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.


Friday, December 30, 2016

First Night Celebrations To Ring In The New Year

There are so many different ways to ring in the new year. Each Adirondack town has special celebrations from Lake George cruises to Long Lake’s Little Bus festivities. There are even ski mountain extravaganzas like Oak Mountain’s Torch Light Parade or Titus Mountain’s free 1st Tracks Bash.

My family has always chosen to bring in the new year with a First Night Celebration in Saranac Lake or Saratoga Springs. Both events offer an alcohol-free, family-friendly tradition for welcoming in the new year. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Visiting the North Pole’s Village of Lights

It’s always with great excitement that my family gets to tell visitors that we live near the North Pole. I have photos of Rudolph on my phone and my Christmas cards are all postmarked with the North Pole seal. There are not many places in the Adirondacks that celebrate Christmas all year long.

Since 1949, Santa’s Workshop has been keeping the Christmas spirit alive year-round. Designed by Arto Monaco (Land of Make Believe) Santa’s Workshop, near Wilmington NY, provides us with a direct portal to “the jolly o’ elf.” Though Friday, December  23rd, from 4:30- 8 pm, Santa’s Workshop Village of Lights is open to the public for those last visits to Santa and his friends. The buildings are covered in twinkle lights while holiday music surrounds the tiny village. Elves, large and small, prepare the sleigh and reindeer for their annual Christmas ride. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nordic Ski Fest In North Creek This Weekend

Gore Mountain found the silver lining when last year’s light snow conditions didn’t provide enough coverage for Nordic events to the south of the Adirondacks.  Instead of cancelling these longstanding Nordic venues, organizers moved the events to the ski area.  Now, due to the demand, a full-service Nordic facility has been created at the North Creek Ski Bowl.

According to Gore Mountain Marketing Director Emily Stanton, this weekend Gore Mountain will be opening its Village Chair for the season.  This 4.24K network of cross-country ski trails offers a variety of terrain with 3.19K fitted with snowmaking and lights. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Adirondack Holiday Events This Weekend

holiday strollThere are a variety of ways to ring in the holidays with quaint Adirondack charm. It can be as simple as viewing the holiday lights throughout Long Lake or as active as this weekend’s Lake Placid Holiday Stroll and Christmas in Essex. With fresh snow in the mountains and holiday bazaars on every corner, it is beginning to look a lot like an Adirondack Christmas.

Over the past 20 years Christmas in Essex has evolved to include a mixture of traditional activities and new events. The event kicks off with a preview party, tree lighting and holiday concert. Adults can learn how to create a special holiday drink with a free lesson with Mixologist Lori Kudelski at the Essex Inn. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

World of Nativities Returns to Parks-Bentley Place

img_2505The Parks-Bentley Place is once again bringing a “World of Nativities” to South Glens Falls.  Due to an anonymous donation and loan, the Historical Society of Moreau at Parks-Bentley Place has close to 300 nativity scenes from around the world to display and alternate throughout the upcoming years.

This year’s exhibit will highlight 125 of those 300 nativities. Many of the sets use unique materials from hardware to hand-blown glass while other pieces highlight characters that are traditional to the nativity’s country of origin. One set from Germany has a St. Bernard included since that dog is traditionally used for rescue and important to its culture. A Swiss nativity piece has an owl with it while a set from Peru contains a dolphin. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

An Adirondack Thanksgiving Tradition: The Nutcracker Ballet

ncbenutcracker_keeganphotographyThis weekend kicks off my family’s Thanksgiving tradition and it doesn’t involve standing in a queue or waking up early to nab a coveted online prize. Our Black Friday tradition involves a performance of the North Country Ballet Ensemble’s (NCBE) The Nutcracker.

Therese Wendler, principal dancer with Rebecca Kelly Ballet and Dances Patrelle, will once again dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the NCBE’s 31st Annual Nutcracker performance. Mikhail Ilyin, a sololist and principal dancer with the Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet and American Ballet Theater, will perform in the role of Cavalier alongside local and regional dancers.

The Nutcracker Ballet is the perfect blending of gorgeous sets and costumes with a timeless story and score.   This family-friendly ballet gestures in the Christmas holidays as we once again are whisked into young Claire’s adventure when her toy Nutcracker comes to life to defeat the evil Mouse King. The magical experience, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, pulls us into a land of life-size toys, dancing sweets and a Nutcracker prince. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Delmoni-McCarty-Thomas String Trio Sunday in Saranac

delmoni-mccarty-thomas-string-trio-2In its 21-year history, Saranac’s Hill and Hollow Music has brought over 200 professional chamber music ensembles to the Adirondacks. Their community outreach has included presentations in schools, churches, senior residences and community centers. I am always so grateful for such organizations that float into our communities with seemingly little effort and bring international musicians to our door.

