By Kate Ritter.
As we pack our winter coats away in favor of lighter layers, the AARCH staff is busy preparing for another full season of educational outings in the Adirondack Park and beyond. In celebration of AARCH’s 25th anniversary, our schedule is more extensive than ever with many returning favorites and ten new offerings. In addition to being memorable experiences, it is our hope that these tours provide a number of avenues to better understand various aspects of historic preservation. Appreciation of our buildings, landscapes, and communities allows us to be more effective stewards of this special region.
Sustainable preservation invites creativity, and it requires many different skill sets. Whether restoring a building to its original condition, adaptively rehabilitating a structure to facilitate an alternative use, or raising awareness for the protection of an endangered property, there are many factors to consider. By offering programs which include a spectrum of topics, it is our goal to inspire curiosity and collaboration between individuals and organizations for exploring the possibilities that exist.
Having just moved to the Adirondacks from Massachusetts last June, leading the 2014 tour season was a wonderful way to become acquainted with this fascinating and gorgeous region, along with meeting countless inspiring people. During the winter I pondered how to shape this year’s season, fueled with the excitement of so many fresh and eye-opening excursions: Which “classic” AARCH tours should be in the mix? Where should I journey to research new ideas? What concepts could I introduce?
The result is one that I’m very excited about. In addition to historically sought-after outings such as studying the rustic architecture of Big Moose and Raquette Lake, venturing by boat to Valcour Island, and witnessing the setting within Dannemora’s prison walls, our schedule will include cultural experiences, family activities, new locations…and amazing food.
Several outings, including Small Farm Rising, Great Camp Getaway, and AARCH’s first tour-by-bicycle in the Boquet Valley will offer meals featuring local farm ingredients. Green Machines provides an in-depth perspective on the mechanics that support energy-efficient design, and why this concept is applicable to new construction as well as historic preservation. Our overnight in Rensselaerville will introduce a spirited village filled with beautifully maintained Federal and Greek Revival architecture. For those of us who enjoy music, our Bolton Landing outing will be enhanced by absorbing the 1920s Sembrich Opera studio through sight and sound.
These are just some of the adventures we will share during the coming months. With clear roads and longer days upon us, I look forward to seeing you soon!
Kate Ritter is the program director with AARCH, and has enjoyed exploring and absorbing places off-the-beaten-path throughout most of her life.