Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reasons I love the North Country

So you find out your going to be stationed at Fort Drum and you are less than excited.  You may be surprised to find out there are, in fact, lots of things to do around the area! 

Since I'm going to be at Fort Drum forever (dramatic, yes) I decided to make a list of the things I do love about the North Country (there are many) and things I want to do and haven't yet because, well...I've been busy making babies.  It's true what they say....don't drink the water.

I would start with Spring as today is the first day of Spring but outside right now looks like this:

...soo, I'll just begin with Winter.  :)

Snow - Yes, I actually do like the snow.  (Just not in late March.)  The snow here is light and fluffy.  Often times it looks like you are in a snow globe and the snow is just blowing around, never touching the ground.  It'll brush right off of your car and there's rarely ice to scrap. 
Snow tubing - There are a few snow tubing locations.  We've been to Dry Hill and Maple Ridge, which is right behind my house! 
Ice Skating - Lewis County Fairgrounds has free outdoor ice skating in the winter.  We haven't attempted yet as Landon is just two but that's one thing I'd like to tackle next Winter.

Real Christmas tree experience - There are lots of tree farms in the North Country.  We always end up going home for Christmas, but if we stayed up here I want to go ride in a sled or tractor on a tree farm and as a family pick a tree together.

Walk on frozen Lake Ontario -  This is on my bucket list before we leave.  I took this picture of my family out on the lake, but I was 40 weeks pregnant at the time and didn't want to risk falling on the ice.

Maple Syrup - Last year we visited 2-3 Sugar Shacks in Lewis County and saw the process of how sap is boiled down to create maple syrup.  This website has all of the information in one place.  I recommend a pancake breakfast at the American Maple Museum in Croghan.  You can still go this weekend!

Wine Tours - Oh how I love my North Country Wine!  Despite being here for nearly 3 years, though, I have only sampled at the local Farmer's Markets and purchased at the liquor store.  There is a full-day wine tour offered by Clarence Henry Coach although I can't find the link right now.  It's a full day, 8 hour wine tour, lunch included, for around $60 a person.  This Spring if I can find an all-day sitter I want to go!!

Black River Trail - With Spring, and the melting of snow, comes the opportunity to get outdoors!  In Watertown I love the Black River Trail for walking/running.  It's stroller safe, scenic, and a good distance.

Farmers Markets - Oh how I love the Farmers Market!  From wine, to produce, to meat, and crafts the markets up here are great.  When we first moved here I worked at the Watertown Daily Times and across the street every Wednesday was the Watertown Farmers Market.  I routinely came back to my desk with 3-4 grocery bags full of goodies!  I also love my local Lowville farmers market on the weekend.  Every local town/village has a farmers market so find the one closest to you!

Beach days on Lake Ontario - Wescott Beach & Southwick Beach are the places to be in the Summer.  Living in NY, it's nice to have somewhere nearby to get a sandy beach experience.  The water doesn't warm up until about August, but the kids playing in it don't seem to mind.  You can get an annual State Parks Pass here.

Riding on the lake in a boat - I love being on Smith Mountain Lake back home  in Virginia but I still haven't been on Lake Ontario.  Someone who has a boat...take me pretty please?!?

Drive-in Theatre - The Black River Drive-in opens soon!!  It's such a fun experience as a family or on a date night.  I always envisioned drive-in theatre's playing older movies, but this one plays new movies and often plays a double feature!  Just be sure to get your dinner and treats there as the majority of their income comes from concessions.

Tin Pan Galley - If you don't know, you don't know.


Leaf Peeping - The colors of the leaves changing here is absolutely magical!  I live in Lowville so I have about a 30 minutes drive to get anywhere and I can tell you driving up Rt 26, rt 12, or across 177 during fall is my favorite!
Cider donuts - The Burrville Cidermill is just outside of Watertown and open just before Labor Day through October/November.  Go there for the apples, cider, but most importantly the fresh made, and hot, apple cider donuts.  Yum!

Pumpkin patch - From the small vendor on the side of the road to the big operations like Old Mcdonalds Farm, it's not hard to find a pumpkin patch and fun fall activities up here.

Festivals - My favorite is the Cream Cheese Festival!  Yes, an entire festival about cream cheese!  The NY State Fair is in August in Syracuse, just about an hour away.  We've also been to the Kite & Craft Fair, Bluegrass Festival, Pirate Days at Alex Bay just to name a few.

Whether you are a native, new to the area, or like me, been here a few years and need a reminder, hopefully you've found a few reasons to love the North Country!

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