This Saturday, September 27, 2008, nearly 100 museums in New York State will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s fourth annual Museum Day – including some in our Adirondack region. Museum Day is an opportunity for museums and cultural institutions nationwide to open their doors free of charge. A celebration of culture, learning and the dissemination of knowledge, Smithsonian’s Museum Day reflects the spirit of the magazine, and emulates the free-admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C. – based museums.
A complete list of New York museums that are participating is located here.
Museum visitors must present Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day Admission Card to gain free entry to participating institutions. The Museum Day Admission Card is available for free download at Smithsonian.com.
Some of the biggest news this summer has come out of the Nature Conservancy. First there was the announcement at the end of August that it will list for sale — under conservation easement — about 90,000 acres of the 161,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands it acquired in June 2007.
Now comes the news that the Conservancy has purchased Follensby Pond for $16 million. The pond was the location of the Philosopher’s Camp where Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James Stillman, Louis Agassiz, and others helped birth the Transcendentalist movement, often cited as a important precedent for the modern environmental movement. » Continue Reading.
There is news this week that two corporate giants – Verizon and Wal-Mart – are suing their local host communities to reduce their taxes.
That’s Verizon, the second-largest US telecom firm, who reported profits of 1.9 billion dollars in July, 2008. And Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, who reported profits of nearly 3.5 billion in August.
“The margin of profit is very high here,” Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Bob Dedrick told NCPR’s David Sommerstein. But that doesn’t matter to Wal-Mart, which has already been skipping out on their taxes in a “payment in lieu of taxes” agreement for the past ten years. They’re seeking an assessment that’s less then half of what it is now (about $30,000 less in town taxes). Ticonderoga has a population of about 5,500 – countless others shop in the store from the eastern Adirondacks. By the way, Dedrick has been an outspoken supporter of the big box stores that have helped ruin local business in Ticonderoga – he once took a busload of local citizens to APA headquarters in Ray Brook to support the Ticonderoga Lowe’s. “We have had extreme support on this. APA, here we come,” he told local media at the time. Those will be famous last words – now he says “as far as corporate Wal-Mart; I’m pretty disgusted.” How about an apology to your neighbors Mr. Dedrick?
Over in Hebron, Washington County, Verizon’s four parcels are worth about $593,848 in fair market value, according to the town assessor. The company, however, wants that figure lowered by $246,000. That’s about $87,000 per parcel – quite a real estate bargain. “It doesn’t add up to a whole lot of money, but it’s a lot for a small town,” Hebron Supervisor Brian Campbell told the Post Star, ” “It’s just amazing. What an easy way out of paying taxes, if they can do it.”
We all know that these two companies have a virtual monopoly in their sectors in our region. Their profits are not limited to their hosts communities, but their costs do range far and wide: county services for underpaid employees, local emergency services, road and highway maintenance, and more. These are the costs we all pay.
Then consider last month’s U.S. Government Accountability Office’s study that found that the majority of U.S. corporations don’t pay federal income taxes: “The GAO’s study found that over 60 percent of U.S. corporations—with revenue totals of more than US $2.5 trillion—did not pay federal income taxes.” Of course the study didn’t mention which companies, and one wonders where Verizon and Wal-Mart stand on that account. According to media reports, “The GAO found that 25 percent of all large corporations did not owe federal taxes in 2005. A large corporation is defined as a company with more than $250 million in assets.”
Add to those costs the $700 Billion of the CURRENT round of corporate bailouts (roughly $4,000 per individual income tax filer) – and who knows what corporate gifts lie ahead.
So much for that $600 so called “stimulus check” that went out this year.
The annual Adirondack Museum Antique’s Weekend with a show and sale on September 19, 20 and 21, 2008. According to the Adirondack Museum:
Forty leading antiques dealers from historic resort areas throughout the country will offer the finest examples of premium vintage and antique furnishings for camp, cabin, and collection in an exquisite fall setting.
For a complete listing of the antiques dealers who will exhibit at the show and sale, visit the “Exhibits & Events” section of the Adirondack Museum’s web site at www.adirondackmuseum.org . Rod Lich, Inc. of Georgetown, Indiana, will manage the show. Rod and his wife Susan Parrett have 32 years of experience organizing premier antique shows and sales including the Pleasant Hill Antiques Show and Sale held at the Historic Shaker Village near Lexington, Kentucky. The show was featured in the June issue of Country Living Magazine. To learn more about Rod Lich, Inc., visit www.parrettlich.com .
