OUR MISSION - WE'RE PUBLISHED! Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 marked the Premier of our new book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide. The hardcover, 160 page book can be found at bars and bookstores throughout the Adirondack Park or order online at www.happyhourinthehighpeaks.com. You'll find a list of our book signings on the Events page and where to buy the book on our Retailers page. The book contains reviews of 46 of our favorite bars in the Adirondack Park, and 46 drink recipes with an Adirondack twist. As a companion to the book, we have also published a 46er Passport so that you can follow the Happy Hour Trail to become a Happy Hour 46er and make new friends along the way. Summit Tour t-shirts will be for sale at our book signings or available online. Whether you are a native, resident, or visitor, you'll find 46 more reasons to visit the ADIRONDACK PARK!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Barking Spider Spins its Web

North Creek's close proximity to us and its lure of a number of pubs urged us to return on this pleasant Saturday afternoon. Our original plan had been to spend some time in two different bars, the first being The Barking Spider at 302 Main Street in North Creek; the second, Basil & Wicks on Route 28.

Our first visit was The Barking Spider. A tiny facade, nestled between two larger structures, the long, narrow interior of the tavern did not inhibit the sense of spaciousness yielded by the high ceilings, natural pine wainscoting, and unfinished wide-plank wood floors. Modestly decorated here and there with snowshoes, skis and art prints, it was uncluttered, lending an airy sense. The rear of the bar overlooked the North Creek train station and the Hudson River.

The draft beer selection was limited but varied and I ordered a Bear Naked Ale, crafted by the Adirondack Pub and Brewery in Lake George. I honestly don't know what bottled beers were available, but Pam had an Ultra and someone had a PBR in a can, so I assume there was something for everyone.

Tavern owner Tim McGraw's enthusiasm and willingness to share experiences and future plans for the bar were encouraging as was his humor in explaining the presence of the flag of the great state of New York, hanging in effigy overhead. (That's a story for another blog.) Terri, the bartender, was quite accommodating in her quest for a substitute for white zinfandel (Pam's drink of choice), which the Barking Spider does not stock.

A mix of patrons came and went throughout our two-and-a-half-hour visit. In fact, we were there longer than most. Representing a variety of age groups, regular visitors to the area, locals and winter sportspeople, the clientele were friendly and inquisitive, as we seemed to arouse curiosity as we scribbled observations in our notebooks. We assured them we weren't from the health department or up to no-good. We spoke with many who happily answered questions and made suggestions for other places to visit. The Bear Trap in Indian Lake was suggested a couple of times, so it looks as though we may be headed that way in the near future.

Our husbands eventually showed up (we said it was OK) and we left for dinner at Basil and Wick's. We are not restaurant reviewers, but I will say that, though the seating process was disorganized, the food was excellent. Basil and Wick's chili is the "Bands and Beans" award winner and both husbands ordered that, the plan being that the two of them would ride home together (taking their barking spiders with them). I think Basil and Wick's will be visited again when they're not so busy, so that we can properly review the bar.

It's already clear that it will be difficult to choose the top bars for our book. I predict we will find something positive and unique in every place we visit. I am pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and well-wishes Pam and I receive when we explain what we're up to, from customers and staff alike. You meet the nicest people in the Adirondacks!


A Visit to (not from) The Barking Spider

It was late Saturday afternoon, or was it early Saturday evening?  In January in the Adirondacks, if there's still daylight, we must cling to daytime and call it late afternoon.  It was late Saturday afternoon when we entered The Barking Spider.  This establishment was recommended to us, but I was already curious about it myself.  Last week I saw the sign from across the street while we were visiting Trapper's Tavern.  I was just far enough away, and at an awkward angle, to have trouble reading their sign and laughed later as I described the thought process to my sister.  It went something like this.  Reading horizontally, The Bar, The Bar King, The Barking?  But what's with the spider web worked into the sign below the name?  Aha, vertically, I read the word Spider.  Ooooh, The Barking Spider.  Now, keep in mind, I was sober and it wasn't dark yet.  Then, ok, what does that mean?  So, of course, when it was suggested that we check it out on our "quest", I had to go, not to mention that I found I know the owner.

It's a guy thing, and many of you may already know the meaning, but I did not.  While interviewing the owner, Tim McGraw, naturally I had to ask.  I think he knew the question was looming, and I think he has answered it just as delicately many times before.  It was his 8 year old son's idea - sure, blame it on the kid (they usually blame it on the dog)!  But then I'm really thinking...an 8 year old boy knows this term and I do not?  Tim proceeded with a description of a closely cramped hunting camp after a night of beer drinking, and noises in the night.  We were left to draw the obvious conclusion from there, as I will leave you as well.  If there's any doubt, Google it!

