Lake George-The Village

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Just typing the title here brings back floods of memories and a calm comes over me. This is truly my home away from home and my happy place.

Getting to Lake George is about 3.5 hours from North Jersey,  just get yourself to interstate 87, the NY State Thruway which turns into The Northway in Albany. Jump on Route 88 from Binghamton; or 90 from Buffalo.  About 9 hours from Pittsburgh by car, or fly into Albany, or Plattsburgh. Anyway you can get there, just do it.  Leave life behind, no stress allowed. And if you can leave the electronics and truly unplug, I highly recommend it.  Stay a while and soak it in, then get out! They are MY mountains! Just kidding, with 6 million acres, I can share.

This area of the park is jam packed with history, amazing beauty, crystal clear waters, miles and miles of hiking trails, camp sites and on and on.

So to stay on track, lets jump for a moment to a history lesson and some facts.

Lake George is 32 miles long and 3 miles wide at its widest part and up to 200 feet deep. The original name of the lake was “Lac Du Saint Sacrement” – Lake of the Blessed Sacrement, but was later renamed for the British King George. The very informative site Lake George.com has this great history lesson for us:

“the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War) broke out over France’s expansion into British Colonial territory. The Lac Du Saint Sacrement – Lake Champlain region was crucial for the British to secure since the French dominated Canada and areas to the north. The French were using Fort Saint-Frédéric at Crown Point, NY to control the use of Lake Champlain and prevent the British from colonizing that region, so British General Edward Braddock ordered Commander William Johnson to defeat the French forces at Fort Saint-Frédéric.

As he traveled north, Johnson came upon Lac Due Saint Sacrement and re-named it Lake George for the British King.

In September 1755, a series of three engagements between British and French forces broke out at the southern end of Lake George. These would collectively come to be known as the Battle of Lake George, which is commonly considered to be one of the first major victories for the British against the French.”

When I was growing up during the summer months here, it was truly a best kept secret.  The tourists were there on the weekends, and most stayed in this southern end of the Lake. Where today the tiny cottages that dotted the shoreline are now million dollar homes on this priceless lake.

When visiting, it’s a must to do the walk in the “village” at night, visiting the T-shirt shops, the arcades and do NOT miss the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum.  This place scared the begeesus out of you when you were a kid, especially in the 70’s. It’s all mechanical displays most behind plexi glass in very dimly lit hallways. Honestly having visited it in the past few years as an adult, it is super cheesy and that fact makes it an even more must do. Step back in time and enjoy!! There are several pizza shops, and ice cream stands. Sadly this past year we discovered our beloved Fat Willies ice cream shut down, but it was a great stop every year for the best pistachio ice cream.

One of my favorite shops is Waterfront Living on Canada Street. They have great Lake theme items, photos, ornaments, etc. And you have to get a picture with the Bear out front!

There are dozens of great restaurants all along Canada Street, Beach Road and the waterfront.  There is just something to be said for having dinner on a warm summer evening overlooking the lake. Take me there NOW!  But our favorite and annual must stop is just outside of town, called The Olde Log Inn. We have been going there for years and they have great food and a super friendly staff. They offer outdoor seating in the summer as well.

Back in town along Beach Street is Fort William Henry Museum if you are looking for some fun and interesting history! Just one of several forts around the lake and the easiest to get to as far as proximity. Also at that end of the lake is The Lake George Steamboat Company Take a boat ride on one of several “big boats”, including the Minnie Ha Ha, paddle wheel boat.  There is even a day trip that will take you the entire length of the lake. You have to do it, at least once!

Along with the many many hotels, motels and camp grounds, there are also several locations to rent boats and other water sport items. If Parasailing is your thing, they have that too. Tubing, or water skiing up your alley? They have that. Oh and did I mention great fishing for trout, bass, pike, and George, the Lake George Sea Monster.

The entire lake is speckled with many islands along it’s shores. Some are private and others are public. You can spend an afternoon exploring and picnicking on a number of them and several allow overnight camping! Falling asleep under an Adirondack sky filled with millions of stars and meteors, listening to the lapping of the water on the shoreline is something that has to be experienced.

I could go  on for hours, but i’ll stop here before I lose you. Can you tell I love it?

Stay tuned for another post and different section of the beautiful Lake George.

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