Visiting Fort Ticonderoga during any season is always a thrill, but my favorite time of year to experience all Fort Ticonderoga has to offer is during the autumn months. The landscape can be spectacular dressed in its colorful foliage, which appears particularly vivid on those sunny, but cooler, days. The sounds of the fife and drum, cannon and musket fire, and even the smell of gun powder seems sharper and more intense. Here are some reasons why I think you, too, should experience Fort Ticonderoga in the fall.
A must do is an “on- the-water” experience aboard the Fort’s tour boat, the Carillon. This 60-foot vessel is actually a replica of an early 20th century tour boat. It has graceful lines, precision wood detail and trim, and an historical appearance, yet very stable and comfortable on the water. There are huge side windows for great viewing regardless of the weather. From late August through October 18, tours operate daily at 1:00 and 3:30 p.m. from the dock on the Fort Ticonderoga property, located near the King’s Garden. The onboard tour lasts about an hour and a half during which time you will gain an understanding of the role this lake and waterway played in American history. You also will learn what lies beneath the lake surface and acquire a “sonar view” of shipwrecks below.
Lake Champlain’s surface can be like a mirror during fall months. The vistas are incredible, reflecting the colorful foliage for a “double whammy” and you will be rewarded with perspectives of the Fort and Mounts Independence and Defiance not experienced from land. A selection of beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks are available to enhance the excursion.
Heroic Corn Maze
Another reason to visit Fort Ticonderoga in the fall is that you get to try the challenge of the six acre Heroic Corn Maze which opened this year on August 10th, but is only open weekends from August 31 through October 20. The maze will be open Labor Day, September 2, and Columbus Day, October 14, as well. Find the maze adjacent to the King’s Garden.
Every years visitors are met with a new maze design, and therefore a new challenge. This year the design represents a naval ship and cannon. Wear sturdy shoes as you test your navigational skills through two phases; a smaller maze and the main maze. Hidden within the maze are eight stations you must find to complete the “Captain a Ship" Maze Quest Card.
This year, on October 25 and 26, you can experience the Maze by Moonlight using a flashlight and the light of the full moon to see your way. The Maze by Moonlight opens at 7:00 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 9:00 p.m. The Heroic Corn Maze is included in Fort Ticonderoga’s general admission price, but the Maze by Moonlight requires a special admission of $10.
Aside from the daily programs of authentic history in action including tours, demonstrations, programs, and family activities, Fort Ticonderoga also offers special events throughout the year. One special event is coming on September 14 and 15; the Brown’s Raid Battle Reenactment. This two day event will recreate the 1777 early dawn surprise attack by Colonel John Brown on British troops garrisoned at the fort. However, the battle reenactments will take place each day at 1:30 p.m., not before dawn.
For a great family favorite event, plan on attending Fort Ticonderoga’s Heritage, Harvest and Horse Festival on Saturday, October 5. As an animal lover, this is one of my favorite annual events. This event recognizes the importance of horses and other working animals in our early American history. Visitors have the opportunity to meet the friendly animals and see demonstrations of their significant contributions to the lives of our early soldiers and settlers.
The King’s Garden is resplendent with autumn blossoms and color and the vegetable gardens teem with produce. A temporary farmers’ market allows you to take home some of the harvest produce and plants grown on these historic acres. Local foods, beverages, and crafts are also available.
An autumn visit to Fort Ticonderoga will be a feast for all senses!
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