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Adirondacks-From Syracuse

Old May 22nd, 2006, 04:23 AM
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Adirondacks-From Syracuse

We will be in Syracuse for a friend's birthday, and were thinking of taking a day and driving over into the Adirondacks (we have never been in this area of the country before). We figure that if we really like the Adirondacks, that we could go back sometime when we have more time. The question is whether we would be able to see much in a 12 hour trip, or if we are better off to just forget it until the next time? We were not really figuring on doing a lot of hiking or other nature activities, just thought that we would like to get somewhat of an overview of the area. We really don't mind driving a lot, as long as the scenery is pretty. We actually drove the west coast (Big Sur area) a couple of times before we actually took the time to go back and explore the area, and always enjoyed the drive through. We thought that maybe we could drive over to Saratoga Springs and then up to Lake George (Mapquest list it as 169 milles and about 3 hours, befor stops). Or maybe over to Old Forge (96 miles,2 hours) and then up to the visitor's center in Newcomb. The drive to Lake Placid is 195 miles and about a 4 hour drive. Any thoughts?
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 04:39 AM
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It depends what time of the year are you going to be there. Are you able to spend one night somewhere? Saratoga Spring is not in the Adirondacks but a great overnight stop on the way to Lake Placid.
It is 2 hours drive from Saratoga to Lake Placid. Please do not speed. State troopers are often parked between exits 21 and 30 on the Northway.

It is hard to get a feel of any place if you are in rush and that is definitely going to be a pace of your drive if you are going to go all the way to Lake Placid.

From Syracuse you can have a nice leisurely visit to Saratoga Springs.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:10 AM
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Not sure exactly what route you are planning on taking and what all you would like to see. I-90 is actually very pretty in spots when it goes through Schoharie county as I have driven that lots of times. Cooperstown is nearby and is a beautiful area besides being the baseball mecca. Having lived in the Albany area for many years I can attest to the scenery in both Saratoga Springs and Lake George. You might want to explore the area instead of just being stuck on the Northway enroute to Lake Placid. You will use alot of time driving the other roads as you obviously can't drive very fast in the winding areas. And do watch out for speed traps on the Northway! This link might help you decide where to go.
http://adk.com/attract/z-attract.htm
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:36 AM
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The 3hr drive from Syracuse to Albany, then 1hr north to Lake George, then about another hr to Lake Placid is all basically non-descript interstate highway travel. Pretty drive yes, but you are taking a long looping drive around the entire Adirondack region to get a short taste of the Eastern edge (Lake George/Lake Placid area)

From Syracuse you are far better off driving north from Utica, through Old Forge to some place like Blue Mtn Lake.

Old Forge is in the Adirondacks, and is lake country, with lakeside cottages, canoe trips on meandering rivers between lakes, etc. It is not high peaks/mountains, although it's not flat. There are plenty of places for short hikes or longer day hikes.

Blue Mtn Lake is in the heart of the Adirondacks. Also lake country, but the lakes there are surrounded by higher peaks and it is more remote, wildnerness but still with plenty of ammenities.

You can get to Blue Mtn Lake from SYR in about 3.5hrs, add more if you stop in Old Forge.


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Old May 22nd, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Saratoga is a lovely town and I would recommend it, although if it is racing season, the traffic can be awful. I seem to remember lots of troopers around Exit 16, too - and they are merciless!

Lake George is a very kitschy town, but I love it, having spent virtually every summer of my life there. If you do go to Lake George and the weather is nice, drive up Prospect Mountain to get a good overview of the lay of the land. On a clear day you can see all the way to Albany!
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Would it be possible to drive from Blue Mountain Lake to Lake George and then back to Syracuse? Or would this be way too much driving? According to Mapquest that would add another hour and fifteen minutes to driving time, but it looks like we would get to travel through more of the park and not have to deadhead back. We are going at the end of September.
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Old May 22nd, 2006, 05:21 PM
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If you are thinking of doing this all in 1 day trip, I think you're better off either backtracking or looping south past Indian Lake, another beautiful Adirondack Lake.

By travelling 60mi further east to Lake George, you'll have a longer distance to drive home at the end of the day.

Lake George is gorgeous, but it's not really a 5min "stop by and say we were there destination." The beauty of the Adirondack lakes is hiking on lakeside trails or in the hills above for the views, taking a canoe or power boat ride around one of the lakes (be sure to wear a life jacket). If you take the scenic route through the Adirondacks you won't arrive at Lk George till mid-late afternoon at the earliest. By the time you've even gotten to Blue Mtn lake you will have passed numerous gorgeous lakes. Blue Mtn lake is spectacular in and of itself. Yes, Lake George is special, but I think it deserves more time to enjoy.

If you bring a picnic lunch (or pick one up along the way), you can stop by any of the state park areas I expect you'll want to spend some time out of the car enjoying nature.

