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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

A visit to Crown Point

I decided to take advantage of the July 4th three-day weekend and go camping in the Adirondacks.

We did the same thing over Memorial Day, but that trip was fairly active, and it felt like we barely spent any time at the campsite. I wanted this trip to be different — calmer and more relaxing. So we booked a site at Sharp Bridge, a state-run campground on the Schroon River in the town of North Hudson. We didn’t do any hiking, though we took a long walk in the woods. We went swimming at the town beach. We read a lot. And we ate very well, cooking lobsters and steaks on the campfire.

Our one outing was to the town of Crown Point on Lake Champlain. We weren’t planning on visiting Crown Point, but the state park employee we spoke with made it sound very inviting. “There’s an old fort that’s kind of cool,” he said. “And a really good ice cream place.” And who can resist ice cream? Not us.

Crown Point was about 40 minutes from our campground. Rather than stop, we decided to head across the border to Vermont for ice cream, which we were both craving. After devouring a sundae and a cone, we returned to the Crown Point State Historic Site, which is pretty easy to find, as the ruins of the old fort are visible from the road. The site was actually home to two forts: the French fort Fort Saint-Frédéric, which was built in the 1730s and destroyed in 1759 by the British, and the British Fort Crown Point, which was built nearby. Visitors can see the remains of both forts, although we spent most of our time exploring the castle-like Fort Crown Port, which overlooks Lake Champlain and offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. We wandered through the empty rooms, admired the limestone walls and the old fireplaces. There were other tourists there, but it was quiet and peaceful and we felt like we had the place to ourselves.

After exploring the fort, we headed down to the water, where we were delighted to discover that we could walk along the shore. It was so blustery and wavy it felt a bit like the ocean, and the rocks were smooth and windswept. We skipped stones and waded for a bit, and when we felt hungry we turned back. After lunch we drove across the street and visited the Crown Point Lighthouse. Originally built as a windmill, this is a beautiful and impressive 55-foot structure, and visitors are permitted to climb the winding stairs to the balcony and take in a pretty impressive aerial view of the area. Today the lighthouse is a memorial to Samuel de Champlain, and his exploration of the lake that bears his name.

All in all, our visit to Crown Point was leisurely and laid-back. We thought about visiting the museum, but decided we’d rather not go inside on such a beautiful day. Instead, we returned to North Hudson for a swim in the river. It was a very pleasant day, and if you ever have the chance to swing through Crown Point, make sure you get out and go for a walk. You probably won’t regret it.

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