While Cooperstown has become a second home to me, I thought it was about time to explore other areas of Upstate New York. As a last-minute autumnal getaway, I ventured up to the Adirondacks as far north as Lake George while also stopping in Glens Falls — home to the Hyde Collection — and Saratoga Springs — home to one of the friendliest casinos I have ever been to. There’s something inherently adventurous when driving up a highway that has signs for Montreal — less than two-hundred miles away — and this civilized wilderness boasts some of the oldest settlements of both Native American and European origin. The drive up marked the first time I was ever able to leave New Jersey without paying a toll — quick, someone fact check this…is the 287 the only way to get out the Garden State by car for free? — and the Catskills and Adirondacks unfold in gently rolling forms on the horizon as one heads up I-87N. It’s astounding to think these now weather-worn and inviting mountains were at one time higher than the Himalayas. Taking in all the gorgeous lakes and interconnecting canals and creeks flowing into the Hudson and eventually down to NYC, it’s no wonder the French, English and Indians all wanted to not only live here, but also control it. Archaeological sites like Forts William Henry, Ticonderoga and Edward beckon us to stare into our Pre-Revolutionary past and see why this land…this wilderness was the first to be conquered.
The fresh air is meant to be drunk…the humble expanse breathed in…the fall colors tasted….
I would’ve loved to have stayed longer, explored more…hell, I’d love to live there…or anywhere Upstate. For now, heading up that way at least once a year will do. Luckily all a man needs to recharge is some fresh air and a little time to eat, explore and gamble.
There are a bevy of restaurants up and down Route 9 between Lake George and Saratoga Springs including plenty of family owned Italian restaurants and even a fine French establishment, but if you are just passing through and want some hearty, old-fashioned American diner food…you can’t wrong with The Prospect Mountain Diner in Lake George.
I-87 Northway – fall colors pop like whoa along this major highway that spans much of Upstate (portions toll)
Route 9 – Small villages, tourist attractions and spans of beautiful forests and foothills make this the perfect “back road” for those in the know. Keep heading north to Vermont.