The story of the United States Navy begins on Lake Champlain. The year was 1776, and the fledgling American Revolution seemed doomed to failure almost before it began after a naval retreat to the town known today as Whitehall, New York. Then the Continental Congress issued a command on June 17 of 1776 "to build, with all expedition, as many galleys and armed vessels as ... shall be sufficient to make us indisputably masters of the lakes Champlain and George." By August, eight new gunboats were afloat on the lake—just in time to face the British in the Battle of Valcour.
That story and hundreds more come to life in the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, images, and documents. Visitors can marvel at the massive 10' x 8' rudder of the steamboat Champlain II, and explore her shipwreck in real time using a remote-operated vehicle. In the Hazelett Watercraft Center, the 111-year-old ice yacht Storm King towers over 90 dugouts, bark canoes, kayaks, rowing skiffs, and sailboats. But the core of the museum is the Key to Liberty exhibit, where visitors can read eyewitness accounts of the Battle of Valcour and marvel at a 9-foot scale model of a gunboat. On fair days, the full-size gunboat replica Philadelphia II sets sail, giving passengers a glimpse of a distant era without the bother of going though a time machine broker first.
No matter what direction their houses might actually be facing, most of the roofs in the United States point toward Slate Valley, a 24-mile-long stretch between New York and Vermont. That region not only produces most of the nation's roofing slate, but also has an intricate history that reaches all the way back to the 1800s.
Eye Catcher: a worn-down and beat-up 1951 LJT Mack Truck, which once hauled finished slate?and then blocks and rubbish?for the Tatko Bros. Slate Company
Staff Size: 25?50 people
Pro Tip: Allow at least 2?3 hours, but don't try to do everything on your first visit.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: 125+ exhibits, it's hard to pick one
Recommended Age Group: All Ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
The Montshire is a 100-acre science center delighting visitors of all ages with diverse exhibits and programs.
Apart from your business's main attraction, do you offer any "hidden" services or activities that visitors are always delighted to learn about?
Andy's Place is a special area for children five and under and the museum store is full of carefully selected gifts, books, puzzles, and toys.
Fort Ticonderoga and its surrounding grounds are like one big history book. Following its construction by the French in 1755, the strategic military outpost was conquered first by the British and then by American forces?marking one of their earliest victories during the Revolutionary War. After independence was secured, Fort Ticonderoga became one of the country's earliest tourist destinations, and one that continues to draw visitors today.
Rock of Ages is named after its signature rock: granite, one of the most ancient types of stone on earth. In the company's quarries, which scatter the globe, workers extract high-quality granite, raw material that craftsmen then carve into structures from mausoleums to monuments.
Smith Quarry in Vermont doubles as an educational center. During quarry tours, groups see the stonecutters in action, wielding sandblasters and cranes capable of lifting 250 tons?equivalent to 450,000 pints of ice cream or 487,000 pints of ice cream with all the nuts picked out. There's even an outdoor granite bowling lane, which visitors can try for free, as well as on-site sculptures working with diamond-tipped saws and laser equipment.
In August of 1755, when British forces began construction on Fort William Henry on the shores of Lake George, Upstate New York was in what seemed a constant state of war. British, French, Iroquois, and Mahican leaders vied for control of the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, resulting in 70 years of skirmishes and tensions, and the bloody French and Indian War. Today, the timbered walls of Fort William Henry are quiet, and rather than firing on approaching French troops, the cannons and smartly dressed redcoats that line the barricades educate kids and families about life in the fortress during the stormy 1750s. Tours from costumed reenactors guide visitors, and drills and musket-ball-making demonstrations offer a glimpse into the daily live of the soldiers in King George's army. Visitors can also self-guide through the museum and view the cannon and musket demonstrations.
Due to its brutal history, Fort William Henry has drawn paranormal investigators to its confines, including the SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters team. Visitors can take a crack at their specter-stalking skills through nightly candle-lit ghost tours, armed with the same equipment that ghost hunters use to interview ghosts for the Census every 10 years.