Monday, September 15, 2014

Primal Wilderness Rambling From The Adirondacks

When you say “New York,” people generally think of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyscrapers or endless entertainment in “the city that never sleeps.” Yet, there’s more to New York than the “Big Apple.” A different type of adventure awaits in the Adirondack Mountains of the Empire State.

About five hours’ drive North of New York City, the Adirondack Region is a well-preserved wilderness area of 6.1 million acres, where rivers, lakes, woodlands and mountains offer a nature lover's paradise. Hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, skiing and snowmobiling make the Adirondacks popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Those less adventuresome will also find much to love, with art museums, historic sites, antique shops and theater events to enjoy.

To understand the significance of the Adirondack Region and why local residents are so fierce about preservation, it’s a good idea to visit the Adirondack Museum at lovely Blue Mountain Lake. This museum takes visitors through the region’s natural history, Native American history and English colonial history. It covers the area's significance in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, plus its development as a logging center, mining site, and a recreational area, which eventually led to the current preservation movement. The museum has 24 buildings on 32 acres, so it deserves a lot more than a “run through.”

The region really opened up in the early part of the 20th century, when it became popular with New York's captains of industry, bankers and merchants, who built encampments on the area’s lakes that had a unique combination of rustic and luxurious. One of these facilities, modernized for today’s clientele, is The Hedges, a genteel resort on Blue Mountain Lake.

A good place to use as a base for exploring the region is North Creek, about 20 miles East of Blue Mountain Lake. North Creek is on the Hudson River and is the northern terminus of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, which runs South to the spa and horse racing center of Saratoga, also famous for a pivotal battle in the American Revolution. From this site, Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Buffalo to be sworn in as president after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901. 

The North Creek Depot Museum tells how Roosevelt was driven from his camp at Mt. Marcy to North Creek by horse and carriage in record time by legendary local hotelier Mike Cronin. The tidy little town is now a center for whitewater rafting expeditions and for winter skiing on Gore Mountain, one of America’s oldest ski areas. It is also a center for painting, sculpture and theatre, where gourmet dining can be found as well.

The Copperfield Inn provides luxury hospitality amidst the surrounding wooded landscapes. Other points of interest in the region include Fort Ticonderoga of Revolutionary War fame, Lake George with its amusement rides, Queensbury with its outlet shopping, and the site of two Winter Olympics Lake Placid. There are also many wineries, plus bed and breakfast hideaways that invite romantic getaways.

So, if you want to see that there’s more to the Empire State than tall buildings, head North to the wild Adirondacks. For further information on the Adirondack region attractions, go to

Mike Quane is a travel writer with twenty-five years experience. His work has appeared in The New York Daily NewsNewsdayGritEndless VacationParents Magazine, The Portland Press Herald, Telegraph Publications, Hong Kong Traveling Magazine, the inflight magazines of Singapore and Korean airlines plus many other places. He wrote a weekly column at This Week Publications for fifteen years and a monthly column at for over a decade.


  1. An excellent post, Mike. I love the Adirondacks. I've been there many times, and the hiking stirs the blood.

  2. Your blog is very interesting and especially this post because I love the nature, I think is very relaxing and everybody needs sometimes go to the mountains and appreciate things like these...