While us humans may be limited in our traveling right now, one group of travelers will be arriving in the Saranac Lake area soon — the birds.
Springtime brings to mind certain bird-related events, even for people who would in no way consider themselves birders. The flocks of geese flying overhead, the first robin of the year in the yard, the flocks of ducks on ponds... [Read More]
Adventure by definition is “an exciting or remarkable experience," immediately followed by the add-on, “usually involving danger and unknown risks.” How risky you want to get is up to you, but we promise a visit to Saranac Lake is not complete without a little adventure — or a lot of adventure, if that's your thing!
Step outside your comfort zone
We are a... [Read More]
Looking to take to the pavement with your road bike?
We have four decidedly different loops to ride! Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride close to downtown or a longer adventure, we have it here for you.
Three Lakes Loop
31.4 miles - 1,961 feet elevation gain
The lowdown: This ride follows Forest Home Rd.... [Read More]
I thought I was moving to Saranac Lake for the mountains. I wanted easy access to trails, and to be able to find precious solitude at a moment’s notice. I dreamed of spending my free time exploring every inch of forest, marveling at the plants and creatures who dwell there. And that’s all true — those things were exactly why I moved to Saranac Lake. But once I left the forest, a strange and... [Read More]
A beautiful morning
It was a sunny and warming morning when Wren, my dog, and I set off along the Bloomingdale Bog Trail to do some birding. We had walked the north end of the trail off Route 55 in Bloomingdale the previous week to check out the Gray Jays, but on this day we were hiking from the south entrance off Route 86 north of Saranac Lake. Wren and I often walk there, but my plan on this... [Read More]
Rainy day fun
Rainy weather didn’t stop us from having fun in the woods when I helped out with a Lake Placid Middle School field trip at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Thankfully the steady rain abated early in the day and we were left with mostly damp and misty conditions. Students alternated between stations to look at stream invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and... [Read More]
I love standing on a mountaintop, surveying the surrounding landscape and watching clouds roll by, but I don’t always have time to get to those wonderfully out-of-the-way places. That’s one of the many things I love about living in Saranac Lake — there are options to be had — and since I've been too busy to do long hikes I love having a list of easy go-tos.... [Read More]
A Chilly Start to Spring
While winter held off the arrival of spring this year with both hands, warm weather is finally coming on in full force – and birds are coming with it. After all, even with the chilly weather we’ve had this spring, birds have been on the move – with ducks like Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, and both Hooded and Common... [Read More]
Spring has Sprung!
Each walk that Wren and I take during this time of year is an exploration of what birds have arrived since the last time we were out. As such the species mix often changes from day to day or even between morning and evening. That’s true of whether we’re exploring the trails around Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, or whether we’re in the surrounding valleys. After... [Read More]
The New York State Department of Conservation runs twelve fish hatcheries, or fish culture stations, across the state. In turn, these hatcheries raise and stock fish into more than 1,200 public waters.
Hatchery programs help improve recreational fishing and restore native fish populations. Doing their part to keep fishing in the Adirondacks a real experience for anglers today and in years... [Read More]
What are the coolest paddling routes in the Saranac Lake area? That's a tough question, because we are the Lake Country, a paddler's paradise. Canoe, kayak, or even innertube, we have an adventure to fall in love with.
To help with this question, I asked some local guide services about their favorite places. What do they recommend most often? Where are the places that are extra scenic, or... [Read More]
Chilly Spring Weather
While it may not have been welcomed by many folks, my skis and I were happy about the chilly weather we had for much of March and April. I was out skiing and enjoying the snow as much as I could. But, when the weather turned warmer and finished off the cross-country skiing season, it ushered in spring birding and I happily set aside my skis for my binoculars... [Read More]
Blue Skies and a Day of Birding
With a beautiful blue winter sky above us, my brother, nephew, and I set out the other day to enjoy some boreal birding in the Bloomingdale Bog Complex north of Saranac Lake. The afternoon was forecast to turn rainy (ugh) anyway, so we wanted to enjoy the snow and winter before that happened. And for those of us who aren't yet ready for spring, this is... [Read More]
If your kids are anything like mine they love breaking records. And second best to holding the record, is knowing the record - biggest number (Googolplex), smallest state (Rhode Island), fastest animal (Cheetah), funniest Minion (Stuart), smelliest feet (Dad for the win).
I had been waiting to bust out my trivia challenge for just the right day. "Tallest tree?" I asked. Silence.... [Read More]
Turns out, maple syrup has a connection with Mark Twain.
