Tranquility in Vermont

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Recently I was in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont near Island Pond exploring the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge with my two sons and friend. As always we were on the hunt for moose. I must have had my moose kryptonite on me this time because we didn’t see any moose. However we saw all sorts of fascinating birds.

If you know me or have read my many posts you won’t be surprised when I say “I have a major affection for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail”. In all honestly I have only paddled small portions of this beautiful flowing highway system spanning 740 miles from Old Forge, NY meandering into Canada and finally terminating in Fort Kent, ME. The Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge sits in the Nulhegan river basin, wait for it, which is part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

As we exited the refuge the Nulhegan river was so calm and peaceful but just 100 yards away it’s rapids roared. Slamming on the brakes and testing the seat belts of the cars other occupants I leaped out to capture its serenity.

Cheers!

Exiting the Silvio O. Conte Wildlife Refuge near Island Pond, VT June 17th 2017. © Joe Geronimo

The Nulhegan river in all her tranquility. However just 100 yards away the rapids roared. Island Pond, VT July 17th 2017 © Joe Geronimo

Splorin The Rez

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It wasn’t raining, the sun was shinning, the wind was blowing and it felt like a spring afternoon for once. After work I made the short drive to the Whitney Point Reservoir where I normally launch from the north end at Upper Lisle but today I decided to be different and put in on the south end and begin from there.

Today’s adventure would have me exploring the three islands that dot the lake. The largest of the three islands is where I beached and began to check things out. I’d love to know if its possible to camp here. I never noticed any signs on the road in that said “No Camping”, however this is something I’ll have to ask the DEC. Following the shoreline north I would be treated to a chorus of song birds. Several vibrant colored Baltimore Orioles and Cardinals fluttered from tree branch to tree branch teasing me with their beauty. I came upon several fisherman, three kayakers and  brief spring shower.

Today was a great day to start the month. I hope we are finally going to have some good weather.

Cheers!

Approaching the largest of three islands on the Whitney Point Reservoir June 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Doing some exploring on the Whitney Point Reservoir June 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo

I bumped into a brief rain shower while on the Whitney Point Reservoir June 1st 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Here is a link to a video I shot and edited. This would be my first attempt at editing. I have more to learn but hey it was fun. Enjoy the show! https://youtu.be/JXaxdPFapKg

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

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The sun was warm, the breeze light and not a cloud in the sky is just what the doctor ordered for a perfect day spent at the Adirondack “Paddlefest” held in Old Forge, NY this past weekend.

Julie and I got our game faces on for an early start Saturday morning as we snaked our way north arriving at Mountainman Outdoors about 10AM. I’ll admit I was very excited for the day. Wheeling into the parking lot we noticed there was already a good size crowd pouring over all the goodies. Kayaks, Canoes, Campers, Cars, Trailers, Gear, etc. Making our way into the grounds we quickly noted there were quite a few dogs as well and we immediately began missing our fury beast. However we were on a mission.

Michael at 6′ 5″ had out grown his 10 foot kayak so we had a few in mind that we new he was comfortable in. We settled on one of his top choices, a 2017 Perception “Prodigy” 12 in tiger camo red. We got the last one in that color! After browsing for a while it was time for us to do some test paddling. I test paddled one kayak because I knew if I tested others we would be leaving with another boat. Julie on the other hand test paddled a few. The first was a very sexy Swift Adirondack 12LT in the color “Purple Rain” weighing only 24 lbs with the heavy price tag of $2395. Next was the same boat but in the 10LT version. She absolutely loved these boats. I was able to convince her to try another kayak. This time it was a Hurricane Santee 116. She was skeptical but did so. After she was done test paddling I asked “So what did you think?”. She responded I loved it and even more so than the Swift. The Santee weighs a little more but comes with a $900 price tag instead. She loved its smoothness, tracking and speed. With that said Julie still likes her current kayak and is sticking with it for now.

After our test paddling we headed to the small town of Inlet, NY for lunch at the Screamen Eagle. Traveling along route 28 in Eagle Bay we came upon “The Donut Shop” and it hit me, they had been voted best donuts in Adirondack Life magazine’s 2016 “Best of the Adirondacks”. A quick turn of the wheel and a few screams from Julie I was in the parking lot. The Donut Shop only makes two types of donuts, plain and cinnamon sugar. We ordered two of each and were back in the car. The first bite was heaven! Crsipy, fluffy and oh so amazing Julie and I were raving.

Our destination for lunch was The Screamen Eagle. The Eagle itself was voted runner up in Adirondack Life magazine’s 2016 “Best of the Adirondacks” in the pizza category. Although we didn’t order pizza we did enjoy our phenomenal peanut butter wings. All I can say was wow!

Finished with lunch we would go for a short paddle along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Launching on 4th lake at Inlet we paddled into the channel that brings you to 5th lake. A perfect small adventure in the middle of our day.

Headed back towards Old Forge to pick up Michael’s kayak I had wanted to visit the Fulton Chain Craft Brewery. I was on the hunt for the “Go Fluff Yourself” Peanut Butter Fluff Ale (Notice the theme here!). I happen to have a pint or two locally at Food & Fire recently and really enjoyed it. Sadly when I got there they had just kicked the keg and wouldn’t have anymore until Monday. Perched in our Adirondack chair bar stools, the kind that are so comfortable you don’t want to leave I found myself tasting “Bear Road: Bluberry Coffee Stout” which I immediately fell in love with. Thankfully I had an empty growler with me just in case.

After picking up Michael’s kayak we began our trek home, making a dinner stop in Utica at Babe’s Macaroni Grill & Bar.

Our day was short but packed with fun little adventure’s. But best of all barely any black flies. We can’t wait to return for next years event.

Cheers!

Michael’s 2017 Perception Prodigy 12.

Julie test paddling a Swift Adirondack 12LT Old Forge, NY May 20th 2017.

Julie test paddling a Swift Adirondack 12LT Old Forge, NY May 20th 2017.

Adirondack Paddlefest Old Forge, NY May 20th 2017.

I’m test paddling a Perception Carolina 14 Old Forge, NY May 20th 2017.

Julie & I between 4th lake & 5th lake Inlet, NY May 20th 2017.

Adirondack Throwback

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I’m paddling backwards to May 21st 2016 when Julie and I spent the day at the “Adirondack Paddlefest” sponsored by Mountainman Outdoors of Old Forge, NY.

This year we will return on May 20th with a small paddling adventure in mind and the hopes of adding another kayak to our fleet.

Julie & I entering First Lake, Old Forge, NY May 20th 2016. © Joe Geronimo

A very small portion of the 2016 Adirondack Paddlefest sponsored by Mountainman Outdoors. Old Forge, NY. Image © Joe Geronimo

2017 Seneca 7 Wrap

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I finally have a few moments to sit down and reflect on this years Seneca 7 relay race. A 77.7 mile circumnavigation of beautiful Seneca lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This years field consisted of 319 teams equaling 2,233 runners.

This year we had an unexpected short notice injury to team member Jordan Varano. Jordan reluctantly had to bail out a week prior to the race. However friend Juan Martinez answered the call and I cannot thank Juan enough for stepping up and taking Jordan’s spot on short notice. Juan was a perfect fit for our team!

Our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” had some pretty stiff competition in the “Renegade 7” another all male team from Binghamton, NY who would go onto win the event placing first overall. They completed the course in 7:34:02 setting a new course record. The “Cayuga 7” a mixed team from Ithaca, NY finished first place mixed, second place overall with a course time of 7:40:40. Our team placed second male and third place overall with a time of 7:53:40 a 12 minute PR from last year with an average pace of 6:04 per mile.

During last years Seneca 7 we formed a friendship with Tom and Carrie Thompson owners of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva. Tom and Carrie were gracious enough to sponsor our team for this years event. Not only do they brew some really great beer but they add that extra special to this great running community we have. I love to run but what I love even more is the people and friendships running has graced my life with and that is always a winning combination.

And lastly I was overwhelmed with pride at the sheer volume of runners from the Triple Cities area in which we live and who I call friends.

Cheers!

Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2017 Seneca 7.
L-R: Ryan Heinlein, Dan Cavalari, Juan Martinez, Joe Geronimo, Adrian Milisavljevich, James Wilson & Aaron Perry

Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2nd place male, 3rd place overall 2017 Seneca 7.

Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire with Tom Thompson of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva, NY.

A well earned beer after the 77.7 mile Seneca 7.

Just a small portion of runners from the Triple Cities area at the 2017 Seneca 7.

Wandering New England

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Spending four days in Vermont and New Hampshire was a great way to wind down my vacation. Thursday evening was spent at Dartmouth college in Hanover, NH watching the Reel Film Paddling Festival by Rapid Media and sponsored by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail .

However the next two days (Friday & Saturday) was nothing but rain with short breaks in between. Friday was a total wash and we had spent the day kayak shopping over in North Conway, NH. Saturday morning the rain had stopped for a while and I was able to knock out a quick 5 mile run. Showered now we were off to harass the local wildlife. Sitting at Reeds Marsh in Orford, NH a local had tipped us off to a pair of Merlins who had been in the area lately. Sure enough we found them! They were beautiful to watch as the male had went a caught either a Junco or Chickadee and brought it back for his girl.

