Hallie Bond is Long Lake’s Town Historian. She was curator at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake for nearly thirty years and was responsible for the world-renowned boat collection. She is the author of Boats and Boating in the Adirondacks and co-author of A Paradise for Boys and Girls: Children's Camps in the Adirondacks, and The Adirondack Cookbook. She and her husband Mason Smith, a writer and boatbuilder, raised two children in town. Hallie has a B.A. in History from the University of Colorado, an M.A. in Medieval Studies from the University of York (England) and an M.A. in American History & Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware.
Walker gatehouse ca. 1920. Photo courtesy Long Lake Archives
If you drive far enough on Kickerville Road, you will notice a charming little stone house. From the stone archway attached to it, you will guess that it was once a gatehouse, although the road now goes around it. Gate to what? Not so long ago, Kickerville Road was named “Walker Road” because through this gate you could drive to the estate of Thomas Walker on Rock Pond.
Orson Schofield “Old Mountain” Phelps (1816-1905) was the archetypical Adirondack guide.
Guide historian Chuck Brumley attributed this to the wide literary attention Phelps received from early city visitors to the High Peaks, including Verplanck Colvin and Charles Dudley Warner. Phelps was painted by Winslow Homer. He became a stock character in the guidebooks of E.R. Wallace and S.R. Stoddard.
Phelps certainly had the requisite outdoor skills to be a well-known Adirondack guide, and he cut many High Peaks trails still in use, as well as naming a number of high peaks. But it was his personality and aphorisms that caught the imagination of many of the “city men” he guided. He amused and impressed his clients with rustic humor and philosophy.
It is this aspect of Phelps that is apparent in a previously unknown collection of papers recently acquired by the Adirondack Research Library of the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College. » Continue Reading.
“As to ‘physical exertion,’ there is no such exertion known here. It is the laziest of all imaginable places.” So “Adirondack” Murray appealed directly to women, even those “fragile or delicate,” in his 1869 Adventures in the Wilderness.
In those decades after the Civil War, Murray was not alone in feeling that women — at least upper middle class city women — were delicate and fragile. Not only were they supposedly far less strong than men, but they were supposed to conserve what energy they had for the female functions. Bearing children and keeping a genteel home was her highest and best duty. She could breathe fresh air on gentle strolls, but that was about it for exercise.
As Murray pointed out, though, “tramping is unknown in this region. Wherever you wish to go, your guide paddles you.” The Adirondack region was ideal for women. They didn’t even have to walk to enjoy the scenery and breath healing “air odorous with the smell of pine and cedar and balsam.” » Continue Reading.
A new era of alcoholic beverage production is dawning in the Adirondacks. You can drink locally-brewed beer from any one of several micro-breweries, or imbibe vodka distilled from potatoes grown in Gabriels and filtered through the high-quality quartz crystals known as Herkimer diamonds. “Drinking local” has a long tradition within the Blue Line. Today, let’s consider the honorable history of Adirondack beer. » Continue Reading.
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