Almanack Contributor Kim and Pam Ladd

Kim and Pam Ladd

In 2013, sisters Kim and Pam Ladd self-published Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide and a companion Happy Hour Trail Passport. As they continue to market and distribute their current book, they are back on the trail doing research for their next project – a guide to breweries, wineries and distilleries in and around the Adirondack Park.

In 2014 they created their own drinking event, a bartender competition they call “BARRED!”, which they expect will become an annual event held in the early spring in collaboration with Basil & Wick’s in North Creek.

With the lofty goal of becoming the Adirondack "Drinking Authority," Kim and Pam report on drinking-related topics and events inside the Blue Line here at the Almanack and at their own blog. You can also visit their website, follow them on Facebook, and Twitter.

The pair have spent most of their lives in Warren County. Pam has a degree in Computer Science, but her passion is mixology. She and her family live in Warrensburg. Kim is a freelance photographer with a degree in Advertising Design and lives in Thurman with her husband.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

High Peaks Happy Hour: 2012 Annual Report

Whether measured as 9,375 square miles or as 6.1 million acres, we can vouch for the fact that the Adirondack Park is huge. We covered most of the main roads in the park, visited nearly 120 bars and clocked over 5,600 miles since we began our project in January, 2011, to find the best 46 “High Peak” bars in the Adirondack Park. The farthest distance traveled one way was 110 miles to Cranberry Lake. Many others were very close to that distance in any direction. Pam, a self-proclaimed excellent driver, logged most of those miles while Kim served as navigator, photographer and chief note taker. » Continue Reading.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Think Local. Drink Local.

We’re hearing it more and more. Don’t just shop local, eat and drink local too. A prevailing theme in the Adirondacks is, “We need snow. If we don’t get any this winter, we might not be here next year!” With so many bars and restaurants supported by tourism in summer and winter, we need to help them stay afloat in between. Think of the number of times you’ve passed a restaurant or store and thought I really have to check that place out, only to find it closed for business on your last drive by.

Grace’s Restaurant in Warrensburg is one of the places we wish we had frequented more often, but we were too busy reviewing bars for Happy Hour in the High Peaks everywhere else in the Adirondack Park! » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes

After years of kitchen drudgery and dishpan hands, all of a sudden everyone wants us to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Provided, of course, WE BRING THE DRINKS! Pammy’s no Julia Child but she can do a throwdown cocktail that’ll make Bobby Flay take notice! Creativity is all you need to shake up the traditional feast. Just keep the menu in mind. Compatibility with the flavors of the meal is important. Compatibility with family members or other guests is something we’re not qualified to help you with, but a few tasty beverages might not hurt.

We’re not sure how it goes at your house, but we always have a plethora of snacks and appetizers, serving no other purpose than to keep the hungry guests from whining and the kids out of the kitchen. The unfortunate result, once dinner is ready, is a roomful of gluttonous guests too stuffed to engage in the carnage that is Thanksgiving Dinner!
» Continue Reading.


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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: JC Montana’s, Lake George

Though only a few tables remained on the Mediterranean style raised terrace at JC Montana’s in early November, it was obvious that this would be a great place to sit and relax on a summer day. Located in the center of Lake George on Canada Street, just across from Shepard Park, JC Montana’s affords an opportunity to enjoy food and drinks with friends, watch passersby or listen to music either on site or from the nearby park.

The sandwich board outside boasted a plentiful array of seafood specials and the smells from the kitchen as we entered the restaurant and bar made it difficult to pass up. Instantly greeted by the bartender, Chris, we were immediately introduced to every person in the place. We met Katie the waitress and spoke at length with local patrons (and bar “enthusiasts”) Bear and Suzanne who shared their opinions of some of their favorite bars in the Adirondacks, past and present. The warmth from the gas fireplace was outdone by the welcome we received. If that type of atmosphere carries throughout the busiest days of summer, JC Montana’s would be a welcome rarity in Lake George. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: What Makes A Good Bar

We’ve visited well over 100 bars in the Adirondack Park on our quest for the best 46 bars in the Adirondacks, what we have termed as the 46 “High” Peaks. When we began our search, we didn’t have any preconceived notions about what would make a bar a 46-er. We have since chosen most of those 46. No two are exactly alike, and none has fit any absolute standard. A major factor in our determination, however, was that most people would feel comfortable at this bar.

That criterion works both ways, in that some may be too haughty for most people, inasmuch as some may be too divey.  Honestly, there were very few too haughty. As we work toward our final reviews for our upcoming book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, we hope to be able to convey what can be expected at each of these Adirondack bars.  Each will offer varying atmosphere and amenities, but all have the potential for a good time.
» Continue Reading.


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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Baxter Mountain Tavern, Keene

We certainly felt like we’d covered every main route in our travels through the Adirondacks, but if it weren’t for several referrals to Baxter Mountain Tavern in Keene, we might have missed this one. Its location on Route 9N, between Elizabethtown and Keene, eluded us. We’ve traveled to Elizabethtown, then back, and have been through Keene numerous times on our way to Lake Placid and beyond, but never connected the dots. One more reason to abandon the GPS and find your own way.

Recommended to us by numerous hikers, the Baxter Mountain Tavern was obviously well known to so many others – locals, seasonal residents and tourists. As afternoon turned to evening, the bar, restaurant and deck filled with expectant diners. With at least eight people at the bar, our foursome filled it to capacity. Sarah the bartender was kept busy between serving the bar customers and preparing drinks for the diners, but always kept up the smile and attentiveness to all. As Baxter’s got busier, she referred our questions to the owner, Dave Deyo. Equally busy greeting and seating guests, he graciously managed to share information with us. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Our First Recipe Trial

Fourteen volunteers bravely responded to the first drink tasting at Pammy’s Pub, official drink lab of Happy Hour in the High Peaks. Representing a broad age range, from 21 to 70, equal numbers of male and female participants* were asked to rate five different samples of beverages for possible inclusion in our book.

More primate than lab rat, these subjects, when let out of their cages, exhibited animated enthusiasm rather than fear and complacency. Male respondents were observed to be less inclined to consume fruity or complicated beverages, while females participated in all trials. We’re not quite willing to share the formulas for each trial, but will try to convey the overall theme with a description of our intended impression. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Charlie’s Inn, Lake Clear

Escape the great camp style so overdone in the Adirondack Park and step into a true Adirondack bar at Charlie’s Inn and Restaurant on Junction Road in Lake Clear. Dating back to 1891 when the Lake Clear Junction station was built, history of the common traveler permeates the pub. Walls cluttered with memorabilia from every decade of its existence represent those who have come before. Look past the lottery and snack vending machines and feel the echoes from the train station across the road. Imagine the rum runners making their way to and from Canada, stopping in to share stories, to eat, to rest, to engage in their commerce. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Ole Barn, Inlet

It’s so BIG. If that isn’t your first impression when you enter The Ole Barn on Limekiln Lake Road in Inlet, then you must be from Texas or Montana. Bearing a ranch theme with wagon wheels, oversized ceiling fans and rough pine booths and walls, it feels like a bar that should on a dude ranch, not the stand-alone bar that it is.

Nearby Limekiln and Eighth Lake state campgrounds bring many patrons, but it is the snowmobilers in the winter that fill it to its capacity of 300. It reminded us of summer camp. Or what we imagine summer camp must be like. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Cowboy, Lake Placid

The Cowboy was one of the more interesting finds after a couple of disappointments during our second visit to Lake Placid. Though seemingly a restaurant with a bar, we were excited when presented with an extensive drink menu. The restaurant has an equally interesting dinner menu, but that’s just wasted on us.

Neil, the bartender, extremely knowledgeable in his trade, seemed to know a lot about the variety of liquors they carry, and is possibly responsible for the overall diversity behind the bar. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Liquids and Solids, Lake Placid

What was beginning to feel like a wasted (no pun intended) trip to Lake Placid finally began to take a turn for the better. Originally arriving too early, we returned to Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar on a recommendation. We had considered skipping it after two of the three previous bars proved to be disappointing, but we weren’t sorry we backpedaled to give Liquids and Solids a proper review.

The long bar stretched out a hand in greeting, which we accepted. Lights with bare bulbs, painted dark, hung over the bar, adding a mysterious light for early afternoon. Eggplant colored walls breathed calm as they showcased their quirky and intriguing artwork. Random details added a tasteful touch of whimsy to the simple shapes and spare ornamentation in the dining area. Fresh flowers popped their lively heads from artfully labeled beer bottles, a theme we were later to discover was carried into the ladies’ room. Beer and wine menus, handwritten in wide black marker on large paper grocery bags, hung from clipboards behind the bar. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Thirsty Moose, Childwold

Where have all the young people gone? Having spent 19 months reviewing bars, taverns and dives in the Adirondacks, the thought had crossed our minds, but we never vocalized it. We just assumed they came out later. Like vampires. Not during the afternoon and evening. Not during Happy Hour. Or maybe they just restricted themselves to larger venues like Lake Placid and Lake George.

We found them one Wednesday afternoon in July, at the Thirsty Moose Pub & Grub in Childwold, somewhere between Cranberry Lake and Tupper Lake. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: P-2’s Irish Pub, Tupper Lake

The brick building, trim and neat, stands just feet from the sidewalk on Main Street in downtown Tupper Lake. P-2’s Irish Pub, illuminated in red and green neon, replaces its former moniker, Al’s Lounge. Inside, a suit of armor standing guard at the pool table silently observes our entrance.

Dimly lighted with amber pendants and recessed spotlights, the interior’s Irish pub characteristics gradually come to light. The curved bar a rich, dark wood with red padded front, shows signs of its age and character. Old cigarette burns mar the top, scars of forgotten conversations and decades of good times. Arrow back bar stools match the studded green faux leather walls, padded for comfort. Tin ceiling, oak woodwork, worn wood floor and round, solid oak pub tables surrounded by sturdy backless stools all lend warmth, character and charm in this intimate space. » Continue Reading.


Kid next to water
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Trail’s End, Tupper Lake

Trail’s End is a classic roadhouse bar located just outside Tupper Lake on Route 30. Step out the front door and look around. Surrounded by mountains, water, and trees, a few barely discernable dwellings dot the landscape. Located at the convergence of Tupper Lake, Simon Pond, Raquette Pond, and the Raquette River, Trails End earns the distinction of being the bar with the best view in Tupper Lake, with some of the nicest people.

As we stepped from our V-6 (not our V-twin), we received a friendly greeting from the pair of musicians seated with their guitars on a long bench on the porch. Thursday is open mic night at Trails End and some like to get there early to warm up, be it musically or otherwise. Trails End is a self-proclaimed biker bar, but don’t think non-bikers are not welcome. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour:
Windfall Bar and Grill, Cranberry Lake

Eighty miles to Tupper Lake. Another twenty-six to Cranberry Lake. The two-and-a-half-mile stretch on Tooley Pond Road, winding between Cranberry Lake and Silver Lake to the Windfall Bar and Grill, was the shortest leg of our travels. It’s all about perspective in the Adirondacks.

Rounding a curve just when we’d decided there was no sign of human interference other than the road and a small cemetery, we were somewhat surprised to find the Windfall Bar and Grill occupying a yellow ranch house. Nothing garish or pretentious about its curb appeal,  just a simple looking country tavern and restaurant, well maintained and hospitable. The same was found within. » Continue Reading.



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