Ausable Point: A Winter Adventure

January 17, 2018

Are you ready to bundle up for a winter adventure on the Adirondack Coast?  Recently, I ventured out into the snow at Ausable Point State Park, a hopping campground/beach area on Lake Champlainduring the summer and a peaceful white retreat during the winter

Since it is not operational during the winter, the campground is free to use, not crowded and provides great opportunities for snowshoeingcross-country skiing, wildlife watching and sightseeing.

With well packed roads and a lot of fluffy snow, it is easy to get lost amongst the trees and even easier to enjoy wandering along the marsh and the coast of Lake Champlain. 

Keep an eye out for wildlife:  Ausable Point is known to have a few Bald Eagle visitors and you are definitely bound to see some lively squirrels, Osprey bird nests and cardinals.  This place is a birdwatcher’s dream!

Be Camera Ready:  Ausable point is a beautiful backdrop for photos.  The snow on the Evergreen trees, the frozen lake and dusted marsh look even more magical in the winter than they do in the spring or summer months, so have your camera available for some prime scenic moments.

A few warnings: if you plan on being out for a while, be sure to wear lots of layers!  Multiple streams and little brooks flow sluggishly underfoot and a layer of snow makes it hard to see where the weak ice lies, so watch your step. Edges of the lake are not always safe to walk on, so take caution when venturing off the beaten paths. Getting soaked is definitely not the best way to end a hike.

Thank you so much for venturing with me!  Stay tuned for more Adirondack Coast adventures.

#adirondackcoast #winter
Author:
Emelia Lemza

Meet Emelia Lemza, Emmy for short! She is a 14 year old student at Peru High School and has lived in Plattsburgh, NY all of her life. She loves the area for its many local businesses, the friendly people in the community and, of course, the beautiful Lake Champlain. You will find Emmy on the water most of the summer waterskiing, kneeboarding, jetskiing, taking photos and exploring the hidden gems Lake Champlain has to offer. Oh and when she is not on the water, you can find her baking and eating just about anything with Nutella!

Adirondack Coast Adventures

4 Beginner #ADKCoast Day Hikes + What to Know Before Hitting the Trails

Empowering you to exercise, re-charge, de-stress and socialize, all while enjoying nature, there are plenty of benefits that come along with hiking. As one of the Adirondack Coast’s most popular outdoor activities, it makes sense why visitors continue to dedicate hard-earned vacation time to this natural mode of exploration!

Maybe, like me, you’re someone who’s super into the idea of hiking, but is a little intimidated when it comes to the logistics of actually hitting the trails.

Why, specifically? Well, let me count the ways… animals, bugs, getting lost, falling behind, having the wrong equipment,not having wi-fi access, lookin’ a fool in front of people who know what they're doing, sweating… oh, I don’t know… heights!?

But, luckily, if you or any of your travel buddies have been nursing these hiking anxieties, you can rest assured, most are avoidable with some planning. Hikers of all ages and levels can gain full access to expansive views and wildlife in action when they escape to the Adirondack Coast. The distances, ascents and elevations of most of our hikes are ideal for travelers seeking an ease into this regional pastime or an alternative to the Adirondack High Peaks. (Hey, if it was easy, we’d all be 46’ers - heck, winter 46’ers.)

Short distances, slightly elevated lands and easily navigable trails are ideal starting points for beginner hikers - and, on the Adirondack Coast, there are plenty to check out.

Where to go:

Point Au Roche State Park | 19 Camp Red Cloud Road, Plattsburgh, NY  

With its combination of both forested and open areas, lake views at Point Au Roche State Park are abundant, not to mention easily accessible for a post-hike dip. Visitors can explore 15+ miles of marked trails by foot, winding through a range of wildlife habitats, including forest, marsh and shoreline, many allowing for wheel chair and/or stroller access. Settle in for an extended adventure when you book a stay nearby at Point Au Roche Lodge, just outside the park’s entrance - pets welcome!

Views from the trails at Point au Roche State Park (Photo by Karen Billings)

Silver Lake Mountain | Silver Lake Mountain Trail, Au Sable Forks, NY

Being careful and quiet are two skills you’ll learn exploring Silver Lake Mountain’s natural,rocky landscape on this 1.8-mile round-trip hike traveling through bog, swamp,forest and ridge habitats. Venture to the summit, and you’ll be rewarded with shimmering views of Silver Lake, Taylor Pond, Whiteface Mountain and maybe even a rare boreal bird or two! You’ll definitely want to pack your binoculars for this one.

View from the top of Silver Lake Mountain in Black Brook, New York.

Ausable Chasm | 2144 Route 9, Ausable Chasm, NY

With 5 miles of scenic trails leading to breathtaking Rainbow Falls and other spectacular scenes, Ausable Chasm is often called “The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”. As one of the oldest natural attractions in the United States, the chasm’s uniquely carved rocks have drawn more than 10 million visitors since the 1870s! Well-maintained and mostly self-guided, hikers can learn about the specific wildlife living here and historic rock formations through interpretive signage.Visitors can even customize their hikes, choosing elements of difficulty, from distance to views and everything in between. General admission will get you access to the trails, but their convenient adventure packages allow visitors to experience the chasm’s varied recreation opportunities beyond hiking, like tubing, rafting, and even rappelling and rock climbing. A great choice for both beginner families and independent thrill-seekers!

View of Ausable Chasm Bridge from one of the trail walks offered at Ausable Chasm.

Lyon Mountain | Lowenburg Rd, Lyon Mountain, NY

With its iconic 35-foot firepower and enduring 360-degree views of Montreal, Vermont, and the high peaks, this climb is 3,830 feet - the highest point on the Adirondack Coast. If you’re a beginner, this is the hike to work towards. A fun fact: Lyon Mountain is technically taller than some of the traditional peaks, not all of which -- plot twist -- actually reach their claimed elevation of 4,000 feet or higher. There’s a spring at the top of Lyon Mountain, known to make parts of the rugged and narrow climb on the older trails a bit muddy, so be sure to dress accordingly.

Views from the top of Lyon Mountain.

What to know:

Health & Safety

  • As you plan your getaway, familiarize yourself with NY State Land Camping and Hiking Rules. As in all of our statewide public lands, friendly hikers follow “Leave No Trace” guidelines, meaning what goes in must come out. And remember: touching or building cairns is a no, no. Adhering to this framework helps keep the land safe and beautiful for its inhabitants and other visitors. You can learn more about this regional initiative here.
  • Enthusiasts like Phillip Werner from sectionhiker.com recommend hikers drink one liter for every 2 hours on the trail. A water bottle works just fine,but if you’re feeling particularly fancy, you can upgrade to a water bladder(sometimes called a reservoir), which will minimize frequent water breaks,helping to increase endurance. On a less competitive note, these are also helpful to have around for kids (or klutzy adults… guilty). You know, to avoid spilling the precious water supply.
  • Bug spray, or your trusted essential oils brew, should always be on hand when hiking during warmer months. If you’re planning to hike in a more populated spot, you’ll find insect repellent is a must.
  • This one is a given for all outdoor adventures, but often what we forget first! Bring along your sun protection - sunscreen, sunglasses,hat, etc.

Clothes & Gear

  • You’ll want to tuck all the above-mentioned items away in a handy backpack. Opt for one with a side pocket -- this way you have easy access to your water.
  • Like in most Adirondack Coast adventures, a comfy pair of sneakers will carry you through a day hike. If you’re one of those uber-committed folks who went for the water bladder, you might also be into hiking shoes. Whatever footwear you choose, hikers across the board should guard against blisters. Some hikers argue that cotton socks are worse than no socks. Try wool instead of cotton for a more moisture-resistant option.
  • Rock layers to help you adjust to the weather,especially in spring and fall, when it’s a little less predictable and buggy.If it happens to be mosquito season, tuck those pants into your socks! For warmer months, when you know you’re likely to break a sweat, give moisture-resistant athletic tops and bottoms a try.

So, who’s ready for an intense climb? Or a leisurely stroll? Whatever path or pace you choose, enjoy the journey - and be on the lookout for the next adventure. It’s never too far off. Book your ADK Coast hiking getaway today!

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2 Spirited Farm Distilleries to Explore

If you’re looking for a little extra kick with your relaxation, you’ve come to the right place.

In fact, New York State has the second-highest number of active craft distillers in the U.S.,according to the American Craft Spirits Association. That’s right. Beer and wine, watch out - there’s another adult beverage in town!

As the area's craft beverage industry flourishes, artisan distilleries have come to call our shores home. While you’ll want to stop at each location on our Microbreweries and Distilleries Map(stretching from Altona, down I-87, all the way to Ausable), there are two standout Adirondack Coast farm distilleries you especially won’t want to miss. Both stops offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to sample the widespread possibilities of our thriving agricultural landscape and storied past - no matter the season!


Murray's Fools Distilling Co.

2229 Rand Hill, Road, Altona, NY

Murray's Fools Apple Brandy

William Henry Harrison “Adirondack” Murray (or just W. H. H. Murray, for short) published Adventures in the Wilderness; or Camp-Life in the Adirondacks in 1869. It was the thorough, how-to relaxation guide that overworked 19th century city-dwellers didn’t know they needed. Complete with detailed maps and train routes, not to mention schedules, the book’s quick popularity ignited a mad dash from cluttered city streets to the stillness of Northern New York’s 6-million-acre park from 1869 to 1874. This period became known as Murray’s Rush, as long-time Adirondack visitors and locals affectionately (or not-so-affectionately) dubbed these inexperienced wilderness travelers “Murray’s Fools”.

Over the centuries, adventurers across the globe have grown in their knowledge and appreciation of what to expect when retreating to our captivating lakes and mountains. Randall (W. H. H. Murray’s great, great grandson) honors his family's heritage and the bustling beginnings of our region’s tourism with Murray’s Fools Distilling Co., an exciting project he shares with his wife, Sarah.

The idea of discovering freedom of self amidst nature’s quiet moments is what their farm distillery is all about, producing small, flavorful batches of liquor. Names like Snowshoe Vodka, “La Pomme Du Lac” Apple Brandy (meaning, “The Apple of the Lake”), and Wolf Jaw Single Malt Whiskey evoke the imagery of our outdoor adventures and the natural vibrance of our wilderness - and all made using New York State ingredients, like corn, barley, and apples.

Less than a 10-minute drive from the historic Lewis Wildlife Preserve, stop in at Murray's tasting room in Altona, NY, where you can sip their signature cocktails firsthand: The Algonquin, featuring “La Pomme Du Lac” Apple Brandy; The Flat Rock,made with Snowshoe Vodka and fresh blueberries; and Grace, an elixir tribute to Murray's spirited feminist third daughter, featuring Snowshoe Vodka and hints of rhubarb and lime. Grab a bottle for your own bar and re-create your favorites with the easy-to-follow cocktail recipes on their website.

Keep an eye out for upcoming events and celebrations as you planyour next visit. murraysfoolsdistilling.com

Mountain Spirit Distilling

35 Florida Street, Plattsburgh, NY

Mountain Spirit Distilling Products

Since opening in 2017 as Plattsburgh’s first-ever distillery, owners John and Dan have enjoyed bartending and creating a friendly vibe for their visitors, who leave enthusiastic reviews like, “Great craft spirits, very nice guys, amazing atmosphere!” and “The best tasting smooth vodka for real smooth martinis.” But don’t just take their word for it--you’ll want to savor the rich tastes and see Mountain Spirit Distilling’s newly finished tasting room for yourself.

With a growing list of liquors, events, and available space for small gatherings, there’s always something to discover during business hours. Just a quick 5-minute drive from Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG), this conveniently located duo serve up weekly Friday (5-9pm) and Saturday (12-9pm) tastings of their original hand-crafted whiskeys and vodkas, boasting whimsical names like “Adirondack Glow White Whisky” (their own version of moonshine made from bourbon mash) and triple-distilled “Driven Snow Vodka”. When the day’s adventures come to a close, take some of their infectious wild spirit with you for $32.50 per bottle.

While their rotating specials are always an anticipated treat, be sure to try these signature cocktails while you’re there: Workin' Mans 7, Driven Snow Heat Wave,Adirondack Mule, and ADK Eggnog. mountainspiritdistilling.com

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Looking for more craft beverage options? Travel the complete, 7-stop Adirondack Coast Microbreweries and Distilleries Map. Or, perhaps you’re more of a wine aficionado? The 33-mile Adirondack Coast Wine Trail features unique, full-bodied whites and reds, including the area’s specialty,the marquette. Looking for an added adventure during warmer months? Visitors can even explore the trails by bike--but, as always, be sure to adventure (and drink) responsibly!

Other stops and activities near Altona, NY:

  • Lewis Wildlife Preserve
  • Fishing on the Great Chazy River
  • Endless winter recreation: snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing
  • Flat Rock State Forest

Other stops near Plattsburgh, NY:

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Keepin’ It Reel: Fishing (For Fun) On New York’s #adkcoast

The Adirondacks boast thousands of lakes, rivers and streams, with Lake Champlain alone home to nearly 100 different fish species,including (as you’ve probably heard) some monstrous large and small mouth bass...oh, and Champ, too.

Widely regarded as one of the northeast’s best fisheries, hundreds of fishermen and women hit up the Adirondack Coast’s shores for action-packed pro tournaments on Lake Champlain each summer. We’re talking big trucks, big boats and big fish - check out this year’s tournament lineup!

FLW angler and bass at Plattsburgh City Marina (Photo Credit: Jody White).

But where there’s a little bit of rock n’ roll,we’ve learned there should also be a little bit of country (thanks, Donny and Marie). And so it’s no surprise recreational fly fishing also holds its own as a popular Adirondack Coast outdoor adventure sport, especially on the Ausable and Saranac Rivers.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, fishing never goes out of style or season around here. Whether you’re camping, beaching or just fishing for the sake of fishing, here’s what you need to know as you cast your line on Adirondack Coast waters!


Read Up and Plan Ahead

●    Each visitor or resident ages 16+ will need a valid New York State fishing license (unless it happens to be a New York State “Free Fishing” Day!). You can purchase a license at pretty much any location that sells fishing gear, like those located in Champlain Centre or Consumer Square. Don't forget to brush up on the rules first!

●    Lake Champlain's waters are uniquely shared by New York and Vermont. Gaining access to a Reciprocal License will allow you to fish freely between the two states in most areas of the lake (but we recommend double-checking just to be sure). Find more info on restrictions here.

●    Fisher-peeps ages 12 and under must wear coast guard approved life jackets.


Meet the Fish

Man catching bass on Lake Champlain.

Sure, the buzz around annual tournaments will have you thinking it’s all about the bass, but we know there’s an entire all-star cast down there keeping the show going well after pro season’s finale. With almost 100 species of fish living in Lake Champlain alone, here’s who you'll most likely bump into as you explore the Adirondack Coast’s freshwater fishing habitats:

●     Brook Trout

●     Brown Trout

●     Lake Trout

●     Landlocked Salmon

●     Large-mouth Bass

●     Northern Pike

●     Rainbow Trout

●     Small-mouth Bass

●     Steel head Trout

●     Walleye

Learn more about each of these sporting fish species and when to spot them!

While commercial fishing is not allowed on Lake Champlain, you are allowed to cook what you catch - but be sure to read up on New York state health guidelines first. Similarly, if you plan to release what you catch, check out these tips.


Pick a Watering Hole

Man fly fishing on the Saranac River.

At 120 miles long, with 435 square miles of surface area and a 400-foot maximum depth, Lake Champlain’s big waves dominate the Adirondack Coast landscape. Not 100% confident when it comes to exploring its waters on your own? Pair up with a charter guide for a hands-on beginner fishing experience you won’t soon forget!

But then, who says you have to dive right into the big stuff? There are plenty of nearby lakes, rivers and streams to choose from! Here are a few other locations just as deserving of the spotlight:

Chateaugay Lakes: Spanning a total of 3,200 acres, the Upper and Lower Chateaugay Lakes connect Clinton and Franklin counties through the Chateaugay River. Small-mouth bass and illusive northern pike abound in the lower lake’s 568 acres and average 12-foot depth, while the upper lake claims 2,524 acres and an average depth of 33 feet, giving way to campsites along its sandy shores.

Chazy Lake: Located in Dannemora with surrounding views of Lyon Mountain, Chazy Lake is well-loved by visitors and locals, with camps and lake houses surrounding its 1,600 acres.The center of the lake is the place to head to for a variety of salmon and trout, with a maximum depth of 72 feet.


Looking for a more quiet, isolated refuge, but don’t want to give up the great views? Try these spots:

Taylor Pond: Don't let Taylor Pond’s name fool you. Many visitors consider this site more of a lake than a pond due to its magnificent size and biodiversity! Known for its captivating wilderness scenery, Taylor Pond is located on a comfortable 10-acre campground, providing visitors (especially families) with multiple recreation opportunities beyond the day’s last catch. Rent a canoe on site and paddle out to the pond’s deeper areas (around 100 feet) to find an abundance of both trout and salmon.

Great Chazy River: Running from Chazy Lake to Lake Champlain, Chazy River is a quintessential waterway for trout, yearly welcoming 8,000 of them to its northern branch waters, including brook, brown and rainbow. Follow route 11 through Ellenburg and Mooers Forks and you’ll encounter plenty of less-traveled public fishing stops.Looking to make more than a day of it? Set up camp near river access when you stop at Blue Haven Family Campground and Resort in Ellenburg Depot.

Ausable River: At 94 miles long, the Ausable River offers a wide stretch of scenic public fishing opportunities, passing through numerous high peaks, High Falls Gorge and Ausable Chasm as it travels from Lake Placid to Lake Champlain. From boreal wilderness to lowland valleys, visitors will find a diversity of ecosystems to explore along the way, with clear public access to the lower main stem of the river at Ausable Point State Campground. Home to more than 60 species of fish, this is the world-class trout fishery you’ve been searching for!

Saranac River: Running from Saranac Lake to Lake Champlain, travelers will find a range of fish and access points along the Saranac River. You’ll have no trouble locating brown and brook trout in the mid-section of the river near Cadyville, and as you venture closer to Lake Champlain near Plattsburgh, you’ll likely encounter landlocked salmon and bass (particularly in the fall, although check for bait restrictions), along with easy-access points you can wade right into!


Check out a complete list of Adirondack Coast waterways here. Have a boat and not sure exactly where to launch? We've got the details on that, too.

Family fishing on Lake Champlain off of Ausable Point Beach.

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Stores and shops throughout the Adirondack Coast offer resources for bait, tackle, poles and more, so your next great catch is never too far away. From guides to gear, we’ve got your back. So,who’s ready for the next adventure? Happy fishing, Adirondack Coasters!

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#ADKCoast Beginner Golf Guide

From championship courses to par-72s, golfers along the Adirondack Coast have been driving, chipping, and putting their way across our cedar-lined fairways each spring for more than a century. The area’s legacy as a golf destination goes back to the glory days of the country’s first golf resorts, one of which opened right here, along Lake Champlain’s eastern shores during the late 19th century.

With this history, I’ve come to consider golf a “fancy” sport—or, at least, a very serious one—because it’s about more than just the sport. It’s about culture and etiquette, too, for both players and spectators. And because culture and etiquette are often accompanied by a rule or two, stepping onto the green for the first time can be intimidating. And intimidation is just no good when you're trying to relax and enjoy your vacation!

So, here’s your #adkcoast Beginner Golf Guide to help you ease into the swing of things this spring.

Where to golf (as a beginner):

With wide open spaces and abounding lakeside mountain scenery, visitors can choose from a variety of impressive courses throughout the area. But if it’s more than just a few competitive games you're after, you’ll find one of the area’s uniquely storied golf courses standing the test of time in Plattsburgh. It’s where the history of Adirondack Coast golfing began; the perfect place for a newbie to start out.

Bluff Point Golf Course overlooks Lake Champlain


Bluff Point Golf Resort & Cottages |  75 Bluff Point Dr, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

This is where legends of the past have cleared their heads, tested their skills, and achieved leisurely bliss - and so can you! (Easier said than done, eh?)

Established in 1890, visitors can swing at tees on the same green popularized by former U.S. leaders like presidents Roosevelt (both Teddy and Franklin), McKinley, and Taft, not to mention baseball legend the Great Bambino himself in 1936. Yeesh, no wonder this sport is intimidating!

The renowned course at Bluff Point was once attached to Hotel Champlain, the elegant 500-room Victorian summer getaway majestically overlooking the lake for which it was named. Spanning 1,000 acres total with private beaches, a steamboat dock, and an all-star regular guest list including the Astors and the Vanderbilts, this was the hottest hotel resort in the northeast for nearly two decades following its completion in 1890... until burning down in 1910. The hotel was rebuilt the next year and continued to host prominent visitors until the early 1950s.

Now the site of Clinton Community College,visitors can tour the re-imagined grounds glimpsing Valcour Island and Bluff Point Lighthouse to the southeast, just as society’s creme de la creme would have back in the day, visualizing the epic naval battles fought right on these waters during both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Golfers of all ages and levels will enjoy reading up on history at each hole on Bluff Point’s now family-owned lawns. While putting along, U.S. history buffs should especially keep an eye out for a plaque at hole #18 - this is where President McKinley was known to read while observing matches during the summers of 1897 and 1899, when Hotel Champlain was considered his official “Summer White House”.

Visitors can still stay on the grounds today in Bluff Point’s luxury cottages, breathing in those same panoramic views of Lake Champlain and Vermont’s Green Mountains.

What to wear to your first golf game:

What started trending as a sport for the elite in the late 19th century has now evolved into something everybody can enjoy. Today, golf courses dot the Adirondack Coast’s shores, and our best ones are public,welcoming returning visitors each season. The vibe varies from course to course, but it’s safe to assume you’ll garner a few odd looks showing up in junky jeans and an old t-shirt. As a general rule of thumb, go for clean and comfortable, always keeping weather in mind for optimal play.

Tops and Bottoms - Opt for a pressed short-sleeved polo or collared shirt with breathable slacks,khaki shorts, or an athletic skort. If you’re feeling really committed and know you're likely to break a sweat beneath the sun, dry fit is always an option. If the day is feeling chilly or looking overcast, bring a pullover or windbreaker along that you can either throw on or shed as the day continues. Visitors are encouraged to play at their own paces, and it’s not unusual for the game to goon in spite of a drizzle

Shoes - If you don’t have golf shoes, sneakers work just fine. You’ll likely be spending the day on your feet, so comfort is paramount. Remember to pay attention to the types of spikes on your shoes if they are golf specific - most come in soft and metal, with the latter sometimes considered controversial for the grass. When in doubt, you can always call ahead to learn more about any potential dress codes for footwear.

A Hat or Visor - Vitamin D is great and you’ll get tons of it outside on the green,but you’ll also need to block the sun to see the course and really bring yourA-game - not to mention, to avoid sunburn (shout out to SPF!).

A Golfing Glove - If you’re prone to blisters, this one’s a must.

Equipment you’ll need:

Golf Balls - Often golf balls are provided with the game, but not always. It never hurts to have a few extra on hand, just in case!

Tees -There’s a chance your tee could break during the game - maybe you’ve got an incredible arm you never knew about! Or, maybe your hand-eye coordination needs some assistance. Either way, you should probably just snag a few extra tees early on so you can avoid any interruptions or early returns to the clubhouse.

Clubs -Many people bring their own (and a case or bag to keep everything together),but clubs are typically always available for rent in the pro shop, no matter what course you head to. Shop attendees will be able to help you find the right match for your dominant hand.

Golf Cart - Let’s put it this way: on a hot Adirondack Coast day without a golf cart, that dry-fit polo is no longer optional - it’s necessary. For those not about the brisk walks, investing in a cart rental will help you relax and enjoy the atmosphere with ease, while keeping the game at a steady pace.

Cash -It’s always helpful to have some cash on hand for drink carts and tips!

 

Where to buy, rent, and train:

Many courses conveniently sell and rent equipment and clothing on site in their adjacent pro shops. Some, like Bluff Point, even offer practice greens and lessons for beginners looking to sharpen their skills; these courses include: Harmony Golf Club and Community, North Country Golf Club, and Adirondack Golf and Country Club.

Depending on where in the area you’re golfing,you can also check out the following shopping locations for competitively priced equipment: Consumer Square, Champlain Centre, Lenny's Shoe and Apparel, and Play It Again Sports. Whatever level you’re at or working towards, you’ll find the resources you need to really get into the game!

Spring is about to be in full swing! With the billowing blankets of snow behind us and the season’s fuschia apple blossoms nearing full bloom, who’s ready to hit the green? Check out a complete list of Adirondack Coast golf courses here as you plan your next getaway.

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Sugar houses you don't want to miss this Spring on the #adkcoast!

Thawing temperatures signal the Adirondack Coast’s “liquid gold” rush each spring—sugar rush, that is!

As snow melts, the season’s sweetest treat begins to flow from the surrounding maple trees uniquely thriving in the Northeastern part of the U.S. In fact, the Sugar Maple is New York State’s official tree. You may have even noticed webs of piping running through wooded areas during your travels. These are sure signs the Adirondack Coast’s maple season is in full swing!

In order for the sticky sap to flow, daytime and nighttime temperatures need to strike a sweet spot (pun intended): slightly above freezing during the day and just below freezing at night. This means the Adirondack Coast’s maple production reaches its height around the end of March each year. Visitors head to our shores from far and wide around this time for Maple Weekends, a statewide celebration of this "liquid gold" and all of its goodness. This year, Maple Weekends falls on March 23-24 & 30-31 and maple farms across New York State invite visitors to their sugar houses to experience firsthand how pure, mouth-watering maple syrup and other related products are made.  Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York’s freshest syrup and purchase maple products.

If it’s the purest of syrups you’re after, the area’s memorable maple farms and sugar houses won’t disappoint, offering up the standard “Fancy”, “Medium Amber”, “Dark Amber” and “B” grades travelers to Northern New York have come to know and crave. As natural sweeteners with nutritional value, these syrups present endless possibilities for adventures both inside and outside the kitchen. Bring some home to drizzle on your pancakes or waffles, in your coffee, or over your oatmeal, but not before exploring what other delicious confections the following Adirondack Coast sweet stops have in store.

Parker’s Family Maple Farm  |  1043 Slosson Rd, West Chazy, NY

Parker family generations have been tapping trees for sap in West Chazy since the 1800’s. Today, theirs is one of the largest operations in the U.S. with a 1,000-acre maple farm producing 40,000 gallons per year. That’ll cover a lot of pancakes (and don’t worry, they’ve got those too). Fun fact: you need about 40 to 50 gallons of sap to produce just one gallon of “pure” maple syrup!

Want to learn more about production processes and how it all works? Meet the Parker family during your visit to the farm, which also includes a gift shop, restaurant, and equipment dealership. You’ll quickly learn the maple sugaring tradition is about more than just syrup and pancakes (although, we can all agree those are amazing!). This is a celebrated lifestyle and an agricultural art here on the Adirondack Coast, often carried on throughout generations, with historic roots in Native American tradition.

Whatever your maple desires might include—an agricultural history lesson, equipment to start your own operation, or maybe just a really, really great snack (the maple ice cream is highly recommended!)—visitors of all ages and interests will savor something sweet here.

Bechard's Sugar HouseI 61 Sanger Lane, West Chazy, NY

Today, Bechard’s Maple honors the legacy of father and son team Maurice and Marvin, who opened the farm as a hobby in 1998. After his father’s passing, Marvin continued the tradition with his wife, Tammy, and together they’ve grown from the original 300 taps to today’s 9,000 (and counting!).

With a background in contracting, Marvin designed and built the farm’s pancake house himself. Visitors can stop by for full pancake breakfasts complete with eggs, sausage, and bacon starting the first week of March (follow them on Facebook for the latest event updates!).

While you’re there, be sure to tour the original sugar house, where visitors will find uniquely shaped glass containers artfully filled with varying shades of shimmering amber liquid, among other treats: maple candies made in house, pancake mixes, sugars, recipes, cotton candy, doughnuts, sauces, and more! Whatever your sweet tooth is after, you’re sure to find it here.

Sacred Roots Maple  |  161 Atwood Rd, West Chazy, NY

Sacred Roots is the artisanally curated maple haven you’ve been looking for, run by the young and friendly husband and wife duo, Ben and Ashley. The couple celebrates a deeply rooted and spiritual appreciation for their surrounding land and its 100-year history in the maple industry (hence, the farm’s name).

Bring the whole family along while the air is still a crisp and enjoy sleigh rides! Any other time, treat yourself to tasty samples and demonstrations. Learn how the couple proudly combines past traditions with modern technology by using a wood-fired evaporator to boil their sap. Fun Fact: the sap that comes from Sugar Maple trees is a translucent liquid with only 2% sugar content - because of this, it must boil, evaporate, and caramelize to transform into the sticky syrup we all recognize! With 66 acres of maple trees in their “sugarbush”, as the farms are often called, the pair takes great joy in creating an exceptional experience for their visitors.

Brandybrook Maple Farm & Olde Tyme Wine  |  439 Brandy Brook Road, Ellenburg Center, NY

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and retreat to family-owned Brandybrook Maple Farm & Olde Tyme Winery in Ellenburg Center, a hamlet known for its quiet roads, scenic drives, and magnificent white wind turbines. Harvesting sap from 5 sugar bushes throughout the Adirondack Coast, this small farm operation continues to produce a variety of tasty creations since first opening its doors in 2007.

Here you’ll find the favorite maple standards—syrups, sugars, creams, and cotton candy—but you’ll also find an expanding list of more than 12 reds, whites, and fruit wines enhanced by (you guessed it!) their very own pure maple syrup. Book an appointment in advance and tour the winery and sugar house, sampling some the Adirondack Coast’s sweetest libations—all made using a combination of estate and local grapes, as well as other fruits. The first of its kind in Ellenburg Center, this stop is ideal for anyone looking to unwind with more than a shot or two of maple syrup!

There’s so much to tap into during the Adirondack Coast’s springtime maple madness! Planning to stick around for a bit after satisfying your craving for our “liquid gold”? Check out these other nearby attractions.

Other stops near West Chazy, NY:

Other stops near Ellenburg Center, NY:

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Ausable Chasm: A Winter Exploration

Put on your favorite fuzzy hat and gloves, because I’m going to take you on a tour of a beautiful winter wonderland that I got the chance to explore recently. Ausable Chasm allowed me to experience a snowy two hour trek that has never been more fun, or breathtaking.

The Chasm offers many summer activities such as white-water rafting, trail-hiking and their super-cool Adventure Trail (see it here), but did you know they also offer guided and unguided tours of "the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks" in the winter too? If you haven’t seen the roaring river on a perfect, glimmering wintry day, then you are missing out!

My mom tagged along with me on this adventure and on a 32 degree day in Upstate New York we were worried about staying warm, but after 30 minutes of walking we found that the light layers we were wearing were perfect for this active winter trek.

Ausable Chasm during the Winter

Winter tours can be either one hour or two, unguided or guided at 10AM or 2PM. Tours must be booked ahead of time by either calling or booking online and start at $25 per person (ages 8+). Going unguided is completely fine, but being our first time, we decided to opt for the guided tour and we highly recommend it! Our tour guide, Caleb, was amazing and gave us a different perspective on the Chasm then we would have gotten by just wandering on our own. The guided tour also allows access to the Inner Sanctum trail, which takes further into the Chasm - definitely worth it!

Ice cleats are also a must on these tours and are available for rent at the Chasm ($5 a pair). They made a world of difference when crunching around the fresh-fallen powder.

Ice Cleat Rentals at the Chasm

And with the proper footwear, we were off!

The first stop was a large mounted rock with bilingual signage standing next to it for all of those unguided tours. Caleb explained that this ancient sandstone slab and all of its ripples indicated a time when our area was covered by the Cambrian Sea well over 1,500 years ago!

The next stop was a similar sandstone rock with a bit of a mysterious background. Caleb explained the story of how these marks were made thousands of years ago by an animal with little claws and a narrow tail that dragged behind it. No fossil matching this description has been found in our area.

After a few more minutes of beautiful scenery, we reached the famous Elephant's Head rock. We stood on a wooden deck hovering above the chasm, and looked to the other side where two major fault zones created this amazing rock formation that just so happens to look like an elephant's head.

Elephant's Head Rock Formation

My favorite part of our exploration was a tall cliff etched from calcium-filled sandstone rock, dubbed the “Post Office”.

If you're scratching your head as to why there would be a "post office" here, you're doing the exact same thing we did, but the Caleb told us the reason for the name and its pretty cool. The calcium in the rock makes the sandstone soft and easy to inscribe on, which resulted in people leaving letters and notes stuck to the wall by pushing in pins and tacks. There were times when the entire cliff was covered in little weather sheets of paper, hence making it look like a very disorganized Post Office. Now, people have just resorted the etching words and names into the rock, so next time your are visiting, be sure to leave your mark at the Chasm's Post Office.

Ausable Chasm's "Post Office"

As you can see in this picture, the side of the cliff has been weathered away,leaving hundreds of nooks and shelves as a testament to its easily worn nature.

Jacob’s Well is just a few staircases away was another mind-blowing example of nature in its most creative forms. This literal hole in the solid rock of the cliff was weathered away from hundreds of years of sand and water swirling in a little eddy in the rock. Eventually, it was ground down to the size it is today: over two feet wide in places, and a good 8 feet down.

Jacob's Well

For those of you who have been white water rafting at the Chasm during the summer, you'll know that the rafts used are a tough, neon orange rubber. Did you know that only a short time ago the rafts were made of wood? Thankfully, those boats were retired in favor of the safer ones used today. This part of the river is where the rafts are easily lowered down the side of the chasm using a conveyor belt and pulley system.  In the past, the boats had to be manually carried up the side of the cliff at the ending point and then driven on a truck back to the starting point. Can you imagine!? .  

Raft Landing (open during the Summer and Fall)

After this point, it was a light walk back around to the beginning, pinching off the loop by crossing another white-frosted bridge.

This was the last leg of the journey, and I can wholeheartedly tell you that this adventure was a great one! Definitely one of the most beautiful memories I have of winter on the Adirondack Coast. The crisp smell of the air, the vibrancy of the snow against the rock, sounds of crashing water from below...all things that are even more amazing in person.

Ausable Chasm has been operating since 1870, making it the longest operating natural attraction in the United States and whether its during the Winter, Summer or Fall, it is definitely worth the visit!

Thank you all so much for exploring Ausable Chasm with me. I hope you enjoyed your winter tour on the Adirondack Coast!

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Valcour Island

Hidden high in the corner of New York State lies, or floats, a jewel of the past that makes history come alive just by stepping on its shores. Valcour Island claims 968 acres of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and lies a mere mile from the Town of Peru Boat Launch—a short 2-3 minute cruise across the bay. Stuck in an archipelago of the Northern Region of Lake Champlain, Valcour Island features historic sites and recreational facilities like no other island. On the north side facing the mainland sits the Bluff Point Lighthouse, which offers tours every Sunday from July to August. Learn more at the official Lighthouse website.

Lurking high on a cliff set deep in crepuscular forests is the Seton House—an 88-year-old solid-stone manor reminiscing in fabled folklore of the family’s ghosts who supposedly wander the grounds at night. It’s even complete with the boarded up windows, and a dilapidated NO TRESPASSING sign harshly bolted to the 10-foot-tall, thick wooden door. Brave enough to venture near it? 

Photo Credit: Emelia Lemza


If the haunted mansion wasn’t enough, there’s more in store for the history buffs and thrill seekers. The word itself, Valcour, means “value of the heart”, and multiple theories have surfaced about it being named after a deep betrayal—perhaps an explanation of the lone, enigmatical grave residing under a carved rock headstone. It’s set deep in Smuggler’s Harbor, the locally famous bay coined for hiding Benedict Arnold from the British Navy during the Battle of Valcour.

Battle of Plattsburgh Reenactment - 2014

The Western Cliffs call to those looking for a dip in the cool water on a late evening, when the humidity settles in thick. Hanging out over the water, the jagged rocks form a perfect place to CAREFULLY jump in. 

Photo Credit: Ben Bradford

Valcour Island provides a perfect place for adventures, campers, and history buffs alike. Belonging to the small town of Peru, it is a renowned part of the Adirondack Park Preserve and has become a major part of life for those who are interested in Lake Champlain, the history of it, and the many opportunities it provides on the Adirondack Coast.

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Fly Fishing on the Adirondack Coast

An important time of year for all fly-fishing enthusiasts is here on the Adirondack Coast…the Salmon Run season.  Every year, from mid-April to the end of May, hundreds of Salmon return to the many rivers that empty into Lake Champlain and make for a fly fisherman’s (or woman’s) dream.  Fly-fishing is a common activity in the Adirondacks—a peaceful way to enjoy the beautiful scenery and an opportunity to hook some other native upstream residents such as the rainbow or brook trout.

Fly-fishing on Lake Alice.

Come along with me and meet three fly-fishing enthusiasts telling us some tips, tricks and stories from their fly-fishing adventures on the Adirodack Coast.

Meet Mike Kalman

Mike with his catch.

Meet Mike Kalman, a local business owner and avid angler of eight years.  He moved to the Adirondack Coast in 2010 and has been finding his way around our rivers and streams ever since.  One of his favorite things about fly-fishing is that it only requires your feet and a fly rod.  Like many of us, he appreciates the peacefulness of our natural landscape and the fact that, “you can go alone or go with friends, but either way fly-fishing is a fun, quiet escape.”

Mike's Tips:

  • “Find other people who fly-fish.  Fly-fishing is not a hard concept, but executing a perfect cast and putting parts and pieces of a rod can be challenging for a beginner. If you find other experienced anglers who are willing to teach you a little bit, you can learn so many tips and tricks, and make the whole learning process a lot easier.” 
  • Visit one of our local fly shops and taking advantage of some of the local fly-fishing guides. 

While talking, Mike recounted a memorable fishing story with a smirk.  Scared by a large noise behind them, Mike and his friend made a speedy getaway across a beaver dam while simultaneously lugging fishing waders, gear, and rods.  What they thought was the sound of a much larger animal (perhaps a bear or moose) trekking through the forest, was actually a deer that was – if you believe it - more afraid of them than they were of it.

Meet John Bernardi

John's son, Joey, with a landlocked Salmon from the Saranac River.

John Bernardi, an Adirondack Coast resident, has been fly-fishing for well over 30 years and had plenty of great advice for beginner anglers, as well as some insights into his favorite fishing holes (spoiler alert: along the Saranac River in Plattsburgh and along the Bouquet River in Willsboro).

He also helped to educate me a bit on Salmon, who I found, are the most incredible fish.  They make the difficult journey upriver in the Spring and Fall.  A common misconception is that the Salmon return upriver to spawn in the Spring when, in fact, this is the time they return to feed on smaller bait fish, while Fall is the time they return upstream to breed in the cold running waters of our rivers.

Landlocked Salmon happen to be John’s favorite species to fish, so he is a regular Salmon-run goer and has plenty of stories about his experiences to share.  Like Mike’s deer story, John has also heard and seen his fair share of wildlife while fishing in the Adirondacks.  However, unlike Mike’s story, what he thought might be a deer out of the corner of his eye was actually a mother bear and her two cubs making their way across the river right in front of him.  Remaining still, the bears did not spot him, so he was able to experience Adirondack wildlife in its purest, natural form – something that “frightened, yet exhilarated” him.

John’s Tips:

  • The most important thing to remember when fly-fishing, John says, is that “presentation is key”. This means that the way the fly is presented to the fish is more important than the fly itself.  Amateur anglers need to understand that in order for the fish to approach or take the bait, the bait must look natural to those surroundings, like something that the fish would normally eat. 
  • Always remember to be safe.  Bring proper gear and be a responsible angler.  “Always let someone know when you’re going and when you plan on coming back,” which is especially important when you plan on fishing alone.

John is proof that fly-fishing is more than just a sport—it’s a way of life.  "Fly-fishing is a journey through a moment in time and a lifetime of moments. It takes you to places, both real and imagined, where the soul and senses combine to form the perfect destination."

Meet Garrett Lemza

Garrett out fly-fishing.

Garrett Lemza is an amateur fly-fisher of 3 years, but has been traditional spin fishing for as long as he can remember.  The 16 year old first experienced fly-fishing with an elderly friend took him out and then recommended that he read the book “All Fisherman are Liars”- since then, he has been hooked (pun intended).  

When asked about his favorite catch, Garrett said that he is still “fairly new to the fly-fishing game, so his very first catch on a fly-fishing rod is still [his] most memorable!”  At the moment, he is a multi-species angler, meaning he is not geared towards catching any specific type of fish.

As you may have guessed by the shared last name, Garrett is my brother, so when interviewing him I was given the inevitable hint of sass.  When I asked where his favorite place to fish was, I was offered two equally funny answers - “a good fisherman never gives up his spots” and “where there are fish.” After a little bit of loving, sibling arguing, I was finally given the answer “various pools along the Saranac River.”  I also noticed that his answer to the question “why do you enjoy fly-fishing?” was very similar to Mike and John’s answer – “because it allows you to be in nature, outside and exploring.”

Garrett’s Tips:

  • A reasonable tip to keep in mind is that a lot of gear is available for fly-fishing, but the amount of gear doesn’t make one angler better at the sport than another.
  • Do a fair amount of research about how to catch Salmon before trying it cold turkey. As with almost every sport, the more you know about it the better you will become.
  • Don’t be disappointed when you don’t catch anything. Patience is key when it comes to fishing – enjoy it!

Garrett’s favorite fly-fishing tale is when he accidentally angered an overly large beaver who then decided to charge toward him.  He had to quickly run out of the pond in full gear to avoid being hurt (side note: another tip that I will add after hearing three stories from anglers, be observant in your surroundings and prepared for wildlife – remember this is their home and you are simply a visitor, so take all precautions).

Thank you to Mike, John and Garrett for sharing your fly-fishing tips, tricks and stories!  It was so great getting an insider’s view on this amazing sport that is becoming more and more popular for all ages throughout the Adirondack Coast..

Happy Fishing!

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Ausable Point: A Winter Adventure

Are you ready to bundle up for a winter adventure on the Adirondack Coast?  Recently, I ventured out into the snow at Ausable Point State Park, a hopping campground/beach area on Lake Champlainduring the summer and a peaceful white retreat during the winter

Since it is not operational during the winter, the campground is free to use, not crowded and provides great opportunities for snowshoeingcross-country skiing, wildlife watching and sightseeing.

With well packed roads and a lot of fluffy snow, it is easy to get lost amongst the trees and even easier to enjoy wandering along the marsh and the coast of Lake Champlain. 

Keep an eye out for wildlife:  Ausable Point is known to have a few Bald Eagle visitors and you are definitely bound to see some lively squirrels, Osprey bird nests and cardinals.  This place is a birdwatcher’s dream!

Be Camera Ready:  Ausable point is a beautiful backdrop for photos.  The snow on the Evergreen trees, the frozen lake and dusted marsh look even more magical in the winter than they do in the spring or summer months, so have your camera available for some prime scenic moments.

A few warnings: if you plan on being out for a while, be sure to wear lots of layers!  Multiple streams and little brooks flow sluggishly underfoot and a layer of snow makes it hard to see where the weak ice lies, so watch your step. Edges of the lake are not always safe to walk on, so take caution when venturing off the beaten paths. Getting soaked is definitely not the best way to end a hike.

Thank you so much for venturing with me!  Stay tuned for more Adirondack Coast adventures.

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Adirondack Coast Kitchen: The Pomaple Spritz

At a younger age, I could party with the best of them on New Year’s Eve.  Dancing the night away in my fun new dress and staying up well past closing time at the local bars, but oh how time has changed.  Now, New Year’s Eve is an evening to stay in my PJ’s on the couch while Chef Tanner (AKA my husband) makes fancy appetizers and classy cocktails – classy cocktails that almost always make me fall asleep before the ball drops.  Wait, what am I saying!?  It’s not the cocktails, but more so the fact that I have an 8:30pm bedtime, so anything beyond that is considered “partying” in my world. Who’s with me on that!?Anyway, no matter how you spend your New Year’s Eve, a delicious beverage should always be on the menu and we have come up with one using some of the Adirondack Coast’s best local products.

Introducing…The Pomaple Spritz.  A refreshing concoction that is healthy, (mostly) local and delicious!

Ingredients:

1 Orange Slice2 Dashes of Bitters1 tsp. Local Maple Syrup (Sugarhouses on the Adirondack Coast)2 oz. Local Vodka (Distilleries on the Adirondack Coast)2 oz. Pomegranate JuiceCrushed IceCava

Preparation:

Cut a thick orange slice into quarters and place 2 of the pieces into a glass.  Top with 2 dashes of bitters and 1 teaspoon of local maple syrup.  Begin to muddle the “meat” of the orange until all of the juice is released (note: do not muddle the skin or the pitch of the orange – it will make the drink bitter).

Add 2 ounces of local vodka, 2 ounces of pomegranate juice and crushed ice.  Stir for 30 seconds to dilute the drink and make ice cold.

Strain mixture into fancier glass with crushed ice, top with cava, add an orange slice for garnish and voila!  Drink and enjoy!

Double this recipe for a two person party or quadruple it if you’re having a bash.

The Pomaple Spritz

*Mixologists must be 21 years or older to create this beverage.  Drink safely and responsibly! ;)

Happy New Year!

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Where to #shopsmall uptown, downtown and all around New York’s Adirondack Coast

The weekend following Thanksgiving is one of the busiest when it comes to shopping in the U.S.

If you’re looking to save some money as you tackle the holiday shopping season, this is the time to start. And what better place to begin checking items off your list than on the scenic Adirondack Coast, where you’ll find centrally-located shopping centers and quaint city shopping districts overlooking snow-swept Lake Champlain – if nature cooperates!

While shopping is a year-round pastime, there are plenty of deals to be found throughout our many uptowns and downtowns during this time of year specifically, thanks to the area’s Small Business Saturday® initiative.

Well, we all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what is Small Business Saturday®, you ask?

It’s an initiative started by American Express back in 2014 to rally cities and towns across the country in an effort to showcase the special mom and pop shops offering unique merchandise.

For you, it all starts with a Small Business Saturday® Passport, which you can download here or grab on November 25th at any of the participating businesses listed online.

Here are just a few of the great local businesses offering deals on Small Business Saturday:

Specialty Products & Services:

  • Kinetic Running, Plattsburgh
  • ​The Kayak Shack, Plattsburgh
  • Rescued Treasures Thrift Store, Plattsburgh
  • ​Loremans’ Embroidery, Engraving & Screenprinting, Plattsburgh
  • ​Payson & Stoughton Jewelers, Plattsburgh
  • Plattsburgh Knife Co., Plattsburgh
  • Archer Bodyworks, Plattsburgh
  • Country Expressions Flowers & Gifts, Plattsburgh
  • Greer Cicarelli Photograph, Plattsburgh
  • Under One Roof Video Store, Plattsburgh
  • Choice Coffee Valley Vending
  • ​Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel

Museums:

  • Adirondack Experience (ADKX), Blue Mountain Lake
  • ​Clinton County Historical Association, Plattsburgh

Food and Dining:

  • Chazy Orchards, Chazy
  • Irises Café and Wine Bar, Plattsburgh
  • Jeezum Crow / D&D Meats, West Chazy
  • Parker Family Maple Farm, West Chazy
  • Bechard’s Sugar House

Adult Beverages:

  • Champlain Wine Company, Plattsburgh
  • Elfs Farm Winery & Vineyard, Plattsburgh
  • Vesco Ridge Vineyards, West Chazy
  • Amazing Grace Vineyard & Winery, Chazy
  • Mountain Spirit Distilling, Plattsburgh
  • Olde Tyme Wine, West Chazy

Home Improvement and Decor:

  • Champlain Valley Electric, Plattsburgh
  • ​Ward Lumber, Jay
  • Taylor Rental, Plattsburgh
  • ​C&E Fencing, Plattsburgh
  • Windows and Doors by Brownell, Plattsburgh

Other Great Deals:

  • Studley Printing & Publishing, Plattsburgh
  • Glens Falls National Bank, Plattsburgh
  • Avis Car Rental& Budget Car Rental, Plattsburgh
  • La Quinta Inn and Suites, Plattsburgh
  • Trinity Yoga, Plattsburgh

These deals run far and wide, from Rouses Point to Plattsburgh. Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops along the way for you to duck into throughout the day as you plan your routes, cross things off your list, and perhaps even search out inventory online ahead of time!

Deals are being updated all the time, so keep checking back at northcountrychamber.com/sbs as Small Business Saturday® 2017 approaches!

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3 Adirondack Coast corn mazes that will test your navigation skills

Go for a scenic drive along Route 9 or Route 22B and you’ll realize corn fields are pretty much everywhere amidst the Adirondack Coast’s rolling hills.

But these aren’t just any ordinary corn fields – they’re mazes! Our agritourism sites like to get creative with their stalks, adding a dash of history, adventure and just plain creepy for any age to enjoy! Whether you’re after a family-friendly adventure, a date-night fright or an out-of-the-box way to experience the area’s diverse history and agriculture, you’re in for a treat – so keep reading!

1. Fort Ticonderoga102 Fort Ti Rd, Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga
Photo: Fort Ticonderoga

The historic gardens at Fort Ticonderoga date back to 1756, including the surrounding battlefields and their “Heroic Corn Maze”, open from August through Labor Day Weekend with exciting experiences for the whole family, like their “Engineer a Fort” Maze Quest.

Upon entering the maze, explorers of all ages are tasked with collecting stamps from 8 stations within, each representing a component of an 18th-century fort.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga
Photo: Fort Ticonderoga

As Halloween approaches at the end of October, the “Heroic Corn Maze” transforms into the “Maze by Moonlight”. Visitors can add the extra challenge of maneuvering through these towering corn stalks under the cloak of darkness… muah-HAHA!

This special nighttime experience is open on October 27th and 28th from 7-10pm – last entry at 9pm!

2. Country Dreams Farm260 Pellerin Rd, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Each year, the maze at Country Dreams Farm continues to grow in size – and creepiness! It’s open during regular farm hours, but as the season progresses so do the scares. You’ll see more and more Halloween décor pop up in and around the maze as the year’s spookiest holiday approaches.

Your mission? Make it to the other side of the maze, venturing through the towering rows of corn. Along the way, hunt down 12 different stamp stations and fill your slip of paper. Sounds easy enough, right?

BEWARE! You’ll find yourself taking more than a few wrong turns, and you never know who – or what! – you might come face to face with before you see the light at the end of the maze.

If and when you do make it to the other side, there might be a treat waiting for you – or a trick. You’ll have to check it out and see for yourself. Country Dreams Farm’s Flashlight Corn Maze will be open October 20th and 21st (nighttime fun for all ages!) while the Haunted Corn Maze will be open October 27th and 28th (this one’s not recommended for young children).

3. Rulfs Orchard531 Bear Swamp Rd, Peru, NY 12972

Rulfs might be known for its brand new facility and surrounding apple orchards (more on that here!), but it also provides Adirondack Coast adventurers with some thrilling corn maze options during the fall.

Rather pass on the history lesson or the intense scares? This experience in Peru is great for families and teens looking for a general nighttime corn maze experience. Don’t forget to BYOF! (Bring your own flashlight 😉)

Photo: Boire Benner Group

The maze is intricate enough for visitors of all ages to find it challenging at night – but families can explore the pathways more easily during the day on Sundays and Saturdays leading up to Halloween, from 10am to 4pm.

Head to the orchard on October 21st for the Night Corn Maze from 5pm to 9pm. In addition to the maze, you’ll experience a bonfire with music!

So, what are you waiting for? Get lost on New York’s Adirondack Coast this weekend.

And spice up your Adirondack Coast getaway when you choose one or two of the corn mazes listed above and check out these other nearby attractions.

Other stops near Peru, NY:

Other stops in Plattsburgh, NY:

Other stops in Ticonderoga, NY:

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Adirondack Coast Kitchen: Apple Galettes

So I’ve come to the conclusion, while writing these blogs, that this is just a really great excuse to get out of my house (or office… but let’s not tell my boss that!) and snap adorable shots of my son, who won’t remember any of this, doing Adirondack Coast-y things!

I mean, come on…

For all concerned Rulfs Orchard customers, anything containing baby slobber was removed from table after photo was taken 🤤

 

Like most highschoolers in Peru, NY, I worked at Rulfs Orchard. Nobody passes up an excuse to go back and see Bob! He's the orchard's founder, and his stories will crack you up. During apple season(mid-September to mid-October), Rulfs offers U-pick apples, which not only allows you to experience picking apples out in the orchard with your family, but makes for some prime photo taking opportunities – so bring your camera! 

Mom of non-walkers tip of the day: bring a stroller! It’s a great walk through the orchard, but just far enough that carrying a 24-pound 9-month-old WILL lead to an avoidable hot-mess mom moment.

This may look like a picturesque fall photo with breezy 60° weather, but in reality, it was an 80° day in September (unheard of around here!) and we were both sweating through our cute fall outfits.

And Rulfs isn’t the only Adirondack Coast orchard that offers u-pick options, there are several other orchards throughout the area that are just as beautiful and packed full with delicious apple varieties. All of them also offer some other sort of delicious treat or activity for your family to enjoy!

Since apple picking was kept to a mother/son moment, we made sure to bring home our U-pick treasures so that our personal chef (AKA husband/dad) could turn them into something yummy. I introduce this season’s Adirondack Coast Kitchen... 🎶 insert introductory music here 🎶... apple galettes!

Apple who-whatty? Apple galettes! It’s “fancy speak” for a delicious mini-pie thing – stay with me…

Ingredients

Dough:2 1/2 cups flour2 tbsp. sugarPinch of salt1 cup butter (cold)4 tbsp.-1/2 cup ice water

Filling:6 McIntosh apples1/2 cup sugar2 tsp. cinnamon2 tbsp. corn starch1/4 cup heavy creamSprinkle of course sugar

Preparation

Begin the dough by mixing the flour, sugar and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. 

After cubing the cold butter, begin to cut it into the flour mixture with a fork. 

Once all is mixed and only smaller chunks of butter remain, start adding ice water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture begins sticking together. 

Dump the dough out of the mixing bowl, kneed for 30 seconds, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour before using (dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days).

Lawson being on the counter looking cute lasted all of about 5 minutes before destruction began and flour was all over the counter – the things a mom will do for a good photo!

Filling: Peel and slice 6 McIntosh apples (these MUST be local - we are the 2nd largest McIntosh producing county in the Unites States, no excuses people!). In a bowl, mix together the sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and corn starch until apples are well coated. Set aside.

Assembly: Cut the dough into 6 even sections.  Roll one section out into a 1 cm thick circle (Tip: coat working space and rolling pin with flour to prevent dough from sticking).  Take handful of apples (equal to one apple per galette) and place in the center.  Begin to fold the dough up onto the apples one section at a time, leaving an open circle in the center for apples to show through.  Place on parchment lined pan and repeat with the 5 other sections of dough.

Brush the outside of the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with course sugar for a little extra crunch.  Place in oven on 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown in color.

Let cool, or if you’re impatient like myself, don’t let it cool and burn your mouth… totally worth it!  Best served with vanilla ice cream - I just completely forgot to buy the ice cream, but they are delicious even without!

Aside from some nervousness about screwing up the consistency of the dough, these really were not hard to make. As you can see in the photos, nothing was perfect – the “circle” of dough was more like a jagged square and my folding technique was totally not chef-husband approved, but I did it.  They were delicious -- and to me, that's just about all that matters 😉!

So now you're totally tempted to try these, am I right? You can find your downloadable recipe below:

Apple Galette Recipe

Happy Eating!

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Find out why these 5 Adirondack Coast apple orchards are unique

Something that’s so great about the Adirondack Coast is its ability to provide fun outdoor adventures for all ages no matter the season – and fall is no exception!

While summer showcases our diverse water recreation opportunities, like paddlingfishing and windsurfing (and, trust me, Lake Champlain provides challenging opportunities for all three!), it’s the autumn months that truly allow our agriculture experiences to shine.

Farms come alive as visitors explore petting zoos, pumpkin patches, farmers’ markets, historic farm museums, and – of course – apple orchards! In fact, Clinton County, one of the largest apple-producing counties in the country, is home to the world’s largest McIntosh orchard.

Plainly put: welcome to apple country.

 

But apples are just the start.

This season, I decided to drive from Peru to that famed McIntosh orchard in Chazy plucking autumn’s most prized fruit right from the trees along the way… and finding other tasty treats in the process!

 

My friend Will, who you might remember from last year’s spooky spots feature at Macdonough Hall, came along for the ride – and the cider doughnuts.

1. Rulfs Orchard531 Bear Swamp Rd, Peru, NY 12972

rulfsorchard.com

We started our journey in Peru at Rulfs Orchard, right off of I-87 Exit 35 on Bear Swamp Road.

 

This orchard’s brand-new building allows it to truly showcase its variety of agriculture offerings, going way beyond just apples. In fact, though it’s considered one of the most popular U-Pick apple, pumpkin and berry spots on the Adirondack Coast, it started out as just a small family dairy farm in the 1950s.

 

What’s unique:

Rulfs now operates a deli in their new building (with a drive-thru!) offering breakfast and lunch menus full of yummy sandwich options. After lunch, you can grab a treat from the bakery – like their famous apple pies, now served in individual sizes.

And if you’re going to have an apple pie, you might as well have some apple cider too. I happen to think theirs is some of the best around!

2. Northern Orchard Farm Stand470 Union Rd, Peru, NY 12972northernorchard.com

Still in Peru, we headed to Northern Orchard Farm Stand next.

 

Here you can find apples among a variety of seasonal veggies, like squash, corn, pumpkins and more – right off the side of Union Road. Just look for the fun colored flags!

 

What’s unique:

On the Adirondack Coast, we’re known for our agriculture, outdoor recreation and history. As you explore our attractions, it’s common for these strengths to overlap, creating one complete and exciting experience. This is the case with Northern Orchard, which happens to be located on one of two spots in Peru designated as sites along the Underground Railroad.

 

In fact, spots like this throughout the Champlain Valley, a region shared by New York, Vermont and Quebec, were some of the last stops for many slaves en route to freedom in Canada, just across the border.

(You can learn more about the Adirondack Coast’s ties to the abolitionist movement at North Star Underground Railroad Museum near Ausable Chasm.)

3. Apple Jack's Orchard & Country Gift Shop751 Brand Hollow Rd, Peru, NY 12972518.643.2268

Our final stop in Peru was Applejacks Orchard.

 

Here, visitors can pick their own apples or grab a bag from the store among other country goodies.

 

What’s unique:

Like many orchards on the Adirondack Coast, Applejacks offers mesmerizing views of New York’s Adirondack Mountains and our area’s plentiful rolling farm hills.

 

But unlike other orchards, Applejacks boasts what they call their “Mystery Apple”.

About a decade ago, the orchard’s owner, Jim Murray, planted a number of trees and tagged them with a metal flag; within this order of apples he received samples for other varieties, which he planted nearby. Several years later, the trees were bearing, but the metal sign was missing. There was no telling which trees were which, and they were all mixed together!

To this day, it’s still a mystery. But one thing is certain – those mystery apples are pretty tasty!

4. Banker Orchards1037 NY-3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901facebook.com/bankerorchards

Continuing our scenic drive from Peru to Plattsburgh, we hopped on Route 22B and headed to Banker Orchards, where we ran straight for the trees. Like Rulfs and Applejacks, Banker is another one of the Adirondack Coast’s U-Pick orchards.

 

Yep, we really immersed ourselves. The things you’ll do to find the perfect apple! (Although, if you're picking through the orchards with youngins, it's probably a good idea to keep both feet on the ground.)

What’s unique:

 

Doughnuts are a fall fave, for sure – and sugar-dusted apple cider doughnuts are Banker Orchards’ specialty. They bake them fresh on site!

 

The baked treats are located right in the country store adjacent to the orchard, petting zoo and fun outdoor games and activities for kids.

 

Well, okay – I use the term “kids” loosely.

Either way, there’s plenty to check out at Banker Orchards, no matter your age or maturity level.

5. Chazy Orchards9486 U.S. 9, Chazy, NY 12921chazy.com

After we had our fill of doughnuts and games, we piled back into the car (which was pretty packed with orchard goodies at this point), and made our way from Plattsburgh to Chazy where we would finally encounter “The Largest McIntosh Orchard in the World” at Chazy Orchards. I think you can guess what’s unique about this place!

 

Apple trees for days!

Visitors can venture into the orchard on their own for U-Pick or they can purchase a range of bagged apples from the store, including SweeTango™. This special hybrid variety of apple created in 2009 that’s only produced by licensed growers. Pretty fancy!

Want to follow my apple tour route? Check out this map:

Want to add some variety to your Adirondack Coast getaway? Pick one or two of the orchards listed above and check out these other nearby attractions.

Other stops in Peru, NY:

Other stops in Plattsburgh, NY:

Other stops in Chazy, NY:

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Here’s what happens when a group of adventurous ladies tackle Rattlesnake Mountain

So we all have that one friend... you know the one I am talking about. That friend who pushes you outside of our comfort zone, the one in the story saying, “Hold my beer!”  

I am super fortunate to have one of those friends, her name is Jody!  

Except Jody’s plans always involve an unconventional Adirondack Coast adventure.  From kayaking during the harvest moon or hiking in the winter, she helps me see the Adirondack Coast from a new perspective.

She’s even created an “Adventure Club”. It consists of a group of ladies who meet up occasionally and go on crazy adventures.  Our recent outing was hiking Rattlesnake Mountain in Willsboro to watch the sunrise from the peak.

At first, I was a bit skeptical… like, aren’t there bears in those mountains?! But then I thought, how fun would it be to hike in the dark with nothing but headlamps while gabbing with friends? And we all get to experience an Adirondack sunrise at the end? Fine, I was in!

On this particularly July day, sunrise was at 5:20 a.m.

We all arrived at the base of Rattlesnake at 4:00 a.m., giving us plenty of time to get our gear on and prep for our journey to the top. The group of women laughed as we put on our headlamps and glow sticks (quite fashionable).  With flashlights in hand, we started our 45 minute trek.

The climb was great – pitch black – but great. We heard trees rustling from the wind, a babbling brook and our own footsteps keeping pace as we embraced the gentle climb towards the top. 

When we reached the top, daylight was breaking but the sun was still out of view.  We did what all women would do and took a million pictures of ourselves in a variety of magazine-worthy poses and ate snacks while we waited. 

Then – it happened. The sun started poking out from behind the mountains and the group went silent for the first time in hours.  We stood in amazement of the sight before us: a beautiful sunrise over the mountains, with bright and vibrant colors.  It was spectacular, breath-taking, peaceful and TOTALLY worth it!  Not one smartphone camera was out. We all just simply watched.

When the sun was high in the sky we proceeded to decend – it took us under 40 minutes to get down to the bottom and back to our cars.  It was only 6:45am; we went  our separate ways and started our day with another unforgettable “Adventure Club” experience under our belts. Thanks, Jody!

Have you embarked on an invigorating Adirondack Coast hike recently? Post your photos online and don't forget to tag #AdirondackCoast!

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Adirondack Coast Kitchen: The Senecals' Strawberry and Chèvre Crostini

I want to preface this blog by stating that I had absolutely nothing to do with the creation or making of this recipe!  I was simply there to be behind the camera (and sometimes in front of it!) when my husband didn’t want to be… Oh, and I mixed together the strawberries and honey (gotta take credit where credit is due)!

 Despite my very low-level cooking skills in comparison to my husband’s Culinary Institute of America training, this recipe actually did seem pretty easy. And, I have to say, as the self-proclaimed "designated taste tester", it was delicious!

 On the Adirondack Coast, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by diverse agriculture resources.  Each season has something special to offer from farm fresh berries in the summer to a wealth of apples in the fall, not to mention all of the different veggies.  Wherever you are, farm life is never more than a few miles away. 

 Being able to shop at the Plattsburgh Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market, and the North Country Food Co-op not only made all the difference in the recipe but it also made for a fun family outing… hence all the very posed, #shoplocal ad-style photos.

Even baby Senecal says, "Go ahead, give this recipe a shot!" You won’t be disappointed (North Country Food Co-Op baskets safely fit oversized babies).

Prep: 20 minutes         Level: EasyCook: 25 minutes        Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

2 cups local strawberries

2 tbsp. local honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup local Chévre

1 loaf of Ciabatta Bread

Fresh Basil leaves

Olive Oil

 Preparation:

Quarter strawberries and mix together in a bowl with local honey.  Macerate, or let sit, for 20 minutes.

Balsamic Glaze:

While waiting, bring equal parts balsamic vinegar and sugar to a boil on the stove.  Reduce down to a thick, syrupy texture.

Crostini:

Cut ciabatta loaf into slices.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and bottom of each slice.  Put on grill until each side is marked, let cool.

Spread a thick layer of local Chévre onto each ciabatta slice.  Scoop a spoonful of macerated strawberries on top, sprinkle with chopped basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze!

We even got a little fancy on you and made this recipe downloadable, you know, like Giada and The Pioneer Woman!

Strawberry and Chévre Crostini​

If you do end up trying the recipe, let us know by posting it on social media and hashtagging #ADKCoastEats!

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Adirondack Coast Angler Spotlight: Brett Carnright and Ryan Latinville

Fishing is a favorite family-friendly pastime on the Adirondack Coast. Just ask cousins Brett Carnright and Ryan Latinville. These two have been casting lines together since they were just 5 years old.

From hockey to soccer, Brett and Ryan have always been enthusiastic about a little friendly competition.

But it’s on the big waters of Lake Champlain, rather than on a field or a rink, where they’ve reeled in some of their most rewarding wins.

When the FLW Costa Series came to New York’s Adirondack Coast last month, the cousins both finished in the top 10, attributing their success, in part, to a home field advantage and a willingness to work together.

In fact, they would often cast into the same spots when fish started to bite – something other anglers are amazed by. Furthermore, the pair was able to find their bearings quickly, in spite of this season’s high water levels – something that set other anglers back.

In the week leading up to the Costa Series, they marked nearly 300 bass by territory, heading out onto the Lake Champlain at sunup and not venturing back to land until sundown.

Their hard work and familiarity with the Adirondack Coast paid off, literally, with them bringing in 52 lbs. and 3 oz., earning $17,800 together in third place – $11,000 for Carnright and $6,800 for Latinville.

The boys are big fans of bass fishing on Lake Champlain, with their catches increasing each year.

Brett says, “It’s either the lake getting better, or we’re just getting better.”

We’ll venture to guess it’s a little bit of both.

For more information on our #ADKCoastProBass17 tournaments, visit goadirondack.com/bass.

You can read a full article on Brett and Ryan's bass winnings via Dan Heath at Press Republican"Local angling buddies count on home field advantage"

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Kristy’s Top Adirondack Coast Spots to #PlayOnJuly During National Park and Recreation Month

I was recently poking around Facebook (you know, taking all those BuzzFeed quizzes) and discovered that July is National Park and Recreation Month – who knew?!?  It got me thinking: the Adirondack Coast boasts four incredible state parks, all offering a wide range of activities in both summer and winter. I’d be doing the area a disservice if I didn’t share some ideas with you as you plan your next trip to New York’s Adirondack Coast.

So, make like Tom Haverford and treat yoself to some of my favorite parks on Lake Champlain’s western shores!

  

Point Au Roche State Park 19 Camp Red Cloud Road, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Go ahead – ask any Adirondack Coast resident which is their favorite state park in the area. Nine times out of ten you’ll hear: Point Au Roche State Park.

Photo: Nick Puccia

This gem, just north of Plattsburgh, offers a variety of activities in the summer, fall, and winter with acres of nature trails, a wonderful sandy beach on Lake Champlain, and mooring for boaters.  It’s even ideal for paddling, with open bays and amazing views and vistas! You're sure to find something here for the whole family to enjoy.

Photo: Debbie Burns

 

There are two entrances to this park on Point Au Roche Road. The first is to the beach area, with pavilions, a playground, and a glorious sandy beach.  Just a bit further down the road, you’ll find the second entrance featuring the Nature Center, hiking trails, and open bays for boat mooring.

Amenities and activities Include:

  • Sandy Beach (Admission)
  • Staffed Nature Center
  • Swimming
  • Playing fields
  • Nature trails
  • Hiking
  • Playground
  • Biking
  • Picnic Area
  • Pavilions (rental available)
  • Boat Launch
  • Concession Stand
  • Restrooms
  • Mooring
  • Ice fishing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing

 

Ausable Point State Park3346 Lakeshore Road, Peru, NY 12972

While Point Au Roche might be a local favorite, I would venture to say that Ausable Point is the favorite park of our northern neighbors (our Canadian travelers!). And for good reason! This state park, just south of Plattsburgh, boasts several wonderful amenities in a quiet setting on Lake Champlain.

While there, take a look at the sand on the beach. You may notice it’s a bit darker than other area beaches.  That’s because this spot has a high concentration of iron ore, giving the sand a unique color and texture – great for lying back and catching some rays!

 

Ausable Point State Park also borders the Ausable Wildlife Management which offers both a hiking trail and water access for canoeists and paddlers to explore.  There’s also camping onsite for tents and campers – a few sites even offer hook-up as well.

Amenities and activities Include:

  • Beach
  • Swimming area
  • Windsurfing
  • Hiking trail
  • Fishing
  • Birding
  • Wildlife management area
  • Picnic area
  • Grills
  • Pavilion
  • Restrooms
  • Boat Launch (Paddle)
  • Campsites with hookups

 

Cumberland Bay State Park 152 Cumberland Head Road, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Cumberland Bay State Park is located right in the Town of Plattsburgh, adjacent to the Plattsburgh City Beach.  Just a stone’s throw away from all the liveliness of downtown Plattsburgh, this beautiful beach offers a quiet setting for relaxation and recreation.  But if you’re looking to get your heart racing, Cumberland Bay’s solid wind patterns are perfect for adrenaline-seeking windsurfers!

Photo: Ben Bradford
Photo: Ben Bradford

 

Cumberland Bay also is a premier campground with large, wooded sites offering hookups for campers and tent sites.  Each site has a picnic table and fire pit – because it’s not camping on the Coast without s’mores!

Amenities and activities Include:

  • Beach
  • Swimming  
  • Playing fields
  • Playground
  • Concession stand
  • Picnic area
  • Grills 
  • Pavilions
  • Restrooms
  • Campsites (waterfront and beachfront)

 

Macomb Reservation State Park201 Campsite Road, Schuyler Falls, NY 12985

Macomb is probably our least-known state park, in part because it’s not actually located on Lake Champlain, but rather on a pond.  Macomb is located just outside the famous Adirondack Park in the hamlet of Schyler Falls. Here, you can enjoy a day in the wilderness fishing on David Pond or the Salmon River – visitors can use non-motorized boats on this pond.

Photo: Kathy Estrada
Photo: Kathy Estrada

 

The park includes playing fields, a picnic area, a self-guided nature trail, a hiking trail, electric and non-electric wooded campsites. Winter activities include ice skating, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling – lots of options!

Amenities and activities Include:

  • Beach
  • Playing fields
  • Swimming
  • Playground
  • Hiking
  • Picnic area 
  • Nature trail 
  • Pavilions
  • Fishing
  • Restrooms 
  • Showers
  • Boat launch
  • Campsites
  • Ice skating
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowmobiling

 

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Well, now you know where I’ll be for the rest of the month! What parks will you explore?

Capture memories with your camera this summer and share them with us online when you use the hashtag #AdirondackCoast!

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Adirondack Coast Angler Spotlight: Ben Wright

Boats lined up all along Lake Champlain’s majestic horizon at all hours of the day; people bustling about marinas and nearby restaurants -- all the tell-tale signs that bass fishing season has begun on New York’s Adirondack Coast!

 

If you're an angler or co-angler, you know what to expect. If you’re not, all the activity on the water and shores might catch you off guard. You might even be surprised to know that bass fishing is a huge spectator sport – and we’re here to prove it to you.

As our #ADKCoastProBass17 lineup continues over the summer months, we’ll be highlighting and interviewing area anglers participating in the tournaments, each with some insight to offer on this hugely lucrative warm-weather Adirondack Coast adventure.

Remember Peru, NY dweller and local fishing enthusiast Ben Wright? He's first up.

Alina: How'd you get started with bass fishing, and what was your first pro tournament?

Ben: I grew up pond fishing for trout with my dad. Throughout high school and college, my schedule didn’t allow me to fish nearly as much, but I always enjoyed it. So, when I came across an information booth about the Plattsburgh Bass Club at the Mayor’s Cup festivities in 2008 or so, it caught my eye. I fished a tournament of theirs as a co-angler and was immediately hooked (pun intended!). I fished my first FLW BFL the following season in 2009.

Alina: What do you fish for apart from bass?

Ben: I enjoy catching fish of all species, however I fish predominantly bass now.  That said, I would love to pond fish for trout again and have also really enjoyed deep sea fishing the few times I’ve been.

Alina: How much did your biggest catch weigh? Where’d you catch it?

Ben: In bass tournaments I have caught over 20lbs a few times.  I think a little over 21lbs was my biggest 5-fish limit in a tournament and that was at an FLW Costa event in 2015 on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, OH.  While deep sea fishing I have caught several fish in the 25+ pound class in central Florida. 

Alina: In your opinion, what makes Lake Champlain such a great place to fish? Any other nearby rivers, lakes or streams you really love?

Ben: One word… diversity.  I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the country bass fishing and not too many places offer the ability to catch quality largemouth and quality smallmouth in the same day, in the same numbers that Lake Champlain offers.  This region as a whole offers some great fishing.  Lakes like Chataguay, Chazy, Upper and Lower Saranac and so on, all offer great sport fishing, as do rivers like the Chazy, the Saranac and the Ausable.

Alina: What advice do you have for visitors who may want to give bass fishing on the Adirondack Coast a first-time try?

Ben: Make time and do it!  Whether you have travel in with your own boat, contact a local guide or simply fish from shore. Lake Champlain and the other Adirondack Coast fisheries are worth the trip!  The fishing is great year round, but in mid-spring to early summer, 100+ fish are possible and will make any angler smile!

Alina: One last question! What tournaments are you participating in this season?

Ben: I am fishing the full FLW BFL schedule, the FLW Costa, RAM Truck Series and the NY Federation Nation trails, as well as any other events I am able to work into my schedule.

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Catch the excitement on Lake Champlain with Ben June 22-24 during the FLW Costa Series at the Plattsburgh City Marina in downtown Plattsburgh. Find our full lineup of bass fishing tournaments at goadirondack.com/bass.

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Here's How Kristy is Celebrating #GreatOutdoorsMonth on the Adirondack Coast This June

So, June is National #GreatOutdoorsMonth!

This got me thinking: I live in the Adirondacks near Lake Champlain -- New York’s mecca for outdoor recreation. So I asked myself, if I had to choose, what would be my top 5 picks for celebrating Great Outdoors Month on the Adirondack Coast

Because, let’s face it. Here, we celebrate the outdoors every day – and the opportunities are endless. 

So, without further ado, here are my top 5 things to do in the great outdoors of the Adirondack Coast!

 

1. Hike Saranac's New Land Trust

Why do I love the New Land Trust (NLT)? Well, I’m by no means a 46’er – but you don’t have to be to enjoy this 287-acre preserve. I like to stroll one of NLT’s 28 trails and take in the abundant wildlife and iconic scenery. The NLT trail map is easily accessible online. Or you can grab a copy on site at the clubhouse, a classic Adirondack lean-to, bunkhouse and even a few decorative outhouses – designed by a local artist.

I actually discovered the New Land Trust in the winter; the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  While I was wandering the winter trails, I saw lots of families (including pets – yes, there are many pet-friendly outdoor rec opportunities on the Adirondack Coast!). And of course, you’ve got to stop and snap some pictures along the way!

Pack your bag this June with snacks and hiking equipment. There’s plenty to explore at this breathtaking preserve.  

 

2. Paddle Lake Champlain and explore Valcour Island

In the last few years, I’ve made it my mission to explore the Adirondack Coast’s waterways. Did you know there are over 3,000 rivers, streams, and lakes in the area? If I was ever going to experience them all, I had to get my butt in the seat of a kayak and head to the bays, outlets and islands that are – quite literally – just around the riverbend!

By far, my favorite paddle on Lake Champlain is to Valcour Island. It’s a quick trip from the Peru Boat Launch!

While the island offers dry-camping, acres of paths to explore, sandy and rocky beaches and places to moor, its brightest highlight, by far, is the recently restored Bluff Point Lighthouse.

It’s no secret that Lake Champlain’s waters can get rough in a storm. This lighthouse was in service from 1874 and was one of the last manned lighthouses on the lake, closing in roughly 1930. Thanks to the Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA), you can tour it on Sunday afternoons in July and August.  As someone who’s walked through it many a time, I can tell you , each time, I fall in love with the impressive views, one-of-a-kind historic architecture and display depicting its rich history. Brave souls can climb all the way up to the lookout (personally, I’ve chickened out more than a few times).

Each year, I grab a group of friends – we pack a picnic, our bathing suits and walking shoes and paddle to our favorite beach located on the south side of the island.  We beach our boats, have some lunch and explore the island.  I have been doing this for the last 8 years, and each time we wander on a new trail and find new topography to explore.

What’s great about the island is you can learn local history, recreate and relax all in one place!

Don’t have a Kayak? No problem! There’s an outfitter nearby that rents kayaks for the day.

See? No excuse! Go make some history.

 

3. Cycle along Lake Shore Road and Route 9 (with a wine stop or two)

I’ll be honest; getting me to ride a bike is quite the feat. I don’t do it – mostly ‘cause I lack… coordination.  With that said, last year, I finally picked up a bike at a friend’s request and pedaled along Lakeshore Road in Chazy. Boy, am I happy I did! This scenic route follows Lake Champlain from the Canadian Border to Downtown Plattsburgh. With quiet roads and great shoulders, even novice cyclers like me can take their time, learn the sport and savor the views.

I had always heard cycling the Adirondack Coast is the best way to explore it, and I must admit, they weren’t kidding. It’s quiet, peaceful and tranquil.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit having a winery or two to pop into along the way certainly sweetens the deal. 

 

4. Become a beach bum on one of our sandy beaches and parks

Having grown up in the area, I remember spending many summers at the extensive parks and beaches in the area. We’d camp at Ausable Point Campground, and I’d spend my summer days during high school sunning on the Plattsburgh City Beach, eventually wandering over to Cumberland Bay State Park to see friends who were camping and snag myself a few s’mores.  All gorgeous beaches and treasured memories, but the one that always draws me back is Point Au Roche State Park.

I remember being a kid and exploring those miles of trails with my cousins or swimming in the shallow waters finding clay at my feet. We would collect tons of it and make sculptures on the picnic tables for hours. I thought I was a true artist! My poor parents – they would lug it all home and kindly admire it for days – ick!

We’d fire up the charcoal grills on site and fill the air with the smell of barbeque.  I remember eating the most delicious sand-covered hot dogs! I mean, I was 10 – I didn’t care about some silly sand. Those were ideal, carefree summer days.

To this day, I still go with the family and re-create those fun childhood days – swimming, soaking up the sun (with SPF, of course) and eating hot dogs straight off the grill.  We often have family reunions at the park and rent one of the pavilions.  It’s funny to see my cousins return with their children! They play on the same playground I did and make those same… lovely… clay sculptures.

And at the end of the day, those kids crawl into the cars and fall asleep just as fast as I remember doing – after all, playing in the sun and sand is exhausting!

 

5. Discover caches along the Adirondack Coast Geotrail 

I will honestly admit I am a newbie to this activity – a friend introduced me to it. I thought he was crazy, but then I started going on these “scavenger hunt” style adventures and fell in love with caching! The best thing about it is you can cache and explore all over the county; from mountain tops to orchards, there’s probably a cache nearby. 

When we created the Adirondack Coast Geotrail, I thought, what a great way to get visitors to circulate throughout the area – but then I started doing it, too!  I spent hours scouring the app on my phone to locate nearby caches. I wouldn’t leave the location till I found it!

Basically what you do is: download an app, look where someone has hidden a cache (essentially a box with treasures in it and a log to sign), find it and log your points for other cachers to see! 

We were hunting around Ausable Chasm and the app notified us there was a cache located around a close by playground area.  So the group I was with spent hours searching around the playground using the app’s clues.

Eventually, we looked under the stairs and found the box of goodies – we signed it and went on our way to the next one!

This one was more challenging – it was in the middle of a field. Really?! A field, oh yes, that would be easy. 

We narrowed it down to a utility pole – like I said, they’re everywhere and anywhere. After a good 30 minutes of searching, our experienced cacher (thank goodness for him) remembered reading that they can be in wires. He found a “dead” wire that was placed there and unscrewed it.  Lo and behold, there was the sign in sheet IN THE WIRE. Talk about a victory! We talked about it for days after.

Geocaching is a fantastic family-friendly and affordable activity.  It can be done on its own or as part of a bigger adventure.  There’s nothing quite as satisfying as finding that cache! No doubt, now that the snow has melted, I will get back out there and log some more finds. I mean, I need to earn my Adirondack Coast GeoTrail coin – and so do you!

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I'm always coasting around the edge of the Adirondacks near Lake Champlain. Stay updated on my adventures when you follow the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau on social media! 

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10 Refreshing Summer Drinks to Try on New York’s Adirondack Coast

 

Summers on Lake Champlain provide plenty of opportunites for outdoor recreation activities, like paddlingwindsurfing, boating, and jet-skiing -- it's a water-lover's paradise.

But eventually, you're going to want to head back to land and relax. And why not relax with a glass of something fabulous in hand? From bars and breweries, to wineries and lakeside restaurants, we've got the #ADKCoastEats scoop on where to grab yourself a boozy beverage this summer!

 

1. Martinis from Irises, $7.50-8.75 each (+ tax)20-22 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

 

 

Wednesday is "Martini Night" at Irises Café & Wine Bar in downtown Plattsburgh, so you better get in formation. From 4 p.m. to midnight, get a $1 off any option on their Martini Menu, with over 40 different concoctions.

This extensive list goes beyond classic lemon drops and cosmos. Here, you’ll find adventurous options like “Willy-Wonka Tini” and “Citrus Blast Energy”. Whether you’re out for a fancy dinner or just drinks, you’re bound to find the perfect pour here. The most popular martini is the Dirty Martini, pictured below.

 

 

2. Margaritas from The Pepper, $7.00-7.50 (+ tax)13 City Hall Pl, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Downtown Plattsburgh’s festive dine-in Mexican restaurant, The Pepper, boasts a margarita list with more than 13 unique flavors. Whether you’re craving something mellow like “Lavender” or something spicy and unexpected like “Jalapeno-Cucumber”, you’ll find the right marg here to colorfully celebrate any occasion!

Can't get enough these? You can purchase The Pepper's marg mix at the restaurant. Just add it to the tab!

 

3. ADK Hard Cider’s “Mac”, prices vary (available in 6-packs and on tap)7411 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

No matter where you are on the Adirondack Coast, you never have to travel far to get your hands on a glass, can, or growler of “Mac” -- it's ADK Hard Cider’s staple flavor.

Find it on tap at:

Grab a 6-pack from:

  • Barks
  • Beer Cabin
  • Cumberland Head Market
  • Express Lane
  • Market 32
  • Mountain Marts
  • Richards

And, of course, you can always head to Elf’s Farm Winery, where ADK Hard Cider is produced, to try “Mac” (or any other flavor!) straight from the source. Fun fact: one of the Frey family's dogs is named Mac. Maybe you'll see him in person!

 

 

4. White Wine Sangria from Aleka's, $16.00 per pitcher (+ tax)103 Margaret St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Aleka’s fruity White Wine Sangria is the perfect addition to any group’s happy hour – especially when paired with any of the Greek restaurant’s authentic starters. Order a pitcher for 4 full glasses of summery sweetness!

Located right in the heart of downtown Plattsburgh, Aleka’s offers outdoor seating overlooking parks, local shops, pubs, and more – just a quick, scenic 15-minute walk from the Plattsburgh City Marinaand the Plattsburgh Boat Basin via Bridge Street.

 

5. Rulfs Hard Cider brewed by Livingood’s Restaurant & Brewery, $25.50 for a growler ($19.50 for a refill); $7.00 per pint (+ tax)697 Bear Swamp Rd, Peru, NY 12972

 

Livingood’s Restaurant & Brewery and Rulfs Orchard are both located on Bear Swamp Road in Peru, NY, less than a mile from each other. So, if you try (more than a few) of Rulfs’ hard ciders at the brewery and decide you just have to get your hands on some cider doughnuts too, worry not. You’re less than a 15-minute walk away. 

6. Plucky Rooster Ale from Plattsburgh Brewing Company, $25.00 for a growler ($15.00 for a refill); $5.50 per pint (+ tax)411 NY-3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Plattsburgh Brewing Company's brewmaster Jay Stoyanoff combined some the Adirondack Coast’s most enticing history and agriculture with the Plucky Rooster Ale, having researched some of the Founding Fathers’ actual 1800s beer recipes in order to come up with an authentic, unfiltered burly pale ale.

But what’s up with the name? Where'd this rooster come from? And what makes him so plucky?

I'll set the scene: it’s 1814 and the Battle of Plattsburgh is happening right in the middle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812.

This rooster is like, “I think I’ll just chill in my coop on the U.S. ship Saratoga right now, nbd”. (I don't entirely undertstand why no one spoke up and said, "Excuse you, Mr. Rooster, there’s an epic battleoccurring here – could you not?" but we'll roll with it.)

So, the British ship Linnet fires at the Saratoga, striking the coop (shocker). But to the American crew’s surprise, this feisty rooster jumps right up on a gun-slide and starts crowing like crazy – something they found both amusing and oddly inspirational. Right away, Commodore Macdonough fires another round of shots, one of which strikes the British ship Confiance, leading to an open fire and, ultimately, a British retreat and an American victory.

And now we have a tasty beer commemorating the battle.

So, long story short: if it’s liquid courage you’re after, PBCo.’s Plucky Rooster Ale has got your back.

 

7. Wine slushies from Vesco Ridge Vineyard, $5.00 (+ tax)167 Stratton Hill Rd, West Chazy, NY 12992

Vesco Ridge Vineyard's original wine slushy is made using their vino and John Miller Gourmet Vino Slush mix. Nancy and the Dan love experimenting with different combinations of their wines and fresh fruits to create layered delicacies and unique flavor combinations!

If you're looking to cool off while trying something new, take a trip to Vesco's and relax on their deck overlooking the vineyard. Go on a Saturday afternoon, and you can even catch live music!

 

8. Strawberry Lemonade Sangria from Butcher Block, $7.00 each (+ tax)15 Booth Dr, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

  

Image via Boire Benner Group

The Tavern at Butcher Block might be all-new, but that doesn’t mean tried-and-true bar favorites like their Strawbery Lemonade Sangria can’t still be found! Made with a moscato and lemonade base and topped with fresh lemons and strawberries, this drink is just the right amount of sweet for a sunny summer afternoon.

9. Rusty Anchor from Dana's Rusty Anchor, $7.50 (+ tax)

4016 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

The most popular drink at Dana’s Rusty Anchor overlooking Valcour Island and Lake Champlain shares its name with the restaurant: the "Rusty Anchor". Once you glimpse this view, you'll never want to drop your anchor anywhere else. Can you spot Bluff Point Lighthouse?

The drink itself is a cocktail concoction Dana came up with himself: coconut rum, crème de cocoa and pineapple juice. It's the boozy tropical escape your palate has been longing for.

Dana's is open from mid-May to New Year's throughout the year!

 

10. Champlain Lifesaver from Naked Turtle, $8.25 (+ tax)1 Dock Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

During summer months, the “Champlain Lifesaver” is the Naked Turtle’s go-to recommendation for boaters docked at the Plattsburgh Boat Basin and nearby Plattsburgh City Marina. It only takes some coconut, pineapple, and mango rum mixed with pineapple juice and a splash of OJ for visitors to realize going overboard might not be so bad. 

BONUS!

Because our Twitter followers voted for the Naked Turtle as their fave summer happy hour hot spot, we decided to highlight not one but TWO drinks from this popular restaurant on Lake Champlain's western shores.

Adirondack Coast@AdirondackCoast

What's your favorite nice-weather #AdirondackCoast #happyhour spot?

🍹
☀️

#ThirstyThursday

11:56 AM - Apr 27, 2017 · New York, USA0%Livingood's63%The Naked Turtle31%The Pepper6%Other (tell us where!)16 votes•Final results4See Adirondack Coast's other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

11. Turtlerita from Naked Turtle, $8.25 (+ tax)1 Dock Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

If the Champlain Lifesaver isn’t floating your boat, try the Turtlerita. It’s like a regular margarita, but – you know – more turtle-y.

---

 

Do you have your own favorite Adirondack Coast summer drinks? Tell us about them!

Shoot me an e-mail at alina@northcountrychamber.com with an image and the name of your favorite drink from one of our area restaurants, or post it yourself on Instagram using the #ADKCoastEats hashtag. If your account is public, don't forget to tag @AdirondackCoast so we can see!

Cheers to you, Adirondack Coasters!

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15 Delicious #ADKCoastEats Under $15

You're bound to work up an appetite exploring all the Adirondack Coast's exciting history, outdoor recreation and agritourism experiences. But the adventure doesn't have to end when you leave the farm or park your bike. The very best of our agriculture can be experienced through local dishes -- without breaking the bank. Keep reading to learn about some of the best #ADKCoastEats under $15.

 

1. “Stoner” Wings from Monopole Bar, 10 for $9.00 or 12 for $9.75 (+ tax)7 Protection Ave, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

One taste of these bad boys, and there’s no going back to simple barbeque or buffalo. Ask around Monopole, and no one can tell you exactly what’s in the “Stoner Sauce” smothered on these decadent chicken wings, but once you try them, you pretty much lose the will to care. One thing’s for certain: during the weekly “Wednesday Wing Nights” special, crowds young and old flock into the bar to snatch these wings up for $.65 each.

 

2. A Red Hot from McSweeney’s Red Hots, $1.95 (+ tax)600 State Route 3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 // 7067 State Route 9, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Pull into the parking lot of any McSweeney’s car hop spot on the Adirondack Coast, and a server will come running out to your car. If you order a Red Hot for just $1.95, they’ll ask, “With, without, or buried?” If it’s your first time trying this Adirondack Coast delicacy, you might not know how to respond. Insider tip: they’re talking about onions. If you’re a local, you’ve grown up knowing that preferred onion placement can make or break a Michigan hot dog – no matter how good the secret meat sauce is.

 

3. Cinnamon sugar apple cider doughnuts from Rulfs Orchard, 12 for $6, 6 for $3.50, or $.70 each (+ tax)531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, NY 12972

Rulfs’ famous apple cider doughnuts are a staple among Adirondack Coast visitors during autumn months – but you can purchase them year-round when you stop by the orchard’s bakery, where delicious smelling treats are made fresh daily from seasonal local ingredients!

 

4. A “Cupcake of the Day” from Delish by Irises, $2.49 each24 City Hall Pl, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Each week, bakers at Delish create masterfully elaborate and unique cupcakes in both large and mini sizes. From “Margarita” made with actual tequila to “Take 5” topped with pretzels, the options are pretty much endless. And you don’t have to try just one! Order a dozen minis for $13.49 and satisfy your sweet tooth!

 

5. Romeo Pizza from Pasquale’s, $14.95 (+ tax) for a small pizza2931 Main Street Route 22, Peru, NY 12972

In the last 8  years, the Romeo Pizza at Pasquale's has become an Adirondack Coast staple. Sure, the crispy chicken, ranch dressing, and red onions are tasty on top of their typical pizza ingredients -- but it's the special Romeo sauce that really makes this one of our top #ADKCoastEats.

 

6. Champ Club from Lakeside Coffee, $8.65 (+ tax)109 Lake St, Rouses Point, NY 12979

Lakeside Coffee, although known for (you guessed it!) their delicious coffee drinks, they also offer a half-sandwich with soup special throughout the week. The yummy Champ Club, pictured below, is their most popular, made with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo. House-made soup flavors change regularly as well, with recent favorites like beef barley, ham chowder, cheeseburger and roasted red pepper.

 

7. The New Yorker breakfast sandwich from Bagel Pit, $7.55 (+ tax)50 Margaret St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Bagel Pit staff call this “the bagel that never sleeps”. With fresh lox, tomato, red onions, capers, and plain cream cheese on your choice of house-made bagel, it’s easy to see how you could wolf this breakfast sandwich down in a New York minute.

 

8. A Zuke's Special from Zuke’s Deli, $8.49 (+ tax)113 Brinkerhoff St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Beloved by visitors and locals, the Zuke’s Special combines imported Swiss cheese melted over turkey breast, boiled ham, and coleslaw, all drizzled with Russian dressing on your choice of the deli’s freshly baked white or multi-grain French baguette. Don’t forget to grab a bag of chips on your way out – they’re included!

Image via Craig Allen Photography
Image via Craig Allen Photography

 

9. Any of the 7 Deadly Burgers from Livingood’s Restaurant & Brewery, $14 (+ tax)697 Bear Swamp Rd, Peru, NY 12972

Well, any of the 7 Deadly Burgers except one. But hey, if you’re gonna call a burger “Gluttony” it makes sense it would be twice as big as the rest ($19 + tax). Each of these burgers begins with a ½ pound of Kilcoyne Farms black angus beef and evolves into its own masterpiece with flavorful local toppings and ingredients. From spicy Wrath to complex Envy, at least one of these burgers is bound to tempt your taste buds.

Image via Boire Benner Group
Image via Boire Benner Group

 

10. Mac-n-cheese from Olive Ridley’s Taphouse & Grill, $12 (+ tax)37 Court St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Don’t miss out on this cavatappi pasta slathered with a house-made three-cheese herb sauce and baked with a panko crust. Served up hot in a skillet, it’s great for sharing or eating on your own. No judgement if you don’t leave with leftovers!

