Mid-century Lodging: Lake Placid

Lake Placid, NY, nestled in the Adirondacks, is one of those perfect winter towns. Whether you’d rather be skiing or strolling and shopping down Main Street or taking a sled dog ride on Mirror Lake, the snow covered evergreen trees and constant snow flurries will delight you, particularly at Christmastime. My sister Annie O’Shea prefers to be sliding down Mount Van Hoevenberg on her sled at 80 mph (she’s on the USA Skeleton Team). When skeleton season rolls around, we typically find time to visit Lake Placid.

Lodging in Lake Placid provides an eclectic mix of luxury resorts, standard hotel accommodations, trailside cabins, small inns, and a look back to roadside America. The Lake House (part of High Peaks Resort) is a 1961 roadside motel. Rumor has it that the place was pretty run down and outdated until this spring 2014 when the hotel closed for a renovation. My family and I chose to stay here and we were pleasantly surprised. Imagine mid-century style combined with the Adirondack aesthetic in crisp, modern lines. Got it? Take a look at some of these pictures.

Welcome to the Lake House.

Welcome to the Lake House. Nice font, right?

Every room has a view of Mirror Lake (which was snow covered and difficult to see as a "lake").

Every room has a view of Mirror Lake (which was snow covered and difficult to see as a “lake”).

The lobby of the Lake House. It was a great spot for sitting by the fireplace (not shown, on right). The only downside was having to leave early on Friday because there was a private party in the lobby. That seemed odd for a hotel.

The lobby of the Lake House. It was a great spot for sitting by the fireplace (not shown, on right). The only downside was having to leave early on Friday because there was a private party in the lobby. That seemed odd for a hotel.

Another view of the lobby. Modern with the ski/ADK aesthetic, yes?

Another view of the lobby. Modern with the ski/ADK aesthetic, yes?

Logs (though the fireplace is gas) and a nice beverage. What better way to spend a chilly, snowy December evening?

Logs (though the fireplace is gas) and a nice beverage. What better way to spend a chilly, snowy December evening?

The chandelier - very creative!

The chandelier – very creative!

Another lobby view. Though the Christmas tree left much to be desired (it was a bad fake tree), everything else made up for it (unless you're my mother, who is still scarred from the cheesy tree).

Another lobby view. Though the Christmas tree left much to be desired (it was a bad fake tree), everything else made up for it (unless you’re my mother, who is still scarred from the cheesy tree).

Nice headboard in the room!

Nice headboard in the room!

The Lake House was great, and I’d recommend a stay there. It’s a great example of modernizing an outdated hotel while keeping the feel of its historic roots. See more photos on the website. What do you think?

And, of course, a view of the bobsled/skeleton track. Go Annie!

And, of course, a view of the bobsled/skeleton track. Go Annie!

Merry Christmas Eve

20131224-131255.jpg

Flamingos live in my Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have time to relax, unplug, enjoy good company, and spend time around a beautiful Christmas tree. If you’re looking for some holiday entertainment, check out a few Christmas links.

The original 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (watch the entire film for free).

The most recent dialect quiz from The New York Times. (Good family fun, avoiding politics and religion.)

 A photo of the first (1931) Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. (Have you been to Rockefeller Center?)

An O’Shea family Christmas tree (with my sister Sarah for scale, before we decorate).

Speaking of trees, did you catch the post on Christmas Tree sale typology?

A delicious cookie recipe: candy cane twists. (Always a favorite.)

Eggnog news story and recipe. (Yum!)

Past Preservation in Pink posts about Christmas.(Shopping to trees, carols, decorations, and more.)

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Enjoy the holiday. 

***********

Christmas on Ice

Five winters in, and this is my first Vermont ice storm. So far, most people seem to be spared. Almost one inch of ice blankets northern Vermont today, resulting from an ice storm that moved across the region over the weekend. Some are without power. Some are covered in ice. Lucky ones have snow. And some just have rain. The weather is crazy. On Saturday afternoon, the temperatures in Burlington and Montpelier (only 38 miles apart via I-89) was incredibly different – see below.

Saturday's varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it's also extreme.

Saturday’s varying temperatures. Not only is this is in reverse, but it’s also extreme.

Freezing rain continued to fall off and on Saturday and Saturday night, into Sunday morning. Burlington and the rest of northern Vermont was one sheet of ice, especially my street, driveway, and front steps. Here are some photos from the ice weekend.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

Every little branch remains covered in ice.

