Located in the Northeast of upstate New York, the Adirondacks aren’t just a place of great beauty. In the last few years, there’s been a boom of farmers, cheese makers, butchers, brewers, distillers and lodging owners who are breathing new life into the region with sustainable practices and uniquely delicious food and spirits.
To check out everything the Adirondacks have to offer, we hopped in our 2015 Buick Encore, which GM generously lent us for the long weekend, and set off on those twisting mountain roads to check out Lake George, Schroon Lake, Plattsburgh and the surrounding areas. Check out our guide below and treat yourself to a relaxing and delicious getaway the next time you have a long weekend to spare.
Lake George & Surrounding Area
Merrill Magee Inn
After being abandoned from 2011 – 2014, this beautiful historic estate is finally being restored to its original glory with modern, eco-friendly updates. In the main house, each guest room is decorated differently but all include a fireplace to make your stay extra mountain cozy. Downstairs you’ll find coffee and pastries in the morning you can eat in the sun-filled common room or outside on the porch overlooking the lush grounds. Set to open later this year, the Merrill Magee’s restaurant will feature fine dining in a relaxed, Adirondack-style atmosphere, and they’re even looking to restore the adjacent smokehouse.
If you want something smack in the middle of the Lake George action, this quaint motel is situated on Canada Street, right in the heart of town. Each room is decorated differently, but they all have outdoor seating so you can take in the fresh mountain air. Deluxe rooms have refrigerators to stash all the goodies from nearby farms and breweries (we’ll get to those in a minute).
Adirondack Pub & Brewery
This restaurant and pub has a cozy, rustic interior and huge outdoor covered patio so you can drink and dine al fresco in nice weather. The portions are huge with a little bit of something for everyone, from steamed clams to prime rib and a big selection of specialty burgers. Walk around to the brewery for a tour and to sample some of their amazing in-house brews with an extensive selection of both year-round and seasonal beers.
Boardwalk Restaurant and Bar
This is the perfect place for grabbing a casual bite if hunger catches you while you’re hanging out by the water. They have a huge deck overlooking the lake where you can eat everything from fresh steamers to burgers and sandwiches like their pulled pork Reuben. And they have plenty of dock space, so you can sail right on in and park your boat if you roll like that.
Oscar’s Adirondack Smokehouse
This smokehouse and butcher is a meat lover’s paradise that sells everything from smoked ribs, house-made beef jerky and almost any meat you can think of to cheese, fresh-baked bread and homemade sauces and marinades. Stop in to pick up a couple snacks for the road or some amazing meats to throw on the grill back home.
Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery
Nestled in the Adirondack foothills, this beautiful distillery makes their spirits from the purest water possible in a custom-made copper pot still, one small batch at a time. Stop in for a free tour and tasting Friday-Sunday, and you just might stumble upon a lawn party complete with cocktails and live music like we did.
Lake George Distilling Co.
This distillery is located a short drive from downtown Lake George and pours some of the tastiest spirits we had during our stay. Stop in for tastings seven days a week where you’ll get to sample everything from bourbon to apple pie moonshine.
King Neptune’s Pub & Nightclub
We stumbled upon this lively bar, situated right on the water, looking for a nightcap one evening, and we weren’t disappointed with the experience. Laid-back with patrons of all ages, both locals and visitors, a cover band played as we enjoyed heavy pours from the friendly staff.
Schroon Lake Bed & Breakfast
This charming B&B is the perfect mix of vintage Victorian charm and modern amenities. Each room is individually decorated, and there’s even a cabin off of the main house you can stay in for more privacy. Their farm to table partnership with local growers and meat producers makes for an amazing breakfast every morning.
Sticks & Stones Wood Fired Bistro & Bar
Housed in a former artisan wood furniture store, walking into this grand restaurant is like walking into the coolest mountain lodge, equipped with a hand-laid stone fireplace and wood-burning Neapolitan oven that churns out delicious hand-stretched pizzas. The menu has something for everyone, from a pulled pork sandwich to the chopped quinoa salad, just one of the many vegan and vegetarian options. We dined on king crab legs and sipped delicious wine and local craft beer as everyone from families to young couples came in for a meal. Outside, patrons sat around a fire pit as a live band played well into the evening.
This brewery may be small, but it certainly is mighty. When we arrived for a tour, their outdoor tasting room was full, and we must have seen 20 people walk up to the bar to fill up their growlers during our tasting. The beers are full-bodied and diverse with a collection of five core beers and half a dozen seasonal brews. They use solar panels to heat their water, an eco-friendly angle we can always appreciate.
Plattsburgh and Surrounding Area
The rooms are huge in this Comfort Inn, complete with a small kitchen so you can store all the goodies you bought during your trip. They serve a complimentary hot breakfast, guests have full access to the fitness center with sauna and steam room and there’s even an indoor pool with two big waterslides for the little ones.
Sugar House Creamery
This beautiful little farmstead creamery makes cheese with milk from their own pasture-raised cows. Visit their farm store to purchase one of their three delicious types of cheese (Dutch Knuckle, Pound Cake and Little Dickens) and goods from neighboring farms. And yes, you can stay there too! Both their guest suite and the Carriage Barn are up for rental on Airbnb.
You wouldn’t know Livingood’s is the newest brewery on the Adirondack Coast from their extensive selection of beers and big menu with something for everyone, especially after seeing their lovely patio and beautiful events space The Great Room. The fish we ate was incredibly fresh as were the delicious homemade dressings. Their signature hummus was one of our favorite things we ate the entire trip, full of rich spices that made it unlike anything we’ve tasted before.
Plattsburgh Brewing Company
Conveniently located inside the Plattsburgh Comfort Inn, stop in for a flight and a bite whether you’re staying at the hotel or just passing by. They brew everything from an IPA to a brown ale and their “Plucky Rooster Ale,” a beer crafted to commemorate the Battle of Plattsburgh’s bicentennial in the same way the forefathers made beer 200 years ago.
Elfs Farm Winery & Cider House
Run by the Frey family, you won’t be disappointed by any of these wines and ciders, produced with locally grown grapes and fruit. We were greeted by Erin in the tasting room where she walked us through a tasting of all their products, including a delicious Macintosh cider, rhubarb wine and wonderfully balanced Frontenac. Head in to take a tour and stock up on a few bottles for yourself or friends.
The Naked Turtle
Situated right on Lake Champlain with amazing views of the marina, this is the perfect spot for a beer or Bloody Mary while you listen to live music and watch the boats go by. They have a full menu as well if you’re in the mood for something to eat.
Dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks,” this beautiful natural wonder was uniquely carved by nature to create a vertical-walled canyon made of 500 million-year-old rock. You can experience it in many different ways, from tubing to rock climbing or just simply hiking through. We suggest taking the Classic Tour, which starts you off on the most scenic trail, a fairly easy hike, down to the bottom of the Chasm where you’ll take a raft ride on the river that runs through. Instead of taking the bus back to the beginning, hike one of the most difficult trails back so you can experience the lush woods for yourself.
This beautiful roadside stop is more than just an orchard. Yes, they have everything from apple cider to apple butter and even fresh baked pies available for sale in their farm stand, but they also have multiple greenhouses housing flowers and herbs. You can also pick up cedar mulch and topsoil for your own garden.
For more information, check out visitadirondacks.com.