An Adirondack Winter.

The dead of winter. Temperatures drop below freezing. Snow falls day after day. A bitter wind blows, making it feel even colder still. Short days of gray blend into one another, and the sun disappears behind seemingly endless clouds. At this time of year, many people dream of travel to warmer climates, to feel the sun and warm air on their skin. With a long weekend, my wife and I decided to get out of town for a few days, and travel to the balmy weather of… the Adirondacks!

Yes, dear reader, we loaded up my wife’s Jeep and headed north, climbing into the mountains of upstate New York. There, we experienced temperatures that never rose above freezing, the thermometer dropping below zero at night. We saw snow, snow, and more snow. We bundled up in multiple layers of clothing and our warmest parkas. And we had a fantastic weekend.

So come along with us, then, to see the snow-covered mountains, to wander around a historic train yard, and drive down icy roads. I will also show off a new photographic toy, give some automotive updates, and share a cool story from a friend.

Let’s begin:

Adirondack Winter Scenes

Map of northeastern United States, with red pin in location of Adirondack Park.
Once again, Adirondack State Park is our vacation destination of choice. I’ve driven it so many times, I have the route memorized.
View of snow-lined road on I-287.
As we traveled up the New York Thruway (I-87), remnants of the huge snowstorm from last week were visible as far as the eye could see.
Reflection of Jeep Grand Cherokee in tanker truck.
When you have a six hour drive, you find ways to amuse yourself, such as taking an “automotive selfie” in the reflection of the tanker truck. With all-wheel drive a must have for traversing the Adirondacks, we left my Accord at home and took the Jeep.
Snow- and tree-lined NY 28.
As darkness began to descend, we saw the familiar tall pines along NY-28, the main north-south route through the Adirondacks. It felt good to come back. Arriving at our destination, we enjoyed a much-awaited reunion with a dear relative, and settled in for a cold night – temperatures dropped to -8 degrees!
View of sunrise over Fourth Lake.
After a good night’s sleep, I walked out onto the frozen surface of Fourth Lake to greet the sunrise. This was one of the only moments I would see the sun during our entire trip.
White Jeep Grand Cherokee parked on snow-covered road.
After breakfast, we set out to explore the Adirondacks. Here we see the Jeep, sitting comfortably in its natural habitat.
White Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in front of Thendara Train Station.
Our first stop was Thendara Train Station. It looks a bit different now than it did during my first visit during this past July.
Black and white image of diesel locomotive covered in snow.
Although closed for the season, the train yard can be freely explored.
Trains on two parallel tracks in snow.
Given the clouds and low contrast lighting, I opted for black and white photography during much of my amble through the train yard.
Trains on parallel tracks, covered in snow.
While the snow looks fairly packed down, you do have to be a little careful. About a foot to the side of either train is a significant drop-off to the tracks that is covered by snow. Needless to say, my ankles, knees, and thighs got snow-covered and rather cold.
Snowmobiler speeding through train yards.
I didn’t have the station completely to myself, however: it is snowmobile season in the Adirondacks! One of the prime tourist industries in the region, the park attracts snowmobilers who travel across the snow-covered trails. The train yard is a prime snow mobile route to the town of Old Forge. The Adirondacks feature over 750 miles of snowmobile trails, and this winter pastime brings almost $245 million to the Adirondack economy each year (via syracuse.com).
Black and white photo of railroad crossing sign with trees in distance.
You know it’s winter when you can stand on a frozen mound of snow and be eye-level with a seven-foot tall railroad crossing sign. I enjoyed my time at Thendara Station, but there was still more sightseeing ahead of us.
Green Bridge in Thendara.
We also stopped at the nearby Green Bridge in Thendara. Crossing over the Moose River, this pedestrian bridge offers a great view of the surrounding landscape.
Two boathouses along shore of Old Forge Pond.
We swung by Old Forge Pond, where these two boathouses caught my eye. Technically the beginning of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Old Forge Pond is connected to First Lake but is not considered a part of it.
View of South Shore road through car windshield.
We next took a drive along South Shore Road. One of my favorite roads in the Adirondacks in the autumn, the road in winter makes you feel like you’re on a toboggan run. Thank goodness for proper winter tires!
View of snow-covered Nokian WR G4 SUV tires.
Seriously, though, these tires are worth every penny in the Adirondacks.
View of houses along shore of Fourth Lake.
We ended our drive at Arrowhead Park in the town of Inlet.

The Food!

Two paper coffee cups on wooden tables each cup says BLUE LINE COFFEE HOUSE.
No trip to Old Forge is complete without a stop at Blue Line Coffee House. That’ll be one dark roast with cream for me (left) and an almond milk latte for my wife (right). Yum!
Exterior of Eagle Bay Donut Shop.
And even better news… The Donut Shop of Eagle Bay is now open year round! The shop recently received new owners who are seeking to transform this Adirondack institution from a summertime-only stop to an eating attraction open no matter the month. What better way to warm up your insides than with hot coffee and fry cakes! (Also, check out the icicles on the left side of the building).
Donut on white plate.
Mmm… mmm… mmm… fry cakes! As I explained in a previous post, whereas yeast donuts rise before being fried, the fry cake is made without yeast, offering a crispy exterior and a dense, soft interior (via Rochester City Newspaper). Either way you cut it, the Eagle Bay Donut Shop is a must-visit when you’re in the Adirondacks!
Table with Mexican rice, tortillas, guacamole, shredded chicken, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and black olives.
Aside from some treats, we made most of our meals at home. My personal favorite was taco night!

Heading Home

View of New York Thruway, with hillsides covered in snow.
With a massive winter storm threatening to engulf upstate New York, we said our goodbyes and left early on Monday for our return to New Jersey. Aside from some freezing rain and sleet, we missed the worst of the winter weather. The Adirondacks are expected to receive 5-9″ of snow, and an additional 1/10 of an inch of ice. Locals know to put another log on the fireplace, pick up a good book, and settle in for the storm.
Odometer reading 63589 mi.
Despite the winter weather, we made it home far quicker than Google Maps had estimated for our trip. The Jeep was an excellent companion for our mountain adventures, tackling snowy, icy roads with no drama. Along the way, we crossed the 63,000 mile mark. Onward!

Updates

Before closing, I wanted to share a new photographic toy (okay, let’s call it a “tool”), a big mileage update from a friend, and some other news that came across my desk recently. 

First, many of you may remember our visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana last January. The museum – one of the coolest automotive attractions I have ever seen – recently came into possession of a 1921 Duesenberg Model A coupe that was owned by the same family for the past one hundred years. It was recently donated by the family to the museum, and you can read more of this story here.

Second, I wanted to give an update on Josh, who you may remember reading about a few months ago. Josh drives a 2015 Honda Accord LX sedan, and his car rolled a huge milestone:

Car odometer reading 500000 miles.
Josh’s Accord recently passed the 500,000 mile mark! Congratulations, Josh!
Gray 2015 Honda Accord sedan.
For a half million miles, I’d say this car is holding up quite well! After crossing the 500k mark, Josh did end up replacing the transmission, as the old unit began to show signs of wearing out. I’d say he has gotten his money’s worth out of this car! With the new transmission installed, Josh has now passed 503,000 miles.  Onward, good sir.

After watching several photographers shooting incredible aerial footage from drones, I recently joined the legion of airborne photographers with the purchase of a Simrex 900c drone. Only $70 on Amazon, it is a great way to learn aerial photography without worrying about crashing a more expensive device into trees, walls, buildings, or snow banks. I threw together a quick video of my earliest efforts with the device, and I thought I would share it here (the video features footage of Johnson Park in Highland Park, NJ, East Jersey Old Town Village in Piscataway, N J, and Fourth Lake in the Adirondacks):

Car odometer reading 166754 TRIP A 125.7
And finally, the Accord has spent much of the past few weeks in the garage, hiding out from all the winter weather. I have to do some driving for work this coming weekend, however, so 167,000 is right around the corner. Once again: onward!

Wrapping Up

While the dead of winter might not seem like the ideal time to head into the mountains, Adirondack State Park has plenty of fun sights to see, adventures to be had, and great food to be eaten! We will be returning to the Adirondacks in a few weeks for a more in-depth adventure, so please stay tuned!

And thank you, as always, for coming along on another adventure down the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

 

12 thoughts on “An Adirondack Winter.

  1. Great photographs! My favorites were of the bridge and the boathouses. The video of the drone shots was cool too. Looked like a nice weekend all around, even in the cold!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! I actually detoured to Old Forge Pond specifically for that one shot of the boathouse – spoiler alert: that’s my favorite. It was a fun weekend… although it was a little chilly!

      Like

    1. It certainly is a winter wonderland! The drone has been fun – some of the people I follow on YouTube have made me think of the possibilities these things can offer for photography – looking forward to using it more!

      Like

  2. A lot of great snow pics. I really like how the boat houses and Green Bridge turned out.

    No snow here. Just some freezing rain, power outages, a boil water notice, and scarce food/gas.

    Looking forward to more drone footage on these adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you and your family are doing ok down in TX. The stuff we see in the national news looks just dreadful.

      Thanks for the compliments on the photos – the boat house next the Green Bridge were two of my favorite shots as well.

      Once I get better at landing the drone (right now it’s like a controlled crash), I will be using it for more footage!

      Like

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