The weekend will begin with the exclusive Antique Show Preview Benefit on September 19, 2008 from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Browse for treasures surrounded by blazing fall foliage. Enjoy scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and beverages while supporting the museum’s exhibitions and programs. Preview Benefit tickets are $100 and include admission to the Antiques Show and Sale on Saturday and Sunday. To reserve preview tickets, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 119.
Adult admission to the Antiques Show and Sale will be $20. Museum Members will be asked to pay a special $4.00 surcharge for the event. A shipping service will be available on both days of the show. Porters will be on site to assist with heavy or cumbersome items.
Visitors should also explore the “Annual Adirondack Mountains Antique Show” in Indian Lake, N.Y., a scenic 11-mile drive from the Adirondack Museum. Antique dealers, crafters, and artisans will display a variety of unique gifts and collectibles throughout the village. Shuttle service between venues will be provided.
The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) Professional Trail Crew has completed work on a new hiking trail to the 3,830-foot summit of Lyon Mountain, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the northern Adirondacks.
Lyon Mountain, an isolated peak just west of Chazy Lake in Clinton County, features a fire tower and a spectacular, 360-degree view. On a clear day, hikers can enjoy views of the skyscrapers of Montreal to the north, the Adirondack High Peaks to the south and Lake Champlain and Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east. The old, 2.5 mile Lyon Mountain Trail was very steep and difficult. It was also vulnerable to erosion. ADK’s Professional Trail Crew recently completed work cutting a new 3.5 mile trail that takes a more leisurely route, incorporating 11 switchbacks in some of the steepest sections. Two new bridges were also constructed. The new trail section provides a more scenic walk and passes many exposed bedrock outcrops.
The trail took the crew, which averaged five members, 10 weeks to complete. It was the longest trail that the Professional Trail Crew has built since it was created in 1979, Lampman said. ADK’s Professional Trail Crew builds and maintains backcountry hiking trails in the Adirondacks, Catskills and other wild areas of New York under a $217,500 contract with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Scouting and design of the new trail were completed in 2006 with funding from ADK’s Algonquin Chapter.
Lyon Mountain is on property owned by The Nature Conservancy, which eventually plans to sell it to New York state. The trail is currently not marked, but is easy to follow, and there are signs indicating the beginning and end of the trail.
To get to the trailhead from the Northway Exit 38N, take state Route 374 west 23.2 miles to Chazy Lake Road (County Route 8). Drive south 1.8 miles on Chazy Lake Road to an unnamed gravel road on the right. At the beginning of the gravel road is a black and white sign indicating it is a seasonal, limited-use highway with no maintenance from Nov. 1 – May 1. Follow the gravel road about a mile to the parking area.
In April a friend of the Almanack, Jim Muller over at WinterCampers.com, entered a national contest sponsored by Timex called Return to the Outdoors. Jim entered the Winter Campers poem “I Am Not Going To Lie to You” and it has advanced to the final round.
There are two days left to vote (today and tomorrow) for this final round. In this final round the Winter Campers poem is competing for an adventure trip for two to San Juan Islands/WA, Moab/UT, or Aspen/CO.
The Adirondack History Center Museum (AHCM,) Essex County Historical Society, and Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will present a cemetery preservation and conservation workshop on Saturday, October 11, 2008. The event will be led by Jon Appell of New England Cemetery Services. The day will include a presentation followed by a hands-on demonstration during which participants will work on gravestones in a local cemetery. Those attending will learn about the origins of gravestone carving in America, various stone types and styles, and the progression of repair techniques from the 1900s to the present. The workshop will also cover basic stone repair techniques and their proper cleaning.
The workshop begins at 9AM and ends at 4PM; the cost is $40 for AARCH, AHCM, and Essex County Historical Society members and $45 for non-members. For more information or to make reservations, call AARCH at 518.834-9328.
Spinning, weaving, knitting, quilting, and a host of talented North Country artisans will take center stage at the Adirondack Museum for a celebration of traditional and contemporary fiber arts at the Adirondack Fabric & Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday, September 13, 2008.
Activities are planned from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Blue Mountain Lake, New York museum, and will include demonstrations, a lecture, textile appraisal, quilt documentation, displays, vendors, a “knit-in,” and hands-on opportunities. All are included in the price of general museum admission. For centuries Adirondackers have spun, woven, and sewn – making textiles both functional and beautiful. Contemporary fiber artists have taken traditional techniques to new heights as they explore color, texture, and design.
The Adirondack Museum will offer a display of rarely seen historic textiles from the collection as part of the Festival, including crazy quilts with silks and embroidery and intricately patterned buff mittens.
