A Guide to the Adirondacks (From a Kind-Of Local)

The Adirondack Mountains. Just saying that name gets me excited.

Growing up about 40-minutes south of the Adirondacks, and going up there a ton as a kid and now, as an adult, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the local tips and tidbits that can you help you have a phenomenal experience in the greatest State Park I’ve ever been to.

I mostly go up there to hike through the 46 High Peaks but there are great cafes, breweries and fun times for all to take advantage of.

Now, about 5-hours from my current residence in Boston, it certainly makes it more of a destination trek these days. So if these gorgeous mountains and valleys are a destination for you too, hopefully this list of tips, good eats, and more, helps make your trip to the Adirondacks region a yummy and memorable one!

Local Tips

Go to Stewart’s for ice cream

Stewart’s is a local convenient store chain in Upstate New York. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t any old convenient store. They have amazing ice cream, and more importantly, milkshakes. I highly recommend stopping at as many Stewart’s as you can!

Have a picnic on Adirondack Loj road

As you drive up Route 73 to the High Peaks region, there is a left onto Adirondack Loj road that has a beautiful view of many of the High Peaks. Take a blanket and a picnic and have a nice afternoon laying in the sun under the mountains.

Adirondack Loj Road, NY
Go to the Farmer’s Market in Marcy Field (Keene)

There is an air field in Keene as you’re headed into the High Peaks Region. Check the hours and take a walk around to get some local, tasty treats. Across the road from the field are also some picnic areas that you can use along the river.

Take the Ferry from NY to VT

I highly recommend jumping on the ferry at Essex to ride across Lake Champlain. This gives you views of both the Adirondack Mountains AND the Green Mountains in Vermont. Only $10.25 for regular vehicles and great views and usually lots of interesting people.

Some models on the Ferry, Lake Champlain.
Stop in The Mountaineer

If you need to pick up some last minute gear for your hike or climb around the High Peaks, Keene Valley’s The Mountaineer is the spot. Even if you don’t need anything, maybe you should still stop in this candy store for mountaineers…

Where To Get Breakfast/Lunch

ADK Cafe (Keene)

This place is phenomenal for the end of a tiring day in the mountains, or even on your way home from the Adirondacks. With indoor and outdoor seating, phenomenal sweets and a rustic, cabin environment, this place is sure to charm your pants off.

ADK Cafe, Keene, NY
Big Mountain Deli & Creperie (Downtown Lake Placid)

Breakfast or lunch, this place has AMAZING sandwiches. They have one sandwich combo for every one of the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. They also have a great coffee selection, and lots of fancy lattes to choose from. I recommend coming here for a breakfast burrito before a hike or after you take a nice paddle in Mirror Lake in downtown Lake Placid. Either way – so tasty.

Blue Moon Cafe (Saranac Lake)

This is a classic, hole-in-the-wall diner to fuel up before you head out on your journey. Great coffee and breakfast options!

The Noon Mark Diner (Keene Valley)

This historic landmark is located in prime Keene Valley. Classic diner with unreal pies and other baked goods. This one is sure to leave you full and content.

Where To Get Dinner/Drinks

Lake Placid Brewery (Lake Placid)

This brewery is built in what used to be an old church. The ground level is the original bar, very divey and they have cornhole and outdoor seating in the warmer months. Upstairs, you’ll find two floors of dining. Great place to go after a long day of crushin’ trails.

Lake Placid Brewery, NY.
Big Slide Brewery

Down the road from downtown Lake Placid, you’ll find this lovely, new brewery and restaurant. The menu here is phenomenal and interesting and they also have a GREAT beer selection. This is a bit more upscale than the LP Brewery, so not the best place if you’re looking sweaty and rugged.

Davidson Bros Brewpub

This brewery is in the southern Adirondacks but still worth mentioning. They have a great presence in Upstate New York and have delicious pub-style plates.

Lower Great Range, Adirondack Mountains, NY

There are wonderful restaurants, cafes, and breweries in the Adirondacks, but by far, my best local tip for the Adirondacks is to hike in the High Peaks. They are rewarding, interesting and beautiful mountains.

This special place brings together an amazing community of new hikers, people who have conquered big treks like the Appalachian Trail and those of us who are just happy to be on any mountain, anywhere.

I highly recommend making a trip (or several) to the Adirondacks if you haven’t already. It’s a charming area with an incredible amount of grit, and some history sprinkled in there as well (read: Miracle). This is my number one choice (so far) for retirement homes, but I hope you get there sooner than that!

Follow more of my thoughts and stories on my Instagram – @e_hollz.


Emily Holland
Emily Holland

Co-Host, The Stokecast

Lover of all things outside. My life is mountains, rocks, running, dogs, fitness, & music. NY born, Boulder-based.

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