Camp Wilderness Sunrise

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Kid-friendly Adirondack vacation rental

Snowball fight!

This weekend, it snowed. It was magical. I’m not sure about you, but in my head, the day after Thanksgiving is the official start to the holiday season. Saturday I planned to support local Tupper Lake businesses for “Shop Local Saturday” while my husband finished up the installation of the new hardwood floors at Camp Wilderness Sunrise–our Adirondack vacation rental. It was a full on blizzard outside, but luckily downtown is just a few miles away. I bundled up the kids, grabbed my camera and we were off! I usually avoid shopping with my young children like the plague, but sometimes the desire to get the renovations done on time leads me to do silly things.

Shop Local Saturday at Holiday Adirondack Vacation Rental

Winter Wonderland


I didn’t need to worry. Everyone we ran into was so happy to see the kids out and about, throwing snowballs at one another every time we went outside. They were given cookies and candy canes and pretty business cards for their pockets. They were in heaven. I found two beautiful handmade mugs for morning coffee–one with a loon, and another with a snapping turtle. My husband’s family’s Camp is opposite a loon preserve, and my dad once got in a freak mountain bike accident over a snapping turtle, so they seemed perfect. There’s something about handmade mugs that makes coffee taste better! And I was thrilled to see that they were about half the price of similar mugs we’d bought in Colorado. I also bought the kids matching “Mitey Mite” shirts to support Big Tupper ski area–that’s the name of the kid’s rope tow at the mountain. I learned to ski on that rope tow, and so will my kids, they needed the shirts! And on a purely shallow level, the shirts are really cool (waffle textured!).

Adirondack Ski House Big Tupper

Ski Big Tupper!

Throughout our journey through the shops in Downtown Tupper Lake, we repeatedly ran into people I knew from growing up–I’ve lived far away for so long I can never tell if anyone remembers me, so I usually just smile, but inside I’m all “HEY! We know each other!” I’ll eventually work up the nerve to say that and introduce myself like a real live grown up. One of the coolest parts of our day was when we saw Mrs. Claus sitting in a rocking chair in the window of Sun Creations–and it was the same lady who was Mrs. Claus when I was a kid! I seriously freaked out. So did the kids, but for a completely different reason (MRS. CLAUS!). She was so sweet, she picked them up and put them on her lap and just sat there and rocked them while I looked around.

Holiday vacation ideas with kids Adirondack mountains new york

Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

After we were done shopping, we headed over to the Swiss Kitchen for some hot chocolate. I ran into an old friend from high school, and he was so nice to the kids. The hot chocolate was also awesome. My Grandpa used to sit there and drink coffee and talk with his buddies every day–I hadn’t been in there in ages. It’s our new hot chocolate spot for sure. The kids were patient all day, waiting to have lunch with Santa at the K of C. We tried to last until 1pm without any major meltdowns, really we did. We even made it into the K of C for our (free!) lunch. But we had to leave before Santa arrived because the kids were exhausted. We made a quick stop at a snowbank on the way to the car and they had a blast crawling around in it–the snowbank was right outside the house my mom grew up in, so that was pretty cool. We went home for naps–and I sat in my Grandma’s old rocking chair and read my Kindle while drinking some coffee out of my new mug. Then I painted the fireplace. Still working, after all.

Relaxing Adirondack Vacations

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Weekend

Happy Thanksgiving,


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Camp Wilderness Sunrise on Local Bigwig!

Camp Wilderness Sunrise in Tupper Lake, NY

A couple weeks ago, I was interviewed by the folks at Local Bigwig for a piece on Camp Wilderness Sunrise, our Tupper Lake Vacation Rental. Check out the interview here!


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Purple Sunrise

View of Tupper Lake from Camp Wilderness Sunrise

When my daughter woke up (very, very) early Saturday morning she yelled, “MOM!!! It’s purple out there!!” I walked into the living room and saw this out the windows–a very purple sunrise. We grabbed the camera and ran out onto the deck and began snapping photos.

The kids were spending the weekend with my Aunt who was visiting from out of town, and my mom, who had the weekend off. This allowed my husband and I to get ahead on some work on the Camp, which was a very welcome surprise. My husband worked on finishing the hardwood floors in the living room and hall, and I worked on priming all the walls and cabinets in the kitchen.

Living Room floors, going in!

