We’re in a New York state of mind – or at least we’re in New York state…
While planning the trip east there were two iconic destinations I wanted us to see in New York – Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks. (We went to New York City in 2012 and saw many of the city’s iconic destinations so they didn’t need to be part of this trip.)
As we approached our Niagara Falls visit the question was American side or Canadian side? Research and talking with people in the RV park indicated that going to the Canadian side was the better choice.
We grabbed our passports and drove across Rainbow Bridge to enter Canada.
We parked just upstream from the falls and walked along the churning and unsettled Niagara River.
We saw the river preparing to drop 6,000,000 cubic feet of water every minute over Niagara falls. Three waterfalls make up Niagara Falls: Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil. The Horseshoe Falls, viewed from the Canadian side, is what is seen most often in pictures.
As we approached Horseshoe Falls we could feel the mist. It was pleasantly cooling but also made it difficult to get nice pictures!
We watched the Hornblower and the Maid of the Mist approach the falls. They allow visitors to get up close and personal at water level and we already had our tickets!
Since we were on the Canadian side, our vessel was the Hornblower. (Maid of the Mist operates off the American side.) They give you ponchos but you still get wet. It was fun and we would recommend going on one or the other!
From the Canadian side, and on our boat, we had a nice view of American Falls. If we saw Bridal Veil Falls, the smallest of the three waterfalls making up Niagara Falls, we were not aware of it.
After a two night stop on Grand Island, we drove across the state to the Adirondack Park region. I say region because the “park” stretches over six million acres and is larger than Massachusetts. Half of Adirondack lands are owned by the state of New York and half are privately held.
The Adirondack region is not a wilderness area set apart. It is a region of 2759 lakes and ponds and 1500 miles of rivers. There are 43 mountains over 4000 ft. and many forests, streams, wetlands and small villages.
We went to the Adirondack Museum in the village of Blue Mountain Lake to learn about the area. The museum’s grounds and exhibits are very extensive.
One of the more interesting exhibits highlighted boats and boat building – something very important when you have so many lakes!
The museum has a boat builder in residence! She works at the museum during the summer months crafting her boat and explaining the process to visitors. It will be auctioned off and the funds will support the continuation of the program. Past boats have raised between $14,500 and $26,000 each.
We learned about the history of the Adirondack region. Although it was difficult to get to, people have been coming to the area since the mid 1800s. One of the earliest grand hotels was the Prospect Hotel, opening in 1882. Even given the remote location, the Prospect was the first hotel in the world to have electric lights in every room. After the 1893 financial crisis and a typhoid epidemic, the hotel closed in 1903. The once glamorous hotel was torn down in 1915.
In the early days of the park the state supported individuals and groups building camping lean-tos such as the one above. If built on public lands, they were to be available to everyone.
This tent represented the history of tuberculosis patients who came to the Adirondacks for pure air treatment.
The Olympics were held twice in the Adirondacks – both times at Lake Placid.
This is the bobsled that the Stevens brothers used to win the gold medal in 1932.
These are “Miracle on Ice” hockey tickets and gold, silver and bronze medals from the 1980 Olympics.
There were beautiful cabins on the grounds representing the thousands of family cabins throughout the Adirondack region. The furniture within the cabins was amazing.
Of course, there were a few Adirondack chairs around the museum grounds!
And one that was just my size!