The front steps became a slide of ice!

The front steps became a slide of ice!

I had to chisel out my car...that is no exaggeration.

I had to chisel out my car…that is no exaggeration.

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Even the flamingos were iced over!

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Eventually I made my way downtown for some Christmas shopping. Church Street is beautiful this time of year.

Christmas in Burlington.

Christmas in Burlington.

This week’s round of posting will be Christmas-y. Hope you and yours have fun days planned, safe travels, a warm house and no ice!

Christmas Tree Commerce Space Typology

Preservationists discuss and observe how space is used in communities, from parks to historic buildings to infill development or more recently, pop up spaces such as parklets and the food truck phenomenon.  Use of available space varies by season. Following Thanksgiving, space in and out stores displays and sells Christmas décor, including trees. (Okay, corporate America begins peddling Christmas paraphernalia in September.) Christmas tree sales are common sights this time of year, but are not noticeable for the rest of the year.

Some of my favorite Christmas memories are searching for the perfect Christmas tree with my parents and sisters. Inevitably, it took hours.  It was cold. And we always chose a tree that was too big for the minivan and too tall for our 12’ high ceiling in the living room. And, of course, the tree always had some strange shape to it. But with enough ornaments and lights, the tree looked perfect in the end. Most years we cut down a tree at a tree farm, except for off years when trees were sparse and too expensive. Then we’d head to the local garden center and wander around the lot of trees there, standing them up to get opinions and compare and contrast our options.

Where do you buy your tree? Do you enjoy trekking through the woods or do you prefer choosing a tree that is already cut? There are many options if you’re looking for a live Christmas tree. Christmas trees are sold everywhere. Find them at the corner gas station, in the town green, outside churches and schools, outside retail stores, on front lawns, at farmers’ markets, on a farm, in a store, and more.

Christmas sales are operations of seasonal business. Trees are sold in seasonal conversion of flexible space. These spaces come in varying styles and subsets. These are seasonal conversions of flexible space. I offer this typology for your consideration as you are out and about this holiday season.

 Type One: Retail Stores

Retail stores selling trees are easy to find. Convenience stores, local hardware stores, garden centers, and big box stores are most likely to sell trees. The format will vary, depending on the subtype.

  • Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. Trees will be lined up against the building, with a sign advertising the trees for sale. Choose your tree and pay inside. This would be good if you’re in a hurry.

Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

Retail Store. Subtype A: Quick & Convenient. These trees are leaning against the convenience store building at a gas station in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Tree Shopping. This type is affiliated with retail stores, from your local garden center to the big box store. With this type, the trees are usually sold within an enclosed area and there are more trees available than Subtype A. You enter through the store and pay inside. You can choose a tree quickly or browse amongst the aisles of trees.

Type Two: Tree Lots

Tree lots are converted spaces, more specifically spaces that do not serve any retail purpose during the remainder of the year. These spaces are simply constructed.

  • Subtype A: Tree farmstand. This type can be thought of as a Christmas tree farmstand. A farmer could have trees leaning on wood supports with a sign advertising trees for sale. These trees are locally grown and harvested.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a  farmer's front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype A: Tree farmstand. These trees are for sale on a farmer’s front lawn in White River Junction, VT.

  • Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. Type B is space converted in an open lot or open space on a lot, other than a residential property. The lot might be the gas station down the road or the church parking lot. Trees are supported by 2x4s nailed together to form bents, and are arranged in aisles. Work lights or Christmas light strands strung together light these lots, offering a festive glow to Christmas tree selection. Signs advertise trees for sale.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Two: Tree Lots. Subtype B: Streetside tree lot. This tree lots is set up adjacent to a gas station in Burlington, VT. For the remainder of the year, there is nothing in this space.

Type Three: Tree Farms

Tree farms, where you can cut-your-own tree or choose a precut tree, come in all shapes and sizes. Some farms spread for acres and acres, baling trees, serving hot chocolate, selling wreaths. Others are small operations without any frills.

  • Subtype A: The no frills tree farm. This type offers tree hunters the opportunity to cut down their own trees, probably providing saws and assistance for tree loading, but nothing else. Signs will direct you to the tree farm. Drivers park on the grass and head into the tree farm. Trees are not previously cut.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This farm offers cut-your-own trees, but no other festive activities. This one is located in Charlotte, VT.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. Subtype A: No frills. This tree farm advertises from the road. Turn down the driveway, drive behind the farmhouse and the trees are near.

