When was the last time you experienced something so fully it created memories that could be relived and recited like a history from Golden Girls' matriarch Sophia Petrillo? Whomever and whatever might be included - perhaps your family, perhaps your friends, maybe just yourself - one thing is certain, it did not include Facebook, the internet, text message or any of the modern conveniences that only seem to keep us tethered and turned on to a constant stream of stressors. This autumn, get away from it all - really away. Stow your phone for emergencies only, breathe in the fresh mountain air and create memories that will last a lifetime. And start with a picnic.
The best picnic spots are all about the experience you're looking for. Do you want easy access? Do you want privacy? Do you want a place for the kids to run around? Is it all about the view? The Adirondacks have plenty of great places to enjoy a bite to eat in a spectacular atmosphere and below are a few locations where the only access price is that you leave no trace.
The Lake House Lawn
If you're looking for a picnic spot that has everything - wide open spaces and room to play in, a beautiful view of the Adirondack Mountains, and a stone's throw from Main Street. Picnicking on Lake House lawn means you don't need to go very far to have it all!
John Brown's Farm State Historic Site
Spring, summer, and fall - John Brown's Farm is as close to the perfect picnic spot as you can get. Located five minutes outside of town, the site is both easy to get to and doesn't see near the foot traffic as more popular locations in town. The grounds boast walking trails, picnic tables aplenty, lots of room for young family members to run and play in, Adirondack chairs for couples to sit and take it all in, spectacular views from almost any angle, and as the home and burial site of famed abolitionist John Brown a provenance more Olympic size than the ski jumps that make a spectacular addition to the skyline. Before leaving we highly recommend touring the farm and gravesite, admission is $2 for adults, $1 for students, seniors and groups and children under 12 are free.
Lake Stevens Toll House Picnic Area
Tucked away behind the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway toll house, the Lake Stevens picnic area is all charm. While the mountain itself boasts many picnic areas, this one comes without the cost of admission and it's a little off the beaten path, is a bit quieter and more secluded - the perfect spot for a quiet lunch surrounded by lush foliage! While you're there go for a drive up the mountain - admission is included in Olympic passports (be sure to check the Whiteface Mountain website for seasonal status updates).
Cascade Picnic Area
When you're first plotting your trip from downstate to the Adirondacks, looking at the drive might seem daunting, but once you get on the road and realize just how scenic your drive is, it becomes a far more enjoyable prospect. After over a decade of guest service experience, I've never encountered a visitor to our little village that wouldn't do the drive again. I, myself, pull over to the side of the road for photo opportunities, despite knowing our valleys and mountains by rote. One of those spots is the magnificent Cascade Lakes. Route 73 skirts along the lake, opening up to magnificent vistas that are at once sweeping and cozy. If you're looking for a picnic spot that is both epic and intimate, look no further.
Sugar House Creamery
If you are looking for something a bit more unique, consider stopping by Sugar House Creamery. Featured prominently on Dancing Bears Restaurant's menu, Sugar House Creamery's Dutch Knuckle has become a bit of regional ambrosia. When the creamery is open to the public (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM) guests to the farm are encouraged to tour the creamery, browse the selection of local products at the farm store (cheese, pickles, jams, scones, muffins, yogurt make are a super tasty way to incorporate regional flavors into your lunch) and enjoy the picnic tables on site. The place even comes with its own musical accompaniment; mooing from its herd of Brown Swiss heifers.