Saturday, July 28, 2018

WHAT EVER HAPPENED...? Adirondack Mountains Adventures


When I was a young girl, my family and I went north in New York State to go camping in the Adirondacks. The scenery there is the prettiest of any place I’ve ever seen. It is so quiet and still. If you have never been there, you need to go!

When I was at one of my many doctor appointments for skin cancer in 2010, after my euphoria from living through a brain tumor and surgery, I was “losing it” as the nice doctor, Dr. Jaiani, was telling me my latest diagnosis. I got so worked up, he went out to the waiting room and asked my boyfriend, Aiden, to come back to my exam room. The doctor was crystal clear with us. He asked me where I could go away for a few days to relax and calm down. Immediately, and without hesitation, I blurted out, “the Adirondacks.” I instantly remembered – in my very agitated state – that the Adirondacks had a calming effect on me and always had.

I spent many summers camping at Camp-of-the-Woods in Speculator, New York. My grandparents took my father and his brother, Uncle Bobby, there many summers. My uncle worked there as a teenager. Another aunt and an uncle had vacationed there over the years. It’s a Christian camp, and it’s so special. It’s where I learned to water ski.

My sisters and I had gone to Tapawingo – an island camp that you leave Camp-of-the-Woods by boat to get to. It’s there that I learned the camp songs I taught my students many years later when I took them camping. When my dad was on his deathbed in 2012, he asked that some of his ashes be sprinkled at Camp-of-the-Woods.

Back to that meltdown in the dermatologist’s office: I had begun to unravel bit-by-bit around Mother’s Day 2010. This was right before my appointment with Dr. Jaiani. It had hit me, while I was at my cousin Lauren’s baby shower that Mother’s Day weekend, that I would never be a mommy or grandma like so many women who attended her wonderful party. I was about to turn 50, and I had never had a baby. The year before, I had been told by my doctors that there was a 20% chance that the brain tumor could grow back. As I sat at this party and looked around at what I would never experience, I cried.

When I got back home, I prepared for one more doctor appointment. When that skin doctor could see that I was having what I now refer to as the first meltdown of MANY meltdowns to come, he knew enough about the state of mind of his patient to help me with more than the skin cancer. His question about where I could go has led to a trip back to the Adirondacks each year so that I can unwind. I am so calm there, no matter what is going on with my life back home.

The tranquility of sitting on a bench at Loon Lake, drinking a delicious chocolate malted from Chestertown’s Main Street Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant is incredibly helpful to me. I watch the birds fly around in the beautiful Adirondack trees as I listen for the quietness. Sometimes, the only sound I hear is my slurping from the bottom of the cup!

I love sitting on that lake’s bench in the early morning or sunset because there is hardly anyone else there. I’ve been there in the spring, summer, and fall. My favorite time is the fall, because of the colorful leaves surrounding the calm water.

The way I “discovered” Chestertown was interesting: as soon as Dr. Jaiani said to plan something, Aiden and I immediately drove to our local Barnes & Noble store. I asked the desk clerk to help me find a book about the Adirondacks’ bed and breakfast locations. She did, and I opened it and randomly pointed to Landon Hill B & B in that town. I called the friendly owners, Judy and Carl, and got the ball rolling for our first trip northward. (Sadly, it has subsequently closed.)

Driving on the Northway in New York State is so lovely! I still remember driving on it to go to college at SUNY Plattsburgh. The sights and sounds are spectacular.

When Aiden and I made our first trip to Chestertown, I “found” restaurants and gift shops to explore. Every year when we went back, we visited our favorite spots and then added some new ones to our list. Everyone who lives and works at these establishments is so gentle. That’s exactly why I have to go there.

Another B & B we discovered in a nearby town called “Adirondack” is the Adirondack Pines B & B. I think it is so endearing that the title includes the town’s name, “Adirondack,” and it’s in Adirondack, NY, in the Adirondacks.  Nancy and Dan are also friendly B & B owners. I would lie in their front lawn’s hammock all day if I could!

Aiden and I also loved renting a canoe or boat to be out on one of the lakes. What a view! There are so many wonderful activities to do there.

Aiden and I drove around many lakes and towns when we visited their B & Bs. I love to eat the seafood crepes at Friends Lake Inn. I truly feel sorry for the poor waitress or waiter who has to tell me they’re no longer on their menu (or they are out of stock).

