Sunday, September 27, 2009

When is it Apple-picking Time?

For the first time, I have apples that are perfect! Admittedly, I only have a few (okay, four), but that’s more than I’ve had in the past. I’ve been on the fence, however, about picking them. Last year I finally picked my Northern Spies out of desperation—we were expecting snow. I made tarts and took them to our Book Club meeting, but they really weren’t ripe. Unlike most people I know, I do not like green fruit (green as in “unripe”, not green as in color, although the two can be synonymous).

This year there was enough rain that the apples grew well. The sunny days of late August and September made the fruit grow. No scab appeared, and only a few were attacked by insects. But each day the fruits remain on the tree is one more day for something to happen. When should I pick the apples?

It all depends on what type of apples you have. Some varieties ripen early in the season (some, I’ve read, as early as July), while others linger until almost Thanksgiving. Up here in the North Country, that can be a problem; by Thanksgiving the tree could be buried in snow!

Your best bet is to find a local orchard and find out what apples are being picked and when. Sure, you could go on-line and find picking dates, but unless the orchard you select is in the same climate as you, you cannot count on the accuracy of those dates.

But suppose you don’t have any local orchards. There are certainly plenty of orchards along the Champlain Valley, but that’s the banana belt compared to the central Adirondacks. No one in his right mind has an orchard in our neck of the woods. Sure, there are lots of “wild” apple trees, but you can’t necessarily go by them. These were likely planted by early settlers as a source of fruit for making apple jack, a fermented tangy cider (not the sweet cider that you get with your donuts when you go pumpkin picking). They didn’t care what the apples tasted like or what condition they were in. No, you can’t go by these wild apples. The bears may like them, and the deer, but most of them are not for the likes of you and me.

So you stand there staring at the fruit on your tree. Do you go by color? If it’s red, is it ripe? Well, suppose your tree doesn’t bear red apples – what if they are yellow, or green? Can you trust color?

The answer is yes, sort of. First, you need to know what color your apples are supposed to be. Unless they are green apples, you can use color as a guideline. You want to look at the color of the skin near the base of the stem. If this area is green, the apple isn’t ripe yet. Once it turns red, or yellowish, then it is probably safe to pick.

You can also go by firmness. If your apple is hard as a rock, it isn’t ripe. If, however, it has a little bit of give to it when you give it a gentle squeeze, go ahead and pick.

You can test readiness by the ease of of the apple’s release from the tree. When you pick an apple, it should pluck easily, almost falling into your hand. If you have to tug and wrench it off, it’s not ripe.

Now, suppose a heavy killer frost is coming, and your apples are still on the tree. What do you do? You have to make a decision. Are they ripe enough that if you pick them and place them in a cool, dark place they will continue to ripen? If so, pick away. If not, then you might want to cover your tree, just like you would your pumpkins and squash.

Up here in the mountains growing perfect apples can be frustrating. Some years you might succeed, and other years your crop may be a complete failure. The best thing you can do it relax; after all, there isn’t much you can do about the weather. Get to know your trees, learn what varieties you have, and check the picking dates at the nearest orchard(s). From there you can only use common sense. With a little luck, you will have apples to enjoy throughout the cold and grey days of winter – a little taste of fall.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Adirondack Harvest Benefit Dinner Announced

The Lake Placid Lodge’s Chef Kevin McCarthy and DaCy Meadow Farm will be hosting an Adirondack Harvest Dinner on Tuesday, September 29th at 6:00pm at the St. Agnes School Auditorium in Lake Placid. This unique dining experience will feature ingredients supplied by local Essex County farmers. According to the official event announcement, “dinner will feature beverages, an appetizer, Dogwood Bread Company bread, soup, garden salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette, an entree featuring a selection of local, pasture-raised meats and fresh vegetables, and a dessert created with pure maple sugar.”

A keynote speaker, noted food and restaurant consultant Clark Wolf, will discuss developments in the local and healthy food movements and how the Adirondack region can move towards a more sustainable agricultural-based economy.

Ticket prices are $30 for adults and $15 for students and all proceeds will benefit Adirondack Harvest and Heifer International. Seating is limited to 150 people and reservations are required (call Dave Johnston at (518) 962-2350 or email djohnston [AT] dacymeadowfarm [DOT] com. Checks should be made payable and mailed to: DaCy Meadow Farm, Box 323, Westport, NY 12993


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Appreciating Adirondack Grasses

Are you one of those people who, when driving down the Northway, notices the various colors of the grasses growing in the median? If you aren’t, then you should slow down a bit and take a peek, for this time of year, especially in the early morning sunshine, they are quite beautiful: clouds of delicate purples, patches of russet oranges. I find it very tempting to pull over, get out of the car, and wade in amongst them. Since I’m sure the state troopers are not as likely to share my enthusiasm, I never have.

Grasses have caught my attention for years. They have wonderful flowerheads (inflorescences) that come in a great many varieties, and the colors, when seen en masse, can be quite the delight for the eye. I actually love to see lawns that have been allowed to go wild, for they fill an otherwise boring green expanse with delightful colors and textures.

Recently I was out botanizing with a friend who, among other things, really knows her grasses and sedges. Most of us wouldn’t know the difference between a grass, a sedge, or a rush if our lives depended on it. Sure, perhaps we recall the rhyme “Sedges have edges and rushes are round, and grasses have nodules where elbows are found” (or some variation thereof), but in practice, they all look like “grass” to the untrained eye. I asked my botanically-inclined friend if she knew of any good books for grass ID, but she said no.

I, however, have two grass ID books in my rather large collection of natural history books. One I’ve had in my Naturalist Daypack for quite some time, but I’ve never taken the time to actually read it. Until now. Inspired by my friend’s knowledge, and never one to want to be left behind in the proverbial dust, I decided to crack the book and learn me some grasses.

As with many natural history and species ID adventures, at first it seemed intimidating, an almost insurmountable task. They all look the same! I’ll never be able to tell them apart! But by taking the time to actually read the text, the small details, those clues that tell one species from the next, soon become apparent.

To begin with, many sedges, but not all, have triangular stems (edges). Many rushes have cylindrical, or round, stems. And grasses, as a whole, have joints, or nodules, where their leaves join the stem. After learning this, you can start to study some of the other distinguishing factors. The book I’m currently reading, Grasses by Lauren Brown, starts off with a dichotomous key, which many people find intimidating, but which I find a relief to use. From there, she’s grouped the plants by visual similarities. The simple pen and ink illustrations point out key traits for quick identification. Unlike many ID guides (try some of the moss or fern books), this one is written for the layperson. Technical jargon is explained – it’s not assumed you are working towards your PhD in botanical sciences.

The only real “work” will be memorizing the scientific names. Most real botanists forego common names and with good reason: they are not standardized. What you may call Indian Paintbrush is known as Hawkweed to someone else, and that person applies Indian Paintbrush to an entirely different plant. But the reason for learning the scientific names goes beyond this, for many grasses (sedges, rushes) and other plants, like mosses and lichens, have no common names. The common man has given most of them very little attention, and if you aren’t paying attention to something, you aren’t going to give it a name. If it weren’t for the scientists, these plants would have no names at all.

I think that for some time now Grasses will join my Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide as a passenger in my car. I’m actually eager, now that I have inspiration, to get out in the field and start getting to know my grassy neighbors. Armed with my field guide and a hand lens, I hope to soon have names like Anthoxanthum ordoratum and Cyperus esculentus tripping off my tongue.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Weekly Adirondack Blogging Round-Up


Friday, September 25, 2009

Can Ralph Lauren Save the Adirondacks?

New York State’s Secretary of State had never been north of Albany until she visited Lake George, a village official told me recently.

State Senator Betty Little likes to tell a story about another state official, who grew alarmed when told that people were living in the park—the Adirondack Park, that is.

“People being forced to sleep in the park? How awful!” the official reportedly said.

No wonder the Association of Adirondack Towns and Villages decided to sponsor the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Report.

At the very least, it reminds Albany that the Adirondack Park contains 130,000 people living in more than one hundred communities, which need viable economies (and perhaps some additional state aid or at least broad band) if they are to survive. Statistics about the park’s aging population and declining school enrollments are not, however, the only way to tell the story of the Adirondacks.

Walk into a Ralph Lauren Home store in New York or Milan this fall and you’ll see, displayed on a library table or console, portfolios of Lake George paintings and guidebooks by Seneca Ray Stoddard.

You’ll also see rustic Adirondack furniture and plaid fabrics given Adirondack names.
The rooms have been installed in stores throughout the United States and Europe to showcase Ralph Lauren’s new collection of furniture and home furnishings, which the company calls “Indian Cove Lodge,” after a mythical Adirondack camp.

It is, to be sure, an idealized version of the Adirondacks. It’s a backdrop for a story playing in Ralph Lauren’s mind, about what, one can only imagine – how Marjorie Merriweather Post spent August, perhaps.

Nevertheless, whoever created these backdrops wanted them to be as authentic as possible. They even contain copies of the Lake George Mirror to link the collection to the Adirondacks. (Last winter, I was told, Black Bass Antiques owner Henry Caldwell and rustic furniture impresario Ralph Kylloe were visited by a team from Ralph Lauren, who spent hours selecting items that would complement the new collection.)

“Snowshoes, antique skis, fishing creels, canoe paddles: they bought a truckload of things,” said Kylloe, who’s furnished Ralph Lauren’s private homes as well as his showrooms for years.

Attention from retailers like Ralph Lauren helps the Adirondack brand remain vital, said Kylloe.

Lisa Foderaro, who frequently covers the Adirondacks for the New York Times, made a similar contribution to that effort last week with a story about Jay Haws’ and Steve Pounian’s Dartbrook Lodge in Keene.

They’ve converted a roadside cottage colony into a retreat that is, Foderaro said, “at once rustic and hip.”

There may be, as Ralph Kylloe suggests, some economic benefits from this kind of exposure in the form of increased tourism.

Other effects may be more problematic, such as a renewed demand for second homes and hence the rising costs of housing for year-round residents.

Another potential effect – and whether it’s a negative or positive one will depend upon your perspective – is a new constituency for the protection of he Adirondacks.
But at the very least, campaigns like these broaden awareness of the Adirondacks, and if those anecdotes about Albany’s lack of awareness of the region are true, that’s as necessary now as it ever was.

Photo: Indian Cove Lodge bedside table.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Hickory Ski Center and Big Tupper on Track to Open

Adirondackers will have two new old places to ski this winter. Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg will hold a volunteer work day Saturday to get the hill in shape for its re-opening. Another group of volunteers is trying to get a chairlift running again for skiing at Big Tupper, in Tupper Lake.

Hickory Hill has been closed for four years, so it won’t need an Adirondack Park Agency permit to resume business; however, Big Tupper has not been operational for more than five years, so it will need approval from the state land use agency.

“Everything seems to be falling into place,” Hickory president Bill Van Pelt said this week. A previous volunteer work day on Sept. 12 attracted about 30 people, who repainted buildings, tuned lifts, drilled a new well and created a new drop-off area, he said. Hickory’s new owners, a group of mostly local shareholders, are also pursuing snowmaking, he said, and they expect to have at least a partial system in place this year, but details are still being worked out.

Ticketing will be electronic, Van Pelt said, so when a skier passes through an archway to get on a lift, sensors will keep a tally of how many vertical feet the person has skied this season. Ticket prices are now available here.

