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Bolton Landing, New York

I remember, as a young girl, some of my favorite memories of summer were when my parents piled us three kids in the car for a day trip and our highly anticipated destination was Lake George, New York. Our activities back then were limited to the Lake George Village area and the main drag, Canada Street. As a young six-year-old, I thought we went to another country. Lake George itself seemed so vast, like the ocean. Our time was spent at Million Dollar Beach, Gaslight Village and Storytown USA; the latter is a fond memory of enjoying an amusement park that in my adult years I came to appreciate Glens Falls native C.R. Wood’s vision and passion for it. Our family never traveled on exotic vacations. The farthest we went was to visit family in Philadelphia. But this girl from Schenectady, New York, felt like Lake George was a destination in a far-off place, even if it was only an hour car ride. The Adirondacks have an energy that captures your soul and I felt it. The fresh air, the bustling of the tourists enjoying themselves, the big steamboat rides on the lake…it was the epitome of my summer. That was the ’70s.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and although Gaslight Village and Storytown USA no longer exist, summer at Lake George still possesses that same nostalgia and soul-capturing magic. Lake George is 32 miles long and is affectionately known as the Queen of American lakes. It’s as if the Adirondack Mountains give this lake a giant hug. Everywhere you look, the majestic beauty surrounds and the lake’s crystal-clear water and expansive shoreline are the icing on the cake.

As I have gotten older, I have ventured around the lake and have come to appreciate the different personalities of the many towns and their shorelines. One place that I love to hop in the car and go to is Bolton Landing, nestled on the western side of Lake George. Bolton is ten miles from Exit 22 of I-87, also known as the Adirondack Northway, and within an hour and a half drive from most locations within the Capital Region. Bolton has a relaxed vibe. It reminds me of Sag Harbor, which I think is one of the Hamptons’ best-kept secrets. Bolton Landing has a little something for everybody, and even if you are just day tripping it will feel like you are a million miles away.  

The journey along Lakeshore Drive to Bolton is always so peaceful and scenic as it winds around the lake. In summer, the seasonal businesses are in full swing; restaurants, marinas and the motels dot the shoreline of the lake and have been there for generations; families come and spend time year after year. It just puts you in a mood. You feel the calling to just take a deep breath and relax.  

There is so much to do for families, couples, or singles in Bolton Landing. Every Friday is the Lake George Farmers Market that is located on Cross Street behind the Town Hall. It’s a wonderful weekly community event running until September 2 that’s dog and family friendly and features live music and events. You can get fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, poultry, honey, eggs, cheese, herbs, maple syrup, gluten-free goods and so much more. Check out their Kids’ Day on August 19th, when Stewart’s Shops will give out free ice cream to kids of all ages.  

Need to cool off? There are two beaches in Bolton Landing that are open to the public. Rogers Memorial Park Beach, located off of Rt. 9N, or Lake Shore Drive, about ten miles from Lake George Village, is right in the heart of town. And if you continue through the business district about a half mile further north on the same road, there is Veteran’s Memorial Park Beach. Veterans Beach may be a bit more family friendly for those with small kids because it has a playground. Both beaches give you access to the pristine, clear water that Lake George is known for and beautiful views of the lake and surrounding mountains. During peak season you should pack your picnic, get there early and enjoy. Both beaches are open 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day during the summer and they do charge a modest $5 daily parking fee. Also, from Rogers Park, you can catch the Mohican, run by the Lake George Steamboat Company, which makes a trip from Lake George Village every Tuesday and picks up passengers in Bolton at 10:45 a.m. for a full-length lake cruise.  

Are you a history buff? Do you like a good read? Well, a stop at the Bolton Free Library will interest you; with over 30,000 items in their collections, it is a place I go to that I always say to myself, I need to come back and spend more time. The library also hosts many engaging events during the summer season including trivia and game nights and a meet-the-author event on August 3rd with Brad Edmondson, who penned A Wild Idea, the story of the difficult birth of the Adirondack Park Agency. 

Another family-friendly destination, but also great for everyone, is Up Yonda Farm. This environmental education center has a butterfly farm, pond, three-plus miles of hiking trails, maple sugar house, sensory garden, museum and much more. I suggest taking a New York State Natural History walk along the Sugar and Base Loop trails.

And, if hiking is a favorite pastime, the Lake George Land Conservancy has six preserves with hiking trails in Bolton that range from easy to moderate to challenging. 

If you sojourn for some stimulation in arts and culture then a visit to The Sembrich is a must. The Sembrich is an opera museum, and it was property owned by famous Polish-American soprano Marcella Sembrich. It was originally her teaching studio. Following her death in 1935, her family kept the 4.5-acre parcel and in 1937 opened it to the public as a memorial to her. It’s positioned right on the lake with generous shoreline; you can bring a picnic lunch and take in the views or enjoy the walking paths around the lake. The Sembrich hosts many events during the summer season, including showing the films from 2021, West Side Story and Dear Evan Hansen and the 1931 classic Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. Concerts abound at The Sembrich, including Seagle Children’s Opera The Three Bears and musical concerts featuring the Brooklyn Nomads, a diverse group of musicians whose roots are Middle Eastern and Arabic traditions. The band’s global styles range from flamenco, jazz, Balkan, classical and bluegrass to North and East African. And in early September the 2022 Gala Performance features Broadway star Kate Baldwin (Hello Dolly!) as she charms the audiences with songs and stories. 

Starting the day in Bolton is just as much fun, and a good breakfast is easy to be had. A couple of my favorites are Bear’s Cup in Bolton, featured on The Rachel Ray Show; they have the most scrumptious hand-rolled, kettle-boiled and beautifully baked bagels. Or, if you are in the mood for a true American diner experience, then the Bolton Bean is a great option. It’s known to locals as The Bean, where you can get a great homemade breakfast and fresh cup of coffee with great service in a 1946 Worcester, Massachusetts, service diner. Some of my friends and family venture up from Saratoga just to grab breakfast in Bolton Landing.

For lunch, my hubby and I really enjoy Tavern on the Lake at Blue Water Manor. The food is good, not fancy, and the view of the lake is what summer is all about. You can arrive by car and boat at the Tavern or at another staple along Lake Shore Drive, the Algonquin Restaurant, which serves the best Bloody Marys. 

If distilleries or breweries are more your speed, then you can check out Bolton Landing Brewery for craft beers and American Oak Distillery for hand-crafted whiskey and bourbon. If shopping is your jam, then Bolton has some neat options, from gifts to clothing to children’s toys. Whenever I am there, I love to duck into Kelly O’Neil-Teer’s Serendipity Boutique, which has a great selection of clothes that can take you from being out boating on the lake to dinner in town; from casual to date night, you will find something that will not disappoint. And speaking of date night, my husband and I love to eat at Chateau on the Lake. It’s romantic and moody. Eat inside or on the back lawn; the food and selection of wine and spirits are a great way to unwind from the remains of the day. There are many other great restaurants in Bolton Landing, just a short drive from the Capital Region. I encourage you to explore what this side of the lake has to offer.

There is so much more to do in Bolton Landing. You can find information on the Bolton Chamber’s website,

Silver Bay YMCA

When is the last time you thought a YMCA would make a great summer vacation destination? After you spend some time in Bolton Landing, you can continue heading north on Lake Shore Drive for about 15 miles and arrive in Silver Bay. I cannot emphasize enough how beautiful this drive is to me. Lake Shore Drive meanders along the shoreline and you are able to capture beautiful views of the lake, but as you head further north toward the town of Hague, sometimes the road veers away from the lake through denser forest land. It is the lushest green and it is on this journey that I had a spiritual moment. As I journeyed through one day, a black bear ran in front of my car. I could swear that time stopped. He was beautiful with a black shiny coat, running from one side of the woods across the road to the other. And he did it so gracefully. I literally pulled over to just take in what a beautiful creature I saw, perfectly in his element. I chuckled to myself about Native American wisdom that if an animal crosses your path, it could be your spirit animal. Was the bear mine?

Continuing along Lake Shore Drive, it remains Rt. 9N north and you will come upon Silver Bay, an unknown gem located just off the main route on Silver Bay Road. Whenever I ask people who have been to Silver Bay to describe it, the common word they use is breathtaking. One local from Bolton Landing said to me that she does not get up there much, but when she does, she has forgotten how beautiful it is.  

Positioned on this iconic part of Lake George is the Silver Bay YMCA, which started as a farmhouse in the 1890s and is now a Conference and Family Retreat Center located on 700 acres with approximately one mile of shoreline. This is a place where you can take a short respite or spend some days refreshing and nourishing your soul. Able to accommodate small and large groups with over 250 rooms on property and 18 cottages and 4 large family homes, this slice of heaven is available to all. 