Demonstrations will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Members of the Northern Needles Quilting Guild and the Adirondack Regional Artists Alliance will display their work and demonstrate the skills and methods needed to create traditional and art quilts.
The Serendipity Spinners – a “loosely knit” group of women who have been spinning together for many years – will demonstrate the various aspects of wool processing.
Sandi Cirillo is a fiber artist from Corning, N.Y. who specializes in felt making. She will demonstrate the uses of felted wool to create unique pieces, including bowls, jewelry, and books. Cirillo has been felting for over fifteen years. Her work is exhibited locally, throughout the state of New York, and across the nation. Examples of her work may been seen on her web site at www.especially-for-ewe.com
Textile appraiser and historian Rabbit Goody of Thistle Hill Weavers, Cherry Valley, N.Y. will help visitors discover more about personal antique and collectible fabric pieces. For a small donation to the Adirondack Museum ($5 per piece, three pieces for $10) she will examine vintage textiles and evaluate them for historical importance and value. Only verbal appraisals will be provided.
Goody is a nationally recognized textile historian and expert in the identification of historic textiles. She is the founder, owner, and director of Thistle Hill Weavers, a commercial weaving mill that produces reproduction historic textiles for museums, designers, private homeowners, and the film industry. Textiles created by Thistle Hill have appeared in more than thirty major motion pictures. For more about Thistle Hill Weavers, visit
Dr. Jacqueline Atkins, a textile historian and the Kate Fowler Merle-Smith Curator of Textiles at the Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania will present an illustrated lecture, “The Japan Craze: The Japanese Influence on American Textiles and Art” at 1:00 p.m. Atkins will explore how a “craze” for all things Japanese inspired new textile designs in the late nineteenth century and look at its lasting effect.
The Fabric and Fiber Festival will include an afternoon “Knit-In” in the beautiful Visitor Center from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Folklorist and knitter Jill Breit will host the activity. This will be an opportunity for knitters to work on a project in the company of other knitting enthusiasts, and to exchange tips with participants about how to tackle tricky techniques.
Knitters are encouraged to bring finished projects to display, as well as works in progress. While the group knits, Jill will talk about popular styles of knitting in the Adirondacks, a resurgence of interest in handspun yarn, and the role of knitting groups in this traditional fiber art.
Jill Breit is Executive Director of Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, an organization devoted to documentation and presentation of folklife in the North Country. She is the curator of the exhibition “Repeat from Here: Knitting in the North Country” and author of an article Knitting It Together: A Case Study of a Sweater. She will be working on an Aran pullover during the “Knit-In.”
Regional artisans and crafters will offer handmade and specialty items at the Adirondack Fabric and Fiber Arts Festival in the Marion River Carry Pavilion.
Visitors of all ages can use treadle sewing machines to make a souvenir balsam sachet in the Mark W. Potter Education Center from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
North Country Public Radiois reporting that Fort Ticonderoga’s longtime executive director Nick Westbrook will step down (Post Star says next year). According to the report board president Peter Paine says Westbrook will remain “affiliated with the historic site in a scholarly and advisory capacity” and described the move as “part of a planned transition.”
Ongoing controversy over the loss of the Fort’s most important benefactor has been covered at length on the New York History Blog before. This weekend the New York Timescovered the story:
This summer, the national historic landmark — called Fort Ti for short — began its 100th season as an attraction open to the public with two causes for celebration: the unveiling of a splashy new education center, and an increase in visitors, reversing a long decline.
But instead of celebrating, its caretakers issued an S.O.S., warning that the fort, one of the state’s most important historic sites, was struggling for survival, largely because of a breach between the fort’s greatest benefactor — an heir of the Mars candy fortune — and its executive director.
The problem is money: The fort had a shortfall of $2.5 million for the education center. The president of the board that governs the fort, which is owned by a nonprofit organization, said in an internal memo this summer that the site would be “essentially broke” by the end of the year. The memo proposed a half-dozen solutions, including the sale of artwork from the group’s collection.
On Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at the Agency’s offices, there will be an energy conservation workshop beginning at 1:00 (and ending no later than 4:00) focused on technical assistance for the design, construction and financing of energy efficient residential dwellings. The session will be web-cast. Presenters will include:
James Hotaling, Architect-Planner, AIA, AICP, will discuss the overall energy aspects approach of the regional plan, site assessment, including solar and other potentials, and his experience for the possible energy-related futures for large and small scaled homes, with ‘old’ and ‘new’ examples.
Michael DeWein, Technical Director, BCAP/Alliance to Save Energy, will discuss simple, cost-effective things people can do to save money and energy in the home. This will cover simple home air sealing and insulation treatments, to getting a proper energy audit, to installing a variety of energy conservation measures themselves.