I enjoy walking the many steps down to the lakefront benches on Schroon Lake. Taking in the sights as we drove to North Creek was so refreshing. I wish I could do all of this more often, because it is a natural way to “chill out.”

Another great restaurant Aiden and I discovered near where we visited up there is called “Sticks and Stones.” It's in the area of Schroon Lake, and boy, is its food delicious! They even have s’mores for dessert indoors. What fun!

As I've said, a trip to the ‘dacks (as they are affectionately called by some) is well worth it! The people there are friendlier than anywhere else I've ever been. Every time I'm there, I'm grateful that my parents brought me there so long ago.

After three to four days of rest and relaxation, we headed back home. But, that’s not without a stop on the Northway at Bolton Landing. Here, too, there are wonderful gift shops and unique places to visit. We began that stop at a furniture store (Bolton Garden Center and Country Store) that sells way more than just that! We sat outside and enjoyed the lemonade in the warmer months and their hot chocolate in the cooler ones. We then walked around town browsing and purchasing some unique Adirondacks things.

At home, and under stress from everyday life, I’ve taken various prescriptions over the last few years to do what the Adirondacks do for me naturally. The meds bring the same sense of stillness that I feel every time I travel northward. God created beautiful landscapes in those mountains! A sign in my condo that reminds me about it all says: “The Mountains Are My Happy Place.”

My favorite T-shirt purchase on a recent Adirondack trip said it best, “Adirondack.calm”

A sign I purchased for my fireplace at home reads, “Love is in the Adirondacks.”

A sign above my front door proclaims, “Rest and Relaxation – you’ve gotta get away if you’re gonna get a life!”

So true!

I can’t wait until I have the time to bring my dog Happy to this wonderful environment.

For the coming year, I [Douglas Winslow Cooper] will be
excerpting, weekly, material from this almost-final version of the fine book by Janet Johnson Schliff, M.S. Ed., which she wrote over a three-year period with some coaching and editing help from me, through my business, Write Your Book with Me.

Her memoir is now available in paperback and ebook formats from Outskirts Press  and



Janet Johnson Schliff was on WKNY  Radio 1490 at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, March 1, Kingston, NY.

Janet spoke at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at Barnes & Noble in Kingston, NY. I [DWC] attended, along with about 40 other people. Congratulations to Janet on a fine talk!

Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, at 7 p.m. on March 6. 

She spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, at 2 p.m. on March 17. 

She spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, at 6:30 p.m. on March 28. 

She spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, at 4 p.m. on April 3. I was able to attend. They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.

On 4/4/18 Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library at Rhinebeck at 2:30 p.m.

On 4/27/18 Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library at 5:30 p.m.

On 5/4/18 Janet spoke at the Hurley Library at 6 p.m.

On 5/9/18 Janet spoke at the Kingston Library at 6 p.m.

On 5/14/18 Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library at 7 p.m.

On 5/31/18 Janet spoke at the Clinton Community Library at 6:30 p.m.

On 6/9/18 Janet spoke at the Tannersville Mountain Top Library at noon.

On 6/11/18 Janet spoke at the Gardiner Library at 7 p.m.

On 6/20/18 Janet spoke at the Marbletown Community Center at 6 p.m.

On 7/13/18 Janet spoke at the Esopus Library at 7 p.m.

On 7/20/18 Janet spoke at the Pine Plains Library at 6 p.m.

On 7/23/18 Janet spoke at the Ulster Library at 5:30 p.m.

On 8/11/18 Janet will be at the Northern Dutchess Bible Church in Red Hook at 1:00 p.m.

On 9/06/18 Janet will be at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz at 7 p.m.

On 9/15/18 Janet will be at the Adriance Library in Poughkeepsie (93 Market St.) at 2:30 p.m.

On 9/22/18 Janet will again be at the Tannersville Mountain Top Library, at noon.

More signings will be coming up. A fine feature about Janet by John DeSantos [845 LIFE] appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Monday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. An article about her book was just published in the May 2018 Living Rhinebeck Magazine. An article about her book appeared in the May 14 Daily Freeman of Kingston, NY. and another in the Family Life section of the Poughkeepsie Journal on June 8th. The Millerton News will publish an article about her talk at the Pine Plains Library. 

No comments:

Post a Comment