Adirondacks Region Facts

The Adirondack Mountains offer some of the greatest scenic landscapes you can find in New York.

Featuring over 46 High Peak mountains and countless lakes, bogs, and marshes, the Adirondack Park has been a destination for hikers and nature lovers for centuries. Much of the draw to this region is wildlife related, but some of the best known family vacation spots have sprung up here, too. Frontier Town, Gaslight Village, and Story Town were all once the pinnacle of summer family fun. Today, sites like the Wild Center and the re-imagined Enchanted Forest are still bringing families from all over the world to vacation.

Adirondack Region Defined

For the purposes of Exploring Upstate, the Adirondack Region boundaries extend a bit beyond the Adirondack Park itself. Included in this list you’ll find facts pertaining to the following counties: Franklin, Clinton, Lewis, Herkimer, Hamilton, Essex, Fulton, Warren, and Washington.

– New York is home to over 280 mineral varieties. The state gem is the garnet, found in the Adirondacks, but our most famous mineral is the Herkimer diamond. They’re not actually diamonds, but rather quartz crystals that look like diamonds. They’re usually pointed on both ends, which is referred to as “doubly terminated.”

– Elizabeth Woolridge Grant grew up in the town of Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. She attended a Catholic school there and sang in her church choir where she was discovered as a talented vocalist. She would later adopt the stage name Lana Del Rey and gain major success in the music industry.

– The highest point of elevation in New York State is at the top of Mount Marcy in Essex County. It’s 5,344 feet above sea level. [source]

– The lowest temperature in the history of New York state was recorded in Old Forge on February 18, 1979 when it hit -52°F. [source]

– Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier, and Olympic Parks combined. [source]

– Hamilton County is the 5th largest (by size) county in the state, but has no permanent traffic signal. [source]

– In mid-19th century New York, an African American could vote if they owned at least $250 in real estate. To assist those wanting to exercise that right, a wealthy white man in the Adirondacks created ‘Timbucktoo’, which was 120,000 acres of his own property. Gerrit Smith then allowed black families to own 40 acres each. In doing so, he effectively gave them the value necessary to vote in an election. [source]

– The Prospect House, a hotel in Blue Mountain Lake, was the first hotel in the entire world to have electricity in every room. [source]

– Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie in the classic 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, never starred in another movie. He now lives outside of Watertown and is a veterinarian. [source]

– The source of the Hudson River is located on the highest lake in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. You’ll find it at Lake Tear of the Clouds on Mount Marcy – at 5,344 feet. [source]

– The Adirondack Northway I-87 exits jump from #2 to #4 and skip #3. Originally, there were plans for an I-687 that would originate from an Exit 3. Since they never built I-687, they also skipped building the exit. [source]

Albert Einstein was a regular visitor to the Adirondacks where he rented cabins during the summers. He was standing in the kitchen of his Saranac Lake cabin when he learned that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Though it was Einstein who suggested to President Roosevelt that the U.S. construct a bomb before the Germans could, he later regretted making the suggestion. [source]

Even though Vermont is on the east side of New York, there is one small spot in Washington County where you can travel east from Vermont in to New York. [source: just use Google Maps!! :-)]

Montague, New York in the Tug Hill Region holds the world’s “unofficial” snowfall record. Within 24 hours spanning January 11-12, 1997, the area received 77 inches of snow. *The record is “unofficial” because the observer made “too many measurements” during the event. That caused the National Weather Service to reject the findings. [source]

– New York Congressional District 21 is represented by Republican Elise Stefanik of Albany. She was elected in 2014 at the age of 30, making her the youngest woman ever elected to the United States Congress.

– The popular English-Irish boyband One Direction filmed the music video for their top hit “Gotta Be You” on the banks of Lake Placid and in dorm rooms at SUNY Plattsburgh.

– The first person to ever ride the chairlift up Whiteface Mountain was then New York State Governor Averell Harriman during the dedication ceremony in 1958. Before he reached the top, the chairlift broke and Harriman sat suspended for an hour and a half. [source]

– On November 22, 1975 Peter Frampton played a concert at SUNY Plattsburgh. His most popular record Frampton Comes Alive, features most of the concert recording.

– The 60th registered hiker to ever climb all forty-six Adirondack High Peaks was Chrissie Wendell–a dog. Chrissie’s final peak was Sawtooth Mountain which she finished in 1945. Chrissie was buried at the top of Mount Jo, pointing west toward the other High Peaks.

– The very first concept for a snow tire came from the Adirondacks. An innkeeper named Earl Covey first got the idea to attach crepe rubber to his tires. He got the idea after accidentally stepping on a hot bolt that melted the sole of his boot. Covey presented the idea to a Ford rep staying at his cabin, and within a year, they were testing prototypes. In December of 1929, Ford released the “Polar Grip” tires to the public. [source]

– The Adirondack Mountains are growing faster than the Himalayas, at a rate of one foot every 100 years. [source]

– The JAGs (Johnston-Amsterdam-Gloversville) were a baseball team in the New York State League from 1902-1907. It wasn’t legal to play baseball on Sundays because of a religious Blue Law in Gloversville. To get around the law, the JAGs traveled to play at Sport Island on Sundays. Sport Island was surrounded by water, meaning it wasn’t bound by the same law. That historic field is now at the bottom of the man-made Sacandaga Lake.

– The first openly gay elected mayor in New York State was Daniel Stewart. First elected in 1999, Stewart became the mayor of the City of Plattsburgh and served three terms.

– The Remington Arms company began in 1816 with a handmade rifle by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion. Today, the company still manufactures in Ilion. The Ilion plant is believed to be the oldest in the country that still makes the same product it started with.