Flaming logs and quiet time started this special day. Schroon Lake (SL) was the catalyst for our trip. In ways, I’ve waited for this day for years. Ron has told me tales of SL since we met. His father’s childhood home; he has many memories here. With a population of 1,654 as of 2010, the town is small, but the memories are great. Let the stories begin.
Side note from our day of memories:
Meet Gunner, mascot of Whippoorwill Motel and Campground (WMC). As a former dog walker and lifetime dog lover, my four-legged friends usually come right to me. Not Gunner. He was not receptive to my feminine wiles.
I got the look. You know the “You’re a human, and I don’t trust you look.” He gave me the leery, untrusting eye. Not mean, just not trusting. Even held out my hand for the obligatory sniff, nothing. Gunner’s going to make me work for his trust; he doesn’t give it away easily. Let’s see what the next two days bring. I’m totally in love; he stole my heart.
We talked about Ron’s dad on the way to Schroon Lake.
“Dad was born in Troy, not far from here. But he grew up in Schroon Lake. He lived here through college and came back after college. Then he went to the military.”
Then our conversation turned to his Grandmother. Lucille Morrison lived with her mother, Marjorie Ford. Neither his Dad nor his Grandmother would talk about Lucille’s husband.
Whenever Ron asked his Grandmother about his grandfather, she would giggle and not say anything. All we know is we think they were married, not certain, and he left her. Other than that, neither Lucille nor his Dad would talk about such things. His grandmother went to her grave, not telling her secrets. As much as Ron has tried, he hasn’t found any further information than what he currently has.
Approaching Lucille’s old home, Ron hoped he could pick it out. “It’s been a long time,” he said as we turned onto Cedar Hill Street.
“This is going to be horribly embarrassing if I can’t remember where the house is.”
Ron didn’t recognize the house when we drove past, with good reason. Grandma’s home wasn’t in the same shape as when he was a child. Besides needing a roof, the exterior needed some love. Built in 1962, Ron’s parents sold the house in 2005 for $95,000.
Ron thought, “I was going to drive up and find a sweet lady sitting on the porch, and I would say, ‘This was my grandma”s house.'” Unfortunately, that moment didn’t happen, disappointing for Ron.
After Ron’s grandmother passed, his parents bought the trailer next door as a rental property. In 2006, they sold the lot for $62,000. Managing rental properties in New York from Virginia was too taxing.
Town Market (TM) has fond memories for Ron. His parents took him to buy candy from the store’s shelves.
TM is vastly different, mainly wider. Ron asked an associate if the store was wider, she said, “No, always been like this” However, another associate, hearing the conversation, chimed in, ” Yeah, there used to be a wall and a counter where they served milkshakes. It is wider.”
Ron realized the last family trip to his Grandma’s house was forty years ago when he was thirteen. A lot changes in forth years. The last time he was actually here was over thirty years ago when he helped move his grandmother to Virginia.
Schroon Lake Community Church, backed by the Methodist denomination, is where Ron’s Grandma attended church. Unfortunately, the building burned down in 2019:
SCHROON, N.Y. (AP) — A fire has destroyed a church that has been a cornerstone of an Adirondack community for more than a century.
Officials say the fire broke out around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday inside the Schroon Lake Community Church, located in the Essex County hamlet 80 miles (129 kilometers) north of Albany.
The fire spread quickly, sending flames shooting out of windows and engulfing the steeple of the structure, which dates back to the late 19th century. Smoke from the fire was visible from miles away.
Electrical wiring caused the fire. The church began reconstruction in 2020. Service is at 10:00 a.m. in person or online for anyone interested in attending.
Ron chose the loudest shirt he owns for picture day in SL. Can you imagine how frustrated he made his mother when he was a child:-)? When he started griping about all the pics, he said, “I wore this shirt thinking it might stop you.” I said, “You know me better than that.”
Ron chose the selfie to use today. He loved my smile. And Ron felt his grumpy look communicated his annoyance at my constant picture taking.
After strolling through town, we walked to the lakefront park. Ron remembers coming to the park but not getting into the water. SL, north of Albany, is smaller than Lake George, only 9 miles long. Paradox Lake (PL), 5 miles long, is connected to SL by the Schroon River, which flows into the Hudson River. SL has boating, swimming, and fishing in the summer. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in the winter make SL a year-round destination.
