As a young girl, camping in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains was my favorite family vacation. My childhood memories of the Adirondacks were so fond that by the time I was a teenager, I was planning my own mountain camping trips with friends. After a series of early job experiences in my twenties left me feeling unfulfilled, I moved to the mountains in search of something different. I lived in the Adirondacks for several years and welcomed my first child there. My family and I left after three years, but I dreamed of returning to the mountains someday, and I continued visiting the Adirondacks whenever possible.
After leaving my Adirondack home, my two-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. Thinking that he might someday need a bone marrow transplant, I realized that I needed some medical history. I was adopted when I was only two months old, and because my adoption case was closed, I had very little family health information to share with my son’s doctors. After several months of research, I found my birth mother living in a town two hours away. And my birth father was living in the Adirondack High Peaks where he and my birth mom had met in high school. They were too young to be parents so I was put up for adoption. I realized then that my favorite vacation spot as a child and the place where I had lived recently for three years was—in fact—my true home.
Twenty-four years later, I feel like I have come full circle as my current husband and I now own a lakefront cottage and a hunting camp in my beloved Adirondack Mountains. In present day, I work for my husband’s recreational land company, selling land in the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau—just south of the mountains. So I now know and understand how our customers feel when they buy a precious piece of land.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”John Muir
My husband jokingly refers to me as a salmon because, like me, salmon are instinctively drawn back to their original place of birth. The undeniable truth is that the place where I bought my first house, where I met my present day husband and the place I continually return to in my dreams is less than an hour from where I began. To this day, I feel the greatest sense of peace and belonging when I am in the Adirondack Mountains.
Returning to my “birth home” and buying land in the Adirondacks has truly helped me appreciate working for a land company. At Christmas & Associates, we help everyday people, just like me, realize their dreams of owning land in a place that is special. Our clientele are working-class families and sportsmen with regular jobs, mortgages and car payments. In fact, many of our customers finance their land purchase. We sell land to people from all walks of life—a young professor working on her first book, an elderly hunter with a terminal illness, an Army veteran with PTSD who needed a quiet place to heal, a widower and his dog—all sharing the simple joy of a place in the wilderness that makes them feel complete—a place that feels like home.
About the Adirondacks
Created in 1892 by the State of New York, the Adirondack Park is a constitutionally protected Forever Wild area. At six million acres, it is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States. New York State owns approximately 2.6 million acres, while the remaining 3.4 million acres is privately owned and devoted to forestry, agriculture and open space recreation. The Adirondack Park is not a National Park—there’s no fee to enter, and the park does not close at night, nor is it a state park, a common misconception. It is, however, the largest National Historic Landmark, covering an area larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier and the Great Smokies National Parks combined. The Adirondack Region is located in northern New York, approximately four hours north of Manhattan and two hours south of Montreal. The region contains over 3,000 lakes and ponds and more than 30,000 miles of streams feeding 6,000 miles of rivers. The Adirondack Mountains feature 46 “High Peaks” boasting an elevation over 4,000 feet. The High Peaks offer over 2,000 miles of designated hiking trails, providing access to spectacular mountain views. Visitors to the area enjoy almost every recreational activity imaginable—from boating and fishing to hiking and ice climbing to hunting and trapping.
About the Author: Julie is marketing manager of Christmas & Associates, a recreational land company in upstate New York. Before working for her family’s real estate business, Julie worked as a professional technology writer for 12 years. Her current position enables her to combine her background in marketing communications with her love of the outdoors, and she spends many hours walking company properties with her camera, taking listing photos with her Golden Retriever, Charley. Julie works with her husband, Dan Christmas, owner of Christmas & Associates, and with her stepchildren, several of whom also work for the family business. Non-work hours are spent hiking in the Adirondack Mountains near her lakefront cottage. Find out more at: LandandCamps.com