Friday, October 21, 2016

Apple Season - Make Your Own (DIY) Apple Chips and Apple Vinegar! What to do with leftover apple scraps, peels and cores

I love those dried apple chips I find in the store. Those expensive, dried, apple chips that usually have only 4 slices of apple coated in sugar, oil and cinnamon jostling around in a mostly empty bag.

For years now I've also been drinking Apple Cider Vinegar every day. All the health benefits, aside, making vinegar takes absolutely no time of effort. That is my type of cooking.  

Our family usually composts our apple bits. Those peels and cores are usually designated to the bin, feeding our red wiggler worms.  After an overzealous bout of apple picking, I thought there had to be a way to reuse some or part of the apples in a different way.

Now of course, I'm not the first person to think this way. Martha Stewart usually beats everyone to the punch. Since I'm a staff of one and she has a whole research team, I thought I could come up with an easier way of making homemade apple chips with less sugar and in less time.

After you've peeled and cored the apples for pies, applesauce or apple crisp, here is a fun way to use up the leftovers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

12 Adirondack Autumn (Fall) Festivals - Leap Peeping and Harvest Celebrations!

There are so many opportunities to see the change of seasons in the Adirondack Park. Now is the time to take in the changing leaves and enjoy the fall harvest. Here are 11 opportunities to visit various parts of the Adirondack Park from Lake George to Lake Placid. Each festival is different and offers a unique experience for you and your family. Enjoy!

October 7-9,
6th Annual Lake George Oktoberfest and Fall Festival
Between Canada St and Shepard Park in Lake George village
Friday: Oct 7 5-10 pm
Saturday: Oct 8, noon- 10 pm
Sunday: Oct 9, noon - 5 pm
Beer garden, food, German and Bavarian live music and children's activities

October 8-9
Lake Placid Flaming Leaves Festival
Admission: Online $14/adults, $8/children, $16/adult gate, $10/children gate
October 8: 10 am - 4 pm
October 9: 9:30 am - 4 pm
Watch the top North American ski jumping talent while listening to live Blues and enjoy BBQ, beer garden, craft vendors, lawn games and chairlift/elevator ride.

October 8
Thurman Fall Farm Tour
10 am - 4 pm
Enjoy self-guided tours to 7 different sites, just minutes from Lake George, NY. Wagons rides, Barn Raising, quilt show and live music are just a few of the activities available for the whole family.

Lake George Land Conservancy FREE foliage hike
10:30 am -12:30 pm
Last Great Shoreline Preserve, Putnam, NY hike, 3.0-mile.
This guided hike is free, but advanced registration  is required.

October 8
Long Lake Harvest Festival
10 am - 4 pm
Long Lake Town Hall
Craft vendors selling handmade items including soaps, hiking sticks, cheese boards, homemade herbal spice mixes, children's books and more. Kids' activities include bounce house, pumpkin painting and games

October 8-9
Gore Mountain Harvest Festival
10 am - 4 pm
FREE (pay as you play)
Live music, Adirondack raptor experience, hay maze, gondola rides, magicians, food, nature hikes, Halloween egg hunt

October 9
Penfield Museum AppleFest, Ironville/Crown Point
10 am - 3 pm 
Admission: FREE (pay as you play)
Vendors, Bakery market and free entry to the museum as well as nature trail hikes, games, and other family fun.

Punkin' Chunking' at Kate Mountain, Vermontville
 October 15, 11 am - 3 pm 
Admission: $3/children, $5/adults
Bring your trebuchet or catapult or just come to watch the fun. Nature trails, face painting, pumpkin painting and pony rides ($). Submit an entry for the pumpkin pie bake-off.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Easy, Short Adirondack Hikes Moss Lake Loop trail Inlet (Old Forge) Inlet Outdoor Family Challenge

Moss Lake is a beautiful 2.5-mile loop trail near Inlet, NY
My family searches for swimming spots, every time we go for a hike. We hold tight to the knowledge that have a hot day on the trail we can come back to cool off in a nearby lake or pond. Moss Lake off of Big Moose Rd in Eagle Bay, near Inlet is one such place.

