Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton County’

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.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Adirondack Birding Festival

The 8th annual Adirondack Birding Festival will take place this weekend throughout Hamilton County, June 8-10, with numerous scheduled guided walks and hikes exploring boreal birds from the hermit thrush to bald eagles.

Dean Nervik, Adirondack Birding Festival promoter says, “I’ve been with this festival since its beginning eight years ago. We have boreal birds you can’t find in Albany or even nearby Johnstown. We are always promoting the open space in Hamilton County. We have hikes, walks, canoes and even a car safari to get people out and exploring this birding destination.”

According to Nervik all the guided hikes happening during the Adirondack Birding Festival are free and open to the public. He is quick to remind everyone that pre-registration is required for all events, even the free evening lecture at the Adirondack Museum. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dave Gibson: A New Proposal for Township 40

A proposal may come up for a vote in the State Legislature this year that would amend Article 14, Section 1 of the NYS Constitution, ‘the Forever Wild” clause which safeguards our New York State Forest Preserve. The amendment and implementing legislation addresses land titles on the shoreline of Raquette Lake in Hamilton County.

Each time the Legislature and the People of the State are asked to consider an exception to Article 14 represents a new opportunity to affirm the Article’s fundamental principle and mandate that “the lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve… shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” No other state in the country has such a large (now about three million acres in both Adirondack and Catskill Parks) Forest Preserve, much less one embedded in its State Constitution. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adirondack Museum Reopens Friday:
New Audio Tour Features Locals; Free Residents Days

The Adirondack Museum will launch a new audio tour when museum reopens for its 55th season on Friday, May 25, 2012. Year-round residents of the Adirondack Park are invited to visit free of charge every Sunday, and on all open days in May and October. Proof of residency such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter registration card is required.

This year, visitors will be invited to take a fresh look at the Adirondack Museum using the new audio tour. The voices of real people who live in the Adirondacks today will guide visitors to a deeper understanding of the museum’s exhibitions, it dramatic setting, and what makes the Adirondacks unique. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Indian Lake Offering Historic Walking Tour, Events

The newly created Indian Lake self-guided walking tour of historic buildings on Main Street will be rolled out during an inaugural public ceremony to be held 11 A.M., this Saturday, May 26, at the Indian Lake Theater. The ceremony will mark the formal opening of the Historic Walking Tour.

Following the ceremony there will be an inaugural tour with Town and County Historian, Bill Zullo. The walking tour features 13 historic structures along Main Street and provides a glimpse into the lives of the Town’s pioneers. The Main Street Revitalization Sub-Committee, part of the Community Planning Committee worked with the Adirondack Architectural Heritage, Indian Lake Theater, Adirondack Museum and the Indian Lake Museum to develop the tour. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caitlin Stewart: The Hunt for Invasives at Lewey Lake

I raised the binoculars to my eyes and stared into the tree canopy above me. Carefully scanning the bare winter branches, nothing out of sorts was noted. I continued down the trail searching for clues that invasive insects may be lurking in the forest.

As Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Conservation Educator, part of my job entails monitoring and managing lands and waters for invasive species. I can’t do it alone, and partnerships are essential to detect invasions early and deploy a quick response. Since 2009, the District has teamed up with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to survey our forests for invasive insects that cost the United States vast amounts of money in economic and ecological damage each year. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Contributor: Caitlin Stewart, Hamilton County SWCD

Please join us here at the Adirondack Almanack in welcoming Caitlin Stewart as our newest contributor. Caitlin is Conservation Educator at the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (HCSWCD). One of HCSWCD’s largest programs is their Invasive Species program and Caitlin will be sharing her field experiences, as well as the efforts and results of forest surveys, and monitoring and management.

Caitlin has deep roots in Hamilton County as both her grandparents purchased property on Sacandaga Lake and Lake Pleasant in the 1960s. Her parents met and were married in Lake Pleasant, and she spent summers and vacations there. She’s been a full time resident since 2008, and is planning her September wedding in Lake Pleasant. Caitlin is also an avid hiker, skier, paddler, runner and biker.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Small Business Basics Offered in Hamilton County

The Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Indian Lake Community Planning Committee and Indian Lake Central School to host three upcoming seminars to assist local small businesses and entrepreneurs in either expanding a current business or starting a new one.

Each session will address a different aspect of a business: feasibility, knowledge and skills for running a successful business, and financing available for starting or expanding a business. The seminars are geared toward anyone who would like to start their own business, or wants to improve their existing business practices.

“Small Business Basics”, or what to do before putting up your ‘Open for Business Sign,’ will be held on Tuesday, April 24, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants will learn how to determine if a business idea is feasible, and if it would be profitable.

Karen Stehlin, Regional Director, North Country Small Business Development Center, SUNY Plattsburgh, will lead attendees in an understanding of the rewards, opportunities and challenges of being a business owner. The program will be held at Indian Lake Central School. Pre-registration is required; call the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce at (518) 648-5112.

Additional business planning and financial sessions will be held in May and June. Visit www.indian-lake.com for additional information.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Adirondack Hotel, Long Lake

Even if there weren’t a gift shop lined with books of local interest, the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake would be a contender on our list of the “46 High Peaks” bars in the Adirondacks. The hotel, with its rough slab siding, gabled shingle roof and sprawling porches stands overlooking Long Lake, separated only by a two-lane road. The original hotel opened in 1879 as Kellogg’s Lake House, which was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and opened as the Adirondack Hotel in 1904. Surviving devastating fires and, most recently, the flood of 2011, the Adirondack Hotel still speaks of its original grandeur in a place where its history, and its people, endure.

Accosted by wildlife of impressive proportions, we were greeted by a six-foot-tall black bear on the left as we entered the hotel, and a moose head overseeing check-ins at the antique hotel reception desk. The bear was shot in Long Lake in 1978; the moose head hangs on the wall at what would be its actual height were the body still attached, its antlers just touching the ceiling. Victorian antiques accent the light and airy sitting and dining rooms. Simple, two-bulb pendant chandeliers suspended from white painted tin ceilings cast their light on several Adirondack paintings, including two portraits of Noah John Rondeau, famous hermit.

We stepped from the worn linoleum tiles to the aged hardwood floors of the Tap Room, tucked away in a far corner of the hotel, and were enveloped in the history of the bar at the Adirondack Hotel. Rustic and dim, the rough pine walls, polished bar, and rich, dark barstools presented contrast to the sunny lobby and dining areas. Peering from between three televisions, the taxidermied eyes of many animals looked on. Hoping we didn’t appear as glassy-eyed, we approached without caution as the bartender’s eyes locked ours. Warmly greeted by Colleen, we surveyed the options and ordered the 74th first drink of our quest. Offering a diverse microbrew selection which varies seasonally, the Adirondack Hotel’s signature drink is the modest but well appointed draft lineup: Switchback Vermont Ale, Lake Placid Brewery Ubu, Blue Point Toasted Lager, Harpoon IPA, Budweiser and Coors Light. Standard liquor and bottled beers are also available, at about average prices. Happy Hour is when you’re there, but no special pricing applies.

The Tap Room can seat approximately 30 people. A deck off the bar, overlooking the lake, has a variety of seating options for fair weather overflow. Although bar service is not offered outside, drinks are welcome on the deck and on the front porch. The front porch offers six rockers, four tables for two, two tables for four and two picnic tables on the grounds.

Colleen imparted the following facts pertinent to our research. The Adirondack Hotel is open year-round. The Tap Room closes for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving, but the hotel remains open. The Tap Room hours of operation are generally from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. with closing extending later as dictated by the season and the number of patrons. Entertainment is featured throughout the year in the form of open mic night and a variety of musical entertainers.

Carol and Carmine Inserra have owned the Adirondack Hotel for the past 21 years. We had an opportunity to meet Carol, a lovely and gracious woman with a relaxed and pleasant demeanor. She shared with us some of the hotel’s history, as well as the story of how it came into her and her husband’s possession, starting with a phone call on April Fools’ Day. Carmine handles most of the maintenance himself, but is rumored to take as much interest in the chicken and ribs barbecue he hosts every Wednesday and Saturday all summer long. The hotel offers 18 rooms, an apartment and a suite; some with private bath, and none with phone or television, though a television can be found on each floor in the common rooms. Cell service and open WiFi are available for those who want to stay connected.

The bar entertains locals all year and tourists in summer and winter, and lists Helen Keller, Jack Dempsey, Mick Jagger and Mickey Mantle among its famous visitors. According to the Adirondack Hotel’s website, “Before you leave, everyone will know your name.” We had the opportunity to meet two locals. We don’t know if they caught our names, but Mike and Bill highly recommend the Tap Room at the Adirondack Hotel. So do we.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lawrence Gooley Presenting Robert Garrow Lecture

The next lecture in the Adirondack Museum’s 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday, “Tracking Robert Garrow” with author and Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence Gooley, will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2012.

In the summer of 1973, serial killer Robert F. Garrow went on a murderous rampage that changed the Adirondack region forever. However, there was much more to Garrow’s story than the murders. From his unfortunate childhood to escapes from the law, the longest manhunt in Adirondack history, and his manipulation of legal, medical and corrections professionals, hear the full story of Garrow’s life from author Lawrence Gooley. Due to graphic content, this program is suitable for adult audiences.

Lawrence P. Gooley is a proponent of the North Country, a lover of books, and a history enthusiast. He operates Bloated Toe Enterprises, an internet-based business that currently includes Bloated Toe Publishing and The North Country Store. Gooley has also organized a North Country Authors group to help raise the profile of area authors and their works. Gooley’s writings have appeared in various magazines and newspapers. He has contributed to other works, including a recent piece in an annual book series, the Franklin County Review, and has provided editing services for several other titles. He has also authored nine books including Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.

This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. Cabin Fever Sundays are offered at no charge to museum members or children of elementary school age and younger. The fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, please call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: The Inn at Speculator

Oak Mountain for sale! That’s one of many things we learned from Patrick, the bartender at the Inn at Speculator. An enthusiastic purveyor of information about the Inn at Speculator and the community in general, he could easily be mistaken as owner.

Conversations and gossip, both political and personal in nature, volleyed around the room as we spoke with Patrick. In response to our “nearby attractions” question, we were surprised when he mentioned skiing. That led into the story about the Town of Speculator temporarily taking on the foreclosed ski area at Oak Mountain. The owners of the Inn at Speculator for the past 30 or so years, Neil and Linda McGovern, proudly sponsor community events and host fundraisers throughout the year, including Friends of Oak Mountain benefits, an ice fishing tournament in February, fish and game club events, and the local snowmobile club.

In keeping with a building from the mid 1900s, several rooms adjoin the bar area, adding more dining space away from the bar. A glass case in the front room displays gourmet dressings made there and books for sale on the history of the Inn. It appears to have once been a place to pay your tab on the way out, to get change for games or the jukebox, and may once have offered candy or souvenirs for sale. The décor is fairly nondescript, with well-worn hardwood floors, pine-paneled walls covered with photos, certificates, memorabilia, and lingering St. Patrick’s Day trimmings.

Although no children were on hand that day, there was an atmosphere of family entertainment in the past. The Inn at Speculator now entertains the adults with a pool table, foosball, electronic darts, Quick Draw, and an occasional solo musician or DJ. For the sports fan, there are three TVs in the bar area for keeping up with your favorite sport. Football, Nascar and March Madness basketball pools may help get the staff and patrons through the long winter months.

Liquor basics, a handful of draft beers, and 18-20 mostly domestic bottles provide adequate thirst-quenching options. Seasonal drinks of coffee varieties in winter and refreshing coolers in the summer are subject to the creativity of the bartender. Happy Hour includes $2.00 domestic drafts, Monday through Friday, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Open daily at 11:30 a.m., except Wednesdays, the pub room serves lunch and pub fare until the main dining area opens at 5:00 p.m. The inn is open year-round, but does occasionally close for a week in November and/or in April. Three rooms are available for lodging with special rate packages varying throughout the year. Dinner specials include the Friday Fish Fry, Prime Rib Saturdays, and a beef and burgundy buffet in the summer months.

The bar at the Inn at Speculator is patronized by locals, seasonal residents and tourists just passing through. Everyone seemed accepting of one another, whether known in the area or not. If you’re looking for a quaint, overpriced Adirondack country inn filled with antiques, bark furniture and faded sepia photographs, keep looking. Instead, you will discover a roadside rest more representative of today’s resident, the very essence of true Adirondackers, who struggle to make a living in an area that relies so heavily on tourism.

Here, icons of a playground for the affluent are replaced with countless images of friends and neighbors doing the things they enjoy like fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, skiing and participating in their customary events, in a town they love and care about. Sit at the bar with the locals as they debate park politics and banter about the everyday. And listen. Learn something, if only what it’s like to live here. Add the Inn to your list of “must visit” venues to get a real Adirondack experience and, if you’re in the market to buy a ski area, go see Patrick at the bar.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Oxbow Inn, Piseco

We aren’t snowmobilers. But, if we were, the Oxbow Inn in Piseco could easily be the designated last stop on the trail. They are open the latest, have great drink prices, and plenty of dinner and appetizer choices. Burgers are a notoriously popular choice. Mostly, though, they seem to be the hardest place to leave.

Like so many of the roadhouses tucked away in the Adirondacks, the Oxbow Inn is genuine and unapologetic, the interior pieced together with no particular theme in mind, spanning decades of decorative tastes. The veneer-topped bar is built on a glass block base, the floor is linoleum tile, and the walls are pine. A variety of memorabilia, humorous signs and beer advertising fill the walls and area behind the bar. A hand-painted saw blade depicts the old country inn in its serene lakeside setting. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Caitlin Stewart: Go Native With Spring Plantings

Go native with your spring plantings and choose Adirondack plants for your property instead of invasive ornamentals. Invasive plants like swallow-worts, Japanese barberry, Norway maple, and giant hogweed may look beautiful, but are bad news for our economy and environment. The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District can help you choose native Adirondack alternatives for your landscaping needs.

Invasive plants are a top contender for economic and environmental degradation in New York State. Damage and loss caused by invasive species affect you, costing American taxpayers billions of dollars every year. By planting native vegetation in your yard, garden, or forest, you are reducing erosion, improving wildlife habitat and food, providing windbreaks, promoting valuable wood production, and protecting Adirondack biodiversity. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

High Peaks Happy Hour: Melody Lodge, Speculator

A spectacular 45 degree day and less than an hour from Warrensburg, our drive over Route 8, its bumps, heaves and moguls making a challenging run for the Highlander, led us to Melody Lodge, located on Page Hill off Route 30 in Speculator. As we pulled into the parking lot of the lodge, it was difficult to decide what to look at first: the incredible hilltop views, or the rustic grandeur of an authentic Adirondack lodge. We decided to take our time and do both.

From the upper parking lot we observed another lower lot, snow-covered and partially filled with roughly a dozen snowmobiles, indicating easy access from the surrounding lakes. Beyond, a leafless view of Lake Pleasant. Looking to the right from there, a mountain stands firm. Further right, a view of Sacandaga Lake is visible in the distance. The barn red Melody Lodge, a rustic, two-story structure wrapped in a porch of stone columns, stands as the centerpiece in this picturesque frame. The columns of seemingly haphazard piles of stone authenticate the craftsmanship of earlier days. Piles of wood on the porch, growing thinner as winter wanes, promise warmth within. Several outdoor tables, partially covered in snow on the front lawn and white Adirondack chairs on the porch, remind us that spring and summer will come again and offer very different scenic views.

The promised warmth greets us as we enter the lobby, a cozy common room with several people gathered comfortably in front of the fireplace. To the left, partitioned by paneled glass walls and doors, is the dining room, expectantly awaiting the dinner bell. Another fireplace, of massive proportions in stone, is the focal point of the dining room. To our right, we are beckoned to another room where noises and voices indicate the possibility of a pub.

As we enter what Melody Lodge calls the Tap Room, a ten-point buck’s head on the wall and multi-level seating command our attention but are held at bay. The ceiling full of white earthenware mugs looms overhead, covering nearly the entire ceiling over the bar. With over 250 members in Melody Lodge’s Mug Club, no new members are being accepted at this time, conjuring up scenarios of Melody Lodge Mug Club mugs being bequeathed to next-of-kin upon a member’s death, bitterly fought over in a divorce settlement, or bringing in thousands of dollars at auction on EBay or Sotheby’s.

Though primarily a summer venue, Melody Lodge seems to do quite well in winter months. Twenty or so snowmobilers, savoring a rare weekend after a fresh snowfall, gathered in boisterous groups, eager to grab lunch and a drink before moving on to the next stop. A Tap Room menu is available for dining all day. The dinner menu is available in the bar after 5:00 p.m. when the dining room opens. Melody Lodge closes each year for the months of April and November. In light of this fact, the usually plentiful tap selections were sparse, in preparation for the semi-annual closing. The Tap Room and restaurant are open from 11:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday in winter; Wednesday through Monday in summer.

We had an opportunity to interview the owner, Julie, from whom we learned that Melody Lodge was originally built in 1912 as a singing school for girls. It was converted to a lodge along the way, and purchased by Julie’s parents in 1976. Julie and her husband, Kyle, took over the operation in 2006. The Lodge offers seven guest rooms, each uniquely named for a musical instrument, promising private baths for today’s standards. The constant smile on Julie’s face and her open friendliness as she imparted facts and history indicated pride and enjoyment in Melody Lodge.

The Melody Lodge is more a visitor’s venue than a hangout for locals, though the exchange of greetings between Pam the bartender and the coming and going customers made it clear that many patrons stop in regularly. The ample bar seats ten, with pub and dining tables in the immediate vicinity. A lower level features several varieties of table seating while a regulation shuffleboard table consumes one whole wall on the lower level. A curious square game board, scuffed and worn with obvious decades of enjoyment, hangs on the wall. Called ring toss, the objective is to get the ring, suspended from the ceiling with a length of string, onto a hook in the center of the game board. We couldn’t resist trying it out, though it was more difficult than it looked and we didn’t have time to keep practicing. Appreciating any novel amusement, Pam now plans to add ring toss to her home pub.

There are some venues that warrant a visit for no other reason than to see them for yourself, though we don’t usually know it until we do just that. Melody Lodge is just such a place, inviting and warm, without pretense, and well worth visiting.

Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog, or follow them on Facebook, and ADK46barfly on Twitter.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: Skiing McCauley Mountain

Even with the lack of winter snow we have plenty to do to keep our family active outside. We’ve managed to use our Microspikes and crampons so much on every winter hike that my children automatically grab a pair to explore the icy parts of our yard.

With the recent dumping of snow it is with great pleasure to exercise our downhill muscles and toss our Microspikes to the bottom of our bag. We’ve gone downhill skiing this winter but our outings were not met with the same enthusiasm that 16” of fresh snow can bring.

For a family mountain, Old Forge’s McCauley Mountain can’t be beat. With an elevation of 2,330’ McCauley has something to offer everyone in our family.

The terrain park is the first thing we see as we pull into the parking area but we quickly pass it to the lifts and make the most of the day. There is one double chairlift and one T-Bar that access all 20 trails and a Rope Tow for the Mighty Mite. The second T-Bar is at the terrain park area. My kids are well past the Mighty Mite but it is still sweet to see that special place right in the middle of the mountain for those beginner skiers.

There is also the spectacular view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes. The Fulton Chain of Lakes is a portion of a river system that extends to Lake Ontario and was first dammed in the late 1700s. According to the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association the present dam at Old Forge holds back 6.8 billion gallons of water. Lower Fulton Chain starts at Old Forge Pond and travels to First Lake, Second, Third, Fourth Lakes to the Towns of Eagle Bay and Inlet and ending sequentially with Eighth Lake.

If you still have time or energy after riding the lift, there are 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. For the month of March you can access the trails for free.

With March coming in “like a lion” we are looking forward to making the most out of the rest of this Adirondack ski season. Don’t forget that every Friday is “Crazy” at McCauley with $12 lift tickets.

McCauley Mountain is located in the center of Old Forge. From Route 28 (Main Street) follow the signs to McCauley Mountain. The road is very well marked. McCauley Mountain is located at 30 McCauley Road in Old Forge.

photo of McCauley Mountain Ski Area used with permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities™.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities in Lake Placid and the High Peaks. Her second Adirondack Family Time Four-Season guide for the Champlain Valley from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga will be in stores in summer 2012.



Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox