Color it Autumn in New York and the Northeast

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Friday was a beautiful Fall day and we took full advantage with a trip to a huge book sale in Shelburne, Vermont,
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a stop at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in,
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lunch at the famous Bridge Restaurant in West Addison, Vermont,
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an Autumn photo-stop at Historic Ironville, NY – Birthplace of the Electrical Age in mining and
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a final stop to see the good folks (and the bison) at the Buffalo Farm in North Hudson, NY.
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The Buffalo Farm is the place we stock up on their mighty fine Vermont-made corn relish and Amish-made preserves for our upcoming Snowbird trip back South.

An excellent day shared with Niki and regretfully our last weekend outing with our Summer sidekick Brother Ken.

Hop Aboard and follow our Blog as we visit new places, find friendly faces and enjoy life along the Snowbird RV Trails at snowbirdrvtrails.com.

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Autumn in the Adirondacks – Lincoln Pond

New York’s Lincoln Pond Road (County Rd 7C) is an easy and beautiful 16 miles over the mountains between Elizabethtown on Rte 9 and Port Henry on Rte 9N. It’s a winding, two-lane blacktop road in good repair with few houses and plenty of forest that breaks into full bloom each October.

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The Autumn road to Lincoln Pond

The route crosses a small causeway on Lincoln Pond.

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View of Lincoln Pond North from the Causeway
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Eastern shore of Lincoln Pond North
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Fishing spot on Lincoln Pond in the Adirondack Mountains
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Northern corner of the Lincoln Pond State Campground

The Lincoln Pond State Campground (open Memorial Day to Labor Day) is on a secluded section of the Pond and offers 35 tent and trailer sites with water and a dump station. The campground has a beach, hot showers and boats for rental. (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24477.html)

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Twists and turns of Lincoln Pond Road – made for motorcycles!

Adirondack Mountain Fall Foliage Loop among the High Peaks

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Our stay in the Adirondacks is getting short so Niki, Brother Ken and I paid homage to the foliage Gods today by taking our yearly 130 mile Autumn loop through the heart of the High Peaks of these Adirondack Mountains.

There were splashes of beautiful color here and there but most of the route had only 25% to 50% peak color. So there is still time if you want to try the loop for yourself.

Starting in North Hudson this route takes us through Keene and Keene Valley (Artists & Craftspeople), Lake Placid (Winter Olympics venues), Saranac Lake (thriving lakeside town), Tupper Lake (The Wild Center), Long Lake (seaplanes, water taxis & Hoss’s Country Corner) – then finally down the Blue Ridge Road (past The Buffalo Farm) and back  to our starting point at North Hudson (former Frontier Town theme park location).

So much to see and do along this route that anyone could easily spend an entire day completing it.

We stopped for lunch on Main Street in Saranac Lake to try The Downhill Grill for the first time. The sandwiches and soups were excellent and cheerful Susie who waited on us made the whole experience most enjoyable.

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant, Lake George, NY – Last One Standing!

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Lake George, NY

Howard Johnson’s Restaurant (9/16 $39.15)*
2143 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845 (518) 685-3022

We will do our best to be objective with this review. We drove 80 miles one way to visit this Howard Johnson’s Restaurant – truly as their sign says – the “Last One Standing” in the World. We arrived around 2pm and were a little concerned as there were no other vehicles in the parking lot nor other patrons in the restaurant – but then again it was past normal lunch hours.

We looked at the salad bar before being seated to see what it was like as we often just order the salad bar. This one had two sides – one was a small salad bar with a choice of two soups, iceberg lettuce, spinach leaves and only a choice of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and shredded cheese for toppings plus a selection of four dressings.

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The other side of the “Bar” – called their “Smorgasbord” offered several warm selections like beans, rolls, spaghetti (that hadn’t been stirred in awhile – spelled “congealed”) and another vegetable. It would not be an option for us.

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We ordered from the lunch menu which came with the limited Soup/Salad Bar. The soup choices this day were minestrone and chicken noodle.

