Friday we took a ride up U.S. Route 9 to Plattsburg, NY for lunch, with stops along the way to visit a Summer Festival in Keeseville, an Ausable River suspension bridge and the overlook at Ausable Chasm – “The Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks”.
We had read about the suspension bridge in Keeseville that crosses the Ausable River and had to have a look.
This pedestrian suspension bridge – called the swinging bridge by the locals – dates back to 1842, replacing an earlier version that had collapsed into the river. A corps of militiamen had marched across the earlier bridge in cadence, creating a swing pulse that snapped one of the bridge’s suspending cables. Forty people were on the bridge when it fell; 13 were lost in the river below.
(Oh yes, I can attest to the fact that this swinging bridge still swings today with any breeze or foot traffic.)
Keeseville is a small village of about 1,800 people as of the last census and had its start as a mill town beside the fast moving River. The Village is separated by the River with the Northern portion being in Clinton County and the Southern part in Essex County. Not long ago they voted to dissolve the Village and be absorbed by the larger surrounding Towns of Ausable and Chesterfield.
This photo shows the former Presbyterian Church (1852) – and the clock still works – beside the former Keeseville National Bank (1870). The Stone Arch Bridge (1844) crosses the Ausable River. The building at the river’s edge is the abandoned horse nail factory (1852).
Not far North of Keeseville the Ausable River travels through Ausable Chasm on its way to emptying into Lake Champlain. Route 9 crosses the Chasm on a very high bridge that affords parking areas and an overlook into a portion of this sandstone channel.
We did some shopping in Plattsburg and had lunch at the Hong Kong Jade Buffet on Cornelia Street where the food is pretty good and the patrons can be a little rude.
A visit to Plattsburg Air Force Base – in the early 60’s – is where I saw the USAF Thunderbirds (http://afthunderbirds.com/site/) perform for the first time and it became a big factor in my decision to join the Air Force after graduation.
More about Plattsburg and Lake Champlain in a future post and more gabbing about our Snowbird adventures on our website at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/.