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Adirondack Explorer

May, 2013

Adirondacks: A Great Destination
Author: Annie Stoltie

Review by: Neal Burdick

A 5-star travel guide I like to think of myself as fairly knowledgeable about the Adirondacks—not an expert exactly, but I’ve been around for a while. So it was with great relish that I picked up the latest Explorer’s Guides volume on the region (not related to the Explorer you’re reading), hoping to find a mistake, an omission, something—anything—wrong with it. I couldn’t do it. Failed miserably. And that is very frustrating for a self-appointed know-it-all. The book really is about as comprehensive a guide to the Adirondacks as you can find. If it isn’t between these covers, you probably >>More


March, 2013

The Untold Story of Champ
Author: Robert Bartholomew

Review by: Neal Burdick

Champ surfaces again Zeuglodon, sauropod, coelacanth, or plesiosaur? Sturgeon or gar pike? Fortuitously sculpted chunk of driftwood, or flock of birds?  Hallucination, perhaps induced by a binge at a lakeside tavern? Or flat-out hoax? The story of Champ, the “Lake Champlain Monster,” has been one of near-religious zeal, unwavering certainty, firm doubts, controversy, bitter rivalries, at least one divorce, financial exhaustion, and shameless marketing spanning more than two hundred years. Robert Bartholomew presents this sometimes funny, sometimes sordid saga in his new book, The Untold Story of Champ: A Social History of America’s Loch Ness Monster. What exactly is “untold” >>More


September, 2012

Tupper Lake
Author: Jon Kopp

Review by: Nathan Brown

The “Tip Top Town” now has its own entry in the “Images of America” series, depicting the town’s growth from a wilderness outpost to a bustling logging town. Tupper Lake contains hundreds of photos that Jon Kopp, the town historian and former director of the Chamber of Commerce, selected from the archives of the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library and from his own collection. Kopp also wrote the informative captions accompanying the photos. The title is part of a series by Arcadia Publishing, which has released hundreds of books of photographs depicting the history of communities throughout America. Kopp, who owns Wildwood >>More


September, 2012

Great Camp Sagamore The Vanderbilts’ Adirondack Retreat
Author: Beverly Bridger

Review by: Neal Burdick

Sagamore—it’s a name celebrated in Adirondack history, story, and song, synonymous with a glittering but shortlived era of rapacious wealth and ostentatious luxury. The subject of attention in many books, most recently Gladys Montgomery’s An Elegant Wilderness: Great Camps and Grand Lodges of the Adirondacks, 1855-1935, the place now gets its own deserved volume in Great Camp Sagamore: the Vanderbilt Adirondack Retreat. Written by Great Camp Sagamore Director Beverly Bridger, this slim but generously illustrated book packs a lot in, giving us the rise, fall, and rescue of a classic Adirondack institution. All told, the book contains more than fifty-five >>More


March, 2012

Adirondack Roots: Stories of Hiking, History and Women
Author: Sandra Weber

Review by: Susan Bibeau

When asked to describe the Adirondacks—the place I’ve called home for the past fifteen years—I invariably speak of its scenic beauty. The majestic High Peaks, pristine lakes, and wild forests are what first come to mind when thinking about my adopted home. I am reminded after reading Sandra Weber’s Adirondack Roots: Stories of Hiking, History and Women, that I am neglecting an equally important dimension: the Adirondacks are steeped in history. Each peak, trail, and waterway has been visited before us and is marked with its own indelible stories. As Weber puts it: “Not the history sprouted in eighth-grade social >>More


January, 2012

Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps
Author: Martin Podskoch

Review by: Neal Burdick

Go for a hike or a drive almost anywhere in the Adirondacks, and you might come upon a stand of trees, probably red or white pines, of uniform size and age, evenly spaced in straight rows a consistent distance apart. “That’s not natural,” you might think, and you’d be right. You’ve most likely come upon a plantation established during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s ideas for putting people to work during the Depression. At its peak in 1933, the corps had 2,600 camps nationwide and employed half a >>More


November, 2011

An Elegant Wilderness: Great Camps and Lodges of the Adirondacks, 1855-1935
Author: Gladys Montgomery

Review by: Neal Burdick

Great Camp—the term stirs impressions of a style, an era, a way of life that passed quickly across the Adirondack stage but left a lasting impression. It conjures images of fabulous wealth, of excess, of changes in the Adirondack social order. And did we mention fabulous wealth? A few Great Camps survive today, under various guises, reminding us of their celebrated time in the limelight. They were the profoundly private retreats of profoundly public figures, built on estates that could encompass thousands of acres and a lake or two or three. The Great Camps often had so many buildings that >>More


September, 2011

Notes Collected in the Adirondacks: 1897 & 1898
Author: Arpad Geyza Gerster

Review by: Philip Terrie

The library at the Adirondack Museum houses thousands of rare and valuable items, from historic maps and the business records of long-defunct logging companies to the personal papers of major Adirondack personalities and hard-to-find government reports. Among the most fascinating of the many treasures are diaries, handwritten day-to-day accounts of life in bygone times. Some of these are by humble folk, like the poignant journal kept by Juliet Kellogg, living on a remote farm near Minerva in the 1860s and describing the isolation and travails of a hardscrabble life. At the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum is the diary >>More


July, 2011

Old Forge and the Fulton Chain of Lakes
Author: Linda Cohen and Peg Masters

Review by: Phil Brown

ARCADIA PUBLISHING puts out so many Adirondack books in its Images of America series that it’s hard to keep track of them, but one that crossed my desk in recent weeks caught my eye: Old Forge and the Fulton Chain of Lakes. One of the largest hamlets in the Adirondack Park, Old Forge has a rich history full of colorful characters. Like others in the series, this book conveys the past through old photographs and captions. The authors, Linda Cohen and Peg Masters, are both descendants of early settlers of Old Forge. Cohen’s grandfather founded Old Forge Hardware, the bustling >>More


July, 2011

Heaven Up-h’isted-ness! The History of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers
Author: Various authors

Review by: Philip Terrie

EARLY IN 1838, geologist Ebenezer Emmons, part of a team of scientists assessing New York’s natural resources, submitted a report to the state Assembly. In it he described his fieldwork of the previous summer. Among other things, he had led the first recorded ascent of the state’s highest peak, which he named Mount Marcy, for William Learned Marcy, the sitting governor. Emmons also proposed a name for the rugged region of which Marcy was more or less the center: “The cluster of mountains in the neighborhood of the Upper Hudson and Ausable rivers, I propose to call the Adirondack group, >>More




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