In my book Echoes in These Mountains, I suggested two possible routes for the old military road used by Sir William Johnson during the French and Indian War, and later used by his son Sir John Johnson in his raids on the Mohawk Valley. In recent years however, I’ve given this historical problem more thought as new evidence has come forward.
For example, I’ve seen the swivel cannon said to have been left by Sir John Johnson’s raiders near Bartman Road in Bakers Mills. Also, Tom Askens has shared with me that he has found small “cannon balls” in his garden at the intersection of Bartman Road and Coulter/Armstrong Road. » Continue Reading.
The sparsely populated towns in the Adirondacks often hold a particularly rich and intriguing history, but it often lies undiscovered and under-appreciated. The Township of Johnsburg, in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park is a prime example.
It appears that Sir William Johnson used a Native American trail through Johnsburg to sneak north to terrify and murder the French during the French & Indian War. It is likely too that his son, Sir John Johnson, used that same trail to lead a band of 528 loyalist New Yorkers south in 1780 to rescue 143 Loyalists and then burn 120 barns, mills and houses in his home town of Johnstown during the American Revolution. » Continue Reading.
The Townships of Johnsburg and Thurman were named for John Thurman when Warren County was split off from Washington County in 1816. Beyond the boundaries of these two townships, however, few have heard of him or his accomplishments.
The story of John Thurman is an important chapter in the history of the Adirondacks. For too many, Adirondack history is limited to the great camps, guide boats, and environmental protection. Yet there is so much more.
For hundreds of years the Adirondacks were a dark and dangerous place; anyone traveling through the area had best be well-armed. However, after the American Revolution the Adirondacks became, for the first time, a land of great opportunity, ready for exploration and commercial enterprises. » Continue Reading.
The trails were busy this weekend with perfect hiking conditions. Crane Mountain is a popular hike to views of the Southern Adirondacks. The trailhead is located on Ski Hi Road in Thurman. You can take the route via the pond or the shorter route directly to the summit. You will notice quite a few paths to great views along the way.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that New York State will award $25 million in funding to expand high-speed Internet access in rural upstate and underserved urban areas of New York through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program, including several projects that will affect the Adirondacks. This newest round of funding brings the total amount for broadband projects during Governor Cuomo’s administration to more than $56 million, the largest statewide broadband funding commitment in the nation, according to the Governor’s office.
Eighteen broadband projects were selected to receive Connect NY Broadband grants based on the endorsement of the Regional Economic Development Councils and technical scores awarded by a committee who analyzed and ranked projects competing for the $25 million in broadband funding. In December, Governor Cuomo also awarded nearly $6 million in funding, from Round 2 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, to four project sponsors who will expand high-speed Internet into the North Country region. » Continue Reading.
On Tuesday, June 5, 7 p.m. at Thurman town hall underwater archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski will present a talk on Bateaux Below’s study of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758,” a notable event at Lake George during the French & Indian War (1755-1763).
In the autumn of 1758, the British sank over 260 warships in Lake George to protect the vessels over the winter of 1758-1759 from their enemy, the French and their Native American allies. Many of the sunken warships were recovered in 1759 and reused by the British. However, over 40 sunken warships were never retrieved by the British forces in 1759 and they offer underwater archaeologists an excellent opportunity to study these shipwrecks to find out about the colonial soldiers that used them. Zarzynski’s talk will give details on Bateaux Below’s 24-year-long study (1987-2011) of “The Sunken Fleet of 1758.” » Continue Reading.
The annual Thurman Townwide Sale launches, rain or shine, on Friday, May 18th, and runs through Sunday, the 20th, with about seventy old fashioned yard sales all over Thurman. Volunteers will post hot pink banners, flyers and directional signs to let the public know about the sale and direct them to and through Thurman.
A map packet published by the committee guides shoppers to all registered sales. The map indicates locations of public phones and rest rooms and dining (but don’t expect to find a gas station), as well as which days each vendor plans to be open.
Thurman EMS and Sugarload Mountain Senior Citizens both will hold rummage sales at the squad building on High Street on Saturday, and the Fire Company will distribute maps that day at Thurman Station, route 418. The map will be posted online at www.persisgranger.com several days before the sale, and copies also will be available at sites near all entrances to town, for those coming from Stony Creek, The Glen, Warrensburg or Wevertown. Find Thurman just 6 miles from Northway exit 23, Warrensburg.
Local historian Milda Burns, popular for costumed presentations stuffed with intriguing and often amusing details, will launch the John Thurman Historical Society’s 2012 speaker series with her program “Old Ski Train to North Creek.”
Burns, who grew up in North River the daughter of Finch Pruyn’s River Superintendent Jack Donohue, remembers well the D & H trains of the 1930s which brought weekend skiers to North Creek Depot. From there local families picked them up and shuttled them to boarding houses and homes with spare rooms, and ferried them to the new Ski Bowl for the novel “ride up, slide down” experience. By one estimate, sometimes there were almost as many skiers as there were residents in the whole town. This past winter Burns was on hand to greet passengers riding the inaugural run of the new ski train operated by Saratoga and North Creek Railway.