 

11. The “Fat Boy Burrito” from Lomeli’s, $8 (+ tax)20 Plattsburgh Plaza, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Lomeli’s in uptown Plattsburgh has quickly become a go-to Mexican takeout hot spot. Their Fat Boy Burrito is loaded with the tastiest essentials: rice, beans, cheese, cilantro and onions. Feeling frisky? Add asada or chicken for an extra $2.

 

12. Butcher Block’s lunch salad bar, $7.95 (+ tax)15 Booth Dr, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Soup, salad, bread – oh my! From potato and pasta to the more traditional spring mix, there’s plenty of variety to choose from when cruising through Butcher Block’s salad bar. While it’s included with most of the restaurants entrees, head on over during lunch and you can enjoy it as a meal for just $7.95 per person.

Image via Boire Benner Group
Image via Boire Benner Group

 

13. Chicken tenders with poutine from Sandy’s Deli, $12.42 (+ tax)133 Lake St, Rouses Point, NY 12979

What’s the most popular à la carte pairing at Sandy’s Deli in Rouses Point? Chicken tenders with the side of fries upgraded to poutine. For those of you who don’t know, this Canadian delicacy originating in Quebec (not too far from the Adirondack Coast!) consists of hot fries slathered in gravy sprinkled with fresh cheese curds. YUM!

 

 

14. Gus’ Famous Omelet from (you guessed it) Gus’, $9.955 Commodore Thomas MacDonough Hwy, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

What do you get when you whip up 3 eggs, some of the Adirondack Coast's most popular Michigan sauce, cheese, and a sprinking of onions? Gus' Famous Omelette! They'll even toss in a hot dog for you hardcore Michigan fans out there.

 

15. Arnie’s pizza, $9.95 for a large20 Margaret St, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

If it’s an authentic Italian restaurant experience you’re after, Arnie’s in Plattsburgh is your best bet. Visitors and locals have been raving about this family-style restaurant since it opened downtown in 1951 with recipes Arnie’s mother brought over from Italy. What on the menu should you absolutely try? The pizza.

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Don't forget to share your own #ADKCoastEats with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

Find more Adirondack Coast dining options here.

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Celebrate your Valentine with these 6 Adirondack Coast romance essentials

On the Adirondack Coast, we believe love is an adventure. When it comes to celebrating your special someone, it helps to have a plan. That’s where we come in!

The events and date-night ideas below are sure to keep your romance alive and thriving on the Adirondack Coast this February.

Get dressed up and enjoy a candlelight dinner for two

From Plattsburgh to Chazy, there are plenty of unique fine dining options to choose from. If it’s European-inspired American cuisine you’re after, head to Anthony’s Restaurant & Bistro. Steak and seafood lovers should check out Butcher Block. For an intimate dining experience in the heart of historic downtown Plattsburgh, make a reservation at Irises Café & Wine Bar, boasting 40 different wines by the glass and an extensive martini selection.

 

Planning to celebrate V-Day early? Amazing Grace Vineyard will host its annual Valentine’s Day 5-Course Dinner on February 11 complete with local wines and live jazz music.

Catch a recent movie or a spectacular show

Make it a dinner-and-a-movie kind of night by heading to the North Country’s premiere locally owned and operated theatre, Cumberland 12 Cinemas, offering stadium seating for the latest releases. Or, check out Regal Champlain Centre Stadium 8 at Champlain Centre (hopefully you’ve already taken care of any necessary Valentine’s Day shopping, but just in case you’re a total procrastinator, you’ll have plenty of shops to frantically dart into while your boo thinks you’re running to the concession stand for those raisinettes).

Prefer a live performance? The Strand Center Theatre welcomes Scarlett Grand Review II: Burlesque at its Best on February 11 for her iconic burlesque show! Purchase tickets online in advance.

Book a hotel or a cozy B&B for your romantic getaway

Choose from a variety of conveniently located mid and upscale hotels on Route 3 in Plattsburgh or opt for a more intimate stay at area bed and breakfasts like Point Au Roche Lodge (right near Point Au Roche State Park overlooking Lake Champlain) or Hummingbird Home right in downtown Plattsburgh.

Sample the region’s authentic beverages

Whether it’s beer or wine you’re after, the Adirondack Coast is becoming well known for its unique vineyards and breweries. Have a dose of history with your craft brew when you visit Valcour Brewing CompanyOval Craft Brewing, or Plattsburgh Brewing Company. From the War of 1812 to the Old Airforce Base, our history is as rich and flavorful as our beers. To experience some of the area’s best locally-sourced dishes with your brews, head to Livingood’s, where they're committed to sustainable partnerships with area farms.

Stop in at tasting rooms along the 33-mile long Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, sampling wines made from unique cold-hardy grapes, with each winery and vineyard showcasing its own personality and dash of famous Adirondack hospitality.

Experience your favorite pastime – or try something completely new!

Are you the type of couple that likes to work out together? Give candlelight yoga at Trinity Yoga a try! Prefer to exercise outdoors? Go for a winter hike or snowshoe or cross country ski by moonlight at Point Au Roche State Park (don’t forget your flashlights!).

Or maybe you’re the type of couple that likes to experience the great outdoors without exerting much energy. That’s cool too! Set up an appointment with Country Dreams Farm and soak in the Adirondack Coast’s glittering landscape while cuddling up during a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

Find a special treat for that special someone…

Show your sweetheart just how sweet you think his or her heart is when you surprise them with delicious locally-made confections! Rambach’s Bakery offers scrumptious pastries and cakes, while Adirondack Chocolates crafts a variety of assorted chocolate gift boxes.  If you’re after artisan cupcakes, stop by Delish by Irises and choose from their fresh cupcakes of the week.

***

No matter how you decide to celebrate, it’s who you’re with that matters. Make this Valentine’s Day one both of you will never forget on the Adirondack Coast! Check out our easy-to-use Trip Planner Tool to start creating your travel itinerary.

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Mulled Wine and Other Delicious Winter Beverages From the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail

They say when the weather outside is frightful, it's the fire that's so delightful.

Don’t get me wrong – an evening spent warming up by contained flames during winter months is a great way to pass the time, indoors or outdoors; however, any situation can truly only be made more delightful when embraced with a glass of wine in hand.

In December, that wine is usually mulled, making for a unique seasonal treat – one with a special Adirondack Coast twist!

Whether you’re looking for a tasting room experience or want to make a delightful beverage in the comfort of your own home using wines from along the AVA-designated Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, you’ll find a local delicacy below to – literally – spike your seasonal cheer!

“Spice Wine” from Vesco Ridge Vineyard

Nancy Vesco steeps 4 bags of Olde Tradition mulling spice in 4 cups of steamed (not boiling!) apple cider or apple juice, and mixes in one whole bottle of their Farm Truck Red wine. Nancy’s favorite local cider to use happens to come from Chazy Orchards, home of the world’s largest McIntosh orchard – just a quick drive down the road from their vineyard.

Once the spice has steeped for 3-5 minutes, add in ¼ cup honey and garnish with cinnamon sticks and orange slices – ready to serve!

This recipe is versatile – Nancy uses a similar one to create a white cranberry punch with the same spice and one of their white wines. To experience either of these seasonal delights, you can head to Vesco Ridge in person, or simply purchase a bottle or two of their original wines to experiment with the recipe on your own.

“Snowflake Red” from The Champlain Wine Company

This sweet red combines ripe blackberries and cherries with hints of currant. It pairs well will all manner of holiday and cold-weather foods, like beef, lamb, burgers – and any of those fancy chocolates that seem to magically appear (and then very quickly disappear) throughout the house in December.

Enjoy a glass of the Snowflake Red in Champlain Wine Company’s vibrant tasting room, and then browse through their on-site gallery. Or grab a bottle to take home and serve at your own holiday festivities!

 “Adirondack Coast Reflections” from Amazing Grace Vineyard & Winery

Taking a break from preparing for the vineyard's annual "Taste of the Holidays" event, Mary from Amazing Grace explained that their spiced semi-sweet red estate wine is made from 3 different varieties and includes sprinklings of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and orange natural grade oils, which add the authentic flavoring we crave during the holidays – without removing the alcohol (a very important detail).

Whether you’re gathering around a bottle of your favorite wine or around a crackling fire, it’s who you’re with that makes this season special.

But it’s always nice if who you’re with loves wine just as much as you do.

Have the best of indoors and outdoors this season when you travel along the scenic 33-mile Adirondack Coast Wine Trail, with plenty of shops and restaurants along the way to keep you and your loved ones jolly and jingling all the way (apologies in advance to the DD)!

Visit adkcoastwine.com for more info, or scope out the trail on social media when you follow facebook.com/ADKCoastWineTrail and instagram.com/adkcoastwinetrail.

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Spooky Spots on the Adirondack Coast: Macdonough Hall

If Gossip Girl taught us anything, it’s that no matter high school, college, or “the real world”, rumors never die. And they especially don’t die when they’re about ghosts.

Different students come and go through SUNY Plattsburgh’s oldest residence hall each year, but the spirits residing here are much less likely to pack up and move on when commencement rolls around – or so we’ve heard.

Both students and locals seem to widely accept hauntings within this four-story Georgian-style building on Broad Street (named after Commodore Thomas Macdonough, one of the Adirondack Coast’s most famous military heroes from the Battle of Plattsburgh). But reasons behind the hauntings remain pretty ambiguous.

Throughout our research, Alyssa and I heard a jumble of myths involving ghosts and strange occurrences within the building. Utica-based radio station Lite 98.7 even cited Macdonough Hall as the reason behind SUNY Plattsburgh’s spot on their “Top 13 Most Haunted Colleges in New York State” list.

So Alyssa and I decided we wanted to separate the real from the fake and the fake from the real – by tracking down the people who would know best: SUNY Plattsburgh students.

With permission from college administrators, Residence Hall Director Will Cangialosi gave us a tour of the building and busted a few of the above mentioned myths in the process.

 

Myth: Macdonough Hall’s basement was once used as a Morgue.

FALSE

It turns out, Macdonough has exclusively served living, breathing students since its construction in 1951.  Within a decade of opening its doors, the building became the school’s original campus center containing a dining hall, student activities center, health center and dorms. In 2005, the whole building was renovated – including the basement – which now contains an entire floor of rooms for students.

Will says the morgue idea probably came from the bomb shelters below the basement, which include passages and brick archways (think catacombs). Makes sense, since Plattsburgh was a huge target during the Cold War, mostly because of the nearby Airforce Base.

Alyssa and I weren’t able to confirm or deny any creepy happenings in the passages though, because even Will doesn’t have a key to that part of the building. It’s shut off to residents.  But we couldn’t help thinking: it’s a good thing locked doors have two sides.

Then again, if you’re a ghost, that doesn’t really matter.

 

Myth: Macdonough Hall’s butler, Mortimer, murdered a girl in the attic.

FALSE

Now that we know the building has only ever been a residence hall, we can scrap this one too. I mean, unless you attended a bourgie college with butlers included in room and board. In which case, I would obviously stand corrected.

Still, fact or fiction, a spooky story is a spooky story, so here goes: Mortimer, the deranged family butler, killed the daughter of his employer and hid her body among the bricks in Macdonough’s attic walls. That’s why sometimes you can hear a young girl crying and a man laughing… sinisterly… MUAHAHA.

Cue flashlight underneath my face.

Okay, so this story is actually just the product of some serious senioritis. But the alum who made it up is a tax attorney now, so don’t worry.  He overcame the senioritis and is now fully cured.

Read the full story here.

And just for funsies, Alyssa and I asked Will to show us the attic. We learned that a little over a year ago some PSU students brought a Ouija Board up there and held a séance. Resident assistant MacKenzie Dumas was in the group and says nothing particularly weird happened while they were playing Ouija, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had weird experiences at other times.

Want to know more? Check out a video of Will and MacKenzie explaining their own haunted Macdonough Hall happenings on the Adirondack Coast’s Youtube channel.

 

Myth: Graves were unearthed during the building’s construction… and the headstones have since disappeared.

TRUE

So, then maybe it’s not even the building itself that these spooky stories are attached too – maybe it’s the surrounding land.

Macdonough has an east side and a west side. The side with the most reported “activity” is the east, according to Will. Why?

Well, we humble bloggers can’t say for sure, though this does happen to be the side closest to Riverside Cemetery. We also know that the land behind the building was used as a public hanging grounds during the 19th century (you know, when public hangings were acceptable and stuff).

In fact, during construction, two graves and a bone were uncovered by a bulldozer from the surrounding marshlands. Historians confirmed that one headstone belonged to Mrs. Benjamin Vaughn – the wife of the man who built the Kent-Delord House – while the other remained mostly illegible. And the bone? Well, it could have been a chicken wing for all we know, but hey, still creepy. While construction continued, these artifacts were set along a nearby sidewalk, but later disappeared.

Does Benjamin Vaughn’s wife still wander the nearby cemetery and property on the east side of the residence hall in search of her headstone? Yikes, who knows! But if she does: girl, it might be time to throw in the towel.

 

Myth: Macdonugh Hall was explored by the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society (NNYPRS).

TRUE

NNYPRS came primarily to check out the City Rec Department, but they stuck around to see – or in this case, hear – what was happening in Macdonough Hall. Over the years, students have reported hearing crying and laughing in empty rooms and halls, self-flushing toilets, furniture falling over.

Reps from NNYPRS reported hearing “a lot of interesting sounds” – but couldn’t determine whether or not they resulted from student residents or otherworldly residents.

While the professional opinion on Macdonough Hall’s ghosts might be inconclusive, students still say weird stuff happens.

What do you think?

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Spooky Spots on the Adirondack Coast: Old Post Cemetery

In one quick Google search you’ll realize that Plattsburgh’s Old Airforce Base and surrounding U.S. Oval Historic District are commonly thought to house lingering spirits.

Though many nearby buildings and structures are worth exploring (the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society even visited the City Rec Dept. back in 2008), it’s the Old Post Cemetery and its hauntingly tragic grounds on the outskirts of the encompassing area that continually evoke chills among passersby – and not just because this is northern New York and the weather is getting cold!

137 U.S. soldiers and sailors rest in this mass grave – their identities eternally unknown.

Their bodies were unearthed during construction on the parade grounds around the Old Stone Barracks in the late 1800s. Most of these soldiers fought in the War of 1812 in which Plattsburgh played a significant military role because of its strategic location on Lake Champlain.

But historic battles aren’t the cemetery’s only tragic ties.

A poem on one grave reads:

“Tis a little grave butO have care for world widehopesare buried there how muchoflight how much of joy isburiedwith our darling boy.”

In 1918, influenza struck New York State, causing a record-breaking number of deaths. In Clinton County, many of these deaths included children. Wander around the Old Post Cemetery and you’ll see markers designating dozens of infants, children, and mothers – 106 to be exact.

One mother in particular refuses to leave.

Visitors report seeing the forlorn Woman in White, commonly known as Catherine Seymour, in the back corner of the cemetery desperately searching among the infant graves for her child lost to the fatal flu. Some visitors have even reported hearing the sounds of a crying woman... as well as crying babies.

A little freaked out by the idea of exploring the cemetery on your own at night? I don’t blame you!

No worries – you can go with a guide from Greater Adirondack Ghost & Tour Company, offering immersive “Ghosts of the Old Post” night tours (among others!) throughout October. Who knows what you might encounter!

Keep checking back at goadirondack.com/blog throughout the rest of the month to get your weekly dose of creepy this Halloween season.

Next week’s site? Macdonough Hall at SUNY Plattsburgh!

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Spooky Spots on the Adirondack Coast: Riverside Cemetery

On New York’s Adirondack Coast, autumn is characterized by crisp golden leaves, abundant apple orchards, sugar-dusted cider doughnuts, and at least one or two basic pics snapped while frolicking in a pumpkin patch (#guilty).

But not everything about this season is as cutesy-wootsy as it might appear upon first glance.

No, beneath fall’s frothy, pumpkin-spiced surface lurks something more sinister – and I’m not talking about the spoiled milk in your latte!

Alyssa and I are digging into Adirondack Coast history to unearth the area’s spookiest secrets.

This blog marks the beginning of our 4-part series leading up to Halloween.

Stop number one? Riverside Cemetery, located right outside of SUNY Plattsburgh’s campus, heading south on Broad Street, just off of Steltzer Road.

When Alyssa and I began researching “Spooky Spots on the Adirondack Coast”, this place caught our eye – first, because we heard Plattsburgh’s founder Zephaniah Platt is buried here; second, because we heard a rumor about an ominous pentagram on his gravestone. So, we set out to find it for ourselves…

…and we did! Well, kind of. Matt Boire of "Greater Adirondack Ghost & Tour Company" gave us the detes. Apparently there were a few Plattses named Zephaniah, and all the family headstones are near this one. The one with the pentagram on it actually belongs to the founder's grandson. Matt says that while the headstones were relocated to Riverside from Zephaniah Platt's homestead, the actual bodies remain in the ground where they were originally buried. Which basically means Plattsburgh's founder is under an apartment complex somewhere... else.

After spending some more time in the field, we were disappointed (but also a little relieved) to discover that no, someone was not actually trying to conjure up the ghost of the guy Plattsburgh is named after. Rather, some troublemakers were defacing these historic and truly very artful burial sites. It turns out, Riverside Cemetery has historically been the site of numerous acts of vandalism.

But why? Local journalist and Ghosts of Clinton County author Gordie Little once wrote in an article for The Sun, “[I] find cemeteries to be like libraries, revealing much about those who came before.” This is true. Walk from one end of the grounds to the other, and as you venture deeper into both the cemetery and time, it’s easy to imagine Plattsburgh’s rich history playing out before your eyes. Visitors will recall nearby street names on the stones as well as local landmarks, like the Kent-Delord House Museum. Students might recognize the names of campus buildings, like Macdonough Hall (more on that to come!).

Maybe the intrigue lies in the number of local influential families buried here. In fact, Riverside has even been the site of several Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration events over the years, providing a place for visitors and locals to honor important pieces of the town’s treasured military past: its success during the War of 1812 and the soldiers who made it possible.

Walking through the grounds, it's difficult to tell which headstones were turned intentionally and which have simply toppled over with time. Many of the ones at the end closest to campus – the oldest section of the cemetery – are eerily illegible. Others battle the natural forces surrounding them, refusing to surrender to the looming tree trunks and their invasive roots.

So, aside from a few (very rude and inconsiderate) vandals, what is it that actually makes this spot legitimately spooky?

Here goes…

On the outskirts of Riverside, just past the gates, there’s a swing set at a daycare built on the site near where St. John’s Catholic Church was once located.

According to Ghosts of Clinton County, students often wandered to the cemetery from campus at night to investigate its sinister reputation – not unlike Alyssa and myself.

In 2006, a number of students reported having seen movement at the swing set as they were leaving the cemetery just at the stroke of midnight. When they looked over, they saw a young girl casually swinging back and forth – an odd site so late at night.

As they continued to approach the swing, she faded away, leaving the seat empty – but still moving.

Does this mysterious girl still guard the site from vandals today? If I were a vandal, I certainly wouldn’t want to risk it!

Can’t get enough creepy Adirondack Coast tales?

Find copies of Ghosts of Clinton County for sale at Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA), located on the former Air Force Base.

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Guest Blogger: Lake Champlain bass fishing with Ben who?

My name is Ben Wright.  I was born in Plattsburgh, raised in Saranac and now reside in Peru, NY.  The Adirondack Coast is my home!  I hold a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Plattsburgh State University and a Master’s in Managing Innovation and Information Technology from Champlain College in Burlington, VT. I work as a Network Engineer for The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) in Plattsburgh.

Okay, okay… enough with the boring stuff.  Why am I writing this blog?  Well… I also fish… A LOT! 

I have been tournament bass fishing for many years and have even had a little success.  I’ve been fortunate enough to qualify for, and fish in, some of the biggest events in the sport of competitive bass fishing.  I am a 6-time New York State fishing team member.  I won the 2013 TBF National Championship, fished in both the FLW BFL All-American and the Forrest Wood Cup.  I’ve been regularly fishing the FLW Costa Series and qualified for its championship several times as well.  I fish in most every tournament I can, while staying within the limits of my vacation time at CVPH.

As a result of my limited time away from work, I choose to fish as a co-angler, meaning I travel to the location of the tournament and am paired with a boater at the registration meeting the evening before the event begins.  This allows me to travel far more than I could as a boater.  As a co, I can simply drive in the night before and go fish… no need to use more vacation time leaving a week earlier, practicing before each event as a boater would and then traveling back.  I also significantly reduce the cost associated with tournament fishing as a co, because not only are my travel costs less with shorter hotel stays and less fuel used not towing my boat, but so are my entry fees.

However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t as much on the line for a co-angler, nor does it mean the fishing is any easier.  First place on the co-angler side ranges from $3,000 +/- in the lower level regional circuits, to as much as $30,000 in the national level events.  Additionally, I would argue that fishing from the back of the boat, as co-anglers do, has made me a better fisherman as a whole.  On tournament day, I don’t get to pick where we’re fishing for the day or for how long we’ll stay in each area.  I am just along for the ride, so to speak. 

Co-anglers also often get second pass as most hard structure (docks, wood, rocks…), which happens to be what the bass tend to relate to.  This inability to control your own fate can be frustrating, but makes a co-angler become more adaptive.  It forces the co-angler to become a well-rounded angler if they wish to be competitive.

So maybe you’re still wondering what this blog is all about…  Over the last 10-12 years, tournament bass fishing has become a large part of the Adirondack Coast tourism scene as well as a major contributor to the summertime economy in the Champlain Valley. 

The North Country Chamber of Commerce and the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau are kind enough to support me in my fishing endeavors and I am proud to represent them as I travel the country chasing little brown and green fish.  I was invited to blog about my experiences as I travel. 

Now that you know a little bit about me, I’ll be writing more blogs following each event.  Each blog will be fishing oriented, but will also chronicle my travels, successes and failures,  as well as include funny stories from stop to stop.  I invite each and every one of you to follow me in my journey.  More to follow… Thanks!

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Spend 24 End-of-Summer Hours on Lake Champlain's Adirondack Coast

Maybe it’s a family vacation. Maybe it’s a wedding. Maybe it’s your kid’s first move-in weekend at a nearby college.

Whatever it is that brought you here, you’ve got 24 hours on the Adirondack Coast – don’t let them go to waste!

I Love New York recently included this area, shadowed by the Adirondack Mountains on the edge of Lake Champlain, as the perfect spot in the region to spend a day. At the Visitors Bureau, we’d have to agree – especially since the possibilities for adventure change and grow along with the seasons.

Below are some “must-see” stops to make if you happen to be here just as the summer sun is setting.

 

Reach new heights.

Okay, so literally everybody comes to the Adirondacks thinking they’re going to leave a 46er. Truth is, there are tons of magnificent trails and mountains of all elevations to explore. Sure, if the highest peaks in New York State are your style, go for it (we recommend Lyon Mountain!), but if you’re looking for a more leisurely encounter with nature, we’ve got that too.

Point Au Roche State Park, for example, offers 12 miles of scenic hiking paths, open meadows with wildlife, paved bike paths and more. Bring your boat and drop the anchor for a day -- free of charge.

And if it’s spectacular views you’re after, there are tons of rock ledges at Silver Lake Mountain’s summit ridge overlooking the lake, Union Falls Pond, Taylor Pond, Catamount and Whiteface Mountain.

 

Embrace your inner water lover.

Watersports are a huge deal on the Adirondack Coast. When winds pick up at this time of the season, windsurfers hit the beaches to catch some waves.

Is the idea of turning flips and tricks a little to adventurous? Give paddling a try when you grab a kayak or paddleboard rental at the Plattsburgh City Beach or swing by Kayak Shack’s Baggs’ Landing Paddlesports Centre, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Labor Day, to glide across the Ausable River.

From Baggs’, you can paddle downstream to the mouth of the Ausable River, where you can the explore the marshes, or you can venture all the way to “primitive” Valcour Island, home to a bunch of rare plant species and the largest Great Blue Heron rookery on Lake Champlain.

It’s also where you’ll find Bluff Point Lighthouse, overlooking the site where a desperate battle in the war for independence was once fought. Built in 1874, it’s the only lighthouse on Lake Champlain listed on the National Historic Registry. Catch a tour before the end of August on Sundays between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

 

Adventure through history.

Since the Revolutionary War, this coastal area has been valued for its strategic location, hosting military soldiers as well as flyboys at different points in time.

Both Historic Downtown Plattsburgh and the U.S. Oval District are scattered with museums and attractions boasting connections to our past, particularly the War of 1812.

Each September, the city and town come together for the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration(September 8-11, this year). The historic City of Plattsburgh comes alive with reenactments, tours, contests, parades, authentic time-period cuisine, and plenty more to pull you into the action.

Nearby sites you’ll want to check out include: Valcour Brewing Company – formerly the Old Stone Barracks on the old Plattsburgh Air Force Base, now restored as a one-of-a-kind inn and brewery – and the Kent-Delord House Museum, a site once occupied by the British, along the Heritage Trail in downtown Plattsburgh. From there, you can enjoy the Riverwalk Park, monuments, art galleries, side street murals, restaurants and shopping along the Saranac River.

 

Taste the local lifestyle.

Agriculture is a way of life on the Adirondack Coast. Events like Downtown Rising, a weekly food, music, and arts festival taking place on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., gather together local farmers, performers, and vendors in Trinity Park. August 26th is the closing event of the season – your last chance to see so much of the area in one place!

Downtown Plattsburgh is the perfect place to kick-start a weekend of family-friendly fun. After you’ve had your fill of the festival, head to a nearby restaurant, like Irises Café & Wine Bar or The Pepper, for dinner and drinks. Ask for outdoor seating and you’ll still be able to experience the lively atmosphere of the city. For mesmerizing views of the waterfront and live music you can jive to, check out the Naked Turtle (and treat yourself to a MacDonough Monument Mai Tai while you’re at it!).

 

Sip some wine.

Each stop along the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail creates a unique experience, offering you the chance to explore local agriculture in both rustic and refined environments. The hardy cold-weather grapes grown in this region make for wine unlike that found anywhere else in the world, perfectly balancing acidity, high sugar, and those deep flavors of the Upstate New York climate.

The official trail is 33 miles long – but on Saturday August 27th, you’ll have the chance to try samples from all 6 of the wineries in one place. Conroy’s Organics is hosting the first ADK Coast Summer Wine Fest. You can snag your tickets here for $25 a pop.

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So, now that you’ve got some options, get out there and explore. It’s time for you to “Escape the Everyday” or whatever brought you here that wasn’t purely for relaxation purposes! See for yourself why visitors return to these glittering waters year after year to experience outdoor recreation, history, and agriculture – no matter the season.

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Keeping Up With the Delords

When you visit the Adirondack Coast, you realize just how important the Battle of Plattsburgh is to the area. There’s even an entire four-day-long commemoration for it each September, downtown and on the waters of Lake Champlain.

Amidst reenactments, parades, and visits to the Israel Green Tavern at Trinity Church (hosted by Conroy’s Organics this year!), you’ll hear stories about the Kent-Delord House and the three generations of Delords that lived there symbolizing what most consider to be the American Dream in the North Country. Here’s what I’ve heard around town:

A Local Hot Spot

So today, visitors and locals head to downtown Plattsburgh when they’re looking for a good time, but back in the day, make no mistake, the Delord Mansion was the place to be – especially during the War of 1812.

Plattsburgh’s proximity to the Saranac River and Lake Champlain has always been a major strength, and today the area still thrives off of tourism and trade. But back then? It was a strategic military hub.

Because of this, prominent leaders like Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough, General Alexander Macomb, and even President James Monroe could be found at 17 Cumberland Avenue (formerly Bellevue Avenue), where Henry Delord and his wife Betsey were known to throw lively soirees.  

Why was this home in particular so poppin’? Henry operated a general store on the same property as the mansion, and he was one of the only businessmen in the area who agreed to let the American soldiers borrow on credit. Sadly, after the war, Henry was never repaid the $20,000 tab the army racked up, which ultimately led to his bankruptcy.

You Don’t Have to Go Back to France, But You Can’t Stay Here…

…is basically the vibe the British were giving off when they invaded Plattsburgh and the Delord's mansion in 1814, kick-starting the epic battle we remember today.

Henry Delord headed south to Peru, like most other Plattsburghians, while Betsey took their daughter Frances (then two years old) and fled to Albany. In their absence, the British soldiers occupied the home. One even left behind a chest of dinnerware you can still see today when you visit the museum.

The Delords returned to their ransacked property after the battle’s conclusion.

A Fresh Start

Henry passed away in 1825, leaving Betsey with some pretty empty pockets and the house in need of some… uh… monetary assistance. She remarried, four years later, to family friend Thomas Swetland.

After their marriage, the Delord House assumed it previous role as a social centerpiece in the town, since Betsey’s new hubby was a well-known lawyer (ka-ching, ka-ching) and the couple was able to afford and prioritize some needed renovations.

“But why is it the Kent-Delord House? Who are the Kents??? Did Superman have relatives this far up north?”

Indeed, he did not.

Here’s what’s up with that:

Henry Delord – rather, Henri – was born in France in 1764. At 20, he left his family home in Nismes and hopped around the Caribbean a bit, harvesting sugar cane and cotton – two crops heavily dependent upon slave labor. When the pressure got real during the French Revolution, and slaves started revolting, Henri chucked the deuces up and headed to the U.S. – first to NYC and then up north to Peru, NY, where he Americanized his name and lived the bachelor life until 1799. This was the year he married 15-year-old Betsey Ketchum.

The couple moved from Peru to Plattsburgh in 1810, signing the deed on the mansion and its three acres of land. They purchased it from James Kent of Albany, who never even lived in the house himself. He inherited it from the Baileys -- the family that actually built it -- because he was already married to Elizabeth, Colonel Bailey’s daughter.

So anyway, Henry signed on the dotted line, carried Betsey over the threshold, and they began construction on the house’s expansion (well, not immediately upon crossing the threshold, I would assume).

And thus, Adirondack Coast history was made!

But that’s just the beginning. There are two other generations of Delords to get through. We haven’t even touched upon the two Franceses and Francis (a seemingly popular name at the time). And you thought it was hard keeping up with the Kardashians!

Luckily, the story continues at The Kent-Delord House Museum, where experts, like Museum Director Don Wickman, will tell you everything you could want to know (in a much more historically accurate manner than this here blogger).

And don’t miss out on the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration taking place September 8th through 11th! Purchase a BOP Button for $15 at any of the following locations to guarantee admission to events:

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Springtime Shopping in and around Plattsburgh, NY

People visit the Adirondack Coast for tons of reasons.

The views are great, especially when they involve New York’s Adirondack Mountain backdrop or Lake Champlain’s glistening waters beneath a brilliant sunset. (Hey, do it for the Insta. Better yet, do it with #nofilter.)

Not to mention, there are tons of attractions providing adventurous daytrips, particularly for outdoor lovers! Whether that means hitting the trails for a hike or getting out on the lake for a paddling or boating excursion, excitement is never too far off.

But then there are those of us who, although we appreciate nature, prefer to do it from a distance. A good, healthy distance, probably with a glass of wine in hand. My friends, I am here to tell you, there is enjoyment on the Adirondack Coast, even for us “indoorsy” types.

Perhaps especially for us, if shopping is what we enjoy most.

Whether uptown or downtown, there are steals and deals to be found. Champlain Centre is home to 65 quality stores, both big names and small boutiques. From JC Penney to DSW, it's worth the trip. But maybe you’re a Maxxonista looking for something unique and trendy for a night out? Luckily, we’ve got a TJ Maxx right near the Comfort Inn & Suites in the Route 3 shopping district, if you happen to be traveling and forgot to pack the perfect pair of shoes or accessories.

But maybe it’s not clothes or shoes you’re interested in. Maybe you’re looking for deals on home décor, which is equally as exciting (in my book). Stores like Homegoods and Target offer tons of options for a range of tastes and styles.

And the fun doesn’t end uptown. There are even community events surrounding shopping as a pastime, like Destination Downtown, hosted by the Plattsburgh Downtown Association, taking place on Sunday, May 22nd. Popular shops, bars, and wineries will offer discounts from 11:00am to 4:00pm, while throughout the streets visitors will find bouncy houses, face painting, outdoor restaurant seating, and more! Follow the yellow balloons – they’ll be floating outside participating stores.

Explore second-hand shops and specialty boutiques. Unique finds, both new and old, are waiting to be discovered. Sometimes you just have to relax, take a stroll, grab a cup of coffee, and give in to the desire to shop till you drop.

Our Canadian friends can find unique Steals & Deals just for them online at goadirondack.com/deals. Download the booklet and head to the coast for your most affordable getaway yet!

For the latest on events and happenings on the Adirondack Coast throughout the summer, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using @AdirondackCoast! We’ll make sure you don’t miss a beat – or the chance to score a sweet deal.

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There’s More Than Just Drama Stirring in the Strand Center Theatre

So, you know about Proctor’s in Schenectady and the Palace in Albany. In Burlington, there’s the Flynn. But here on the Adirondack Coast, between New York’s Capital Region and Vermont’s Queen City, we’ve got the Strand. Some call it the “crown jewel” of downtown Plattsburgh, because it’s the town’s premier venue for hosting talent. It’s also pretty nice to look at.

The Strand Center Theatre, nestled in the heart of the city, has been a symbol of the region’s arts and culture movement since it was originally built back in 1924 toward the end of the vaudeville era. In true celebrity style, the theatre fell off the grid a few times. Still, throughout the 20th century, the building and its marquee remained, promoting discounted movies in lieu of live performances.

In 2011, lady Strand got a face lift, thanks to some impressive grant funding from New York State and a few tenacious individuals. By “impressive” we mean this nip-and-tuck was estimated at $4 million. Since then, she’s been restored to her former glory – and now, The Strand Center Theatre raises her curtains once again. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of reasons you should be excited to sit back and enjoy the show.

This venue’s intrigue doesn’t end with its competitive lineup of performances and movie showings. If you pass through the parking lot, right next door to the theatre is the arts center – more formally known as The Strand Center for the Arts. Here, members and non-members will find classes for all ages on subjects like pottery, dance, weaving, music, painting, and more. The arts center also houses galleries exhibiting collections from artists near and far, both professional and novice.

If the classes and exhibits aren’t enough to keep you entertained, the Strand’s ghosts certainly will.

Director of Development Karen Dispo-De Boos has experienced more than a few strange happenings since she started working at the Strand in February, leading her to think there might be some otherworldly visitors lingering around the premises.

For example, at night, she’s seen lights turn on underneath the door of an empty storage room, number 205, on the second floor.

And the elevator in the arts center has been known to take itself for rides, opening and closing on random studio floors with no passengers entering or emerging – none that can be seen, anyway. To top it all off, somewhere in time, the building lost an entire room. No one has been able to find the illusive “Room 208” listed in detail on the inside and outside of the building’s switchbox.

You’re probably thinking, “Is there a chandelier in there somewhere? ‘Cause I’ve seen Phantom and I know how stories about historic theatres end…” Yes, actually, there is a chandelier.

This glimmering Swarovski crystal, “upside-down-cake” apparatus looming magnificently above the auditorium was recreated based solely on a description found in a newspaper article from 1924 summarizing the theatre’s opening night.

But of course the chandelier’s crystals aren’t the only gems in the auditorium. This is also where you'll spy a rare 1924 Wurlitzer Opus 970 organ, one of only 23 in existence.

And perhaps, if visitors listen closely, they’ll hear more than instruments. 

Karen says, when it’s quiet and dark in the theatre, before the curtains go up and the music begins, sitting underneath that grand chandelier, she can hear the tinkling of… is it laughter? Crying? She can’t quite make it out. And before she decides for sure what she’s heard, she shrugs it off and gets back to work.

One thing’s for certain, there’s something mesmerizing here – and it’s not just talent.

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What You Need to Know About Plattsburgh Brewfest 2016

Delights visitors and locals for a second year on the Adirondack Coast.

Beer…a source of argument between my husband and I when he won’t put down his phone because he’s too busy researching the latest in beer making and craft brews.

Beer…a great reason for me to make fun of my brother when he takes yet another photo of a glass of beer to post on Untappd.  I swear he thinks the other million people on that app really would care if he dropped the ball on one beer.

Beer…one of my boss’s favorite ways to hydrate (I should say responsibly hydrate), so I know exactly what to get her for Christmas or what to buy her when I really want to suck up.

Beer…It is not my favorite alcoholic beverage of choice, but when you throw 30+ craft brewers from NY and even some from VT together by Lake Champlain on a sunny August day and 1300 people come out to enjoy some of your hometown’s best brews and hard ciders, you start to feel the love for this ever so trendy industry.

Going into its 2nd year, the Plattsburgh Brewfest has already hit a few milestones:

  • All VIP tickets sold out within a day of being posted…better luck next year!
  • Big name brewers are coming on board for the event, BUT you’ll have to buy a ticket to find out who!
  • The homebrewers contest is changing it up this year and will allow for some great creativity and competition.  There’s also a pretty insane 1st place prize you homebrew fanatics won’t want to miss out on - trust me!

So here are the details on ticket buying and everything else you’ll need to know, since I am assuming you want to be there:

  • Visit plattsburghbrewfest.com to get your tickets today 
  • Only general admission are left at a very reasonable and very specific $42.12 (covers taxes and additional fees for a no surprise based checkout)
  • DD tickets are also available at $10.80…even if you’re not sampling, it’s a worthwhile event!
  • General Admission and DD tickets include a Plattsburgh Brewfest glass to sample with and 2 food tickets to make sure your stomach is soaking up that alcohol or just full and happy!
  • Lots of FREE water will be available for all, so hydrate well because the Brewfest wants to stay a classy event, which really means…don’t be a fool and drink more than you can handle…no one wants to witness that and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to see that on your Facebook feed the next morning!

Oh and if you’re coming in from out of town and need a place to stay, the Brewfest will be partnering up with some local hotel chains so keep an eye on their website for deals.  There are also plenty of other lodging opportunities on the Adirondack Coast, so take a peek at goadirondack.com/lodging for information on hotels, campgrounds, B&B’s and more.

See you on August 6th!

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Golfing on the Adirondack Coast (for dummies)

So, let’s go golfing. Obviously, we have to get the important stuff on the check-list out of the way first.

Polo shirt? I can do that. Plaid? I don’t want to, but I will. Golf clubs? Wait – clubs? As in, plural? I need more than one? Shoot, those things are heavy. I’m not trying to carry all those. Like, are they weapons or sporting equipment? With me on the range, it’s safe to call it a toss-up – literally. Oh, look. Here’s me showing off my skills among Buzzfeed’s “22 Most Painfully Awkward Things That Happened in 2015”.

Just kidding.

Kind of.

I’ll be completely honest. When I think of thrilling, action-packed outdoor adventure sports, golf isn’t typically the first one that comes to mind. But comparing rock-climbing and putting is like comparing Game of Thrones and House of Cards. Both intriguingly match mind and muscle in ways that appeal to different audiences. Yet, unlike these shows, golfing is suitable for the entire family.

On the topic of family, I’ve always felt as though golf is one of those sports you have to be born into. For example, on Gilmore Girls, Rory and her fancy grandpa always went golfing when they needed to chat about important, sophisticated things, like when she was all, “Grandpa, I got accepted to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, but I don’t know which one to choose. Advice?”

Based on this extensive field research, I concluded: one does not simply golf on a whim.

So, then, it’s safe to say, aside from binge-watching Gilmore Girls and keeping up with Tiger Woods’ love life, I know next to nothing about golf. However, I’m slowly realizing this is okay – because on the Adirondack Coast, you can go golfing on a whim, regardless of your age or experience level.

The driving ranges here accommodate a whole wealth of players, from advanced pros to complete newbies, like myself. And if you’re more into the culture of golfing than the actual act of golfing, these resorts offer tons of history. Bluff Point, for instance, is the third oldest course in America. If, like me, you thought the Gilmores were hoity-toity, just you wait. The Vanderbilts vacationed here. Oh yeah, and Babe Ruth, too.

Still self-conscious about your skills on the green (or lack thereof)? Many of the courses here offer lessons for beginners. So, now, you have zero excuses. Get out there! Throw some clubs around (figuratively).

Check out any of these attractions below to brush up on your skills, compete with the finest players in the game, and to just have a grand old time with friends and loved ones.

Adirondack Golf & Country Club

Baker's Acres Campground & Golf Driving

Bluff Point Golf Resort & Cottages

Harmony Golf Club and Community

Malone Golf Club, Inc.

North Country Golf Club

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Where to Find Easter Brunch on the Adirondack Coast

Some people like Easter because they think bunnies are cute. Other people like Easter because it means they get to wear fancy hats and brightly colored dresses (confession: that’s why I like Easter – I guess I can’t speak for the rest of you).

Whatever the reasoning behind your enthusiasm for the holiday, chances are you and your family want to (or have to, depending on how you feel about it) spend the day together.  What’s the best way to accomplish this while keeping everyone as pleasant as possible? Well, Sunday brunch, of course!

There are plenty of places on the Adirondack Coast offering a diverse range of Easter specialties. Visit one of the locations below and keep everyone in your party “hoppy” –even after they’ve eaten all the jelly beans at the bottom of their Easter baskets.

1. Conroy’s Organics

8173 US Route 9, West Chazy, NY 12992

Conroy’s is a great choice for families with kids. This Easter celebration provides more than just an impeccable organic menu boasting steak and eggs, crab cake benedict, and challah French toast; it also includes an egg hunt at 12:30pm and a bunny photo op for the youngsters from 11:30am to 1pm. To enjoy this true “farm-to-table” dining experience, stop by between 10am and 3pm.

2. Livingoods Restaurant and Brewery​

697 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, NY  12972

From 10:30am to 2:30pm on Easter Sunday, you’ll find an extensive menu featuring locally grown and sourced meals fitting a range of tastes and preferences. Try a seasonal frittata, a brunch burger, or the signature LG Eggs Benedict. Not to worry – there’s an Eggs “Vegedict” if you’d rather the sautéed spinach in place of the Taylor pork roll. Don’t risk missing out! Reserve your spot today by calling 518.643.2020.

3. Butcher Block Steak & Seafood Restaurant​

15 Booth Drive, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

If it’s quality meat or seafood you’re after, on the Adirondack Coast, Butcher Block is the “go-to” independently owned and operated eatery. This year’s Easter brunch menu incorporates salmon, roast, turkey, and ham, but also includes a wide selection of pastries made on-site. Sample pies, danishes, cakes, and more! Here, you don’t have to commit to savory or sweet – you can try it all. This annual brunch, offered from 9am to 1pm is always a hit – make sure to reserve your spot by calling ahead at 518.563.0920.

4. Irises Cafe & Wine Bar​

20-22 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY  12901

This annual Easter brunch buffet is going on from 10am to 2pm and features over 25 items including traditional breakfast options, like eggs, bacon, sausage, as well as a carving station, seafood, fresh salads, and more. There’s even a separate kid's buffet featuring classic favorites, like chicken fingers, pizza, and veggie dippers. End your meal in style at the chocolate fondue fountain or choose a house-made dessert from DeLish Bakeshop! This venue welcomes large parties, and is accepting reservations at 518.566.7000.

5. Anthony's Restaurant & Bistro

583 State Route 3, Plattsburgh, NY  12901

Anthony’s offers a variety of meal options throughout the day on Easter Sunday, from 12pm to pm. Both dining areas will be open to patrons. No matter whether you choose the bistro or the main dining room, you’ll be able to enjoy the chef’s specials, featuring baked ham, fish, and game meat. This venue is all about choices. At this contemporary European-American bistro, there’s something for everyone! Call 518.562.6420 to reserve a table.

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No matter where you and your family choose to spend Easter morning, if you’re on the Adirondack Coast, you’re bound to enjoy yourselves. So, what are you waiting for? Hop to it! 

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Making the Grade: How We Classify Maple Syrup On New York’s Adirondack Coast

As it turns out, maple syrup and wine are pretty similar. And, by that, I mean they attract similarly dedicated enthusiasts who appreciate them as art forms.

If you don’t feel confident classifying yourself as a wine or syrup enthusiast, you’re probably an average Jane, like myself, who takes one look at those uniquely shaped bottles and thinks, “Wow, how fancy.” Then, after sampling what’s inside the bottles, you exclaim, “How is this sweet, sweet nectar of the gods manufactured!?”

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. And maybe you haven’t given much thought to how syrup and wine are made. Whether you knew it or not, both processes really are complex. Once you realize this, you might become anxious at the thought of tasting something besides Mrs. Butterworth’s.

We get it. Gourmet sweeteners are intimidating. From one novice to another: just smile and nod – we’ll get the hang of it. With any luck, it won’t be as painful as the first time we realized pink boxed wine is actually frowned upon in polite society.

What I’m getting at is: now is the time to graduate from IHOP’s butter-pecan-flavored pancake sauce, because New York State’s Maple Weekends are just around the corner on March 19th and 20th and April 2nd and 3rd. We at the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau can’t claim to walk you through the maple-making process, but we can point you in the right direction. Get ready for your crash course in New York Maple Syrup.

First thing’s first: maple season is in the spring and not the fall. If you want to be a true maple hipster, this is very important. Right now is when all the tree-tapping is happening.

Moving on -- let’s keep going with this wine analogy, shall we? Just like there’s red and white wine, there’s light and dark syrup. These two categories used to be called grade A and grade B, respectively – but that caused some confusion.

It makes sense you might think these classifications were based on quality, with “A” being better than “B”, when actually they were based on color and density (“A” being lighter, and “B” being darker). Queue drama throughout the maple-producing regions of New York, Canada, and Vermont.

I say that because different regions had, and to a somewhat lesser degree still have, uniquely different standards by which they categorize these sugary sweet syrups. What was called “fancy grade light” in Vermont was called “light amber” in New York and “extra light” in Canada. To make things even more complicated, the USDA was all, “If it tastes like ‘light amber’, we’re calling it ‘light amber’, no matter what color it is.” Oh, yeah -- this gets super intense. There are even conferences and schools dedicated to defining and understanding this grading system.

Luckily, the New York State Maple Association released this helpful graphic summarizing the new grading system, as of 2015, and comparing it to the old one – so you won’t have any trouble finding the specific syrup you’re looking for this season. This other graphic describes the four main syrup types, all of which are now considered "A-grade".

See? Not so painful. 

Want the really advanced details about maple tapping and sugaring? Visit one of the Adirondack Coast’s many sugar houses to speak with the experts yourself during Maple Weekend 2016.

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Adirondack Coast Microbreweries: Savoring the Past, While Sipping On the Future

Adirondack coast microbreweries

Politicians and public figures of old demonstrated passion and deep thought when it came to leadership and... their favorite beverages?

It was Martin Luther, father of the Reformation, who first observed, "Beer is made by men, wine by God." Benjamin Franklin retorted (indirectly, and several centuries later, but retorted nonetheless), "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Eventually, Lincoln nobly and democratically reclaimed beer solely on behalf of the masses, saying, "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts -- and beer." Oh, and Sam Adams? Well, that one just did his own thing.

Call these men and their modern-day, craft-brew-enthused counterparts what you will -- hopheads, beer snobs, connoisseurs -- but none can deny the revolutionary results of their lofty and complex evolution. Long story short, if you live in an area where people philosophize about the artful, centuries-old process behind brewing, you're lucky. If you don't, you should probably explore the Adirondack Coast.

Microbreweries continue to pop up with frequency throughout the region, serving up celebrated brews, hearty eats, and a hefty dose of unique, local perspective; in fact, rumor has it, even Commodore Macdonough couldn't resist investigating all the merriment (make sure to ask about Macdonough's Ghost when you stop in at PBCo.!).

All manner of travelers, from near or far, will find something to excite their palettes -- without driving fifteen minutes from our prime shopping attractions at Champlain Centre. Pay a visit to any of the destinations below when you find yourself craving a savory brew, and discover our beloved coast while you're at it.

PBCo.

411 Route 3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

PBCo. brewmaster Jay Stoyanoff spent more than a decade refining his art form, gaining industry know-how at some of the nation's leading craft breweries, like Smuttynose Brewing Co. and Redhook Ale Brewing. Now, his very own Plattsburgh Brewing Company, located conveniently within the town's Comfort Inn, boasts the slogan "Fresh brews, fresh food!" guaranteeing an original tasting experience.

Valcour Brewing Company

49 Ohio Ave, Plattsburgh, NY 12903

The region's most recent brewery repurposes the historic "Old Stone Barracks" at the Oval, Plattsburgh's former Air Force base. Patrons are encouraged to browse through the site, appreciating local artifacts while sampling craft beers made from NY malted barley and hops.

Livingood's Restaurant

697 Bear Swamp Road Peru, NY 12972

Livingood's evokes the stuff of legends with a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien gracing its website's banner: "If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." Travelers in search of a triple threat will find enough food, beer, and musical entertainment here to convince them, once and for all, Tolkien was right: not all those who wander are lost -- and especially not on Tuesdays, when patrons can choose four local craft brews for $4.00 during Flight Night.

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Whether you're looking for somewhere to unwind after a day of adventuring, or simply want a place to relax with family and friends over dinner and drinks, the above options will surely provide an evening of epic portions! Err, and proportions, too.

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Light up the Night

Visitors taking a stroll around our lakeside villages, charming hamlets and the historic city of Plattsburgh from November through January (bundled up with a coat, mittens and hat) will discover holiday happenings around every corner. Combine the areas famous Adirondack hospitality with a generous amount of spirited cheer and you’ll see what winter bliss is all about!

This year, one of the seasons most anticipated events is getting bigger - giving the whole family more to enjoy. The annual First Weekends Tree Lighting in downtown Plattsburgh will be taking place on Friday, December 4th starting at 7:00pm in front of The Strand Center for the Arts. The tree lighting will kick off the holiday season and once again include musical entertainment, caroling, fire pits, decorative storefronts, refreshments and more. To spread the seasonal cheer even more this year the day will include a Holiday Parade through downtown Plattsburgh! Beginning at 5:00pm the parade will start at Suny Plattsburgh’s Redcay Hall on Brinkerhoff Street, continue onto Margaret Street and end at Stafford Middle School. The parade will feature seasonally decorated holiday floats, entertainment and an appearance by Santa!

Downtown Plattsburgh Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting Timeline:

5:00pm – Holiday Parade Starts

7:00pm – Tree Lighting Starts

After the tree lighting the unique shops and restaurants of downtown will remain open for spirited walks, dinner, drinks, shopping and more!

1.) Holiday Parade Start2.) Holiday Parade Finish3.) Tree Lighting

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Where to #shopsmall on the Adirondack Coast This Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday was started on November 27, 2010 by American Express to encourage people to go out, #shopsmall and support those ‘mom and pop’ shops.  With political backing, American Express grew this day by providing free personalized ads for those participating businesses; ads which appeared millions of times across the web and helped to grow the day so that in 2012, 73.9 million people went out to shop on Small Business Saturday.  In 2013, larger community oriented organizations got involved with the day and owned the title of neighborhood champion to rally local support for their small businesses.  This increased shopper support to a whopping total of $14.3 BILLION spent on that one day!

This year, Small Business Saturday will be on November 28th and the North Country Chamber of Commerce has taken on the title of neighborhood champion for its second year in a row.  Close to 40 local businesses have signed up and are offering some amazing deals to all shoppers that day, so we highly encourage you to start making your holiday shopping list now!

Listen for those ads, look for the Small Business Saturday posters (shown above) in the windows of participating stores and check out northcountrychamber.com/sbs to see the great deals your local businesses are offering.  A few of my favorites are:

Lenny's Shoe & Apparel285 Tom Miller Rd #100, Plattsburgh, NY20% off all clothing, socks, hats, gloves and outerwear, 10% off all footwear, take an additional 10% off all red tag items!*Some exclusions may apply, see store for details. 

North Country Creamery931 Mace Chasm Rd, Keeseville, NY$1 each cheese, $2 off each Cow-Stamped Crust apple pie order placed on 11/28/15 (limited number for sale that day, more can be ordered and picked up later!)

The Kayak Shack498 Route 3, Plattsburgh, NY20% off all in stock Kayaks & Stand Up Paddleboards. 25% all Paddles. 20% off all Auto Racks, In stock Ski, Bike and Boat carriers and Cargo Boxes!

Hobie's Sports Den68 Margaret Street, Plattsburgh, NY1/2 appetizers and $3 off Large specialty pizzas.

And that is not even half of them!  So get out on November 28th and #shopsmall!  You won’t regret it!

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Follow the Yellow Leaf Road

Autumn on the Adirondack Coast is characterized by sun-baked days and cool, crisp nights. Flaming reds, oranges and gold’s – the Adirondack Coast’s signature colors of fall – help make this, what is often described as, the most beautiful time of year. Watch the progression of color change as it slowly moves down in elevation, beginning in mid-September in the Adirondack High Peak region through mid-to-late October along Lake Champlain. I encourage you to follow the yellow leaf road, which will lead you to nonstop fun and adventure on the Adirondack Coast to places like:

Chazy Orchards 

Home to the world's largest McIntosh Apple Orchard.

Country Dreams Farm

Get lost in a corn maze. 

Conroys organics

Sample the local harvest. 

Golfing

Check out our greens, reds and golds. 

Rulfs Orchard 

The perfect place to indulge in a slice of hot apple pie, a warm cider doughnut or any other bakery creation. 

The Adirondack Coast Wine Trail

Experience our unique wines. 

Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum

Discover what it was like to harvest in the fall during the 19th and 20th century.  

Lyon Mountain

Enjoy breathtaking views from the top of this steep but rewarding climb.

The Ausable River

A popular spot for fly fishing.

Lakeside Coffee

Warm up with a cup of locally roasted coffee.

Hearts Delight Farm - Miner Institute

Explore the agriculture that not only defines our landscape, but our way of life.

Point au Roche State Park

Scenic day walks along Lake Champlain. 

Microbreweries

Try our delicious craft brews.

You can't go wrong being on the Adirondack Coast in the fall, just remember to follow the yellow leaf road to discover endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, history, agriculture and more! 

 

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Must Have Foods on the Adirondack Coast

McIntosh Apples

Crisp and tart with a red and green skin, McIntosh apples have been a trademark of Clinton County for hundreds of years.  You cannot drive a stretch of road on the Adirondack Coast without seeing an abundance of apple trees taking over a field with their gorgeous white blossoms in the spring and apple covered limbs in the fall.  Each orchard in the area offers different varieties of apples, but McIntosh apples are always a constant at:

Apple Jack's Orchard & Country Gift ShopBanker Orchards Farm MarketChazy OrchardsEverett Orchards Farm Market & CideryForrence Orchards, Inc.Northern Orchard Co., Inc.Rulfs Orchard

Cider Doughnuts

Many of the orchards mentioned take these apples and turn them into pies, turnovers, candied apples, caramel apples and so much more.  A few orchards go a step further and press these apples into cider, which is then used in their doughnut mix to make a delicious concoction we call cider doughnuts.  You don’t have to even be inside these roadside stands to know they are making cider doughnuts, you can smell the aroma from about a mile away!  Just follow your nose.

Maple

Syrup, candy, soda, cotton candy, ice cream…however you eat it, maple on the Adirondack Coast is a don’t miss treat!  Sugar shacks start really heating up in early March and are kind enough to open their doors to the public to witness this amazing transformation of sap into the “liquid gold” we love so much.  And you cannot miss Maple Weekend…March 19-20 & April 2-3, 2016!  You can find these maple products at:

Bechard's Sugar HouseHomestead MapleParker Family Maple FarmMoon Valley MapleNENY Maple Producers AssocMaple Weekend

Cheese

Photo by North Country Creamery 

Crumbly cheese, soft cheese, semi hard, semi soft, Swiss, Chevre,  yogurt, caramels, soaps, the list goes on and on…who knew you could do so much with cow and goat milk?  Cheese is a growing market on the Adirondack Coast and the creameries that are doing it here have dedicated so much time, energy and passion into making some of the most outstanding farm fresh dairy products.  Find some of these great products at the following locations (oh and if you visit them at the farm, don’t forget to say hi to the cutest, most well taken care of animals you’ll ever meet!): 

Asgaard Farm and DairyNorth Country Creamery

Poutine

Now take some of the cheese mentioned above, put it over some French fries, pour a little gravy over it and you have the next can’t miss food on the Adirondack Coast…Poutine!  One of my favorites, poutine has made its way to the Adirondack Coast from its original Canadian home in Quebec (just an hour north of us).  The original form of this Canadian junk food uses homemade fries, cheese curds and a brown, gravy like sauce.  However since its rise in popularity in Canada and the northern parts of the U.S., people have been making poutine in all different varieties…pulled pork, lobster and so on!  Look for poutine at the following restaurants on the Adirondack Coast:

Livingoods Restaurant and BreweryGino’s PizzaGus’s Red HotsMichigan’s PlusMcSweeney’s Red HotsOlive Ridley’sThe Naked Turtle

Michigans

Photo by McSweeney's Red Hots

You know what that poutine goes great with?  Michigans!  You can’t visit the Adirondack Coast without trying a local favorite, the Michigan.  Also known as a red hot, this steamed hot dog is served in a steamed bun, smothered with meat sauce and topped with mustard and onions.  There are almost as many varieties of Michigan sauce as there are stories about its origin.  One theory is that the original Michigan sauce was created by George Todoroff in Jackson, Michigan. In 1914, Mr. Todoroff took his recipe to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York and opened his first restaurant.  This story claims that a Canadian, possibly a salesman, traveling between Montreal and New York City, would stop in Plattsburgh and spend the night at the Witherill Hotel.  Apparently, he would bring back several of Todoroff’s "Jackson Island Conies" and get the cook at the hotel to warm them. The cook liked the flavor so much that he created a similar sauce that caught on with the local restaurants, and the "Michigan" hot dog was born.

Though there are many restaurants serving Michigans, most local residents can’t agree who is top dog, so you’ll have to judge for yourself!  You can try a Michigan at the following locations:

Gus’s Red HotsMichigan’s PlusMcSweeney’s Red Hots

Wine, Cider and Beer

 

Ok, yes I know these are not technically foods, but they are just too delicious not to include!  The Adirondack Coast is becoming more well known for its unique wines, hard ciders and craft beers.  With historically inspired names, the use of local products and the overall deliciousness, these beverages should be considered a new food group!

Amazing Grace Vineyard and WineryELFS Farm Winery & Adirondack Cider CompanyEverett Orchards Farm Market & CideryThe Champlain Wine Co.Hid-In-Pines VineyardVesco Ridge Vineyards, LLCLivingoods Restaurant and BreweryPlattsburgh Brewing Co.Valcour Brewing Company

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Rockwell Kent's Dog Resting

Above Picture: Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), Dogs Resting, 1937, oil on canvas, 34 x 44”, Gift of Sally Kent Gorton in memory of John Gorton, X1980.1.130. Photo courtsey of Plattsburgh State Art Museum.

Rockwell Kent Gallery

The Rockwell Kent Gallery is tucked into the back corner of the Feinberg Library on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.  The gallery hosts a permanent exhibition of Rockwell Kent's artwork that is meant to shed light on the art, literary merit, and commercial efforts of Kent.  It portrays Kent’s growth as an artist, as well as his varied social and political interests. 

Who is Rockwell Kent?

Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was an American realist with a variety of artistic interests including architecture, painting, illustration, printmaking, and writing.  His work was heavily influenced by his widespread travels.  He was drawn to remote areas such as parts of Greenland, Alaska, and Newfoundland.   He drew inspiration from nature’s grandeur and the relationship of humans to nature’s monumental forces.

Paintings

Stepping into the gallery is like entering a visual narrative of Kent’s life.  It is clear that the arrangement is intended to illustrate distinct stages of his life as defined by the places he lived and visited.

To the right of the entrance, the exhibition space opens up to grand cathedral ceilings and a spectacular arrangement of paintings. The paintings are hung in a unique manner, reminiscent of Early Modern cabinets of curiosity or the nineteenth century Salon shows in Paris. Paintings are hung two on top of each other, at different heights, and fit together like a puzzle.

Among the many paintings is Dog Resting.   It depicts a scene common to Kent’s stay in Greenland. Three men and two sets of dog sled teams pause in the stark landscape.   The human and canine lives are dwarfed by their formidable surroundings.  The towering cliffs and vast fields of snow dominate the composition.  This was a common theme for Kent – he was drawn to remote areas with little evidence of human civilization. 

In his Greenland paintings, Kent illustrated dramatic, stage-like configurations of the arctic by capturing the majesty of the mountains and icebergs. The power of the landscape creates a sense of remoteness that is only intensified by the insignificant role played by the people in the foreground of the composition.

Kent traveled by dog-sled long distances in search of remote subjects. During the season when the sun never sets, Kent would leave the Inuit settlement and camp in complete isolation for several days at a time. He lived without regard to the time or routine.

Greenland Adventures

The stories behind his Greenland paintings are just as fascinating as the compositions are stunning. 

Four days before Kent’s 47th birthday, Kent set sail for Godthaab, a settlement in Greenland.  It was a nine day and 600-mile journey.   With Greenland in sight, the ship sought shelter from an impending storm.  The protective fjord turned into a wind tunnel. Kent and his shipmates escaped unharmed but the boat was destroyed beyond repair.  Kent wrote about his adventures in his book N by E.

Despite his ill-fated cruise, Kent longed to return to Greenland and experience the winter there.  Two years later in 1931 he traveled to Ubekendt Island and settled in Igdlorssuit, a small settlement located 225 miles above the Arctic Circle.  Kent built himself a home a respectable distance from the established town, but soon integrated himself in the community. 

He recounted his second visit to Greenland in his novel Salamina.  Kent didn’t waste any time and mailed the original manuscript directly from Igdorssuit. The manuscript arrived at the publishing offices wrapped in an odorous caribou skin – a provocative move representative of Kent’s bold personality.

Conclusion

These stories are only the tip of the iceberg.  Each piece of artwork carries a unique story hidden in plain sight.  The fun lies in uncovering and relaying those stories.

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Plattsburgh State Art Museum

Plattsburgh State Art Museum exists to collect, study, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and publish original works of art.  The museum is committed to advance the academic goals of the College and contribute to the cultural education of the northern New York & southern Canadian regions.  The museum is open daily 12- 4pm and closed legal holidays.  For more information, contact the museum office at 518-564-2474 or artmuseum@plattsburgh.edu.  Or visit us at plattsburgh.edu/museum and Facebook.com/PlattsburghStateArtMuseum.

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Nina Winkel's Proud Spirits

Above Picture: Nina Winkel, Proud Spirits, 1972, copper and silver, 32.5 x 25 x 11‖, X1983.7.25, Gift of George and Nina Winkel. Photo courtsey of Plattsburgh State Art Museum.  

Proud Spirits is aptly named. Head held high, eyes wide, left front foot raised; the horse seems poised for a grand gallop across an open meadow.  A closer look at the sculpture makes the viewer aware of the piecemeal construction method. The smooth muscles, prominent structure, and flowing mane were crafted by welding together many small pieces of cooper and silver.

Nina Winkel (1905-1990) worked with metals during the latter half of her life.  In 1959 she began moving away from working in clay towards creating welded copper sculptures.  Today this seems inconsequential but at the time it was unconventional. She was the first woman in New York City to get a welder's license. This fact becomes more impressive when learning her small stature; she was only five feet tall.  Winkel eventually had to switch to an acetylene torch because she lacked the strength to handle the heavier welding equipment.

The sculpture in question is much more than its material.  Proud Spirits is also about the spirited subject matter - a prancing horse seemingly so full of life that it appears to dance off its base. Winkel’s mastery of the subject suggests that it is a familiar subject matter.  This deduction is supported by her own words.  Winkel spoke about the piece during an informal lecture in 1988.  The VHS recording of the lecture was transcribed by Sally Booth later that year.  Winkel’s quote reads:   

"This piece called Proud Spirits show [sic] the powerful horse. Just then I was interested as a child in horses as in stars. I also have liked horses very much and I have done repeatedly things with horses, or a single horse and this is sort of a humorous horse, kicking horse. It is very popular, especially with the children, I’m told by the docents who take care of visiting children."  -Nina Winkel (October 9, 1988)

It is true that Proud Spirits is a favorite with children during their tour of Winkel. They are fascinated with the sculpture and routinely declare that horses are their favorite animal.  It is unlikely that is a coincidence. As Winkel states, she was also fascinated by horses as a child. 

Winkel’s childhood was an unhealthy one. A rare bone disease affiliated with a type of Tuberculosis kept her confined to her bed for two years. She spent many hours reading books, listening to music, and creating art during this time of healing.  Her strongest interests were horses and astronomy - two subjects she revisited throughout her career.

To see Proud Spirits and additional artwork inspired by her childhood interests, visit Plattsburgh State Art Museum.  All are located in the Winkel Sculpture Court.  The approximately forty five sculptures housed in the atrium style space are a testament to Nina Winkel’s artistic ability.  

 

Winkel Sculpture Court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winkel Sculpture Court. Photo courtsey of Plattsburgh State Art Museum. 

 

About the Plattsburgh State Art Museum:

Plattsburgh State Art Museum is located on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.  It exists to collect, study, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and publish original works of art.  The museum is committed to advance the academic goals of the College and contribute to the cultural education of the northern New York & southern Canadian regions.  The museum is open daily 12- 4pm and closed legal holidays.  For more information, contact the museum office at 518-564-2474 or artmuseum@plattsburgh.edu.  Or visit us at plattsburgh.edu/museum and  Facebook.com/PlattsburghStateArtMuseum.

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Nina Winkel's Shelter

Above Picture: Nina Winkel (1905-1990), Shelter, 1946, Terra-cotta, 20.5 x 17 x 16”, Gift of George and Nina Winkel, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, X1983.7.34. Photo courtsey of Plattsburgh State Art Museum.

Shelter:

The intensity of fear is palpable in this statue. The mother’s wide eyes and strained face capture her panic. Terrified, she clutches her child, protecting her offspring from the impending danger. The child, completely enveloped by its mother’s extremities looks up in hope of reassurance.  This expression of fear and the manifestation of motherly protection unite to provide the viewer a glimpse into the emotions experienced during World War II.

 

Interpretation:          

An Art Historian’s job is to interpret artwork based on what they know about the artist, the time frame it was created, artistic style, and any other influential factors.  Our job becomes exponentially easier when the artist leaves us clues.  In the case of Shelter, Winkel left us a lengthy quote detailing her thoughts on the piece.  The quote is from an informal lecture Winkel gave in 1988. The VHS video recording was transcribed by Sally Booth later that year.  It reads:

 

“This work called Shelter has been done in 1946. So at that time the war was over and it definitely belongs into [sic] series of works influenced by the war. This is also one of my favorite pieces and I think, one of the strongest of the war series. It shows us the undercover seen by our own eyes, a mother with a child, either in a shelter or her serving as a shelter for the child, and I have expressed an almost animal-like intensity of fear, especially in the case of the mother and therefore I have given her features that would belong almost more to the original, early mankind than the shape of faces as we know them now, but also the child is a little bit of a young apelike being, and the whole thing is just an intense expression of fear as well as motherly protection.” (Winkel,1988).

 

Winkel’s own interpretation of her work can stand alone. While there is no need for further analysis or interpretation of the sculpture, it leads us to insights into Winkel as an artist. It tells us that it is a series of works influenced by war.   What it doesn’t explicitly tell us is that Winkel experienced the fear associated with war first hand. She lived through both World Wars, spent a brief time in a concentration camp, was in Paris when it fell to the Nazis, and fled Europe with us Husband in 1942.  All of which likely incited ample amounts of fear.  Her own experiences were was aptly translated into the intensity of fear captured in Shelter.

 

The Artist:

Sculpture Artist Nina Winkel (1905-1990) was born in Germany in 1905. Her childhood was an unhealthy one. A rare bone disease affiliated with a type of Tuberculosis kept her confined to her bed for two years. She spent many hours reading books, listening to music, and creating art during this time of healing.

Winkel studied at the Kunstgewerhe Schule (School for Arts and Crafts) in Essen (1921), the Staatlieche Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf (1922-1923), and the Kunstgewerbe Schule Ahteilung Staedel-Museum-am-Main in Frankfurt (1929-1931).  

She was in Paris when it fell to the Nazis and fled to the United States with her husband, George, in 1942.   They first lived in New York City.  Unable to speak English at first, she worked as a cleaning woman in the Clay Club, where she later produced her earliest terra cotta pieces in this country. 

Winkel was the first woman in N.Y.C. to get a welder's license, and in 1959 she moved from working in clay to creating welded copper sculptures. Only about five feet tall, Nina eventually had to switch to an acetylene torch because she lacked the strength to handle the heavier welding equipment.

Nationally and internationally known, Winkel had many exhibitions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art (1950, 1954), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1951-1952), the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1951), and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (1949). 

She also received many awards, honors, and commissions, including an honorary Doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh (1985); Elizabeth Watrous gold medals (1945, 1978); Samuel F.B Morse gold medal (1964) and the artists fund prize for best sculpture (1979); a purchase prize, National Sculpture Society (1981); and many others.  

Her work is represented in private and public collections in the US and abroad, including “Justice Procectress” at the Supreme Court of New York; Albert Schweitzer School in Germany; the University of Notre Dame, Indiana; City of Borken-Westfalen, Germany; Nahu Manufacturing Corporation, Ottawa, Canada; and the Winkel Sculpture Court at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum.

 

Winkel Sculpture Court

See Shelter and other artwork from the war series (i.e. Arch of Triumph and Song in the Furnace) at the Plattsburgh State Art Museum.  All are located in the Winkel Sculpture Court.  The atrium style space is located on the second floor of the Myers Fine Arts Building on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. It holds approximately 45 sculptures by Nina Winkel.

 

About the Plattsburgh State Art Museum:

Plattsburgh State Art Museum is located on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.  It exists to collect, study, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and publish original works of art.  The museum is committed to advance the academic goals of the College and contribute to the cultural education of the northern New York & southern Canadian regions.  The museum is open daily 12- 4pm and closed legal holidays.  For more information, contact the museum office at 518-564-2474 or artmuseum@plattsburgh.edu.  Or visit us at plattsburgh.edu/museum and  Facebook.com/PlattsburghStateArtMuseum. 

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10 Things 10 Minutes from the Plattsburgh Amtrak Station

Arriving to the Adirondack Coast via train? Get your vacation rolling as soon as you step off the platform with these 10 attractions that are just a 10 minute walk away!  

  1. The Strand Center for the Arts & The Strand Theatre23 Brinkerhoff Street, Plattsburgh, NY 129019 Minute WalkThe Strand Center for the Arts has played a vital role in the development of Adirondack Coast art scene in downtown Plattsburgh. Since its inception in 2000, the Strand Center for the Arts has offered visitors a chance to embrace their creative side with events, classes, exhibits and more. The Arts Center’s next door neighbor, The Strand Theatre, is a cushy movie palace dripping with the grandeur of days-gone-by. With ambience similar to the Broadway experience, visitors can enjoy films, music and live entertainment along with a variety of productions. 
  2. The Champlain Wine Company30 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY 129016 Minute WalkEnjoy the Saranac River, Lake Champlain, and historic downtown Plattsburgh as you sample wine, cider, olive oils and vinegars at The Champlain Wine Company. Connoisseurs can take home a souvenir glass, buy local and New York State wines, and choose from beautiful wine baskets and accessories in their gift shop. The Champlain Wine Company has red, white, fruit and estate wines to suit a variety of budgets and tastes. It’s also home to the Adirondack Coast Oil & Vinegar Co., offering a variety of specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars. 
  3. Dock Street LandingPlattsburgh, NY 129013 Minute WalkHome to two marina’s located on the shores of Lake Champlain. Visitors to Dock Street Landing can enjoy scenic views of the lake and the Green Mountains of Vermont, take a stroll along the bike path, grab a bite to eat and get out on the water with convenient boat rentals located nearby. 
  4. ShoppingDowntown Plattsburgh, NY 129016 Minute Walk (Varies)In the heart of downtown Plattsburgh is where visitors will find beautifully handcrafted merchandise, unique shops, boutiques and more. 
  5. MacDonough MonumentMacDonough Park, Plattsburgh, NY 129018 Minute WalkOverlooking Plattsburgh Bay where the Battle was fought, this 135-ft. monument was built in 1926 to honor Commodore Macdonough's victory over the British fleet. The four sides of the monument represent the ships of his fleet: Saratoga, Ticonderoga, Preble and Eagle. On special occasions visitors can climb 156 steps up the monument, whose interior walls have six interpretive panels, to the top where they will enjoy a 360-degree view of the battle grounds and surrounding countryside. 
  6. Plattsburgh Farmers’ and Crafters’ MarketDurkee Street Parking Lot, Plattsburgh, NY 129016 Minute WalkVisit the Plattsburgh Farmers' and Crafters' Market for a true taste of the Adirondack Coast featuring fresh local produce and unique local products. The market is open on Saturday's from 9am-2pm May - October. 
  7. Saranac River TrailEnd of Caroline Street, Plattsburgh, NY 1290110 Minute WalkHere visitors will find one end of the Saranac River Trail. The Saranac River Trail follows a newly created path along the Saranac River, which flows into Lake Champlain. The trail offers visitors the perfect place to cycle, run, fish, kayak, canoe and more during the summer, while it allows for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter.   
  8. Plattsburgh City Hall41 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY 129018 Minute WalkAt City Hall visitors can view the Confiance Anchor from the War of 1812. During the initial minutes of the two hour naval ordeal of the Battle of Plattsburgh, the anchor of the British flagship Confiance was shot away from its rail.  The anchor, marking the location of the engagement, was located by Plattsburgh divers Bill and Ken Van Stockum and raised in 1996. At 13 feet long, 8 feet across at the flukes, and 14 feet across its wooden stock, it is the largest anchor ever recovered from Lake Champlain. 
  9. Restaurants Downtown Plattsburgh, NY 129016 Minute Walk (Varies)Historic downtown Plattsburgh boasts many unique and delicious restaurants. Whether it’s one of the lakeside restaurants or a downtown eatery there is something to please every palette. 
  10. Kent Delord House Museum17 Cumberland Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 129019 Minute Walk Accross Bridge for the Adventurous, 12 Minute Main Street WalkThe Kent-Delord House was built in 1797 and was home to the Delord family between 1810 and 1913. Henry Delord was a merchant, a judge and a well-respected member of the early 19th century Plattsburgh community.  Before the Battle of Plattsburgh, Henry and his family fled the house, which was then occupied by British officers from an artillery corps.  Inside see a mess chest left behind by the British officers, portraits of Henry and Betsey Delord, a case clock and other furniture belonging to Henry, a silver tea service which the family claimed Betsey buried in the garden before the British arrived, and other furnishings from throughout the 19th century. The Kent-Delord House Museum gardens are also a stop on the International Peace Garden Trail.
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An Insiders Guide to 5 Under-the-Radar Waterways on the Adirondack Coast

Paddle clear of Lake Champlain's waves for a chance to discover breathtaking summer scenes off the beaten path. 

1. Chazy Lake

Set in the valley between Lyon and Ellenburg mountains, Chazy Lake runs 4 miles mainly north to south and offers opporuntities for paddling, sailing/boating, fishing and relaxing on the beach. Paddlers can access the lake from the beach and park near the lake's dam on Route 374, boaters can launch on the northwest end. 

2. Lake Alice

Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area encompasses 1,468 acres along the Duprey Road in the Town of Chazy. A series of level, easily accessible foot trails have been constructed for hiking to direct visitors to various scenic vistas throughout the area. Visitors to the lake can also enjoy fishing from the shore or car top boats and bird watching. 

3. Davis Pond

Davis Pond lies within Macomb Reservation State Park, in the town of Schuyler Falls. Activities include boating, swimming, playing fields, and nature and hiking trails. Fishing is popular at Davis Pond in the park, and the nearby Salmon River. Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the pond for fishing and recreational use.

4. Silver Lake & Taylor Pond

These secluded lakes, located within 2 miles of eachother, are a great place to camp, fish, boat, paddle, snorkle or just relax. Dense woods and mountains surround the lakes, take a short hike to the top of nearby Silver Lake Mountain or Catamount for great views. 

5. Upper & Lower Chateaugay Lakes

A wide channel connects these two lakes creating a 10.5 mile waterway. Check out Bluff Point with its adjacent shallow reef or head 3 miles up the south inlet to the state land boundary at the bridge. Below the outlet dam the Chateauguay river drops rapidly with several falls including the spectacular 120 ft. High Falls. The 568-acre Lower Chateaugay Lake averages 12 feet deep and has a maximum depth of 25 feet. The wide, windswept, 2,524-acre Upper Chateaugay Lake averages 33 feet deep and has a maximum depth of 72 feet. Enjoy padding, boating and fishing, with a DEC launch in the Narrows that provides access to both lakes. 

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Ausable Chasm Adventurers

We, the VCB girls, strongly feel that to really know what we are marketing and promoting every day, we must experience it firsthand.  So every month, we set aside time to take a mini field trip to an attraction, lodging property and/or restaurant we have not experienced before and we experience it!!….I know, I know…hard work, right?  (insert grin here)

So this month’s field trip was to Ausable Chasm’s Adventure Course…and the name definitely does not lie…side note, this course is not recommended for those with little coordination or for those who have a debilitating fear of heights!  Although you are well educated beforehand and are safely strapped into the course at all times, I don’t recommend choosing that day to conquer your fears. 

So let’s walk through the course…

1.       Rope Ladder (Try jumping around a little and shaking the ladder…apparently it is way more fun for you than your friends that are also on the ladder with you. Hehe.)

Karen Billings, owner of Point Au Roche Lodge, reaching the top of the rope ladder

2.       Uphill Zip Lining (hint: get a good push of the rock because the shorter distance you go, the more of an arm work out you get pulling yourself to the other side.  We were all a bit sore the next day!  But where else do you get to just hang out over a chasm?)

Me thinking I got an awesome push off the rock...and only ending up about 1/4 of the way down the line.  Sigh...

3.       Horizontal Rock Wall Climbing (This was the scariest part of the whole course for me!  You are using wooden steps and metal rungs securely attached to the walls of the chasm to spider man it horizontally across to the next obstacle….not the most comfortable experience, but how awesome is that view?!)

Me forcing a smile as I am seriously panicking on the inside...why I thought getting a picture of the rocks and water below was a good idea at the time is beyond me!

4.       Downhill Zip Lining (This was the absolute best one!  You just got to float down the line, enjoy the view and not have to worry about a thing.  The staff even caught you on the other side so you wouldn’t run straight into the rock wall.)

Amber Parliament getting ready to zip line...next Ausable Chasm brochure cover?  I think so!

5.       Rope Bridge/Pretty much a Tight Rope (Again, you are securely fastened into this course, but STILL balance is not my strong suit so thank goodness for the rope side rails!)

Karen having no fear as she crosses that rope bridge

6.       Step Bridge/the last and final obstacle (funny story…right before we got to this course the staff said they thought this obstacle was just way too easy with 30+ steps, so they decided it would be much better to take out every other step and bring it down to 16 steps with gaps in between.  Don’t they know my legs are short!?....but really, that view!)

Since we had the Premiere Package, we also got to experience the rafting down the river, which is a nice relaxer after being an extreme adventurer.  I have to give props to the Chasm employee that was steering the boat who made it comical and informative all during one 20 minute trip.  He explained the different rock formations and how they came to be, why some of the trees at the top of the Chasm walls grow towards the water instead of upwards (of course I cannot remember the scientific word…but it’s basically because the tree gets more light from the sun reflecting off of the water below then from the direct light from the sun above, so it grows down…how crazy?), how part of the chasm is located on a fault line (which by the way, just a few days later, experienced an earthquake and rock slide) AND how there was a 1911 movie filmed at the Chasm called “Black Chasm”. 

Rafting through Ausable Chasm...those people in the picture?  Visitors from Connecticut!  When you work for the VISITORS BUREAU, you tend to get excited about that kind of stuff.

Funny story about this one too!   One of the scenes required the horse and its rider to jump from the top of the chasm wall into the river below.  Since they didn’t want their actor to get hurt they found someone in the neighboring town of Keeseville who was just crazy enough to go through with this stunt.  The first few times around the horse was much smarter than the rider and halted at the edge of the chasm.  After a few unsuccessful tries, the crew decided to blind fold the horse (not recommended!), which led to a successful jump off the edge but an unsuccessful ending for the rider.  As the horse walked away without a scratch, the rider had a few broken limbs and only a few cents worth of pay to end the day.  Black Chasm…1911 film made right in your own back yard…check it out!

The cliff the horse and rider jumped from in Black Chasm (1911)

After all that, we ended the day by just walking casually around the trails, enjoying the weather and changing scenery at every turn.  So overall, the staff was amazing, the adventure was high level stuff and Ausable Chasm is just a gorgeous place for people of all ages and abilities to be!

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"Liquid Gold" - Kristy's Top 5 Maple Favorites

The Adirondack Coast has one of the sweetest spring treats around, something we like to call “liquid gold”- yup, that’s right, its maple syrup! I recently visited a local sugarhouse while they were boiling sap and as the steam bellowed out of the chimney I started to think that I have way too many maple favorites to count!  Then I started to think…well what are my top 5 favorites…can I even narrow it down!?  I mean there are just too many tasty maple creations and I can’t imagine the Adirondack Coast without them, but I finally managed to narrow it down to my top 5 and here they are: 5.  Maple Cotton CandyYes, that is what I said…MAPLE COTTON CANDY!  This is a childhood favorite of mine revved up with immense flavors and that light golden color from the maple.  Several local maple farms offer this product, but Parker’s Family Maple Farm was the first to introduce me to this treat and it is something I must have every spring! 4.  Maple SodaI was introduced to this sugary concoction by my friends at Homestead Maple and you would not believe how easy it is to make!  

  • 1 bottle of plain seltzer + a smidge of pure Adirondack Coast maple syrup = cream soda, but better!

3.  Maple CandyIf you have never had a single piece of maple candy, I want you to stop reading this right now and go get yourself some!  It is the perfect bite size treat to get that sugar rush going.  They have a sugary texture, are surprisingly addictive and come in all sorts of fun shapes!  The maple leaf is most common. 2.  Maple CrèmesAs I have mentioned before in some of my blogs, the Adirondack Coast has several roadside soft serve ice cream stands and in the summer months, I frequent these establishments way more than I should.  BUT if you tried the maple ice cream that some of these stands serve, you would understand my obsession…it really is a must try! 1.  Maple Cream - AKA Maple ButterJust the word butter says enough for me.  Besides its velvety texture and smooth taste, it makes everything you put it on just a bit better.  But then when you add maple to an already outstanding product, you get something out of this world.  On warm toast or vanilla ice cream, maple butter would make even shoe leather taste delicious (Between you and me, I have been known to eat it by the spoon full). Cooking with maple syrup is never a bad idea either.  It is actually a great substitute for white cane sugar and has become a great addition to a healthy lifestyle.  I say healthy, but then leave you with one of my favorite maple cheesecake recipes...haha…enjoy!

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10 Sites to Visit for their History and their Views

The Adirondack Coast stretches across the western shores of Lake Champlain shouldered by New York's Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains of Vermont. This spectacular setting served as they backdrop for many historical events and happenings. Today, lakeside villages, charming hamlets and the historic city of Plattsburgh offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rich history of a young American nation.

1. The Samuel de Champlain Monument

A bronze monument dedicated to the famous French geographer and explorer Samuel de Champlain, born in 1567 in Brouage, France and died in Quebec City, Canada in 1635 as Governor of "New France".  In 1609 he became the first European to explore this region and to behold our great forests and lofty mountains, and first to traverse this inland waterway. Following this visit the lake was  named Champlain in his honor.  This monument was dedicated on July 6, 1912 to the memory of Samuel de Champlain. 

2. Asgaard Farm & Dairy

Asgaard Farm and Dairy is the former home of artist, writer, adventurer and political activist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971).  Kent resided here from the 1920s until his death in 1971.  Asgaard not only served as the inspiration for many of Kent’s paintings, but was also a working dairy farm.   David Brunner and Rhonda Butler acquired the farm in 1988. After working several years to restore the land and buildings, they put the farm back into production in 2003 and you can now visit the farm to pick up freshly made cheese, as well as other hand made products. Rockwell Kent's paintings can now be viewed at the Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection at SUNY Plattsburgh.

3. North Star Underground Railroad Museum

The North Star Underground Railroad Museum reveals the hidden history of the Champlain Line of the Underground Railroad with poignant exhibits that portray compelling stories of fugitives from slavery who passed through Northeastern New York and the Champlain Valley on their way to Québec and Ontario, Canada. The museum is located just a few steps away from Ausable Chasm, one of the Adirondack Coasts natural wonders.

4. Valcour Island and Bluff Point Lighthouse

Walking trails around Valcour island offer interpretive signage describing the events from the Revolutionary War including the first U.S. Naval Battle. Placed in service in 1874, the Bluff Point Lighthouse was one of the last lighthouses to be manned on the lake. It guided ships through the narrow passageway between the island and the New York shore for almost 60 years. Its fifth-order Fresnel lens was seen each evening from 1874 until 1930 when a steel tower was erected just south of the structure. In 2002 the lighthouse was reactivated when the light was removed from the steel tower and re-installed in the lighthouse.

5. Heart's Delight Farm - Miner Institute 

Heart's Delight Farm was developed on William Henry Miner's family homestead of 144 acres in Chazy, New York, beginning in 1903. By 1918, the farm had grown to 12,000 acres - 4,000 acres of tillable land, 2,000 acres of pasture and 6,000 acres of woodland. Within the cropland, 450 acres were devoted to growing corn and 600 acres to small grains (by dawson). There was a wide variety of animals on the farm including beef and dairy cattle, mules, draft horses, purebred horses, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, pheasants and brook trout. The farm employed 800 workers at that time and had its own dairy, box factory, ice house, natatorium, greenhouses and grist mill. 

6. The Kent DeLord House Museum

The Kent-Delord House was built in 1797 and was home to the Delord family between 1810 and 1913. Before the Battle of Plattsburgh, Henry and his family fled the house, which was then occupied by British officers from an artillery corps.  Dedicated at historic sites in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, War of 1812 Bicentennial Peace Gardens celebrate the two hundred years of peace and longstanding friendship between two countries that share the world's longest undefended border. You can visit the Adirondack Coast's Peace Garden at The Kent Delord House Museum.

7. Keese Homestead

The Keese Homestead  is located midway between Keeseville and Peru at the corner of Harkness Road and Union Road. The house was purchased by Richard Keese, Keeseville was named after him, in 1792, the present house was erected by Peter Keese, an abolitionist. The house was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad in New York State before fugitive slaves made their way to Canada. The slaves would end up in New York City and then make their way to Albany, Troy, Glens Falls and then to Peru before heading to Champlain and crossing the border in Lacolle, Quebec. The Keese Homestead is a stop along the North Star Underground Railroad Mini Bus Tour.

8. Fort Montgomery  

Fort Montgomery was the scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River. Today sits the remains of the 14-acre fortification, perched on a cliff overlooking the magnificent Hudson. On October 6, 1777, British, Loyalist and Hessian forces attacked Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton. The defending American Patriots, outnumbered 3 to 1, fought desperately until driven out of their forts at the points of the enemy bayonets. More than half of the Patriot forces were killed, wounded or captured. 

9. Macdonough Monument 

Overlooking Plattsburgh Bay where the Battle was fought, this 135-ft. monument was built in 1926 to honor Commodore Macdonough's victory over the British fleet. The four sides of the monument represent the ships of his fleet: Saratoga, Ticonderoga, Preble and Eagle. On the interior walls, six interpretive panels greet visitors as they climb the 156 steps to the top where they will enjoy a 360-degree view of the battle grounds and surrounding countryside.

10. Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum

Babbie Rural & Farm Learning Museum depicts rural and farm life in the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks prior to the 1950’s. The Museum acquires, restors, displays and demonstrates how things were operated during that era. Visitors to the museum learn about New York's rural and farm life development from seeing horse drawn implements, gas engines, early tractors and other supporting tools in action.   

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EVP Tour coming back to the Adirondack Coast!

Last year’s event on the Plattsburgh City Beach was a huge hit with amazing weather and a full day of juniors, amateurs and pros rocking out their best volleyball skills on 10 courts that lined Lake Champlain.  Steve Peters from the City Recreation Department and I even attempted to dust off our skills in a few 2 on 2 games, but despite our best attempt, “Team Scrappy” (named after our combined lack of height, but determined personalities) failed to make it to the finals and I have to say, we had a lot of fun losing!

But no worries!  That only gave Team Scrappy more time to pull off a memorable delivery of the game ball by a skydiver jumping out over Lake Champlain and gracefully landing on the beach to hand the ball off to Lloy Ball, a 1994 Olympic gold medalist, who was playing in the men’s final match.  Oh and did I mention, Kelly Shumacher also played in the women’s final match right before that.  She was a former WNBA Basketball star who turned into an insane beach volleyball player.  Pretty cool, right?

So what’s the “much more” you can expect to see this year? 

EVP Tour Commissioner, Ross Balling, will be hosting a 3 day Volleykidz Beach Camp for 3 different age groups (click link for details):

“The EVP® Academy uses the Volleyball Pros lesson plan to enhance student skills, which makes the game more enjoyable and challenges them to experience volleyball at the next level.  All resulting in students saying “I love volleyball and I want to learn more.”

-EVP Tour

Adults can also start their weekend off right by getting out of work early on Friday July 24th and coming to play in the EVP Adirondack Coast Corporate Challenge starting at 3pm on the Plattsburgh City Beach.  Registration is $100 for a co-ed team of 4 and you will not only get a souvenir Adirondack Coast EVP T-shirt, but you will receive a drink ticket to The Cabana Bar and a meal ticket to Smooth Moves.  Is there a better way to start your weekend then with some fun on the beach?

Saturday will bring on the junior, amateur and pro teams of 2 competing for the top prize.  Lloy ball will be back this year and giving you the chance to hold, wear and take pictures with his Olympic Gold Medal.  And I am sure we will have some other fun surprises waiting for you, so come out and watch, or participate in, the EVP Adirondack Coast Pro-Am Beach Volleyball Tournament July 24-25, 2015!

   

 Visit www.evptour.com to register or contact Ross Balling at rossballing@evptour.com or 312.287.5988

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The Cutest Animals Ever are on the Adirondack Coast

The Adirondack Coast stretches across the western shores of Lake Champlain shouldered by New York’s Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Throughout the area you will find the sweetest animals that will make you say “awwwwww!”

Curious Baby Goats

Country Dreams Farm

Pigs Taking a Snooze

Country Dreams Farm

Tundra Swans Relaxing on the Water

Ausable Point State Park

Sweet Holstein Calves 

W.H. Miner Institute

Goats that Just Want to Play

Rulfs Orchard

Morgan Horses that Want to Say Hello

W.H. Miner Institute 

Donkeys that are BFFs

Rulfs Orchard

Otters Who are the Definition of Cute

The Wild Center

Alpacas that Love the Camera

Rulfs Orchard

Pigs Enjoying Mud Baths

Country Dreams Farm

Foals that Love Playing in the Pasture

W.H. Miner Institute 

Mac, Who Rocks Shades and a Hat Better than Anyone

ELFs Farm Winery and ADK Cider Company

Belgian Draft Horses Ready for their Close-Up

Country Dreams Farm 

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Tee off on the Adirondack Coast

The Adirondack Coast offers championship golf courses, par-29s and everything in between. Golfers on the Adirondack Coast can enjoy beautiful mountain layouts, green, plush, cedar-lined fairways and the Adirondack Mountains along Lake Champlain as the backdrop.  

 Golfers can hone their skills at Adirondack Coast golf courses such as: Adirondack Golf and Country Club88 Golf RoadPeru, NY 12972518.643.8403 Adirondack Golf and Country Club is one of the North Country's newest 18 hole championship golf courses. Geographically located just south of Plattsburgh in Peru, NY. The course was nominated in 1990 for best design by the American Society of Golf Course Architects and was listed as one of the five best courses to play in New York State by Golf Digest in 1994-95. Bluff Point Golf Resort & Cottages75 Bluff Point DrivePlattsburgh, NY 12901518.563.3420 This year celebrate the 125th anniversary of Bluff Point. Designed by A.W. Tillinghast and located on Lake Champlain, Bluff Point is America's oldest resort golf course and one of the region’s most scenic. Bluff Point also offers Great Golf and Stay Packages in their Cottages and Suites which are located near their 500ft sand beach on Lake Champlain.Harmony Golf Club & Community95 North StreetPort Kent, NY 12975518.834.9785 Located in the heart of the Adirondacks in Port Kent, NY, Harmony Golf Club & Community rests upon a tradition that spans the course of 100 years. With 14 available holes to set you off into your golfing adventures, Harmony offers a dynamic course to cover all of your golfing needs.    Malone Golf Club79 Golf Course RoadMalone, NY 12953518.483.2926 36 Championship golf holes divided into two great golf courses, by Robert Trent Jones, make up the Malone Golf Club. The East offers rolling hills and diverse terrain, which its front nine was rated "Best Pure Classic Nine" in the world by Golf Week. The West comprises much tighter fairways in which nine of its holes have water coming into play. North Country Golf Club862 Hayford RoadRouses Point, NY 12979518.297.5814 The North Country Golf Club has been open since 1936 and features an 18 hole championship, par 72, course. The North Country Golf Club also offers a full service restaurant and bar, Pro Shop and driving range.   Visit for Bluff Point’s 125th Anniversary and discover the historic property where U.S. Presidents, baseball great Babe Ruth, and business tycoons like the Astors and Vanderbilts played and vacationed. The course is beautifully maintained and nestled on picturesque Lake Champlain, with New York’s Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains of Vermont as the backdrop. The views are unsurpassed and the golf is even better.  

 Wherever golfers choose to play a round on the Adirondack Coast this season, the breathtaking views and spectacular settings will leave them struggling to keep their eye on the ball. Click here to plan an Adirondack Coast golf getaway.

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The Fishing Tournaments are Coming!

Spring is coming!  That means we are closer to summer and closer to being able to swim in the lake rather than walk on it.  Summer time does not just mean warmer temperatures and fun in the sun, although those are great things to look forward to (I definitely am!), but it also means that the fishing tournaments are coming!