From the park, we walked the beach. As we were deciding which way to go, Ron asked me to decide. Since this was his day of remembrance, I told him to lead the way.
“Wherever you go, I will follow. I’m your Ruth; you’re my Boaz:-).” Thinking of Ruth made me think of my Bible study ladies, so I texted them some afternoon cheer.
Reaching the beach, Ron pointed out the French language on the lifeguard stands. Canadians come to SL for vacation; they speak French as well as English. Ron also loves the Adirondack chairs on lifeguard stands. My directions from him were, “Take a picture of that.” Why he finds that so funny, I’m not sure. But I did as he said.
We realized after returning to WMC; we didn’t take a picture of toes in the sand. Another trip is necessary:-).
Ron grew impatient with all of my note-taking. In his words, “You don’t realize how long you take.” He doesn’t complain when he reads the blog, just waiting while I write it:-).
Our meandering continued along the waterfront, coming upon a weathered Victorian house sitting quietly on the lake. I immediately fell in love with everything about this house. Although I’ve never had a desire for a large house, this one drew me to it. Once again, my imagination ran wild, and I started creating stories of the people who lived within the walls over the years. Always a romantic, I could see the Romeo/Juliet scenario with the wrap-around porches. Young lovers, misunderstood by the world, sharing secret moments in the night.
As we were walking away, heading back to Main Street, Ron asked, “What did you think?” Taken by surprise, I said, tossing my head towards the Victorian, “Oh, um, I want to buy that house.” Beth speak for “Loved it.”
Looking back over my shoulder as we walked away, I saw someone peeking from the second-floor window. I thought, “Maybe someday that will be me.” You never know; life is full of surprises.
Flanagan’s Pub and Grill became our lunch destination. When I asked the waitress if we could sit upstairs on the deck overlooking the lake, I was surprised by her answer. She responded, without skipping a beat, “That’s an apartment.” Feeling completely stupid, I said, ” You can tell we’re not from here.” She wasn’t amused. Obviously, she has this conversation regularly.
After sitting, Ron said, “I’ve never been here before; Mom and Dad never brought me to the pub.”
Our waitress, Jasmine, was adorable. Irish, her grandfather, came over when he was 19 years old to marry her grandmother. He still has a heavy Irish accent “people don’t expect” to hear when they talk to him. As she described him, I was thinking of my friend Pat’s father from Italy. Knowing little English, he spoke with a heavy Italian accent. So I asked Jasmine, “Does he speak English?”.
An awkward silence ensued. Ireland does speak English. Ron and Jasmine both looked at me, not knowing what to say. Ron said they speak English in Ireland. Sweet Jasmine said, “He does speak Gaelic.” The uncomfortable moment passed by quickly. She said she loved to listen to his stories. I told her, ” You listen to every story he wants to tell you.” She said she already does.
Bored, waiting on the waitress, I was trying to take “stealth photos” (a new term Ann Marie taught me) of Ron. When he caught me, he said, “No! Bad dog.” We both laughed!
“Well, this is where it all started,” Ron said as he put the truck into gear after lunch. We talked about how sad life is to see things change. But we both know change is a part of life. Nothing stays the same. As Robert Frost wrote, “Nothing gold can stay.” The moral of the story, enjoy the gold while you have it.
Ron said, “Alright, Schroon Lake, I’ll see you in another 40 years.” Then he stopped and said, “Nah, we’ll come back camping.”
Steering the truck back towards Lake George, we passed Word of Life Lodge, which was closed for the season. Built-in 1953, people from all over the world came here to connect with God through their ministry. An island in the middle of the lake served as a retreat center for kids. Ron was confused, “This IS the season. That’s bizarre; they’re closed.” In short, the lodge is a victim of COVID.
I wanted to buy wine, but I wanted to find a half bottle. Red wine is my preferred drink, but I’m not particularly eager to buy full bottles. Ron doesn’t drink it, and I try to adhere to a two-glass limit. Red wine goes bad too fast. If I don’t drink the whole bottle in two days, it oxidates. And I don’t want to drink the bottle in two days.
