in the tradition of the residents receiving mail by water with summer fun as children and grandchildren still anxiously wait for the mail to arrive by boat.

“The Fulton Chain mailboat is currently run by Old Forge Lake Cruises and holds about 20 people,” say Murray. “I believe it is one of the only mailboats that is allowed passengers. With delivering the mail the tour is able to get up close to the historic camps and homes from Old Forge to Fourth Lake. Our next exhibit will focus on early medicine in the area and will open right after Thanksgiving, ”

The mailboat exhibit celebrated the 110 -year anniversary of the Old Forge mail boat delivery system. Originally the only means to receive mail, the boat service began in 1901 due to the influence of President Benjamin Harrison and Dr. William Seward Webb. Harrison had purchased 10 acres of land from Webb and built Berkeley Lodge on Second Lake.

Using a boat to provide mail service is not unusual for the US Postal Service. In rural communities they continue to use anything from snowmobiles to mule train.

At the Goodsell Museum children are encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the various exhibits. On the ground floor there are glass cases of taxidermy animals but a pack basket set to the side is marked with a yellow circle, handprint and “OK.” Children know anything marked with that symbol is fair game. My children examine all the animal pelts gingerly and even try on a few fox collars. Upstairs they examine some medical equipment in a different “please touch box.”

The Goodsell Museum is free to the public and open all year. Visit the Floating Letters exhibit until October 31st or enjoy the other items that provide an historical blueprint of the Town of Webb. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Diane Chase 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), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Free Museum Day Saturday

Each year Smithsonian Magazine teams with museums around the country to host its seventh annual Museum Day, allowing everyone to enter special organizations that cater from everything from the history of the Adirondacks to the Olympics.

Free admission is only available for those that sign online and download the ticket form. The ticket is good for two people per mailing address and valid email.

For our family it isn’t a matter of participating in Museum Day but which museum to attend. My son wants to venture far afield and go aboard the USS Slater. Unfortunately that particular adventure will have to be timed with a trip to Albany. Since we will be attending Indian Lake’s Great Adirondack Moose Festival, a trip to the Adirondack Museum will fit right into the plan.

Once again the Adirondack Museum will offer anyone signed on for a Museum Day ticket the right to enter its doors free of charge. (New for 2011, year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free every Sunday during the Adirondack Museum’s season as well as any open days in October.)

The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or explore “The Great Outdoors.” Keep in mind all paid admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.

Another museum offering a free pass is the Lake Placid Olympic Museum. This nod to Lake Placid’s Winter Olympic history offers great insight into the magnitude the Olympics played on the growth of Lake Placid in the Olympic arena. Guests can view an array of Olympic torches, an evolution of sporting equipment and a special video documenting the 1980 historic USA hockey gold medal win.

There are more museums just beyond the Blue Line that are participating as well. Take this opportunity and explore new areas or old favorites this Saturday, September 24th.

(Even though museums are generously offering a free day to all keep in mind it still costs money to run these wonderful establishments. A small donation can go a long way to help continue to provide these excellent facilities.)

Diane Chase 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), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Moose on the Loose in Indian Lake

There are so many festivals in the autumn that it is easy to be overwhelmed with the various opportunities. One reason that I do favor these annual events for my family is the variety of activities at each festival. As my children get older they want to have more input in the activities that we do. We find a festival offers a little bit of everything for my family of four. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in Newcomb

Teddy Roosevelt Weekend will take place September 10-11, 2011 throughout the township of Newcomb. There will be all the standard fare expected from an Adirondack festival: special food, bake sales and silent auctions. The town of Newcomb has joined together to host a full weekend of activity.

The 15th annual Adirondack Craft Fair will be held at the Newcomb Central School with artisans showcasing their goods from homemade quilts to hand-knitted items. In addition to that will be the chance to explore the area of Newcomb with Teddy Roosevelt (TR).

There will be wagon rides taking place at Great Camp Santanoni with a Great Lodge Open House. Keep in mind that you can walk or bike the 4.7 miles into the camp if you decide not to take the wagon ride. There is also a mini-museum in the Gate House. Teddy Roosevelt was a frequent visitor at this camp owned by the Pruyn family.

There will be float plane rides available but active folks may want to opt for the Goodnow Mountain Interpretation with SUNY-ESF Forester Mike Gooden. Gooden will be available from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Goodnow Fire tower on Saturday, September 10th. The two-mile trail is only 2,685′ but it’s the 60′ fire tower and beautiful views of the Santanoni and Seward Ranges that make it worth the walk.

Newcomb’s ties to Theodore Roosevelt are unique in that in September 1901 Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States while taking a stagecoach through the township of Newcomb. While in a receiving line during the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, President McKinley was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz. McKinley lingered for a week but died when the bullet wounds became infected with gangrene. The Roosevelt Monument on Route 28N is located at the approximate site that Roosevelt learned he became President.

So this weekend TR will even make a showing along with Adirondack Interpretive Center’s Program Coordinator Paul Hai during an historical tour of the Adirondac Ghost Town and Iron Works Blast Furnace. According to Town Supervisor George Canon, Hai has been instrumental in gathering former residents of Adirondac together to tell their stories of living in this historic town.

“We started Teddy Roosevelt Weekend in 2001 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous ride from Mt Marcy to North Creek,” says Canon. “With the actual time of McKinley’s death we estimate that Roosevelt was right in the township of Newcomb when he became President. We take credit that he was in our community when that took place.”

So besides a bit of history, this weekend can offer some outings whether at Santanoni, Goodnow Mt. or along the Adirondack Interpretive Center’s trails.


Photo of the Teddy Roosevelt Weekend Brochure used with permission of the Town of Newcomb

Diane Chase 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 including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Diane Chase: Hurricane Irene High Peaks Closures

It is difficult to believe that a week ago my husband led two different groups over Marcy Dam bridge to climb into the Adirondack High Peaks backcountry. I joined him on a day hike up Marcy and lingered on the bridge to admire the view of Mt. Colden. Now the iconic bridge has been washed away by residual flooding from Hurricane Irene.

With this backlash from Hurricane Irene Adirondack campgrounds are closed and extensive damage continues to be assessed throughout the High Peaks, Catskills and lower regions of the Adirondack Park.



DEC Region 5 Citizen Participation Specialist David Winchell says, “We closed down the trail systems for the Eastern High Peaks, Giant, and Dix Mountain Wilderness regions and continue to evaluate other areas. We want people to understand that by willingly entering the forest preserve hikers may encounter massive blow-down, washed out foot bridges, and landslides.”

Winchell states that the first bridge on the Klondike trail is gone, the Duck Hole Dam has been breached and the trails along the shoreline at Lake Colden are under water. He admits that at this time the number of new slides are too numerous to count. He does list new slides at Wright, Colden-north, Trap Dike, Haystack, Wolfjaws, Dixes and Giant.

“When hikers encounter a bad situation we encourage people to turn around and not press on over treacherous terrain, says Witchell. “We don’t want to be searching for additional people. Our focus is on helping the communities and existing stranded hikers and backcountry campers.”

According to Winchell, the Western and Central Adirondacks have not been as severely impacted by ramifications of Hurricane Irene. Trail closure and campground information will be updated and posted on the DEC trail website.

Marcy Dam bridge has been a landing point for many backcountry hikers as well as a day hike destination for those just wanting an easy 2.4 mile walk from the Adirondack Loj. Phil Brown of The Adirondack Explorer, filed an extensive High Peaks area damage report, places to hike and pictures of the missing bridge.

Remember the first rule of thumb when venturing into the backcountry is safety. There is so much damage around the towns of Jay, Keene, Keene Valley and AuSable that emergency personnel is needed to pursue the necessary clean-up to aid those communities while the DEC continues to do what is necessary to be able to open Adirondack trails for all.

For those wishing to enjoy a family-friendly wilderness experience there are many smaller hikes not part of the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks that are open.

Photo of Marcy Dam bridge used with permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

Diane Chase 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 including short hikes, swimming holes, historic sites, events, activities and trivia. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Donnelly’s Ice Cream

A choice is something we (as Americans) are used to getting but with Donnelly’s Ice Cream the one thing you don’t get to decide is the flavor of the day. As the Donnelly’s motto attests, “Please pick a size, the flavor has already been decided.”

Over the years that we’ve lived in the Adirondack Park, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream has been the only reason some groups we’ve led hiking in the High Peaks have made it down the mountain. A beacon to many a hiker, Donnelly’s Homemade Ice Cream is a social place as well as ice cream pit-stop at the four corners of Route 86 and 186, commonly known as Donnelly’s Corners, just minutes from Saranac Lake. It doesn’t seem to matter how weary we are on a hike off the mountain we can always manage to muster the energy for a cone of the flavor of the day. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: McCauley Mountain Chairlift

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

There are only 60 chairs on the double chairlift at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, down about 20 from its winter route. All the unused chairs are lined up, freshly painted and repaired waiting for the start of the winter season.

It is a smooth and steady 2,200’ ride to the top. It does seem odd to be riding a chairlift in summer. The children are lined up waiting their turn, pretending they are going to hit the moguls on the way down. We even encounter the prerequisite lost lift item request from a couple already lift bound. We retrieve the shoe and are thankful it’s just a kicked off flip-flop and not a ski buried in the snow.

It is a leisurely ride to the top so we are able to glance around at the view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge and Grey Lake. Our exit is uneventful without the cumbersome addition of ski gear. Cinderella is patiently waiting at top for her lost shoe. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about. The children run about finding playmates to explore the backside of the summit.

Though some people decide to hike the short trek down the mountain, we decide to take the lift back down this time seeing the beauty of the lakes and mountains around us. The leaves have not started to turn but there are occasional indicators that fall will be here soon.

