Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The Northern Adirondacks
Day Three July 19th
Next on the itinerary was Jay, NY and possibly Lake Placid. We cruised down I-87 and found the humble hamlet of Jay rather quickly. There was nothing there, except a post office and a crafts store and the town just before it , Ausable Forks, at least had one or two restaurants. What made Ausable Forks special was that the Ausable River flowed off to the left side of the road and it looked larger than a tubing river, but a little too calm for white-water. It made you look and want to take pictures.
At the Jay B&B -- the Book and Blanket -- we met our host, Fred, who is a freelance medical writer. He told us that Leonard Bernstein's brother had stayed there while he was doing research on James Thurber, who had lived in the town (a nook in the dining room is named after Thurber).
The Jay Book & Blanket
Our room was the Jack London room and it didn't have A/C -- just a tall floor fan. But, it did have a big bathroom where I could lay out all of my stuff (that's important). I've read a few of London stories in middle school, but once I learned he was a racist (he reported on Jack Johnson during Johnson's prime) -- I was done with him. He died very young due to kidney failure after years of punishing his body and he left his 2 daughters and his wife for a slightly older woman who became his life partner and they did travel and writing together (well, he wasn't all that bed). The room, of course, had about 20 books on London, along with a snow shoes and other rustic Adirondack "stuff". But no A/C -- whoops, did I already say that?
John Brown's Farm
We left Fred for Lake Placid -- the site of 2 Olympics 1932 and 1980. Near Lake Placid is the John Brown farm, which Brown purchased and tried to have free blacks run, but the farm and the project were both failures. His wife and kids (the ones who weren't in his famous raid) ran everything, but the soil was poor and the farm was soon abandoned. Keith took some nice shots of the farmhouse. Near the farmhouse is the grave that Brown shares with most of the 21 Harper's Ferry arsensal raiders. Sheridan Leary is one of them. Leary was Langston Hughes's maternal grandmother's first husband and he was 24. The former Mrs. Leary would place her dead husband's shawl over young Langston every night before he went to sleep -- talk about having to fulfill a legacy! But Hughes did through his remarkable poetry. We didn't visit the museum in the farmhouse because it was closed that day, so we shooed the obnoxious black flies away and drove off to see Lake Placid.
This famous Olympic town has a very cozy main street which juts up against Mirror Lake (we didn't have a chance to see the real Lake Placid). The Olympic Stadium has a lot of flags out front and even has real snow by the main flagpole. Keith thought it was too touristy, but I thought everyone was tasteful -- reminded me a bit of Sedona -- lots of visitors, but the visitors are cool and the townspeople are welcoming. Lots of bars, shops, bookstores, and coffee shops. In one of the bookstores, we learned about the "Lady in the Lake". This woman was found in 1982 perfectly preserved at the bottom of Lake Placid, but she had died 30 years before. I guess that lake is pretty cold.
And there's even a multiplex on Main Street. After dinner at the Adirondack Brewing Co (we qualified for the Early Bird Special at 5:29 pm), we saw "An Inconvenient Truth". Our first movie together since March. Every year on our vacation, we hope to catch a movie and this year was a good one. Al Gore got personal and we found out that his older sister died of lung cancer (the Gores ran a tobacco farm in TN). Everyone should see this movie -- Comment and tell me if you've seen it~ It was so persuasive. Made me shut down my computer at night.