Fall

Fall

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...
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....
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...
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...
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...
Thank you to this week's guest blogger: Kyle MillerA Jaunt Through The Gloaming No matter how many fine choices there are for dining in your little town, do you ever feel restless and in the mood for something different?That was just my predicament recently. The wife and I had each just arrived home from our respective jobs, and as we approached the house together we could sense a shared but unspoken disinclination to cook supper. It had...
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...
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....
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...
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....
It’s a chasm. It’s right there in the name, "Ausable Chasm." I’ve seen chasms before in other parts of the country, and I’ve toured chasms. They’re usually pretty cool but more or less the same. I’ve driven by this particular one on a number of occasions and have always been impressed with the view of Rainbow Falls from the bridge. But, until last week, I now shamefully admit I had never actually stopped at Ausable Chasm. I will now also eat a...
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...
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....
I grew up in a fairly large family. There were seven of us and during “deer season” we were divided into two camps; the hunters and the hypocrites. My sisters and I were in the hypocrite camp. Mom actually was a hunter and a fabulous wild game cook, which was a principle reason the remainder of the females ended up labeled by my brother as hypocrites. You see, though my sisters and I claimed we did not like the idea of hunting, none of us...
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,...
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...
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...
A Great Day to go Birding in the ValleyWhile the late fall in our region has been marked by a string of snowy days and wintry weather – which may portend a good ski season – I was happy to have a sunny (if cold) day on the weekend to head out for some birding in the Champlain Valley. I had been in and out of town and I hadn’t been able to make it to some of my favorite spots in the Valley for a while so I was excited to see what birds were...
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...
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...
I have found a foolproof way to learn history.I admit it; History was never my best subject. I have trouble remembering all the dates and timelines, which territories belonged in the Holy Roman Empire or what king begat which war. If I had only BEEN there, I’m sure I could remember it, though. (After all, I remember most everything that I’ve actually lived through.)On a recent visit to Fort Ticonderoga, that theory was put to the test...
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....
            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...
            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....
            Over the past couple years I’ve occasionally seen a Red Fox in my neighborhood.  I first noted fox scats on the rocks which border my steps – something which caught Wren’s attention as well.  Sometimes when something out of the ordinary has visited the yard I can tell by how excited Wren is when I let her out first thing in the morning.  I finally had my first...
            I went looking for Snow Geese in the Champlain Valley the other day with one simple goal– find the flocks of Snow Geese that were staging there on their way south and search them for a Ross’s Goose.  I started at Point AuRoche State Park where I went to the beach and let Wren run around the large open field while I scoped through the five or six hundred or so Snow Geese...
            I had to be in Plattsburgh at the beginning of the week and so I took the opportunity and a beautiful day to go birding in the area in the afternoon.  My goal was to check out an immature Sandhill Crane which had been found a few days earlier.  The bird was discovered hanging out along Moffit Road a little north of Plattsburgh, feeding in some recently plowed farm...
            My friend and I spent some time birding in the Champlain Valley on Saturday.  It was chilly and overcast early and we did have to tuck into the car during some cold showers and wind later in the day, but we still had a successful time out.  We started at Westport, and while there weren’t many birds at the boat launch besides a few Bufflehead, we found quite a few gulls...
            While I was out birding a couple weeks ago with friends, we found good numbers of rusty blackbirds.  The first birds we noted were in some state land north of Westport in Webb Royce Swamp.  Rusty’s spend most of their time in such wetlands – both breeding in the north, and during the winter months in the southeast.  The birds we found were migrating on their way...
            The other day, my friends and I were checking out what some birders call the Magic Triangle, just north of Westport.  We poked around along a series of hedgerows and fields, finding good sized flocks of red-winged blackbirds, yellow-rumped warblers and white-throated sparrows, but not much else.  We chatted with a couple deer hunters who were returning empty handed, and...
            This past weekend I went birding in the Champlain Valley with some friends and one of our stops was at Noblewood Park in Willsboro.  Noblewood’s sandy spit may be best known for attracting shorebirds during the late summer, but we were interested in anything that might be stopping through on a fall day, beginning our time with a pileated woodpecker at the parking area....
It is a quintessential autumn day, slightly past peak, sunny and warm enough to walk around with just long sleeves yet there is a slight crispness to the air. It is Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day weekend, one of the busiest weekends of the year in the North Country.I am celebrating by taking a ride to Ted Cornell’s Art Farm (aka Crooked Brook Studios) in Westport, NY. This blog is more or less a continuation of a blog on Ted’s slide...
This week in the Lake Champlain Region the fall foliage is nearing peak in the highest elevations and still only at about 50% near the lakeshore areas.   Come spend a day or three and visit our fantastic attractions, restaurants, galleries and shops and stay in one of our historic inns.  Tour the region and take in the great fall foliage as well.There are still farmers markets open - Elizabethtown on Fridays and Ticonderoga on...
The fall colors keep tempting me to fit little hikes in between appointments and events.  I love going back to see what's new on a trail I haven't seen for a few months. This week I hiked the Homestead Trail.  It's a CATS trail in Whallonsburgh that starts .75 mile from the Leaning Road, just west of Black Kettle Farm.The trailhead begins heading south from a very inconspicous break in the woods through an area of spindly pole timber....
Some of our historic events in the region offer up an opportunity to learn while doing. A perfect example is this weekend's Festival of Nations (Sept. 20 - 21) at Crown Point Historic Site on Lake Champlain.  The Crown Point Historic Site is home to the ruins of two forts of the 18th century - the French Fort Frederic (1734) and the British Fort from 1759.  Fort Frederic was built when the French claimed the Lake Champlain Region....
New York is the second largest producer of apples in the nation.  The Lake Champlain Region, of course, is responsible for that ranking.  Our Adirondack Coast provides ideal growing conditions and cold enough winters for the required apple tree dormant period.  Actually the trees really enjoy being a part of our breathtaking scenic beauty.  During this month you can find them posing with their red, green and gold ornaments....
            My friends and I checked out a few spots in the Champlain Valley this weekend for birds.  We had hoped to find a variety of migrants heading south, and while that didn’t materialize, we did find a few nice birds.  We had a bit of a late start after birding in the Lake Placid area in the morning, but we headed north to the Chazy Riverlands to look for shorebirds. ...