Wednesday, June 20, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Blue Water Manor, Bolton

If it weren’t actually life-sized, you would think you were approaching one of Charlie Wood’s fairytale buildings at Storytown. The Stone Manor Restaurant at the Blue Water Manor on Lakeshore Drive in Bolton is one of those “must see” taverns in the Adirondacks. Like a fairytale castle of Arthurian legend, the stone structure appears much older than it really is. As you make your way to the tavern and restaurant on Lake George, you’ll find yourself surrounded by cabins for rent and a variety of low-hanging trees that obscure and enhance the view of the building. The slate roof is visible here and there among the trees, but you can’t miss the medieval, arched doorway that lies at the end of the tree-strewn path.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Everyone Loves Rhubarb?

Ever notice that during the period of May through mid-June there is a blitz of food articles, expounding upon the wonders the rhubarb? These stories make plentiful use of words like “abundant” “grandmother” “delightful” and “cherry red”. Words like this about a food make me feel pretty excited. Particularly when the food in question practically grows wild all around me. So I was pretty excited to really dive right into some rhubarby adventures this year. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Cooking in the Back Country

For hard core backpackers pack weight is a serious game, especially in challenging and endurance-taxing terrain like the Adirondacks.  Every pound you take on the trail is additional effort.  Every extra handful of ounces somehow magnifies the inevitable crushing drain on personal will that, after an extended day with miles yet to go, can cause you to feel as Jacob Marley must have, shambling on through eternity.

For some, saving weight elevates to a competitive and expensive sport, with ultra-light this and featherweight that.  Lemme tell you, that gear costs.   For the most extreme disciples of light-weight backpacking the quest becomes quasi-religious (and I can arguably drop the “quasi” part).   I’ve known people to cut down pencils to save a tenth of an ounce.

We all join the faithful at one time or another: who among we Adirondack hikers has not at least once felt a surge of joy and self-congratulatory satisfaction all out of keeping with the situation when we drained our last water, feeling and hearing our bottles jiggling around oh-so empty, oh-so mercifully airy?  “Ha!  I’m light now, thank God,” we say to ourselves. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: A Good Bar Attender

As follow-up to our popular March post, What Makes a Good Bartender, it’s time to give the customer some helpful tips on making friends in an Adirondack tavern. With 84 bars under our belts in the past year-and-a-half, we’ve learned a few things. We’re two venerable ladies that don’t look like we belong anywhere; yet we almost always manage to fit in. While most Adirondackers are not, by nature, predatory, they have been known to be territorial. Following some simple rules should help in acculturation.

RULE NUMBER ONE. Don’t be an a$$#@*! It will only raise hackles. (Note that rule number one applies to both a good bartender and a good bar attender.) » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

APA Mtg: Ti Meat Processor, Master Plan, Local Land Use

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at its Headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, June 14 and Friday, June 15, 2012. The meeting will be webcast live (click webcasting from the contents list).

The meeting will include presentations highlighting the 40th Anniversary of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and recreational use statistics. On Friday, the board will determine approvability for a Ticonderoga meat processing facility and the Local Government Services Committee will hear a status report on local land use controls in the Park and review implemented APA-approved Local Land Use Programs. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Lake House Grille, Wells

First impression: whimsy with a side of humor. We noticed first the patio in front of the Lake House Grille in Wells. Partitioned from the sidewalk by a fence of varying height – lower in front to allow observation of passing cars and pedestrians; higher on the driveway side, the taller fence has windows built in.

Might sound odd, but it’s actually very quaint; sheltering but not isolating. Within the enclosure, three metal tables with umbrellas to protect from fickle weather and several Adirondack chairs (the only Adirondack style on the premises, with one other minute detail which we will get to later) for dining, relaxing or listening to the music from within. Signs in the entrance offer fair warning that the Lake House Grille accepts cash only, but that an ATM is on premises. Other posts advertise upcoming music events. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Hague Firehouse Restaurant

The staff outnumbered the patrons when we arrived at the Hague Firehouse between 4 and 5 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. The two bartenders on hand seemed to be more than enough for two men on one side of the bar and two women on the other. We chose two seats in the middle of the horseshoe shaped bar. A couple took refuge in the shade of the deck, enjoying the soft murmur of the surrounding trees and the brook below. Waitresses gathered in a far corner, taking turns between preparation and conversation. A summery breeze gently wound its way through the open front door, flirted with patrons, and escaped out the back through the sliding glass door in the wall of windows leading to the deck.

The gunmetal grey cinder block exterior and barn red garage doors give the impression that the building has not undergone much change from its former life to its reincarnation. One step inside puts that assumption to rest. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adirondack Farm Land Map Project Underway

Adirondack Sustainable Communities (ASC) was awarded a grant from the “Farm Credit AgEnhancement” program for an Adirondack Park farm land mapping project to connect farmers with landowners who may want to lease or sell their land. The goal of the program is to strengthen the agriculture industry in the Adirondacks by increasing the amount of farm land in production.

