After Labor Day, our summer may begin to wane along the Adirondack Coast, but this means we can start getting excited about autumn. Soon the colors will be arriving and dressing our landscape in vivid oranges, yellows, and reds. We have some exciting fall events planned that will be showcased against that colorful scenic backdrop. Here are a few highlights!
Adirondack Harvest Festival
You definitely will want to plan on attending the Adirondack Harvest Festival to be held at the Essex County Fairgrounds beginning the evening of Friday, September 16 and continuing all day Saturday, September 17. This is a new and exciting event that celebrates our small-scale local farms while also recognizing the strong history of agriculture in our fertile Champlain Valley. Let me give you plenty of enticing details on this one.
This event kicks off Friday evening when hikers will arrive at the Essex County Fairgrounds at 5pm to participate in a Sunset & Harvest Moon Hike, coordinated by Champlain Area Trails. A 5:15pm a shuttle will be available to transport participants to the DaCy Meadow Farm to begin this 1.5- to 2-hour hike which starts at 5:30pm.The Harvest Moon is due to rise at 7:10pm to add that perfect ambiance when arriving back at the fairgrounds. Once back, Papa Duke’s will begin serving their scrumptious barbecue at 6:15pm, vegetarian options will be also available. Cap off the evening while listening to a live performance of Taylor Haskins and Green Empire. This internationally celebrated composer and trumpeter makes his home in Westport and festival attendees are in for a privileged treat thanks to his hometown generosity.
Saturday’s schedule is brimming with options. Those looking for more hiking can join CATS at 9:30am for a Ferry-to-Fairgrounds/Hamlet to Hamlet hike between the two communities of Essex and Westport. This trek will take about 4.5 to 7 hours, depending upon ability, and will have participants traveling from Lake Champlain Transportation Company’s ferry dock in Essex to the fairgrounds. Again, a shuttle will be in service to transport participants either to the beginning of the hike from the fairgrounds, or back to the ferry dock if that’s where hikers arrived and joined the hike at 10am. Meanwhile, back at the fairgrounds, vendors will begin setting up at 11am.
Thirty local farms will have displays to showcase their diverse and assorted products. From noon until 4pm a widely varied farmers’ market will showcase local products, produce, crafted beverages from local brewers and vintners, and plenty of tasty options from food trucks all to the tune of uplifting live music. Attend a demonstration of draft horse power taking place between 1pm and 4pm. Witness and learn everything from the harnessing to the working of these powerful animals. Consider a hands-on driving experience of your own. Additional demonstrations of wine pressing, processing home-grown flax, bee keeping, cheese making, sausage making and more will take place during the afternoon.
Enjoy the exhibits in Floral Hall and the screening of the film Small Farm Rising; this 60-minute documentary provides an in-depth view of small-scale local agriculture today. The film’s maker, Ben Stechschulte, will be available for a Q&A session at 4pm. Also at 4pm, Dubbs Barbecue will begin serving a pig roast with organic pigs from the Echo Farm. From 4:30pm until 5pm the Eat, Meet, and Be Merry gathering hosted by Essex Farm’s Mark Kimball and celebrating local farms with tiny tastes of the best products of the season will be on-going and transition into a mixer sponsored by the Adirondack Farmers’ Coalition. All attendees are invited to this mixer taking place in Floral Hall from 5pm until 6pm. The day concludes with a live musical performance by Crackin’ Foxy beginning at 6pm. You will be delighted with the outstanding vocal harmonies spiked with rhythms of guitar, bass, ukulele, and banjo. There is free admission to this fabulous fall event. A small charge for hike participation should be coordinated directly through CATS. Read hike descriptions here.
On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, Fort Ticonderoga hosts its Weekend Living History Event: Brown’s Raid. This event will bring to life this daring 1777 American military raid on Ticonderoga and you will be able to see it recreated right before your eyes. The weekend adventure includes a special boat tour aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s M/V Carillon launching from the new dock near the King’s Garden. Musket and canon demonstrations, guided tours of museum collections and historic gardens, the Witness to History Tour from atop Mount Defiance, and more will fill both days.
Five Museums Sampler
Also taking place on Saturday, September 17 is a great opportunity to visit 5 extraordinary museums — all within 10 miles of the Lake Champlain Bridge. This is a historian-guided/drive-yourself tour of D.A.R’s John Strong Mansion and Museum in Vermont, Chimney Point State Historic Site in Vermont, and New York's Crown Point State Historic Site, Penfield Homestead Museum, and the Iron Center Museum. The tour ends with a buffet lunch including a history quiz and games in a classic 89-year-old diner. The price is $30 per person. Make your reservations by contacting the Friends of Crown Point State Historic Site, Tom Hughes at 802-388-2967.
If you are looking for something unusual, the 21st Northeastern Open Atlatl Championship will be held Saturday, September 24 at Chimney Point State Historic Site from 10:30am until 4:30pm. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I had even heard of atlatl. It’s the sport of throwing spears/darts making use of a device (atlatl) and is based on an ancient hunting technique. This championship is open to newcomers as well as experts, and skills are tested in accuracy and distance. During this event there will also be children’s activities, workshops, and demonstrations on flint knapping, woodland pottery, basket making (on Sunday the 25th), and other historic crafts and skills.
Points of Interest
Crown Point and Chimney Point State Historic Site managers team up to host a guided tour across the Lake Champlain Bridge on Sunday, September 25th, between 1pm and 3pm. This incredibly scenic guided tour will enhance your appreciation and understanding of this significant piece of geography within the Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area — covering 9000 years! Be sure to keep an eye out for Champ as you cross the bridge.
Heritage, Harvest, and Horse Festival
Fort Ticonderoga hosts its annual Heritage, Harvest, and Horse Festival on Saturday, October 1st this year. Help celebrate the horse as Fort Ticonderoga demonstrates equestrian sports and working horses. See mounted cavalry, go for a wagon ride, and watch a fox hunt at various times throughout the day. A harvest market featuring locally grown and produced products, seasonal flowers, hand-woven baskets, honey, apple products, and more will be available and on display. While on the grounds, don’t overlook the opportunity to take the Heroic Corn Maze challenge, it's included with admission.
Head to the Penfield Homestead Museum on Sunday, October 9th between 10am and 3:30pm to celebrate the apple, enjoy some live entertainment, and peruse an abundance of craft and flea market vendors. Chat with some Civil War re-enactors and learn about this community’s significant connection to that war while you are “On The Trail of the Monitor.” Hot homemade chili, grilled hot dogs, fresh cider, and apple desserts are available between 11am and 3pm, or until sold out. Be sure to check out the two CATS trails, the Penfield Pond Trail, and the Old Ironville Road Trail while there. Autumn colors and reflections in the adjacent Penfield Pond should be abundant. Trail heads are about 1000-feet east of the museum.
You will also want to see the new exhibit, the bloomery forge, that is currently being constructed. This specific forge was recently acquired. It is actually a replica built in 1976, and was on display in the former Frontier Town. Once the exhibit is fully completed, it will clearly demonstrate how iron was first processed here back in the mid-1700s.
If you like a good scare around the time of Halloween you need to return to the Penfield Homestead Museum on the evenings of October 28th and 29th from dusk until 10pm when they present the Haunted Homestead. Headed for their 7th annual performance, this event is produced in team effort with Retro Film Studios, creators of the Star Trek web series. The same professional acting and authentic attention to detail is spookily applied at the Haunted Homestead. It is not for the faint of heart. Penfield invites you with the warning, “come if you dare.” No pets (including leashed dogs), smoking, alcohol, or children under 10 are allowed. Stay tuned to the events calendar for more details and updates on the Haunted Homestead.
ADK autumn events - we've got them: