Champlain Valley

Champlain Valley

Extraordinary Leaves and LayersAs you are cruising along the Adirondack Coast this fall, peeping at the magnificent colors, you are bound to admire the awesome scenery this historic valley displays. Man has been admiring and coveting this valley for centuries. From early European exploration, through conflict, and settlement, this fertile valley and its resources have been sought after and fought over. There are layers upon layers of American...
Birding By BoatOur birding trip had already been successful when the group I was leading turned its attention to the La Chute River for a canoe trip into Ti Marsh. In fact, we had done so well that we were running late and we had difficulty pulling ourselves away from the birds we were enjoying — although that is the usual state of affairs for such adventures. We even debated skipping the paddle altogether to keep birding from the road instead....
It was a fight for the ages, a battle of wits that ended with the triumph of man over beast. I caught a fish. But it wasn’t just any fish — this was a beautiful, 30-inch long lake trout that weighed about 12 pounds. A catch of that caliber might not have excited a hardier fisherman; a hardy fisherman I am not. Most of my adventures involve walking and climbing, and since this was my first time fishing on Lake Champlain I was ecstatic about...
The day started with a pair of muck boots. When days dawn bright and clear, and your footwear includes a pair of rubber boots ready for splashing through puddles and farm fields, you know it’s going to be a grand day.I hastily pulled them on over my pant legs, grabbed my breakfast sandwich and ran out the door. To the Hub on the Hill, I sang as I climbed into my car. Living in Westport, NY, in the Lake Champlain Region, I love connecting...
Submitted by Guest Blogger: Kathleen McLoud The day was basically clear, with beautiful blue skies and puffy white clouds here and there. The temperatures where in the high 70s — the perfect day for a few short to moderate and basically easy hikes in our immediate area of Lake Champlain Region. My friend and co-hiker decided we should take a light lunch and plenty of water, which made our backpacks light and easy to carry. Next we put...
Annually on a weekend in early August, this year on the 12th and 13th, the Crown Point State Historic Site hosts the French and Indian War Encampment. It’s an exciting weekend for the site, as hundreds of participants and close to a thousand spectators gather to commemorate the significant history of this location. Authentically clad French, British, and Native American regiments and groups camp amongst the ruins of two 18th ...
I met with a longtime Depot Theatre person to discuss the new 2017 season. Beth Glover has an excellent vantage point to view all the upcoming productions.This busy actress appears in local venues, on and off Broadway, and on the West Coast. Theater, small films, and television provide a varied backdrop for her work, even from backstage, such as serving as a stage manager for Depot Theatre's production of "SHOUT! The Mod Musical."What to love"I...
Champ Day is drawing near, and once again the residents of Port Henry are gearing up to celebrate their hometown lake monster, Champ. This annual bash at the “Home of Champ” keeps getting bigger, and this year is shaping up to be some fun doin’s.Champ Day is Sunday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a special kickoff to Champ Day - “The Return of Champ Day Movie Night!” - which will take place on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Come by the...
Let the celebrations begin!The summer season is off to a great start - the water is as blue as the sky, the sun is shining, and our seasonal shops are open for business!The action really heats up this week as our villages prepare to celebrate the long holiday weekend with events for all ages. We invite you to come celebrate with us along the Adirondack Coast; it is really the ideal location for this specific holiday.It was on the waters and...
One of my favorite cookbooks from among my wife’s collection is a small slim book from 1885 entitled “Canoe and Camp Cookery.” This book is intriguingly subtitled: “A Practical Cook Book for Canoeists, Corinthian Sailors and Outers”.When I first read this wording, I assumed an “outer” was anyone experiencing an “outing,” but I was confused and fascinated by the term “Corinthian Sailor.” The mystery lingered until I remembered, “Duh- Google…”...
Kathleen McLoud is our guest blogger. Her husband introduced her to bass fishing and she has participated in tournaments with him for the last 17 years. She holds the Rutland County Bassmaster's record for large mouth bass. A day in the life...It’s 4:30 a.m., a cool 43-degree spring morning, and we’re off to a major bass tournament on Lake Champlain. I have dressed in several layers of clothing, knowing that by this afternoon it will get up...
It's National Trail Day Folks!Head to the Lake Champlain Region for a ChallengeBy Guest Blogger: Michael MartineauHiking in the Adirondacks is not merely an activity for many, it's a lifestyle. Those who embrace this lifestyle are out on the trails as much as possible. They will repeat trails and mountains so many times they know if a certain tree has lost a branch, or a rock was washed away, or if a trail blaze has fallen.They become an...
In the charming hamlet of Port Henry, a new establishment has opened to fill the needs of visitors coming to enjoy the Adirondacks.If you are ready to stop for the night, the Village Inn offers immaculate lodging that lands squarely between a hotel and a bed and breakfast. If you just need a bite to eat, then the Red Brick Café will fix you up with a tasty panini and the best espresso around.Travelers can now better plan their journey knowing...
A popular attraction has opened its doors for the 2017 summer season, and our friends at Star Trek Original Series Set Tour are looking to outdo themselves with their feature Trekonderoga event, happening August 25-27, including a full roster of exciting big name stars making guest appearances.If you can’t make the big doings, fear not intrepid Trekkies, you can still stop by to tour the sets when you’re in town. Doors are open from May through...
First Paddle of the Season!While we are firmly paddling through warm weather now, it wasn't so long ago that we loaded our canoe for the first ride of the year. Here's a little recap of another great day on the Adirondack Coast.Wren and I met up with a friend, and after enjoying some birding on dry land, we set out on Scomotion (Dead) Creek just south of Cumberland Head. The put-in is accessed from a small parking lot for a doctor’s office and...
Here it comes... the first traditional holiday of the summer season and many of us are beginning to make our long weekend plans. The Town of Crown Point is gearing up for their annual Memorial Day celebration held Saturday, May 27 through Monday, May 29. This community has been hosting Memorial Day celebrations for 149 years! They extend gracious hospitality for everyone to come and enjoy the activities and events planned, but also...
 Recently my wife and I took a little spring outing. The morning sky was clear and the sun shown warm as we started out. Opening the car door, our two enthusiastic companions and intrepid explorers, Cappy and Waggs, excitedly jumped in and we embarked. We have been exploring our local CATS (Champlain Area Trails), starting with a lovely hike up Coot Hill/Big Hollow last fall. We decided Crowfoot Pond would be a more challenging follow-up -...
Spring is a great time to hike. For everything there is a season, and spring hiking is about the contradictions.There are brisk winds, but we never get too hot. The weather can turn on a dime, but that means indirect lighting for stunning photos. It might rain, but it is also peak waterfall season.Here's some suggestions for enjoyable spring hikes.Quick & easyIf you are thrilled by roaring waters, the Lee Park Trail is a fine pick for even...
(Featured Image Courtesy and Copyright Fort Ticonderoga)  Just a few more days and Fort Ticonderoga will be open for the season! There you find an ever-changing adventure. I recently spoke directly with Beth Hill, President and CEO of Fort Ticonderoga to get the inside scoop on what exciting experiences we might find at the Fort this year. I will share her insight on a few not-to-be-missed features for this coming season:If cannons...
