Brrrr. Our first night was a little cooler than either of us expected. Unfortunately, Paul doesn’t have a sleeping bag designed for spring camping. He suffered considerably more than I did (thanks Mom and Dad for the 0 degree sleeping bag!). Once we were up and had out tents packed, Paul took off for a shower while I burned some of our paper trash and put the last items in the car. We had not yet stopped to buy a cooler or anything to eat, so we drove back into town and found the Littleton Diner. Littleton Diner is the quintessential small-town diner. The food was average (but not half bad, we both had corned beef hash), the coffee was weak, and the food was cheap. I have noticed that breakfast is significantly cheaper on the East Coast. While in Maine I found that it was not uncommon to purchase a large breakfast sandwich for $2.75.
After breakfast we walked over to the post office looking for postcards to send to friends and family, but they didn’t have anything for us. We got in the car and drove on. New Hampshire is famous for its covered bridges, but I only spotted one that was still drivable. Though I spotted at least ten of them, most had either been converted into touristy gift shops or were undergoing repair. Their charm was not lost on me, however. I love the way they look. We did find a rusty old rail bridge that had been converted for use by off-road vehicles. We took the opportunity to stretch our legs and check it out.
One of our major stipulations for taking this trip was that we get to experience America from scenic roads instead of the interstates. In keeping with that, and in keeping with the way that Dad liked to road-trip, we spent considerably more time in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont than we technically needed. With some reservations, I was even able to convince Paul to take some dirt roads. The rewards for venturing off the beaten track are usually beautiful views and unique experiences. We managed to have both today.
We crossed a bridge into New York state over the South end of Lake Champlain at a place called Chimney Point. We stopped briefly to see the lake and photograph the bridge, then we continued into the Adirondack mountains and Adirondack Park. Our first plan for the day had been to get all the way to Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, but we got distracted by the abandoned buildings of what we later found out was Frontier Town in North Hudson, New York. As we turned off Highway 9 onto County Road 2 we say a huge abandoned building with a large overgrown parking lot to our left. Both Paul and I are intrigued by abandoned locations, so we turned around to take a look. The building was a tall A-frame with windows running from floor to ceiling. From the road it looked like a church, but as we pulled into the parking lot Paul spotted McDonalds logos on the front doors. Strange. I’ve never seen a church with a built in McDonalds.
We decided to get out and snoop around. Paul was feeling more adventurous than I was. I made the excuse that I wanted to keep an eye on our car, which was conspicuously parked out front. I will try to add or link to some of Paul’s pictures of the building. The building had clearly been a McDonalds at one time. The drive through window and much of the electronics were still in place. The location of the menu could still be seen. We found several points of possible ingress, but the floor was quite rotten in places and we were not properly prepared to trespass any further.
We carefully drove down a small poor-quality road behind the A-frame, not knowing where it lead. The road had many large (~3ft deep) potholes, so we drove very carefully. The road sloped upwards and as we crested the hill we were greeted by another very large, abandoned parking lot, and a couple of old buildings. We drove into the parking lot towards one of the buildings and got out to take a look. We had found the entrance to an abandoned Wild West themed amusement park called Frontier Land. As we examined and photographed old turnstiles and cash registers, we looked for clues that might indicate what we had stumbled upon, but we came up empty. It wasn’t until I began writing this post that we knew for sure what we had stumbled upon.
We stopped by two more buildings before we left Frontier Land. The first was an old cafeteria. It wasn’t particularly interested. Many of the old decorations were still up, and some of the kitchen hardware was there. Oddly, there was a stack of dirty mattreses inside. They could have been from staff sleeping quarters upstairs. The kitchen building was sliding down the hill off of its foundation. The last building that we stopped at was an abandoned gas station. All of the pumps had been removed and stacked around back. The garage section door had been broken down and access was possible to the entire building. There wasn’t much left to explore without going deep inside some of the buildings, so we departed Frontier Land and North Hudson, headed for Long Lake.
Upon our arrival at the city of Long Lake we were surprised by strong cell service. We took the opportunity to connect briefly with family and buy some sandwich materials at a gast station (which is a bad choice in a tourist town, twenty dollar sandwiches are not any more delicious). Seaplanes land on the lake, and there is a local business offering ariel tours. If it hadn’t been so late in the day we would have considered doing this.
We pressed on from Long Lake to a NY state campground on Lake Raquette called Golden Beach Campground. We stayed right on the lake in a nice campsite (#157). The view was incredible both at sunrise and the next day. The night was very cold, temperatures got as low as the high 20s, but the view was worth it.