Old Time Tales in an Old Time Setting


By Heather Dibble

If you are looking for a unique Adirondack experience this summer for kids, be sure to check out "Adirondack Tall-Tales: Storytelling for Children",  each Tuesday night at the historic home of Merritt Hulst and Analise Rigan.

Kids young and old gather at The Paradox House at 7 pm for this delightful hour in which local storytellers and authors share memories, folktales and stories of the Adirondacks and wilderness.

Two children’s authors, a novelist, the daughter of the town's doctor of long ago and a maple sugar farming couple are just a few of the story tellers who have shared their tales. This week we were treated to stories from a guest who has been learning about and teaching Native American culture for more than 60 years. She shared her collection of crafts and tales with five children and their parents.  The children were curiously attentive and especially pleased to have a hands-on learning experience.  

My favorite part of the evening largely centers around the setting itself. It is great to sit in the parlor room, where Mr. Hulst says "we were never allowed as children" and listen to the conversations focused on real-life experiences in the Adirondacks.

For my sons, seven and five-years-old, it is likely a toss-up between participating in the story of Polly the Polliwog and eating cookies with lemonade (to say nothing of the fresh mint leaf to drop in the drink) that stole their hearts. 

Mr. Hulst said that their hope in creating this storytelling session was to bring local children and those visiting for the summer together and establish friendships. He and Ms. Rigan gave interested guests a tour of the retreat and provided refreshments following the story hour.

Mr. Hulst has long-been restoring the house his great-grandfather built over a hundred years ago on Route 74 in Severance. Ms. Rigan is an accomplished artist. Her studio will be up and running from the home in the near future.  The couple hopes many locals and out-of-townspeople will use their house as a retreat, as it is now open and designed to house guests in five bedrooms with private bath and kitchen accommodations. 

For more information about Adirondack Tall-Tales or the Paradox House Gallery Retreat, call 518.351.5003 or email analise@riganstudios.com