Candlelight Cottages in Bolton Landing offer a warm and memorable Adirondacks experience on Lake George (see article and web ad)
The Other Lake George: Exploring Adirondack Gems in Warren County
by Christine Lynn Harvey

Lake George has always been a coveted gem from its location as a strategic military point during the French and Indian War and American Revolution to the throngs of vacationers looking for a little R&R since Victorian times. Say "Lake George," and amusement parks and penny arcades come to mind - but there's a whole other Lake George. On the northwest side of the lake, you'll find Bolton Landing which offers fine dining, cozy lakeside cabins (see left), pristine shores and untamed vistas. Take a ride further north to the village of Hague and Brant Lake and you will find picturesque hamlets. You can walk in the footsteps of famous historical figures as well as fictional ones (the area was the setting for "The Last of the Mohicans"). The 32-mile long 200 feet deep Lake George is also a time capsule - it contains America's oldest intact warship (www.thelostradeau.com), an armored ship sunk during the F&I War and preserved by the lake's numerous underwater springs.

Fitness buffs can bike, hike and horseback ride along old Indian paths and military roads and history buffs can explore the area's rich historical points of interest along Independence Trail (www.independencetrail.org; 1-866-OUR-TRAIL). The Warren County Bikeway starts in Lake George's Westbrook Park and passes through 10.5 miles of scenery to Queensbury; then a connector path leads to the Feeder Canal System which offers some 20 additional miles of bike trails. For more info, contact the Warren County Parks & Recreation Department 518-623-2877. There are several beautiful hikes in the Lake George area - for info on planning a hike based on your fitness levels, obtaining hiking maps and directions to the trailheads, stop into the Adirondack Mountain Club's office located off exit 23 off NYS 87 (814 Goggins Road, Lake George 518 668-4447).

Bennett's Riding Stables (www.lakegeorgenewyork.com/horses; 518 696-4444; exit 21 off the NYS Thruway) has been offering Adirondack horse adventures since the early 1940's. Present day owner Larry Bennett, a retired high school history teacher, is carrying on a family tradition along with his wife, Bonnie. Bennett's Uncle Willie started the stables one year before he was called to serve in WW2. Horses were tied to posts along Route 9N as they still are today. The rides usually take 2 to 4 hours and some rides include a complete steak or chicken dinner atop Beech Mountain (named for the Beech trees which cover it) where beautiful views of the Mohawk Valley, Lake George, Lake Forest and Lake Vanare can be seen. Bennett now owns the surrounding land his grandfather used to farm which was leased by Earl Woodward, a real estate tycoon who bought up land around Lake George and Lake Luzerne and built rustic cabins which he sold to working class people. Woodward started the North Woods Lodge Association which today maintains more than a thousand acres of land in common ownership. Bennett's trails follow old Indian paths and parts of the Old Road to North Valley built around 1768 which winds around a few of the cabins Woodward built during the Depression. "Horses and history changed my life," Bennett says, as he brings history to life and enjoyment of horseback riding to the Adirondack Mountains.

You can also enjoy the challenges of whitewater rafting, tubing, canoeing and kayaking throughout Warren County's lakes, rivers and streams. For guidelines, safety tips, seasonal activities, access sites, camping sites and tour providers, contact the Warren County Tourism Department at 1-800-365-1050 X 5100 or visit www.visitlakegeorge.com

Lake George is also a fishing haven. Nicknamed "The Big G," the lake is rated one of North America's trophy landlocked salmon waters. The best fishing is reportedly off Tongue Mountain by the Narrows. May is the best time to catch lake trout which seek colder deeper waters once the weather gets warmer. There are also northern pike, pickerel, largemouth and smallmouth bass. To obtain a fishing and boating map, call 1-800 365-1050 X 5100.

Golfers will also find some great courses to play from the Sagamore Golf Course (see article this issue) Hiland Park Country Club in Queensbury (www.hilandparkcc.com, 518-761-4653). Hiland's 6,767-yard par 72 course offers some challenging holes - all but three have water hazards. Hole 9 is a dogleg to the right with water surrounding 5/6ths of the green, so make sure your second shot is a lay up shot or you are certain you can carry the water hazard which can't be seen from your second ball position because of a descending hill right before the water.

