Almanack Contributor Hallie Bond

Hallie Bond

Hallie Bond is the Director of the Kelly Adirondack Center of Union College. The KAC is an interdisciplinary research center with the mission to collect information and to educate the Union College community and the wider public about the Adirondacks and the vital issues relating to the meaning and use of the natural environment. It is housed in the former Center for the Forest Preserve, which includes the Niskayuna home of conservationist Paul Schaefer and the Adirondack Research Library.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Around The Campfire With Old Mountain Phelps

Orsen PhelpsOrson 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.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hallie Bond On Women, Boats, and Lake George

Women recreating on Lake George, circa 1917“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.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adirondack Traditions: Spruce Beer?

Adirondack Bottling WorksA 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.