About Tracy Ormsbee

Tracy Ormsbee is publisher of the Adirondack Explorer. When she’s not working – and it’s not black fly season – you can find her outdoors hiking, running, paddle boarding or reading a book on an Adirondack chair somewhere.

Reader Interactions


  1. Maggie Bartley says

    Peter taught me how to get in and out of the new canoe that I had just bought. I have used that technique ever since. But I’ll never forget going into his office to pay for my new canoe. He called his colleagues and had a watermelon which cut it right there on his desk and we ate watermelon with juice running everywhere. I wish I had a photo of that.

  2. louis curth says

    Peter Hornbeck will be remembered fondly in many different ways by a great many of us who knew him well. For our part, we will remember him from the 1970s & 1980s when we were all active members of the Upper Hudson Environmental Action Committee – the forerunner of the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks.

    Whether on our hikes and backcountry ski trips, or at board of directors meetings at the Hornbeck residence and elsewhere, the deliberations and decisions of the UHEAC were always made better – and more fun – by the presence of Peter and Ann.
    You will be missed dear friend. Lou and Inger Curth

  3. Mary Jennings says

    We have a very small motor home and went up there twice, saying we would buy if he could get the boats, first one, and then the second, around the refrigerator and into the MH. He did and we have loved the boats for the past almost twenty years. This year a derecho destroyed our shed with a huge tree splitting it open. Somehow, the kayaks survived, thank God. We will always honor this man.

  4. Rick Lipinskas says

    Very sad news. I owned one of his earliest boats, a green 12′ guide boat made in the late 1970’s that looked like the ones used a hundred years ago. It had unique oars in brass oarlocks, removable caned seats, and a carrying yoke.

  5. Ellen Wetherbee says

    I bought a Hornbeck this summer and could not be happier with it. I loved going to the shop and feeling the peace that was present there. I did not meet Peter, but his work to preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks is inspirational. I am very sorry to know that this good, creative man has left us.

  6. Mike Storey says

    Peter and I were in high school together. Our backyards touched. We hunted and fished a number of times in the late fifties and early sixties. His wife Ann (Crow) lived three doors down the street from my house.
    In 1970, Ann invited Joan and I to their place and they taught us the rudiments of ski touring that lasted us the rest of our lives. After I became the chief naturalist at the APA in 1977, we socialized regularly. Joan and Ann camped on Middle Saranac beach with their daughter, Leigh, and our son, Tom, when the kids were about eight. Pete and I built the hull of a lost pond boat one Saturday morning in 1979 and I finished it here in Saranac Lake. It is now owned by my son, Tom. Joan is the proud owner of a New tricks that I gave her for our fiftieth anniversary.
    Peter will be remembered by many as friend, boat designer, artist, and conservationist. He will be missed.

  7. Bruce Hannah says


    The boat cruised
    Under the fireworks
    That 1980’s 4th of July
    In front of The Boathouse theater
    The oars dipped silently
    In Schroon
    It was awesome
    And beautiful
    I asked who was that?
    I think Peter Wood knew him,
    A school teacher from
    We met Pete and his boats
    Made with care of Kevlar
    And resin
    Not replicas
    But originals
    New Adirondack Guideboats
    With beautiful oars
    bronze hardware,
    Brightwork and caned seats
    The one person version
    Weighed a mere 12 pounds
    A Hornbeck aka Rushton
    Designed for portage
    And exploration
    And fishing
    In style
    Thank you Pete

    Bruce Hannah

  8. Frank Robertaccio says

    Fond memories of our dear friend, Pete Hornbeck – Boatbuilder.
    Early on, in the late 70’s, we traveled from Forestport with our young Andy & Mollie to Olmstedville & bought 2 green Rushton inspired canoes from Pete. Ann served us grilled tuna/ tomato sandwiches in their home….while our children enjoyed playing with their little daughter Leigh. We loved paddling with our children in these wonderful one-man canoes! Eventually we sold one to a friend who fell in love with it, and the other one was later stolen, unfortunately:(
    A little later on, Pete called me in the middle of winter and said he needed to sell several of his newly-designed Kevlar lost pond boats. We couldn’t resist their light weight and beauty and bought all three!:) As testimony to Pete’s boatbuilding skills, they are still hanging in the cottage shed and paddled frequently by our children & grandchildren! 
    Also, Pete had just built an 18 1/2 foot full volume white water canoe that I thought would be great for us & our growing family to paddle safely on West Canada Creek & on the Black River. He balked at selling it because he really wanted to race it in the Hudson River white water at North Creek. But his wife Ann insisted that he should sell it to us and that he could build another one:) Thanks Ann! 🙂
    That was over 40 years ago when a very special life long friendship began.

    Ann, Leigh, Josh, Rushton and Devlin – May your beautiful memories give you strength and peace. God be with you.
    With our love and prayers,
    Frank & Kathy Robertaccio and family❣️

    Rest In Peace in the Lord, dear Pete!

