Late Autumn ADK.

Ah, autumn in the Adirondacks! Homes are decorated for Halloween and the fall season. Stores put out their wares, enticing locals and tourists alike with specials on autumn-themed souvenirs. The air is filled with the scent of pine needles and fireplaces. And trees throughout Adirondack State Park turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red… except if you head to upstate New York a few weeks too late. So much for the prodigious planning abilities of The Open Road Ahead! Ah, well, three out of four signs of fall isn’t bad!

Over the past weekend, my wife and I headed once again up to northern New York to visit family, and (we hoped) catch the Adirondacks at their best. What we encountered instead was a far quieter park than we had expected. Many trees had lost their leaves, and the end of “leaf peeping” season meant far fewer tourists venturing northward. The first snows had not yet fallen, so the winter attractions season of skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling had not begun. We ended up visiting during an interesting period – most stores and restaurants were still open, but the tourist crowds were nowhere to be seen. The lakes were free of boat traffic, but the lack of cold temperatures meant that the noise of snowmobiles was also nonexistent. It was, in the end, a supremely peaceful time to visit.

So come along, then, on another journey to the forests and mountains of upstate New York… the Adirondacks!

Late Autumn ADK

Map of New York State, with red pin in location of Adirondack State Park.
Fun fact: the name “Adirondack” started as an insult. Members of the Mohawk tribe would refer to their Algonquin neighbors as “Haderondah,” meaning “bark eaters,” for the Algonquin’s tendency to eat tree bark during famines (in contrast, the Mohawk prided themselves on the abundance of their farms). Later, white settlers changed the pronunciation to “Adirondack,” and the name stuck (via Discover Walks). Fascinating stuff.
View of hills on either side of I-87, and the hills are covered by trees with leaves of varying colors.
As we headed north on a sunny Saturday morning, we spotted trees of varying colors along the New York Thruway. The views whetted our appetite to see more fall colors the further north we went!
Exterior of Village Coffee and Goods.
After a few hours of driving, we left the NY Thruway to explore a little bit of the town of Kingston, NY. Our first stop was to Village Coffee and Goods, a coffee shop set near the railroad tracks in the old industrial section of the town.
Paper coffee cup with white lid. The cup says VILLAGE.
My wife ordered an almond milk latte and a gluten-free peach scone. I had a fresh croissant that was fluffy and flaky – absolutely perfect! The only downside was my beverage choice – I tried the maple spice latte. At first, it was quite tasty, but after a few sips, the maple spice gave it an odd flavor – almost like an artificial sweetener. I ended up tossing the coffee after only a few sips.
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in front of I LOVE NY sign.
As we had to haul a lot of stuff up to the Adirondacks, Grace, my wife’s 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, got the call for this trip while my Accord remained snugly tucked away in the garage at home. Grace did get her photo taken with the I Love NY sign at the New Baltimore rest area.
Panoramic view of Lock #13 along Erie Canal.
We also stopped for a break at the Mohawk River Welcome Area, where we took in the Mohawk River and Lock #13 of the Erie Canal. Longtime readers may remember our boating adventure along the Erie Canal in the summer of 2021.
NY-28 with sign on side of road that says ENTERING ADIRONDACK PARK.
The little jump of joy I feel whenever I see the “Entering Adirondack Park” sign was tempered by the view around me – we had missed fall foliage season! Yellows, reds, and oranges had departed, leaving behind a whole lot of brown.
NY-28 through center of Inlet, NY.
Arriving in the town of Inlet, we found the Adirondacks to be completely dead. A handful of tourists milled about, but mostly the activity was all locals, out and about on a beautiful, if chilly, late autumn afternoon.
View of Fourth Lake, with pier in foreground.
Yep, lots and lots of brown. Still, there was a quiet beauty around Fourth Lake, and a solitude that I appreciated.
Exterior of Fourth Lake Wine & Spirits.
