Some places are so famous they don’t even need the word “coast.” Let’s go ahead and add the Adirondack Coast to the list. After all, it’s the only coast we can think of that has a chair named after it.
In the early 1900s, Thomas Lee designed the prototype of the comfy seat with its plank-like armrests and moderate recline while staying in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, on the shores of Lake Champlain. At 193 kilometres long, the lake boasts one of the largest freshwater beaches in the United States, the City of Plattsburgh Beach, which means oodles of opportunity for sand castles as well as swimming and splashing. The Adirondack Coast – so-named because it’s located where Lake Champlain meets the Adirondacks – is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and agritourism addicts.
Among the area’s most precious wonders is Ausable Chasm. This natural gorge lures hikers, rock climbers, bikers, foragers, campers, rafters and tubers who float between craggy granite walls along the Ausable River. Other nearby attractions include golf courses, mountain biking trails and fly-fishing spots. The Adirondack Coast GeoTrail has more than 35 geocaches for those who like to add a little high tech to their nature treks.
Travel back in time
William H. Miner made his millions making parts for railroad carriages. He and his wife, Alice, eventually began spending more and more time at the family homestead, known as Heart’s Delight Farm, in Chazy. The Alice T. Miner Museum is a shining example of a Colonial Revival and features her collection of decorative arts, textiles, manuscripts, and other objects from 18th- and 19th-century America. The museum also runs a full calendar of events, from kite festivals to film series to summer camps for budding history buffs.
Nearby, the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute seeks ways to improve contemporary agriculture, and showcases the techniques the Miners used on their farm way back when.
Historically, the Adirondacks have been home to an abundance of dairy farms, which means you should definitely make time for a scoop from the family-run Harrigan’s Soft Ice Cream stand. In recent years, a broader array of agritourism opportunities have flourished. Today, many of the region’s 240+ farms encourage visitors and offer such hands-on activities as pig-petting, pumpkin-harvesting, apple- and berry-picking, and goat-tending. Some, such as Asgaard Farm, welcome overnight guests. And places like Rulfs Orchard, Bankers Orchard and Country Dream Farms let you pick your own apples and produce. Did you know: the Adirondack Coast is one of the largest producers of Macintosh Apples in the United States.
After all that hard labour, you’ll have earned a drink or two. A number of breweries and distilleries specialize in their own craft drinks, from the Rockeater IPA and Life Choices pale ale at Oval Craft Brewing to the moonshine-like “white whiskey,” made with local ingredients at Mountain Spirit Distillery. You might also enjoy taking a ride along the area’s wine trail, sampling hard cider and sweet wine, as well as whites or reds. Vesco Ridge Vineyards offers seasonal wine-and-yoga events on its deck. When you post photos of the view (and you will), make sure to use the hashtag #adkcoast.
WHEN YOU GO:
Arriving by car from Canada:
Montreal, QC: 1 hour
Ottawa, ON: 1.5 hours
Quebec City, QC: 3.5 hours
Flying into the Adirondack Coast:
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Burlington International Airport (BTV)
Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG)
Arriving by train:
The Adirondack line transports passengers from the Hudson Valley through the Adirondack Mountains, along Lake Champlain to Montreal. 2019 marks the 45th anniversary of this scenic route.