Showing posts from 2017

A Train Ride to Christmas Town Starts at Stony Creek Ranch Resort

It’s just a few more days until Christmas, but Stony Creek Ranch Resort is making sure there are plenty of wonderful holiday activities happening throughout the season. Since being purchased in 2015 by the McLean family, Stony Creek Ranch Resort (formerly 1,000 Acres Ranch) has been renovated to bring even more of the Adirondack rustic allure to the existing ranch property.
According to Stony Creek Ranch Resort owner Scott McLean the property was purchased at auction. After opening for the 2016 season they decided to use the subsequent winter months to provide some improvements to the ranch’s existing charm.
“We renovated the dining room and the cabins to provide that Adirondack rustic feel,” says McLean. “We upgraded fences, brought back the cattle drive, and bought horses. We even have our own train station and have partnered with the North Creek train to bring about the Train to Christmas Town.”
The Train to Christmas Town experience recreates the popular children’s story by aut…

Craft: Make a felt or paper ice skate holiday ornament

I have always found that a handmade ornament makes a great gift, allows me to spend time with family and creates memories. Each year when we decorate our tree, we hang our special ornaments and talk about when each one was made.

I hope you enjoy making this one as much as we did!

My daughter and I created two versions, one out of wool felt and the other out of paper.

The felt version is a bit complicated, but not so challenging that my 11-year-old with a stomach bug couldn't complete it.

The paper version is a great option for younger children who can use scissors and glue.

Parents may still want to lend a hand, because it's fun to make together!

Adirondack Treats: Make Your Own Mirror Lake Inn Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe)

Back by popular demand!

My favorite cookie recipe! 
*reprinted with permission

Mirror Lake InnChocolate Chip Cookies, Lake Placid, N.Y.

Mix until light and fluffy
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar

Blend and add to sugar mixture: 
4 eggs

4 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups broken walnuts (I omit)

Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Yields 4 dozen.

Tip: I whip up a batch and keep the dough in the refrigerator and bake a few cookies at a time! Enjoy!

*if you stay at the Inn you get complimentary afternoon tea and chocolate chip cookies daily. If not, you can make your own and pretend!

14 Adirondack Film Festivals, Film Forums and Art Movie Houses

We are so fortunate to have a mixture of nature and culture to complete our family fun. We can't offer city living, though that is usually the reason why people live or visit the Adirondacks - to get away from it all. 

I am so grateful that we have nearby opportunities to continue to expose our children to the much loved Adirondack High Peaks, but also professional theatre, films, museums and more. Below are 14 Adirondack festivals, film forums and movie film societies to enjoy! 

I will update as dates/festivals change. Thanks! 

1) 1) Lake Placid Film Forum "Sleepless in the Lake Placid" student film festival portion of Deadline for entry: TBD
Rules: Student filmmakers to make a complete project in 24-hours to be shown and judged during the Lake Placid Film Forum. (This will be updated as dates become available.) 
Festival Screenings: June TBD

Easy Short Adirondack Hikes: A hike to Elephant’s Head Trail Map ( Paul Smiths/Malone)

Distance = 0.5-mile from parking area to summit. Seasonally the road in is impassable, adding an additional 1.5-miles from road to parking area
Elevation  = 1,939'
Vertical Ascent  = 464'

We don’t usually choose our hikes for the name of the mountain, but when daughter found out that there was an elephant in the Adirondacks, she wanted to see it for herself.

One such hike is the 0.5-mile hike to the summit of Elephant’s Head Mountain, part of the Titusville Mountain State Forest. 
Depending on the weather and the type of vehicle, getting to the trailhead can be part of the issue. We turn onto the dirt road at the familiar brown sign marking the entrance to Elephant’s Head mountain. This time there are potholes to maneuver, but the road itself is manageable.

Moon Gazing? International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN)- October 28, 2017

Join in the fun with this worldwide celebration of the moon during the sixth annual International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). Since 2010 InOMN has coordinated events and activities around the world to learn and observe about the moon.