There's an interesting Adirondack museum in Bl Mtn Lake as well.

see the NY state website for more park info www.dec.state.ny.us
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 03:34 AM
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I'm from Syracuse and I agree completely with what J62 said. Very good advice and worth your time. You will love the Adirondacks!
Annika
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 06:44 PM
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If we do the ride through Old Forge to Blue Mountain Lake, then down to Indian Lake and back to Syracuse through the southern part of the park, what are the things that we can see? Is the Northern part of the park more mountainous? Or should we just do a trip to Lake George?
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Old May 24th, 2006, 03:28 AM
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You got many interesting suggestions but personally with such limited time I would just do Saratoga Springs and Lake George but you won't really see the Adirondacks.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 04:56 AM
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Don,
The Adirondacks do not have a single "aha" destination, like Yosemite valley, or Yellowstone gysers, etc. It's a 5mil acre area of wilderness - combination public lands and privately owned/developed.

The beauty of the Adirondacks is the wide span of rolling hills, small mountains, and some larger peaks, with lakes, trails, and creeks to enjoy. With the large space, you have a chance to get off the road, away from traffic, shops, crowds, (everything except mosquitos).

Most people don't go to 'view' the area, but rather to go to a destination, camp, hotel, lodge, lake, etc to get out and enjoy the open space. Commune with nature, etc.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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There are some very scenic spots in the Adirondacks. Just to mention a few, views from Marcy, Cascade Mtn, Whiteface are spectacular. Even a tiny Owl's Head has a gorgeous view. It is a very easy hike to Owl's Head, to the top of Whiteface you can drive or hike. Cascade is a longer hike. Marcy is the most demanding and longest but not too bad and very rewarding if you are a hiker. None of these places is reachable on a day trip from Syracuse. I agree with J62 on her/his description of the beauty of the Adirondacks.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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J62 has given some great advice. Pack a lunch ... there are a number of scenic overlooks where you can park & eat. I'll suggest driving up towards Blue Mt Lake, stop at the Adirondack Museum if you have time, then return by Rt 30 south to Rt8. If you have extra time, take Rt 30 S to Rt 30A, back to NYS Thruway Exit 28 (Fultonville)

If Lk George is on your MUST SEE list, don't even think of driving to Albany. Take the NYS Thruway to Exit 28, go N on Rt 30A to Johnstown, then Rt 29 e to Saratoga Springs. Lake George is a beauty; Lake George Village is an Adirondack version of "South of the Border", imho.

The Schoharie Valley is more I-88 than I-90, altho the Schoharie Creek does empty into the Mohawk R between exits 27 & 28 It's also nice; do a search on "Leatherstocking" - but it's NOT Adirondacks.
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Old May 24th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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J62
Is it going to be even worth the time trying to make a daytrip from Syracuse, or would we just be better to wait until we would have a few days to really travel around the area? We were going to be in Syracuse for just a few days and thought we could get somewhat of an overview on what to expect if we decide to go back. Bad idea?
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Old May 24th, 2006, 02:08 PM
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Don,
Yes, I think so. By going to Blue Mtn lake, you'll get an excellent flavor for the heart of the area, and the museum there, while not large does show a lot of the geogprahy and history. If it's fcst to be sunny, then by all means. If they call for cloudy, drizzly and in the low 60s (which can happen, even in mid July), then I'd say no.
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Old May 25th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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One last question. I have noticed that there is a visitor's center in Newcomb, about a half of an hour from Blue Mountain Lake. Is the visitors center worth the hour of travel time?
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Old May 25th, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Never heard of it. If it's anything like visitor info centers many places you go these days, including those at interstate highway rest areas, it's a small booth with racks of bruchures from local (or sometimes distant) attractions, eateries, outlet malls, etc.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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I wouldn't take a special route to go there. It is usually closed anyway. Nothing to write home about it. Don, I know you are trying to include many things but maybe you should wait and come back for a week or two to the Adirondacks. Blue Mountain Lake Museum is an excellent place to visit but you need most of the day. Paul Smith Interpretive Visitor Center is a wonderful place to visit. Natural History of the Adirondacks Museum in Tupper lake is a brand new place. There are hikes of any level in the Adirondacks, lakes where you can canoe, places for horse back riding, Whiteface with 360 views and more. You definitely cannot experience any of these on your quick one day trip. You'll spend majority of your time in a car. Too bad because there is so much to see and so many great places to visit.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:12 PM
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I see this post is 4 days old, but if you're still here, I'd recommend for a quick trip to the Adirondacks from Syracuse a little visit to the Irondequoit Inn on Lake Piseco. It's quite close to Syracuse (under 2 hours), VERY Adirondacky (not high peaks - but most of the park isn't) and just lovely.

Borrow their kayaks and go down Fall Stream (ask them how to get to it - it's really close). They have a beautiful property for hiking or just hanging. Eat dinner at Melody Lodge in Speculator (ask for directions). You'll have a true Adirondack experience!

http://www.irondequoitinn.com/

Have fun and write back!

Ugh. Forget Lake George and Lake Placid (while gorgeous too) is too far.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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By the way - end September is very close to PEAK leaf peeping season in the Adirondacks. You need reservations for sure and quick!
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