Small Town Travel in the Adirondacks

Pristine nature is the heart of the Adirondacks, but there is more to the region than mountains and rivers, waterfalls and trees. What are we talking about here? Some of the most charming, unique small towns you will find anywhere.

Visit Adirondacks

Pristine nature is the heart of the Adirondacks, but there is more to the region than mountains and rivers, waterfalls and trees. Scattered throughout this natural preserve are the small towns and villages that make up the soul of this incredible place. Usually based around natural attractions – at the base of a mountain range, along the banks of a river, or nestled beside a lake – these are the places where the natural world meets civilization. The result? Some of the most charming, unique small towns you will find anywhere.

While hiking to a summit or paddling a serene lake provides a stunning view, visiting the communities of the Adirondacks will help you see what the Adirondacks are truly about - the people. Trade dirt trails for sidewalks and explore the Adirondacks like a true local.

Eat Local

Eating local has a different meaning in the Adirondacks. Here, farmers lovingly grow and raise much of the food that is used by master chefs to create mouth-watering dishes for your enjoyment in local restaurants. Enjoy traditional French dishes made with fresh ingredients beside a lazy river at Left Bank Cafe in Saranac Lake. Even if you don't have time for a meal, a glass of red wine and a homemade chocolate mousse is simply divine. Or, pair your meal with one of 30 wines or 60 beers, ales, and stouts at BarVino in North Creek. In warm summer months, outdoor seating and live music take the experience to the next level. Explore an ever-changing menu of locally-inspired small plates, accompanied by the most creative cocktails you've ever tried, at Liquids and Solids in Lake Placid. If you're mindful of where your meat comes from, rest assured knowing the local butcher is right next door!

If you really want to get down to the source, visit the farms that produce the vegetables, meat, and dairy that feed the Adirondacks and experience why local is always better. Or, pick up the ingredients from a local farmers' market and make your own Adirondack culinary creation.

Explore Downtown

Lining the main streets of small Adirondack towns are a wide variety of local shops and boutiques featuring luxury products, artisan goods, and region-specific souvenirs. While you will find few big-name brands among the storefronts, that doesn't mean you can't engage in some retail therapy! Support the small towns of the Adirondacks by getting everything you need, including souvenirs, at places like the Market Barn in Malone, an old livestock auction barn transformed into an artisan warehouse where over 80 vendors sell their crafts and Adirondack-inspired products. Or, take your shopping back in time at Hoss's Country Corner in Long Lake. Since the 1900s Hoss's has provided locals and travelers alike with the tools, books, clothing, crafts, food, and gifts they need – and they sell ice cream right across the road!

If it's gear for your next big Adirondack adventure you seek, check out local outfitters like Great Outdoors Sporting Goods in Croghan or The Mountaineer in Keene Valley. Not only do they have the shoes, apparel, and safety accessories you need for any kind of adventure, they also have the guide books to help you find your way. If you are craving a brand name shopping spree, visit the Factory Outlets in Lake George or explore the bustling commercial district of Plattsburgh.

Your (Vacation) Home

From cozy backwoods cabins and historic bed and breakfasts to luxury resort hotels, the small towns of the Adirondacks go big when it comes to hospitality. For centuries, the region has welcomed city-weary travelers for a refreshing, nature-filled respite. Once known for its grand, sprawling Great Camps, the region is now known for once-in-a-lifetime stays in unimaginably beautiful places. Imagine waking up at Lake Clear Lodge, dappled sunlight shining through the window, pouring yourself a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee, then walking out onto a beautiful deck overlooking mountains and lakes. Or, settle into a comfortable king suite at the Sagamore Resort, with the convenience of several pools, gourmet restaurants, and full-service spa located right below your feet. You'll feel so at home, you may never want to leave.

For a truly authentic Adirondack experience, find a cabin to call your home away from home. Lakeside stays will bring back memories of your free-spirited youth, and quiet backwoods abodes off the main drag provide a much-needed retreat from your busy day-to-day life. If you want the atmosphere of a cabin with all the convenience and amenities of a modern home, book a stay close to town in an Adirondack-style vacation house. It's all the modern comfort you need while still giving you the opportunity to unplug.

Go big with your next adventure, and choose a small Adirondack town as your destination.

About the Author …
Visit Adirondacks
Visit Adirondacks is the official tourism resource for the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.
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