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Many call it a castle. Some claim it’s haunted. We call it a beautiful example of Victorian Gothic architecture.
Whitehall is located on the Southern end of Lake Champlain and is considered by many to be the Birthplace of the U.S. Navy. This is due to its place in history as the site where Arnold’s Valcour Fleet (first American fleet) was built in 1776.
Skene Manor was built on the side of Skene Mountain overlooking the Town by Supreme Court Judge Joseph H. Potter in 1874. The gray sandstone and the lumber used in its construction are from nearby on the mountain, as well.
Skene Manor was placed on the National Registry for Historic Buildings in 1959. After an interesting and varied history, Skene Manor was purchased in 1995 by a local non-profit organization passionate about restoring and preserving this local landmark for future generations to enjoy.
A dedicated group of volunteers have the building open for visitors from Noon to 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from April through December. If you decide to visit Skene Manor we suggest you plan on starting the visit with lunch in the Victorian Tea Room. The food is really good with ample portions prepared and served by the cheerful volunteers who make you feel like you are visiting their home.
After lunch you can count on Docent Richard Brewer giving you the grand tour. He is your genial guide to all of the history as well as what is fact or fiction about the rumors and secrets that have circulated around “the house on the hill” for its many, many years.
The following are some photos from our recent August visit to Skene Manor located at 8 Potter’s Terrace in Whitehall, New York. For more information you may phone them at 518.499.1906.
WHY ALL THE FUSS about a dumb hot dog you may ask? For one, the American hot dog is held in great esteem by many and it ranks closely with other totally American icons like The Hamburger, Buffalo Wings and Down-Home BBQ. Now the “Michigan Sauce” of which we seek is like the icing on the cake that can turn an ordinary, everyday, good American hot dog into a work of art for the taste buds!
On the other hand it may be just ‘cause we love ‘em and need the excuse of a survey to sample as many as possible in a Summer – but I digress….
This week we enter the venerable establishment of McSweeney’s Red Hots in Plattsburgh, NY.
We have heard good comments about McSweeney’s Michigan hot dogs in Plattsburgh (they prefer to call them Red Hots) so we stopped for lunch at their Route 3 location.
Their building inside is bright, new and clean looking with a very large open dining area. They have carhops! When we first pulled up a smiling young lady ran up to see what we would like and we said we would really like to dine inside.
They had a nice menu selection of burgers, dogs, chicken, salads and some specialty sides like Gravy & Cheese Fries and Special Fries – fries with McS meat sauce & cheese.
Niki has wanted a really good hamburger with just lettuce and tomato so she ordered it (Hamburger Deluxe $2.95) with a side of onion rings ($1.50). As this is important scientific Michigan research I had to order one of their famed red hots ($1.95) – with onions of course (no extra charge) – and a side of the “Special Fries” ($2.80) which really sounded good.
Our orders arrived eventually and we thought the onion rings were really good. Niki says her burger was just okay. Now the Red Hot/Michigan fell well short of my hopes and expectations. It was a run of the mill hot dog on an non-toasted bun with sauce that tasted like canned Hormel chili sauce (without the beans). A little spice had been added to give it a touch of heat. The fries came in their own cardboard container with a good dose of the same “McS” meat sauce and a melted and solidified layer of tasteless white cheese on top. I actually put catsup on both dishes to coax some tomato flavor. Maybe it’s the preference in these parts as the sauce tasted much like that of Mac’s Ice Cream Parlor in Keeseville. Again, more like canned, bean-less chili than “real” homemade Michigan sauce. If you just tuned in to our experiment – we define our “real” Michigan sauce as a homemade, slightly sweet, tomato-based sauce with ground beef that might almost pass as a pretty good pasta sauce as well.
That said we do respect the fact that McSweeney’s does a good business with workers coming in on their lunch hour as well as the many retired folk we noticed who appear to be regulars and all were enjoying their food.
Again we are trying to find the best Michigans in the North Country based on the sauce we have come to know and love from Gene’s Hot Dog Stand in Port Henry. We would also like to hear from anyone who has tried both Gene’s and either The Happy Pike, Mac’s or McSweeney’s to chime in and give their opinion. Could be we just have it all backwards?
We have one more “big name” in the Northern NY Michigan sauce field (next week) before we head across Lake Champlain to see how Northern Vermonters like their Michigans. Anyone have a Vermont favorite?