  9. Maureen McLeod and Fred Kitzrow says

    A dozen or so years ago we witnessed our first Hornbeck canoes while participating in the ADK Paddle Week. On our way home, we stopped in Olmsteadville where we met Pete and tried out a Classic. We were en route to a stay on Paradox Lake and, despite never having met us previously, he encouraged us to take a boat with us – for a few days’ trial. We did, and a week later, returned to buy the boat. A few years later we added a New Trick. Our canoes have taken us on many miles of tranquil paddles, our favorite being up in the St. Regis area.
    R.I.P. Pete. Our love of the Adirondacks has been deepened by your handiwork.

  10. Kevin Richardson says

    RIP Peter and condolences to his family. My experience with Peter was purchasing a boat about 10 years ago. I called before I drove down, and he said “make sure you come down on Saturdays, because that was pizza day”. Lunch was great that day and tried many boats. He sold me a 16′ carbon fiber at a very good price then an even better deal on a paddle. It went something like “how much do you have” deal that I surely got the better end of. Of course I picked up my boat on a pizza Saturday. A kind and such a welcoming man, liked to listen as much as tell his story. He will be missed by all that have had the privilege to paddle his boats and shared his love of the water.

  11. Carole Hoffman says

    My favorite memories of the Adirondacks will be the visits to Hornbeck Boats & listen to Peter spin his tales. Great storyteller w/ a fabulous sense of humor. I love my 12 ‘ Hornbeck and wear my Hornbeck ball cap with the honor of knowing such a fine person as Peter. My condolences to his family. Peter will be missed!

  12. Scott Dillon says

    My Wife, Connie and I, picked up our new boats in June of this year. As we were loading the boats with Josh on the roof of my truck, Pete appeared out of no where. He had a big grin on his face, and he complimented me on the color choice of my Toyota Tacoma. As Josh and I loaded the boats, Pete gave Connie a signed poster, and it is now framed in the house. We utilized the boats a bunch, and plan on even more excursions this year that lies ahead. Thankful, that we got to meet Pete that sunny Saturday morning, a memory I will never forget. RIP Pete.

  13. Bibi Wein says

    We are devastated at the loss of our beloved neighbor, the philosopher king of Trout Brook Road. Our hearts go out in great sorrow to Ann, Leigh, and the whole Hornbeck family.
    Bibi Wein and Bob Fisher

  14. mary says

    What a shock! I recently saw Pete and his wife in Tupper Lake as they brought their canoes up and launched at the crusher. He was securing his boat for his trip home. He talked quite a bit of his travels to Labrador and Northern Quebec and was disappointed about the border closure. He was an unforgettable person. I bought one kayak, and 3 canoes from him and I would have gladly bought another if I could have spent the day up at his shop and pond. Priceless.

  15. Vince Johnson says

    Pete, Thanks for making an Adirondack outing into an adventure. You will be missed on the trails, ponds and mountains.

  16. Ralph Faull says

    I go back about 40 years with Pete and family. built boats kayaks and guide boats with him. Spent time there babysitting the place and dogs while he and Ann were on vacation. Fished on the Salmon and Sandy Rivers for Steelhead.
    Truly a great person and will be missed dearly!

  17. Darren Van Aken says

    I worked for Pete for three years, managing sales. Pete didn’t just sell boats. He made friends. He wanted every customer to get the “Hornbeck experience”. Friendly hospitality was his forefront. A true Adirondack icon, I learned a lot from him and I’ll never forget the time I spent with him. Thank you for everything.

  18. Aric Dicruttalo says

    In 1985 at 22 years old I was looking for a lightweight boat and a job. I met Pete and a 35+ yr friendship began. Pete said he couldn’t afford to put on any help but we could build a custom14ft Rushton model boat in his garage that you could row and paddle as1 person or paddle as a traditional canoe with different beam widths. He threw in a set of guide boats oars as the boat was more challenging than anticipated. After damaging the boat on an adventure Pete said ” I’ll fix the boat you go in the house and fix my washing machine”. The deal was done and he later delivered the boat to my home. Over the years we talked of brook trout, guide boats, and the Adirondacks with Pete doing most of the talking as usual. Since then I am a proud owner of the original Rushton, a Lost Pond Boat and a Blackjack Boat along with a restored 1890’s Adirondack Guide boat. To Pete’s family my sincere condolences. He will be missed but his boats and spirit will always float on!

  19. Denise Desmond says

    What a lovely man, I am so sad to hear his of his passing. His family must be so heart broken. I hope the blessing of a life well lived with so many great memories and stories will bring them comfort.

  20. Mary H says

    About 20 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Pete at his home, through an Adirondack Explorer representative. I was so impressed by his beautiful property, creative soul and quality of boats. A Hornbeck boat is in a class of its own, and anyone who is luck enough to own and enjoy one in this beautiful park is truly blessed. Thank, Pete, for your time and talent. My Science students will continue to enjoy learning about your story and craftsmanship for years to come.
    Peace be with you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *