Leaf watching by boat on Lake George

We’re in the final weeks of leaf viewing here in upstate New York, with most of the state’s foliage now past peak. Still, there are a lot of beautiful colors on display, but you might need to get a little creative to get a good view.

You’ve seen the fall foliage on foot, by car, even by train, but have you seen it by boat?

It’s so beautiful, it almost looks fake. Lake George stretches for 32 miles in the southern Adirondacks. And at this time of year, a cool breeze blows across the water as multi-colored trees gaze out from the mountains above.

The Lake George Steamboat Company transports visitors to scenic parts of the lake only visible by boat. Today’s 14 mile cruise takes us through the so-called Narrows, meandering through the lake’s many peaceful islands.

In addition to running the boat, Captain Victor Bates also serves as a tour guide.

“To our left Catskill Bay, once the site of the old Trout Pavilion hotel,” Bates said. “Sadly destroyed by fire in the 1970s. The guest register is still there, with some pretty notable names, like Susan B. Anthony, Shirley Temple, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson. And one of the more interesting entries, Mr. Brigham Young, the second that connected with the wives of Mrs. Brigham Young 1-9.

The captain explains that the Mohican has a rich history. He was baptized in 1908.

“It is by far the oldest continuously operated passenger vessel in North America today,” said Bates. “This is one of three ships listed on the National Historic Sites Register that are still in service today.

“It’s a lot of brown this year, not that bright yellow, orange, red that we normally get,” Bates explains of the foliage, explaining that a warmer-than-usual fall is partly to blame. “In July, the gypsy moth moved through the area and ate a lot of leaves, so the trees must have sprouted again around mid-July.”

He said the trees couldn’t take their usual seasonal course.

So from the man with the best view of Lake George, what would you say to people who have never visited, why come to Lake George?

“Well, to discover the beauty of it because it’s such a beautiful area,” Bates said.

If you want to come here and get on board, you will have to wait until April. They are already ready for the season.


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