Sunday morning was the gem with a beautiful sunrise, partly cloudy skies and a light breeze. Although it was rather chilly when we set out for French Pond in North Haverhill, NH. It was a great start to the day. Afterwards I would pack up and make the six hour drive home, briefly stopping in Bainbridge, NY to order my custom kayak paddle from Dale Fox of Foxworth Paddles. Once home and car unloaded I was off for a great tempo run as the weather was still perfect.

Cheers!

Sunrise on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Northern Flicker at French Pond in North Haverhill, NY April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Painted turtle basking in the early morning sun on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

Common loon on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

A kerfuffle of Canadian proportion on French Pond in North Haverhill, NH April 23rd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

On our way back from kayak shopping we took route 302 through Crawford Notch. I always love to stop and photograph the magnificent Mt. Washington hotel in Bretton Woods, NH on April 21st 2017. © Joe Geronimo

A female Merlin dining on either a Chickadee or Junco in Orford, NH April 22nd 2017. © Joe Geronimo

TONY DANZA: STANDARDS & STORIES

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Last night at the Patchogue Theater on Long Island we had the opportunity to see for the first time one of my most favorite actors, singers and dancers perform on stage, Tony Danza. The show had a Rat Pack sort of vibe to it. He sang some classic Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and so forth. It was like we had been briefly transported to 1960’s Vegas. He told funny stories of growing up in Brooklyn and summers on Long Island in Patchogue as well.

Tony just has this charm about him that while you were seated in the audience you felt like you were family. He was funny, he tapped danced brilliantly and his voice utterly amazed. One of my favorites is a song Tony covers written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Hyames, That’s All. Tony also recently performed at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in New York back in December of 2016.

Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Danza has also established himself as a Broadway star and a cabaret song and dance man. Danza most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas. He has also starred on Broadway in the “The Producers,” “A View from the Bridge”, and opposite Kevin Spacey in “The Iceman Cometh.” Tony debuted his latest cabaret act, “Standards & Stories,” last year to a sold out audience at the world famous Carlyle Hotel in New York City, with The New York Times calling him “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm.”

Tony Danza: Standards & Stories

Life on Film & Digital Media: Whitefish Point

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Growing up I had the Atlantic Ocean less than twenty miles away and the Long Island Sound a mile away and I’ve never been a beach person. However living so close to these beautiful waters the one thing that has always intrigued me are “Lighthouses”. There is something very romantic yet mysterious about a lighthouse and their keepers.

This past summer we had the opportunity to visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along Lake Superior. We found ourselves at Whitefish Point 73 miles northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, MI and the impressive Soo Locks. At Whitefish Point you have the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum and the extremely cool Whitefish Point Light Station.

At this point in our trip I was having a camera crisis of Biblical proportion. I had run out of film for one of my cameras and ordered more. The camera shop in New York City did not ship my order promptly and I never received the film. No biggie I thought to myself I have my digital camera so I’m all set. We get all the way to the Soo Locks and I’m just as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Grabing my camera from the camera bag I turn it on, I compose my very first image of the largest lake freighter to sail the Great Lakes entering the locks. I depress the shutter release and the earth suddenly has come to a screeching halt. There it was in digital text, the dreaded Canon Error 33 message, my shutter had failed! East has now become west, up was now down and to say I was pissed is the understatement of the 21st century. Two cameras and none were functioning. If I had to submit to a blood pressure test at this point they would have admitted me. I resorted to using my cell phone and we eventually we went to lunch. After lunch I calmed down just a tiny bit but was still steaming. Getting ready to leave Sault Ste. Marie and thinking desperate times require desperate measures. As a last ditch effort I ran into one of the gift shops hoping the camera Gods would be merciful on me. Sure enough sitting on the counter of the gift shop was a Polaroid disposable camera. I Forked over the $8.00 feeling like I had just won a major award and literally ran out the door. We were now on our way to Whitefish Point. http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com

Whitefish Point Light Station, Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo

Whitefish Point Light Station, Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo

We invite you to experience a night or two at historic Whitefish Point, home to the oldest active lighthouse on Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. This is the original U.S. Coast Guard barracks building, constructed in 1923 for the Whitefish Point Lifeboat Rescue Station. It has been meticulously restored by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society with assistance from Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Department of Transportation. July 19th 2016, © Joe Geronimo

Michael & Max getting their feet wet in the cold waters of Lake Superior. Whitefish Point, MI July 19th 2016. © Joe Geronimo