August 2005 Archives
Most important criterion in a motel for those accustomed to eating from tin for a week? Heated outdoor pool, of course! That put us in the only efficiency at Christy's Motel in Old Forge, which was suitable, had a nice little private deck, but could seriously use some stiffer mattresses (this is always my problem with hotels - do the rest of you people really sleep on marshmallows at home?). Not one good night's sleep in a week, which isn't really in keeping with the vacation theme.
So here's what is still great about Old Forge, our favorite Adirondack village since the late '80s:
- Bald Mountain Fire Tower trail (formerly Rondaxe Mountain), where the tower has been restored and reopened, and which has stunning views for those who can take the heights. Me, I didn't see the need to look down.
- Paddling Old Forge Pond (the fingers of First Lake) and, further up the road, a choppy Fourth Lake and the little inlet that runs behind Inlet.
- Biking the relatively new Tobie Trail, a bike trail that runs behind the village and provides very quick access from the west end of town to the beach, without all the traffic and tourists. (In fact, it runs in bits and pieces, some of which were being paved while we were there, from Thendara to Old Forge to Eagle Bay and Big Moose and Inlet.)
- Old Forge Hardware. If you've ever been there, you'll understand. Its bookstore always gets most of our business, but Hannah fell deeply in love with a $35 skein of yarn that she wanted wanted wanted, but decided against in the end.
- Other delightful shops, where the useful and beautiful still outnumbers the crappy t-shirts. And, of course, the best outdoor outfitting shops anywhere.
- The Donut Shop in Eagle Bay. There are no better donuts anywhere, and they still serve both kinds: plain and cinammon.
- Deer. Many, many deer. The girls counted 99, including at least 6 bucks.
- Water Safari. We used to scoff at the idea of a water park in the middle of the Adirondacks, where it is rarely warm enough to take off your sweatshirt. But on a sunny, almost hot day, we had the best time we've ever had at a waterpark, and it kicks the Great Escape's butt. I've never had fun being wet all day in Old Forge before.
- The Adirondack Scenic Railroad. We went on Wednesday. The train often gets robbed on Wednesday.
- Local peaches, all scratchy fuzz and juice.
- Movies outside.
- Music outside.
- Eating outside.
- Moon roofs.
- Hot and dark, two things that don't occur in any other season.
- Ice cold coke.
- Hours spent in a lake.
- Biking and blading.
- Freckles and sun-lightened hair.
- Flowers, flowers, flowers.
And, has so often been told, one night a couple of weeks in, a bunch of us started a party in an elevator -- when you pushed the "stop" button, there was no alarm, so we essentially controlled the elevator, and we goofed around in there until we finally got kicked out, and moved the party to a stairwell, where we had pizza delivered (my first Domino's -- also the best, because it never got any better after that). And although I had gone into the elevator to get to know a certain girl a little better, another one caught my eye, and it turned out she'd be living right next to me at our regular dorm assignment when school started. She was so slender, had long straight brown hair, big pretty eyes, and an odd manner that I couldn't quite figure out (no one could). I was very intrigued. We met again when we moved to Day Hall, up on Mount Olympus, and just started doing things together -- meals, movies, this and that. It wasn't what you'd call dating, it was more like being together. But it seemed to work. (In fact, the one time we did try to go on a "date," it felt odd and awkweird. It didn't seem like us.) And we kept on going like that.
So now it's 27 years later, and I'm still not sure I've figured her out. But I'm trying.
Not a drive-in, but almost a drive-in, they're showing movies down at the amphitheatre in Riverfront Park in Albany on Friday nights. (Mad props to Pioneer Savings Bank for sponsoring it.) Nothing finer than a warm summer night sitting alongside the river watching a movie. They open with some comedians, then go into an episode of the Simpsons, and then a movie. Last week, it was a movie I would never otherwise have seen, and I would have had to regret it, because any movie that has a pirate in its cast for no apparent reason certainly deserves my attention, and that movie is "Dodgeball." Much funnier than it had any right to be. I am generally running cold on the whole Ben Stiller concept these days, but this time it worked, primarily because Vince Vaughn just played it straight, even though he was surrounded by totally over-the-top characters. Plus, Rip Torn. Plus, Lance Armstrong. Plus . . . oh, god, who wasn't in it?
So, am I going to see the Gin Blossoms at the Plaza tomorrow night? I really really want to, but they don't start until 8:30, and the girls have been fading early lately. So we'll see. But it's the Gin Blossoms!
Also heard an interesting little snippet on Fresh Air last night -- a re-release of the band Joe Strummer was in pre-Clash, the 101ers. It sounded great, there were definitely early elements of The Clash in there. In other musical news, last week I bought one of the odder pairs possible, even for someone whose tastes have a fairly wide range: The Ramones' "Pleasant Dreams" and the Partridge Family's "Sound Magazine." They both rock. Trust me.