Adirondacks

Adirondacks

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...
Let's assume you enjoy spending time in the woods, after all, that’s one of the draws of the mountains, right? One thing we need to be mindful of is the immense size of the Adirondacks and the remoteness of the situations in which we will place ourselves. No trip onto the trails should be seen as a quick jaunt in the woods, and a basic level of preparedness should be the foundation of every outing. If you are headed out to explore nature’s...
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...
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...
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...
 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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
January 2017: Once the ice on Lake Champlain formed this winter and I started to see groups of ice fishing shelters scattered across Bulwagga Bay in Port Henry, I remembered that I had planned to get my own ice fishing gear and join them immediately after my surprisingly fun guided experience described below. I guess I've been too busy since then to follow through - it's been a couple of winters already. But after re-reading this story, my...
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...
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...
Blogger's note: As we once again find ourselves smack in the middle of the holiday chaos, we can't help but remember this adventure at Ausable Chasm. It took place at this time last year, and we think it may be time to head back!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...
(Feature pic courtesy of Essex Inn on the Adirondack Coast) 'Tis the season for a bit of indulgence. It is like we get a pass for the preview game on Thanksgiving, but the real game kicks into high gear as the end of the year gets closer. Indulging in that rich decadent dessert, that second helping of dressing with gravy, or that third cookie is unlikely to be met with raised eyebrow; even from Aunt Julie who probably weighs about 98 pounds...
In the photos it looks like they’re gliding across the water’s surface, the clouds reflected in an enormous, aqueous mirror. The nordic skates on their feet look a little too big, a little too cumbersome, striking an odd juxtaposition with the skater’s elegant movements.“On a good day, visually, your senses are on overload,” said nordic skater Kevin Boyle. “There’s this amazing color spectrum. With the jet black ice, if you catch it when it’s...
Did you miss our top-rated social posts from the past year? We've got you covered! Picture:Bridge from above. Check out these easy highs in the Lake Champlain Region! Blog: Top 5 Fishing Facts!Kim highlights five lesser-known fishing facts from the Adirondack Coast! Facebook Video:Morning Ride There's a reason people love to pedal the Adirondacks! Video:Rise 'n' shine in the Lake Champlain Region!Ready to explore...
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...
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...
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...
She said/she saidKIM: A few years ago, we adopted a doberman/shepherd mix from a rescue in Vermont. The rescue agency told us we could take her home and if it didn’t work out, we could return her to be adopted by someone else. We got home, named her Katie, and 4 years later we can’t imagine having taken them up on their offer. She’s smart, loving, loyal, and action-packed. She's also an integral part of our family and our home on New York’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...
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...
Living on the Adirondack Coast of the Lake Champlain Region has its distinct benefits especially if you are a fan of two-wheeled activities. The same roads that welcome tons of human-powered bikes each year are also great for touring on motorbikes. I am a fan of two-wheeled activities, and since I DO live here, I’ll impart directions for visitors to take a tour along the Adirondack Coast from Ticonderoga to Keeseville.  (This is one of...
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....
Reminiscing about the Inaugural EventContributed by Chris Maron, executive director, Champlain Area TrailsMay 2014 - At dawn for the first year’s Grand Hike, the dark sky loomed ominously overhead with a faint drizzle that soon cleared for a fabulous day of hiking. That year, it was a gentle, orange sun rising up over Lake Champlain—a perfect day to hike thirteen miles from Westport to Essex.  I snapped a quick photo at the...
As I started to write this blog it was snowing! Are you as anxious as I for some real spring/summer weather and all the opportunities and activities to choose from? A major summer treat for me are the farmers’ markets. I find them a feast for all senses. The colorful sights, smells, and tastes of summer are all on display at the numerous farmers’ markets throughout the region. Luckily, Ticonderoga is not making us wait until the depths of summer...
Crown Point, N.Y. — A public meeting will be held to present new traffic restrictions for the Lake Champlain Bridge at 10 a.m. on April 15 at the Lake Champlain Visitors Center in Crown Point, N.Y. The new regulations are being put into place in order to facilitate a safer flow of traffic in response to an overwhelming increase in cycling activity in the Lake Champlain region.The bridge, which spans between Crown Point, New York and...
There is a little culinary treat right on the main street of Ticonderoga that I feel compelled to place on your radar screen. Bodette’s Barbecue is located at 133 Montcalm Street and the corner of Tower Avenue. You can easily find it by following the delicious scent across the street from Ticonderoga’s Community Building and adjacent to the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum and Bicentennial Park. Any carnivore who appreciates slow-...
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...
If you've ever hiked in the Adirondack wilderness and experienced a pop-up storm along the way, I suspect you were happy to stumble across a remote rustic shelter welcoming you in from the rain. That may have been your first appreciation of an Adirondack lean-to. The three-sided cabin with a floor and an overhead roof might have seemed like a luxurious accommodation miles from civilization. Even if your pack had included a tent, the solid roof...
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...
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...
Most of us are aware of the significant role Lake Champlain played in the early history of America. In its liquid state it served as the “blue highway” bringing explorers and soldiers to investigate and claim the surrounding territory. But did you know, a couple of centuries later, in its solid, or frozen, state it provided significant aid to other explorers as well — those seeking to be the first to fly over the North Pole.Adirondack AviatorOne...
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...
Wilderness Survival 201It’s amazing what you can learn in just 2 hours, even with the smooth sounds of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” running in the background of your mind.I signed up about 1.2 seconds after receiving a notice that Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (PMOEC) and Champlain Area Trails (CATS) were partnering up to host a Survival Skills Workshop at the Blueberry Hills Trail system in Elizabethtown. There was a family-...
A Pinch of Cultural HeritageThe holiday season is one filled with expectation and excitement. We look forward to the surprises it may bring, but we also find a comforting anticipation in the expected, the traditions. This may not be obvious in our youth. We haven’t accumulated enough Christmases yet, but as we begin to collect a few years' worth we have definite expectations like the lights, the gatherings of friends and family, and the food....
Skiing and Snowshoeing the Champlain ValleyThe Champlain Valley is chock-full of unique trails located up and down the Adirondack Coast, but sometimes the best bang for your buck are areas with many trails, loops, and levels of enjoyment. At the five locations I'm going to highlight, you will have the opportunity to XC-ski at all levels, snowshoe as long as your heart desires, and in non-snowy conditions you can trail run, hike, or just sightsee...
Stompin’ around the Champlain Valley is a good time in my mind, but on this trip I found myself reach out just a bit further. While doing a bit of historical research online the other day I happened across this preserve, set up by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC), called the Pole Hill Pond Preserve. I've never heard of this spot before but I have heard of Pole Hill, and although I knew its general vicinity I remembered it was on private...
It's all about the holidays in the Lake Champlain Region during December. Most communities will host some kind of holiday celebration throughout the month from craft shows to week-long, full-blown, multi-event bashes.  North Country Christmas WeekTiconderoga celebrates the holidays with a wonderful week of holiday magic known as North Country Christmas Week through December 6. With community events, retail promotions, Garden Club events,...
I hate shopping. Don’t get me wrong; I like HAVING things, I just don’t like the tedious process of selecting the items I want from the dauntingly numerous racks and shelves of other things. I’m this way, I have self-diagnosed, because a large percentage of my younger years were spent tagging along behind my mother, who is a Super Shopper. In fact, my disdain for the activity might really be a defense mechanism that evolved from a fear of...
Here it comes - the holiday season. The turkey is barely digested, when we start to think about SHOPPING! I’ve never have gotten into the Black Friday frenzy though I’ve seen the television news clips filmed at the big box stores. No tryptophan residue apparent there; it looks more like a contact sport. Stampedes, crowds, waiting lines, aggressive shoppers, and harried clerks do not look like my idea of a good time - particularly on a recently...
Stick SeasonThe dog knew where we were headed the moment I made my shoe selection. At least - she knew which activity to anticipate, if not our precise destination.I’m going to refrain from calling a 60-degree day in November “unseasonable.” These climate-change-days, you never know what the Adirondack weather will bring - better to just smile and take advantage. So on this warm, sunny weekday in November, I told folks at my office that I was...
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...
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,...
Living in the Adirondacks means that we have a glut of options when it comes to trails. From anywhere in Lake Placid you can ride to several great trail networks. A short drive away Wilmington has miles and miles of quality trails. Whiteface Mountain has lift service downhill and now there is a gravity trail at Mount Pisgah in Saranac Lake. But as much as I love lapping the trails that I know well, I love exploring new trails even more.In my...
It didn’t open until August of 2014, but it was the most widely anticipated addition to this growing farming community in the Lake Champlain region for months before the first beer was tapped. When I discovered the Ausable Brewing Company’s existence, it had only been open for about a month. In October of 2014, my sister and I had just left our last stop on the Essex County Cheese Tour, with a visit to the North Country Creamery. On our way...
Hiking in the Eastern Pharaoh Mountain WIldernessIt sure has been hot and humid the last few weeks and on those particular days when it seems to be the worst I have been available to get out and explore. The only remedy for that is to stay home and stay cool, but quite honestly I don’t see that as a plausible option. So, I packed extra water and planned for a bit of an earlier start, which are two very important steps. First off you have to stay...
Paddle the Adirondack Waters with the Right GearFlatwater paddling, sure it’s relaxing, calming, and great exercise, but it should not be taken lightly. The Adirondacks, and especially the big waters in the Lake Champlain Region, have fast-changing weather patterns and sometimes ice cold water. When unforeseen mishaps occur, you can quickly go from a fun day in the sun to a very cold swim in deep waters. Hopefully this will never happen to you,...
How to decide which boat to buyPicking the right boat doesn’t need to be as daunting and overwhelming as you might think it’s going to be. Sure there are a ton of boats out there to choose from, and many questions you need answered to narrow down the field, but if you are prepared and start your shopping early, I know you can do it and be happy with the results. Go into this experience with an open mind, and you'll come out with a great ride....
It’s just like riding a bike.  Which is to say that it is not like running or skiing. Or sitting at a desk.If there's one thing I’ve learned over the years, it is that no matter how many miles I’ve run or cross-country skied over the winter, switching to road cycling in the spring offers a few challenges. Sure, it seems like it would be an easy transition from a mix of running and sitting at a desk for too many hours a day, to moving your...
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...
Prolong the life of your gearThe end to a long winter season is once again upon us. It’s time to start thinking about how you make you winter gear stay in the condition you desire while being stored in the off-season. Throughout the winter season your gear gets wet then dry, wet then dry, and this process continues right through the season. The more active your season the more important it is to take care of your gear, so it takes care of you....
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,...
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...
Skaters Gonna SkateLet me start with the following statement: I am not a strong swimmer.I’ve always had a slight fear of the water - though I realize it is a necessary evil if I’m going to paddle anywhere. I can swim, yes, but it’s not my best subject. Frozen water, is, of course, still a form of water.  And a healthy fear of water has gotten me this far, so I’m going to retain my cautious approach. I grew up on the shores of Lake...
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...
A circumnavigation of Goose PondI spend quite a lot of time out on the trails but over the years I have found a unique love for the mountains in the Adirondack Park that don’t have trails. There is so much lightly explored and unexplored land out there just calling my name, and I answer the summons to see what I can discover with enthusiasm and excitement. New and exciting features, landscape, views, dense forest, tall cliffs, hidden wetlands,...
100+ MilesWhen out enjoying the public recreation land along the Adirondack Coast it’s easy to become enamored with the undeveloped natural landscape and captivated by the scenic beauty of the mountains, streams and forests. But, are we sufficiently appreciative of all the components that make this possible? Do we ever consider who maintains the trails that permit us access, or wonder who built the convenient lean-to for our shelter and how it...
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...
Not Minnesota!There is a unique food creation that exists along the western shore of Lake Champlain. It’s called a michigan, or michigan hot dog. That’s right a small “m”; unlike the state. It consists of a steamed hot dog, on a steamed roll, with a tomato based meat sauce. Often it is sprinkled with finely diced fresh onion and a ribbon of mustard is added. Whether the onions and mustard are “buried” under the sauce or the dog, or whether they...
Something new around every cornerThe Split Rock Wild Forest is made up of 3,700 acres which lies on the Shores of Lake Champlain in the Eastern Foothills of the Adirondack Park. The wild forest is made up of nine different trails, all of which intersect at least one other, making for nearly countless loops and adventures at your fingertips. Want vistas, mountain views, wildlife, water access, wild flowers, birding, trail running, snowshoeing,...
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...
Lake Champlain Adirondack Coast BikingThe term “coast” as applied to a stretch of land elicits a certain image in your mind, right? You’d think that a region along a “coast” would consist of a largely flat, waterfront landscape.Well, the Adirondack Coast IS, indeed comprised in part of rolling farmlands along the western shore of Lake Champlain. But it is also the eastern edge of the Adirondacks, after all, so there’s bound to be a hill or two....
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...
Growing Up on Lake ChamplainI grew up in a house right on Lake Champlain’s Adirondack Coast in Westport, NY., where we had a pretty extensive lake shore, complete with a dock, a swim beach and a boat house with an antique winch system to easily launch boats right into the lake and pull them back in to store for winter. We could see the big lake, and Vermont on the other side, from our house. When my sister and I were young kids, we watched...
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...
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...
 Look out perch; the jig is up.   I can’t believe it, but I think I want an ice fishing rod for my birthday. On the nonexistent list of things I do NOT like, being cold and touching fish would be in the top 14. It seems odd then, that I would proactively seek out an adventure that included the potential for both.Apparently, with the recent cold temperatures, the one thing we can count on this winter is ice, and plenty of it....
            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...
The Hand-Hale Historic District is an important historic and architectural resource which represents the cultured, sophisticated lives of two prominent families of New York State jurists in the Adirondacks during the nineteenth century.  The Hand-Hale Historic District in Elizabethtown was listed on the National Register in 1979. The district encompasses two adjoining homesteads and law offices. The Hale House, which dates from 1818,...
            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....
In the past, I’ve not thought a lot about Essex, NY as much of a destination after Columbus Day but tonight is making me rethink that notion.This Thursday evening finds me at the Belden Noble Memorial Library in Essex for a poetry open mic night led by Essex’s own George Davis--Rosslyn Redux author and storyteller.There are about a dozen writers here who have braved the cold to listen and share their words. I am especially excited that my co-...
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...
            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...
How lucky is the Lake Champlain Valley?Unbelievably. We may live 5 hours or so from NYC but we are always learning of a new talent who has decided to settle in this quiet and picturesque valley.For about a year now, I have been hearing about one such resident--composer/trumpeter, Taylor Haskins.According to his website, Mr. Haskins is being hailed as one of the most original new voices on the trumpet today. Downbeat magazine declared him...
This is my first silent movie with a live accompanist and I know for a fact that it won’t be my last. This evening’s event finds me at Willsboro School where the Champlain Valley Film Society (CVFS) is hosting renowned pianist/organist/film historian Ben Model and two Charlie Chaplin movies: “A Dog’s Life” and “The Kid.”Ben Model is one of the USA's leading silent film accompanists, and has been playing piano and organ for silent movies at the...
            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...
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...
Tonight I am attending “Songs to Remember” or Vagabonding—Reminiscences, Songs, Stories and Poems of Marjorie Lansing Porter.  The evening evolves into a tender history lesson, an enchanting musical journey, and a moving and nostalgic tribute to one of the founders of this museum in Elizabethtown who also happened to be the foremost collector of North Country Folklore and folk songs.Adirondack History Center Director Margaret Gibbs...
            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. ...