After spending time in the relative wilds of Acadia National Park, White Mountains of New Hampshire and Green Mountains of Vermont, emerging into the touristy busy-ness of Lake George was almost disorientating. Lake George (the town) located on the shores of Lake George (the lake), in the mountains of the Adirondacks, reminds me very much of Gatlinburg. It has outlet malls, a downtown strip of shops and eateries, and lots of touristy things to do.
The area is also rich in history, being the site of Fort William Henry which was active during the French and Indian war and also featured in the novel “The Last of The Mohicans”. The original fort existed only for 2 years – built in 1855 and burned down by the French in 1857, then rebuilt in the original footprint in the 1950s. A replica was also built in North Carolina as a set for the Last of the Mohicans movie. We toured the 1950s rebuilt version, complete with living history interpreters.
We bicycled to and through the town, and took a lake cruise with the Lake George Steamboat Company. Lake George was where the rich and famous of New York came to play and build expansive summer homes on the lakeside. We cruised by several of the remaining mansions and weaved through the surprising number of islands. Most of the islands are part of the New York park system, available for picnicking and camping.
Farther up in the Adirondack mountains lies the Ausible Chasm, a water-carved gorge. Boardwalks and suspension bridges allowed us to get up close and personal in the narrow chasm. In non-COVID years, an adventure ropes course and rafting would be available.
Still farther north, in the highest mountain section of the Adirondacks lies Lake Placid, home to two winter Olympic Games (1932, 1980). We visited the ski jump training center to watch young hopefuls train by jumping, spinning and flipping into a bubbling swimming pool. We also rode a cable car up to the top of the mountain, then took an elevator to the tip top of the 130 meter ski jump. We walked out onto the platform to peer down the view a jumper would see just before they committed to the deed. No Thank You!!
Lake George gave me a much-needed dose of civilization after weeks in the boonies. We were able to shop and dine, in a responsible and socially-distant manner. It felt good.
Next up …. Pennsylvania Amish country ….