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Will the REAL Upstate New York Take a Bow

A Travel Review

By Susan Fleck PenningtonPublished 4 years ago 4 min read
Winter Wonderland

When people think Upstate New York, they immediately think of Albany or Syracuse, but they are not even close. Upstate New York is many quaint little towns and villages scattered throughout and north of the Adirondack Mountains, the most famous being Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Upstate New York has much to offer the traveler eager for fun, excitement, and adventure in any season.

Here the avid fisherman can cast his line in one of the 2,300 crystal clear blue lakes and ponds, one of the 1,500 miles of backward flowing rivers or 30,000 miles of babbling brooks and streams, while the avid hunter lies in wait for one of the many species common to the area such as black bear, moose, and deer. The Saint Lawrence Seaway, located to the north of the Adirondacks in Massena, hosts the yearly Northern Pike Challenge.

The more ambitious traveler can choose to traverse the 2,000 miles of foot trails or scale one of over 2,000 mountain peaks. Mount Marcy, located in the quaint village of Keene, NY, is the highest peak in the entire state at 5,344 feet.

Bundle up for the winter months where the average temperature is 16 degrees, and you can ski the slopes, ice-skate, go bobsledding or even enjoy a nice day of ice fishing.

Another of Upstate's quaint villages, Saranac Lake, lights up the cold, northern skies with fireworks and the beautiful glow of its homemade ice castle when the "Winter Carnival" comes to town.

Summertime and the smell of burgers sizzling on the grill fill the air, as people make their way to one of the many campgrounds or beaches the Adirondacks offers. Camping is so popular here that they offer a variety such as Island, Glamping, Family Friendly, RV, and Backcountry.

Aside from the expected, Upstate New York holds some surprises as well. In Massena, where the St. Lawrence Seaway separates the US from Canada, one will find the Eisenhower Locks. Over 1,000 people a day make their way to the viewing deck to watch as one ship after another traverse their way through the locks.

Just East of Massena, one will find the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation home to the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino and Bingo Palace. Here, you can tantalize your taste buds at one of six full-service restaurants, relax in one of their lavish hotel rooms, rejuvenate at their spa, and of course, try your luck at one of their table games or slot machines.

About an hour west of Massena nestled on the shore of the St. Lawrence River is the town of Alexandria Bay, a small town with much to offer, including a variety of cozy shops, restaurants, a winery, boat tours, Pirate Days, and the unique Champagne Balloon tours over the Islands.

Alex Bay, as the locals call it, is home to the "Thousand Islands," a group of Islands that dot the waters of the St. Lawrence River and from which Thousand Island dressing got its name. One of the Islands, Heart Island, is home to Boldt Castle, built by George C. Boldt, the proprietor of New York Cities world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel, for his wife. When she died unexpectedly in 1904, Mr. Boldt halted construction, and the 120 room castle never completed. Taken over in 1977 by the TIBA, the Boldt Castle is now a huge tourist attraction and the place of choice for many young brides as the perfect background for their weddings.

Other attractions found welcoming by travelers to the "North Country" are the Frogtown Raceway, located on the Mohawk Reservation, and Ausable Chasm, located in the tiny hamlet of Ausable, south of Plattsburgh.

Plattsburgh is one of the "North Countries" larger towns. Situated on Lake Champlain, home to "Champ," America's version of the "Loch Ness Monster," Plattsburgh is home to one of New York's SUNY colleges and sits opposite Burlington, Vermont, on the Eastern shore of Lake Champlain. "Great Escape," an Amusement Park, is located on the Southside of the Adirondacks on Lake George, a short drive south of Plattsburgh.

A quick ride to the southwestern side of the Adirondacks will find St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam, and Clarkson University. St. Lawrence University, located in Canton, alma mater to some of America's famous, actors Kirk Douglas and Viggo Mortensen, several high ranking politicians, and numerous professional hockey players, including Mike McKenna, goalie for the Columbia Blue Jackets.

If you are a history buff, check out some historical sites from the War of 1812, including the small town of Ft. Covington, named after Brigadier General Leonard Covington, who lost his life at the Battle of Chrysler's Field.

I hope I have laid out an excellent start to your Upstate New York vacation. Perhaps, you are surprised to learn of its existence. Like I said, in the beginning, most people think of Albany when they hear the words, Upstate New York, and I was no different until I saw those glorious mountains and cozy little towns for myself.

So, pack your bags, head to the mountains, and have the time of your life. Go in the winter, if you dare. God spreads a blanket of diamonds, and I promise, you have NEVER seen anything like it.


About the Creator

Susan Fleck Pennington

Susan Pennington was born in Norwich, Connecticut in 1956.

The author of “The Adventures of Toby and Doby,” Susan received her MA in Creative Writing in 2017.

You can find more of her writings on her website: www.susanpennington.website

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    Susan Fleck PenningtonWritten by Susan Fleck Pennington

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