Tag Archives: Adirondacks

Brilliant Big Wolf

5 Aug

Another year, another trip north, to the Adirondacks.  And now that I’m looking at this year’s photos, I’m also noticing that this trip was in Technicolor!

Color! Color! Color! More below the jump.

In The Weeds

30 Jul

The road between New York City and Tupper Lake passes through many states.

Heading north, we drive through Grace, Beauty, Longing, Happiness and Anticipation. But the trip home passes through some different places–Nostalgia, Melancholia, Reflection, Dolor and Blah.  Leaving the mountains was especially hard this year.

The weather was damn near perfect up in the Adirondacks, and we took full advantage.  We hiked and paddled (seriously people, if you’ve never tried kayaking, get out on the water stat!), and sat outside marveling at loons, ducks, dogs and bald eagles and went for boat rides and grilled steaks.

And when the weather wasn’t so great, we went inside and sat and read and played with my nephew, little J, who’s at that age where he’s over Thomas and protective of his Legos yet somehow still a blast to be around, and when we were hungry, we cooked.

There were shrimp and controversial grits, (we tried to tell little J that the grits were polenta, something he loves, but his four-year old mind couldn’t get over the fact that they weren’t yellow).  There was also beet pasta with the greens thrown in for good measure, roasted squash and mint salad, braised radicchio, tarragon chicken and sandwiches and salads galore.  We ate and lived well on our short week up north.

And then we came back to reality.

Things are simultaneously grim and amazing up at the old homestead, head below the jump to see what’s going on.

‘dacksadasical

31 Jul

Boy do I feel better!

Five days of hanging out, swimming, hiking and reading sure can do a body good. Just as I had hoped, the weather was very cool, but bright and sunny when it wasn’t raining. And even though it did rain a lot, there weren’t many mosquitoes, which is a miracle really.

I communed with a loon and was scared of bears, hiked with Wally and stared at otters, whipped up tacos with my stepsister and ate steamers and brisket, pushed my nephew around on a big wheel in a pit of sand and paddled about in my mom’s kayak. A good time was had by all, but especially by me!

After last year’s punishing and pretty dangerous “hike” up Mt. Ampersand, Isaac agreed with me that maaaaybe we should try a slightly less challenging peak this year. After consulting our ADK Northern Region trail book, we decided to tackle Mt. Frederica and Lake Lila, home to the old great lodge, Nehasane.

But alas, it was not to be. About 100 feet into the trail we came upon a puddle. No, more like a small, stream-fed lake, about 30 feet wide and two feet deep. There was no way we could cross it and still complete a 7 mile hike with dry, blister-free feet. So, the only account I’m able to give you of the once great lodge and its surrounding lands is this one from 1894. It’s a pdf, so you’ll need acrobat to read it, but it’s worth it.

We clambered back into the car and drove to another trailhead. It turned out to be a completely flat walk along a ridge overlooking a lake, with lots of bear poop. We walked for about 45 minutes, and then I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there were bears everywhere, so Isaac graciously agreed to turn back. It’s hard to enjoy a jolly walk when you’re convinced you’re about to be devoured by an angry she bear, sadly.

So, the next day, we climbed Mt. Arab. It’s not a dangerous climb, or even all that difficult, just a little bit strenuous and short (only a mile) with excellent payoff. The view is wonderful, but if it’s not enough, there’s an old fire tower you can climb to get that extra special vista. But the best part about Mt. Arab is it’s just enough of a hike to prepare you for a truly spectacular sandwich.

Back in Tupper Lake we stopped at Larkin’s Diesel Deli for a sub, and boy was it delicious. And their baked goods look great too. I mean, who doesn’t love a homemade pumpkin whoopie pie with two choices of filling: buttercream or cream cheese?

Fed and fortified by mountain air and thinly sliced ham, it was time to check out the Adirondack Wild Center. What a place! It’s gorgeous right down to the cement paving the walkway. If you ever find yourself stuck in the Adirondacks with a three-year old and torrential rain, the Wild Center is your saving grace. Ducks! Really big pieces of ice! Tanks upon tanks of trout! Turtles! Miles of walking trails (in case the rain lets up)! And, did I mention, otters!?! I think I liked it more than my nephew. I can’t wait to go back again next year.

After dinner at Tail O’ the Pup (brisket: good, baked beans: outstanding, sweet potato fry dip: disgusting, ribs: meh), another midnight thunderstorm and one last glorious morning, we packed up and headed south. Issac and I left early so we could accomplish two goals we’ve been talking about on the way home every year for the last four.

First: We finally stopped at the Meat Store of the North. Based on this google search, there’s at least eight other people in this world that have been intrigued, bewitched and seduced by this store’s fabulous name. We got sandwiches and they were good, but the thing to get here is, obviously, meat for grilling, searing, braising, poaching and frying. Or pickled kielbasa. I’ll leave that choice up to you.

Second: We stopped at Saratoga and caught a race. My dad took me to my first race at the Spa when I was three. To say horses and this racecourse are in my blood is an understatement. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about all the happy summer days I’ve spent watching races here. It was imperative I take Isaac just once to see this magical place. And I did. Even though it was Whitney day, the crowd was sparse, but who cares! Despite slipping in a mud puddle and cracking my knee open, it was still a wonderful hour.

Second Race At Saratoga

The Adirondacks are such a wonderful place. Cool, filled with history, beautiful places, mountains to climb and lakes to paddle about in, I hope that if you get the chance to go there, you’ll love it as much as I do. I mean, for pete’s sake people, there’s otters! Enjoy.

P.S. — The otters aren’t just in the Wild Center either. My mom and stepdad went for a hike on new trail near our camp and saw three of them wild and frolicking about in a little pond. Apparently they make all sorts of grunting and schnuffly noises like pugs. Could otters be anymore awesome?

Escape From NY

22 Jul

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here? It’s hot. Again.

Way too hot for sleeping, and for walking. Too hot for cooking or for lying on the couch and watching TV. Too hot to read and far too hot to sit at the computer.

So, it’s time to escape. Tomorrow Isaac and I are packing up and leaving the city; first by train, then by car, to meet my family up in the Adirondacks.

I know it’s a great luxury to be able to escape to the woods and mountains once each summer; to be able to slow down and cool off for a few days. So, in case you can’t do the same, I wanted to leave you with two dishes that will, in their simplicity and ease, help keep you cool and nourished as the heat wave rolls on.

First, please try this chilled Cucumber, Radish & Buttermilk soup from Gourmet. It’s been sitting on top of a pile of pages pulled from magazines on the living room floor that, someday, I hope to file away into a semblance of order. It’s been there for months (sadly).

And then, on Saturday, while I was in the city hunting for dill with which to pickle, it finally caught Isaac’s eye. I felt my phone jiggling around inside my purse. When I pulled it out and checked the message, there was a picture of this recipe staring at me. It was brilliant!

It’s very sophisticated and pretty and didn’t taste nearly radish-y enough for us. So for those that are worried about it being too radish-y, don’t worry. With a piece of pan-fried fish, a little chervil garnish and some hearty multi-grain bread, it felt like a were supping at midnight somewhere in Scandinavia.

Second, I give you an homage to one of the best sandwiches in New York; the tuna sandwich at ‘wichcraft, but in salad form. It’s the combination of thinly sliced lemons, with the skin on, meaty, briny olives and alluring raw fennel that really makes this sandwich sing. But in salad form, without tuna, it needed a little oomph, so I added dried chile flakes, which have the additional benefit of helping you cool down.

So I hope you manage to keep cool in the midst of this ridiculous heat wave. See you in a week!

Head below the jump for the recipe for Mediterranean Fennel Salad.

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