This Sunday, November 20 at the Saranac United Methodist Church on Rt. 3, Hill and Hollow Founder and Director Angela Brown has brought together an outstanding trio to perform at the Saranac “Little Church in the Hollow.” » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Free Fishing Veterans Day in New York State

fishing pier at eighth lake campgroundLast year, New York State added President’s Weekend and Veterans Day to the existing June free fishing weekend, allowing guests and residents to enjoy angling on the any of the state’s numerous lakes, waters and streams.

Typically, a  one-day fishing license for New York State is $5 for residents, and $10 for non-residents – an inexpensive option for the infrequent angler. Other licensing options range from a full week to a year, and priced accordingly. » Continue Reading.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Drive Up Prospect Mountain to Honor Veterans

lakegeorge_prospectmtadkfamilytimeFor the second year the caretakers of Lake George’s Prospect Mountain are opening the highway to the public November 5-6 in honor of all veterans.

According to DEC Region 5 Spokesperson David Winchell, Prospect Mountain is one of two summits in the Adirondacks that are open to public motor vehicle traffic, the other being Whiteface Memorial Highway. Last year’s open weekend saw over 900 cars pass through the Prospect Mountain gate. With amble parking for 450 cars as well as two accessible spaces, the free weekend was a success for all. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Haunted Happenings in Ticonderoga and Crown Point

14650237_1081537441963641_2273879164191171662_nTiconderoga and Crown Point are conjuring up all the ghosts in their cupboards this weekend with a Halloween extravaganza between the likes of Penfield Museum’s Haunted Homestead and nearby Fort Ticonderoga’s Maze by Moonlight.

According to Penfield Homestead Museum’s Vice President Sue Ross, this is the seventh year the museum’s has brought out the ghosts and goblins. With the assistance of Retro Films Studio’s Jim Cawley, the homestead is arranged differently each year, with each room highlighting assorted fright effects. A guide leads participants through the museum in small groups. An outside bonfire and warm beverages at the nearby Snack Shack helps take out any chill left by any zombies and vampires. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Graveyard Walks Through Warrensburg History Planned

12066017_898903666861717_1774109501254190536_nSince 2001, the Warrensburgh Historical Society has been hosting annual Graveyard Walks. Through historical research, a narrator, actors, visitors and students have the opportunity to learn the connections between national events and local citizens. This year’s event is focusing on people who were killed or died during World War II.

According to Warrensburgh Historical Society President Paul Gilchrist, the October 21 and 28 Graveyard Walks will take place rain or shine, cold or wind. This year’s military theme focuses on five residents with a connection to the Second World War. The two-hour walks are led by a guide to each of the gravestones. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Running Colors in Old Forge and Saranac Lake

14141517_1785191615052188_5012262611471418307_nRunning among the autumn colors gets an added benefit this weekend as two arts organizations combine a fun run with a splash of color. On Saturday, October 15, Old Forge’s View presents its fourth annual Running Colors 5K while Saranac Lake’s Adirondack Center for Writing is hosting its inaugural event the next day. These color-bombing road races tie together the changing season colors and performance art with a family-friendly road race/walk. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Westport’s Stone Schoolhouse Celebrates 200 Years

unnamed-1The little stone school house on Dudley Road is more than just the oldest schoolhouse in Essex County, it was the first schoolhouse in Westport. Built in 1816 from local limestone, the small stone school first opened to serve the first settlers of Westport, the Barber and Frisbie families. On October 10, the town of Westport will be celebrating the bicentennial of this small school.

According to nearby Camp Dudley, the Stone School House served local children for 100 years, closing its doors in 1916. During its tenure the school could serve up to 24 children and provide students with a library of 84 books. Now the school is an historic display, capturing a time before centralized school systems. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Adirondack Kids Day In Inlet On Saturday

img_9756Organized by Adirondack Kids book series authors Gary, Justin and Carol VanRiper, and sponsored by Kiwanis of Central Adirondacks, Inlet’s October 1st Adirondack Kids Day offers a chance for families to meet children’s authors and illustrators, learn new skills, and enjoy a day of free activities.

The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast at the Inlet Fire Hall benefiting the Inlet Parents/Teacher Partnership. It is a delicious way to start off a day full of fun. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Warrensburg’s World Largest Garage Sale

img_1672We are in the process of converting a workshop into an apartment while trying to maintain the 1800s farmhouse feel of the rest of the house and property. Searching for the right items has converted my Facebook feed into a salvage warehouse catalog. Though it’s easy to get items delivered right to my door, it’s fun to spend time searching for those special treasures.

For the 37th year Warrensburg is hosting the “World’s Largest Garage Sale” and if years past are any indication, we’ll be able to outfit the apartment with plenty of treasures including that spiral staircase and a cast iron sink. » Continue Reading.


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