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    A Visit From Tony Ermie

    So, I’m sitting outside one day in early June when a car pulls up with a California license plate reading "CAROGA!" Now, I have no idea who this is. He gets out of the car and goes to take my hand, introducing himself. Tony Ermie loves Caroga Lake even though he lives in California. So much so, that he has dedicated himself to making the Caroga Lake Website available to all who have ever had any connection to this area.

    The site address is www.carogatimes.com and I encourage you all to go see this Website. There are historical photos and stories about the area, Sherman’s amusement park and the "high times" earlier last century when this area and the Adirondack Park in general were the watering holes of the rich and famous. In fact, did you know that the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers both had what were called "Great Camps" in the Adirondacks?

    According to the Great Camp Website hosted by Sulalei Preserve.com , "The Great Camp, as it was termed in the more colorful periods of Adirondack history, meant usually the summer homes of the rich with luxurious layouts where "roughing it" was a phrase without much meaning. Attracted by the handsome, rustic colors and the endless forests at a time when the wilderness was fast disappearing, the millionaires of the Industrial Age descended upon the Adirondack Mountain region of upstate New York to build their summer retreats. Included were the Vanderbilt's, Rockefellers, Posts and other New York aristocratic notables. What began with lean-to sheds and platform tents used by gentlemen hunters and fishermen evolved into great mansions built of locally obtained log and stone. With this evolution wives, children, servants, and trainloads of wealthy visitors came north to "rough it." The era of the Great Camps had begun."

    It was wonderful meeting Tony Ermie and spending some time with him and his mom last week. According to Tony, "I’ve traveled all over the United States and have yet to see any place that could rival the scenic beauty we have right here in the Adiondacks."

    Tony’s mother, Mary, also has very fond memories of this area. "When we used to live in Johnstown, we’d come up to our camp Nestorest in the summer evenings. The temperature was ten degrees cooler here and you could sleep in comfort."

    This still holds true today. When it’s real hot in the city, like when I’ve been to physical therapy, coming up the hill from town you can feel relief as you climb higher up. Herman calls the hill Mary Jane Peck Hill. And he’s not alone as it’s commonly known to be connected with the Peck family who own Peck’s Lake. I think Mary Jane must have been the daughter. If I’m wrong, I can count on my loyal readers to correct me.

    So in closing, let me tell you that I felt like I met a celebrity in meeting Tony Ermie!

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"