I’m over fifty; everything causes me to gain weight, especially alcohol. Buying bottles of wine is a waste of money for me. Unfortunately, going out for wine is extremely expensive these days.
Ron found a solution. Sutter Home single serve bottes.
Hubby didn’t see how many I bought. When we got into the truck, I asked him to open the door for me; my hands were full. When he came around the tail end, he said, “How many did you buy?” To which I replied, ” Three. It’s all they had.” He got the look he gets sometimes, and we both started laughing. Ron knows me well. When I find something I like, I buy it.
Driving back to our pups, I asked Ron about getting some ice cream. Seeing Crossroads Country Store, he did a u-turn. I think he regretted his decision when he saw the size of the store. He knew I would want to shop; he was right.
Laura is a lovely local lady I met while shopping. Working for the store, she knew her product well, selling me several things.
When I asked Laura what winters are like, she said, “Oh yeah, winters are eventful.” With a faraway look, thinking about last winter, she talked about Saratoga. Only 45 minutes away, they got three feet of snow, but SL only got two. Laura said the snow is hit or miss on who gets accumulation. I compared it to rain in VA. Often, the showers let loose at my house, but my business partner who lives five miles away gets none. Laura said that’s what the snow is like here in the winter. She recommended coming up and spending a week or two during the cold months. I told her, “We’re already talking about doing just that.”
Ron said, “You gotta take a picture of me in the big Adirondack chair eating ice cream.”
So I did.
Eventually, we did get ice cream, which was thoroughly enjoyable. Who doesn’t like a twist with chocolate sprinkles in a sugar cone? Yummy!.
A sign that read, “Three text violations and you lose your license,” educated me about laws in NY.
Scaroon Manor Campground is where Ron originally booked us. He wanted to tour the park for a possible next visit. Dry camping only; no electricity or water. We have a generator, but it won’t power the A/C. If we decide to stay here in the future, we’ll have to make sure the temperature is cool.
Firewood on this trip has been easy to acquire. Honor systems like the one pictured are everywhere in New England. We don’t see this down south, probably because it’s too hot for fires in the summer. Whatever the reason, this is a nice perk to traveling in the North East.
Since I hadn’t walked the campground yet, Ron and I took the pups for a stroll. Whippoorwill isn’t a large facility, but it is well maintained and quiet. Our spot is cramped, but the manager moved people around to get us a spot last minute. We’re grateful. I fell in love with the people who run WMC. Kind, generous, salt-of-the-earth people who I wouldn’t mind visiting again:-).
British Open is one of my most anticipated golf tournaments of the year. The bunkers on the golf course are some. of the most difficult in the world, producing incredible shots from the pros. Ron isn’t the fan of the tournament I am. But he loves watching golf. After touring SL, we snuggled with the pups and watched Jordan Spieth make a run for the trophy.
“One minute,” Ron said at 8:44 p.m., “Hope this thing starts on time.”. He kept his promise. We’re ending our day with a movie at Glenn Drive-In Theater. Paying $10/person for a double feature, we tuned the radio to 103.3 and drove around the tree as instructed, parking in front of screen one. Black Widow, followed by The Forever Purge, won over Space Jam: A New Legacy and The Boss Baby: Family Business. Watching two won’t happen, not when the first movie starts at 8:45. At 9:01, we were still watching previews.
During the previews, Glen Drive-in said 4063 drive-ins once existed in our country. Now, less than 400 theaters exist in the USA. They make their money from the concessions, so please, eat up.
Jungle Cruise looks like a possibility for future entertainment.
Playing the audio through the radio with heavy bass made the truck vibrate. Since we’re newbies, we didn’t think to bring lawn chairs or a transistor radio to sit outside. We’ll remember for next time.
I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been to a drive-in. No other memory comes to mind, only what I’ve seen in movies. So, Yay me:-)!
My opinion of Black Widow, female action movie perfect for a drive-in movie.
I asked Ron about halfway through the movie, “Do you think there are any babies being made right now?” He said, ” Could be, could be.”
Peaceful summer night in the life of the Meanderers :-).