  • Subtype B: The Christmas extravagance farm. – This type of tree farm brings out all the bells and whistles: sleds, wagon rides, Santa Claus, Christmas gifts, a tree baler, hot chocolate & cider for sale. It’s a Christmas outing for the whole family.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You're looking at a 14' Christmas tree, a classic O'Shea choice.

Type Three: Christmas Tree Farm. You’re looking at a 14′ Christmas tree, a classic O’Shea choice.

Don’t be fooled, however. The size of the operation does not necessarily correspond to the price of the tree. Cost is reflected in geographic location and the availability of trees. What do you think? Do you have additional types or subtypes to add? Perhaps your area of the country is different for Christmas trees. I’d love to hear. Happy tree choosing!

Vermont’s Christmas Tree

Each year the Governor of Vermont hosts the lighting of the Christmas tree, which sits on the cascading granite steps of the Vermont State House. Everyone is invited to hear Christmas carols by schoolchildren, listen to a few words by the Governor and then enjoy the decorated interior of the State House with cookies and cider.

Montpelier was graced with a balmy 45 degree afternoon on December 5, 2013 and many Vermonters joined Governor Peter Shumlin. The carolers were children from Westminster, VT.

The Vermont State House prior to the start of the tree lighting ceremony.

The Vermont State House prior to the start of the tree lighting ceremony.

And the tree is lit!

And the tree is lit! This year’s tree is 40′ tall from Waitsfield, VT.

The tree inside the State House was decorated by volunteers.

The tree inside the State House was decorated by volunteers.

The chandelier acted as a tree star.

The chandelier acted as a tree star.

A beautiful tree!

A beautiful tree!

Handmade ornaments include historic photographs of the State House.

Handmade ornaments include historic photographs of the State House.

A few more historic photographs. Clarification: reproductions, not actual historic photos.

A few more historic photographs. Clarification: reproductions, not actual historic photos.

The State House demonstrates beautiful Greek Revival architecture. The ceiling is spectacular. Here everyone is enjoying cookies and cider in the main foyer.

The State House demonstrates beautiful Greek Revival architecture. The ceiling is spectacular. Here everyone is enjoying cookies and cider in the main foyer. Abraham Lincoln observes.

Merry Christmas Vermont!

Merry Christmas Vermont!

Thank you to Governor Shumlin for hosting the Christmas Tree Lighting. And to the staff (fellow preservationists) who decorated (David, Tracy, Thad and volunteers) – the State House looks even more beautiful this time of year. What a lovely way to begin the holiday season. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, however and wherever you celebrate! I hope your tree is trimmed, your hearts are full and you are all happy and healthy and with people you love.

Did you trim your tree? Here are a few classic ornaments that always find their way to the O’Shea family tree. These were my mother’s ornaments from her childhood. My sisters and I always think the elf is a devil!

20121225-000011.jpg

20121225-000019.jpg

20121225-000024.jpg

And we have some of my grandmother’s ornaments, too. Sadly a bunch of them broke when our tree fell over – years ago. Our trees are so large, it sometimes happens! But we have a few survivors and the original box.

20121225-000336.jpg

20121225-000353.jpg

Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas Carols

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol or Christmas song? Nowadays options are endless since every singer has his or her own version of Christmas songs. There is something timeless and comforting about Christmas songs; they sing of home, memories, nostalgia, love, tradition, snow, hope — all good things in life. When do you begin listening to Christmas music? Growing up, my mom wouldn’t let us listen until December 1. I say as soon as Thanksgiving has passed, Christmas is fair game.

Here is a list of my favorite Christmas songs. Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend, filled with good thoughts, good memories and hope for a wonderful season and new year.  What would be on your list?

(1) White Christmas (Bing Crosby)

(2) Have Yourself a Merry Christmas (Judy Garland)

(3) Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen)

(4) Little Wood Guitar (Sugarland)

(5) Christmas Song (Blues Traveler)

(6) We Need a Little Christmas (Angela Lansbury)

(7) Have a Holly Jolly Christmas (Burl Ives)

(8) Gold & Green (Sugarland)

(9) Step into Christmas (Elton John)

(10) I’ll be Home for Christmas (The Carpenters)

Enjoy!

Christmas Coffee Water Tower

20121213-131142.jpg
Christmas is coming soon. I hope everyone is enjoying the season, perhaps over a good cup of coffee.