The Adirondack Folk School’s 2018 Course Catalogs are now available around the region in public libraries and many stores and businesses.
The nonprofit school in Lake Luzerne hosted its first class in 2010. Year round it offers more than 200 classes, such as the popular “Build a Wee Lassie Canoe,” in which students spend 11 days building their own lightweight, cedar canoe. » Continue Reading.
It may be chilly outside, but Lake Luzerne’s Adirondack Folk School is providing over 250 classes this winter to get people out of the cold. With a focus to continue to introduce and maintain traditional folk arts, the Adirondack Folk School provides a variety of classes that appeal to all skill levels.
“I started with the organization in November 2011,” says Adirondack Folk School’s Program Manager Mary Stevens. “We had only opened in June of 2010 so I’ve certainly seen change and growth throughout the years. Recently we’ve seen an uptick on registration for these traditional folk skill classes.”
According to Stevens the organization has seen an uptick on registration for these traditional folk skill classes. More blacksmithing classes had to be added to the schedule as it was drawing people from a variety of locations. » Continue Reading.
Once again the Adirondack Folk School is hosting evening blacksmithing demonstrations at its Lake Luzerne school in addition to all its other traditional Adirondack art classes.
Since its founding in 2010, the Adirondack Folk School has provided artisan classes with the core idea to keep Adirondack crafts alive.
My family was fortunate to be able to attend one of the free evening blacksmithing demonstrations years ago. At that time the pavilion and blacksmith forge were new. The opportunity allowed us to watch Blacksmith Steve Gurzler create beautiful forged objects while teaching his students. Gurzler is once again back for the Open Forge Nights. The monthly events take place on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. Bring a picnic or just stop by to watch. For those wishing to learn the art of blacksmithing there is a $20 materials fee. » Continue Reading.
According to Festival Committee Chairperson Susan Wilder one reason their festival is such a success is that it takes place after the rush of maple sugaring season. When the sap first starts to run, most producers are busy boiling so holding the event later in the season allows area maple producers to participate with visitors and locals. » Continue Reading.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced the route for Cycle Adirondacks — a week-long road bike tour through the Adirondack Park scheduled to take place August 20–27, 2016. This will be the tour’s second year; registration is now open.
The 2016 route starts and ends in Hadley-Lake Luzerne, NY, and includes overnight stops in Ticonderoga, Keeseville, Saranac Lake, Indian Lake and Northville. There will be a “layover day” in Saranac Lake where riders can pedal an optional route that tours Lake Placid or take a day off the bike to enjoy the amenities available in the Olympic Region. » Continue Reading.
If my memory services me, I believe 2015 will mark the 20th since the Hadley Mountain Fire Tower Committee was organized in 1995 with the help of a spirited group of local leaders and historians in Hadley and Luzerne and Corinth, as well as the leadership of Jack Freeman of the Adirondack Mountain Club, the NYS DEC Forest Rangers, and a volunteer from the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AFPA), Linda Champagne.
As a leader of AFPA I was glad to join Linda at one of the committee’s early meetings. Now working with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, I still hike the mountain every year in recognition of a voluntary group completely dedicated to an educational, historically significant part of the NYS Forest Preserve. And I hike up in hopes of talking with a Summit Steward.
I doubt any Hadley Fire Tower friends organization can claim to have a better newsletter than the annual Hadley Fire Tower Mountain News issued each spring for twenty years by the aforementioned Linda Champagne. The News is packed with historical, cultural and environmental news, paintings, photographs, perspective and poetry from the viewpoint of mountain people who have known the mountain for generations, and who with the vital help of NYS DEC are doing a lot more than simply keeping the fire tower upright – although the tower’s restoration and maintenance was a founding purpose of the committee. » Continue Reading.
This Sunday Lake Luzerne’s Double H Ranch will be attempting to gesture in spring with its 7th annual Eggstravaganza on April 6.
A day at the Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark may not seem like true spring, but with 5 ft. of snow still covering my yard and the promise of a springtime theme, this may be the closest I get to swimming for awhile, without developing hypothermia. » Continue Reading.
It’s spring in the Adirondacks! This is a photo of one of the participants in the ‘Perfect Pictures Every Time’ photo workshop I did during the last weekend of April at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne. I saw him move into place by the cascades, and moved over to place him in front of the falls. Zoomed in to a telephoto focal length and shot with about a 1 second exposure to have a nice motion blur in the water. What a beautiful day it was for a workshop and photography.
For much of the past summer, Chris Shaw was busy organizing workshops and staging concerts of the region’s traditional music at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne. “It’s vital that we preserve these songs,” said Shaw. “Nothing gives you better access to the Adirondack experience than listening to the music.” But it’s not the mission of the Adirondack Folk School to display the region’s hand crafted products behind glass, nor to make craftsmen into re-enactors; it’s to ensure that the traditions will be continued, said Shaw.
“That’s what’s so cool about the Adirondack Folk School; you don’t just learn the history of Adirondack pack baskets, you make one. It’s the same with music. We want to maintain the musical traditions, but also, to see them live and evolve,” he said. Shaw, a native of Lake George, has made a career of singing Adirondack folk songs and telling Adirondack tales. » Continue Reading.
A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake George, the Saratoga Region & Great Sacandaga Lake (Blackdome Press, 2012) is the latest effort by Albany writer Russell Dunn, a licensed guide and author of 10 books on the great outdoors of eastern New York and western New England. The guide includes detailed directions, information on launch sites, maps, GPS coordinates, photographs, safety and comfort tips, a wealth of historical and geological information, and directories of paddling outfitters, organizations and clubs.
The 352-page book features 58 paddling adventures in the southeastern Adirondacks, including Lake Desolation, the upper Hudson River, Lake George, Lake Luzerne, Great Sacandaga Lake and the Sacandaga River, the Champlain Canal and Glens Falls Feeder Canal, Kayaderosseras Creek, Round Lake, Saratoga Lake, and Ballston Lake. » Continue Reading.
When Sally Svenson, a summer resident of Upper Saranac Lake and occasional contributor to Adirondack Life magazine, was writing Adirondack Churches: A History of Design and Building (2006, North Country Books) she stumbled upon the life of Eliza Warren Price, known as Lily, Duchess of Marlborough.
Lily, who was born in Troy, NY in 1854, was reported in an old history to have provided the funds for a chapel at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Lake Luzerne. That turned out to be a questionable assertion, but Svenson found Lily’s obituary in the New York Times and was hooked on her incredible life story which is told in Lily, Duchess of Marlborough (1854-1909): A Portrait with Husbands (2011, Dog Ear Publishing).
Jennie Jerome, mother of Winston Churchill, was one. Consuelo Vanderbilt, wife of Winston’s cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, was another. But it is not widely known that there were three American women who married into the illustrious Churchill family of England in the last third of the nineteenth century. Lily was the third. Sister-in-law to Jennie and stepmother to Consuelo, she was, for a brief four years, the reigning Duchess of Marlborough and chatelaine of Blenheim, the Churchill family seat in Oxfordshire, and among the most stately homes in Great Britain. » Continue Reading.
The weather in April can be a bit finicky, to say the least. Just as in any other season in the Adirondacks, there are inside options for entertaining ourselves.
The Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne has finalized its 2012 schedule of over 200 classes focusing on the traditional folk arts and crafts of the Adirondacks.
Executive Assistant Mary Stevens says,” We do have some nice classes going on this month with the majority of our programs ranging from a few hours to a few days. Currently we have courses such as ‘How to carve an Adirondack Loon,’ with Walt LeClair, and ‘Making Gourd Art’ as well as the popular ‘Stick and a Hike.’”
Stevens says that planning ahead is essential, as classes do tend to fill up. Classes at the Adirondack Folk School are geared toward individual attention, so attendance is intentionally kept low.
We are a small, non-profit,” says Stevens. “We are always open to having people interested in volunteering to come and fill out a registration form. Up until this year, 2012, the Adirondack Folk School was completely run by volunteers. We have 25 new instructors at the school this year for a total of 75. We are very excited to have them and all that they are offering.”
Stevens says, “Our whole goal is to promote the arts, crafts and culture of the Adirondacks. We aren’t looking for students with previous skills. We want people to able to walk out of class with a nice piece of art or something functional.”
“We have a number of classes for children,” says Stevens. “What we call ‘A Stick and a Hike’ is very popular. An adult comes with the child and they learn to carve their own hiking stick. During the morning the students learn about trail etiquette and what to take on a hike. Later they can enjoy the trails. It is a nice day to share for anyone ages 8 to 80.”
Other classes geared toward children are Nature Photography, Tinsmithing for Young People, Basic Blacksmithing, Fly-Casting Basics for the Young as well as Creative Clay Construction for Kids.
On April 21 the Adirondack Folk School will be hosting a free event called “Song and Story Swap” with singer and musician Colleen Cleveland. People are encouraged to share songs, stories or poems in a round robin, focusing on a specific theme. The Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) will be there with plans to record and present the evening of music on their website.
“We also have a new open air bread oven and will be teaching a series of cooking classes we didn’t have in 2011,” says Stevens. “We will be teaching a class on ancient grains and baking in a wood-fired oven. In the fall, we will be having a Colonial Fest and students will be using colonial cookbook recipes to make food by traditional methods, such as cast iron Dutch ovens.”
The Adirondack Folk School opened its doors in 2010, offering 90 classes to almost 300 students in that first year. Housed in the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building, the school hosts inside or outside classrooms in fiber arts, basketry, woodworking, ceramics, woodcarving, felting, quilting, blacksmithing, boatbuilding and more.
Sometime in early January, the first participants in Double H Ranch’s Adaptive Winter Sports Program will begin arriving at Double H’s facility in Lake Luzerne. The program offers children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses the opportunity to participate in downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Around 30 children per day typically participate in the program, which runs every winter weekend from January through March. Most children participate for 3 or 4 days over the course of the winter, and five Family Sleepover Weekends allow the entire family to participate in winter sports together.
The program takes place on Double H’s ski slopes, which are equipped with a double chairlift and snowmaking. Like all programs at Double H, the Adaptive Winter Sports Program is offered completely free of charge to participants, and thousands of children and their families have been served since the program’s inception in 1998.» Continue Reading.
The coming weeks will provide lots of opportunities to shop for interesting handmade items, but one opportunity you won’t want to miss is the 2nd Holiday Gift Fair at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne this Saturday, December 3rd, from 9AM to 3PM.
The quality of the folk arts products is the best you will find anywhere, produced by the students and faculty in the Adirondack tradition. The types of articles you can find for sale include handcrafted furniture and woodworking, basketry, caning, ceramics, photography, leathercrafting, fiber arts, paintings, and so much more.
A special preview members-only event for the school’s supporters will be held on Friday, December 2nd from 7PM to 9PM showcasing the arts and crafts that will be later on sale. An individual membership starts at $25 annually. Contact the school to donate and register for this event. Donations go toward expansion and outreach efforts to make this school a success.
Opened for just over 18 months, the Adirondack Folk Art School is the first of its kind, designed to preserve an American tradition in Adirondack folk arts that is usually passed down from family to family, friend to friend. The school provides instruction in more than 20 types of crafts throughout the year at its beautiful Lake Luzerne setting with more 90 classes and workshops.
The holiday gift fair is a great opportunity to see where the traditions of Adirondack folk art live on—and to pick up a few Christmas gifts in the process. While there, you can pick up a course schedule and talk to the instructors to learn more.
Photos courtesy of Adirondack Folk School.
Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.
Melba Mae’s was one of the few places we visited in the wee hours of the night (9 p.m.). Although the hand painted Melba Mae’s Riverview Inn sign is a bit difficult to read, the lighted message board in front touting the weekend’s band lineup is a beacon to passersby traveling along North Shore Road near the Conklingville Dam in Hadley.
Our visit to Melba Mae’s was prompted by recommendation from people we’d met at some of the Luzerne area bars we reviewed, as well as the fact that Kim’s husband is a member of the Ralph Kylloe Band, Melba Mae’s entertainment that night. The parking lot adjacent to the inn was full, but plenty of parking was available along North Shore Road. We wondered whether that was a good idea in the wintertime. We entered through a side door, greeted by pleasant cooking smells, quiet chatter and a friendly and cheerful bartender. Kim looked over the beer lineup while Pam checked out the cocktail specials. Plenty of draft and bottled beers are offered. A Davidson’s brown ale, named Aurora Borealis, caught Kim’s eye. She hadn’t heard of that one. Manette, the bartender, explained that it was Davidson’s generic brown ale, and the establishment is allowed to create its own name, this one after the owner’s daughter. Pam settled on a vanilla white Russian. When we asked Manette about the white Mexican, she explained that it was the result of an accidental switch of tequila for vodka. The customer liked it, so they decided to keep it.
Family and community seem to be predominant themes at Melba Mae’s. Greeting cards, drawings, old email jokes, and handwritten menus on day-glow paper are posted all over the wall behind the bar. Melba Mae’s sponsors several community benefits and events throughout the year, hosting holiday parties and dinners; the St. Patrick’s Day party, featuring free corned beef and beer specials, is the biggest celebration of the year. During the summer months, Melba Mae’s is a popular charity bike run stop. Luzerne music camp counselors gather to let off steam and rafters make it an annual tradition.
Melba Mae’s is the kind of joint where you don’t feel like you have to take your shoes off at the door. It feels “lived in”, with low ceilings and hardwood floors. The walls are a combination of sheetrock, pine and blackboard. The L-shaped butcher block laminate bar comfortably seats 16 and several tables provide seating for 20 more along a windowed wall. A small patio provides an outdoor area to enjoy the view or escape the noise. An unusual feature is a separate smoking room, which, surprisingly, doesn’t leak tobacco smells into the main bar area.
Setting them apart from most establishments, the kitchen is open during all operating hours. If the bar’s open, the kitchen’s open. The menu consists of the usual bar fare – burgers, wings (accompanied by their homemade bleu cheese dressing), fried seafood, “Bands ‘n’ Beans” award-winning chili, sandwiches and salads.
Melba Mae’s has been owned by the current owners, Linda and Don for the past 19 years and is open Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday noon to midnight. Tuesday is Open Mike night, with live entertainment on Friday and Saturday. If you go, leave your credit and debit cards at home. Melba Mae’s is a cash only bar, though they anticipate adding an ATM in the near future.
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.
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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