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I ordered the HoJo burger which was actually pretty good ($12.95) ….

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Niki opted for the Famous Baked Macaroni & Cheese ($12.95). The mac & cheese was laughable and looked more like cooked elbow macaroni stirred into a Cheese-Wiz type concoction (and tasted like it as well). The closest it came to being baked was maybe passing by an oven on the way out to our table.

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We asked the cashier if they actually ever baked their macaroni & cheese and she acted quite surprised and offered to bring out the “Chef”.

When we were leaving the restaurant we met a couple just arriving that had driven over from Connecticut especially to have the famous fried clams that HoJo was also known for. They will have to wait another day to try them as the restaurant had already closed (at 3pm) for the day as we were leaving.

We enjoy eating out and finding new restaurants, especially the local “Mom & Pop” type in our travels. We can both still remember the Howard Johnson’s of our younger days and unfortunately this restaurant does not come close to what we remember. We have seen a couple decent reviews for their breakfasts – though $14.95 for a simple omelet seems a little on the high side. Maybe we came at the wrong time of day but then again what can you really do to breakfast.

We rate the restaurant at one-star (*). Very overpriced and not a good value for your dining $$$. We did have dessert at Martha’s down the road. Her hot fudge sundaes did make up for a lot.

Find a few dozen more of our completely unbiased reviews of restaurants along the Snowbird Routes at
http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/diningreviews.htm

Family, friends, fun and food!

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Niki and I attended a really nice get-together of family and friends this afternoon at the Rocky Acres B&B in Schroon Lake, NY. A fantastic buffet was provided by our Hostess (and owner of the B&B) Laura Donaldson (also a member of our family) along with some favorite dishes brought by members of our group. Thanks and well done Laura and we see why people keep coming back to your Bed & Breakfast. Good food and a great time was had by all! -Jack and Niki

Day Trip to the Essex County Fair

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Welcome to the Essex County Fair in Westport, New York

This small agricultural Fair takes us back to another time when the emphasis was on 4-H, farm and families. May it continue forever.

Frank – best friend from my youth – and I met up to go to the Fair and see if much had changed from what we remembered. It was 30+ years since Frank had attended and more than 50 years for me.

I am happy to say that not much has really changed from what I remember. The local Ford dealer is still in the same pavilion as is the local radio station pumping out the tunes. The region’s hopeful politician is set up nearby and glad handing the fair goers he can corral with an eye towards a good turnout in November.

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It’s a fine day for a horse race

The horses and drivers were on the track warming up for the harness racing set to begin at Noon.

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Everyone’s a winner – a prize every time!

The small midway was open for business with rides, games of chance and

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Deep fry it and they will come

plenty of places to grab some of that great Fair food.

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Take a lumberjack, an axe and a target….

The Indian River Lumberjack Show was in full swing. Yes, it’s really, really corny but a whole lot of fun for the kids and their families watching. Okay – we enjoyed it as much as everyone else.

The best part for me was visiting the 4-H building to see the projects that the kids had built, grew or nurtured for display in hopes of winning those treasured blue ribbons.

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Blue ribbon 4-H winners all

Many were there with the animals they had raised and were so proud of and ready for the judge’s scrutiny.

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Awaiting her turn with the judges

For me it was a trip down memory lane with thoughts of when I had my own vegetables on display here – I was a proud member of the Street Road Hustlers 4-H Club.

Makes you feel good to see farming and 4-H kids and small County agricultural fairs are alive and well in rural America.

Some additional Fair photos are on our “Westport” Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/westport-new-york/.

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Frank checking out the “herd”.

Buck Mountain Revisited

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The pond on Buck Mountain near Uncle Raymie’s Hermitage

This past Friday I had the rare opportunity to go hiking with my best
friend from childhood – Frank Anauo – to a place we shared some
memorable times as only teenagers can growing up in the mountains. It
was one more trek into Buck Mountain.

