Any opportunity we can get to spend time outdoors is a relished. As a tree lover, raising tree huggers, it’s also one of those spectacular times that we connect as a family. When the Fall season rolls around, we know our time outdoors will become more limited but we also look forward to the changing colors of the foliage.
Living in Chicago, the closest we can get to this experience is our local forest preserves (and lovely as they are, they’re hardly “hiking” spots). For those truly magical feelings, we need to trek farther out into the country, national parks, maybe even head to our neighboring state parks in Wisconsin or Michigan.
One spot I’d love to visit during the Fall is the Adirondack Region of Northern New York which offers one of the longest fall foliage seasons in the country as well as a variety of scenic tours that explore the history and beauty of the region’s mountains and lakes.
Across the Adirondacks, autumn opens the doors to unique fall tours and cherished traditions. If I were to plan a trip to the area this month or next, here are some options I’d consider:
Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Fort Ticonderoga will be offered on Thursday, September 18 with Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH). Fort Ticonderoga is one of the oldest and most significant military fortresses in America’s history. Guided tour scheduled for 10 am – 4 pm. Lunch included. Cost is $65 for non-AARCH members.
Explore the Underground Railroad Sites of the Adirondacks with a Mini Bus Tour sponsored by the North Star Underground Railroad Museum at Ausable Chasm. Tours take off every other Saturday starting September 20, and run from 9:30 – 11:30 am. Travel to former Underground Railroad sites in Keeseville and Peru with storytellers from the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association. Cost is $10 per person and reservations are recommended.
Singer Castle on Dark Island in the St. Lawrence River near Chippewa Bay offers an unforgettable private home tour. Take the water shuttle from Schermerhorn Harbor Marina to explore the castle and grounds, including secret passageways and the dungeon. Open through October 12, enjoy a 45-minute guided tour at $14.25 for adults, and $6.25 for children ages 4 and older.
42nd Annual Drive-It-Yourself Fall Foliage Tour is slated for October 4, from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm in the Adirondack Tug Hill Region. The tour winds for nearly 60 miles through Lewis County in the western Adirondacks, and includes 16 stops at participating businesses including farmers’ markets, museums and more. Tour booklets can be purchased for $1 at the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce in Lowville.
Thurman Fall Farm Tour on October 11 features eight stops, including a pancake breakfast followed by a tour of a maple farm and lumber mill, playtime with goats at a cheese-making farm and more. Directional signs will be set up along the tour route as a guide for visitors.
Wilder Homestead Annual Harvest Festival & Civil War Living History Encampment slated for September 27 from 10 am – 4 pm. The family-friendly Adirondack festival includes pumpkin painting and 19th-century games in the apple orchard, as well as readings from Farmer Boy, food vendors and a Living History Encampment of Civil War re-enactors. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-16, and children ages 6 and under get in free.
Raquette Lake Navigation Scenic Cruise tours around the rugged shores of Raquette Lake aboard the W.W. Durant, a small cruise ship outfitted for dining and entertainment. Enjoy colorful fall foliage complete with savory meals and themed excursions. Cost varies.
Mind you, I’m not complaining because Chicago and its surrounding areas are beautiful in their own right but there is something about theAdirondack area that keep pulling me for a visit.
Megy Karydes is professional freelance writer and founder of Wandering Tastes, a lifestyle and travel site that is meant to inspire adventure and exploration through traveling and food. She’s also a regular contributor to USA Today Travel, 10best.com, TravelingMom.com as Foodie TravelingMom and writes for several other print magazines and online media outlets. Find her at KarydesConsulting.com or onTwitter @megy.