A Beautiful DayWith the shifting weather patterns of spring comes a changing diversity of birds — seemingly different every day. In an effort to get lucky and find species of note moving into or through the region, I have been outside as often as I can – mostly walking Wren near our home. But when the forecast looked as splendid as it did for a late-April day, it was time for a trip further afield.Species of NoteWhile many locations came to mind...
Feature photo: Early morning trout stocking- courtesy of Chris Barber  Thousands of the beautiful trout that enjoy life in our streams, creeks, ponds, and lakes spent their youth at the Essex County Fish Hatchery. Every year this hatchery acquires approximately 77,000 rainbow trout eggs, 75,000 brown trout eggs, and 70-77,000 brook trout eggs from huge US Fish and Wildlife suppliers located across the country.Not all of the eggs make...
Port Henry, NY, March 31, 2017- Local Officials unveil a major project aimed at confirming the existence of “Champ,” the Lake Champlain Monster, once and for all.“This will be a shot in the arm for tourism,” stated Super Town Advisor, Bean Favascossa. “This is a huge undertaking that has been in the works for many years. Lake Champlain already has great waterfront activities like boating and fishing, but once Champ is declared real then...
Birding my way around the lakeWhile our recent late-season storms have made the North Country look like winter again – as it should look at this time of year, in this climate – spring continues to press upon the landscape and the birds know it. With that in mind, Wren and I took the chance to bird our way back from Vermont the other day. Birding has been great in the Lake Champlain Region all winter, but I was curious to see what else was...
Each March we are lucky to be treated to several NYS Maple Weekends - a celebration of that honorable upstate tradition of harvesting the sap of the sugar maple on the cusp of spring and boiling it down into maple syrup. However, here on the Adirondack Coast, we love our maple all year long! If you are wondering where you can get some of the best maple syrup around, boy do I have a tip for you.North Hill Maple Farm is a sixth generation family...
While you're traveling through the Lake Champlain Region, there are many great places to indulge in breakfast - trust me, I've tried most of them. However, when it's time to head home, be sure to bring a taste of the Adirondacks back with you. Plan ahead for a lazy morning around your own kitchen table enjoying breakfast, a hot cup of tea, and conversation. One way to make your next Sunday brunch a special occasion is to treat yourself to...
If ever you’re traveling through Westport on the last Saturday of the month between now and April, be sure to stop in to the Winter Farmers Market in Westport. You don’t need directions - you’ll see all the cars parked along the edges of Main Street in front of the Heritage House.I stumbled upon it quite by accident while out on a drive to battle a little case of cabin fever - it turned out to be the perfect cure for what ailed me. We saw the...
Spring WeatherWith spring pushing winter out faster than many of us would like, it is a good time to explore Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area. Wren and I had a chance to do so the other day – she loves to play in the sand at the point during the winter.We started by checking out a few close ducks – Hooded Mergansers and Mallards – along the edge of the marsh along the campground road on our way to the point, watching a male Northern...
Starting with Boreal Birds and then off to the ValleyMy family recently headed to the Adirondacks to join me for a long weekend of birding. After our success in finding Great Gray Owls in Massena, my brother, his son, and I decided we'd head to the Lake Champlain Region.Before we left the Saranac Lake region, we thought we'd start with a search for boreal birds. We began at Bloomingdale Bog north of Saranac Lake where the Gray Jays entertained...
February 2017 featured a nice dump of snow in the Lake Champlain Region that created great cross-country ski conditions in the backwoods area. Our guest blogger, Chris Maron, Director of Champlain Area Trails, shares his solitary ski experience.  We just had a great February snowfall. Finally, in the Lake Champlain Region, there is deep snow. The family is away so I’m on my own. Now, where to explore? I pull out the CATS Map--that’s...
Norm’s Bait and TackleThroughout your life you’ve probably received all kinds of unwanted advice on those embarrassing topics of a romantic nature. Invariably these are inflicted on you by people whose life choices have been even worse than your own. Who am I to break with such long-standing traditions? I just have one gem to add the pile of axioms, idioms, malaprops, and metaphors given to you by anxious parents, tacky uncles, drunken...
Westport BirdsI was out with some folks on the weekend, and after some initial debate we stuck to our plan to bird the Lake Champlain Region - even with the excitement surrounding the Ross’s Gull in Tupper Lake. As usual, we began our day at Westport, watching a flyby Pileated Woodpecker, looking through the small groups of Bufflehead and Mallards, and spotting two Double-crested Cormorants – quite uncommon in the valley during the winter. But...
I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions. In fact, I think they're downright silly. I guess I’m just more comfortable with my vices than most folks. Don’t get me wrong, if you have made some pledge to better yourself in the coming year, I salute you, but enough time has gone by that I say it is time to take stock of your life… and by that I mean it’s time to restock on goodies and sweet treats!The Adirondacks may seem like a...
Fresh from the Lake Champlain RegionWe can’t all have our own farms, so luckily our Adirondack Coast farmers are willing to share! All about localThis winter the Westport Heritage House is hosting a family-friendly indoor activity for all ages. A monthly farmers market featuring 18+ participants will be held from 10am to 2pm on the last Saturday of each month beginning on January 28.We got the scoop on what to expect at the region's newest...
A Return TripAfter our success along the Adirondack Coast a couple weeks ago, Wren and I used the recent long weekend to poke around the lake yet again. It was a fantastically sunny – albeit windy - day. As we often do, we started in Westport, which has been quiet the past few weeks. It stayed true to form with a collection of Mallards and American Black Ducks and a flock of Bufflehead at the boat launch. After checking the overlook at...
Learning to AdaptDeja vu? Blogger's note:As I was out hiking along the Adirondack Coast this week, I was reminded of this old blog I wrote that seems to describe a January very similar to the one we’re experiencing now. There’s little snow on the ground here, and temperature fluctuations have rendered our trails pretty darn icy.No worries; we Adirondackers have learned how to adapt to the unpredictable patterns and extreme weather events...
New adventures on a beautiful dayWith the beginning of the new year, and a beautiful day in the forecast, Wren and I headed to the Adirondack Coast the other day to see what we could find – it had been too long since we had explored there. We started at Westport like we usually do, and Wren led herself around with her nose while I scanned for ducks on North West Bay. The water was pretty quiet, but I did note a few Common Mergansers, Bufflehead...
2016 TOP 3 BLOGS IN REVIEW We scoured our blogs for the most popular, most informative, and just downright funniest pieces from the past year. In case you missed them when they were originally published, here are our top three picks from the Lake Champlain's Adirondack Coast. Enjoy!3) The Adirondack lean-toIf you've ever hiked in the Adirondack wilderness and experienced a pop-up storm along the way, I suspect you were happy to stumble...
