Lake George: An Adirondack Gem

 

Regular readers know that one of my organizing principles in traveling is to avoid crowds. So, I scheduled my trip to Lake George, New York in early June, the period when it is just waking up and preparing for the summer crowds. It is a time when this tourist haven is (mostly) open for business, but not yet overrun by crowds. In other wards, a perfect time for me.

binoculars

Lake George is located about two-hundred miles north of New York City, in the Adirondack Mountains. It is thirty two miles long and up to two miles wide. The Lake George valley is a rift valley, formed by the stretching of the continental plate along a fault. The lake itself was created when the glaciers of the ice age left a terminal moraine along the southern end of the valley. This geologic history has created a beautiful valley, filled with a gorgeous lake. Together, they form one of New York’s most beautiful areas. One so pretty it has drawn tourists for over a hundred years.

lake george 1lake george 3

Today, the town of Lake George is home to many choices and activities for visitors. South of the lake, you will find new hotels, along with an outlet mall and most of the chain restaurants you might want eat at. Travel north along route 9N, and there are a multitude of lake-side resorts. These offer a wide variety of sleeping options, along with in-site activities and dining. My choice was to stay in town.

The main drag in Lake George is Canada Street, and it is lined with motels and resorts that date back back to the 1950’s. These offer a nostalgic place to stay, while being in walking distance to everything the town offers. I stayed at the Heritage of Lake George, which offers both motel rooms and cabins. While it doesn’t offer direct views of the lake, it has lovely rooms, a pool and a good, if limited, breakfast.

heritage 1The Heritage

canada stCanada Street

The center of Lake George is the intersection of Canada Street (NY 9 & 9N) and Beach Road. This is a good place to start your visit because here is where you will find the Lake George Visitor Center, a great place to find out what is happening in the area. Walk north, south or east from this intersection and you will find a plethora of restaurants, activities and souvenir shops. There are haunted houses, arcades and even place with rides for small kids.

fireboatFireboat on the lake

warren cty courtWarren County Historical Society

train stationThe Old Train Station

minigolfMinigolf near the lake

After driving up from New York City, I had lunch at Christie's on the Lake. It is not a fancy place, but they serve good sandwiches and they have a great terrace overlooking the lake. Christie’s is one of several restaurants that offer views of the water. Another choice is The Lookout Cafe, on Beach Rd. Part of the Fort William Henry Hotel and Conference Center, the Lookout serves great salads and sandwiches for lunch with wonderful views looking north at the whole length of the lake.

Lake front 1View from Christie's

minne ha ha 1View from The Lookout

After lunch I took a drive up to the top of Prospect Mountain, where there are great views of Lake George and the surrounding valleys.

prospect mt 1prospect mt 2prospect mt 3prospect mt rr 1

One of my favorite activities was taking a cruise on the lake. There are two main companies offering lake tours. The Lake George Steamboat Company, on Beach Road, offers trips on the Minne-Ha-ha and the Lac du Saint Sacrement. These are bigger boats that specialize in lunch and dinner cruises. The other is Lake George Shoreline Cruises, which sails the Adirondac and the Horicon.

lake front 2

lake george 4

LG steamboat 1

minne ha ha 2

saint sacrement 2

For dinner there are many options. I visited Mario’s, a white tablecloth southern Italian restaurant. Full meals, heavy on the tomato sauce, are available here, and they even had a three-course prix fixe on the night I was there. If you want something lighter, try Ali Baba Express, which offers Middle Eastern salads, platters and wraps. For something more pub/family oriented try The Garrison. Burgers, salads and a wide range of beers are on the menu.

two ducks

Lake George is one of those tourist places, that, if you haven’t been there, you might wonder if it worth the trip. But its beauty makes it worth the trip, especially if you can make the trip when the crowds are low.

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Back in the mid-1980's, I was traveling to Vermont to install a computer network for an Army Reserve Unit.  I got to Lake George very late and decided to stop and sleepover.  Unfortunately I was unaware that they host a motorcycle rally that draws over 50,000 people.  The hotel manager where I stopped said the next available hotel with vacancy would be just outside of my destination, still a long drive away, so I had to keep going.  I think the rally happens in June, so I assume you missed that time period from all accounts.

George G

George G. posted:

Back in the mid-1980's, I was traveling to Vermont to install a computer network for an Army Reserve Unit.  I got to Lake George very late and decided to stop and sleepover.  Unfortunately I was unaware that they host a motorcycle rally that draws over 50,000 people.  The hotel manager where I stopped said the next available hotel with vacancy would be just outside of my destination, still a long drive away, so I had to keep going.  I think the rally happens in June, so I assume you missed that time period from all accounts.

It was the weekend before I got there

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