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Naturally, we all know about the high-energy magnetism of New York City. However, when we think of nature, we think a tour of the state’s Adirondack Park and its six million acres might be New York’s most deserving attraction.
Let’s start our Adirondack tour in one of New York’s pleasant big towns, Saratoga Springs. Be sure to explore the city’s downtown area, a large yet unassuming collection of unique shops and eateries. If you like watching the ponies race, well, this is the place for you. Spend an afternoon at the historic Saratoga Racetrack and catch up on the sport’s history at the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame. A favorite local venue for events is the Saratoga Spa State Park. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, this 2,200-acre public park offers the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, and the Lincoln Baths. History buffs won’t want to miss a chance to visit the Saratoga National Historical Park, a wonderful place to learn about the Battle of Saratoga, possibly the most important battle of the American Revolution.
After you’ve had your fill of Saratoga Springs, head north on US-9 to the town of Lake George. In and around its 32-mile lake are plenty of opportunities for golfing, fishing, and boating… oh, lots and lots of boating. The south side of the lake hosts the namesake village, which we consider to be a thoroughly enjoyable throwback to the heyday of 1950s East Coast resort towns. The north side of the lake, however, is a less developed region offering more rustic escapes and plenty of opportunities to explore the greener side of a wonderful, natural environment.
Stay on US-9 north and consider having lunch or going antiquing in the town of Warrensburg before pressing on northwards to Schroon Lake. From there, stay on Hwy 9 north to Hwy 73 north, until the town of Saranac Lake comes into view. This little town is as charming as they get in New York State. Nestled along the lake of the same name, the town is the cultural hub of the northern Adirondacks high country. These environs are noticeably different than those surrounding Lake George and Schroon Lake. Here, the terrain dazzles with thousands of green acres highlighted by towering peaks. Of course, the area’s beauty was on full display during the 1980 winter Olympic Games, held in the nearby village of Lake Placid. It’s hard to imagine that the world converged on this normally quiet, small town for a couple of weeks nearly 30 years ago. Despite its time on the world stage, the town retains its authentic spirit while serving as a world-class, Olympic training center and home for all sorts of competitive events.
From Lake Placid, let’s cut across Hwy 86 north through the town of Jay to Keeseville, our last stop along this tour. Don’t miss the impressive Ausable Chasm where, 150 feet down, you can walk along the famous Inner Sanctum trail, or ride the legendary Ausable River whitewater in a river raft. Anglers will feel right at home here since the Ausable River is world-renown for its lively trout fishing.
In Plattsburgh, New Yorkers take their history seriously. Re-enactments of the famous 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh takes place annually, and they are so realistic, you feel like you are in the thick of the war. And if you head over to the Kent-Delord House Museum, you can experience the lives of early Americans during 1812, with exhibits and artifacts showcasing this period. Hear from both “American defenders” and “British attackers” here, as they tell you first-hand the struggles they experienced. While in town, make sure to get some culture by heading over to Plattsburgh Art Museum, located on the campus of the State University of New York. This Art Museum houses the works of such masters as Cézanne, Picasso, and Peter Paul Rubens, as well as media and sculpture pieces. To finish a visit of Plattsburgh properly, take a Juniper Boat Tour around Lake Champlain, and take in the beauty of the Lake and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains.