The North Country

The View Out Our Camp's Front Windows, Lake Titus, New York (© F. P. Dorchak)

The View Out Our Camp’s Front Windows, Lake Titus, New York (© F. P. Dorchak)

My wife and I just returned from a trip to “The North Country,” or upstate New York. It was my dad’s 80th birthday, so we timed our annual trip back east with his birthday. Since there were several of us showing up, there was not enough room at their place, so a “camp” was rented on Lake Titus, just a few minutes outside of Malone, NY. An upstate New York camp is not a tent or KOA, but is a rustic-or-better building used as a camp. Most are rough, but some, called “Great Camps,” have many amenities and are the size of hotels. It just depends on how much money and effort one wants to put into building these things. Here’s a link explaining the Great Camps and their architecture, but just scale it down a bit for the “everyday person’s camp,” and you’ll get the gist. Anyway, we had a place large enough for the four of us. And it was right off Lake Titus, with a dock and paddle boat and kayak. And thanks to Phil and Meredith, who own the camp! Such terrific people! We had a blast!

Our flights in and out went beautifully. We met my brother, Greg, and his son, Alek

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

The Lake Titus, New York Camp. (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 14, 2016)

(Greg also has a daughter, Niki, but she couldn’t make it), in Vermont and we all drove to my dad and stepmom’s place, in waaay upstate New York. We did all the touristy things and revisited the old stomping grounds were Greg and the rest of my siblings and I grew up. Stopped by the old middle school we’d attended and walked about its halls (it was open—and I even ran into an old classmate of mine there who now works there; he told me several of our class now works there!). Stopped by the school’s auditorium where both Greg and I had acted in plays (I had been the gangster in “The House on Whaleshead Rock“; this is all I could find on it, but I do still have the play’s script somewhere…). This is where Greg got his start as an actor (he’s also a screenwriter, producer, author, and has even done Stand-up comedy in Las Vegas, Nevada—I’ve seen him perform, he was great, even working a drunk in the front row…), so it was cool to show his son and take pictures of it, though we couldn’t find all the light switches to switch on all of the auditorium’s lights.

We visited the old Lake Clear House, where we all grew up.

Visited Ausable Chasm.

Made multiple trips to Donnelly’s Corners!

Visited our paternal grandparents’s graves.

Frank Dorchak, Jr., Malone Golf Club Birthday Party (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 13, 2016)

Frank Dorchak, Jr., Malone Golf Club Birthday Party (Photo © F. P. Dorchak, August 13, 2016)

And there was my dad’s 80th birthday party! It was held in the banquet hall of the restaurant of the Malone Golf Club. There were over 70 in attendance, representing all the areas of his life from childhood, the Navy, his Forest Ranger service, to his current efforts with Clear Path For Veterans, and more. My dad spoke, sang, and we all danced. Some came up to say a few words. I spoke. Then, when it came to his birthday cake, he insisted on on having all 80 candles on his cake. In his words: “I earned every damned candle! As he “blew” them out with a wave of cardboard or paper or whatever it was he was holding, the smoke filled the air above the cake, and Greg and I looked to each other. We both said, yeah, that’s gonna set off the fire alarms! Not two minutes later, yup, off went the alarms! After the fire department arrived, we took pictures of Dad shaking hands with the fireman who responded. We later sent an e-mail to the Malone Telegram and got an article in the Friday, August 19th, paper, the upper right corner of page A3! It’s quite large!

The rest of the trip involved hanging out with family, playing games, talking, standing and sitting around an outdoor fire pit at my folks’s place, and more. At the Lake Titus Camp, my wife and I swam and kayaked the lake. I’ll detail more of some of these and other aspects in some upcoming posts. But it was a glorious 10 days in the North Country, visiting family and reconnecting with an area of the world I love. I love the woods and waters of the Adirondacks and upstate New York and can’t get enough of them. Love visiting my Dad and stepmom, Wanda.

It was a great trip!

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About fpdorchak

Upmarket paranormal fiction author. I write gritty, Twilight Zone-like fiction. Please check out my website:! Thank you for stopping by!
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9 Responses to The North Country

  1. Wendy Brydge says:

    Glad you had a great time on your trip, and happy birthday to your dad, Frank! 🙂

  2. Paul says:

    Sounds like you and the family had fun, Frank. Hope your dad had a great birthday! 🙂

  3. Kare Lin says:

    Fire alarm was the whole world screaming happy birthday. So wonderful that you and Laura are so close to family and happy 80th to your dad!

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