Is your holiday shopping incomplete? Still in search of that perfect gift for that special someone? Let me give you some ideas for gifts that will stay with the recipient forever, do not require assembly or the additional purchase of batteries, and won't have you standing in a long checkout line. As an added bonus, they're easy to wrap!

We are talking experiences, of course, and the Lake Champlain Region has a wide variety to offer — certainly one to suit most everyone on your gift list. Here are a few ideas.

Ausable Chasm

The Chasm has been welcoming nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts for over 100 years. Today there are an assortment of adventures waiting to be explored. Numerous tours are available. Those up for a challenge would certainly appreciate the Rock and River Adventure Tour. These tours are geared for ages 13 and up, and are tailored to a variety of experience levels. While seasoned climbers can scale and rappel the chasm walls, right over the river, there are rock faces available for all skill levels providing a challenge and adrenaline rush.

Photography buffs will enjoy an Ausable Chasm Photography Tour accompanied by a professional photographer. A bonus is that these tours are available year round, often done on snowshoes or ice cleats in winter months, depending upon conditions.

WInter at the chasm is awesome and presents some breathtaking sites and scenery just waiting to be captured in a pic. Obtain shots of unique Adirondack rock and ice formations along the Inner Sanctum Trail or of the famous Rainbow Falls. The photographer is available to guide and coach you to find the perfect site for a special photo opportunity. He will also share his expertise on equipment, techniques, and methods to capture the ideal image.

Another unique offering at Ausable Chasm is the nighttime Lantern Tours. These are offered during summer months only, but tickets can be purchased in advance. Tour participants descend deep into the dark canyon toting provided lanterns that display a light and shadow show on the chasm walls; a truly unique and awe-inspiring sight.

Numerous other experience options are available at Ausable Chasm. Speak with the helpful staff there to find a perfect fit for those outdoor enthusiasts on your gift list.

Fort Ticonderoga

Looking for a truly unique experience? History buffs will love a Fort Ticonderoga experience. But, let's not narrow it down to just the history lovers, family members of all ages find the fort to be a memorable experience. Every year provides a new look back at our past, as activities and experiences at the fort change year to year with fresh new programs, demonstrations, exhibits, and tours. The perspective is forever changing, and with that, so is the experience. The 2017 season will focus on the year 1757 and transport visitors directly into the soldiers’ lives at Fort Ticonderoga during that year.

Fort Ti's recreational opportunities have been expanding as well. Hiking trails meander throughout their 2000 acres, following in historical footprints. Visitors can also rent canoes right on site for a day, or half-day, excursion. Not only does this provide an “on-the-water” Lake Champlain experience, but also give paddlers the perspective of the fort and its surrounding landscape that soldiers witnessed over two centuries ago.

Guests at Fort Ticonderoga also have the opportunity to take a narrated cruise aboard the 60’ tour boat the M/V Carillon. 90-minute cruises are offered daily from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. The vessel is equipped with side-scanning sonar which allows passengers to gain an appreciation of the vast maritime archeology that surrounds this Ticonderoga peninsula.

Any gardener or landscaper on your list will certainly appreciate the opportunity to visit and explore the extensive gardens. The Colonial Revival Garden, formally encased in the brick and stone walls, reflects the 1920s design of Marion Cruger Coffin, one of the first practicing female landscape architects in the United States. The fort maintains Coffin’s design today and it is a blooming delight throughout all the seasons.

If your favorite gardener has a passion for expanding their expertise, take note: Fort Ticonderoga’s 6th Annual Garden and Landscape Symposium will take place on April 8, 2017. This day-long program features presentations from key gardening and landscaping experts who will offer tips and insight on gardening in northeastern climates. Find registration details on Fort Ticonderoga’s website.

Numerous other workshops, special tours, and programs are also available. The easiest and most practical way to give the gift of a Fort Ticonderoga experience is by giving a Fort Ticonderoga membership. There are a variety of levels available. Memberships include free regular admission to Fort Ticonderoga for 12 months with free or discounted admission to selected events, programs, and trips. In addition, members receive a subscription to The Haversack newsletter and email updates, a 10% discount at the Museum Store, plus free admission to the Heroic Corn Maze and the Fort Fever Series.

A new membership level of Young Patriot was added this year. This membership is designed for youths, ages 5-12, and includes all regular membership benefits plus special mailings, educational activities, and insider info. The Young Patriot membership rate is $20 for a full year. Other levels range from there, but all allow free admission for one year and contain options for families, guests, and even privileged “behind the scenes” special tours, an incredible bargain for such extensive access to this American treasure.

The Depot Theatre

Does someone on your list relish the performing arts? Operating in the functioning 1876 train station in Westport, The Depot Theatre brings professional theatre to the Adirondack Coast with plays, musicals, and special events. Each summer season offers an outstanding array of performances ranging from comedy to drama, classics to new works.

Subscriptions vary and include options for reduced price “Preview Night” subscriptions, as well as senior and student discounts, and 3-show and musical performances. Gift Certificates are available for all subscription options. Recipients can then contact the Box Office directly to arrange performance dates, times, and seatings. They will even mail the certificate directly to the recipient if you desire. Visit The Depot Theatre website for more information.

There you have it, a few “out of the big-box-store” ideas to complete your holiday gift list.



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