Saturday, August 23, 2014

Camping at Lake George

This past week, we rented a private island on Lake George.

It's actually not as ridiculous as it sounds. We rented a campsite for a few nights and the campsite happened to be the only one on the island. Hence, we rented an island.

Can you guess how Chris felt about this?
Obviously, the biggest challenge to island camping is getting out there ... with all your stuff. Luckily, we went camping with Chris's dad and Lisa, who have a boat. Then it was just a matter of packing our gear away in every square inch of that boat and hoping it wouldn't sink on the way out.

I'm happy to report we made it out there without taking on water or losing any luggage overboard. And the reward for our voyage was pretty awesome. Our private island is pictured below.

 It was actually pretty close to shore on the east side of the island. Basically just a channel of water that separated it from the mainland.
 We were happy to discover it had two picnic tables and a platform for one of the tents, as well as an outhouse that by outhouse standards was pretty nice.
 And honestly, the views just couldn't be beat.
 Waking up to the sound of the waves all around you in the morning was also pretty amazing.

 We were even welcomed to the island by a group of ducks. Lisa was not interested in them, I guess.
 But I sure thought they were cute.
 No surprise that Chris had to swim around the entire island.
 He even swam over to the nearby rock island where the seagulls liked to sun themselves.
 And again, no surprise, Chris needed to float in the water as much as possible.
 But he did hop out to drive around his new RC boat that was actually pretty impressive. It was $50 from Harbor Freight and it had amazing range and was fast for a little boat.
 We headed over to the ranger's island to check out the store and pick up a few extra items.
 And at night, we enjoyed a campfire and the stars.
 The next day, we thought we saw the Loch Ness monster. Turned out it was just a loon...
 We came across this huge rock while boating around.
 And we were pretty shocked to see climbers on it. See those tiny little people?
 Way too scary for us. We prefer to stay in the water.
 On Tuesday we went horseback riding at Bennett Stables. This was so much fun.
 We rode the horses up a mountain. At the top, we got to enjoy an incredible view and a delicious steak dinner. The food was just as good as the view, in fact.
 No boating trip would be complete without a little tubing. Chris stepped up and got the ride of his life.
 We also cruised by the Sagamore, a beautiful resort hotel on the lake.
 During dinner in the village, we also saw the ferry boat and heard it playing its little song.
 We definitely missed pooch on this trip (dogs weren't allowed on the island) but we had such a great time we would go back again. We ended up coming home early due to the imminent threat of rain, but otherwise we had great weather and such a wonderful experience.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Forgive Me for Stair-ing

It's hard not to stare at our made-over staircase now. It's just so fresh and so clean. And so pretty.
As I mentioned in the last post, my best friend Katie came out for a visit and offered to help with a DIY project. We had discussed the staircase before, so we decided to just go for it. Here's what it looked like before:

The wood is actually really nice and it's a very well made staircase. It's just a lot of wood. And an ugly orange-y stain that has seen better days.

Not to mention the carpet squares that were stuck to each stair...
Obviously, those were the first to go. They peeled off pretty easily, but we had to scrape the residue away and give the whole staircase a good scrubbing.
Once that was done, it was already looking a lot better. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but in person it was a big difference to get rid of the carpet.
Next step was taping so we would end up with nice clean lines.
And finally, we were ready for primer. Because of the nasty stain, it actually took three coats of primer and two coats of paint-and-primer-in-one to cover it. The stain kept trying to seep through, even though we sanded it down a bit.
Here you can see what one coat of primer looked like. Still had a ways to go.
But once we were finished ... wow. What a difference. I love love love it now. It really makes the house look a lot newer and cleaner. And the white also highlights some of the really nice details on the staircase as well.

Here you can see the extra trim piece that sits below each step. It's a subtle detail but I think it really helps to make the stairs look more stately and substantial.
I'm still trying to figure out what should go in front of the stairs now. It's so crisp and clean looking that I hate to put the brown/cream color chair back in front of it. So if you have any suggestions ...

We were also debating about painting that column at the bottom white and extending the white paint up the handrail. Not on the very top piece, but the three-inch piece below it that connects to the column. We couldn't decide so we decided to leave it wood for a while and live with it. I have to admit that I'm getting more tempted to paint it. What do you guys think? More white on the rail and column, or leave it alone?
I also love seeing that beautiful wood grain instead of the carpet on the treads now. So much nicer. And yet again I feel myself wanting to refinish my floors to bring out that wood grain and improve the color some more...
But for now, so happy to have my pretty white staircase. Let me know what you think!