During the month of September I took a pilgrimage back to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains in New York State. I had not been there in 25+ years.
In my early years we would travel as a family to Indian Lake – both a small town and a lake – to visit my dad’s sister and mother. Aunt Peggy and Grandma Beckary had an house in town and during the Summer months stayed outside the town in the house that Grandpa Beckary built in 1917. My dad sold the Beckary House in 1987 – it has changed hands several times since then.
I stayed at the Blue Mountain Lake Inn and enjoyed meeting very nice people there. Meredith the Innkeeper is a lovely young lady who was native to the area and had great recommendations for places to explore.
There was a co-working couple from Holland who took advantage of their weekend and wandered from their consulting job in Central New York to check out Blue Mt and the surrounding area.
It was fun to have breakfast with them and regroup after dinner to share stories of our adventures that day.
This trip was a bit of a pilgrimage for me to see the area I knew as a kid but have been away from for 30 years. I needed some closure on the fact that the House was no longer in the hands of a Beckary and am happy to report it is in very good hands. The current owner and his rescued cat are having a great time there.
One of the highlights of the drive up from Perry in Western NYS was the annual sighting of The Pig – a rock that was resembled the face of a pig and was repainted from time to time over the years. The Pig is on NY Route 30 north of Speculator and was a sign that we were almost to grandma’s house!
The last time I encountered The Pig was in 1986. I was thrilled on this trip to see that someone has maintained the paint tradition.
I set out on my first full day to see Town of Indian Lake much to my surprise was able to take part in their annual Moose Festival. I posed with the only moose I saw – he did not talk much but was very accommodating when it came to photo ops.
I saw the two houses in town where my Aunt and Grandma lived in back then. They were both a bit run down from when I last saw them and one has an ice cream parlor on the side.
I don’t expect too many people to be around who would remember any of our family as it has been so many years.
Prior to the trip I was unsuccessful in reaching the current owner of the House and was blessed to meet up with him there. The Brown Family has lived next door to the Beckary House for generations. Elva Brown is the matriarch and remembered me when I dropped by. I have learned to check in with her before heading to the House as she drove up on an ATV and greeted me with a shotgun across her lap when I visited after being discharged from the Air Force in 1986. A lady friend and I hung out there for a several days back then and learned quickly that Elva was watching the road. This time I checked in with the gatekeeper who remembered “Beckary” after 30 years and informed me that “Jimmy” (the current owner of the House) was on his way. Elva is watching, Elva knows all.
This long narrow driveway brings back some memories. Family legend claims that this is reminiscent of Grandpa Beckary’s homeland of France.
My strongest memory of this driveway is when the car brakes gave out on one of our guests as he pulled to the top and was going to back into a side lane – he wound up navigating a speeding car backwards through those trees until the car slowed on the flat.
This happened after we went on some sightseeing with the mom and dad of our guest family. My dad navigated and narrated while I proceeded to vomit the large quantity of Oreo Cookies and milk I had just eaten before the drive. I did not do well on these roads – carsickness maximus.
Details aside – I should have stayed back at the house and passed on the three-hour tour.
The Beckary House was built by my Grandpa Albert M. Beckary (my brother’s namesake) as a retirement property. Grandpa came over from Belfort, Alsace-Lorraine, France at the age of 16 (which I estimate was 1893).
He came over via Ellis Island and lived in NYC. He was a Naval Apothecary during the War of 1898 and went on to graduate from the Cornell Medical School practicing as a Family Doctor. His list of patients include J.P. Morgan’s granddaughter and some Vanderbilts. He was also well-known for being a French Chef.
He died in 1959, five years before I came on the scene so I never got to meet him.
The House has some really cool features. My favorites include the huge porch that wraps around two sides and the HUGE stone fireplace.
My dad sold the place in 1987 and we were a bit sad to see it go. In reality – we were not in a place to maintain it making me glad that someone is enjoying it and taking great care of it. A new roof and siding are schedule to be installed in the near future.
Jimmy gave me a tour inside and allowed me to take photos outside.
Rusty is an iron statue of sorts that watches over the Browns property.
I was very glad to see that he is still there and has an abundance of pine cones to eat – that’s what we fed him as kids.
I feel closure and a sense of letting the place go. Perhaps there will be a Beckary House II in a nice quiet corner of the planet earth someday.
Day 2 – after a nice Blue Mt. Lake Inn breakfast I set off with the Innkeeper’s dog Mango for a hike up Blue Mountain – or “Blue” as the locals call it.
It was a steep and rocky climb that I found a bit difficult. Prepared with protein bars, bananas and water for both my companion and me we made it to the top and enjoyed the following view.
This speaks for itself and made the difficult hike well worth it.
Peaceful Peace Out.