Posts Tagged ‘Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage’

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Robert Louis Stevenson Palooza August 7–8

Saranac Lake is celebrating one of its most famous former residents, Robert Louis Stevenson, with a showing of the 1931 production of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” as well as a public reading of Stevenson’s awesome and spooky poem “Ticonderoga.”

At 7 p.m. Saturday August 7 the Stevenson Society will show a film adaption of the novel “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” at Historic Saranac Lake’s Trudeau Laboratory building at 89 Church Street. Fredric March earned an Academy Award for his dual portrayal of Jekyll and Hyde. Stevenson scholar Martin Danahay will say a few words about the film. Admission is free. Popcorn, juice and water will be available.

On Sunday, August 8, at 1:30 p.m., the Stevenson Society will hold a festive Annual Meeting at the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage and Museum, at 44 Stevenson Lane, in Saranac Lake. The event will feature a bagpiper and an entertaining recitation of Stevenson’s famous poem “Ticonderoga” by Peter Fish of the St. Andrew’s Society. Martin Danahay will also speak on the adaptation of Stevenson’s work to stage and screen. The Annual Meeting will follow these events. The public is invited at no charge. Chairs and tents and light refreshments will be provided.

For more information call the Stevenson Cottage: (518) 891-1462

Between long residencies in Scotland and the South Pacific, Stevenson stayed in Saranac Lake the winter of 1887–88, writing and convalescing from a lung ailment. Another local landmark paying tribute to the Scotsman is the Robert Louis Stevenson Tea Room, which serves lunch, tea and dinner.



Photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1880


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Robert Louis Stevenson’s "A Christmas Sermon"

In Saranac Lake in December 1887, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to a friend about the difficulties of reading a thermometer at below-zero, describing “the mercury, which curls up into the bulb like a hibernating bear.” The Scotsman spent that winter in the care of Dr. E. L. Trudeau, convalescing from a lung ailment. He complained endlessly of the weather. He called it “tragic,” “glum,” “exceedingly sharp,” “grey and harsh,” “doleful,” “bleak” and “blackguardly.” Yet, he conceded, “The climate has done me good.”

He wrote most of The Master of Ballantrae here (if you have not read it, spare yourself and rent the Errol Flynn version instead; it omits the Adirondack parts but ends more happily and speedily). And he composed several thoughtful essays, among them “A Christmas Sermon,” published in Scribner’s magazine in December 1888.

The “sermon” asks moralists and the judgmental to focus less on their neighbors’ conduct and more on their own: “If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong. I do not say ‘give them up,’ for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.”


A man’s main task is, “To be honest, to be kind—to earn a little and to spend a little less, to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence,” he wrote.

“But Christmas is not only the mile-mark of another year, moving us to thoughts of self-examination: it is a season, from all its associations, whether domestic or religious, suggesting thoughts of joy.”

Stevenson was a charismatic figure and a thinker who wrote more than pirate adventures. His letters, especially the (apparently) carelessly written ones, still make good reading. His Adirondack letters are online at Google Books, and “A Christmas Sermon” is online at gutenberg.org.

There are two places in Saranac Lake where visitors can learn about Stevenson: the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage and Museum, and the Robert Louis Stevenson Tea Room; the latter is also a good place to eat.

Photograph of Robert Louis Stevenson, 1880


Thursday, June 25, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Groovin’ with Natty B to Stony Creek Bluegrassin’

Tonight, at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake – Jamie Notarthomas is playing the patio party at 7 pm. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. He put on a very good one man show that I caught at the Hole last year – not only is he extremely talented, he’s also a super nice fellow. Check out his videos and decide for yourself. He is also playing Zig Zags (518-523-8221) tomorrow in Lake Placid at 10 pm.

This Saturday at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Natural Breakdown is playing at 9:30 pm. Natty B, as they are sometimes called, sounds great on their myspace site – a song of theirs called “Hallellujah” had me bobbing up and down in my chair while I was writing. Another song with an Indian influence made me want to close my eyes, sway and groove – counterproductive given what I’m doing right now (I can’t type without looking) but tempting. These guys are tight and yet between guitars, bass, drums and excellent vocals they leave plenty of room to let loose and jam.

Also on Saturday in North Creek from 7 -10 pm you have a free concert by Jamie Notarthomas. This is part of the Concert Series on the River, call (800)989-7238 for more information. A prolific songwriter, with strong voice who backs himself up with acoustic guitar and harmonica. Check him out on youtube.

On Sunday at The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage in Saranac Lake there will be a benefit from 1 – 6 pm. Music will be provided by a Pennsylvania band Celtic Cats they start at 2:30 pm. This is a free event, however, donations are accepted and encouraged throughout the day.

On Sunday in at the Stony Creek Inn in Stony Creek the five piece bluegrass band Stony Creek Band is performing at 7 pm.



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