The goal is to rest, relax and rejuvenate, so if you stay overnight, the rooms do not have phones or TVs. You are encouraged to take in all that this remarkable place has offer. They have extensive programming, which allows you to get involved in arts and humanities, many groomed hiking trails along with the most beautiful and pristine shoreline Lake George has to offer. Water activities are plentyful, with swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding as options. If you want to just enjoy the property for a day, you can do that too. Day passes and season guest passes are available. If you take one of those options, feel free to bring a lunch because food and beverage options are not available to guests who are not part of an overnight stay. And depending on the type of day or seasonal pass you have, there is different access to the property and activities. Access to the Y can be as low as $10 a day. Be sure to check their website for details on the different types of pricing for guests and seasonal passes and the benefits they confer.

The Silver Bay Y’s team is very thoughtful and intentional with its programming. With various activities in arts and humanities, recreation, special events and training, the organization still holds close to its roots in delivering youth and teen programs and supporting spiritual life. A perfect meditative day is to spend some time walking the labyrinth that exists on property. And all are welcome to church services on Sunday at the chapel, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Most notably, Silver Bay Y welcomes people from near and far with arms wide open. In fact, this summer they are inviting the community to attend their concert series. Boasting a 700-seat auditorium, the Y is hosting several concerts this summer that are free to the public. In July and August, they will be hosting concerts featuring the McKrells, the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, the Gibson Brothers and an Evening of Dance with The American Ballet Theater, to name a few.

I am so impressed with this hidden gem and its mix of historical and modern buildings and various activities and programs that respect the environment in which it rests. It’s as if you stepped back into a time when the Adirondacks were meant to be enjoyed as a place to get away and restore your soul. I encourage you to visit and maybe on your journey, you too will find your spirit animal.

For more information on Silver Bay YMCA, go to

Lakeside Farms
Ballston Lake, New York

If you don’t necessarily feel like heading north into the Adirondacks and want to just take a short trip to get some fresh veggies, good food and do a little shopping all in a country store atmosphere, then Lakeside Farms in Ballston Lake might be the destination for you. Ballston Lake is easily accessible from the Adirondack Northway (I-87) using either exit 11 or 12, depending on which way you are traveling.

I am always so excited when Lakeside Farms open for the season. The original Ballston Lake farm, old barn and cider press were purchased in 1948 by Robert Pearce. He, his wife and son started making and selling filtered preserved cider. As the business grew, they renovated the carriage barn on the property, making it Lakeside Cider Mill & Farm store, selling fresh vegetables and apple cider and then added pies, salads and sandwiches. 

Now it has evolved to Lakeside Farms, which in season still sells its delicious cider and now has a country store, apple barn and gift shop. When you pull into the parking lot, you’re already wondering with anticipation what fresh pies, breads or baked goods have been made today. I can’t resist their roasted-on-premises turkey sandwich with their fresh-baked hard roll. And I am always a sucker for a good pie, of which they have many, but I am so weak when I see a good fudge fancy cookie. They are my kryptonite! And Lakeside’s are some of the best I have tasted. 

If you’re an early bird and breakfast is more your thing, then Lakeside Farms serves up a great breakfast, from eggs any way you want them to pancakes, both plain and blueberry, and French toast. And if you want pure indulgence try their Apple Fritter French Toast.

What I like most when I visit there is the sense of nostalgia that brings you back to the time when Bob Pearce first bought the place. You walk into the main store and see the fresh vegetables to pick from, huge quarts of fresh blueberries and strawberries on the counter and a selection of penny candy (not a penny anymore!) that kids of every age can get into. After you spend time with all of the goodies at the country store, you can go over to their Ye Olde Farmhouse Gift Shoppe a few steps away. 

The Gift Shoppe was the original Pearce Farmhouse that’s a great place if you like to browse. Inside is a boutique with ladies’ accessories, candles, wreaths, seasonal decorations and even gifts for your fur babies. If you are looking for the ever-so-popular vertical welcome sign to lean against the front of your home, then say no more; they’ve got them in every color. Check out Lakeside Farms this summer when you have a few hours. Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path. As Robert Frost advised, taking the road less traveled can make all the difference.

For more information, go to

By: Angela Beddoe