Posts Tagged ‘Old Forge’

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Christmas in the Central Adirondacks

For my family buying a huge amount of gifts is just not in the budget. We are being selective and trying to make the gift mean something a bit more than just ticking a master list of “I wants.” Part of what we love about living in the Adirondacks is the opportunity to meet artists, make crafts and participate in activities together. I’ve asked my children to think about what they really want to receive and want to give.

For those around the Central Adirondacks Inlet, Indian Lake and Old Forge are celebrating an early Adirondack Christmas. Inlet and Old Forge are once again co-hosting an Adirondack Christmas on Main Street allowing people to walk through the local stores and peruse locally made crafts, meet store owners and truly get in the holiday spirit.

The activities in Old Forge range from horse drawn wagon rides to meeting sled dogs. Perhaps free crafts at The View or seeing reindeer at Walt’s Diner is more to your liking. Throughout the weekend watch an unique performance of the “Cast of Bronze” carillon, a tower of 35 bells played using a keyboard.

On Sunday have breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus or join in the Reindeer Run at 1:30 p.m. which starts at the Goodsell Museum (antlers are provided) After the race take a break at the Strand and watch a holiday film (If you wear your antlers get ½ price matinee admission and a free small popcorn.) Well worth wearing antlers.

In Inlet, browse the shops and then stop by the Inlet Town Hall to have gifts wrapped for free. Enjoy a candy cane hunt at Arrowhead Park and a Children’s Holiday Film Festival, dog parade and tree lighting with Santa. Of course, that barely covers all that is offered. Keep in mind there is a shuttle that runs between the Thendara Station and Inlet for those not wanting to drive.

“Made in the Adirondacks” is the theme for the 14th Annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour (CCT), which gives visitors an inside view of the lives and work of more than 45 local and regional artisans and crafters.

Annelies Taylor, Technical Supporter for the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour says, “We give out a map with all the various activities and crafts at the Chamber of Commerce as well as at any of the crafters’ homes. There are over 27 stops with some places hosting more than one artisan.”

According the Taylor each crafter strives to decorate his/her house in a festive manner. Guests are also greeted with hot cider and coffee when welcomed into various locations. People will have the opportunity to see how and where each craft and artwork is made. The Adirondack Center for the Arts will also be presenting Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella at the Indian Lake Theatre.

“There is also a children’s craft on Saturday from 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m. where children can have the opportunity to make a gift for someone else,” says Taylor. “Parents can stay or leave their children during that time. There will be someone in attendance during the craft so parents can use the time to do some shopping of their own.”

Adirondack Christmas on Main Street will take place throughout the weekend of November 25-27 in Inlet and Old Forge. The 14th annual Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour will take place November 25-26 at various times and locations.

Well, with these and more opportunities coming our way, it looks like everyone’s Christmas list can read, “Made in the Adirondacks.” Enjoy the holidays!

photo of Father Christmas used with permission of the Indian Lake Country Christmas Tour

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. 


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: 4 Adirondack Ski Swaps

* Please note the correct time for drop off to McCauley Mountain Ski Swap is Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.! 

Being an active family, my kids seems to outgrown their sporting gear before I’ve finished tying up the laces. For other parents looking to outfit their children for the winter ski season, a ski swap is a nice starting place. A ski swap can also be a much-needed opportunity to clean house.

Generally the ski swaps are consignments where you drop off your gear, helmets, and winter clothing a day before the event. If the gear sells then you will receive 80% of the set sale price. Usually the funds generated benefit a special organization like ski clubs or ski patrols so the 20% commission goes to support the sport. It is best to ask what each ski swap’s arrangement is, as it varies with location. Keep in mind no “collector’s items” like wooden skis and only clothing in good condition. Ski Club Swaps

Lake Placid: November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
In Lake Placid, the Lake Placid Ski Club/NYSEF Ski Swap is asking for any winter gear from cross-country skis, boots, roller blades, helmets as well as current downhill ski equipment. Any winter clothing in good shape will be accepted. For questions please call Lake Placid Ski Club President Carol Hoffman at 524-6914. This is the first year that Lake Placid Ski Club and NYSEF are doing a combined Ski and Skate Swap at St. Agnes Gym in Lake Placid. 80/20 split, no rear entry boots or straight skis and no gear donations. Drop off equipment to consign on November 4 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Queensbury, November 5 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 6, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
This annual event at West Mountain is touted as one of the largest ski swaps in the area. Drop off for consignments is Friday (11/4) from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday (11/5) from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.. They are accepting any new and pre-owned ski or snowboard gear. No straight skis or rear entry boots. They are looking for any outerwear and accessories as well as skis, boots, helmets and snowboards. Proceeds benefit the West Mountain Ski Patrol and Race Team.

Old Forge, November 5, 9:00 a.m. – noon
This annual Polar Bear Ski Club Ski Swap at McCauley Mountain will be the place to find deals on new/used ski and snowboard equipment. Drop off is Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday between 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. They are looking for any winter sporting gear and winter clothing in good condition. This event is not restricted to ski or snowboards but will accept helmets, ice skates, hockey equipment and cross-country ski gear. This event will benefit the Polar Bear Ski Club, which sponsors ski races for youth in cross-country skiing, downhill and biathlon.

Speculator, November 19, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
This is a new event for Oak Mountain and a bit different from the traditional ski swap. For a $20 “table” free (if reserved by the 16th or $25 after the 16th) the consignor can sell anything from boats, ATVs, snowmobiles as well as skis, gear and sport clothing. The only requirement is that it has to be sporting goods. The table fee will benefit the Friends of Oak Mountain, which continues to support upgrades to Oak Mountain. There will also be refreshments for sale.

I hope you find whatever you are looking for.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Slickers, Old Forge

The brightly painted yellow exterior of Slickers Adirondack Tavern caught our attention as we made our way back into Old Forge. Since it was within walking distance to most of the accommodations in Old Forge, plenty of parking was available. Wearing a bright yellow coat, Slickers is perched on the edge of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, the beach and lake on view from the bar.

Slickers was the sixth of eight bars we covered on our Old Forge tour back in July, but somehow we never got around to writing the review. Since we didn’t go anywhere new over the weekend we resurrected Slickers from the “unfinished” bin.

The bar seats about 10 people, and all seats were taken with several patrons standing. The upbeat crowd steadily building on this Saturday night in July, we ordered drinks from the typical beer and booze options and found a seat along on the wall where we could rest our drinks, take notes, and keep out of the way of the wait staff passing through to the busy restaurant seating area. Additional bar seating was available in an adjacent room, but we needed to be in the mix.

Weathered in a charming, New England way, the building is summer cottage-like, of unknown age, and has to have been around long before 1984. With low ceilings, a dark pine floor, lots of wood, and decorated in a fishing theme, the most impressive feature is the Hoosier-style antique bar shelving featuring brass-trimmed roll-top coolers and glass door cabinets, crammed into the minuscule space behind the bar.

We weren’t able to get close enough to the bar for our usual question and answer session with the bartender, but a local named Bob gave us his positive opinion of Slickers and introduced us to another patron whose wife is the owner of Tony Harpers Too. The people at the bar seemed to be a blend of locals and tourists of varying ages, but everyone was getting to know each other. Bob, who says, “Every bar in the Adirondacks is wonderful!” appeared to be on a quest to meet everyone – at every bar in Old Forge. (We ran into Bob at several of the venues we visited that night.)

Established in 1984, Slickers offers entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer months. We got the impression that the restaurant would quiet down in time to allow more space for the evening bar crowd who were beginning to arrive for the entertainment. A small deck area is available just outside, but seating did seem to be limited. Offering an array of pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and homemade soups and desserts, Slickers is a favorite of natives and visitors alike.

No matter how you travel – by boat, snowmobile, kayak, or on foot – Slickers is a must-see while in Old Forge, whether you’re just having drinks, visiting with friends, having a meal, listening to music, meeting new people or all of the above.

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.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

25th Annual Quilts Unlimited Exhibition

The 25th Annual Quilts Unlimited Exhibition will open at View, the former Old Forge Arts Center, on Saturday, October 8 and run until November 30. Quilts from across the country will be hung gallery style in the new arts center for this competitive exhibition which features both traditional and eclectic quilts and wall hangings.

The opening day Saturday, October 8 will feature a Quilting Lecture and Luncheon “My Quilting Journey” led by Molly Waddell at 10am. Lecture pre-registration is required and is $15/$10 members which includes exhibition admission. The opening reception will follow with quilt and quilted garment appraisals; demonstrations; an awards ceremony at 2pm; a fat quarter drawing where you can enter a 18″x22″ piece of fabric ‘fat quarter’ for a chance to win them all; and a reception at 3pm.

Molly Waddell is the Juror of Awards for this year’s exhibition, and a National Quilting Association Certified Judge. She has won numerous awards for her quilts on a local and national level. Some of her work has been published in The Quilting Quarterly, The 2007 Quilt Art Calendar and Quilters Newsletter. Molly was the co-chair for the 2002 and 2004 biennial quilt shows sponsored by the Quilters Consortium of New York State, Inc. Her goals as a quilt judge are to recognize the creativity and expertise of each quilt maker, to objectively and fairly evaluate quilts and wearable arts and to give constructive comments to quilters so that they may improve their workmanship and artistry, and to encourage them to stretch their creativity. She is a member of The National Quilting Association, The American Quilters Society, Thread Bears Quilt Guild and Mohawk Valley Quilt Club.

Exhibition admission is $8/$4 members & groups of 6+, children under 12 are free. To learn more about the exhibition, visit www.ViewArts.org or call View at 315-369-6411.

Photo: “Remembering Pinewood” by Linda O’Connor.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Goodsell Museum’s Floating Letters Exhibit

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™

Through the end of October, the Goodsell Museum in Old Forge will continue its tribute to the region’s unusual means of receiving mail. The exhibit entitled, “Floating Letters, A Tribute to the Mailboats and Their Crews” will end October 31, 2011.

Director Gail Murray says, “We talked over different ideas and first thought of including all commerce but quickly realized the topic was too large. We focused on the mailboats to discover it is the 110 -year anniversary”

According to Murray there were mailboats on Twitchell Lake, Silver Lake and Rondaxe and boats still delivering mail on Big Moose Lake and Fulton Chain. Murray wanted the exhibit to tie in the tradition of the residents receiving mail by water with summer fun as children and grandchildren still anxiously wait for the mail to arrive by boat.

“The Fulton Chain mailboat is currently run by Old Forge Lake Cruises and holds about 20 people,” say Murray. “I believe it is one of the only mailboats that is allowed passengers. With delivering the mail the tour is able to get up close to the historic camps and homes from Old Forge to Fourth Lake. Our next exhibit will focus on early medicine in the area and will open right after Thanksgiving, ”

The mailboat exhibit celebrated the 110 -year anniversary of the Old Forge mail boat delivery system. Originally the only means to receive mail, the boat service began in 1901 due to the influence of President Benjamin Harrison and Dr. William Seward Webb. Harrison had purchased 10 acres of land from Webb and built Berkeley Lodge on Second Lake.

Using a boat to provide mail service is not unusual for the US Postal Service. In rural communities they continue to use anything from snowmobiles to mule train.

At the Goodsell Museum children are encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the various exhibits. On the ground floor there are glass cases of taxidermy animals but a pack basket set to the side is marked with a yellow circle, handprint and “OK.” Children know anything marked with that symbol is fair game. My children examine all the animal pelts gingerly and even try on a few fox collars. Upstairs they examine some medical equipment in a different “please touch box.”

The Goodsell Museum is free to the public and open all year. Visit the Floating Letters exhibit until October 31st or enjoy the other items that provide an historical blueprint of the Town of Webb. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities™ Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates), the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tony Harper’s Too, Old Forge

The Old Forge (and vicinity) Pub Crawl Part II was reaching its conclusion. For those of you who are just joining us, that Saturday in July was a productive one. The first part started at the Big Moose Inn, then on to the Way Back Inn and the Red Dog Tavern.

We took a break for a lunch meeting then drove out to Daiker’s, then continued back toward Old Forge, stopping at Slicker’s. We dropped the car off and continued on foot to the Tow Bar. Our next stop: Tony Harper’s Too, a.k.a. Pizza Clams for the visually impaired. The “Tony Harper’s Too” portion of the sign is barely visible, but the owner’s husband Don, whom we had met at Slicker’s, had already advised us of its location.



Located on Main Street in Old Forge, across from the Tow Bar, the unique exterior is hard to miss. Stone and brick, outside and in, a semi-circular façade extends the confines of the interior, creating a sense of being outside while in, (or vice versa). The three-sided bar, built of corrugated metal topped with a polished hardwood top continues outdoors, creating a breezy open feel. This was not your typical pizza and clam shack. An acoustic duo played near the entrance as a few of the patrons danced informally outside. There was no seating left at the bar and the restaurant tables were full.

We crowded up to the bar to order a drink. Finding plenty of beer choices, both bottled & draft, Kim chose an Apricot Wheat from the Ithaca Beer Company. As busy as she was, the bartender took our order right away. While we awaited our drinks, a woman returned to her seat at the bar and looked annoyed that we had infringed on her space. Pam tapped Kim’s shoulder and gave her a look that said, “Get out of her way.” Kim moved aside, and they both smiled apologetically to her. Who can resist those sincere smiles?

Moments later we introduced ourselves to the woman and were in the thick of one of those shouting conversations that take place over live music. The bartender came from behind the bar and delivered our drinks. Eventually we politely escaped the conversation, the woman’s boyfriend or husband having tired of being ignored, and got back to the review we had come for.

Pam recognized a few men she had first seen at Daiker’s, then at Slicker’s and who were now here at Tony Harper’s Too. We said hello and decided to try being on the outside looking in. No seats were available out there either, but we were able to stand at a pub table. The music was just as good to hear outside and many young people stood around on the patio, talking, dancing and just enjoying themselves. We spotted Don, who tried to introduce us to his wife and owner, Lisa, but she just wouldn’t be distracted from her conversation with friends. Don’s construction company, D.E. Murphy Constructors, designed the bar and the building and we admired his workmanship from where we stood. Looking up into the turret-like structure, the ceiling was a spoke-work of pine, an enormous metal chandelier hanging from its center.

Tony Harper’s Too is open from 11 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. during the week; until midnight on weekends. The website includes entertainment schedules, the history of Tony Harper’s and full menus, so check there for more detailed information. Armed with the knowledge that this was a fun place to go, we excused ourselves and headed across the street to the Tow Bar, having promised earlier to return there for a couple of drinks – off the clock.

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, August 16, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: McCauley Mountain Chairlift

By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities

There are only 60 chairs on the double chairlift at McCauley Mountain in Old Forge, down about 20 from its winter route. All the unused chairs are lined up, freshly painted and repaired waiting for the start of the winter season.

It is a smooth and steady 2,200’ ride to the top. It does seem odd to be riding a chairlift in summer. The children are lined up waiting their turn, pretending they are going to hit the moguls on the way down. We even encounter the prerequisite lost lift item request from a couple already lift bound. We retrieve the shoe and are thankful it’s just a kicked off flip-flop and not a ski buried in the snow.

It is a leisurely ride to the top so we are able to glance around at the view of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge and Grey Lake. Our exit is uneventful without the cumbersome addition of ski gear. Cinderella is patiently waiting at top for her lost shoe. Picnic tables and Adirondack chairs are scattered about. The children run about finding playmates to explore the backside of the summit.

Though some people decide to hike the short trek down the mountain, we decide to take the lift back down this time seeing the beauty of the lakes and mountains around us. The leaves have not started to turn but there are occasional indicators that fall will be here soon.

