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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Into The Adirondacks -- We got up early and took the kids for a great breakfast at this gourmet place in Lake George that I had heard about...goddamn if even the breakfast wasn't awesome, everything very fresh and tasty, surprises like roasted red pepper pieces in the home fries, Lora's omelette was amazing...my instincts were good on trying this place out. The dining area was spacious and Adirondack-themed, lots of wood, but with lots of light and very clean. We also had the place to ourselves for 90 percent of the time we were there, which was nice.

A couple weird moments -- the waiter asked if we were in town for the whole weekend, and I told him we were locals -- our house is like 15 minutes up the highway from this place. But the waiter clearly had a spiel he liked to unroll on tourists, and we really flummoxed him. I was wearing a red flowered Hawaiian shirt, and he also tried to generate some chit-chat on that subject, like "that's common" where he is apparently from, but he hardly ever sees them in Lake George. Which is only really active in the summer, is one of the country's most famous water-based resort destinations, and of course has fucking Hawaiian shirts from wall to wall from May to September. So, yeah, he was a bit weird.

So, that place behind us -- and it really was a nice meal, weirdness aside -- we drove two hours into the Adirondacks to go to this place, The Adirondack Natural History Museum, I think is the official name, but it's informally called The Wild Center; driving through the Adirondacks is really awe-inspiring. You never know, when you round a bend, what you're gonna see, and often it's enormous mountains that just keep going up and up and up, spectacularly beautiful. Of course we got a bit lost on the way -- the directions from our neck of the woods were vague and possibly outright incorrect, and I think it took us an hour longer to get there than it should have. I was getting low blood sugar by the time we got to Tupper Lake (due to the length of the drive, getting lost, stressed out over that and also I forget to bring a snack, which I should have), where the museum is, so we went to the only restaurant in town and had lunch. It was this hole in the wall called The Swiss Kitchen, kind of seedy and full of bizarre locals and a couple naff tourists like us (we're so obvious with our Hawaiian shirts). I got just a BLT and chips, but Lora and I shared a peach crumble pie thing for dessert, and it was fucking amazing, homemade and certainly enough to bring my blood sugar up for the rest of the day, if not the weekend.

Finally at the Wild Center, and it was pretty far from what I was expecting. One gets the impression they opened a year too soon, as some exhibits seem undernourished and others missing entirely. There were some cool wildlife exhibits with a real otter playing in an indoor waterfall, lots of fish, frogs, newts and stuff like that. But all in all it was pretty underwhelming, considering that it cost 46 bucks for the four of us to get in...by comparison, the New York State Museum in Albany is vastly more entertaining and diverse, an hour closer to home, and, uh, FREE.

We did go on the outside nature trail, which wound down toward, I guess, Tupper Lake itself. It had a few signs noting the type of mushrooms and birch trees and whatnot, but it was a long ride for a short day at the beach, as Roger Ebert says. And a couple of the hills were really steep; when we spotted a defibrillator (honestly!) halfway down the trail, I can't honestly say I didn't think we might need it coming back up those hills.

I did feel young again, though, when my my wife and kids needed to rest on a bench on the way back up, and I just wanted to keep on going -- of course, my mind was on the air conditioning back at the museum. My four favourite things in life are probably sex, pizza, comics and air conditioning, and not in that order.



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