Upstate New York’s picturesque Lake George is one of my favorite destination in this part of the country. The mountain town – Lake George Village makes for a great family vacation, couples getaway, long weekend, or just a day of fun and activities.
Lake George NY is approximately 32 miles long and varies from 1 to 3 miles wide with depths up to 200 feet. The Village of Lake George swells to approximately 50,000 in population during the summer months. It is one of the more popular destinations in the area with its many attractions. We started our day’s adventure at Shepard Park, which use to be the site of the Lake House Luxurious Hotel built in 1832. It was torn down in 1904 and the land was dedicated as a park in 1917. We visited Lake George on Memorial Day weekend and the park was honoring our war veterans with a special memorial. The park has a beautiful setting that includes a water fountain that is surrounded by flowering plants, a small amphitheater and restroom facilities. The park also offers shaded benches with a sloping view of the lake and public beach.
I walked down to the harbor that services the south end of the lake to get my bearings. Here is where you can choose to rent a boat, experience parasailing, schedule a tour of the lake and/or take a memorable ride on the Minne Ha-Ha, The Mohican or the Lac du Saint Sacrament steamboats. Since 2015, the Mohican has a record setting 107 years of continuous operation. The St. Sacrament offers daily lunch and dinner cruises and a brunch on Sunday. I watched as the Minne Ha-Ha’s Captain maneuvered (pictured lower – left) his steam powered paddle boat away from the dock and up the lake for a scenic cruise.
The lake’s water is so amazingly clear (pictured above – right) that I can see fish swimming while we stroll along the paved walkway. The docks that hold the steamboats (pictured left) are only a brief walk from Shepard Park. These magnificent vessels look like something straight out of the movies. You have to see them up close to believe them.
The walkway that leads around the south end of the lake follows Beach Road with Fort William Henry on its opposite side. The British built fort was commissioned in 1755 and played a major part in the French and Indian War. The fort itself was only occupied from 1755 to 1757. It was then abandoned and destroyed by the French Army. In the 19th century the site became a tourist attraction. In the mid 1900’s a replica was reconstructed and became a living museum. Active Historians actually camp on the fort’s site and reenact the centuries old living conditions. There are also people who dress up in British styled uniforms and march around the grounds while playing turn of the century musical instruments.
Fort William Henry is only one of many things to see and do in Lake George Village. The Old Court House of Warren County was built in the 1840’s and is now an historical site in the Village. The masonry constructed clock tower building stretches from Canada Street to the lake’s edge. Warren County Government vacated the building in the early 1960’s and it sat mostly empty until a local preservation group who advocated for and successfully got it registered as a National Historical Site.
From here we traveled down Canada Street to checkout some of the homegrown shops and eateries. The tree-lined sidewalks give a homey feeling to this seemingly time forgotten town. However, don’t be surprise if you see Frankenstein walking the street waving to people. There are your usual restaurants and appropriately named shops to keep the tourist coming back year after year.
The Italian Eatery, Gino & Tony’s seems to have a great vacation menu that includes take-out and delivery pizza. How can you go wrong with Pizza! Besides street front stores like the Sandy Feet Gift Shop, which is appropriately named, there is a mini-mall that offers plenty of theme shops filled with souvenirs and local crafts. I took a casual walk through The Lake George Village Shops to do some window gazing. They have a collage of stores packed full with signature clothing, handmade jewelry and labeled knick knacks. There were a couple of things I liked about the Village shops. For one it had a covered common area, and another was a view that overlooked the harbor and the lake itself.
Everywhere you look there is something to see. From the Adirondack Mountains backdrop to the Queen of American Lakes – the nickname given to Lake George’s gorgeous shoreline. The tower that stands tall on the south end of the village reminds us of another time in history. When most people talk about New York state, usually the first thing that comes to their mind is The Big Apple. There is a lot more to see in New York then the big city. When you get up to this neck of the woods, take time to drop in on some of America’s most beautiful country side. You will not be disappointed.