FACT: The Adirondacks are beautiful
If there is one thing that is obvious that I learned from my trip through the Adirondacks is that there is a whole lot more to New York than just the city. However I also learned a lot of things about the area and that the chairs are in fact named after the mountains. I have compiled some of my newly learned information into this post so that you can be informed as well and know a little more about this beautiful part of the US before you visit.
Adirondack Facts – Things to know before you go
1. When people say “Upstate New York” that basically means all of New York except for New York City, Hudson Valley and Long Island. The Adirondacks are located in the top part of Upstate New York in a region also known as North Country.
2. Upstate New York is EXTREMELY large compared to just NYC, Hudson Valley and Long Island. In fact the Adirondack State Park in the Adirondacks region where I spent most of my trip is 6.1 million acres. MILLION. That is roughly the size of Vermont and is larger than Glacier Park, Yosemite, the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon COMBINED!
Wilderness and beauty as far as the eye can see
3. 52% of the park is actually privately owned but is regulated by the Adirondack Park Agency. With over 102 towns and villages in the park (but no cities) it is extremely unique throughout the world.
4. The Adirondacks actually have a pretty amazing website where you can take 360degree virtual tours of the whole park before you even visit. Check it out at www.AdirondacksUSA.com
5. Inside the park there are more than 2,000 miles of marked hiking trails, 3,000 water ways from lakes to ponds and 1,200miles of rivers fed by 30,000miles of brooks and streams! No wonder we went to a beach, kayaked, canoed and went fly fishing on our six day trip!
The view from the top of the fire watch tower on top of Mt. Arab
6. There are 46 peaks in the Adirondacks over 4,000 feet and if you climb to the top of them all you become an honorary member of the Adirondack 46ers club. On average it would take you 490hours to climb all 46 peaks and you will have hiked the combined elevation of seven times as high as Mt. Everest. Not sure if I’ll ever become a 46er…
7. There are more campsites (12,000) available in the area than there are hotel and B&B rooms (11,000). So yes, camping is popular in the area. Here are a couple of the hotels I stayed in on my trip: Hotel North Woods, Adirondack Hotel on Long Lake.
Just as beautiful in the winter. Image taken at the top of Cascade Mountain. source
8. The majority of its 7-10 million visitors each year, visit between May and October however the area is great all year round with tons of things to do like ice skating, snow shoeing, and downhill and cross country skiing in the winter months.
9. The Adirondack Chair was first made in the Adirondack Mountains in 1903 by Thomas Lee while vacationing in the area and in need of outdoor chairs for his summer home.
An example of a guide carrying a guide boat at the Adirondack Museum
10. The Adirondacks are also known for their own unique boat called the Adirondack Guide Boat. Similar to a canoe, however the guide boat rows like a row boat with oar locks. These were originally used and designed by hunting and fishing guides in the area and are made to be extremely light so it would be easy to portage between the many lakes and ponds in the area. To learn more about the guide boats visit the Adirondack Museum.
With my bright blue dry bag, so handy to have!
11. It might rain. Like with most destinations obviously rain is always possible. However I feel like while visiting the Adirondacks we may have gotten rained on slightly more than usual so be prepared just in case. If you aren’t getting wet from it pouring from the sky then there is also a good chance that you will get wet from canoeing, paddling, kayaking, swimming, fly fishing, boating or something else water related. Bring your bathing suit and a good dry bag
for your electronics.
12. Aside from being prepared for rain also of course bring good walking shoes / hiking boots for all of the great hiking in the area and bug spray to go along with it. Also because there are so many mountains, at times cell service is little to none depending on where you are, so bringing along a GPS is a smart idea.
13. It was once believed that the mountain air and environment in the Saranc Lake area could provide the cure for Tuberculosis. Eventually a pharmaceutical cure was found, however people still visit the area for relaxation and spas.
A view of the Wild Walk at the Wild Center
14. The Adirondacks are home to one of the COOLEST museums in the world. Located in Tupper Lake it is known as the Wild Center. Inside the natural history museum covers everything from how the Adirondack Mountains were first formed by glaciers to how it is today, as well as showcasing the unique flora and fauna in the area, along with a lot of other great displays. There is also a place to make crafts, a cafe, gift shop and a large theatre with a panoramic screen show casing the Adirondacks on film.
My favourite part is the Wild Walk outside of the museum. Opened in July 2015 it takes you into the woods and above the tree tops teaching you in a more hands on way about the area, flora and fauna. From a giant spider web to the largest eagles nest and an old stump where you can take a nap with bears, it is pretty cool. There is even a tree fort building area for kids so you can get them off of their iPads and instead have them get a little dirty and use their imaginations.
A Spanish canon at Fort Ticonderoga overlooking Lake Champlain
15. The Adirondacks are also home to a fort that played an important role in the American Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga. An 18th Century Fort that sits on Lake Champlain. The fort is open daily for visitors and is a great place for kids. Step back in time with the re-enactors that live life today like they did back in time creating their own uniforms and shoes, eating pea soup for lunch, and giving daily demonstrations.
16. The Adirondack Mountains are still getting bigger and bigger growing about one foot every 100 years, before you know it there will be a 47er Club.
The Ausable River
17. The Adirondacks are home to some of the best areas for fishing for brown trout in the US, including the Ausable River where I learned how to fly fish for the first time.
18. There are not any crocodiles or alligators in this part of the U.S. no matter what you may have heard or seen in the movies…
19. In the early 1900s people would vacate the cities in the summer times for the cooler and fresher air of the Adirondacks and this is where the word vacation originated.
Wine grapes grow on the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail at Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery
20. The Adirondacks are also home the Adirondack Coast Wine Trail which was established in June 2013 and is the newest wine region in North America. With over seven Vineyards and Wineries along its 133km route it is great to explore by bicycle. There is also a fair amount of craft beer pubs and cideries in the area that are not to be missed. My favourites being, Paradox Brewing, Raquette River Brewing and Elfs Farm.
21. The Adirondacks have a knack for storytellers with one of the most popular being Bill Smith. The youngest of 10 he grew up in the Adirondacks and learned many a tall tale from his fathers lumberjack friends and assorted characters that he met in his childhood as well as through his jobs as trapper, fur cutter, hunting and fishing guide and much more. With a wide repertoire of stories and songs from the area he is quite entertaining. He performs at various festivals in the region so if you get a chance when visiting go see Bill or one of the many other storytellers in the area.
22. There are a lot of other great places in New York nearby the Adirondacks to visit, like St. Lawrence County and the 1,000 Islands which yes, is where the salad dressing of the same name was invented.
A great day trip from the Adirondacks to the 1,000 Islands is to the 1,000 Island State Park to see all of the classic Victorian homes and to go for a kayak or bike ride. Another suggestion is to take a boat tour with Uncle Sam Boat Tours from Alexandria Bay to see some of the numerous gorgeous privately owned islands and their mansions including the Boldt Castle, near the Canadian border.
Remember some of these tips and facts and your trip through the Adirondacks will be great. Are there any others that I missed? Leave a message in the comments below!
Thanks to ROOSTADK and other service providers for hosting me on this trip, follow along on social media with #EatPlayLoveNY . As always all views expressed are my own.