Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Whirlwind Tour Part Five: Adirondacks, NY

After a stop in Niagara Falls and a long days drive, we finally found ourselves at our destination - the Sunset Mountain Lodge in Brant Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

A 1920's guest house, the lodge has ten bedrooms and bathrooms, a commercial kitchen and a giant dining room. Perfect for twenty-some McMillins to have a family holiday!

A porch full of rocking chairs look out to the lake

Edward and Ari at the playground just across the street from the lodge. One of many attempts to capture these two together as we are so often reminded of Edward when we look at Ari. 

Also across the street was a sandy beach and huge lake. The lodge gave us use of a paddle boat, two kayaks, a sail boat and plenty of life vests. Here, Brian and I get some kid free time to enjoy the water.

With the luxury of family around to look after the kids, Brian and I each enjoyed some solo time out on the water as well. I love the ocean, but something about a mountain lake makes my spirits soar. 

Heather and I paddle off for some sister time on the water.

Brian gets some sailing in but had to craft a replacement centerboard and use an oar as a rudder. He kept the boat upright despite having to manage the sail and the makeshift rudder.

Heather and Joan. Joan has now married all of us and is a much loved part of the clan. 

Keith and Ross. So great to see our New York based family.

Carl and Porter have a quiet moment in the usually bustling kitchen. Not surprisingly, everyone tends to gather where the food is!

Family dinners. Our crew included Grandpa Carl and Grammy Jan and all their children and grandchildren, Joan and Ross, Aunt Leah and the mothers of both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Barbara and Penny. Everyone had responsibility for dinner one night and we usually ate as a big group.

One of Heather's MANY fabulous desserts!

The birthday boy savors a bite

Heather made matching shirts for all the kids with their birth order number. Teagan, number 1 as the oldest and Porter, the youngest was number 7.

All the kids wore their shirts on our visit to the Magic Forest Family Fun Park in Lake George, NY.

Set in a beautiful wooded property, the park was shady and cool and the perfect place for six year old Gavin to spend his birthday.

The park was dotted with quirky old characters leading us to believe that this must be the premier place for retired circus and amusement park exhibits.

The first ride we saw upon entering was this little caterpillar ride that went gently around in a circle up and down over little bumps. No one was tending to it when we got there and the kids were bursting to get on it so we found the on switch and sneakily gave the kids a short ride before the operator came back from lunch.

All the kids liked this simple ride but Ari loved it most of all. He must have gone on it fifteen times, once dragging me halfway across the park to go back to it!

The park was heaven for the age group of kids we have and featured dozens of rides they could go on themselves that provided just the right amount of freedom and adventure!

The classic Tilt-a-Whirl

One of the surprising oddities of the park, the sign reads "The Nation's Only Diving Horse." Surely this sort of thing is no longer allowed(!) but yes, that really is a horse diving into a pool. 

Brian, Riker and Ari make their way toward lunch. At this point, we were down three people as poor Edward split his lip open on some bleachers and Keith and Liz had to rush to the nearest hospital for stitches! He was fine and so were his parents when we finally saw them again back at the lodge.

The boys ride the train through the trees.

  Riker and Ari starting to get worn out at the end of long day.

While at first we thought the entry fee was a bit much for a park with a bunch of old rides, by the end of the day we were all raving about the place. There were no lines and the kids could ride over and over again and it was great to have an activity that catered for all the kids, big and little.

After one last adventure riding a tram through the woods full of random characters with perhaps the oddest commentary possible, Ari was asleep in my arms and all the kids were thoroughly exhausted from a delightful day and most were asleep on the drive home.

Back at the lodge, Porter and Joan have a cuddle

The little look-alike cousins, Edward and Ari

Heather keeps the boys in blue busy with a new game in the lodge family room

Edward, Cael, Ari and Riker - four good men in the making :)

This retreat was one of the major reasons we made the long trek back to the US and it was worth it! Thanks to everyone for such a memorable week!

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