Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day Five - The Long Drive

It dawned yet another beautiful morning.  

Today we were bound for The Long Drive - over 200 miles from Tupper Lake to Tahawus, Fort Ticonderoga, up along Lake Champlain, through Elizabethtown, and back to Tupper.

Our first stop was The Blast Furnace up at Tahawus.  The last time I was here it was just the furnace sitting on the side of the road with the remains of the wheelhouse behind.  Wow!  What a difference now!  Not only is there a parking area, there are railings, interpretive signs, and a trail!

I keep forgetting just how big the furnace is.  It is impressive.

Like clowns in a car, or students in a phone booth, we wanted to see how many people we could get inside.

 In the end only three opted to give it a go; way to go Libby, Pam and Jean!!!

 And what is inside?  Only the coolest view up the chimney!

OH, so what is the blast furnace and why does it now have all sorts of interpretive stuff?  See my previous blog here.

Meanwhile, there's this other structure one can see from the road that goes up to Tahawus.  I've driven by it many times and often wondered what it was.  So, last week I sent an email back to Newcomb to ask a friend - what is this?  Turns out this was the site of a saw mill, once upon a time, known as Ward's Mill, and this structure was "the incinerator used to burn excess/slag pieces of lumber from the saw mill."  Another mystery solved - thank you Charlotte and Paige!

 After we left Tahawus, we stopped at the Adirondack Buffalo Farm for baked goods and to look at the bison - and there were babies!

I'd forgotten about the waterfalls until we were on the road.  Of course!  Stop at the waterfalls - it is so seldom one encounters a waterfall of such beauty and ease to access!  So, we pulled over at the Blue Ridge Falls.

It took little encouraging to convince the group to walk down the trail to the water.

I love this little pothole, made by the small rocks swirling around as the water rushes by.

Then we were off to Fort Ticonderoga.

Quite a number of our group was keen on early American history, so this stop was a must.  It was early in the season, so there weren't a lot of costumed interpreters on hand - basically three.

I was fascinated by the handles on the canons.  Each one was different, but I won't bore you with every shot I took!   You won't see such beauty and cleverness put into weapons today, that's for sure.

The staff had the hearth going.  This was new since the last time I was here, and kind of neat!

The day was getting very warm and humid; the coolest place was in this tunnel, which was funneling a lovely cool breeze!

The three staff put on a musket demonstration for the crowd.

There's so much history at this location.  it was already a major "military" site by 1609, when Champlain and his Algonquin allies fought the Iroquois here.  Then there was the French and Indian Wars in the mid-1700s, when Fort Carillon was built (and later renamed Ft. Ticonderoga), and finally the Revolutionary War, nearly 20 years later. 

Just down the hill from the Fort is (are?) the King's Gardens.  When we got there, the first thing we saw was this osprey nest and the parent birds flying around.

A vegetable garden targeting children is located outside the wall of the King's Gardens.

Complete with itty bitty kid-sized Adirondack chairs!

I've decided that I am quite taken by columbines.  I may have to start a collection.

The Gardens also had some amazing irises.

The house at the Gardens is not in good condition.  Hopefully they will find the funding to restore (or at least stabilize) it before it is too late.

A lot of care has gone into these gardens.  I learned that contemporary garden design (of that time, not today) put blue and purple flowers by the house because they are cool colors, and the reds, oranges and yellows further away because they are hot colors - apparently this helped give people a feeling of being cooler when at the house.  Hm.

It was mid- to late afternoon by the time we left the garden.  When we got to Port Henry, we stopped at Stewart's for ice cream - I've been waiting for that moment for three-and-a-half years!  Yum!!!  And it was a perfect hot day for ice cream.

Our drive took us up through Elizabethtown, and then down the long hill back to 73, and on to Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.  

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