Old Forge, Adirondack Mountains

It is time to remind people  that New York has so much more to offer besides the Big Apple. With lush forests, the Fulton Chain of lakes, and roaming black bears, the Adirondack Mountains are packed with waiting adventures – from hiking to canoeing, it is all here.

Summer & Fall in Old Forge

the past 22 years of Sara’s life

Canoeing, Hiking, Eating

Twin Pond, NY

Twin Pond, NY

It is a little bit of an over statement for me to say that I spent all my summers in Old Forge as a kid, but I can say that I spent some of my best summers here. My Grandma Fran lived in a small house on Twin Pond. And while I might not have been a fan of her cooking or lectures, the little dock out front (that we had to rebuild constantly, after the long winter) is where I learned to fish. And that small little lake, with its mysterious island in the middle and beaver dam blocking the river exit, those were the first places I learned to navigate the canoe around.

So here is a post, in honor of my family lineage to a place that first inspired me to go outside and explore. It has been my pleasure to continue the trip back east with my father, following my grandmother’s death, and in September of 2012 was able to share this magical place with Tzachi.

Seasons in up state NewYork. The best time of year to go is summer or fall. Around late September and early October is when the leaves change and offer the most colorful view. It is also a milder climate, though rain showers are a possibility. As for winter, be aware that most things shut down.

Fall in NY

Fall in NY

The first thing you need to do when you arrive to Old Forge is head for Tickner’s Moose River Paddling Trails (117 Riverside Lane, Old Forge, NY 13420. 315.369.6286), where you will either rent a canoe or ask them to take you seven miles up the river and drop you off. They will help shove you off the shoreline, where you will continue paddling down the river until you reach their store’s dock. The current is gentle and the seven mile trip should only take you a few hours. Pack some snacks and expect sore deltoid muscles the next days.

Down the river

Down the river

Time for a paddle

Time for a paddle

If you drop the canoe in the main lake, right outside of downtown (the charming few blocks of mixed tourist shops and necessities – be sure to check out the Hardware Store, an Old Forge classic), note the public docking area available. You can also ask the boys at ___ to haul the canoe down to the dock for you. Paddling around the main lake is good fun, offering views of lake houses and the endless trees. During the summer be aware of the motor boats that usually cruise this area. Winds and currents can get strong, especially in the later afternoon, so make sure you have enough energy and arm power for the journey back to the dock.

Sunset at Twin Pond

Sunset at Twin Pond

Falling Darkness, Twin Pond

Falling Darkness, Twin Pond

As for hiking. There are many trails in the area, but a here is a favorite of mine to start (more coming soon). Most trails in the area are dog friendly!

Bald Mountain (Dog Friendly): An easy forty-five minute (or way less) hike up to the top of the peak allows you a perfect few of the Finger Lakes. The mountain is 23500 feet, with a 500 feet ascent in less than a mile. Be sure to climb up to the top of the viewing tower.

How to get there: North of Old Forge off NY 28.  Turn left on Rondaxe Road.  There are many signs for the trailhead.

A view from the top of Bald Mountain

A view from the top of Bald Mountain

The Lookout

The Lookout

As for food, there are not a lot of options in town. The classic place to go out and eat, and used to be the nice-est restaurant in town was the Windmill. However, town is a hopin’ now, offering Ozzie’s Coffee Bar (3019 New York 28, Old Forge, NY 13420) for your morning latte and bagel, The Keyes’ Pancake House (2967 New York 28, Old Forge, NY 13420) for the morning American breakfast, and the Muffin Patch (2946 New York 28, Old Forge, NY 13420) for any other desires.

As for favorites,there are two!

Pike’s Place is a necessary stop. Be sure to grab a burger and fries, nothing too special, but a good treat following a morning hike. And the chocolate dipped ice cream cone is the real winner!

A well deserved treat

A well deserved treat

For a nice dinner be sure to go to the Sisters Bistro (3046 New York 28, Old Forge, NY 13420). The only place in town that caters to true elegance. With a splendid wine list, take your time and be sure to share, as you will want to try all the courses. From the down-to-earth chicken pot pie to the more elaborate meats, it is all delicious. Don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Need time to rest? The perfect activity is the Adirondack Scenic Train Ride, a there and back ride through the forests, past streams. All you have to do is sit and enjoy the ride. Be sure to bring a camera and sweater, as the best cars have open windows.

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