Part of the 15,410 Fulton Chain Wild Forest, the trail to Moss Lake has two entrances, one accessible and the other a short jaunt to access the water. The main parking area offers plenty of parking while just 0.1-mile farther, a handicap-accessible parking area leads to a wide level path and observation platform.

My family is grateful to learn that we can take members of our extended family to the other entrance on our next visit. For this time we walk the quick 0.1-mile for a quick view of the sandy shoreline of Moss Lake.

The loop trail is 2.-5 miles follows the old bridle path when the property was being run as Moss Lake Camp for Girls between 1923 and 1972.

According to the interpretive entrance sign the 600-acre Moss Lake Camp hosted three separate facilities around Moss Lake with sleeping bungalows, dining room recreation hall, infirmary, archery range, dance studio, craft shop, fencing, tennis courts, and waterfront. A riding facility was located on the east side of Big Moose Rd, holding up to 40 horses, a blacksmith shop and three riding rings.

In 1973 the Nature Conservancy purchased the property, which was then acquired for the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve that same year. From 1974 to 1978 members of the Ganienkeh Mohawk tribe too over the property and a three years standoff lead to final negotiations with NYS Secretary of State Mario Cuomo for a 600-acre trust at Miner Lake in Altona to be set aside. Currently the 25 original Mohawk families have a lumber mill, gardens, golf course, Bingo Hall and holistic center in a "dry community."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Easy Adirondack Hikes in Eagle Bay- Cascade Lake Waterfall Loop Trail (Inlet Outdoor Family Challenge)

At the trail register to the Cascade Lake trail, Eagle Bay (Inlet, NY)
My family is always looking for those easy Adirondack hikes that still give us a workout and view, but still gets us back to town at a relatively early hour. We still love camping and racking up the 46ers, but we always have time to introduce friends to beautiful easy hikes that are fun for all ages, levels and abilities. 

One such hike is the loop trail around Cascade Lake in Eagle Bay (Inlet). It is also an opportunity to cross one activity off the list that gets you closer to earning a badge and your name added to the Inlet Outdoor Family Challenge list*.

trail map for Cascade Lake trail loop and Cascade Falls, Inlet NY
This 4.9-mile loop hike is located near Eagle Bay and just a few miles south of Inlet, NY. Sometimes a bit muddy, the trail is relatively level path that can be down in two shorter excursions or a longer loop trail.

The first 1.1-mile section is a multi-use trail. We encounter bicyclists and horseback riders along the trail. At the first junction the trail splits. The trail to the left will reach the northern shoreline of Cascade Lake. passing the junction to Queer Lake and onto the old Camp Cascade. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lake George Adirondack Balloon Festival

Sometimes my husband and I take turns doing something special with the children. We each need our own one-on-one time with our son and daughter. Each child also gets that special time with a parent where he/she doesn’t have to compete for attention.

One such special event is the Adirondack Balloon Festival. Since we live outside of Saranac Lake, making the 5:00 am Big Balloon Breakfast at the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport hanger in Queensbury was no small feat. The biggest challenge wasn’t so much the early drive but getting my son out of bed. He agreed much later on that is was definitely worth the trip.

Touted as the oldest and largest hot air balloon event on the East Coast, the Adirondack Balloon Festival started September 22 and will continue through September 25. 

On Friday, September 23, the event kicks off at 3 pm with craft vendors and live music at the Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport in Queensbury. Later that evening 80 balloons will take flight, including those special balloon shapes my family looks forward to seeing. If there is poor visibility due to weather, there is still plenty to do and see. Pilots still inflated the balloons but keep each tethered because of any fog.

Pilots normally start inflating the balloons on Saturday and Sunday at around 6:00 am so spectators may want to get to the airport around 5:30 am.
The pilots inflate the hot air balloons and fly the balloons where the wind carries them. (Check out the schedule to the right)