I recently had a number of vacation days suddenly fall into my lap to be used before the end of the year, so I decided to make this past weekend a long weekend and spent it exploring around the Adirondacks, Northern New York and a tiny bit of Quebec.
On Friday, I drove up to Plattsburgh, taking my time along the way. It was rather rainy, so I didn’t get too much. It was actually hailing on me while I was taking the mile marker photo. Things cleared up when I hit the graveyard, but it was getting dark by the time I got to Frontier Town. That’s on the list for another time!
Saturday included a jaunt up to Quebec. I had $20CDN left over from a recent trip to Montreal, so I decided I’d spend it Saturday. If you need to know, I bought a chocolate croissant in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (where there was also a giant yarn-bombed railroad spike!) and then got gas. Exciting, I know. However, I had never driven on these roads and ended up finding some really great house ruins and barn structures, as well as more gravestone. Check out the CATHERINE, CONSORT OF… one! I also came across the blockhouse in Lacolle, notable largely for the VIVE LE EMO graffiti (also, history). Neat rounded roof structure that I believe holds some utilities in Chazy, NY. And I was super-sad to see that I had missed the TEEN DANCE the night before, although they probably wouldn’t have let me in as I am not a teen. A few more interesting structures near Plattsburgh and then I froze my buns off for awhile at Ausable Point, enjoying the sound of Lake Champlain. It was pretty darn cold on Saturday, so I had to pull out the gloves, hat, AND second layer of coat. Worth it though, especially with no one else really around.
On Sunday, fellow A/V and exploration enthusiast, Michael Fisher (watch some of his short films after you’re done here!), came over from Vermont to join in for this leg of the tour. It was an epic day of convicts, toxic waste, guns, guitars, sacrificial amphitheater altars, and buffalo wing-scented bathrooms. We started out by getting a quick peek around Dannemora, which you may have heard about in the news recently, and then headed toward Lyon Mountain. LOOK AT THAT MILL. LOOK AT IT. This is just a small set of the photos I took in there. I can’t get over that giant hook. It’s the photo on my phone wallpaper right now. By the amount of graffiti, we were obviously not the first people to ever peek around inside. I probably wouldn’t have gone all the way up to the top floor (and certainly wouldn’t have been hanging out the window) if I had been alone (would I have even gone up there?), but it was a visual treasure trove. Bring on your post-apocalyptic, war-torn Europe storylines – the Lyon Mountain Mountain Lion Toxic Asbestos Waste Factory mill will handle it. After the mill, we headed toward Merrill, NY to find the ruins of a stone amphitheater, built by Franklin Sargent in 1916. Largely overgrown, but still rather haunting to come across and clearly a place meant for sacrifices to the underworld.
We then looped around Chateaugay and Mooers Part 1, 2, 3 and Return of Mooers back through to Plattsburgh. On the way, we passed through Churubusco, NY, which contains the fascinating Dick’s Country Store, Gun City and Music Oasis. There are indeed many guns and many guitars inside. A shocking number of guitars and musical instruments for such a remotely located place, actually. WHO KNEW? I refrained from playing the drum kits that were out. Also “Churubusco” is an amusing name. Other little bits of interest (carpet shop built into an old church?) as well along the way.
Finally, on Monday, I headed out early to stop in Newcomb, NY on my way back to Syracuse to ostensibly help AARCH folks with the closing up of Great Camp Santanoni. By the time I hiked in, they were largely done with the Main Camp, so I stayed back there for awhile and had a highly enjoyable lunch while basking on the dock in front of the boathouse. It was a perfect fall day to go in, albeit slightly too sunny for good photos (didn’t stop me from taking some). While sitting at the boathouse, it almost seemed like you could take a dip in the lake, although you’d remember it was November pretty quickly upon hitting the water. I managed to catch back up with Steven, Jennifer and Chuck at the Farm Complex on my way out and also enjoyed the porch at the Gate House for a bit before leaving. That porch hadn’t been opened up yet the summer I worked there. So much better than the jalousie windows that used to be in there! Santanoni is one of my favorite places on Earth and it was nice to spend some time alone in there again. I had been in earlier this year, snowshoeing around the lake, and it was also rather nice to replace a few of those harrowing memories with a pleasant, relaxing day.
Not going to lie – I kind of feel like I need a vacation from my vacation, but it was fun to explore a few new areas and take the time to stop and peek around some places that I usually have to just drive through on the way to somewhere else. Where to next?