Located just south of Plattsburgh, Peru is nestled between the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain. Some early settlers thought the mountains surrounding the region resembled those of Peru, South America, hence the origin of the town’s name.
Peru has played a major role in U.S. history. Peru’s shorelines saw much activity during the French and Indian War, since Lake Champlain was the main north-south corridor for Native American, French and British armies. Benedict Arnold’s most important Revolutionary War naval engagement with the British at the Battle of Valcour on October 11, 1776, took place along the coast of Peru. In addition, the War of 1812 brought forth the Peru militia, who fired the first shots in the fierce Battle of Plattsburgh in September 1814.
In the early 1800s, harvesting timber became one of Peru's first major agricultural industries. A. Mason & Sons Lumber Mill thrived for nearly a century, from 1883 to 1972. Now the site of Heyworth/Mason Park on Mason Hill Road, the empty Heyworth/Mason building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only surviving remnant of the once busy mill. The Little Ausable River Trail, a 1.5-mile recreational path, begins here and leads to the entrance of Sullivan Park.
The Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum, located on River Road, depicts rural and farm life in the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks prior to the 1950s in an entertaining environment. Peru is also home to several orchards, offering summer fruits and vegetables, bakeries right on site, and gift shops with locally crafted ciders, jams, maple products and honey.
In the heart of Peru, you can find a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as view the Little Ausable River, which runs through the town. Little Ausable Park, located next to the historic Peru Community Church, offers a charming pond and gazebo and holds several small events throughout the year.
Ausable Point State Park offers beautiful sand beaches, views of historic Valcour Island and numerous family-fun activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, paddling and much more. Another way to discover Peru’s great outdoors is by exploring Ausable Marsh by foot or canoe. Its location along the Lake Champlain flyway offers some of the finest bird watching in New York State.
Valcour Island, located one mile offshore from Peru Dock, has long been a popular destination for recreational boaters and sailors, as protected bays and deep anchorages provide safe harbor. While there, be sure to hike the island’s many trails, as well as tour Bluff Point Lighthouse.
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