Monday, September 6, 2010
A Bolton Mini-Holiday
The equinox won't arrive for more than two weeks, but as everyone knows, summer ends today. Not for me, of course, since I'm retired and can just keep on playing as I have all summer, but my husband has to start teaching at Siena College tomorrow. So we grabbed this last vacation day and did the tourist thing together, heading up to Bolton Landing on Lake George. A charming little town with very little of the kitschiness of Lake George Village, Bolton Landing lies about half way up the western shore, where views of the lake are at their most beautiful. Little pine-bristled islands dot the wide expanse of blue, blue water, and sweeping green mountains rise to meet the sky beyond the far shore.
The splendid old Sagamore Hotel perches on a Lake George promontory at Bolton Landing.
Usually, when we come up to Bolton, we stop at the very posh Sagamore Hotel for drinks on the hotel's veranda -- the drinks there don't cost any more than they do at more modest Bolton establishments, but the views and the atmosphere are beyond compare. Today, though, we wanted food more substantial than the free salted nuts you get at the Sagamore, so we tried a place called Cate's Italian Garden. And the food was delicious! I had a soft-shell crab po' boy with a cup of homemade tomato/basil soup, which I promptly downed before I thought to take a picture of it. My husband eats more slowly, so I did get a shot of his grilled salmon sandwich. Doesn't that look great?
After lunch we strolled around town and then down to the public beach, where a few folks were enjoying a swim that may have been their last of the season.
Parked at the dock was this gorgeous old Hacker Craft, made of gleaming varnished mahogany, much like the beautiful inboard boats my dad used to sell back in the 1940s.
Near the beach was a public dock where we stood and enjoyed this view of the lake, marveling at the courage of kayakers braving the wind-whipped waves and motorboat wakes.
Here come the culprits who help to create all those wakes that capsize canoes. Boo! But on second thought, I'm glad to see them cruising Lake George and not my beloved quiet Hudson River. One of the great things about Labor Day is that jet-skis rarely appear on "my" river after today.
Although I now prefer quiet waters, I actually have a soft spot in my heart for power boats, since I grew up in a Michigan marina, where my dad sold Chris-Craft inboard boats and Evinrude outboard motors. And yes, I confess, I sure liked to rod around as fast as I could when I was young. So when we saw this Bolton antique shop specializing in motorboat memorabilia, I just had to go in.
The shop was just packed with really cool stuff, the coolest of which (whom?) was the man behind the counter, who told me his name is Kenyon. We had a nice chat about boats and all, and I told him about my love for Hornbeck canoes. Turns out that Kenyon and Pete Hornbeck are friends, since both used to teach elementary school in the Adirondacks, and they were among the very few males who did. From the looks of his shirt, I would guess that Kenyon and Pete also share a love of fly-fishing.
We would have visited the Bolton Landing Museum, except it was closed for the holiday. From previous visits, we know how interesting a place it is, with many artifacts relating to some of Bolton's most famous residents, including the photographer Alfred Stieglitz and his wife, the painter Georgia O'Keeffe, and husband-and-wife sculptors David Smith and Dorothy Dehner. That's a David Smith sculpture on the front lawn of the museum.
One museum that was open today was the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum, housed in the lake-front studio where this world-famous coloratura soprano of the late 19th, early 20th century used to teach her voice students during the summer.
The museum contains a fascinating array of artifacts that relate to the brilliant career of a singer who, in her time, was as famous as Enrico Caruso. Among the most fabulous of the museum's holdings are the original costumes Sembrich wore when she sang her most famous roles. Here's a photo of the room where Sembrich conducted her lessons around this very same piano, the walls lined with tributes from princes and other dignitaries from around the world.
Because we've been to this museum several times, we didn't pay the small entry fee to go in (I took the above photo through a window), but walked the wooded path through the museum's grounds. The path leads to this seating area overlooking the lake, where we sat enjoying the splendid view, the pine-scented breeze, and the quiet contentment two long-married folks can enjoy in each other's presence. A very nice day.
It was such a nice day, in fact, it looks like Jesus also went for a drive and brought his folks along.