Submitted by guest blogger Susan Repko
Schroon Lake is a classic Adirondack small town where family memories are made. Perhaps you’ve jumped off a dock into our pristine lake or relaxed in an Adirondack chair with warm beach sand under your feet. If you’ve enjoyed summertime in Schroon Lake, plan to visit us in the winter months. We’re still here!
The 34th annual Olde Tyme Christmas is a local tradition that will be held this December. The bulk of the celebration will be on Saturday, December 14, but there are events from December 10 - 15. It’s a rich holiday experience that reflects Adirondack culture and small-town life. This gathering adds sparkle to the town and helps us ignore the winter gray that slowly sets in. Visiting Schroon Lake village at this time of the year may evoke thoughts of the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s like stepping back in time.
Free activities are offered all day and take place in venues along Main Street and at the Town Hall, a block away. There’s a mix of shopping, raffles, music, and even a polar plunge off the town dock. Last year they had to break the ice for over 30 people to jump into the lake!
Yes, it will probably be cold, but we invite you to bundle-up in layers, wear boots, and join in the fun. There’s no need to hibernate. To survive winter in the North County, you need to ignore the cold and mingle with friends and neighbors. You will probably bump into someone you know in town and enjoy a conversation. If we’re lucky, it will snow, and the flakes will fall softly on our hats and jackets. You will hear bells jingle as the horse-drawn wagon rambles down the street, full of people sitting on hay bales and having a delightful time.
The lighting of the Christmas tree begins the evening festivities. Everyone joins in for caroling and then walking up to Our Lady of Lourdes Church. There we stand quietly and listen to a reading from the Gospel and see a living nativity scene.
Of course, Santa Claus lives nearby. He rides a fire truck during the parade and arrives at the Strand Theater where children line up to greet him. They receive treats and books from the Friends of the Schroon Lake Library.
Although the Community Church was lost in a devastating fire this year, the hand bells were saved and restored. We were all pleased to hear that their bell choir will perform again, this time at the Catholic church. This will be a very special, moving concert. Sit in a pew and listen to the ringing of the familiar music and let your mind wander to childhood memories of Christmastime. Afterward, hold your child’s hand and walk to the Senior Center where hot chocolate is on the stove and Christmas cookies are out to grab. It’s a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors while the little ones enjoy coloring.
The annual holiday craft festival will be held at the Town Hall. Bring your children upstairs to the library for craft making and hear Mrs. Claus read children’s books. At the Chamber of Commerce, peruse the silent auction of locally made items and the festival of trees that are beautifully decorated. Raffle tickets are available for purchase with the proceeds going to local charities. Sticks & Stones, a popular restaurant, will offer a free activity on the following morning - make old-fashioned gingerbread cabins and decorate them.
Writing this blog reminds me of a family story that took place at the same time of year in 1935. My mother was about twelve years old and she thought that my grandfather, an Adirondack guide, had cut down a sad-looking tree for Christmas. Mom decided to find a better looking one and trekked up Cedar Hill on snowshoes. She left after school and the snow was very deep. She had planned to follow the tracks home, but they vanished when the wind came up. Poor Mom got lost in the dark and was quite afraid. You can imagine how thrilled she was when she saw flashlights flickering in the woods and then my grandfather with a search party.
Schroon Lake is waiting for you all year. Return for ice skating in our new pavilion with a spectacular view of the lake or try ice fishing, snowshoeing, or skiing. More activities and music are being planned for Olde Tyme Christmas. Start planning your vacation or mini break today!
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