The kitchen had some particularly heinous panelling…with covered bridges on it. It also had those tacky yellowy oak cabinets with brass pulls from the 80s. And some really bad linoleum. Lots to prime, lots to paint! I’m not done yet, but am about half way there. Bryan ended up finishing the living room and hall floors, and he was able to get the old floors pulled up in the bathroom, new toilet installed and he got started on the new bathroom floor.

Kitchen "Before" Renovations

My mom, Aunt & Uncle were really amazing in helping us with the kids this weekend, so we were able to get lots done. We’re very thankful for such a beautiful spot and such helpful family!

New front door and entryway

Until next time,


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Floors & Paint & Decorating, Oh My!

We spent our first long weekend in Tupper Lake since we bought Camp Wilderness Sunrise! My daughter didn’t have school on Friday, and my husband had to work at a convention in Lake George Thursday night, so it all worked out for a long weekend.

Our brand new hardwood floors had been delivered since our last visit, so we had lots of work to do. We had a local contractor come in to check out the heating system and make some minor repairs. And we realized the front door was in bad shape, so my husband made an early trip to Tupper Lake Supply to get a new one. When gutting our house in Colorado, I became obsessed with egg shaped door knobs for the main entry–I don’t know why, but I love them. Anyway, we were able to find egg shaped door knobs here, so the Camp has one too! It’s our signature. The new door looks great.

Bryan set the tile in the entry–it’s a beautiful slate with a slate mosaic in the middle. The colors pick up the natural blues, greens and browns out the window, and complement the green walls. My husband always claims to not care about design decisions–and makes fun of me because I love those decisions so much–but he suggested we use 2 different tones of hardwood flooring–75% in a darker hue that best hides our big dog’s fur and 25% in a lighter hue that best hides our little dog’s fur. Nobody–including our contractor friend–understood why he would do such a thing, but he was right. The floors look awesome. We’d put cherry floors in our house in Colorado and both of us loved those random pieces of wood that were lighter than the rest–it provided nice interest. The floors in the Camp take that concept in the best possible direction.

I spent the long weekend finishing up the paint in the dining room, cleaning it and setting up furniture. It consists of all vintage furniture–a freshly painted table from my brother in law’s 100 year old farmhouse, bent wood chairs my husband grew up with that were from his grandfather’s antique shop and my grandparent’s buffet and hutch (which will serve lots of fondue and raclette in the very near future). I also added a small cafe set for the kids–so we can have a permanent “kids table” and keep the main table free for dinner parties, catching up on work projects and board games. I’m turning the built in shelving between the kitchen and dining room–where my grandmother used to display her tea cups–into a bar. The original cork floors that we found in here cleaned up great and look awesome!

My other project was the bathroom. I finished painting it and refinishing the vanity, and I also cleaned it really well (stripping the wallpaper made a huge mess). We’ll replace the toilet and flooring next. Did you know you could “butch up” pink tile? Because you can. Especially when it has great black edging tile. We’ve added lots of dark grey and flannel. The tile was in perfect shape–even the grout is perfect–and something about that black edging made me love it. I remember scrubbing that grout with a toothbrush when I was taking baths as a kid, and, well, I’d hate to waste all that hard work!

Saturday night we had dinner at Casa del Sol in Saranac Lake, and let me tell you, the chile con queso with flour chips is just as good as you remember. The new owners are doing great and worked their tails off to get us a table quickly–with 2 overtired kids and a ton of other waiting people at their busiest time. The kids were bribed with Shirley Temples and spent most of the 45 minute wait introducing themselves to fellow diners, dancing to “All the Single Ladies” on my phone and tackling one another. We ran into a bunch of old friends and the food and drinks were great–I can’t wait to go back.

Right before we headed out, my good friend from childhood stopped by with her husband and baby to check everything out. Her husband is an electrician and will be handling all the Camp’s electrical needs. I told her about all our plans for the Camp and about our planned Girl’s Weekend once it’s done. I can’t wait to have people visit–and to welcome old friend as vacationers.

The kids and my mom were complete rock stars all weekend. I took the kids to The Wild Center (loving that membership!) and for a hike, but they spent the rest of the day with my mom. They chased their cousin around the couch, raced through a tent/tunnel combo and spent a lot of time cuddling and watching Dinosaur Train. Amelie also realized she could see herself in the windows in the early morning, so she spent a lot of time dancing while her dad and I tried to wake up and drink coffee. At 5:30 am. The Camp is just too fun to sleep in!


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Full Steam Ahead

Well, we’ve been busy! We picked out and ordered the new hardwood floors for the living room, hallway and master bedroom, purchased new tile for the entryway and bathroom, I’ve been refinishing vintage furniture & accessories like a banshee and we packed up all of our “mountainy decor” and moved it to Camp Wilderness Sunrise–our Tupper Lake Vacation Rental.

