November 16, 2016
Submitted by guest blogger: Carrie Gentile
Here's a marathon any family can do: a Saranac Adirondack Holiday Marathon.
What are the hallmarks of a classic holiday day in the coolest town in the Adirondacks? It starts, naturally, with snow and time spent with loved ones, melded with festive events and tried and true traditions.
My favorite tradition is akin to a Griswold Family Christmas. Just to be clear, that does not include wrapping my house with thousands of strands of lights or electrocuting my cat, but rather to forage, select, and cut down my own tree.
People like me who prefer real trees wax on about the great smell and memories of past years’ forays into the woods, sometimes in subzero temps, while proponents of artificial trees rave about convenience and cleanliness. While you may be vacuuming needles until June, cutting your own tree creates cherished memories, like “how we ended up with a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree because I felt sorry for the ugliest tree and insisted we take it home,” or “when we drove into the garage with the tree on top…”
For an old-fashioned holiday, head to Moody Tree Farm (60 County Route 55). The large facility offers trees grown specifically to become your Christmas tree, or choose from one of their pre-cut trees. After culling through the Frasiers (known for outstanding needle retention), or Balsams (for their sweet fragrant aroma), select and cut your ideal tree and head to candy cane alley, otherwise known as the gift shop. It smells like Christmas in there. Trust me.
joy of giving
Shop for a new ornament, fortify with hot chocolate and cookies, and watch their elaborate wreaths being made onsite.
They are known for custom 12-foot decorated wreaths made for New York City’s South Street Seaport and the New York Botanical Garden. You can take home a more modest one for your door. You can also make your own fresh garland there.
Afterward, head back into the village for the annual Sparkle Village Arts & Crafts Fair located in the town hall. Each year, over 1500 people attend this two day event, buying products made by local artisans like one-of-a-kind jewelry and pottery, hats, scarves, ornaments, candles and more.
After browsing Sparkle Village, continue down our twinkling main street and browse the many cool shops in our historic downtown.
Just after sunset, the official kick-off to the holiday season commences with the tree lighting at Berkeley Green. At 5pm, carolers begin singing while volunteers pass out cookies and hot chocolate. There is also a fire pit to help keep you warm. At 5:30, the tree is lit, the crowd cheers, and local radio and newspaper reporter Chris Knight reads aloud the classic story, "Polar Express."
Now it’s time to warm up while grabbing a holiday cocktail and dinner. There’s no place that displays more holiday spirit than The Red Fox Restaurant, with its cozy interior, decorated Christmas trees, fireplace, and quaint bar. With its classic menu, I usually order a merlot, a shrimp cocktail, and broiled scallops. Alternatively, if you want a lively bar-like atmosphere, head to the Downhill Grill and enjoy a pint of my favorite beer, Big Slide IPA, and order their famous chips and queso. Nothing says the holidays like melted cheese.
The final stop on this holiday marathon day is Pendragon Theatre. Every year, this cast of professional and amateur talent, produces a well-loved holiday production. This year director Kent Streed chose "A Christmas Carol." He said he has incorporated a lot of music into the production that draws from mostly local talent, including many children.
What could be more entertaining than watching talented young kids sing about Ebenezer Scrooge? Now that's Christmas.