To volunteer at Hickory Saturday contact operations manager Shawn Dempsey at skihickory@gmail.com. Dempsey advises: plan to come prepared with a lunch, hiking boots, gloves and any brush-clearing equipment, shovels, rakes.

Van Pelt said Hickory’s opening date will depend on snow and snowmaking. In Tupper Lake, volunteer organizer Jim LaValley said Big Tupper’s opening date is set for December 26. The mountain will go without snowmaking for now, LaValley said, but he’s optimistic about the forecast. “It’s going to be a good year because you’ve got El Nino spinning and the sunspot cycle has made its shift.”

APA staff made a site visit Wednesday, and LaValley said he expects to receive the operating permit by November or December. Volunteers are working continuously on getting a chairlift ready for inspection, improving the base lodge and electrical systems. There will be a call for a volunteer work day in the next few weeks, LaValley said, but in the meantime people who wish to pitch in can contact him at jim.lavalley@lavalleyrealestate.com or (518) 359-9440. Ticket prices have not yet been set. For future information a Web site is being developed at skibigtupper.org.

You can read more about Hickory’s and Big Tupper’s years of limbo here.


Friday, September 25, 2009

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adirondack Music Scene: Organs to Opera and Rock and Roll

Cooler weather and changing colors seems to bring out the classical concerts (my that’s a lot of “c’s”). There are so many great performances to choose from this weekend. I feel a bit more intelligent just writing about them; imagine how you’ll feel if you actually get out to hear these great musicians and instruments.

Tonight in Jay is a meeting of the Acoustics Club at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre at the junction of routes 9N and 86 next to the Village Green. The meeting starts at 7 pm and is for beginner musicians to play, learn and share experiences with music and sound in a casual setting. Any and all instruments, including the voice, are invited. Call Janet Morton at 946-7420 with any questions.

Friday in Glens Falls a Beeman Organ Concert will be held at the First Presbyterian Church. Organist Alan Morrison will play at 7:30 pm. Mr. Morrison has a very impressive resume having played at most of the fine concert halls and cathedrals in the States and Canada. You can call 793 – 2521 or go to www.fpcgf.org for more information.

In Lake Clear on Friday, local favorite Steve Borst will be performing at Charlie’s Inn. Steve has written some lovely original songs and is great at taking requests. He starts at 6:30 pm and you can call 891 – 9858 for more information.

Saturday in Keene Valley, Adirondack Brass will be holding a concert at the Congregational Church at 4 pm. Check out their myspace page – they sound great. Keene Valley has some cool restaurants to check out after going to what is sure to be an inspirational evening of music. The event is sponsored by The East Branch Friends of the Arts. For more information call 576-4769. A donation is appreciated.

On Saturday in Saranac Lake, High Peaks Opera will be performing Italian Opera at Will Rogers. This is the same group that blew folks away in Tupper Lake earlier this year and features Metropolitan Opera bass George Cordes. What a fantastic voice—I’ve heard him before and you can check it out for yourself by clicking on the link. The performance starts at 7:30 pm. A donation is appreciated.

Later on Saturday in Saranac Lake at the Waterhole the Rev Tor band gets going around 10 pm. This is in the great-to-play Upstairs Music Lounge, where the cocktails start flowing at 9 pm when the doors open. There aren’t a lot of places to sit, but at that hour it’s usually more fun to dance and sway then stay planted anyway. Rev Tor has some fine musicianship going on in their band. I’m particularly impressed with the keyboards and guitar solos.

Also on Saturday in Glens Falls the Saratoga Chamber Players are giving another Degas and Music concert at 3 pm. The performance is at the Hyde Collection Art Museum located at 161 Warren St. Call 584-1427 for more info.