It’s that time of year againHard as it is to believe, we have once again cycled through the birding year to the time when Christmas Bird Counts fill our calendars. A few local CBCs were held on Sunday, 12/18/16, including Elizabethtown, Plattsburgh, and also the Vermont Islands count which overlaps across the lake to include the area surrounding Point Au Roche. I was planning to help with this latter count, but I was unable to do it on the count...
Early winter birding along the northern Adirondack CoastSo I’ve heard that the ducks, geese, loons, and other aquatic species in the northern Lake Champlain Region complained because their hangouts weren’t profiled in my recent blog post. The responsible party – whom I’m now realizing is me – has been chastised and I’m writing this to make up for my oversight. The truth is, there are many good places in the early winter to look not only for...
Where the odd birds areFinding a diversity of species of waterfowl – or other aquatic species – in the Southern Lake Champlain Regions requires a number of things.1) You must spend time. 2) You must be patient and work through the shifting flocks which have been arriving from the north.3) You must be lucky.Here's where we can help you! Read on to find out how to use your time, diligence, and luck more effectively by going to the right spots....
As we approach the holiday season, there are two specific events I look forward to every year. In fact, missing either one of these makes the season incomplete for me. I encourage you to add these events to your holiday “list of things to do”- have them become a part of your holiday tradition. Canadian Pacific Holiday TrainEvery year, in late November — this year on November 27 — the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train of Lights winds its...
With the wind in your hair and the Coast in your sights, biking is a favorite way to explore the Lake Champlain Region. //  Keep voting for your ADK favorites:Lake, pond, or river?Family-friendly, close-to-town trek with best views?Where will you reel in the big one?Favorite 6er?Which way up?Winter activities, anyone?What’s your next bite?
A great place to exploreI was heading to Plattsburgh the other day so I figured I would give myself a few hours to explore in and around AuSable Marsh and AuSable Point. It is a great place along the northern shores of the Adirondack Coast to poke around for birds, and the weather, although very windy, was pleasant. Wren and I started with a quick scan of the marsh from the short boardwalk. From here I spotted a Northern Harrier - before we...
A Murder in the Land of Heather and ClansEveryone loves a good ghost story told on a dark night, during this, the season of goblins, witches, and fun-sized candy bars. Curl up with that bowl of candy you pretended to buy for trick-or-treaters and I’ll relate to you a dark tale which begins across the briny in the Highlands of Scotland and reaches its climax right here in the Adirondacks. The eerie part of this story is that the facts of the case...
Guest Blogger: Chris Maron, CATSFeature photo of Split Rock Wildway by Jill Piper  Champlain Area Trails Creates Trails All Can EnjoyThe BeginningImagine being in a part of the Adirondacks where there are fabulous views of sparkling blue water, lush forests, rolling farm fields, and mountains — but hardly any hiking trails. Pretty sad, right?  Well, welcome to the Champlain Valley ten years ago, just before Champlain Area Trails...
One of the most common phobias is fear of heights, or acrophobia. Research speculates that 3-5% of our population is affected by this fear. So much so that their anxiety limits many of their activities and they bypass opportunities for some spectacular experiences. The Lake Champlain Region offers phenomenal scenic vistas; some of which are best achieved in elevated areas. If you are a member of this 3-5% let me share three ideas where you may...
I love living in the Adirondacks. It's not like other places. For example, the majority of people in this country battle traffic on their way to work, on their way home from work, and then again when they venture out to play. If I were anywhere else but here and I wanted a meal out, I'd possibly be faced with the prospect of navigating through red lights and irate drivers.My “ordeal” to eat out tonight involves a beautiful ride through the...
Perhaps you have seen luring pictures of our spectacular sunrises over Lake Champlain. Maybe you have picked out several hikes from the 50+ Champlain Area Trails. You might be itching to catch that record bass from our top bass fishing lake or cycle some of the Adirondack Coast theme loops, explore our world-class historic sites, or try the new rock climbing adventure at Ausable Chasm. Now you want to plan your route and mode of travel. Let me...
Americans pretend to be a dense lot, confused by the fancy aesthetics and foreign emotions that proliferate throughout the rest of the world. We Adirondackers fall into this broad indictment without much objection. For example, the Japanese have no end of terms describing a sweet sadness of the human condition, among them “yugen” (beautiful mystery), “wabi sabi” (the beauty of the imperfect, the impermanent, and the incomplete), and “mono...
There’s no doubt about it: Alexander Hamilton is a rockstar right now.The Founding Father is the subject of the smash-hit Broadway musical “Hamilton: An American Musical,” which tells the story of the American Revolution and the early days of our country through a hip-hop lens. It has taken America by storm, selling out shows since its off-Broadway debut in February 2015 and only gaining steam when it moved to Broadway in August 2015. It’s been...
It can be fascinating living within the pages of a history textbook. Mention “Ticonderoga” and practically every American nods as they recall their early history lessons in school. Students are appropriately taught that activity along this vast lake was critical to the independence, colonization, and development of the entire U.S. I admit, learning that in a classroom setting did little for my appreciation and understanding of those significant...
After Labor Day, our summer may begin to wane along the Adirondack Coast, but this means we can start getting excited about autumn. Soon the colors will be arriving and dressing our landscape in vivid oranges, yellows, and reds. We have some exciting fall events planned that will be showcased against that colorful scenic backdrop. Here are a few highlights!Adirondack Harvest FestivalYou definitely will want to plan on attending the Adirondack...
Guest Blogger: Audrey Schwartzberg Communications Associate, Adirondack North Country AssociationHitting the roadI’m on my trusty touring bike, hauling my 5-year-old in the Burly buggy. She’d rather be pedaling her big-girl bike, but she’ll have to be content admiring the view from the trailer. My husband and son are up ahead pedaling [almost] in tandem with their bicycle/tag-along combo. Grandpop is joining us for the day, and Grandma...
From May to October, visiting Fort Ticonderoga is always great, but I particularly like visiting in the autumn months. The changing seasons play a role in creating new experiences for visitors every month. Though we are not quite into the fall season yet, it is not far away. Let me share some reasons why I find fall a great time to visit the Fort.To provide you with the most updated information, I made a recent late-summer visit....
Top Three Quick HikesGuest blogger: Gail TestaBlueberry Hill, Elizabethtown, NYMy children grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and my youngest son was only about four or five years old when he began walking with us as we hiked. As he grew he joined us on more difficult hikes, and as he got even older, he enjoyed climbing the larger mountains on his own. He no longer lives in the area, but he still loves the mountains and returns often to hike....
A warm startIt was warm and approaching mid-day when Wren and I took to the La Chute River in Ticonderoga to paddle into Ti Marsh the other day. That’s out of the ordinary for me, as I don’t usually paddle during the heat of the day, but that’s how plans sometimes go. I let Wren take a quick dip so she was cool and wet before we pushed off.Birding along the La ChuteThe river offered shade on our way out which was a nice plus, and I hugged any...