While my wife and I waited for our dinner order at Screamen Eagle Pizza, we wandered around the commercial district of Inlet. In each post, I try to highlight a small business, and in this post I want to bring your attention to Fourth Lake Wine & Spirits, a small but excellent liquor and wine store in town. The store is run by a husband and wife who are highly knowledgable about their stock. They will take the time to answer your questions, will help you pair a nice wine with your meals, and their prices are reasonable! It’s definitely worth a stop if you are in town.
Sign beside road that reads SNOWMOBILES STAY ON TRAIL
Despite temperatures hovering in the low 60s, the towns of the Adirondacks are already preparing for the winter season – signs for snowmobilers dot the roads.
Exterior photo of Eagle Bay Donut Shop.
The next morning, it was a walk to one of our favorite local shops – the Eagle Bay Donut Shop.
Cinnamon sugar donut on plate.
The Donut Shop was once a summer-only treat, but the current owner has greatly expanded the store’s hours, and now you can get your cinnamon sugar donut fix practically year round!
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked beside tree-lined pond.
We did stop by Quiver Ponder in Old Forge for the Jeep’s mandatory glamour shot.
Brown, green, and yellow leaves on trees.
This must have looked amazing a few weeks ago… no matter, it still photographed well today!
Two boathouses beside lake.
Two boathouses along the lake in Old Forge looked as eye-catching as ever, even without peak foliage.
View of Fourth Lake and surrounding mountains.
I decided against a hike on this trip – the trails were muddy and covered in fallen leaves, and while I’m not afraid of challenging trail conditions, I decided to pass on a mountain climb this time. Instead, I did put my drone aloft in the late afternoon, flying it over Fourth Lake.
View of surrounding countryside and Fourth Lake. NY-28 is visible in the foreground.
Fall foliage season might be over, but goodness gracious, the Adirondacks are beautiful year round!
View of Fourth Lake toward sunset.
As the sun began to set, I caught this cool view of Fourth Lake from my drone. Not a bad way to end a fun day!
Blackboard sign outside of coffee shop that lists specials of the day.
After saying goodbye to our dear relative, we began our road trip home the next day, but not without first making a quick stop at Blue Line Coffee House in Old Forge. How many times do you see the word “pumpkin” on the specials of the day? Yep, it’s still fall!
Two paper coffee cups on table, with neon outline of Adirondacks on wall behind them.
The coffee shop in Kingston may have been a bit of a disappointment, but Blue Line always brings a smile to my face! That’ll be an almond milk Americano for my wife (left) and a dark roast with cream for me (right). Fueled up, we were ready to continue our drive.
Highway in New York, lined with trees with colorful leaves.
As we descended from the mountains and neared the city of Utica, the fall colors came roaring back… despite the gray skies, it was a beautiful view for our drive!
Car odometer reading 89303 miles
Although it has been a little while since Grace was our road trip vehicle, she performed as flawless as always. She even broke a new milestone of her own, crossing the 89,000 mile barrier as she continues toward the big 100k. Onward!


Car odometer reading 206000 TRIP A 264.4
Meanwhile, my 2012 Honda Accord continues on its journey, having now passed the 206,000 mile mark. I’ve been driving it judiciously, as its next service is going to be a big one – Honda V6 engines require a new timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, and assorted fluids around every 105,000 miles, and my car will be due right around 208,000 – given that the service is a bit pricy, I’m in no rush to get there. Onward… but not too fast!

Wrapping Up

Although our original idea for our visit to the Adirondacks didn’t go according to plan, we improvised and made the best of what the open road offered! The more I have come to know the Adirondacks, the more I have come to appreciate the special times of the year, often when the tourists have left, the lakes are quiet, and you can most appreciate the natural beauty of the north woods.

Thanks for coming on another journey to upstate New York, along the open road ahead.

‘Til next time.

8 thoughts on “Late Autumn ADK.

  1. Request for more wildlife shots from your youngest readers- “these are just trees and water.” 😂 I thought it looked like a perfect weekend trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Still some great photos. Glad you had a good trip. Yeah, that service will be an expensive one. Has your car given you the maintenance notification yet for it?

    Liked by 1 person

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