The 2015 dates have been finalized and released:

June 13ABA Weekend SeriesJune 14NY TBFJuly 18Northern Bass SupplyJuly 30 - August 1   FLW Rayovac SeriesAugust 8Walmart BFL - NortheastSeptember 27Bass Federation Collegiate Cup Challenge The Adirondack Coast hosts up to 6 bass fishing tournaments per year on Lake Champlain and depending upon the year, 1 to 2 of these tournaments are at the professional level; bringing 400 anglers and their families from all over the U.S., Canada, and sometimes even Japan or France, to the greater Plattsburgh area.  The week before a tournament you will see bass fishing boats in every parking lot and on every road in town.  These anglers spend seven days on the Adirondack Coast and spend their money at grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, repair shops and on anything else you may need during a long stay somewhere other than home; leaving an estimated economic impact of well over $1.2 million.  Not only do they have a huge impact on our economy, but they are some of the nicest men and women you will ever have the chance to meet. 

The pro-level tournaments are usually three day tournaments that have a consistent 2:00pm weigh in every day, with the finals on the third day.  If you are going to check out any of the weigh-ins, I recommend the finals!  Each tournament is different, but usually it is the top 20-24 anglers and co-anglers competing for top weights and prizes; prizes being thousands of dollars and a brand new bass fishing boat. 

Finals at these tournaments are no joke!  You can see the nerves as the anglers wait to go up on stage and weigh the (hopefully) 5 bass limit they caught that day.  Each bass is pulled out of the specialty bags one at a time and showed to the audience, allowing the audience to judge whether or not they think that angler will knock out the person that weighed in before them.  Now I am new to this bass fishing stuff, but I found myself getting easily sucked in to the “ooohs” and “aahhhs” of the crowd.  I even found myself becoming somewhat of a weight expert as I shook my head yes or no in response to seeing each bass…. “nope, that bass is definitely not big enough” or “wowww, yup, he’s got it” were just a few of the statements that I was thinking out loud. 

If you can’t make it down to Dock Street Landing for the weigh-ins, they are all streamed live on the tournament’s website.  So whether you’re in the front row catching some of the schwag the announcer’s throw out to the audience or in front of your computer screen watching the pressure build, don’t forget to come out, support, and catch the excitement at the Adirondack Coast bass fishing tournaments!

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Cycling the Adirondack Coast

Quiet roads with wide shoulders stretch through some of the most gentle lakeside terrain and the steepest mountain climbs. Cyclists pedal past deep Adirondack lakes, soaring mountain peaks and through pristine wilderness without ever leaving the road.  

 Picturesque roads wind through miles of farmland connecting family-owned vineyards, orchards and maple sugar shacks.   

 Historic towns steeped in early American history and quaint lakeside villages offer plenty of opportunity for rest and recreation along the way.   

 The season kicks off in the spring when the snow is gone, trees are blooming and the roads are clear.Getting your own bike adventure rolling on the Adirondack Coast has never been easier, on the goadirondack.com website you will find:  • Point-to-point rides, themed routes and loops geared for all skill levels• Downloadable and printable maps• Interactive maps via MapMyRide• Travel deals and tools to plan a cycling vacation

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Home for the Holidays

As many of you may already know and probably have already experienced, the holiday season can get a little bit crazy, to say the least!  This time last year I was not living in Plattsburgh, but in a much larger city, so picture your craziest mall shopping experience times 10…carts flying, people pushing, babies crying…just plain insanity!  Sure the street décor was beautiful and there were Santa’s on every corner, but it just wasn’t home and it certainly wasn’t the quaint small town I was used to.

With views of the Saranac River and Lake Champlain, Downtown Plattsburgh is undeniably gorgeous in the spring, summer and fall.  However, when a blanket of fresh white snow has covered the ground and the holiday décor goes up, Downtown Plattsburgh has that ideal small town holiday feel; you know?  Like the kind you see in those Hallmark and Lifetime Holiday movies!

 

     

Lamp posts with holiday inspired wreaths haloing the bulbs guide you along the historic streets of Downtown Plattsburgh and lead you to quaint shops, local restaurants and even a winery!  The 40 foot tree in front of The Strand Center for the Arts that is ceremoniously lit every December in collaboration with First Weekends is standing tall and shining bright, with just a hint of snow on its branches.  If you get too cold walking about, you can grab a warm beverage from the local coffee shop, do a little wine sampling from The Champlain Wine Co. and/or pop in and out of great local shops like A Beautiful Mess to find exceptional holiday gifts. 

      

If you want to extend this holiday evening in downtown Plattsburgh, my suggestion would be to make some reservations at one of the cute local restaurants and check out the schedule at The Strand Theatre; another historic landmark that puts on some great concerts, movies and other forms of entertainment for your pleasure!

Sometimes the importance of the holiday season is lost amongst the growing gift lists and buying deadlines so it is great to take a moment to just enjoy the scenery, decorations and holiday spirit of a quaint place like downtown Plattsburgh.

Happy Holidays!

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Adirondack Coast Recipes: Mixed Local Greens with a Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

I will be one of the first to admit that salad is not one of my favorite things.  Especially not on Thanksgiving Day where there are mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing and casseroles that are waiting to take up any extra space on my plate.  However, I will say that if salad is done right with fresh local products and a sweet dressing to top it off, I will make room on my Thanksgiving plate.

The following recipe is one I have made in the past and seemed to be a big hit around this time of the year.  Add it to your Thanksgiving table and remember, most of these ingredients can be found fresh right from your own backyard!

Mixed Local Greens with a Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:

  • Mixed Local Greens

Fledgling Crow, Juniper Hill…there are so many farms on the Adirondack Coast that provide some of the freshest, most delicious greens

  • Sliced McIntosh Apples

Clinton County is the 2nd largest producer of McIntosh apples in the United State…take advantage of it!

  • Chevre Cheese

Creameries are up and coming on the Adirondack Coast...North Country Creamery, Sugar House Creamery...they all have great, fresh product!

  • Chopped Toasted Almonds

Lay whole almonds on a sheet pan and place in 350° oven for 10-15 minutes.  Once cooled, chop into large chunks

  • Maple Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tbsp. minced shallot

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

¼ tsp. fresh thyme

3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

¼ cup maple syrup (Another oppotunity to shop in your own backyard...Homestead Maple, Parker Family Maple)

¼ oil (sunflower oil or any other neutral flavored oil will work)

Directions: Mix together the minced shallot, Dijon mustard, fresh thyme, white balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.  Into this mixture, slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking consistently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  (Eliminate some of your stress by making this dressing a few days ahead, it is always better the next day!)

Enjoy! And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Shopping Small on New York's Adirondack Coast

The Adirondack Coast is filled with ‘mom and pop’ shops where you can find anything from house hold items, clothes, jewelry, delicious food and more. On Saturday, November 29th shop these local businesses during Small Business Saturday, dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year marks the 5th annual Small Business Saturday, held on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year, encouraging shoppers to support ‘mom and pop’ shops by doing some of their holiday shopping on this day. 

Participating businesses will feature deals and special promotions throughout the day including drawings, giveaways and refreshments. For a list of participating businesses and for more information on Small Business Saturday visit northcountrychamber.com. 

These small businesses create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Amid all the hype and hoopla of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, remember - and frequent – the great local businesses that do so much to support the Adirondack Coast community. 

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Winter White

Living on the Adirondack Coast you learn to not simply just wait for winter but to welcome it! Visitors during the colder months can see why my favorite color is winter white. As an avid skier having the greatest vertical drop in the east in my backyard keeps me active all winter long. Whether its first tracks or last chair, visitors can experience some of the best skiing and riding in the east right here on the Adirondack Coast. The Adirondack Coast is less than an hour drive from Whiteface Mountain, known as the Olympic Mountain – having hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games’ – Whiteface offers exciting terrain and world class alpine events. Titus Mountain is ideal for families wanting gentler terrain, beginner glades, night skiing, tubing and features a sugar house right on the mountain. Nearby Beartown Ski Area is great for families with small children. 

 Thrill seekers wanting a little more action can check out Lyon Mountain for some backcountry skiing. Wanting to backcountry ski in the Adirondacks is only natural with our terrain and snow. Standing at 3,830’ Lyon Mountain dominates the western sky of the Adirondack Coast. The large massif has long been a draw for backcountry skiers – and for good reason. Owned by New York State, Lyon Mountain, now classified as a “wild forest,” was once home to the Lowenberg Ski Area. Today it has a strong local following for its reputation as a snow pocket. The trail is unmarked but most often ski tracks will lead the way up the 90-minute climb and down the gentle, gladed descent.  

 There is more to winter skiing then just in the mountains. The Adirondack Coast offers Nordic skiers an extensive network of trails, both groomed and natural, in their choice of park or natural setting. In their winter form, local parks and beaches, such as Point au Roche and Ausable Point, offer wonderful opportunities to explore the shoreline or tree-lined routes. Many cross-country ski trails are multi-use and offer snowshoeing tracks. Explore these outdoor activities on the Adirondack Coast this winter and you’re favorite color will soon be winter white! 

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“FALLsies” (Fall-Selfies…Get It?)

Fall on the Adirondack Coast is my absolute favorite time of year.  It allows me to break out a whole new section of my closet…scarves, leggings, comfy sweaters, boots and more!  And although I am not a fan of the traditional pumpkin flavor that everyone raves about this time of year (insert eye rolls here), I cannot get enough of the changing leaves, the smell of the crisp air and the many traditional fall activities that take place on the Adirondack Coast!  Pumpkins and mums and corn mazes, oh my! 

The other week I was lucky enough to get a tour of Whiteface Mountain and everything they have to offer during the fall season.  Fun fact (for those who don’t already know): although Wilmington is only about 45 minutes away from Plattsburgh, their fall season peaks 2 weeks ahead of us, meaning many of their trees have started to change colors already!  It was a gorgeous drive and even better when we arrived at the base of the Mountain. 

The Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway was closed during our visit, but I highly recommend this as a fantastic scenic adventure.  The highway takes you to the top of 4,867-foot high Whiteface Mountain where you can find some of the best views of the Adirondack Park, as well as a few things that are out of the norm for the top of a high peak, such as a castle, an elevator carved deep inside the mountain, a restaurant and a gift shop!  You really can’t beat it!

Since the highway is a seasonal attraction (open Labor Day to Columbus Day), if it does happen to be closed during your visit, you can still experience the Cloudsplitter Gondola Rides, which take you to the top of Little Whiteface.  These 8 person enclosed gondolas take you over streams, steep rock faces and thick forests; allowing you to look out over the beautiful surrounding landscape.  Once you arrive at the top, you can explore the views from all sides of Little Whiteface, have lunch at the picnic area, and/or continue on foot up to the top of “Big” Whiteface.  It’s a great way to spend a crisp fall day and some of the very best leaf peeping around.

  

Now, don’t think you can only climb a mountain to enjoy the fall on the Adirondack Coast.  There are plenty of fall things to do on the ground!  Grab some hot apple cider and enjoy the corn maze, pumpkin patch rides and apple picking that take place at many of our local orchards and farms.  However you choose to enjoy the fall season on the Adirondack Coast, take lots of “FALLsies” (fall-selfies…get it?) because you are going to have some of the best backdrops to work with!

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Autumn Splendor

Autumn on the Adirondack Coast is characterized by sun-baked days and cool, crisp nights. Flaming reds, oranges and gold’s – the Adirondack Coast’s signature colors of fall – help make this, what is often described as, the most beautiful time of year. Visitors can follow the progression of color change as it slowly moves down in elevation, beginning in mid-September in the Adirondack High Peak region through mid-to-late October along Lake Champlain.  

 There is no better time to visit an Adirondack Coast orchard than in the fall. The Adirondack Coast is one of the highest producing apple areas in the United States second only to regions in Washington State. In fact, the Adirondack Coast is home to the world’s largest Macintosh orchard, with more than 30,000 trees. Other apple varieties to enjoy when you're here include Empire, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Paula Red, Macoun, Lodi, Northern Spy and Delicious – you can even pick them right off the tree. 

 During the fall harvest our Adirondack Coast orchards come alive with pumpkin patches, petting zoos, wagon rides and corn mazes, and offer gift shops with local fruits, vegetables, cider, jams, jellies, honey and bakeries right on site.  Visitors can indulge in a slice of fresh, hot apple pie or the local favorite, a warm cider donut!  

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Adirondack Coast Bass Fishing Tournaments - NO JOKE!

I grew up on the Adirondack Coast; a coast that stretches along the 120 mile Lake Champlain and an area that contains more rivers and streams then you can count.  For me, this water was used more for the typical teenage girl activities of sun tanning and boating, not for fishing trout, small mouths, large mouths, or any of the other 80 species of fish we have in the waters on the Adirondack Coast.  Although I still have yet to go bass fishing on Lake Champlain, because of my new position at the Visitors Bureau, my whole perspective on bass fishing and bass fishing tournaments has changed.  Sometimes, I even like to throw fun bass fishing facts into conversations just because I think it’s cool!

The Adirondack Coast hosts up to 6 bass fishing tournaments per year on Lake Champlain and depending upon the year, 1 to 2 of these tournaments are at the professional level; bringing 400 anglers and their families from all over the U.S., Canada, and sometimes even Japan or France, to the greater Plattsburgh area.  The week before a tournament you will see bass fishing boats in every parking lot and on every road in town.  These anglers spend seven days on the Adirondack Coast and spend their money at grocery stores, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, repair shops and on anything else you may need during a long stay somewhere other than home; leaving an estimated economic impact of well over $1.2 million.  Not only do they have a huge impact on our economy, but they are some of the nicest men and women you will ever have the chance to meet. 

The pro-level tournaments are usually three day tournaments that have a consistent 2:00pm weigh in every day, with the finals on the third day.  If you are going to check out any of the weigh-ins, I recommend the finals!  Each tournament is different, but usually it is the top 20-24 anglers and co-anglers competing for top weights and prizes; prizes being thousands of dollars and a brand new bass fishing boat. 

                  

Finals at these tournaments are no joke!  You can see the nerves as the anglers wait to go up on stage and weigh the (hopefully) 5 bass limit they caught that day.  Each bass is pulled out of the specialty bags one at a time and showed to the audience, allowing the audience to judge whether or not they think that angler will knock out the person that weighed in before them.  Now I am new to this bass fishing stuff, but I found myself getting easily sucked in to the “ooohs” and “aahhhs” of the crowd.  I even found myself becoming somewhat of a weight expert as I shook my head yes or no in response to seeing each bass…. “nope, that bass is definitely not big enough” or “wowww, yup, he’s got it” were just a few of the statements that I was thinking out loud.  This anxiety and excitement keeps building until, finally, one angler and one co-angler are named winners; spots that put money in your pocket and a new bass fishing boat behind your truck!

            

If you can’t make it down to Dock Street Landing for the weigh-ins, they are all streamed live on the tournament’s website.  So whether you’re in the front row catching some of the schwag the announcer’s throw out to the audience or in front of your computer screen watching the pressure build, don’t forget to come out, support, and catch the excitement at the Adirondack Coast bass fishing tournaments!

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I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Soft Serve Ice Cream!

Summer is in full swing on the Adirondack Coast, the days are longer, the weather is beautiful, the water’s inviting and the sun is shining.  Since I am back to blogging it can only mean one thing, I have another memory to share and one I hope you, the reader, will come and experience.

Summer makes me think of a lot of things:

• Beaches

• Fresh vegetables

• Parades and Fireworks

• Boating on Lake Champlain

• BBQs with friends and family

• Happy hour on a patio with a friend or two

But nothing says “summer” to me more than soft serve ice cream.  Luckily, the Adirondack Coast is home to several road side ice cream stands.  

Wikipedia defines” Soft Serve Ice Cream” as a type of ice cream that is softer than regular ice cream, as a result of air being introduced during freezing.  But if you ask me it is a light, refreshing and delicious ice cream, best enjoyed with friends and family after a long summer day.

There have been several summer evenings that I remember heading to one of our favorite ice cream stands for dessert.  It was always exciting when my parents asked if we wanted to go for a ride after dinner, it always meant a trip to get ice cream.  When we arrived the big decision was what flavor do you want vanilla, chocolate or a twist.  Then I’d have to think of dips, toppings and syrups, for a child I remember this being a daunting task – oh the options, I didn’t want to make the wrong choice.  However, my order never changed, it was ALWAYS (and continues to be) a small twist cone dipped in cherry.  I remember the excitement I use to get as a child when the server would hand me the bright cherry red treat, I have to admit I still get just as excited as an adult.  It was inevitable that I was going to make a huge mess, usually down my shirt, but it was bliss, a satisfying reward after a long day of playing in the sunshine.

Once we finished our treats we would hop back in the car and head home, I often remember my sister falling to sleep on these quick trips home, something her son has inherited.  A delightful ending to a wonderful sun baked day.

During your next warm summer night on the Adirondack Coast be sure to stop at one of our many road side stands for a sweet treat and reconnect with your family and friends after a great day enjoying all the Outdoor experiences the area has to offer. I promise a memory will be made and a sweet tooth will be satisfied.

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In The Summertime....

The first day of summer is soon approaching, and everyone is anxious for fresh strawberries and for our U-Pick fields to open.  The berries are a little late this year, but we are finally getting the sunshine we need to push them along.  We just picked some flats this morning to sell in our store.  Yum!

It looks like we will have a decent berry crop, however, it was a rough winter for the strawberries.  They are covered in straw, but there was still some damage because of last winter’s bitter cold temperatures.  On top of that, there has been an issue with strawberry root weevils.  Rulfs partnered with Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension during the Fall of 2013 to find a way to control the damage these pests were causing in our fields without using chemicals.  For more on this topic, here is the article that was published in various publications:

http://www.nnyagdev.org/index.php/2013/10/18/nny-grower-testing-strawberry-weevil-treatment/

Today, the men were out weeding the strawberry fields.  This makes it a better experience for our customers and easier to pick the berries.

Mr. Paul put in lots of new raspberry plants this spring.  Hopefully in the next few years we will be able to offer U-Pick raspberries, as our first planting did not produce enough to keep up with the demand from the public.

We are looking forward to a great season.  The men have been happy with the scallions and bok choy they’ve harvested.  These men love what they do, and take pride in keeping our fields clean and picking delicious produce for our customers to enjoy!

 

In other news at the farm, we have been busy planting various veggie crops, planning the strawberry festival, working in the greenhouses, and of course keeping our eyes on the apple trees and hoping for a great harvest this year!  Hard to believe we are already thinking about the Fall!

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Farmer's Markets on the Adirondack Coast

Summer is here, well almost! Having shared a favorite memory in my last blog post, I thought I would once again get lost in my childhood and share a memory of growing up on the Adirondack Coast. When I was younger I was extremely lucky to have wonderful grandparents, I spent many wonderful summer days with them. Whether it was going to the beach, feeding the ducks at a local pond or watching my Grandfather tinker in his workshop, there was always some exciting adventure for us to explore on warm summer days. After a busy day we would typically drive around Point Au Roche, NY or Beekmantown, NY, home to several family farms, and stop at one of the local road side vegetable stands to pick up whatever was in season for dinner. My favorite “fresh from the farm” dinner was always new potatoes, green beans and fresh corn on the cob; this girl needed nothing else on her plate to be happy, except a little fresh butter! Even as an adult this meal is still one of my summer-time favorites. 

 We’d settle the tab with the farmer or at that time, leave in the donation box and head home; always with a honey stick in hand that Grandpa would never forget to give me. Once home, we would head to the kitchen to cook up our new found loot! – I would always get stuck shucking the corn, a job I disliked and have now handed down to my nephew – a rite of passage...right? After the corn was shucked, beans snapped and potatoes washed, grandma would cook up our meal. We would sit around the table talking and laughing about the day’s adventure, always being extremely thankful for the local farmland, wonderful farmers and the fresh produce in front of us. Some may think it sounds a bit too “Mayberry”, but to me it was the ideal summer night on the coast; being with family, forgetting the hustle and bustle of the world around us and sharing a meal with my family. Next time you are driving around the coast on a summer day, check out the Plattsburgh Farmers’ and Crafters Market or stop at the abundant roadside stands that create the landscape on our quiet country roads. It will start conversations and for a small period of time, allow you to connect and unplug with those you love! It will be a family memory that no family with ever forget. - I promise you will not be disappointed.Now as an adult whenever I visit a roadside stand I can’t help but remember those summer days with my grandparents and I never leave without a honey stick!

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Beach Volleyball on the Adirondack Coast

Sports have always been a huge part of my life on the Adirondack Coast.  By being actively involved in high school athletics and recreational women’s softball, I have become a firm believer that without athletics I would not have the strength, work ethic and confidence that I do today.  Volleyball came into my life at a very young age and even with my 5’2 stature, I still managed to make myself feel 6’3 when I had a clean spike or made a good block at the net.  With most of our games being in indoor gymnasiums, it was not often I got to feel the sand beneath my toes and the sun on my skin in a good game of beach volleyball.  That is why I am beyond excited to get out on the beach this summer on July 26th at the Adirondack Coast Pro Am EVP Volleyball Tournament.

EVP stands for Extreme Volleyball Professionals, and boy is that the truth!  With muscles and height that any volleyball player would long for, these professionals shuffle, dive, run and sometimes roll across the beach volleyball court; rocking out an amazing display of athleticism and talent.  But the fun is not just in watching:

“The EVP Beach Volleyball Tour’s primary aim is to support beach volleyball events that engage families, fans, athletes, students, communities, and sponsors in a great day at the beach.  At each event, spectators will not only see elite athletes compete on the sand for top honors, they also have the chance to interact with the pros by participating in contests and promotions at hosting venues.”  –EVP Tour

Wondering what activities your kids can do over the summer?  EVP will be putting on a Volleykidz Beach Camp the week before the tournament with 4 sections focusing on different age ranges and skill sets.  What could be better than your little volleyball lovers learning from EVP volleyball pro certified coaches at a very reasonable price!? Helllloooo, nothing could be more awesome than that! 

EVP Volleykidz Beach Camp

This is the first year the Adirondack Coast will be hosting the EVP tournament and we do not want them to forget it!  So come out to the Plattsburgh City Beach and don’t miss your chance to support some of the most insane amateur and pro volleyball talent competing right in your back yard!

 

BEACH + SUN + FAMILY + VOLLEYBALL = THE BEST DAY ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN EVER!

JULY 26th! BE THERE! I know I will be!

 

Need more details?

Visit www.evptour.com or contact Ross Balling at rossballing@evptour.com or 312.287.5988

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Point au Roche Memories

Summer is just around the corner on the Adirondack Coast…my favorite time of the year. There are so many different things to do and experiences to be had on a sunny summer day, but my favorite activity is soaking up the rays on one of the area’s local beaches. What is better than sunshine on your face and your toes in the sand? Nothing! One of my preferred summer spots to explore and relax is Point Au Roche State Park. I have great memories of Point Au Roche State Park, when I was young my family would host our annual “family reunion” on the beach. It was the one time of year where I could see all my cousins and we would get into misguided adventures. We’d eat hot dogs cooked over charcoal and drink way to much sugary soda from the can. The water is shallow for quite a distance, I would walk far from the shorelines splashing and digging my feet into the wet sand without a care in the world. Every year, 6 o’clock in the evening would roll around and we would pack up the car to leave, I would wave goodbye to friends and family and climb into the car exhausted but happily content. I rarely remember driving out of the park, as I was usually fast asleep. As an adult I still find myself wandering to Point Au Roche State Park every year for some relaxation. Unfortunately, we don’t host our family reunions anymore but the memories immediately flood my mind when we enter the gates and pass the ticket window. Sitting on the sand, soaking up the sunrays, enjoying the lake breeze, listening to the wave’s crash on the shore and taking in all the beauty the beach has to offer, makes me appreciate those memories and moments I had in that very location with the ones I loved years earlier. It is funny how life comes full circle; I now watch my nephews explore the landscape much like I did as a child. They always have a smile on their faces, dirty feet and hands and the same happily exhausted look I remember having when they leave. 

 If you have never been to Point Au Roche you will find that it is truly a child’s (and adult’s) paradise featuring: • Walking Trails• Bike Trails• Playground• Pavilions• Picnic Tables• BBQ Grills• Boat Mooring• Vistas and scenic views• And, of course, the best swimming pool around…Lake Champlain I strongly encourage everyone to experience one of the many beaches along the Adirondack Coast and build some family memories of your own, they truly will last a lifetime.

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Spring Fever

Some warmer, sunny days have finally arrived in the North Country.  You really never know what to expect with the weather around here.  I laugh, as I was writing our winter blog as it was a 50 degree day with the sun shining.  As I write this, in April, it is 27 degrees and we just had a snowstorm last weekend.  But, hey, the sun is shining, and I’m starting to see some color in the greenhouses, things are looking on up!

The greenhouse crew has been very busy.  In February they started planting seeds, 288 to 512 seeds per flat, by hand.  They estimate about 30% of our greenhouse products are started from seeds during February and March; the remaining 70% are started from plugs.  Wayne cares for the seedlings, ensuring that they stay healthy and are ready to be transplanted in the Spring.

As the seeds are being planted, the rest of the crew are making sure that the greenhouses are ready for the season.  Linda stresses the importance of starting with an organized, clean, and sterile greenhouse.  This helps prevent disease and makes for an easier work habitat. 

Linda and Richard have a passion for growing.  Together, with their team, they plant hundreds of thousands of seeds & plugs each season.  You can sense their excitement and passion as they talk about the flower season.  Linda is the mastermind behind the design of our baskets.  She has been creating beautiful, colorful designs for over 20 years and she knows exactly what her customers are looking for.  These are her babies; she tells me she feels like “she is sending her child off to kindergarten when she sells a basket.”

Every day someone needs to care for the plants, watering, fertilizing, and checking for disease.  The plants are all logistically placed within a greenhouse, depending on the light and temperature of the space.  A lot of time and planning goes into the greenhouses before opening them to the public.

Bob remembers when they started growing flowers, over 30 years ago.  At that time, we had two tiny wooden greenhouses.  Today, we plant 6 greenhouses filled with flowers and another with vegetable plants.  We start our season out with an open house, the first Saturday in May so our customers can get a sneak peak and start making their wish lists. 

We have been doing a little spring cleaning in our retail store, and Wendy has been busy putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. 

Once all this snow has finally melted, we can get out in the fields to prepare for the 2014 season.  We hope to see you all soon!

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Maple Weekends on the Adirondack Coast

As a child, I was taught two very important lessons: (1) that a waffle wasn’t worth eating if every little indent wasn’t filled with maple syrup and (2) a pancake wasn’t even edible without that extra side of maple syrup to dip the already covered bite in to.  Despite this ongoing obsession, it never occurred to me that if I tried hard enough I could probably hear the sap dripping out of the thousands of maple trees being tapped in my back yard or even smell the sap being boiled to make the freshest, most delicious maple syrup.  It was not until I began my career at the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau that I had the pleasure of attending Maple Weekends; an event that has forever changed my appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into making this widely known symbol of the Adirondack Coast.

As a native of the Adirondack Coast, I am sad to say that my GPS had to be used and came in quite handy when driving the back roads up to Parker Family Maple Farm in West Chazy, NY.  Despite my poor sense of direction, I knew I was in the right spot when I started to see the matrix of plastic tubing connecting each maple tree to Parker’s centralized sugarhouse.  Now I don’t know if any of you still picture the metal spile and bucket hanging from the maple trees to collect sap (because I definitely did), but technology has brought maple syrup production to heightened levels with this new tapping system.  Now Parker Family Maple Farm can successfully tap well over 30,000 maple trees and increase their production efficiency; bringing more maple syrup to us for eating!

Opening day of Maple Weekends was a cold day on the Adirondack Coast; a cold day that you just seemed to forget when walking into the cloud of maple syrup scent that filled the air of the evaporator room.  As you watched the steam rise from this stainless steel contraption, you could hear the positivity buzzing as the media took advantage of interview opportunities with the Parker Family, Congressman Bill Owens, and our very own Visitors Bureau staff.  When it came time to do the ceremonial tapping of the tree, a flock of ducks (obviously ready for spring) greeted the group and, almost like it was planned, guided us to the maple trees that had been designated for tapping before flying off. 

Senator Betty Little and the New York State Maple Princess arrived just in time to join in on the maple tree tapping ceremony and led the way to the pancake breakfast that was awaiting guests.  Walking in to the breakfast, which was catered by the Hungry Bear, you could see a sea of winter hats, coats, and gloves slowly being shed off with the heat of the wood stove.  The aroma of pancakes waiting to be smothered in Parker’s Maple Syrup filled the air and you could sense the excitement of the families waiting in line to go through the buffet.  After breakfast, the children peered out the window at the horse and wagon rides that kept going by, anxiously awaiting their parents ok. 

Once the ok was given, children rushed outside to greet the Clydesdale horses that were gracefully pulling the attached wagon filled with smiling faces.  As the horses pranced to the sound of the jingle bells around their necks, you could see the timeline of steps in the maple syrup making process from the sites around you.  It all begins with the never ending rows of maple trees that provide the sap, which travels through the tapping system back to the sugarhouse where it is boiled and made into the syrup that we all love so much.  It truly showcased this extraordinary process and only made my support for the buy local movement stronger.

Next March bring your family, friends, neighbors, or whoever to this great event on the Adirondack Coast!  With over 20 different participants across the region, a pancake breakfast, wagon rides, and other delicious maple flavored products, you will not regret it! 

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Cycling on the Adirondack Coast

With four distinct seasons, countless bodies of water and mountains galore, options for outdoor adventure on the Adirondack Coast are endless. From the shores of Lake Champlain to the peaks of the Adirondack Mountains, the Adirondack Coast’s varied topography and spectacular views promise an unforgettable experience. Road CyclingThe Adirondack Coast is renowned for its really great road biking. Picturesque roads wind through miles of farmland connecting family-owned vineyards, orchards and maple sugar shacks. Historic towns steeped in early American history and quaint lakeside villages offer plenty of opportunity for rest and recreation along the way. Quiet roads with wide shoulders stretch through some of the most gentle lakeside terrain and the steepest mountain climbs. Pedal past deep Adirondack lakes, soaring mountain peaks and through pristine wilderness without ever leaving the road. Since Velo Quebec visited the Adirondack Coast in 2010 with their Grand Tour, word has been getting out on the area’s great road biking. Grand Tour participants described the roads as “velvet” and interest in the area has increased since.  The Adirondack Coast is now featured in many itineraries for cycling groups including Tour de l'Île Tours by the Adventure Cycling Association based in Seattle, Washington. 

 Biking season typically kicks off in the spring, in May, when the snow is gone and the roads are clean. To get a bike adventure rolling cyclists can visit goadirondack.com/biking for:

  • Point-to-point rides, themed routes and loops geared for all skill levels.
  • Downloadable and printable maps
  • Interactive maps via MapMyRide
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New Bike Trail: Plattsburgh's War of 1812 Bike TrailThe Adirondack Coast along Lake Champlain hosts an annual series of reenactments, historic tours, family-friendly Adirondack events and performances to commemorate the Battle of Plattsburgh, the decisive battle in the War of 1812. This year marks the midst of the Bicentennial Commemoration of the War of 1812, and throughout the year the Adirondack Coast celebrates 200 years of peace.

Experience the history of the Battle of Plattsburgh while biking along the War of 1812 Bike Trail. The tour brings cyclists past many historic landmarks, museums and forts that helped win the battle.