All in the FamilyI’ve ridden a ton of miles along the Adirondack Coast on my bicycle over the years, many on my own. But I do find that if I ride with someone else, I’m more motivated to achieve a certain distance goal. Plus, it’s just plain more fun. My sister Jennifer lives nearby, and just acquired her first real road bike this summer, so now I’ve got a built-in cycling friend with whom I can share my favorite loops. As a bonus, she’s...
Welcome to a huge water playground. Lake Champlain has over 435 square miles of surface — that’s 271,000 acres of fun for any water sports enthusiast. There is a multitude of options to get you on the water along the Adirondack Coast, so pick your pleasure.On the WaterEveryone should have an “on the water” experience on Lake Champlain. The sights, smells, and sensations are unsurpassed. The surrounding landscape takes on an entirely different...
Birding between the raindropsAfter our successful trip to the Four Brothers Islands the other day I looked at the sky, and at the time, and debated the possibilities. Rain was already starting and it was forecast to get worse throughout the day, but it was currently light and intermittent and I had already made the trip to the valley, so I decided to bird until the rain sent me home. Since I was in Willsboro I headed north and drove along...
It's hard to visit the adorable town of Essex and not notice the Essex Ice Cream Cafe. Essex has the cutest main street, right on the shore of Lake Champlain, and the shop is situated right in the middle of it. They have a huge variety of hard ice cream flavors, including one called Superman that's bright red, yellow, and blue. They also have one named after Champ, Champy Chocolate. And they have no fat and no sugar options as well....
Were you aware that we, North Americans, live on the back of a turtle? So says an old Iroquois legend that I recently learned about. I’m not sure I will remember it exactly as it was told to me, but the fundamental gist of it was that at one time there was nothing but water and sky. The earth was covered with water and inhabited only by water animals. The sky contained the “sky people.” The sky began to fall to the earth and in order to save the...
 The Fish Are Jumping…A few clouds never scared us away from an adventure, and today we are taking on Lake Champlain - and betting that the haze will burn off by mid-morning.We head out of Lake Placid at 6:30am and an hour or so later, after a quick pit-stop for much-needed coffee and snacks, we are ready to launch the boat and take to the ‘high seas’ as Oliver calls it. We are at the Ticonderoga Boat Launch and Lake Champlain is looking...
Let’s talk about a different type of training. Were you aware that National Geographic Traveler magazine rated Amtrak’s Adirondack Line as “one of the 10 most beautiful train trips in the world?" Yes, I am talking about a rail line, and the shout-out was in the year 2000, but no worries, the scenery hasn’t changed. I have ridden the Adirondack Line from one end to the other, and I can also tell you the most beautiful section of that trip is...
An overcast day on the waterThe day was gray and overcast as five birding friends and I set off from Willsboro Marina to visit the Four Brothers Islands in Lake Champlain. I had never been to the islands before, but my friend had set up a trip with a local charter company (which usually takes fishermen) and it seemed like a good opportunity to check the islands out. After all, the Four Brothers are well known in the local birding world for the...
Submitted by guest blogger: Gail TestaWhy would anyone want to live anyplace else?I have been riding a bicycle for as long as I can remember.According to my family, I first got on a bike at age 4 and just took off. I grew up on a small farm in eastern Pennsylvania, so my bike was my transportation to visit my friends when I was young, and to go to the movies or my babysitting jobs as I got older. When I was a young stay-at-home mom in a one-car...
After a couple long weeks on the job it’s inevitable that we would get out and enjoy nature, the best prescription for whatever ails you. On this ridiculously hot and humid day in May, Corenne and I set out for a most attractive hike, one which we'd wandered on before. Rattlesnake Mountain was where we ended up with the post-hike plan of visiting a new brewery in Keeseville called Ausable Brewing Co. Needless to say, we were excited about both....
A season filled with events is upon us, and so are activities and gatherings of all varieties including weddings, graduation celebrations, and class and family reunions.Anyone organizing a celebration should do some advanced planning. A primary concern is location. The setting needs to be easily accessible for all attendees and should provide shelter if the weather decides not to cooperate. The location also needs to have adequate space for the...
The Lake Champlain Region's exciting, activity-packed season is practically upon us. Most of our seasonal sites and attractions have started opening, or will open soon, and our many museums have numerous stories to share with you. Let me give you some ideas of a few places to visit to enhance and expand your experience throughout the historic Adirondack Coast. I’ll also include a glimpse of some of the new and intriguing displays and exhibits...
It can be fascinating living within the pages of a history textbook. Mention “Ticonderoga” and practically every American nods as they recall their early history lessons in school. Students are appropriately taught that activity along this vast lake was critical to the independence, colonization, and development of the entire U.S. I admit, learning that in a classroom setting did little for my appreciation and understanding of those significant...
Another spring trip to the Adirondack Coast - or - How I blew off work to go birdingWork to do, but birds to seeA friend of mine called me a few days ago to ask about the ducks that have been congregating near Crown Point for weeks. He was interested in heading there to see them and to take some photos, and as we chatted he began to tempt me for another run to the Adirondack Coast to find them. I really needed to get writing work done –...
I recently reached out to Nancy Ockrin, the race organizer of the NY/VT 5K Champlain Bridge Run coming up in May. I had a few questions to ask, but started with simply finding out if she’d be participating. “Not in this race” she informed me, “I will be too busy organizing and attending to the details.” However she offered to enlighten us a bit about the race and how she got started running. The following is Nancy's guest commentary for this...
A follow-up tripAfter my successful trip last weekend to the Champlain Valley, I wanted to follow-up to see what I could find as the migration continued to push birds along the lake. While the ducks at Crown Point were once again my main target, I wanted to see what else was around. I started my day at the Westport boat launch like usual. I scanned the water and found a string of Common Loons on their way to northern lakes, as well as a few...
An afternoon in the ValleyI took an afternoon this weekend and headed to the Lake Champlain Region with Wren to see what we could find. There have been a variety of birds arriving in the region and a friend of mine found a Tufted Duck (likely the same bird that was at the Champlain Bridge this winter) in Port Henry a few days earlier. I started in Westport like I often do and found the lake scattered with a few ducks, migrating Common Loons...
Late last week I ventured into the most picturesque valley you can imagine. This valley, extending from Wadhams into Essex, glides along the banks of the Boquet River flanked by the gorgeous Adirondacks. Vistas revealed quaint farm buildings surrounded by scenic agricultural land and pastures dotted with a variety of farm animals. I was on my way to the Echo Farm to connect with Dillon Klepetar of Farmstead Catering to learn about his...
Spring Break on the Adirondack CoastWhen most folks think of taking a spring break trip, they often picture warm, sunny places with their toes snuggled deep into the sand. I’ve taken my share of spring trips to such places – landing me in the likes of Florida, Mississippi, and Arizona. But I don’t travel to sit on the beach, go shopping, or lay around the pool. I journey to such places to explore and go birding. So when I go to the beach, I’m...
Ducks at the BridgeOver the past few weeks there has been a large congregation of ducks at the Champlain Bridge in Crown Point – best viewed from Chimney Point State Historic Site in Vermont. Then, just before Super Bowl Sunday, a drake Tufted Duck was found in the mix, but my schedule of work and other responsibilities kept me from searching for it until this past weekend. Ugh – I hate having to wait to find a good bird. The waiting became more...
Coupled up? If so, you've probably given some thought to the second Sunday in February. If you are looking for ideas to make that day unique, I’ve put together some options for couples to experience a very special weekend indeed. Perhaps you need to unwind, take a break from the routine, or simply spend some one-on-one time together. Pack your bags for the Adirondack Coast and a perfect Valentine's getaway.Two Romantic Lodging OptionsIf you are...
It was only a few years ago that I became acquainted with the term Nordic Skating. At the time I think I thought of it as Nordic skiing, only on a frozen body of water, but I have recently become a bit more familiar with this winter sport that is growing in popularity. As a youth, I lived right on the shore of Lake Champlain and winters found my brothers and me on the lake ice. However, I was on figure skates, they were on hockey skates; both...
A Chance to ExploreWith long weekends comes more time for Wren and me to get out exploring. So we took advantage of the recent 3-day weekend to not only stretch our cross-country skiing muscles near home but to go birding in the Lake Champlain Region where a growing throng of ducks has settled near the Champlain Bridge. Well, I went birding. Wren was mostly in it for the ride and the chance to nose around through the snow.The day had started...
The season may be off to a bit of a slow start, but that doesn’t stop the excited anticipation of snowmobile enthusiasts here along the Adirondack Coast. Conditions are improving as I write - with a good 3 inches of fresh powder last night. If you are one of these enthusiasts that like to venture onto some remote Adirondack trails, then more often than not you can thank a local snowmobile club for that opportunity. It is the effort and hard work...
An unseasonably warm start to winterWinter has had a difficult time making it to the Adirondacks and the entire northeast this year. A strong El Nino, a jet stream which remains far to the north, and perhaps a dose of climate change have mixed together delivering a concoction of warm air for much longer than many of us would like. Our ski centers were screaming for snow through Christmas and my skis and muscles were getting dusty with neglect....
2015 TOP 3 BLOGS IN REVIEW We scoured our blogs for the most popular, most informative, and just downright oddest pieces from the past year. In case you missed them on the first go-round, here are our top 3 picks from Lake Champlain's Adirondack Coast.#3. Hidden Historical TreasureIn the 1920s a little one-room log cabin was discovered sitting on the ridge on Willsboro Point. It is called the Adsit Cabin and some suspect it may be...
A holiday traditionDuring this time of year of lights, shopping, travels and celebrations, birders add an additional item to their busy calendars: Christmas bird counts. The counts began this past Saturday with counts in Plattsburgh and Ferrisburgh, Vermont (this count includes the Westport area). While my busy schedule precluded me from helping with those, the following day was marked by the Vermont Islands Count, a count which includes the...
Local residents are buzzing with their winter predictions - all the “whens” and the “ifs": Will we get much snow? Will it last? Will the big lake freeze? In recent years we have seen milder winters. This fall has been unseasonably mild which leads some to believe we are in for it “big-time.” No matter, we are prepared to give you some ideas for a few adventures to enjoy the magic of winter along the Adirondack Coast, regardless of the snow or...
Heading North to SouthI had a few stops to make in the Plattsburgh area this weekend, and after I was finished I took advantage of the trip by birding my way south along Lake Champlain. I started at AuSable Marsh Wildlife Management Area and the marsh was quiet, so I walked out to the beach where I could scan the lapping waves. Common loons were scattered here and there across the lake, joined by about the same number of horned grebes....
We are rapidly approaching the end of October where thoughts turn dark as the sun sets early. Halloween prompts us to think in eerie, spooky, and macabre tones. These are not exactly typical thoughts when one thinks of Lake Champlain. How many enjoying the water’s surface on a sparkling summer day are aware of the dark, cold, somewhat grisly, lake bottom or realize they are playing in a graveyard.On the Water ActivityLake Champlain stretches...
Planning Around The WeatherI was looking at the weather for a planned guiding trip and saw our recent cold front poised to dump rain and wind upon us. We moved the trip off to coincide with the windy end of the front when it might push some birds of interest our way. It was good that we did. It rained and rained on our original date but when we met at Westport Boat Launch a couple days later it was sunny and blustery with a strong wind out of...
When I think of fall, spectacular scenery, musical goose migration, finding the perfect decorative pumpkin, colorful hikes, and of course, apples, spring to mind. Have you noticed the nights are getting cooler? Some of them are dropping into the 40s. This makes the apple growers smile. I learned it takes the cooler nights for the apples to develop their desired red color. That’s not all I learned during a recent visit to Gunnison’s Orchards,...
New at Fort TiconderogaBoat cruises are a new feature this summer at Fort Ticonderoga. I can’t say that they are underrated, more undiscovered, as yet. Once the word gets out, we may have to book far in advance. I picked the perfect late summer day to hop on board and give this new experience a try. I was not disappointed. For this start-up year the boat is operating out of the NYS DEC’s Ticonderoga Boat Launch. Next year the Fort plans to...
In my opinion, autumn is actually the best time to visit the Lake Champlain Region. The Adirondack Coast sparkles during this season with some crystal-clear sunny days and cool, crisp, great sleeping weather, nights. It’s the perfect season for hiking one of the many CATS trails. The views from atop one of our mountains along the lake go on forever. Often winds subside and boaters enjoy skimming across, or paddling, the flatwater which like a...
Starting in WestportI was guiding and birding with a friend last week in the Champlain Valley where we worked a section of lakeshore from Westport to Willsboro. We started at the Westport Boat Launch - where I often begin trips that will focus on that region of the lake. The woods were largely quiet, but as I stood there overlooking the water the scolding chatter of Blue Jays and other birds brought a Cooper’s Hawk sitting in a tree to my...
A Chance to ExploreWren and I were exploring the Adirondack Coast and Ticonderoga Area this past week and as part of our adventure we paddled Ticonderoga Marsh. Our trip started off well as a Merlin raced above us as we put-in at the Town of Ticonderoga Recreation Park. We nosed our bow quietly down the La Chute River waving to a few fishermen, who, if we can believe their fish stories, told us they were having good success.Birding as I...
A couple of short weeks from now we will be reflecting on where the summer went. Not that summer will officially be over, but once students head back to school options for even mini-vacations and family outings get restricted. An opportunity for a final bash of summer fun is waiting for you and your family in the Town of Moriah over Labor Day Weekend. The Village of Port Henry and Town of Moriah have been celebrating Labor Day for 126 years!...
Time for a Trip to ChazyWith August in full swing, it was time for me to take a trip to the Chazy Riverlands to check what shorebirds may be migrating through the area along Lake Champlain. I had a bit of a late start, but I like the afternoon and evening at Chazy anyway. I brought my boat since access to Chazy comes by paddling down along the marshes from the Great Chazy River boat launch, but I ended up deciding to walk into the marshes where...
