Crafting an art evening
A Fall Paddle on Little Green Pond
A Fall Hike Up Mount Baker

The first Friday of every month, the galleries of downtown Saranac Lake host art openings, highlighting their featured artists and providing an opportunity to mingle and discuss. My girlfriend and I consider this a favorite activity. It's a great time for us to go off and have a girls' night.

Saranac Lake is an art town. Photography, painting, jewelry, and crafts of all kinds pop up throughout our downtown. Some of our favorite dining fits in seamlessly as we wander through the different venues.

All of it is walkable.

Happy hour catch up

Of course my girlfriend and I must begin with catching up on all the stuff that has been going on in our lives lately. A favorite place to do so is Blue Moon Cafe.

This is the first time I have tried their special margarita, fresh-squeezed right there at the bar, and I was very impressed. I don't care for the taste of a margarita mix, and this blend of fresh juices and top shelf liqueur makes for a fine treat.

We decided to have nibbles now and eat dinner after the art events. Their happy hour features a cheese plate, and I find this to be just right for me. My girlfriend went for the pan-seared Brussels sprouts with Parmesan cheese. She was tempted by the margarita, but went with the harvest season and ordered the NY Apple Pie. It's a local honey rye with fresh apple cider.

If it hadn't been so long since our last get-together, we could have met at one of the galleries, which usually have refreshments. But in order to actually pay attention to the art, we need to get some of our visiting done first.

Across the street

From Blue Moon Cafe, we crossed the street to the Adirondack Artists' Guild Art Gallery. It is next door to Ampersound, our wonderful music store, with instruments, sheet music, CDs, and movies.

This charming space is filled with people. I am familiar with the featured artist, having enjoyed a gift of her work on a previous Christmas — a pair of copper and purple earrings from my husband. My friend has admired my earrings before, so we were both happy to start there.

It's not like we have a plan and should stick to it. There's new art all over and we get drawn to new sights along the way. We also run into people we know and start talking about what we like best.

Then my friend grabs my arm. "I've seen your favorite thing!"

She's right. This bag (below) draws me like a magnet.

"It would go with my earrings," I said.

I found the artist to tell her how much I enjoy her work. I also admired her display, which plays up the Mondrian influence in her bag designs.

After enjoying all the delights, we head for our next gallery opening. We peek into the Left Bank Cafe, which is having a jazz piano evening. Tempting. And tasty.

But we do want to catch the next art opening.

Down the block

Our destination is NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, with the theme "Out of the Woods" with artist Anne Hughes.

Some nights there is considerable overflow between the two galleries, but tonight it's a different set of art appreciators here, and we don't know as many. But it's always easy to make friends around the refreshments.

As much as I love landscapes, the artists who pick up those themes and make them into something new is just as compelling. My friend and I get into a whole discussion of texture versus pattern.

The gallery walls for this artist have been painted a lovely soft green to show off the artwork. It's one of those touches I have noticed before, and makes this gallery so interesting. One exhibit used mustard yellow to show off some wrought iron sculpture, and another time it was a barn red to set off works in wood.

The other sides of the gallery exhibit work from other members. This ranges from bright abstracts to gentle nightscapes.

My friend and I stay until we decide it is past time for a real meal. All the nibbling has been grand, but now it has been many hours since lunch.

Ready for dinner

Even our walk to our dining choice has art opportunities. We walk by the Cape Air office, which always has an assortment of local art in the window. I am really taken by the display this evening, with lovely colored glass I hadn't seen before.

We have chosen dinner at Downhill Grill, and I perform a little art trick of my own. I made up my own cocktail and it is easy to instruct any bartender how to make it.

It's a gimlet made with cherry vodka and a cherry; my own craft cocktail. I call it the Pink Floyd.

I do love a creative evening. There are so many possible ingredients, and all of them can combine in such delightful ways.

Find a fun place to stay. Explore all of our dining. There's lots of art venues.

Author:Pamela Merritt
A Fall Paddle on Little Green Pond
A Fall Hike Up Mount Baker

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