I have a favorite road in the Schroon Lake Region, Blue Ridge Road. It has scenic delights and fun attractions. This is especially true in the autumn. It runs between North Hudson and Newcomb through dense forest and across bridges, with frequent places to pull off and enjoy abundant photographic opportunities. Unless a car is passing, it is so quiet you can hear the birdsong. Here's how to make the most of those 17 miles.
Almost the moment you make the turn onto Blue Ridge Road, there's Palmer Pond. Look for the little spot to park and enjoy the small pond, which brings the distant trees close enough to catch with a photo.
Just a few more minutes down the road, there's a combination of instant gratification and scenic beauty. Blue Ridge Falls is hard to beat for ease. It has roadside parking, well-marked trails, and the roar of a long set of falls.
The rapids tumble over a river stretch full of rocks, with a mountain in the background. The trail by the river requires some care, as it is rocky and narrow, but the forest paths are broad and easy. These shaded trails are often where the first leaves change.
It is always a great idea to seek out water if I want to view the trees changing because I get twice the leaves that way. The beautiful reflections can also put a different spin on your view, with even brighter colors, since the water slows down the light more than the air does.
Just a few more miles of scenic drive takes you to the Adirondack Interpretive Center at Newcomb. They have beautifully groomed hiking trails with lots of water features, outlook platforms, and benches to sit upon. There's also a small natural history museum, and nature displays in their Great Room.
Treasures and buffalo
The Blue Ridge Road leads you to the only buffalo in the Adirondacks! And yes, real buffalo. They like it here.
The Adirondack Buffalo Company includes a farm, gift shop, and scenic viewing deck with a telescope. Pick up fine buffalo products, indigenous people's crafts, homemade baked goods, custom souvenirs, and all kinds of treats and gourmet food items. Their Sunshine Marmalade is a favorite at my house. Gokey's Outlet Stores are right at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Road, and their many buildings offer incredible treasure hunts. That is a good enough reason to take a little time in North Hudson, but there's plenty of fine scenery there.
As you admire the scenery be on the lookout at the edges of rivers and ponds where the fall wildflowers are most abundant.
Ghost town drive
Near the Newcomb end of the Blue Ridge Road, you might feel the need for more scenery. So look for the turn north that leads to Old Route 25. If you reach the T intersection with Route 28N, where the big hanging Tahawus sign appears in a triangle of land, you have gone too far. Backtrack until just before the road takes a curve to the south.
This is the Tahawus Mines Road, 19.6 miles (there and back) of forest, meadows, and lakes. While this paved road is narrow and has no shoulders, it is paved all the way through, and low traffic. It ends near where the Hudson River flows into Henderson Lake.
This is what remains of what was once the largest titanium mine in the world. Rock hounds will love picking through the edges of the tailing piles. Look for lingering signs of the ghost town of Adirondac, which was mostly moved to Newcomb when the mine failed. Bring a picnic and explore. Blue Ridge Road is also the anchor for the Grand Loop, which takes you past such attractions as Natural Stone Bridge & Caves and Paradox Brewery.
This week in ADK news: