Caravan Sonnet: My Favorite Towns Along Lake Champlain (New York Side)

8/4/15

My Favorite Towns Along Lake Champlain (New York Side)

As y'all know I love living for part of the year on Lake Champlain. The beautiful lake and towns that surround this gorgeous area of North America are simply stunning. In addition to the beautiful views Lake Champlain boasts, it is a place rich with American History having been apart of the Seven Years' War, the American Revolution, and the War of 1812. While I love visiting a large city and traveling to different places throughout the world, I love the feeling of "coming home" to this area of the world. Many of the towns along Lake Champlain carry that feeling of "coming home" with them and today I wanted to share with y'all my favorite towns along Lake Champlain from the New York side. Soon I will share my favorite towns from the Vermont side and the cities along Lake Champlain, but today I hope that you enjoy finding out about these quaint New England towns and that reading this encourages you to visit them soon! Here are my favorites...

I shared last year how even though we would only visit Essex once a twice a summer when I was a child, it has a special place in my heart and truly is one of my favorite towns in the United States. I honestly would love to live there. The surrounding area is simply gorgeous country and is settled right in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. It has a lovely mixture of historic and new, a lovely art community, and is absolutely adorable. There are adorable eateries, a wonderful inn (that also has a lovely dining experience), and absolutely gorgeous buildings from the late 1700's and 1800's. It is important to note that Essex, New York is definitely an "all around year town" but many of the businesses & shops on main street close down at the end of October. They "re-open" for the first week of December (which I would love to see someday!) and then close again until the beginning of May! If y'all have never visited I completely recommend it!  

(You can find out more about Essex HERE.)

Crown Point, New York
As a former High School History teacher I have always been a little fascinated with Crown Point and its European background. As colonists came to this area of the world there were originally two different European forts that were built here due to Crown Point's strategic location on Lake Champlain. The first fort was built by the French in 1731 but during the Seven Year's War the British gained control of this area. The French (who had destroyed their fort to keep the British from using it) eventually withdrew completely and the British built Fort Crown Point in 1759. During the American Revolutionary War, Crown Point continued to be known for its strategic location and eventually was established in 1786 as a town, with an influx of settlers in the early 1800's. 

A final thing to note about Crown Point is that it holds one of the two bridges that you can cross to go to Vermont. The new bridge, "Lake Champlain Bridge" was constructed in 2011 as the old bridge (after almost a hundred years) was deemed unsafe. 

Westport, New York
Westport is probably one the cutest small New England towns to visit with its rich social history that has lasted to this day. Originally the town was founded in 1764, but the town was completely destroyed in the Revolutionary War so the first permanent settlement didn't happen until 1785, with the town being firmly established in 1815. 

Westport was known in the mid 1800s as a "resort town" and its social scene and happenings were regularly reported in the New York Times and the Boston Press. Like many other East Coast resorts the popularity started to decline as automobiles and airplanes made travel to other parts of the US and world more accessible. Despite this decline,  Westport's lakeshore property has only increased in value since the 1950s and this quaint New England town continues to thrive, specifically with the only professional theater in the Adirondacks.
The Depot Theater was originally founded in 1979 and operates out of the historic (and still working) Amtrak railway station. This theater is absolutely adorable y'all. It seats approximately 135 people, has air-conditioning for those warm summer evenings, and hosts plays and musicals on its main state during the summer months, drawing people from New York City as performers. I can't say recommend this theater enough as the shows are absolutely wonderful! 

Ticonderoga, New York
Ticonderoga was named from the Mohawk Indians, meaning "it is at the junction of two waterways", referring to the crossing between Lake George and Lake Champlain. In early settlement times Ticonderoga was a natural stopping point between New York City (from the South) and the French settlement of Montreal (in the North). Ticonderoga though was mainly settled due to its involvement in several historic battles and when Fort Ticonderoga was established in the 1750s by the French. 

The town of Ticonderoga was officially formed in 1804 and to this day is a widely visited area of Lake Champlain. History buffs and kiddos alike enjoy visiting this area and learning all of the historical information about Ticonderoga. 

Valcour, New York
One of my favorite places to go by boat or to camp out on as a kid, is Valcour (or Valcour Island). Valcour is an absolute beautiful part of Lake Champlain and is easily accessible by car (or boat if you want to go to the Island). Many people don't realize that Valcour Bay (the strait between Valcour Island and the shore of Lake Champlain) was the site of a major battle during the American Revolutionary War. The Battle of Valcour Bay took place in October 1776 and is generally regarded as the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War, and one of the first fought by the newly formed United States Navy. Although most of the American ships were either lost or destroyed in the battle, the Americans were successful in stalling the British plans of reaching the Hudson River Valley, therefore making this an "American Success" in the eyes of some historians. 

Before Valcour area became a national landmark in 1961, Lorenzo Hagglund (who was a veteran of World War I and a history buff) searched the area for any remains of the battle. He found several pieces including a hull and also discovered the USS Philadelphia which was ironically sitting (in tact) straight up on Lake Champlain's bottom. Hagglund spent time and money raising the ship and the USS Philadelphia can now be seen on display at the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC). 

(You can see more pictures of the New York Marshland and Valcour Island HERE.)

I hope that y'all have enjoyed learning about my favorite towns along the New York side of Lake Champlain! Stay tuned to find out about my favorite towns along the Vermont side of Lake Champlain! Do you have any favorite towns along Lake Champlain?

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