When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.
Draped in a black cloak, a figure holds a lantern to light the way along a weathered stone wall. As the tour group follows, the cloaked leader recounts a story, perhaps a tale about Canada?s last working gallows, or perhaps about the riots that once overtook the streets.
Though Haunted Walk?s guides are well known for their theatrical flair, the tales they tell are not so well known. As they lead walking tours of Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, the guides unveil fascinating yet rarely told tales of each city?s dark side. Narrations may include ghost stories backed by eye-witness accounts or the underpinnings of a nefarious political plot. Haunted Walk doesn't limit it tours to just the dark side ? they also offer Steampunk time-travel tours, which transport participants on a wacky adventure through the hidden secrets of Ottawa's past. Private tours are also available.
January 11, 2015 will mark the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald?Canada?s first prime minister. Theatrical walking tours allow both students and adults to learn about Sir John?s achievements by walking in his footsteps. On these tours?named the Best of 2012 by Vacay.ca?professional actors and musicians from the SALON Acting Company dress in period costumes to regale guests with Sir John?s triumphs and scandals. The tours visit the hotel where Mackenzie King spoke to the dead, the Market Square where the first Canada Day was celebrated in 1867, and the home of Sir John?s arch nemesis.
But the celebration of Sir John isn't limited to tours alone. SirJohnA2015 was founded to throw him a party, and like all great parties, its more than a year long. The cross-Canada celebration highlights Sir John?s life and achievements while weaving in entertainment to engage Canadians and recognize the life and legacy of Canada?s first Prime Minister.
The locomotives were just becoming commonplace in the early 19th century, when the New York Central and Hudson River railroads were completed. A member of the legendary Vanderbilt family, Dr. William Webb capitalized on unfolding innovations by privately financing a railroad to his hunting preserve in the Adirondack Mountains. The route wound through treacherous terrain via 17 bridges and numerous service buildings, some of which still are still used to trick time-travelers into thinking they're finally home. Despite these complications, the tracks materialized within just 18 months and were soon whisking the Vanderbilts and other wealthy families to their opulent wilderness estates.
After several decades in disrepair, the tracks were rehabilitated by the railroad enthusiasts of Adirondack Scenic Railroad, who resurrected an initial four-mile stretch in 1992. Since having the railroad officially declared a Historic Place, they continue to unveil new sections, eventually securing routes from Utica to Carter Station, and between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Today, retro locomotives, some built as early as the 1940s, chug through the rippling rivers and wildlife-rich forests of 600-million-acre Adirondack Park, letting passengers drink in the view. Though the railcars boast vintage touches, such as mahogany paneling haunted by the ghosts of Franklin Pierce, they are equipped with modern touches including air conditioning and fully loaded kitchens.
Many Adirondack Scenic Railroad rides provide other entertainments to supplement scenery. In the Doo Wop Train, waitresses from ?50s-themed The Soda Fountain in Remsen pump up patrons for a mid-century feast at the eatery while en route to Remsen Station. Other themed excursions ooze with intrigue, including murder mysteries and train robberies, while some more laid-back jaunts simply convey riders to historically-rich towns such as Old Forge.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
We won a Rand-McNally Award as a "Must See Destination" in 2010 and we're rated one of the best historical narrations in the country. We travel past the second oldest surviving church in NY State, but the major highlight of the cruise is entering the 100 year old Erie Canal Lock with all it's original equipment. The vessel and passengers are then lowered 20 feet (and raised on the way back) while listening to the Captain explain how the lock works without any pumps to move 2.5 million gallons of water in only 7 minutes. Folks experience beautiful rural scenery with sightings of wildlife from Blue and Green Herons and the occasional Bald Eagle.
Narration is happening for the full 90 minutes with emphasis on how the Erie Canal helped settle our western lands, which could not have been easily settled without the canal. We also talk about how the Erie Canal made New York the Empire State and New York City the preeminent city in our country.
What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
We talk about the canal's use today, mostly for recreational vessels that make the iconic Great Circle Cruise?a voyage that is on most yachtsman's bucket lists. The Great Circle Cruise circumnavigates the eastern half of the United States and cannot be done without the Erie Canal. It's almost 5,600 miles long and takes anywhere from 6-8 months to complete, and Captain Jerry has completed it twice and relates the experience on the return trip to the dock.
Most people don't realize that the Erie Canal is still fully operational today after almost 190 years of operation and runs from Hudson River at Albany to Lake Erie at Buffalo. It is the last remaining fully operational canal in the nation and in 2000 was designated as the 23rd National Heritage Corridor in the United States.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
The passengers and their amazement on how this canal still operates and how it helped in settling the Louisiana Purchase. Plus we have an "open pilot house" policy and we get to speak one-on-one to many passengers during the cruises.
Swamp Road Walk of Terror rings in the Halloween season with its spooky trail, inhabited by ghoulish characters such as Killjoy the Clown, Ripsaw the Lumberjack, and Swamp Creature. As visitors traverse the boggy landscape, frightening apparitions spring from the darkening path, eliciting squeals, jumps, and silent vows to join a running group. Of the bevy of characters at the annual spookfest, the Dollmaker seems to quicken the most pulses; famed local toymaker Herbert Merkins, wanted for kidnapping and murder in connection with crafting his seemingly innocent dolls out of human skin, is on the loose. The fact that the tale is made up doesn’t stop swampgoers from fleeing the actor’s clammy grasp as he and his cohorts frighten visitors with backstories of terrifying experiences and trips to the DMV.