Sunday is often “family day.” The entire family wants time together, but what to do. Where and how to find one destination that will appeal to family members with diverse ages and interests can be difficult. The historic community of Ticonderoga is prepared to cater to a wide variety of family-friendly interests, particularly on August 2nd. On that Sunday consider making Bicentennial Park the central family hub.
Antique and classic car buffs won’t be disappointed as Ticonderoga hosts its 23rd annual car show in the park from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm. Anticipate seeing some pretty spectacular autos as this is a sanctioned show, a Super Wheels Qualifier, that draws competitors from far and wide. Whatever car or truck that walks away with the Best of Show award here is eligible to compete in the Super Wheels Showdown held in Boston in October. There the top 100 winning autos from all over New England, New York, and New Jersey will compete for maximum honors. In addition to the vehicles in competition, Paul Menett from the Cruisin’ New England TV series on NESN, and his “Circle of Champions” classic car display will be in attendance. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with Paul and hear about some of the automotive treasures he’s discovered, or even become a part of a future episode of Cruisin’ New England which he will be filming.
Music, Kid Zone and More!
For the past 23 years, this show has grown to include more activities, more music, and more fun for every member of the family. During the Car Show there will be food, vendors, pinstriping, a 50/50 raffle, Car Show raffle, and music by Jerry’s Juke Box. A Piston Toss, Muffler Wrap, and a Hoola Hoop Contest will also be held. Young and old can enjoy taking part in the Ticonderoga’s Kiwanis Club Duck Race, scheduled for 11:00 am along the LaChute River running through the park. Ducks are available for purchase that morning. If you have young family members there will be a Kid Zone near the park’s playground, and on the day of the show the park will include a bouncy house and a clown for more kid-friendly entertainment. Music lovers will enjoy Loose Connections performing a live mix of country and rock, from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm.
Family members looking for a connection with nature can step directly onto the LaChute River Walk Trail which follows the river’s banks from the park to where it leaves Lake George about three miles away. Part paved, part hard-packed gravel, most of the trail is suitable for strollers. It meanders behind downtown Ticonderoga, crosses Montcalm Street and continues through some field and forested natural areas that offer plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing. Read the many interpretive signs along the way that tell of Ticonderoga’s interesting past. This powerful river has the same vertical drop as Niagara Falls, although it’s spread out over several miles. Visit the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum at the Bicentennial Park entrance to learn about how the natural force of this water was harnessed to feed early Ticonderoga industry and develop the town.
Add Some Art
Fans of the visual arts will want to drop in to the Ti Arts Downtown Gallery at 119 Montcalm Street about a block away from the park. Though normally closed on Sunday, the Gallery plans to be open for a few hours that afternoon. There you will find the work of local artists and artisans in a variety of media. You can admire, and even purchase, paintings, photographs, pottery, sculpture, and more creative works. Throughout the year, the Downtown Gallery also sponsors themed shows, classes and programs. Keep an eye on the events calendar for future happenings here or at their sister-site located in the Hancock House on the opposite end of Montcalm Street. You will want to come back.
Lunch Time and a Bit of Shopping
When it’s time for the family lunch, note that several Ticonderoga restaurants and businesses are offering Car Show Specials and promotions over the weekend. Here are some ideas not far from the park: Bodette’s Barbecue, directly across the street, is offering two sandwiches for $10. Joe and Cindy Bodette are regionally famous for their fantastic barbecue. About 1-block west on Montcalm, at the Burleigh Luncheonette, you can get 10% of your purchase. A bit farther up Montcalm you will find Libby’s Bakery & Café, which is another option for lunch or for exceptional baked goods and desserts. The day of the show patrons at Libby’s are offered a free car-themed cookie. Be sure to mention the car show to receive yours. Shoppers will definitely want to stop at the Sugar and Spice Country Shoppe, a few steps away from Libby’s, and receive 15% off their purchase.
Poles and Paddles
Back at Bicentennial Park after lunch, auto enthusiasts can continue their prowl of antique and classic autos, listen to the muffler wrap, and watch the piston toss as they await the judges’ decisions on the awards and who will be Best of Show. Family members who enjoy recreation on the water can grab their fishing poles and venture down to the river’s bank. Beneath the Bicentennial Falls the river flattens and becomes very inviting. Should there be paddlers in the family, directly across the river from the park is a car-top boat launch.
A shady, serene paddle down the LaChute will bring you to the river’s mouth on Lake Champlain adjacent to Fort Ticonderoga. Plan on about a 2-hour paddle to the marshy mouth at the lake and back. You may want to take some additional time to explore the marsh and open lake water watching for wildlife and listening to Fort Ticonderoga activity including the firing of muskets, and the Fife & Drum Corps.
The sound of activity at Fort Ticonderoga can be very alluring. Consider visiting the soldiers at the Fort less than 2-miles away from Bicentennial Park. The Fort has a Family Program and offers Family Guided Tours at 10:40 am and 1:40 pm. This tour showcases all the fun and exciting things for families to do during a visit. Hike the Carillon Battlefield Trail, and try the Archeology Quest Scavenger Hunt Game. Children can have a hands-on opportunity to learn about life as a soldier in New France and receive rewards for helping. Learn historical trade skills used to craft essential soldier attire and accessories or learn how the soldiers cleaned and maintained their 18th century weapons. There is a multitude of adventures here for the young and old. You will understand why many find Ticonderoga a great family destination.