We met some nice people, almost immediately.  That's the way things are in the Adirondacks.  The bartender was pleasant and professional.  She was fairly busy so we didn't bother her with our plethora of questions but instead took in our surroundings and jotted some notes.  We got into a conversation with two men from New Jersey.  They have been coming to North Creek for 15 to 20 years so we reminsced about some bars gone by (some even before their time).  We learned a little about the imaginary line between North Creek and Indian Lake, skis vs. sleds, from Al Mulligan of Indian Lake.  We intend to cross that line with tires.  I believe the line melts with the snow, but wonder if a new line between canoes and motorboats replaces it.  Al owns the Adirondack Trail Motel, which is conveniently located across from the Bear Trap Inn in Indian Lake.  Good to have accommodations nearby if you really want to explore an Adirondack tavern.

Shift change... In comes the owner, Tim McGraw, who immediately gets to work restocking the bar.

More to come on The Barking Spider...

Bottoms up!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coming soon...

We plan to return to North Creek this weekend.  This time we will try to squeeze in two reviews.  We'll start with The Barking Spider and make our way to Basil & Wicks.  I remember Basil & Wicks when it was a wee little bar.  It's all grown up now.  The Barking Spider - looking forward to the story behind that name.

Bottoms Up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trapper's Tavern: Our First Review

Less than 30 minutes from exit 23 of I87, Trappers Tavern at the Copperfield Inn in North Creek is a perfect place to stop along your way to points further north, or as a destination in itself.  We had been to the tavern a couple of years ago when my husband and his musical co-horts played a gig there, and it was well worth revisiting.

Armed with Pam's checklist of must-know information, and nerdy little folders, we sat right at the bar and started taking the place in, probably making the staff a little suspicious. Trappers Tavern's cozy Adirondack-themed interior is appealing in a not-overly-rustic kind of way. It was warm, inviting and friendly. The beer selections, while not extensive, included a variety of both bottled and draft choices in domestic, import and craft brews. I had a brown ale pint (I think it was a  Dogfish Head), which was excellent, and sampled a stout and a Saranac Trapper's lager, crafted especially for Trapper's Tavern.

BUT, one of the yummiest drinks I have ever tasted, as Pam mentioned, was the pumpkin martini, which we shared, and I think helped to break the ice with the bartender and other bar patrons. The concocting of the drink created some curiosity among customers, who waited eagerly for our reactions to the first sip. I didn't really think I'd like it all that much, being primarily a beer drinker, but we figured we'd better order one of the house specials since we would be writing about the place, and our book will focus on drinks as much as it will places. 

We gradually got some conversations going, and the "Front of House Manager" Steven Joiner, gave us a list of specialty martinis, a menu, and a copy of the book Trapper's Tales, from which inspiration for the Tavern menu originates and includes such cleverly-named offerings as The Smokin' Ugly Horse and The Most Impertinent Chipmunk.

We stayed less than two hours and had considered stopping at another bar, but we were pretty excited about what a great experience we had just had and wanted to get our blog started right away. There's also the driving issue, so we made sure to be smart keep it legal! I think this is a place we will find excuses to visit on a regular basis. As Pam mentioned, Trappers Tavern has set the bar pretty high. By the way, our check was surprisingly (and pleasantly) low-end. Their prices are very reasonable, with the exception of the Pumpkin Martini, but that was worth every dollar!

Can't wait for the next adventure inside the blue line. We have a place and day picked out. Check back in about a week.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

First day Drinking in the Adirondack Mts.

We went to our first bar today.  Well, we've been frequenting bars for many years, but today we visited our first bar to research for our book.  My sister and I are writing a book about bars and taverns in the Adirondacks.  Our first bar was Trappers Tavern at the Copperfield Inn in North Creek, NY.  What an awesome place!  They set the bar pretty high for other bars in the Adirondacks.  The tavern staff was terrific, but the best part was the PUMPKIN MARTINI!  I had a martini once, but it sucked.  I thought I would order the martini so I wouldn't like it and would sip it, but it was incredible.  It was like drinking a pumpkin pie with loads of whipped cream!.  It was invented by one of the Copperfield chefs, Stephanie (maybe trying to get rid of the leftover pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving?)  Well, I think she should get out of the kitchen and start working in the bar.  First, I wondered what liqueur would you use for the pumpkin flavor, but they used pumpkin puree.  BTW, you can't get pumpkin puree at Walmart, guess you have to make your own.  I had my first beer of this year, too!  Actually, not a beer drinker, except at Saratoga Racetrack in August - get hot enough you'll drink anything.  They have a tremendous selection of local beers on tap, and Kim (that's my sister and co-author), got to sample them all.  However, they are adding six more draft choices tomorrow, so I think she's going back to check those out too. Visit the Copperfield Inn's website for more information at http://www.copperfieldinn.com/.  Stay tuned for our next Adirondack bar review.  Remember, we can't give all the info here, because we have to save something for the book.  Any suggestions for places we should visit, please let us know. They just have to be inside the blue line.

Bottoms Up!