McSweeney’s Red Hots – 3 locations around Plattsburgh, NY
(We rate it 2 stars in the Michigan sauce department)
Route 3 West, west of the Mall and west of Lowe’s
Route 9 North by the City Beach, next door to the Chamber of Commerce.
Route 9 South, just south of PARC, across from Stewart’s.
A Visit to “Tail O’ The Pup”
We have passed this restaurant many times over the years and thought it about time we stopped in to see how the food was. It’s been around since 1927 so we figured it must have something pretty good going for it.
The restaurant resembles a small theme park without the rides. It’s a cluster of small buildings surrounding an outdoor eating area with picnic tables under large red & white striped awnings. It does visually attract the curious passing by.
They have their liquor license and serve beer, margaritas and other drinks. The menu includes simple fare including BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs and the usual salads and sandwiches.
The platter selections on the menu come with 2 sides. Niki had the pulled pork sandwich with potato salad. She said the sandwich was nothing really special and the potato salad was tasteless and she ask to trade it for the cole slaw. I had the foot-long hot dog platter with cole slaw and “waffle fries”. The hot dog was grilled nicely and in a short but toasted roll. Not a Michigan but quite good with onions and a little BBQ sauce.
Overall impressions – not the best and not the worst. Perhaps the hamburgers or lobsters are to die for but not the selections we made. The tables weren’t the cleanest and you do need to avoid the bird droppings when you sit. The families around us and the motorcycle club seemed to be enjoying the outdoor setting. We didn’t visit the gift shop as we didn’t find the place memorable enough to require a souvenir. We decided to have dessert at the ice cream stand just a hundred yards down the road. A wise choice as it turned out!
The Pine Cone Ice Cream Parlor is definitely worth a visit when you travel between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. The place is clean, bright and serves both hard ice cream and soft-serve. They did not skimp on the hot fudge on my sundae and Niki says her scoop of “White Lightning” (dark chocolate ice cream with marshmallow mint streaks) was to die for and is ready to go back anytime!
NY State’s Meadowbrook Public Campground and Day Use Area is adjacent to both The Pup and The Pine Cone. We drove through the Campground and found it fairly empty. Meadowbrook is the best bargain in town at $18/night for NYS residents and add $5 for out-of-state visitors who come to visit the nearby Lake Placid Olympic Training venues and the Village of Lake Placid. There are 62 campsites, hot showers, flush toilets, trailer dump station, recycling center, a small day-use area, pavilion rental, firewood sales and hiking. The roads are kind of tight for RV’s but we did see a couple of pop-ups. More info on their website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24482.html.
Tail O’ The Pup (We give it 2 stars) is located at
1152 Sara-Placid Highway (Rte 86), Ray Brook, NY
You’ll find The Pine Cone (we rate it 4 stars) at
1179 NY-86, Lake Placid, NY 12946
Disclaimer: Our reviews are strictly our own opinions and may differ greatly from your own. We invite anyone who has had a different experience to respond to any of our articles and we will gladly add your input with our own review.
It has been a long time since either Niki or myself have been to the Drive-In. It is still fun and still 2 movies for the price of one (though that price has shot up with everything else). Both movies were quite good with the exception of the 4-letter words. Going to be a lot of bleeps when they hit the small screen!
The sound of thunder rolled across the Adirondack Mountains this week as thousands of bikers gathered in Lake George, New York for 2014 AMERICADE June 2nd thru 7th. There are Trikes, bikes, and Spyders of all types with riders ranging from their teens to well into their “golden years”.
The 5 days were filled with benefit rides, tours and scavenger hunts, as well as great musical entertainment, comedy, stunt shows and more.
All of the big name vendors were on hand showing the latest and greatest, must-haves, riding gear, gadgets and the newest machines.
Lake George is a sleepy little town during the long Winter months but comes quickly to life with each new gathering during this first week of June each year.
This is a major Summer vacation and tourist destination but the many motels were filled to capacity and nearly all had their “No Vacancy” signs up for this week.
The weather has cooperated and has been nearly perfect in the 70’s and 80’s all week. The bikes cruised the main drag morning, noon, and night to the delight of the many visitors walking along the sidewalks and visiting the Village shops.
The greatest sight for Niki and me are the hundreds of bikes parked side-by-side the entire length of main street in the late afternoons and evenings. It is really something to see.
Everyone comes to enjoy the fun, the bikes, and the camaraderie. There is seldom any of the trouble that is sometimes found at other meets around the Country.
We hope everyone had a great time ’cause we sure enjoyed having you!