You have two chances to hear Dan Gordan “International Man of Saxophone.” The link I connected to is all about a book he wrote detailing his journeys as a street musician in Europe. It looks fun—I’d like to read it—and it gives a little insight as to why he considers himself an international man of sax. This is the beginning of the new Piano By Nature season, which means that pianist Rose Chancler—who will be accompanying Mr. Gordon—is back presenting and giving concerts in her community. The Saturday concert starts at 7 pm and the Sunday one at 3 pm; both take place in the Hand House Parlor in Elizabethtown. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for 15 and under. Reservations are required due to limited seating: 518-962-2949.

Lastly, there are two chances for some open mic action this weekend: First, there is an ongoing Coffee House and Open Mic that happens on the last Saturday of every month at the Universal Unitarian Church in Queensbury. It is held 7:30 – 10 pm and you can call 793-1468 for more details. Then on Sunday at 7 pm there is an Open Mic being held in Lake Placid. The Luna Java Coffee Shop is located at 5794 Cascade Road. I can’t find a phone number for them so… I’ve no other details other than to say, Go and perform or cheer on the local talent. Thriving open mic scenes are essential for a musical community.

Photo: Alan Morrison


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adirondack Winter Finch Forecast

We birders (those who watch birds) eagerly await an e-mail that comes about this time every early fall. It’s a message that’s filled with information that can be good news or bad news. The good news can fill a birdwatcher’s heart with anticipation of a wonderful winter with colorful sightings. The bad news can mean a not-so-good winter with few of these colorful sightings. However, the bad news for us in the Adirondacks turns out to be good news for others.

All this I am referring to is the long-awaited Winter Finch Forecast given by naturalist/ornithologist Ron Pittaway of the Ontario Field Ornithologist group: www.ofo.ca/reportsandarticles/winterfinches.php » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

DEC Proposes Fishing Regulations Changes

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced proposed changes to the state’s freshwater fishing regulations. The agency will be accepting public comments on the changes until November 2, 2009. According to a DEC press release: “The proposed regulations are the result of careful assessment of the status of existing fish populations and the desires of anglers for enhanced fishing opportunities. The opportunity for public review follows discussions held with angling interest groups over the past year.”

The following are highlights of the proposed changes in the Adirondack region provided by DEC:

* Apply the statewide regulation for pickerel, eliminating the “no size” limit regulation in: Essex, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington County waters.

* Apply the statewide regulation creel limit of 50 fish per day for yellow perch and sunfish for Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties, as well as for Schroon Lake, as this limit will help protect against overexploitation.

* Eliminate special regulation prohibiting smelt fishing at Portaferry Lake in St. Lawrence County as no smelt runs have been reported in many years.

* Delete the 5+5 brook trout special regulation (Regions 5, 6 & 7), which allows for an additional 5 brook trout under 8 inches as part of the daily limit, as there is no basis for retaining this special regulation for this species.

* Prohibit fishing from March 16 until the opening of walleye season in May in a section of the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County to protect spawning walleye.

* Ban possession of river herring (alewife and blueback herring) in the Waterford Flight (Lock 2-Guard Gate 2) on the Saratoga County side of the Mohawk River, where blueback herring, declining in numbers, are especially vulnerable to capture.

* Allow the use of alewives and blueback herring as bait in Lake Champlain, Clinton County, Essex County, Franklin County, Warren County, Washington County and Canadarago Lake (Otsego County).

* Add new state land trout waters to bait fish prohibited list for Essex, Hamilton, and Washington Counties to guard against undesirable fish species introductions and preserve native fish communities.

* Allow ice fishing for rainbow trout in Glen Lake, Warren County.

The full text of the proposed regulation changes are available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/57841.html.

Comments on the proposals being submitted by e-mail should be sent to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.

After full review of the public comments, the final regulations will go into effect October 1, 2010.

Artwork of Brook Trout by Ellen Edmonson from Inland Fishes of New York, a publication of Cornell University and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are Dragonflies Disappearing this Year?

