Well…A Break Is One Thing

Every once in a while someone says they’re taking a break from blogging and disappears for a while.  I disappeared with no notice in March.  My first year of retirement was full.  I did a lot of gardening, traveled for the first time in more than two years, and found out what it’s like to make my own schedule.  I’ve got a lot of news stored up but will start with the most recent, a visit to my friend Leanne, who lives in a little town south of Lake George.  What an amazingly gorgeous place.  And because it was so gorgeous and thoughts of moving there kept popping into my head, I’m going to tell about the whole trip…

Leanne loves hiking, kayaking, the mountains, camping and in general the great outdoors, so are we a good match or what?  I drove up and could see the change in fall color as I went north.  It was at peak in the Adirondacks.  Leanne had bought a house but hadn’t closed on it yet, so we walked over to see it and walked around the town, which has a pretty downtown full of small local businesses and also has a nice arts community.  That allowed me to recover from the drive.  While there, we went to the Shirt Factory, which houses area artists, and then drove up to Lake George, where Leanne’s family has a lake house.  

The next day, we headed to the town of Ticonderoga up on Lake Champlain and had lunch in a little park there on the La Chute River.  

After that we went to see Fort Ticonderoga.  The fort was built by the French in the 1750s and changed hands numerous times.  By the 1940s, not much of it was left and as with many historic sites, a group of people saved what remained, did some archeology and research, and set about reconstructing it.  Today it has some really well informed interns dressed as colonials, a lot of different kinds of cannon, and some commanding views of Lake Champlain.

At that point we were close to the Lake Champlain bridge and Leanne drove across it into Vermont, where we parked and walked back across into New York, looking at the lake and the turning trees and geese flying south.  

This is a beautiful bridge. You used to have to take a ferry across the lake.

It was the evening before the full Hunter’s Moon and we took advantage of its brightness to climb up to the parapet of a lighthouse memorial where the view was also spectacular.

What a gorgeous evening!

The next day, we planned to go to a place called Jabe Pond to kayak.  It’s only a ten minute drive from the lake house, but pretty much needs a four wheel drive for access when the road is open.  Leanne’s friend Tom came with a flatbed truck to strap three kayaks to and drove us up.  I could write a whole blog on this place.

First, I wondered who calls 160+ acres of water a pond?  I guess if Lake George and Lake Champlain are the reference, it would be considered small.  But I did a little research and learned that ponds are considered bodies of standing water, shallow enough that sunlight can reach the bottom.  Lakes are deeper and have zones the sunlight never reaches.  They also have more inflow and outflow of water and more varied temperatures.  In spite of the fifty-something degree air temperatures on Jabe Pond, when I dipped my hand into the water, it felt around seventy.  I imagine with a rock bottom warmed over the summer it holds warmth for a while.

What a day with all that sparkle!

There are camp sites around the pond and little islands.  One of them had the remains of a large hearth on it and we landed there and ate our packed lunch with a thermos of tea.

The pond had loons on it and what I think were lesser scaups.  These look like ducks, but are smaller.  I can’t be sure because I couldn’t see them that well.  A nice thing about this trip was seeing and hearing the loons.  They have a variety of calls, ranging from screams to hound-like bays, to trills, all with different purposes and all of them haunting.  Seeing them is always magical to me.  Leanne and I heard one of the trills our first night at Lake George.

The neighbors and a few people in town had told us that the Gore Mountain ski area had a craft fair going on and was giving gondola rides up to the ski summit.  The foliage was supposed to be spectacular and we figured viewing it from a height would be good.  I’d never been in a ski gondola and the only skiing I’ve ever done is cross country.  It was an experience to imagine the inclines with snow on them and skiers hurtling down.

On the way back from the craft fair, we stopped a couple places, once for a view and once to walk down to the Hudson, which like the Mississippi, is a different river in its northern reaches.  The Hudson here is a mix of swift current and still pools, with a rock bottom.  Tom and Leanne swim here in the summer and I can see its appeal—clear water, rocks to swim to, mild current.  Every time I glimpsed the Hudson up here, I thought how lovely it was and how fun it could be to kayak.

Our final trips before heading back to our regular lives included a visit to the Adirondack Experience Museum and a trip up Mt. Defiance.  The Adirondack Experience Museum was interesting for its collection of historic structures and buildings displayed around the grounds.  There was a one-room school with McGuffey Readers; a hunting lodge; a lean-to with plans for how to build one; a summer sleeping house with intricate outside decorations; an artist’s cabin; and a log hotel.  They also had two trains: one that people who owned their own train cars rode in and one that transported people up to resorts.  I did not take pictures there because the documentation was fabulous and we were absorbed in reading and looking (I guess that’s the experience part).

The museum grounds overlooked Blue Mountain Lake, yet another beauty spot…

The museum was closing for the season the day we went, so one of the things I was interested in was not available.  They have Adirondack guide boats you can row on a pond in warmer weather, but they also had a model inside that you could climb into that simulated the rowing experience.  Leanne and I both tried it out.  The nice thing about these is that you can go out in them with someone else and face each other, as opposed to kayaks and canoes.  They were designed to be light for portages, skim the top of the water and yet be able to hold three people, cargo, and oh, say, a dead deer and some bear pelts.  I imagine with all that cargo they’d be a little lower in the water, but apparently they remain stable.

Before heading back, we went to Mt. Defiance, the lookout point above Fort Ticonderoga (the last picture in the Ft. Ticonderoga gallery shows it) and the reason the Continental Army had to abandon the fort at one point (but they took cannon with them to free Boston, so it wasn’t a total loss).  We had tried a couple times to go up to the lookout, but we kept getting there after the gate was locked.  This time we went early and there was a bus of tourists having lunch in the pavilion at the top.  That didn’t deter us, though we did consider passing ourselves off as tour members and having a snack.

This is looking southeast across Lake Champlain into Vermont.

Views of Lake Champlain and Fort Ticonderoga were amazing from here.  We could see Vermont’s Green Mountains across the lake and it turns out they’re another hiking destination for locals.  Maybe skiing, too, for all I know.

You can see Ft. Ticonderoga below us to the left of my head. What views, huh?

So, this exceedingly long blog is just a small update.  I’ll write soon on other things, including the garden, our donations, and the new cold frame!  Apologies to everyone for dropping off the face of the earth.  I’ll be around to visit your blogs and catch up soon!

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32 Responses to Well…A Break Is One Thing

  1. Funny, but I had just been thinking about you and hoping you were all right. I would say you are more than all right. Excellent is more like it. What a wonderful trip with a good friend to a place of beauty. Looking forward to reading about what else you have done, near as well as far.

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  2. You really know how to kick off retirement, Lisa! Seems you are doing it just right. I loved seeing all the trees and finding out the difference between ponds and lakes. Very interesting. I’m not an outdoor person. But I so love the photos others take of it. I have to live vicariously and you are doing a great job of bringing us along. Just saying you walked from Vermont to New York could be quite the conversation starter. 😉 That tickled me. Keep doing just what you are doing, enjoying life. It’s too short not to do that fully.

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  3. Lisa – pond or lake it matters not. Dive in! There’s probably a few more rabbit there – but seeing the photos – believe me from experience – risks are worth taking! I think it’s you to a Tee!

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  4. SueW says:

    Welcome back, Lisa.
    What a beautiful place, I can see why you may be considering a move there.

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  5. TanGental says:

    What a superb spot. Looks stunning. Do I assume from the referenced Ski resort it gets a touch parky at this time of year? Nice to hear from you too Lisa

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes. Those pic’s were taken between Oct 4 and 11–and on top of the mountain at Gore it was below freezing. Tom skis a lot–Leanne is more of a cross country person, but they also snowshoe…

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  6. A delightful return, Lisa: a post full of enticing photographs and informative prose. Re the terming of Jabe Pond, the Atlantic Ocean is much bigger 🙂

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  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    It is good to see you back, Lisa! I am glad you got to see Lake George. It is a beautiful place. I’ve never been there, but a relative of mine camped there long ago and brought back wonderful stories of it.

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  8. writinghouse says:

    For a few years, The Snail and I went once every 18 months or so to New England (via Boston) and drove about with nothing planned, just to see the place. We drove across the Lake Champlain bridge I think, had a sandwich on the Hero Islands and drove back down New York state. It’s a wonderful part of the world, as your pictures demonstrate!

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks for coming by! I had been on the Hudson farther south and up on Champlain in Vermont, but never at this particular part of the country. Definitely going back. I remember Jan mentioning Boston at one point. It really is a lovely part of the country.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sylvie Ge says:

    It looks like a wonderful part of the world, and all those names! Retirement seems to suit you very well.

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  10. paolsoren says:

    What an amazing area – the autumn colours are stunning. So different from Most of Australia. And Yes, I had wondered where you were.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, John. A nice adjunct to the trip was that when I came back to Virginia, I got to see the color all over again in the following weeks. It’s such a gorgeous time for walks and hikes. It was peak up there in early Oct. After a while I realized when there was a lot of green, it was white pine.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. shoreacres says:

    When I read ‘Lake George,’ my first thought was of Georgia O’Keeffe, who spent a good bit of time there. My mental image of the area had been formed by her paintings, so it was especially interesting to compare your photos with them.

    I’ve never visited the east coast, and would love to visit Acadiana especially. But, I know some people with roots in the Finger Lakes region; the Adirondack lakes clearly are just as beautiful. I’ll probably never get there, but it’s still fun to see the region through your eyes.

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    • arlingwoman says:

      I thought the same thing–O’Keefe and Stieglitz–but there was little info on them or their time there translated today. I tried to find whether the family house was there yet, but zippo. There IS quite a varied arts and crafts community because cost of living is so low and likely the state is amenable with grants for arts centers and spaces. But alas, if the Stieglitz home is still there, someone else owns it. Still, someone could likely put a landscape tour together by looking at her paintings and his photographs…Thanks for coming by!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, looks like you chose the PERFECT time for your visit, Lisa. The foliage and weather were gorgeous!

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  13. Brenda says:

    Isn’t retirement wonderful? And, it looks like you are taking full advantage of it. What an amazing trip at a perfect time of year. Everything you did looked fun. I hope you won’t wait as long for your next post. Enjoy the holidays!

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  14. Robin says:

    The Lake George area is so beautiful. We stopped there briefly (for lunch) on our way to Vermont, and I’ve always wanted to go back. Your trip looks like it was amazing! It sounds like you are very much enjoying retirement. Wishing you the happiest of holidays!

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  15. Lisa, I’m so glad you’re enjoying retirement and doing many things you love. Your photos and those views are stunning. I can almost smell the crisp, clean air. You looked relaxed in your photo which is a good sign that you’re on the right track: enjoying life to its fullest, post-COVID.

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