Day Tripping in the Adirondacks
This small town girl was so excited to get a chance to go home this month and visit the north country. That’s what we call it when you’re from “up-up-state, New York.” We swept through the Adirondacks, tacked on Vermont and hit Montreal, Canada. (Montreal blog is coming out soon.) Day tripping around northern New York with my extremely AWESOME and patient husband was incredible.
I was thrilled to show him all my old stomping grounds, meet my friends and enjoy the massive fall foliage. He suggested I make this trek back home since I hadn’t made it to one high school reunion in all these years.
Growing up in Canton, NY, in the 80’s, was a charmed youth. I remember covered-dish dinners, soccer games, hay rides, fun at the “drive-in/old “American movie theater” and the “dairy parade” every June.
We also have two universities which are cornerstones of commerce for this area and generate a lot of traffic when school is in session. St. Lawrence University (SLU) and the State University of New York – Agricultural and Technical College (SUNY-ATC) are just two of four colleges within a 20-mile radius in this small area of New York state. My father worked at SLU, and was once assigned to Fort Drum, during the Vietnam War when I was much younger.
If you are stationed at Fort Drum or will be, I hope these three day-trips through the Adirondacks will be fun for you. They are close-by, affordable and great anytime of year. I hope you enjoy visiting as much as I enjoyed going home.
Alexandria Bay or “Alex Bay” as we call it, is such a fun day trip. The shopping area on main street is filled with restaurants, St. Lawrence county treasures and gift shops. You’ll want to take a boat ride over to Boldt Castle. Be sure to check the touring hours as they change for the season.
Now that I have seen so many European castles, I thought it only fair to visit this American castle built on a heart shaped island. The castle would never be completed however because Louise Boldt, would die before construction was done. Wife of billionaire tycoon, George Boldt who built the Waldorf Astoria in New York City was devastated and the foundation insists it is never to be completed. It is still quite beautiful and has recently had parts restored. We took the boat tour through the Thousand Islands around the St. Lawrence river where our tour guide shared how the “turn-of-the-century” elite spent their hot summers out the city.We passed beautiful mansion and after mansion on secluded islands.
We crossed the border a few times while we were on our boat tour and the weather was GREAT! Today, Alex Bay is still quite the summer destination. With gorgeous landscaping, water sports, and summer recreation that attracts lots of tourists every year.
Boat rentals, Castle Tours & more…
- Uncle Sam Boat Tours
- Clayton Island Tours
- Boldt Castle Tours
- Wine Festival & Farmer’s Market – September every year!
Lake Placid is definitely a “must-see” if you are in northern New York. The official Olympic site in 1980, this place was BOOMING, I tell you. It is a place where “miracles” happen and is totally fun to visit in any season.
However, I will tell you, I have NEVER been to Lake Placid, when it wasn’t cold, even in July, I mean REALLY cold. The same went for our visit this past month. Grateful for bringing many layers of clothing, including a layered coat, I was grateful. It was well worth the stuffed baggage at the airport. It came in handy, brrrr.
While we were there we went to the “Flaming Leaves” festival“ that was being held at the Olympic Ski Jump Complex. This family-fun festival was $11/person for entry and included our ride up the very tall ski lift. Bonus! It just so happened to be the US Ski-JUMP Nationals the same day. Was so bummed I didn’t have a telephoto lens!
Some of my pictures came out, some, not so much. I need that lens! We took the ski-lift ride to the top and the panoramic views were breathtaking, especially this time of year. The epitome of fall color from the top, a (tower elevator ride) you could see for miles and miles of the changing seasonal landscape. Just, gorgeous.
If you have time, walk around town, it’s quaint, has a New England feel to it, and a lot has been invested into preserving and promoting the area.
Things to do around Lake Placid
Visiting Lake George was such a treat! There is so much early American history here. Lake George is the site of Fort William Henry, Minnie-ha-ha steam boat and the Iroquois indians. The Lake George area was the inspiration for Last of the Mohicans.
Lake George has a lot of things to do and is also a huge summer destination like Lake Placid and Alex Bay. I liked visiting in October, but remember a lot of businesses start closing down. Lake George has water-front properties you can rent for a weekend, week or longer. During the summer water sports like water-skiing, swimming, para-sailing, and fishing attractions bring all kinds of recreational tourists.
Remember when you travel in a swing season like fall, the crowds have thinned out, making it nice to pop in to stores, restaurants and tour the town. We happened to be there when the steam boat – Minnie-haha was taking her final voyage of the season. Although we missed the tour, we admired the steamboats and their charming whistle. We also met an elderly couple who were from Stuttgart, Germany, imagine that! I was speaking German in Lake George!
A delightful day trip drive from the Fort Drum area and central New York, the drive through the entire Adirondack forest in the fall is a colorful palette just waiting to be photographed. Small lake towns hug the shore and make the most out of this large fresh water lake. Whether it’s spring, summer or fall, Lake George is fun for the whole family.
Check out this link for more great ideas in Lake George ~ Visit Lake George
Our trip to the north country was amazing! I’m so grateful for the opportunity to visit Canton, Alex Bay, stop in Lake Placid and visit Lake George. It will always be home to me.
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