David Trudeau, Program Coordinator for Honeywell, will discuss 3 NYSERDA residential programs for existing homes: i) EmPower NY, ii) Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star, and iii) Home Performance with Energy Star. David will also discuss various types of heating fuels (electric, propane, fuel oil, Kerosene, wood pellets, and cord wood) and the cost comparisons between them.
Even though for many of us summer is just beginning, the summer crowds have now gone, so it’s time to take our annual look at some of the folks who were here over the past several months. Some were joyful, amazed, or awed. Others were disappointed , annoyed, or angry – they were all here, and here’s a sample of some of the summer’s more interesting. You can find last year’s look here, and 2006 here. A number of visitors were rekindling old Adirondack experiences. After 40 years Doctroidal Dissertations made a fourth generation trip up Blue Mountain:
Back around, oh, I’d guess the late 1920s, my grandfather took my father for a hike up Blue Mountain in the Adirondacks. Forty years later, my father took me up Blue Mountain. Now it’s another forty years…
It was, by the way, a great time for Adirondack hiking. The weather was warm but not hot, and it being weekdays after Labor Day, the tourists were pretty much gone. We saw one other group of hikers on the entire Castle Rock hike. Something like 25 hikers signed in at Blue Mountain between the time we arrived and the time we left, but that stands in contrast to something like 150 of them on Sunday. The down side, of course, is that a lot of the businesses that cater to tourists close down after Labor Day. Like Enchanted Forest / Water Safari in Old Forge, which Kenny wanted to go to: I told him we could go to Old Forge but I couldn’t guarantee we’d be able to go to the theme park, and indeed we couldn’t. Instead we played miniature golf (had the course to ourselves) and ate lunch, then came home.
Greater New York returned to the Raquette River after more then 25 years to find “deep forests, friendly paddlers, and plenty of quiet. It was all fine with us.”
kallison seems to have had a great (if somewhat dangerous) time, mostly, except for maybe some of the hiking and camping:
The sun setting over Marcy was fabulous as well, but should have had us more concerned. Note to hikers, if you can see the sun setting while on top of a mountain, you may not have enough time to get down the mountain while it is still light. The final 2.5 miles were in darkness, near total, with only a small headlamp to guide us through the land. I imagined bears, slippery rocks, roots, mud. My legs were shot. My joints were aching. The soles of my feet were sore… I literally could not stand up, and kept falling. My last two falls were while standing on a rock in a stream, close to our camp, and my legs giving way. Finally, we had a glorious moment when we realized that we’d reached “home.” I climbed into my sleeping bag to warm up, and Jeffrey proceeded to open his Chef Boyardee ravioli can. When I grew concerned that we might risk starting a forest fire where the stove was, he thought I was rushing his cooking. He dropped the ravioli on the ground, and began a temper tantrum not seen since he was a food-stressed 2-year-old. It included throwing the dirty ravioli at me, and telling me that I was greedily waiting for my can of beans, thus causing him to rush his ravioli. It was a low-point, and necessitated leaving the tarp for the nearby lean-to, as scattered ravioli might attract bears.
Diane at ADK Family Time took a family vacation to the Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center and came to the conclusion that “It is challenging at the best of times to explain war to an eight-year-old child. His understanding is directly related to bad and good. There is no in-between. To him war is a game played between lunch and dinner and casualties are usually a few lampshades.”
There were lots of mushrooms growing there. Nate’s Mom had a book to identify mushrooms, and took pictures of them. When she wasn’t looking, sometimes I would stomp on them. Nate nicknamed me Mycozilla. I like it. Then I saw deer eating the mushrooms. I caught a doe one morning scarfing mushrooms like candy. She came within eight or so feet of me and Nate on her mushroom hunt. After that, I retired my Mycozilla ways and left the shrooms for the wildlife, even though stomping on squishy mushrooms is totally fun. Stupid deers.
willowluna had some peak experiences while in the Adirondacks, including this gem:
Teaching my daughter to pee in a hole in the woods that we dug. Truly, this was such a high for me. I loved that she was completely open to it and didn’t mind having to do it more than once. Much better than an outhouse! Go ahead, call me a freak.
The author of Cook, Study, and Be Crafty had a great time in the Adirondacks, except for that part where her daughter broke her arm!
Although they’re at different skill levels, both Jeff Harter and Rat Girl 3 spent time in the Adirondacks practicing their art.
Moonraking spent some time at a former great camp and Disenchanted Youth explored the old mining operations in Essex County, including the Republic Steel property.