It was on the waters and along the shores of our fantastic Lake Champlain that the great battles, struggles and sacrifices were made for America’s freedom. Can you think of a better location to celebrate America’s Independence than where it all took place 200+ years ago? Join us in the Lake Champlain Region as we celebrate the 4th of July and our heritage. Here are some events and happenings throughout our communities that will make this...
It’s all about the outdoors in the Adirondacks! Does the idea of having your own little plot of ground sound appealing? That’s what our many campgrounds are all about. The key to a great camping vacation can be finding the ideal campsite that will be a good fit for your family. Whether you are coming with a tent, a lengthy RV, or merely supplies and gear, we are ready to accommodate. Here are a few ideas and features of our many campground...
Another ATBI!This year the Adirondack All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) took place in the Essex and Willsboro area of the Champlain Valley and I again helped with it. ATBIs, or Bioblitzes as they are often called, are conducted by naturalists and citizen scientists to help survey and document the diversity of the natural world around us. They are also events where naturalists from different disciplines can meet and learn from one another....
In 2010, Velo Quebec hosted their Grand Tour through the Lake Champlain Region. This first-class Canadian cycling organization organizes numerous cycling tours.  Their top-of-the-line is the Grand Tour, an annual tour consisting of approximately 500-miles held at premier cycling destinations in North America. Each year approximately 2000 cyclists register and participate. Though most participating cyclists are from Canada, participants come...
You probably are aware of “Champ” the legendary sea monster of Lake Champlain, often dubbed the American Nessie, referring to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. Though no concrete evidence exists, no one has disproved him either. Hundreds of people, spanning several centuries, claim to have seen Champ, though descriptions do vary. Champ has been described as being anywhere from 10 to over 150 feet long. Some sightings claim to have seen humps,...
It’s drama time for our rivers, creeks and streams. Melted snow and spring rains have filled their banks to capacity. They are putting on quite a show as they race down the mountains and into the valley, all in a hurry to reach Lake Champlain. It’s my favorite time of year to go out on a waterfall watch and see the fantastic displays. I find moving water mesmerizing, love the sounds and the sparkle as it splashes onward. Here are some of my...
Time for Another Trip to the ValleyWith spring pressing in on all sides, I had been itching to get to the Champlain Valley again to catch migrant and arriving birds while I could. When I found out that a Pink-footed Goose – a European rarity – had been found not far from the Champlain Bridge in Vermont, I contacted a friend to see if he wanted to go look for it. I had seen a Pink-footed in New Jersey in January and this could have been the same...
Flower Show AlertGet ready for the Grand Opening of the Adirondack's Annual Flower Show. It is a little early yet, but time to make plans and preparation. As the temperatures warm and the snow melts our forests and woodlands begin to display their finery. For me this is the best time to get out on a hike, connect with nature, and get a peek at some of the gifts it has to offer. I love the Adirondack's earliest blooms, perhaps because it has been...
Of Melting Snow and Frozen IceThe first changes which come with spring are always exciting. I had to meet someone in Plattsburgh this week and took advantage of the trip and the beautiful spring weather to look for birds in the Champlain Valley. The ground was almost devoid of snow across the valley as the warmer temps (when compared to the center of the park) have melted off most of what was on the ground. They still have a long way to go in de...
Ticonderoga, N.Y. — New York state tourism officials have announced their intention to wage a civil war with the state of Vermont over their currently shared interest in Lake Champlain.New York and Vermont possess a number of common attributes that attract visitors, including maple production, skiing, hiking, history, paddling, spectacular landscapes, cows, and recreation programs such as Lake Champlain Bikeways. For centuries, New York and...
No ProblemEvery family with a tail wagging member faces the big dilemma when planning the annual vacation. What will we do with the dog? The wagging tail droops as all eyes focus on the subject. Then the head lowers and those sad, pitiful eyes begin to make contact with everyone around the room landing on the pack leader with a sorrowful, questioning, expression. Yes, it can rip your heart out. Making any attempt to justify kenneling such...
The PointThere is an awesome peninsula extending north into Lake Champlain from its western shore. Today this peninsula is called Willsboro Point and it is approximately 3 miles long, maybe a mile or so wide at the widest points. This section of the Town of Willsboro sits outside the hamlet area which predominantly rests on the banks of the Boquet River. The peninsula creates a protected bay to its west, very popular with sailors seeking safe...
Abundance of Recreation and NatureSituated directly on the Adirondack Coast, on Lake Shore Road about half way between the hamlets of Westport and Essex, is an unusual site - a remarkable playground for any outdoor enthusiast. There is a plethora of outdoor experiences and recreational opportunities to be had all in one place, rather a one-stop “shopping mall” for nature lovers. This site has everything: history, water, views, cliffs, forest,...
Hooray for Diversity! Wandering through the communities along the Adirondack Coast it is easy to be awed by the natural beauty. It happens all the time and it is one reason I love entertaining first-time visitors. They rave about the scenery. There is a great diversity and contrast: flat open water, rolling farm fields, heavily wooded areas, and of course the great sky line of the Adirondack Mountains. Views are never boring. Diversity adds...
Searching for Open WaterThis past weekend I took advantage of some warmer weather to head to the Champlain Valley for some birding. I’m leading a birdwatching trip in a week and a half and I wanted to scope things out ahead of time. Chief among my concerns was the lack of water, or more correctly, the dominance of ice on the water’s surface. The Essex-Charlotte Ferry recently shut down temporarily due to the ice conditions and that means there...
Waterway of FreedomIt would probably come as no surprise to any reader that I am a major fan of our great Lake Champlain. I admire its beauty, its history and its service to America. Throughout history it has aided Native Americans and migratory animals as a food source and natural travel route, offered a navigable pathway for explorers, then played a significant role as a “blue highway” in America’s struggle for independence. It could be argued...
TwoThis week’s blog topic is “TWO” and I have been searching for inspiration ever since the assignment. This has had me thinking like Noah for days. The Lake Champlain Region has an abundance of everything. Where are the important twos I should be blogging about? Distracted by having to thaw water pipes twice this past week and continually having to search for my second glove, I began to feel plagued by twos. It finally hit me. Like the missing...
Planning the perfect wedding can be a daunting task particularly if you are opting for an outdoor setting or something a bit non-traditional. The big decision may have been made, but that decision is immediately followed by a myriad of others. Ranking high at the top of the “what to choose” list, right along with the ideal dress or gown, is the “where” will this all take place. Picking the appropriate dress may be easy in comparison. The bride...
A Rare and Exciting FindIt was exciting news, although frustratingly so since I couldn’t do anything about it at the time: my friend had texted me that he had found a white-phase Gyrfalcon on the frozen waters of Lake Champlain in Plattsburgh. However, I was out of town and had become quite sick, I needed to wait to heal up before I could go looking for the bird. Other birders did search over the ensuing days, yet none of them came up with...
I work at home when I’m not in the field, and a day at my desk in a drafty corner can make me hunch and shiver and cramp. I need a break and even the shortest of ski outings can increase productivity and improve my frame of mind. The lack of snow this week was a challenge, but I was successful in finding two great snowy destinations that fit my schedule and my level of inspiration.Hidden Quarry TrailOn Thursday I had a full day of paperwork with...