In the Adirondacks, one place to learn more about the moon is through the Lake George Land Conservancy's (LGLC) annual program featuring Rosemary Milham, Ph.D's outdoor presentation at the UpYonda Farm in Bolton Landing from 6:30 - 7:30 pm.

The attached Moon Observation Log allows you, your family and/or children to track the moon's cycle, recording the various finds. Enjoy!

Meat-Eating Plants? Adirondack Carnivorous Plants

Nature Detective? Yes, please! 

At least with Adirondack carnivorous plants, you don't have to worry about it eating your pets or smallest child. This isn't A Little Shop of Horrors, but Mother Nature's pest control. 

There are carnivorous plants that are native to the Adirondack Park, but they are much smaller than the mythical Venus Flytraps. The sundew, pitcher plant, and bladderwort are beautiful as they are resilient.   

Theseplants use various natural disguises to lure in its prey. No carnivorous plant completely relies on insects as a food source. Photosynthesis is still at play.  

The sundews' sticky leaves glisten in the sun, tricky insects onto the leaves. There they are trapped and "eaten" by means of the plant's digestive enzymes.  

The pitcher plant uses its brightly colored "trumpet" and nectar to lure insects into the funnel. Inside a waxy coating causes insects to slip to the bottom where a pool of water drowns the bugs and digestive …

Craft: Making a Recycled Paper Corner Bookmark Tutorial and Print-out

Looking for a rainy day activity 
or have you lost your favorite bookmark?

Don't dog-ear those pages, make a quick corner bookmark out of recycled materials.

Enjoy reading your favorite books!

Directions (print-out tutorial at bottom of page)

1) Cut out a 6" or 7" square piece of paper or use the tutorial print-out to the left. We have used old maps, children's artwork, candy wrappers, and catalogs as material for bookmarks.

2) fold in half diagonally: bring corner 4 to corner 1, fold along corners 2 and 3 to form a triangle pointing up.

3) Fold corner 2 to meet corner 1 and fold corner 3 to meet corner 1, crease along folds

4) turn the diamond 180º so flaps face down.  (See diagram)

5) Gentle open the flaps

6) in the center there will be folded lines forming a square. Fold the top layer Corner 1 up.

7) Refold corners 2 and 3 down to form the diamond shape.

8) Fold the top layer of Corners 2 and 3 to Corner 1. Crease at line 7.

9) Fold Flaps 2 and 3 under and into the poc…

Easy Adirondack Hikes: Walk to Moose Pond (Saranac Lake) Trail Map

This certainly has been a spectacular autumn. There have been so many options for viewing the changing season and a quick walk to Moose Pond is one of our favorites. Even as the season wanes, there seems to be plenty of color in the mountains.
This easy Adirondack family hike begins between two fields on Rt. 3 between Saranac Lake and Bloomingdale. Since it is midweek and no other cars are around, I park at the canoe carry at the Saranac River bridge. There is parking for three cars by the bridge, but during busy weekends and summer days it’s best to park at the pullover on Rt. 3 and walk the additional 300 yards. 
According to Historic Saranac Lake the Rt. 3 trail to Moose Pond was once a logging trail and then became the access for a private club called “Bel-Lago Park” in the 1920s. It has since converted back to state land. It has long since overgrown and narrowed to become the current foot access only trail. The trail to Moose Pond is generally flat with a few rolling hills.
I ha…

Nature Detective: What is this moss hanging from the tree? It is not Spanish Moss. It's Old Man's Beard (Usnea)

The pale green lichen in the Usnea "ooze-ne-a" familyalso known as Old Man’s Beard, can easily be spied hanging in tree branches around the Adirondacks. I

Its green lacy tuffs remind me of the Lorax and the Truffula trees and as Dr. Seuss says, "Truffula trees are what everyone needs."

Did you know?
lichens are not really plants but a blending of two separate organisms: fungus and algae.
• It is commonly known as a tree moss or beard moss. 
• It is sometimes confused with Spanish moss, which is not found in the Adirondacks.
• Usnea was used a respiratory antibiotic since 1600 B.C • Important in ancient Greek and Chinese medicine • Has anti-microbial properties so can be directly applied to an open wound to stave off infection.  • Make a tea or tincture out of it to treat lung infections.  • Has been used to combat tuberculosis in studies. Identify •A white, stretchy, thin cord can be found when you pull the Old Man's Beard gently apart. © Diane Chase is the author of th…

Crafts: Aldo Leopold Bench Plans

Enjoy these simple plans for this simple bench that provides a perfect place to observe the natural world. 
Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.
“That land is a community is the basic concept off ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”

Though his book, The Sand County Almanac is a must read, it may be something that can wait for anyone with very young children. For everyone else, it's a wonderful example of nature writing that is a timeless connection to the land.

My family first made our first  "Leopold Bench" as a group effort at the Aldo celebration at the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, NY. It remains one our most comfortable outdoor benches. It also was a project that allowed us to work together.

© Diane Chase, author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes a…

9th Annual 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting submissions for the 9th annual 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest. Students can showcase their artistic talents and help increase public awareness about trees in New York by participating in the contest.
"Trees play a vital role in the lives of New Yorkers and are an important part of our ecosystem," Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Whether someone is tapping a maple tree in early spring or relaxing in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day, trees are integral to our quality of life. I encourage New York's fifth graders to join our celebration of trees and showcase why trees are important in our daily lives."
The annual 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest is sponsored by DEC, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the State Education Department. The theme for this year's contest is, "Trees for Bees." Students are asked to create an original poster depict…

Review: Pendragon Theatre’s 1984 is a Must-See, Emotional Gut Punch

“He who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the present, controls the past.” ~ George Orwell, 1984
Summary: George Orwell’s original book was written in 1949, after WWII. Michael Gene Sullivan’s adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 brings to life a dystopian world where news is altered to fit the words of Big Brother and showing emotions, demonstrating love, and thinking against the establishment are all crimes. 
Where: August 29, 30, 31, September 1,2 at 8 pm and September 3 at 2 pm. at PendragonTheatre, Brandy Brook Ln, Saranac Lake September 10 at 3 pm in Old Forge VIEW September 22 at 7:30 pm at Lake Placid Center for the Arts September 29 at 7:30 pm at Glen Falls’ Wood Theatre October 12 at TBD at Plattsburgh’s Strand Theater October 14 at 7 pm at Blue Mountain Lake’s Adirondack Lake Center for the Arts.
(Saranac Lake) It has been quite a few years since I’ve read George Orwell’s book “1984,” but its emotional rollercoaster still hits hard for my daughter and myself as …

Adirondack Fire tower Hike: Champlain Valley's Poke-O-Moonshine

Climbing Poke-O-Moonshine, Keeseville
Elevation: 2,170'
Vertical ascent: 1,450'
Ranger Trail: (red markers) 1.2-mile
Truck Trail: (blue markers) 2.4
We have not climbed Poke-O-Moonshine in quite some time. My son wants to listen to the song that refers to it by name. My husband and I look at him in confusion. He quotes the lyrics, “Misty Poke-Moonshine, teardrop in my eye.”
Hmmm. It leads to a discussion on John Denver, “Country Roads” and the moonshine, in that song, refers to the home-brew “white lightening” not an Adirondack hike.
All references I’ve found to the name point to it being an amalgamation of the Algonquin words “pohqui” meaning broken and “moosie” translating to smooth. Some people believe the name refers to the flat rock summit and sheer granite cliffs. Those cliffs attract rock climbers from all over to attempt more than 50 rock-climbing routes with names such as The Waterfall, Fastest Gun, and Bloody Mary.
We can see climbers as we pull in to the old DEC campgroun…