Mayor’s Cup: Boat Races and More Along Lake Champlain

Some circled like sharks around the starting line, creating a zigzagging pattern in their wake. The anticipation from shore was heightened a thousand times more on the water, up close to the churning, sleek ships that would sail for glory that day. A steady breeze guided the 36-foot long boat through the glistening waters of Lake Champlain as it made its way down the lake from the Plattsburgh Boat Basin. Manned by an eight-person crew led by a veteran of the Mayor’s Cup Regatta race Ed Trombley, The Odinn was a powerful contender for the sailing event on the Adirondack Coast. Trombley, who taught himself…

Parachuting Back Down to Earth

The expression “time flies” did not apply when I was in the tiny plane wearing a bulky flight suit and mentally preparing myself for the big jump ahead. I had signed up for this, a leap out of an airplane and a descent into the Champlain Valley, courtesy of the Malone Parachute Club. I paid my $220 fee and trained with instructors on the ground. But I was nowhere near ready. As the plane went up, instructor Dave Swanson showed me the area from the window and told me about the history of a river related to the French Revolution. Honestly, I couldn’t pay attention to…

wild walk replica

Canopy Tours in Tupper Lake

The corten steel poles, already rusted perfectly to give a natural Adirondack feel, rise high past the trees in a triangular form. Birds zigzag through Feeder Alley, a bird observations zone without a care in the world. A giant spider web gleams in the distance while an enormous white pine snag awaits anyone brave enough to enter the spiral staircase inside. Magic happens when someone walks among the treetops 30 feet in the air. Welcome to the Wild Walk: an elevating journey into nature that opens this summer at Tupper Lake’s Adirondack Wild Center. The idea of the Wild Walk…

Photoesque Wedding Destinations

Laughter echoes, the wind blows softly, and the crisp mid-September air smells of autumn. The music starts.  Guests smile, wipe away tears of joy and gasp excitedly.  Chris Corley, in his gray tailored suit, beams with happiness. Amy Belzer has started walking down the aisle, the rustic mountain setting — peaks, pines, and meadows — as flawless as her traditional white gown. Amid a cultural boom in all things nuptial — from royal wedding frenzies to “The Bachelor” to “Bridezillas” — the Adirondack Coast has become a coveted destination for couples looking to get hitched. The area offers breathtaking views…

the freys

Elf’s: A Farm with Hope — And Lots of Wine

Covered in a Carhartt jacket, fading blue jeans and a thick beard, Sean Frey looks native to the Adirondacks. He sits at a mahogany bar propped up on two aging oak barrels and glances up to the final nails that complete the ceiling for a new building to process wine and hard cider. His sister, Erin, operates the cherry picker, which holds yet another Frey sibling, Kevin, who’s been hammering above. It is the very picture of a farm family working together. Nothing clues visitors that this family once lived Syosset, N.Y., a suburban hamlet fewer than four miles from…

Lake Champlain

Journey Across Frozen Lake Champlain

Two layers of pants, three coats, a knit hat and a pair of boots with crampons attached to the bottom are what I wore for the trek. The air was bitter and harsh, but that didn’t stop my colleague and me from making our way across Lake Champlain from Plattsburgh to Valcour Island, home of the Bluff Point Lighthouse. Three to 4 inches of snow crunched under our feet as we walked across a mile of ice. I had two different mindsets standing
in the middle of Lake Champlain: “Oh my goodness, this is beautiful,” and, “This can’t be safe.” The…

Visit Where One Direction Shot Their Music Video

North Country residents might not have noticed the U.K. boy band One Direction whizzing around the area September 2011. But residents and tourists alike can relive the band’s experiences and see the land through their eyes. One Direction is kind of a big deal. Their debut album, “Up All Night,” topped the U.S. Billboard 200 Charts, selling 176,000 copies its first week. But before the group gained more than 16 million Twitter followers, it stopped by the Adirondack Coast. Why would the self-proclaimed “new Beatles” visit the North Country? The band decided New York’s breathtaking mountains plus Plattsburgh State’s Victorian Gothic architecture…

Plattsburgh’s Strand Theatre Revives Classic Films and Performing Arts

Jonathan Ortloff places his fingers gently on the keys, hushing 958 eager onlookers. The air in the 90-year-old theater vibrates even before he begins to play. It’s been more than 50 years since the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh last sheltered an organ, and the Wurlitzer Opus 970 hardly needs the spotlight to hold the audience’s attention. Stops and switches surround Ortloff’s hands — certainly too many for 10 fingers to handle. This Wurlitzer is one of only 19 in the world and the locals who lined the streets and crammed the lobby know this is a special night. Ortloff begins,…

Battle of Plattsburgh Bicentennial Weekend

On a half-cloudy, chilly September morning, soldiers kiss and hug their loved ones goodbye. Troops chatter as they begin their march. Cannon shots roar unexpectedly. Men, both young and old, get into formation before disappearing in a mist of gun smoke. Red and orange flares shoot from their muskets and linger in the air for a split second in time. The battle re-enactment rages on. The First Bloody Encounter, as it is known by locals in Beekmantown, New York, just a few miles away from the festivities, is the kickoff event for the annual Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration Weekend. This…