Bolton Landing Gems

Up Yonda Farm Environmental Education Center (www.upyondafarm.com; 518-644-9767) in Bolton Landing offers hands-on nature programs to the public with programs mainly geared to children on a variety of topics from beekeeping, butterfly tagging, aquatic adventures, identifying the area's rich flora and fauna, gathering wild edibles and identifying stars in the night sky. Lectures include New York State's geological history and symbols (state fish, bird, flower) and other topics. Children and adults can learn how to make walking sticks, bat houses, birdhouses and birdfeeders and even maple syrup - a Maple Sugar House offers demonstrations in season. Up Yonda also includes a netted butterfly garden that allows visitors to enjoy butterflies at different life stages up close (July to September). There are several short walking trails on the 73-acre farm with fantastic views of Lake George.

Bolton Garden Center and Country Store on 9N (Lake Shore Drive) in Bolton Landing offers rustic home furnishings and accessories, Amish furniture, Adirondack-made crafts, birdhouses, local cheeses, sausages, jams and pancake mixes, natural soaps and things for the garden (518-644-3455).

Bolton Landing Dining

The Algonquin on Lake George (4770 Lake Shore Drive, 518-644-9442; www.thealgonquin.com) is one of only two restaurants on the lake where you can drive your boat right up to the restaurant's docks - there are 40 slips to accommodate boaters. The food is outstanding at this landmark restaurant which has been serving patrons since the late 1940's. Favorite mainstays of the Algonquin are Horseradish Encrusted Salmon with a chive cream sauce, Greek Shrimp (sauteed jumbo shrimp with feta, tomatoes and scallions in a garlic sherry wine sauce) and Algonquin Cordon Bleu, (breast of chicken with prosciutto ham). Topside dining (Memorial Day to Labor Day) features premium cuts of steak and lamb chops. The Algonquin's sandwiches are named for some of Lake George's islands - Hens and Chickens (grilled chicken breast w/bacon, pineapple and melted swiss), Huddle Bay (grilled chicken breast with L/T and tarragon mayo) and Dome Island Grille (grilled turkey with roasted red peppers, mozzarella and pesto). But the Algonquin is best known for its Lobster Roll and Fish Point sandwich (egg batter sole grilled with lemon butter). Try their delicious selection of desserts - key lime pie, fresh berry pie, vanilla cheesecake, banana cream, root beer floats and hot fudge sundaes. The views of the lake are fantastic and there are nostalgic photos of the restaurant's past: as a hotel in the 1920's through to the renovation of the restaurant in the 1970's. A photo of Richard Nixon teeing off of Hole #1 at the Sagamore Golf Course hangs over the bar. 

Cate's Italian Garden Restaurant and Bar (located in the center of town in Bolton Landing on Lake George, 518-644-2041) has been serving up fine Italian specialties for over 11 years. Daily favorites include a variety of fresh pasta dishes or main entrees served up with Cate's "traditional toss," - linguini tossed with garlic, oil, tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh garden vegetables on the side. Other main dishes include Italian seafood, steak, pork chops and chicken specialties. Particularly delicious are the Veal Scaloppine Piccata (tender veal medallions sautéed in butter, white wine, lemon, garlic and capers) and Shrimp and Clams Italiano (steamed in white clam sauce with white wine, basil pesto sauce and served over linguini). An extensive wine list features the best wine from Italy, California and Australia. Cate's also offers the best pizza going (Margarita is a best seller). "Visitors as far away as NJ order 5 pizzas to take home and mail us back the pie pans," says Cate Foy, owner. "What makes us special is 36 years of marriage and a wine list to die for," says Chef Buddy Foy, Cate's husband. For a casual bite, try Italian hot and cold heroes under the awning-covered outdoor café. The reason why Cate's is so good is because Executive Chef Larry A. Meagher uses only the freshest ingredients around. A classy but not stuffy ambiance is inviting to families with children. Leave room for fresh made Italian and American desserts, made by a nearby bakery.

Lake Luzerne & Glens Falls Area

The Mountain Road Carriage Company, based at Freeman's Country Supply, a country crafts store featuring hand-felted slippers and hand-spun yarn supplies at Old Corinth Road in Hadley, NY (518-696-6100) offers scenic horse-drawn carriage rides through the town of Hadley and Lake Luzerne. Carriage driver Jill Freeman, who also restores old carriages, offers round-trip rides through town and will pick you up at your accommodations and drive you to a fine restaurant in the area. Freeman points interesting locations along the route - Rockwell Falls, the narrowest part of the Hudson River, an old 1865 schoolhouse, a Parabolic Bridge which is currently being restored along with the rail tracks of the Upper Hudson River Railroad and town's train depot which will bring passengers on scenic train rides along the Hudson to the town. A ski train is also planned from Saratoga Springs to Gore Mountain thru the town. A nice end to the carriage ride is stopping off at Papa's Ice Cream Parlor Restaurant (29 Main Street, Lake Luzerne 518-696-3667) a classic old fashioned ice cream parlor along the Hudson River. The Lake Luzerne area hosts a Fall Festival during Columbus Day weekend and a Maple Festival in April every year.

Chapman Historical Museum (518-793-2826; www.ChapmanMuseum.org) offers exhibits on Seneca Ray Stoddard's Gilded Age photos of the Adirondacks, a new exhibit entitled "The Road to Lake George" which features the history of travel from the French and Indian War times to the era of the auto and lectures on a variety of historical topics. Guided tours are also offered to the DeLong House, a Victorian era home 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY.

Sutton's Marketplace (1066 Route 9, Queensbury, NY www.suttonsmarketplace.com;  518-798-1188) is a family owned complete marketplace with clothing boutique, country café, furniture store, gift store, bakery and gourmet food store, and toy cottage. Their claim to fame is their Adirondack-style furniture which combines impeccable design with fine woodworking

Lake George Outlet Shopping (Route 9, Lake George; www.lakegeorgeshopping.com, www.factoryoutletsoflakegeorge.com) offers 70+ factory outlet shops - one thing Lake George is most famous for - including Ralph Lauren, Bass, Jones New York, Coach, Nautica and Timberland.

The quaint town of Warrensburg (off Route 9 North) has more antique shops than any other town in the area. From quaint country stores to supermarkets and camping supply stores, the town of Warrensburg offers anything you need. In October, Warrensburg holds the World's Largest Garage Sale, an event that attracts over 10,000 people and stretches from south of Lake George past Warrensburg into neighboring Adirondack towns. For more info, contact: www.warrensburgchamber.com.

For more info on what to do in Warren County, please call the Warren County Tourism Department at 1-800-365-1050 x 5100 or visit www.visitlakegeorge.com

Views of Lake George from the Sagamore Golf Course in Bolton Landing
Jill Freeman, owner of Mountain Road Carriage Co. will take you on a nostalgic tour of Lake Luzerne
Larry Bennett, owner and tour guide of Bennett's Stables: You'll be treated to a history lesson of the Adirondacks; Larry is a retired history teacher!
The Sagamore Grill is inside of the Sagamore Golf Course's clubhouse which pays homage to the course's famed designer Donald Ross
Hiland Park Country Club in Queensbury offers some challenging holes surrounded by water. This one is the 9th Hole
Up Yonda Farm teaches kids about nature and how to be good stewards of the earth
Looking over the tee of Hole #1 of the Sagamore Golf Course
Bolton Garden Center and Country Store offers Adirondacks-style furniture and decorations
The Algonquin on Lake George offers fine dining at a reasonable price
Inside of Cate's Italian Garden Restaurant and Bar famous for its pizza
Hudson River near the site of the Parabolic Bridge
Minnie Ha Ha: Keeping a bygone era alive and well on Lake George
Seneca Ray Stoddard was famous for taking photos of the Adirondacks. This one is of "Lake View House, Bolton, 1889" on Lake George
Warrensburg's famous bandshell gazebo, a lasting testament to the charms of "the Other Lake George"