The public is invited to attend this free program 7 pm, Tuesday, April 3rd at the Thurman Town Hall; refreshments will be served.
For more information, call Joan Harris, 623-2007. Thurman Town Hall is located at 311 Athol Road, Athol, just six miles from the Warrensburg Health Center via NYS route 418 and Athol Road.
Photo: A ski train at the D & H’s North Creek Depot in 1935. Courtesy The Adirondack Branch.
Word from Thurman maple producers is that the sap is flowing, evaporators are boiling and there will be syrup and all kinds of maple confections for those who venture out this weekend (March 10 – 11) for the first of six Thurman Maple Days, which extend over three weekends through this month. Each weekend offers tours of three maple operations – Adirondack Gold Maple, Toad Hill Maple and Valley Road Maple, all offering tours of sugarbushes and sugarhouses, with demonstrations and talks concerning tapping, evaporating, filtering and candy-making. » Continue Reading.
Sometimes when the weather starts to fluctuate it is easier for someone else to plan the outdoor activities. A lot of times, attending these Adirondack Family events introduce us to a new area, new favorite trail or friend. This weekend is a typical Adirondack weekend where the choices are numerous. Unfortunately we can’t be everywhere at once. There are special family events happening in all corners and beyond the Adirondack Park. Here are four events that are free to attend.
The Lake George Land Conservancy is hosting its Winter Warm Up on March 10 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Lake George Recreation Center with a variety of activities from live raptor presentations to broomball matches. Up Yonda Farm will offer interpretive snowshoe walks. If you always wanted to try snowshoeing, this is your chance. The snowshoes are available to use for free as well. There will be nature crafts to make and storytelling by the bonfire. Hot soup, bread and s’mores will top it off. Also the Lake George Recreation Center has a sledding hill and cross-country trails. The LGRC’s Berry Pond Preserve can be accessed from the Rec Center if people want to venture out on their own. Dewey Mountain Ski Center in Saranac Lake is hosting its annual Dewey Day with Adirondack Lake & Trail Outfitters on March 10 (9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The facility will be free and open to the public. If your 6 to 13 year-old ever wanted to try biathlon, the Adirondack Paintball Biathlon is also on the roster. Other games include a children’s snowshoe scavenger hunt, icicle obstacle course and ski speed trap. Bring a team for the boxer short triathlon relay where teams will ski, snowshoe and sled.
In Newcomb the full moon will be celebrated at The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) with a chili ski/snowshoe party on March 10th. The AIC’s trails usually close at dusk so these full moon parties are special indeed. The $5 fee covers the cost of the chili, hot chocolate and marshmallows. The trails at the AIC are always free and open to the public. This event is going to run no matter the weather so gear up. The event starts with chili at 6:00 p.m. and then closes with fireside hot chocolate and marshmallows at 8:00 p.m.
With the temperatures fluctuating, Thurman is making maple and inviting the public for tours of its sugar bushes. March 10-11 is the first of three consecutive maple weekends in Thurman. The other Thurman Maple Weekend dates are March 17-18 and 24-25. Each weekend will start with a 9:00 a.m. pancake breakfast ($) at Valley Road Maple Farm, the rest of the weekend events run from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with free demonstrations, tastings and walking tours showcasing tree tapping, evaporating and maple making. There will also be some free sampling. (Don’t worry if you miss the 9:00 a.m. breakfast call, t continues until 1:00 p.m.)
If you can stick around on March 10th, the 53rd annual Maple Party will start at 4:00p.m. ($) with live music, all-you-can-eat buffet and a tasty treat of Jackwax (maple sugar on snow). The Maple Sugar Party is not only a fun event but a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
I realize there are plenty of other things happening around the Adirondacks but these four events are just a sampling that can get families outside and doing things together. How you spend your time together is important, I hope I made it a bit easier for you.
Photo of family viewing maple energy-saving equipment at Toad Hill Maple Farm by Teresa Whalen
Two feet of new snow around the Adirondacks and I am ready to console myself in maple syrup. I am not sure if it will be in a celebration of spring or procrastination to shoveling. Either way the next three weeks are full of various maple-collecting Adirondack Family Activities for all, starting with Thurman’s annual Maple Weekend March 12-13. Sheryl Kenyon of Adirondack Gold Maple Farm recommends that people start right off with a pancake breakfast at neighboring Valley Road Maple Farm. As one of the founders of Thurman Maple Weekend, Kenyon knows there are plenty of ways to celebrate making maple syrup and wants families to come out and be active while doing it.
“It is a wonderful breakfast,” says Kenyon. “Then people can come to Adirondack Gold Maple Farm and see Tapper tap about 100 trees. We have about 650 taps going through tubing but people do still like that nostalgic fell of seeing sap buckets.”
