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Autumn in the Adirondacks

City Slicker





The Adirondack Region boasts one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country. It offers a rich travel experience for leaf-peepers, history buffs, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And you can choose from a wide array of lodging and dining options, with simple mountain fare or exquisite dining choices nestled into charming mountain villages in Upstate New York. 


While it’s difficult to choose from the endless adventure opportunities in this colorful autumn wonderland, we’ll focus on five lake communities that give a taste of all the region has to offer. Follow State Route 30 north from Interstate 90, and stop to explore as many of these attractions as you can.




Early on in your road trip, it’s worth popping across the bridge from Route 30 into the village of Northville. Shop the oldest continuously active 5 & 10 store in the country, and you’ll find multiple varieties of fresh, homemade fudge, over 250 kinds of novelty and penny candy, plus reproduction tin toys, board games, puzzles, and fun things from the past and present.


A little farther down Main Street, the Red Barn offers five buildings full of antiques, collectibles, and vintage items.


If you arrive in Northville in time for breakfast, be sure to enjoy a seasonally inspired meal on the porch or the lawn overlooking the Great Sacandaga Lake at The Inn at the Bridge. And why not pick up something for the road at the artisanal bakery?


If you are fortunate enough to have time to stay the night in this area, check out the secluded mountain setting at Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center. At day’s end, relax in your private, cozy tupa (private cottage). Light a fire and put your feet up. Then in the morning, grab your coffee mug and head for the crystal-clear lake. Pull up an Adirondack chair and watch the mist rise from the water’s surface. Look for loons, ducks, herons or kingfishers along the lake.




Depending on how much time you spend exploring Northville, you may be ready for a meal by the time you reach the village of Speculator, population less than 400. For one of the best meals in the area, stop just north of the village at Melody Lodge, so named for its early history as a singing school for girls. Relax over a meal at a fireside table or take in the commanding views overlooking Lakes Pleasant and Sacandaga from the Lodge’s Adirondack old camp porch. My personal favorite dish on the menu? Filet Oscar, of course!


Traveling north, be sure to stop at the scenic overlook rest area along Route 30, just before entering the hamlet of Indian Lake. Grab your camera and enjoy the beauty of your road trip over and over again. 



Blue Mountain Lake

Your next stop would be Blue Mountain Lake – one of the crown jewels of the Adirondacks. It stands out not only for its sheer beauty, but also for being home to Adirondack Experience. This museum takes you back in time with exhibits that explore every aspect of Adirondack life – from mining and logging to railroads and recreation. Also nearby, you may enjoy the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts, boasting works created locally by artisans who travel long distances to this picturesque town to draw, paint, or engage in theater arts.



Raquette Lake

While the options for overnight accommodations include many interesting bed and breakfasts, country inns and the occasional chain hotel, to experience why the Adirondack region became the location for summer estates of celebrities, politicians and world leaders of yesteryear, consider staying instead at Great Camp Sagamore. It’s an extraordinary, historic icon of American Adirondack style, made famous by architect and developer William West Durant. Sagamore was the Adirondack home of the wealthy Vanderbilt family. While at Sagamore, be sure to tour Raquette Lake aboard the beautiful steamboat replica, W.W. Durant.



Lake Placid

After returning to Route 30 and continuing north, take Route 3 to the east and experience all that Lake Placid has to offer. Be sure to plan enough time to park and shop Main Street or consider biking around the village – and be sure to take in all of its Olympic sites.


You’ll want to visit the Olympic ice skating center in the village, and the Olympic Jumping Complex. Stand in the judges’ tower and watch athletes as they soar through the air. Better yet, if you are a thrill-seeker, take your own ride on the world-class combined bobsled/luge/skeleton tracks at the Olympic Sports Complex.


No road trip to this area is complete without a drive up Whiteface Mountain via the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway. Take the scenic drive leading to an elevator to the summit castle, revealing dramatic views of the Adirondacks.


The Lake Placid Boat Cruise travels 16 miles around the lake in just an hour. Tour guides point out places like the camps of composer Victor Herbert ("Babes in Toyland"), Johnny Weissmuller (five-time Olympic Gold Medalist swimming champion, and, yes, Tarzan of classic movie fame), and singer Kate Smith (who did radio broadcasts from this location).


If you’re not planning to stay overnight, at least plan to dine at the Mirror Lake Inn, serving high tea to guests and offering dining choices of smoked Adirondack trout or duckling, among other scrumptious delights. When you are ready to leave, it’s just a short hop to Interstate 87 to head back home.

Enjoy your fall excursion! May all of the twists and turns in your Adirondack road trip be magnificent!


*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Christina Johnson and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.


Photo credit: iStockphoto

City Slicker
Very nice info and photos. However, the link to the Red Barn In Northville takes you to a similar place in Northville, Michigan. :)

Hi @Squillgm thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for the error, the link is now driving to the correct page. We are glad you are enjoying this Autumn article! 

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