Lots of folks have commented to me this summer that they haven’t been seeing many dragonflies. Hm. I’ve seen lots of dragonflies (and damselflies) this year, and I haven’t been able to think of any reason why dragonflies would be sparse; after all, it was good and wet this year, so they had plenty of water for successful reproduction and growth. All the rain also meant a lot of habitat for mosquitoes and the other insects that make up their diet.

Maybe numbers were down in some locations because it was also a cool summer. Like all insects (that I know of), dragonflies need sunshine to get the blood moving (so to speak). This is why you see them basking in the sunshine. Just like people, when they get too chilled, they cannot move well, making them easy targets for other predators. Perhaps some of the species that we see in July and early August never got warm enough to successfully emerge as adults. I just don’t know.

I can tell, you, however, that September has been a great month for dragonflies. I’ve seen squadrons flying in formation over the streets and roads, phalanxes patrolling yards and parking lots, and down on the water the air has been filled with non-stop dragonfly action.

I’ve been very lucky this month to put my canoe on the water several times. This has put me smack in the middle of the action. Most prominent among the Odonates (the order of insects known as dragon- and damselflies) I’ve been seeing this fall are pairs of yellow-legged meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) flying around in their mating embrace.

As with all dragonflies, when the male encounters a likely female, he grasps her by the head. It sounds worse than it really is. The male uses a special grasper at the tip of his abdomen (tail) to grab the female just behind her enormous eyes. They are now flying in tandem. The female then bends her abdomen around to receive the sperm packet from the male. You’ve probably seen pairs of dragonflies in this loop formation; now you know what’s going on.

Sometimes after fertilization the female lays eggs with the male still attached to her head. Other times the male flies away, his work finished, and the female, who can store sperm for a very long time, eventually lays her eggs on her own. If you see a dragonfly flying along and repeatedly tapping its abdomen to the water, that is what she’s doing.

The eggs eventually hatch, and the emerging nymph begins its life in the water, where it is a major predator of other aquatic invertebrates. Depending on the species, dragonflies remain in the nymph stage anywhere from one month to five years! As they grow, they molt, just like caterpillars and other larvae. Eventually, however, they emerge from the water for a final molt, in which they transform (metamorphose) into their adult forms.

One of the latest dragonflies of the season around here is the large common green darner (Anax junius). It is the first to appear in the spring, and often the last to disappear in the fall. If you find yourself in need of a dragonfly fix, get down to your nearest wetland and have a seat. A little patience is all you need, and before long you will see these flying wonders zipping and zooming all around.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Almanack Welcomes Birding Contributor Brian McAllister

Adirondack Almanack is delighted to announce that Brian McAllister is joining the site as resident bird columnist. Brian is a naturalist, educator and one of the Adirondack Park’s most dedicated birdwatchers. His interest in all things avian often takes him beyond the Blue Line (two trips to Cape May this fall alone).

Starting tomorrow, Brian will post birding news every other Thursday at noon. We feel very lucky to know him and to introduce him to Almanack readers.

In his professional life Brian has taught ornithology lab and how to interpret habitats at Paul Smith’s College. The Saranac Lake resident has been involved for six years in an Adirondack boreal bird survey for Wildlife Conservation Society. He also served as a natural history consultant to the Wild Center, a naturalist with the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Centers and the Adirondack Mountain Club, as well as field assistant with the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program. He helped the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society design a natural history education program and is one of the founders of the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration.

Brian is a contributor to the Adirondack Natural History blog and has his own site, Adirondacks Naturally.

He’s also just the best guy to take a walk in the woods with. He notices things most of us don’t, knows what they are and is able to open your eyes and ears to them in a way that never leaves you. We welcome him to the Almanack.

Photograph: Brian McAllister on Ampersand Mountain


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A 2017 Constitutional Convention And The Adirondacks

There has been a lot of public discussion about the potential for a constitutional convention in 2017 (as allowed by the current state constitution every 20 years), one that could influence the future of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park.

