Lake George NY Wednesday Oct. 8
Today was a mixed collection of activities. Our first stop was at the Hyde Collection. This is basically an art collection in the family home of the Pruyn-Finch family. The collection has been rated as one of the ten best small collections in the U.S. We can understand. The Rembrandt was away for repairs but we observed works of art by Degas, Ruebens, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Bierstadt, Eakins, Winslow Homer, among others.
The Hyde Collection is in the town of Glens Falls, just south of Lake George. It has a population of 15,000. The museum was built by Charlotte and Louis Pruyn Hyde. Charlotte’s father was one of three founders of the Finch-Pruyn paper mill in Glens Falls. Louis married Charlotte and took over the operation of the mill. Louis died in 1934 and Charlotte lived until 1963, amassing most of the art collection.
There are over 3,000 works of art in the collection, not all can be displayed at one time. A walk through the museum which was the actual home of Louis and Charlotte is an amazing experience; to see these famous masters up close in the “normal” rooms of the house (library, bedroom, guest bedrooms, etc.).
In addition, there were two special exhibits. The first was an exhibit by Anne Diggory of “hybrid visions”. She combines paintings and digital manipulation of photographs. For instance, a display of a waterfall might be one half painted and one half photograph. The second exhibit was on American works from the Westmoreland Art Museum in PA. The Westmoreland museum building is being renovated and a collection of their art is displayed here.
Interestingly, the house overlooks the still operating paper mill where finished paper is made from pulp produced on-site by lumber from the Adirondacks. The mill was family owned until less than 10 years ago, when it was sold. Possibly one reason, not stated at the museum, was a lawsuit by descendants against the trust running the foundation that maintains the museum and their inheritance alleging that the descendants lost millions of dollars since the trustees only invested in the paper mill, not a diversified portfolio. They lost the lawsuit but details as to the ramifications are not easily found.
In any event, somebody made tons of money and used lots of it to buy art. Their descendants probably also have lots of money. The rest of us do get to enjoy remarkable art in a small town setting away from major metropolitan areas. Jobs are still being provided in town. Trees are being harvested and re-planted. Life is good.
After lunch, including dessert, we drove to Prospect Mountain along Veterans Memorial Highway. A $10 fee gives you access to the summit of the mountain overlooking Lake George. Lake George is 32 miles long and has 365 islands in the lake. 92 of the islands have been developed for camping. For this mountain, we drove most of the way to the summit, only walking the last five to ten minutes. The day has had mixed rain and partly sunny periods. We were fortunate our trip up the mountain was when the sun was usually shining.
While fall leaf color is advancing here, it does not seem to me that it is as striking as the colors farther north in the Adirondacks or in the Laurentian Mountains in Canada. Still very enjoyable though.
Dinner was just north of here in Bolton Landing at a restaurant right on Lake George. Very nice way to end our time in the Adirondacks as the clouds cleared and the full moon shone down on the lake.
This is definitely off season, though. Restaurants and hotels are closed already, more will do so after Columbus Day. Even McDonalds was closed for the winter. There are only 900 souls in the Village of Lake George and 500 in Bolton Landing. It must be a challenge getting help.
Ed and Chris 10/8 8:45 pm