Have you ever heard of a “staycation?” A staycation is a vacation you take in your own state or somewhere close to your hometown to get away and relax without spending a whole lot of money. Well, that’s exactly what my boyfriend and I did this past weekend.
We decided to take one last hike in the Adirondack Mountains before it got too cold to do so. We are both from the same hometown in Upstate, NY, and my family has a lake house in Indian Lake, NY. For those of you who hail from, well, anywhere else in the U.S., but especially from downstate, NY, contrary to popular belief, my hometown isn’t farm or mountains, the Adirondacks is! But it’s beautiful. Most lake and mountain towns are state owned, meaning there isn’t a large population, cell service, and definitely not any chain stores of any kind. Basically, I’m describing the highest form of relaxation you could possibly be in! The entire weekend I didn’t check my emails, cell phone, or school website once.
We drove up to my lake house on Friday late in the afternoon (the drive is only 1 1/2 hours from New Hartford, NY,) and unpacked a bit. By the time we finished unpacking and me showing him around the place, it was definitely time for dinner. Naturally, I took him to my favorite restaurant in the world, Marty’s Chili Nights. Now, before I talk about their amazing nachos, perfect margaritas, and mouth-watering fajitas, (oops, I guess I just did,) I’ll tell you how funny this restaurant in the middle of Indian Lake, NY is.
The town of Indian Lake is incredibly small, but one of those towns where everyone knows your name, and is genuinely interested in how you have been doing, or if you daughter won her soccer game last Sunday. The town is very rustic and Adirondack-y, so seeing this truly authentic Mexican restaurant in the middle of town, complete with hot chili lights, Salsa music blaring from the speakers, and authentic decorations adorning every inch of the outside and inside of the restaurant, is quite the sight to see (considering the Indian Lake Tavern, complete with spitoons and deer antlers is across the street.)
After a fantastic dinner (I’m only a little obsessed with their food, as you can tell,) we grabbed an Indian Lake/Blue Mountain Lake Trail Guide (Blue is 10 minutes from Indian,) and picked a mountain. I, of course, didn’t want anything too strenuous since I don’t hike too often, so we decided on the 2 mile, Castle Rock trail in Blue Mountain Lake. The trail was great for those who are in decent shape and want just a little challenge.
There were only two areas that got a little steep and left you sweating, but isn’t that a good thing? I like knowing that I’ve done something! The views were beyond amazing, as you can see in my pictures, although the pictures don’t do it justice. My boyfriend had climbed Blue Mountain before (which is incredibly steep and pretty tough) and said that Castle Rock actually gives you better views than Blue did. It was stunning. We packed a picnic lunch and ate at the top while the sun was beating down on us, equaling out the cool autumn breeze. For an incredibly cheap vacation, it was an incredibly amazing and relaxing time.
I know I usually do a “Cheers and Jeers” section, but to be honest, I don’t have any jeers for the Adirondack region, so I’ll leave you with a few cheers.
My First Cheer would be how the Adirondack Park Agency has kept it authentic and out of the commercial spotlight. As a result of this, it’s incredibly clean and refreshing. Once you step out of your car, the air is different: it’s clean, it’s fresh, and it’s purified. The lake water is so clean that you can actually drink it. Seriously, we’ve had it tested before and it’s perfect drinking water. Don’t worry, we don’t do it, but in case we ever had to, we’d know we could!
Second Cheer: Another beautiful aspect of the Adirondacks is how many stars you see in the night sky. I have never seen so many in my lifetime than when you are up there and it’s truly awe-inspiring. We even bought a constellation book because we have never seen anything more than the little and big dipper at home.
Well, I’m done gushing, but before I go, I’ll leave you with a video I found on YouTube, via Tsur Adar, of Castle Rock. Enjoy!
Mode of Transportation: Driving.
Estimated Fuel Costs (for 90 miles of driving a 4WD Toyota 4Runner SUV): $20
Dinner at Marty’s (the second night we cooked in. Dinner includes appetizers, meal, margaritas and Coronas): $60
Accomodations: Free for us, but here’s a great list of Adirondack rentals, hotels, motels, or cabins!