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) 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Hawaiian Canoe Hokulea Arrives in the Adirondacks (Lake Champlain)

I've been following the mission and journey of the Hōkūleʻa  as she and her crew continue their world-wide journey promoting a sustainable future. There is always so much more to learn.

According to Hōkūleʻa  Ka'ai McAfee-Torco,
a teacher and consulant on board from Honolulu, Hawaii, the name Hōkūleʻa (Arcturus) is a lode star for the Hawaiian culture and for McAfee-Torco. “The name means 'Star of Gladness.' It is the star that passes over the islands. It is the sign that lets you know you are home. It has a very special meaning to us all.”

Hōkūleʻa, the flagship for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) continues on her four year-long, 47,000 nautical mile round the world trip to bring awareness of the fragile nature of our water systems and the need for a sustainable world.  The first voyage came in 1976 after artist Herb Kane's vision of building the iconic double-hulled sailing canoe came to realization. Kane saw his own cultural ancestry becoming extinct and spearheaded a journey to revive the canoes that first brought Hawaiians to the islands.

Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage Navigator Kālepa Baybayan started with the PVS in 1978, just two years after the Hōkūleʻa’s maiden voyage.

“We started this tour in 2013 with a one-year voyage around our islands,” says Baybayan. “This leg is part of the three-year Mālama Honua project.”

Baybayan explains that the initial Hōkūleʻa canoe was based on social science, reviving a legacy of exploration and tracing how the islands could have been settled. 

Now Hōkūleʻa's goal expands beyond the need for cultural survival, but the need to "protect the 
most cherished values and places from disappearing." Though the PVS was founded on its cultural roots of Pacific Ocean exploration, the crew and educators of Hokele'a are continuing their world trip to introduce all cultures to traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration. Through educational programs, live tracking and local organizations, the crew continues to inspire generations to continue to explore and protect the natural and cultural environments through art and science. 


When the Hōkūleʻa is welcomed back home she and her crew will have traveled 47,00 miles, 85 ports, 26 nations, 4 years, one ocean and one island Earth.

“This began a rebirth of traditions. Now 40 years later we are connecting with all cultures from each continent,” says Baybayan. “This next challenge is to let the winds blow us around the planet.”

That is what the crew and educators on this Polynesian sailing vessel continue to do is demonstrate its Mālama Honua (caring for the planet) while they voyage for a sustainable future. 

“Our main objective to share what we learn about the world ocean climate. It connects all of us,” says Baybayan. “We see this images from space of our blue planet and as Sylvia Earle says 'Without a blue planet, there would be no green.’ Seventy percent of our planet is blue. Every breath we take, we take some from the ocean.” 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Easy Shorts Hikes in Inlet, Eagle Bay and Old Forge: Bubb and Sis Lake to Moss Lake

Recently we had to pick up my son from a Nike tennis camp at Colgate University. Since the drive from our house is a lofty 4.5 hours, we needed a place to unwind, stretch our legs and decompress.

The beginning of the Vista trail at Bubb and Sis Lake
trail, Eagle Bay, NY
A favorite hike located between Eagle Bay and Old Forge (NY) is a stroll to Bubb and Sis Lakes. The options are pretty wide open depending on the timeframe from a short hike to a lengthy walk. We weren't under any time crunch, but we'd hiked the Vista trail before and hiked around Moss Lake so we choose to just have lunch on the shoreline of Sis Lake.

The hike starts from Rt. 28, about 1.5-miles west of Eagle Bay. Turn north into the parking area. There are two handicap accessible spots so anyone can access the nearby Tobie trail. The only mildly challenging section of the trail is the first 0.2-mile. The trail gains most of its elevation within those first tenth of a mile. My GPS read that it was about a 200' vertical ascent from the parking area. There are a few rocks to hop over and a small stream crossing. At the top of the incline the trail forks.

Monday, August 29, 2016

REVIEW: Beth Glover Shines in Pendragon Theatre's “The Glass Menagerie”

Tom (Miles River Willow) relives his past
in Tennesse Williams' The Glass Menagerie
(Saranac Lake) I’ve only read Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie and now after seeing Pendragon Theatre's latest offering, I am wondering why I’ve waited so long to see this performance. Perhaps I was just waiting to see this stellar performance directed by Pendragon Theatre Executive Artistic Director Karen Lordi Kirkman. Pendragon Theatre’s The Glass Menagerie is a heartbreaking tale of family strife and desperation. Kirkman has brought together a fantastic cast and crew that has the audience giggling one moment and gasping the next while taken through Tom’s memory of his flawed family.

The four-character play is told from the past perceptive of Amanda’s son Tom Wingfield (Miles River Willow) as he relives a memory when he struggled to become a poet while working at the local shoe factory. Tom steps into the action as his memory comes to life.

Tijana Bjelajac’s clever set allows the actors to change scenes through their action. A loading dock morphs easily into the Wingfield’s parlor with a few shifts of metal boxes.  The set reinforces that this story is Tom’s selective memory where certain elements, like the dining table or glass menagerie is represented in color with exact details while other segments are colorless, vague and unimportant.

Amanda is desperate to provide Laura with a future
Willow (seen in Pendragon’s Arcadia and Seagull) plays Tom with all the bitterness of a man trapped in a life of obligation. While out for a night of movies or drink, Tom uses every excuse to escape his family. With shoulders curled and fists clenched, Willow drives home the disappointment of a life unfulfilled. While his own father has taken off to parts unknown, Tom is left to take care of his mother and invalid sister. His mother Amanda Wingfield (Beth Glover*) is a genteel southern belle regaling her children about an exaggerated past filled with “17 gentleman callers” and how their father was a disappointing choice.
Amanda (Beth Glover) lectures her son Tom (Miles River Willow)

Beth Glover as Amanda is brilliant. Glover, most recently seen in the Broadway national tour of Cinderella as the Wicked Stepmother, pulls from her own Mississippi roots to fill the stage with southern charm as she wages a last ditch campaign to marry off her recluse, shy daughter Laura (Liv Paulson). Glover draws the spotlight to her with each drawl whether she purses her lips in disappointment or clasps her hands in childlike glee. Amanda’s children are her life and when Laura fails at business school, Amanda feels the only security left for her daughter is marriage.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Easy Adirondack Hikes: Saranac Lake The Pine Trails


My family used to use the short “spur” trail known as “The Pines,” as a shortcut to a friend’s house. It was our path to a walk around beautiful Moody Pond and a road walk to Baker Mountain. The Pines was always a bit of a tangle with herd paths making it more a maze than a direct trail. We always managed to take a bit of a wander around, seeing the road beyond but always exiting with more of a bushwhack than easy stroll.

Read the ADE FamilyTime column 
Thankfully last year local Boy Scout Matthew Adams made The Pines his Eagle Scout project. With many trail improvements including water bars, benches and trail signs, the path is an easy wooded loop walk with no confusion over trespassing. 

The 12-acre plot is owned by the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association (SLVHA) and deeded in 1937 to the organization while still under the name of “Saranac Lake Tuberculosis Society, Inc.” It seems fitting that The Pines is owned by the SLVHA.  Since 1897, the SLVHA has provided visiting nurse services upon referral. Now the organization has grown to make other healthcare initiatives possible for Saranac Lake residents. In addition to the visiting nurse service, the SLVHA funds the Saranac Lake Elementary School Dental Hygiene Program, provides health based scholarships, loans necessary medical equipment, and offers an adult dental grant program. With The Pines trail, the organization continues to provide opportunities for everyone to be in the best of health.