The Lake Champlain Region is prepared to offer you a warm welcome during the cooler days of autumn. September and October can actually be one of the best times to visit. Our landscape bursts into color on those sunny, crisp days, providing a picturesque backdrop to any outdoor activity. Consider immersing yourself in that color by hiking one of the many Champlain Area Trails (CATS). Choose one with a summit and you will have a bird’s-eye view of a vibrant patchwork countryside below.
Often, during the fall, winds subside, offering great boating and paddling conditions on the flat, reflective water of our many lakes and ponds. Boaters on Lake Champlain enjoy skimming the water flanked by the colors of the Adirondacks to the west, and Green Mountains to the east. Nestled in the bays, or in V-formations overhead, the migratory geese contribute to autumn’s ambience; cheerfully waving farewell as they loudly honk their travel plans among themselves.
The cooler days also offer exceptional cycling weather. Lake Champlain Bikeways has assembled a collection of themed loops throughout the region and refers to the collection as Adirondack Coast Bikeways. They have laid out the roadside routes with complete detail, including mile markers and elevations. With 14 to choose from, ranging in length from 13 to 30 miles, they all offer unsurpassed scenery, particularly in our colorful months.
September and October also bring some annual events and festivals that we look forward to every year. Here are three fall festivals that might entice you to visit:
Adirondack Harvest Festival
The 2nd annual Adirondack Harvest Festival is a delightful end-of-summer festival that celebrates our Champlain Valley farms, farmers, and locally produced foods of all varieties. It will be held on Saturday, September 16 at the Essex County Fairgrounds. It certainly is a day filled with opportunity; opportunity to stretch your legs on a CATS Farm-to-Fest hike, sample local products, sip area wines and brews, listen to local music, dine at an organic pig roast, or select choices from a wide variety of food vendors, purchase locally grown organic produce and products, and learn from numerous demonstrations.
Work up your appetite by arriving at the fairgrounds at 9 a.m. to join the CATS Farm-to-Fest hike; the kick-off event for the festival. A shuttle will transport hikers to the DaCy Meadow Farm trailhead to begin the hike. The hike is approximately 4 miles (1 1/2-2 hours) in total distance passing through lush farm fields and forests while offering spectacular views. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow hikers as you head off over hill and dale for the festival.
The Adirondack Harvest Festival actually begins at 11 a.m. Shop an incredible farmers market on the grounds. Over 30 vendors will be displaying the best produce the Champlain Valley has to offer. Grab a snack or enjoy some brunch from the wide variety of food trucks on site. Everything from sweet and savory crepes to pizza.
Throughout the day you can plan on musical entertainment provided by Ploughman’s Lunch and Taylor Haskins. Sip some local brews and wines produced in the Champlain Valley. You have numerous choices of farm demonstrations to learn new, or refine your existing, skills while talking to the experts. Demonstrations include cider pressing, cultivating gourmet mushrooms, beekeeping, soap making, spinning, and using local herbs.
Dubb’s famous organic pig roast plans to begin serving at 2:30 p.m. This feast includes succulent side dishes. Try the “loaded” corn. It’s to die for. Honestly, this is the best corn on the cob I have ever eaten.
Be there for a fantastic day to stock up on fresh produce, mingle with farmers, growers and producers, learn new skills, and enjoy great food and music. You won’t be disappointed.
Heritage, Harvest and Horse Festival
A not-to-be-missed autumn event is Fort Ticonderoga’s Heritage, Harvest and Horse Festival is Saturday, September 30 this year. The Fort is open daily 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and this event is included with the general admission. Each day at the fort is packed with programs and demonstrations, and during this festival you will want every minute to see all that is going on.
There will be numerous demonstrations of working horses and equestrian sports. See live horsepower in action without the carbon footprint. Meet other livestock at the fort, like friendly goats and chickens. Families will enjoy participating in activities, including heritages games like sack races. While there you can browse, taste, and shop locally produced products like honey, maple syrup, jams, and jellies. Also plan on sipping some Adirondack beer and wine, and taking home some harvest vegetables or plants.
Take time to tackle Fort Ticonderoga’s Heroic Corn Maze. This six-acre maze of towering corn stalks in a new 2017 design will challenge the best. You find your way through the maze by responding to clues regarding Fort Ticonderoga’s history. The maze will be open weekends and holiday Mondays until the fort closes on October 29.
At 1 and 3:30 p.m., you have the opportunity to venture out on the water aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s Carillon, a 1920's replica touring boat. This 90 minute “on the water” adventure will provide a whole new perspective of Fort Ticonderoga. Relax upon the water as the knowledgeable fort interpretive staff help you understand this historic waterway and its important role in the history of Fort Ticonderoga.
Conclude your visit to Fort Ticonderoga by venturing to the top of Mount Defiance. Each day at 4 p.m., the “Mount Defiance-Witness to History” tour is conducted. Don’t miss this opportunity to capture a bird’s-eye view of the Fort, Lake Champlain, Vermont, and the landscape that shaped America’s history. This tour is included with your general admission.
Come celebrate the fantastic Champlain Valley apples at Penfield Homestead Museum’s Applefolkfest. Held on Sunday, October 8th from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., this museum knows how to celebrate the apple along with the season. See cider pressing, sip cider, and pick your favorite apple dessert from numerous choices available. Hot chili and hot dogs are also available. A big craft fair and flea market will be set up on the grounds for you to find a new treasure or add to your collection of seasonal fall decor. Also plan on finding the perfect pumpkin at this festival.
Antique and classic cars will be on display for you to check out and admire. Children and adults both love the horse drawn wagon rides that meander through the museum’s fields and property, bedecked in autumn color for this event. Relax under cover in the large outdoor pavilion while listening to some homegrown country music, or burn off some of those apple dessert choices by hiking the Penfield Pond Trail for more fantastic scenery exposure.
Watch our events calendar for more exciting fall events. We are happy to share our awesome autumn with you.
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