We spent last weekend finishing the wallpaper removal project (Note to Selves: Never, ever paint over wallpaper…we stripped it 6 times and still had to replaster the wall before we could paint!) and painting. My mom took the kids both days this past weekend, which allowed both my husband and I to work like crazy. My arms and shoulders are incredibly sore! For the first time since we bought the house, when I look at it I think, “This is my house” instead of my grandparent’s house. It’s going to be CUTE!

I think the best testimonial came from my mom, who, bless her heart believes, “There is no color other than blue.” Well, when she walked into the green living room–a color chosen because it looks just like the trees you see out the windows–she stopped, her jaw dropped and she said, “It’s…beautiful! It’s just so…soothing! I love it! I can’t believe this is the same house.”

It’s coming along.


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Renovations have begun!

This summer, my husband and I purchased my Grandparent’s old lakefront home in my hometown of Tupper Lake, NY.

After living in CO for the last 10 years, getting married and welcoming 3 dogs and 2 kids to our family, we’ve moved back to New York to be closer to our family. We are currently living in a row home from the 1800s in a city in upstate NY, and I have to say, all summer, all I’ve wanted to do is go back home to Tupper Lake and go swimming! No matter how much we loved Colorado (and trust me…we LOVED Colorado), I missed swimming in the lakes and rivers all those years we were away.

We visited Tupper Lake for Woodsman’s Field Days in July, and our kids had a blast. We planned our next trip for the week between summer camp and school, since our kids would be out of school. I asked my mom, who has owned my Grandparent’s home since they passed away, if we could stay there. I hadn’t been in the house since I was in college. Walking around, taking in the magnificent view of the lake, my husband and I thought, “We need to buy this place.” And we did.

Last weekend we brought the kids and dogs to Tupper Lake, and began the renovation process. Upon arrival in town, we headed to the Brick Oven Cafe on the recommendation of a shop owner in downtown, and the sandwiches were amazing–fresh bread, interesting combinations, healthy, perfection! I spent the day swimming with the kids while my husband ripped up old, tattered carpets and tore down old, damaged wallpaper. Afterwards we stopped for a well-deserved beer at The Trails End. Then we grabbed pizza, wings and breadsticks for dinner for $20 at Guido’s Pizzeria under their meal deal!

Sunday morning we went to the Lumberjack and had the most amazing breakfast (as usual). It made me happy to see that my kids were starting to remember this place–they wanted to know where the Lumberjack guy was! I was back at the lake with the kids for the day, and my husband was back at the house making it lovely. We stopped at Aubuchon’s Hardware for our paint, and I was ecstatic to see they had the Pottery Barn colors I wanted! Everyone was super helpful. We headed up to Bog River Falls at the end of the day, and to my surprise, both of my children willingly swam down the falls on their dad’s lap, to the applause of many families camping at the nearby sites. We ended the night with s’mores in front of the outdoor fireplace.

Monday morning we went to the Washboard Laundromat for donuts and they were even better than I remembered! Yum! We ate our donuts on the front deck as we watched the sailboats warm up for the regatta, then headed off into the woods for a morning hike. My husband went back to work on the wallpaper removal project, and I took the kids to the Wild Center with my mom, sister and niece. It was amazing! I cannot believe how lucky the residents and visitors of Tupper Lake are to have such an amazing resource. I look forward to coming back and getting work done in the cafe (free wi-fi!), working on science experiments with the kids in the lab and hiking and snowshoeing the trails.

Our weekend was over much too quickly–I think it was the most relaxing, productive and enjoyable weekend of our entire summer. Our kids left happy (and very tired!) and our dogs left with smiles on their faces. So did my husband and I. Our next trip will be with a moving truck full of furniture!

Stay tuned…


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Note: I’ve already had several friends ask us when the house will be ready for vacation rentals. The answer is, I’m not sure. The overly ambitious side of me says this winter (just in time for $15 lift tickets at Big Tupper!), but it may be longer than that. We want to make sure it’s completely awesome first! If you’re interested in renting the house, leave a comment and I will be in touch.

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Welcome to Camp Wilderness Sunrise!

Welcome to Camp Wilderness Sunrise, our Tupper Lake Vacation Rental! More information on our vacation rental property in the Adirondack mountains of beautiful Tupper Lake, NY is coming soon. In the meantime, please leave a comment if you have any questions!



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