Back in the 50’s it was a destination for adventure and had all the
prerequisites for the best teenage adventure – it was far away from
civilization, it had a beautiful pond close-by not generally known or
visited by many people (with bass and perch that were “this big!”),
and it was “The Hemitage” – as Frank likes to call it – where my
hermit Uncle – Uncle Raymie – had cleared ten acres of forest, built a
cabin, planted crops and lived contentedly for several decades to the
end of his life. Uncle Raymie was truly one of life’s most
unforgettable characters and the source of so many great memories.

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Frank Anauo lifelong friend and fellow adventurer

Frank’s and my adventure this past Friday was to rekindle some of our
own memories and that we did – like the times spent fishing and
skinny-dipping in the pond and a particular frigid Winter weekend that
probably should have killed us both – a weekend we never could forget.

It was mid-Winter of ’60 or ’61. It was cold and the snow was a couple
of feet deep with much deeper drifts. Uncle Raymie had passed away by
this time and his home had been destroyed by a bad sort with the
misguided notion that he had money hidden away somewhere when he died.
I had purchased the land from his estate but had not received
ownership before the vandals had done their worst. We had suspicions
of who the culprits were but with no actual proof.

At any rate there still stood a small shed on the property and that
was going to be our base camp on that Winter’s day. The property
itself was a couple of miles back in from our family farm so Frank and
I had our work cut out just getting into it through the drifts. We
most always took the back way in when it would have been shorter,
easier and probably more prudent to walk in from the Town road over
the mountain – but then again we were teenagers and that was just too
much common sense for any real adventure.

We had planned this particular outing for weeks and were excited when
departure day arrived. Of course we thought of ourselves as the Boone
brothers and tamers of any wilds we might encounter. This particular
outing was for the purpose of rabbit hunting.

We made it to the shack after a couple of hours of slogging through
the snow with our guns and backpacks filled with the provisions we
thought we would need to sustain us. The day had been sunny bright but
as we settled into our camp and the sun started to go down it got
colder and colder. We had our sleeping bags but soon knew they were
not going to be near enough to keep out that freezing cold (no space
age, chill preventing material in those 50’s bed rolls).

We had brought along a lantern fueled with white gas and we noted that
it did put off pretty good heat and decided to leave it on all night
for warmth. Our shack was fairly sturdy with a good roof and probably
6′ x 6′ in floor size and with a sturdy door. It did keep the howling
wind outside but was pretty lacking as far as insulation went. Now
most young men of our age – who had not slept through science class –
would know that a lantern working in a small space with no air
circulation could do serious harm to a human being. Frank and I figure
that the only reason we survived that night is because we did know
enough to leave the door open just a crack.

The remainder of the weekend is lost to our aging memories other than
we do know we did come down off the mountain with a couple of rabbits
and one good reason to remember this particular adventure – we
survived.

The ten acres are all grown up now and reclaimed by nature. We had
difficulty finding the old foundation for Uncle Raymie’s cabin. The
foundation itself is almost a work of art with many sized stones and
slabs – some quite large and “two-men sized” – intricately placed
together to form a base that looks as firm as it must have been
originally, now nearly 100 years later. We puzzled over how one man
could have put it together – he must have had help. We also found the
big pine tree near the foundation with  indentations in the bark where
a thick logging chain circled the trunk that once held a large (and
quite vicious) “family pet” of Uncle Raymie’s – another story for
another time.

It was another great day spent with a special friend and the years
just dropped away as walked and talked. Thanks Frank for a really
special day

Adirondack Mountain High

Another beautiful Adirondack weekend in the books (and on Pinterest) –
things done, places gone, people seen….

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The tranquil Schroon River with a glimpse of the Adirondack High Peaks
in the background. Near Rte 9 in Essex County.

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The North Hudson Town Beach is located on the Schroon River in Essex County.

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Town-wide yard sales happen throughout the Summer in the Adirondacks. This weekend it’s in Elizabethtown, New York….County Seat for Essex County.

More Adirondack photos on our Pinterest pages….https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/ and more articles on our website at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/.