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 still 20 km of XC ski trails that can be accessed right at the base of the main lodge. There is also a large playground and plenty of benches. McCauley Mountain is located in Old Forge. The Scenic Chairlift is open daily (except Tuesdays) through Labor Day from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with shortened hours during autumn. Adults are $6, juniors (6-16) and seniors (+65) $5 and children 5 – under are free.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Daiker’s, Old Forge

Daiker’s, located on Fourth Lake in Old Forge, has something for everyone and ample space to accommodate many. Whether entering from the large parking area or from a boat on the lake, it will take some time to take it all in, including the lake view from the expansive porch and deck.

This was our fifth bar review on that Saturday in July. We had taken a break for an early dinner, planning Old Forge Pub Crawl Part II. We decided to resume at Daiker’s and make our way back to the hamlet of Old Forge for later foot travel. Janet, our host at Village Cottages, armed us with a referral and description of owner, Tal Daiker.



“Oh, #?!*%,” Pam thought, entering the bar, “This is going to take awhile! So much to absorb.” Daiker’s is an amusement park for adults. Taking a seat at the bar, two bartenders at the ready, we began the arduous task of the visual review, but not without first reviewing the bar selections and ordering our drinks. With a well-stocked bar, six drafts, and plenty of bottled beers, there’s something for everyone.

The place is huge, with a long, long bar and another one outside on the deck. A partition separates the bar area from the dining area. Bar stools along the partition provide additional seating. Daiker’s interior is a unique interpretation of Adirondack style with both subtle and overt accents. Pine walls display wildlife art and antler chandeliers hang from a high ceiling supported by sturdy log beams. A massive stone fireplace, dormant for the summer, commands the center of the room.

In an adjoining room, musicians haul amps and equipment for the night’s entertainment. A dance floor lay empty. A pool table sits in an area near the bar; interior walls lined with a photo booth, a vending machine for snacks and another for lottery tickets.

In another section, partially partitioned, is a gaming arcade. Beer advertisements and sports memorabilia covering the most popular events adorn the walls, with televisions and Quick Draw monitors strategically placed throughout the building. An Adirondack scene in diorama is displayed high above in an alcove in the ceiling. Tucked in the wall and protected by glass is a miniature of the original Daiker’s bar. Though we didn’t get the story behind the display of bras behind the bar, we trust it’s an interesting one. Daiker’s gear is on display and available for purchase there or online.

Tal Daiker was a friendly host and happily answered our many questions about the bar and its history and gave us some insight on his family’s commitment to Daiker’s. Originally called the Fulton House, Daiker’s was once a casino and a stop for the steamboat that ran along the lake. Tal’s dad bought it in 1956 and it has been Daiker family operated since then.

In 1988 Tal took over operations, instituting changes, expansions and improvements over the years with his wife Debbie. Their sons Devin and Dane also help with the business. The restaurant and bar are open 7 days a week, serving food from noon to 9 p.m. The bar is open from noon to 2 a.m. Live entertainment, from acoustic soloists to rock bands, is provided on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the summer. Both summer and winter are busy times at Daiker’s, with a substantial snowmobile following in winter. Tal maintains a Twitter account, Tal’s Trail Report, with regular updates on local snow conditions. They do close briefly off season, spring and fall, so be sure to check their website, before visiting off season.

On a mission with a minimum of three more bars to visit, we didn’t socialize with the patrons, but did observe the local camaraderie and diversity. Those observations led to our recognizing several of Daiker’s patrons in the next bar we visited, and the next, and much later yet, another. They, too, were on an Old Forge pub crawl?

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.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Old Forge and The Fulton Chain of Lakes

Linda Cohen and Peg Masters, both descendants of 19th-century pioneer settlers of the Old Forge region, have written Old Forge and The Fulton Chain of Lakes (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99) the latest Adirondack edition in the Images of America series. Together they compiled over 200 images from around the area, many seldom seen.

Old Forge is nestled at the foot of the Middle Branch of the Moose River, more commonly known as the Fulton Chain of Lakes. Year-round accommodations at the Forge House in 1871 and dependable rail service in 1892 led to permanent settlement of the hamlet. Within a decade, Old Forge emerged as the residential and commercial hub of the Central Adirondacks and a popular destination and gathering place for guides, sportsmen, and wilderness tourists.

For the sightseer who strolls around Old Forge today or enjoys a cruise up the eight lakes in the Fulton Chain, the landscape is dotted with scores of century-old dwellings, Victorian cottages, rustic camps, and even a few grand old hotels.

Linda Cohen has been an active member of the local historical association and a board member since 2004. Peg Masters has served as the town historian for the past 10 years and conducts historic walking tours every summer.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Tow Bar Inn, Old Forge

We’re not sure how many other bartenders might also work at the Tow Bar, but if you enter and find Jack, a.k.a. Jackson, a.k.a. Famous Jack, a.k.a. Action Jackson behind the bar, sit down, relax and expect to enjoy yourself immensely.

Whether it was Jack, our new-found friends (the “Tow Bar buddies”) or the fact that it was our 6th and 8th bar (perhaps making us vulnerable) the Tow Bar is at the top of our list in Old Forge. It didn’t take us long to realize we wanted the Tow Bar to be our last stop of the night so we stayed long enough to get some fact checking done, left for another bar, then returned afterward. Our work finished for the night, we were ready to just have a couple of drinks or shoot some pool without “working”.

Jack, head mixologist, has worked at the Tow Bar for 21 years! Apparently, he came with the deed when the current owners purchased the bar five years ago. His proud supporters, our Tow Bar buddies, strongly professed him to be the best bartender. Having witnessed him in action, his patience was outstanding, but what stood out above all other qualities was his genuine friendliness. Imagine working in a bar for 21 years and having any patience at all!

TOW in Tow Bar stands for Town of Webb. Having driven around Old Forge several times on Saturday, we had already formed the opinion that Old Forge was a village within the Town of Webb, but learning the origins of “Tow” confirmed our deduction. The Tow Bar is open seven days a week and only closes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Open from noon to 2 a.m., the Tow Bar caters to locals but enjoys entertaining (verb as well as adjective) visitors. In line with catering to locals, they offer live entertainment on Sunday night, when local workers tend to get some time off to fraternize with their friends.

The Tow Bar’s 20 or so bottled beer choices are unpretentious and mostly domestic. Drafts include LaBatt Blue, Blue Light and Budweiser, all at pretty low prices. The bar is well-stocked and Jack will happily improvise if he doesn’t have what you’re looking for.

The works of Doug Green, Tow Bar’s “house” cartoonist, are displayed throughout the bar. One they are especially proud of is the cartoon of John Ratzenberger, Cliff Clavin of Cheers fame, who stopped in and played pool with some of the regulars. They list Sandra Bullock among other famous visitors to the Tow Bar. Yankee, Dodger and Giants fans will feel comfortable taking in the bobbleheads, old photos, and autographed memorabilia displayed throughout the bar. Several TV’s are strategically placed and NASCAR stats are in evidence so you can probably catch the race there on Sundays, if you’re so inclined.

The Tow Bar seems to have something for almost everyone – sports, pool, darts, friendly patrons and a terrific bartender. If you go, be sure to mention Happy Hour in the High Peaks. I think they’d like to know we weren’t just making this stuff up.

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, July 27, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: Big Moose Inn, Eagle Bay

The Big Moose Inn and Restaurant, located directly on Big Moose Lake in Eagle Bay was the first stop on our Old Forge Summer Tour, more aptly defined as the Old Forge Pub Crawl. Ours was one of just a few cars in the parking lot, but it was early afternoon and we had a long day ahead of us.

The dramatic view of the grand covered porch, dotted with rocking chairs and expanding outward to a vast open deck overlooking the lake, inspires a feeling reminiscent of summer vacations of years past. Several small docks on Big Moose Lake capture attention, drawing the eye along an expanse of lawn to the lake and small beach. Quiet and secluded, The Big Moose Inn has an air of sophistication and Adirondack lore, evoking a sentimental yearning for simpler times. Its timelessness captures the imagination. A novelist could come here to spend a week and leave with a finished manuscript.

Work to be done, we grudgingly entered the tavern, leaving an early summer afternoon behind. The tavern, cool and dark with walls of wood and brick, complemented the exterior charm. We half expected to see Ernest Hemingway entertaining friends in one of the booths, or John Irving alone at the bar, having strayed from his New England comfort zone.

Spot lights shone gently on the dark plank bar which seated about 14, with ample room for standing patrons too. Each of three booths on the opposite wall were illuminated overhead with Tiffany lamps; a cozy room with brick fireplace was tucked away beyond, and provided more private seating.

As Pam’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, Kim immediately pointed out the business cards adorning the ceiling. Skewered with straws, swizzle sticks and cocktail picks, the ceiling was almost completely obscured by thousands of business cards. Hard to describe because of their multitude, some of the cards were obviously yellowed with age. Though barely visible, the ceiling was tile. Mark, the most recent owner, later advised that they came with the inn; that some had been there for thirty years. He felt compelled to leave them for their nostalgic significance, despite criticism from state authorities. Can’t blame him, we would leave them too.

We took a seat at the bar and were immediately greeted by Melinda, the bartender. Upon inquiry regarding drinks unique to the establishment, Melinda offered Pam a Big Moose Manhattan, proudly laced with Adirondack maple syrup. The maple syrup sank to the bottom and Pam showed no shame occasionally enjoying it through the swizzle stick. Just good to see her sipping since this was only our first stop. A variety of flavored vodkas are available, indicating a better than average selection of drinks. Several wine, draft and bottled beer choices are also offered.

Big Moose Inn’s Big Moose Manhattan:
1 part Seagram’s VO
1 part sweet vermouth
Drizzle with real maple syrup and garnish with two cherries

Melinda was courteous, friendly and knowledgeable about the history of the Big Moose Inn, offering a book on the history of Big Moose Lake to help support our questions. She was busy tending to both the bar and the deck patrons, but still took time to alert the proprietor of our presence.

Owner Mark Mayer came out to introduce himself. Obviously quite proud of the Big Moose Inn, Mark spent several minutes sharing history, trivia, hauntings, and his family’s acquisition of the inn. Perhaps the most famous Adirondack ghost, stories of Grace Brown attracted TV’s Unsolved Mysteries several years ago.

Offering 16 rooms, the inn is open year round and entertains summer vacationers and winter snowmobilers. The Big Moose Tavern is open from noon to midnight and Happy Hour drink specials are available from 4 to 6 p.m. They do offer music on occasion, featuring solo artists. Summer and winter hours vary, but claim winter is the best time to visit. We had trouble with this proclamation, given the beautiful view of the lake, the sandy beach and massive porch and deck. The tavern is only open four days, including weekends, after the summer season.

Reluctantly, we left the Big Moose Inn in search of our next destination. One down. Seven to go. In an effort to catch up, we plan to review some of the Old Forge area bars first on the Adirondack Almanack and others on our blog. Lake Placid reviews of The Cottage, Lisa G’s and Dancing Bears have all been completed and posted.

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, July 5, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities’ Diane Chase: Family Day at VIEW

By Diane Chase
The Art Center/Old Forge has transformed itself once again. This weekend the newly named VIEW will host its gala reception to welcome the public to their LEEDS certified green building. The VIEW originated with just one event, the Central Adirondack Art Show, where artists were presented on chicken wire displays on founder Miriam Kashiwas’s front lawn. Now in it’s 60th year it is only appropriate that the Central Adirondack Art Show will be on display for the gala opening of the new building.

From Kashiwas’s front yard, the Arts Guild of Old Forge, Inc. was incorporated in 1967 and eight years later purchased its first building, named Arts Center/Old Forge, to support year-round programming.

Jody Pritchard, graphic Design/media coordinator for the VIEW, says, “Our new name is VIEW. VIEW is reflective of the Adirondack vistas around us, and expresses the personal relationship that people can have with and through the creation of art. People come to the Adirondacks to view, when they come to VIEW arts they can observe the view of others, as well as express a view of their own. We have national exhibitions, performances and workshops that bring in visitors from other communities as opposed to only serving Old Forge, which our old name implied.”

According to Pritchard the move from the old building to the new graced them with an additional 20,000 square feet which allows for expanded workshop and classroom space, a commercial catering kitchen, a dedicated performance space with retractable seating for 200+, and the ability to stagger exhibits so there is always something fresh to see. All located within a green facility with geo-thermal heating, solar panels, recycled tire/metal roof and other energy efficient amenities.

There will be a variety of events happening throughout July 7-10, 2011 with dancing, silent auction, music, BBQ and ribbon cutting. A few highlights: for stamp collectors or those just interested there will be a special commemorative postal cancellation on Friday, July 8 from 10:30 a.m. – noon at the VIEW. On Saturday there is a nature walk hosted by Gary Lee.

Sunday is family day with a visit from the Utica Zoomobile, face painting, clown and the opportunity to tie-dye a T-shirt or pillowcase (provided) for a small fee. Each day there are ongoing workshop demonstrations but on Sunday, artist Joseph Montroy will hold an introduction to iron casting and spectators can watch his students melt iron and pour the molten ore into molds to create sculptures.

The VIEW is open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4:00 p.m.

Photo and content © Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities ™. Diane is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities Guidebook Series including the recent released Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks Your Guide to Over 300 Activities for Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Keene, Jay and Wilmington areas (with GPS coordinates) This is the first book of a four-book series of Adirondack Family Activities. The next three editions will cover Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga, Long Lake to Old Forge and Newcomb to Lake George. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adirondack Family Activities: Scenic RR Summer Events

There certainly is controversy about the Adirondack Scenic Railroad being a viable tourist attraction versus the tracks becoming an interconnecting bike path through the towns of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.

Those that believe the expense, need and usage isn’t warranted are often pitted against nostalgic train riders who want to ride the rails. For now the Adirondack Scenic Railroad is running full steam ahead for the summer season. For parents wishing for a different type of experience, perhaps this is the way to go.

I have never been sure what made my son stop in his tracks when he heard a train’s whistle. Is it a taste of magic, new destinations or a promise of adventure? For us as we board the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and hear the conductor yell “Ready to button up,” it is a bit of each. With our busy lives this is one Adirondack family activity where we really do get to sit and watch clouds go by. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

14th Annual Central Adirondack Car Show Weekend

The 14th Annual Central Adirondack Father’s Day Weekend Car Show will be held in Old Forge, beginning tomorrow, Friday, June 17th at 7pm with a car parade down Main Street. The annual Car Show will be held Saturday from 9am – 3pm at the Hiltebrant Recreation Center on North Street. The show will feature classic antique vehicles and modified street rods.

Two cash prizes of $250 each, provided by Cooper Kia in Yorkville and Lee Buick GMC in Boonville, will be awarded to the Best of Show cars in two categories, one for antiques/classics and one for modified/street rods. Trophies will be awarded to 18 classes of vehicles, and dash plaques will be given to the first 100 registrants. Awards will also be presented for Spectators’ Choice, Oldest Vehicle, and Longest Distance Driven.

A spectator admission fee of $2 will be charged, and children under 12 will be admitted free. Anyone interested in registering his or her vehicle for this judged show can do so at the gate on Saturday morning for a fee of $12. Cars must be on the field by noon to be judged. Auto swap meet vendors are welcome to participate by completing a registration form and paying a $12 fee.

Food will be available from the Old Forge Fire Auxiliary, including chili, hamburgers, hot dogs, desserts, and drinks.

In case of rain, the event will be held inside the pavilion on a first-come, first-served basis.

More information about the weekend’s events can be obtained from the Old Forge Visitor Information Center at 315- 369-6983 or online.

Photo: 2010 Best of Show – Modified.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Adirondack Events This Weekend (June 3)

Visit the Almanack on Fridays for links to what’s happening this weekend around the Adirondacks.

The Almanack also provides weekly backcountry conditions and hunting and fishing reports for those headed into the woods or onto the waters this weekend.

Region-wide Events This Weekend

Around & About in Lake George This Weekend

Lake Placid Region Events This Weekend

Old Forge Area Events This Weekend



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Support the Adirondack Almanack and the Adirondack Explorer all year long with a monthly gift that fits your budget.