The Story Behind The Happy Face of the ADK General Store’s Oliver Diaz

 Photo Courtesy SUNY Lamron

Photo Courtesy SUNY Lamron

We first encountered the smiling face of Oliver Diaz a couple of years back, behind the counter of the Adirondack General Store.

His parents Maureen and Robert had just become the proud, new owners of this ADK icon, and the whole family was busy pitching in.

 Robert, Maureen and Oliver at their store in the summer of 2014. Schroon Laker Collection. All Rights Reverved

Robert, Maureen and Oliver at their store in the summer of 2014. Schroon Laker Collection. All Rights Reverved

Unbeknownst to us at the time, Oliver was a budding comedian, with a serious passion for making people laugh. Just how serious? Well this Junior English and French double major is now a member of SUNY Genesco’s improvisation troupe No Laugh Track. You can read more about how comedy changed Oliver’s life and if he’ll make a profession out of it, in this feature published in the school’s Lamron Newspaper, which you can read right here.

 

 

 

 

Meet Mark and Sharon Piper

 Mark and Sharon Piper with their niece,  Allison.Photo Courtesy The Pipers

Mark and Sharon Piper with their niece,  Allison.Photo Courtesy The Pipers

We first met the Pipers when we stayed at their glorious Bed and Breakfast just after they had become the inn's new owners in 2009. What an experience! And what a breakfast! It was in the fall and it was cold. But the hospitality offered was swarm and heart felt. After years of renting, we were up here looking for a camp, which we eventually purchased the following year.

Meanwhile, soon after arriving,, Mark and Sharon soon became fixtures around town. Sharon took on multiple roles at the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce, got involved with ROOST and was one of the architects behind the Schroon Community Garden, to name just a few of her philanthropic endeavors

Mark -- with his guitar and ukulele -- found out how to play and share his passion at every conceivable location in the North Country. He's most known for his role as the Master of Ceremonies at the now famous Open Mic Night Thursdays at Witherbee's Carriage House. He's written and recorded dozens of songs, including homages to Schroon and Witherbee's.

He's played most restaurants and bars in town, and is one of the star attractions on the Schroon July 4th Concert PlayBill. He's also a guitar teacher and has a new career, which you can learn about when you read their profile!

Where do you live?

Schroon Lake (north end of town)

 

Full time? Part time? Seasonal?

Full time

 

When did you move here or discover this part of paradise?

2009

 

Where did you grow up?

Sharon in Massachusetts and Mark near Washington DC

 

How do you -- or did you -- make a living?

We are Innkeepers but have "side" jobs too. Mark is a voice over actor, musician/music teacher and Sharon works in the travel business as an online implementation manager for business travel.

 

How do you spend your free time?

What's that? (We do enjoy traveling)

 

Coffee, Tea, or…? 

COFFEE!

 

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? 

If there are no guests, it would be to sleep slightly later, but not too late, pack up the car with hiking gear and get out into the woods and the Adirondack quiet. Then dinner al fresco, by the firepit.

 

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

That is an impossible question….we have a favorite on every menu!

 

Favorite season(s) and why?

Fall. The leaves are turning, the weather is slowly cooling down and we are practicing gratitude for another wonderful summer in Schroon Lake.

 

What’s on your nightstand?

An alarm clock, a good reading lamp, a book, hand lotion, and in Sharon's case, Tums. :)

What are you listening to? 

We play piano music in the living room of the Inn, but in the owner's quarters, we never listen to the radio because Mark plays his guitar every chance he gets.

 

What are your current addictions?

We confess to none, although Mark is lost without his podcasts. :)

 

Who/what makes you laugh?

Classically funny movies/Monty Python style humor

 

Talent you would most like to have?

Our superpower would be knowing every language, to be able to communicate with anyone in the world, including animals.

 

What’s the best kept secret about Schroon Lake and or surrounding areas?

The ruins of the fort in Crown Point by the bridge (not really a secret, but a great picnic spot by Lake Champlain.

 

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

That we brought joy to people's lives and they were happy to know us

Meet Rännei (Bensen) Rambow

Name: Rännei (Bensen) Rambow

Where do you live?

We live just north of the Schroon Lake Central School

Full time? Part time? Seasonal?

Full time

When did you move here or discover this part of paradise?

 I was born here. I'm a third generation native of the Adirondacks :)

Where did you grow up?

Right here in Schroon Lake... on Charlie Hill Rd

How do you -- or did you -- make a living? 

I primarily work for a woman who lives in town doing office/bookkeeping work. I also work for Word of Life at the Family Lodge part time. And I am also a photographer.

How do you spend your free time?

I love to go photo-hunting on beautiful days!

Coffee, Tea, or…? 

Anyone who knows me know this answer! Coffee!!!

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday?

 I love to take day trips - a nice drive over to Vermont, taking photos along the way, maybe stopping at an antique shop or two, is relaxing to me. But I also love a good day at the beach!!!

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

Oh goodness! I feel like I would be betraying friends if I picked one over any of the others! I like them all!!

Favorite season(s) and why?

It's not really a season, per say... Anytime from May til Mid October. I love May because it's still springtime, but it's warm like summer. The tourists haven't arrived in full swing yet and we can enjoy the town and the lake while it's still somewhat quiet. June is beautiful as it gets hotter and the tourists arrive and things get a little more lively! July... well I mean, the best day ever is the 4th of July! I love that the whole town comes out to celebrate our anniversary! ;) It's such a fun day! August you start to feel the town thinning out a bit as folks head home for school and work but there are still lots of things to do. September it starts to cool off and the town gets much quieter after Labor Day but it's still hot enough for long beach days without the crowds (is my introvert showing?). Then October - I mean, you cannot beat the fall colors in the ADK! 

What’s on your nightstand?

A lamp, a clock (battery operated... had the power go out on me one too many times), my phone (I always tell my friends that if they need me to call me, I don't care what time it is), a noise machine, and "The Ultimate Nikon SLR Handbook Volume 1"

What are you listening to?

 Last week's episode of Downton Abbey

What are your current addictions?

Mostly coffee :)

Who/what makes you laugh?

My family!! Both of my parents have a fantastic sense of humor! Our family loves to laugh!

Talent you would most like to have?

I'm thankful for the talents that I have, but I've always wished I could draw. 

What’s the best kept secret about Schroon Lake and or surrounding areas?

Ah, it's not the best kept secret for nothing! My lips are sealed!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? 

That I lived in such a way that the love of Christ was evident in my life. 

Meet Tammy Whitty-Brown

Name:  Tammy Whitty-Brown

Where do you live?

When I returned to the area in the Spring of 2015 my husband and I were blessed to have found a beautiful home to purchase at Palmer Pond in North Hudson, plus additional acreage.  This was a dream come true, as Palmer Pond is the original location of Roth's Forge Village, which, during Civil War days, made steel from the iron ore produced in the region.  Originally the pond was simple a river and then it was damned. My great great grandfather worked at Roth's Forge Village and had a home, and later his son Frank Palmer Sr. married the daughter of the owner of Roth's Forge Village and served as the Town of North Hudson Supervisor for years, where he raised his family on the pond. He also managed the power dam at Palmer Pond.   As he became ill in his old age he sold off most of his property and gave the remaining land to Art Benson, original owner of Frontier Town, so they could rebuild a replica Roth's Forge Village.  Unfortunately, the State of New York took this parcel of land from Mr. Benson under the rule of emanate domain to build the exit ramps for the Northway.   So it meant a lot to purchase family property back.

Full time? Part time? Seasonal?

Full time

When did you move here or discover this part of paradise?

I was born at the Ticonderoga Hospital and raised at the Whitty Family Homestead/Farm at Schroon Falls started in the early to mid 1800's by my great-great grandfather John Whitty and his bride Hester Tyrrell. My heart as always belonged here. As I have moved over the years,  I missed my hometown, and I am glad to be back living in this amazing and beautiful region and the communities of North Hudson and Schroon Lake.

 Where did you grow up?

See last question...lol.

How do you -- or did you -- make a living? 

I am currently serving as the Schroon Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, however before that I was a sales and marketing manager for two Plattsburgh Region manufacturing companies, the Manager for the War of 1812 Museum in Plattsburgh for three years, and coordinator for the Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance.  

 How do you spend your free time? 

Ilove to cross stitch, scrapbook in my art studio, take photographs of nature, architecture and family, read, fish, hunt, cook, bake, spend time with my family and travel and visit museums and aquariums.

Coffee, Tea, or…? 

Well as an English, Irish, Scottish lass, I love my tea.  I love it unsweetened hot or cold.  

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday?

A perfect Saturday is taking a road trip... some of my favorite places to visit... The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake,  The Wild Center in Tupper Lake,  The Old Forge Hardware Store in Old Forge,  Cape Vincent in the 1000 Islands,  the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vermont.  The Echo Center in Burlington,  The Cabot Cheese Factory and Dakin Farms in Vermont.   Or simple taking a ride and finding a great Adirondack pond or lake to do some fishing with a big ole' picnic basket.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? 

I love them all! I have a favorite food item at each one! For example... I have traveled as far away as Hawaii and the Bahamas and I have never found Pizza that I liked better then Decesars Pizza. It is my favorite pizza in the world. I love Marie's homemade pie, soups, and her pulled Pork Reuben at Pitkin's Restaurant.  I love Patti's Prime Rib and Lamb Chops at Witherbee's.  I love the salads at Sticks and Stones,  Black and Blue Burger at Flanagan's with Coconut Shrimp.  Best Chicken Wings in the world are at the Timberwolf Pub, and I love getting Subs at the Adirondack General Store in Adirondack and the Lazy Moose Market in  Brant Lake.

Favorite season(s) and why?

My favorite seasons are Spring and Fall... Spring because everything is coming alive and you can smell the earth coming to life, and fall because of the brilliant fall colors and the whisper of the dry leaves as they float around.

What’s on your nightstand?

An alarm clock, flashlight, lamp, the control for my electric blanket ,my Ipad for late night Scrabble Games and Jigsaw Puzzle work, and a copy of mine and Jennifer St. Pierre's book we recently wrote... "Frontier Town Abandoned Theme Park Then and Now".

What are you listening to?

Pandora... Classic Rock!

What are your current addictions?

I am currently addicted to playing online Scrabble against my husband and doing online jigsaw puzzles.

Who/what makes you laugh?

My husband and our children!  After having a few frogs in my life, my husband is my prince.  He is the most loving, hardworking, devoted, and kind man a girl could ask for.   He is also very funny!   Our favorite time of the day is at night, when we are laying in bed holding hands, watching TV and just laughing at anything and everything.  And our children have the same great sense of humor and we are finding that our grandson can also be quiet funny!

Talent you would most like to have?

Ahhh... if I could have one talent... it would be to have the ability to ballroom dance.  I love to dance, but I have never been too good at it. 

What’s the best kept secret about Schroon Lake and or surrounding areas?

I would say fishing holes... But if I told everyone where the best ones are,  it would no longer be a secret.  I wont give up that info.... That is against the Adirondack Fishing Code of Ethics...lol.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

There goes a true strong Adirondack woman that loved not only her family but also her community and she was a survivor!