One ThingWhen asked to make a recommendation of one thing that was not to be missed when visiting our Lake Champlain Region I had a very difficult time. After all we are rich with unique features: historic forts, quaint villages, world class art and music, 100+ year old attractions, and an abundance of recreational opportunities. And, all of these features are set against a back drop of awe-inspiring scenic beauty - some of the best in the world...
A fundamental requirement for ice fishing is, of course, a body of water with a frozen surface. Right now, as I write, that is not the case on Lake Champlain, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen soon. Here it is near the end of December and Lake Champlain is, for the most part, wide open. In fact I saw boats on the water just yesterday, pretty much unheard of at this time of year. I asked a few of our local veteran fishermen about their...
Winter Birding in the ValleyWhile winter offers us fewer species of birds than does the summer, winter birding is no less interesting as a variety of species from the north come into our area to enjoy our relatively balmy temperatures (when compared to the arctic). I guided a few recent birding trips into the Champlain Valley and while each was a success, the composition of the species we found varied from day to day. For instance, there was a...
A Holiday TraditionChristmas Bird Counts (CBCs) have now started across the country and on Sunday I was out with a friend helping count birds in the area surrounding Point Au Roche north of Plattsburgh. This one is actually part of a count of the islands of northern Lake Champlain in Vermont, but the count circle overlaps the state boundary. After a week filled with snowy, windy, and overcast weather, we had lucked out with a good day. Cloudy...
ABOVE: The Essex Inn, decked out in full holiday decor.North Country Christmas weekTiconderoga throws open its doors during the 5th Annual North Country Christmas Celebration, this year from November 29 - December 7. With a heck of a host of events every single night during the week, you’ll want to get a room in Ticonderoga for a couple of days, or the whole week. A sampling of the North Country Christmas events are: Annual Tree...
Staying Fit for the HolidaysThe Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a rather large network of trails for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, birding, and picnicking in the Champlain Valley that stretches as far west as Elizabethtown. Many of the trails are built and maintained by a not-for-profit organization that was started back in 2009 to link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality. Along with these ever so important...
It’s so easy to fall in love with the Lake Champlain Region. I see it on visitors’ faces all the time. “It’s SO beautiful here,” say many first time visitors that walk through the door at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center. The site distance and scenic beauty are captivating; awesome really. The level plane of the lake, juxtaposed against a back drop of the Adirondack Mountains offers an incredibly visually appealing contrast. When you combine...
Putting in on the LaChute RiverWren and I completed a camping trip this past October with a paddle into Ticonderoga Marsh, a beautiful stretch of cattails and mucky edges formed where the LaChute River flows into Lake Champlain. There are two chief ways to access the marsh. The first is to put in at the boat launch near the Ticonderoga Ferry and head south. The second is to use the small boat launch at the Town of Ticonderoga Recreational Park...
You know that panic you feel when your mother-in-law is on her way to visit and your house is a mess?Sometimes the situation is overwhelming, so you just dust the obvious surfaces and hide stuff under the bed. And sometimes that panic inspires you to look at the situation from a different perspective, and it leads to real progress. Lucky for us, artist Linda Smyth takes the latter approach.  The CanvasMoriah is located on the...
It’s said that haunted places are usually associated with the death of an occupant or a strong connection between someone deceased and the property. Many different experiences are connected with haunted buildings - items disappearing and reappearing, seeing strange shadows and smelling unfamiliar fragrances, unexplained noises and lights turning on and off are a few. Many supposedly haunted buildings are quite old and have experienced a great...
Fall in the Lake Champlain Region is always a fun time with harvest activities and fun, educational, and entertaining events. Here are four of our favorites coming up in the next month or so. But don’t forget to check the entire calendar for lots more.Taste our local foods and culinary delightsOn the 20th of September, make sure you don’t miss A Taste of Local Food Festival in Elizabethtown. Hosted by the Adirondack History Center Museum in...
Far from home The phone call caught me by surprise. I was out walking with Wren on a recent Saturday, when my friend called to tell me that a Brown Booby had been discovered at the Crown Point Bridge. The Caribbean species was a long, long way from home and I packed up some birding gear and headed down to Crown Point.There was a small gaggle of birders flocked at Crown Point State Historic Site looking through their scopes when I arrived....
CONNECTING NEW YORK AND VERMONTTourism officials in New York and Vermont recently collaborated to bring the two states bordering Lake Champlain together with a program called Bridging Lake Champlain. On both sides of the lake dozens of August events were planned under this umbrella.  One such event I attended  in mid-August was the Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Maritime Tour. The tour originated in Westport, NY,...
As the sun slants a little more to the South in late summer, we begin thinking about the change of the seasons and our fall events. Of course, there are still several summer events not to be missed. Here are some of the highlights for the next few weeks.Get lost in the Corn MazeFort Ticonderoga still has a full schedule of historic events that are sure to both educate and entertain you. The Fort’s famous Heroic Corn Maze opened last weekend as...
 The Fish Are Jumping…A few clouds never scared us away from an adventure, and today we are taking on Lake Champlain - and betting that the haze will burn off by mid-morning.We head out of Lake Placid at 6:30am and an hour or so later, after a quick pit-stop for much-needed coffee and snacks, we are ready to launch the boat and take to the ‘high seas’ as Oliver calls it. We are at the Ticonderoga Boat Launch and Lake Champlain is looking...
Coot Hill and Big HollowSome time ago Chris Maron, CATS' Executive Director, told me that this spot has a great view--one that's different from the vantage points I'm used to. He was absolutely right. Located in Crown Point, Coot Hill is a new trail on the Champlain Area Trails map. With a name like Coot Hill I had to check out this destination.Getting to Coot HillFrom Port Henry I traveled south on Rte 22 to Edgemont...
Looking for a great hike to fit into a busy vacation?  Last weekend I hiked one of the nicest peaks in the area. Joined by Sophie Gagnon and her companion from Dunham, Quebec I set out to show my visitors as much as I could of the Ticonderoga area. The easiest way to do that is to get up high and see the lay of the land from above.B & B Breakfast I started the morning by picking Sophie and Denis up at Sugar Hill Manor Bed and...
Never the Same TwiceEvery time I enter the grounds of Fort Ticonderoga, I feel like I have stepped onto a sacred place. I am somewhat aware of all the hardships, struggles, and sacrifices made on these 2000 acres when our country was just beginning; although I learn and appreciate more with every visit. Thanks to the Fort Ticonderoga Association, the stories here are preserved, explained in intricate detail and become vividly alive. No matter...
Early summer in the Lake Champlain Region brings entertainment and events for all. Historic events, festivals and numerous arts events fill the calendar.Fort Re-enactmentsFort Ticonderoga leads the charge with several historic events throughout the season. The Fort is a bustling place during the warmer months with reenactments and living history demonstrations, as well as special Fort tours. June 21st and 22nd brings a Living History weekend....
