Schroon Lake and Beyond: Profiles of our Neighbors

    JoAnne Piterniak


JoAnne Piterniak

Welcome to our new revamped Profiles section. First up is JoAnne Piterniak, author of one of our most popular posts ever, The Insiders Guide to Saratoga Springs Horse Racing Season. Thanks to JoAnne for being the first to jump in the water. 

Name: JoAnne Piterniak

Where do you live? North Hudson during the best days...Cohoes, NY the rest of the time!

Full time? Part time? Seasonal? Sadly, seasonal...but plan to retire up here. In 11 years and 7 months. Not that I'm counting or anything.

When did you move here or discover this part of paradise? My husband Bill is from a hunting family. "Camp Gramps" bought the North Hudson place in 1970, and Bill spent summers and hunting season up north for his entire life. When Gramps passed, he left what we call "The Dack Shack" to my in-laws,. It sat dormant for 8 years, complete with the "fridge of doom" running intermittently. Bill brought me up one time because his folks wanted to sell the place, and he wanted to show it to me, on the off chance I'd want to buy it. They figured I was a long shot at best; being a "city type".

What they didn't know was that when I was getting cancer treatment, one promise I made to myself while lying under the radiation machine was to spend more time outdoors, and really enjoy my life. After all those treatments, I just wanted sunshine and fresh air. I vividly remember the first time we pulled into the camp road in North Hudson, that smell - WOW!! Pine trees, earth, the creek, sunshine from everything being heated up... I wanted it. Bad.

We bought the camp and went to work. If you're my Facebook friend you can see an album of The Dack Shack's growth. Gutting it out, getting an addition built, putting in a new well, etc. etc. And yes, we cleaned out the "fridge of doom" on a very cold January afternoon. I managed not to get sick. Despite that, it was several years of hard yet very happy work. Now, we just enjoy it. It's our base for a lot of wonderful Adirondack adventures, and Saturday nights from April to November mean campfires and beer (from Paradox Brewery, of course!). I keep a spare set of keys with me at all times, and a change of clothes in the camp. It's kind of exciting knowing that I have an "escape" not far from home!

Where did you grow up? Schenectady NY...side-trekked to San Francisco and Oakland, CA for my college years. Because everybody has some wild oats to sow, OK?

How do you -- or did you -- make a living? I'm an assistant to a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual - for over nine years now. After cancer, I went on a LOT of job interviews, and was honest as to why I hadn't been working. Some people actually looked scared of me. That's fine - if they're that ignorant, who would want to work for them? Jay gave me the job, and I have a TON of loyalty. It's a rewarding job because we help people send their kids to college, plan their retirements, and establish financial security for their families. We have awesome clients, and I call many of them friends at this point.

How do you spend your free time? Dack Shack, baby!!! Boating, beach days, campfires and beer. I enjoy Zumba and also yoga (True North in Schroon Lake is awesome), am an avid reader, and enjoy movies. I love family time and being outdoors.

Coffee, Tea, or…? Coffee in the morning - or else!!! Daytime is Diet Pepsi, water with lemon...weekend evenings Paradox Brewery (sending love to my North Country friends here!!!). I was lucky enough to visit Italy in the spring and got hooked on Limoncello. A shot of that is nice in the evening after a busy day of work!

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? I'd come up on Friday and wake up at camp. Boat, beach, whatever - just being there!!!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Although I am still in mourning for Mr. P's, I really do adore Sticks & Stones. Also enjoyed our anniversary dinner last year at Café Adirondack. They had no electricity but lots of candles, and were cooking with propane. One of the best steaks I ever had, so as romantic as it was, I was far too busy eating!!

Favorite season(s) and why? Springtime! "Move in" day for the season at camp, when we turn on the water and stock the fridge, is like another Christmas to me.

What’s on your nightstand? Tons of different hand creams and lip balms; I have dry skin. Also a lamp and occasionally one of the cats tries to perch there, but they're too fat for it to be comfortable.

What are you listening to? I'll never tire of Billy Joel or Journey, but I have a great variety on my mp3...including Sinatra, some classical music, and old doo-wop stuff like The Four Seasons.

What are your current addictions? Always food!! I'm also watching "Desperate Housewives" on DVD and it's pretty addictive. I love racing has been "it" for me since the age of 11. I was lucky enough to own a (teeny, tiny) share of a racehorse named Mischief Maker who won a tiny stakes race at Aqueduct in the middle of winter. I cried when she won, and when I realized there was a small award for the winner, I screamed out, "Oh my God we get a prize!!!" I think my co-owners were pretty embarrassed. Too bad...!

Who/what makes you laugh? My daughter. At the craziest times. Example: kids will be going by the house on bikes, and she'll make her voice sound like an old man's, and yell out, "You kids get off of my lawn!"

Talent you would most like to have? Either a musical ability like singing or piano, or the capability to eat with abandon and not gain an ounce.

What’s the best kept secret about Schroon Lake and or surrounding areas? I think all of the ponds - we love kayaking. The fact that everyone in the Albany area thinks Lake George is so awesome when we've got it quieter, cleaner and classier in Schroon. Fourth of July with the bands, parade and fireworks is one of the best days of the year.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? She was a good person...tough yet kind, funny, and she lived a LONG and HAPPY life!!