Labor Day and last call at Donnelly’s

It was bittersweet (but mostly sweet) last night as crowds of people converged on Donnelly’s, the legendary soft ice cream stand between Paul Smiths and Saranac Lake.

It was a gorgeous Adirondack evening, with plenty of summer warmth, but you could also trace the first smells and flashes of color that come with autumn.

And this being Labor Day, it was time for another seasonal ritual:  the last swirled cone before the closed sign goes up.

Today the stand is dark and soon it will be half-buried under drifts of snow.  But at the end of Labor Day, one glorious last time, it was vanilla swirled with pistachio.

My absolute favorite.

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11 Comments on “Labor Day and last call at Donnelly’s”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Soon it will be half-buried under drifts of snow? It’s September, we have months to go before winter.

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  2. Kathy says:

    I was basking in this beautifully written article until it was abruptly ended with your comment KHL! : /

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  3. Brian Mann says:

    I had a dream over the weekend about a huge dump of snow. And you know, KHL, those early snow squalls sometimes hit in October…

    Brian, NCPR

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  4. Rich Loeber says:

    We were there too. We are going to miss them. Hope Memorial Day comes early next year!

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  5. Newt says:

    I passed on my normal Labor Day routine of getting onto the Lower Saranac early to grab the best spot on Bluff Island partly because of Donnelly’s. In the past when we went out early, it was always out of product and closed for the season by the time we got back in. So we waited until they opened, and got our last, lovely cones (When we we first got in line they were actually serving pistachio-chocolate, apparently cleaning out the chocolate batch from the night before!). We got the second-best spot on B.I., and they were still serving ice cream, and the folks were still lined up to get it, when we drove past on the way home at about 6:30.

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  6. Newt says:

    Not to be chauvinistic, but between the closing days of Donnelly’s, the Food to Fork Fest, the Hobofest, all the other things to see and do, not to mention the lakes and the mountains, I gotta wonder if there is any place, anywhere, that matches Saranac Lake, New York, on a half-way decent Labor Day weekend.

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  7. Mike says:

    Saranac Lake is THE place to be on Labor Day Weekend and the weather was perfect.

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  8. Kathy says:

    Well, now. I am only 40 min. from Saranac Lake and I plan on being there on Labor Day next year, Lord willing.

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  9. Mark, Saranac Lake says:

    I paddled Stony Creek Ponds with a friend on Saturday and stopped by to visit my sister’s family while they were camping at one of the camp sites on the ponds…hot dogs at the camp site with them and an hour later I was sitting in the Pendragon Theatre waiting for “Shipwrecked” to start. Sunday – boat ride on Lower Saranac Lake, up the Saranac River to Middle Saranac Lake until sunset, then return by moonlight. Sunday, a sail with some friends on Lower Saranac Lake later in the afternoon. I didn’t catch the Hobo Fest or Farm to Fork or even the last at Donnelly’s but I guess I’m still ok with a great Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake – it doesn’t get much better than that!

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  10. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Kathy, sorry to spoil the moment for you.

    Let me be very clear, I am not nor have I ever been anti-snow drift; I am pro-autumn. I do not begrudge shoveling of snow; I relish raking of leaves. I proudly stand for the long golden light of sunsets filtered through forests of aspen yellows and maple reds bathing still green fields of Harrietstown, and the umber earth of turned potato fields, the purple mountain majesty sharp against the eternal blue sky. And I will not send Checkers back.

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  11. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Brian, let’s hope your dream comes true…after the leaves have fallen and the trees are bare. To every thing there is a season.

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