After two weeks in the Adirondacks of upstate New York I began to learn more about the culture of the area. Though the Adirondack Mountains are ancient, the human history within them is relatively young. It is unusual to meet second generation residents and third generation families are a rarity, so it was a rare privilege to meet Judy Damkoehlar, a descendant of the men who built the Irondequoit Inn. “My great-grandfather and great-uncle Herbert first saw the Adirondacks in 1877. To celebrate Bert’s graduation from high school in New Jersey, they decided to walk to Montreal to visit my great-great-grandmother. Bert went on to college and marred, but he never forgot this area.” When Bert finally convinced his buddies to visit the area they were so smitten that they immediately began buying up land. The present-day Lodge and Annex of Irondequoit Inn -- originally old farmhouses in the village of Piseco Lake -- were dragged up to the site on rollers by a team of oxen. Soon, the partners were welcoming guests and selling shares in the property. One hundred and twenty years later, many shares are still owned by descendants of the original investors.
Everywhere I went in the Adirondack Mountains I met people living close to the land. At the Adirondack Museum Caleb Davis was sponsoring a paddle-making workshop. Caleb made his first paddle by hand at the age of 11 and has run a paddle-making business each summer for the past 22 years. While it’s great fun, paddle making is also hard work; participants on the day I visited had sore arms and aching shoulders from working with wood planes and files. So why do they do it? “Making something themselves -- I think that’s the thing people are missing more and more nowadays. It’s about being connected; working with your hands, your eyes…feeling things,” says Caleb. Certainly, that was motivation for Brian and Leia Johnson. “We’ve just gotten into paddling and we thought it would be kind of cool to have our own paddles. It’s a sense of pride to be able to say, “This is the one I made and I’m going to use it.”
Read the original post and see photos at Hole in the Donut.