I have a home in the Adirondack region of New York State, which I typically visit 3 times a year, generally in late summer, January, and in early March. As it is a roughly 6 hour drive from my Pennsylvania home, I do not visit as often as I would like, the distance in my mind, requiring more than a few days stay to make the drive worthwhile.
I have visited at other times of the year, most notably, October, and once in early April (mud season in the Adirondacks). I had never visited in June, but this year with some free time, my wife and I decided to make the trip.
Visiting during a new season is refreshing photographically. The scenery is different than in late summer, the foliage light green and fresh looking, and there are flowers that one does not see later in the year. There are also events occurring in late June and early July, that I have not witnessed before.
Most notably in the latter category, is the Lake Placid Horse Show, an event that draws a decidedly upscale crowd to the Olympic Region.
June is a wetter month than later in the year, and threatened to rain much of the time we were there. On Wednesday of the week it pretty much rained all day, to a total of around 3 inches, which severely limited any outdoor activity.
Because of the time of year, I was concerned about black flies, but by the time he arrived, the season was almost finished, and I experienced very few of the annoying little critters.
We had a wonderful gustatory experience during the trip. Being without our children (who are an internships this summer), we ate out every night. There is a lot of good food in the Adirondacks, particularly in the Lake Placid region. The owner of one of our favorite restaurants, the Paradox Lodge, informed as he was retiring from the restaurant business (but will still run the bed and breakfast). This was a superb restaurant, and it will be missed. I can only imagine what the breakfasts must be like.
For those who would visit Lake Placid, we had meals at a variety of other venues, including the Moose Lodge, at the Whiteface club, a spectacular setting right on the Lake Placid shoreline with a spectacular view of the lake and Whiteface Mountain . As always, the meal there was first class.
Other restaurants we visited and enjoyed included Adirondack Steak and Seafood, Lisa G’s, The Cowboy, and in Saranac, Lake the Downhill Grille. I also spent a funny interlude, in one of my favorite pubs in the region, the Belvedere, where the regular patrons are very friendly, and can be incredibly amusing.
But we didn’t just eat and drink. Outdoor sports are the reason one visits the region. We did a variety of hikes, on some old favorite trail systems in the Lake Placid and Paul Smith’s area. I have a wonderful memory of passing Connery Pond, at the foot of Whiteface Mountain, on a cool crisp Thursday morning, with mournful loons calling in the distance.
Kayaking in the Adirondacks is also a favorite pastime, and quite unique, given the regions, abundant waterways, and the historic reliance on boats for transport in the remote regions during the 19th century, when a road system was decidedly lacking. Settlers in the region made provisions to travel from lake to lake, and many of those accommodations still exist. Throughout the region, there is a system of short portages, rivers, canals and locks which are still navigable.
We paddled on Osgood Pond, Near Paul Smith’s College. Here, there were beautiful “great camps”, many built in the late 19th and early 20th Century including the White Pine Camp, where Calvin Coolidge, once summered. Also, unique were the canals, dug at the turn of the 19th Century, which link Osgood to 2 smaller ponds. This facilitated boat travel to a nearby chapel (which is still there) so that vacationers could attend Sunday services.
Though in disrepair, the canals are still navigable. On the east end of the lake there is also a river channel which is quite beautiful, that leads to a more distant body of water (Jones Pond). We paddled upstream until a beaver dam blocked our progress.
We did attend the horse show. We watched the jumping events, and marveled at the incredible outlay of money apparently required to participate in this sport. Many owners had extravagant tractor-trailers painted in a unique livery housing multiple expensive horses. The young riders travel to and from the makeshift stables on golf carts, while the staff warms the horses up. A modest selection of equestrian related venders catered to very expensive tastes. There was one venue with food and beer, but the tables were “pre-sold” and we were apparently not one of the buyers.
It was fun to photograph the jumping action, but, otherwise, this was not my favorite Lake Placid event.
Speaking of cameras; I took a variety of cameras on the trip including my Nikon D600, my Sony RX 100, and my Fuji bodies. I shot mainly with 2 cameras at my side, the X100s, and the X Pro 1 with the XF 57mm f1.2. This proved a wonderful combination for landscape shooting, the longer focal length lens allowing me to focus on and separate small details of the lush June landscape.
I did shoot the X Pro 1 with the XF 50- 200mm f3.5 during at the horse show grounds, and found it fairly easy to obtain good action shots. I used the Sony in the kayak, and around town, but on a bright sunny day, definitely missed having a view finder to compose with. I still find its image quality quite compelling for such a small camera. Once the new RX 100 MarkIII (which has a viewfinder) drops in price, I may buy one.
One unfortunate event: the hotshoe popped off my X Pro 1. A Google search suggests that this is not an isolated event, but may be a weak spot in the Fuji body’s construction. I have not had a flash on the camera, but did have a thumb grip loosely inserted into the hotshoe. I have now taken the thumb grips off my other Fuji cameras. Be warned.
So June turns out to be a pretty good time to visit the North Country. As always we had a wonderful outdoor experience, and had a great time with our friends. Though I love my home in Pennsylvania, I look forward to returning to the ‘Dacks.