The wild, wild east

Cowboys at rest
Roadside tableau in the Adirondacks advertising a dude ranch

I took a real vacation. I didn’t take the blog with me, and I kept pictures to a minimum. Soooo….no Adirondack scenery for you.

We stayed with friends just south of Lake George, just north of Lake Luzerne, a place I had visited for a number of times in years past. But time had indeed changed things. For instance I don’t remember so many dude ranches. Stefanie tells me the dude ranch density rate in that area exceeds anywhere else in the country!


The morning after I arrived, I set out on my bicycle to take some pictures of some of the places along 9N. This one was by far my favorite for its mix of kitsch and ambition. Here’s my Flickr set of road pictures.

Paul and Stefanie’s place is one of those “cabins” that mixes total comfort and lots of insects. The place is pretty basic, but then there’s Stefanie’s new kitchen. Mmmm. Not so basic at all. Stefanie spent the week finishing up the kitchen, assembling livingroom accessories like lamps and trunks, and otherwise working non-stop on the house. This served as a fine reminder to me that I do not wish to own a summer home of my own. Fortunately, last week’s New Yorker had a shopper article on the search for the perfect house gift.

198128931 0693010d0e m

Here’s a picture of a bench on Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Unlike the benches in Rittenhouse Square, with plaques in honor of some human, this one has a brass placque commemorating what I presume to be a horse. The plaque reads “Cake-ee” John Natale. Cake-ee seems an unlikely nickname for Natale, so I go with his horse.

Stefanie broke away from her many tasks for only three things–a little tour led by her friend Ginny of some of the other renovations at other cabins in the community, dinner parties, and taking her annoying friend Libby, a long-time expert at being a squaky wheel, to the Tang Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Stefani’s a gracious host indeed.

We had only one rainy day, right after Murray and Paul and his son Ben joined us. On Sunday, the three guys went off to a driving range described by Paul as even less impressive than the one in Tin Cup. Murray hit his first golf ball. It did not rise above the grass and fly a great distance, he reported.


Ben’s brother, Jeremy, has quit his job and started a blog. I got a better picture of what it was like from Ben than from Stefanie, who refuses to deal with computers (hey, she doesn’t have time because she’s always building things). It took me a few posts to get the flavor, but once I did, I found it pretty compelling.

The community where we stayed has an extraordinary group of people who come there, mostly descendants (and their families) of the group of New York City public school teachers who started the community; the place has weekly talks like the one we went to Saturday night, a talk about Frank Capra by a woman named Catherine (sp?) who was approached by Capra’s family to make a film (a video?) about him. It’s not quite done, but she presented some of the information included in the film. She teaches at NYU, and although the talk’s form was discursive, I loved every bit of it.