With some variation on the water level of the lake, this is the view I enjoy every morning during that first week in August we spend up in the Adirondacks. My son will tell you that we’ve been coming here since 2004. Then he’ll pause while we look at each other. Can that be right
A friend of my husband’s had rented the cottage for himself that first summer. One night he called, offering the time he’d reserved to us, explaining that after what we’d gone through as a family over the past 10 months, we needed that cottage more than he did.
And we’ve been going up ever since.
We pack lots of books, good hiking boots, the camera and a pair of binoculars, sheets, pillows, towels, bathing suits, a few audio books for the road, and assorted other things that we seem to think will be necessary for the 7 days we’ll be away.
The day we leave is always a scramble to get two dogs off to the boarding kennel and the third, Josephine, dropped off to my neighbor’s house, and get the car packed before 11AM. This year, we felt quite pleased with ourselves as we pulled away from the curb by 10:30AM.
It’s two-and-a-half hours away– a relatively uneventful ride down the thruway to the Turning Stone casino exit so that we can cut over to Rt 365 taking the back roads.
After that first summer, we knew to stop at DiSantis – the neighborhood grocery store just up a ways from the Adirondack Cheese Company on Rt 12 before driving to the cottage – to stock up on groceries. We’ve gotten pretty good at striking a balance between buying enough to last the week so that we’re not bringing food home.
Those first summers we played tourist and used the cottage as a base camp for the day trips we’d planned taking us deeper into the Adirondack Park. We’ve gone white water rafting, explored Old Forge, found out-of-the-way hiking trails, traipsed through rock quarries, visited breweries, museums, and several of the Great Camps now open to the public.
Some summers we take the boat. It’s a 14 foot runabout that belonged to my father-in-law. For 11 months of the year, it’s beached in our back yard, looking quite displaced in our Norman Rockwell picturesque neighborhood.
We left it home this summer.
I inhale the serenity of the lake and feed off of the peace and quiet of the area. It’s my balm for the next 11 months until I can return the next summer to drink it all in one more time.
Growing up, I spent my summers on the Jersey shore with the salt-water tang of the Atlantic ocean just a stone’s throw away. It’s taken me a long time to get used to the differences between beach life down the shore and “beach life” in the Adirondacks. Swimming’s a different experience. I miss the sound of the surf.
The trade off? Fresh water, gorgeous scenery and having easy access to other people’s dogs. This summer, more than in summers past, was the week of celebrating water dogs.