Road Trip 2 – Taconic State Parkway – Lake Placid – Finger Lakes
As I said before on Just Like NY, I was born to do road trips and I am planning to have as many of them as I possibly can. That’s why we decided with my cousin Sebastian to explore upstate NY on the last weekend of May. A few days before, I simply googled “explore upstate NY” (how very clever of me) and nine road trip routes popped up immediately. We combined two of those – we picked the things that interested us most from each one of them – and there were no history landmarks, museums or cities among them. We wanted NATURE. The greener the better. On almost every day of our lives, we are surrounded with concrete, so we didn’t want to explore yet another city.
We started off around 9am on Saturday on Taconic State Parkway. Our first stop was… Starbucks, of course. Then, we headed to Lake Taghkanic State Park ($8 fee), where the air smelled amazing! Fresh leaves combined with the breeze coming off the lake – what a fragrance! It’s a great place for a family picnic, but since we don’t have kids, we headed further. We went to Walmart to buy water and snacks (nuts and protein bars) to save ourselves time and money along the way. Then we stopped at O’s Eatery, which was one of many diners along the route (which was perfect, because you don’t get that many diners on every route). I love eating at a diner, it is an essential part of a road trip for me. And must say that O’s Eatery was the best diner I’ve been to so far. I’ve never had a better “Hungry man” plate $9 (eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes) in my life. Sebastian took a steak with potatoes and it really tasted like homemade food (the potato tasted like it was taken out from a bonfire a minute before serving).
Fully satisfied, we headed to Taconic Sculpture Garden, which was one of the most bizarre places we’ve ever visited (it’s not big). You have to go and experience it yourself in order to understand. We were there by ourselves – that part didn’t help, since we were afraid that someone will chop our heads off in a second. The next stop was OMI Arts Center, which I loved. You get to see large fields of grass and sculptures located a few feet away from each other. We saw only a few out of sixty of them! (You can easily spend a few hours there). This combination of art and nature struck me as an excellent idea. We were lucky enough to meet a Polish artist Gosia Włodarczak, whose piece was adorning the café – she spent a week working there on that piece and was leaving to Australia (her home), on the next day (we were also grateful that we didn’t say anything dumb about her art in front of her, because yes, we would be capable of doing something like that).
While we’re driving we suddenly saw a mysterious place hidden in Adirondacks Mountains – Chapel Pond. – there was something about that place. We finished the day by watching the sunset at a beautiful place – Lake Placid, where the Olympics took place twice. Had we have known that that place was so magical, we would have come there earlier – or stayed longer. I’m definitely coming back, especially since its surroundings looked worthy of exploration, too – there were a lot of lakes and mountains around. There was something special about that place. Our goal was to get to Finger Lakes, so we decided to leave. We slept 1,5 hour away from Finger Lakes at Ramada Hotel ($99 per room) that surprised us with a very tasty breakfast for a total of $6.50 (for two people!). What a treat!
The whole second day we spent exploring Finger Lakes – a region of lakes, waterfalls, and vineyards. And one day was definitely not enough, but because the next day the weather was supposed to be bad, we decided to stay there only until sunset. We were able to visit 4 waterfalls – you just jump in the car, stop next to the waterfall and jump in the car again and go to the next one that is usually 20-40 minutes away. The biggest one – Watkins Glen – was almost an hour-long hike in a beautiful surrounding and we recommend to finish exploring with this one since it’s the longest one. The parking next to the waterfall is $8 and it gives you access to other parking spots for the whole day. We saw 4 waterfalls and there were 15 more (I think); not to mention lakes and vineyards that we didn’t get to see. We explored till 8 pm, had dinner at Chef’s Choice restaurant (that looked like a typical, old school diner – which I adored). At this kind of places, I always chose comfort food, a typical American food that usually comes with gravy, meat, and biscuit, because I’m always pretty sure it’s the best of what’s on their menu. Then we decided to come back home and it took us around 4 hours to come back to NY.
To sum it all up: the views along the way were often similar to Polish ones I remember from way back; the landscape changed significantly around Lake Placid (lakes and mountains). That’s why I want to come back there and explore more; Finger Lakes requires a few days, but overall it’s definitely worth to do the road trip like that. It was only a weekend, but we felt like we were on the road for a week – so many amazing things along the way for only $150 each. You can buy another pair of shoes, or party the whole weekend long, or you can simply decide to open yourself for a totally new experience and explore things around you, which we highly recommend.
Lake Taghkanic State Park
O’s Eatery American Diner
Taconic Sculpture Garden
The Artwork od Gosia Włodarczak
Lake Placid i jezioro Mirror (Lustro)
Finger Lakes – Ithaca Falls
Finger Lakes – Taughannock Falls
Finger Lakes – Lucifer Falls
Finger Lakes – Watkins Glen
Finger Lakes – She-Qua-Ga Falls