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Winter on the Farm

Winter is our quiet time here at Rulfs Orchard, when we can reflect on the previous season and start planning for the year ahead. In the retail store, which is open year round, Bob is typically found sitting in front of the wood stove chatting with our customers as they pick up fresh donuts and cider. We also continue to wholesale during the winter, delivering to grocery stores and other businesses in the area.

A lot of our time is spent on the farm from April through November. We cherish these few winter months to spend some time with family and friends and catch up on all those projects we have been putting off at home.

The kitchen never closes, so Patti is still in daily, making fresh pies and doughnuts for her loyal customers. She hand rolled over 10,000 pies during 2013, quite the accomplishment.

On the farm, Linda (Produce Manager) and Richard (Field Manager) have put in their flower orders and planning for the 2014 greenhouse season. At the beginning of March, they will start planting flowers, seed by seed, by hand. Linda says, “At this time, our goal is to organize and clean our greenhouses as sanitation in the greenhouses is very important. To disinfect and have a clean greenhouse is important to the plants for disease control. It also gives us a feeling of well-being to enter a clean, organized house. Happy Planting!”

Richard and Bob have been ordering seeds and plants and determining the field layout for the year. They have to determine field rotation and what products to plant more or less of based off the results of last year. Even though we aren’t harvesting crops, work still needs to be done in the fields and in the Orchard to prepare for the season ahead. In the apple orchard, it is important to prune the trees. Here is what our field manager had to say about pruning: “We prune to give trees proper shape and form. Trees that are pruned properly will produce high quality fruit. The objective is to have a strong tree framework that will support fruit production. Another goal is to remove any dead, diseased, or broken limbs. When pruning, we open up the tree canopy to allow more sunlight in which encourages flower bud development and good fruit set, for a high quality. Pruning also helps air movement within the trees which helps dry the trees out. This will minimize disease pressure and helps pesticide penetration. For me, a well pruned tree is pleasing to look at. We prune in the winter because this is when we have the most time to accomplish the task. After pruning, we will start to grind the brush up on the Orchard floor.”

It seems far off, but we have been planning our Easter Egg Hunt, the Strawberry Festival and planning for our 2014 corn maze theme. It has been a long winter in the North Country, but today, as the temps reached over 30 degrees and the sun was shining, there was an excitement in the air. Spring is on its way!

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What I did this weekend on the Adirondack Coast... Off Coast and uphill. McKenzie Mountain

It’s that time again! The early November transition between the bright colors of the Autumn and the winter snow. Every November I also choose one mountain to call my “birthday hike”. I had decided to make this my birthday hike months ago while camping the islands of the Lower Saranac Lake. Years ago I had told myself I really wanted to get my feet to the top of McKenzie Mountain, but had never put this thought into action.

McKensie Mountain from Lake Flower 10/20/2013

McKensie Mountain from Lake Flower 10/20/2013

McKenzie has been in the backdrop of many of my hiking, camping, and kayaking photos. It stands 3,861 feet between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid New York making it #55 of the Adirondack 100. McKenzie is not one of the highest mountains, nor does it have the most expansive views, but I was still giddy with anticipation to finally take the 5.3 mile hike to the summit.

My hiking partner and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. Blue sky, sunshine, and a crisp 24 degrees. the peaks were coated in white from a snowfall the night before. We started out from the trailhead at 8:15am.

The trail begins like many others. A gentle stroll through a mixed hardwood forest on a cushion of fallen leaves. We climbed gradually meandering around glacial erratics, over babbling brooks, and alongside a swiftly flowing creek. At 2.4 miles the blue blazed trail continues on to the left to reach Haystack (not the high peak), and the Red trail to the summit of McKenzie to the right.

The junction for Haystack and McKenzie

The junction for Haystack and McKenzie

Just over one mile past the junction for Haystack, we met the junction for the jack-rabbit ski trail. Up until this point the trail has been a very pleasurable stroll through the woods. My memory recalls the trail becoming much less enjoyable. For about one mile we hopped from rock to rock to avoid landing in the thick mud and flowing water running down the eroded trail. With most of my hiking in the deeper part of winter, I had forgotten how much mud and rocks can effect a hike.

the wet, muddy, rock hop trail.

the wet, muddy, rock hop trail.

Where the mud stops, the trail gets real. Real steep that is. I didn’t track my route, but through reading other accounts, the steepest portion of the trail is about 1/2 mile long. From the jack-rabbit trail to the summit is about 1,300 feet in 1.7 miles. The wet, steep trail became increasingly icy as we scrambled up higher into the snow-covered trees. We strapped on our microspikes to tackle the icy ascent and continued scrambling along.

The steep, wet, icy, and beautiful trail.

The steep, wet, icy, and beautiful trail.

The suddenly steep climb brought us to our first vista back toward The Great range and regenerated our desire to reach the summit. We paused here for a moment to take in the sight. We stared off into the distance and for a short while we had forgotten the feeling in our legs, the mud on our feet, and the wet cold that had seeped through our gloves. Regenerated, we moved on.

The first open vista.

The first open vista.

After another short bit of very steep trail, the path levels out over a false summit with the first view up toward the summit of McKenzie. Another half mile was all it would take to reach the top.

The summit of McKenzie from the false summit. It's closer than it looks.

The summit of McKenzie from the false summit. It’s closer than it looks.

There is a drop between the false summit and the summit of McKenzie. From the top it appears to be a long steep descent, but turned out to be a very short drop with very little ice. The ascent was much more gradual than it appeared from the false summit as well. We reached the treed Summit at 1:15. There are two grand lookout points. One facing the Great Range with a bird’s-eye view of Lake Placid, and the other of the village of Saranac Lake with views of the chain of the Saranac Lakes, Oseetah, Flower, and Kiwassa.

the view of the great range and lake Placid.

the view of the great range and lake Placid.

The view of the Saranac Lakes chain, Oseetah, Kiwassa.

The view of the Saranac Lakes chain, Oseetah, Kiwassa.

We had been slowed a bit by the mud and ice, and reached the summit a little later than we had anticipated. To be sure we made it back before dark, we relaxed for about a half hour, snapped photos, and devoured some food and water.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enjoy my birthday hike. Looking out over all of the waterways I have kayaked and across to the many other mountains I have summit over the years brought me a sense of accomplishment. I am a loss for words over how magical and awe-inspiring it is to look out from any summit of any mountain and gaze upon the majesty of the Adirondacks.

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What I did this weekend on the Adirondack Coast… Winter hike up Ampersand Mountain.

It’s hard to believe I haven’t hiked a mountain in two months! The short days, work schedule, and holiday festivities soaked up all of my time. My hiking partner and I were sitting comfortably in our warm office, staring out the window longing to be outside. The decision was easy. “want to hike?”, “Ampersand”, “sure”,”8:30?”, “yup”, was the extent of our hiking plans.

Sunday morning, 8:30 and we are on the snowy roads to Ampersand Mountain. Mother Nature graced us with two inches of fresh new snow that clung to the branches of the trees creating that perfect Adirondack winter scene. Never knowing what the conditions may be,  we have a tendency to over-pack the car. Winter hiking requires a lot more gear that summertime adventures, but brings with it the freedom of having the entire mountain to yourself, no mud, and no bugs, and expansive views from the summit that one can only get this time of year.

Ampersand summit

The weather report was a strange mixed bag of rain, snow, and a high wind advisory with gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour. Sounds like perfect hiking conditions, right? We started up carrying our snowshoes, uncertain of the snow totals in the higher elevations. Neither of us are strangers to this little 3,352 foot mountain. Ampersand Mountain serves as a great day hike. The hike will bring you along a 1.7 mile simple walk in the woods followed up by a mile of a much more strenuous 1,300 foot climb to the bald summit with unobstructed 360 degree views of the high peaks and the Saranac Lakes chain.

The ground was covered by the two fresh inches of snow atop 3 inches of older hard snow. The trees blocked us from most of the winds that were swirling through their leafless, snow-covered branches. Fortunately for us, the rain stayed at the lower elevations. We knew that our view from the summit was going to be limited with the low cloud cover and snow squalls. The first 1.7 miles of easy terrain was breathtaking in its beauty. The fresh snow was postcard perfect.

For the last steep mile we strapped on our microspikes. There never turned out to be enough snow to call for snowshoes on this outing, but it’s always best to be prepared. This last mile climbs 1,300 feet and can be considered difficult to anyone with less physical ability. The mile ends at a unique Glacial erratic that is almost like the gate to the summit. We climb up and between the two large boulders. Not far past the “gate” the summit opens up to the views.

“The summit gate”

These open views were partially obscured as we had expected. What was less expected was our inability to stand on our two feet. The treeless summit left us fully exposed to the winds. The sustained very strong wind managed to sweep me off my feet and toss me a distance on the summit. I managed three photos before we worked our way back into the trees and out of this extreme wind. It wasn’t the ideal summit experience, but incredible to experience the power of nature in such a way. We paused in the calm within the trees to take in some nourishment.

Ice near the summit

Ice near the summit

Great thing about winter hiking #54, you can slide back down! And slide we did. It’s hard to resist the urge to play a bit when your given a steep hill and some snow. We were motivated to move quickly by hunger. I had my mind firmly planted on my after-hike burger that I knew was waiting for me.

How to get to Ampersand Mountain? The trailhead is well-marked and located on Route 3 about 6 miles from the village of Saranac Lake. There is plenty of parking for winter visitors, but may be limited in the summer months because it also serves as access to the Middle Saranac Lake. The parking lot for Ampersand is on the right hand side. The trailhead is on the left.

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What I did this weekend on the Adirondack Coast… Hike Cascade and Porter

The set up. Overcast sky, occasional flurry, single digit temperatures, and winds 5-15 mph. Must mean I should go for a hike. This weekend’s hike had been planned out at the beginning of the month while my hiking partner and I were considering which mountain we would visit next. Although I have not put myself fully into tackling the Adirondack 46 highest peaks, it seems this winter has been the time of taking on some of them. This weekend we chose to visit Cascade and Porter Mountains. Cascade and Porter Mountains rank #s 36 and #38 among the 46 peaks above 4,000 feet. Cascade stands at 4,098 and Porter stands nearby at 4,059.

From the summit of Cascade with Porter in the foreground.

From the summit of Cascade with Porter in the foreground.

The two mountains are often visited in the same hike for aspiring 46-rs looking to “peak bag”. Cascade Mountain is a very popular hike among tourists looking to get great views at the summit without the strenuous hike that many of the other high peaks require.The summit sees a lot of traffic throughout the year with lesser amounts  in the winter months. Porter sees less traffic to the summit because of the limited open space and limited views compared to that of nearby Cascade.

We started off early as always from Plattsburgh to get a head start on the two peaks. We prefer to take our time on the trails in order to explore along the way. This is no race to see who can reach the summit first. A whole natural world surrounds us on the way. There was only one car in the parking lot at 8:30 am, but while we were getting our gear together a large passenger van full of boy scouts from Connecticut also pulled in. The popularity of this hike was apparent right away. We are often fortunate enough to get mountains all to ourselves through the winter, but this was not going to be the case this weekend.

The hike is fairly steep but does not require any rock scrambling. I have read in other descriptions of the Cascade trail that it is considered often by people who do not hike often but want to reach a summit. With 15 inches of hard pack snow on the trail, many of the boulders were tucked away under a nice smooth path. The hike starts out through a sparse hardwood forest but climbs steeply. The cold air was strangely humid. I looked back at my partner to see that she had accumulated a frosty coating on her eyelashes and eyebrows as if she had stopped to put on some bright white mascara. I noticed that I too had collected a large amount of ice on my beard when I felt it crack as I smiled at her appearance. We were to be wearing this “Adirondack chic” look for the rest of the day.

Frosty the snow beard

Frosty the snow beard

Although I love the summit as much as anyone, my favorite part of any winter hike is to reach the frost line. Here in this place where the trees are covered in their thick and permanent winter coating of snow, frost, and ice, I feel at peace. This place to me is the greatest part of any winter hike. The low cloud cover was going to make our outward views limited, but the scenery inside this frosty forest holds its own magnificence. I could stop here, sit a while, and let myself forget the 9-5 or the other happenings of life outside of this space. These frozen woods act as my minds retreat whenever I need to get away.

Cascade

Shortly before we reached the junction between the two mountains we ran into a fellow hiker from Ottawa. He had done this hike in the past, and chatted with us for a bit about the two summits. Where we were standing was supposed to be the first open view back toward the great range. The thick cloud cover made the “expansive view” more like looking at a wall painted all in grey. In our chat with the other hiker, we decided to take the trek to Porter first in hopes that the cloud cover would move out by the time we reached the more impressive views Cascade offers.

The summit of Porter Mountain hiding in the clouds.

The summit of Porter Mountain hiding in the clouds.

The .7 mile trail to the summit of Porter from the junction is a narrow path through the thick frozen pine forest. We took our time along this easy  path to enjoy the beauty of the frost. You can quickly forget you are cold when you are so absorbed in the scenery around you. Not far from the summit there is a large boulder that I imagine offers views on a clear day. I climbed up to snap a photo of Porter before continuing on. The breeze was kicking up and I could feel that the frost I was collecting on my beard and lashes was thickening. Thankfully my yearly decision to sprout a winter coat to protect my face was paying off. At the summit we met up with the other hiker from Ottawa, exchanged time to snap some photos for each other, and quickly retreated back into the thick pines away from the wind. As we rounded the bend just past the large boulder our decision to summit Cascade last appeared to be paying off! For the first time we caught a glimpse of distant mountains and the bald rocky summit of Cascade.

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The bald summit of Cascade Mountain

The breeze we felt on top of Porter was pushing the clouds away just as we had hoped. The views through the trees of the far off peaks was exciting, but we paused again at the junction between the two mountains to take in some nourishment. A few other groups had come down from the summit of Cascade while we were there and all expressed that the wind was fiercely cold beyond the treeline . Forewarned, we pulled up our neck gaiters, added our warmest hats, covered any open skin, and tossed some hand warmers into our gloves. There is no such thing as too cold, just ill-prepared. Bellies full and bundled up, we made our way to the summit. Only .3 miles from the junction, one reaches the summit quickly. Much of this path is treeless. I could tell right away why the other hikers had expressed how cold they felt. Although covered, my eyes were exposed. The wind made them tear up and I could feel my tears freezing to my face. Fortunately there were a few hiding spots near the summit with little to no wind to stop for a moment to take in the spectacular views.

Whiteface Mountain in the distance.

Whiteface Mountain in the distance.

The thick cover of clouds had almost completely blown away by this point. We could see some of the other peaks we had summited in recent months off in the distance. Again I started to forget I was cold. With the wind so strong, standing much time at the summit was not in the cards, but I still made my way to the marker indicating that I had made it. I took as many photos as I could, felt my eyelids freezing, and made my way back town to the protected space out of the wind. We couldn’t have asked for better odds of capturing the views. We took it in for a little more time and made our way back to the protection of the trees. In the tree cover, it is as if the wind is instantly shut off. Happy about our good fortune and ready to sit down indoors for some food, we quickly made our way back to the trailhead. The parking lot was now full of other ambitious adventurers out to experience the beauty of the Adirondacks in winter. I can’t think of any better way to spend my days.

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What I did this weekend on the Adirondack Coast…Hike up Algonquin and Wright

For the first time in a long time, the weather reporters promised warmth and sunshine. Here the term warmth means anything above 35 degrees. The warming air might indicate that the hiking season will give way soon to kayak season. Until then I still want to hike a few more mountains before hanging up my gear for the season. This weekend, under blue skies, my hiking partner and I decided to take on Algonquin Peak and Wright Peak.

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The Hike starts very similar to many other hikes in the High Peaks region. We parked our car at the Adirondack loj and geared up for our 8.4 mile round trip hike. The plan was to go up to the summit of Algonquin before turning off to visit Wright. Algonquin is the second highest peak in the Adirondacks at 5,115′ , and one of only two mountains above 5,000′. Wright Peak is a nearby neighbor of Algonquin. At 4,580′, Wright’s summit seems to pale in comparison to the statuesque Algonquin. The hike starts off on the Van Hoevenberg trail , but splits off shortly before the junction for Marcy Dam to the Macintyre Range Trail.

View of Algonquin from Wright Peak

View of Algonquin from Wright Peak

The trail ascends at a fairly steady rate through the most magnificent Birch forest I have ever witnessed. I remember for the first time hearing a breeze rushing through the trees toward me. I braced myself for the familiar sting of cold winter air on my skin. To my surprise, the breeze was warm and carried with it the sweet smell of pine. The scent of nature was being freed from its frozen state by the 40 degree temperatures.  Was it time for the spring thaw to begin?

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The Perfect Birch forest

With the sun beating down, perfect hard packed trail, and warm breezes, I knew this hike was going to go down in my books as one of the best. The trail to Algonquin is significantly shorter than trail up to the 5,343′ summit of Mount Marcy, but is much steeper. The ascent is almost the same as Mount Marcy, in a much shorter distance. My hiking partner and I had never summited Algonquin or Wright in the past and were unaware of how lucky we were to have the deep, hard pack trail beneath our feet.

I paused to look back down at my hiking partner and noticed we had made a lot of vertical ground in a short amount of time. Through the trees was a clear view of  Whiteface Mountain standing proudly in the distance. Although I felt that I was taking my time, we seemed to reach the two-mile mark at the junction between Wright and Algonquin quickly. For Wright, you take a left for the .4 mile ascent to the summit along the blue blazed trail. For Algonquin continue straight ahead for the .9 mile ascent along the yellow blazed trail. Up first, Algonquin.

Whiteface Mountain from the trail up to Algonquin Peak.

Whiteface Mountain from the trail up to Algonquin Peak.

From this point the trail gets real! Real steep that is. I highly suggest using the level space at the junction to take in nourishment or allow yourself some time to mentally and physically prepare for the ascent. The last .9 mile stretch to the summit is very steep with a vast majority of it above the treeline. The deep hard pack snow was once again going to prove to be a very welcome friend and making the ascent much smoother than a summertime hike complete with large rocks and boulders to scramble over.

The junction for Algonquin and Wright.

The junction for Algonquin and Wright.

As with any of the bald summits, as soon as you emerge from the treeline you are treated to incredible views over the vastness of the Adirondacks. I will never grow tired of this breathtaking wilderness. All the hard work it took to get to that point of the hike faded away as the scenery in front of us opened up. I recently read the views described as ” a million dollar view that costs absolutely nothing but a couple of hours of exercise”. Some cloud cover had crept in during our ascent, but it didn’t obscure the distant views as far off as the Green Mountains of Vermont, lake Champlain, and the closer Adirondacks.

Walking the summit of Algonquin.

Walking the summit of Algonquin.

We stayed at the summit for quite a while soaking it all in, reminiscing about this hike and past hikes while identifying some of the other peaks we had visited. Sunlight poured in through a break in the clouds warming our skin, and a mild welcome breeze was in the air. The popularity of Algonquin brings a lot of visitors annually, but this weekend we shared the summit with only one other small group that had passed us near the treeline. After another snack in a sheltered area behind a large boulder, we geared up and began our descent back down to the junction for Wright. 

Descending Algonquin.

Descending Algonquin.

We paused again at the junction for a brief moment. Wright peak is only a .4 mile trek that should definitely be added to any hike up Algonquin. As another of the Adirondack 46 highest peaks, it is often added to an Algonquin hike. Iriquois Peak is also commonly added to a hike to Algonquin and Wright, but we chose not to tackle the third peak. The trail up to the summit of Wright is narrow, steep, and very short. We were only in the trees for a moment before popping up above the tree line. We could see the summit of Algonquin towering above us. Looking at Algonquin from this angle brought a real sense of accomplishment just knowing that we hiked to the top.

The view of Wright peak from Algonquin.

The view of Wright peak from Algonquin.

While on the summit of Algonquin, we experienced mild breezes and the occasional gust that would make the snow whirl through the air. While on Wright, we experienced sustained very strong winds that made standing upright near impossible. I was able to tuck in behind some boulders to get some photos as proof of our ascent. The intensity of the wind made our visit very short-lived. When I turned back to descend, a gust hit me strong enough to push me down. I lost footing in the soft snow but fortunately found myself a soft landing spot rather than the exposed rock.

Looking toward Whiteface Mountain from Wright Peak

Looking toward Whiteface Mountain from Wright Peak

We carefully shuffled our way back down into the trees. All of my snacks were worked off and my belly was grumbling for a big juicy burger. Call me predictable, but I am yet to hike ANY mountain without following up with a burger. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t seem to do any physical activity without following it up with a burger. Another perfect hiking day was behind us and only a few more hikes ahead of us before dusting off the kayaks and taking inventory of the camping gear.

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What I did this weekend on the Adirondack Coast…Birthday hike up Mount Marcy!

This is it folks. I’m staring down the last few days before I make the official switch from 30 years to 31 years of age. It’s coming close to time to turn the page over to the next chapter, but this one still needed a gripping finale.  My hiking partner and I started this great tradition a few years back on a hiking trip of the Grand Canyon. Now every year at birthday time we choose a hike to celebrate this wonderful life we live. This year I decided to celebrate close to home and take the trek to the summit of New York State’s highest peak, Mount Marcy.

The panorama from the summit

Marcy is not the hardest peak to summit. Marcy is not the longest hike in the ‘Dacks. Marcy is, however, the highest point which made it the prime choice for a particularly rewarding birthday hike. At 5,343 feet, the bald peak of Marcy holds a commanding view over the lower peaks that entices many hikers to take the relatively tame hike to the summit. I have read that the popularity of Marcy has brought over 40,000 visitors each year. Most of the visitors take the hike in the summer months crowding the summit. On this chilly November day we shared the summit with only two small groups.

Our trio started out early from the parking lot at the Adirondack Loj and went up the Van Hoevenberg trail for the most direct approach. We anticipated that the hike would consume all of the daylight we had available. We hit the trail in the dark early morning under a thin crescent moon. There was a thick frost covering everything is sight. We bundled up for the cold early morning air, strapped on our headlamps, and headed into the dark woods. The first two miles of the hike is just a gentle walk through a mixed hardwood forest with barely a rock to trip over. The light from our headlamps bounced off the ice crystals that clung to every surface from the tops of the trees to the ground beneath our feet. We walked slowly through this glittery world for only about one mile before the sun had come up enough to make our headlamps unnecessary. Filtered views of the surrounding peaks towering above could be seen through the leafless branches.

The early morning sky.

Just over two miles into the hike we came up on Marcy Dam. Marcy Dam has always been a popular camping spot for those looking to make a base camp for a weekend of “peak bagging” some of the 46. Before Hurricane Irene, Marcy Dam held Marcy Pond. Today Marcy Pond is just a memory for many after it was emptied in the wake of the dam’s collapse. My hiking partners and I will only know Marcy Pond as the land Mother Nature re-claimed. Today the crossing over Marcy Brook is located about 200′ below the dam by way of a newly constructed bridge.

The view from Marcy Dam

Another two miles of gentle incline past Marcy Dam brought us higher and deeper into thick pine forests. The absence of sunlight penetrating the pines made for an increasingly icy trail floor. We ascended alongside a clear Adirondack stream, increasingly larger boulders, and increasingly slippery trail conditions. The first lookout view showing the height of our ascent was a picture perfect frame of last week’s summit of Big Slide Mountain. We took a moment to warm ourselves in the sun and stare out over the mountains. As with any mountain hike, the views are forever changing in nature’s temporary art. I could go on about the hundreds of beautiful things we witnessed along the way, or I can direct you to the slideshow at the bottom of this blog and move on a few miles.

The increasing incline past Marcy Dam

Big Slide Mountain (center) as seen from the first open outlook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast forward that few miles and we find ourselves standing, perched in a clearing, looking up beyond the treeline at the bald alpine summit of Marcy. From this clearing on to the summit, traction devices were absolutely necessary. The ascent made it seem as though we were climbing a frozen waterfall. Not only does a good set of crampons keep you safe, but it will also make your journey a much more enjoyable one. This steep half mile of sheer ice opens up again to a gentle stroll along a short wooden path and another magnificent view of the summit. The trees at this altitude were now barely taller than my 5’8″ frame. The sunshine was no longer blocked by the short trees’ taller siblings. I paused to knock off a layer, take in some water, and stare up toward the summit. It was so close I felt as if I could almost reach out and touch it.

The last flat area before the final ascent.

Past this wooden walkway, is what I consider the steepest part of the hike. Signage will prompt hikers to use caution and consider the fragile and highly endangered plant life off of the marked trail. The trail markers turn from blue metal markers in the trees to yellow lines painted on the open rock face. Much of the protected plant life is surrounded by small rocks to clearly mark where hikers should avoid. Being here in this exposed terrain high above the rest of the world can bring on uneasy feelings. Looking down over the steep rock and sheer drops is not the best plan for anyone uncomfortable with heights. Keeping our eyes on the prize (and minds on those great egg salad sandwiches in my pack) we continued non stop to the top. Reaching the summit of any mountain brings an immense feeling of pride for what you have accomplished. We each made our way to the top of the highest boulder and sat to enjoy our lunches and stare out over the perfect, unobscured 360 degree view. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to reach the summit.

Sprawled out relaxing at the summit.

The Summit marker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With full bellies and cold digits we packed up and prepared for the descent. Leaving the sky behind us, we bounced, slid, scuffled, rolled, and bumped our way back down the Van Hoevenberg Trail. Well, two of us managed to roll, bump and bounce while the more cautious of the three used her head and managed the entire trip on her feet. On a good note, I discovered that I still bounce well in my old age!

The descent is always quick. The cool down time past Marcy Dam along that mellow trail we visited in the early morning was very welcome. The Van Hoevenberg trail was certainly not as physically demanding as others, but we had definitely worked off everything we had eaten and were feeling the effects of waking up so early.  There is only one way to nourish a bunch of hikers after a long day. A burger and a brew of course! Off to our favorite after hike stomping grounds for the perfect close to a perfect birthday hike.

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Rouses Point: My Home on the Adirondack Coast

After living on the Adirondack Coast for nearly my entire life, one would think I knew about every adventure and hidden gem there is to discover here. However, being a summer intern at the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau has made me realize that is completely false.

I have been asked to write about and explore each of the Adirondack Coast's lakeside villages and historic towns throughout the summer. My weekly travels have taught me many new things about the area in which I grew up, as well as made me appreciate just how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful and thriving place.

For my first trip, I decided on the obvious choice of my hometown, the charming Village of Rouses Point. Also known as "The Northern Gateway," Rouses Point sits on the western shores of Lake Champlain and shares a border with both Vermont and Quebec, Canada. 

While walking along the quaint and scenic streets of downtown Rouses Point, I couldn't help but reminisce about all the wonderful memories I have growing up here. From riding my bike on Lake Street and fishing off the village break-water to swimming in Lake Champlain and eating at my favorite local restaurants, there was rarely a dull moment during my childhood in Rouses Point.

Now that I am older, I am more able to appreciate Rouses Point's rich and significant history, as well as its unprecidented views. Therefore, for anyone passing through or staying in Rouses Point, here are a few must-see attractions:

  • Fort Montgomery - Named after Revolutionary War hero General Richard Montgomery, the 19th-century fort can be viewed from the Rouses Point - Alburg, Vermont Bridge.
  • The D & H Roundhouse - Part of the Delaware an Hudson Railroad station, this roundhouse is the last of its kind on this railroad system and is in the process of being restored into a museum.
  • The "Rum Trail" - Travel Rouses Point's "Rum Trail" by foot or bike, where rumrunners once crossed into Canada with contraband booze.
  • Montgomery Street Pier - Rouses Point's pier offers magnificent views of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains of Vermont and is an ideal location to sit and relax when the marinas are full and the lake is buzzing with activity.

Learn more about the Village of Rouses Point.

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Spooky Spots on the Adirondack Coast: Valcour Brewing Company

So, we already know that the Old Airforce Base in Plattsburgh is crawling with spirits. But what’s brewing at the nearby Old Stone Barracks?

Beer, for one thing.

In 2015, after a restoration period, the Old Stone Barracks re-opened its doors as Valcour Brewing Company, providing visitors with a uniquely immersive history experience within the property’s oldest structure, including original craft brews and seven quaint bedrooms available for booking.

Originally built in 1838, the two-story building has served multiple uses throughout the centuries, containing at various points a hospital, mess rooms, sergeants' rooms and kitchens.

The 200-ft. long structure standing today was originally planned as one of four. Only two were actually built. The other completed structure was the officer’s quarters, where President Ulysses S. Grant once stayed. That building caught fire and was eventually torn down in the 1960s.

Now standing on its own, it’s safe to say the Old Stone Barracks has learned a thing or two about death in its lifetime, spanning multiple military periods from the Spanish American War to the Cold War.

While we were on Greater Adirondack Ghost & Tour Company’s “Ghosts of the Old Post” tour, Alyssa and I noticed most of the creepy occurances mentioned took place on the side of the building closest to the cemetery, which sounds kind of similar to the creepy stuff happening on the east side of Macdonough Hall near Riverside Cemetery. But tour guide Matt Boire has an even eerier explanation.

He says there used to be a door on this side of the front of the building (near the stairway to the porch) which was removed during one the barracks’ earlier phases of construction. Are spirits still stubbornly trying to pass through? One of his past tour-goers snapped a photo of the former entryway and reported it being full of orbs. Yikes! A dusty lens or delusional war-time soldiers?

And of course all of the inn’s bedrooms are on this side of the building. Valcour Brewing Company’s business manager Lizette Vigneault has a few theories herself.

She says, “This building is so old and has seen so much life and death, especially having been a military sick bay at one point – and being built on grounds where history has been unfolded. That’s going to leave its mark. This place is home to hundreds of stories that don’t just leave with renovations. They stick around in one form or another.”

With the hustle and bustle in the parking lot, restaurant, tasting room, and banquet halls, it makes sense any lingering spirits might retreat to the quieter, more solitary corners of the barracks. Lizette says when visitors mention any strange happenings, they’re usually guests in room #3 or room #7 – the rooms farthest down the halls on both floors.

The building’s basement, which is NOT open for public viewing, also has its creepy moments. Lizette says aside from brewing equipment, offices, and storage, this is another part of the building that’s comparably quiet.

It’s also the part of the building that was most victim to vandals before the barracks were renovated.

“There’s always been this rumor about a building on the base having a red wall in its basement,” Lizette says. “The rumor is that the color was chosen to hide blood stains from surgeries and operations happening during the battles. A lot of people mistakenly think that wall is in the basement of the City Rec Department, but it’s actually here.”

So yeah, that’s pretty creepy – but, like I said, this part of the building has seen in its fair share of vandals. And if you’re a thorough sleuth (like Alyssa or myself *ahem*) you’ll notice a very intentional handprint on the opposite side of the room, suggesting the artist, whoever that might have been, was totally aware of the wall’s creepy factor.

But like Lizette says, this building is full of stories, and who are we to discount any of them? After all, stumbling upon forgotten pasts is part of what makes history so appealing, not to mention mysterious. And one thing is for sure: this building certainly possesses its fair share of mystery.

Whether you’re looking for a history lesson, an original brew, a rustic dining atmosphere, or simply an experience that transports you back in time, you’ll find it here at Valcour Brewing Company – especially during Halloween Weekend.

On October 29th and 30th, 97 lucky visitors will explore the brewery’s historic grounds during two nights of the sold out Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by Adirondack Regional Theatre!

Be sure to check out Valcour’s Facebook page to stay up to date on all of the brewery’s upcoming events. Who knows what you might uncover.

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PO Box 310 |  7061 Route 9 | Plattsburgh, NY 12901 USA
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