Shoes On: A Long Weekend By Train To Ticonderoga, NY

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With any trip I take, I aim to be as climate-friendly as possible. While I can’t avoid travel (my loved ones are spread far and wide), I can do my absolute best to avoid planes, cars, and other forms of high-emissions travel. In cities, I like to try local foods, walk, and bike as much as possible. Not only is walking and biking better for the climate, but I find that I end up seeing a lot more of the city that way.

Timeline

Friday

  • 7:30 am, I got on a subway to Penn Station/Moynihan Hall.
  • 8:40 am, I caught the 69 Adirondack toward Montreal.
  • 1:46 pm, I arrived in Ticonderoga and called a taxi to my VRBO.
  • 2:15 pm, I arrived at my accommodation.

Saturday

  • Enjoyed the lake 😎

Sunday

  • Saw Fort Ticonderoga and the King’s Garden

Monday

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  • 3:45 pm, I called a taxi to get back to the train station.
  • 4:35 pm, I caught the 68 Adirondack back to Penn Station/Moynihan Hall in New York.
  • 10:15 pm, I arrived at Penn Station/Moynihan Hall in New York and caught the subway home.
The Amtrak train station in Ticonderoga. Photo: Michaela Keil/Bluedot Living Brooklyn

Most of the trip to Ticonderoga is in the travel itself. Amtrak’s Adirondack line hugs the Hudson River, then the waterways of the Champlain Valley, which offers gorgeous views of upstate New York. In the fall this train is known for fantastic foliage viewing. However, for us, we’re using it to get to the historic town of Ticonderoga, comfortably nestled in between the northernmost tip of Lake George and the southern part of Lake Champlain. 

A trip to Ticonderoga was somewhat of a challenge to plan without a car — most rural areas rely on cars to get around. However, Ticonderoga has historic sights, botanical gardens, a downtown and, not one but two lakes all within a 3-mile radius. This made it a perfect trip for biking. 

Thankfully, many of the lakefront AirBnBs and VRBOs offer full amenities including kayaks and bicycles. The AirBnB I found was only 3 miles from the train station, 1 mile away from downtown, 3 miles away from the historic Fort Ticonderoga, and on Lake George lakefront so transit via the provided bicycles was easy. 

The train to Ticonderoga only comes once per day in either direction. I arrived midday and took a local taxi, Adirondack Cab, from the train station to the AirBnb. I planned for this to be a full four-day weekend.

The waterfall in downtown Ticonderoga. Photo: Michaela Keil/Bluedot Living Brooklyn

After I arrived, I settled in, then hopped on a bike to grab some groceries. The road I was staying on was quiet and made the bike ride easy. On my way to a grocery co-op downtown, I took a detour to Bicentennial Park where I stumbled upon a gorgeous waterfall. Heading back, I picked up a delicious fresh loaf of bread as well as some eggs, fresh vegetables, and a pack of chicken at the co-op — just enough to fit comfortably in my backpack. The AirBnB had seasonings at the house. The total trip for groceries required only about 4 miles of cycling. 

Sitting on the porch that night, I reveled in the evening air. Fireflies lit up the early June dusk while frogs and other fauna sang the night to sleep.

The first thing I did in the morning on Saturday (after getting a great breakfast at the Hot Biscuit) was to hop on one of the kayaks and paddle around. Lake George is well known for how clean the water is. I could see down to the sandy bottom of the lake where some fish were swimming about. Up by Ticonderoga, the water doesn’t get much deeper than 10 feet at any point, making it warm for swimming, easy for paddling, and lovely for exploring. 

By midafternoon I was hankering for a sweet treat so I hopped on a bicycle and made my way to the Wind-Chill Factory — a soft-serve ice cream store. While yes, there is a little hill to get up to the Wind-Chill, it's ice cream was absolutely worth it. The Wind-Chill also sold grill fare, so before I had ice cream, I enjoyed a burger. The flavors were fun with peanut butter chocolate twist, vanilla maple twist, strawberry banana twist, and more. 

A maple-vanilla cone at the Wind-Chill factory. Photo: Michaela Keil/Bluedot Living Brooklyn

In the late afternoon, back at my AirBnb, I swam in the water and lounged about — I’m a gal who’s just happy to be in the sun, making this an absolutely perfect weekend for me.

Sunday morning, I decided to see some sights. I hopped on my bike and went to see the historic Fort Ticonderoga and King’s Garden botanical garden. I’m not the biggest history fan, but the living history reenactments were quite enjoyable. However, I was captivated by the King’s Garden. It was a lovely surprise to find brick walkways, gorgeous gardens, and a view of the bottom tip of Lake Champlain. On my way back I stopped at Burleigh's Luncheonette — a new, and surprisingly popular, restaurant in Ticonderoga’s downtown.

Monday I lazed about on the lake until it was time for me to leave. I went into town for lunch at a cafe, and then took a cab to the train station and headed back to NYC, happy and refreshed from the mountain air. 

Other cool sights to catch:

  • The Star Trek Museum
  • Take a boat ride on the Carillon from Fort Ticonderoga
  • The Fort Ticonderoga Heroic Corn Maze in the fall
  • The La Chute farm-to-table restaurant, opening soon

If you have a little more time: 

  • Get back on the Adirondack line and head up to Montreal for a few days. 
  • Take a bus to Burlington, VT
  • Rent a motorboat for the day from the nearby Snug Harbor Marina
  • Take the Amtrak train north to any of the towns on the coast of Lake Champlain
A view of Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga on a hazy day. Photo: Michaela Keil/Bluedot Living Brooklyn

The calculations (cost and carbon) 

Cost: $122.5 (not including accommodations or food)

  • Subways to/from Penn Station/Moynihan Hall, NY: $5.50
  • Train from New York Penn to Fort Ticonderoga station: $70
  • Taxi to/from the train station: $20
  • Museum and garden admissions: $27

Carbon: These calculations are approximations using several different calculators. The figure is meant to represent how travel can be clean compared to air travel. While it’s important to consider our personal carbon footprint, it’s more important to show governments and businesses what we care about — if more people chose to walk, bike, take public transportation, and use the train, then more infrastructure will be put into place to make those options easier. Plus, it ends up being pretty cost-effective to eschew planes and cars.

  • For about 520 miles of travel with Amtrak, I used 20kg of CO2
  • For about 20 miles of subway/public transportation travel, I used 1 kg of CO2 
  • For a 3 nights stay in a different home, I used kg of CO2. making our total for two people about 72 kg of CO2 each. The flight to/from Ticonderoga for one person would have been nearly double that.

This article is part of our new series, “Shoes On,” all about travel from NYC using trains and other forms of clean transportation. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest destinations, right to your inbox. 


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Michaela Keil
Michaela Keil
Michaela Keil is the Editor of Bluedot Living Brooklyn, and the Managing Editor, Special Projects, for the Brooklyn Eagle. When she's not writing, you can either find her outside — in the rain, shine, snow, or cold — or inside baking bread. Find her on twitter @mkeil16.
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