Up in North Country
By Christina Bowe, Wholesale Sales Manager
With only two more weeks left until the 2010 season opening for many of the “North Country” businesses, the trusty Explorer and I ventured to Old Forge and found it to be as beautiful as ever. The sun was shinning, the temperatures were in the mid-70s, a perfect day to explore Old Forge, meet old friends and introduce myself to new customers.
I had forgotten how beautiful the drive was until I reached the town of Thendara, just south of Old Forge. Purple wild lupines lined the highway and guided my way. The roadsides are covered with these beautiful flowers. Wild lupine is a member of the pea family. It produces beautiful bluish-purple flowers in widely scattered clumps on the north and south side of the road. It is unfortunate that they do not last all summer for the entire tourist crowd to enjoy. I'm not sure if this is only in the Old Forge area, but I witnessed it last year and had forgotten until I made the turn into Thendara.
My first stop was the OLD FORGE LIQUOR STORE. Always my first stop when entering town. This store opened last season and is doing a great business. The owners, Lisa and Walt were there and gave me a big welcome. Those of you familiar with Old Forge might be aware of Walt’s Diner that serves up breakfast, lunch or dinner and never closes. They have the biggest pancake that I have ever seen, and I don’t believe anyone has actually finished it. The Liquor Store behind the Diner is Lisa and Walt’s latest venture. The store has a great selection of Heron Hill wines as well as some other interesting choices.
NORTHWOODS INN (www.northwoodsinnresort.com), 5 miles north of Old Forge was my next stop. A picturesque setting overlooking Fourth Lake, once again I was escorted by the beautiful lupines on my way up the hill. I met with Adam Shue who is new to the area and to Northwoods. Adam oversees two restaurants on the property, the Mountaineer Restaurant (fine dining) and Lakeside Tap Room for casual eats. Dine at the Mountaineer for an amazing menu with a view to match. If you go to the website you will see what a wonderful getaway Northwoods provides, with cabins, rooms and delicious dining options all situated right on Fourth Lake. If you’re just driving through the area, stop for a fabulous meal and a glass of Heron Hill wine.
BIG MOOSE INN (www.bigmooseinn.com). The Big Moose has new management at the helm this season. This beautiful historic inn built in 1903 sits on a private lake, called Big Moose Lake. I met with Lauren Sleeger who will be overseeing the dining room. New owners, Mark and Susan Mayer, who have over 30 years of hospitality experience behind them, will be in place as your host throughout your stay. After Lauren and I began to taste through our wines, the owner Mark arrived and finished the tasting. We topped it off with a Vinotini (Heron Hill’s latest concoction of Late Harvest Vidal, Vodka and a splash of cranberry, garnished with a frozen grape). Minus the frozen grape, I believe this was a hit.
If you are looking for something to do in Old Forge there is plenty to keep you busy, The Enchanted Forest Water Park, Old Forge Cruise Lines, and my personal favorite the Adirondack Scenic Railroad which leaves out of Thendara at the VAN AUKEN INN (another historical Inn www.vanaukensinne.com ). Again this summer, there are rumors that we will be on the wine trains. They are a fun time for all.
All-in-all Old Forge is beginning to wake up for the season. Two and a half hours from Rochester makes it a great getaway for the day or for the weekend. There are great restaurants and plenty of places to stay that are either family oriented or romantic getaways, OLD FORGE has it all. Prior to my position at Heron Hill, I had never visited this area and now it is probably one of my favorite places to go. If you get a chance, take a ride and discover OLD FORGE…..it is too close to home to miss.