ASC is expected to analyze existing Federal, State and County data to identify existing property use and current landowners of areas with suitable agricultural soils. A user friendly computer mapping program will be developed to display this information with the goal to connect aspiring farmers with landowners interested in turning their properties into active farm land. The program’s final format will be determined based on interviews with involved user groups. ASC anticipates the program will be accessible through the Internet. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Using All Those Chives!

When I was a little kid, Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at my grandparent’s house. The one memory that is crystal clear (other than opening presents part) was celery stuffed with cream cheese. My grandmother would make a platter or two, and it was my job to run around carrying said platter and offer it to the adults who were hanging around waiting for dinner to be done.

The reason I mention this is not to talk about holiday meals in the middle of May, or the delights of stuffed celery, but rather because on top of that celery were tiny tasteless dried green specks. These were chives. Freeze-dried and shaken out of a spice bottle, utterly devoid of flavor, they weren’t anything to write home about. Chives, by the time I was toddling around in the 1970’s were firmly entrenched in popular culture, along with paprika and curly parsley, as food stuffs that were “strictly for looks”. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Recipe Day!

Having conquered, or at least challenged, a fair number bars (80, to be exact) within an hour-and-a-half’s travel, most that remain involve overnight trips and both exhausting and exhaustive pub crawls. We have arrived at the beginning of the selection process as we continue the final push for finding the 46 best bars inside the Blue Line. For those of you who have recently begun following our bar reviews, there is indeed a purpose. Our goal is to find the 46 “High Peaks” from among the pubs and taverns located inside the Adirondack Park, as well as 46 Adirondack-themed cocktails for inclusion in our book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Farm Fresh Eggs and Frittata

Adirondack Farm Fresh EggsTake a drive through any little town or along the back roads in the Adirondack Park and you are sure to encounter handmade signs bearing the words “FRESH EGGS HERE”. As people have become more interested in eating healthy locally-grown food, raising chickens for fresh eggs has exploded, and it is truly a welcome change to our food landscape.

I won’t launch into a diatribe here about the evils of factory-farm eggs, as I am sure most people are already aware of the horrific conditions in which large-scale producers keep their chickens, the nasty chemicals and antibiotics which these “farmers” use and the incredibly detrimental effects large-scale farming has on our environment. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Small Scale Woodlot and Sugarbush Workshop

Many maple producers and woodlot owners want or need to be more active in promoting good growth of trees in their woodlot. Learn how to manage your trees for better production and safety.

Cornell University Cooperative Extension in partnership with NYS Maple Producers Association, and the NY Forest Owners Association to host a small-scale woodlot and sugarbush management workshop on May 17, 2012 at the Valley Road Maple Farm in Thurman, NY.

For more information and registration details, contact, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Warren County at 623-3291.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Essex Inn, Essex

The town of Essex has a coastal New England charm, from the centuries old brick homes and diagonal street parking, to the waterfront buildings in colors to rival the Atlantic coast. The Essex Inn, grand in comparative scale to the federal and Greek revival style architecture that defines the hamlet, is the centerpiece of Essex. With a full-length front porch, imposing white columns and freshly painted yellow siding, the Essex Inn’s cheerful facade is warm and inviting.

Management of the 200-year-old Essex Inn was undertaken by Gladys and Josh Archer in 2010 after it was meticulously renovated and restored in a year-and-a-half-long process by Rick and Karen Dalton, who initially purchased it to house the College for Every Student (CFES) organization. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Adirondack Foods: Violet Jelly

Violet JellyLast Saturday we decided to make a stop at our friend and local young farmer Jack Leggett’s place to pick up some fresh eggs. Got myself a dozen beautiful brown speckled free range chicken eggs, and stayed for a bit to chat with Jack and his friends about our upcoming project, a half dozen piglets arriving in June.

As the guys stood there and debated the relative merits and disadvantages of various styles of sties (pigsties, that is), I was looking around, soaking up the bucolic environment. In other words, staring at my feet. Mid-stare, something caught my eye. Violets. There were violets everywhere! Parts of his sweeping front yard lawn were a carpet of the little purple flowers. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shannon Houlihan: Using All That Maple Syrup

Adirondack Maple SyrupSince I have taken up the business of growing, canning, and preparing all kinds of food from scratch, I have found that life becomes hectic at certain times of the year. Summertime is just mayhem, with berries and summer fruits demanding attention, as well as the garden crops coming in.

In the fall there is pork and venison sausage making, and apples – we spend several weeks brewing hard cider every year. That’s followed by the fermented goods (sauerkraut, kimchi, and the like).

Then the holiday season comes, with its cookies, pies and feasting, followed shortly thereafter by citrus fruits which just scream “I need to be a marmalade!”. » Continue Reading.


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