The Adirondack Museum
We consider the Adirondack Museum to be the holy of holies. Even without their spectacular Guideboat collection—it is still one of our favorite museums. The New York Times called it, “the best of its kind in the world.” National Geographic said, “It’s the Smithsonian of the Adirondacks… it may be the best regional museum in the world.”
And, of course, it does have that wonderful Guideboat collection!
The Adirondacks were one of the last areas in the United States to be surveyed and mapped, but it was not uninhabited. Prior to the colonial period, Native Americans usually decided to live somewhere else, that’s how hard it was to move through and live in the Adirondacks. But the wildlife… the deer, the bear, moose, beaver, muskrat, and trout lived there in abundance.
Native Americans would come into the Adirondacks to hunt and fish… and then return home. Later, with the colonial expansion, the Adirondacks attracted an odd collection of backwoods folks—hunters, fishermen, loggers, and trappers. The hunting-guiding-wilderness era then gave way to the great camp era. Frequently these great camps grew from the guide/sport connection. Wealthy sports (the guides’ clients and customers) finding the vast tracks of beautiful wilderness, available for pennies an acre, just couldn’t resist. They built great camps and invited their friends to come visit.
Did you know that the first public building in the world to have electricity was the post office in Blue Mountain Lake? The electrician? None other than Thomas Edison.
In addition to Edison, countless other well-known to obscure visitors came to the Adirondacks, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, JP Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Teddy Roosevelt among them. Grand hotels were built in the Adirondacks to accommodate these visitors. Several of these hotels had more than 500 rooms. All of this is captured and preserved in the Adirondack Museum.
The museum’s season is rather short…Memorial Day thru mid-October, so plan accordingly. Twenty buildings on 32 acres of grounds and gardens, house exhibits on logging, boats and boating, mining, outdoor recreation, transportation, rustic furniture, and on-going programs and special events offer a variety of interesting activities for the whole family. Click to learn more: here
Visiting the Adirondacks
The Shelburne Museum is just a few miles north of the AGB shop. It is one of the nation’s most eclectic museums of art, Americana, architecture, and artifacts. Thirty-nine galleries and exhibition structures display over 150,000 objects spanning four centuries. Outstanding collections of folk art, decorative arts, tools, toys, textiles, and transportation vehicles are exhibited in tandem with paintings by artists such as Monet, Manet, Cassatt, Degas, Andrew Wyeth, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, Grandma Moses, and many others. The museum’s twenty-five 19th-century structures include a covered bridge, a round barn, a lighthouse, and a 220-foot restored steamboat that is a National Historic Landmark. Click to learn more: here
As wonderful as the Shelburne Museum is…you can’t really tell it from their website. The folks at Roadside America do a much better job telling the story. Click to learn more: here
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum…
Discover why Lake Champlain is considered the most historic body of water in North America. You can explore the history and characters of the Champlain Valley through military, commercial and recreational artifacts. There is a large collection of original small watercraft built over the last 150 years. You’ll learn about the largest collection of wooden shipwrecks in North America and talk to archaeological conservators in the Nautical Archeology Center.
You’ll be stepping back in time when you climb aboard the 54-ft square-rigged Revolutionary War gunboat replica, Philadelphia and you’ll learn about the life of citizen soldiers in the Champlain Valley in 1776. Craftsmen demonstrate traditional maritime skills of boatbuilding and blacksmithing in the working shops. There is also a museum store, a children’s playground, and a picnic area on site. Click to learn more at: lcmm.org
Close by Fun Stuff to see and do
Vermont Teddy Bear The factory is open year-round 7 days a week. It is a-must see for kids of all ages that live in or are visiting Vermont! We recommend planning to spend about an hour and 15 minutes on-site. The activities range from Teddy Bear Picnics to community celebrations. If you are looking for something delightful for the whole family to do.
Ben & Jerry’s: Even though the boys are long gone, their spirit still infuses their company; tours are fascinating and great fun.
By the way, the first person to be president of Ben & Jerry’s, who wasn’t a Ben or a Jerry, was a fellow named Chico Lager. Chico took the company from $3,000,000 a year in sales to $93,000,000. He wrote a wonderful book about the experience, Ben and Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop. It’s funny, wise, and fascinating. Chico has become a friend of and a sometimes advisor to AGB. When we first took him out in a boat, Chico said, “I don’t get involved with companies unless I can explain them to my mother.”