Going Green in the Adirondacks

Adirondack Pioneers

Imagine it is the late 1970s and you have moved your family, including six children, into a Civil War-era farmhouse in the middle of the Adirondack wilderness. Let’s add to the challenge. The farmhouse has neither running water, nor electricity! Situated on its own 200 acres there were no neighbors very close and no market, or other community amenities, for miles. The thought of raising six children is scary enough, but pull the plug, turn off the tap and position the family out of immediate reach of services and thoughts supersede scary. The Ockrins are an amazing family, true Adirondack pioneers.

 

Solar

I had a great visit with Nancy, "Mom Ockrin" as she is known, and learned about how they managed to pull this off. “Candles and kerosene lamps at first,” she told me, “with a high priority to get running water.” A tapped natural spring was found to dry up in the summer so they immediately graduated to a dug well. The candles and kerosene lamps quickly fell by the wayside as they transitioned to storage batteries, generators and eventually full solar power in the early 1990s.

John, father of the family, is definitely a skilled DIY-er who has stayed on top of the latest developments in solar technology. Over the years, he has designed, engineered, built and continually improved their solar energy system to result in the sophisticated system that provides all their power needs today. After 30 years of providing solar power for his family, John has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and understanding of solar energy. His first-hand experience and accumulation of knowledge has led him to develop his business, Solar Electrical Solutions. This company can provide a site assessment and analyze power needs. Then they design, install, service, and maintain a site-suitable system. This is ideal for anyone who may not have easy access to electrical power, or for those who desire to escape the grid or reduce their dependence by interactively tying in.

The Farmhouse with Modern Features

The farmhouse was originally built by an Irish farm family over the course of the Civil War, 1861-65. Though it maintains the character and charm of a historical farmhouse, restorations and upgrades over the course of Ockrin ownership has brought it into the 21st Century with a warm comfortable atmosphere. Once the Ockrin offspring had left the nest, Nancy told me she began opening up the empty house to guests: foreign exchange students, cycling tour groups, Audubon researchers. She realized she enjoyed the company and entertaining guests.

The Stoney Lonesome Bed and Breakfast was opened in 2005 and has all modern amenities, including wifi and a/c. The B&B features four bedrooms each with a private bathroom. The entire house has a warm, welcoming, family atmosphere. The guest bedrooms are themed, and proudly named, after the Ockrin children and one “International Room” displays memorabilia from their children’s travels and adventures around the world.

Aside from private room and bath, guests have the opportunity to enjoy common spaces indoors, a large beautiful country kitchen and spacious living room.

Outside, two ample porches offer comfortable seating to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of this remote Adirondack location. Guests can enjoy and admire Nancy’s flower and vegetable gardens. Each morning Nancy prepares a fresh, hearty, hot breakfast using only organic products. As often as possible the breakfast incorporates her homegrown vegetables and locally produced organic products. The hearty breakfast will provide any guest with a great start to the day whether it's connecting with nature while exploring the Ockrin’s 200 acres in search of wildflowers, native birds, plants and wildlife, or setting off for nearby Adirondack adventures. 

Numerous Options and Opportunity, All Close By

Though this B&B’s location seems so secluded and isolated, it really is within close proximity and easy access to many sites, attractions and additional recreational opportunities. It can be a great home base for days filled with a wide variety Adirondack exploration.

Penfield Homestead Museum is a mere 3 miles away. Annual events there, such as their Heritage Day Chicken Barbecue and AppleFolkFest, draw crowds for the great food, entertainment, craft vendors and activities. The museum preserves the history of the iron industry at Ironville and tells the story of that industry’s ties to the Civil War and the first industrial use of electricity. The museum's grounds feature trailheads for two of the Champlain Area Trails: the Old Ironville Road Trail, and Penfield Pond Trail. Together these two offer over 5 miles of wooded and scenic trails for hiking. Fishing permits for the day, or extended periods, may be acquired from the museum to fish the adjacent Penfield Pond and there is a paddling launch as well. Access to the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area is within 5 miles. This wilderness is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the east-central Adirondacks. This section of Adirondack Forest Preserve contains over 40 thousand acres, 39 bodies of water, and over 60 miles of hiking trails.

Heading east, both Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point State Historic Site are within about 15 minutes travel time. Both sit directly on the 125-mile-long Lake Champlain, display superb scenic vistas, and tell the story of our country’s very beginnings. The nearby Town of Ticonderoga offers many museums, galleries, dining and shopping options. To the west are the Schroon Lake Region and the Town of Schroon which offers more dining and shopping options as well as a spectacularly scenic public beach.

Bring the Bike

Stoney Lonesome B&B also sits directly on one of the many cycling routes of Lake Champlain Bikeways, a network of over 1300 miles of bicycling trails throughout the Champlain Valley in both New York and Vermont. The Stoney Lonesome Loop features approximately 17 miles of intermediate cycling traveling over remote, generally unpaved, scenic stretches with minimal traffic. A cross/mountain bicycle is recommended. At Penfield Homestead Museum you can connect to LCB’s more challenging route, Iron to Iron, classified as advanced cycling. This hilly loop contains approximately 26 miles of paved and unpaved stretches to the Iron Center Museum in the Village of Port Henry. It is considered a good work out for any cyclist.

Whatever your interests, your hosts, John and Nancy, will give you a warm welcome and are prepared to help you plan a perfect Adirondack getaway.  


 

In related ADK Park news:
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