The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are still 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. There is also a large playground and plenty of benches. McCauley Mountain is located in Old Forge. The Scenic Chairlift is open daily (except Tuesdays) through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with shortened hours during autumn. Adults are $6, juniors (6-16) and seniors (+65) $5 and children 5 – under are free.

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, August 9, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities with Diane Chase: Wilderness Swimming with Kids

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

One of the greatest privileges in visiting and living in the Adirondack Park is being able to swim in all the natural swimming holes, pools and ponds.

Swimming in ponds and streams can be tricky with small children but not impossible. Being able to go for a refreshing dip in a natural setting is worth a few precautions. Though it is a fun family activity there are a few things to remember before you go.

The first rule is to never swim in springtime when the water is at its swiftest from recent snow-melt and mountain runoff. Each year there are incidences where people of all ages believe that they can outwit Mother Nature and battle the strong currents. Even expert swimmers have been known to drown during these rough, unpredictable times.

Never swim alone and remind children we are never too old for the buddy system. It worked when we were all in summer camp for a reason. In a wilderness setting it is always a good idea for a friend to be there to help.

Depending on your comfort zone, you may want to wear water shoes. Stones can be sharp on tender feet or slippery from algae. We always encourage children to crawl like a crab when crossing a riverbed unless rocks are dry and close together. Keep your body weight low and take your time. Let children explore the area and develop a love for nature.

Bring a swim top. Adirondack lakes and streams can be cold so tuck in that swim top to ward off the chill.

Always have the strongest swimmer perform an underwater sweep of any swimming hole. Just because you jumped off a rock into a wilderness pool last week, doesn’t mean that a tree branch didn’t break off in the mean time. A sunken branch or log can cause serious injury.

If children and adults are used to the clear waters of a chlorinated pool, swimming in the tannin-tinged Adirondack waters can be frightening. One of the largest concerns I find when we guide families is “monsters under the water.” Bring a mask and let children explore underwater. It won’t be as clear as a pool but they will still be able to see enough to stymie the fear factor and be able to explore the underwater native life.

If your child is not a strong swimmer or the current is stronger than usual, bring out that lifejacket. You can always take it off once children are comfortable.

Never push this or any experience. There is certainly enough adventures to be found just exploring along any Adirondack shoreline. Of course, with any wilderness experience swim at your own risk, use common sense and please carry in what you carry out. Enjoy your wilderness experience.

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, August 2, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Adirondack Animal Land

By Diane Chase
Camels, lemars and bears, oh my! Nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks, Adirondack Animal Land is located near Sacandaga Lake in Fulton County about 10 miles north of Amsterdam on Route 30. Though the physical entrance is listed as Gloversville, the 80-acre zoo stretches across the Blue Line. Over 500 animals wander around, some freely, some not. The mix is from the common mallard to the more exotic lemur with Highlander cattle, Dromedary camel and Adax antelope rounding a list of animals that we are curious to see.

It is hard to know where to begin when we enter Adirondack Animal Land but I trust my children are going to make sure we see “everything there is to see.” Things to know: The 45-acre safari ride is included in your admission but hold onto your admission tickets because you can only go the one time for free. Only cash is accepted so bring your ATM card (there is a machine onsite).

Signs everywhere indicate that all the admission proceeds benefit the care and feeding of the animals, veterinary care, educational programs, special breeding programs and upkeep of this privately owned zoo.

While on the safari ride we are followed uncomfortably close by a camel. The large animal is chewing and looking ready to projectile spit. I move from the back sacrificing the children to any flying saliva.

There are many other animals mixing and mingling but the charmers of the group are the baby potbelly pigs. We learn that all zebras have different markings and see ostrich, buffalo and about 90 other animals I can’t begin to remember.

There are plenty of opportunities to feed the animals but do not bring your own food. There are rules and regulations regarding public feeding of animals to ensure that the zoo animals maintain an appropriate diet and nutritional needs.

There are other opportunities like gemstone mining or pony rides but we pass by to enter the 1800s western-style town. My children wander through each building while my husband and I rest at one of the picnic tables. Bringing a lunch is encouraged as long as you remember not to feed the animals.

The fee is not unreasonable for an all day activity ($13.75/adults and $10.75 for children) and there are online coupons to shave a few extra bucks off the entrance. We are always of the mentality that if we have to pay for an activity; we are going to make the most of it. So when the doors open at 10:00 a.m. we are there to greet the staff and if possible they are sweeping us out the door at closing.

Next week: wilderness swimming with children.
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, July 26, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park comes to the Adirondacks in many forms this summer from the Adirondack Shakespeare Company’s five-week tour of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) to the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts traveling performance of Romeo and Juliet. The one theatre presentation set apart from the others is The Depot Theatre’s annual Shakespeare program for young people.

For the tenth year Westport’s The Depot Theatre has introduced Shakespeare to those children from 7th grade and older to the wonders of the Baird. Directed and instructed by theatre educators Lindsay Pontius and Scott Gibbs, The Depot Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park do not hold formal auditions but use word of mouth and The Depot website to let interested children know when rehearsals will start happening for the annual Ballard Park performance. » Continue Reading.