Favorite hike on a favorite day - National Trails DayEach year the first Saturday in June is designated as National Trails Day. There were lots of local celebrations underway last weekend but I decided to do a quick hike on my own to a favorite destination I have frequently done with children--Mount Gilligan. The name itself sounds fun.The Trail for Gilligan BeginsThe trail begins 2.6 miles south of New Russia from a parking area on Scriver Road...
Boating From Manhattan to MontrealMany are surprised when I tell them that they could launch their boat anywhere along our Lake Champlain Region and easily end up in Manhattan or Montreal. I often get a raised eyebrow, but some are aware that the Champlain Canal connects the southern end of Lake Champlain to the Hudson River. At the northern end, the Chambly Canal connects to the Richelieu and St Lawrence. Although I have never made the...
Spring Brings Wildflowers on The Grand HikeYesterday I hiked fourteen miles, beginning just up the hill from home. Thanks to the Champlain Area Trails I was able to hike from the Westport Hotel and Tavern to the Essex Inn on a series of connected sections of easy roadways and very, very pretty trails. For the Champlain Valley this is a new feat and the successful completion of a goal set several years ago by local trailbuilders.I was joined on...
In my youth the mention of history would make me wrinkle my nose. That was during the school years of course, when I related history to a classroom setting with nothing but a boring memorization of strange names and odd dates. On Lake Champlain, I was living in the birthplace of America and enjoying history on a daily basis, but did not connect the dots. Textbooks aside out of the classroom, the historic sites of our Lake Champlain Region were...
Ready - Set - LaunchLaunch your boat at one of the many boat launches or marinas along the Adirondack Coast and a 450 square mile playground is available to you. Stretching approximately 125 miles from northern to southern end this vast lake borders two states and rests in two countries. It may surprise you to learn that once on the Lake Champlain water, you could easily voyage to Montreal by traveling north, or Manhattan by traveling south....
Lake Champlain is a big attraction in the Adirondacks through every season. The lake dictates weather, moods, activities and gear. This winter has been a wild one. Each week Lake Champlain has had a completely different character. I walk my dog to the boat launch in Westport most days so I have a chance to get up close and watch as the season progresses.  Natures mood swingsIn January, temperatures were too warm to cool the water but...
Serendipity!Centrally located within the Lake Champlain Region, resting on the banks of the Boquet River, is the little hamlet of Whallonsburg. This hamlet is within the Town of Essex, about 4 miles from their NHR collection of houses and the Essex to Charlotte ferry dock. A central focus within this hamlet is The Whallonsburg Grange and what is happening there will surprise you.The Grange building itself is about 100 years old. It flourished in...
February events in the Lake Champlain RegionThe Lake Champlain Region is gearing up for a busy February, with historic re-enactments, concerts, rock climbing and snowshoe hikes for starters.Ice and rock climbing talkWinter Climbing will be the subject of the CRUX Climbing Center's event on February 4th. Famous Adirondack ice and rock climber and author, Don Mellor, will be on hand along with Mark Scott to discuss ice climbing technique in the...
            Wren and I visited AuSable Marsh and AuSable Point the other day to look for birds and take a walk.  Even though our goal was to look for waterfowl, our first bird was a Merlin flying fast and low along the road as we were arriving.  The small falcon turned toward the road and came directly over our car!  Merlins tend to make beelines between their destinations and...
            I did a little birding and hiking with Wren in Point AuRoche earlier this week.  We started around Cumberland Head just north of Plattsburgh, checking out the mouth of the Saranac River and the Ferry Terminal.  There was a mixture of open water and ice at the river mouth, but there were very few birds besides a handful of Mallards and a lone American Black Duck. ...
Updates on Fresh Catch & Peak Ice Fishing SpotsOnce Lake Champlain starts firming up with the cold weather, local fishermen start thinking ice fishing. Jigs and tip ups are rousted out. Shanties cleaned and prepared for their annual trip out onto the ice. Sub- zero ice making temperatures are wished for like the pre-Christmas sugarplums. Not a lot of the colorful wood constructed shanties have appeared as yet, but some recent artic temps...
  Searching for Raptors (and other predatory birds) in the Magic Triangle          Earlier this week some friends and I drove over to what some birders call the Magic Triangle located between Westport and Essex. We were looking for raptors and other field birds, and there had been reports of a Snowy Owl in the area and we were hoping to see and possibly photograph it.   ...
            Our invasion of Snowy Owls in the Northeast continues.  Snowies are being found up and down the Atlantic seaboard with large numbers in places like coastal Massachusetts and New Jersey, where I saw four while visiting family over the holidays.  In the past week in our region alone a Snowy Owl was found along Moffit Road in Plattsburgh, at least one and perhaps two...
Family Fun along the Adirondack CoastHere's a little chronicle of my family's recent picks of outdoor fun.  When you have ice you have to go with it.Most of what we love is free and local, making for easy, family vacation time. Despite cold temperatures we needed to get outside and exercise to justify our caloric intake (!).  You all know what I mean.The day before Christmas was super icy so we opted for a hike on--what else--a nearby...
            Over the holidays I took a trip to the Champlain Valley for some birding. I started at the Westport boat launch where there were a few species of ducks assembled including Bufflehead, Common Mergansers, and Common Goldeneye.  The area around the wastewater treatment plant held it usual flock of gulls as well as a few ducks, but it was fairly quiet.  I did find a small...
Snowshoeing the Black Kettle TrailLast week before the ice came I had a great hike with my daughters who are both home for a few weeks.  They love to get outside after months in urban places so we take every chance we can to check out the woods. The snow last week was fluffy and light and every little crystal was twinkling because the temperature was so low (16 degrees when we left the car) and the sun was out.Getting ThereWe parked near...
            We have reached the time of year when birders everywhere span out across the landscape and conduct Christmas Bird Counts.  This past weekend’s winter storm was cancelling, postponing, and threatening many counts held on Saturday and Sunday and so a friend and I went up to Plattsburgh on Saturday to scout and look for count week birds should the Plattsburgh count (held on...
            This weekend found me in the Champlain Valley birding with some friends, taking advantage of the nice weather.  We found 46 species of birds – not a bad tally for a December day.  We started our day at Westport where the boat launch had a small collection of ducks and large numbers of Canada Geese.  We searched through the geese for something different in their...
            With our current arctic freeze bearing down on us this weekend, my friend and I jumped on the last warm(ish) day in the forecast and headed to the Champlain Valley for some birding.  We didn’t find much of interest at Cumberland Head north of Plattsburgh so we headed north to Point AuRoche to check out the enormous numbers of Snow Geese which have been assembled there....
This morning the wind was blowing like fury and the temperature was 16 degrees but I needed to go outside.  After spending a day at my desk yesterday I was ready for some fresh air. I'm spoiled and have my pick of the entire Champlain Valley and Eastern Adirondacks right out the door but today I headed for a favorite overlook with an easy retreat if the wind proved too hostile.I bundled up and donned my blaze orange head band (it's still...