The New York State Constitutional Convention of 1967 (the last State Constitutional Convention) was held in Albany April 4 – September 26, 1967 and the revisions submitted to the voters that November; all of the convention’s proposals were rejected. Among the proposals that failed during the process were those to establish the forerunner of the Department of Conservation and to make it easier for the legislature to take land from the Forest Preserve (with voter referendum).

Wilderness preservation issues are likely to be hotly debated in the run-up to a constitutional convention—in fact, former Governor Mario Cuomo recently called for a chance to revise the constitution using, in part, these words:

A constitutional convention is a peoples’ meeting to design or redesign the peoples’ government. The legislature has traditionally not favored calling such a body to life. It feared that a convention might take steps to diminish the legislature’s institutional power or incumbents’ chances of re-election.

Others with particular interests to protect have also been skeptical. For example, environmentalists worry—needlessly, we think—about a convention altering the present constitution’s commitment to keeping our parks in the Adirondacks and Catskills ‘forever wild.’

This is short-sighted. Environmentalists might make gains at a convention by convincing us to constitutionalize positive rights to clean air and clean water.

Sure, it seems a long way off, but the idea that a new constitution might either abolish the forever wild clause, or “constitutionalize positive rights to clean air and clean water” is something Adirondack residents take seriously.

The New York State Library has recently digitized and made available online a treasure trove of documents relating to the 1967 convention. The current NYS Constitution can be found in pdf form here.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: Museum Day

If you have not had an opportunity to visit the Adirondack Museum yet this season I am here to pave the way with offers of free admission and coupon savings. Okay, it isn’t money falling from the sky but if you attend Smithsonian magazine’s free museum day money may just jingle in your pocket. Though with or without Museum Day the Adirondack Museum is a bargain any day of the week.

In its fifth year Museum Day is an annual event taking place across the country on September 26th. More than 900 participating museums will offer free general admission to an attendee and guest with a Museum Day admission card. The Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake is just one facility that is participating. A complete list by state can be found at Smithsonian magazine.

The Adirondack Museum houses twenty buildings on 32 acres of land, beautiful gardens and ponds. There are many interactive elements like the Rising Schoolhouse filled with paper crafts and era-specific wooden toys, a treasure hunt in the “Age of Horses” building, or build a toy boat at the Boat Shop. Since that barely touches on the activities available, keep in mind all admissions are valid for a second visit within a one-week time period.

If unable to attend Museum Day, The Adirondack Harvest Festival will be held the next weekend, October 3rd and 4th. A good tip for all: year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are admitted free all days that the museum is open in October.

This festival will provide wagon rides, music and even a traditional blacksmith demonstration by David Woodward. There is a barn raising, cider pressing and pumpkin painting. If just having fun isn’t enough there are altruistic opportunities as well. Have children bring canned or dried goods to support the Warren–Hamilton Community Action Harvest Food Drive.

Please call 518-352-7311 for more information. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. until October 18. If you visit the museum website, click on the monthly special icon for a coupon good for $2 off one adult admission. There is no charge for children under six.

Even with discounts, coupons and free admission museums need to function so keep in mind that even on free days a donation (no matter the size) is probably greatly appreciated.

Photograph of an antique cider press.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Artist At Work" Studio Tour This Weekend

Gabriels-based artist Diane Leifheit sent us a note about this weekend’s self-guided Artist at Work Studio Tour in and around the Tri-Lakes. “More than 36 artists in their ‘natural habitat’ will be working on and showing their work,” she wrote. “If you have not picked up a year-round Artists Guide, they are available at the Adirondack Artists Guild, 52 Main Street, Saranac Lake, and at many sponsor storefronts in the Tri-Lakes area. You can also log on to adirondackartistsguild.com for information. Look for the signs this weekend. Now I have to go clean up my studio! Yikes!”

The open-studio event begins Friday and runs through Sunday.

Raven photograph by Burdette Parks, one of the participating artists