Tarnished Poet’s blogster rant wondered [very] aloud about whether anybody would care about her trip to the Adirondacks –
i dont know, theres just so much going on inside my head constantly. normally i LOVE camping, and cant get enough of it. this year? not so much. all i wanted to do was get high, have sex, go shopping, whatever. i just did not want to be up there. but finally, on the second to last day, i enjoyed myself. i dont know why im rambling on about all of this. its not like anybody ever reads what i have to say. i guess that can be a positive. i can write whatever the hell i want and know that it will never be found out. imagine that, huh? im writing personal thoughts and posting them on the internet for the world to see, and no one gives a f*** about what i say. pretty intense, huh? yeah, not really.
Some of the greatest photography this season came from local photog The Landscapist whose Adirondack Coast series reminds us of the variety of life in the region:
We live in a state park in a village that is somewhat of a geographic oddity. Approximately 25 miles to the SW of us is the heart of the Adirondack High Peaks – rugged wilderness with 46 peaks over 4000 ft. The same distance to the SE is the Lake Champlain Region (AKA, The Adirondack Coast) – a 130 mile long lake with gentle rolling farmland and quaint New England-style villages dotting the shoreline. The 2 areas could hardly be more different from each other. In fact, it’s difficult to think of them as part of the same Adirondack Park.
For your dose of different check out Peeling a Pomegranate, a blog of “Earth-based Magickal Judaism, often known as Jewitchery – writings, rituals, midrash, magick, prayers, and more…” that found some interesting related images on a 2008 Adirondack Adventure.
YouTube has been popular way to post some great (and not so great) footage of the Adirondack family vacation. There has been a ton of new footage posted of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, but taking a look at tallvivian’s reminds us that the Adirondack Scenic Railroad Wine Train was probably a lot of fun.
Organic, natural, contemporary furniture inspired by the wilderness can be seen at the 21st Annual Rustic Fair presented by the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake. Skilled craftsmanship and unique designs in creations made of bark, twigs, branches and burls will be on display.
The Rustic Fair will be held on September 6, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on September 7, 2008 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. More than fifty-five artisans, including six craftsmen new to the Fair, will display and sell furniture and accessories. On Friday, September 5, the museum will host the Rustic Fair Preview Benefit, offering a special chance to meet the rustic artisans and shop for the perfect treasure for home or camp. Enjoy delectable edibles, tasty beverages, and the 1940s jazz of “Minor Swing.” All proceeds from the Rustic Preview support Adirondack Museum exhibits and programs.
Minor Swing of Potsdam, N.Y., blends American big-band swing with the exotic flare of European gypsy folk songs. The band mixes contemporary compositions with the classic Manouche (gypsy jazz) repertoire. Minor Swing includes musicians Christopher Brown, Lorie Gruneisen, Victor Caamaño, and David Katz.
Following the Preview, guests have the option to enjoy a Joint Benefit Dinner at Great Camp Sagamore at Raquette Lake. For more information or tickets to the Preview Benefit, call (518) 352-7311 ext 119. The museum will be closed on Friday, September 5 for the Preview Benefit.
The 21st Annual Rustic Fair will also include lively music, delicious food (look for North Country Kettle Corn and Ben & Jerry’s!), and demonstrations in a spectacular autumn setting. In addition, Painter/Furniture Artist Barney Bellinger of Sampson Bog Studio in Mayfield will paint an Adirondack landscape in oils in the Visitor Center throughout the Fair. Bellinger’s framed painting will be sold in a silent auction; the winner to be announced on September 7.
On Saturday, September 6, enjoy festive music by the Lime Hollow Boys. John Wolfe, Ray Gardner, Floyd Sherman and Andy White, the musicians, come from an area known as “lime hollow” in near Potsdam. The Lime Hollow Boys play country and folk music combining bass, guitar, fiddle, and harmonica. You can sample their music on the web at www.limehollowboys.com.
Sunday, September 7 will feature traditional fiddling by Frank Orsini. For many years Frank Orsini has been one of the prominent acoustic musicians on the Upstate New York music scene, playing fiddle, viola and mandolin. A sampling from Frank’s repertoire includes: Celtic music, Elizabethan or early music selections, old-time fiddle tunes from the Southern mountain tradition, New England and Canadian dance tunes, bluegrass and country classics, Cajun, and blues selections, as well as Urban and Western swing standards.
The Rustic Fair will feature works by rustic furniture artisans from the Adirondacks and other parts of New York State. There will also be craftsmen from the states of Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, and the Canadian Province of Ontario.
All Rustic Fair activities and demonstrations are included in the price of regular museum admission.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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