Mark Twain Mapleworks is a sugarhouse on the shores of Ampersand Bay on Lower Saranac, part of the same complex where Mark Twain stayed for the summer of 1901. It's utterly appropriate, as it turns out. A list of "Mark Twain's Favorite Foods" reads: maple syrup, cranberries, raccoon, garden produce, canvasback ducks, and... [Read More]
A Quick Hike
If time to fit in a hike is short, then Mount Baker is always a good bet. After all, it is only about a mile to the summit, and it offers a rewarding view for the effort. And so, with a few friends in town in search of an easy hike, Baker was our choice.
Colors and Birds
Wren led us up the trail, through a golden beech forest on the... [Read More]
My mother used to order me ad nauseam to go outside and play.
“It's good for you,” she’d say. Turns out, she was right, in more ways than she knew. While her hope was for me to deplete my energy supply in a rousing game of freeze tag, it’s now known that even non-cardiovascular outdoor activity has important health benefits.
This non-... [Read More]
A changing landscape
Spring is an amazing time of transition in the Saranac Lake Region of the Adirondacks. For the past few weeks Wren and I have been exploring it on our daily – and often twice daily – walks, monitoring the changes as they’ve been happening. Even as the woods remained filled with snow, the indications of spring were everywhere. Here are a few highlights of our April... [Read More]
Ah, spring in the Adirondacks. Everyone loves it, and for good reason. The sun gains strength, the forest is warm and bright, and the streams and ponds are breaking free of their ice.That's the key thought for safety on the water. Basically, it is remembering that our water bodies have barely melted.For many anglers, the rush of freed water whispers "trout season." These fighting fish love the... [Read More]
From an easy stroll by a river to a cool trifecta of forest, pond, and mountain, we have a hike for every body that's interested. No matter how skilled, or un-skilled, that body might be.
Here are my favorite hikes for people who need it extra simple and easy, or want a family outing that includes everyone — from barely toddling to people with walkers or wheelchairs.
Or, as I... [Read More]
The world's first Soap Box Derby started in Ohio in 1934. The Saranac Lake Daffest Derby came considerably later, in 2010. But the basics have not changed. Unpowered cars are launched down a ramp and rely on gravity for their speed.This event is a real crowd-pleaser, and has become an extraordinary part of our Daffest celebrations every spring.To get the lowdown on this new-to-us tradition, I... [Read More]
Spring is when all of our impatience builds up as we seem more ready than the weather is. This certainly applies to mountain biking, when the sun is shining and we are ready to hit the trails.
But what if the trails are still a bit too soggy? The trail stewards won't open them until riding on them will not harm them. What's an avid cyclist to do?
Here's four very early suggestions, perfect... [Read More]
Blogger Note: As the warmer weather descends upon the Adirondacks, I can't help but think of all the cool paddling adventures on the horizon. Of course, that has me thinking about all the cool paddling adventures I've had over the years. Here's one from the 2013 archives that I deem worthy of repeating. Soon. The last time I launched a kayak in Lake Flower, I had to carry over a dam and... [Read More]
Is it possible that one of the world's oldest sweeteners could turn out to be one of the healthiest? New research is shedding light on the possibilities of one of the world's oldest treats; maple syrup.
Maple has been enjoyed in the Adirondacks for almost as long as people have been here. The very first settlers were Native Americans who treasured maple, both for its natural deliciousness and... [Read More]
Hunting for a Tough SpeciesA friend of mine contacted me about the potential of finding Philadelphia Vireo in the Spring Pond Bog area north of Tupper Lake (and west of Lake Clear and the Floodwood Road area). He had thought he heard one and wanted me to come along some time to help him find it. I was able to join him a couple weeks later and we wound through the large complex toward the location... [Read More]
Rain, Rain, Rain…And More RainNot every day of the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration was as perfect as the Osgood River paddle on Saturday. But, looking back on that fun weekend, we'd do it all over again.Sunday’s weather was the complete opposite of the beautiful day before. In fact, I had noted the thin wispy cirrus clouds moving overhead during our paddle - marking a change in the weather.... [Read More]
For me, the Saranac Lake Region is one of the coolest places to ride in the Adirondacks. There are opportunities here to hit up some one-of-a-kind mountain scenery, twisty roads, and a few truly original Adirondack communities. If you're coming from Lake Placid on Route 86, as soon as you get into town you're treated to nearly a mile of lakeside views along Lake Flower. Not to mention a... [Read More]
When spring comes, we can't wait to start the new season's fun outdoor activities. There are a few things to keep in mind to make our early spring ventures more enjoyable.
While there are great advantages:
clear air and high visibility
no bugs in the deep wilderness areas
There are also some cautions:
lower temperatures with wider swings... [Read More]
Spring Temperature FluctuationsSpring seemed to come in a hurry to the Tri-Lakes Region this year. It had already been a tough year for cross-country skiing, and I had to put my skis away for good in March. The last two years I skied into the middle of April. But open water on the lakes and warm temps meant I could find ducks moving through and stopping over on places like Lake Colby in Saranac... [Read More]
Daffest is our great big May event to celebrate the coming of spring with the blooming of thousands of daffodil bulbs throughout the Saranac Lake area. Each year the number of bulbs increases as the celebration grows. Come welcome spring with us from May 5–8.
There are several popular and fun family friendly Daffest events you won't want to miss, including the sixth annual Daffest Derby, Daffest... [Read More]
Wondering where to toss that bouquet? Saranac Lake has some amazing places for that dream wedding. Gorgeous wilderness backdrops, charming churches, giant fireplaces, and soaring "Great Rooms," along with picturesque docks and boathouses and wildflower meadows.[img:wwppcakeandwildflowers.jpg]We also have talented artisans to craft those wedding favors, letter those invitations, make those... [Read More]
Signs of SpringWhile winter has not yet been sent packing from our forecasts here in the Adirondacks, its rather light grip on us this year has been getting pried free by warm temperatures and fingers of sunlight. They have melted almost all of our snow and are now pressing on our frozen lakes to thaw. And our earliest arriving birds are responding to the cues.Blackbirds and SongA couple of weeks... [Read More]
The sap is flowing in Saranac Lake! The Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center has a classic maple syrup operation on the premises. I visited for the first Maple Syrup weekend of the season, but no worries if you missed out - there's still time to plan on visiting for the second weekend! This year it will take place on April 2 & 3, 2016.
The colder areas of the North American... [Read More]
I typically don’t hike alone because I have a very hard time keeping a conversation with myself, and, to be honest, it’s just not that good of a conversation anyhow. Then, I usually get a particular song stuck in my head, and all I keep doing is singing the chorus over and over again because I can’t remember the rest. I know you know what I mean.
With all of that, I still... [Read More]
Spring Break in the ADK
March has officially arrived! And, as the warmer weather starts to settle into the Adirondacks, we can't help but get that familiar itch to get out and enjoy all that the Saranac Lake Region has to offer. Here are a few ways growing up in a mountain town has taught me to enjoy spring break in the Adirondacks.
Hit the trails
There’s nothing my pup, Sam, and I love more... [Read More]
2015 Top 3 Blogs in ReviewWe 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 three picks from the Saranac Lake Region.3. A Century of Ice PalacesSaranac Lake has a long history of building amazing structures from ice as a centerpiece of their Winter Carnival festivities.... [Read More]
Great Weather for Paddling!
With so much warm, sunny weather of late, I have been itching to get out paddling with Wren. As a result, I’ve been driving around with my canoe on my car to make such adventures quicker to organize since the loading process can sometimes delay things. So with my boat pre-loaded, Wren and I were out fairly early the other day to check out the paddling and birding... [Read More]
A Great Place for an Evening PaddleI made sure to take my nieces and nephew paddling the other week when they came to visit – it's an integral part of an Adirondack adventure, after all. Lake Colby is a great spot for an easy outing, so we all loaded into my large boat and set off. My niece Emily paddled in the bow, I was in the stern, and Rebecca and Tyler sat on Crazy Creek chairs in the middle... [Read More]
Showing the Cousins the RopesMy niece Rebecca had hiked Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake with me last summer when she came up to visit for the first time, and so this year she was excited to show Baker and its view off to her cousins Tyler and Emily who joined her to visit me this year. It had been a warm, summer day when we set off late in the afternoon up the trail. The trailhead appeared busy at... [Read More]
Saranac Lake has wonderful lodging and wellness venues. This year was the first time they were combined in a delightful weekend event. Which created a vortex of healing Adirondack vibrations!The Holistic Health Retreat & Conference was held on the weekend of May 16th & 17th, but I arrived Friday night to relax and enjoy the fine dining at the hosting property, the Lake Clear Lodge... [Read More]
Summer!June in the Olympic Region is a wonderful time of year. And birding at the Intervale Lowlands Preserve in Lake Placid is one of the best ways to enjoy it. With long days and lots of singing birds, it is easy to tally up a great list of warblers and other species. Even better for me is that doing so is part of my job. As one of the many hats I wear, I conduct a variety of field research and... [Read More]
A High Diversity Time of YearOne of the best things about spring and early summer in the Adirondacks is the diversity of birds that can be found in our area during a simple walk. My walks are almost always taken with Wren who wants nothing more than to run, play, and swim all the time. More than that, her high energy level requires that I take her out regularly and I am compelled to go out even... [Read More]
Leading a Trip for the GABCI once again led a birding trip into Madawaska for the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration in Paul Smith’s last weekend. Madawaska is one of my favorite places to explore, and I’m always happy for an excuse to do so. Our group initially carpooled along Blue Mountain Road – a route that always involves many stops since it is such a productive place to bird. Soon after... [Read More]
Golf and the Adirondacks have had a long and passionate relationship. By the turn of the 19th century, luxury resorts and Great Camps were springing up all over the Adirondack Park. Golf courses soon followed, and Saranac Lake has just the right kind of terrain.Golf in the United States can be traced back to 1828, when Charles B. Macdonald returned from college in Scotland with a set of... [Read More]
My first stop at any waterpark has always been a ride of the river persuasion - be it lazy or rapid. There is something so thrilling about surrendering myself to the course of the river with the sun on my face. The amazon/rapids sort of rides are exhilarating, putting me in the mind frame of Disney's Pocahontas singing "just around the river bend," while the lazy rivers make me want to melt in... [Read More]
From Snow to Blooms!Each year, after a long Adirondack winter, it seems as if we finally say goodbye to snow and miraculously, there are suddenly wildflowers blooming everywhere! Coltsfoot, often mistaken for Dandelions, is one of the earliest spring wildflowers to bloom in the Adirondacks.[img:img-0125-1280x960.jpg]Bluets is another early wildflower that grows in large clusters.[img:img-0189-... [Read More]
First Hike of the SpringWith our snow melted and ski season over, it was time for Wren and I to take our inaugural hike of the season. We’ve been walking at places like the Bloomingdale Bog Trail and the railroad tracks behind Lake Colby, but we hadn’t done a proper hike yet this spring. And Baker Mountain is a great place to break in the hiking season.The sun and clouds had staged a skirmish... [Read More]
Seasons mean so much here in the Adirondacks. It is here, like no other place I’ve lived before, that they delineate themselves as wildly separate and distinct experiences. Each is filled with unique delights that can be obtained at no other time.Saranac Lake is a place which embraces all of them. We have festivals for each season, featuring the way each one is celebrated in the Adirondacks. I’m... [Read More]
Ringing Telephones in My YardI’ve been waking each morning of late to the jingling song of Dark-eyed Juncos which have been filling my yard and gorging on bird seed. I kept a few juncos around through much of the winter, but as spring has pushed in from the south they have followed in numbers. Then a new song was added to their ringing telephone chorus early last week. A Fox Sparrow – a migrant... [Read More]
To Everything There is a SeasonTransitions are always times of uncertainty. A big move. A new job. Starting at a new school. So it can be with the changes of the seasons. As winter ends and spring begins, we muddle through a time of year when the weather can be warm and bright one day and the next day see rain, snow, or sleet. This variation from warm spring days to frigid, arctic conditions when... [Read More]
Spring in the Adirondacks is a wild, overlooked, season. Saranac Lake has many attractions which shine in this special gap between winter and summer. It might not be the first place a person thinks of when the idea of spring break occurs to them, but it can be the last... because there are many good reasons to fit a spring trip to the Adirondacks into our schedule.
It can be worth dodging some... [Read More]
The Battle of the SeasonsThe past few weeks have seen the sun and winter battle for supremacy across our region. The sun’s rays on longer days have been beautifully warm, and yet our skiing base has stayed strong thanks to consistently chilly temps and cold nights. The result has been great cross-country skiing. While trail skiing comes and goes and has been icy and largely un-skiable of late,... [Read More]
The First Warm Days of SpringThe temperatures a few days last week broke into the 40s marking the beginning of spring skiing conditions across the region. The warm days and soft snow were a big change from the cold weather which had dominated our forecasts for much of the winter. It arrived right on time - after all, spring officially begins this coming weekend. Soft spring snow may be slow, but... [Read More]
People love to come to the Adirondacks to hike our forests, explore our ponds, and climb our mountains. But perhaps only Saranac Lake offers this wilderness experience in a compact and versatile package that is right in town.It's the Trifecta, and one of its charms is how we can hike through it, and back, two different ways. The different parts make it adaptable to any skill level, in any season... [Read More]
So you just got engaged. Congratulations! The next step is to get married. And of course you want to get married in Saranac Lake, because there’s no better place to do it. So how does one go about making that happen?Though I’ve lived through a lot of wedding planning with a lot of friends, I’ve never been married, so I thought I’d talk to a professional to write this blog post about planning a... [Read More]
Looking back at 2014 in the Adirondacks, there were so many memories of Saranac Lake. I decided the only way to narrow them down was to look at each of our lovely, distinctively different, four seasons. Each one has its own events, traditions, and activities.Each one has its own special charm.MAGICAL WINTERThe 2014 Winter Carnival “Ice Palace” (the term we use regardless of the structure)... [Read More]
Saranac Lake is fortunate in its many geographical gifts. One of them is a bit unusual. We have a wonderful airport.
