Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Greatest of American Dreams: Leisure Time. Weekend in Lake George, New York.

There’s scene in the Lifetime film about Georgia O’Keeffe’s life where she tells Alfred Stieglitz what she misses living in New York City – the sky. Next scene: they are off to the Stieglitz family home in Lake George, New York. I had no idea of the O’Keeffe connection to Lake George until I watched the film. She seems to be finding me - almost nudging her way into my life this year, kind of like Laura Ingalls Wilder did last year (she's in my life too at the moment, more about that in a future Storytellers column). Working in the city, I miss the sky also and wanted for a change to be greeted by scenes of towering trees and a landscape of water – not towering buildings and a landscape of tourists, always-in-a-hurry commuters (me) and locals in New York City. Confession: I have a fantasy about having a lake house. Not so frugal, right?

Parasailing on the lake. The cost for this was $75 per person. I've never done this (Steve has). We skipped the chance on this visit.

I had never thought much about the name of the iconic Adirondack chairs - since I didn't know the name until spotting this book.

From history from Wikipedia,

“The precursor to today's Adirondack chair was designed by Thomas Lee in 1903.

He was on vacation in Westport, New York, in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, and needed outdoor chairs for his summer home. He tested the first designs on his family. The name Muskoka was adopted from the municipality of Muskoka, Ontario, a cottage country area north of Toronto.

The original Adirondack chair was made with eleven pieces of wood, cut from a single board, with a straight back and seat. It also featured wide armrests, which became a hallmark of the Adirondack chair.

After arriving at a final design for the "Westport plank chair," Lee offered it to Harry Bunnell, a carpenter friend in Westport, who was in need of a winter income. Bunnell quickly realized the chair was the perfect item to sell to Westport's summer residents, and apparently without asking Lee's permission, Bunnell filed for and received patent 794,777 in 1905. Bunnell manufactured his plank chairs for the next twenty years. His "Westport chairs" were all signed and made of hemlock in green or medium dark brown. The modern name refers to the Adirondack Mountains, which Westport is near.”

The Minnie Ha Ha sounds like something out of Rose Nylund's St. Olaf stories on the Golden Girls! We mentioned our AAA membership and got a small savings. Only a dollar or two, but it adds up, right? I kept thinking how equally beautiful the scenery must be when the leaves change colors in autumn.

Carrot ginger soup and a bleu cheese, walnut and New York apple salad at the Boardwalk Restaurant. With our tickets from the Minnie Ha Ha, we got $5 off a starter, so my soup was free. :-) 

We liked the Bank Café, a former bank, so much we ate here twice.

So decadent! Nutella stuffed French toast and a Snickerdoodle coffee and OJ.
A veggie panini with vegetable chips and butternut apple soup (so good!) with an iced tea.

Wine tasting at Adirondack Winery, $5 for 7 tastings. I always think of the film Sideways when I do these. Their grapes are from California but are pressed locally. I took home a bottle of blackberry merlot.

A veggie burger and raspberry smoothie at the super casual (note the papertowel holder for napkins!) Lookout Cafe. I love guacamole, but never thought to put it on a veggie burger. I gave up eating meat when I was 14, and never miss a "real" burger.

We took a nice long drive around the lake and visited historic Fort Ticonderoga.

 We didn't really plan our visit too well, so we just missed the tour of the King's Garden. Native Americans would plant the three sisters crop of corn, squash and beans.

Signs here talk about culinary and medicinal uses of herbs. I think about just the aromatherapy from the herbs. There's no man-made perfume that can compare to the scents of brushing my hands against the basil or rosemary in our garden.

James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of The Mohicans is on my long to-read list. Classic Starts publishes a series to get younger readers familiar with the classics.

Interested in names like I am? According to Wikipedia, “The lake was originally named the Andia-ta-roc-te, by local Native Americans. James Fenimore Cooper in his narrative Last of the Mohicans called it the Horican, after a tribe which may have lived there, because he felt the original name was too hard to pronounce….

On August 28, 1755, William Johnson led British colonial forces to occupy the area in the French and Indian War. He renamed the lake as Lake George for King George II and built a protecting fortification at its southern end.”

We stayed at the Sundowner Motel. We took the cheapest room - of course ;-) - which was 99 plus tax (so $120).  The rooms were very clean, small and basic. We enjoyed the heated pool (away from the busy road, but then the pool motor is very noisy when trying to enjoy a quiet moment by their small private lake), the jacuzzi, and free kayak rentals. My first time on a kayak - so fun.

I love these little roadside farmstands.

The sweetest yummiest blackberries.

We're going to get some tents and camping supplies from Steve's father he doesn't want anymore, and hope to use them on future outings. I've never been camping.

I adored all the cute bear decor. Lake George did feel so welcoming.

On golden lake.
Did you know that "about 57% of working Americans had unused vacation time at the end of 2011, and most of them left an average of 11 days on the table - or nearly 70 percent of their allotted time off, according to a study performed by Harris Interactive for JetBlue," CNN/Money reported. Vacation time is something those who came before us fought for and I cherish every vacation day off, whether it's a trip to the Southwest, a weekend getaway to Lake George or even a staycation day. Don't lose your vacation days! I also consider vacations a vital part of our economy and this American resents the constant stream of photos with consumers with shopping bags in so many articles on the economy's health. I support inns/motels, restaurants, shops, museums, parks, local shops and more with travel. Happy travels to you, wherever your road may take you.

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