Consult this coffee table book for Ad’k insight

Adirondack Life’s “Our Towns”

Adirondack Life’s “Our Towns” is a must have coffee table book for anyone who loves the Adirondacks. It is a compilation of decades of Our Towns, a featured page in the well knownmagazine. The book contains descriptions of more than 130 communities inside the Blue Line, and each community is written up beside a gray map of the Adirondacks with a star denoting the community’s location, and a black and white picture of a landmark within the town itself.

The descriptions read the way they were written-as a means to become more intimate with the communities and their residents. One of the best quotes is in the first town, Adirondack. Debbie Close described the town by saying, “We’re not on the way to anywhere. If you’re here, you’re either lost or you came here on purpose.”

Each write up is listed in alphabetical order, so it’s easy to find the town where Chester Gillette murdered Grace Brown as long as you know it’s called Inlet now instead of The Head. You can read about the Shew family who lived in Fish House during the time of the Revolutionary War or Conifer, a lumber company town that as of April 2008 when it was written up in Adirondack Life, was home to about 10 families.

The stories are time capsule gems and treasures of folklore. The description of North Creek tells about a connection to President McKinley’s assassination and the story of the cursed traveling tannery bell. The description given by Terry Perkins is classic if lacking in self-reflection when he describes the residents of Stillwater. “I think anyone who isn’t a character before they come soon becomes unusual…everyone except me, of course. I’m talking about everybody else.”

But the writeups are only part of the charm of the book. The pictures of the towns and their inhabitants are lovely at times and haunting at others. The picture of Northville resembles a ghost town and the stares of the sheep shearers in Wadhams are chilling. What a brave photographer to take that shot.

There are pages and pages to flip through and return to, each town a lesson in resilience. Through boom or bust, adventurers and introverts continue to seek out the Adirondacks. My recommendation is strong to buy this book for someone you know who loves the Adirondacks, but while you’re at it, buy a copy for yourself. Then set aside a long weekend when the next nor-easter comes through, and while the snow piles up outside, start reading about your neighbors.

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