Day One - Independent arrivals into Albany
Tour participants can arrive into Albany today by air or rail. A pre-tour night is included at the fine Crowne Plaza Albany hotel in the heart of downtown. The hotel will pick up guests at either the Amtrak station or the airport.
Upon arrival, the remainder of the day is at your leisure. Overnight Crowne Plaza Albany.
Day Two - Amtrak's Adirondack to Lake Placid
Mid-morning we transfer to the rail station and board Amtrak's Adirondack for the scenic ride to Plattsburgh, NY on America's oldest continuously incorporated railway, the Delaware & Hudson (D&H). This route was proclaimed one of the ten most scenic train trips in the world by National Geographic Traveler. As it winds north deep into the Adirondacks, our route takes us along the shores of Lake Champlain and on cliffs above the water. From here we can see autumn color in New York and Vermont as well as historic Fort Ticonderoga on the New York shore. Upon arrival in Plattsburgh, we reboard our motorcoach and drive into the high peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains to famous Lake Placid for a two night stay on the shores of Mirror Lake. Overnight Golden Arrow Lake Resort. (B, D)
Day Three - High Falls Gorge / Adirondack Scenic Railroad
This morning we visit High Falls Gorge, where the Ausable River plunges more than 200 feet over a series of waterfalls which can be photographed from the walkways. We then return to Lake Placid for free time and lunch at The Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company. After lunch, we ride the Adirondack Scenic Railroad round-trip to Saranac Lake on a route originally served by the Delaware and Hudson and the New York Central Railroads. Until the late 1960's, direct service with sleepers ran to Lake Placid from Grand Central Terminal in New York. The line served both the 1932 and 1980 Olympics, then lay dormant for 20 years before restoration by the volunteers of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Lovely views of the peaks mark the route. We return to Lake Placid late this afternoon with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Overnight Golden Arrow Lake Resort. (B, L)
Day Four - Wild Center / Blue Mountain Lake
Today we drive to Tupper Lake to visit one of the newest attractions in the Adirondacks: the wonderful new Wild Center which features an ice wall, indoor exhibits, live animals, outside trails, films and observation towers to further acquaint us with the natural history of the area. Lunch is on your own at the museum, following which we will reboard the motorcoach for the drive to Blue Mountain Lake, our home for the next three nights. Overnight Minnowbrook Inn & Conference Center. (B, D)
Day Five - Adirondack Museum / Adirondack Scenic Railroad
After breakfast we make the short drive to the Adirondack Museum, called "the best of its kind in the world" by the New York Times. The museum has something for everyone: a history of logging and mining in the area; a wonderful exhibit of guide boats, canoes and sailing craft; art, photography and folk art; a private railroad car; and, unique Adirondack furniture.
After lunch on your own, we'll continue to Old Forge for another trip on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, traveling roundtrip to Otter Lake. Overnight Minnowbrook Inn & Conference Center. (B, D)
Day Six - Camp Sagamore / W.W. Durant Brunch Cruise
Today we travel to Great Camp Sagamore, an 1897 "great camp" built by W.W. Durant and owned by the Vanderbilts. We'll tour the impressive complex, once considered a luxurious summer retreat, continuing to Raquette Lake for a brunch cruise on the re-created lake steamer W.W. Durant. You'll see numerous "Adirondack Great Camps" owned by the rich and famous during the Gilded Age on your cruise, including those of Andrew Carnegie and Collis P. Huntington, builder of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Overnight Minnowbrook Inn & Conference Center. (B, L, D)
Day Seven - Saratoga and North Creek Railroad / Saratoga Springs / Croton-Harmon
This morning we make the drive to North Creek, where we board the dome-diner-lounge car on the new Saratoga and North Creek Railroad. Our 50-mile ride to Saratoga Springs closely follows the upper Hudson River through a beautiful gorge that bisects the Adirondacks.The line was operated for most of the 20th century by the D&H. Its most famous operating day was September 14, 1901, when Teddy Roosevelt rode a special train from North Creek to Buffalo en route to being sworn in as the President of the United States following the assassination of President McKinley.
Breakfast will be served as the train makes its way to Saratoga, where we will board an Amtrak train for the ride south to Albany and then along the Hudson River to Croton-Harmon. Our train will reach speeds approaching 110 mph, yet the scenery overwhelms any realization of the quick pace. Never leaving the shore, the line offers vistas of the Catskill Mountains, West Point and Storm King and Bear Mountains. En route we pass Bannerman Castle, a partially destroyed armory with a distinctly Gothic appearance. Stately mansions and lighthouses round out the coastal scenery. At Croton-Harmon, we re-board the motorcoach for a drive over the Bear Mountain Bridge. From the heights, you can admire the grand gorge of the Hudson as it courses through the Highlands between the Ramapo and Taconic Mountains. Our coach will travel up the steep grade into the Shawangunk Mountains, where we will spend the next three nights. We should arrive in time for afternoon tea. Overnight Mohonk Mountain House. (B, D)
Day Eight - Mohonk at Your Leisure
The Mohonk Mountain House is an estate that was purchased by the Smiley brothers in 1869 and has been in the hands of family ever since. This Quaker family has created a resort that is in tune with the environment and is one of the most peaceful places imaginable. You have a full day to explore everything the hotel and its grounds have to offer. The National Historic Landmark Victorian-era hotel is set on a lake surrounded by thousands of acres of forest on top of a mountain ridge. In addition to the Victorian gardens, 128 gazebos dot the property. Activities include tennis, golf, boating and fishing, horseback riding, carriage rides and hiking or walking along miles of roads and trails coarsing throughout the property. There is also a greenhouse, barn museum, stables and a blacksmith shop and library to visit, a fabulous spa and indoor swimming pool and a quiet lounge. Except for arrival and departure, no motorized travel is allowed; movement is by foot, boat, horseback or carriage only.
Limousine service down the mountain is available for a fee to enjoy attractions in the Hudson River Valley including the Huguenot Houses in New Paltz or Hyde Park, home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Overnight Mohonk Mountain House. (B, L, D)
Day Nine - Catskill Mountains / Delaware & Ulster Railroad
This morning we depart our mountaintop retreat and travel along the Hudson into the famous Catskill Mountains. A special treat awaits today: a chartered ride and lunch on the Rip Van Winkle Flyer on the Delaware & Ulster Railroad. Originally this was the mainline of railroad, which brought Victorian tourists to the mountains. The U&D merged with the New York Central in the 1930's. Passenger service ended in 1953 and freight service ended in 1976, but the heart of the line is revived for us on a route that starts in tiny Arkville and includes a lovely run along the headwaters of the Delaware River into Roxbury. Admire the lovely foliage on display! This afternoon we'll visit the setting for the first resort hotel in America -- the Catskill Mountain House -- and the story of Rip Van Winkle. This area was also a favorite of the Hudson River School painters. The Catskills reveal some of the wildest and most grand mountain vistas east of the Rockies! Alternatively, travelers can opt for another day at leisure at the hotel. Overnight Mohonk Mountain House. (B, L, D)
Day Ten - Hudson River Scenic Cruise
This morning is at your leisure at Mohonk. After lunch, we make the short drive to Kingston, the capital of New York State at the time of the American Revolution. When the city was burned by the British during the war, the capital was moved elsewhere, but its importance as a steamboat and railroad center grew. This afternoon we'll embark on a scenic cruise on the M/V Rip Van Winkle along the Hudson River, sailing south past the mansions of Hyde Park. Distant vistas reach from the Catskill Mountains to the Litchfield and Taconic Hills on our beautiful voyage. We then continue north by motorcoach to Albany for our last night. Overnight Crowne Plaza Albany. (B, L)
Day Eleven - Tour Conclusion
Our fall tour of the Empire State concludes after breakfast. Complimentary transfer to the Amtrak station and Albany Airport are available. (B)
Prices are land-only, per person based on double occupancy. Single pricing is available upon request. Prices are are correct at the time of this web page going live; however, are subject to confirmation at time of booking.
Please note in order to fully and comfortably participate in this tour, it is necessary to walk for distances of several blocks at some of the outdoor historic sites and to climb steps. Many of the hotels used are non-smoking.
CB = Continental Breakfast, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner