Friday, November 18, 2011


I've visited Montréal a few times and it is an wonderful multinational city. For me it felt like I drove to Europe. The French influence is most predominantly there but there are other cultural influences as well.

Montréal is pronounced in French with a silent t and sounds like mohre'al. It takes it's name from the hill in the middle of the city Mont-Royal.

Arriving at Quebec (pronounced kaybek) you pass through customs at the border station.

Welcome to Quebec.

We stayed at the Marriott Spring-Hill Suites on Saint-jean-baptiste in vieux Montréal. I highly recommend this hotel.

Just around the corner there are many shops and restaurants on Rue Saint Paul, seen here is Vieux-Port Steakhouse and Le Keg is just off to the left.  We tried both and the ambiance and coziness of each was wonderful.  I would recommend the Baseball Top Sirloin at Le Keg and the Shish-taouk and Escargot at Vieux-Port.
Le Keg on UrbanspoonVieux-Port Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Some of the shops have some very unique items

As you can see by my wife's expression it was quite chilly when we took a walk down to Le Vieux-Port.

These ships docked outside the Montréal Science Center looked like they wouldn't be moving for some time.

This fog obscured the high-rises in about 30 minutes, giving a very serene feeling.

Boutiques at night.

There is beautiful architecture everywhere including the Basilique Notre-Dame - built 1829

the Hôtel de Ville de Montréal (Montréal City Hall) - built 1872-1878 in the Second Empire style

even the Bank of Montréal  head office located in Place d' Armes - built 1847

The trip was not complete without a visit to Schwartz's Deli for "the best" smoked meat!
Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Marché Atwater (Atwater Market) is a farmers market at 138 Atwater Ave which has many boutiques, some selling meat,

 some fruits and vegetables,

many varieties of bread, as well as wines, cheeses, and gourmet foods from all over the world.

Just up the road we stopped at the Green Spot and had some of their delicious Poutine.
Green Spot on Urbanspoon

Christ's Church Cathedral - built 1857 -1860 now sits above 2 levels of underground retail stores. A small part of Montreal's - largest in the world - underground city La Ville Souterraine which encompasses 12 km2, has 32 km of tunnels and more than 120 exterior access points.

heading home in a snowstorm on Autoroute 15

Heading back to the U.S.A. there is usually a long wait, and a high probability of being searched.

A-15 behind us and I-87 in front of us at the Lacolle Border Crossing or Champlain Border Crossing as it is known on the U.S.A. side. Security has been increased since we crossed and now passports are required for all travelers in and out of country.

Back in the United States of America, the road signs are still close enough to have a French influence.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Visiting Lake George

To the Iroquois she was known as An-Di-A-Ta-Roc-Te which translates to 'the lake that shuts itself in'. The French settlers knew her as Lac du Saint Sacrement (Lake of the Blessed Sacrement). The British later named her Lake George in honor of his majesty George II of England. There was even an campaign to change the name to Horicon by James Fenimore Cooper. She is known as the 'Queen of American Lakes', but whatever her namesake she is certainly majestic. So much that in a letter to his daughter, Thomas Jefferson wrote "Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin... finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves... down to the water-edge: here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony."

Formed by glacial activity over many years, two rivers that once flowed through what is now the Lake George basin were blocked and filled by advancing and receding glaciers. The melting glaciers that then filled this basin gave us Lake George, since then natural springs and streams took over keeping the water crystal clear.

I have visited Lake George for years and it seems I am just scratching the surface of what there is to see and do.

Heading south into the village from the junction of US-9 and 9N

Looking down Montcalm Street from Canada Street, Shepard Park is on the left.



Daisies, Black-Eyed Susan's and others.

A peek down the alley that runs along Christie's on the Lake.

Dining al fresco is common in Lake George as seen here at the Sicilian Spaghetti House & Pizzeria.

Village docks in the evening.

The perfect fishing hour. The lake has bass, perch, trout, landlocked salmon and other species.

Moorings of the Lake George Steamboat Company, from left to right are: Lac du Saint Sacrement, Mohican, and the Minne-Ha-Ha.

The sidewalk along the lake runs all the way to the Boardwalk Restaurant and Marina (far right).

Nightly gathering at the fire pit for marshmallows, hotdogs, chit chat and relaxation. Mountain View Cottages are a great place to stay.

There's always something interesting to see at night.

There are always motorcycles around, and in fact during the first full week of June, Lake George hosts the World's Largest Motorcycle Touring Rally - The Americade.

Many homes and businesses are landscaped with colorful flowers such as this Tiger Lily.

and these Day Lilies I found while searching for the Prospect Mountain foot trail.

On the backstreets of the village if you search you can find the Trailhead to Prospect Mountain foot trail. I hiked up to the Prospect Mountain highway to before the Cascade/Porter hike.

Part of the path crosses over the Adirondack Northway, these stairs lead to a walkway overpass.

Above I-87, the Adirondack Northway looking north from Prospect Mountain foot trail.

Crossing over Prospect Mountain Highway (the easy way to the top).

Support pillars, remains of the incline railway that took visitors from the village to the top of Prospect Mountain. The railway ran from 1895 until it ceased operation in 1903 for financial reasons.

More remains of the incline railway.

The trail is steep and follows the old incline railway bed.

I think this little guy wanted a handout. He was making noise to attract my attention.

Breathtaking view of the bays from Top Of The World Golf Resort.

From the foreground Dunham Bay, Harris Bay, and Van Warmer Bay.

Looking East toward Fort Ann from Top of the World Golf Resort.

Over one hundred years old the Sagamore resort in Bolton Landing.

Shelving Rock Mountain in the center with Huckleberry Island to the left and Refuge Island to the right.

Lac du Saint Sacrement on her way back to the docks.

Some nice boats at the village docks. Pilot Knob is the far mountain.

Shepard's Cove Restaurant on the left with Shepard Park on the right. The steeple from Caldwell Presbyterian Church is seen just above the trees.

If you've ever visited Lake George Village there is no doubt you've heard the steam calliope on the top deck of the Steamship Paddlewheeler Minne Ha Ha.  The sound carries through the valley, and is a constant reminder of where you are. Minne Ha Ha translates to 'Laughing Waters' the name given to the wife of Native American Chief Hiawatha.

Lac du Saint Sacrement, the largest of the fleet.

Horse and carriage rides are one of the attractions of the village.

Just another great day at Lake George.