I never thought much about Adirondack chairs. I suppose because I never really saw many of them. (Although lately I’ve noticed unattractive dark green plastic ones on the front lawns of neighbors’ houses.) The “real” wooden ones were never part of my worldview.
But that certainly has changed since arriving in Nova Scotia. Adirondack chairs (or variations of them) are everywhere. Their colors could have been inspired by Crayola.
While driving on highway 3 on the South Shore, Manny and I were delighted by a lawn filled with a riot of the colorful chairs. Right down the road was Zwicker Woodworking Ltd, where they are made. Esther Haltner, the owner, was kind enough to give us the grand tour of her and her husband Rene’s small but tidy operation.
We learned from Esther that there are many models, and not all of them are authentic Thomas Lee designs. The ones at Zwicker were beautiful and very well made. They are also available as kits —and considering how large the finished product is— they were packed in a surprisingly small box. For the quality and durability of the chair, we were astonished at the reasonable price.
I finally had an opportunity to test them openly without having to sneak onto someone’s front porch or backyard. I eased into the deep wooden frame. Wow! They fit me like they were custom-made, and best of all, they were low enough that I could put my feet flat on the ground (this is something only short people like me will appreciate).
When we arrived in the picturesque town of Lunenburg, I fantasized about placing my Adirondack chairs on one of the beautiful manicured lawns we found there. I daydreamed about sitting cozily on a warm summer day, with a glass of white wine resting on the table-sized armrests, the Yankee Magazine with the article “The Chair that Invented Summer” sitting on the matching table at my side. After a brief nap, I’d take a stroll around this 18th century town where around each corner there is another picture postcard or a snapshot of history.
Dozens of colorful, well-kept homes line the streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Many have the Lunenburg bump, a three-sided Scottish dormer over the front door. Some sport a “widow’s walk”, a rooftop walkway where a ship captain’s wife paced, scanning the horizon with hope and anxiety.
Take a walk around town with us through the lens of our new Nikon D5100 SLR camera and see where you might place your Adirondack chair.