Most people regard their local airport as a necessary annoyance. It has a long drive to an un-lovely area, and the people are all rushed and harried, and someone sadistic designed the terminal.
But Adirondack Regional Airport is different in many of those ways. I don't know... [Read More]
Horseback riding is a wonderful way to experience our Saranac Lake wilderness. We see Adirondack forest from a new perspective, get the benefit of a guided tour, and experience nature with a large animal companion. Emerald Springs Ranch, in nearby Lake Clear, has extensive trails and friendly horses. They are all Registered Quarter Horses, born and raised on the ranch. During the rider... [Read More]
The LoonsCommon Loons were already calling from the water as I unloaded the car at Little Clear Pond. As usual Wren was exploring the water and beach area and she kept bringing sticks for me to throw into the lake. After a few throws and after I had toted everything down to the water, we headed out.A pair of Common Loons sat a few hundred meters out with their large, charcoal gray chick. All... [Read More]
The Saint Regis Canoe Area is one of only a couple designated Canoe Areas in New York State. Located in Franklin County it spans three towns and over 18,400 Acres. The St. Regis Canoe Area includes St. Regis Mountain, St. Regis Pond, Long Pond, sections of the east and west branches of the St. Regis River, and 56 other water bodies, of course not all is perfect for paddling - or even feasible,... [Read More]
I have always enjoyed paddling Lake Clear Outlet. The water body is small enough to be paddled in a short period of time, but it contains enough nooks and weedy edges to explore for a few hours if you want. Add to that the potential of paddling Lake Clear itself, and paddlers can take a long time plying the linked waters of the... [Read More]
The adventure of climbing Azure Mountain begins on the road to the trailhead. Azure sits off Blue Mountain Road north and west of Paul Smith’s and hikers have a long and winding road to drive whether they come from the south or north. I drove in from the south out of Paul Smith’s, negotiating nearly 20 miles along Keese Mills Road... [Read More]
Adirondack PaddlingSizing up the right paddleWhen it comes to buying gear for your paddling adventure there are some things that are very important to realize, and special steps that should be taken to get the appropriate gear for your time on the water. Below I would like to share with you a few important steps when purchasing the right equipment more importantly sizing yourself for a paddle. Be... [Read More]
Adirondack PaddlingChoosing the right boat for canoeing & kayakingBoat lengthIf you are just getting into canoeing or kayaking first you need to decide where you will be paddling the most, but not to limit yourself either. First off, will you be navigating rivers with tight oxbows and narrow passages? Will you be on small ponds and lakes? Will you venture off onto larger lakes like the... [Read More]
2nd Largest Peat Land in the ADKSSince Spring Pond Bog is the second largest peat land in the Adirondacks, it offers birders an array of habitats for finding species. I’ve led an annual birding trip there with The Wild Center the past few years and we once again took a trip to Spring Pond this year as well.The birds were initially quiet, but we were soon adding species in the coniferous forests... [Read More]
Birds of All Kinds Flock HereThis past weekend I helped lead trips for the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration (the GABC) held at the Paul Smith’s College VIC (Visitor Interpretive Center). In its 12th year, the event brought together birders from across the northeast and even other parts of the country as they explored the region on a variety of field trips. I led the trips into Madawaska, a... [Read More]
This week I was in search of an activity during which I could take advantage of our recent late morning and afternoon breeze. This is the time of year when the black flies come out and the wind may be the best repellent I have found so far. The weather was great and I headed to Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, which is my go-to paddle when my time is limited.I unloaded my boat from the car and grabbed... [Read More]
Please Note: the 2020 Adirondack Plein Air Festival is going to be modified to avoid gatherings of people in accordance with Covid-19 guidelines. Participating artists will paint on their own at any...