Tag Archives: lake placid

Fortunes of Time

We went over to Lake Placid tonight, and had dinner out, thank you very much.

As things on the financial front have leveled out a bit, we felt that the least we could do for ourselves was go out to eat. Multiple choices of course, but we’d never been to the Lake Placid Pub & Brewery, so we thought we would give it a shot. Decent food, good beer, and although the decor isn’t much to write home about, the brick floor entrance of the old church it’s housed in is to-die-for. I want to go to that Alpine looking steakhouse place next.

It’s unpopular around here to say it, but say it I will – I like Lake Placid. It’s pretty. They have nice things there. We have nice things in Saranac Lake too, and I choose to make Saranac Lake my “town,” because it’s more me, and I find it a little more real-life. But I don’t think that’s any reason to dislike Lake Placid on principle. I think it’s nice. So there.

We stopped by Ben & Jerry’s and had some dessert, took a little walk. I like the Christmas store (whatever it’s called), but tonight I stopped in my very favorite store  – Fortunes of Time. Whoever owns/stocks/designed this place sure had my number. I walk in the place and I feel like I am in some sort of bliss dream that might be titled, Ultimate Night of the Senses. The pinecone hanging bells, the scent of honeysuckle (or something) in the air, quiet music, hundreds of scented candles, woolen mittens, throws, trinkets, piles and piles of cozy and quaint. I came out the place tonight and said, “We need more money. I want some nice stuff.”

Speaking of the fortunes of time, we had a nice drive around Saranac Lake on the way back home. We looked at some houses for sale, learned a few new shortcuts, and discussed the fact that I have a meeting about a nice little-job possibility next week. (I ain’t sayin’.)

Now, we’re not exactly actively looking to buy a house in town. But you see, we’re possibilitists. We like to remind ourselves that with the proper amount of time and effort, most things are possible. Will we take out a loan to build a new house right here? Will we go with a small cabin instead? Will we finish the improvements and sell this property as a building lot? Will we buy a completely different house in town? Will we build small and keep the place here, while buying something similar in the South for Winters?

Anything’s possible.

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A New Deal for the Adirondacks, at 4,810 feet

I have an interest in Adirondack History, I have an interest in tourist attractions, and I like to go looking for photos. I’ve posted about the history of the Whiteface Memorial Highway before, but being as it’s opening for the season this Friday (Thanks for the word, Bill!), I thought the time had come around again.

Whiteface Mountain is not the tallest peak in the Adirondacks, but it is perhaps the most celebrated – for the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, and for the Scenic Highway. There are lots of amenities offered by the big ol’ Ski Center, but they have big, fancy websites for such things. We’ll stick to history today. The Scenic Highway is pretty awesome. Seriously. Yes, yes – We’ve all done these tourist drives before. How different could it possibly be? Well, let me tell you. It’s spec-freaking-tacular. What a nice gift we received from The New Deal.

Whiteface Highway construction, early 1930's

Dedicated to the men and women of the First World War, the scenic highway to the summit was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The highway runs eight miles up the mountainside – all carved, coaxed, and blasted out of granite. The road was officially opened July 20, 1935 in a ceremony featuring New York’s former Governor, by then President Roosevelt. At you reach the top of the highway at the end of your awesome drive, you’ll reach your penultimate destination – Whiteface Castle. The castle was built from the granite excavated during the highway construction, and serves as a high-in-the-sky Visitors’ Center.

Whiteface Castle Construction ca 1935

The castle now holds a gift shop, restrooms, and a snack shop. However, I’m told there was more of a proper restaurant here at one point. Maybe before the advent of wraps, paninis, and portable fast food. I’m assuming the castle must also contain offices and such – it looks big from the outside, but the public space inside is limited.

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From the castle, you can hike up to the summit, or you can enter a 424-foot long tunnel (which is pretty cool in itself) taking you directly into the stone belly of the mountain. At the end of the tunnel, there’s an elevator ready to whisk you 276 feet to the summit. Well, maybe not exactly whisk. Takes a while to rise 27 stories.

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At the dedication, Roosevelt said, “What I have seen today in this wonderful drive makes me more enthusiastic about four little words than I ever have been before. Those four short words are these, ‘It can be done.’ … I wish very much that it were possible for me to walk up the few remaining feet to the actual top of the mountain. Some day they are going to make it possible for people who cannot make the little climb to go up there in a comfortable and easy elevator.” Roosevelt’s elevator was completed three years later.

In addition to you, me, and whoever else visits the summit, the tippy-top of the mountain has been home to another visitor since 1961. The Weather Station. In fact, if you take the elevator, you’ll come up right inside the building that houses the Weather Station’s Observatory.

The Weather Station is part of the University of Albany‘s Atmospheric Science research facilities. Obviously, the building takes a beating, weather-wise, being on the top of a mountain and all. It was recently restored by a company that specializes in historic properties. Over the years, wind-driven rain had made its way inside the shingles, but now the old pile is high-and-dry, quite literally.

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Of course, Whiteface Mountain is mentioned in the same breath as Lake Placid quite frequently. The mountain (and especially access to it) is actually not in Lake Placid. Not by a 13-mile long shot. It’s in Wilmington. (Wilmington residents get a little fussy about that. Rightfully so. You go, Wilmington!) All the same, do give the mountain a visit, and spend some money in both towns. Love that famous Wilmington cheese.

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You too can snap that classic shot – Lake Placid from the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Whiteface Memorial Highway 2009 season is May 15 to October 12. Hours are 9am to 4pm daily. Vehicle and driver: $9.00, each additional passenger: $5.00 each, children under 6 are free.

Thanks to the Wilmington Historical Society for the great 1930s construction photos!

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Half Cracked

As the city house approaches “half packed,” and I approach “half cracked,” I’m thinking less about the city house, and more about the RV and cabin at the Adirondack Place.

100_0478Daydreaming really. There’s a little less, “I have to remember to patch that hole,” and a little more, “These two Adirondacky prints will look good in the RV,” or “The rug beaters will look nice on the cabin walls.” I worry less about repainting apartment walls, and worry more about making the RV look a little more regional. I’m a very firm believer in the theory that surroundings directly affect your well being. So, in the “RV and Cabin” pile, I’ve been sure to include a few Adirondacky things that will instantly spruce the place up.

100_0479I bought most of this stuff in and around the Adirondacks. Gotta have the old candlestand and chair, and a red wool blanket is nearly required. Bought those at the “Giant Chair” antique store on Cascade in Lake Placid. When that little antique shop was still in the Alpine Mall in Lake Placid, the kind owner told me she had a rocking chair I’d like over in the other store. “Just tell them I said you could have it for $50.” Picked up the Eastlake-like table there too. She and I are now nodding towny friends. I run into her in the Blue Moon frequently.

100_0480Toss in a couple of rug beaters from the Log Cabin next to the parking lot in Lake Placid, a few rustic prints from Burlington, my accordion, and my easel and paint stuff, and I think we’ll be pretty Adirondackally presentable right off the bat!

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Our First Adk Summer

Since we plan to arrive as Adirondack full-timers at the beginning of June, it makes sense to be sure to avail ourselves of as much local funnery as possible. Ease the transition. This isn’t so much a round up of Adk festivals and events – we’d need several gigabytes or a few reams of paper to list all that. We’d need a composition notebook for the list of weekly outdoor concerts in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and Jay alone. No, these are the events that we specifically have scribbled on our kitchen calendar.

lppalaceWouldn’t be my first choice, but Jonathan loves films, so we’ll undoubtedly end up at a few of these flicks. The Lake Placid Film Forum will be held June 11 to 13, 2009. Films are shown at the Palace Theater and Lake Placid Center for the arts. http://www.lakeplacidfilmforum.com

I Love Barbeque Festival – Now that sounds more my speed. From July 3 to July 5 in Lake Placid at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval on Main Street. It’s a national level barbecue and grilling competition, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society – music, children’s activities, parties and a celebrity appearance – http://www.ilbbqf.com. Over there early in the day on the 4th, and then back to Saranac Lake for the Great Adirondack Days Arts & Craft Show (on Lake Flower, 10am to 6pm) and then the Independence Day Fireworks, lakeside.

They swim, they bike, they run. It’s Ironman USA Lake Placid 2009 will be held in Lake Placid on July 26. Ah, no. Don’t be silly – I’m not going to be in it. Just going to hang out and be supportive. http://www.ironmanusa.com

fairThe Franklin County Fair will be held August 8 to 16, 2009, and I am really looking forward to this. Besides your usual midway and rides and delicious crappy food, I want to be sure to go to some of the animal and livestock events. Particularly pygmy goats, chickens, and angora rabbits. May have to go several days. Ha! Think they would let us sleep there?

In Malone at the Fair Grounds off Main Street. http://www.frcofair.com/

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