Tapper, Kenyon’s husband is known by that moniker for all the maple taps he has put into trees. She admits that kids just love being around Tapper and will find recipes and other products available during the whole weekend at their old-fashioned wood burning sugarhouse. .
Kenyon says, “We expect there will still be a lot of snow this weekend. We have snowshoes if anyone wants to borrow them or feel free to bring your own. We encourage people to get out on our trails and make a full day of it. There will be maple donuts and maple chili as well as hot chocolate and coffee at Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. We will also have hotdogs with maple Michigan sauce in case people are looking for something different than the pancake breakfast.”
The breakfast she refers to will start at 9:00 a.m. on both days, March 12-13, at Valley Road Maple Farm. This local sugarhouse will demonstrate techniques from their state-of-the-art sugarhouse such as “taps on vacuum with reverse osmosis.” Valley Road Maple Farm won first prize for maple candy at the New York State Fair in 2008 and 2009.
Two additional spots are Toad Hill Maple Farm and Martin’s Lumber. Toad Hill Maple Farm is the largest maple producer in Warren County and will be giving tours of their new energy-efficient sugarhouse. Martin’s Lumber will have sawing demonstrations and stepping stones and paper jewelry crafts on hand. Kenyon informs me that Martin’s provides sustainable lumbering. One example is demonstrating the beautiful wood grain in nonproducing old sugar maple trees where the wood has changed from old maple taps.
A good time for all is the annual Maple Sugar Park at Thurman Town hall in Athol on Saturday, March 12 at 4:00 p.m.. This all-you-can eat buffet also serves as a benefit for the American Cancer Society. The $10/adults, $5/(kids 6-11), Free (5-under) goes toward fighting cancer while providing live music food and some jackwax.
No, I had to ask what jackwax was. It may be maple taffy to some or “sugar on snow” to others. Whatever you want to call it, the sugary, maple candy will be boiling away in celebration of all that is maple.
Don’t forget that the New York State Maple Producers’ Association Maple Weekend is March 19-20 and March 26-27. So if this weekend doesn’t fit your schedule there will be plenty of choices for families to get a real maple treat.
Photo: Adirondack Gold Maple Farm. Used with permission
July 17th marked the beginning of Upper Hudson River Railroad’s two-train Saturdays, when both morning and afternoon trains are scheduled, taking passengers northward in the morning to enjoy not only the scenic excursion by rail, but also allowing them to enjoy an outing in one of the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor communities along the route. These Saturday offerings will continue through August 21st. » Continue Reading.
O swallows, swallows, poems are not The point. Finding again the world, That is the point….
From “The Blue Swallows,” Howard Nemerov
In the mid-fifties, when I was four or five, I started visiting an old bootlegger’s hideout in the woods of Thurman with my friend Dinah, Dinny, who was a year and a century older than I was, and infinitely wiser, and whom I admired and adored. » Continue Reading.
March 13th and 14th begin a three-week celebration of all things maple in the town of Thurman. Pancake breakfasts, free sugarhouse tours, maple shopping, and sawmill demonstrations highlight Thurman Maple Days, and the weekend’s seminal event is the annual Thurman Maple Sugar Party, a dinner which for over fifty years had raised money to fight cancer. Early birds may begin their outing at Valley Road Maple Farm with pancakes with pure maple syrup at 9 a.m., and the rest of the tour sites open at 10 a.m. and remain open until 4 p.m. Froggy 107.1 will broadcast from Adirondack Gold Maple Farm on Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., and on all days Adirondack Gold will offer maple tours and feature Adirondack Suds and Scents chandler Sally Feihel, who will offer soaps, lotions and soy votives, explain her craft and show a soap-making video. Travel on to Martin’s Lumber to see beautifully grained slabs of maple and watch sawmill demonstrations. Stained glass stepping stones, quilted wares and hand-crafted jewelry will be on display, as well. Toad Hill Maple Farm, Warren County’s largest, will welcome guests on Charles Olds Road.
The Maple Sugar Party, held only March 13th, begins at Thurman Town Hall, 311 Athol Road, Athol, at 4 p.m. with live music and food, topped off by old fashioned “jackwax,” also known as “sugar on snow.” The dinner continues until all have been served and costs $10 for ages 12 to adult and $5 for kids 5 to 11. Children under 5 are served free. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
Thurman tours, demonstrations and breakfasts will be offered again as part of NYS Maple Weekends on March 20-21 and 27-28. Find more information at www.Thurman-NY.com or phone 518-623-9718. Brochures with maps are available around the area and online, you may request that one be emailed (ThurmanInfo@aol.com), or you may just follow signs through Thurman to the sites. Thurman is just six miles from Adirondack Northway exit 23 by way of routes 9 and 418. Photo: Listening for the sap to run, photo by Amy Manney.
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